life in progress

by eringoodman on March 10, 2010

in at home, handmade + homemade, nurturing creativity

Still plenty of time to enter the Hip Mountain Mama Giveaway! Thanks for all your help getting the word out about the giveaway! I am really enjoying your comments and hearing about your favorite products!

Repairing my favorite skirt. Photo by Lily.

For quite some time now I have enjoyed visiting various blogs (Frontier Dreams being one of my favorites) on Wednesdays to see what people have “in progress” but I never really felt inspired to join in…until now.

A while back the always-inspiring Sara at Farmama mentioned that she was not able to sit and knit while they were renovating their house due to the chaos around her. Her words really resonated with me — except for me it wasn’t a temporary renovation that prevented me from feeling relaxed and settled and capable of crafting and creating, it’s the way we have lived for so many years.

John and I rented our house — a cozy cape with just a few rooms and even fewer closets — before we purchased it and inherited a barn and basement full of our landlord’s and former housemates’ stuff in the process. (That’s not to say we don’t have our own clutter issues…ahem, you may recall this little confession…but we definitely have some extra challenges we’ve had to work our way through. ;-) We’ve pretty much been de-cluttering and attempting to organize our house in fits and starts ever since. 

Over the holidays, John reached his saturation level and right around that time, I heard my son casually report to my mom that he always wipes his hands on his pants because “We can’t really find towels in our house.”


Immediately after the holidays, we got to work purging, creating storage spaces, and getting our stuff under control as our first step in the One Small Change project. 

The results have been absolutely amazing.

Our house – all 1,200 square feet of it — is far from perfect. As I write this the kitchen is a disaster and I can barely see the living room couch, but it now feels more like the normal ebb and flow of life with small children.

For the most part, thanks to some serious purging and constant re-evaluation of what we need to have, we have gotten out from underneath the gigantic masses of clutter that have swamped us for so long.

And as the tide of clutter has receded, I have been absolutely amazed (and delighted!) at how quickly my energy and creativity have increased.

I first realized how wonderful living in a more organized home is one school day morning when Quinn asked me to sew a button on his new (thrifted) shirt. I started to have my auto-pilot reaction…We don’t have time…I have to make breakfast…I’ll fix it later…but then took a breath and realized:

Wait a minute. I know just where my sewing kit is and I know just where the jar of buttons is. And sewing a button only takes a minute or two.

“Sure, Sweetie,” I said. “I can do that for you.”

My boy was thrilled and happily watched as I whipped the needle and thread in and out a dozen times. An hour later, when we arrived at school he proudly showed all his friends his new shirt, complete with the button his Mama sewed for him.

That first button got me excited about finally mending and repairing some of the clothes I have been collecting in a basket for as long as I can remember, which is what I was doing in the photo above – mending my favorite (also thrifted) skirt!

I’ve also started working on Lily’s Knitted Farmyard – except that inspired by Kendra and her beautiful etsy shop, I’ve decided to make ours out of recycled, felted sweaters.

As I was going through my collection of wool sweaters, the boxes on this argyle sweater caught my attention. So I did a little chopping. And a little piecing. And a little stitching. And the first hay bale for the farm was created!

While I was stitching, I realized that I don’t do too well with patterns and directions that require precision. I’m much more of a wing it kind of crafter. So I’m going to go with that and use the book for inspiration but let the farm and the fiber talk to me and guide my hands.

I’m also probably not going to post weekly updates on my work in progress (I don’t do too well with posting schedules either ;-) but from time to time, I look forward to sharing my post-de-cluttering creative endeavors with you!

 How about you? What do you have “in progress”?

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

MamaBird March 10, 2010 at 8:46 am

I think your WIP looks like great fun! And I love that you are making it yours, taking inspiration and then just letting it organically unfold. Cool!

Hmmm… as for works in progress over here, I’m learning to knit, so just rows and rows right now with no direction at all. Got some other stuff brewing, but nothing cooking yet.
.-= MamaBird´s last blog ..On Attention and Intention =-.


Anisa March 10, 2010 at 9:30 am

Wow, this resonated with me. I always seem to have something in process – more projects started than I (we) can finish.

My world seems to be a blend now of craft and digital project. I learned how to knit a few years ago and never finished the project until this winter. My son loves his scarf so much he started sleeping with it. Now I am half way done with a Gryffindor scarf for son #2. Pure joy. The boys are learning to blog, make and edit movies so we always have that in process.

My studio space is filled with projects waiting to be done but for now I am drawing a bit and making art from wire again.
.-= Anisa´s last blog ..Maple Sugaring =-.


emily March 10, 2010 at 10:07 am

We are in a similar boat here. After ten years of marriage, four kids, a few moves, and not purging at all before, we have a big mess of clutter on our hands. Yesterday we sent four boxes of stuff to the local Goodwill and it felt so good! Not a dent even, but it is enough to keep us motivated to continue!

I have a sock design in progress and I blogged about it today :)

That Knitted Farmyard book looks cute! I will have to search for it, did you find it on Amazon?
.-= emily´s last blog ..six! =-.


eringoodman March 10, 2010 at 10:37 am

i actually found it (surprise-surprise!!) at the thrift store!!! :-)


Ivy March 10, 2010 at 10:07 am

Oh this post speaks to me. I don’t like the commitment of weekly postings or schedules either — it feels like a burden rather than a joy because I “have” to do it vs. wanting to do it. And I think I’m probably the same way about crafting. Too many steps and precise directions and I just don’t even give it a try. It seems too overwhelming that way. (I also do that with recipes — too many ingredients or steps and I know I’m not making that one). I need to build up my confidence to just wing it. I’m starting. But I need to give myself the permission to do it more.
.-= Ivy´s last blog ..Visiting =-.


kendra March 10, 2010 at 10:38 am

hooray! i’m so glad you’ve been inspired to make a sweater-farm! thanks for linking me too! we still have boxes that have not been touched from many moves passed too. love the motion of getting rid of clutter to invite space for other things!
.-= kendra´s last blog ..handsewn waldorf doll =-.


Amanda March 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm

I am currently trying a new craft: whittling 25 pounds off my body. How’s that for ambitious? Veyr crafty indeed. 8 down, 17 to go.
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..MY FEELINGS IN BULLETS =-.


kate March 11, 2010 at 7:57 am

Hi e:)

Works in progress? Some simple skirts for my sweet girl and a few doll clothes for her sweet bamboletta, Mae. Also, a total purge of too small kids clothes (why do I keep 2T stuff in Max’s drawer??) and many projects that involve lots of words…but in the midst of it all~ my biggest work in progress is slowing down, soaking up that restorative power of warmth and sunshine.


renee @ FIMBY March 11, 2010 at 8:14 am

What a great photo Lily took of you. I love the depth of field.

We’re all progressing aren’t we? So happy to hear about the progress you’re making in your life. I’m slowly moving forward in getting rid of nearly half of my girl’s possessions – with their help, blessing and active participation. What a wonderful feeling!

“And as the tide of clutter has receded, I have been absolutely amazed (and delighted!) at how quickly my energy and creativity have increased.” I absolutely feel the same way about clutter and creativity.


eringoodman March 11, 2010 at 8:40 am

full disclosure on the photo…

i used picnik to adjust the focus.

the pencil-marked wall, plastic guitar, and christmas stockings still waiting to be packed in the background didn’t quite convey the clutter-free, organized home feel i was looking for. ;-)


renee @ FIMBY March 11, 2010 at 8:56 am

I was kind of wondering about that… thanks for the disclosure.


kristen gilmore powell March 11, 2010 at 10:50 am

I love your hay bale!! Just love it! I am knitting leg warmers for myself. I have knit several baby things for new babies around me and decided I needed some cool, warm, green leg warmers. I am also just starting a baby blanket for one of my 2 nephews coming in June!

I used picnik a few times after hearing about it from you. So interesting that you can adjust the focus. I need to try that. Thanks for the ‘full disclosure’ tip!
.-= kristen gilmore powell´s last blog ..{this moment} =-.


Imene March 11, 2010 at 2:03 pm

My whole life is a progress of some sort ;o)
I totally relate to the decluttering part. I did pretty well with getting rid of things but I have a little bit more to go. I also have to control the incoming clutter ;o)


Rose March 12, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Sound like things are really falling into place for you and your family. I am so happy for you.

And your little hay bale nearly made me squeal! I love it and can’t wait to see what else you come up with. I can never really follow directions when it comes to crafting, either. Sometime you just have to see someone else’s project for inspiration, then make it your own!
.-= Rose´s last blog ..A Very Yellow Day =-.


nicola@which name? March 12, 2010 at 10:43 pm

lily took a fabulous photo of you!
and this post gave me a huge grin because we too have clutter issues in part because of buying the house we were renting in which stuff was left behind by former tenants. :)
Which Name?
.-= nicola@which name?´s last blog =-.


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