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About me

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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Social media and we have to talk

First my complete apologies to those I may of offended in my last post where I wrote who smocks anymore? 

I was commenting on the state of the world not on why would anyone smock. Of course not. I have beautiful dresses made by a friend's mother that are as perfect today as they were 38 years ago. 

What I meant was who irons any more? I do and more people should. I travel in the rv with a good iron and full side ironing board. 

Who takes their hat off in a restaurant any more? You see where I am going with this.

No offence intended and you smockers keep at it. We are counting on you.

Now we are on the subject of offences you might of noticed that my blog posts have tapered off a bit. There are several reasons for this:

1. Most of what I have made, and I have been sewing continuously, in the last few months has been for other people. 

2019 was a year that I had a lot of folks on my mind. My daughter, who is now doing really well, got her MS diagnosis. My mother had a fall. I had a granddaughter on the other side of the continent, and two boys and a daughter-in-law I am close to, in the US. I have sisters and I have friends. I think about them.

So 2019 was a year when I came to terms with the fact that sometimes you can't change the circumstance of someone else's life.

But you know you can always sew for them. 

So that's what I did. I used my sewing as my main tool of communication - as a connection between me and people I cared about but were not often near enough for direct contact, or dealing with things I couldn't resolve for them.  My sewing was my I love you and I support you messages.

This has been hugely helpful to me in making some life adjustments in a positive way. It allowed me to speak about my own life in my own language. My mother tongue.

Now this might have been healthy for me but it has been unhealthy for traditional type sewing blogging. I can't show surprises/gifts and these guys often don't get around to sending me pictures of the garment on them to post. I sew for busy people.

Right now, before Christmas, I have sewn my fingers to the bone but can't show you any of it, except maybe the picture above. This is not good for blogging.

2. I have started to send out what is now a monthly sewing newsletter. I had this idea in my head that it would be useful to fill in some of the blanks for new and returning sewists - to sort of tell them some of the important things pattern instructions leave out. To sign up just send me your email. This little project has diverted some of my sewing instructor energy I admit, but has been very gratifying. I got a lovely email today for instance from a young woman in Norway who is teaching herself to sew on her own and has found the newsletters helpful. That means a lot to me. I will say however that working on the newsletter has taken me away a bit from writing some part of that information here.

3. I have become increasingly interested in writing. I have just finished editing a novel for a local author. I have several of my own projects percolating. I want to do more writing out of my sewing life but also letting it reach into other areas. I really enjoy writing the flypaper thoughts a lot. I want to do more of that.

4. Social media is developing and its role in my life is changing. When I started writing this blog a decade ago sewing blogs of the I made this and these are my comments were a new thing. For a really long time I was one of those bloggers. To be honest it wasn't my best thing and it gets hard to keep up. Now I simply am not in a place where I can sew a garment or more a week and blog about it. Right now that would feel like a job and I don't need another job. The life roster is pretty full. I love to post a garment when I make one that can be an interesting topic of discussion, but I don't want to feel I have to keep up a schedule. I really feel other bloggers right now are doing a better job of that than I can.

Which brings me to my idea, the where we go from here.

How about this?

1. I write all my tech stuff in the newsletter and any other sewing publications I get organized.

2. I post the majority of my garment pics/makes on Instagram @bemodi. Just so much easier for me to do that on the fly than try to organize my husband to take a picture and then argue about why I am always shot leaning or with my head cut off. 

3. I use this space more and more to write flypaper thought themed stuff. A lot on sewing sure but more on life in general. The thing is the older I get the less serious I feel and the more random thoughts I have. Who is interested? Maybe someone out there might be. Maybe not. But maybe typing out my random thoughts and tying them to a virtual pigeon and tossing it out the digital window would help me get some of what's in, well out.

I think this is the point where it's over to you folks.

Does this make sense?


bbarna said...

Sign me up. I have Instagram, but no cell phone at the present, so I guess I will only see it from time to time.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy anything you write! Will follow whatever format(s) you use. Thanks for taking the time. Debbie

Bunny said...

Hi, Barb. Apology accepted.Thanks for that. As far as ironing, I enjoy that too. I just wish I had more time for it. I save it to relish on long rainy afternoons when I have the quiet to myself.

As far as blogging, social media in general has grown in so many ways since the early days of blogging. There are now so many more outlets and we all make our choices. I love to write also and blogging allows me that. I enjoy the depth of commentary it provides as well. But who doesn't like a quick hit on Insta or a hot discussion on a sewing forum or all those FB pages? How do we even have time to sew? I understand family is always priority but there is no law that says we have to be on all or even any social media so our choices are our own and they are all OK. Do what works for you and make sure it doesn't provide you with too much work to do it. Keep your media life easy so you can give family the attention you want to in the manner you want to. To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose.....I wish you well in whatever decision you make.

wendy said...

Well I think that is ultimately up to you! I'm happy to hear your thoughts on life and sewing wherever you are comfortable sharing. Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge, and keeping the tradition of sewing fun and alive!


Anonymous said...

Barbara, I’m loving your evolution! Please keep being true to yourself! I have so enjoyed your blogs because of your writing skill and your wry sense of humor! Your practical and efficient approach to sewing has made so much sense to me. I also appreciate and acknowledge that life always changes! Keep adapting and keep sewing, no matter where that takes you. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

Unknown said...

I love your flypaper. I love your blog. I don't comment often. Life does get in the way of communicating the way we used to communicate. I think you should do whatever makes you happy. I will sign up for your newsletter. I refer to your book. Sewing for others is a great way to show love. If this new way of doing things doesn't work for you, it can change. Please do post your projects somewhere (when it is opened) so that we can see. Thank you for what you do for all of us.

Karen said...

Dear Barbara,
I too love everything you write about and look forward to catching up via any format you choose.
Your wit makes me giggle often and your sewing wisdom is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I think you're blogging should be whatever works for you. I don't blog as much anymore and it's fine. I'm learning to sew again without the posed pictures or the link to Instagram. Do you and post here whatever you like. I will keep reading whatever it is!

Mim said...

Hi Barb,
I reckon you should run your blog exactly as you like. I love it - it gives me a smile every time you come up in my feed reader.

I'll miss your tips and makes here - it's be easier for me to find them when I need them. But hey, your blog, your rules!

Anonymous said...

I fully understand where you are coming from. I love both your flypaper thoughts and all your sewing info.....the newsletters are fab and contain a wealth of information.Keep doing what you feel happy and comfortable doing. Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,

Anonymous said...

I love your flypaper thoughts so will enjoy whatever you are able to share with us. I'm not on Instagram at this point but perhaps I'll have to re-think that.

Anonymous said...

You are the only blogger I follow. I don’t subscribe to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and all the rest. I spend far too much time staring at my devices as it is. Watching sewists and crafters constantly churning out items makes me feel inadequate. Like why can’t I make the time to complete one project a month? Past life obsessions get in the way. Present worries too. Fly paper thoughts are easily digestible chunks of delicious-ness. Right on the mark without all the waffle. I aspire to write that way myself, not for anyone else, just for me, to figure stuff out. The world is a crazy, unpredictable place to live in and it’s a relief to settle on someone else’s brief introspections on their own outer life and inner landscape. I know many others love your random flypaper thoughts because I read their comments. They can be just as interesting. An Admirer from the English Channel coast.

jirons42 said...

Please do whatever makes you happy. If you're happy, you'll do more of it and I love every form of your social media. I have a file where I have saved all of your newsletters and have learned something with each edition. Thanks for all you give to the sewing world.

Jacq C said...

Your Flypaper Thoughts are my favourite thing to read - perceptive, moving and funny. I already receive your newsletter and am following you on IG. Your book is a favourite too, I’m all in! Keep doing what you love. I hope you’ve managed to finish all your Christmas gifts and have a little time to yourself. Enjoy the holidays and a very Happy New Year x

mariestitches said...

Your picture is on my toolbar as it's the first place I go to for sewing knowledge and also life knowledge. With this decision, that won't change. I have been a subscriber to your newsletter since the first issue and despite the fact that I started sewing 50 years ago (with a 20-year gap), I learn something with every issue. I chuckle at your flypaper thoughts and have shared them with my non-sewing friends. I appreciate all you do and I know your family does. The truth is, they come first. You decide how much you can blog, post and share because you can't be there for your family if you're not able to keep your own life in balance. We will continue to enjoy your flypaper thoughts, your Instagram posts and your newsletters as they come, when they come. You set the schedule and we will count ourselves blessed. All the best to you and your lovely family this holiday season and I wish nothing but joy for you in 2020.

L said...

It makes a lot of sense and echos the thoughts I have about my own blog. I tried to restart things at the beginning of the year, but fell off quite sharply in July and haven't written a thing sense then. Despite my desire (and sometimes need) to share my sewing adventures, I feel unmotivated to do so as soon as I log in to my blog. I peruse IG daily, but rarely do I share my own creations. I think general fatigue with trying to keep up is what zaps my energy.

That said, I welcome any information you provide and in any format. I value you, what you share, and am happy to be a part of your community.

Nethwen said...

Absolutely. Write what you want, as little as you want. I mostly come here for the life part, anyway. The sewing was just an excuse to hang out, as it were - similar to how inviting someone for dinner is less about the dinner and more about the conversation and connection.

sallygardens said...

I’m interested! I do love the sewing content on your blog but I love flypaper thoughts and all the other things you have to say even more. I enjoy seeing the things you make on Instagram and learning from your newsletter. Thank you!!

beckster said...

Hey, this space is yours. Do with it what you will. I am very appreciative that you share your expertise with me, so who am I to tell you how to do it? I don't do a lot of social media. I do not do Facebook, Instagram, etc. I think they are a real time suck, so that's me trying to protect my time a bit. I will miss specific garment blogging, but as I said above, do as you will, and thanks again for sharing all your hard won talents!

sewingkm said...

I've followed your blog for several years and enjoy whatever you write and it usually brings a smile to my lips. You have a gift for writing and a gift for sewing. Like others I say write whatever you desire and I will definitely read. Merry Christmas to you and your darling family. Karen

Laceflower said...

Blogging seems to be falling off with those I have been following for years. I don't do insta, twitter, fb, all time eaters as far as I'm concerned and I'm too busy. So I won't be seeing you there. I'll sign up for your NL to keep up with your wisdom and life.

JustGail said...

This is your blog, it has to work for you. I don't do FB, IG, or any other social media. Sometimes I'm tempted, but then it seems a new issue pops up with security, data mining, etc so I don't.

Speaking of writing - did you think any more about writing a book for sergers similar to your sewing book? I have your sewing book, and while reading my thoughts range from "who doesn't know that?", to "ooooh I forgot about that", and "WHAT?! I never saw that before". I have a book on serging techniques from 30(?) years ago, and I'd think there are new techniques since then.

And that comment about smocking - I chalked it up to you being in a frenzy trying to get your gifts done. Although I must confess - I sort of think that as well, because I never see little girls in fancy smocked dresses. Then again, that sort of fancy dress isn't called for much here. Even weddings and funerals have become pretty casual. But I hope those that still do smocking keep it up, it would be a shame if the technique were lost.

SilverMom said...

I love your blog posts! About sewing, about life, about flypaper thoughts...whatever! And I've been a subscriber to your NL from day one. I'll read whatever you write.

I'm not an Instagramer, FBer, etc. so I won't see you there, but a faithful blog reader forever.

lifeistooshortforbeige said...

Yes, I'd love to see you on the insta. But I LIVE for your flypaper thoughts. Don't cancel them. They make me laugh out loud (sometimes snort).

No pressure (maybe just the tiniest bit). We won't demand deadlines or a certain number of posts. It's just a treat when I see a post from you in my blog feed.

It's beautiful how you have connected with your family through your creations. I find when I sew for others that it is like a meditation, and they are on my mind from the first step of the project to the last stitch. Certainly that love and positive energy travels with the gift.

All my best to you and your family as you transition in your sewing and writing and matriarch roles.

Peggy A

KS_Sews (Dressmakingbacles) said...

Definitely echoing the sentiment of others that you should do what works for YOU.

I love blogging and still read blogs daily. And I am good about refusing to allow myself to fall into thinking that I have to "create content" for my blog. It helps a ton.

Good luck with what comes next! I know the next book will be fab :)

Kim said...

Your flypaper thoughts always brighten my day and often make me think. I will read whatever you offer so do what makes you happy!

Anonymous said...

Yes! Your flypaper thoughts are my favorite thing!

Sydney Brown
Placerville, CA (less than a two hour drive to Stonemountain)

Sally said...

I love everything you write...I have learned so much for you. But your flypaper thoughts have taught me more than you can know. Please keep it up! Happy Hectic Holidays! Love, Sally

Carroll said...

Thank you for all you’ve done to date. I’m a follower of the blog & newsletter & have your book, I support whatever you decide to do & follow those. In your tech writing would you consider doing an article on Instagram i.e. how to join, how to see posts & be notified,, how you post & how to save posts. Some of us are lacking that knowledge.
Merry Christmas & aHappy New Year

Pal K said...

I agree with Beckster. She said it far better than I could
This is your space. I just appreciate you sharing it with us.

Kamchick said...

Hey, Barbara - there are only so many hours in the day. You are the one who gets to decide how you want to be spending your time.
I love your writing, your humour, your positive perspective on life and family and your practical thoughts on sewing (I treasure those newsletters).
I have no presence in social media - find it distracting and like a slower pace. I sew for the joy of it - there is no pressure.
So just know that we love what you do - whatever you decide that's going to be.

Sam the Aussie said...

Great humour and you make a lot of sense, carry on doing just what you do. I really like your style. Reading this inside in the cool whilst the sun frizzles outside - supposed to get over 120F or 50C today in parts of Australia today, so quiet sewing is a great activity.
Sam the Aussie

Anonymous said...

I avidly read everything you write - the tech stuff frequently hits on something I am thinking about anyway and sometimes the family/personal reflections hit me on such a tender spot that their meaningfulness is increased exponentially.

Having said that, its all a gift you are choosing to make to the universe, so it should be what feels good to you.


Nancy JC said...

Barbara, please, please, please don't go away! I absolutely l-o-v-e your Flypaper Thoughts and often share them with my sister AND husband (if you can believe that!) I have your book. I've sewn for probably as many years as you have, but you are exploring tips and techniques every day, whereas I have wandered off into the land of creating my own cloth (how's that for a fabriholic?) I know life gets really busy and respect that you must protect your time. Do what you love best. I'll be ready the next time you want to put those Flypaper Thoughts out there. All the best to you this holiday season and in 2020!

Victoria Bennett said...

The flypaper thoughts are my favorite! I've often laughed out loud while reading them which probably makes my co-workers wonder what is wrong with me. :)

Kansas Sky said...

There’s not a word you write that’s not of interest to me. I read everything you say as soon as I see it, and follow your work on every platform you use. And, I relish the miles I drove across the Great Plains to attend your workshop in Tulsa. .... What I’m saying is that your intelligent, wise perspective about life (and sewing!) fascinates and blesses me. THANK YOU for the efforts you make. My very best to you as you consider how to best balance all your interests and skills. ... I listened to you on the Makers podcast the other day while making my daughter a cardigan and smiled the whole time. I’m just plain grateful. said...

I enjoy your flypaper thoughts - and always used to read your column in Australian Stitches. So, I will follow your flypaper thoughts, and would love to sign up for your newsletter if you do go ahead with this idea.

Yes, relationships are important - one realises that more and more as one gets older.

Unknown said...

Barbara, I enjoy everything you write, and especially your flypaper thoughts. Please include me in your newsletter list.

Marianne said...

Like your other readers, I want to say that you should do what works for you. To me, the best scenario is that any writing you do is something that benefits you and that you enjoy doing. I personally also enjoy writing, because writing down the scattered thoughts in my mind often helps me to understand things better, and it sounds like this is also true for you. The fact that your readers are also blessed by your writing is a bonus.

I think it must be hard to actually do this, to be yourself and to think your thoughts in such a public manner, but somehow I think this is what makes your blog such a joy to read. For many of us, I think the honest thoughts and feelings you put into words help us to think through things in our own lives. For example, the idea of sewing for others as a way of expressing love. Yes, I do that and have always done so, and I felt a moment of connection with all my sewing sisters and brothers who do the same when I read your post. 🙂

Sarah Bene said...

I enjoy your blog, but I don't pay for it. You don't owe me or anybody anything. It's always bothered me to see you or any of the other bloggers I follow apologize for not posting for a few days, or not posting enough subject-specific content, sounding as if someone has complained.
Nobody gets to complain about not getting enough given to them. And what you provide is a gift.
So you write whatever you want whereever you want and I'll do my best to come find you.
I would appreciate links to your instagram and facebook and so on somewhere near the top of the page on your blog so I can find you easier. ;)

Anonymous said...

So many eloquent comments :) I'll read *anything* you write, any time (and my non-sewing husband thought that your husband's use of safety pins for pinning made perfect sense . . . ). Gail, San Juan Capistrano, CA

Sarah Wale said...

Dear Barbara, Sorry for the delay in replying to your blog; I was traveling with my family over Christmas and only got home yesterday. Included in the party 'that' brother - who loved your book. We were without connectivity most of the time, which meant I couldn't access my emails and browser but in turn also meant the kids actually joined in the conversation - Yayy!!! The first thing I did when I got home and unpacked was catch up with you via this blog and your Flypaper thoughts a few days later. Thanks for both.

Blogging should not be a chore and it is clear that you are finding the pressure to blog your sewing projects is becoming less enjoyable. I am all for your flypaper thoughts and for you using Instagram and other media for the different parts of your life ... which you are generous enough to share with us. Go for it and we will follow you wherever you tak4 us, with thanks and joy.
I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and will have a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year. I look forward to newsletters, blogs, Instagrams and any other communication with you through out 2020. All the very best, Sarah

Carol Lee said...

Babsie, I first discovered you when some folks on PR were talking about your new book. I became an instant fan of your blog. Borrowed your book from the library and loved it. Flypaper thoughts and writing about your family are delightful. I follow you on Instagram, and I mostly just follow family. That should tell you something about how I feel about what you share. I will sign up for your newsletter, because I know I’ll love it too. You’re a delightful writer and I so enjoy what you do.

Carol Lee (Moxie Carol)

JoCookMakes... said...

Barbara. I absolutely love your flypaper thoughts. They are beautiful, inspiring, thoughtful, funny, unexpected and so generously shared. Please do what fits best for you and your family but also please know that your flypaper thoughts are golden. With love xxxx Jo