Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

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Sewing with less stress back cover
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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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Friday, March 1, 2019

Flypaper thought night time in Texas state park edition

  • Finally found someone who has a sense of direction like mine
  • A man wandering around with his towel looking for campsite #38
  • I was looking for #7
  • We were both headed for #21
  • "don't tell my wife I got lost" he said
  • "don't tell my husband".
  • We decided who could tell
  • All the trees looked the same to us
  • Speaking of which
  • I better get out of here and into say something like a Walmart soon
  • Keep this up and I am going to turn into something like a birdwatcher
  • Noticing the birds a lot these days
  • Next thing you know I will be accessorizing with binoculars
  • Extremely interesting sewing going on at the old picnic table
  • A birthday present I am quite pleased with
  • Got to remember to take pictures this time before I hand it over
  • Also doing some high level materials testing of some vegan leather I was sent to try out
  • Interesting stuff
  • So far have dropped things on it
  • Sometimes on purpose
  • Tried to get the husband to break it
  • And pounded it with my hairbrush in a basin of water
  • The big road test where I back up the rv over it happens tomorrow
  • Invited the man who gets lost to watch
  • Doubt if I can count on him to come
  • Anyway the results from the state park lab will be released March 13
  • Should give me time to do organize the bird poop test
  • So far I would say this weird stuff is holding up pretty well
  • Oh I just thought of the waterfall
  • I actually don't know how to drive the rv
  • I have trouble parallel parking the tiny hybrid I drive
  • Not to mention backing it into my own driveway at home
  • I think people who can back up car into a driveway in less than 47 tries are geniuses
  • This is why I am not signed in to drive the rv
  • But that is going to happen tomorrow
  • It's time my husband said, safety issue
  • So I will do it
  • Over some vegan leather
  • We are moving into site #21
  • Those poor trees
  • Listen
  • Never travel without a seam roll
  • Do you know in an emergency you can put it on your knee and iron a seam in a moving vehicle?
  • Not when you are driving, particularly if you are backing up
  • But seriously works great
  • I am roughing it here
  • No serger for one thing
  • Only one seam ripper
  • Squirrels running around on the roof
  • Armadillo under the steps
  • Birds gone to bed
  • Daisy taken over the blankets
  • No winter boots
  • Just another snowbird in an rv

Lists and expectations

One of the great luxuries of our winter getaways in the rv is it is the one time of the year when I have the time to think about what I am doing, and why I am doing it.

In general my life is very busy. I have a lot of people in my life and dogs and activities and friends I want to spend time with and my many schemes.

I always have some new project going on in my head. I also have a personality that tends to get over enthusiastic about things. In fact there are moments when I seriously wonder if there is an enthusiasm gap between myself and the world. 

I have no shortage of projects I would like to tackle, and if you were to look up "takes on too much" in the dictionary, well that would be my picture staring right back at you.

In fact in the last little while I have been feeling like I was falling behind in my own life.

Do any of you ever feel like that?

No matter how many garments I complete I feel I am behind schedule, or I would be if I actually had a schedule.

This reminds me of one of the smartest things I ever heard, said by one of the smartest people I ever met.

This woman was a social worker in a tough area of the city. 

Someone remarked, over a dinner party dinner table, how hard this woman's job must be because the people she worked with must be so down and out and so unhappy.

I remember this social worker looking straight in the eye of the person who made this comment and saying that in her experience it wasn't life events that made people unhappy but life expectations.

The question is does your life meet the expectations you had for it?

This also reminds me of one of my sisters who was often disappointed by her birthdays ("yes these are nice presents, but I was kind of hoping for a room full of balloons. Where are the balloons?")

I have been thinking if I am doing exactly this with my sewing.

So as an exercise this is what I did this week:

I decided to do a time budget of my sewing time and look at it in terms of my expectations.

On index cards I listed the months of the upcoming year and for every month I wrote the things I knew I would have to be making or at least collecting the supplies to be making every month. (Pretty sophisticated system, hope you are following all of this).

I also listed predictable users of time, like teaching a course, Christmas, golf season which has my husband looking at me a lot wondering if I want to go out, summer when I take care of the kids, etc.

This was not a to-do list.

What I listed were things that take my time and how much time. For instance making a shirt for a male in my family I wrote 1 week, because since my sewing fits into my other being alive stuff, realistically it takes me a week to make a shirt properly.

So after I did this prep work I put it all into a school scribbler and looked at what my time available/committed flow for the year looked like.

This is such a simple idea, maybe other people do this, and interesting to me because this is exactly what a person would do at work. 

You know if you are an accountant you would know not expect too many other new things to get started at tax season, or a teacher at marking time, or in retail over the holidays. This is just good planning.

Why do we treat sewing, something people like me do constantly if not in reality at least in their heads, in a different way than we do other things that are also serious and important to us?

This whole weird, something you would only do if you were sitting around a lot in state parks with mental time on your hands exercise, has taught me two things:

1. I am OK, when I actually look at all I sew I really am fine. There are only 52 weeks in the year and I am not behind at all. I sew for a lot of people in my family and I can see where the zone of enough, versus too much or not enough is. I shouldn't be feeling I wasn't getting enough done.

2. I have my busy seasons and a few months in the year where I have absolutely no one to sew for but myself. This year in one of those months, August, I will be making my Christmas outfit. I can see it coming. Scrambling to try to make myself something new for the holidays on December 23rd, coming down after 7 weeks of birthday/Hallowe'en/Christmas sewing is just too stressful.

Looking at your sewing time like this can be very illuminating and release a lot of pressure.

Speaking of pressure. My blog posting has taken a hit with my travelling, family commitments, and my ramped up sewing surprises for family. Hope you understand. File it under doing my best.

That said I post in Instagram regularly if you want to keep in touch.

In the meantime a question for you.

How much time do you sew, get to sew, want to sew or manage to sew?

Do you feel you have enough time to sew? How to you make time to sew?

Big thought topic around here at the moment.