Almost 20 lanyards, close to 30 water bottles and believe it or not a box labeled “stones”. Yeah you are looking at someone that is a natural born hoarder and yes I started the year trying to pull a quick KonMari on my house. I almost went missing in action in an avalanche of stuff coming out of every single drawer and cupboard in my house…
It is not that I have ever denied being a hoarder or not been aware that I am one. I actually grew up it being a positive. You were supposed to take good care of the stuff that you were given and/or acquired. I grew up on a farm where stores weren’t easily accessible and it was a good thing being able to dig up something that helped you accomplish a goal.
The problem is just that I kept hoarding things long after it was really needed. I have for example kept pretty much every single piece of shit that I have been given in a goodie bag, hence the excessive number of lanyards. I had put some systems in place to keep everything sorted but I had kind of lost control at some point. There was chaos everywhere I looked and it was really getting to me.
So I spent the first month of the year not sewing and just trying to get started. I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo and got seriously pissed off at her “know-it-all-attitude” and total ignorance of real life scenarios (eg. kids). Seriously, how can you expect anyone to have time to empty their purse every single day and pack it away? The worst is maybe her total lack of respect for the planet. You shouldn’t even donate things to others but just throw everything away. Throw away your extra bed sheets and rent them if you get guest… right.
Then again she has some points that are valid. That you should make sure to gather all similar things in one place to get an overview of what you have and what you might be able to purge. To only keep things that give you pleasure is also a good principle although I find her interpretation a bit narrow. I really get pleasure out of being able to dig up some old seemingly useless stuff to pull of a MacGyver stunt. Stuff that technically gives me no pleasure most of the time.
I guess it is fitting that the first sewing project of this year is using a fabric I have been hoarding for years. One of the first quality fabric I bought years ago from Gekko. It is a jersey knit fabric. Sadly Gekko no longer makes and sells fabrics herself but some of her fabric designs seem to pop up once in a while. The other fabric is a lavendel jersey I bought at some point.
I made the Nivalis dress by Sofilantjes Patterns with long sleeves and collar in in size 7. It has a beautiful shape to it and was a very straight forward pattern to follow. My little girl was kind enough to model it for me on the field next to our house.
I am nowhere near being finished tidying up my house but I am trying to do a little bit at a time with the extremely limited time on my hand. I know one thing though. KonMari will be allowed nowhere near my fabric stash! That stash gives me pleasure, extreme pleasure, she said, stroked it and called it her precious.
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So how does one deal with mistakes in something that was supposed to become a tradition? Should one simply repeat the mistake every single time and make that the tradition or should one fix it and live with there being one off?
My little girl started school this fall. I keep saying and writing the same cliché over and over again. Time is flying by at such record speed that I barely seem to be able to catch my breath, let alone write a blog post about it. She has already learned how to read and has started writing cute notes for us. She has celebrated 100 days at school and embarrassingly I struggled to get this posted before 6 months had gone by (and in the end I missed “my deadline” by three days). I miss blogging though so hopefully I will manage to post her Christmas dress before summer.
The day she started school was a bit stressful as always getting everyone dressed and ready in time. I had written a sign with 1. Grade (1 Klasse) on it and was ready to snap some photos of her holding it. Then the little miss exclaimed at the last moment that her class was 1B and not just 1 and forced me to write 1B. With little time on my hand I just wrote the B, while trying to keep an eye out for her little brother and didn’t realize until we started taking the photos that it wasn’t really grammatically correct.
I made her a new dress for the occasion. I used the The Felicity dress by Bella Sunshine Design. The fabric I used was Sunprint in Orchid by Katarina Roccella .
It was a good pattern. The only thing that puzzled me was that the ruffles were cut in four even pieces meaning I would have to have a seam at the front of the dress and that if I matched the side seams I would have less ruffles at the back. I agonized for few days over this fact but thankfully it worked out just fine and neither the seams nor the difference on the front and back are visible. Even if I had dropped all the time I spent pondering over the ruffles part it was a rather time consuming pattern but I love the final result.
It was a beautiful day when she started school and I long back to summer and summer dresses while looking at these photos. It has been a dark and gloomy winter here in Norway.
I still haven’t decided what to do about the mistake on the sign. If I should repeat it or not. I will probably keep agonizing about it until the day I need to take pictures of her starting second class. Knowing how time flies that is probably just right around the corner.
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Mom can you post these photos on the Internet? So I can get thumbs up? My stomach twisted as she said it. Despite posting numerous photos of her online I don’t think I have ever told her about people liking them. It has been a little selfish hobby of mine to post photos of her and the clothes I make for her. I would like to say that I don’t care about the likes but of course I do a little because I am indefinitely proud of her being my daughter. That being said, I will never admit to her that the likes matter 🙂 .
I am perfectly aware that it is debatable if you should post photos of your kids online. We have chosen to do so. Everyone’s life is public today and it would be virtually impossible to stop pictures from going online. We live far away from relatives and this is one way for them to enjoy photos of them. We could of course do it in locked channels but that would just mean half the people would see them. I choose to be proud of my kids and post (of course proper only) photos of them. I also have a sneaking suspicion that some kids will wonder why their parents never posted photos of them when they are older. Just like some wonder why there are so few paper photos of their childhood today. If they later ask me to remove them I will of course do so but I hope they will just take it as a sign that I am proud of them.
It is however about time to start teaching her about the dangers of online life and that likes mean nothing in the long run. I wish I could have waited a bit longer introducing her to likes and I blame school for teaching her these things. Yes my little girl is a school girl already.
We are visiting my family in Iceland and took as a little trip to the beach in Vík. The beach and the sunny windy day fit perfectly with her new Skola dress that I made out of Birch Interlock Knit called Wink. The quality of that fabric is horrible which is a pity because I really liked the pattern. The Skola pattern from E & E patterns was easy to follow and had a nice fit. The only complaint I have was that I found it a bit confusing knowing what the difference between the different views were. I made view B with pointed collar.
The light might not have been the best to show off the dress but I liked the atmosphere and my little girl’s attitude that day.
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Have you ever had those dreams where you are trying to get somewhere and no matter how much you hurry up everything is taking longer than planned? You just cannot seem to get there? I remember having these dreams as far back as childhood. Me running late no matter how hard I tried to hurry up. There was always something working against me so I couldn’t get where I was supposed to be going. I have always hated those dreams as I would wake up stressed and frustrated.
Sadly this is what parenthood feels like most of the time. You are always running late, everything takes twice the time planned and most of the time you don’t manage to do one tenth of the things you intend to do.
The only thing that is running somewhat at normal speed is the planning part of your brain. You plan and plan endlessly while doing all the mundane daily choirs. By the time you actually get a half an hour to execute any of these plans you have so many that you feel overwhelmed and often end up doing none of it.
The last half-year has been hectic. Not that there is anything new about it. I seem to be one of these people that always has too many things to do (or maybe I am just slow as my inner critical voice keeps asking me). Work has been crazy to the point of my jaw getting stiff from tension. My little toddler seems to have his activity level dialed up 300% so he and his already quite active bigger sister pretty much keep me busy the rest of the time.
It has taken me more than half of a year blogging the Christmas clothes I made for my active and sweet kids. This is the last piece of advanced sewing I did. I have a strong urge to show it off because right now it feels like it might be my last. Since these pictures were taken my little one has grown quite a bit and now has cute curly hair. My daughter has also stretched into a little young lady but memories and accomplishments are important to document despite them being old. Better late then never!
I made the Oliver and S Art Museum Vest and Trouser for my little boy. Not a pattern for the faint at heart. The velt pockets were impossible to decipher without the help of this online tutorial. Even then they were a pain in the butt to get nice but it turned out ok in the end. My biggest gripe is not to trust my instinct that the placement of the buttons didn’t feel right and following the pattern. The buttons are simply too close to each other and feel wrong. I used fabric that I bought at Lillestrøm sysenter (which is btw a wonderful store). Unfortunately I didn’t pay enough attention to the type of fabric it was but some kind of cotton and the lining I have really no idea.
The dress is the Tinny dress pattern from Straight Grain. Nice easy pattern but felt a bit on the wider side compared to her Hanami dress. It also felt a bit short at first but the length grew on me. The main fabric is Petal in Eggplant from the Handcrafted series by Alison Glass bought at Hawthorne Threads. Took me a bit of planning on how to cut it but I am quite happy with the final result. The triangle overlay that I laid on top of a piece without patterns in the front is Tulle in color “Lyng” from Stoff og Stil. The lining I bought from Rainbow Textil.
Our friends were nice enough to help us with taking some family photos right after Christmas. I think I took all the photos of the kids myself so I hope I am not stealing any credit here 🙂 .
Back of vest
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Having kids has taught me one important lesson. Life with them is simply unpredictable and you better get used to it. You can make all the plans in the world but be ready to see them go down the drain at the blink of an eye. Even something the size of a breadcrumb can quickly alter your plans…
I am quite a routine person. If I do something I want to do it according to how I feel is the right way. Every dinner has its rules with a specific set of side dishes, the laundry has to be done in a certain way, and even my blog posts need to be made in a specific way. The list goes on and on but I will spare you.
I haven’t really had the possibility to do things my way since my daughter was born. The last shred of chance got thrown out the window when my little boy was born and had silent reflux. I have been forced to lower my standards quite severely and I am usually just hanging in there to survive and trying to avoid plans. This might be an slight overstatement but this is really how it feels at times. My dinners have truly been compromised to the minimum and as you might have seen I don’t blog very often.
It has been a rough winter full of illness, sleeplessness and chaos. Maybe more on that some other day. One thing stopping me from blogging the few things I have made is photos. There has simply not been a chance to try to take any good photos and I feel bad uploading bad photos. I have been working on another blog entry for few months now and just don’t seem to really get there.
Last Saturday I thought I finally had a chance to do something right. My little boy was sleeping, his dad was at home watching him, and my daughter was set on going to the forrest to take some photos of her in her new dress with all the white spring flowers (wood anemones). Even the camera was charged and honestly it all just felt too good to be true.
We walked along a little forrest path close to our house holding hands. My little girl started picking flowers and I started fiddling with the camera settings and taking photos. All very peaceful and beautiful. Then it hit. I hadn’t even managed to get the settings right before we got interrupted by a vicious ANT that attached itself to my daughter’s foot and made us having to flee the forrest screaming. Well she was screaming out loud and I was screaming inside of me in frustration. Any hopes of going back were quickly put to rest by a little angry girl exclaiming she was never gonna go back there in open shoes. The thought of a dress with rubber boots really didn’t feel appealing to my rigid blog photo standards so I figured I would just have to live with the photos I had caught so far. So here they are!
The dress is Laaaang kjole (Loooong dress) from Fam Irvoll’s book Sy Klær til Kidsa. My daughter really wanted a long dress and this was the perfect pattern. The pattern was quite easy to follow and I like the shape. Size six was a bit on the longer side but we shortened it a bit and all was well.
The fabric is Spirit of Nature jersey bought from Kjekk og Søt and the lavendel jersey in the ribbon is from Olivias.
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Time is flying by at record speed. They say your clock is ticking before getting kids but now after getting them it has really gone haywire rotating its clock hands at the speed of helicopter wings. Yet another year has gone by, I have failed yet another set of resolutions, and I have yet again not been able to do half the things I wanted to. This blog post has taken me two months to write and my estimate is that the kids Christmas clothes will get blogged about around Easter time. Pity as I really wanted to do one of those “best of” summaries I see all the sewing bloggers doing. This is probably the last year in a very long time where I am actually able to sew more than couple of pieces of clothing.
Yeah, I have already started working again and life is about to get really hectic as my partner just finished his paternity leave. The last month of my maternity leave I spent frantically cuddling my little boy and sewing a clock sweater the few minutes he actually slept. A bit ironic that making a clock sweater was a race against time but for some strange reason I felt I had to get it done.
You might ask why anyone would want to make a clock sweater when they could be using their precious time on about hundred other things? Been asking myself the same thing. Truth be told I get quite a few of these strange ideas. Mostly I never get around executing them. This idea however kept nagging me and I simply wasn’t able to file it away together with my other bad ideas. It felt a bit more educational than some of the other stuff I have a come up with. Educational must equal smart, right?
Making a sweater with moving clock hands wasn’t quite as straightforward as I had hoped. At least if you wanted to avoid it becoming a giant Velcro cactus. I can’t say I nailed it either but it somewhat works at least when my daughter stands still. Which is rarely but that is another story. The clock hands have a tendency to stick out at weird angles but as they are somewhat soft there should be no danger of injury.
Unfortunately my daughter wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about learning the clock as I hoped she would be. I bribed her to do some photos and at least she took that quite seriously. She ran off couple of times to study the Stoff of Stil catalogue to see how the kids there were posing as models and came back and copied the poses. So even if it doesn’t get used I can at least blog about it and pat my inner wannabe teacher a bit. Unfortunately I wont be able to pat my inner photographer on the back as the photos are of really bad quality. Time, the lack of daylight and a very impatient missy were working against me…
I used the Rowan tee pattern again. Great pattern. The clock numbers are heat transfer. The Paapii Sprinkles jersey I bought at Olivias. I felt the sprinkles looked a bit like clock hands. The white jersey I bought at Kjekk og Søt. The clock hands are made out of black cotton, heavy fusible interfacing and attached with snaps so you can rotate them. I had to pinch the snap holders a bit to make them stiff enough to hold the clock hands in place. I also put a thinner fusible interfacing on the back of the clock to try to stiffen that area a bit.
The biggest problem is that it gets a bit bulky on the front with all the snaps and I can imagine they they might potentially get lost as you can take them off.
Except this little lady doesn’t like to sleep
Snaps for attaching and rotating
Anyways, both the sweater and the blog eventually got finished. Right in time for wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
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Me: Do this.
Me: Because this.
Her: How do you know that? she says and puts me in place.
Our lives are full of why these days. My five year old is questioning literally everything. She wants to know facts, she wants to know why she is supposed to do the things we ask her to do, and she wants to know how we know things. Saying that you don’t know something doesn’t get you off the hook either. She will ask us to guess why we think things are like they are. The last one can be fun sometimes. Like the time she asked why dragons have tails and wings (she knows dragons only exist in fairy tales). I am not quite as thrilled trying to guess more scientific things.
All these questions make you realise how little you really know. The worst was the day she wondered if someone could have taken our car while we were at the store. I told her that it was only us that had the key. She wondered if someone else might have a key that worked. I said no, all keys are unique. Then she got me. Mom, how do you know that? Just seconds later I was doubting every single piece of information stored in my brain. I had really just been assuming all car keys are unique. I didn’t know for sure. I realised that a lot of things I know is just something someone told me at some point, I have read, or simply assumed. It could all be wrong even the things I have read in books. The Internet has taught us one valuable lesson, you cannot blindly trust anything written without cross referencing. For some reason I had forgotten to apply this knowledge to my brain backlog
It is truly amazing that she is this curious and willing to learn. There is however no denying that all these whys can be quite tiring and time consuming. I must admit I sometimes snap and tell her to just do things because I tell her to. I however don’t want to her to blindly believe everything like I did as a child. Took me years to shake off the effects of that (astrology, religion, superstition etc.) and I am pretty sure there are quite a few things I still falsely believe. Curiosity is such a valuable trait that keeps you exploring, learning and experimenting. I guess the next few years will be quite a balancing act trying to teach her stuff yet keep her questioning at a sensible level without completely exhausting myself.
That being said I still want her to blindly believe in Santa, the Easter bunny and that I have eyes at the back of my neck for few more years. That doesn’t hurt does it?
Her curiosity doesn’t make it easy for me to photograph her in the clothes I make for her. She is off exploring and unable to stand still for a second. Forget about fiddling with you camera settings! My strategy is simply to chase her around and snap and hope I will get few good shots.
I made this dress long time ago and despite it being one of the favorite thing that I have ever made for her it has taken me forever to blog about it. It is my second Hanami dress by Straight Grain. You can see the first one here. I just love that pattern. I used her tutorial to add pleats in the front which was a nice touch The beautiful fabric is Sunrise indigo metallic lawn bought from Imagine Gnats. The fabric on the sleeve is olive cotton form Stoff og Stil and was the closest I could find to gold.
I made this for her brothers naming ceremony but we had to venture outside few weeks later and take better photos. I also had to include couple of photos from her Kindergarten even if they outshine my photos by far. Utestemme really did a fantastic job taking the photos this year.
Taken by Utestemme
Taken by Utestemme
Taken by Utestemme
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I have two little explorers in my house. My smallest one has already turned into a little tornado leaving nothing untouched (or untasted). When he is not chewing on everything you will find him digging his hand into the flower pots, holding the earth up and watching it fall onto the floor, drumming on the toilet or checking how fast he can unroll the toilet paper onto the floor. He crawls full speed every time I open the fridge to make sure he can block me from closing it and his biggest dream seems to be able to crawl into the dishwasher… Thankfully he sometimes occupies himself by practising getting up and standing without supporting himself 🙂 . My other kid is trying to get a grip on the world with her whys. More on that some other day but it is safe to say there is no stone or fact left untouched at our house.
We just spent a week in Arguineguin on Gran Canaria. This is the first time we revisit a hotel we have been to before and to tell the truth we have barely left the hotel. I realized that we have become the people that I never understood. I used to ask myself why anyone would want to go to the same place again and not explore the surroundings? It is not that I don’t want to explore any longer. I just feel like the amount of energy it costs outweighs its pleasure. Packing for an excursion is major undertaking and getting everyone fed at the right time feels a bit like playing a game of tetris. It doesn’t exactly make it easier that our little boy is a terrible sleeper and wakes up if a mute mouse coughs within a 1 kilometer radius.
It is fascinating watching your little ones explore the world and it reminds you that you should keep trying even if it comes at a cost. Because it is usually worth it. Except the only real attempt we made during this trip taking the boat to Mogan. It simply wasn’t worth it and I enjoyed the pool and the sun at the hotel much more. We might have to be a bit boring for the next couple of years but after that I swear we will be back in the explorer business!
I see that I have become less adventurous in all aspects of life. Even my sewing. I am so strapped on time that doing something out of the box feels like a major risk. What if what I make is a failure and I will have wasted a month’s worth of work?
For this project I decided I would get outside of my comfort zone. I am often inspired by fabric and envision a garment that is inspired by the pattern on the fabric. Like the pattern of the fox in this Andrea Lauren fabric. I wanted to make pants that had a similar pattern. It turned out to be a trickier than I thought. I did “empty” piping in an improvised pattern and it turned out a bit thick so I almost choked my overlocker when finishing the edges.
I am glad I spent time on it even if I am not happy with the final result. It feels very unbalanced. Partially because he is still a bit too small for both the T-shirt and the pants but also because the orange pattern is a bit too large (and it doesn’t help that it is only on the front). I don’t think I would have managed to make it smaller though using jersey. At least I learned something which is always good and makes this somewhat worth it!
I used the Rowan Titchy Thread tee pattern for the first time and loved it. Basically no complaints for the regular hem, long sleeved version in size 12-18 months. I will for sure try more variations of this pattern. The pants are my own hack. The Andrea Lauren fox fabric and black jersey I bought at Olivias. The orange jersey I bought at Kjekk og Søt and I must say the two ladies that run these stores have great customer service helping me find the closest orange match.
Here are few photos of my little explorer that definitely didn’t feel like posing like I intended him to. I debated if I should actually post this project but I decided that his cuteness outweighs the flaws of the pants :).
Look at this little man that is set on getting under the glass fence!
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Happy Birthday Silja!
It has been five years since I lay in the hospital with construction workers outside the window, a Swedish midwife I struggled understanding and thought I would die. Then all of a sudden there she was. My sweet little Silja! I remembered crying of joy over the fact that I was alive and that she was alive and looked healthy. I had been warned that I might not feel love for my kid right away but I did. Wild intense love and pride. Mistakenly the doctor must have assumed our relief and happiness meant that we were happy with the birth experience and wrote that in my journal. Something that has caused me trouble later but that is a story for another day.
Everything changes when you get a kid. I remember the intense feeling that I had simply been cut out of my old world and glued somewhere else. It is a world that nobody without kids can comprehend. At first you might try to pretend to your friends that you haven’t passed onto the other side. At some point you can no longer be bothered and you just stop trying. It is not worth it really. Why not just enjoy the life you are living. You excuse it by simply saying to yourself: they will understand when they get kids themselves.
Being a parent is hard. I had quite realistic expectations at first with one exception. I wasn’t quite ready for how light headed and confused I was feeling. They call it “ammetåke” (breastfeeing fog) in Norway and while there might be some oxytocin hormones involved I think it is more that you need to be on the alert every single second of the day. Even if they are a sleep (and even you are sleeping) you still need to listen for sounds all the time. If you are somewhere and talking to someone you must constantly be listening and watching them. This is probably the biggest drain of parenthood.
Then there are birthdays, another big drain on your energy (and wallet). It is Silja’s fifth birthday today but we celebrated yesterday with Kintergarden and family. Truth be told I have used most of my free time for the last week preparing and this year I kept it simple. I might add here that I have very little free time due to the fact that my little boy only sleeps 25 minutes at a time during daytime. Couple of simple cakes, pinata (the ugliest unicorn creature I have ever seen), candy bags, pony ears and some decorations. The party had a My Little Pony theme and we used the Princess Cadence colors for decorations in case you are wondering… My eyes still hurt a bit 🙂 . A 5 year old has quite set ideas of what they want for their birthday. Today we even had to get up and make her breakfast in bed.
With her Princess Cadence crown
The beauty and the beast
My little pony theme
It was all worth it! She was genuinely happy over everything we did and she had a really good time. Nothing beats making your kids happy!
I also made her a dress that wasn’t initially intended as a birthday dress but ended up becoming one. It is the Verona dress from Jennuine Design. I wanted to make this dress for a while but struggled finding the right fabric. Many of the samples I have seen feel very stiff with that type of collar. The Escapade Voile felt perfect as it was light and playful and the triangles there matched the collar corners softening them out a bit. The nice people at Hawthorne threads helped me find a matching fabric for the undershirt. This is Cirrus Solid in Coral. The pattern was quite well made and the only complaint I have is that I felt it could have been a bit more decisive. It had a lot of options and didn’t always clearly recommend one way.
Here are some photos. I have really been struggling getting good photos with the strong sun and a little lady that doesn’t have time to stand still. So this is a random collection.
Birthday girl gives her little brother a hug
Split in sleeve
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My #30perfectdays experiment is over. I am sure many of my Facebook friends are happy (if they haven’t already blocked me) but I really miss it.
The experiment was to post some highlights from my life every single day for 30 days. To find something positive, try something that made me smile, order or something that I accomplished. This to try to move the focus away from what is hard right now and to remind myself that there are plenty of positive things in my life. We are going through a rough period because our little boy has reflux and is often in quite a lot of pain and struggles sleeping. As a result of that we are sleep deprived, doctor stressed and at times exhausted.
I really didn’t think I would manage to post something every day when I started. To my big surprise there were days I had too many things to post and I found myself trying to just pick out few. There were other days where I didn’t have an awful lot to post but there was always something positive.
I am convinced that this little effort of mine really saved our vacation from being a disaster. We can now look back on lots of photos from what we did. We will remember the play and beauty and not the crying and the sleep deprivation. I must admit that the photos didn’t always help me on the days when there was crying and frustration but they always made me look back on the previous day in a much more positive light.
It is hard to evaluate how my photo stream looked to others. I am however pretty sure I would have gotten a bit jealous of myself had I been watching it as an observer. The lesson I am trying to teach myself is that happy photos don’t automatically equate to a perfect life. A kid might have gotten a tantrum right after the most idealistic photo. A nice island trip might have been a bit colder than planned because someone forgot to pack the warm water for the cocoa but instead remembered to pack themselves a beer… You get the picture 😉 .
Another observation from this experiment of mine is that my kids are an infinite source of joy for me despite them draining me at times. It is wonderful to observe my four-year-old imagination and to see how much joy they are already getting from each other. The glorious smiles I get from my little boy when he is not in pain (or overtired) are worth gold. The excessive posting of kids photos probably drove some of my Facebook friends insane but I will consider that I was doing them a favor by giving them something to bitch about. Lets just be honest about it, we all have couple of Facebook friend which annoy us beyond means with their posts yet we don’t remove them because we secretly like to bitch about them.
So if you are ever going through a rough patch of some sort and worry that your vacation might suffer, give this experiment a try. Post something positive and look back at it the day after and see if it made the previous day look better. If so continue! The only warning of advice is not to get to hung up on getting likes. It is easy to get addicted and put too much focus on that.
All my photos and some of the stories behind them are below but are better viewed on my Instagram feed. I even managed to post some selfies! I think I posted twice as many photos with myself in these 30 days as I have done in my entire Instagram lifetime. Scary stuff! Who knows maybe I will one day be posting selfies with pouty lips…
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