Anybody Out There?

Hi. It’s been a while.

I haven’t posted here for nearly two years and I’m not even sure where to start…

We’ve been in China almost three years now. Guangzhou is home. I don’t miss Australia as much as I used to but I think that is just because living here has become normal. It’s our real life – we work, kids go to school, we shop, see friends, buy our groceries, take kids to activities.

Life is great here but the highs are high and the lows are low. Expat life can be a bit of a fish bowl…we live in one of the biggest cities in the world but sometimes it feels like a very small town.

The intensity of life here has forced a lot of change and I’ve left my sewing and creative pursuits behind. I’d like to find a way back. I thought posting here might be a good start. I’ve started a Christmas quilt, just one block at a time…baby steps. I don’t want to put myself under pressure, it needs to be pure enjoyment.

Maybe a quick round up of current life would be a good way to reconnect?

Making – I’ve started a Christmas quilt. I want it to be quite big so I might just make a top and send it home to Australia to be long armed.

Cooking – I’m hosting Christmas dinner for a group of friends so I’ll make the Jamie Oliver make ahead gravy. It’s a bit of a chore but the end result is worth it.

Drinking – Moscow Mules. Festive and delicious.

ReadingA Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. The writing is beautiful but I’m not sure that I’ll finish it…it’s about grief and I think I need a more uplifting read at the moment. Any suggestions?

Wanting – a wider selection of english language books to browse. I’ll have to be satisfied with kindle and my e-library catalogues for another year.

Looking – on my doorstep to see if anymore packages have arrived…Christmas has been all about the online shopping this year.

Playing – Scrabble.

Wasting – time on social media. Do you ever scroll blindly when you are bored and then thing “wow I saw absolutely nothing of value in the last 15 minutes.” It’s such a trap.

Sewing – 12 1/2 inch blocks for my Christmas quilt. I’ve made three so far.

Enjoying – Reformer pilates classes.

Waiting – for the real winter weather to begin so we can get cosy and wear jackets and beanies. It never lasts long here in the tropics.

Liking – how Christmassy it feels here in Guangzhou considering Chinese people do not celebrate the holiday.

Wondering – if I’ll finish my Christmas quilt.

Loving – my kids now make their own breakfasts on the weekend! Parenting goals.

Needing – some new socks.

Watching – Gavin & Stacey

Smelling – my favourite perfume, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt. I wear it everyday.

Wearing – jeans, tshirt, converse. It’s like a uniform for me.

FollowingMrs Hinch, an instagrammer from the UK. Her main topics are cleaning, her home and her dog. I feel like a weird voyeur but I think she’s awesome.

Feeling – Mental health and wellbeing has been a struggle for me in the last couple of months. I’m no stranger to it so I know how to manage it but it’s tough. It’s not something I share easily but I have a trusted few who I can discuss it openly with. It’s a big reason why I want to find my way back to this space.

If you just got to the end of that, thanks for reading! I am seriously wondering if anyone will read this at all given the break has been so long…

Do people even read blogs anymore? Or is everyone on instagram? Or somewhere else? I am so out of touch. Where is your favourite place on the internet these days?

I’m hoping it won’t be so long before I post again!

71 thoughts on “Anybody Out There?

    1. Thanks Erin 🙂 I love insta but I also feel like it’s so perfect and curated these days. Show me some messy reality and mistakes people!

  1. Welcome back Ros! I’m not a sewer but have admired your talent since your first post. I hope you find your way back. Wishing you all a happy Christmas xx

    1. Merry Christmas Maya! Lovely to hear from you. Always love your cute pug pics. I hope your pregnancy is going well. Very exciting times. xx

    1. I miss you and think of you lots. Blown away by your incredible soap making. Planning to have a regular order when I come home! xx

  2. I’m reading to! And so happy that you came back! I’m currently reading One day in december (Reese Witherspoon’s pick for her virtual bookclub) and I hope it’s going to be the perfect december read to lift up my spirits..
    It’s always tough to be far away from home when the lows are low so I whish you moderate highs for this holiday season 😉
    I’m looking forward to reading your next posts: I’m guessing there’s really more work put into these than in an instagram post (by the way, I’m also guilty of endless scrolling and the new activity tracker on instagram has been eyeopening ), but I still like blogs the best.

    1. Hi Charlotte, I’ve heard good things about Reese Witherspoon’s book club so I’ll have to check it out. I’ve not seen the activity tracker on instagram but I’m sure if there was one for facebook I’d be horrified. There is a little more work in a blog post but I feel like I’ve got it down to a fine art these days. The thing that takes the longest is that I re-read and edit my writing several times before hitting publish. God forbid it goes out with a spelling error!!! NO!

  3. Weirdly found your blog today while looking for inspiration to start sewing again after ‘life’ took over -which is where you might be too now. Blogs still good for a range of images and longer writing – insta good for getting out there and directing people to the blog.

    1. Life certainly has a funny way of taking over. I do enjoy the longer writing of blogs but I’ve noticed some instgrammers seem to do that too these days. Another platform I guess. It’s been interesting to watch the change in social media since I started blogging in 2011.

  4. Glad to see you’re back, have missed your blog. Yours was the inspiration that started my P&Q hobby (obsession). I often think of you when using my sewing machine cover (your design and colourway)!

  5. I’m reading! I am not sure how I found you, but spotted your post scrolling Facebook so I started following you at some point. Motherhood has zapped my brain and my time for sewing so I can relate on some level even though we are worlds apart. Currently reading Grandma Gatewoods Walk, about a grandma who hiked the entire Appalachian Trail. Currently sewing an Advent Calendar with the Grinch Who Stole Christmas as the theme from Robert Koffman. ~>Always remember to take care of you! Will look forward to your next post 🙂

    1. Thanks Tara! I know the motherhood brain zapping situation well. That book sounds great – I spent a little bit of time around the Appalachian trail last summer and my husband and I have talked about hiking it when our kids are older. You advent calendar sounds fabulous. xx

  6. Read and appreciated. To most of it I say, me too.
    I’m reading It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) and while it’s not super happy, it’s a really good perspective on what to do when your life has become a bit wonky and you aren’t quite sure how it got that way but here you are. Highly recommended.

    1. Hi Christine. That book sounds really great and I would get a lot out of it right now. Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. I love reading blogs. It’s 7am Sunday In L A. I don’t know how I found your
    Blog but I would to read more. Why are you in China? How are there fabric
    Stores?

    1. Hi Judy, I am in China for my husband’s job. No fabric stores sadly 🙁 It’s been a challenge!

  8. Glad you come back. Instagram for me is something fast, but blogs are for quiet time.

  9. I’m here. I understand your ‘break’ in blogging. I have had a number of life experiences which have placed blogging on the bottom of a very full life to-do list for nearly 2 years. I found just jumping in & posting when I can and not feeling guilty when I don’t (can’t) do it as often as I would like. Good for you to do some sewing for enjoyment – best therapy I can think of. I’m looking forward to watching your Christmas quilt grow.

    1. Thank you! You are right – just do things for pure enjoyment and sewing is great therapy. I’m looking forward to this Christmas quilt too and I’m not giving myself a deadline. If it’s not ready until next Christmas then so be it.

  10. I’m happy to see you pop up in my blogroll. My own blog has b on hiatus for several years…

    1. Thank you! The nice thing about blogs is they wait patiently and are still there if we want to go back to them.

  11. Hi, while trying to find you, I found this blog.. I’m making the Quilted Sewing Machine Cover; did you do a 1/4” or 1/2” seam when sewing charm pack squares together?

    1. Thank you! Blogs are much more personal, I enjoy getting to know people through them. I feel like instagram stories is replacing that.

  12. Still here! I do enjoy Instagram, but I still love reading blogs when I have a bit of quiet time and a cup of tea.

    1. Blogs are a bit like a magazine article – if you are subscribed to a good selection it’s like reading a magazine made just for you.

  13. Hey Ros, I’ve missed you! I too haven’t blogged in while… I think my break has been about a year… I have been sewing a little, but much less than I used to and have been wanting to get back into both more. How crazy is it that you’ve been in China 3 years already!?

    1. It is pretty crazy, time has just flown. We’ll be home before we know it so I want to try and really enjoy this last year.

  14. Welcome back. I am in Brisbane and I wondered how you are getting on over there. I have an Instagram account but hardly put anything on there, and find it boring just looking at other people’s perfect photos. Give me a blog any day – yours for example, writing about how you are feeling. A pleasure to read. Hope you keep it up – and yes, there are plenty of people out there, as you can see from the other comments.

    1. Yes I’ve been really surprised actually! It’s lovely to hear from everyone. I agree about the perfect photos. Would love to see some mistakes and some reality in my insta feed. I think that’s why I’ve been enjoying insta stories more these days, they are a bit more personal and human.

  15. Welcome back, I missed your updates. I enjoyed hearing about life in China. Oh shame there are no fabric shops. What about online fabric shopping?

    1. Hi Ros,,,missed you, love your quilting ideas and I have made several of your projects! Thanks for the update on China. I’m not on instagram, and avoid Facebook for most of the year. I feel better avoiding it for some reason, waste of time. I just finished, Clock Dance, by Anne Tyler.you might like it. She writes about family life and relationships, how messy and simple our lives are. She is funny too. She has written many books, and I love her writing. It sustained me when I was a young mom. Glad your seeing again. Keep blogging!

      1. Hi Sue, thanks for your lovely message! That’s not the first time that book has been recommended to me so I will check it out for sure! Thank you xx

    2. Can definitely order online but it can take up to a month for delivery. I do really enjoy a mooch about in a quilting store though. I am very much an impulse shopper!

  16. So glad to see you back. I was thinking about you and your blog the other day. My life has been a bit wonky for about three years and thought I had lost your updates because of my disconnect. I was so excited to see you pop up in my email today. I read your post right away. After losing my mom at the beginning of this year, I read the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It’s her journey toward looking for and finding the gifts we receive each day.

  17. Yes, I’m here and listening. So glad you’re back to sewing. Enjoy it and take care of yourself.

  18. Welcome back! I have been checking in here and there hoping you’d pick up blogging again. I don’t use any social media other than pinterest and blogs. I too experience mental health concerns from time to time. I have found exercise and talking about it with close friends really helpful. Also finding time to be creative is also very important for mental health so get back in to crafting even if it means learning something new. For me a dear older friend from my church has been teaching me to crochet. Quilting will always be my first love but learning something new has been refreshing.
    God bless,
    Nicole in Australia

    1. Hi Nicole, so lovely to hear from you. Especially helpful to hear about how you work through your mental health issues. It’s all new territory for me. Have a lovely Christmas!

  19. Wow – you’ve been in China for three years!!! It seems only a little while ago that you were moving over there!

    We have had a crazy second half of the year that has involved moving house, and my craft/sewing stuff is among the stuff I have yet to unpack – I haven’t had the energy to do it yet…..

    Reading your blog has made me contemplate trying to unpack a bit more to get closer to creating something again!!! So Thanks!!
    Glad to hear that you are sewing something – I hope you have a lovely Christmas 🙂

    1. I know it’s gone so fast. We’ll be back in Australia before we know it! Moving house is always challenging. Maybe over the Christmas break you’ll get some down time and want to get the sewing machine out again. Merry Christmas!

  20. Hi….yes….here listening. I’ve been making your zipper bags for xmas pressies – they make good teachers presents. I can do them now without looking at your pattern I’ve made so many of them!
    China for 3 years is a great achievement. Something to be proud of.
    I’ve been reading The Daughters of Mars by Tom Keneally – about nurses during the first world war – not really uplifting but a big, epic, get your teeth into sort of book. Loved it. Have a good Christmas.
    Louise, Tassie.

    1. Hi Louise, great to hear from you! Ha love a zippy, they are so versatile. That book sounds great, thanks for the recommendation. I’ve read a few WW2 sagas this year – The Nightingale and All The Light We Cannot See. Very different but both excellent. Merry Christmas to you too xx

  21. Hi, a move to a new country can be a very stressful thing but it sounds like you’ve made a lovely life for yourself and your family. Welcome back to your sewing adventures! Can’t wait to see how your quilt turns out!

  22. I’m thrilled to read your refresher blog. I was actually just thinking of you recently and wondering if you’re still in China and how you’re going. I was disappointed not to be able to read any more of your adventures in China because it’s one place I’ve always wanted to visit properly (been to Shenzhen but I think of that as an extension of Hong Kong which doesn’t count as China either, in my book). We’ve planned 3 trips to China and none of them have come off for one reason or another.

    I read a book some time back which might interest you. It’s a true story with a fascinating insight into (surprise, surprise) China. “Beijing Confidential by Jan Wong”. If you decide to read it, I’d love to know how close it is to the China you’ve discovered. Jan Wong is a Canadian/Chinese journalist who returned to China during the Cultural Revolution (1970s) and “dobbed” on a fellow student. She agonised over the fate of the student for 33 years and returned to try to find out if she had been punished and whether she was even still alive. I’m a pretty fussy reader and really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed some light reading Crazy Rich Asians and the two sequels by Kevin Kwan “China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems”. It seems like there’s a thread here – it’s true I do enjoy things to do with China and Asia in general but these are just great reads.

    Please be assured that you have at least one reader “out there” who enjoys your blog and is dying to hear more, especially about your life in China – places you eat and shop, even mundane things that you don’t think are interesting will be fascinating to a wannabe traveller. I’m a sewer too so of course that side of things is always interesting, although I don’t quilt.

    Keep up the good work.

  23. Hi – still here, nice to hear from you sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who reads blogs. Must admit I do love IG .

  24. Hi! I’m in Florida, but I’m originally from Texas. I’m now living straight across the Gulf of Mexico from where I was born and grew up. I’ve lived in Florida since I was 28. I’m now 64, married almost 35 years, and retired from teaching almost 3 years. I remember how I couldn’t wait to retire so I would have time to work on art and sewing, but I haven’t actually done much of either. I love your blog, ways to get back to sewing and creating, your craft space, and your honest blog entry about not having made much or blogged much. I can certainly identify with that! I also had plans to make a blog, but I think I just felt overwhelmed and spread too thin! I gave up my blog plans, and went back to working on my craft space. I share it with our 3 crazy indoor/outdoor rescued hounds. I am the door keeper! I have my main craft desk next to the back door so I can let them in and out while maybe still getting something done I enjoy! I think it’s an ongoing challenge, but I’m not giving up. Whether you continue your blog or not, I’ve found your advice encouraging, so I’ve printed it out to save at my desk. I hope you get to find time for your own sewing and crafting, too! It will always be there for you! Enjoy family, friends, and your own sewing and crafts!!

    Thanks for the tips on getting your mojo back!!

    Susan D. Sillence
    New Port Richey, FL USA

  25. Hi ros, welcome back!
    It’s lovely to see you back here again. I do sometimes wonder how your new life is getting on.
    Your girls must be growing fast, I remember as I sewed for my niece who must be around the same age.
    I love Mrs. Hinch too (I’m uk) she’s taken insta by storm hasn’t she.
    Just reading about mental and positivity struggles do you follow annamathur on insta? She’s a therapist but very unconventional and posts her own day to day struggles but also good coping strategies, she’s lovely and very good to follow. X

  26. yes, you must continue-with messy mistakes and all. I like words and how-to’s, not just pictures that I can’t live up to. Also, I just found you!

  27. Hey Ros, I’m a bit late to this party – found you via a tutorial you did on beaded zipper pulls (great tutorial by the way). I do miss blogs. I started one a few years back just when instagram took over but I find I miss the connection of a blog – much more like catching up with a friend rather than just “look at this”. I loved your list – great way to restart. I think blogging became a bit of a chore for some creatives – maybe we can find a way to blog to an appreciative friendly audience and share what we are up to. Would love to hear more stories about China. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland but my kids have grown and I need to sew to pay the rent which seems to have taken some of the fun out of it. That’s why I was checking out your tutorial and discovered your FB and then read the blog. Coincidentally, Camille Roskelley of Thimbleblossoms also posted in her blog last week to see if there was interest. Anywho, loved your post and will add you to my feed and have a lovely day.

  28. Hello Ros, I’ve read your posts in the past, but as you, I have struggled with some depression mostly from exhaustion from overworking. I am just picking up sewing and painting again… it’s bringing joy and it’s helping me to feel like myself again.
    China can be a hard society to feel comfortable in – the customs and manners are totally foreign, i.e. staring at you, cutting in the queue/line, personal space, etc… I’ve been there many times, the longest for six weeks, but I could feel how hard it could be to live there long term. If you ever want to talk or WhatsApp, or… I would love to.
    You are an amazing, creative woman and you have so much to give and live for. Thanks for being a blessing, your bright paged blog and pages have lifted me up many times.
    Blessings to you and your family! Sue

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