Reflection · Sewing

Balance

Awhile ago, back when I was living in California and sewing and blogging regularly, I took a trip to New Hampshire for the wedding of one of my good friends from college. A few friends from my college days had recently found this sewing blog of mine, and I remember sitting down with them at an outdoor cafe soon after arriving and getting a barrage of questions about both sewing and blogging. I don’t remember most of what they asked, but I do specifically remember one friend asking how much time it took to sew my own clothes and then blog about its often as I was. By the way he asked, it was clear that he thought it must take an incredible amount of time. I had to pause and think since I didn’t actually know how much time I spent sewing and blogging. I found it fun and enjoyable, so I never kept track of my hours. But, I knew I was working long hours in the lab for my day job; maintaining good relationships with my husband, friends, and neighbors; and running and racing a decent amount; so I figured it couldn’t actually be all that much time. It just seemed like what I chose to do more often than not in my free time.

Fast forward five years, and a lot has changed. We moved to Seattle, had two kids, bought a house, and started a huge do-it-ourselves renovation project. I now better appreciate my friend’s perspective. It actually does take a considerable amount of time to maintain a blog about sewing. I might have been sewing and blogging in my free time, but I was choosing to carve out a good amount of free time in my week. I was running a decent amount, but I wasn’t running as much as I did in college or graduate school. I was working long hours, but I wasn’t taking as much work home as I could have. Looking back, I’m thankful I carved out that time to sew and blog. I was having a lot of fun, learning new skills, and stretching my creativity during a time when I was relatively free of big responsibilities outside of work. My life felt like it had a lot of balance to it.

I feel like I was able to maintain a little of that balance the first few years we lived here, even with the growing responsibilities of a child, a house, and a big home renovation project. But, the addition of a second baby just tipped the scale too far this past year. Sewing and blogging (and running and house projects and staying in contact with my long distance friends and, well, just about everything but the essentials) fell right off. It’s been a wonderful year, but the most I’ve been able to do with any consistency that was related to this space was share glimpses of my everyday life on Instagram.

Over the last several months I’ve been feeling the tiniest bit of space open back up. When I first started to notice it, I moved my sewing machine from the basement into a nook off my bedroom, hoping that having it near would inspire me to do something creative when I found myself with free moments here or there.

However, I found that my first inclination was to fill my free time with running since I’m a better version of myself when I get in some sort of exercise every day. Then, when I was able to carve out a little bit more free time beyond my daily run, I found myself filling it with house projects since we really (really) need to finish our kitchen renovation. While we have benefited from being a #slowrenovation and doing most of the work ourselves, it’s still hard to justify it taking this long.

This week I had an epiphany. There are nearly endless house projects to do. If the only thing I prioritize over house projects is my daily run, then I am never going to have time for anything else. And, since I don’t want to abandon my sewing machine forever, I am just going to have to bump sewing up my priority list. To start, I decided I’d try to make time for 15 minutes of sewing a day.

Not too much, but better than nothing. Just the right amount for a bit of balance in my life right now.

My first #15minutesofsewing was spent on a task I should have done months ago: making a muslin of a friend’s baby hat idea. I think I agreed to do this back in late July! My friend has a creative idea that I’m excited to try out, and I think out-of-print McCall’s 2213 will be a good start.

Sew Well - New Sewing Space

Now, as I mentioned above, I’ve already admitted to myself just how much time sewing and blogging truly take. But, right now I’m not striving to post as often as I did then. Right now I just want to make sure I’m posting more than once a year! And, hopefully now that I’ve broken the silence, I’ll find it easier to carve out a little more time to continue writing, especially since I already have a few things to write about. Over the past year I finished the camisole I was working on back when my daughter was born, knit a hat for my eldest daughter, appliquéd a quilt square for a group quilt being made for my future nephew, and made little knit hat Christmas tree ornaments. Nothing earth shattering, but things I’d like to share here all the same.

But, before I write too much about those projects, I should really get back to my house projects… Gotta keep that balance!

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9 thoughts on “Balance

  1. Balance changes for wherever you are in your life at that moment. A friend just recently told me that when her 3 boys were toddlers, she had so much more time. Now that they are teenagers, she’s constantly running from one thing to the next. But it’s a phase of life, and one that passes all too quickly. She commented that one of the blessings of this period of time was watching her boys navigate their journey of becoming adults. Enjoy your journey, enjoy where you are as it will change and new, exciting things will come into your life. Seeing is a piece, just a piece of the pie of your life 😊

  2. I love sewing I’m not really worried about time .My life will be nothing without sewing . Creating is my best friend. I can’t wait to have my own website. Anything I make at the end it’s polishes my mind and gives peace. So many thing I can’t afford at moment I’m using domestic machine equipment still my problem but surely one day my dreams will come true😍😍

  3. For me, what defines Balance is such a transient thing. One day balance feels like it’s all about seeing friends, and exercising…the next day it feels like it has to be more about staying in and creating. I just try to make time for whatever makes me feel energized and pleased with my day. It sounds like you’re making the right choices for you too, with what’s going on in your life….sewing will always be there, right?

  4. So nice to hear from you again! I wholeheartedly agree with carving out even 15 minutes for sewing. Wish I had started that years and years ago when my kiddos were young (they are 18 and 20 now). While it is true that my children have had significant medical issues that consumed vast quantities of time and energy over the years … the fact is that by not carving out even small amounts of time for running/exercise/sewing I was hurting myself in the long run. I’m finally getting back to taking out some time for myself every day to regain some mental and physical health. Keeping it up over the years would have been so much easier!

  5. I have enjoyed your past blogging posts. I have also wondered about the time it takes to blog about our sewing projects. I would rather sew then write but just as you found there are ways to include sewing in our busy life. I have a sewing area close and always ready to sew. Even if there is only 15-20 minutes a day to sew, a week will finish a project. Another thing I do so that I’m ready to start a project is to keep a shopping list of the things I will need for the up-coming projects, then when I’m out shopping I can purchase what I will need without making a separate trip, Enjoy your children, husband and all, there will come a time when you will have left-over time.

  6. It seems to be a common theme these days, wanting to use the extra minutes to sew instead of write! I’m hoping to get to the 15 minutes of sewing most days goal, too. It’s been a challenge with the ages and sleep difficulties that my kids have, but I’ll get there. I hope.

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