Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Slow Progress

I've been considering starting a separate blog for just crafting, but have come to realize that there's just one me. There's so much overlap of my inner mind, my crafting, my eating habits, my craziness...it's all intertwined. So I'm keeping the blog as-is right now, in sort of a "Wholistic Approach to Personal Growth."

I had a hard discussion with a good friend last night. A lifelong friend, to be exact. My hubby and I have both known Keith since grade school/junior high. He introduced the two of us at the age of 20, and as long as we've known him, he's not changed a bit. He's still that rambunctious grade school kid having a blast on the playground! Good in some ways, not in others.
We talked for almost an hour and it was tough. There was confrontation, having to be assertive, and anxiety that he'd be his normal aggressive/defensive-by-being-offensive self. It was a little touch and go there for a little while, but in the end, I think it worked out well.

I learned a lot. I learned that I can say what I need to without apology because standing up for yourself then following it up by apologizing for it isn't standing up for yourself at all. I said some hard things and he said some hard things and at first I think he was just slashing back, trying to defend himself by deflecting the attention and being hurtful, but in the end we hit the middle ground and the things that were said were still hard to hear, but less hurtful and closer to the truth. I'm really surprised by that and proud of him for it. It could have really gone bad quickly.

I think part of what saved it was that I prayed first, (and during), and really held my tongue a lot and let him talk for about 8 minutes straight at one point. I remember sitting there, thinking to myself: I have so much to say back, I can think of some real zingers that would be so clever, but I don't want that. I want to preserve this friendship if possible, but with healthy boundaries. I can't let him walk all over me, but I'm not going to walk all over him either.

The thing is, I've been trying to be more assertive and establishing boundaries for over a year and this is the first time it's really been tested where I've held my ground instead of just removing myself from the situation in order to preserve the boundaries. Talk about slow progress! But I think it's revealing that it's with Keith and not someone like a parent. It's going to be a lot more difficult to do this with my parents. Even though we have a "good" relationship, it's almost like it's too good. It's too open, it's too. It's expected that my life is an open book to them, and that's not healthy either.

All in all, this was a good starting place, and a good confidence builder.

Wardrobe Refashioning:
I had my second fabric dyeing experience last night with some success. I turned a blah tan polo into a nice soft teal. I'm wearing it today! It also had a orang-ish stain on the collar that is no longer there, so I'm a very happy woman! (doesn't take much, does it?) Does anyone know where this comes from? I also have a few other shirts with similar stains and they all seem to be around or near the neckline. At first I thought it might be iron in the water, but why would it only be around the collars? Now I think it might be makeup but I really only use powder anymore.
Light bulb moment...I use a benzoyl peroxide cream from time to time for acne...I bet that's it!

Okay, never mind...(Thank you for touring the inner recesses of MJ's mind. The tour is now over, if you'll kindly exit to the left. Leave nothing behind, we will not be responsible for lost or stolen articles. )


I also finally got around to refashioning my hubby's old work coat into a bike jacket. Phases one and two were to 1: cut out the heavy winter lining and ragged edges of where the pockets used to be; and 2: dye it some other color in the off chance the difference in the faded and non-faded colors wouldn't be so noticeable.

I roughly cut out the lining. I just wanted there to be less material for the dye bath and I wanted to do it quickly because I didn't want to be up all night, so I plan on touching it up later. Then I took the time to pretty up the remaining material where the pockets used to be. This is an old coat we've used as a "donator jacket," using the heavy canvas material for patches on his work pants and other heavily worn items. Both front pockets have been repurposed, but that left big dark areas that used to be the insides of the pockets.

Needless to say (you probably saw this coming), the dye bath did little to disguise the dark areas.

(But look, we get that "distressed" look people pay big bucks for!)

Phase 3 was to attach heavy duty snaps since the zipper no longer works (thus the reason for retiring it and getting another jacket.) I've since found out we can actually mail the coat to Carhardt for zipper repair...the zippers have a lifetime warranty! Alas, I never did so and here we are...I'll do the snaps tonight.

My hubby asked me last night what I was going to do for a bike jacket. Hmmm. What he doesn't know (and I haven't said yet here either) is that I'm going to use this old coat for my bike jacket and surprise him with another one! I'll have to make a few alterations though, so it won't be a complete surprise...See I'm 5'1" and he's 6' tall! Slight alterations necessary...plus I'm thinking of taking some faded jean material to make pockets with. Maybe even an applique. Or not. I'm going to be a biker girl after all, not a place for cutsie.

Remember that busted zipper? Well, it's no surprise that Carhardt has a lifetime warranty on them because they must know it's an issue...we have another old coat with the same problem. All I have to do with that one is take out the winter lining and attach the heavy duty snaps and my hubby gets a new bike jacket! I haven't harvested any scraps of material from the pockets on that one yet, so there's no reason to play with dye. (And that way we won't be so matchy-matchy.)

We already have matching helmets (which we hadn't planned on,) and he's not the type to do that kind of stuff, so I don't want to go too far with it! (The helmets we found together on craigslist for a fantastic deal and were barely used, so we couldn't pass them up!)


Sunday I laid out all the embroidery floss skeins that would fit on the table...over 200.

I did some figuring, took into account the limited space I have, did some more figuring, and decided to store the skeins in the stitchbow/binder system. Then I ran out and bought out the nearest Michael's supply of binders and bows.

I managed to get a few of the skeins into the first binder before retiring Sunday night...and I went back to work on it last night.

(Monday's starting shot: the laptop and bag systems are sitting gingerly on top of more skeins!)

I made more progress last night, but I have more floss still in the floss-a-way baggie system since I couldn't fit those onto the table so I have to always check to make sure I'm not skipping some of those (which happens with frequency!) Oi. It's like filing two stacks of papers into one stack. It gets complicated. Especially if you're dyeing fabric at the same time... ; )

(I love just looking at my floss! It's like studying the menu at the ice cream shop!)

But I did manage to get the first of the four rows completed, so I'm a happy woman! I'm just really frustrated that it could take me eight solid nights to get them off my table so I can do some sewing! *sigh*

(Monday night's ending shot)


Jana B said...

WOW!!!!!!!! I am beyond impressed!

I am not so into dividing up my blog either... only the faith posts are seperate, and eventually I'd like to join them to my regular blog too.

Kudos to you on talking with your friend and setting healthy boundaries!!!!

Biker jackets??? SWEET!!!!!! I LOVE motorcycles!!!! You all will have a blast.

Kudos to you too for getting your craft supplies organized. One day I'll do that... lol

MJ said...

We'll see how Keith is the next time I see him! Sometimes you think a conversation ends well, but it doesn't...maybe I should call again to make sure!
My hubby and I are taking the bike safety course next week and need durable jackets. I priced out the cool jackets with the pads and ventilation, etc. Wow, would I love those, but way out of my price range! Especially since we don't even have bikes yet!
As for the craft supplies, it's been bugging me for years. YEARS! I think this intentional phase I'm going through is really good. And I SO hope it's not just a phase!