I love reading Back to School blog tours and posts. It means Fall is upon is (and we all know how I feel about fall!). Kids are jumping back into school. Temps are maybe thinking about possibly starting to drop (dammit Atlanta!). Football starts up. Everything is great! But, I never know what to say for back to school blogs. I don’t have kids. No nieces or nephews either. Graduated from my master’s program a couple years ago. So, I was going to write about Virginia going back to school. Her being out of the house more, and generally more busy, and what that means for me. But, I realized today, back to school does mean something to me. It is a reminder of how much I love school.
I might be in the minority there, but school has always been something I enjoyed. When I was young, it was exciting to go every day and see my friends; learn something new. As I got older, it was a way to get out of the small town I grew up in. Experience more of the world. And now that I’m in my 30’s, learning new stuff is still one of my favorite things.
So, I’m taking this opportunity to remind myself (and all of you) that learning doesn’t have to stop because we’re not in school anymore. There are so many resources available to learn new things. I don’t mean signing up for another degree (though I’ve considered it). But, small, everyday things to learn and grow.
I’ve transitioned a bit in the tests that I’ll tackle from any and everything to more challenging sews. If there is a new technique, or a cool feature, I’m in! If I know the designer will help me with better fitting tips or has a really unique construction for something, that is the best! I love trying challenging patterns that push me to try something new. The best part of this – the technique doesn’t even have to be new for me to learn something! Maybe I’ll be able to try a new shape for me. This dress is certainly out of my usual comfort zone! Maybe I’ll see a different combination of basic shapes. Whatever allows me to expand beyond what I know.
Beyond tests though. I love learning new techniques and always enjoy taking classes. Craftsy is my fav place to learn new sewing techniques. It is where I learned most the techniques I’ve picked up as an adult. YouTube is a wonderful resource for random things. Reading other bloggers! They have such great tips and resources to expand what’s available.
I am always trying to improve my photography. It is so helpful to the designers I test for if my pictures can just be a little better than they were for the last test. Or if you can see the fabric just a bit clearer, brighter, more true to color. I love reading tutorials about my camera. How different settings change my photograph. And now I’m jumping into Photoshop. I haven’t dived into post-processing pictures since college. My time ended up filled with other things and I stepped away from it. But, I still love it! Small tweaks here and there to really make a photo shine. And Adobe has some awesome tutorials available to really help me get comfortable with the software!
Fabric too! I’m loving diving deeper into how fabric is made. The different types of weaves are endlessly fascinating. The Sly Fox reveal videos lit a fire in me to learn more and share that knowledge! (Seriously. I’m doing fabric how to videos in the Rebecca Page Facebook group. What?!) How is this fabric made? What patterns will be a perfect pair? How does weight related to drape for different types of fabric? Endless questions, with answers available with just a few google searches!
Even blogging is something I’m spending time learning new techniques to improve on. I started this so I can look back on projects and enjoy where I started and how I improve. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to bring creative, useful content to those that read it though! And reach more people who might find it useful. So, I’m reading all about SEO and what people want to read. Social media is an ever changing area, with so many resources to learn how to better interact with other people around the world.
Not-sewing At All
Stepping outside the craft room altogether! What else can I learn? What other resources are available to frugal (ok, cheap) Stephanie to expand interests and keep learning? Little things? Big things?
I LOVE cooking!! When I’m sewing (I know…I said not in the craft room), I usually have a TV program on in the background. I’ve been loving the Netflix cooking shows! No commercials, but I get to see fun new techniques. Back to google for a recipe or more in depth video, and I’ve learned a new technique or recipe!!
But also, Netflix has a great nature program called Round Planet that I HIGHLY recommend if you like sarcasm and animals.
Speaking of google. How many resources are available online to learn all kinds of skills? There are free coding classes. I’ve got Bruce for my website needs, but it is still fascinating. Lynda.com has tons of classes on Microsoft and various software. Want a step up at work, check that out! The internet has woodworking videos, gardening videos, workout videos, organization videos. Literally anything you want to learn is available. (What a fascinating world we live in.)
Prefer to learn in person? Google some classes! I love paint nite. Bring a bottle of wine (or two) and paint with your friends and some strangers. It is fun, you get to learn new techniques, while supporting an artist, and bring home some cool shit for your walls! Take a cooking class in person. A friend of mine did an ax throwing class. You read that right. She learned how to throw a damn ax! Step outside your comfort zone and remember that nothing keeps you young like learning new stuff.
To bring this full circle, if you haven’t tried binding, or working with Liverpool, this could be a fun project for you! The 5 out of 4 Jessie is a super versatile pattern (one of Virginia’s favorites) that I hadn’t sewn for myself yet. This GORGEOUS Sly Fox Fabrics Mad Love Liverpool needed to be a dress to really show it off. So the Jessie as a fitted dress (oh my) is perfect. I’ve got more evenings free with Virginia back in school, so it is fantastic for date nights. I get to show off a little of my tattoos, which I always love. And it is the perfect length that I can throw a jacket on top and wear it to work!
Have you worked with Liverpool? It is one of my favorite fabrics! I was just talking about it with a friend (hey Sequoia!) and realized just how much I use it!! It is easy to sew and easy to wear! Plus it is tough! It has outlived all my other knit pants. If you haven’t tried it, I definitely recommend it. (Pants are my fav in it!)
So, welcome back to school. Don’t forget to learn new things, right along with your kids, if you’ve got them. And I’m not talking about that common core shit, either! Learn something fun. Something that sparks your soul. <3
PS – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Sly Fox Fabrics is an amazing company. They are doing an entire Back 2 School Celebration. There are giveaways in the Facebook group. I highly recommend you check them out.
I received the Mad Love fabric for free in exchange for sewing and photographing it. The rest of this mumbo jumbo is all me and not influenced by the perk at all. This post does contain some affiliate links. These don’t cost you anything, but if you click them and buy something, I receive a small commission. Which I use to buy more fabric, so I can keep sewing and writing about it. <3