An unintentional collector of sewing projects, an avid reader of romance books, and drinker of coffee and mini-margaritas…that’s me!
9 Facts About Me and My Unintentional Collection
- I thoroughly enjoy estate sales, garage sales, and junky antique shops.
- Vintage and unique pieces from past eras speak to my soul through their history, shape, color, or other attributes. If I see a piece and it whispers my name, I feel a pull to bring it home. Most of these items, while usable when I acquire them, need a makeover of some sort.
- Footstools, chairs, and sofas are weaknesses of mine. We have so many chairs, my husband told me I have to get rid of one before I get another!
- I am drawn to colors and patterns of material as well as the textures and colors of yarn. As a result, I have a stash of fabric and yarn that is waiting to be used.
- Tablecloths, napkins, and lady’s handkerchiefs (circa 1940’s-1960’s) intrigue me. I own several sets of vintage linens from family members as well as a decent amount from shopping excursions.
- In addition to furniture and textiles, I have collections of Anchor Hocking Early American Prescut glassware, vintage Pyrex baking dishes, and any other vintage glassware that speaks to me and makes my heart sing. (I have a set of flowered jelly glasses that are perfect for my mini-margaritas!)
- My bookshelf is stuffed with patterns and books related to upholstery, quilting, knitting, crocheting, needlework, apparel, dolls, and other sewing related topics.
- I can run a sewing machine and follow patterns for just about anything that isn’t too complicated. And when I see something I like or want to make as a gift and don’t have a pattern, I figure out a way to construct it.
- Ideas constantly flow through my head. As a result, my home is full of sewing projects that are almost done, halfway done, or not even started.
Why I Blog
Family and Career
Right out of college I became an elementary school teacher. Dedicated to doing the best job I could for my students, as well as being a wife and mother, my life fell into a routine of using nights and weekends for family and school-related responsibilities. There was very little time (and often I had very little energy) to start, much less complete, any of the sewing projects I had been collecting.
For years I told myself I would do the home projects such as reupholster, make slipcovers, hem curtains, and make pillows. In addition, there were a variety of other small projects I wanted to do including quilting, needlework, purses, pajamas, and the list goes on.
Again, dedication to being the best mom, wife, and teacher left little time and energy for anything else.
The School Year Challenge
It took 20+ years in education and my son graduating from college before I admitted to myself the elusive someday I had been waiting for to do my projects would never happen unless I made it happen.
In the fall of 2017, I decided to stop thinking about all the projects I wanted to do and actually start doing them.
This thought process led to the creation of the School Year Challenge. During the 2017-2018 school year, I committed to completing some projects each month that I had been thinking about for years.
To hold myself accountable, I decided to blog about the process, the projects, budget, and reflect on my progress.
My Blog was Born!
My blog was originally called Iccomplishments™. It’s a made-up word combining the pronoun I + accomplishments. Saying the word evoked a feeling of success and motivated me to get things done.
In the 9 months of the 2017-2018 School Year Challenge, I completed 23 projects and developed a variety of new knowledge and skills.
I learned a lot about myself, the projects I liked, and the ones I didn’t.
What I Learned
It’s necessary to have a creative outlet and spend time doing it.
Taking time to work on monthly projects during the nights and weekends instead of school work actually made me a better teacher. Instead of fighting burnout during the school year, I found myself rejuvenated and much more productive during school hours.
Making time for the monthly projects required planning, making changes to my evening and weekend routines, and committing to taking action. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.
During the process, I realized there are some types of projects I really enjoyed and others I’d be happy never doing again.
My life is so much better and I’m much happier because I’ve stopped thinking and started doing the projects that have been on my mind for years.
It’s up to me to put myself first sometimes and work on something because I enjoy it.
When I take action and do something for myself, I’m a better educator and wife. (I’m sure I would be a better mother, too, if my son still lived at home.)
My husband is a keeper.
I knew this already but the demand of my career caused me to lose sight of this and take him for granted.
When I started the School Year Challenge, my husband, Douglas, fully supported me.
He had some knowledge and skills I didn’t and taught me what I needed to know on certain projects. He helped me when I asked, offered insight when I needed a second opinion, and listened when I vented over frustrations and challenges.
I love sewing.
These 3 simple words summarize my unintentional collection of furniture, vintage linens, fabric, patterns, books, etc. and the types of projects I enjoyed most during the School Year Challenge.
Patterns, color, and textures of fabric and other textiles evoked a feeling of excitement and opportunity. While projects involving painting and refinishing furniture with stains and paint were not my favorite.
My Blog Today
Whenever I talk about my blog and the School Year Challenge, I usually mention how I really love the sewing projects. Frequently, others share they have an interest in sewing, too. Some tell me they always wanted to learn how to sew. Others say they know the basics of sewing but haven’t gotten their sewing machine out in a while. Still, others tell me they’re accomplished at sewing but career and family demands have consumed their time and it’s been years since they’ve sewn anything.
I knew I couldn’t be the only dedicated mom, wife, and career-focused woman who enjoys sewing or has thought about sewing in some way, shape, or form. What I didn’t realize is there are so many people who I come in contact with that have similar thoughts. To extend even further…how many people who I don’t know have been thinking about sewing?
Sewing provides a creative outlet I didn’t realize I’d been missing in my life. It provides an opportunity for me to do a different type of thinking. Sewing forces me to turn my attention to something else besides work and the routine of life.
When I’m sewing, my focus becomes making and creating something with my own two hands and everything else fades to the background.
The teacher in me can’t help but want to educate and inspire others who want to sew, too.
So, Iccomplishments™ evolved from an accountability blog for me into a resource for people who need a creative outlet and want to sew for themselves, their home, and others.
My goal is to provide education and inspiration so you can have wildly successful sewing experiences…that’s the reason for the new blog name, Excited to Sew!
Where Do You Go From Here
Are you new to sewing?
If you’ve been thinking about sewing or have limited sewing experience, check out my Get Ready to Sew! series.
This series of 12 articles and lessons begin with guidance to help you through the process of finding a sewing machine. After that, you gain a foundational understanding of how your sewing machine works, sewing basics, and what you need to do to take care of your machine. The Get Ready to Sew! series wraps up with helpful tips to create a sewing space.
Do you know how to sew?
If you already know how to sew, check out the Sewing Projects section of the blog. Here, you will find:
- projects with directions so you can make them
- projects I have been working on for myself, my home, or others
- projects for inspiration
Join the Excited to Sew! Community
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School Year Challenge
Do you want to know more about my 2017-2018 School Year Challenge and the 23 projects I completed over 9 months?
- To read the posts in order, start with The Beginning. At the bottom, there is a link to the next post.
Hello, I'm Nicki!
Having a creative outlet is a necessity. My goal is to educate and inspire others in sewing-related projects that are fun, functional, or both. Sign up to receive notice when new posts have been published.