Super Cute Kawaii Mug Rugs

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For over two years, I spent a lot of time in an area of my life that made me completely miserable. I cried out for a very longtime. I was isolated, and I didn’t have the support that I needed at the time to handle things well. I would curse, and cry out in anger. I would think of ways to call off work. I would get to the work parking lot and then consider leaving early. I was in a unhappy state in my life. I was slowly spiraling out of control.

Throughout that time period, I watched as people walked away from me. I guess I was a reminder of what they didn’t want to become. Through that lonely phase of my life, I did have my little sewing time. I wasn’t a very skilled sewist. Mostly, I didn’t collect a lot of patterns. I basically would find ideas on Instagram, and I would go to YouTube to figure out how to make them. One of the cute ideas  I discovered was making mug rugs.

Mug rugs are these cute little patches of fabric that help you hold your coffee or a warm bowl of soup. They are similar to coasters. They don’t take a whole lot of fabric to make. I would go through my small fabric collection to find cute combinations to patch up.

My interest in quilting helped me get the motivation to start. It’s a small creative project that can be completed in a short time period. I felt pretty accomplished at the end. I didn’t bind them, mostly because I struggled with binding at the time. However,  I had a fun time making them before work or during the evening.

Making mug rugs with kawaii-like fabric  brings me joy. I love all things cute. I like being around cute things. One of the first things I did when I started sewing was collecting a lot of fabric that was cute, but didn’t make sense.

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I had these lovely ideas to take my favorite fabric and makes these little novelty mug rugs. The fabric matching didn’t make sense to some, but to me it screamed joy. My favorite fabric including prints featuring unicorns, cats, and cupcakes.

cats loveBefore I could give them away. My mom told me she would like to have one of my mug rugs. She took it to work with her and a co-worker asked about them. I flirted with the idea of making many more and perhaps selling them one day, but I needed to come up with better techniques I thought to myself.  I’m always this super perfectionist about things that you shouldn’t have to fuss about.

Overall, I really enjoy the idea of mug rugs. I certainly enjoyed making them while trying to beat the increasing frustration that I tackled during a bad period of my life. They make great gifts. The combinations that one can come up with are endless.

 

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Craft your way out of the rejection spirit

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Several years ago, I was the cute single girl who couldn’t find a date. Despite all my accomplishments in life, people were puzzled as to why I never had a date or a serious relationship. I think my singleness made people uncomfortable based on their reactions. Did I have a secret? Was I a lonely and bitter person? The truth was that I was painfully shy around men. I’m very much afraid of men. I don’t think I ever grew out of it. I don’t think I ever really faced why I’m afraid of men in the first place? Why can’t I behave naturally around men. Why is it easier for me to talk to some men more than others?

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Like most people, I have feelings. I could be afraid, but I would like to be loved too someday. I realize that my behavior has played a role in why I’m still single. As I grew older, I would develop crushes. I believe crushes are these comical things that start off very  innocent, yet end painfully. Sometimes, I wonder if having a crush is a way to hide behind going after what one truly wants in life.  The idea of having a crush sets you up for failure at times. I put a lot of time in admiring those who showed no admiration for me. I would get so depressed and hide in self-pity. I kept repeating to myself that no one would ever love me. The truth was that I kept finding crushes to hide behind my fears. Having a crush is safe because it allows one to not have to do any work in actually being in a relationship. Instead, I would sit around and complain about being unloved. Life was passing me by. When it happens, I had to learn to pick up the pieces and move on. I was missing too much of life. I wasn’t developing new relationships.

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I remember looking from corner to corner one night. I remember being downtown after 9 p.m. one day on a cold winter’s night. “Where is the love of my life?” That question popped in my head. “Why did I have to wait those cold evenings alone?  Can someone  out there just be there for me?”

What disturbed me more was that I was feeling sorry for myself? There are plenty of women who are single? I bet they aren’t sitting around feeling sorry for themselves? If you have to spend Tuesday nights getting by alone downtown, then so be it. Deal with it, I told myself.

I looked within and I told myself that I would have to be strong. There will be times when you will feel like you are the loneliest person in the world. It hurts so much. But, I told myself that I would work on my crafts. My maker life seemed very exciting to me. It was a positive aspect of my life. I made up my mind that I would focus on it.

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I would study, experiment, and learn through the early mornings and late nights. I would push myself even when I didn’t feel like going any further. I would keep busy even when I found my mind slipping to a place that reminded me of how lonely and undesirable I felt in life. I learned years ago that what I focus on is what I will become.

There are days for dealing with your feelings and then there are other days when you have to get the motivation to get moving with your life. As painful as it was I had to find something to occupy my mind. I remember crafting my ways through quilt blocks, failing my way through quilt blocks, and ultimately improving upon my failures. I remember feeling happy and satisfied when I learned a new skills. There was this feeling. It’s a feeling you get that after so many failures you find the answer to the idea you develop sometime ago. I started regaining my confidence.

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When you can’t seem to take your mind off of rejection, focus on how you can create your own happiness. What can you create to make your life a little easier? What beauty do you want to see in life? What life do you want to craft for yourself? I remember creating several projects last year. Some good and some bad. However,  the point was that I was determined to keep moving forward. I’m not saying that crafting is a remedy for everything. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be afraid to start investing in your own self-confidence. Build a little bit of yourself each day. Get out of the depths of darkness.

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Seeking Joy

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It’s my first post for the year 2018, and I can’t believe I’ve been away from my blog for so long. I started a new job back in December 2017. I’ve been feeling an overwhelming sense of anxiety. Have you ever been in a negative situation for a few years and when you get out of the negative situation you feel as if you will never be comfortable again?

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For the past two years, I spent a lot of time looking for signs of love and happiness. I looked for friendship and kindness when there was anger. I searched for empathy when there was spite. When I thought I discovered something great, it would eventually slip out of my hands. Just look for signs, I told myself. Let’s see how all these obstacles line up for my good.  I later decided that the safest way to live was to not have such high expectations. I would be gracious, but in the back of my mind I would try not to show how hurt I was from inside.  I want to be confident, but after all that has happened I don’t know if people want what I necessarily have to offer. I sometimes doubt my abilities because I can hear previous voices and visualize previous experiences.  I know what it is like to fail, and I know what it is like to be alone while failing. What really hurts is when people sit around and watch you struggle. What I’ve learned is that as long as I know how to find the right resources, depending on people is not something I have to do in life.  I can survive the struggle on my own. I don’t need who I thought I needed.

However, my faith in God and my love of crafting keep me motivated. God is someone I continue to depend on even when I look for beauty and sometimes see ugliness. There are going to be times when I don’t feel like myself.  When I find myself feeling overwhelmed I try to train myself to think about God, family, friends, and my hobbies. It’s very challenging. But, I’m determined to come out successful through this new experience in 2018. I know that things aren’t perfect, but if I can take my mind off of the negative things, then my perspective on life will improve.

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One thing I find myself indulging in lately is mindless sewing. I’ll cut strips of fabric and create a rail fence mini quilt. I’ll purchase pre-cuts of 5′ squares and make a baby quilt. Sometimes, the stress from work and this feeling of guilt and shame takes over. I have no choice, but to focus my mind on other things. I spend nights learning how to make new quilt blocks. Through the steady cutting, pressing, and sewing material together, I find peace. It’s hard work, but its good work that strengthens me.

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The quilt project I’ve been working on lately is my little red riding hood quilt. I love whimsical fabric. It reminds me of being a kid walking into this fairy tale world where anything is possible. Woodland animals, bright colors, and elaborate patterns fill my heart with happiness. I remind myself how blessed I am to be able to come home from a rough day and play with fabric. “It’s a blessing,” I tell myself. It’s a blessing to have a safe place to go to when it seems like your mind can’t find any rest from anywhere else.

 

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There are times you can’t always run to people. During those times, I remind myself that to be still. Find your peace. “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”-Psalm 46:10 That scripture takes me back to the present. When I’m away from work, I have a tendency to dwell on it. The truth is that I have a lot to be grateful for in life. Through the years, I plan to stay focus on God and his plans for my life. When it’s hard to stay at ease, I will turn to building a creative life centered around God and joy.

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Stitching a Colorful Life

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Fearless is going after what you want in life even though you might fall short at times. As a budding maker, I’ve experienced a lot of failures through projects. Sometimes, I didn’t have the best material or I didn’t follow the instructions carefully. However, my goal is to live a colorful and creative life. Living creatively means brushing off fear.

Have you ever woke up one morning and asked yourself “why am I not going after the things that matter to me in life.” Why am I not following my dreams? It doesn’t have to be anything as challenging as finding a new career or traveling across the globe.  It could be cooking out of your dream kitchen, building a new wardrobe, and hosting a fabulous dinner party. Maybe you always wanted to be more social or meet new friends. There are these quiet dreams inside of us that we wish we could explore, but life’s lows can get in the way.

I looked at myself one day, and I was tired of the boring clothes I was wearing to work. I would go to the same tops that were easy to pull over while I dragged myself to work each day. I sure you can relate. You stop putting effort into your day. You quit making lunch. The small wins don’t mean anything. You stop participating in activities that make you feel good about yourself. Eventually, you find yourself stuck in a rut with several developed bad habits.

Dragging to work with the same clothes on each day was irritating me. I found it a challenge to stay motivated. I told myself that I would work on taking care of my appearance. I wanted a creative life, so why not style myself in my own unique way.  I love being creative with my hands. So, learning how to crochet seemed like the perfect creative opportunity to help me work on my appearance. I didn’t necessarily wanted to go out and purchase a finished product, but I wanted to create more looks out of styles I envisioned.

I also had a desire to get back into learning how to crochet. The crochet patterns attracted me. However, the last time I tried to attempt to crochet was  during the summer of 2016. My skills were very rusty. Honestly, I wasn’t very great at crochet.  But, I decided to give it another shot. I took the yarn that was going to waste  in my craft box, and I started practicing single crochet stitches. I would crochet for a while and then I would simply rip the stitches out.

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I wasn’t focusing on failing, but learning and relaxing my mind. I did my best to count my stitches as I carried on. I ripped out the stitches again and started thinking about developing a small project. I had my heart set on a colorful scarf. With a lot of help from YouTube tutorials, I learned how to add a ball of yarn to a crochet project, weave ends, and single crochet the seams of both ends of the project making an infinity scarf.

I know some will find my idea shallow, but for me I felt as if I was taking back a small piece of my life. I wasn’t simply dragging through the day. I was making myself happy. I wanted to live a more colorful life, and instead of dreaming about it, I started thinking of ways I could achieve it.

After completing my first crochet project, I decided that I would continue on with new projects. I want to take simple steps each week to live a more colorful life. I waste enough time just dragging through the day, complaining about work, or wishing I was in in someone else’s shoes. You only get one life.

Do you have a desire to thrive? Tired of being in a rut? Where do you start?

Quilting for Tough Times

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One of my blog posts from the beginning discouraged sewing while in a bad mood. Honestly, I still don’t like the idea of  sewing for loves ones when I’m sick or angry. I make too many mistakes when I’m not my best self. Overall, it’s just not a great sewing experience. However, if it is a personal quilting project it should be based on your needs. Working with you hands can be therapeutic for many. I’ve discovered that doing a little bit of patchwork with quilting throughout the month helps me get through periods of loneliness, tough times, and moments when I need to be strong.

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When I commit to working on personal projects, I do a lot of praying and reflecting on life. I enjoy spending time just working with my hands. I also get lost in my thoughts. Once my rotary skills improved, I enjoyed cutting fabric squares to piece together a small quilt top. Achieving accurate seams is the most challenging for me. However, the journey is always important to me.  The whole process of working on a quilt, gives me the energy to keep fighting.

Life has taught me that I’m responsible for loving myself as well as creating my own happiness.  I know that it is recommended to reach out to people when you are experiencing tough times, but for me I just ended up confused. My advice would be to find a support group or talk to a professional. Talk to supportive friends and family. Spend time enjoying their presence, but be very careful about sharing information about your personal problems with people who aren’t from your core group. You will find that you are looking for answers that people can’t give you. Not everyone has your best interest.

I remember when I was dealing with depression. It was hard keeping up, and it appeared that my professional life was stagnant.  I made the mistake of sharing my problems with someone. I found out that the person was  using my problems against me. I felt like at some point this person was trying to talk me into feeling bad about myself even more. The person would often talk about how depressed I looked and mentioned bits and pieces about how things weren’t going well for me. It was troubling. The person wasn’t encouraging me. It was at the point that I realized that I needed change.  It was time to move on, and find a new life.

There are times that you need periods alone where you can work through problems yourself. Over the summer, I prayed a lot, and I knew I was tired of feeling like I was in the dumps.  I decided that I wanted to get better at quilting.  Each week, I was at my house, learning how to prepare a quilt top. The more it came together, the better I started to feel about myself. I don’t really know how to describe it, but when you make something on your own, it’s like an empowering feeling. I felt useful again.  I was learning new skills, and the great thing about it was that I wasn’t depending on anyone else to validate me.

 

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One of my most recent quilts features a lot of cats. I’ll admit that I’m a cat lady with no cats.  I wanted to make a personal project. It’s not perfect, but it reminded me that I have what it takes to finish a quilt. I hang it over my headboard. What’s different about this quilt, is that it was the first time I attempted to bind a quilt. Binding the quilt was hard, and I made a lot of mistakes. I was able to get over my fear of binding, and I have a lot of motivation to do better next time.

 

The most meaningful part of the quilting process was that it taught me how to start creating my own life again. I was learning how to express myself. I found it hard to get negative being surrounded by so much color all the time.  I say to myself sometimes “when life gives you lemons, make a quilt.” I don’t think the saying is original at all, but I tell myself those very words when I’m stressed.  I will always have problems, but at least I’m not sitting around dwelling on them.

Stephanie