Anxiety · personal · sewing

I wasn’t always a maker

I haven’t always been a maker, but I always had the desire to create things. I would see people making cakes, dresses, and accessories, but it was someone else’s life. No matter how many blogs or magazines I clipped through, it still wasn’t my life. What was stopping me? Why did I have such a negative outlook on life?

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When we are young, we often receive a lot of negative messages from life.  We become sensitive to what we hear. I was constantly reminded that I was bad at math, awkward, and possessed very little mechanical skills. At the time, I didn’t know what it really meant to have mechanical skills, but I took that to meant that I wasn’t efficient at working with my hands. But, the problem was that people didn’t explain to me that it was a set of skills you have to acquire overtime. When I didn’t quite understand new concepts I was called stupid or slow.  People just moved me out of the way. I was use to people moving me out of the way instead of giving me the chance to solve problems. It made me very anxious. Why was everyone expecting me to learn everything so fast?

 

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I was also told that I lacked hand-eye coordination. It made me laugh at times. I remember when  my mom enrolled me in ballet and tap dance classes. I believe she was trying to motivate me, but  it only made me feel isolated.  It took me a lot longer to get things, and eventually, the instructor told my mom that I had to drop down to a lower level class. It was like that with a lot of things. I was always trying to catch up.

My mom might have been proud of me. However, when you leave home, life has a way of humbling you.  I struggled with everything including  athletics, math, cooking, driving, dancing, dating, and meeting people. Some of my family members grew weary and they didn’t know if I could handle things on my own. It got to the point where they wanted my younger sister to look after me. I would grow angry at times. I was four years older than my sister. Why did I need her to look after me?

I don’t know how it all started, but I was struggling in life. I would stay up all night trying to figure out how I was going to make it. I know that in  high school, I received the help that I needed academically. I learned how to study, and I was able to graduate. But, in other areas I was following behind my peers. It took me longer, but I eventually, I went on to finish college.

However, I continued to hear things while I worked in my field. It was mostly about how anxious and too overly sensitive I was for the job. I struggled in my professional life. I can’t say it was one job, but it was a combination of feeling inadequate  and going home feeling down about my shortcomings. At the end of my twenties, I decided that I wanted more out of life. I was tired of working the way others wanted me to work. I was tired of living by someone else’s rules and standards.

(I didn’t quit my day job, but I did start looking for the  opportunity to give myself a part-time job.)

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I’m not sure what happened or what triggered it exactly, but I started doing research on hair bow making in October 2016. I didn’t have any kids of my own, but I just kept watching videos on people giving tips on how to make hair bows, and  I was fascinated. As I was watching, I kept hearing the word “sew.” I knew that I wanted to learn how to make hair bows, but I also wondered if I could learn how to sew. I thought I was going crazy. I was fearful because I’ve never really taken the time to actually make something. How would I learn how to sew? How could a buy a sewing machine?  What am I doing? I was very nervous, but at the same time I wanted my very own sewing machine. I kept wondering how I was going to make it happen and then I did. After reading various blogs, I decided to purchase my first sewing machine from Amazon. It was a Janome 2212. I also started going shopping two or three times a week, buying supplies and getting started on my new journey.

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The first few weeks were challenging. Unlike anything else I ever did, I didn’t care. That’s when I knew that I found my passion. I was struggling, but I didn’t want to give up. I wanted to learn. I suddenly didn’t care about what people thought. I had ideas, and I wanted to pursue them.

Today, I feel motivated. I still struggle with bouts of depression, but I feel like I have a blessing that will keep me going. It was something about buying my first machine and turning material into an object that gave me the confidence to keep going. Can you believe that today I actually own two sewing machines, and I’ve also been teaching myself to knit? I never thought I would be someone who sewed or knit after work. I’m blessed. I thank God everyday for not allowing me to give up on myself when I really wanted to.

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I apologize that my blog is too personal, but I had to share this part of my personal life with you all because I want people to know that there is hope. You don’t have to come from a perfect life or have this perfect background to pursue your goals in life. You are capable of  success. and anything you put your mind to today.

 

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quilting

5 lessons I learned after making my first baby quilt

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When I sew, I think a lot about family. It wasn’t hard for me to get started making baby quilts during the winter of 2017.  It was how I passed the time.  I remember feeling frustrated with life, and  I wasn’t getting anywhere fast, so one of the things I turned to was quilting for babies. It was one of the things that quieted my spirit. I did a lot of research on potential projects. I didn’t have a particular pattern, but I did sign up for Learn to Quilt: Charming Baby Quilt with Amy Gibson through Craftsy. Through that one particular class, I received a lot of helpful information to complete two baby quilts. Because of that process I learned 5 valuable  lessons that stay with me now as a beginning quilter.

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  1. Whenever quilting for a family member or friend, go into the quilting project with a positive spirit. When I first started learning how to sew, I would sew when I was happy, sad, sick, tired, or angry. It didn’t matter. I thought of sewing as my therapy away from personal  problems. As I moved on to learn how to sew for others, I realize I didn’t want to carry any negative attitudes from problems that occurred throughout the day into a project that was personal. In my opinion it’s different if I’m making something for myself. At this time, I don’t have any children. While completing my baby quilts, I pretended that I was quilting for a child or that I was quilting for a new mom. I thought about how I wanted the child to feel loved. Quilting for others is very personal. I want the project to be successful, so I only think of good thoughts, prayers, and appreciation for the receiver.

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2. Choose Quality

When I first started learning how to quilt, I decided that I wanted to use high quality  tools to have better results. Stop being frustrated while sewing.  A quilt is gift and necessity. You want it to last for you and your love ones. I didn’t want to cut corners. I knew I wanted to grow as a quilter, so I started by  investing in a new sewing machine, a Janome 49360 Quilter’s Computerized Sewing Machine. I purchased it from the Home Shopping Network. It was one of the best decisions I could have made as a beginner. It has speed control, an automatic thread cutter, and a drop-in bobbin system.  The sewing machine came with many helpful tools including a walking foot and patchwork foot. I also started stocking up on quality thread including Aurifil 50 wt thread. I did my best to do research on rulers, rotary cutters,  needles, batting, irons, pins, and etc. It was very time consuming, but I had a much better experience. In the past, I struggled because I was trying to cut corners. I’ve come to the conclusion that quilting can be an expensive hobby, but this is my passion and I’m willing to invest in it so that I can become a professional.

3. Aspire for accuracy, but don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes

Accuracy is very important in quilting. In quilting, everything is pieced together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Having a patchwork foot can be very helpful. You also have to check to your seams to make sure that they are accurate. Squaring up fabric and cutting accurately is crucial to the success of the quilt. If you are uncertain about a piece, don’t bother using it. At the end you, will save yourself problems.

My first and second baby quilts were far from perfect. I didn’t give them away. However, I started the projects because I wanted to know if quilting was something possible for me. Could I do it? Could I make it happen?  I realized that I could. You can too. My advice is to always strive to match your seams while piecing and making quilting blocks, but don’t beat yourself up for not making the mark every time. It’s ok to rip out seams. It’s ok to go back and cut your squares again. It’s also ok to invest in pre-cuts if you don’t feel comfortable your first time cutting up yards of fabric into 5″ squares. My very first baby quilts were made with charm packs. A charm pack is a set 30-40  5″ squares that you can piece together to form a quilt. The possibilities are endless. I found them easy to use when I first started because my cutting skills weren’t great. It took a lot of practice and better quality rulers before I felt comfortable cutting my own fabric squares. Take your time, but don’t get upset with yourself if you can’t make the mark all the time. IMG_20170501_121453_100

4. Enjoy the process, and every mistake is a learning experience

In quilting you will make mistakes. When I first started, I use to beat myself up because I couldn’t match my seams. I wasn’t cutting my squares accurately because my measuring was off. All admit that I spent hours feeling bad about myself, but it was wasted energy. So,  I decided to invest in quality rulers that made cutting easier and accurate. I watched several tutorials on YouTube regarding squaring up my fabric.  I did my research and I gathered information on how to match up my points. Yes, it was hard but I was learning. If you don’t make mistakes, then you will not learn. Let each project be a learning opportunity.

5. Be Patient! All beautiful things take time and hard-work.

Sewing and quilting take time. You aren’t in a competition to finish first, so go at your own pace. It takes time to cut, piece, and press all those little parts that make up a quilt. When you are a beginner it can be frustrating, but don’t worry about how slow or fast you are going. The important part is that you are always learning. Keep going! Remember with each mistakes, you are learning for better success next time.

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