Thursday, July 31, 2014

Velcro rollers, naps and all that

Today I woke up feeling particularly frumpy. Maybe because I haven't shopped for clothing in a very long time  and my wardrobe is worn out ; or maybe because my hair is in desperate need of coloring sons keep saying "what's wrong with your hair?"; or maybe because on a daily basis I wear what is comfortable to do what I do around the house and at my work table which is the same pair of black work out shorts that should have been retired 4 years ago; OR maybe it's the fact its 105 outside and I have a raging headache.   Regardless, I'm feeling frumpy today. So in an effort to defrump myself I took a shower, washed and dried my hair (with it's glaring shiny streak at my part) and decided to spiff it up a bit. I used the big hair velcro rollers, threw on some makeup, some insanely hot dangly earrings and even wore a tee that slides off my shoulder to get that "I woke up looking this good" casual look.. Took out the rollers, shook my head and looked in the mirror  There ya go boys, look at your mama now...... wearing a cute denim skirt and rocking the 60s movie star hair.  I still got it.

For about 10 minutes.... I was on top of the world, feeling like a big haired hip sassy girl who happens to be way too cool  and  is wayyyyy too young looking for these kids that follow me around.  Then my frumpy reality came running back.  My hair is in my eyes and the skirt is not working for cleaning the bathrooms. I guess I'll save all that fixing up for when I am actually going someplace. Life is not always a photo op....

I know better than to try to be something I'm not, but sometimes I think I could step my game up a bit more...I think I'll color my hair and get a pedicure so that when I pull on those black workout shorts and sit at my work table, I'll be feeling pretty fancy. But, for today, I think I'll take that nap and let the big hair get squished. After's still 105 outside......

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sunscreen in my eyes

Today my youngest, Jack asked to go to the waterpark with a friend which is a normal summer occurrence for us.  It's close by and the kids are of an age where they get dropped off  (because nothing is less cool than having your mom hang out with you at the water park when you are 13 going on 17).   So we were packing Jack up and then something happened to unravel me.  He asked me to spray him with sunscreen.

Let me back up a teeny bit.  Jack is the youngest of my five kids. The older three are grown and have babies of their own and I've adapted to the notion that they are not little kids anymore. I don't like it but I've learned to accept and embrace their grownuphood.  And then there is Hank who is on the verge of his senior year and clearly has started his climb out of the nest, I only really have interaction when he wants to talk about his laundry or wants to go shopping. I am allowed to watch him play football but not to interfere much except take a picture after the game, before he is off with much cooler people than I. 

That's okay because there is one  guy left to hold this mom's heart together and he is Jack.  Jack was made for this job, he is sweet, funny and oh so patient with me and after all we still have ahundred four years of time left in childhood. He is  taking it for the team by spending time with me when all his older siblings are off having their own lives but seems to shoulder the responsibility with all the patience in the world. .   I once asked him what I was going to do with how fast he is growing up and his response was "I worry about it too, but, let's just take it one day at a time."   Which I was doing well until today.  He asked me to spray the sunscreen and, in my mind I was dealing with this child.

But in reality, I was spraying sunscreen on this kid.

He is a good 4 inches taller than I am and he is shaving. His voice is deep and he has muscles. And I don't know if it was the sudden realization of how grown up he is that brought me to tears or maybe it was just sunscreen got in my eyes.  He is off to the waterpark to talk to girls, walk around looking cool and eat lots of food with his buddy and I'm pretty sure he isn't thinking much about the ugly cry face I made as I resisted the urge to get my suit and join him. It's about 10 more seconds before these last two guys of mine are off into grownuphood along with those that went before them.  And then what will I do with all this sunscreen?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Do Something

I get stuck .... I am thinking we all get stuck and tangled up sometimes, it's hard to know how it happens or why, but, you know when you are there.  I shared that I am taking this summer slow and all the reasons why; family needs, mess cleaning and time to be. All valid and true, however, if I am being totally honest with myself, I got a little stuck. I lost my mojo and creative drive and I didn't know what I wanted to do next.  

My stuckness started as I did a local vintage show. It's a fun show, I love that it's in my hometown, the girls who put it on are insanely awesome, the vendors are fun and its overall a great show to do.  I was super excited with all kinds of fresh goods and displays and my space looked just how I wanted it to. The show opened and customers came in and I stood there in my cute tank and apron with a smile on my face and fluttering excitement. People filled the show spaces.... and they walked by my space without stopping or slowing down. It was early and patience is always important as is letting go of expectations. Trying to just have fun with the day, I said hi to everyone who wandered by my space and engaged anyone I  could in little bit of "how are you" banter. I was having fun and  I was in perfect spot for great traffic.  But still, not many took even a second look, I mean COME ON PEOPLE, I have really great things here!!!   There were some who wandered through my little "shop" and took a better look but mostly, people walked on by.  Now to be totally fair, I had some sales and wonderful friends stopped by as well as some who I knew from Facebook and Instagram. And it was a really really hot day.  But..... for whatever reason people didn't stop and shop with me. I saw other booths carrying out sold items s and selling their goods but not so much for my stuff.  As the day went on, my smile stayed intact but admittedly, my heart was sinking just a bit.  Sunday came around and I made a huge effort to just enjoy the day and all it brought and not worry about the sales, however.....I'm a handmade business and it is about the sales as well as the experience.  I didn't fare much better on Sunday which was even hotter than Saturday.  So, let me state clearly, I LOVE this show and it was a fun time,  but I felt like a failure.  I brought fresh new goods and they were displayed well and I  was sure they would sell and they didn't.   Bottom line...they didn't.

Now, on the plus side, I am going back, I looked at the setups and tents and made some exciting changes to how I will situated in the that isn't the deal.  What to do with what felt like failure and lack of interest was what weighed on me hard, that is the deal.  And the internal battle began, fueled by the criticism of people who also judged my success on how many dollars were made versus my expenses.  I questioned everything, including my own ego and abilities.  Did I just assume my stuff was cute because I made it or am I fooling myself?  And how could it just not appeal to ANYONE?  Add in a slightly funky unrelated misunderstanding  and I was stuck, as in quicksand the "I can't get out" kind of stuck.  Quicksand of self doubt and letting other people's (who don't understand why I do this anyway) voices into my head.  Not how I usually am in life but then I was stuck and when you are stuck, you don't even really know what to do or if you want to do anything at all... because you are well....stuck.

So without any clear answers and a whole list of negative thoughts in my head and heart, I got more stuck, up to my neck in muck stuck.  I shipped off the extra goods to a friend's shop and put my sewing machine away and declared this a summer of time off.  And now I can shaemlessly admit/tell you that a great deal of my summer off was running away from the doubt that was chasing me. I needed a break.   For a month I didn't sew....not a thing and I didn't even think about it.  The thing that has always been my joy and refuge became my nemesis.  I took the cowards way out .   Yes, I was a chicken and was walking away, no pulling up of big girl panties or getting back on the horse, I just turned away from what I love because I was afraid of failing even more. You could say I wallowed a bit, in the muck and doubt. Hiding and wallowing, never attractive and never will those things get you where you want to be.   

Somewhere in the depths .... as always happens with me, after a month of hiding I began to hear the voice  that says  "Don't be a jerk, get up, DO SOMETHING" , the voice that won't be quiet was speaking again ...I ignored it a bit longer, like a couple of weeks longer. But it's a persistent kind of voice, and will not be silenced. I ignored it because I wasn't quite ready to face the possibility that everyone was right and I'm not succeeding and never will, chicken to even find out, chicken to admit I still cared.  Afraid of possibility that nobody would like what I was doing even if I did my best, it might not be good enough. Afraid of the voices telling me to quit and afraid they were right. Afraid to have people walk by again without looking at  my stuff. Afraid to put myself out there.

 HOWEVER, I am not that girl, the one who listens to the negative voices or gives in to fear. Because this is my story, I didn't want it to be a story of "I tried and just quit".   I'm the girl who bends rules and does things her own way. I am a girl who does things the way I do because I believe in myself.  I'm the girl who falls down 7 times and stands up 8.  I'm the girl who can't sleep with a brain full of ideas and visions. I'm the girl who is always positive , who trusts my gut and instincts and follows them to the end of everything.  I'm the girl who started with a stack of old sheets and a basket of yarn and created a business and I'm the girl in charge of all this, not a quitter.  I am a tangled wildflower kind of girl whogrows where she shouldn't and shows up over and over again because I believe in the truth of my passions. Tell me I can't and I will do it just to prove that I can... It just took me a bit to remember that and pull myself out of the muck which it turns out wasn't so neck deep after all...I was just standing in a shallow puddle and all I had to do was take a step, a teeny step but one taken with conviction and intention.  I just needed to want to try and the moment I took that step back into my world, I was free again.  Unfettered, unraveled and unstuck.

Do Something... probably the best advice/reminder ever given ( a big shout out to my friend for the butt kicking) , so good I wrote it on my wrist where I would see it as I sewed and worked. Turn up the music, dust off the work table and get back to it.  Just start with anything,  just start.  I was able to post some new things yesterday and to my delight, there wasn't the sound of crickets in response, to my great delight, everything I made found a home.  It feels super good to be unstuck, to make a plan and again have a purpose.  To remember who I am and what makes my heart beat a little faster.  Indeed I still need days off and it's still summer so the pace will be slow to spend time with my boys, but, all the failure and all the negative voices are not welcome here and have enthusiastically replaced by the mantra of Do Something.  Because that something will inevitably lead you to something else and before you know it you are back home where you belong.   Doing what you love in peace and truth, no more chicken  run away from a little challenge kind of behavior...... I'm back at work, watch out world....... 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In defense of selfies

    I have a confession..... I take selfies and not just one or two but more than I should admit. And to the horror of my teenage children, I post them on Facebook and Instagram.   But truly I think selfies are getting a bad rap and I would like to throw out a bit of perspective.   
    I am a mom  to 5 wonderful people between the ages of 13 and 33. I spent their baby and younger years asking them to "Look at Mom" so I could capture moments with my little cameras.  I would then throw the film rolls in a drawer/take the rolls to be developed and when the envelope of new pictures came home, I was nowhere to be seen.  All those photos of my children as they rambled through life. But.....rarely are there pictures of me with my kids or family.  Or me at all  because as the mom, I was the taker of the pictures.  And this is how it was until the smart phone with a reversible camera came into existence and the selfie was born.
    I admit that I like documenting not only the life and events of people I love, but, I like documenting the fact that I am here too.   
   Decades slipped by and I have little photographic evidence that I was around but thanks to smart phones, social media and selfies. that has changed and I'm not sorry.  It's okay to be the one who take the picture that says "I am here... this is me"....A selfie allows us to do just that.  So celebrate your good hair days, share your new shirt you love and capture yourself doing what you love with who you love. And if by chance it embarrasses your kids just a little bit....even better. 

<3 Barbara

p.s. if you want to follow my Instagram and see my world and work I am at @Thewildflower57

Friday, July 11, 2014

Knitting, avoidance and healing

   Some days, all I want to do is knit.  I crave the calm, meditative, mind managing peace that comes with the repetitive motions.  I love the way the yarn pulls through my fingers.  I love the colors, the softness and the gentle click of my wooden needles.
   This last year, I found that life had thrown some big rough things in my way.  I picked them up, carried them along and as also happens, I broke down a bit from the load.  But this is a story of goodness, peace, the gift of clarity and fresh starts that come only after carrying the biggest of rough loads.  The kind of goodness where  you learn that you actually get to make a  choice as  how you deal with the loads.  I had spent much too long  being really pissed off and sad and seeing the world through a whole lot of struggle. Clearly not the best approach at all.
    Summer got here right after I did a big vintage show which I did right after I had barely begun to shake off my pissedoffness and I would say that I just hadn't gotten my feet under me in many many months.  I came to understand   be told in no uncertain terms by my children that I needed to slow it down and when I say "it", I mean everything. They wanted me to pay attention to them and NOW, not when I get the next project finished.
    My youngest sons are both in high school, the oldest is a senior, halfway out the door and they both simply asked if I could just not always be in the middle of rushing or attending to my projects and business.  They asked to not have my business take over our home and every moment I was awake.  They were asking me  to be present and interested in them.  At first I had loads of reasons why I filled my days and mind with everything else; I vigorously defended my parenting style, my intentions and time management.  I proclaimed that I was doing "my best"; that was proven the fact that I attended and participated in everything for their football and events.  But, I can admit it  now,  I wasn't fully present in heart and mind when we were at home.  I was avoiding the mess I had made in our house, the mess I had made of managing my time with them and the fact that I missed knowing more of who they are.  They were more upfront and honest than I was in saying that they just wanted me around, really around. I was hiding behind my "business" as if that was a good reason to be so distracted from life. I was failing in the finding of balance. 
     So.... for the first time in as long as I can remember, I  put away the sewing machine, started moving fabrics out of every nook and cranny of our small home, put things into the shelves in the garage and stopped spending every moment either at the computer or the sewing machine. I just stopped it all.  I started hanging out, working with them to clean bathrooms, clear up piles of outgrown clothes and toss out what we don't need that is cluttering our living space.  We are doing this together.  I am working to give them back our home and give them back my attention. I will be ready soon  to check back in to my business, the sewing machine is calling my name and I've missed it but I've learned a great deal by getting a bit more present.   
   I call it Summer Girl Life, my slow quiet summer way of being.  Taking back the notion that life even quiet and noneventful at times is of value. It's not a flashy "look at me" life that I see on Instagram, (its hard to not compare, I admit I am competitive)  its more about small moments, time to listen to Jack tell a ridiculous joke, or watch World Cup Soccer with Hank because he wants me to be there with him.  I've read a book and watched movies in the cool  house instead of finding something more "important" to do.  We were gifted a sweet pool; we have floated, talked and ran in circles to make a whirlpool that sweeps us around the edge of the water like a carnival ride. There have been days when nothing much happens at all except hanging out and making big bowls of macaroni and cheese.  And I've been knitting and immersing myself in the calm meditative, mind managing peace found in the knits and purls of many hats. .  I needed to forget the big rough loads that came into the path and how heavy they were to haul around.  They needed me to just be here now.   There has been no greater gift  than a summer spent  just having a summer. And knitting hats. Lots and lots of hats.  

<3 Barbara

Thursday, July 10, 2014

So this is my blog.....

   So hey.....I've been scaredtodeath excited to write this blog for a long time. I honestly have no idea what I am doing here but it's going to be fun(if you like pushing yourself off a cliff into the unknown kind of fun).   I'm hoping you hang in with me while I learn, improve and polish up this blog. It's a mix of regular life, insights and thoughts and of course the stuff I make. 
  I tend to be a little random and scattered, it's my nature and often my brain has been called the drunken squirrel party by people who love me.  And that is the truth of it, so many things roll around at the same time and it's hard to nail me down or explain why I do what I do. I do know that for as long as I can remember I have loved to make things from other things. Specifically fabric and yarn things. When I was supposed to be picking a college to attend and a major when asked what I wanted to do, I told my high school counselor "I want to make things"...she told me it wasn't a job. So I tried some other things but always at the heart of it was my desire and need to make things. 
   So this is my first post, I thought it would be much more perfect and sensational, I've certainly thought about it all for a very long time but when it comes right down to it, I'm not a perfect or sensational kind of girl. I 'm a little ragged and tattered. And always barefoot. Hence the name of my blog.  I am so very very happy you are here with me, and the drunken squirrels. 

<3 Barbara

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