Please stop by and take a look, my little Etsy adventure has begun.
Over the weekend, I am going to take the plunge and start 6.5st through Etsy. My grand plans of having a whole range to sell fell short, and if I held off till I had a complete collection, I'd never sell anything. So it will be a sell-as-we-go adventure. For now there will be some Swing Coats, and some matching Obi Scarves which can be worn on their own or matched with the coats. There are various sizes and patterns, but only a few of each for the moment. In the next week I hope to get some wool knit Fold tops done which I am very excited about - Pia has been road testing a few versions and they are very, very great.
And thankyou. Heartfelt thankyou's to everyone who has told me their story, who has cheered me on, who has given me permission for being honest, and open, and for telling it how it is. It is no secret that with honesty comes the fear of not being understood - but you all have understood the many and varied facets of what makes up this blog and the things I do, sometimes even better than I. Thankyou. I am taking deep, even breathes.
After my last post, I had a chance to stop. And reflect. I very almost took the post down. But decided to leave it up.
I am just a normal mother. I am just like every other mother. And every other mother is just like me. There is not one mother out there who has not had the days I’ve had. Many of you have had much worse. I have never claimed to be special because of those days. They happen. I’ve read many similar posts on just about every other blog that involves children of some sort. I have loved every single one of you who have returned emails or comments saying ‘I hear you, we’re having that day too’. There is immense comfort in the collective feeling. But it’s not always about home baked lasagna, home made playdough, and great handmade outfits. If I were to portray my life as perfect, clean, uncluttered, and surreal in it’s designer sparkliness and creative play, I would be incredibly untrue to myself. It doesn’t make me sick, or unstable in any way, although I am very touched by the number of you with genuine concern for my wellbeing.
The truth is that sometimes motherhood is lonely. Add a few weeks of very wet weather, two children, housebound days of little adult interaction, everyone going mad for pent up energy needing to be released through daily walks, a husband away and a truck load of small things going wrong, and I’m pretty sure most of you would think exactly what I wrote. I just said it out loud. For once I gave myself a voice – not the sewing, or the knitting, or the children. Me. Who am I? I’m the most important person here. I make it all work. And sometimes I need a voice. And this little blog here is my voice – and it just happens that recently it is a whingy whiny voice. What would normally have been conversations with my husband or with friends, became blog posts instead. For every word I typed up here, I felt immensely better behind the scenes. I put it up here, I let it out, I released it. I can, have, will, draw incredible strength and confidence from the comments you leave and the support and love you all have sent. I cannot stress that enough. And I am very aware that my voice, is also the voice of many of you, and I really want to give your stories validation as well. I am eternally grateful for the company you provided these last few weeks.
I want to assure you that I am really, very OK. I slept terribly every single night while Mr 6.5st was away. The children slept terribly every single night he was away. I missed him a lot – more than I realized I would. Yes, I cried. I did have some help for part of the time, but help is generally 3 hours away, and not on call for all its wonderfulness when it is around. Sleep deprivation, really, it sucks. Mr 6.5st is home now, and I have started sleeping well. The nonstop rain has gone. A major stress in where Max would go to school next year has this week been sorted, and that’s made a massive difference to stress levels. The TV which broke down finally (didn’t mention that one did I!) has been replaced. The water pressure has been fine. Today Max skipped up the street playing hide and seek with us, and all of us played well together as parents and children all day. He helped me take photos through the laneways, I bought him chocolate. Pia crawled. And has a tooth.
Someone wrote to me privately and said ‘Alison, you try and do too much’. I agree. I do. I always have done. It’s what drives me. It drives me to highs, and to lows. I do realize when I’ve reached my limits, and I knew I’d hit overload a few months ago – I needed to start cutting back and taking some of my self imposed deadlines off the register. What is not apparent here, is that I have many little things in place to help achieve balance, and maintain it – I made a lot of changes while going through PND with Max, have maintained them, and have now been completely medication free for over 2 years – there wasn’t even drugs involved in Pia’s birth, and at this point I don’t see a need to change that. I do have mild PND now. I have always been open and honest, both here on the blog and in real life, about my journey with it through Max, and I intend to be so again here. I work hard to minimize the incredible social stigmas which are placed on people with depression, and in particular mothers with PND. I do not feel I need to state it implicitly in everything I do – it is a deep part of me, and my feelings on it returning a second time are varied. I will say it is not new, did not start because the water pressure went off, and is actually quite controlled after months, and years, of acupuncture. I sought help very early on to prevent it taking further hold. It does not mean I am incapacitated, or a mental wreck. It does mean I feel tiredness more, and overwhelmed more, but it is very much within the realms of manageable.
I took a blog break because Mr 6.5st was going to be away and I knew I wouldn’t have time to blog, or sew. I knew his trip would be hard on me physically and mentally, and to a certain degree I gave in to that, allowed myself to be overwhelmed, felt the rawness, and allowed the thoughts to run wherever they needed to go. Then, after that, I could throw them all out and start again. It’s probably not the most streamlined way of approaching things, but it’s the way I find true clarity. I have always thought way too much.
I wanted to take a step back, and reassess what I’m doing, and why. What projects I could do next, how I want to schedule some things, like starting an Etsy shop, and getting some stock finished for it. I wanted to just focus back on the basics. And I did get a little worried when that didn’t happen immediately, but you can’t put time lines on that. I do now feel calmer about direction, and the time out has given me the chance to step back from my own pressures of what to achieve, the pressures of blogging and keeping up with blogs. The Etsy shop will start off small with items as I can get them done. And that’s just the way it will be.
I feel great for writing about Me, and for Me. For being honest about what’s going on with Me. Because it all gives meaning to the work that gets produced later on. Michelle said it best in a comment on the last post: “I find that these periods of struggle and frustration and feelings of being bound and constricted invariably come before something wonderful happens creatively”. Yes. Exactly. She was excited for me! I hope you will be too. Because I am.
It is the winter solstice – from today the days get longer, the light will stay a little longer, the heat will begin to return.
I've tried to find focus, and perspective, and conclusion. But I only found myself deeper in that hollow. I've struggled momentously the last few weeks, and the last few months. The last few weeks have highlighted the incredible loneliness and desperation that sometimes I feel. They have highlighted that stress can manifest itself in many ways, and be triggered by small things, as well as large, but that both are just as valid, if not apprently obvious to other people as being so. That slight adjustments to mental capacity can wreak havoc on stability. That if you take away one support person, everything can feel like it's crumbling. I've wanted to wipe away everything on my desk and start again. And I've wanted to gather familiarity around me. Flux. I am in a state of flux.
The water is back on. Exhaustion has caught up with me. My eyes feel very, very heavy and sore. If you're visiting from The Age or the Sun Herald article in Sunday Life, Hello! Welcome! I would like to thank everyone who sent support wishes over the last few days. Sometimes, lots, and lots of small things can be just as overwhelming as one giant thing, but I will leave the how and why for another day - there are things I want to say, I just need to find the right words to say them.
Finally, though, I can show this off + a simple quilt along the same lines as one I made for Pia last year, but this time for Di (have a look at her flickr photos for all the details): imminently ready for baby to arrive, and she's taken much better photos of the finished piece. A linen base, with sashiko embroidered abstract trees to match the Ikea canvas top. Along the middle runs a line of squares contributed by Blossom, Kirsty and myself - a lovely mix of cashmere, cottons, wools, linen printed tape by Abbytrysagain and ribbon tags to hang toys off. A little dog even made it into the package as well using more donated materials and left over Echino Estuko Furuya fabrics and wool...I popped a little bell inside so it rattles too (pattern in this japanese craft book). Woof.
Speaking of babies, Hillary's little bundle arrived - Congratulations!
In a bizarre twist of irony Sydney is experiencing the worst storms for 30 years (and I can vouch for the fact they are not terribly nice to be out in) and the rain has battered the garden and the house for the last two days. It is a long weekend here.
And we have no water.
I have coming out of the shower head, a slight, indiscernible trickle, which is not at all shower like at all. The water coming out of the taps is not much better. It's been like this for a couple of weeks, slowly getting worse, and I thought it might just be a glitch and get better, or at least hold out till Mr 6.5st The Handyman Edition returns. But apparently not. It is not the plumbers problem. Apparently. It is not Sydney Water's problem (although I am impressed they came out this evening in this weather). Apparently. It is a mains water pressure problem stemming from the neighbours house, so somebody, somewhere has to fix it (ie neighbour who pays plumber lots of money).
Preferably, soon. Because this afternoon we had no water at all, and I did start to panic. Quite a bit.
And do you think everything righted itself and I won Lotto after my last post? Was the above not clear enough? Because Max decided to push all the snibs in on all the doors around the house so none of them latched. Which ordinarily wouldn't be a problem, but in an old house with little cracks and crevices to the outside world, in the worst storms for 30 years, the doors all bang in the wind. And bang. And bang. So I also went around and unscrewed all the latch plates and unstucked the snibs. Yes I know that is not a word.
And I - in my insomniatic state of sleep deprivation due to anxiety at which child will decide to wake next and when - put the jam jars into the oven with the rubber seals in tact to sterilize. Mmmm. That one smelt really good.
I did buy some nice buttons. And I am loving this combination of wools - Japanese Maple Merino from Axelle (merino very much now discontinued, it was left over from a Clapotis) mixed with a red I can't remember the name of (which was also left over wool from another project) a piece for a friend's little girl.
Tomorrow is another day, right?
It has to get better....surely?
Today, I think I might have a nervous breakdown. Yes, I might just do that. It seems like a good day for a nervous breakdown. And hell, after the mandarin jam has cooked, I'll be left at a loose end. I've already made a catastrophe out of one knitted project. The Rowan Yorkshire Tweed? About to face it's maker I'm afraid. There is such a thing as over blocking. And that's not so good on wool which is very unforgiving of being overblocked. I forgot - twice - to buy matching thread for fabrics I am sewing with, so the neat pile of cut outs will remain a neat pile of cutouts till post nervous breakdown time. The cats decided they liked some wool. And demolished it. All through the house. Pia likes wool too. She demolished some more wool. And then chewed on some ribbon. And then howled and howled and howled and hasn't stopped howling for about a week now because now she wants to crawl, or better still walk! and she can't. So she will howl instead until she can. Max refuses to eat his dinner. But will eat mandarins. Which is good because the tree is absolutely bursting with fruit and we're never going to eat them all. Which is why, as a frazzled mother, I am making jam. I do wonder as well, why jam is so high on my priority list. Habu Kit24 was started and then ripped out to start again on smaller needles. A jacket for a friend's baby was also started and ripped out and restarted in another size to account for a gauge which was way off. Mr6.5st is away. Yes. Away. In another country far away. For a long time. Apparently the Ducati factory was open when they went to visit, but not the Prada store. That's nice. I will email my friend he is staying with and get her to
help him find the Prada store in London and make him go in and buy what is on my list so help me god if it kills him make him feel guilty. According to Max, it is 'morning time' at 4am. I thought that was mighty hilarious. So did he. He decided it would be really fun to 'learn to fly' at 4am by jumping off whatever high surfaces he could find. The house is a mess. I don't care. I have had 3 hours sleep a night for the last 4 days. I don't have my nice little camera with the nice macro lens, and so nice photos are beyond me. I need to re-learn how to 'see' through my old camera (which is technically better, but no macro function. Bummer). I've pretty much given up. I need to go out tonight and wear something other than jeans with food all over them. That means trying clothes on in my wardrobe and seeing what the silverfish have eaten, or not eaten. I should eat lunch. But I can't even think what I might want to eat. There is munched up bread (thanks Pia) all over the floor. So I am avoiding that part of the floor. My glasses broke/fell apart so I've been getting new ones. And my feet are falling apart and how impressed was I that I might be facing surgery to remove nerves in my foot if walking in pain continues.
And I have a headache.
Hit Save, and then I'm curling up on the couch for the 20 minutes left of quiet before more howling, and having a nervous breakdown.