Babies on TV

March 3rd, 2016 - 

They say when you’re pregnant, suddenly everyone in the world is pregnant too. Meaning, you don’t really notice pregnant women until you are one. I certainly found that to be true — I was noticing pregnant women almost for the first time — and it felt nice to be part of such a large group of women all experiencing mostly the same thing.

Then, once my daughter was born, babies seemed to appear as if from every direction. Celebrity babies, family babies, and Facebook friend babies were born by the dozens. The baby boom of Winter 2015/16 has been endless.

Even more improbable, every TV show I binged on my maternity leave seemed to feature a baby storyline as well. Weird, right? Let’s examine (P.S. spoilers!).

The Leftovers

Dynamic cult leader impregnates dozens of girls. After one birth mother commits suicide, her multiracial child finds its way into the life of a white woman whose entire family (husband, daughter, son) were lost in “The Sudden Disappearing.”

Keeping Up with the Kardashians

Kourtney gets pregnant, gives birth with lots of people in the room. Kourtney gets pregnant again, considers water birth. Khloe can’t seem to get pregnant (doesn’t ovulate). Kim gets pregnant, suffers from pre-eclampsia. Kourtney gets pregnant again. Kim struggles to get pregnant a second time, tries in vitro (doesn’t work), gets pregnant naturally (learns it will be the last pregnancy she can carry).

Jane the Virgin

Jane waits for sex until marriage, meanwhile is accidentally inseminated, gives birth to beautiful child, has incredibly realistic modern mothering experience (pressure to breastfeed, etc.).

The Mindy Project

Mindy gets pregnant by accident with boyfriend Danny. Disagrees with Danny over having more children, possibly leading to single motherhood.

Mr. Robot

Joanna uses her pregnancy to manipulate her husband, reveals she gave up her first child for adoption at age 15.

Halt and Catch Fire

Donna finds herself in an unstable relationship and an exciting new career, has an abortion.

Deadwood

Alma (a widow) is impregnated by the love of her life (who is married to someone else) but is sadly unable to carry her child to term.

Six Feet Under

Nate impregnates his ex, marries her, then she’s murdered–leaving him a single dad. Re-marries with a different ex, impregnates her, then he dies. Meanwhile, David and Keith (a gay couple) struggle to adopt their first child until they are suddenly blessed with two children.

Exceptions that didn’t feature babies still featured interesting mother-child relationships.

The Gilmore Girls

Lorelei gets pregnant at 16, raises the child as a best friend away from her overly-precious family.

Making a Murderer

A highly impressionable boy is manipulated to confess a crime he didn’t commit while his mother struggles to understand the truth of his involvement.

The Jinx

Son cozies up to a family friend only to uncover the truth that this person is his mother’s murderer.

I guess it’s not weird in any way that something so core to human experience — birth and motherhood — is such a major part of storytelling. Just that, I never would have noticed it before. And if I was looking for clues in any of this, in terms of how my experience related to others or ways I should be raising my baby, I’m not sure I “learned” anything except that no person’s experience will ever be the same as anyone else’s. There are many ways to make a family!

South Dakota

November 18th, 2015 - 

An interesting video was recently shared by a few people I follow on Facebook, highlighting the glories of my home state.

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I was equally enticed by the crazy still image that accompanied the post (above) and the headline “If You’re From South Dakota, This Will Be The Most Jaw Dropping Thing You See All Day. Guaranteed.” What could it even mean? I honestly assumed Bigfoots.

Instead, the video features a bunch of aerial footage of Western South Dakota. Telling a story of our our state I never really knew and kind of always believed to be sentimental BS. I don’t know anybody living this wide open plains, cowboy lifestyle. It’s part of South Dakota’s identity, somehow, but I’ve never met anyone who really fits the narrative. Most people live in South Dakota’s major cities, which are gross, and don’t really drive into the badlands or go outdoors a lot.

Here are some photos that summarize my South Dakota:

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Nearly identical blonde girls, getting married/drunk

Video lottery in bars catering to sad people

Video lottery in bars catering to sad people

Houses that look like this, owned by everyone

Houses that look like this, owned by everyone

Brown and lifeless landscpaes

Brown and lifeless landscapes

BARS

BARS

Elaborate displays for Jesus

Elaborate displays for Jesus

Greenway_Mall2

Strip malls, everywhere

Not photographed:

  • Terrible traffic on city streets
  • Long, boring drives on the highway
  • People you recognize from high school, mutually avoiding you, everywhere you go

Driving an Electric Car

November 12th, 2015 - 

A recent email from the Union of Concerned Scientists reminded me of something…

I drive an electric car! Here’s why and how and what I think about it.

With a baby on the way, and Adam’s car payments ending soon, it seemed like a good time for our household to have a second car that I could drive.

Kind of a big deal considering I haven’t had my own car in 9 years.

I had one for awhile that was mine, then I shared it with my boyfriend (which really just meant he drove my car). When we broke up, I had no car, because he had already traded mine in for something else, which he kept. (That story includes more details than I’m listing here, things that still really make me mad, but it’s not worth getting into.) Anyway, when I started dating Adam, he had a car but I never really drove it.

So, I’ve been car-adjacent, but not really an owner or frequent driver for a very long time.

Another interesting fact is that I had never paid more than $2000 for a car before making this purchase. I didn’t really understand the idea of car payments and feared I wouldn’t be able to afford one over the long-term. The fact that we already had a car payment built into our budget, for Adam’s car (which was getting paid off in January) made the decision to go with a newer vehicle much easier.

Once we sold the Airstream, we used some of the money to pay off his car completely and use as a down payment for my electric car, a 2012 Nissan Leaf.

I never would have thought to buy an electric car, but some friends of ours had their car break down at the time I was looking for something and they mentioned a used 2012 Nissan Leaf was going for $11k. People around the table remarked that it seemed like quite a deal, so I took a look. They couldn’t get one in the end because they didn’t have a way to charge at their apartment. We had an outlet perfectly placed in our garage, and it all just seemed to fall into place. Now, having driven the car for 2 months, I feel like I have some decent insight into the EV driver experience.

A photo posted by Sarah Hansen (@smorean) on

THINGS I LIKE

  1. NO GAS :: One of the things I hate about cars is putting gas in them. Especially in the winter. I DON’T HAVE TO DO THAT NOW! Ever!
  2. TRAFFIC :: Highways are a power-suck but not in slight traffic! It’s so good for my mileage when traffic is moving under 40mph that I don’t even mind it. I relish it.
  3. SEAT WARMER :: My seat warmer seems to use no power at all. I love my seat warmer, so this is good news for me.
  4. FREE CHARGING :: There are a few free charging stations on campus and I love making use of them. Unfortunately, they’re in paid parking spots, so I’m still paying for something, but it’s nice to recharge my battery a little bit if I know I’ll be traveling quite a bit
  5. ACCESS TO THE TWIN CITIES :: I went to IKEA last weekend and back and made a few other stops along the way. I can’t drive all over the cities like crazy, but taking one big trip a day is totally doable, and it’s been heaven for running errands before baby.
  6. ELECTRIC ON A BUDGET :: I didn’t know how much additional power I would draw to run the car, and worried it would be as much as gas ($60 or more per month). But, at least for now, it’s really not bad at all because we’re on a budget plan with our electric company. Maybe our rates will rise slightly next year, but it’s “basically free” right now, which is awesome! Most days I just drive to work and back, which takes about 3-4 hours to charge. So I really only expect our bill to go up $20, max, per month once the billing is reset.
  7. THE NOISE :: I don’t really notice the “lack” of noise until I’m in another car, but EVs are very quiet. They don’t rattle or vroom. They do kind of buzz. It’s a nice, clean sound. I like it.
  8. CHARGING AT HOME :: I thought for some reason that I would have to buy a stand-alone charging station that would cost like $1k to install, but the car actually just came with a cord that plugs into the car and a totally normal grounded outlet. Very easy. People even pack up their cords and will plug them into “free” light poles and stuff, usually in big parking lots. I haven’t done this, I’m afraid someone will steal my cord and it’s annoying to pack up and move regularly, but in a pinch I might (or for peace of mind).
  9. MY DAUGHTER :: I guess I kind of think it’s cool that she’ll grow up with an EV? I hope she’ll be proud of us for transitioning to EVs early on. Adam wants his next car to be a Tesla, there’s some model coming out down the road he’s very interested in, but my car has to get paid off first, so it’s not like an immediate thing. But it’s nice knowing the whole family is into it.

THINGS I DON’T LIKE

  1. FORGETTING TO PLUG IN :: This has only happened to me once, where I totally drove down the battery at night then tried to take it out to work the next morning (for a big work event, mind you, of course) and found I didn’t have enough projected mileage to get to campus. Had to stay home an extra hour and that still only gets you about 3 miles more.
  2. ANYONE ELSE DRIVING MY CAR :: It’s “normal” to accelerate until you break. But when you do that in an electric car…you’re not being very economical with your power if you’re slamming the breaks all the time. It’s about “the sip” and it takes a little time to learn how to coast well, gauge traffic patterns, and even recharge your battery while you drive so you use the least amount of power to get from Point A to Point B.
  3. MILEAGE MEANS NOTHING :: Projected mileage really means nothing. I can drive 7 miles and use only 4. I can drive 18 miles and actually use 30. It just depends on how fast you’re going.
  4. HEAT AND FOG :: We’re just entering winter so I’m only starting to learn the ropes here. Basically, any time I have the heat on, my windows fog up pretty badly. When I use the defrost it seems to use a lot of power and take too much heat off my feet. I still don’t know how to negotiate this one. Basically, getting the heat right is a button mashing game.

THINGS I FEEL NEUTRAL ABOUT

  1. CHARGEPOINT :: I did not understand how this worked at first, it was very confusing. I thought maybe I had to pay money for a service? Chargepoint “owns” a lot of stations, and you need their card to use them. These are the free ones around campus, for the most part, and you can’t access the plug until you swipe your card or download the app and create an account. Supposedly the first time I use a paid station, I’ll be charged $40(?) which will go on the card, and be available for use after that like a pre-paid gift card or something, but that hasn’t happened yet.
  2. MAINTENANCE :: I haven’t had to deal with anything maintenance-wise yet. Evidently replacing a battery is like replacing your transmission, kind of pricey, but I shouldn’t need to do that for a few years. Overall, EV owners can expect to pay less in maintenance, is my understanding.
  3. DRIVING AN ELECTRIC CAR :: I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being someone who drove an electric car. I felt *kind of* cool when I first bought the car and was able to finally attend some maternity yoga classes. It felt like playing yuppie. And I like seeing other Leafs, though I do sense some slight competition with them if I’m in an area with a charging station. One time I was parking and the guy next to me gave me a card to join a TC EV driver Facebook group, and I felt a little uneasy, but then I thought it was cool? I haven’t joined yet, I lost the card, but it’s neat there’s a little community out there if I had questions. IDK. I like it, and it works for my lifestyle, but anyone who would be embarrassed to drive an EV (is that even a thing?) would be kind of dumb.
  4. CAN’T LEAVE TOWN :: It’s a little risky to drive too far out of town, but we’ve pushed the boundaries a little when possible. We’ve driven as far as Bayport BBQ and that was a stretch. Made it home with barely a few miles left. Would not do again. But overall, it’s not a big deal at all that we can’t road trip in this thing, and it’s done surprisingly well just around the big metro area.
  5. GLOBAL WARMING :: This is a dumb thing to feel “neutral” about but I didn’t know where else to address this. I don’t do a lot to halt global warming but buying this car has made me think about it more. It honestly wasn’t a political or environmental statement to buy the Leaf. It was very economical and practical for me and when I hear things like “we need to expand EV ownership in the next several years for the technology to have a real impact on oil consumption,” I do feel like my choices were validated in other ways as well. I can’t be too haughty because I don’t really know how all the energy that makes it to our house is produced, but I did learn that through our provider CenterPoint I can elect “blocks” of our energy to come from renewable sources as well as choosing to go 100% renewable. But it is an opt-in process. I changed us to one block so far, just because I don’t yet understand what that means or how it will affect our pricing, but it feels good knowing I’m more engaged in this conversation than I was before going with an EV.

Would I recommend an electric vehicle? Hell yes. If you can do it, do it!!! Ownership of an EV is a very positive experience, that’s what I learned from blogs I read when I was doing my research, and it’s what I’ve found as an owner.

Maybe I’ll give a little update at the end of winter, too, when I have more experience driving the EV in bad weather or with a baby in the backseat. Stay Tuned.

Milestones

October 21st, 2015 - 

These are some milestones in life that I am looking forward to:

  • Meeting my daughter
  • Paying off my house
  • Celebrating a major anniversary with my husband
  • Retiring
  • Returning to Disneyland

I think about paying off my house a lot, like that’s the golden ticket to Happy Town. Sometimes I think if we hadn’t gotten pregnant this year I would have liked working a second job for the holidays to make “mortgage money” specifically to pay off the house as quickly as possible. The thought of making mortgage payments until we’re 60 sounds like a sad trombone. We don’t even have the world’s biggest mortgage payment, but I still only feel comfortable making small additional payments each month because we have so many outstanding house projects we need to save for (roof, fence, tree removal) so at this rate we’re only saving ourselves 4 months of payments down the road. It’s not nothing, but I’d love to do better!

I think the major goal is to get our monthly costs low enough that one or both of us can work part-time. Wish we could achieve that while we’re still raising kids!

One month to go before she could literally be born any minute…AH!

D23

August 4th, 2015 - 

D23 is happening next week and they’ll start to announce upcoming plans for the Disney parks, which is totally exciting to me, because I love the parks. Love love love.

A lot of things have been closing in Hollywood Studios this year and it seems like that could bring some excitement as new things are announced to open. I’d love to see a fully-transformed Hollywood Studios (or whatever its new name is!) in my lifetime. I’ve been reading about a possible name change for that park and hopes for more Star Wars. But I also keep reading about Avatar Land, at Animal Kingdom, which is already in development. And — yuck. Really? I just feel so bummed out about this I try not to think about it at all.

First of all, I love Animal Kingdom. It’s got a great vibe and so much going on. I had so much more fun than expected there. You can drink, the boat ride rules, it’s pretty, I LOVED the dinosaur ride and the yeti ride ruled too! Plus the tree is so pretty and the safari is fun. I just think Avatar Land is a tacky addition to what is a pretty cool and successful concept.

I guess the through line between Avatar and Animal Kingdom is resource conservation but I just still fail to see the appeal of walking into Pandora.

My expectations for Avatar Land are very low. On the surface, it sounds totally stupid and I’m hesitant to like it at all. The movie was fine, and the world they built was magical and pretty, but it just seems so dated and un-fun already. Also bummed it’s taking the “mythical and legendary creature” spot in that park, which I think opened the door for a lot more creativity than one pre-made fantasy (even though there didn’t seem to be any production on that vague concept at all…the very idea had potential, right?).

I just don’t expect to be thrilled to enter the world of Avatar, like I am with Harry Potter, the Simpsons, or Star Wars. Pandora is a place I have spent literally zero time thinking about, and it’s riding on the strength of ONE movie so far. The fandom for Avatar isn’t very visible (to me, at least) and I’m just totally confused by the decision to cater to this movie. The only person I’ve ever heard say that Avatar was their favorite movie was the “evil” entrepreneur behind Kingdom of the Little People in the Vice documentary Dwarves Kingdom. Cool demographic, bro.

I can’t even tell you how disappointing it’s going to be to see a Na’vi character greeting. Just this huge blue person, huh? It just totally bums me out for some reason!!

Maybe because it’s not something beloved from my childhood, or anyone’s childhood, to my knowledge. And it would have ruled to see a Pete’s Dragon meet and greet or a Fantasia ride. Mermaids? Hello. Would you like to make a million dollars? MERMAIDS. CENTAURS. CRAZY EVIL BEASTS. BOOM.

Could keep ranting. Should stop now!

Thoughts Before Vacation

August 3rd, 2015 - 

Major thoughts right now:

  1. Maternity leave
  2. My hair
  3. Our vacation
  4. Preparing for baby
  5. Money

1. Maternity leave

I just learned that I can take 12 weeks off for my maternity leave, without having to take *too* many unpaid vacation days. So insanely happy.

2. My hair

I got my hair professionally bleached and dyed a few weeks ago. Even though the color came out very pretty, it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted pastel peach and I got a shocking pink that I was told would mute into peach. Well, it kind of did, except the back of my head is still pink! So I’ve been trying to wash out the color so I could use this new oVertone product I bought. It rules, it totally came out right, this is the world’s greatest company, but I think I might want to mix it with pastel pink for a more flattering shade. I’m just not totally sure that peach is a good color for me after all. Too bad, but oVertone is amazing, has a ton of color options, is *way* cheaper than the salon (and far nicer/more accurate) and now I will probably never stop trying their shades. MAYBE I WILL OMBRE. WHO KNOWS.

IMG_0681

Side note: do all selfies look kind of creepy or just the ones I take?

3. Our vacation

We’re leaving for vacation in a few days! Going to Tennessee! Going to see Graceland, eat lots of BBQ, spend one magical night at the Peabody Hotel with the ducks, and just get out of town — which is all I really need. AND getting to spend time with Adam will be awesome, it’s tough to find time these days! We’re always doing work, which isn’t as great as just hanging out. So glad that we’re able to do this.

Also, Lauren Winzer will be in Nashville at the same time we are WHICH IS A BIG DEAL. Really wish I could try and get a tattoo from her but I’m pregnant so… I would just be so honored to run into her. She is a real hero of mine.

4. Preparing for baby

We’ve already done so much work to prepare for the baby but if it came tomorrow we would still be pretty screwed.

Major achievements:

  • Bedroom moved downstairs
  • New bedroom painted
  • Baby room painted
  • Two new dressers purchased and built
  • Chipped most of the fallen branches and pulled weeds/laid mulch around the hostas (looks damn good)
  • Fan in bathroom fixed
  • Downstairs light fixed
  • Outdoor water leak fixed
  • Bathroom shower situation resolved, new shower head in place

To do:

  • Accent wallpaper in baby room
  • Scrape and re-paint bathroom ceiling
  • Clean out and organize garage
  • Steam clean the carpet
  • Get baby stuff not picked up in registry (this is a stressful process, waiting until the last minute to find out what you have to buy)
  • Major cleaning
  • Baby-proofing
  • Sign up for classes
  • Write a birth plan
  • Prepare mentally for the biggest life change ever
  • Get rid of discarded furniture taking space in garage
  • Get a second car
  • Write a plan to distribute my work while I’m gone
  • Get rid of electric organ

5. Money

We’re showing the Airstream again this week and I just really hope it sells soon. It would be a relief not having to deal with it anymore and having the money would be nice too. I’m sad we didn’t get to live our dream, but hopefully someday we’ll just get a new Airstream and not have to deal with a major rehab project.

I got into a craft show for a new product I’m making, so there’s some money tied up in that and I’m getting stressed about it. It’s a lot of work to make the new product and it’s unclear if anyone will even like it or want to buy it. It’s scalable and would really be great if it picked up and provided me any extra income down the road, but right now I have zero reason to be confident about that, so I’m mostly just trying to get ahead on the work and make it as fun as possible. Hopefully I make my table back is all. I applied for a second show in early November too. I’m hoping that two shows will help determine what’s good/working and what’s not with this new venture. Still not selling on Etsy yet. Don’t have enough made.

I think we’re going to need a new car soon, before the baby comes. Adam’s car is paid off in February so we’re looking at two car payments for a few months. It’s doable but kind of stressful. Finding a car is kind of crazy too. I’ve convinced myself I need an electric car, so there’s that.

Coming Home

July 23rd, 2015 - 

I don’t know how to come back to this blog but I’m pretty sure I have to.

I started a few other blogs since abandoning this one but it wasn’t much fun for me. Their focus was more narrow and I wasn’t getting excited about them at all. I guess what I still want is a free-for-all format where I can write about anything and not feel like I’m cultivating a specific audience or maintaining a certain narrative. Which, somehow, I got it into my head was something I wanted to try.

Lately I’ve stumbled upon a few really great blogs and read them completely, which has been really inspiring. Many of them aren’t updated anymore either and I guess that made me kind of sad. I didn’t like to think of all the bloggers out there, like me, who neglected or quit their work. Even if their reasons were good, my mind just wandered back here and I couldn’t understand why I left when I kn0w how much I love blogging and would still find it rewarding.

You’ll notice many big changes since the last time I posted in 2013.

  • My hair is peach
  • I’m pregnant
  • We have a house
  • We have two dogs
  • I bought a new camera
  • I’m working to start an Etsy shop (to help pay off the camera…)

We went to LA (and Disneyland!) last fall for our big annual trip, but nothing like that is happening again this year because we’re prepping for baby. Instead, we’re taking a smaller trip to Tennessee in a few weeks to eat BBQ and look at Elvis’ house. I’m really excited about it, but I do spend an awful lot of time thinking about when I’ll get to take my next trip to a Disney park. (More so than even when I was a kid.) Probably because most of the people I follow on Instagram are there all the time and it looks REALLY FUN. Our honeymoon at WDW in 2013 reignited my interest in Disney for sure. Right now I’m re-reading the Harry Potter books as well and that’s been a lot of fun. Having a kid on the way is scary, because there are a lot of overwhelming stories out there about poop, health and behavioral issues, etc., but it’s fun to think about all the imaginative and fun things they’ll get into as well.

We’re having a girl, by the way. 😊

So, that’s it for now, but I’ll be popping back in from now on and I just didn’t want it to seem sudden if anyone’s still paying attention.

Memories of Sewing in 2013

December 30th, 2013 - 

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I returned to sewing this year with high hopes. I have exited 2013 with not much I’m proud of, but a lot of good experience.

Top 5 garments include:

dress1 1012997_10103300426590590_781480540_n bachelorettedress1 IMG_3267 photo(22)

  1. Wedding dress
    – Might have liked a smoother hem line from front to back, but otherwise no complaints
  2. Adam’s second western shirt
    – Nice colors, looks good, well-loved, highly complimented
  3. Honeymoon shift dress
    – I wear this often with a cardigan, but don’t much like it without one
  4. Wiksten Tova
    – This shrunk and I grew, unwearable now, but loved in its time
  5. Pair of booties (unblogged)
    – Given to my mother-in-law for X-Mas, handmade leather foot bed, good color/fabric selection, stash-buster, and real cute

A message for me in the future:

  • Fabric bought on the internet could be see-through, ergo pain. Try not to buy it
  • There is muslin fabric to be had at every thrift store, cheap. Buy it. You now have no excuse to avoid making a muslin
  • Learning to embroider will make you want to buy an embroidery machine. Do not do this. Everything you want in an embroidery machine is $1000+ and you will never find it cheaper EVER
  • Figure out what RTW styles look good on you and search for patterns that match these styles
  • Stop making shift dresses, they look horrible on you
  • Spend time fitting one pattern in each category that you will actually wear and make them many times over
    – Leggings
    – Panties
    – Sleepwear
    – Pants
    – Cardigan
    – Fun dress
    – Work dress
    – Jacket
  • Please lose weight, you have gained too much weight, it is becoming difficult to fit you
  • Buy nice fashion fabric in-person that looks good with your skin tone
  • Stop buying fabric without a plan
  • Use your stash
  • Thin your pattern collection
  • You do not need another Craftsy class
  • When your wearable muslin does not fit, adapt the pattern and move on. Stop trying to edit the muslin. Just donate it if it’s nice. That’s someone’s size as-is and when you toy with it you always ruin it
  • Every four items you make for yourself, make something for him or a friend
  • Make one child’s pattern before buying any more children’s patterns, you are not even pregnant
  • You were right, quilting cotton does not look good in a garment, still avoid
  • If you finish the edge of your quilt, you will have a quilt, instead of a pile. Apply this wisdom to all areas of life
  • Continue to challenge yourself

2014 Goals:

  • Make a jacket
    – Minoru with existing canvas
    – Trace and remake favorite RTW coat
  • Test a new western shirt pattern for Adam
  • Make something from each Burda magazine
  • Finish both knitting projects from 4+ years ago
  • Make the window drape you planned to make for the kitchen
  • Make one vintage dress from a vintage pattern
  • Find at least one TNT pattern
  • Meet another who sews, attempt friendship
  • Make shorts
  • Finish and mail Dad’s shirt
  • Make Mom a cardigan
  • Create better fitting garments
  • Make better color and fabric selections

Overall, as a sewer, I feel very confident going into 2014. I’ve had a lot of missteps, not all of them blogged, but my think muscle is stronger for it, and I feel like I’ll see a lot of improvement next year.

Why Sew?

August 26th, 2013 - 

I’m relatively new to sewing, and have enjoyed many hobbies over the years — singing, songwriting, guitar and ukulele, baking, cartooning, photography, book- and print-making, blogging, zine-making, podcasting, knitting, event planning and organizing — but why has sewing become so important to me now?

I have one grandma who sews, who taught me to sew, and another grandma who loves fashion.

My sewing grandma makes quilts — or did until macular degeneration got to be too bad.

My other grandma loves thrift stores and finding a good deal on a top quality brand names. She is also legally blind, from retinitis pigmentosa. It fully overtook her sight a few years ago, and now we describe her beautiful clothes to her. She has a good memory for things she has owned, and probably treasures good clothing more than anyone I know.

There is a pretty good chance I will be blind someday, I know it’s in my family, and I think about that a lot.

There aren’t many hobbies you can take forward into blindness. I’m hoping I can do as much of what I love now as I can, just in case.

I’ve always loved clothing, and weird colors. Clothing and styling used as an expression of self has always been important to me — something I value, though I can’t claim to be an expert.

I’ve had trouble with fit over the years, and have almost completely given up on jeans. I hate them. I will never find jeans that fit. Dresses forever!

My weight has fluctuated over the years, and I’m woeful to wear what I have that’s maybe a size too small, though I have been just as woeful to throw it out if it’s something I liked. The yo yo goes both ways!

It’s tough to move into a larger size, for vanity reasons, but even more difficult to find cute clothes in my size that fit nicely, are well-constructed, and use good materials. I almost always feel like I’m overpaying for ready-to-wear garments that are see-through or short or badly fitted, and I’m sick of wasting my money.

I like to be creative and express visual ideas.

I had some of the basic sewing knowledge, from my grandma teaching me to quilt, and the rest I’ve just been picking up as I go. I’ve tried sewing garments over the years, without patterns, without success. This time I’m taking a more formal approach, and having much more satisfying results. With the basic rules down, right now with my sewing, I’m definitely comfortable taking more risks — mixing and matching pattern pieces, adjusting patterns for sizing, etc. I’m glad when I came back to sewing, I started at the beginning!

I’m happy to be challenged and I love to learn. This is a skill that I hope will help me, to put focus on something that’s tough and rewarding, and will help my family, by making remarkable garments that are loved and useful.

Right now, the act of making something for myself and people close to me is very appealing. Of course I think about making things to sell or something like that, but the scale of what I’m approaching right now is very small and relaxing. After focusing on hobbies in the recent past that were very deadline-driven and did much to account for the needs and interests and timelines of other people, I’m just really feeling good about what I’m doing now. It’s done when it’s done. It’s good if I say it’s good.