Monday, 29 August 2016

Ain't nobody got time for embroidery! Unless...


We might not know each other personally, but if I were to guess, I’d feel quite confident in assuming that you DON’T have time for spending hours in front of the fireplace while blissfully relaxed over an embroidery pattern. (Actually if you do, please email me and tell me more about yourself. I want to know how you do it.) Us creatives spend a lot of time fantasising about images of ourselves being creative gods or goddesses in a state of bliss, producing masses of beautiful stuff. But in reality most of us are holding a vacuum cleaner in our hand and not an embroidery needle. Or the washing basket, a child, a grandchild, or a myriad of other commitments we all have regardless of our stage in life. I have friends who are retired yet too busy for pursuing creative leisure. We can easily agree, I think, that most of us would say we have no time for something like embroidery (despite that above mentioned fantasy). But what if we do and we just don’t know it? What if there is time and space and we just don’t notice it because we’re so busy being busy? Imagine not noticing that you have another bank account that you forgot about or because you’ve been focused on using another one and you totally missed that you have a spare $10,000. You’d never do that with money, but we do this with our time ALL THE TIME (pun intended). We budget our money but we rarely budget our time. We keep track of our spending but we don’t really keep track of where we spend our time.

If you’ve fantasised about being that creative god/goddess read on.. there is time.

I’ve tracked my time twice over the last year in two different ways. One was to firstly list all the things that were most important in my life and then track over a period of a month what I’m spending most of my time on and see if it matches what I said was super important to me. (This was following reading the book “The Power Of Full Potential).  Boy was I surprised. It was a bit like saying that eating healthy food was important to me and then finding out that I’ve been living on popcorn and soda for a month. The second time I tracked my time was when I was curious about how much time I spend doing housework and using my car. It FELT like I was forever cleaning and driving, but I wanted to be sure. So I got a time tracker app and mapped my time. Yup, I was cleaning and driving. I did way more cleaning than I wanted but the driving wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Why am I telling you all this? What the heck does it have to do with embroidery and finding time for it? Two things in fact.

Firstly, if you have creative desire and your heart sings when you see Pinterest images of tactile crewel embroideries that your hands are busting to get into, and you DON’T make time for that desire you will be unfulfilled and you’ll feel that in other parts of your life. It might make itself known as frustration at your kids, or not liking how you look or whatever. A denial of our creative urges is unhealthy and the urges don’t go away just because we’re busy, we just end up getting frustrated without realising that we feel in some way unfulfilled. There was a whole book written about this called “War Of Art. Don’t fight against your creative desires, you won’t win.

Secondly, time is not some fixed thing that is out of our control. It really isn’t. You’ve no doubt heard of people whose lives have changed by some tragedy or some news of their health and suddenly they find 6 “spare” hours per week for yoga classes and meditation. The change comes about from a shift in perspective and a slight change in the direction of our focus.

If you’ve felt that you’d love to do some needle work, relax over a lovely design and create something beautiful with your hands, you CAN find time and you deserve to use your time for yourself in this way. You don’t need to reshuffle your entire schedule. It is more about becoming conscious and observing where you’re spending your time and what you’re doing with it. Then becoming conscious about what it is that you would actually prefer to be doing. Then slowly making choices in the preferred direction. Just small choices every day will be enough to allow you to reclaim more time for what you want to do. I did this after I tracked my cleaning/driving time. I started asking the kids more frequently to help out and stopped worrying that things weren’t done to my standards. I also turned a blind eye to a few messes here and there. You see, we get so busy in life that we forget to pay attention to what actually makes us happy. I can tell you that on my happiness scale sitting down to embroider in a messy lounge room is way better than spending that time cleaning the lounge room. I learned that my life isn’t out of control if the clean washing sits in the basket for 3 days after it came off the line.

Don’t deny yourself your creative calling. If your hands and heart are drawn to embroidery follow them and give them time. You will be rewarded.

Lastly if you’ve read all this and are busting to jump into a project but don’t know what to start, I recommend something small. Small is good! Small should never be dismissed. A project that will take you 15 minutes a day over a couple of weeks or even just a week will bring you enough of a sparkle to make you smile at your own talent. If you’d like an idea jump onto Mary Corbett’s site I have been a fan of her tutorials for years and highly recommend her site as a source for learning. Have a look at border stitches and choose one to do around your favourite tea towel. Just for a little project that you can start and finish and see the result at the end.

And, if you’ve read this far, then you must be busting to get your hands into something. I will be running one or two free embroidery workshops in September, in Lane Cove (NSW Australia), depending on demand. Reply to this email and let me know if you’re interested and let me know how much (if any) time you have for creativity. Would you like to have more time? Or is it that you lack inspiration or ideas? In my workshop you can learn a few new stitches, but more importantly I’ll give you ideas on what to do and get you inspired to stitch and enjoy and relax and see the beautiful things that your hands can make!

I look forward to hearing from you.

With love and creative freedom.

Kasia J






  1. I work full time and don't have kids. What I try to do is get into work early so that I can finish at four. Driving home takes about 30-45 minutes (or an hour in winter). What this does is give me a few hours to stitch in the evening. In the summer I can get a good 2-3 hours stitching outside, in the winter that's 1-2 hours of stitching time indoors. I try to stitch for at least 1 hour on weekdays, but it all stops at 8pm so that I can be ready for the next day's work. I might go a little later depending on projects on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday morning are for cleaning and then the rest of the day is for stitching :) I'm forgiven if I "forget" sometimes in the summer to sit outside to stitch ;)

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