Making Time to Sew

Hello all! Boy oh boy has it been a busy year so far! As you all know, our beautiful shop is now closed and we have moved to an online store! So exciting. I must say, I dont think any of us really knew how much work that entailed. Its been a few months of craziness and Sue and Sandy did not stop the whole time. We are now settled in our new warehouse space where we will be dispatching orders. I am fortunate to remain working with the girls to touch base with you via this blog, create digital content AND…..guess what…. a new mystery quilt is coming!!! I am sooooo excited. Our last mystery quilt was a huge success and many of you have been asking about doing another one. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

We have some brand new ranges on the website and oh my goodness, I’m really having to restrain myself… they are just so gorgeous. Our Mystery Quilt will feature one of these ranges.

Anyway, enough work related chatter and onto the topic of this post….. Making time to sew. I know many of you lead busy lives. Whether you work, look after kids, care for someone, are out and about with various activities, it can be really difficult to fit in time to sew. I have encountered this myself as a working mum of three teenagers/young adults. Sometimes it just seems impossible to find the time to sew.

Part of the problem, I think, is that we tend to place all other activities as a higher priority than making time to do what we love. But in fact, taking time out of our busy schedules is good for our mental health. When we are doing something creative we are engaging parts of our brain that are often neglected in everyday activities. Its good for us to spend some time, however small, each day to push all the everyday stuff to the background, and take time to embrace our creativity. Time to explore, play, and connect with a part of our soul that makes us happy. As the old saying goes…all work and no play makes Leanne a very boring person lol.

Now more than ever before, with the world changing so quickly with COVID, I think we have come to realise just how important our mental health is. Its even more important than most of our everyday activities that we busy ourselves with.

So how do we find time to sew???? Here are my top tips for creating a little space in your day to indulge in your favourite craft!

  1. Have a permanent sewing area set up. Now I realise this isn’t possible for everyone but if you can manage to set yourself up on a table that you can leave set up, you will be more inclined to sew. This eliminates the time involved in getting everything set up and means you can just pop yourself down, turn the machine on, and pick up where you left off.
  2. Use snippets of time. Waiting for a contractor to arrive? That’s time to sew. Only 10 minutes till the dryer is finished? Great, that’s time to sew. On the phone on hold with Centrelink? Oh my goodness, you’ve just gained a whole hour of sewing time! lol. When you’re away from home, use your waiting time at the Drs to do some handwork (paper piecing, hand sewing, embroidery). Have a little project bag ready to grab before you head out the door. When the kids were in primary school I would often take a project to work on while I waited for them in the car.
  3. The chuck it all in dinner. This is one of the key ways I like to make time to sew. Nothing beats a chuck it all in the pan and stick it in the oven dinner. Less dishes to clean up, no supervising the stove, and yes, you guessed it, that means more time at the sewing machine! I’ve provided one of my favourite family recipes which should give you about 35mins of sewing time.
  4. Watch less TV. You would be amazed how much time we spend sitting in front of the TV. We think its relaxing because we are sitting down, but in actual fact, our brains aren’t relaxed at all. So ditch the idiot box and do something creative with your time. Save the TV for watching something special such as an interesting documentary, a movie, or your favourite show. Plonking down on the couch and just starring at the tv watching whatever is on, is just a waste of your time. Unless of course you are sewing on a binding at the same time… that’s totally acceptable lol.
  5. Use a reward system. I often play the game of doing a household chore which then entitles me to some sewing time. Its a win win because not only are you getting to do what you love, you are also doing what you need to do. No guilt there! So first of all I get my project ready, then I may put on a load of laundry. Oh look at that… half an hour to sew! When the washings done I hang it out on the line. Next I load the dishwasher and turn it on. Another half an hour to sew and then while the dishwasher is still going (mine takes 2 1/2 hours for a normal cycle), I’ll complete another task on my list of chores.
  6. Prepping. Having blocks cut and ready to sew means a more efficient use of your sewing time. Its much easier to sit down and sew if your project preparation is done.
  7. Just 15 mins! Its amazing what you can get done in just 15 mins a day. You’ll also be more productive as you have a finite amount of time to get things done.
  8. Get up earlier. Oh I love the concept of this but sadly I’m not much of a morning person. But think about how much you could get done if you got up say, half an hour earlier, just to sew. Its time you wouldn’t have otherwise had and in most households its quite and peaceful at that time.
  9. Eliminate the unnecessary time wasters! I am, I’m a tad proud to say, Queen of eliminating the unnecessary! Ironing clothes? Nope, they get folded as they come off the line. Ironing, my dear friends, is for patchwork fabric not clothing. Lining up at the post office to pay bills? Ha, hell no. My bills get paid from home using phone banking. Lining up at the bank… what the?… online banking solves this problem. Waiting at the Drs for a quick appointment for a new prescription? No no, best thing ever invented was the telehealth appointment (COVID was good for something). Grocery shopping…. BORING! I shop with Woolworths Online and pay a small fee (reduces the more you spend) for someone to run around the store, pick what I’ve asked for, and deliver it to my home! What could be better? I love this service and I’ve only ever had the occasional minor issues with the produce and Woolworths have gladly provided a refund for anything I’m not happy with. What I haven’t told Woolies is that I’d actually pay a lot more for this service simply because I hate grocery shopping that much! lol. So the idea here is not to be afraid of technology but embrace it and use it to your advantage. If you don’t know how to do something, ask someone who does to help you. Most of these systems are very user friendly.
  10. Make an appointment with yourself. Then there’s the old ‘put it in your diary’ idea where you block out time to sew. You will have to be disciplined to not allow other things to steal this time. Make a commitment to yourself and stick to it. It’s just as important as any specialist appointment so don’t allow anyone to cause you to compromise.

So there you have it folks, I hope this helps or at least gets you thinking about how you can make a bit more time to indulge in this wonderful hobby of ours.

Finally, here is my recipe for Oven baked Chicken Risotto. Feel free to modify it with your favourite ingredients. As long as you keep the rice and the fluid quantities the same, it should still work.

Oven Baked Risotto

1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
100g bacon, diced
500g chicken breast fillet, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
2 cups aborio rice
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
grated parmesan to serve

Preheat oven to 160 C fan forced.

Heat oil in large flameproof, ovenproof dish over medium heat. Cook onion and bacon for 2 minutes.

Add chicken and cook, stirring, for 3 – 4 minutes.

Add garlic, lemon zest, rosemary and chilli, and cook for a further 2 mins.

Add rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Mix tomato paste and stock in a jug. Pour over rice mixture.

Bake, covered, for 35 minutes or until rice is just tender and liquid has been absorbed. Stir through parmesan.

Until next time

Happy sewing

Leanne x