Blogging and the Pursuit of Happiness – Or, Why Bother?

 Has anyone noticed the tumble weeds blowing around Denver Sews? It’s sad when no one notices. 

tumbleweed

Well, for those that have been wondering we’ve had a few things come up. For one Kitty, who really was the whip cracker of the group, she kept us all on task and kept us moving forward. Kitty had family and friends to tend to and I think the joy of blogging and sewing kind of ran out for the time being. For Jamie work this time of year amps up for her and Lynn had a daughter going off to Japan and family and work obligations.  But, she’s posted the first post in a long time!

As for myself, my spouse lost his job, my mother-in-law was evicted from her apartment and had to move into what is essentially our porch and, she has Alzheimer’s which makes the whole thing like a crazy real life Beckett play. Plus, I write up to 5 blog posts/newsletters a week on sewing for work. Even if I had the time the desire has just not been there.

However, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about blogging. I wonder why I do it. It certainly isn’t for the money. I’m sure as heck not getting famous for it and it’s rather labor intensive with all the photos and the prepping and the writing. Least intensive is the actual sewing!

For me I’ve always had a diary. My dad was a diarist. He faithfully kept a journal for 30 years.  I started my first diary when I was 10. It’s very funny to read one’s thoughts at 10, I was surprised to see my use of quotation marks and was a budding cinephile.

May 6: Today I didn’t do much. I was planning on running away but I backed out. But, I might tomorrow. We watched “Cabaret” and “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (Good).

October 8: I can’t believe it! Nothing has happened today except I made pudding.

Blogging and the pursuit of happiness

I have multiple journals lying around, one for sewing, one for deep thoughts, another one for random things. One I’ve filled the entire book up. It was a very sad part of my life. I almost want to burn it, what’s in it brings me a lot of sadness when I read over it.

One I kept at work a couple of years ago and recorded my ‘work’ thoughts. It is not pretty, but damn funny. I have pretty note pads that I jot things down in.  I especially like the composition style books. This one is my sewing journal and even though I blog about my sewing adventures, there’s a lot that goes into this book. It’s almost full.

Diary This one is sort of like a photo journal and I cut out pictures of things that are important to me or that I would like to have in my life. I carefully cut out words or phrases that are inspiring and glue them on the pages. It’s a low-tech Pinterest board.  It’s funny, but almost everything in this book has come true or come into my life. Pretty amazing that! I wonder if the same could be said of a Pinterest board.
Diary If I didn’t blog, I would still write.

But, the one thing that blogging brings to me that writing in a private journal does not is this unrelenting competitiveness and with that a kind of weird pissy feeling. I see these bloggers with their perfect artsy photos and their upbeat selves smiling in their lovely made whatevers.  They’re 20 and have no kids and have time to do it all right. Or worse, they have 5 kids and a job and still manage to do it all and it looks so effortless. Then I get judgmental and the pissy feeling comes and I don’t feel good for secretively hating on ‘em.  It’s my own insecurities flaring up absolutely.

Regardless it has me questioning why I still blog or even want to if it’s such a pain in the ass and brings up such negative feelings.

I love the two way communication that blogging offers. I enjoy connecting with others who love to sew no matter the platform or medium. Blogging has built up my confidence. I’m getting more confident in my sewing skills. I’m more comfortable seeing my face on the internet. I’ve never liked taking photos of myself and here I am posting my old mug everywhere or at least the potential. And, any writing is good writing for me whatever the form. I recently said that I think I’ll have a blog tell I die. Even if I just post once a month, I think I’ll always be blogging as long as I remember why I like to blog and keep those black dogs of comparison away.

Thoughts?

stack of journals

Zip and Clip Bag – A Perfect Bag for a Night Out

Collage

I’ve been looking for a pattern for a small hipster or cross-body bag that could securely hold my phone, a credit card, some cash and maybe something else like a camera or some ladies’ accoutrements, shall we say. Most hipster or cross-body bags I’ve seen have been too big or without many secure pockets, but this Zip & Clip bag I found on Craftsy is just perfect! The pattern is by Lisa Amundsen whose website is aroundthebobbin.com. Continue reading

The Magic of Tidying Up – Getting Rid of Stuff #konmari Style

If you follow me on Instagram I have posted photos of my journey to a better more organized life. I’ve read organizing books and made attempts here and there to de-clutter and get my sh!t in proverbial order with little luck. I found Marie Kondo’s book at B&N during their New Year – New You promotions they do every year. Immediately, it resonated with me so I brought it home and read it cover to cover.

closet

This is not my closet. Image from Houzz.com.

 

First off Marie Kondo is from Japan and some of the things that she talks about may seem really peculiar to westerners but like any self-help book you need to take what works and ditch what doesn’t or maybe tweak it a bit here and there.

What I really liked was her organizing by category rather than room. Brilliant. Rolling your clothes, I’m not quite so sure about that, so I’m testing rolling vs. laying flat to see what works. Talking to your clothes and possessions? Weird, but I talk to myself in an Australian accent when I sew alone so not too uncomfortable for me. My kids would walk by and ask who I was talking to and when I said my underwear or my box of hats, they backed away slowly and I never saw them again for the day.

She said it can take 5-6 months which I thought was laughable, until I started and ya, it’s going to take that long. I’m hoping to get the most done by June in time for my big blow out garage sale.

Here are a few more observations I’ve had. I’m still far from done with the house. So far I’m the only one of the family to do it.  In her book she says that family members will naturally join in. But, my family is part pig and can live in the utmost disgusting surroundings.  I’ve done a test and just didn’t do any cleaning whatsoever; didn’t notice a thing. It’s really gross.

It a lot of cases people on Instagram will take ‘before’ photos, and in many cases my ‘before’ was just way too embarrassing.  Some of my before’s just don’t even show the half of it.

The categories that I’ve finished so far are:

  • Toiletries/Linens
  • Books
  • Clothes

Clothes has been by far the biggest,longest most rewarding category. She suggests doing this first, which I did not. I wanted to wait until the change of seasons so I could bring all my clothes out and not have to unload/load/unload all over again when spring/summer came.

This took over 12 hours for me. And, towards the end I was  like – No joy here, get rid of it. Or the opposite – Ya, whatever. It brings me joy, yippee, next. I would recommend breaks to refresh. And, at some point I forgot to ask each item “Do you bring me joy” ( I spoke in a German accent here), and just thought of how I would wear it. It’s important to really ask, because sometimes you’ll like it or wear it, but does it really make your heart sing and do you really feel spectacular in it. Then it’s a keeper. We all have those clothes in our closets that we truly do love, that make us look good, that we feel good in and so forth. Those are the keepers! It said that of all the clothes we have we only wear 20%. Wow!

Finished work.

Click for a bigger view.

I did wear something the next day that I chose as a keeper and when I wore it I didn’t like it. It was wrinkled, too big, old and so on. When I got home I started another bag for charity. It’s an ongoing process I think for awhile at least. Keep in mind her No Lounge Wear rule too. It  was a trap I was falling into towards the end.

I would recommend taking time and maybe breaking the clothes category into sections, depending on your closet it can be a huge task. But, so worth it. I still need to do my shoes and lingerie. But, I really needed a break on this so I’ve stopped for awhile.

There were some things that I had made that needed alterations and in some cases I just chucked them because it caused me way to much stress thinking of altering the darn thing. Out it goes. And, those that I did alter really do bring me joy, I love the fabric or whatever it is, and that I will do the work to make it ‘right’ so I’ll wear it. If not, out it goes.

As far hanging clothes I love padded satin hangers, but you’ll notice they take up a lot of space. I removed those and replaced with plastic and wood. I like the ‘click-clack’ sound plastic hangers make, I feel like I’m in my own boutique.
organizing

I am keeping the padded hangers for the sweaters I wear in fall and winter. Many items in the wardrobe are folded, and group by color or long sleeved, short sleeve etc. I like the idea of rolling, but we’ll see how it goes.

I also like hanging my jeans. I may not wear a pair all day or wear more than once before washing. I like hanging them over folding or rolling.
Work

 

With toiletries I think it’s less about keeping things that bring you ‘joy’ and more about organizing and ditching things you don’t need. Really, holding a jumbo box of tampons will never really be synonymous with ‘joy’.  Well, unless your period is late.

Book category was easy. I just don’t need so many of them in my life right now. I kept some that are particular meaningful for me as well as reference and some sweet children’s books. Then I took many down to 2nd & Charles and got 22.00 cash.

For all three categories mentioned I also did these for my 2  piglets. The large pig, well he’s on his own. Not touching it.

My sewing room will be it’s own category with multiple sub-categories. I plan on doing this one near the end. It’s going to be tough.

 If you’re on Instagram one of the hash tags is #konmari and some of the folks before and after photos are jaw dropping. I feel like the amount of my stuff is average for an overly consumptive westerner. But, wow there is some amazing work going on.  It’s inspiring, it’s like the Biggest Loser. I feel if they can do it I can too.

Warning: There was a photo from one person who said she now has all her clothes in one closet, no off-season storage. Immediately I felt that I didn’t do enough and I felt inadequate.  It’s a common theme with me, the relentless comparing to others. But really, everyone’s closet is there own and the work I do on mine is mine alone. It’s hard work no matter the size of the closet or how many garbage bags were sent to Goodwill. If you do this you will revel in your new found de-cluttered state! Keep me posted if you do the Marie Kondo method.

 

Crimson and Clover Train Cases

BagsInARow

My quest for structured bags continues! This week I made Sara Larson’s Crimson and Clover Train Cases. This cute pattern comes in 3 sizes. I made a medium and a small bag, omitting the interior pockets. Continue reading

March Challenge – UFO: Everything In Its Place Bag

BagCollage

I bought the Sew Sturdy Travel Organizers Craftsy class last August! I love trying to make structured bags and I just couldn’t resist something that looked like a suitcase. But I was dismayed that I needed some specialty items that I didn’t already have: Soft and Stable foam stabilizer and some very very long purse zippers. Sometimes it’s a little off-putting to find that the instructor is selling more than just her pattern. In this case, Annie Unrein (the instructor and pattern author), is also encouraging us to buy her “By Annie Soft and Stable” foam stabilizer and long purse zippers. Neither of these two items are specifically mentioned in the “materials” list on Craftsy. This was annoying enough to me that I gave up on this class. Continue reading

My Sewing Week

Last week I was involved in three great sewing related activities through the Denver Sewing Collective.

Thursday was great to see new and familiar faces, we didn’t have anything planned this month for the Denver Sewing Collective but the weather was nice and spring was in the air. I actually can’t even remember what project I brought or what I did. Hmm.

First off I went with Marni to Colorado Fabrics for no better reason than it was a Saturday and on the way to the ASG Denver meeting. Bought these gems. The white is a crepe rayon. No idea yet what I’ll do but it’s going to be good.

fab fabric

Continue reading

Jasper Giveaway Winner

The winner of the Jasper Sweater/Dress pattern giveaway is… (drumroll please)

Cat Drum Roll Please

Grace L.! I’ll be contacting you via email to get the pattern to you.