Tag Archives: procrastination

the art of thanking

I’m bad at sending thank you notes.

There. I said it. In fact, I’m not just bad, I’m terrible.

It’s not the writing part that’s difficult. It’s not the grateful part that’s difficult.

And it’s not like I’ve forgotten. In fact I think about writing these thank you at least once a week (usually daily for the first and second weeks). I make plans to sit down and write them but something always comes up. Right now is a perfect example. Instead of writing thank you notes, I’m sitting here writing ABOUT writing them. Sheesh.

Maybe it was because I was rarely expected to write thank you notes as a child. We always stated our thanks verbally, in the moment, and that was that. I can only think of one time that a formal thank you was required. I never thought this was poor form on my parents’ raising of me. It’s just how it was.

Maybe it’s because I have an incredibly ridiculous ability to procrastinate with EVERYTHING and the more time goes by, the weirder I feel about sending a thank you note. Is there even proper etiquette surrounding when the words of appreciation should be sent? What if you’ve kept putting it off and now it is a month, two months or more since the gift was received? Surely there is a statute of limitations? A timeframe which, if you cross, the giver no longer expects a card in return?

My husband, Z, tries to be helpful. He reminds, cajoles, suggests, checks on the status of the thank you. And then there is the guilt. OH! the guilt. Guilty for not getting the note written immediately. Every year (ok, some) I vow that this will be the year that I sit down and write (and send) my thank yous the same day that I receive anything thank you card worthy. And here I still am, lamenting over my shortcomings in the prompt department.

Maybe if I just walk around with a pack of thank you cards in the diaper bag (I don’t even bother with a purse these days) I can get things written sooner. Maybe if I draft some Mad Libs style thank you notes and then just fill in the blanks when the time comes. Sigh. I really don’t know what the answer is.

I do know that I feel great when the notes are written (and mailed) because I am truly grateful to anyone who has taken time, energy, thought, expense to do/give/provide something for me. I am sorry if I have ever owed you a thank you card and didn’t get it sent in a timely fashion (or at all). This is the year I’ll do better!

How about you? Do you have any tips/strategies that could help me?

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the 4 month sushi skirt

The first memory I have of sewing was when I was around six years old. It was pair of navy tights with a hole in the toe. I got my mom’s needle and thread, sat on the edge of her bed and repaired away. I’d love to say I was a natural, and while the hole was gone, what was left was a gnarled, knotted mess of navy tights and white thread.

I got better over the years thanks to my mom showing me simple techniques. Then in college (the first one – Stephen F. Austin State U) I took a costuming class as part of my theatre major. I’d like to say I am now brilliant at sewing but I like to cheat/cut corners; sometimes this works and other times it is a disaster. The seam ripper is my arch nemesis but oh so handy.

My most recent project was to make a skirt. I have a few skirts that I love the cut and have been wearing them for many years now (at least five). I had bought several different prints to make maternity clothes and then nursing tops. None of those plans ever came to fruition – mainly because those projects didn’t seem easy without a pattern. Did I mention I like to cut corners? Finally I decided I could make skirts and went to my attic to pick the fabric for my first skirt. My options were dragons, black background/red and white flowers or geishas. What instead caught my eye was fabric I’ve had for close to 10 years. I had originally planned to make pot holders/trivets with the fabulous sushi print.

Once I thought about having a sushi skirt, I could not let it go. I didn’t have enough fabric for the whole skirt so I decided to get a complimentary solid color for the waist band and an underskirt that showed below the sushi hemline. During Thanksgiving break 2011, Ike and I went to the fabric store and found the perfect color. I tend to gravitate towards the cotton fabrics quilters use because they are easy to work with, there are a lot of different prints/colors, and usually priced reasonably.

My first step was to choose the skirt style. I decided on a 3-4″ waistband, pleats, hemline just below the knee, with pockets. Having a toddler means I have no extra hands, ever. If a skirt doesn’t have pockets, it’s almost useless to me.

I washed, dried and ironed the material before making any cuts. I also made a couple sketches to help think through what I needed to do. Getting the sides of the outer and underskirt skirt sewn with the pockets and the waistband sewn and stitched was fairly easy. Then I had to figure out how to do the pleats. Because I’m stubborn, and convinced I could do this myself, I didn’t use the internet but instead just thought about what I needed to do.

making pleats

One month later during winter break I finally figured it out! I put the inner and outer skirt together. To measure out the pleats I used a scrap of fabric (see photo) that I had cut off of one of Ike’s onesies I converted to a regular shirt. Even though I hate pinning, I dutifully and diligently pinned the pleats.

skirt and waistband ready to attach

Once I got the inner and outer skirts sewn with their pleats, I laid out the skirt and waistband in preparation to attach them. My biggest challenge was the opening since I was using the pocket to reduce the amount of button holes I would need and maximize the opening to accommodate the weight gain that will happen once I stop nursing. So, another month of thinking . . .

hello, seam ripper

It wouldn’t be an authentic “cutting corners” project if I didn’t have to use my seam ripper at least once. I had to redo where the top of the pocket attached to the skirt as I had sewn both sides (at the top) together instead of leaving it open to create a wider opening when the skirt was fully unbuttoned.

I know, I should have pinned first

When I started to stitch the waistband and skirt together (Superbowl Sunday) I didn’t pin because it was the side no one would see. Thankfully, it turned out and I didn’t have to seam rip anything.

attaching the front

As you can see, I’m not always reckless and I pinned the front of the waistband (possibly excessively).

need buttonholes

Now came the difficult part. Buttonholes. Yes, they really aren’t that difficult but my sewing machine is on a zigzag strike which makes sewing buttonholes nearly impossible. Thankfully, a friend from church has a sewing machine and graciously put the four buttonholes in my skirt while I chased Ike around her home.

salvaged buttons

The buttons I chose were some I pulled off an old, moth eaten wool cardigan I dearly loved and did not want to get rid of. In addition to reusing the buttons and resurrecting a piece of my clothing history, I got the added benefit of having buttons that look a little like sushi rolls!

It took me another week or so before I finally ironed AND pinned the outer and under skirts in preparation for hemming. My goal was to finish the skirt before my birthday in March and I made it! The next skirt I plan on making will HOPEFULLY not take me four months to finish. I do know that the next skirt will not be (nearly) as full of whimsy.

helping momma

While I worked, Ike was super helpful. He played, happily, in his playpen my parents shipped from Texas in the trunk of a 1953 Ford Tudor. The one thing he wasn’t so keen on was sharing the play pen with one of my old Cabbage Patch dolls.

And now for the reveal . . .

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Filed under the crafty seamstress