Getting started. Never finished.

Author Archives: sarah

Today is my twentieth wedding anniversary.

If you had asked me a year ago, two years ago, three years ago if I was celebrating (which you wouldn’t ask, because of course why wouldn’t you just assume so), I probably would have said yes.

Unless I knew you well, and then I would have said through gritted teeth, “dreading.”

In the past year I’ve been working on this. Well, maybe working on me. Therapy finally let me see the work I hadn’t been doing. I inherited a lot of don’t-say-what-your-needs-are, have the patience for don’t-make-me-say-it-twice. I spent a lot of time feeling invisible. I’m good at directing my energy anywhere else to get the happy. I’m extremely good at seething.

I still blow up sometimes. I still get tired of repeating myself and giving directives. But I am getting better. I feel hopeful, if not fully happy. That’s been missing for a long time and is more crucial.


Found this at my library’s book sale and couldn’t resist it.

I haven’t cracked the box open yet, but I have had stress dreams about money for the past few nights. I don’t think it’s literal, even if it does prompt me to check my account balances when I wake up. I suspect it’s about energy and having enough personal reserves.


I recently started reading Christiane Northrop’s new book, Dodging Energy Vampires: an empath’s guide to evading relationships that drain you and restoring your health and power.

I’m a little bit younger than the generation of women who found Dr. Northrup to be the relevatory Mother Supreme Of Menopause. As a selector of adult non-fiction, I knew her new titles would be well-received. And having finally maybe, just maybe, learned the life-changing magic of declaring some boundaries, I thought this book would provide some insight on a pattern of overextending my energy that I am more consciously trying to curtail.

I am a woman who carries a tarot deck in my purse, and a set of essential oils for emotional remedies. And this book almost makes sense, until she waltzes straight into the woo.

I can’t reconcile her statement that empaths (hi, yes) see people as intrinsically good while some are in fact quite predatory, particularly on empaths. No, they’re needy and damaged, I think. She’d argue that I just don’t see it yet. And then she’ll give examples of empaths who get symptoms of serious illnesses that their family members are just about to be diagnosed with – and their ailments vanish the moment the diagnosis is given. She recounts tales from her own past lives. I can’t take it seriously, and it’s detracting from the impact of the book’s central message: empaths are drawn to heal, and often at their own expense.

I can’t say I am getting nothing from this book, except it gives me imposter syndrome about being an empath (who knew that was a competitive sport?!) and I am having to read it with more than a little side-eye. Mercifully short, so hopefully no retinal damage ensues.


I really should be more active with this, eh? 


Most of the time, I select fabric just because it catches my eye. Sometimes, there’s a purpose.

Next month is XOXO, and for me it marks a year of sewing in earnest. I decided to make an XOXO dress to celebrate. I gleefully ran around the fabric store to pull the bits together. And then when I started on it at home…


Woozy.


Confusey.


And what was I thinking?

It was the first time in a while that I truly doubted my eye. Not only was I so sure in the fabric shop of how this would work, I had each component cut for exactly the length needed. I started in on the dress, wondering if I had imagined myself into a hot, dizzy mess.

Here’s the result: 


And the kicker: PDX pockets.


Trust your vision.


I suspect not. 


My next cat will be named Tim Gunn.


I love the little extra design bonuses. Reminds me of messages scratched into the dead space on records.


I’ve nearly completed this dress: 

It’s nearly floor length. I couldn’t do anything but throw heaps of that floral fabric into it. I put an extra panel in the skirt back to make it even fuller.


The print reminds me of blouses my American grandmother wore. 

What’s keeping me from finishing? I am convinced that somewhere out there is the perfect floral lace trim that needs to peek out from the bottom, and I haven’t found that trim yet. So this gorgeous print sits and waits for its turn to go to the ball. 


Today I pieced out a dress combining these two fabrics:


It was when I took a photo of my partial stash that I noticed how well these work together!

I also started the next stage of this shawl, a Doodler by Stephen West:


This photo is the completion of phase one; a cable begins across the top in stage 2. I got the row-before-cabling set up.

And I went to an Intro to Synths class at S1 Synth Library, which also gives me access to using that library for the next month.


All of these new things at the very beginning stages, and Inothing completed. Now wonder I feel unsettled. This should be better in a couple of days when I can make more tangible progress. 


These are the fabrics that are lingering by my dining table, where I iron and cut my projects. Sewing happens on a much smaller table in my office.


The plum one on top was one of four fabrics I bought in Denverwhile attending the Public Library Association conference. None of them have been used yet.

The seashells print was purchased from a shop of Mississippi Ave in PDX that I think has since vanished. 

The ringspun plaid – subtle, it’s a coffee brown with a inky, could-be-black, could be navy – was from the big fabric store in town, as was the dark denim on the bottom and the graphic map print above the denim. Not pictured: a denim lighter both in shade and weight. I bought five yards of both denims to experiment with, and I’ve made a single-cut dress from the dark denim.

Sandwiched between the map print and the ringspun: a Liberty lawn that reminds me of Gaughin. I cringe slightly at the term “luscious” when it’s applied to textiles. It is appropriate for this print.

So now: what do I do with these, and what’s first? And…. I am stuck. Stacking these for this photo did reveal the delightful, surprising way those plum and seashell fabrics talk to each other, though.