Needles, Shanks & Irrational Fears

This challenge brought up a bit of an irrational fear of mine.  I don’t like needles.  Not in the I’m afraid of shots way, although I don’t love those either, but more in the I’m going to step on a needle! way.  I don’t think I’ve ever stepped on a needle before but apparently it’s a real concern in my deep dark subconscious.  It could be related to listening to multiple tellings of Lee’s childhood story of getting a thumbtack stuck between his toes.  I understand a thumbtack is not the same thing as a needle but the pointy end makes them close cousins. I also have some vague memory of my Mom getting a needle stuck in her foot.  Not even sure if that’s a fact or an alternative  fact but it’s in my brain anyway. Whenever my kids wanted to do some kind of craft that required pins or needles I was probably not very encouraging.  I was pretty sure that some carelessly supervised pin or needle was going to slide itself comfortably into the fibers of our carpet and lie in wait for it’s unsuspecting victim.

In addition to my needle issue, I did have a couple of other challenges to overcome.  I could not find a garment that needed a button replaced.  I also could not find a sewing kit (possibly linked to the previously stated needle phobia).  However, I did persevere.  After clearing a couple of initial hurdles, I am now fully licensed in the state of North Carolina to sew a two-hole button- at least onto a scrap of fabric. I’m also the proud owner of a new sewing kit.

The 100 Things You Need to Do Before You Grow Up book sometimes offers additional information to help the reader.  I decided that even though this wasn’t going to be my first button I might want to follow their ten helpful steps.button-titlejpg

Everything was moving along nicely.  Each step was concise and easy to follow.  Until I got to Step 8 which I could not comprehend.  Maybe Step 8 is the litmus test for full acceptance into the Button-Sewing Club.  If so, I failed.  However, I did not leave my button unsecured.  I just chose to use the method I’ve used before.

instruction

I was unfamiliar with the term shank in reference to sewing.  If you watch shows about crime or prison you might be similarly confused. I did, however, google it and it does make sense.  It allows for space between the button and the fabric when the garment is buttoned.  My method allows for the same thing, I just didn’t realize what I was doing…or why.

I now have a sewing kit so I am prepared for any future button-sewing.  Plus, this summer I’ll be in California with my own personal button-sewer who can then take ownership of said sewing kit. I’m assuming most of you have sewn a button on before.  If so, were you aware you were creating a shank?  Do you worry about your needles getting away from you and making a new home in your carpet?  Do you ask yourself why you keep reading this?

Before you go…I would like you to know that when sewing my button onto my scrap of fabric I did take the time to cut a buttonhole ensuring that my button is functional and not just decorative. Thanks for reading along.

 

Buttons Are Gross

The latest challenge appears simple on the surface and could easily be dismissed. LEARN HOW TO SEW ON A BUTTON.  I’ve sewn a button or two in my time.  I don’t sew, so any button-sewing for me is strictly in repair mode.  I used to be one of those people who saved those replacement buttons that come with shirts, jackets and sweaters, but after moving several times with a jewelry box compartment filled with buttons for apparel I no longer owned, I stopped.  Maybe I just get rid of clothing before the buttons fall off or possibly when the buttons DO fall off.  (Now, I’m picturing landfills filled with perfectly good shirts just missing one button and feeling a bit of guilt.)

In reality, I don’t wear a ton a clothes that have buttons.  From 2 1/2 until approximately 7 years of age my daughter, Elisabeth, actively disliked buttons.  Functional or decorative.  She wouldn’t wear them, didn’t like it if I wore them, even disliked pillows that had them.  Buttons were “gross”.  Searching for clothing without decorative buttons: easy.  Searching for clothing without functional buttons in reality means your child wears a lot of t-shirts. Not a lot of button-sewing going on at our house during that period of time.  I didn’t stop wearing clothing with buttons to appease my four-year-old but if I didn’t love it, I didn’t wear it.  It wasn’t worth it.  When you have little kids, who has time to button up a shirt anyway! Plus, shirts with buttons also tend to be shirts that require ironing.  I’m not usually organized enough to have a shirt ironed and ready to wear. Lee has always been the chief ironer in our house and ,now that I think about it, he’s probably the primary button-sewer, too.  The Marine Corps prepared him well for a lot of things including button-sewing and ironing.

What about you? Are you someone who saves those replacement buttons and actually uses them?  Are you the person people seek out when they’ve lost a button?  When is the last time you sewed on a button? Any tips for me as I proceed?   I’m off to find a button that needs replacing!  Failing that, I’ll just do some practice button-sewing so that I’m prepared for the future.  I do think this is a good skill for kids to learn.  Maybe I’ll make Andrew sew on a button, too.

Before you go…I’m feeling the need to explain that when I do get rid of clothing, I donate it to the local Goodwill or some other charity organization. I’m not marching to save the trees everyday but I’m not as callous about the environment as it may appear.  Also, today, I’m exactly one month from my 49th birthday and feeling pretty good about the challenges I’ve completed so far.  Thanks for taking this journey with me!  It wouldn’t be the same without you.

 

 

Walk a Mile (or 20) in My Shoes

It’s taken me a while longer than I’d like to get this next post going.  The next challenge is a big one and I’ve actually been working on it for about a month now.  RUN A 5K.

I’ve never RUN a 5K before.  Once upon a time I did run track.  Middle-school track, if you must know, but I was a hurdler and sprinter.  The overall supervision of our track team was quite lax in my memory.  We were told to run to the high school and back — a mile, two miles?–but I really only remember mostly walking and goofing around with my fellow teammates. If there was a coach with us he had given up on motiving my group. I do remember working on getting my steps down between hurdles and practicing the relay baton hand-offs but actually getting into shape by running…not so much.

I have participated in the Hope for the Warriors races before.  My friend, Renee, and I did the 10K a couple of years ago but we really only ran the last part so that we wouldn’t finish behind someone who appeared to be pushing 70.  Classy, I know.  I do understand the need for training.  The two years that we lived in Chesapeake, VA I walked the Shamrock 1/2 Marathon and did the required training to complete it in a respectable time.  But, for this challenge I am going to run so I need a good training plan.

I identified my goal race and date (Raleigh Rock-n-Roll 5K – April 1st) and decided to use the Couch to 5K (C25K) app.  I have used that app before (sadly, briefly) so I knew that was the tool I needed.  I also reached out to my longtime friend and runner extraordinaire, Mona, to coach me along.  She’s become my nutrition mentor, my accountability partner and my overall life cheerleader.  As I work on this challenge it has made think back to a distant grade school memory of participating in a walkathon.  By my recollection, we walked to Lake Draper and back.  A 20-mile round trip.  Was that possibly an accurate memory?  We did no training, most likely walked in Keds or Fastbacks, wore no sunscreen and possibly had no water along the way.  Plus, I’m sure it was probably May in Oklahoma, which means you would have needed both sunscreen and water in large quantities. So, I asked my sister, Emilie, if I was crazy and she agreed that we had participated in walkathons but she wasn’t sure if it was a full 20 miles…maybe 17?  Well, that makes all the difference in the world.  My husband, Lee, also verified this memory. Although we didn’t know each other at the time, we could possibly have walked the same fundraiser, all sunburnt and bloody-footed, to raise pennies-0n-the-dollar for some charity.  Ah, the 1970s.

70skid
Don’t know who this is but he probably completed a walkathon in this exact outfit  in Moore, OK circa 1978.

You won’t be hearing much from me about this challenge until closer to race time but I’d love to hear from you if you have any tips for me.  I have had some issues with my knees, which I haven’t before, and that makes me feel old.  I do plan on getting new running shoes so maybe, just maybe, that will help.  If you have a race planned or find this challenge a motivator to run (or walk!) a 5K yourself please let me know!  There is comfort in numbers, which is why I’ve drafted my kids to run along with me, or at least, be present to cheer me on.  And, if you have memories of participating in walkathons, do share!

Before you go…talking with Lee and Emilie about this brought back a lot of the “wonderful” 70s experiences like not wearing a seatbelt, getting paddled in school for talking and having the kind of free range childhood that seems like we were just asking to get abducted.