Finding Creative (Sewing) and Real Life Balance

I’ve been quiet around here for a bit. True to form, I’ve been working on a lot of projects simultaneously, but I don’t have any full-finishes to share. So it’s more in-progress shots today of the various projects that are making their way across my sewing table. Or across my couch as I watch Olympic highlights every night. (The absolute most perfect time ever for hand-sewing projects.) While I have been on a sewing kick recently, to be honest, I haven’t had the motivations brain juice to document it. Sewing feels rejuvenating but having to stop and take pictures and try to explain it to someone else doesn’t. You know what I mean? 😆

I’ve made good progress on the stuffed bears I’ve been working on for Dolls of Hope. I’m up to 26 finished bears. (So I take back my previous statement – I DO have something finished to share.)

I have enough flannel and stuffing for a few more so I’m going to see how many more I can complete over the weekend and then get these delivered. 

Also on my sewing table, finally binding an ages-old UFO (UnFinished Object). I realized earlier this year that I cut out the patchwork squares for this quilt 10 years ago. 10 years ago people!  The real wake-up call here was realizing that I used the squares to make a baby quilt at the same time. And that child is now 10. Proof positive.

I finally got it to the quilter’s earlier this summer and just finished sewing down the binding so that I could finish the hand binding while also watching the Olympics. I’ll be sharing full-body beauty shots soon. 

Always feels good to get another UFO checked off the list!

Also off to the quilter’s this week: the Super-Size Union Jack quilt. I’m SO excited to get this one back and will have the pattern ready to share!

And, of course, a brand new quilt in the works! I’m updating my Bushel and a Peck pattern cover. And since I’ve filled my quota on red-white-and-blue quilts this summer, I was excited to play with a totally different color scheme. Love these fresh gray and gold “neutrals” from the brand new Gingham Foundry collection from Riley Blake Designs. Gingham Foundry coming to stores later this month. And hopefully a finished quilt too!

I’ve been working on all of these projects as I’m learning how to use the new Baby Lock Accomplish sewing machine. This machine has had more of a learning curve for me, but I think I’ve got the system down. I LOVE that this sewing machine is a workhorse – it sews SO FAST. I’m feeling so productive!

Next week I’ll be sharing more about what I’ve learned and think about the Accomplish sewing machine.

We are fast approaching the end of summer vacation. There are a lot of things I love about summer. I really do. Normally at this point of the summer I am also rejoicing and SO EXCITED for school to start and looking forward to time alone in my house again. I used to really resist summer and feel overwhelmed by people I was responsible for around all of the time, but I would gut through it and look forward to the return of quiet time at the end of August.

The good news is the past year and a half has taught me to just live in the moment – with what life is. To enjoy the good parts – I really like my kids/family and enjoy having them around. (Also, they’re way more helpful/independent then they were 10 years ago.) I’m also a lot better at pacing myself, giving myself breaks and time away, spending time rejuvenating outside, simplifying expectations, etc. That makes a huge difference too.

At the same time, I’m still grieving a little that it’s not “normal back-to-school” life around here. Even with the hope (fingers crossed! please!) that the school experience will be ‘back to normal’, it’s definitely not ‘back-to-normal’ for us. Our youngest is still dealing with health/autoimmune/POTS issues and I’m in the process of trying to figure out what this school year is going to look like for him/us. Sigh. I miss predictable. (Don’t we all?!)

We’ll probably be doing another hybrid of some in person (which he really needs for his own social/mental well-being) and some online/homeschool options. I’m so grateful those options exist. I’ve always had the utmost admiration for home-school moms – basically because I didn’t feel like I was cut out for it. That admiration has grown.

But if I’m honest, I’m still mourning the loss of my freedom and quiet time. I’ve had next-to-none for the past 19 months! While I’m grateful I have projects and work that I enjoy and can do from home, it’s my aging brain that is suffering and missing the quiet time the most. I’ve found it so much harder to be productive creatively in terms of writing in coherent sentences, thinking strategically and making plans, responding to emails, etc. Basically anything where another human needs me starts to feel overwhelming.

At the same time, I know there are many of you out there with responsibilities and demands that are way heavier than mine. I have new admiration and appreciation for anyone caring for a chronically ill person. ❤

So thanks for putting up with me as I publicly reassess my capacity and work-life balance. I love this community. 

I came across these rocks on while I was on a short hike yesterday. A good visual reminder of my need for balance in life.

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  • Reply
    Lisa Lehmann
    August 7, 2021 at 3:34 pm


  • Reply
    Lorraine Barnett
    August 7, 2021 at 6:31 pm

    You are a truly special person, Amy, and I do appreciate you sharing so openly your struggles with life. We all do struggle and it is a gift to all of us that you share your life willingly with us as well as your family. Thanks for all you do, for your spirit and gifts that you share with this community. We love ya!

  • Reply
    August 7, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    You are so wise! And your UFO is so pretty… love those summery colors!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2021 at 12:41 am

    Amy, i can so totally relate to that need for privacy and “alone” time. i am a mother to 8 and grandmother to over 30, most live close enough to visit alot, and some live around the corner……i love them totally, and often have to remind myself that i CHOSE this life and still CHOOSE it. that being said, i[‘m also an inddividual, and one of my basic needs is to create, for which i need alone time! i guess balance is something we need to learn at every stage of life. from when we were learning to walk, or ride a bike, newly married, mothering those young one or even now, when i had expected it to be easy and empty and really its fuller and more colorful than ever before, thank G-d. how about a neurtal color scheme for a while!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!you can do this, maybe not every second, or even every day as successfully as you want to, but than again maybe our definition of success needs to be redefined!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    lovingly, another woman on the way

  • Reply
    Nancy A Benedetto
    August 8, 2021 at 6:15 am

    I, too, am thankful for all your sharing. It makes me realize that it isn’t just me. Sometimes, I feel selfish. At 76, I’m in year number 13, raising my Granddaughter. who is so easy, so I’m told. There has been so much for me to learn. Not only in the new way of raising a child, but also in all the new ways of sewing. Looking forward to my school quiet time. Thank you for all that you are and all that you do.

  • Reply
    Leslie K.
    August 8, 2021 at 7:12 am

    Amy, I just want to thank you for being so real. You and I have similar personalities and I can totally empathize how you are feeling about life. It’s wonderful that you share about the realities of life and also trying to be creative for your work. I sometimes find it so hard to find my sewing/creative mojo in this “new” world and it’s nice to see how you are learning to deal with this….gives me inspiration! ps Also love your nature pictures!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2021 at 7:43 am

    I am that person too, who needs space and quiet from time to time. Mom guilt is real and pressure for our own expectations on ourselves can be harsh. What I learned this year is my best plans may not be God’s plans and to trust a different path is hard. I am working on it and finding that I can accept change as long as I allow myself a new mindset. Be at peace friend, don’t be so hard on yourself…it will be ok. The serenity prayer has crossed my lips many times this year. We can do it!!

  • Reply
    Patti Mac
    August 8, 2021 at 7:55 am

    I too, would love to be back in normal times. One day at a time is not as overwhelming. Thank you for sharing all your talents with us as well.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2021 at 8:34 am

    I love hearing from you and seeing your projects, but understand that you need down time. We have all had to adjust to this new ‘normal’ and it is helpful for us all t share our coping mechanisms – hand-sewing the teddy bears during the olympics is a great idea!

  • Reply
    Jillene Robison
    August 8, 2021 at 9:03 am

    God bless you as you continue your journey. 💓 You’re not alone and your sentiments are very like mine and many others’. Take good care. ❤️

  • Reply
    Mary Baker
    August 8, 2021 at 9:22 am

    Amy, your feelings of loss about quiet time and solitude resonant with me. Thank you for sharing them so honestly. Covid has been a challenge for everyone. As things opened this spring and I didn’t feel the need to be a cheerleader for family and confined older parents the sense of exhaustion was overwhelming. As activities of teens and family resume I understand the feeling of being overwhelmed. You are in a unique position too with a chronically vulnerable person living with you. Will lift prayers for comfort and peace as you live one day at a time and create such beauty and inspiration as you go! Thank you
    BTW, sewing a sleeve on a rainbow half square triangle quilt inspired by yours and I am calling LOVE IS LOVE.
    Also finished putting a binding on an adaptation of your Star Baby quilt for a neighbor….

  • Reply
    August 8, 2021 at 9:23 am

    My friends and I have had conversations with remarks much like what you’ve written. We feel scattered, unfocused and then we feel guilty about that. All underscored with a desperate longing for normal.
    I do enjoy your posts and I’m looking forward to the one about Accomplish. And those Gingham Foundry fabric.. yum.

  • Reply
    Linda Douglas
    August 8, 2021 at 9:24 am


  • Reply
    Ayesha Hassan
    August 8, 2021 at 10:51 am

    Hi Amy. Thank you fir sharing your projects. I am an English Teacher and I enjoy sewing. I am planning to start a sewing club at my school, but hand sewn projects only as we do not have machines. I am researching simple, printable sewing guides, kits, and cost projects. I have ordered precut fat squares and browsed stores like JoAnn Fabrics, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and of course Walmart for inexpensive supplies. Do you have any recommendations?

  • Reply
    August 8, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    Good for you for trying to find balance in your life. Your son’s situation will make this a complicated school year for you and your family but I hope you can go forward with a lot of family, friends and community help. I enjoy your blog so much and wish you all the best.

  • Reply
    Mrs. Plum
    August 8, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    Yes, everyone struggles, and it’s okay to say that you are doing so as well. I would much rather read an honest blog rather than one that depicts a “perfect” life. How kind you are to make those cuddly bears! As for UFO’s, I would venture that most of us have them, some much older than 10 years. Sometimes, my skills have to catch up to my vision.

  • Reply
    Sarah Pownall
    August 9, 2021 at 10:03 am

    I think 10 years is more than acceptable to finish a quilt tbh. I started a single bed quilt for my little girl when she was born (for her first bed) and finished it in time for her birthday in December 2020…when she was 34! It had to become a king size quilt instead! It was all hand sewn too as I’m not great with a machine 😏

    • Reply
      August 10, 2021 at 1:26 pm

      I love it!!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2021 at 11:23 am

    Amy, or any one reading this, do you know of anybody currently making rice bags for cancer patients? i have fabric and would love to make the bags, then sending them unfilled to someone who could finish the process.

    • Reply
      August 24, 2021 at 9:58 pm

      I don’t know of anyone at the moment. But keep looking – I’m sure someone would be so grateful. xo

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