The Unruffled Workshop: Hand-sew a Skirt or Corset Top, June 26

The time is here! Announcing our first three hour workshop on Sunday, June 26, 3-6pm at the Tiny T Ranch in Garfield, Texas. For this workshop, we will be making either a corset top or a skirt from your own tshirts! So bring some of your fave shirts, ideally your bigger (large or XL) fave shirts and we're going to stitch them up, Alabama Chanin-style!

We'll provide the patterns and all of the supplies you need. I'll even have some extra vintage knit on hand. While our hands are busy, we'll have some time to get to know each other. You can keep your head down and sew, but I'd love for us to share things that we are passionate about and how these things offer solutions in our recovery. And I'll start!

We're going to follow up creative time with a guided meditation and a 30 minute yoga class (teacher TBD), so bring your meditation pillow and your mat! And if you have neither, we'll have both. We'll intersperse these activities with tea and fizzy waters and snacks...and music! And a photobooth! So no worries if anyone feels the need to break out in random dancing! How fun will this be?!

A couple of notes about the day: Tiny T Ranch is located at 3409 Caldwell Lane in Garfield, TX, about 30 miles outside of Austin. It is off of 71, all toll roads lead there and if you get to Bastrop, you've gone too far. 

This is a sacred space we've created to hold our stories. We ask that you do not share someone else's story outside of this space. We all want to feel safe here. I will be shooting photos, for fun and for promotional material, but will NOT show your face to anyone but you (after the event, I'll email you a photobooth photo if you had one taken) unless given explicit permission.

Finally, the workshop is $60 and you can go over to the Marketplace to sign up. If you need another payment option (ex: Paypal), just shoot me an email. Please don't cancel! But if you need to, you can do so up to 72 hours before the event for a full refund. You can also transfer your spot to a friend. Expect a follow up email with details and reminders.

Any questions? Shoot me an email at Share with your friends in recovery! I'm capping the group for this one at 15 so that we can all leave feeling like we made great, meaningful connections and we'll hopefully have made some new friends to share our journey with in the future! Please join us!!




Do you pick a word for the coming year? For 2015, I didn't officially pick a word but it picked me and kept showing up in my life over and over. That word was THRIVE. For the first time in a couple of decades (yes, decades), I really feel like I did more than survive, I thrived. I started things that I wanted to start, I did things, actually followed through with action, I joined some amazing communities, in person and on-line and I tried to just raise the tide so others could rise with me. It's really been an amazing year and it's been so long since I've said that. I am marveling at the fact that I can reflect back on an entire year and see every ebb and flow with such clarity. There are no gaps, no missing weeks or entire months gone. I can see it all, big, wide and open. I am in awe and it is nothing short of a miracle. 

In picking a word for 2016, I got a little more intentional, so much so that I thought Intention would be the word. There was also Abundance and that wasn't so much as to manifest abundance but to acknowledge the abundance that already exists in my life. Then there was Supernova! That came to me from Rob Brezsny's astrology forecast for the 2016 Gemini. I could just visualize 2016 blasting the brightest light as my old stories and fears burned out to make way for a new star.  Great imagery, right? And then I went hiking with my family a few days ago at one of my favorite places in Texas. It's called Enchanted Rock and it holds my spirit, this place. We found a butterfly in a grassy enclave in the granite and she chose my word for me. I think she was dying and she was beautiful.

Evolve. Evolve into this new star, this next, new layer of life. Evolve to my better, best self. Evolve this site, the stories I want to share, the community I want to build. 

How will you evolve? Do you have a word for 2016? Comment away!

And if you want some brass tacks, some tactical information, intention and purpose, here it is: I will be adding more consistent content and creative ideas to the blog. I will be featuring more stories in the Meet the Unruffled section, which bytheway, if you know or happen to be someone in recovery who relies on your creative pursuit to guide your journey AND you live in TEXAS (sorry, this is my baby *cough*controlfreak*cough* and for now, I'm the sole photographer) and you want to be featured, please contact me! And I will be adding art/product from featured Unruffled artists in the Marketplace. You will also be able to find more essays from me over on the Since Right Now/Recovery Revolution's amazing site and I'll be on the podcast next week (Ackkk! first of the year, no pressure, right?). Love these guys, love their work, check them out if you haven't. And more, MORE. Big, wide, open, blessed and lucky. Happy 2016! And if you need help recovering, please reach out, you don't have to feel this way ever again. If you extend your hand even one inch, I promise I (or someone) will grab it. Big love.

What brings you joy?

Time, or lack there of, was forever blamed for my lack of creative pursuits. And although I thought alcohol made me more creative, it really only made me more creative in TALKING about being creative, never in actually DOING the creative thing. I love the saying that you hear in recovery circles, "Sobriety delivers what alcohol promises". How true is that? Do something in sobriety that you couldn't do when you were drinking. Be the person you pretended to be when you were drunk. And it's like turning on the propeller. It helps to keep you on course. Bonus.

So what is that thing? Well, what brings you joy? What brought you joy as a kid? Start with that. Make something. Give yourself permission and don't feel guilty. We've done enough of the guilt thing already, we're done with that. The fact that you are here, that the Universe chose you to not be taken by this disease makes you worthy. Honor that, show up, give something back and do something. It's not just self-care, it can feed you and you deserve this nourishment. And the simple act of doing can often take us out of our heads so we can experience the simple joys of just being present.

My dream is to have a cozy place here in Austin where we can all sit around a big table and tell stories while we sew and sip on tea. And when we're done with our cute things we made, we can glam it up in front of a glittery backdrop and take pictures of each other in our new skirts and our new skin. Until then, let's meet back here and I'll share with you many, many ideas to jumpstart your creative pursuits and get you through any and all witchy hours. Okay?

To be human is to be connected. ---Pico Iyer


Hi, my name is Sondra and I'm a...

Multi-passionate. That's a word I use now. Perhaps this is the word I should have always used to describe myself but if I were to be honest, for years I was only passionate about one thing and that was my next drink.  The line that separated 'is this fun' from 'is this really not fun at all' had become blurred a long time ago. Am I doing this to decompress and relax or am I addicted? Does everyone drink like me or do they actually not? These were seemingly benign questions I would ponder when maybe there was still a chance of taking it back from the direction it came but that certainly wasn't the last several years. They were the years of everyday was a reason to drink and one was never enough. It was no longer a question of fun but of necessity. I found a journal entry from over a year ago where I described myself as a reckless fate-tempter, luck-pusher indestructible. And that was it, fun nowhere in sight. 

The voice that talks to you on the day you surrender sounds a lot like your own voice, only way more desperate and miserable. If your's sounded like mine, it probably said something like, "This is going to be your life, everyday, for the rest of your life". In an interview, Sarah Hepola (Blackout) said that she wasn't necessarily afraid of dying, she was afraid of never changing. And even though I was slowly killing myself, that was deeply denied. What was apparent, though, was that I would never change. Those things I loved that filled the hole to make me whole, things besides alcohol, would never get the attention and the nurturing they deserved because alcohol had turned my brain into a flophouse. 

On that day last Summer, I titled my life going forward as My Mid-Life Solution. And while there was no drink I hadn't drunk, no party I had not attended, no random guy I had not made out with (okay, that behavior actually hadn't presented itself in a while), I wasn't quite sure where that left me, but I knew I wasn't going to drink that day. And I didn't and did the same thing the next. Once the alcohol obsessed train leaves the station, it frees up some time. I listened to some podcasts, I took some long walks, I read some books, I read some poetry. I read The Summer Day by Mary Oliver, who told me, "I don't know exactly what prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" 

It doesn't have to be big. In fact, the simpler, the better. But let's plan to do something with our one wild and precious life.



Late Bloomer

If you just start typing, the words will appear, right? *Ahem* My name is Sondra and I am 45, er 46 year old wearer of many hats, the biggest being wife and Mom of two. I am also a woman in recovery. That felt strange to type but it is my truth and truths are hard things to type out, much less blab to the world.  But damn, is it freeing once they are identified and brought to the surface. I'm also a seamstress, photographer, writer, story-teller, eternal optimist and dreamer of big dreams. So...with that intro, what if there was one obstacle in your life that if removed, could free you to work towards meeting your potential? Give your life purpose? 

Would you feel like you were given a second chance?

Now, I don't want to put too much pressure on this 'potential' thing. Your potential could be mowing your lawn once a week, taking your kids to the pool every other Summer day, or maybe a more creative pursuit. Do you want to finally make the quilt that has starred in your DIY Pinterest board? Learn how to use the camera you got for Christmas two years ago and take a frame-worthy picture of your family?  Maybe you just want to make yourself feel beautiful and confident everyday, have your outsides match your new insides? Write and tell your NEW story?

For me, that obstacle was alcohol. For the last 25 years, I've felt like I've lived in a well. I was alive but my view and space were so narrowly limited, so very small. As I've climbed out of that well, I see the world as so big. I can see so many opportunities and it's amazing. Maybe your obstacle is another dish on the buffet of addictions: prescription drugs, co-dependency, love, workaholism, food. When these obstacles are addressed, worked on and even removed, there is a void to fill. Let's fill it up!

This is still in the very early stages of construction, but I hope you'll join me on this tiny chunk of space that I'm renting on the Internet as we explore and celebrate those creative pursuits that are filling the void.  Please join my tribe, The Unruffled.