Friday, July 16, 2010

Have Embroidery, Will Travel (With a Few Thoughts On Balance)

When I was getting ready for vacation, I knew that I wanted to pack a portable sewing project (my current baby quilt is a bit too much to cart around in the backcountry!). Luckily, I was in NYC and had the chance to stop in at Purl Patchwork's new location—heaven—where I picked up this Indian Paintbrushes & Daisies Crewel Embroidery Kit.

I've never done this sort of project before, but it came with meticulous directions which were helpful. Interestingly, I actually saw a lot of these specific wildflowers while in Montana/Idaho, so it all worked out quite well though it will take me a while to finish this—it frames out to be 10x20 inches.

I mostly worked on this in the car between destination as it seemed like all I wanted to do during our other downtime was to read. (If you are into food, definitely get a copy of the Best Food Writing 2009. It's quite the enjoyable read!)

I had a lot of time to think while away and I definitely got a heaping dose of perspective about my day-to-day life. I think we all tend to overextend ourselves a bit, so it was completely amazing to have time to sleep as much as I wanted/needed to, to read without worrying that I was missing an email, to take unhurried walks, to have long conversations where I could really listen without feeling like there was something else that needed doing. I know that part of this is simply the point of vacation, but I came to the realization that I want to try to do something to bring a little more balance, a little more of the feeling that I had for much of the past two weeks, in to my daily life—to my days when I can easily spent 10-12 hours in front of a computer not necessarily ever really focusing on just one thing.

It's tricky because I strive to be good at what I do, to keep up with relationships, to cook from scratch and support local foods, to make time for sewing and quilting- but there is also the simple reality of having a house to keep up with, email to return, bills to pay, which all together sometimes feels like too much. (When do we sleep?) It's like we're just rushing through one day to get to the next. Which is exhausting as I am sure that you know.

Plus, while we were on vacation Josh and I took a big step—we're going to be getting married next summer! It's terribly exciting (and he proposed by the most scenic river/waterfall that alone nearly made me cry) and it will mean that we have a lot of planning to do. And I want to enjoy it and figure out how not to miss the important everyday moments, whether big or small, since they matter so much.

So I'm going to be trying a few things including:
1.) Staying off of the computer on Sunday. This already sounds hard to me (I have so many wedding blogs to look at for inspiration!), but I think unplugging one day a week will do wonders for my state of mind—and it will give me time to bake, cook and simply enjoy other things.
2.) Staying off of the computer when I get home from work, whenever possible. The 10-12 hours can happen by 6 or 6:30, so I'm working on enjoying dinner followed by a walk, a good book, or simply time to catch up with loved ones.
3.) I'm going to be blogging less. Since my community here at TWM is so important to me, I want to be sure that I am giving you quality posts and insights into other artists. I think it will be hugely helpful for me to start posting 3 times a week to give myself a bit of a break. The last thing I want is for this to start feeling like an obligation and I think this adjustment will go a long way in keeping this a very happy place for me to spend some time.

I'm curious about how all of you find balance in your lives as I know for certain that I am not the first person to go through all of this. I would love to hear how you are handling it, so please comment away if you've made any changes that have really worked for you! And also, if you have any nuggets of wisdom as we're about to enter wedding planning, please share that too!

And thank you for listening. That was quite the lengthy post.
Happy weekend!


  1. Congrats on the engagement! How exciting!

    I know what you mean about feeling overwhelmed with normal responsibilities and work, and letting that take away from the things you want to do. I felt that way until I quit my real estate job almost two years ago, got a little part time job, learned to live with less and reduce my expenses, and focus more on what I really wanted to do, which is knit, teach, write knitting patterns, cook, read; real life things. I couldn't be happier! I don't miss the things I had to give up with my seriously reduced income and I wouldn't trade my life for anything.

    It's just deciding to make it happen, and then making it happen!

  2. Congratulations on your engagement!!!!

    I really like your new resolutions. The computer can be such a time-sucker.

  3. First off, congratulations on your engagement! Secondly, I cannot express how much I relate to this "unbalance" that you may feel, along with feeling exhausted by the end of the day - and never having concentrated on just one thing. I wish I could give you wisdom; I have had recent conversations with my husband about this as since I've started blogging, I've been logging more hours on the computer - something that I don't truly desire. I want to look back at this time in my life where I'm allowed just to be a stay-at-home mama and relish in the memories I've made with my son, not regret that my face was buried in the screen. So, all I can say is that you've provided ME with some wisdom. While it's difficult to imagine doing this, I am going to join you in the "Sunday Computer Sabbath." :) It seems like a baby step in the right direction.

  4. Lovely embroidery! It's hard not to get carried away with work when you enjoy it, but I think you'll manage to find some balance.

  5. Congratulations on your engagement! I think balance is something we have to continually strive for. We may have it for a short while and then lose it again. Though I must say I do not remember the last time I felt my life was balanced. Way too long I guess.

  6. Congratulations!! What exciting news!
    Your embroidery project is stunning - can't wait to see it when it's all done.
    Balance...don't ask ME about that but DO continue to share your insights. I constantly feel like something/someone(s) is being shortchanged. I wish I could just accept that some things will simply NOT get done and not feel guilty about it. Thank you for starting a conversation about this topic though!