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Moving On

My blog has been a lonely little space these past few months, but with good reason. Lots of things have been changing.

First, I’m having another baby. But if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you already knew that. I’m currently about 16 weeks along and starting to come out of the fog a little. The unwavering desire to hurl is still there, but it’s not as overwhelming as it was between weeks 6-14. I’m hanging in there. Diaper changes are still challenging. And being pregnant with two toddlers underfoot is not for the faint of heart.

Second, we moved. I KNOW. Again, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you already knew this. We visited Portland in October and fell. in. love. So, my husband worked with a recruiter to find a job, and here we are (a month later). We’re in the process of preparing to sell our home back in Salt Lake City and getting settled in here in Oregon. Already, I feel a sense of calm and happiness that I never found in Utah. But that is enough material for another post altogether. (Stay tuned for that. Maybe.)

Third, I’ve been having some thoughts (as always) about blogging. A couple months ago, I mentioned I was going on sabbatical. I’ve blogged a couple times since then, but nothing with any real substance. I haven’t missed it. But I HAVE been missing something. So with that, I’m changing the focus around here.

I want to get back to sewing for pleasure – picking up a project just because I want a new, handmade outfit. Or sewing something for my kids (or maybe my husband?) because I know they’d enjoy wearing it. I don’t fault anyone for participating in blog tours and doing pattern testing, but it’s just not for me right now. I’ve been going at about 190 miles per hour this entire year, and it’s time for me to slow down and just ENJOY LIFE/SEWING/KNITTING.

You may recall that I had (and subsequently achieved) three big goals for 2014 (launch Pattern Workshop, launch Selvage Designs, grow blog to 1,000 followers). Well, in 2015, my goal is this: to enjoy making things again. And to get better at doing so.

At the moment, I don’t want to develop courses or make videos. I don’t want to pursue sponsorship opportunities or partner with big companies*. I don’t want to post my crap on Facebook AND Instagram AND Twitter AND ALL THE THINGS just to get a couple new followers here and there. And I don’t want to stay up all night grading sewing patterns and drawing tutorial illustrations. I just want to sew (and knit).

And if I feel like it, I’ll blog about it. (Key words: IF I FEEL LIKE IT.)

Yes, I will still support my Pattern Workshop students. And yes, my Burda courses will still run (and I will still check homework and counsel students on their progress). But no, I will not be pursuing new endeavors. Might this change in the future? Of course. But right now, I’m focusing on growing a baby (due early May 2015) and having fun with my family.

Speaking of family…I’ve decided to not post photos of my kids anymore. This decision is a result of months of feeling convicted about doing so, and it’s not a judgment of others who do post photos of their kids. I simply feel like mine are too young (1.5 and 3.5) to consent to it, and they don’t really seem to enjoy the process. Will I still be sewing for my kids? Sure. And will I post about it? Yes, but more likely on Instagram. It’s much easier (and more fun) to catch a snap of them with my phone during our normal day-to-day activities than it is to stage a whole shoot or wait for the perfect light/conditions. So again, it’s not that I’m judging those who post photos of their kids. I’m just trying to make this fun again for everyone involved. They might pop up here and there, but they will not be a focus of this blog.

Now…what you WILL be seeing more of around here is (hopefully) better quality and forethought in my own sewing – better construction methods, better fit, better fabrics and better overall looks. I’d love to say better photography, but really? Taking photos of myself in everything I make isn’t the highest priority right now. I’ll do my best, but I truly want this to be about FUN. I want to be inspired by other bloggers and to inspire others with my sewing. I’m calling it “sew-it-yourself fashion.”

Has my motivation changed? Absolutely. I no longer care about making money from my blog; I make money from my business activities. My blog is headed back to basics when I had fun writing it and made lots of connections with like-minded people. No more worrying about pageviews and Bloglovin’ followers and when that next post is due and what people are saying about me on GOMI. (Okay, I will always worry about what people say about me on GOMI. But then, I will just laugh at them and go about my business.) No more of this comparison bullshit and trying to outdo other bloggers. And no more trying to portray myself as something that I’m not (wearing clothes that I’d never wear outside a photoshoot).

*You may be wondering if I will still be working with Janome. YES! Here’s the thing… I’ve gotten some criticism and/or questions in the past about my willingness to work for a sewing machine company with no pay. I have been a long-time advocate of sewing bloggers getting paid for their time and effort, so I can admit that my accepting of this sponsorship does seem a little hypocritical at first glance.

(In case you aren’t aware, I am given a “loaner” machine to use for a year in exchange for doing several tutorials, etc. for the sewing machine company. At the end of the year, we decide to continue our on-loan relationship or to end it. If I end it, I return the machine. I do not get paid, and I do not get a free sewing machine to keep forever. It’s a loaner. And yes, my sources tell me this is much like the programs run by Babylock and Bernina.)

I’ve thought long and hard (and gone back and forth) about this issue, and my conclusion is this: If, by doing a few tutorials a year and talking up a brand THAT I LOVE ANYWAY, I get to always use a brand-new, top-of-the-line sewing machine, I’m all for working with “no pay.” My husband and I talked about this at length today, and he said to me, “Okay, what would you be using if you didn’t have one of the loaner machines?” I replied that I’d be using my older and previously loved manhandled Janome MC6500 that has a few broken pieces and doesn’t really like to do buttonholes anymore. He replied, “Alright, and about how much would you probably spend on a replacement machine if you were buying it yourself?” I guessed about $1,500-$2,000 which is the going rate for a mid-to-top-level Janome or an entry-to-mid-level Bernina (if that’s your jam). With that thought, I suddenly got his point.

If I were to purchase a new machine at $2,000, I would not only be out that cash, but I’d have to cover the cost of maintenance and any damage to my machine. And I would be keeping that machine for a long time. With the on-loan program, I do a few projects in return for an always-new (on-loan participants frequently get to trade in their machines after a year or two for a newer model), virtually maintenance-free machine – probably with more features and quality build than I could afford on my own.

So do the math – I could be spending $2,000 on a new machine that will become obsolete (according to some) after a few years…OR, I can have a new machine for free in exchange for a seasonal project. I’ll keep that $2,000, and I’ll buy fabric with it, thankyouverymuch.

Might I change my mind at some point in the future? You betcha. If the partnership becomes an impediment in my enjoyment of family and creating, I’ll reevaluate at that point. Or, you know, if I win the lottery and can buy sewing machines FOR DAYZZZZ…well, ask me again then. (Of course, there’s always the chance that the sewing machine company will decide to not work with me anymore, which is fine, too. But I hope that doesn’t happen! However, if it does, I’ll simply buy a new machine at that point and be thankful for the years that I DIDN’T have to pay for a machine.)

So there you have it. Lots of things have been on my mind lately, and I might be talking about them here in the next few weeks. Stick around for that if you feel so inclined! I’m feeling feisty!

  • Stephanie – Swoodson Says

    This feels like a really short response to a loaded post – but I’m glad you’re finally feeling better with the pregnancy! I don’t take blogging/sewing as professionally/seriously as you were/do but even I felt a weird feeling of freedom when I sewed a few things that will never be blogged, and just because I wanted to this weekend! So I totally get that. Hope you find that joy again soon (you know, with all your free time ;) ) Hopefully none of my comments on the Janome business gave you pause – I still think it’s bananas they don’t pay you/anyone for the publicity in addition to loaning the machine but I happily will work/blog for free in the right instance and I think those instances are different for everyone!!

  • Corinne Begg

    Yayyyy! I’m excited for you – I personally find it so much more satisfying and energizing to concentrate on doing things for personal gratification rather than to try and keep up with everyone else. And also as a side note, I’m also excited for me because now you live WAY closer, which is much more convenient for getting to meet in person! Congratulations to you, Lauren, on your new baby, your move and your new focus! :)

  • Deb Cameron

    Doing what you need and want to, and setting the boundaries that work for you and your family is the MOST empowering and liberating feeling EVER! Go you, I feel exactly the same way and have fine tuned my life this year.

  • Martha McKeon

    The minute you are doing something, even when you know other people will be disappointed, you know you’re on to something. Raising your children is the hardest and most important thing you can do. In the wink of an eye, your little girl will be having your grandchildren. And forget about that GOMI crowd…completely dreadful bunch of nasty, insecure, bullying girls. Groups, in general, should be avoided.

  • June

    I agree with you completely. I’m not a blogger and I understand your point. Life must be enjoyed and you should do what makes that possible for you. I’m looking forward to posts that you write because you had fun.

  • Raphaelle (deuxsouriceaux)

    I completely agree that you need to enjoy what you’re doing! It’s all about balance, isn’t it? I love blogging and I love giving myself posting goals that are a bit of a challenge to reach but not impossible. But sometimes, the blog weighs me down a bit. As with sewing. I’ll get caught up in something, say, quick projects, and care falls to the wayside. All of a sudden, I’m feeling like a hamster trapped on wheel and I have to step off and reassess. There’s always this idea in the back of my mind that if I could just find THE right balance, I would never need to readjust but I’m finding out that’s wrong. We change, our lives change, and we constantly need to stop, breathe, and reassess.

    All of this to say that I’m happy to hear your thoughts and to hopefully see you back here once in a while. I just wish you guys could have fallen in love with New York rather than Portland!

  • Needle and Ted

    Oh I love it when you get feisty ;-)

  • Charity

    I’m glad you are finally feeling a bit better with this pregnancy! Being sick all of the time is awful.
    I’m kind of jealous that you got to move to Oregon… I’ve been angling to move back there for 3 years now (umm, ever since we left) but it just hasn’t worked out yet.
    Keeping the joy in sewing is one of the reasons I haven’t started posting regularly on my blog. We could really use the money if I monetized…. but sewing is one of the few things that isn’t a chore for me and I don’t want to ruin that. Focusing on better fit and construction is a fabulous goal as well. I hope you feel like blogging often, because I’m looking forward to seeing it. =)
    By the way, I read through half of the GOMI archives… and my conclusion is this: Don’t ever speak of them unless you want them to gain new members. Every time a big blogger like yourself mentions them they grow.

  • Francesca Amodeo

    Cool. Congrats on the third baby:). You sound so together in every way – all the decisions you’ve taken are laudable, and I would grab that sewing machine package with both hands too:). I think your blog is going to fun for you and us again:).

  • Michelle Bryer

    I just want to say, cheers to you! Congrats on your baking baby and your new move (we visited Portland for no good reason for a short weekend in September and it was awesome!) I never blogged near as much as you or got involved in trying to make a career out of it, but there is something to be said about the pressure you put on yourself, trying to make pictures pretty or finding something to blog about…It is exhausting! I slowed down major myself a while back because I never want sewing to be a chore, it is my hobby and I want to always enjoy it! So that is why I say cheers, to taking your life back and enjoying it for you and your family :D PS go have breakfast at the Roxy with your family, it is kitchy and delicious and greasy and amazing.

  • Justine

    I’m excited for you! I started sewing for fun this year too and am enjoying blogging again. And I rarely sew for the girls anymore. No more pattern tours for me unless I lOVE the design.
    It’s all about what I want to sew and the girls just want Gap stuff, anyway. Hope you get your mojo back but don’t push too hard. You have more important priorities lately!