Yesterday evening as I was picking up my daughter from childcare, I happened to overhear another Mom ask the teacher about the “nap mat” she needed to buy for her son as he was moving up to the next class on Monday. This caught my attention because Little M will move up in a little over three months.

In their current class Little M and her classmates sleep on stackable molded cots with their own favorite blankets from home. In the next class up parents are required to provide nap mats that are much larger to accomodate growing children. The mats are also machine washable, as the children will be in potty training mode. The school also suggests that you buy two mats so that in the event of accidents, you aren’t scrambling to wash and return a single mat everyday.

Further research determined that the school sold mats in several standard theme patterns for $30 each, but the fabric seemed very stiff and not the least bit “snuggly.” I found similar mats with better fabric on the Internet but they were $50 for mats for boys and $75 for mats for girls.

Sidebar: Why are girl items always more expensive??? (Don’t worry, you don’t have to answer. The question is rhetorical – it’s because we’re girls, we like pretty stuff, and we pay a premium for it.)

Taking a look at the construction of the ones for sale at school, and then studying the ones sold on line, it would not be a difficult project to make. Fabric for the mat itself – back and front, foam padding, sheet material, a pillow, some nice binding, and velcro or buckles to secure it when its rolled up. Plus, making them myself would be considerably cheaper.

Hmmm. Buy overpriced, boring, and questionable quality, or make them myself?

I think it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that I will be taking door number three. Mama will make the nap mats and will use warm, snuggly cute fabrics, make the pillow removeable for easy cleaning, add a nice closure, and, if she’s really, really good, perhaps she can get her BFF to monogram them with Little M’s name.  That would be sweet.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go check my fabric stock.

 

In my world it’s Tuesday…plus a few hours. 🙂

I have never considered myself minimalist by any stretch of the imagination, though I do love clean lines and uncluttered space. However, I’m starting to wonder if I’m not heading in that direction. So often now I find myself looking around my house, seeing objects with new eyes, and thinking, “that needs to go”. And these were things that I formally loved. My ideas about what is wanted or needed seems to be changing daily, and the desire to lighten the load is increasing exponentially the more stuff I get rid of.

Case in point. Two years ago my sewing/work room was contained within a small extra bedroom. It was a crowded but cozy space with walls the color of caffe au lait, curtains I’d made myself, a bookcase full of books, a closet stuffed with all my sewing, needlework, and jewelry making supplies, an antique dresser filled with odds and ends. I loved that room, and all my little treasures.

Then, I discovered I was pregnant with Little M and the extra room needed to be transformed into a nursery. I carved out an area in the basement and set about creating a new cozy space. It was different but it still had the cozy woman-cave feel, and it worked well until Little M outgrew the basinet and then the pack’n play. When it came time to little Little M roam free, suddenly it was all too much. There were books that could be torn, cords to get tangled in, open shelves with two many things to topple over on a little one. It went on and on. I had to find a compromise that worked for me and for a baby discovering the world around her.

After tossing around several options and trying some that didn’t work, I decided to move the table that my sewing machine sat on back upstairs and set it up in the master bedroom (with creative arrangement of furniture we had the space). Then a lot of related began to follow – books, supplies, a lamp, tools – just because I was accustomed to always having them nearby. Time passed and I realized I was spending more time decluttering the work table than actually creating projects. It was frustrating. 

Finally, one day I took everything back to the basement that I did not absolutely need for the sewing project that I was trying to complete. The table was left with a sewing machine, a task lamp, and a basket that contained my patterns (that were in use), sewing tools, and notions, and a magnetic straight pin holder. Suddenly the space was inviting. I couldn’t wait to use the area. And now I do, regularly. I’ve discovered that the less visual clutter I have hampering me, the more productive I am. Now, the basement area is my storage space, and that little table is my workspace. I bring up to the table only what I need for a project, and return what I don’t need any longer when I’m finished. It’s Heaven, but it has me looking at that basement area more and more wondering, “what can go?” A lot, I’m pretty sure.

Stress works on people in different ways. Some people eat to deal with their emotions, some people shop. I never considered myself a person who did either of those things until today.

This week was a stressful week and I plugged along through it as I normally would, but by the end of the week I was a bit brain fried and hit the fabric store…twice. This despite the fact that some time ago I had put myself on a spending moratorium until I had used up some of my in-house craft supplies. Mulling over my purchases today I realized my emotional spending weakness – craft supplies.

When I was a kid and felt stressed or frustrated, I cleaned my room. I mean REALLY cleaned my room. Moved furniture in or out. Pulled everything out of my closet. Threw things out. Basically I worked until I was tired and had worked out my problems in my head.

I still do the same thing. When I’m home and stressed, or have an issue I’m stewing on, I’ll start doing the same thing as I did when I was a kid. I’ll move things around, clean out cabinets. Take out the trash. Anything physical that helps me work through the emotional.

The problem with this method arises when I’m not at home. During the work week, my lunch hour is when the emotional crime sprees happen. There are two fabric stores and two craft stores within a short distance of my office, and if I’m stressed out or would just rather be at home, one of those shops is where I’ll end up. Luckily I’m a pretty practical person so my emotional spending usually stays in check – my spree this week cost me a total of less than $30.

It’s interesting to note that I never emotionally buy completed items – no shoes, bags, or clothing for me (though I do love all those things). I buy ideas. Projects that need to be thought through, worked on, physically completed. I’m buying the emotional equivalent of what I would be doing at home – a physical project. It’s reassuring to learn a little bit more about myself, and in thinking it through, it has helped me come up with a solution.

I used to always carry a cross-stitch project with me wherever I went, but somewhere along the line I got out of the habit. A new habit to begin will be to always make sure I have a small project – doable anywhere – with me in the car (have I mentioned I’m on the road a lot?). A pattern that needs trimming, a cross-stitch picture that needs finishing, a bracelet or earrings to be worked. The possibilities are endless.  And I know just the bag to carry them in…