Juggling Balls


So much for not posting daily. I was trying to cut myself some slack, but when I spent time thinking about this past year, I realized that one of my favorite parts of it was blogging. M told me the other day that for the last 18 months or so, I’ve been happier than he’s ever seen me. We’ve been together nearly fifteen years, so that’s saying a lot. There’s something about this medium of visual and textual storytelling and community interchange that fits my temperament.

This morning, I was thinking about a dinner party I thoroughly enjoyed on Sunday evening. During the meal, we casually took turns voicing our 2014 resolutions and one of my friends said that he wanted to simply enjoy each day. Such an understated yet good resolution. If I were the type to make resolutions (I usually try to avoid them), I would piggyback on my friend’s goal to savor each day and would add trying things outside of my comfort zone. Instead of overarching resolutions,Β I have a frightfully long to-do list of the mundane sort, and I am on the opposite spectrum of being zen at the moment.

But I crossed off quite a few things from my list. I drew that satisfying line through a project on which I was dragging my feet: juggling balls from Oliver + S’ Little Things to Sew book. As fun as these are to make, my grinchy attitude about sewing the same thing over and over threatened to hijack the fun.


I made four sets and okay, I also promised to make a set for K that I haven’t delivered upon, but I high-fived myself for the ones that got done. In the interest of time, I didn’t make the matching bag from the book and just banged out a much quicker drawstring version without a lining. The balls aren’t perfect – they’re not completely round and some of the pointy ends don’t match up neatly as that is what happens when you sew until 2am the night before you’re meant to give these out. I briefly noted to myself that I would be a terrible quilter and then moved on. If there’s one thing I’ve gotten good at this year, it’s accepting and fully embracing imperfection.

I started to add a mini beanbag with plastic pellets to weight them (a la Froo and Boo, whose juggling balls are a thing of beauty), but then I had visions of my uneven stitching bursting open and making a right mess everywhere, so I stuck with polyfill only.


They were a massive hit, though no juggling happened. We had fabric balls flying everywhere with kids squealing and laughing, while adults became unwitting target practice. I’m not sure that the parents appreciated them, but those kids sure loved ’em. The fabrics are all bits and bobs of scraps I dug out, and my favorites are the Nani Iro, pastel-toned ones. I’m sure I could blather on about the metaphor of juggling and life, but I’ll spare you.


Another thing I want to cross off the list before the end of the day is underwear for K. Yes, underwear! When I was a little girl, my mom always got me new underpinnings for New Year’s Eve. It was this weird tradition in our family that you start off the year with brand new undies, and though I haven’t kept up the tradition too faithfully, it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do with K. Because everyone needs odd traditions in their lives. So I got this pattern, and I’m off to stitch up one more set of juggling balls and some cute undies!

12 thoughts on “Juggling Balls

  1. Wow, they look terrible to make, yet a lovely result! Can relate to your joy in blogging, I had so much fun developing my blogging this year! Hope you’ll continue your blogging, since it’s very enjoyable to read as well πŸ˜‰

    Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and a very happy 2014!

    1. Thanks Nienke! I don’t think I’ll stop anytime soon – I’m very, very into it!

      Happy 2014!! Just a little bit more…

  2. Fun with the juggling balls! I tried some bigger balls for a friend a while back who wanted them for a baby mobile. And I have to admit they looked terrible… not sure if she used them! πŸ™‚
    But undies are so fun to make. I’ve made them for my boys recently and it’s so little fabric and so much fun to see them on them. I was digging through all my scraps and old tee’s having a blast. I still have some cut out that haven’t been sewn, but I think I have 5 pairs done.

    1. I’m getting down to the wire for making the undies…I’m printing out instructions as I type this. Luckily (or unluckily) K doesn’t go to bed until way past other kids, so I still have time…:-)

      1. we let all the kids stay up until midnight… three of the four made it! which is a bit surprising. Hope your undies are done! πŸ™‚

        1. Oh…the undies…I completely messed up the first pair I tried and then midnight came and went and K was sound asleep. The second pair was much better, so she’s wearing them now as she slumbers (it’s New Year’s night at the moment) so it was a half-success!! πŸ™‚

  3. You always make me smile Sanae!
    In accepting that you wouldn’t be good at something and “moving on” you’ve reminded me of a jest of mine. I have, on occasion, declared that I would probably be exceedingly GOOD at something, but as I have no desire to be an accomplished whatever-er I accept my undeveloped talent, have nothing to prove and “move on”. You should try it. it feels great!
    happy new year!

    1. Happy 2014!! Trust me, Shelley, I am perfecting the art of never-having-wanted-to-be-good-at-that-anyway-so-moving-on πŸ™‚ As I get older, it seems like I am good at fewer and fewer things, but in a way, it makes life less complicated that way!

  4. What delightful little gifts! I can see why K is requesting a set of her own:) And it always feels so good to be able to cross off something that has been languishing on a to-make list. I smiled to picture the scene you described with balls flying through the air – what good sports you adults were!:)

    1. They make fantastic gifts for kids, but I am STILL dragging on making K her juggling balls! And yes, we were a group of laissez faire parents so we were unfazed by the rain of fabric balls πŸ™‚

  5. Eek! Thanks for the lovely compliment! Your juggling balls are very sweet–I love the colour combo in the pastel ones. I am totally with you on repeating the same sewing projects over and over again. Makes me feel like an assembly line factory worker instead of the designer/creator that I like to think I am! Happy new year!!!

    1. Your juggling balls are perfect, Irene! And yes!! It’s the very reason I don’t like producing the same sewing projects repeatedly. Happy New Year to you too!

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