The Old Coat…

Last weekend I did a bit of sewing that I didn’t share. Honestly, it wasn’t that interesting to anyone by me but I thought I’d share the story as it might motivate you.


Twenty years ago I was fairly fresh out of college and working in my chosen field of radio broadcasting making about $5.50 an hour, working odd overnight and early morning airshifts and the odd DJ gig at various bars and roller skating rinks. If it sounds glamorous let me assure you it was! I was being paid in fun and for a 21-year-old you really couldn’t ask for more. I needed a nice winter coat and it had to look smart because working in radio in the 90’s with deregulation and small stations being bought up by larger companies you never knew when you came in for work each day if you would have a job or if your station would have new owners and would have fired everyone. Hence I had to look good for my constant hobby of interviewing for new jobs. I went into TJ Maxx on a mission and found the most beautiful burgundy wool coat that was tailor-made for me it seemed. It was double-breasted, knee-length with a fabulous weight and the perfect color. It was also $60 so I thought long and hard about buying it as it was easily half of my take home pay that week. I bought it and never once regretted that purchase. I rarely carry a purse so my keys would rip holes in the pockets which I mended. I replaced buttons after they gave out from getting caught in the holes of my laundry baskets from my pre house owning trips to the laundromat and later getting caught in shopping carts lifting my kids for cart to car seat. That coat saw me through many adventures.

About 2 years ago I had to face facts, the pockets could no longer be mended and the lining was in tatters. Mending might not be able to cut it this time. Feeling fairly competent I bought a couple of yards of burgundy satin (for $8 at Mardens-a local discoutn fabric store) and a matching spool of thread and decided I would sew a new lining for my coat. Now, I am the type of person who needs to jump in and do a project the moment I get inspired because If I spend to long thinking about it or researching different ways to do it I get overwhelmed. I read too many tutorials, I asked to many proper sewists how they would do it and ultimately I did nothing.  The coat sat in my closet unworn while I grabbed lesser coats to wear outside. Because I felt fat and dumpy in my other coats I didn’t want to go out often in the cold. I didn’t pop into the library to grab a book and chat with the librarian when I was out, I didn’t feel good about myself in those coats so I would simply wait in the car to pick up my kids, heaven forbid if anyone saw me. All that wasted time, even if it was just a few minutes it was wasted.


As you know over the past year I had held each of my possessions in my hand and asked if they “sparked joy” and my old red coat still made me happy yet I kept those other very “unsparky” coats because I needed something I could actually wear outside (and quite frankly if you are going to do any serious work or play outside in the snow you want a machine washable parka.) Because of undergoing the Konmari method from the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up I had fallen down the rabbit hole of other mindfulness and minimalism bloggers and last Saturday I happened to be reading an article about fast fashion. The article referenced a documentary on Netflix and I had a burst of motivation. I grabbed my sewing kit, beautiful coat and fabric and set to work on mending my coat as I watched the documentary. I started by cutting out the pockets and using them as templates to make new ones out of satin. I sewed them on my machine then hand stitched them in to my coat. I examined the lining which was the most overwhelming task and realized that most of the tears were on seams so I hand stitched the small awkward rips and machine sewed the rest. Turns out it was not as big of a project as I thought! By the end of the hour and a half documentary (which was not that great) I had a fully functional coat! I dug out my Dryell home dry cleaning kit that I haven’t used in over a decade and cleaned my coat (and I was super excited to see they still make Dryell! It is such a fantastic invention!) and it looked fabulous. I realized it had lost a button at some point but I had a matching one in my stash so I stitched that on and it was as good as new. Maybe better than new because the satin I made the pockets from was thicker and sturdier than the original. It also made me glad I didn’t rip out the lining because I think the satin might have been too stiff to work as a lining fabric. Here is my 22-year-old coat as good as new and still my favorite!


The old saying goes: “They don’t make them like they used to…” and in this case I agree. I had tried on other coats over the years thinking that I could just replace my old beloved red wool coat but the coats I found felt cheap, flimsy and just didn’t feel right or make me feel the way I wanted to in them. I think we often try to buy something because we think it will rekindle the feeling we had when we bought a similar thing. That’s why fast fashion has such popularity, you can buy something new and cheap to replace something old and dull but the novelty soon wears off. I think that the amount of thought you put into a purchase is related to the enjoyment you will get out of it.

I have grown a lot over the past year of decluttering. Two years ago when I bought the fabric and spool of thread to take on this project I thought I was being smart and thrifty. Turns out I already had a spool of thread in the exact color I needed and I only really needed enough fabric to make pockets and not replace the entire lining. I could have done this repair with 1/4 yard of fabric at $1 vs the 2 yards of fabric plus spool of thread for $10. Also I would have actually done the project quickly because I would not have been hung up on what I thought I needed to do instead of what I really needed to do.  Still its way less wasteful and less expensive than buying a new coat of that quality which would cost about $200. I hope this post inspires you to tackle a task you have been meaning to do but overwhelmed by. Do what needs to be done and enjoy life now. It’s usually less work than you think it will be and always worth it because even if you mess up a project you learn something new! What are you going to do today? Let me know in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!


Cookin’, Wrappin’, Relaxin’ & Preparing for Snow!

Merry Christmas friends! I have to say that this has been my favorite Christmas season in many years. What was different?  Why was I not a stressed out mess like I usually am this time of year? Well, there are a couple of reasons. For one, my house is less cluttered. Holiday decorations used to stress me out because we were always so rushed and I always meant to declutter before decorating but I would get busy and the kids would want the decorations up so I would go up to the attic and drag down the totes and let them have at it so there would be decorations on top of the everyday clutter. It was a mess. This year I took everything out of the attic. We went through everything, got rid of a lot of things that were shabby and did not hold any sentimental value and put out the stuff we loved. We had 14 totes of christmas decorations and we weeded it down to about 5. I have been enjoying my home decorated for Christmas instead of looking forward the the 26th when I can pack them all away. Why did I live like that?

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I also I decided to get rid of expectations. I would not “panic shop” because I have found that gifts bought in that frame of mind seldom hit the mark. I did most of my gift shopping locally (I used to dread going out in public and shopping but this year I enjoyed it!) I took the time while waiting to pick up my kids from practise to stroll around local stores and choosing gifts that I really felt people could use and love. Let’s face it, four crappy panic gifts to not equal one good gift. I wrapped gifts as I went and never when I was tired or cranky. If I was tired I went to bed whereas in years past I would just brace myself and marathon wrap until it was done. Ironically I never felt done, if I had extra time after wrapping I would go into panic mode thinking I must not have bought enough if I am done wrapping already. This year seeing my kids discard several panic gifts that never got opened helped me see the error of my ways. The biggest change I made was allowing myself enough time to do something instead of cramming every little thing in that I could. Today I cooked some cranberry sauce and baked garlic rolls for Christmas Eve dinner. Old Lindsay would have squeezed in one more DIY gift project before starting to bake and left the house in a wreck to leave for the party only to come home to a stressful mess. I stopped the insanity! Oh, and I think my garlic rolls came out better than before, I can taste the calm! I’m not sure what I taste in the Cranberry sauce…the zesty tang of my new zesty approach to life? It’s a bit tart LOL:)


This Christmas will be a bit different from every other Christmas as we are getting a foot of snow tomorrow between 3am and 6pm so traveling to my folks for Christmas will be out. I called my mom and asked if we could get together on the 26th instead due to the storm and she said it was fine so for the first time in forever we will hang out at home and take our time opening gifts and lounging around enjoying each others company. I’ll miss spending Christmas Day with my folks but I am looking forward to hanging out with hubby and the kids all day and staying home too! And since we will visit on the 26th it’s like we get to extend the good times!

I think it is funny that something as simple as decluttering my home this year would make such an impact on my life as a whole. I think it helped be to be more present instead of rushing to the next thing. That is why I am enjoying this holiday season more, because I am in the moment. I am setting realistic expectations and pacing myself instead of cramming more in. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate) and a safe and happy New Year! Take care of yourself and til next time happy crafting!

Optimized vs. Maximized: What are you?

Hi friends! I am back today with another minimalist Monday vlog. I know that I can get in the habit of pushing  through things quickly only to pile on more tasks and before we know it our life becomes a treadmill of productivity over balance.  Often it is just busy work tricking us into thinking we are being productive. I’d rather be effective than busy. I’d rather have an optimized live than a maximized one, how about you?


I’d love to know what you think in the comments below. This year has been a turning point for me and oddly enough it started by decluttering my house using the Konmari method from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I know it won’t work for everyone but I am so thankful for the day that I pressed play on that audio book. It might be a good gift for someone who is struggling with clutter and overwhelm. I used to be maximized and my art studio was proof of that! Do you have any good books to recommend? Let me know in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

You know what? I am really excited for Christmas this year!

Hi friends! I have a confession to make, I usually approach Christmas with a bit of dread and anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting together and spending time with friends and family, watching Christmas specials with my hubby and kids and attending the kids Christmas concerts at school. But then I have the shopping/gift anxiety, the clutter of too many decorations added on top of an over cluttered house and cooking anxiety. I actually declined an invitation EVERY YEAR from a sweet friend to a fun cookie swap because I was embarrassed about my cooking ability, instead I would just lurk on Facebook the day of the event and feel sorry for myself as they shared pics of all the fun they were having. I was so lame. I would live in a state of overwhelm from November 1-December 25th. But this year I am looking forward to the holiday, why you might ask? Because of the decluttering process I started in February. I have room for decorations. I spend less time cleaning on a daily basis and if we are having people over I can have the house presentable in 1 hour (vs the 8 hour cleaning marathon two days before Christmas last year!) I finally feel like I can relax and enjoy the season.


I am also looking at my gift giving with new eyes, this is something I have been leaning towards for the past few years but now I am not going to feel badly about it. I have received gifts that I couldn’t use before but the guilt of getting rid of something I did not need make me keep the item. I don’t want others to feel that guilt either so I am changing some of my gift giving tactics. The following are my gift giving guidlines:

  • Give a gift that is consumable: A bottle of wine, coffee, fine vanilla etc.
  • Give a gift card to a restaurant, grocery store of the recipients favorite store
  • Make it reusable: Craft cute handmade gift card packaging that can have a label removed and it can be reused.
  • Make it handmade AND useful: Hand knit hats, mittens, cowls, socks, cutting boards etc.

I used to feel bad picking up a gift card and then I’d go into panic shopping mode. I didn’t want someone to think I didn’t care about them enough to select a perfect gift. Ironically that meant I would buy completely random stuff that did not hit the mark. How did a holiday of love and togetherness come to this? I say “no more!” We will have joy and abundance this Christmas, the question is will you be too stressed out to enjoy it?

I know some people gripe about my random konmari posts but I have to say for me The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo was life changing. I can’t guarantee results for everyone but I am looking forward to all aspects of the holidays and that makes me happy.  One thing I love is sending handmade cards, I will attack that with gusto and enjoy every minute of making them, addressing them and sending them off. And I will go to that cookie swap this year. If my cookies are a disaster I know of a few good bakeries. 🙂 I hope that regardless of what you celebrate that you enjoy the season without stress and anxiety. Happy crafting!

This one tip can help build your crafty stash and your relationships! {Konmari Craft VLOG}

Hi friends! Wouldn’t you like to have access to more stuff without having to buy and store it? Well you can, as long as you are willing to share too. Today we are going to talk about ownership verses access. I know there are many things we want to own because we use them too often to borrow them every time but for those once in a while things borrowing can be just fine. I am lucky and have several friends who enjoy papercrafting as does my mom and sister so we borrow and lend all the time. It allows us to try new things and keep our projects fresh without breaking the bank. In today’s Konmari craft room video we will talk about owning vs borrowing stuff.


This video posted to YouTube last night and I always love to the read the comments left on these posts. They are always thoughtful, respectful and open my mind to other opinions. One theme I heard over and over was that they would like to lend and borrow more but all too often items come back broken,or they don’t come back at all. This makes me sad to hear. I think this will happen but in most cases people will treat your things better than their own (I know I do if I borrow something and I try to use it right away so I can return it and don’t forget about it!) I even had a sweet friend buy me a new die cutter platform because she thought she ruined it by putting the die in without a cutting pad. It has a scratch but I didn’t care, it still worked fine:) I guess you might not want to lend anything that would harm your friendship if anything happened to it because accidents happen and people make mistakes.  The loss of a thing should never cause the loss of a friendship.

So, Lindsay, how to we keep track of things we lend?

I got a great tip from my mom. Whenever you lend something out put a return address label on the item. I often get sheets of free return address stickers in the mail from charities I have given to in the past but you can order them or print them on your computer as well. That way the borrower knows it’s yours if they forget (it happens to the best of us!) and when you lend something keep a check out list just like a library so you know who has what (And you don’t drive yourself insane looking for that butterfly die you were sure you bought LOL!) I lend my crafty stuff to about 6 people so I can usually narrow it down if I need an item I lent for a project. I think the benefit outweighs the risk.

The other topic several people mentioned was that they didn’t have any crafty friends or they lived in such a rural area that supplies were hard to find. This is a bit more tricky but I bet there are more like-minded souls around than you think, or, you might be able to teach some folks your craft. You local library or church might also have scrapbooking, quilting, knitting or painting groups that you can join (or maybe you can start one!) I have enjoyed scrapbooking and painting groups at my local church, I am not a church member but they welcomed me just the same and I have started knitting and painting groups at the library. Find your tribe and if you can’t, create one by sharing you passion! I also realize that many viewers are homebound or not available to attend groups when they meet but you can find many forums and galleries online and share ideas and inspiration. I can tell you from experience the more light you put out, the more comes back to you.

I think the best thing about borrowing and lending is getting to see my friends more often, it builds the bonds of friendship and it feels good to help and we feel gratitude when we are helped. We were taught that sharing is good in kindergarten, we just need to remember that now that we are grown up. 🙂

Share your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to know what you think. Happy crafting!

Konmari Vlog: The Value of our STUFF!

Hi friends!  Everything I think about “stuff” I am reminded of the George Carlin bit about stuff: “My stuff is good STUFF, everyone else’s stuff is CRAP!” There is some truth to this. Studies show we value things we own much higher than things we don’t. The mere act of ownership makes us think differently about our stuff. This is why it is hard to have a yard sale and price our things (things we don’t even want mind you) for less than we think they are worth. If you are trying to declutter but getting stuck on what to do with your stuff watch this video, I think it will help.

Video! (If reading in email click over to watch the video)

So many people have asked me why I didn’t just sell the stuff I gave away after decluttering my craft room. There were many reasons, mostly I wanted it out efficiently but another reason was I’d rather give it away to someone who would appreciate it rather tan sell it for a tiny fraction of what it was worth. It’s silly really because the end result is the same whether I threw it away, gave it away or sold it but I wanted to feel good about discarding and giving stuff to friends and organizations who could use it felt best.

It is almost like I was worried about my “things” have a good home and I am not alone. Also, who wants to throw money away and when we place a value on our things (we do, even the things we no longer want) it feels like throwing money away to toss it, or like we are getting ripped off to sell it for next to nothing. In ANY of these scenarios the goal is to get rid of the excess items we don’t want so why do we get so hung up on the “stuff”?

Here is the TED-ed video that I mentioned. The Konmari method is from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I hope you enjoyed this little vlog. Remember, It’s not about the “STUFF”…OK, maybe it is a bit. 🙂 Happy crafting!

Are you stuck on the treadmill?

Hi friends! When we liken something to “the treadmill” it usually means unending drudgery but did you know our minds strive to keep us on an even balanced path, this is known as the hedonic treadmill and that is what we are going to chat about today in this weeks Konmari vlog! *If you are new here “Konmari” refers to the boom The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and it was the book that helped me declutter my art room and my home by only keeping items that “Sparked Joy.” I highly recommend it:)

Today we are talking about hedonic adaptation, or the ability of your brains to seek out a balance after something good or bad happens to us. When I first completed the Konmari declutter in my craft room I felt fantastic! I had a cleaner more spacious room and I was on cloud 9! A month or so later I was feeling a sense of let down, I could not see that I had made a difference, I had gotten used to the “new normal” and I didn’t feel like I accomplished anything. I decided to do another round of Konmari…then I learned about the hedonic treadmill and it all made sense!

Here is the short video by TED explaining the Hedonic Treadmill.

Have you ever said things like:

  • “I’ll be so happy when I lose 25 pounds!”
  • “If only I could get that promotion my life would be perfect!”
  • “If I had a big house like her’s I’d surely be happy!”
  • “If my art was every published I’d be happy!”
  • “If I had “x” amount of dollars in the bank I would feel satisfied”

If you then hit one of those goals you might know what I mean. I thought if I ever got my work in a magazine then I would be satisfied, then it was when I get my own column I would be happy, then it was if I was hired to teach at a convention I’d be happy or hitting 100k YouTube subscribers. It turns out I am just as happy now as I was before. Now this might sound incredibly ungrateful and I do not mean it that way at all BUT I have found achieving a goal to be kind of a let down. I think that the work is the reward and pursuing and progress feels better than hitting an end goal. Think about it, remember when you were first learning a new skill whether it is knitting, painting or playing an instrument, think about the thrill of making something that resembled a scarf, picture or a song. Those little wins kept you going. As you begin to master a craft you need to make it more complicated and advanced and the thrill you get from each step higher is not as great as the first thrills you got from knitting row upon row of a wobbly-edged scarf. Finally you have mastered a skill and you are leveled out on the treadmill.

I think the way to maximise your happiness without falling prey to the treadmill is to set daily goals that will put you on a positive path while minimising the “let down” of goals. The other thing about goals is how disappointed you can feel if you don’t hit them, say if your goal is to lose 30lbs by Christmas and you east healthy and exercise every day and only lose 20 you will feel disappointed but if you said “I am going to walk 45 minutes a day, write down everything I eat and make healthy food choices until Christmas” and you look and see you lost 20lbs you would feel great for sticking to a plan and not feel bad because it wasn’t 30. Does that make sense? Make your daily actions reflect who you want future you to be.

How to swap goals for plans:

  • Instead of “I will learn to paint like DaVinci” Try “I will paint 1 hour a day for 3 months”
  • Instead of “I will lose 30lbs by Christmas” Try “I will do some form of exercise each day and eat reasonable portions of healthful food going forward”
  • Instead of “I will have my art published within 6 months” try “I will send out 10 submissions to craft magazines per month.”

Get the idea? And also thing learning new things help push us past the “leveling out” plateau we hit in all areas that we are trying to master. If you painting is at a standstill try collage, knitting or jewelry making. By switching gears you put your brain in that fertile learning space and a colorway or technique in another project might push you past the block you are facing in your main art form. That’s why cross training is so effective in fitness. Try art/craft cross training (I’d say it’s more fun too LOL!)

One more thing to try…I was listening to the Happiness podcast by Gretchen Rubin the other day and one of her viewers called in and suggested making a “Ta-Da!” list instead of a To-do list, at the end of the day (or week) write down everything you accomplished. That way when you are feeling overwhelmed like you haven’t done anything you can look back at your Ta-Da list and see that you really are killing it:) It is the same principle of taking before pics of your pre konmari home, when you have evidence of what you have achieved it helps pull you off the treadmill. You could also keep a blog and post what you make each week, seeing the work add up pays off!

I’d love to know what you think! Leave a comment below and continue the conversation. Happy crafting!

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