I absolutely adore quilting. I can’t picture what my life would be like without this outlet that I have (actually, yes, I can… but it is not very pretty)
I love to share all the tips and tricks with you that I learn through my experience (i.e. – when I learned how NOT to do something) and things that I just think everyone should know.
I love to hear back from people and read the comments on my posts.
I received an email this past week that said…
“I don’t know how you do it all… I can barely find time to breathe, much less make a whole quilt. I feel like I’m missing something that other quilters have in making this work.”
First off, I’m flattered that someone would think that I can do it all, even though you are so dead wrong!
But here’s the thing: I also have it on my heart to tell you the honest truth in everything too.
You know I will be real with you. This is an open letter to you & to my people – my quilting friends.
This is a list of a few words of advice that I wish more of us would listen to. Read it, put it into practice and I promise you that your quilting and your well being will improve. *that is worth a pinky promise even!*
There is no rule that says you have to have it all together.
I have looked for the magic answers. I tried to solve all the
A lot of them will get you organized and help you get a handle on your to-do list so that (at least some of) it gets done.
You can get kind of close to having it all together. However, if you are looking for perfection you will always be looking for that missing piece.
Please take to heart that the only person demanding you to have everything ‘all together’ is… you. If you wouldn’t expect anyone else to be able to handle your schedule, job demands or parental requirements without falling apart… then that should clue you in that maybe, just maybe… you’ve got too much on your plate.
You can’t pour from an empty cup
Every single person is a caretaker.
The quilting community is full of the most generous and kindest people I have ever met.
You might be a wife, a friend, a teacher You may be a momma to little kiddos. You may be a momma to bigger kids or even grown adults now… I believe we are all called to be caretakers in one form or another.
However, you are completely useless if you run dry and empty.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. The other half of that statement is: Take care of yourself first.
Personally, one of the lowest “empty cup” moments in my life was when I had thrown myself into trying to work again after the birth of my second baby. I was a few months in and I cried… a lot. I couldn’t pin point what it was. Hormones? Was this the point in my life where I just lose it? Was I always going to be like this now?
I remember that I decided enough was enough and I looked at myself like I look at my toddler. Then I said (
I was empty and I set out to pour some self-love back in my soul. (This was in the form of a snickers, some yogurt and a 30 minute nap. Don’t go thinking I ran off to the beach for the weekend!)
This point in my life was when I really got into quilting. 🙂 Quilting became my outlet. I make things for my family and for the people I love but the time spent at the machine is mine.
Quilting is whatever you want it to be
Don’t let anyone tell you how you should quilt. If you think the polka-dots look fabulous with that black and white stripe… it totally does. Call it bold modern art and embrace it!
Quilting is an art. And I love the art world because absolutely no one can tell you what to do. 🙂 Just ask Picasso, Dali, Seurat, Pollock (I love art history… I could go on)
So go be the boss of your quilts and be proud of them and be proud of yourself as a fabric artist!
If you regularly practice these few tips for self-care, you’ll notice a big difference
Self care looks a little different for each person, but for me the times when I focused on getting these into my weeks vs just trying to survive… it is night and day for my stress levels.
- Eat like you would encourage your kids to eat – i.e. take in a few veggies every now and then. Make an effort to get a balanced diet.
- Sleep – Pick a decent bedtime and try to shoot for within 30 minutes of that time every single night to stay consistent.
- Schedule your fun like you schedule your work – We have a running Friday night movie/pizza night appointment in our house. And every other Saturday we do a big family fun day. We also schedule random game nights and I’ll throw in a Mom & Dad date night when we need it too.
- Make a playlist of your jam songs for when you need it – put on some fun music and crank it up. This is a wonderful way to pump up your funky moody days
- Make your space smell nice – Its just an easy boost to your mood when all your senses are engaged 🙂
- Long hot showers are a gift to yourself – Not every day, of course (no one has THAT much extra time) but if you have an extra minute. Get it steamy and breathe deep. Force yourself to relax.
- Take a cozy night in to dream – these are my favorite. I get out my spiral, a pen, and my planner. I look at my calendar and plan out my next projects according to any holidays, birthdays etc… or just make time for something I want to try. Allow yourself a little time to dream and then make a plan!
- 10 minute declutter sessions – declutter something. anything. It doesn’t have to take all day or be the whole house at one time. Just start with one drawer or one pile.
- Make double of a favorite dinner and swap one with a friend or freeze – Same amount of dirty dishes to make 2 meals as it is to make 1 and you get a night off later 🙂
- Use the good stuff – Yes, those dishes that are for when company comes over, that wine that you’ve been saving, the pretty table linens. Use it. wear your pearls (mine are the plastic kind but I still feel chic). Be fancy and enjoy it!
I hope that gives you a few little things that you can put into practice to today to make sure that your cup doesn’t run dry…
…because you are worth every single drop of a full cup! 🙂
What do you do to fill yourself back up when you’re running low? Please share with me in the comments so I can draw from your experience too!
Joan T Shields says
I LOVE your letter to quilters. Some of us take longer than others to know and appreciate many of your TRUTHS. I am older (67) but I have finally given myself permission to say No to some of the demands asked of me and to put me first. Live and learn and never stop.
One of the things I have done to help myself feel better mentally and physically is join an exercise class. We are all in similar circumstance -as in live in a rural community, retired or equivalent and Grandmothers. The class focuses on balance and flexibility with some aerobics and weights thrown in. We have all become close and have kept in touch while I have been away this winter. Sometimes you just need to vent and these girls have been great for that too and it doesn’t leave the room! Women need that so much!
Thank you for the things you share
(you can share this if you wish)
I See Stars Quilting says
Joan, It sounds like you have such a sweet group! Yes, us good girls need to stick together and take care of each other just as much as we need to take care of ourselves. 🙂
Diana Mackey says
Hi Christen, Like Joan’s group, I am also older (65), live rural and I have great-grandkids now. Your TRUTHS really hit home. I have spent my life trying to please others and make them happy which I always felt I failed miserably in. Four consecutive years of crushing drama, including the death of my younger sister and my beloved mother-in-law within a year of one-another, culminated in a drepression filled mini meltdown tantrum (We are all about the drama in our family lol). I decided it was time to be all about me. I am not a social media person, or organized, nor will I ever be able to work with others (very much anti-social!!), and so can’t stand the “Just write every minute detail down” mentality. That said, Last year I made a decision to change. I started a new life plan with the caveat of “If it doesn’t all get done, OH WELL!” I am now happily making over 40 years worth of my quilting ideas, have lost 30 pounds (only 60 more to go!!) and am HAPPY for the first time in my life. A side benefit is that my husband is also much happier that I am happy. One I decided there was no way I was going to be Donna Reed or June Cleaver (as in you have to be perfect), I was much happier. Hopefully other older, generationally-challenged quilters can also let go. Thanks for your letter! Diana
kimberly maclaren says
Hi Christen, your letter to quilters got me thinking because it really hit home . Often I see that people with the biggest hearts are hardest on themselves ! Hon there’s NO Quilt Police gonna knock your door down if your seams are a bit wonky ! If your pinwheels are not perfectly matched guess what ? You learn from your mistakes keep trying . We all start somewhere …. Hey I’m only in my 40’s and I’m recovering from brain surgery ! Has that stopped me from doing what I love ? Heck no ! I’m greatful I’m still here to enjoy sewing ? appreciate your kindness and tips . Please don’t ever underestimate how wonderful your kind heart is . Thank you so very much for shareing the love ! Kim
I See Stars Quilting says
“No Quilt Police gonna knock your door down” Yesssssss! I completely agree! If you pick and pick every single thread apart you’ll find love in every single stitch and that’s all that matters! 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to comment. I love to hear from sweet ladies just like YOU! – PS – I also have had brain surgery. It is not a fun club to be a part of, but happy to be on the other side and blessed!!
Hi Christen, I am relatively new to quilting, but have as yet not actually attempted one. I joined a quilting class which folded and one didn’t re-emerge so I started to look on the internet where there is a plethora of information, (too much in fact as I procrastinate and get nothing done really) I have started small with mug rugs and hot pads trying to guage my sewing before I build myself up to an actual quilt. I found your blog and ifound it intriguing, no pomp or ceremony just chatter but constructive chatter. I had a leg amputation 11 months ago which defined my past times but then I found your letter which was positively thought provoking and with that in mind and with your confidence I SHALL make a quilt.
I See Stars Quilting says
Suzanne! First off, hi 🙂 I’m glad you found me! Second, you can totally make a quilt! It is nothing more than sewing a bunch of mug-rugs together! Your first quilt might not be show ready or even something you pull out for company, when they come over, but it is just a stepping stone to more beautiful quilts to come! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions 🙂 You got this!
Ms Sam Nicholson says
THANK YOU… I cried when I read this. Perfect one to read this morning!
I See Stars Quilting says
You are so welcome. Take care of yourself! I give you full permission to be a little selfish today. We all need this reminder (and often!)