The forgotten WIP war

In July I posted a WIP rally because I was trying to will myself to cross some things off of the list. Good news – it worked and ALL of those things are finished. Along with my first Ogden cami and the Clover Raglan tank hack.

Along the way I also got a little too organized. I made a list of all the WIPs that need to be finished (and other nagging things on my to-do list) and then proclaimed that I could not begin something new without crossing three items from the list. Maybe that sounds overly industrious, but I’m interjecting an untested method of motivation. (Not to forget exercise before coffee and well, I suppose these are the only two.)

I have a list of stalled-out WIPs:

Retro rucksack – awaiting hardware, but expected to be a quick sew once it arrives (today hopefully!)


Tenement socks – I think it will be smooth sailing until I get to the new-to-me afterthought heel 

Footstool covers for my mum – she requested these last summer & I stitched the accompanying pieces in February. Colorblocking canvas with topstitching. Totally easy once I sit still and apply myself.

Christine Haynes Varda- muslin in final fit stages then on to my April Rhodes Heritage Rayon version. (Sqeee!! Plus I received the sweet Paul Green sandals I’ve been admiring for my birthday. Capsule worthy!)

Petal pouches – finishing out one-offs here and there with scraps that I precut last year (I’ve finished three since last week and could probably make three more)


Elizabeth Hartman Pineapple quilt for my daughter’s birthday – thankfully I think I’ve enlisted some help. I’m a ridiculously slow quilter and her teenager debut is only three weeks out.

My self-designed Allison Glass Cherokee sun quilt – still in sleeper mode, but strategically placed on the sewing table.

I think there are a few Lane raglans to add a neckband to, as well but they’re in the closet and aren’t on my list.
I carefully calculated a list of fabrics/pattern plans to fill in the gaps when I complete other projects:


Since I’m waking up before dawn lately, I’ve done some sewing or prep in the morning. It’s been helpful to have a clearly defined jumping-in place at the end of the day when my brain power is faltering. But so far it’s a strategy that has helped me.

What do you think? Is it too extreme or a wise new way to knock some old WIPs off the list? 

Happy stitching!

~ M

A Pattern of Relentless Application

Take three seemingly random things:

  1. A photo of my messy room as a kid, or even a series of them.
  2. Choosing to commit to a six-week life coaching program
  3. Gioia Timpanelli’s two novella book Sometimes the Soul

And I found that what I thought I was working on like: decluttering my house/close/garage and rewiring my habits really equates to intangible reclamation of my mind.  A process further enhanced by my personal archeological excavation and revealing the truth in my spirit through external and emotional metamorphosis.

A little too deep? Well that is how I dive, my friends.

I can wrap it up in a bow and share how it may relate to you as well.

Item A: Photographic evidence of an explosion of things belonging to me in a space I inhabit and create in.

I don’t know why I thought to take photos of my messy room when I was younger, but I’m glad that it’s a reminder of a part of me that has always been, not the mess, but the creative.  I had a circular surveillance mirror for my bedroom mirror! I made collages, constantly rearranged the furniture (which included a steel desk, a tall melamine bookshelf, twin bed, drafting desk, chair, guitars, amp, 70’s stereo cabinet and black & white tv.) I needed the reminders who I was at different times in life, and I needed them to turn up just now at this point.

If you asked my husband, he might say, “Once messy, always messy.” And this could be relatively true.  Its rare for my closet or bathroom counter or bedside table or bookshelf to remain clear of clutter and tidied daily, but in my creative room I maintain better order.  However, when we removed everything from our 8′ x 14′ office to add-on to the house nearly two years ago, much of it never made it back into the new space.  In my summer heat induced cabin fever I’ve set about to go through the plastic bins one at a time and Marie Kondo the contents into organized bliss with a place for every thing and every thing in its place.

The excavation comes in seeing the oddity of my accumulations.  Sure, there are the expected folders of important paperwork, magazine clippings, kids artwork, old cards (why do I keep them?), and electronics that may or may not be out-of date (hail my mini disc player and the music collection from the days of KaZaa) but there are also strange sentimentalities and family history that my mom sent to me when she realized Texas would be my long-term home, (old Crystal soap in the original wrapper, old glass bottles, a doll high chair, Chinese kites from my grandmother’s trip to China in ’85), and things I brought home when we cleaned out my childhood home (a suede jacket from my mom’s youth, lovely artistic menu cards from my grandfather’s voyage by steamship to Sweden, old maps from New York, New Orleans and a few National Parks.)  Then there are small tokens suitable for scrapbooks, love notes from when my husband and I were dating and concerts I’ve been to, or airline ticket stubs.  A photo here and there, or a blurb of creative inspiration – although most of those are few and far between because photos and notebooks are always handled with exceptional care.

As you can imagine, all of these things can’t fit in neatly. Some could easily be stored forever, because what use are they? So the Kondo method certainly helps, but also my project list grows with what to DO? And my heart swells with love of what I’ve accomplished, grown through and where I am now.  At a time when my daughter is about to be a teen, and I need to remember to offer the same compassion and space I was graciously afforded so she too, can learn to be her own unique person.

Item B: Committing to the self-microscope of a Six-Week Life Coaching program.

The busier life became and the more obligations that were added to my list, I grew accustomed to feeling like I didn’t have the grit to push myself. When the year began I had a certain goal, and a timeline to whether or not I would seek the help of a dear friend who started a life-coaching program. When I didn’t hit my target alone, I gave her a call and started the six-week coaching. I knew that she walked her talk as I’d watched her transformation and what she was doing with it.

For me, her weekly insights in the coaching calls, carefully crafted workbook and homework assignments kicked me in the gut and took the wind out of my faulty “not enough” thinking. The program forced me to evaluate how I think about my habits, fears, confidence.  Her coaching guided me though using specific tools to take action.  I have to admit that even during the six-week program, I would often fool myself into believing that these were things I was aware of and that I was already doing, but now that I’m applying them in day-to-day life without her weekly check-in I know where I’ve raised the bar and where I still need to push myself.

Why am I sharing thing? How does it tie back into my strangely curated list from the beginning? Its highly personal to talk about clearing out mental clutter, in how I think, react and interact as a unique human who is a friend, a wife, and mom with a creative soul. Putting myself under the microscope to “be the scientist,” as Coach Kati calls it, is the internal and  emotional side to the personal archaeological dig.  A resolution to look at how the things I can’t see shape the patterns with physical evidence.  Its one of the most profound things I’ve done for myself, and I’m still applying the skills and will continue to refine and evaluate progress with her at three months and six months.

Item C: Sometimes the Soul – Two Novellas of Sicily by Gioia Timpanelli

July temperatures in Texas present me with the summer interpretation of cabin fever, unless there is water nearby to enjoy. I read several books and made many trips to Half Price Books where I scored beautifully, well-crafted writing from Roald Dahl, Nicole Krause, Cheryl Strayed and some classics. On one of my visits this book caught my eye a dark cover with flowers noted as a detail from artwork at  the Uffizi in Florence. The title text and author credentials shaped into an “S.”

Sometimes the Soul – Two Novellas of Sicily by Gioia Timpanelli

The title appealed to me so I bought it without knowing what a treasure I had found. I almost like that the best, but wouldn’t want anything to overshadow the moving folk tale artistry Timpanelli crafts in these novellas.  When I finished the first novella I paused in appreciation of the beauty, taking it in like a scenic vista. At the close of the second, I knew I found an old-friend in this writing, a real treasure that I would read and reread for the rest of my life. The themes of being open to opportunity with a willing heart and spirit embody love, agape love.

These stories reminded me that love sits at the core of this personal archeological exploration. The love and support I’ve been graced with as I grew up and spread my  wings, eventually sharing it with my own family.  But also being open to opportunity and willing to experience what comes our way in this life. Love leads and builds it all; without it we’re just skeletons carrying flesh.

In the moments of exposing and uncovering layers of who I have been and how life has shaped me into who I am today, its easy to spot how the foundation comes into the play. The faith and openness the main characters show in these novellas gives a glimpse to a time where the past doesn’t have such an impact. It reveals a time where being in the moment was enough.

zzz… This doesn’t make sense.

zzz… What is the purpose?

zzz…

Sometimes the Soul is beautifully written and exposes how authenticity makes potent fertilizer. How? You never know what will happen next in life but if you stay true to yourself its easier to make the best of it.  It’s so simple and beautiful.

So have faith. It will be as it should.

These three things, they DO tie in together. Maybe I haven’t painted the watercolor as best as I wanted to, but perfection is NOT my game. Sharing these slices of life, well, it suits me.

Ciao!

M