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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DIY · Home Decor · sewing

Making Woodland Animal Throw Pillows

During the last blog post,  I wrote about how I committed to sewing more with my fabric stash. I’m keeping my promise. What do you make when you are a sewing novice? My answer would have to be throw pillows. It’s a practical sewing project that you can use to decorate a particular area in your home.  If you are a beginner, the it teaches you skills such as sewing in straight lines and pivoting corners. As a sewing novice,  it’s instant gratification for me because it doesn’t take me a whole day to complete throw pillows.

I have plenty of novelty fabric stored in a bin. I also had a large bag of polyfill. I hate to admit it, but the bag of polyfill had been in my room for at least 9 months. I told myself, it was time to sit down and start working on a project. My throw pillow sewing project included fabric from Michael Miller’s Norwegian Woods line.  The fabric was perfect for the look I was trying to accomplish. I have an obsession with woodland animals. It reminded me of fall, yet bright enough to uplift someone’s mood. I think it’s a great fabric line for nursery items and quilts as well.

animalsReturning to the basics wasn’t a bad idea. I haven’t sewed any throw pillows in over 10 months. I remember hating my very first throw pillows because they weren’t firm enough. I did some research and started looking for popular sizes of throw pillows. I came by one tutorial, Sew Comfortable: How to Sew Perfectly Plump Throw Pillow Covers by Beth Galvin from Craftsy. The tutorial was very helpful for me  because I needed the correct seam allowance for sewing throw pillows. Although I lacked having a pillow form, I decided to  continue following the pattern by cutting  17 x 17 inch fabric squares for my pillow. I only had enough polyfill for two pillows at the time, so I decided to keep the purple shaded fabric for a later project.

I sewed around the fabric squares right sides together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance and left an opening at the bottom of the pillow for turning and stuffing. After sewing, I pressed my seams and trimmed the corners so that they wouldn’t be so bulky at the ends.

IMG_20170611_221733_675I also used a wooden stick to help place an even amount of polyfill on both sides of the pillow. Once I was happy with the firmness of the pillow, I pressed the opening at the bottom edge of the pillow tucking the raw edges inside. Finally, I machine stitched the bottom opening close.

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Now, I had two bright woodland animal throw pillows that would be great in my bedroom or my next apartment space. I’m one for going against fashion rules. Yes, I’m 30 years old and I still like adorable baby print fabric. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being a kid at heart. If you have any kids or have a baby on the way, then I would highly recommend it for a new nursery or baby gift making project.

Happy pillow making!

-Stephanie

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Fabric · Goals · sewing

Fabric Hoarder to Sewist

When I started learning how to sew, I’ll admit that the majority of my sewing money went to novelty fabric purchases.  I wish I would have done my research on strategies for building a fabric stash before I made purchases. At the time, I was exploring and living out my inner child. I was bored with work, and I looked forward to receiving little happy mail during the week.  It didn’t take long for me to become a fabric hoarder. I started sharing my purchases on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. My online friends were always amazed of what fabric I found.  My favorite prints included anything with cats, dolls, food, unicorns, and woodland animals.

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During my first months into sewing, I gave myself a $50-$60 dollar fabric purchase  limit each pay period. I remember having the desire to make a lot of cute things I would see on sewing blogs, but my skill didn’t match up with my vision. I also realize that my work schedule made it nearly impossible to complete all those beautiful project ideas I found online. It was time for me to get serious about my what I wanted to learn and what did I expect to get out of sewing.

I don’t have the perfect strategy for buying fabric. However,  I’m working on a strategy as I do research on what works for other successful sewist and quilters. My goal it to acquire new skills and techniques with each project. I also want to make things that represent my personality as well as uplift my mood. Another thing I’m doing is learning to make things I can actually use in my everyday life. Finding projects take time, but if I don’t get out of my comfort zone each week then I’ll never make any progress towards my sewing goals.

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My summer goal is to make practical things from my fabric stash. It could be for my personal use or a gift to a friend. Some project ideas I have in mind, include pincushions, zipper pencil cases, pouches, mug rugs, throw pillows, and small baby quilts. The important part is that I’m not just collecting fabric, but I’m making something out of what I have.

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