Sew Much Work

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Sewing ChaosHello Lofty Sewers.  It’s your friend TJ from Studio Mailbox here wishing you a happy holiday season.

In my book, winter is the greatest time for sewing.  It’s cozy comforting creativity at it’s best.  But if your life is anything like mine, your machine is probably buried under a pile of obligations just waiting to be mended.

A few years ago when December rolled around I made the conscious decision to drop all lofty aspirations (I love when I can work a “loft” pun in around here – HAH).  Sewiously.  I lowered my expectations.  Some of you might think that TJ has finally hit rock bottom but I came to realize that during the holidays it was impossible for me to handle anything more than ONE PROJECT. I know that’s lame.  Maybe that makes me a total loser but it’s my reality.  One year I made our family a set of German Christmas stockings from recycled fabric.  This year I letterpress printed ornaments that I sewed up in bulk.

I take on something that will be about 10-15 hours of work, and that’s it.  I don’t stay up all night presser foot to the metal, feed dogs smokin’ while I shove junk food down my gullet finishing off a few more things.  I don’t bring my handwork to hockey practice (although I reserve the right to transition towards that nugget of an idea).  I don’t sit at my machine with the phone crooked in my neck while I’m listening to bad hold music.

This handmade mentality of the lowest denominator means that when crunch time hits, that I can squeeze in a project if I have to.  I don’t have to panic because I’m overwhelmed with sew many other things on my plate.  There’s wiggle room built into my plan and that wiggle room can be a life preserver in these hectic times.

So I urge you to embrace your inner slacker.  Say “no” to a few things this year.  ENJOY pushing the needle through the gifts that you’ve put your heart into.  And be happy knowing 2014 is right around the corner and there is sew much more to come!


This is a picture of Heather Valentine’s desk this time last year.  Um, I don’t know about you but I’m rather speechless.  I really like the partially open drawers in the background.  It looks like a wild-eyed seamstress ran in there, rummaged through everything, screamed “Found it!” and ran out of the room never to be seen again.  Clearly we’re all in this together peeps. Don’t feel bad about it.

TJ Goerlitz initial stamp TJ Goerlitz stops by every month to give you a dose of sewing related humor.  Connect with TJ on her blog, facebook page or Pinterest.



  1. Love the wild-eye comment TJ! I swear, that is exactly how I am this time of year. All over the place. I always say that I will cut back on my commitments but it never happens. Then I wind up all crazy and in a state of utter chaos. 2014 will be better!

  2. Mine space is not better

  3. Suzanne McFadden says

    Thanks, TJ, for a thought-provoking post. I subscribe to a lot of quilting and embroidery blogs and reading them sometimes leaves me feeling exhausted! It’s like a manic display of zillions of projects I will never have time to complete (hello, I work and have many other responsibilities and a family!). So I’m learning to pick and choose carefully and only make things that are meaningful and fulfilling. I can’t possibly do every BOM or QAL or mystery quilt in the blogosphere although, I confess, I probably have enough fabric to do them all . . but that’s another story.

    • Sometimes I go on internet breaks just to get a rest from all the project stimuli that’s out there. On one hand it’s so wonderful to see so many great things happening, on the other hand it can bring me right into overwhelm. I love that you have enough fabric for them ALL – that cracked me up! Thanks for taking the time to chirp in, TJ

  4. Amen. I have about ten projects planned. They started going more smoothly when I started enjoying them… and admitted I probably won’t finish all of them. You can tell I’m still having trouble with this acceptance… I’ll probably finish three. One more between now and then… And that’s great… In fact better than being crazed with sewing deadlines! For me, and for my family :). Amen.

  5. Pat Hurdle says

    I never seem to finish ANYTHING !! I get bored with the project… Anyone else out there?? The problem is I get to reading all the blogs and emails and groups that I never seem to get back to my toys….I do not know too much about the computer so a lot of the instruction tuts get lost . I do not know which program to use to open designs etc. (Any suggestions?) Anyway I figure it will all click in some day, even if I am 778 I still have so much to learn…. But I would like to know how to open and unzip a design…

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