my friends, what a fine month it was. countertops cleared after one year of accumulating piles, cars cleaned and serviced, blades sharpened, walls painted, wardrobe multiplied, books read, faraway destinations traveled, old friends visited, new friends made. a little business, a *lot* of pleasure. a month long vacation is luxurious by any standard…i really vacillated over whether or not to write a roundup post at all because it makes me self conscious. but, i really made it count, you guys…i don’t think a moment was wasted. and i want you to know there was no sloth to be had. the immediate and self-perceived dire needs of toddlers quickly erase any memory of relaxation, so join me in a walk down memory lane as i recall what it was like to have a month to do WHATEVER I WANTED.
many of these tasks pertained to organization. i tend to give the impression i’m extremely tidy and organized…i’m not sure why. my mother and husband can attest that’s far from the truth. however, i certainly appreciate organized and tidy spaces; that’s just not a priority for me when i have limited time to make it happen. thus, i accomplished some major feats over these weeks…all those piles of paper and junk that you sort of stop seeing after a few months? poof! gone. filed, shredded, trashed. the kids’ toys? combed through, thinned, donated. you might remember i’m really excited about the pantry (see above), but perhaps the largest undertaking of all was my craft room! there was painting, hammering, drilling, hanging, building, cutting, folding, sewing… it got a HUGE facelift and is still getting some finishing touches, so we’ll save the full tour for a later date. but here’s a sneak preview of the before and (almost) after:
i did a ton of traveling in my alone time. you probably remember my kickoff trip to ontario. i also logged time in san francisco (twice), san diego, and las vegas in the eleventh hour.
i have always loved reading, but along with elaborate cooking, it’s a luxury that’s been minimized with my current lifestyle. whenever i can sit and read a book, i know i’m truly relaxing. in a symbolic gesture, i finally finished this book that has followed me around for 5 years, through three countries. i bought it in a coffee shop in costa rica before i was even married and have lost and rediscovered it several times through several moves. not exactly light summer reading, but i enjoyed it. and while also not exactly leisure reading, this book too was fabulous and answered so many questions i have about the business side of crafting. whew! lots of work to do before the art fair which will sneak up on me quickly, i’m sure.
while i spent several blissful and uninterrupted hours alone, i was a very social blogger, and set up *and* followed through on THREE blogging blind dates. am i the only person who does this? because i’m kind of making it my thing. so. fun. i think there’s a lot to be said for the overall warmth of the online crafting community, and in blogging, we get a really personal insight into the lives of so many screen friends. while it is a little weird perhaps to approach someone personally about meeting face to face, i was just thrilled to make the invisible visible on these occasions. the older we get, the more challenging it can be to make new friends for various reasons. but hand picking people who i know at the very least have a ton in common with me, well…it’s sort of like online dating, right? i think it should happen more often, so if you promise not to be predatory in some way, you have a personal invitation to visit me if you’re ever trekking across northern california. i mean it!
anyway, you already read about my afternoon in karyn’s shop, which was really inspiring:
which was followed by a truly delightful lunch double date with venus and her fantastic husband, mike. she probably brought him as a wingman, but the four of us got along famously. we talked and talked like the oldest of friends, with invitations made for fabric shopping in the LA garment district (mike volunteered to be a personal tour guide…i’m telling you, he’s a catch), and to visit the philipines to stay at venus’ family compound. i’m serious when i say i want both of these things to happen very soon. david and i walked down to the beach straight from the restaurant intending to bum around, and were shocked to find that nearly FOUR HOURS had passed since we sat down with them and we had to rush off to his reunion. we really wish they could be our neighbors. as an added bonus, she’s in the very small population of adults that make me look tall.
and, in my most daring blind date of all…the day before the kids came home, i drove into san francisco for a whole afternoon of fabric shopping hosted by none other than the very talented cherie. first of all, i don’t know that i’ve ever driven a car that far by myself, which was liberating in its own right. straight npr, no kid music! i was really nervous to meet cherie…she was taking a whole afternoon off from her job and family obligations to chauffer me around her city while 7 months pregnant. no pressure. i’m a little weird about fabric shopping in person, and shopping in general. i don’t exactly excel at it. and while i’m generally at ease socially one on one, i hadn’t communicated with her a ton prior to this date and was afraid things would be very awkward.
fortunately, cherie is awesome and totally un-awkward. this girl gets dry humor. i have sonar for that, and it immediately put me at ease. i usually have to keep that in check as it can sometimes offend, but she totally gets it, so i felt i could really be myself. we too quickly started chatting like old friends. she took me on my first ever trip to britex (see above) and i even had the real pleasure of meeting her family at the end of the day (it’s true, i have hi-fived yuki)–it was altogether a huge highlight of this already awesome month, and i’m pretty stoked she lives within easy driving distance.
perhaps most notable is the amount of time i got to spend in my craft room. so many hours on end, seriously, often 16 hours straight with breaks only to quiet my growling stomach. do you think i might love this activity? i can’t tell you how amazing it was to just spend so much time making things with a totally uninterrupted creative process. i also gained a new appreciation for “slow fashion“…i figured without the kids around it would be a breeze to whip up a whole new wardrobe (and naturally, matching items for bean), but items i can buy at target for a few dollars actually do take a bit of time to make, which is an important issue to acknowledge and embrace. i certainly won’t be tossing them after a year or two. not a ton to say about each garment individually, but i’ll save what details there are for future posts so this doesn’t start coaxing you to sleep.
i didn’t quite get to my new purse (it is all cut and ready to go, however), but i squeezed in a new wallet with a zipper. the second thing i ever sewed was a wallet for myself (the first, of course, was a knitting needle organizer), which has served me well. however, i wanted something a bit more secure and spacious, so i used this great tutorial to make an upgraded version.
i signed up for a creativebug subscription to load up on classes while the kids were away, but i was so preoccupied with my sewing, i only managed to finish an embroidery class (which was awesome and definitely on my to do list)…pattern drafting, alteration, and quilting will have to wait for another time anyhow, this one class really has paid off as i’m currently amid a MAJOR love affair with embroidery and haven’t put it down for days. some of it will be showing up in my craft fair sundries for sure.
i spent the first two weeks of my month on two big and exciting projects, my first guest post and my first adult pattern test. it’s really my nature to take any assignment very seriously, and i worked my butt off on both of these. it was a pleasure to push myself on behalf of these lovely ladies, who i now like to think of as [online] friends. i came away with some cute garments for the kids (as suspected, bean has worn her ugly cloud pants almost every day since she’s been back on the west coast; did you spot them previously?), and for myself.
there was also a kcw in there which always manages to produce some cute little things for the kiddos, as well as a birthday dinner and surprise trip for me, both requiring new dresses (obviously). i did pretty well with the matchy match bean wardrobe, but i’m jonesing for one of these arrow tees like i made for reese! so cool!
i had a looooooong list of things i wanted to accomplish this month, which turned out to be unrealistic and overly ambitious. but, i aimed high, and i’m really happy with all that came to be. it was an interesting social experiment to see what my life would look like in a parallel universe where i do whatever i want…in my unadulterated form, i’m still a very early riser who must be occupied during all waking hours. but, i would spend my days totally alone either in quiet, listening to npr, or perhaps an album in heavy rotation. i still would never watch tv. my house would be very neat and organized, which surprised me. i would run whenever i could, wherever i could, for miles upon miles. i would welcome new and solitary adventures. i would read more, i would write a lot. i would be studying, learning, experimenting and creating every possible second.
obviously, glimmers of all of this exist in my actual daily life, which is rather charmed to be sure. i have more than one old friend who will visit this blog and comment to me personally along the lines of fantasizing about having my life or wanting to be me when they grow up. i know you guys, i have it pretty [very] good. and so, while i’m grateful for a month of freedom in every sense, i’m so happy to have my little bosses back to advise our daily routine. i will surely be back soon to begin checking off the numerous fun projects i was able to complete in more detail. until then, i’ll be catching up on a whole month’s worth of backed hugs and kisses. and tantrums.