things come together, and things fall apart.

by Nicole on May 13, 2015

Taken in Utopia, Texas last weekend. 

I haven’t been taking particularly great care of myself lately. I’ve been choosing to snooze an extra 15 minutes instead of waking up to meditate because it’s too dark when I wake up and I’m tired. I’ve noticed myself craving chips & queso, and giving into those cravings far too easily because I haven’t felt inspired to meal plan. I’ve been drinking too often, and too much, because champagne makes everything more fun. I haven’t been doing the things I really love, like sewing and cooking, because I’m too tired and just want to relax.

I’ve slipped back into a cycle of making excuses about less-than-stellar decisions, and I realize that it’s simply because I’ve let myself feel bored. The human brain doesn’t like feeling bored, so it does things to get rid of that unpleasant feeling, often things that are counterproductive. When I’m bored, boredom makes me think the present moment is what’s boring, and so I tend to seek entertainment that takes me out of the present moment–passively watching TV shows, overeating, drinking too much, scrolling through Instagram before I realize an hour has passed, etc. My brain always forgets that it’s the things that FOCUS on the present moment, not reject it, that make it feel best–long walks in pretty neighborhoods, conversations with friends, guiding fabric through my sewing machine, chopping garlic and stirring pots. I suspect it’s because these things take more effort, and the “reptile brain” equates effort with boredom.

After realizing all this, my initial reaction was to think, “What the heck? I already figured this healthy & happy thing out! I can’t believe it didn’t stick and that I let boredom get the best of me again!”

But then I remembered one of my favorite quotes, by Pema Chödrön:
“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”

You don’t solve a problem, check it off a list, and say to yourself, “Great! Figured that one out! Never gonna have to worry about that again!” It’s completely delusional to think that once we just “figure something out”, we’ll then be able to stick with it forever. Because things will come together, and then they’ll fall apart.

When you meditate, it is only natural that your mind will wander from time to time. When this happens, you simply shift your attention back to your meditation the moment you notice you’ve become distracted. You do not finish the thought, you do not give up for the day, you do not chastise yourself for getting distracted; you simply notice that you’re thinking about something other than the meditation, and then you move your thoughts back to the meditation.

So I might do a really good job of doing things that make my mind & body happy (things come together), and then I might lose a bit of focus (things fall apart). Then I’ll notice I’ve lost focus and am doing things that don’t make my mind & body happy, and then I have a choice to make.

I can choose to continue down that same path, waiting for that elusive right moment when I can finally commit 100% to getting it right once and for all, because I’ve tricked myself into thinking things can come together for good. I will tell myself I will REALLY get it right next time so that things never fall apart again. I will feel like a failure when things inevitably fall apart.

Or just like with meditation, I can notice I’m distracted and can gently refocus my thoughts back to doing things that make my mind & body happy. Things will come together again. And when I take this second option, I do it with the knowledge that things WILL fall apart again, and I will have to keep refocusing again and again and again, just like I do when I meditate. And that’s okay, because that’s life. You don’t necessarily get any better or smarter, but you do get more practice, and you do become more forgiving of yourself.

I choose to take the second option.

 

(Funnily enough, I actually wrote about this same topic just three months ago. Goes to show that even this lesson is one you never really finish learning.)

the ethics of borrowing sewing patterns

by Nicole on May 5, 2015

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So this is a question that came up for me recently because I’m interested in trying a new silhouette I’ve never worn before, but I don’t know if I want to purchase a pattern that I may end up hating on my body. Borrowing a pattern seemed like the perfect way to try it out relatively risk-free. But ethically, I’m not sure it feels right to me. I thought I’d open the topic up for debate–what do you think about borrowing or loaning out sewing patterns? I’d love to hear from both sewists and pattern-makers.

On one hand, borrowing a pattern does seem like a great way to try out a new style you’re not sure about, without having to invest any money. It also seems less wasteful because you’re reusing an existing pattern instead of creating waste by having a new pattern printed and shipped. And I also feel that there’s somewhat of a communal aspect; the thought of tracing the same pattern my friend traced is kind of neat.

But on the other hand, I worry about not supporting the pattern-maker by purchasing a pattern. They’re the ones who did all the hard work to make the pattern, so isn’t it only fair to compensate them for that work?

I can see there being somewhat different answers depending on the specific pattern. I think most people would have no problem with borrowing a vintage pattern, as it’s not something that’s really easily available. But what about with widely-available patterns or PDF patterns? Does it make a difference if it’s a pattern from the Big 4 versus an indie designer? What about your expectations for the garment–if you know it’s a style you’ll love versus one you’re not so sure about?

What do you think–is it okay to borrow or loan out sewing patterns?

life lately 5/1/15

by Nicole on May 1, 2015

Our rose bush is going crazy lately! I’ve been cutting them to put around the house because they’re so pretty and they smell so amazing. But Darius hates the smell because he thinks they smell like JALAPENOS. What?!?

So glad it’s Friday! We have a fun weekend planned, and it will be extra-awesome because it’s Darius’s 29th birthday! Tonight we’re taking the metro-rail to the east side to have snacks & drinks on the patio at Gardner. Tomorrow we’ll do our usual thing–get produce from our favorite farms, meal plan, and cook, and then dinner at Apothecary or Kome or whatever we feel like in the moment.  Sunday will be for relaxing and hopefully doing something outdoors like hiking or swimming or both, and I’m pretty certain there will be more good food. SUMMER!

What are you guys up to this weekend?

eating

I am kind of obsessed with cookies right now. Desserts are always a thing I go through in phases–a pudding phase, an ice cream phase, a cupcake phase, and lately it’s a cookie phase. Two recipes are currently at the top of my list. The first is these easy peanut butter cookies from Oh, Ladycakes. They’re healthyish, take literally 60 seconds to make and only 5 minutes to bake, and the recipe makes just 12 bite-size cookies, perfect for enjoying on the couch on a Friday night while watching a movie with someone you love. The second, and really, my favorite of the two, is these salted chocolate chunk cookies from Smitten Kitchen. Seriously, that recipe has just replaced all other chocolate chip cookie recipes for me. It’s perfection.

listening

I’m totally one of those people who plays new favorite songs until I can’t stand them anymore. (I still can’t listen to Lana Del Rey yet.) My new favorites are these two songs from BØRNS, which just feel so summer-y and nice.

If you like food and podcasts, you should definitely check out Radio Cherry Bombe. I’m still working my way through past episodes, but I especially loved this one with Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy.

And it’s a few weeks old, but the first act of the “Need to Know Basis” episode of This American Life is so very much the way I was raised, and I have the same tendency for being overly honest. “Oh, you like chocolate? I don’t like it.” Until hearing this podcast, it really never dawned on me how alienating this trait can be for other people! Sorry, anyone I’ve ever annoyed or offended!

watching

It’s been a few years since we watched Sound of Noise, but we re-watched it last night and it is still SO good. Fun, funny, sweet, and incredible music. Available for rental on Amazon and Google.

Went to an epic beer dinner last weekend to see Life Aquatic, along with four courses of food and eight beers from Dogfish Head. Black & Blue is definitely a new favorite! Afterwards we caught a 10:30 showing of The Host and I straight-up fell asleep. I’m old!

sewing

I’m working on a wearable muslin of the True Bias Southport dress using some voile I got in a swap a while ago. I’m finished with the bodice, but will need to adjust the armhole on future versions because there is major bra-showing going on. This version is just going to be a swimsuit cover-up, though, so it doesn’t really matter.

Oh, and I’m not planning on formally participating in Me-Made-May because although I wear me-mades almost everyday, they’re really quite boring and repetitive–usually Ginger Jeans and a plain t-shirt (I have several organic cotton ones from Whole Foods I really like), or a me-made dress. So instead I’ll be focusing on making like I did last year, and will commit to at least 10 minutes of sewing per day. It’s nothing huge, but at least it will keep me in my sewing room and I’ll hopefully have a few things to show at the end of the month. Definitely need to work on tops!