Poppies + Distractions


It’s good to be back. Taking a week off of blogging was rejuvenating without a doubt, but I also discovered how much my days are anchored by creating my posts, buoyed by the interactions I have with you. Beyond Tuesday of last week, I was completely in a time warp.

Spring break was amazing. So good, so good. Because many of our friends were out of town, K and I spent the bulk of the week with just each other (M made guest appearances in the late evenings and on weekends, but he works a lot). I’ve been on an athletic kick these last few weeks, so we played tennis, went running/biking around the local lake and practiced handstands. Okay, K practiced handstands and I sat on the porch, trying not to look at my ipad. We had some lovely downtime of painting and picnicking and reading books too.


Surprisingly, all this one-on-one time was difficult for both me and K at first. I didn’t realize how accustomed I’d gotten to her being in school for six hours a day, and even on non-school days, she spends a massive number of hours with friends being the extrovert that she is. And poor K: mama time is awesome until the realization hits that there are no friends around to come up with crazy games, because mama’s not so hot with crazy games. It felt a little like we were learning a new dance together — awkward and toe-stepping at first, and gradually, we found our groove.

More than anything, I found it incredibly challenging staying device-free. It was one of the things I promised to uphold (at least for myself) for the week, and I failed miserably. In lieu of blogging, I instagrammed a little, and quickly found myself getting sucked in, newly obsessed. Whenever K would be busy with piano practice or watching a show, I jumped on my laptop like a drowning woman to a floating log.


I tried so hard to unplug from the digital chatter and acutely felt withdrawals — have you ever experienced this? I keep hearing and reading about how all this connectedness and flood of information is shaping our society into a giant ball of ADD-ness and I’m definitely exhibiting attention deficit symptoms. As an experiment, I monitored myself one afternoon and found that I incessantly clicked from my email to Instagram to Pinterest then back to email, then oh! I need to research summer camps so I start surfing the internet and next thing I know, I’m watching some ridiculous (yet undeniably entertaining) youtube video about a man who invented an Oreo cookie separating machine. I have the attention span of a gnat, and this has been creeping up on me in the last year. And it’s not lost on me that I’m contributing to the digital chatter.

I want to regain focus. To cut down on this scattered, stimulus-seeking, device-addicted behavior. I’ve been pretty good about curtailing internet usage before bedtime, though ebooks are my downfall because as soon as I have my ipad in hand, the email-pinterest-instagram carousel begins. I find that painting and crafting helps. I painted quite a bit last week, and I’ve been loving the proliferation of poppies in our neighborhood, which inspired these little gouache/ink sketches.

What about you? Do you ever feel like the interwebs is swallowing you whole? How do you whip it back into submission?

24 thoughts on “Poppies + Distractions

  1. I’ve been growing in discomfort over my ADD symptoms lately too. It’s so hard not to notice all the notifications that pop up on my phone from Instagram, iMessage, and Facebook messaging, and once I check those I might as well check email too right? Wait, what was that thing I was going to look up on the Internet? Maybe I’ll scan Instagram while I think about it. Someone might have emailed in the time I was on IG. Wait, there was something I was going to look up, right? Maybe I’ll think of it while I check Pinterest….

  2. Oh, I know what you are talking about! It is a curse and a blessing. Without pinterest I would not have found sewing blogs and such a nice community of people, started sewing, got back in touch with my buried creativity, started with flickr, etc….but!!! Even if I turn off the computer to go to bed, I start looking through pinterest on my mobile just “one last time” ;-( I am kind of glad my mobile is too old for instagram… I have not found a solution yet. I too notice, that it makes me less focused and and restless. And I am not reading as many books as I used to, more and more blogs. And yes, sewing/crafting helps and I have stopped watching TV while I sew, so this is a start. I guess there is probably a golden middle path!

    1. I stopped watching TV while sewing too! And ditto on feeling like I don’t read as many books and feeling restless, Ute. I’m torn as well about all of this because the internet is a HUGE source of inspiration for me, but simultaneously, I feel overloaded all the time. Sigh.

  3. I like your analogy of the awkward dancing – every relationship has that, no?

    The internet doesn’t hold as many rabbit holes for me these days. I intensely dislike videos, avoid most social networking like the plague (this is key to not being digitally consumed, I believe), and have enough to do (family/work/house/hobbies) that free time is precious and scant. If I spend time browsing craft blogs, I quickly feel like I am wasting time watching other people do stuff and I should be “doing stuff” myself.

    If you’re not concentrating well, make sure you are physically OK – well-rested, in particular. Being tired makes my mind jumpy. If you want to improve your concentration, try the Pomodoro technique (google and you will find it).

    Your poppies are so pretty. Have you ever thought about printing some yardage at Spoonflower? It’s not particularly washfast (from what I hear), but it would make beautiful dresses or skirts as a border print.

    1. You are so disciplined, June – I admire that so much! You’re right, it’s the social media stuff that spirals out of control. I’m actually doing really well health-wise these days, which is probably why I’m focusing on this digital addiction because I can tell that it’s starting to have a negative impact. You’ve mentioned the Pomodoro technique before, and I did check it out, but I should revisit that again since I didn’t dive into it. So glad you like the poppies! I am, in fact, in the middle of trying to make it into fabric. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. That poppy painting is so beautiful. I had the exact same thought as June – I wish it were fabric I could buy up for my girls’ summer clothes ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I often fail with the internet but I try to stick to a schedule and keep it. Eventually it grows into a habit and I don’t feel withdrawals as bad.
    One thing I do consistently is Every Sunday is my off day. I don’t check emails or read blogs. I can watch as many youtube videos as I want but no social media. Having the one day off really helps to make me feel rested and eager to get back at it on Mondays. I’ll also “Save” stuff for watching on Sundays instead of stealing my work week time.

    1. I love this Em! What a great idea to have a day off. I think that’s what I’ll start with. I’ve weaned myself off of night time browsing, so that’s definitely a start. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  6. I agree with June that it is easier to fall down the rabbit hole with social media, which I stay away from; FB in particular seems to be ADD central with my friends and family. However, I tend to get “blog envy” when I look at my favorite bloggers (especially you, Sanae!) and think to myself that I should write a blog too! But when I consider the logistics and the fact that I can barely even take photos and upload them on a regular basis ( like 3x a year) I plummet right back to earth. I think we are all suffering in different ways from our dependence on the web. But, I reallllly miss your posts when you’re away!

    1. I never got into FB or twitter, so that at least is a saving grace for me. But being totally visually driven, Pinterest and IG are like crack cocaine for me! Thank you for your sweet words about my blog, Claudette! Blogging is definitely a commitment, but I love it so much it’s totally worth all the work.

  7. Oh and if you’re taking Spoonflower requests, I would love to see that leafy seahorse from a few posts ago on everything! We went to New Orleans last week and my daughter made a wish at every fountain: ” i wish I could have a seahorse for a pet!”

  8. First, love the poppies watercolor! Such cheerful flowers and you have captured them so skillfully:)
    And then the struggle with finding a rhythm with K. I, too, struggle with simply being with my kids without the distraction of my iPhone or computer. When I go outside to push my youngest on the swing, I often take my phone because just pushing is SO boring! But what if I just used that time to talk and enjoy her little-ness before she doesn’t want me to push her anymore? So easy to see the better choice in retrospect, but when faced with the phone option, it too often wins out.
    And even with this struggle, my husband sometimes jokes and calls me a Luddite because I continually push back at the pull technology has on our family. I obviously lose that struggle often, but sadly he’s even worse! And now my 14 yr son is getting to just as bad and I see it all spiraling. It scares me! I’ll be curious to see if any of your wise readers have some good suggestions.
    One last thing – last year I read a book called “Seven” which was about giving up various things each month. One month was technology and as an experiment we were only allowed 7 minutes of media per day. That did not go over well:)

    1. I can imagine 7 minutes of media time per day wasn’t a raging success ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure heads would fly in our household. I really like Em’s method of creating a habit of one social media free day. That sounds challenging yet doable too…I’d love to check out the Seven book – sounds very interesting, Lucinda!!

  9. Hi Sanae,

    first of all: I want to tell that i love both dresses you made lately. The little grey dress looks fantanstic and i love that you pair it with those cute red shoes . K’s Frozen dress (we did not see the film yet) is stunning. The blue capish thing is constructed very clever, i do’n think i’ve seen something like this ever before.

    So, i also recently start to cut down the blogs i follow via feedly and even gave up my facebook account. Same with instagram, far less IG Accounts to follow. Weeks before i noticed that since my phone is my timer i used to take it with me to bed (and keep looking on it ‘just one last time’). It makes me mad and my husband mad and now i left it with the charger in the kitchen and start to use a plain old timer again. Means less distraction in the bedroom just before sleep and a major relief.

    While i sew i love to hear audiobooks. Especially when i quilt a, well, quilt, this can be bit of tendious so audiobooks are less a distraction and more of a welcome entertainment. this and a glass of red wine (but this is another story)


    PS: those poppies are natural beauties. Reminds me that i sow some last month. Must get on my knees and search little peaks of some new poppies in my backyard.

    1. Great ideas here, Marit! I too, use my ipad mini (which has basically replaced my iphone since I can also text with it and I noticed that I hardly ever get calls anymore) as my alarm clock so that will be my next step to get an actual alarm clock!

      I haven’t ventured into audiobooks yet, but I love podcasts and listen to a lot while sewing. It does make the boring parts so much more enjoyable!

      And yes, I’ve pretty much stopped looking at my blog feed because it overwhelms me so much (I used to check several hundred of them)…

      Thanks for the compliments and food for thought!

  10. I force myself to have offline time, preferably a few hours a day. It’s hard, and I don’t always succeed. For example, last week I was watching episodes of Law & Order in bed :3 Reading an actual book helps, especially if it’s a story I can get sucked into. So does exercise outdoors, taking care of pets… Things that consume my attention away from the screen. I also try to take entire days off once a month or more. Usually I plan an outing or a creative project for those days.

    1. These are awesome ideas too, Sonya! I’m loving all the feedback. Yes! It was one of the reasons I tried to stay active with K during spring break to tear myself away from the habitual internet checking. Starting this week, I’m going to try to dedicate Saturday as a no-internet day!

  11. We had spring break here as well…and then my son is out from preschool for another week, due to his teacher being on maternity leave…and….I have to say, that last week was nice…running around doing things with the kiddos and being on the computer less…although, I was certainly on it more than I ought to have been…but not this week, I’m feeling like I need to “get back in there” and check in in all various forms of social media, catch up on emails…and blogging…and, yada yada yada, I feel like I’m missing out!…but really…I’m finding it difficult getting back in the groove…how to balance the computer stuff with my preschooler still home. It’s hard, I know I use the computer and social media as an outlet of sorts…and it’s especially nice to take a break from constantly being “talked at” from a little one…Anywho…I’m glad you had a lovely spring break! And, those poppies are so beautiful! I love the idea of fabric…but my first thought was…and embroidery pattern! Maybe it’s b/c I’ve just been embroidering, I don’t know, but it’d be so lovely embroidered!

    1. So glad you had a relaxing and fun spring break, Jane! I hear you on all counts, and yes! Embroidered poppies would be so pretty. Due to the whole internet thing, I feel like I don’t even have the attention span for that, so kudos to you!!

  12. Yay, poppies! I just planted some in my garden this week after not being successful starting them from seed for the last couple of years. Beautiful artwork.
    I have been thinking about how you just draw things and thinking i should do more of that, give myself permission to create without purpose sometimes. And also thinking that maybe I should take inspiration from you and draw out the wardrobe pieces I want to try making in the next few months. Then post it to remember my ambitions.
    Glad you are back asking great questions and starting great discussions!

    1. Thank you, Beccy! So funny, I was just thinking I want to create a hand-drawn wardrobe plan post, so now I’m definitely going to do one. I hope you do create without purpose – it’s very liberating and fun! In some ways, it’s like planting seeds. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t, but it never hurts to try. ๐Ÿ™‚

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