Friday, 19 June 2015

Pondering grief and sewing and blogging and probably some other things too

This is one of the top google images for pondering - an awesome pondering baby!

I'm writing this at 4am after having been awake thinking about it for an hour.  Insomniacs unite! It's one of those things I have had half-formed ideas about for a while but never quite felt like putting them down in writing.  I don't know if I will even hit "publish".

This feels like a weird post to write.  Since the sewing category was added to Bloglovin my blog has got quite a number of new followers (welcome - and thank you for following! If you don't blog you may not realise how much that Bloglovin new follower email makes someone's day!) and this seems like an odd post for people to start with.  It's not my usual way and normal sewing-related service will be resumed shortly!

As I have blogged about before, my dad died in November just over a year after his stage 4 cancer diagnosis.  As he lived in the US and I am in the UK, my brother and I had several last minute dashes to hospital to see him.  His death wasn't a surprise - in fact a year of relative health after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is pretty good as these things go.

I'm not sure I have had a typical grief reaction in that I have (and still do) feel a bit numb to the whole thing.  According to Dr Google, this is fairly normal and part of the grief process but it doesn't feel like anyone else is grieving in the same way.  I have a family who need things to carry on relatively as normal and a demanding job (where I was supposed to change teams in January but a recruitment issue has meant I am actually still doing 70% of my previous role, which trying to take on a new one which has been exhausting.  For 6 months).  This week was my dad's birthday on Wednesday and it's Father's Day here on Sunday so it's been a tough one.

And unlike other forms of blogging, blogging about dressmaking is tied up a lot in how we feel about how we look.  Serious comfort eating since my dad's diagnosis has meant I have put back on most of the weight I was so happy and proud to lose.  Isn't it annoying when you find yourself becoming a statistic for diet failure? And who wants to put pictures of themselves up on the internet when they don't feel good about how they look?  This post is partly inspired by thoughtful posts from Jo Sews and Karen from Didyoumakethat about body and style changes and also posts from Jo Sews and Miss Demeanor about mental health.  The sewing blogging community is such a positive place and it seems like it is rare for people to admit that they are finding it hard.  Maybe increasing use of Instagram perpetuates that - I read recently that IG is seems as a much more positive place than Twitter as it is full of pretty, carefully chosen images of a moment in time, whereas Twitter is a bit more ranty.  The difference to my mind is that a thoughtful Twitter conversation is a lot more supportive than a lot of IG likes (although IG likes are lovely too, don't get me wrong). But it's hard to talk about feelings on IG when there's no pretty picture to accompany them.

In the aftermath of all of this, my sewing productivity has suffered.  I have definitely been finding it hard to summon up the effort to sew after a day at work and long commute home.  I only realised recently that this sort of lethargy is part of the grieving process.  I have tried several ways to bust out of this - making quick and easy gratification projects - multiple makes of patterns I have already fitted, knit projects, quick to sew projects, all of which have resulted in some great and really useful wardrobe additions.  I am currently wrangling with trouser fitting which has been a slow process, partly because trouser fitting is hard, and partly as I'm not happy with how I look and so I'm not sure I want to wear the trousers right now.  However I am almost there and pretty proud of the end result!

All of which brings me to blogging.  I have quite a backlog of things to show you, most of which need photos.  I think I will have a big photo taking session with hubby and get as many of them photographed as possible to show you and then I can move onto new makes. I have some great summer dresses planned which I can't wait to sew up and wear, and I haven't felt like that about a project since my winter coat!

Sometimes I think we have to force ourselves to get back to the things we like doing and build back up that habit again. For me that goes for sewing and blogging.  I used to be very good at sewing for a block of time each day (even if that was half an hour - it's amazing how quickly garments come together over several 30 minute sessions) but I haven't been doing that recently.  I thought that one day I would just feel like doing it, but I guess it's kind of a habit that I have fallen out of the way of doing.

 As for blogging, I'm not really someone who writes weekly or monthly round ups of what other people are doing/ sewing or shopping links just to have something to post on a particular day.  My favourite blogs post when they have something to say or show, rather than posting on a schedule that it says you should have in some blogging guide or other. That's not really going to change around here - I'm not one of those bloggers like Karen or Gillian who has great ideas of topics that the whole community responds to and ends up writing their own blog posts about.  So I'll get back to showing you my self-made garments and hopefully hearing your thoughts, feedback, ideas and comments on them.

Have you ever experienced a lack of desire to sew or take part in another favourite hobby even though you know you love it?  Any tips for getting back into it you can share?

Friday, 5 June 2015

Me Made Everyday!

I hope you all had fun in Me Made May.  I didn't use the Flickr group this year as I have got into Instagram (you can find me on there @jolittletime), but I loved seeing everyone's self made garments being shown off on IG!

I did pretty well with my own pledge (just don't mention that I was meant to have made trousers - I'm working on it OK?).  I wanted to see how far i would get without repeating a garment and did pretty well - my first repeat was on 23rd May.  If the weather had improved and I could have rotated in a few of my more summery items I might have gone all the way to the end.  Still, there's always next year!

I blogged about how much I like this aspect of sewing last year and on Twitter we discussed using the hashtag #memadeeveryday to share outfit photos on IG and Twitter.  I noticed a few more people talking about carrying on photographing their me-mades in real life now that May is over so I thought I would revisit it.  There's no rules, no need to do it 7 days a week, get any kind of fancy photos, or even photograph at all if you don't want to!

The lovely and very talented Katie of What Katie Sews made a blog badge you can grab below or from my sidebar.  Feel free to share it on your blog or whatever social media floats your boat!

Hope to see your me-mades in the wild the rest of the year too!

PS Did you see that there's now a Sewing category on Bloglovin?  See Oona's post about it here and add your blog in so that people can find you more easily!