Musings: where to from here…


I find myself knee deep into 2017 already… and not quite sure ‘where to from here’…

I’m still sewing… although hit some hurdles. So what I have been doing?

Life…

Every year my life goes into overdrive between October and March. The pressure is constant. I am quite resilient, very organised but I’m exhausted during the peak period and completely knackered at the end of it.

While the peak of the workload culminates in a rather fun presentation… it is preceded and followed by oceans of work.

Last year I made my dress for this event however I didn’t make my dress this year. When you are working on an exceptionally tight deadline, sometimes you need to be kind to yourself. So I popped out in my lunchbreak the day before the night, tried on one dress, it fitted and I wore it – some days it’s best not to overthink it (even when you have shocking tan lines!).  I was stopped the following day by a lady and her husband to tell me how much they loved my dress and they were dying to know what it was made from. I laughed and said “Sequins and attitude“.

I’m glad I did buy it, one less thing to think about. I dread dressing up but yet when it comes to the actual event, I absolutely embrace it and love every minute of it. A reluctant party girl I guess! Note: I’m rarely this glamorous but heck it’s fun to indulge every now and then.

Definitely not made by me!

Definitely not made by me! Rushed and somewhat scruffy lift ‘selfie’. Bonus dirty mirror photo for earrings and on the way out for drinks after!

Trust me I do prioritise my life – and I am only doing what needs doing these days (2017 is My Year of No). However with kids to care for and a mortgage to pay (and they are rather high in Port Macquarie and good jobs are scarce). My job is demanding and more often than not exhausting, working 5 days a week and getting through each day, afternoon and evening is a trial in itself!

My youngest started high school and I’m still trying to find the rhythm of a new year and all the activities that it involves.

I’ve started hockey training again. I doubt I’ll ever be much of a hockey player but it’s fun and I love the team. I’ve been trying to run a few kilometres a week as well… when time permits.

I’ve had some friends who have been amazing and kept me somewhat sane during some challenging times lately. Several times I’ve deleted all the social media apps to give myself some space. I log back in every now and then and then I’m gone again for a while – there’s a lot to be said for social media holidays.

My phone died so rather than being annoyed by that I’ve just embraced being communication-free most of the time (well apart from the deluge of work emails of course). The lack of ‘noise’ is nice and while there are some people and conversations I miss, I’ve learnt to live with that.

Sewing…

Yes, I still think about it constantly, daydream and plan.

I’ve made a few garments… started several and stopped. Washed fabric and sorted through patterns. Traced patterns. Maybe like a glamorous event, I just need a bit of inspiration to get started again.

I made a lovely Grainline Archer in a foiled crinkle cotton – and haven’t managed to photograph it. I’ve worried about how it will photograph as the foil makes any creases quite savage although I’m pleased with the shirt itself. That aside, I found it really relaxing to indulge in the process of shirt making, I love all the details and steps. Perhaps I need to go back to sewing things I simply love. Dresses, shirts, jackets… I think I might attempt a dress to wear in Brisbane in April.

Grainline Archer - the ruffle back!

Grainline Archer – the ruffle back!

We have had an appallingly hot summer with record-breaking temperatures. I think we have survived three heatwaves this year, with temperatures rocketing to over 40 degrees Celsius. A couple of weekends ago it was 46.5 degrees(!) so the thought of sewing has been rather unbearable so far this year. Fortunately the temperature has dropped to a balmy 28 degrees most days – which is our usual summer temperature and it’s utterly delightful by comparison.

Confidence…

Self confidence. I feel like anything I might sew is going to end up a disaster. I feel like that about most things at the moment! I think most of us hit that hurdle at some point, for whatever reason.

Sewing doesn’t solve life’s problems but it certainly helps me relax. On the days when I’ve had time to sew and not known what to do or where to start, I’ve simply laid on the floor of my (tidy!) sewing room and quietly daydreamed/worried/thought/planned. There are worse things to do. It’s nice to have a ‘space’ for me, as Virginia Woolf once wrote ‘A Room Of One’s Own’.

Blogging…

I can’t quite figure how or when to take blog photos. This has been a big issue in the last year and it’s even harder now… maybe I need a tripod and a remote. That’s another project to find time to research/purchase.

I always found the process of writing a blog post the best way to move onto the next project. There is something about the consideration, the writing and assessment in a blog post that helps me mentally sign off on a project. I miss that.

The question is… 

Where to from here… well at least in this blog space?

hmmmmm, good question. I have considered not blogging. However I love the connection blogging provides and the way it makes me reflect on my projects. I also love having a record of my sewing. And that’s all I really started blogging for. Simply to communicate and record my makes. That’s really all there is to my blog. So that’s what I’ll continue to do.

So once I figure out how to get the blogging back on track, I’ll be back.

I know. What a waste of a blog post. If you haven’t fallen into a coma by now, thanks for hanging around.

See you sooner rather than later hopefully. Maybe with a Shining Archer!

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49 thoughts on “Musings: where to from here…

  1. I feel like I HAVE to make everything I wear now especially if its an occasion. The only person putting pressure on me to do that is ME! I must try and let go a little and maybe buy a dress once in a while. Thank you for your open and honest post.Always enjoy reading your blog, no matter what the subject.

    • Yes! I’ve been caught in that trap where I feel like I need to make ‘all the significant things’ but really we don’t. In this case it was just adding to an incredibly stressful time and when I finally gave up and bought a dress a huge weight got lifted off my chest! I confessed I do have a dress cut out… it may never get made as it was chosen to match the stage set!

    • That’s so lovely to hear. I do love to write and for some reason it seems to move me onto the next project. I really miss sewing/blogging and all it entails and look forward to renegotiating some space in my life to enjoy it again,

  2. I hope you find your balance Liz and still find time to do the things that give you joy. I for one look forward to reading your blog! I hope this doesn’t sound trite, and I know I’m hardly qualified to comment on the matters of work/life/family balance, but one thing I’ve learnt is that these horrible, stressful things that seem so important right now will fade into insignificance with the benefit of hindsight, and only the “big things” that really matter to you will stand out. ♥

    • That’s excellent advice and I agree, in the heat of the moment the things that most destroy you with stress ultimately don’t matter so much in the long run. Awful people and awful situations can be temporary… if you let them be. I’ve spent far too much time worried about people who didn’t deserve it and doing things for people that don’t appreciate it… and those people have never given anything back in return – and as hard as it is, I’ve come to except I’m clearly not ‘of value’ to them and I just need to let go and appreciate people who do value me.
      I often get annoyed with my working mother friends who say ‘oh noone knows what it’s like to be busy until they have kids’. I actually don’t think that’s true at all. I was just as busy before kids, it was just different busy and some of it was more negotiable than my life right now. Some things/people you can’t change so I find ways to work around or with them.
      I love to write. I wish I could write more. I write an enormous amount at work but it’s a bit joyless compared to just writing about sewing and creative things. I need some more joy back in my life and less chores & commitments. So watch this space…

  3. I love your honesty and down-to-earthiness about it all! What’s the point of ruining something you love by getting stressed about it?! The best time to sew is when you have time 😉 May I ask what work you do? I am intrigued by the pic of you on the stage. 🙂

    • Thanks Catherine… and I look forward to yours! It’s just trying to find the balance between family, work and the sewing that I love. I’m not sure we ever ‘balance’ everything but it’s important to find time for things without letting the other things slide.

  4. I’ve said before that I admire your honesty in a forum like this which is rather public! It makes me realize that I am not alone and although my stress levels from 10 to 20 years ago have tapered down significantly, I for nothing in the world want those post divorce years back. My stress levels with a job from hell itself and raising two children on my own were almost to much to bear. And to add insult to injury, I completely lost my sewing mojo which had been my world of escape after my mother died of pancreatic cancer 22 years ago.Suffice it to say, I merely existed! My only advise to you is to be kind to yourself and sew for the “comfort” that it brings. And sometimes just the mere fact of sewing the most basic of garments is the answer, otherwise it becomes another stress factor if it is complicated.

    Sending love from South Africa.

    • That would have been an incredibly tough time and losing the things you love to do is very hard as it leaves such a big aching gap.
      I’m fairly consciously to not let ‘everything out’ here. I often edit my posts and take any anything too bleeding heart or personal. BUt I think it’s important to acknowledge being human and working through tough times. That’s what we all face at various times and sometimes hearing it from others is quite a healing process. We aren’t alone 🙂
      xoxo

  5. I can completely sympathise and was nodding along to everything you wrote – it’s very difficult to keep all the plates spinning sometimes! Be kind to yourself lovely xxx

  6. I love your blog! I really hope you find the balance you are looking for very soon – you sound crazily busy and I have no idea how you do that! Xxx

  7. In response to feeling like everything you touch or attempt is a disaster waiting to happen, I think we’ve all been there, or will be one day. I used to feel like I was juggling lots of balls and I was afraid that I wouldn’t just drop one and keep juggling the others, but they would all come crashing down at once. It never happened but I did manage to gradually and carefully set one ball aside at a time until I was only juggling what I thought I could handle easily. (Not saying that’s what you need to do, only that you’re not alone.)
    I too enjoy reading your posts and look forward to the next one, whenever it feels right for you to type it. With or without photos. 🙂 And remember, photos don’t have to be perfect! In most situations, near enough really is good enough.

    • All true! Fortunately as the kids get older some of the ‘necessary’ things have dropped off, like school fete and running Ironman aid stations. However with a fulltime job and kids there’s not much left I can cut. So I’m not letting the little things bother me and when I can say ‘no’ I do without hesitation!

  8. I too, love reading your blog and always look forward to the next one. Just sew and blog what you feel you can cope with and we will all enjoy following you. Wishing you well.

    • Thank you, I love to write it. I’ve been very aware of the time between blog posts seems to stretch out longer and longer each time. Which is unavoidable at the moment but personally frustrating for me. I’m hoping to have some time off sooner rather than later and that might help me get ‘life’ more organised.

  9. Lizzie, you are being much too hard on yourself! You’re tired. What would you tell your girls to do when they are tired? You will sort all this out when you have had some rest. Like many others, I love your blog, but you have to do what is best for you. And that’s what you need to concentrate on these days! What’s best for you and yours. It was lovely to see a post.

    • I am super tough on myself. Always have been 🙂 my life frustration is that even when I’ve cut back and not doing ‘major’ things my life becomes filled with all the mundane chores of all the little things that are always waiting for attention. I do love to retreat to my sewing room as there is no TV or radio and I love the peace and quiet. That’s why sewing is relaxing for me. Despite being a noisy outgoing person socially, I love curling up in a quiet corner and focusing on a seam.

  10. Oh no. How brutal it is to grind through these overwhelming episodes in life. So sorry to hear it; glad that you feel able to speak honestly. Sooner or later life beats each of us up, and being gentle to ourselves and each other matters more than ever.

    You’ve done everything humanly possible to make it manageable. You sound well organized, able to say no, able to reconsider what’s required vs. optional. Congratulations. The rest is about taking one step at a time until the marathon is over. It will be over, some day. Cliche, but true.

    Selfishly, as reader, I hope you keep blogging. I hope you keep sewing. But please do not feel the need to make dramatic decisions about either. No pressure. Whenever blogging depletes you more than it fills your tanks, other things including brain drift are more important.

    BTW, you look sensational in that strapless little dress. Buying it was clever. Take good care.

    • Thanks – I loved that dress. It was beautifully made with a separate internal lined boned bodice and the fabric has a little bit of stretch so it was surprisingly comfortable!
      And I agree sometimes there is no way through the mess other than to take it one day at a time. Sooner or later things subside and I’m remembering not to panic in the meantime 🙂

  11. I hope you keep blogging. I find it is a contemplative time and with your busy life you certainly could use contemplative time although I know you get that when you lie down on your sewing room floor!

    • Yes, my sewing room is devoid of TV, radio and even ipads. I love the silence and the trees swaying outside my window. I wish I could use it more at night. As it’s located between my girls bedrooms I don’t sew at night but that would be nice.

  12. Why don’t you get some of your bigger fabric left-overs and a simple kids shorts pattern and make something for the domestic violence shelters or the homeless. That way, you’re still sewing, not worrying about fit or whether you like the finished product and you have the satisfaction that comes with sharing your expertise.

    • That is a nice idea… I did get rid of all my scraps and smaller pieces in a massive clean out over Christmas. However as you know, there are always more scraps on the way as I start sewing again.

  13. It’s so lovely to hear from you again and I’m so glad you are continuing. I love your blog: your style , your clothes and the photos. ( I hope that doesn’t sound creepy!) But ultimately it has to work for you and be a pleasure for you. It is in your own time and your hobby after all. It’s sounds like you’re doing the right thing, taking control and not letting it control you.
    Roll on the good times! X

    • Not creepy at all 🙂 it’s nice that people are interested and maybe find some inspiration to sew.
      I’ve just hit some hurdles… my greatest enemy being time. So I’m not putting pressure on myself – except with my running, I’m trying to get faster every week. It would probably help if I ran more than once a week though lol

  14. I feel your pain! i too have a backlog of things that need writing about and photographing but time is always the enemy of that even in the weekends. I really should just put one foot in front of the other and aim to upload one a week.

    I usually sew in the evenings but lately I find myself too tired to be bothered. This actually bothered me for a while and I felt like I hadn’t achieved anything or wasted my evening but really relaxing can take many forms and doesn’t have to always involve sewing. Watching a documentary or catching up on blog reading is also a very good way to relax.

    So for 2017, there will be more sewing and although I don’t need new clothes I will aim to sew for my family but I will also not feel guilty for retail therapy when I feel the urge. Life is all about balance and that goes for sewing as well.

    • It’s tough to find time & motivation after a long day at work isn’t it. But then I reason with myself the only way to get past exhaustion is to relax, slow down & be kind to myself.
      So yes, more balance!

  15. I really do feel for you. You sound exhausted and yes, sometimes in life you have to step back and say that is enough for now. I do love your blog though and seeing the photos of your sewing projects. You certainly have given me inspiration to sew again and I thank you for that. Take a breath and hopefully we will hear from you again when the time is right for you.

    • I am exhausted and being exhausted certainly makes life harder to deal with. And some are very unforgiving of that!
      I managed to photograph my Archer shirt today – the forecast of impeding rain forced me to take action.
      I’m so glad you are sewing again, that makes me smile. xo

  16. It’s weird to say, but one day you might miss all this activity and angst! As the household calms down and your daughters become more independent you will find that you have more and more free time, and it’s wonderful, but also a bit sad. As to your work life, well, careers are hard, and they need effort, but the satisfaction is its own reward sometimes (eventually!). Keep going is all I can add to the other good advice, and yes, maintain the sewing, because we all love to see what you make!

    • That’s true. One day they won’t ‘need’ me & I’ll miss that. Although I think as a university has just build a huge campus in Port Macquarie, they may stay years longer than I thought lol
      My youngest cut off all her hair yesterday, and donated it to make a wig for kids with cancer. It’s those humbling moments when your child does something so unexpectedly generous & selfless that you think ‘I’m so glad I have you in my life’.

  17. Lizzy be kinder to yourself. You accomplish amazing things, and if you blog about them great. If not we aren’t going to know and won’t punish you (wouldn’t anyway!). As has already been said you would advise your girls to rest and come back when they were refreshed – do as you would tell them.
    I love reading your posts, and seeing what you have made (and bought – foxy dress!), and seeing the beautiful area you live in (particularly if the view includes your dog! ) but never feel your blog to be an obligation. Do what makes you happy 😃

  18. Selling our house has been all-consuming over the last few months. Hoping to start March with more space to catch my breath (can’t believe we are half way through term 1 at school already though!)

  19. “My Year of No” I absolutely subscribe to this. I’m not at all sure why this year is so crazy but it seems to be more so than usual. How can it be March already. The main thing is that you’re taking care of yourself and your family. The rest will come!

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