Friday, March 19, 2010

Is Sewing First or Last in your life?

I haven't been feeling well lately...and it's caused me to think about several things...mostly what the h*ll would my daughters do with all this sewing stuff I've accumulated! *LOL*  But mostly I've reflected on the fact that I LOVE TO SEW!

I honestly don't know how I would adjust to a world where I couldn't sew.  Sewing allows me not only the ability to be imaginative and creative, but it also frees me from the everyday cares of this world...the mothering, the working, the friendships...etc.  It gives me time to just be me ~ which most times is the best of me. 

So the other day when I stumbled upon Myrna's post, it wasn't the main entry that grabbed my attention so much as the gratitude section at the end.  Now I read Myrna's blog now and again...at times I read the "personal growth" section at the end and sometimes I skip it.  But this time it just resonated with me...so today's Question of the Day is, "Is Sewing First or Last in your life?"  Do you take time for yourself or do you give it to others first?  Are housework and chores more important than replenishing or nurturing your creative side?

I'm sure y'all know my answer...but talk back to me people, I would love to hear yours!

...as always, more later!

51 comments:

  1. This is a very good question, Carolyn. At this point, I would have to say last. Things are not really "normal" around my place at present and I hope they will be within a month or so and then I will start sewing again. But, after reflecting quite a bit about this, I would have to say that the durn computer is what keeps me from my sewing machines. I sit down to spend 10 minutes and then notice that 2 hours has passed. This happens A LOT and my New Year's resolution was to cut way back. Still working on it.

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  2. Thanks for bringing this up! I was just thinking the other day that sewing has actually made me a better person, a better mother. I am so much more organized in my life and day to day responsibilities because of sewing. How, do you ask? Well, in order to get in my sewing time every evening, I have to have done the grocery shopping, the cooking and the cleaning first! And let's not forget my little boy. I'm lucky that he goes to bed early. So I get plenty of down time. Of course, that means that I am up way too late every night. But it's worth it. I am a happier person. I am excited about my creativity, my sewing projects and so so proud to wear my clothes and give gifts to my family. This is the best thing that I have ever done. Sewing may not come first in my agenda, but I always ensure there's time for it.

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  3. There are three things that I want to do in my life. Priority-wise, they are homeschooling my kids, sewing, and running the house (at least enough so that I don't go crazy). At any given time, I can do two of those things, but I can't do all three at once. So sewing and housekeeping tend to trade off--I'll sew until the house gets too bad to stand, then lose my temper and clean for a while, then go back to sewing. This week has been spring-cleaning week, and I'm looking forward to getting back to my sewing machine!

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  4. Theresa in TucsonMarch 19, 2010 1:51 AM

    Carolyn, sewing might not be first, but it's pretty high up there. I make up a weekly menu so I can pull together supper without thinking; haven't seen my dining room table clean since the last family get-together; ignore the dust bunnies in the closet until I can't stand them anymore, have stacks of patterns I will probably never use but won't get rid of because "it's my bedtime reading; the dog takes me for a walk instead of the other way around; and so on, just so I can sew. That said, there are some days when the "sewing mojo" is dormant and I am compelled to go do something else. I could live without sewing. What I can't live without is creating. Sewing for me is just the quickest way to create. I went and read Myrna's blog and yes, it resonated with me too.

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  5. Pam from South AustraliaMarch 19, 2010 3:18 AM

    No question....nurturing my creative side is way more important than chores. Of course I am at a time of life when IT'S MY TURN! Just me and hubby home, a handful of grandies (love, love, love 'em)a couple of kids that I only recently pushed to stand up on their own feet and my most-used catchphrase is "not my problem". Hubby says "way to go", kids ask "what's going on?". Me......I say "IT'S MY TIME". These days I sew because I love it. I make what I want to make, mostly for myself. Does that make me selfish?

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  6. I'm having one of those "I can't sleep" nights and where do I go but my sewing room - my little haven, my place I feel most comfortable. Sewing definitely is high on my priority list although my sewing mojo is kind of lacking right now. I am loving the comment previous to mine from Pam From South Australia. I am at the same stage of life and I love her catchphrase "Not My Problem". I'm definitely going to try that one out!

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  7. I'd say it comes first for me - even though working, looking after the baby and other day to day stuff takes up the majority of the day, I always spend at least an hour in my sewing room each day. I find I cant't think of much else other than sewing during the day and night if I haven't "downloaded" those thoughts in my sewing room!

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  8. All I can say is I make so much money off of people who plan on attending sewing class,they want to give it to themselves but let so many other tings in life get in the way from what they really desire and don't attend class. I'm surprised how often this happens and how much money I make off of doing nothing.

    For me, my students come first. It's not often I get to work on my things but as long as I'm sewing life is all better no mater who's project it is. If I go more than 2-3 days without sewing in my life I feel stressed out. It's my yoga. If I'm home, my house has to be clean before I feel like I can give myself anything.

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  9. Sewing is first! My daughters are 26 & 28. They were first for along time, now it's MY TURN. Even my dear husband knows this and understands. He has been instructed to contact the American Sewing Guild should I pass on before him. I try to go into my sewing room everyday and do something, fold, cut, press, rearrange, something. I read and re-read my sewing magazines and books. I watch sewing-related DVDs to improve my knowledge and skills. I have an hour commute on the train, so this gives me quality time for this. I just want to be more like you and sew more for myself. I getting there. I'm only doing one prom gown this year, but I do have other clients that are preventing me from sewing for myself. I also want to make my grandson, KaDin Royale some outfits. I've never sewn for boys and I want to make him some really unique clothes and some like little boys used to wear like the all in one short jumpers. Well I answered your question and then some. Really LOVE your blog!

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  10. I work on a number of crafts- spinning, weaving, knitting, quilting, in addition to sewing attire which is a relatively new skill for me. Fiber/textiles are in my blood and I am so passionate about creating, that if it were all taken away I don't know what would become of me. It takes such precedence in my life that I have turned down offers for higher paying jobs (read: more time demands at work) just to preserve the freedom and ability to devote myself to this endeavor. So, yes, yes! Sewing/crafting is at the top!!!!
    Thanks for sharing such a fun and interesting blog.

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  11. For me, it's a balance. Although I love to sew, I also like to keep a clean house. I like to spend time with my family and friends. I need all of it to be fulfilled.

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  12. I agree with Gwen. It is a balance, I have the house, work, my family and my exercise routine that all takes time. I try to sew 3-4 times a week and that seems to work. When my girls were younger, I sewed more, it was my relaxation/stress buster and then Disney and Nickelodean were the only things on the TV! I have been trying to declutter my sewing room as of late. I really don't have a fabric stash but I do have a magazine stash. I went through all my BWOF magazines and sold them on PR's classified. Now I am working my way through all the other magazines.

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  13. If I don't do creative things I get depressed. I told my 81 yo mom recently that the best gift she and dad ever gave me was the sewing machine that I still use. That was 40 years ago. I have always sewn, but mostly simple things and quick. Now that I'm older somehow I'm more ready to spend the time that it takes to make more elaborate projects. I'm here to learn and admire. Gardening often fulfills the creative need for me in the summer. And I do other crafty things.
    Kathy

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  14. Lately sewing (and all my hobbies) have been last lately. Work has been crazy lately, requiring additional hours. Even before that, they weren't getting priority, because? Because I was raised that that kind of stuff (sewing unless it was mending) was to be done after the work was done? Because I don't want to keep the others awake while I'm making noise (sewing machine, talking myself through instructions, swearing when I don't listen to myself, etc.)? Because the computer/internet can be a big time hog? Because somewhere along the line the "good mom/wife comes last" routine crept into my life (not that I really *believe* it!)?

    There have been a few weekends that I ignored the cleaning and worked on what I *wanted* to, and it felt GOOD!

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  15. I'm very happy with my life . . . I'm single, live alone, no kids/animals to contend with. So when I get down to sewing, I'm able to focus on it 100%. The process of creating a fabulous garment fulfills me in a way nothing else does, and I think my life would be missing something if I didn't sew.

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  16. I think it is first, would love it to be, but 4 kids and a husband tend to demand their time. Plus the laundry and housework that occurs naturally with 4 kids 8 and under. It does relieve the stress and gives me an outlet.

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  17. Wow, what a question! I spend alot of time THinking about my sewing, but not enough actually sewing. I've a tendency to want to take care of my chores 1st, then do what I "want" to do. Yeah, I was one of those in college who couldn't study for finals until my house was clean. That trait is now reflected in my sewing...I'll put off my sewing until my other "duties" are finished. And, that's not a bad thing for me, I'm not complaining....just wish I had more time ahead. It's been a great question, Carolyn, and all the responses so far are really interesting to read.

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  18. (Thanks for the link to Myrna's blog! I hadn't come across it yet!) My house is a shambles, the laundry is a mountain and I've got to put something in the larder before I can cook anything. But I'm determined to get four hours of sewing in today and four tomorrow, so I can meet a self-imposed target. That's sewing for me. 'Cause next week, we're going to get cranking on costuming a high school production of 'Macbeth'...which will be sewing for others. I'm *hoping* to still sneak in a little sewing for me along with the Macbeth costumes, but, well, history has proven that to be difficult.
    Who knows when the house will get cleaned.... ;)

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  19. Sewing definitely comes before chores. EVERYTHING comes before chores. LOL! But there was a time when I was younger and more affected by what I thought other people might think that I did obsess about a clean house. Our house is tidy, but it usually always needs to be vacuumed and/or dusted these days. And I don't care. There are 3 other grown bodies that can (and do) pitch in when it bothers them.

    Before I had to go back to work, I sewed for hours every day. Now, I'm mostly too tired to do anything more than think about sewing on weekdays. And even some weekends I find myself with other priorities (still not housework!).

    So, while I want to be sewing more, I don't have enough free time anymore. But I am planning on locking myself in my sewing room all day tomorrow. I hope the spirit is still willing when I wake up. :-)

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  20. My problem is that I struggle for balance. There are weeks in which sewing definitely comes last - I won't manage to get anything sewing done - and then I'll get all cranky.

    And then there's now, where I cranked out a lined dress in 2 days, where my apartment looks like a tornado hit it, the refrigerator is empty because I haven't shopped or cooked, and I've been eating out all week. That makes me cranky as well.

    In my perfect world, I'll have time to fit everything in. In the real world, I'm always looking for tips to help me use my time better.

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  21. In a perfect world I would like to have the right amount of time for everything I need to do, but unfortunately that is not the case right now and things do have to be prioritized. Sewing has been last lately, but I don't stress over this, I know this will eventually change.

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  22. I read Myrna's blog daily. I wish that I could put all my crafts (quilting, sewing, knitting, crochet) and all my loves (reading, watching favorite TV programs) first in my life.

    Reality comes screaming in and I have to put all these in the do later basket while I work full time and work over time and work around the house. You get the picture.

    Often I say "When I am retired I will be able to do all these things and not feel guilty about what I am supposed to be doing." Then I realize that the responsibilities never go away, but the pleasurable things are always there for me to pick up for a moment or two and give myself the luxury to pamper me.

    Karen W. in S. W. Ohio

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  23. I would prefer that sewing be first in my life, but lately it seems to have taken a back seat to so many things....

    Something I am working to change!

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  24. Interesting question! Sewing definitely comes before housework, but after work and the gym. In terms of their personal importance to me, I think sewing and the gym are equal but I'd never skip the gym to sew so maybe not. I don't have anyone else to take care of so I can't say anything on that front.

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  25. Taking time to think or act creatively is a top priority for me, always. Most of the time this creativity for me comes in the form of sewing, but it can also be expressed through writing, decorating a room, taking a photograph, baking a cake, etc. I've been like this since I was a little girl; I get out-of-sorts if I'm not expressing myself creatively every day.

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  26. Hope you are feeling better! Hopefully you just have the "end-of-winter-when-is-spring-going-to-come?" blues.

    Sewing is making me fat! Seriously. I stay up late to sew then am too tired to go to the gym in the mornings. I've felt lately that sewing has been taking over my life. I don't mind when husband goes away (not that I used to, but I actually look forward to it now...), I'm sad when I have plans both weekend days b/c I want to sew, I hardly read anymore in the evenings, etc. It's craziness! I need to get a better balance. I just love sewing and creating something, and there are only so many hours in the day....

    But then again, my dear BFF is positivelhy obsessed with exercising, working out, being outside... When I think my sewing love is turning into an obsession, I think of her. But then again, her hobby is much more healthy... ;)

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  27. Carolyn, I've missed you while I was away. I have seen you post "what will my daughters do with all this sewing stuff" many times before. Girl, don't worry about that. I'm sure they are used to it and would miss it if it were gone. As far as the importance of sewing, I try to place it in the middle. It's hard but it's a must for me especially with smaller children, but when they are older, they can just forget it. LOL

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  28. For me cooking and eating healthy food comes first (because I am diabetic and nothing else works well without that). But food is not actually an interest of mine, just a necessity. So DH and DS benefit from that (though not unduly, hehehe, I am not that good a cook). Then religious obligations. DH and DS come mext but are very undemanding really. (My son is an adult.) Then I have to work, I have two women's group meetings every week that I don't miss, a language lesson, and once a month I clean the house thoroughly. The rest of the time, I am thinking about, reading about or actually sewing. Since I never watch TV, it adds up to enough time to make most of my wardrobe. I have only bought knitted garments this year, nothing sewn. But looking at it, I guess the balance is there.

    Hatty

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  29. Great question. I like to try and find a balance but I do get irritable if I can't find enough time to sew. I am lucky in that my husband is very patient and helps out a lot if I'm busy sewing and dinner doesn't get made or the house is in a mess! Time just seems to fly away when I'm at the sewing machine.

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  30. I start my day sewing at 6 am and finish at 11 pm during the wedding season from Feb-Oct.I even get up at 4 am 5 days a week to work on gowns and as far as cleaning and cooking...well it gets done once a week whether it needs it or not...ha ha.
    When it is your full-time business, you never stop and even when you make a break for the only fabric store in town Jo Ann's for small supplies, I am on the hunt for fabric for clients who like certain types.
    My website has just a very small portion of all the weird stuff that follows me home...
    www.itsmysite.com/joannely

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  31. I'm almost ashamed to say that sewing seems to come first with my husband a close second. I noticed I became more obsessed after my cancer diagnosis and it was probably because it gave me something to keep my mind off it. Health-wise I'm not doing so well so I've once again become obsessed but so be it!

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  32. Carolyn, thanks so much for sharing this. I actually got a little choked up! I need to reevaluate things, I think.

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  33. I love sewing! And I love shopping for patterns and fabric, planning fabulous projects, attending sewing expos, reading sewing blogs, and "sewing in my mind" as well. My family would absolutely tell you that I am a sewing geek. But here's the funny thing; when it comes to choosing how I prioritize my time, I have two guiding principles: 1) put people first, and 2) live so I have no regrets. So for me, yes, this translates to sewing being last, because it can always wait. It's always waiting there for me to pick up where I left off. My kids, on the other hand, don't wait, they just keep right on growing up. Time marches on, made up of a million small but precious moments which, taken together, constitute the fabric of my life. I have never personally known anyone who, on their deathbed, said that they wished they had done more housecleaning or hobby work, but I have known of many who regretted not spending more time with their loved ones and grieved over time they could never get back. When my son was an infant, my husband would often come home and find us snuggling in a corner, while moving boxes went unpacked or dust gathered on the stereo (and he didn't mind either. In fact, he would often join us in the corner.) That boy is 19 now, and I treasure those times, but I know I wouldn't have that kind of deep satisfaction today had I chosen to spend that time unpacking boxes or giving the electronics a gleam - or, yes, even nailing a perfect zipper insertion. I am not a super skilled sewer at this point - I may never be - but for this one lifetime I have to spend, my two philosophies always help me find the balance that makes me the happiest.

    SherryV

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  34. I had never thought to rank sewing in my life. I find that when my sewing table has that "flat surface syndrome" sewing tends to be last. I have times when sewing can be - and is - first, but apparently Now isn't it!

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  35. Fun question and great responses. I'd have to say sewing is neither first nor last. And, in my current situation, with my two little boys growing up way too quickly, I wouldn't want it to be first (or last!).

    Sewing is something I really enjoy, even though I'm virtually a beginner. I spend a lot of time thinking about it, shopping for it, planning, etc -- but I really lack the confidence in my ability to do a lot. That said, I take on small projects when I can and get better all the time. I'm hoping to be able to stay home, or at least only work part-time, when my boys start school and to use some of the time they are away to focus on sewing and other creative endeavours (quilting, knitting, scrapbooking, baking & cooking).

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  36. I put my family first, so my sewing is sadly not first in my life. When I have down time, I usually dream of what I can make with this or that beautiful piece of fabric which is staring at me. With extreme medical problems facing both me and my dearly beloved in the last year, I don't have time for everything. Getting him back to good health and regaining my ability to simply stand up and walk have had to take priority. But I have big dreams for this spring and summer! And the dreams help us get through the "must do" items in our world, don't they?

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  37. You know, I've been sewing for almost thirty years. What I realize is I turn to sewing when I need happiness and distraction in my life. When times are rough, sewing is my refuge. When my life is chugging along just fine, it's a simple hobby.

    I have two small kids (2 and 4) and I work full-time so I don't have as much time for it as I'd like, but it sure has helped me through the last two years!

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  38. Sewing is neither first nor last in my life. My family is first. Sewing gives me great pleasure, especially when I am sewing for my family members and I know they will appreciate what I've made. I get so much satisfaction from seeing a project coming together and then finally finished. It's hard to put into words how that makes me feel. I think you probably know, though. Sewing is just a HUGE part of my life!!! I can't imagine not having this gift, talent, skill or whatever it is.

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  39. GAH! I hate this. Unfortunately, I treat sewing like a reward. If I've done everything I should - then I sew. I need to change that. I knit at the end of every day - because it relaxes me. Sewing does the same - but I knit better than I sew.

    I bought the Navy eyelet and added 3 yards of a Liberty print. Now I have to work on muslins and perfect the fit!! g

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  40. Yes. First, last and everything in between. Mostly everything in between. I fit it in between everything else I do. I even use it as a carrot. For example, "If you go vacuum the house, you can sew for another 1/2 hour." Sad, but true and everything gets done by the end of day anyway.

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  41. Sewing isn't first in my life but it isn't last either. I used to sew in long stretches and I spurned Nancy Zieman's advice to fit in 10, 20 or 30 minutes where I could because I thought I wouldn't get very far on a project that way and that I wouldn't have any feeling of flow.

    Motherhood has taught me to revisit her advice. Now I put the dishes on to soak or set the steamer on to heat, then I do just a bit of my sewing project, even if it is only rethreading the machine for the next project.

    I alternate between doing a chore, then sewing. That way I feel connected to my creative side and don't feel like my family has to suffer with a completely neglected house because I want to do my thing.

    There is a lot more flow to this way of sewing than I gave Nancy credit for all those years ago.

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  42. Made me think--this question you posed. Sewing is part of my life. Like most things, sometimes first, sometimes further down the line. I seem to sew in spurts--when I'm inspired I get a lot done. When I'm less motivated I read blogs, listen to podcasts, or read magazines and mentally sew. When the weather is nice, I like to be outdoors. If the chance to see kids and grands comes up, that always comes first. Oh, and DH and I love to travel...so sewing is a "part" of my life. An importantant part!

    Lynda in LV

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  43. At present, other people are first in my life. I am working on changing this and my ability to admit it is the first, most important step.

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  44. To answer this question I have to put myself in a position where sewing comes last in my life. I guarantee you, depression would set in. I mean real depression. 30 years ago I needed to be treated for depression, serious depression. DH and I both came to the realization that when I sew I am happy. I MUST have a creative outlet or I am not myself.Because of this realization, my darling husband helps with the cleaning and chores so I can sew. He truly truly supports me, knowing full well that his wife without a creative expression is a sad, overwrought woman. Lots of time has passed since those "depressed" days and we both have learned a lot about what makes us each happy and how to pursue that.

    That being said, I cannot function in mess, at least in my sewing room. Every night I pick up, organize, and sweep. The creative side of my brain functions so much more clearly when piles and messes are not distracting it. DH takes care of the rest of the house. I am blessed.

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  45. I now unashamedly and without apology make sewing time for myself every day. It may not always be sitting at the machine and stitching, it may be sitting down and planning or just plain old boring tracing, but there is time every day. I finally realised that if I don't have ME time, then I am too disconnected and harried to be of much use to others. Like other commenters have said, sewing is such a part of me that I can't function if I don't have this creative time.

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  46. Wow Carolyn, what a good question, and what great comments as well. When I was younger sewing was first, even when I didn't make much because of career and family. I spent my time looking forward to and planning and sewing epic garments.

    And then for a few years my life was really far from normal and sewing was last. That was very very bad. I was very depressed and unhappy and I eventually came to realize that I could not live that way again.

    Now I am somewhere in between, although sewing is very near the top, along with other needlework projects, like knitting, and some embroidery. Knitting alone is not enough, but sometimes needlework fills in for sewing. And I am tracing and planning pieces and I know I will actually be sewing them soon. But I have other creative outlets too, and I reached a point where things were so bad and so piled up that I could no longer be creative because I felt like my life was chaos and this stifled the creative spirit. As I am getting that chaos under control, and realizing that my life will never be the "old normal" again, and I have to find a way to live with the "new normal", that creative spark is blossoming a bit. So I would say that some kind of creative activity must be #1 in my life and that is related to sewing or knitting or some kind of personal embellishment.

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  47. Sewing has become First, I breathe, sleep & eat all that is sewing. I wake up a 1/2-hr earlier to enjoy a moment in the sewing room, even if its just to shuffle patterns. I have taken to enjoying sewing related lunch breaks, which allows me enough time to cut, mark or baste stitch a garment, instead of eating my lunch at my desk and surfing the web. When I arrive home I will chat with the famly for a 1/2 hr or so and off to my sewing room. As for house related stuff I leave that for Sunday and Sunday only... the rest of the week is all about enjoying my love of sewing and other crafts.

    Also its My Time, 20+ year old kids & independent it leaves just me & my guy who enjoys that I love to craft and @ times indulges me even more allowing me an exorbitant amount of time to sew.. sew... sew, which reminds me that he has asked me several times to make him a shirt & jeans ;}

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  48. Sewing has been taking a higher priority lately, but I would still put work and the gym above sewing. I'm working on maintaining a balance with all of my hobbies and interests, but there are definitely days that I'd like to chuck everything else out the window and just curl up at home and sew.

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  49. I'd have to say last, almost always. Sometimes I set aside time to make it first though.

    I've had to contemplate what I would do if I couldn't sew in recent months too. I'm having a health issue with my eyes (which I haven't talked about before on the blog because...TMI? People don't want to know that.) But anyway, I've had to think about the possibility I won't be able to see well enough to sew. It makes me very sad, because that is definitely my creative outlet!

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  50. Sewing is FIRST!!!! I hate housework & if I leave long enough, DH will do it. LOL

    I love to sew when it is quiet and no one is around/stirring. If I wake up early, I sew. It is my favorite time.

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  51. Sewing is a wonderful thing. This winter I did not construct much, but I did rehab twenty pairs of Brooks Brothers boxers. Elastic is replaced in my sleep now. Not only was it relaxing, but in real dollars that was a savings of $200 even counting the elastic. People who don't sew are missing a great thing. You do not have to do lots of big things, nor do you have to give your life over to it. You can accomplish a lot with a little. This is a great blog, thanks. BER

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