Slow Down and Relax by Going a Little Crazy!
By Judy Moore Pullen
Do you sometimes get in a fizz with too much to do and too little time, especially during the holidays? Have you heard the expression, “The faster I go, the behinder I get”? Do you have lists of lists and check them more than twice? During this season of anticipation, do you sometimes lose focus and get caught up with things, stuff? Create a time, place, and space just for yourself.
Write yourself “in” on your calendar: ME, MYSELF, AND I. Sometimes just the act of writing things down seems to make it more official, more important just like you are. Schedule yourself on a day or days and time that is just for you. I discovered that I was elbow deep in dishes until 8 o’clock most evenings. By the time I hung up my dishtowel and turned off the kitchen light, I was too wilted to treat myself to anything other than ice cream, which is still a good idea…But I did not have the energy or desire to do something creative like hand stitching. So, I located some research that said something about your largest meal of the day should be lunch, and that eating light in the evening was better for you. This is not a direct quote, mind you, but it fits into my schedule, opened up time in the evenings to relax and sew, and I am sticking to it. So, I wrote myself in on my calendar each evening. Granted, there are occasions when something special pre-empts my evenings to sew, but those are rare. Writing myself in my calendar was giving me permission to treat myself. After all, I have 12 hours in the day for other things.
Then I staked out a place for myself: my pink wing-back chair, pre-loved and purchased from a resale shop some years ago. I prefer to call it my pink nest. It is feathered with pillows. I have a “just my size” footstool for propping up my feet that brings my work on top of my lap pillow up to the right level for hand stitching. My comfort zone enables me to relax, breathe deeply, and get into a creative mode where ideas can begin to take shape. It is my happy place.
The space around my nest is somewhat cluttered, try as I might to be neater. I begin each evening with hot tea or ice water on the table within easy reach. There is a pretty little ceramic container once used for sprigs of flowers that now holds scraps and trimmings of threads. If one pincushion is good, several are better. Each one serves as a lovely reminder of someone who gave it to me. Containers hold projects. Some containers are plastic and I can easily see which project is inside. Others are re-purposed baskets or boxes that are just fun to have around and serve as décor during the day. I love to collect old containers, sometimes creating a piece of wool applique and/or embroidery and gluing it to the lids. A flexible arm lighted magnifier is positioned so that I can more readily thread needles and see my work. A vintage lamp on my right is just so pretty to have nearby.
I have several projects going at once…not uncommon among those of us who have a passion for needle and thread. Sometimes I just enjoy adding more hand stitching to a crazy quilt block that has been a WIP (Work in Progress) for some time. It is a mish-mash of fabrics, threads, stitches, and embellishments. I am still waiting for it to speak to me to tell me when it is completed. Zig-zag machine stitches around the outside edges help to stabilize the block, but there is still plenty of space to play. Some evenings, it is just the warm-up for getting my creativity in gear. I keep notepad and pencil handy for jotting down ideas, making sketches, and writing notes to myself. I prefer my time, place, and space to be quiet, but that is not always the case.
I so look forward to my time and nesting place and space each day. It helps me to pace myself during the day while doing more mundane things. It is a reward that I deserve, and so do you. I am thinking about setting up an alternate nest, in the den. Sometimes, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday football can be just too much of a good thing, and I need my own time out.