There is so much in my life that makes me happy aside from my family and friends. Even when things just seem stacked against me, as they are feeling now, there are things in my day to day life that keep me smiling. So I thought it was timely to focus on this prompt and as I did, a thought came to my mind.
I have written about being creative in previous posts. As a creative person I must have an outlet of some sort. Having small children means you sometimes have to get creative to be creative. Aside from baking, cooking and doing crafty stuff with the children, I have something I love, something that makes me happy that I do for me. I sew.
Where it started – Weighted Blanket
I took up sewing a few years ago now, after a twenty year break. I had my mother’s old Elna sewing machine in my cupboard for years as I always thought that one day I would love to get back into it. What was the motivation to finally do it, to dust off the machine and give it a crack? It was when our boy developed anxiety. I was putting together a toolbox of strategies for BB and us to use and one of them was a Weighted Blanket. I decided I would make one as they cost a fortune to buy!
From that little blanket a new understanding grew within me. I felt ‘home’ and I realised that this was not just about having a creative outlet for me. This was my own strategy to help me combat my own anxiety. So I started to sew and I started to quilt.
As a results focused person there is nothing I love more than seeing a tangible outcome. The thrill when I complete a project gives me such a high. When I see how much the intended loves what I have made for them I feel so happy. It is more than that though. When you sew, in particular when you quilt, you must quiet your mind. Well, it kind of forces you to. Each and every stitch you make is a considered thing. You must pace yourself, you must plan, take your time to ensure your pieces are cut in a precise way. You cannot think about anything else in that moment. You become still.
After reintroducing myself to my mum’s old machine I lovingly named Ellie Elna, and after gaining some confidence, I started to sew other things. Clothes for the children and bags. I came to understand Ellie and respect her age and her grumpy disposition. I learned that after a long session all she really wanted was a ‘thank you’ for her service, a good oil and a good sleep.
Then we made the decision to move to Manila, and here is where my memory belongs. You see we knew immediately that without question I would be bringing my sewing over. That is my outlet. As to when I would get to unpack my sewing, well that was the question. Life has been so busy here I haven’t really noticed myself missing it. In fact with writing and starting to write more creatively, I felt that need was being fulfilled.
Then I landed in hospital. My lesson from that was that I had to slow down, that I had to take time to rest. I needed to find that outlet again that would make me do this, even when I was so highly strung I could not stop moving…I needed to sew again. I needed to access that happy space of mine once more where I could stop my mind for a short time.
As soon as I was strong enough I went out and brought a table. It was only this Friday night past that I have been able to set up my sewing room. It took a few hours and half a bottle of wine, OK a bit more than that. I had to clean up the children’s toys, rearrange the layout of our spare room and then I finally got to open up my shipping box. The box I have left sealed up, until now. I carefully pulled out all of my fabrics, my giant jar of notions, my patterns, my notebook, my latest quilt, still in uncut strips. I felt so emotional. Finally I took Ellie out of her resting place, I set her up on her new table, and I could see she was cranky. I am sure however that after a good oil and some soft words she will forgive me for what I have put her through getting over here.
So what is my first project? I have to make FB some shorts for school. She is in Nursery and so only has the school shirt to wear, she can wear anything on her bottom half. I am a strong believer in school uniforms, BB has one, and so shall my FB so I am making her some little shorts with a navy blue detail to match her top. I am so happy right now and I cannot wait to get back to it.