Weekend: Curiosity

I enjoy Madalynn’s Weekend blog posts and Colette’s Weekend Reading lists. They are good reminders that the sewing community is multifaceted and that we have lives and interests away from our sewing machines. Taking inspiration from them, I wanted to share my weekend with you.

I named this post “Curiosity” because of a conversation I had Saturday morning. It was emotional. It was eye-opening. It was a call to personal action. Throughout the weekend I embraced curiosity in a way I haven’t in a long time.

Yoga with Adriene

“I am alive with curiosity.”

Have you discovered Yoga with Adriene yet? It seems like at least 1/5 of my friends are following her YouTube channel. I like her style – casual, supporting, and encouraging. She won’t replace my yoga studio, but she is a nice alternative when my schedule doesn’t sync up with the studio.

Day 5 in her 2016 30-Day Yoga Camp included the mantra, “I am alive…”. I finished that sentence “with curiosity” because it was fresh on my mind and it ended up setting the theme for the weekend. At the time I wasn’t quite sure what that meant or how I would follow through on the mantra, but I knew it somehow involved being open to possibilities and engaging with new experiences.

Waffle Breakfast

Some folks were coming over to work on a project with Greg. Usually I hide myself upstairs, not being a part of the project and also wanting to avoid disrupting them. This week I offered to make everyone a waffle breakfast before they dove into work. I’ll take any excuse to make waffles. 🙂 I made the offer out of kindness and to show my support for their work. It had an unintended but welcomed effect of connecting me with the group members. We connected when they expressed their appreciation and gratitude, when we pontificated on a shared love of waffles, and when I made someone their first mimosa. Instead of withdrawing, I engaged. Now, even though I continued to move through the house in a way as to avoid disrupting their work, I no longer felt like a ghost haunting the periphery of their project. They also were no longer strangers, but guests in my house.

Geek Art Gallery Installation

Over the past few weeks the upstairs creative space ceased to be a functional sewing room, so with caffeine and sugar flowing through my veins I began my spring cleaning.

The first and largest project was getting all of the art frames off the floor and onto the walls. Carting the drill, hammer, level, and stud-finder upstairs I felt confident and self-reliant. I struggled to find the right arrangement in between Indy, Korra, and Mulan already on the wall.

Before: Three of my fictional heroes.

So I took everything down and played with the layout on the floor of our game room. It wasn’t long before this arrangement fell into place.

The moral of the story is: the solutions will come when you imagine the possibilities free of preconceived limitations.

After: Art of characters I admire and many whom I have cosplayed.

Columbia City Adventure

AKA: Lunch, tea, consignment, and succulents.

I grew up in Portland, Oregon, so I gravitate toward quaint residential neighborhoods where coffee shops, independently owned businesses, and city parks are all within a 15 minute walk. Seattle is a MUCH bigger city and while it has neighborhoods that remind me of Portland, living within walking distance is out of my price range.

I hadn’t realized it, but I have been suffering from cabin fever. I was looking out the window at work and wishing I could be that duck swimming by. Why? What would I do if I was that duck?  I’d explore, I’d go wherever I could, experience new things. Ah.

This weekend I ventured out, not walking distance unfortunately but certainly driving distance and maybe biking distance, and found some small community businesses that are worth revisiting. I went to lunch at Geraldine’s Counter with a friend I haven’t seen in a while. When we parted ways I stood at the corner waiting for the light to change. It was just enough time to wonder what the Columbia City Bakery had to offer in the way of caffeine. I actually envisioned two versions of myself, one walking straight back to the car (dodging the incoming rain) and the other turning right and walking into the coffee shop.

I gave myself permission to indulge my curiosity about the bakery. I had my first cup of tea with milk – the Roses in London name was too alluring to resist. Then I wandered back out onto Rainier Avenue, tea in hand, thinking, It would be a shame to rush back to the car now, I’m already halfway down the block. The next store front was Gather, a well stocked consignment store that will serve me well in the future. Not wanting to juggle hot tea in the dressing room, I left with a promise to return.

My final stop was Columbia City Bouquet. Initially I planned to skip it, not having a need for flowers. Then I saw assorted gifts and cards in the window, and I love a cute gift shop. I bought a new tea cup and new tea for myself and eyed their selection of cute, tiny succulents. (They’ll be getting more “crazy looking ones” in about two weeks!)

I now know a little bit more about this neighborhood and the larger city I live in.

Let There Be Light!

Back at home, I resumed work on the sewing room. Why stop with the art work. I had a couple other inspirational prints – the “Make Your Own Magic” you may have seen on Instagram and a print of Monet’s many waterlilies. To gain access to the wall for hanging these frames and one more IKEA wall shelf, I moved my sewing table out of its corner.

Seeing the how much light hit the table and the sewing machine from the open window encouraged me to play around with a new arrangement for the sewing table. I wanted to maintain the Feng Shui principles of not letting your back face the open door and making sure the first things you see when you enter inspire you.


The first things I see are my dress form, sewing machine, Monet’s Waterlilies, and a reminder to “Make your own Magic”

Further inspired by the improved light at my sewing table, I moved the obtrusive lamp away from the desk and into the corner by Mrs. Utt. But then the sewing corner grew dim as the daylight faded. Greg reminded me that we could simply increase the wattage of the overhead lamp. And so I did.

WOW. I can see!

I don’t know that this photo captures the brightness of the new lightbulbs, but it is like a new sewing room. I am very excited to start working.


Tin Umbrella Coffee Roasters

I had a lot of computer-based work I needed to accomplish today. I knew my sewing room and my cat would be distractions. So I planned to work from Starbucks. But I always go to Starbucks, and I was still experiencing a slight high from discovering the new businesses in Columbia City yesterday.

Curious about what other coffee shops might be within a short drive, I turned to the internet and found Tin Umbrella Coffee Roasters in the Hillman City Neighborhood, also off Rainier Ave.

It was EXACTLY what I was looking for: quirky, intimate, and conducive to productivity. I walked in and saw a young girl with her guardian learning how to read, another small family enjoying a late breakfast, two people having a meeting, and three more people working at their computers. The large tables and small building encouraged strangers to share space with each other. I was new, but it already felt like I became part of the community.

In fact I’m writing this from a window seat at the coffee shop. Watching the world go by.


What I’m Reading

Alexander Hamilton: The Biography by Ron Chernow (audio book)

It doesn’t take much to convince me to learn more about history. But my growing obsession with Alexander Hamilton (via the Broadway musical) + an Audible gift subscription has given me some educational listening while I sew.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

As a perfectionist and someone who has spent years estimating her self-worth by the things she creates, understanding the manifestations and reactions to shame and vulnerability has been highly insightful and empowering.

These TED talks provide a summary of the book’s content.

Vogue Magazine 

For the first time in at least 5 years I bought a fashion magazine, in the grocery store checkout line no less. The March Issue of Vogue proclaimed “CHANGE” on its front cover, supported by a portrait of Adele looking confident and at ease.

2016 is shaping up to be a year of change and self-rediscovery. After years of dismissing fashion and beauty magazines as part of the hyper-sexualized and hyper-commercialized feminine image I’ve tried to rebel against, I saw potential in the magazine. Again, curiosity. Coming to the magazine with a seamstress’s eye, what might inspire my personal sewing projects? Like arranging the framed art with half of it already nailed to the wall, what limitations might I be placing on myself and my creativity by completely eliminating this media source?


Where will embracing curiosity take me? Who knows? I will note that today I proclaimed to Greg via text message that I was SO CONTENT AND HAPPY!

My heart feels lighter and more open than it has in a long while.

I hope your weekend was lovely, or at least offered your an opportunity for reflection and love.

Never underestimate the power of cat nuzzles.




3 thoughts on “Weekend: Curiosity

  1. Hello fellow Seattle sewist! I love Columbia city … I live now in edmonds, very north, but my brother lives near there so I visit frequently. Any good fabric stores that way? Reaching out because a) waffles! b) I am trying to be more friendly c) I like organizing too. Hope your week is lovely with all our expected rain.

    1. Hi! You know, I haven’t had a chance to explore much around Columbia City in terms of fabric. There is a store called Fabrics 4 Less in the Renton Highlands, off Sunset. They have a large selection, but it is not easy to navigate. It helps to know what you are looking for, rather than browsing.
      Farther north, there is Pacific Fabrics in SODO and elsewhere, Dry Goods Designs in Pioneer Square, Stitches on Capitol Hill, District Fabric in Fremont (I buy from them a lot) and a consignment fabric store called Our Fabric Stash in Pike Place Market.
      If I learn of any fabric stores along Rainier Ave or near Columbia City, I’ll let you know!

  2. My old neighborhood: I went to the preschool that was in the basement of the CC library! And then we moved to Renton, so I am all about McLendon’s Hardware. Still meaning to wander up to Fab4Less, which sounds like what Pacific Fabrics used to be (amazing surprises in heaps of disorganization).
    It is good to connect with your neighbors; that’s what’s killing the city I believe. We play the “how many people did I exchange hellos with” game in my present Meridian neighborhood. Look up from your phones! Be here now!

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