Balance



on quiet

The house was quiet this morning. So quiet, in fact, that the only sound I could hear was the humming of my sewing machine, and the soft brush of my fingers against the fabric as I finger pressed. Every now and then the dogs would sigh or snore, and after a while I turned on Pandora. Quietly.

I love quiet. Something about it makes me infinitely more able to concentrate, more creative, more grounded, and settled in my thoughts and dreams. Over the years, I’ve been in many places and situations where I was allowed the privilege of quiet–school, workplaces, and even my home before kids came. Now, quiet ebbs and flows. Sometimes I get more of it, and sometimes less–and it’s always obvious to me when I’ve had “less”–because that’s when I start feeling a little crazed, a little burned out, and a lot overwhelmed.

On the other hand, just a few hours can make a HUGE difference. For example, last week I was in that burned out place. You know the place I’m talking about, where everything is just a few degrees h  arder than you want it to be, where things that aren’t usually a big deal suddenly are, and in a big way. When you can’t muster up the energy to do anything but get by. Then, Monday morning happened. I had nearly 3 hours to myself, and a better breakfast in my system than I’m used to.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you know what happened: 11 pieced quilt backs, several works-in-progress finished, a quilt put on my longarm, and several other projects started. And not only did they get done, but I was happy and running to do it. The house got cleaned more thoroughly than usual, and menu for the week was made. I’d love to say that everything on my to do list and everything in my world just magically fixed, happened, was effortless–and though that’s not the case–things just felt lighter, easier. More surmountable.

I’m starting to realize the importance of realizing how I recharge, and harnessing my world to take advantage of those times. For Pete’s sake, I know how I get burned out–it makes sense to know how I regroup, too. I have a hunch that this same thing applies to most people, especially most young moms, who find themselves in the midst of a life that is all about extending yourself to accommodate, nurture and enrich everyone around you. It’s not even that I feel like I’ve forgotten to take care of myself as much as it is that by the time I remember, I have nothing left to give to the effort. It’s easy to imagine that I’m the only one who drops into bed at the end of the day and thinks “Maybe I’ll get a few minutes tomorrow to sew/eat/shower/dream/think/plan/organize/be happy tomorrow. I’m done today.” But I know I’m not the only one, and that’s why I’m writing this–as a gentle reminder.

Take a few minutes. Center yourself. Figure out when you can have a few hours to rejuvenate–whatever that means to you. Consider it a little spring cleaning for your soul.

xoxo

April

PS Hugs and kisses to Miss Lily, who let me photograph her “clean pretty bedroom!” for my post. There’s just something calming about lamplight, don’t you think? I happen to believe I can’t feel “quiet” inside without some major cleanliness outside. But that’s a post for another day. Mwa!

 



Elizabeth Hartman’s Perfect Zip Bags (or What I Made the Craft Night Girls for Christmas)

Sometimes I get a little carried away.

Or a lot carried away.

Sometimes, I start a project thinking it will be no big deal. That it will only take an hour to make 14 million zip pouches.

In the middle of this project, I asked the Mister why it was that I start huge projects and don’t realize how huge they are until I am in the middle of them. He just smiled, because I always do this, and he always warns me.

The conversation went something (exactly) like this:

Me: “Am I just really dense or something? Do I just live in a complete fantasy land? Am I just really full of myself and think I can do super human things? What is my problem??”

Him: “No, not any of those things. Really, I just think you have no concept of space and time.”

I couldn’t stop laughing.

And now (much to his dismay) I can’t stop quoting him. Not because his assessment is particularly flattering to me. But because it is so, SO true.

When I get a creative idea, it is so large and full of newness and excitement for me that I tend to overlook critical factors.

Like, hypothetically, if the longarm machine will actually fit in our house.

Or like if there are actually enough hours between now and the craft night before Christmas to make fourteen zip pouches and still have time to sleep and eat. (Let alone enjoy the holiday with my kids.)

Turns out, the answer was Yes, just barely to the longarm question, and yes, just barely to the pouch question too.

Someday I would like to say that I have a better concept of space and time. But until then, I’ll be very, very grateful for patterns like this one, that go together in a snap and have perfect instructions for the novice and expert alike.

And believe me, if there had a been a problem, I would know. I made fourteen in the space of about 36 hours.

Thanks for the great pattern, Elizabeth. You saved my tail feathers.

If you’d like to make a pouch or two (or fourteen), you can find Elizabeth Hartman’s Perfect Zip Bags pattern here or here.

PS: I made these pouches exclusively from scraps I had sitting around. The only thing I bought new were the zippers. The twill and denim came from pairs of my husbands old pants that I couldn’t figure out what to do with but felt bad throwing away. The back of each pouch is made from a piece of solid twill or denim to match the solid strip at the bottom on the front.

Did you handmake any gifts this Christmas?   How good are you at figuring out how long something will take? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

xoxo

April

 



my future home

Okay, not really. But don’t I wish. Yesterday I helped out with the preschool field trip to a local apple orchard. And seriously? I just wanted to pick up my stuff and move on in. Not only was it beautiful, but there was open air, space to breathe, and of course trees and apples as far as the eye could see. Beyond that? Mountains. I always tell Jacob that I just want to plop down a house in the middle of nowhere, but close enough to civilization to not run out of gas before I get there. Somehow I think creativity must be incredible in a place like that. I feel so inspired when I’m there for 5 minutes, I can only imagine living there. Plus, that porch? Those rocking chairs? Perfect for some hot cocoa and a nap quilt. Sigh. Anyone want to visit when I move in? ;)

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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway by reading the post and commenting here.

Also, today is day 6 of the Quilt Uber-fest! Go check out Ryan Walsh’s blog here. (Doesn’t look like his block is up yet, but hopefully today sometime…)



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