Monday, April 4, 2016

Breaking Bread and Cutting Fabric: Spring Break 2016 Day Four

The alarm went off this morning, and I got up to get ready to meet a new friend for breakfast at the Crystal Creek Café in Bothell.  The body wasn’t cooperating, though, moving way too slowly, and I was almost late.  I’m glad it worked out.  For not knowing each other well, our two-hour conversation quickly turned to personal and spiritual matters.  It’s deeply satisfying to connect with another human being in a significant way. She is a ministry colleague, although she has spent most of her career on the mission field, but we had lots of common ground.  I left feeling encouraged and uplifted; I hope we remain friends.

I thought about doing some shopping but my heart wasn’t in it.  My filter this week has been: “Is this how I really want to spend my spring break?”  So I came home to decide which project should be next.  I had cut out fabric for custom Christmas stockings two years ago, and I briefly entertained the idea of sewing those up.  But I knew it was going to be a time-consuming project that would require me to re-engineer the process (since it’s been so long since I first made them and I don’t have a pattern), and it felt a little daunting.  I found fabric I had cut out for a skirt some time ago and decided that now was the time to stitch it up.  It was a cheery print spring-weight stretch twill that would be perfect to wear now.

I used to sew a lot, so much that my sewing machine was out all the time and I never had to hunt for anything.  Now, though, it’s a once-in-a-great-while kind of activity, and it takes longer to find my rhythm.  However, I’m practicing not stressing over multistep projects, so I just let each step happen in turn and get what I need as I need it.  It worked pretty well until I got to the last step: inserting elastic.  This step requires a tool to thread the elastic through the waistband, usually a large safety pin, and I could not find a single one anywhere in my stash.  I have a little elastic-pulling tool, but it’s worthless and kept slipping off the elastic.  No problem, I thought, I’ll just run to the store to get some, and while I’m out I’ll do those returns at Costco. 

I put on my sweater and gathered up my stuff and looked outside: pouring rain.  I’m not talking about our usual Seattle misty no-need-for-raingear sort of precipitation.  I’m talking downpour.  My fatigue talked me out of going anywhere, so I texted Darrel and asked him to pick up some safety pins on his way home, and then I lay down to take a nap.  That’s what I needed.

Darrel came home and I pretty quickly finished the skirt, safety pin in hand, and tried it on.  A sleeveless top I bought recently in a BOGO sale was, I discovered, a perfect shade of green to go with the skirt.  A pink wrap, pink sandals, and pink necklace I already own brought the ensemble together.  I’m pretty happy about all this, especially not having to buy anything else to complete the outfit—can’t wait for a warm enough day to wear it.

Darrel and I made dinner and played a couple of games of 9-Hole Golf (the card game) while he was watching “the” basketball game on his phone.  Although I’m usually the distracted multitasker, Darrel occasionally takes on that role.  He tied for second in his pool; I guess that’s good news!

I had more fabric for another skirt and couldn’t decide which pattern to use.  A second pattern had some custom-sizing options that appealed to me, but it looked complicated and time-consuming, and I wasn’t sure it would fit right even with those options.  The fabric, it turns out, goes perfectly well with the OTHER sleeveless top I got in that BOGO sale, so I decided to make another skirt just like the first one.  This required getting out the cutting table, which is folded up in our bedroom, covered with a custom cover, and disguised as an accent table.  I uncovered it and dragged it into the entryway, which is so roomy in this condo that I can open up the table and still maneuver through the space and access the front door.

I cut out the skirt and decided to look through my stash; once I’m in cutting mode, I want to cut out several projects so I can put away the cutting table.  I found fabric I had bought impulsively (I really thought my fabric-hoarding days were a thing of the past, but all these pieces I have purchased relatively recently—in the last year or two) to make a tote bag, found the pattern, figured out I had everything I needed, and proceeded to cut that out as well.  Snag—the fabric piece was a bargain because it had a big black mark through the middle of it.  By refolding the fabric, though, I was able to cut out the bag anyway with no black mark showing.  Have I mentioned that I love problem-solving?

I love looking at my fabric stash, too, and the patterns.  My favorite part of projects is gathering the supplies, but I feel guilty about gathering supplies I don’t use, so I do try to get projects done from time to time.  (One of the things I dislike about working full-time is not having enough project time!)  When I finally get projects moving, the sense of achievement is powerful.  I like being the kind of person who can do lots of different things “from scratch,” so to speak.  I like being resourceful.

I debated cutting out even more things, but I simply ran out of steam.  When I was young and running a business from my home when my kids were little, I would work on projects from about 9 p.m. after the kids went to bed, until about 2 a.m.  Late night TV kept me company, and I got so much done in those quiet hours.  But those days are done, I guess.  It’s 11 p.m. and I’m done for the evening.  Tomorrow—no alarm necessary, and nothing particular on the schedule, so maybe I’ll sleep in and then plunge in.

At breakfast this morning, I confided to my new friend that frittering away time is not at all restful to me—but completing projects feels truly restorative.  I’m physically fatigued, but my soul is happy.

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