Do I Choose the Crazy or Does It Choose Me?

It Does Not Do To Dwell On Dreams Dumbledore Quote Harry Potter

So, life went kerfflewwy there for awhile. A few weeks ago I found myself suddenly buried in work deadlines and hardly had time to come up for air. The little time I had away from work was, of course, consumed with family, and the puny leftovers went to other general unavoidable commitments of daily grownup life.  Oh, and did I mention that we’re moving in just a few short weeks? So, there’s that.

At first, I obsessively worried about this little blog, scheming about how I would squeeze in time to write some posts, sort through photos. I scribbled ideas (I have piles of these awesome blog planners filled with ideas for future post. Did I mention I’m a list-maker?), and filed them away, mentally and physically, where they grew tentacles of anxiety that threatened to bring my productivity to a screeching halt if I didn’t get a handle on it. And then I was struck by how quickly, over just a few short months, the blog had morphed being from a creative outlet and source of pleasure and to a pressing obligation, a source of stress and worry, another item on the endless mental to-do list.

Ugh. How on earth did this happen? To some degree, it grew from love. I dipped my toe in the blogorama and wasn’t sure how it would feel. But it was indeed love at first sight, and the blog became important to me. I was so annoyed with myself for feeling pressure about something that had been voluntary, pleasurable, and satisfying. A choice, in other words: the furthest thing from an obligation.

So I made another choice. I chose to stop worrying. I let it go, let it fly right out of my brain. Out of the tensed muscles in my neck and the spinning wheel of stress in my brain. Out the window, gone, gone, gone.

What a relief! I am frequently amazed by how I can transform choice into a requirement. I can sometimes feel locked into “have to’s” that I have entirely created in my mind. It seems to me that a lot of our modern-day obligations are just self-created illusions, and when we step out of the dance and get clarity, it’s shockingly obvious that we’re feeling bound up by our own perceptions. In reality, we don’t “have to” do so many of the things we think we do. We want to. Or maybe we don’t. Either way, we have a say in the matter. Not always, but way more often than it seems. This is not a new revelation for me, but it’s easy to lose sight of when you’re in the day-to-day of it all. I occasionally need to give myself a reminder slap to the forehead.

So I had to let go of the need to keep all those balls in the air, and I prioritized my focus. I had to remind myself that the blog would be here when I returned, and if I let go of the “have to,” it would still be a source of pleasure, as intended, and not the self-imposed cherry on top of my typical modern stressful life.

That’s just a really long-winded way of saying that I will be back with more posts, when I get around to it. Hopefully that will be soon. But if it’s not, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

What about you? Do you have any tricks to keep your eyes on the prize? Or do you get weighed down by the “have to’s” also?

Do Men Have Mental To Do Lists Too?

Or, Things I Ponder As I Vacuum Cat-Hair Tumbleweeds At 3 AM

Because sometimes I wonder how many of my brain cells are used up with remembering how to properly load the dishwasher so it won’t stop halfway through its cycle again, that the field trip permission slip is due tomorrow, that the electric bill should be paid if we don’t want to live in a historically accurate 17th-century theme park, that we need to get a present for that wedding on Saturday… And will I ever get those brain cells back? If my husband carried an equal share of our collective family mental to-do list, would I regain enough brain cells and mental energy to be a rocket scientist, or Beyoncé? Because, as I near as I can tell, I am the sole repository for the shared history, future plans, and current logistical and practical needs of The Family. And pretty much every mom I know is the same. It’s a never-ending ticker tape of strategic planning and mobilization, obligations, worries, speculations, and dreams. There’s a roadmap to crazy in there, and I can’t always turn it off. It just runs in a loop in the background while I go about my life, like Muzak for the (hmm, nearly, almost, can-see-it-from-here) middle-aged mom.

So basically what I’m saying is, my brain looks like this:

Mental To Do List Infographic

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know the guys worry too. They worry A LOT about money and jobs and such. It’s not really the worry I’m talking about. That’s universal, I think. It’s the ongoing playlist of who needs to be where and when and what do they need to bring and what needs to happen first to make that work and DEAR GOD HOW DO I MAKE ALL THE PIECES FIT INTO MY PUZZLE!? That really, as near as I can tell, seems to be a mom thing. Guys I know just seem to assume all those logistical details will fall into place somehow. And I guess they do. Does that make me an enabler? Ah well, I can’t be resentful, since my own dear spouse regularly works 70-hour weeks at his incredibly stressful yet also often mind-numbingly boring job, and never, ever takes a sick day, and still manages to coach basketball and T-ball and go to scout meetings and engage in epic video-game battles and get down on the floor to build Lego masterpieces with his kid.

As for me and my ticker tape of crazy, I make lists. Then more lists, and lists of lists. And because I’m old school like that, I put actual pen to actual paper. I’ve tried lots of online listy things and it just doesn’t quite scratch the itch for me.

If it so happens that you are a crazy list-maker/worrier/planner like me, here’s a free printable (blank!) version of my daily planner sheet to download. Hopefully it will help you stuff all your crazy life pieces into your own too-small puzzle.

Sewthegirl Daily Planner

A House of Thumbprint Balloons, Plus Cake

DIY-Up-Balloon-House-Thumbprint-Guest-Poster

« The Find: A roundup of tasty delights, brought to you by the wonderous makers and dreamers of the interwebs, who always seem to have much better ideas than you me.  Prepare to be dazzled forthwith. Plus, there’s cake. »

Up there at the tippy-top of this post, the cutest, most delightful party idea ever: a thumbprint guest poster featuring a house that looks just like the house from the movie Up, with thumbprints as the balloons, from Bleu de Toi. Seriously, I am swooning from the cuteness of this. I might need to have a party RIGHT NOW just so I can do this. I think it would be perfect for kids’ parties and also for a casual wedding when the bride and groom have a sense of humor and are not taking the whole thing overly seriously (yes, you know who you are). There aren’t too many ideas you can say that about: Works for a 5 year old’s birthday or a wedding spectacular. Sign of genius, if you ask me.

Keep going, there’s even more deliciousness ahead:

The-Find-041612

1. Design Milk has a gallery of super-stylish creative business cards. There’s some stunning graphic design on display here, and your old business cards will curl with shame.

If that’s not enough, try 20 more creative business card designs at Bored Panda.  I’m telling you, these cards will blow you away. If you’re in need of inspiration for your own logo or business card, this will spark you to think so far outside the box, your box is now a hexagon. (p.s. If you are a lawyer, or an accountant, or in some other slightly more buttoned-up dignified career, just save yourself the despair and don’t even look. No need for a soul-crushing career reassessment. What good would that do? And really, even a business card that doubles as a functional drum isn’t worth it. Is it?

Drum Business Card

Um, did I mention it comes with drumstick pencils? No, probably should have kept that to myself.)


2. Fabric lust! Sew Mama Sew is having a sale on preorders of some gorgeous new fabric coming in soon, including Alegria by Geninne D. Zlatkis, Cocoon by Valori Wells, Gypsy Caravan by Amy Butler, and Flea Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt. There are some seriously droolworthy designs here. In fact, some designs are already sold out, and they aren’t even in stock yet! I get it, though. I know I’m ready to refresh my stash for spring and summer. But when you click over there to blow your budget, save some fabric for me, ok?

One-Strap-Kids-Backpack-Tutorial | Sew Mama SewOh, and while you’re there at SMS, check out the new tutorials they’ve posted as part of their Fat Quarter Project. Best of all, these are free, because I know you emptied your bank account on the fabric, right…or is that just me? Anyway, first on my list is this one-strap bag. It’s perfect for The Boy, who, as I’ve mentioned, is always begging me to sew him something.

 

 

paven-patterngreen-dust-scratch-pattern-download

3. Want to freshen up your blog, or redecorate your computer for spring? These delicate, lovely backgrounds from Subtle Patterns are free to download. Click through the extensive gallery to find just the right fit, or, even better, you can download all the available pattern files with just one click. If you decide to make use of this amazing design resource, though, do consider clicking the donation button to throw a few bucks to the generous designers.

Lemon-Raspberry-Coffeecake-BHG.com4. I did promise there’d be cake, and I’d never lie to you. I need to make this raspberry-lemon coffeecake immediately. It is like a billboard for spring, and it sounds heavenly. Oh! Did I mention it has a CHEESECAKE FILLING? Because, it does. It has a cheesecake filling. (Pardon me for getting excited, but, you know, sometimes it cannot be helped, and clearly, what with the raspberries and lemon and cheesecake filling, this is one of those times.)

I tell you, I’m holding on to spring with both hands. It always goes too fast, and I am NOT ready for summer, not one bit. I am going to stay smack-dab in the middle of spring for as long as I possibly can. I find denial helps a lot, and I have no problem with that at all.*

5. In search of thank you cards for The Boy after his recent birthday, I found these charming Modern Angle birthday and thank you cards, generously offered for free by Love vs. Design. I especially love that they are fairly gender-neutral, and so will work equally well for boys or girls. Get yourself some if you are similarly in need. (They have lots of charming not-so-free designs for invitations and such also, so check those out as well.)

Ok, off to make that coffeecake now. Hopefully it’s not one of these days. Fingers crossed!

*Click here to download the coffeecake recipe.

Arrowheart Love Notes Pillow

Arrowheart Hand-Embroidered Love Notes Pillow | Embroidery Download Free

My son always wants me to sew him something. As anyone who sews for kids knows,  just like trying to buy cool boys’ clothes in a store, it is often an exercise in frustration. The selection in stores is usually downright sad compared with the real estate given over to all the delightful styles for girls. When it comes to sewing patterns, the choice isn’t much better, and to top it off, it’s just plain hard to sew the kinds of clothes they want to wear once they’re past the baby/toddler stage. So it’s often a challenge to find projects to make for The Boy (who is very, very big now, he’d be the first to tell you), because I’m sure not sewing him jeans! That is way out of my comfort zone. I fare much better with non-clothing items. In that spirit, I recently made him this Arrowheart hand-embroidered pillow. It has a wee pocket on the back to tuck in sweet little messages and other goodies:

Pocket detail on Embroidered Arrowheart Love Notes Pillow

Because, fortunately, although he is very, very big, The Boy is not too old to still want love notes from his mommy.

(I don’t know how R2D2 got in there. He’s wily, that one.)

The best part about this pillow is that it started life as a very well made linen shirt, which had become a bit stained and just generally wasn’t my style. It sat in my closet for years, until a recent purge unearthed it. It made its way to my to-be-repurposed sewing basket, and with a little creative cutting, it’s got new life. I think it’s more beautiful than ever. DIY Embroidered Arrowheart Love Notes Pillow | Upcyclyed Deconstructed Linen Shirt

If you feel like doing a little upcycling yourself, or you’ve got some other fabric that’s in dire need of decoration, download my free embroidery template and get to it.

I find that I’m ruthless these days about culling my closet. Anything made of quality fabric is in jeopardy of becoming source material. I’d much rather put that stuff to good use in a sewing project than let it languish in “what if” land in my closet. As in, “What if someday I do want to wear it?” Because more often than not, someday never comes.

How about you? Have to take the scissors to your closet yet? Once you start, it’s hard to stop!

Arrowheart Embroidery Design Download