Tip #175: Look to what you have.
This weekend I found myself mired in a new project. It’s one I’ve been wanting to work on for ages—putting collected scraps of fabric together into something that’s useful and, with any luck, nice to look at. I’ve got a new callous forming on one of my fingertips. I’ve stayed up too late for three nights running just wanting to pull a few more stitches through delicate fabric. Every night, I pack away my supplies. Scraps of fabric go back into the canvas bag that hangs from back of the linen closet door. Needles get tucked back into my tin box. The iron is left to cool on a dresser top and stashed back up in the closet come morning.
When I’m asked to give small space advice, folks often direct me to what’s missing. What do you have to live without? What did you have to give up? What do you think you miss? A work space, I might say. I long for a spare room with a long table and brilliant natural light. I want a spot I could sneak off to to be alone or finish some work or leave an iron out overnight. It’s easy to rattle off a list of things that might be nice to have. But working on this project over the past week has made me think a whole lot about the things I already have. There are the scraps themselves, of course: saved fabric leftover from past projects or former curtains or no longer serviceable swaddles. But at the risk of being insufferably saccharine, it’s kind of humbling to think about what else there is that’s already lying around. Turns out, of course, that opportunities for thankfulness abound. I don’t have a studio space, or a large work table, and I need to clear off my work surfaces after every hour or two that I steal for the project, but look at what I do have: A felt pad for ironing, a table I can drag over to the light of the window, a drying rack for hanging freshly ironed handkerchiefs and other scraps. Needle and thread and two working hands.
The real advice here might simply be to listen to my own advice. I’ve said so much of this before:
Here’s to a new week and noticing what’s right in front of me. What are you all working on?