minimalist photography of open door

A maximalist falls in love with a minimalist

If I have a motto, it’s that more is more. I’m not usually talking about stuff, but if I am being honest, I am no minimalist. If I like something, I usually wind up with at least three of that item. So I have a hard time explaining my complete adoration for Dawn, The Minimal Mom on YouTube. I am hooked; I’ve already watched a handful of videos in the last five days. 

Maybe I’m trying to change my ways. I think I am realizing the limits of abundance. Dawn often mentions that she doesn’t want to manage that much inventory: I can so relate to that at this point in my life.  

Check out h5 EASY Ways to Make Christmas Extra Special This Year And especially Get rid of these 3 things to feel BETTER about yourself today!! Don’t wait to have clothes you love. Your weight is fine right now. Give away and recycle what no longer fits and love the body you have. Yes, a million times, yes.

person holding brown box

Gifts that make the stay-at-home life merrier

This year’s gift list is heavy on the creative side because that’s the way I roll and because creativity is good for what ails you.  

  1. Share the gift of weaving with a class or kit from Spruce & Linen. I love Jennell Flynn’s YouTube weaving tutorials. Check out her River Weaving Course ($179) or one of the weaving kits in her ETSY shop ($120.28). Her walnut weaving needle would also make a great gift ($27.30).
  2. Share the gift of inclusive design with Black Illustrations by John D. Saunders. I love these illustrations. Sign up for emails to get updates on new collections and special deals. You can download this business set for free.
  3. For the makers on your list, give a subscription to The Crafter’s Box (about $65 per month). This is a great, reasonably priced subscription box with a nice range of projects. The kits come with almost everything you need–the only thing I’ve supplied so far is a pair of scissors. You can easily pause your subscription or swap the monthly box for something else, so you don’t feel inundated or stuck with a project.
  4. Give a whole year of classes to your crafty crafters with Craftsy Subscription ($79.99 per year). Craftsy offers a wide range of art, quilting and needlework classes. Classes come with supply lists and a series of short videos teaching hands-on techniques.
    A couple of my favorite classes:
    Creative Quilting with your walking foot with Jacquie Gering
    Start-up Library: Hand Embroidery with Kat McTee
  5. For the Mother Earth-lovin’ tree hugger in your life, what could be better than Who Gives a Crap Toilet PaperWho knew toilet paper could be gifty? Thank you, 2020. Choose between recycled paper and bamboo toilet paper, 48 individually wrapped (with paper) double rolls per box. $52 for the bamboo and $48 for the recycled paper version. Or subscribe and save. No plastic anywhere. Also: they donate 50% of their profits to build toilets and improve sanitation around the world.
  6. Share the gift of yoga and movement. Help someone you love to find what feels good with Yoga by Adriene! Exercise is a surefire path out of the stress tunnel! Adriene Mishler’s yoga videos are free so you can add a workout mat and a super cute t-shirt featuring Adriene’s dog Benji. (Read more about Adriene in the New York Times.)
  7. Introduce a foodie friend to Tabitha Brown (Instagram and TikTok). Aunt Tab is getting us through 2020. Share something from her shop or a collection of her go-to cooking items: garlic powder, salt-free seasoning, coconut aminos, Nori Komi Furikake, and olive oil, of course, like so, like that. 
  8. For the cerebral world-changers on your list, consider the Obama Trifecta: Becoming, (Michelle Obama), Promised Land, (Barack Obama), and Obama: An Intimate Portrait (Pete Souza). I loved, loved, loved Becoming, and recommend the documentary of the same name on Netflix, too. I’ve been following Pete Souza on Instagram since 2016. He’s not just an amazing photographer; he’s an amazing storyteller and wrote the book on throwing shade. My copy of Promised Land just arrived, and I’m looking forward to cracking that open soon. And share Pete Souza’s new documentary as a bonus, The Way I See It.
  9. Make a contribution to Dogs Playing for Life to honor the dog lovers on your list. DGPL enriches the lives and adoption chances of dogs in shelters by training shelter staff to run dog playgroups. Playgroups improve socialization, reduce boredom, create a better living environment, and make dogs happy. They also offer intensive TLC, training, rehab, and recovery for dogs in their Canine Center Florida.  
  10. The Professional Overthinker sweatshirt by Huyen Dinh. ($56.00) Show the loveable overthinker on your list that you care with a Professional Overthinker sweatshirt. Trust me, they will feel seen. More fun items in her shop.  Follow her on Instagram for a regular dose of pink, fun, and self-love.

Photo by Joshua Lam on Unsplash

Russian Blue Kitten

Five to follow for more fun and joy

Chris Barron (yes, that Chris Barron, from the Spin Doctors). Every Saturday is Caturday on Chris Barron’s Twitter feed:

Tabitha Brown on Instagram and TikTok. Like so, like that, Tabitha Brown wraps you in a happy, loving embrace. Her “America’s Mom” title is spot on. An added bonus is all of the vegan goodies and recipes that she shares.   

Unicorn Manes by Mykey O’Halloran

RAINBOW HAIR MAKES ME HAPPY! So do the elaborate videos of Mykey and his housemates rolling out the trash barrels (bins). Mikey is someone who creates joy and art with hair. He’s always a pick-me-up.

Mark Kanemura

Mark is a dancer and a performer and a sweetheart of a human being. His performances always make me smile. Follow him on Instagram: 

Thoughts of Dog 

What *is* your dog thinking? You no longer have to wonder thanks to this Twitter account from Matt Nelson of We Rate Dogs. This account is one of the purest things on the internet.

Rows of colorful thread

You can sew do this

During the pandemic, sewing seems to be a thing that my friends are taking up (or taking up again). I learned to sew as a kid and worked in several fabric stores. It took me a long time to be proficient (and honestly, some days I wonder!), but it doesn’t take very long to make something. You will be amazed at what you can make as a first-time sewer. 

  • Take a class; online classes and video tutorials are great. 
  • Sewing has changed A LOT since I started. There are so many great new tools and techniques that make sewing easier and faster. If you are coming back to sewing after a long break, find some sewists to follow. I love the Crafty Gemini and Suzy Quilts
  • Start with simple, beginner projects and easy-to-sew fabrics like cotton and quilting fabrics.
  • Learn how to thread your machine and do it over and over again until you develop muscle memory for it.
  • Become friends with the tension adjustment. Adjust it and see what happens; Keep fabric scraps next to your machine so you can do some test stitches before jumping into your project. Play with it, so you understand what happens when you adjust it up or down. 
  • Read the manual (If you don’t have one for your machine, you may be able to find one online)
  • Use good thread because bad thread breaks a lot, which will keep you from sewing and will make you sad.
  • Change your sewing machine needles regularly when you sew a lot and use the right needle for the fabric and project; otherwise, it’s like cutting tomatoes with a dull knife.
  • Get a good iron and an ironing pad for your ironing board, and watch YouTube videos.
  • You might like a pressing board and mini iron next to your sewing machine. These have been a game-changer for me as a quilter. I have this iron. I think the Crafty Gemini does, too!
  • Don’t give up. Sewing takes practice. 
  • Sewing is enormously satisfying and a bit like learning to do magic.
  • Make stuff for yourself, first and foremost. 
  • Have fun, always.
Running through the airport

Preparing to make a quick getaway

I know that we aren’t doing much traveling these days. But sometimes there’s an emergency, and you have to pack your bag and go. A couple of years ago, I created a packing checklist with key items to take (or think about taking. Sometimes, you don’t need a bathing suit, but you don’t want to forget it.)

I’m sharing my hers/theirs and his/theirs packing lists via Google Docs. You can download a copy of these lists to Word or copy it to your Google Drive and edit it to suit your own packing needs. It can be a lifesaver — especially if you are tired, stressed out, or need to pack fast.

Be careful out there. Wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands a lot — and most importantly, assume positive intent and be kind. 

Photo by Andy Beales on Unsplash

Aurora meeting in Kirkjufell, Iceland by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

The syllabus of life

I had this thought recently about creating a syllabus for life, a list of things to learn, and read and do. It’s more work than a bucket list, perhaps, and there will be many tests, but it’s good work if you can get it. 

  • Know yourself.
  • Learn to love yourself. 
  • Exercise.
  • Eat well and develop a healthy relationship with food. 
  • Find and respect your boundaries and limits. 
  • Volunteer.
  • Learn another language.
  • Travel outside your comfort zone. 
  • Keep learning.
  • When starting something new, remember you will suck at it. Push through the suck.
  • Consider your spiritual life. 
  • Know that you are enough. 

What’s on your syllabus of life? 

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Sometimes, you just want to hide beneath your hat

What I’ve Been Reading

I’m currently reading Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski. I learned about these amazing twin sisters from Brené Brown, and less than 10 minutes into the podcast, I was checking out the book from the library. I picked it up yesterday and read the introduction and the first chapter this morning. I highly recommend it to anyone (everyone?) dealing with stress and burnout. 

TL;DR? Listen to the Nagoski sisters on Brené Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash