The Free Motion Quilting Project: Making Do and Wanting More

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Making Do and Wanting More

Yesterday my new lavalier mic from Amazon came in, which means I was able to film my first video in this new space today! I decided to shoot a personal video to share how this transformation has really rocked my world:


So what do you think of this new videocast format? I've been wanting to share this way for years, but hesitated and hesitated, and now I'm ready to commit and put my whole heart into this new Saturday series - Light Up Your Life!

 I love sharing about life and the things I've learned and how everything I've gone through has been a step towards a wonderful, fulfilling life. This spring I shared my goddess lecture for the first time at MQX and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that THIS is what I need to do, THIS is what I need to be sharing.

So I'm going to share it. Yes, here on a quilting blog. Why not?

Self Worth and Legitimacy

As you can tell from the video above, I've been busy processing the "stuff" that came along with building the Crafty Cottage. For a few days I wrestled with the feeling that I didn't really deserve the space, and that it would be snatched away from me immediately by a freak fire or falling tree. I mean, it IS located in the woods!

But as I wrapped my brain around it more, I felt a HUGE surge in self confidence and motivation. Having this dedicated space of my own really has helped me feel more legitimate. I have a beautiful, well-lit space to make awesome videos and I can now shoot ANY TIME I WANT! That is so awesome!

Making Do and Wanting More

For years I've "made do" with what I had. As a kid, I would literally use whatever spot I could find, most often the dark space behind a chair. When sewing became more of a focus, I transitioned to pulling out a machine and spreading out bins on the kitchen table.

I finally set up my first dedicated sewing space when Josh and I moved in together. I had around twelve square feet sandwiched between the bed, wall, and computer desk. I sewed 50 - 60 garments a week in this little space and made do with everything from no air conditioning to only one electrical plug working.

When we moved to Shelby, we house hunted with the focus on dedicated office space for Josh and sewing / quilting space for me. Our house was definitely a fixer-upper, but the partially finished basement was just too good to pass up. We moved in, Josh got the back room for the office and I got the basement kitchen and partially finished bedroom for my quilting studio. Here's a studio tour from a few years ago that walks you through the space:



We've worked hard on the house over the years and now it's really beautiful and such a relaxing space to live in. Unfortunately, you can never really take the aspects of a basement out of a basement. No matter how many new lights I've installed, my sewing space has remained dark, with low ceilings that create endless filming challenges.

While this was by far the most dedicated space I've ever had, and I'm absolutely grateful for it, I had to admit this winter that I needed more. I was so tired of being interrupted, the guys were all tired of having to tip-toe when I was filming, and things just weren't working anymore.

But wanting a new space was hard for me to admit. A lot of times when I want something I get this immediate shut down reaction like "You're not supposed to want that." Shouldn't I be happy with all the space I have? Don't I have so much more space than the back of the chair I had as a kid?

Yes, yes, yes, but when things aren't working, they aren't working!

I've come to realize that YES, it's okay to WANT. It's great to make do for as long as things can "make do" but eventually you just have to admit when things stop working to make a positive change.

Will This Make Me Happy?

I'm honestly not sure... I've learned from experience and many, many situations that things like publishing a book, releasing a pattern, and winning an award do not generate lasting happiness.

It's a nice happy moment, but not lasting, deep rooted happiness because there is always another thing to do. Another book to write, pattern to design, award to win or not win. Really this stuff doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things.

What really makes me happy is having a solid schedule to my day. I love to work hard and get a lot done by around 4 pm so I can kick back with James and Josh and have a wonderful evening with my family.

That is honestly the most important factor in my daily happiness - time to work, time to play, time to unwind and relax with the people I love.

If the Crafty Cottage helps me with that goal, then yes, I think it will contribute greatly to my general feeling of happiness. Don't get me wrong - the building by itself in my back yard doesn't make me happy. It's what I will DO with it that is going to make all the difference.

So what about you? Have you been "making do" or have you created an awesome creative space already? Do you have trouble allowing yourself to want more space or better gear? What is stopping you from making improvements?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Leah Day

33 comments:

  1. I love where you are- not physically, but mentally and emotionally. You are wise beyond your years. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

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    1. You're super welcome! I really appreciate your support!

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  2. For now, I make do sewing in a tiny corner of my bedroom. I have as much space as my fold out sewing table. And it makes me happy. It is a step up from lugging my machine to and from the closet to the dining room table each day, which is what I did for over 25 years. I'm happy to have this small space and when my kids venture out into the world, I will eventually get a whole room. It will be a wild and crazy life, LOL.

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    1. That's wonderful Heidi! I think having that dedicated space is so essential.

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  3. I hope your new space turns out to be everything you ever hoped it could be. You deserve only the best! I look forward to your new series; I think it will be very interesting. :)

    Take care,
    Susan in Texas

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    1. I'm glad you're looking forward to it! This is a new direction for me and I'm SO excited to share.

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  4. So happy for you, and congrats on the crafty cottage. So beautiful and personal, can't wait to see all the creativity that will come out. Also love the personal growth messages. I always see a little of my self in each of your stories. Yes, you are worthy of this new space!

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    1. That's exactly why I'm wanting to share this way Pat. I think by being open and honest, everyone benefits.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this, Leah. This past week I was able to put some shelves up. But a couple of days into it I was struggling with feeling like I was just being shallow and selfish to be doing this for myself. I had to work to realize it is okay. After I was able to let go of that stuff, I was able to enjoy that feeling of empowerment. Yeah...pencil, tape measure, and nail gun. Really liked using the nail gun. Haha! My husband cut the plywood for me (yes, I should probably learn to use the table saw) and I did the rest. I finished painting yesterday and started "moving in" today. Now, yes, I do think it's time to learn to use the table saw. Much cleaner and faster than a jigsaw. And I have more things to build. ;)

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    1. LOL! My dad actually bought me a table saw during this project for $50 on Craig's List. I'm still a bit intimidated, but I agree with you - a jigsaw is great for curves, but to get nice straight lines a table or miter saw is the best. I'm just so scared of kick back and sawing my fingers off!

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  6. I think a woman's lot in life is to feel guilty and unworthy. Quit. You deserve this space and you share so much of yourself in your videos. You are a wise and strong person. Keep on with these wonderful videos.

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    1. I so agree! Wouldn't it be nice if guilt and unworthiness were jobs we could just quit? Like hey - I'm not doing this anymore! I'm done!

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  7. Some of us are "old souls". You my dear have been blessed with that honor. Tell all that will listen your thoughts, insight and dreams. Thank You for being so honest and open.

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    1. Oh you're so welcome! Thank YOU for your kindness and support. This is a bit scary, but I LOVE it!

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  8. You are amazingly wonderful. You have given me the courage to value myself. You have a wonderful philosophy to bring out the best mental issues and get them to be allowed. I will continue to see your pages, since they enrich my soul.

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    1. YOU are valuable! There is only ONE of you in the whole entire world. You are precious and irreplaceable. Never forget that.

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  9. A wonderful "gift" to yourself to have this dedicated space. I know you'll use it well and gratefully. Just saw a clip from the news about "she sheds" which are small places apart from the house where women have a sanctuary of sorts. You are ahead of the game.

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    1. Oh I love that idea! Man Caves and She Sheds! LOL!

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  10. Leah you speak for many of us! We creative people NEED space to develop our skills without having to pack away our materials every day and privacy to play full out without interruptions. Sometimes I thnk that's the hardest part - we don't feel worthy of taking time out from family or chores because these are our "responsibilities". But when we create, we are still giving of ourselves - this wonderful format you have of teaching reaches such a wide audience and is helping to spread the joy of quilting. In this high tech world it's refreshing to go back to something tangible - let's hope many young women join us and keep this skill going for generation after generation! Bless you for all you give to us.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean Chris! For years I tried to be super mom and super wife - 100% attentive all the time. But instead of feeling happy, I felt resentful. Where was my time? It took me awhile to realize that I needed to have quiet time to myself to recharge, and once I started getting that, I loved my life and my family that much more.

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  11. Congratulations! You do deserve it. I am in the early planning stages of designing a small outside space and would love to see the inside of how it all works for you. I hope you can do a video of it soon. Bravo!

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    1. You can find all the videos for the shed to Crafty Cottage transformation here: http://www.leahday.com/shed-project/ I included a lot of videos with the posts so hopefully you'll be able to see everything you need. If you have the ability and space, a bigger shed would allow you more space for cutting and a design wall, but honestly I was really surprised at how much I could pack in this 8 x 12 space!

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  12. Beautiful post and I'm glad you have a spot to call your own and contribute to making you joyful! Look forward to the videos that you will make.

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    1. Awesome! I'm so glad you're excited about this new series!

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  13. When we over into our current home for years ago I claimed the office as my sewing studio and it was heavenly. For the first time I could leave everything out and just pop back in to pick up where I left off. I could close the door when I left and kids didn't get into trouble with pins and scissors and no one ever told me to clean up the fabric mess all over. We're moving to Seattle at the end of the summer and I was a space of my own back. Iwhether is inside our out, it's always mine and my escape.

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    1. Good for you Jill! Make sure to look for that special space as you're house hunting!

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  14. Yay, Leah!!! Enjoy the heck out of your new space!!
    All the best,
    Linda

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  15. Congrats on the new space. You deserve it for sure! I am in the process of remodeling my studio as well - and it is so exciting. Like you, it was a struggle to decide whether it was worth the money... but I spend so much time in there that I know it will be a happy place. When its finished, you've inspired me to do a video tour. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

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  16. Well done you, it is so lovely to watch you grow in confidence. For someone who works as hard as you do, you deserve every thing you desire.

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  17. Leah, your enthusiasm and organizational prowess has touched a chord in me, nearly matching your inspirational talent. Just when I started quilting, my husband retired, we moved to a new state and 'downsized,' From a 5-bdrm 2-story house to a 2-bdrm ranch. Difficult, but I have found that thoughtful organization is the key. My sewing space is just a breakfast nook off the kitchen, but it is efficient and works well. I use lots of baskets, shelves, and small cabinets. Everything is within reach and available. It has to be.

    I can also relate to the psychological "my space" factor. Size really doesn't matter. It is the ownership of the space that counts. I love your Crafty Cottage. For now though, I must be content with carving out little niches throughout our house to call my own. It works! Enjoy every moment of your new self-assertion. Some people take a lifetime to learn what you are already catching onto. And as always, thank you for all you do, and for sharing it with the rest of us.

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  18. You give so much away in the form of teaching us all free motion quilting. Having a space more conducive to being able to produce more (much of which you give away) only makes sense. And you are worth it! Bless you.

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  19. What a lovely, thought provoking post. I am much older than you and fully understand where you have been and how this new space is helping define the person you are now and the passion that you express to live a balanced life. It takes most of us quite some time to reach this level of insight. Good for you. I look forward to seeing the new video's filmed in your new studio. Best wishes.

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  20. Love your post. I currently have an 11x12 space that holds shelves, desk, printer, 2 cabinets, sewing table and a cutting table and it's always full because I'm not organized.
    I'd love to have a bigger space but I still want it to be part of the house but then again a separate building might be really nice. A friend of mine took over the garage and it's great. For someone so young you sure have it together. Very impressive

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