Holidays · Minimalism

National Splurge Day

Today is National Splurge Day, a holiday to celebrate a little indulgence.  After a lifetime of too much splurging, I began the slow process of downsizing, decluttering, and minimizing where I spend money several months ago.  So far, I’m really happy with this decision. Less clutter and chaos is much better for my mental state.

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However, there are two categories where I still allow myself some splurging.  I still treat myself with things that smell good, for both body and home. Many days I go without makeup and tennis shoes are my go-to footwear, but I rarely go anywhere without applying some body spray.  I may look super casual, but I am going to smell great. I also use candles and room air fresheners. My favorites are the wallflowers from Bath and Body Works. Today I was luxuriating in my office, enjoying the smell of white caramel cold brew.  Almost makes me happy to be at work.

My other splurge, which I am indulging much less these days, is craft supplies.  Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and the like are masters at separating me from my money and I have sadly wasted too many of my dollars on all the pretty things I find in their stores.  I’m working on some projects that I hope to eventually sell, but I am remaining focused on only buying the things I need when I need them. Of course, need in this context is not really a need, therefore craft supplies remain a splurge.

Since I’m currently well-stocked in fragrances and craft items, if I had to come up with something to splurge on today, it would be sleep.  An extra long afternoon nap would be such a treat. Maybe my boss would let me leave early if I told him it was a holiday?

crafting

National Sewing Machine Day

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I’m always amazed at the odd holidays I can discover when I look.  Today is National Sewing Machine Day and I am especially grateful that isn’t food related as most of these lesser known holidays are.

I learned to sew in a class I took my freshman year of high school and I still remember my first project was a pink gingham pig pillow that turned out really cute.  I don’t remember doing any clothes in the class, but I kept practicing there and at home.

My skills eventually improved and I sewed many of my own clothes later in high school, including this prom dress (and yes, those sleeves and skirt definitely mark it as the 1980s).  It probably helped that my first real job was at the fabric store in the mall and I got a discount.

Not a great picture, but prom dress 1985. The lace bodice and bows were my own design choices.

Post high school I have had a hit and miss relationship with my sewing machine.  I made a couple of Halloween costumes which I think turned out well. Unfortunately I haven’t been as lucky when sewing clothes for myself, I just don’t understand enough about modifying the patterns to get the proper fit.

Joshua’s costume 1998

I’ve recently been inspired to sew crafty types of projects by a shop I follow on Instagram and it’s been a real joy to rediscover how relaxing sewing is to me.  Listening to the rhythm of the needle move up and down through the fabric and watching the design come together in my hands allows me to really unwind. I don’t have a lot of free time, but because it’s so good for my mental health, I’m making the effort to squeeze sewing time in my schedule.

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Just to say “Hello”

It seems, from what I read, that genuine human connection is becoming a lost art.  In an era where almost anyone at anytime can “reach out and touch someone” as the old Bell TV commercials used to implore us to do, it’s odd that so many people report feeling alone.   The numbers have prompted some public health officials to characterize loneliness as an epidemic, though others disagree with that terminology. Regardless of what it’s called, feelings of isolation are certainly on the rise along with memes about “finding your tribe” and the availability of professional cuddlers.  

As an introvert who is very shy and struggles with social interaction, I can certainly understand this issue.   I am working on expanding my social circle and making a real effort to actually look at people and smile when they talk to me, even it’s a clerk in a store that I may never see again.

I was quite a prolific letter writer when I was younger and early in my work life I worked at several card shops. These provided ways for me to forge relationships with people that I might have struggled to connect with had all our interactions been strictly face to face.  

Today, when I am really strapped for time (and it seems I always am) a quick “hello”, “congratulations” or “happy birthday” message on Facebook or in an email seemed to be all I can manage.  But I thought, wouldn’t it be better to be able give an actual card, something my recipient can hold onto? And wouldn’t it be even more significant if I made the card myself? As a person who works two jobs, sometimes my time is even more valuable than my money and using it to create something special gives me a lot of joy, a feeling I hope my recipient can sense when they open it.

Clip art sourced from http://www.etsy.com/listing/90763967/puppy-love-digital-art-valentine-clipart