Monthly Archives: January 2015

Is all the swapping on IG getting a little crazy? How about a little Happiness Sewing?

I admit it. I am so excited about all the cool swaps happening on IG (Instagram) right now. I want to join Every. Single. One. 

My friend Emily at Mommysnaptime.blogspot.com has even made a hash tag to keep you posted about all the cool swaps happening on IG #sewingandswapping. I check it all the time.

sewingandswapping

Seriously! I want in on the Harry Potter Swap, Downton Abbey Swap, Nerds Craft it Better (perfect for me), Valentine’s Day Pincushion Swap…oh why list them. I want to be in all of them. I want to have a stitched image of Nathan Fillion on a pillowcase so I can lay my head on top of him every night.  I want any and everything Downton Abbey.

There are people like Kari from  http://www.karriofberries.com/ who have written entire series on how to have a successful swap and even how not to be black listed from swaps.

SWAP, swap, SWAP!

flickr inspiration board

I love watching what everyone is making for their swaps. I love their inspiration boards and often hunt down the original source to check out what other things the people make. I get great new ideas for things I want to make in the future with all the eye candy involved. I get excited to see who is making what and wondering if it is for me.

I instantly start singing the song from Echosmith “Cool Kids”. I want to be a cool kid! I want people to think I am awesome and want to be partnered with me. I want people to be excited with something I’ve made and hope it is being made for them. I want to meet new people in the process.

I’m the happiest when my swap partner spells out exactly what they want. When they are so detailed, I know what color underwear they wear. Ok, maybe that is a little much. The more detailed they are, the happier I am.

It is just so exciting!

The reality for me is I become a little obsessed. I worry that what I’m making isn’t the perfect thing. I put it aside for a little while while I stew over it not being perfect or a perfect fit. In the end I fall in love with the item and even hate to give it away. Then when I receive my swap, I feel bad when they send too many awesome things. I feel like I’ve ripped off the partner I swapped to. I wonder if I’ve thanked my partner appropriately. Did you see how awesome my last received swap was? It is gorgeous! And yet, somehow I feel guilty about something, or I’m sad it is over, or something.

Oh, the rollercoaster! For me it is a rollercoaster. And at the end, it is like a drug and the drug has worn off. I have my gorgeous item. It is time to sign up for another round of swaps to keep that excitement going. Hoping along the way that other people will be excited about what I’m making. Worrying about whether or not my partner is going to love what I’ve made for them based on a usually vague “Oh make anything, I’ll love it no matter what.”

Wow! Apparently I have a lot of opinions about swaps. Maybe I’m just trying to convince myself that it is ok not to join every single swap. Don’t get me wrong. Swaps are fun. They are a great way to get to know people. I still follow the first person I swapped with on IG. I’m glad we are friends now. I’m not saying swaps are a bad thing.

I love that swaps take me out of my comfort zone. I play with colors I wouldn’t have before. I play with designs I’ve not been drawn to. I push myself to make something as awesome as I can make it. That is exciting.

I wonder if I should be really thinking about exactly what I want, and making it for myself. Maybe that sounds selfish. Sometimes at the end of a swap, I’m left with another thing, lovely though it may be. I have lots of stuff. I wonder if I should make specific things for me that I need. I need some sort of organizer at my sewing table. I need more organization at my cutting board/pressing station. I really need better totes for going to sewing days with my quilt guild. I need a new purse of some sort. I need more organization for my hand sewing. There are things I need that I could easily make myself. I NEED some clothes. I have a few patterns from Kitschycoo that I’ve never taken the time to make.  And then there are things that I want that I know I could make. I could make my own Nathan Fillion pillow. I could make it exactly the way I want it, with the softest fabric so I could rub my face on his face every night. I’m talking specifically about Nathan Fillion from Firefly. I gotta get some of that. 

Why are my wants and needs put at the bottom of the pile? I don’t have an infinite amount of time where I can just sew for other people all day long.  How do my wants and needs get pushed aside for wanting to impress someone else?

When I make something for a swap, I often spend more money on the supplies than I do when I make something for myself. Why not make something for myself with the most beautiful fabric ever?

Maybe I should make up my own widget for an anti swap? I should come up with a cute and catchy name for no swapping. Let’s call it the Happiness Swap. Or how about The reason I sew in the First Place Swap? Sew for Yourself Because you are Awesome! Sew for yourself because you have needs. Sew for yourself because you know exactly what it is that makes your heart pit a pat. I challenge you all to a self swap. Dig down into your own Pinterest boards and find something that makes your heart pit a pat. Find the most beautiful fabric ever, no matter the price. Source the best supplies, even if it is a $20 polka dot zipper from Japan. If it is what is going to elevate your piece to the highest level, why are you not worthy of it? Push yourself to make something out of your norm, that you’ve always wanted to try, but never took the time? Make something purely for your own pleasure, for your needs and even wants. Why is this considered selfish sewing? Why are we not good enough reasons to make something? I think it should be called “Happiness Sewing”. There is nothing selfish about taking care of yourself. It isn’t a luxury to take care of your self.   Don’t we all sew because to at least some degree, we enjoy it? Why can’t we mix in sewing for ourselves with all the swaps for other people?

So there is my opinion. There is my challenge. Anti swap with yourself. Make sure you take time for Happiness Sewing or Self Care Sewing too.

Sew what you love

I saw a saying on Pinterest that said “Do what you love.” I decided to make up my own that said “Sew what you love.”

I think this is still exciting! And no roller coaster! The process is still the same. Create an inspiration board. Share fabric pulls if you are not exactly sure of the pull completely, or just to share what you will be working with. Share the process of your make, from initial design to completion. In the end, you won’t have to be sad when you send something lovely away. YOU GET TO KEEP IT! In the end, you remember what it is it that you love about sewing. In the end you have still challenged yourself. In the end you have maybe still shared inspiration or eye candy with your friends. In the end, you are important too!

Anjeanette

The 6 month quilts and why it took 6 months to make them.

Wow! 2015. You are looking good.

6 month quilts

I need to fill you in on the last little bit of 2014. First we have to go back in time about 12 years. I’m going to tell you a little bit about myself in the process.

When my oldest son was born, I was unable to get him to nurse. It happened to be right at the time of my 10 year high school reunion. I visited with a friend and mentioned I was having a very stressful and difficult time getting him to nurse. I was frustrated and about to throw in the towel in utter defeat. My friend mentioned an online group of women that pumped their milk. She suggested I check that out and see if they could help me. So I did. And I pumped exclusively for 8 1/2 months for him. It turns out, it wasn’t his fault. It was mine. My body just wasn’t a good fit for nursing. It was a good fit for pumping. Although, I hated pumping.

Ok, so imagine you are a new mom struggling. You find an online group that offers hope and help. And you stay connected to these women over the next 12 years. That is what I’m talking about. At one point, most of us moms were no longer pumping and our kids were getting older. We formed an offshoot group and continued to share our lives and what we were going through at that point in our lives. We mostly knew each other just online since we were all over the US and even in some other countries. There have been several meet ups with people in similar areas. These women are my go-tos for everything motherhood. Something about an old online group that can connect you in a way that an in real life group cannot. It is easier to talk about everything real online, for some reason.

from afar

As a group we have had parents pass away. We have had divorces and we have had lots and lots of babies born over the span of 12 years. What we had not experienced yet, was one of us dying. Ugh! That is until this summer.

Our friend had a quick and fatal cancer take over. In what seemed like a month’s time, she was gone.  Thinking back, it may have been two months from diagnosis to passing away. Whatever the exact timeline, it was fast.

Of course, when I first found out about her having cancer and being sick, I thought how crappy that was. I figured I could make a lap quilt to help her through her treatments, and it would be something she could keep for, you know, ever. But I had no idea that it would be so quick and she would be gone. And I kind of didn’t know how to deal with the sadness I was feeling. There was a week that I realized it was going to be it soon. The end. One of our mutual friends had actually been best friends with this lady since they were 13. And their daughters were now 13 and close friends too. So our mutual friend had posted about holding our friend’s hand for possibly the last time. Ugh. I still can’t think clearly about it now.

What does a quilter think of at any time? Making something. I’ll make something and everything will be better. I can’t make her coming back to us. I can, however, make something for her two girls as a reminder of her mom and how this group of ladies loved her. So I rallied the troops and together we had a plan. The mama’s that could, would send me some fabric that somehow represented something about them or their relationship with our friend. I would put all these fabrics together for the girls.

Vee

I got all kinds of patterned fabric for this. Which is great. But sort of not. As I am understanding my style, I struggle with scrappy. It is growing on me. But I have something in me that wants quilts to match and have a nice symmetric flow. All these fabrics together do not go and do not have any kind of flow. I figured I would make them into a neighborhood of houses. As a group, we are a community. And I wanted the girls to know they are also part of our neighborhood or community.

Each time I would get the fabric out to sew, I would get sad and had to put it away. It took me almost 6 months to finish these two quilts. With Christmas fast approaching, I was determined to finish them up and send them off in time for Christmas. It was silly that it took me so long. Coupled with the extreme sadness, I felt self imposed pressure to make them perfect. But this was colliding with my idea of what makes an aesthetically pleasing quilt. I didn’t want to let down the ladies in my group with a set of boring quilts. It is also strange because I never met our friend in real life. I didn’t want to seem like I thought we were best friends in the whole world, when in reality we were just online friends. And that just made me feel weird. In the end, I just pressed forward. It wasn’t about making the most beautiful quilts. It was about making as a way to heal my pain of loss. It was about honoring the girls’ mother, and our friendship with her.

Juliet

I don’t know if it is still a thing or not, but in our online group, when you wanted to express a hug, you would put the person’s name in parenthesis. So I put the names of the girls in parenthesis to show that they were getting a big hug from our group. I self drafted the letters and pieced them as opposed to applique. I’m pleased with how they came out. (And it also made me respect paper piecing designers even more. That is a lotta quilt maths/figuring out.)

Anyway, that is the story about these quilts. They were the quilts that took me the longest to make. There were more tears involved in this than anything I’ve ever done before. And there was more trepidation in making them than anything I’ve probably made before.

 

Made with love by…Anjeanettemade with love by