I don’t know if it’s the warmer weather, the heavenly spring light, or just plain ol’ spring fever–but I’ve got such an itch to reimagine and rearrange spaces around here! It can be hard to say goodbye to the way we used spaces in the house during the child-rearing years, but… it’s time.
Right now I’m knee deep (almost literally) in a sewing space decluttering and reorganizing project. It’s one of those “one thing leads to another” situations that started with moving things out of the boys’ old room to make way for a queen-size bed. Goodbye bunk beds! (I felt surprisingly unemotional about letting those go. Probably because they haven’t been a good fit for my 6’4″ boys for a long time). But the Ikea Billy bookshelves from their room seemed to be just the thing I needed to organize my sewing space (aka dining room). Someday I hope to move my sewing space to the loft directly above the dining room (and less visible from the entryway), but until we find a home for Ben’s drum kit, I’m stuck in the dining room. Having those new shelves inspired a full declutter project I’m still working through. I used Karen Brown’s 2023 Sewing Room Declutter Challenge videos for inspiration–and highly recommend her approach. It’s very doable and encourages you to actually reward yourself with sewing! I’ve been stitching more than ever and now have a list of projects that I’m excited to work on! It’s fun to be reminded of all the supplies you have (but haven’t seen for years!). Creativity follows order for me, apparently.
I’m also imagining all kinds of things for the kids’ rooms. Paint choices, furniture, bedding, and a better place for the attic access that is inexplicably in the ceiling of Chloe’s old room. This project is more emotional. Even though it’s long overdue, it’s hard to paint over that blue paint in Chloe’s room in favor of a more sophisticated neutral. And even though Chloe and Jonah have well and truly moved out, it seems strange to me that when they come and visit, they will stay in what could be described as a “guest room”. They will not be their childhood bedrooms any longer. I am trying to keep one room a bit more “Ben” since he’s still in college, and this is still his home. But the truth is that he will only be here for a couple of weeks this summer. It’s a fine line to upgrade, but not erase. But let’s face it, it’s high time the Adventure Time poster came off the wall.
And then of course, there is the outdoor space. Like the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, I’m inspired to get my fingers in the dirt and plant all the things! I am having to curb that compulsion, since despite the rainiest winter EVER, California is still in a drought. We need a new plan for the backyard before we get too excited. But due to the incessant rain this year, the once dead grass has greened up and that makes a big difference in how it feels to spend time out there. The “green” is 90% weeds, but let’s not split hairs. There’s a lot we can do to make that space “good enough” for now. Lots of weeding, maybe some colorful throw pillows, and cheerful annuals. For many months of the year, my favorite place to be is out on the patio in my swing chair, preferably with some knitting and a glass of wine. So doing what I can to refresh that space is definitely a priority.
I’m being pretty literal about creating spaces (as is my way), but I’m sure that you find a more philosophical way to interpret this topic. What kind of spaces are you thinking about creating?
I love this topic! My whole goal in life right now is to create spaces of all kinds–spaces in my house, spaces in my head, spaces in my calendar … I want all the space!
I’m making progress, albeit slow progress, on getting the attic cleaned out and cleaned up. I manage to fill up a couple of boxes a week, even if those boxes don’t make it all the way to the Scrap Exchange (the beauty of being an empty nester is that I can stack them up in one of the boys’ rooms until I make the trip). In other decluttering news, I’m feeling good about Jack’s room, having cleared out a bunch of the stuff he left behind when he moved into his apartment.
There’s still some low hanging fruit to be picked from around the house–old sheets that haven’t been paying their rent in the linen closet, clothes I haven’t worn in years that could be living their best lives elsewhere, the downstairs closet with its array of boys coats and jackets that no longer fit the young men they once belonged to. These are all twenty-minute jobs that make me feel like I’m really getting it done!
The calendar feels a little more spacious than it did a month or two ago, when I had lots of magazine articles to finish up. I’ve just turned in my most recent Quiltfolk articles and don’t have any looming assignments for a while (nor am I looking for any). I’m going to Iowa for the Iowa Quilt Festival in early June, which is speeding into view faster than seems possible. (How is it even April?) My fiction writing life is super busy, what with the Story Guild project, but that’s my job. It’s a little strange having a weekly writing deadline for novel chapters, but I’m getting used to it and do my best to remember that there are much, much worse ways to make a living (understatement of the century).
That leaves creating space in my mind. Interestingly enough, I’ve found that the best way to do that is by filling it up. But in order to feel spacious, my mind has to be filled with the right things–art, books, music–as opposed to, say, too much online chatter. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve more or less stayed off Instagram, and the only other place I check in is the Quiltfiction Club on Facebook, which is always a lovely place to be. I’ve developed a new habit whenever I find myself poking around the Internet, which is to say to myself, You could be reading a book. I like books, and they’re usually better than the nonsense I find on the interwebs.
Other things that create good space for me: 1) Writing in my journal; 2) Drawing; and 3) Hand-sewing. I’ve always loved to draw, and this past week I’ve given myself small drawing assignments once a day. They don’t take long, but I find them totally absorbing. As for hand-sewing, I’ve been making half-square triangles while we watch baseball at night. I’m using all upcycled fabrics (from my stash and old clothes and pillowcases), and they’re all in neutral or light colors, but I’m using red thread to piece them. I have no idea what I’ll do with them; I’m just enjoying the process. I’m sewing with my right hand (I’m left-handed but totally ambidextrous), which keeps things interesting.
As always, I’d like more time to do nothing (that is, nothing but read, write and make stuff). I have friends for whom doing nothing is their idea of hell. It’s heaven for me, so I’ll keep doing my best to create new spaces whenever and wherever I can.