This is it.

Let's not waste a single moment....


You may or may not already know this - it was a health scare  (years ago) that brought me here today, with you.

This isn't something I'd normally share - though let me take you back to where it all began - in those uncertain, nail-biting moments  when I first got sick , while we waited endlessly for some definitive answers from the medical world. That was when my Non-conventional Dad  surprised me a solo trip.

Just me, just nature. In Tahiti.

To do nothing for a solid couple of weeks, in a quiet resort on the island of Moorea.

I immediately went into a few dozen reasons why this trip couldn't possibly happen - it's too expensive, for one. I had just lost my job, and there's mortgage, and....

Beside, If you're anything like me, you'd agree that doing nothing isn't easy at all.

All the women in my family were raised by the very idea of "nothing good comes from doing nothing". You know what they say about idyll hands....

But Dad wouldn't have it any other way.

He believes most health issues are stress related. In my case , an utter and complete burnout. What better way to rectify that than deliberately going somewhere beautiful to do nothing. Right? 

Then there's also the...  "Hey, if Your Number’s Up, it's up. That's it."

At the time, it did seem that my number was pretty much "up".





So it was just moi, in honeymooners paradise, with a whole hut to myself and a whole lot of nothing planned.

I went to the market and got fresh pineapples for breakfast, drank from freshly shelled (but not quite chilled) coconuts, learned the million ways locals tie and wear colourful sarongs called "pareos" (and remembered only one way).





I made friends with furry four-legged locals and joined them for late night beach strolls in pitch black - guided by nothing but stars and their eyes. 

I swam in the ocean daily - met sea turtles, fed stingrays (they felt like wet leather handbags!), and found out what happened when you accidentally step on a sea cucumber. 

I fell in love with Tahitian appliqué called tifaifai ...


I slowed down, chatted randomly with (two-legged) locals in broken French, tucked a hibiscus behind my ear, let my hair go wild, lived in my pareo with no shoes, blended in, and just be. As if life was  always intended to be lived, this way.

This trip gave me strengths to face the next round of medical kerfuffle. The new perspective freed me. I was gently reminded that it's ok to choose life over career. Say YES to life first.

My new beginning eventually lead me down a different path, to create this little online corner called Sew Much Easier . It lead me to YOU. 

I felt compelled to share my old story today because...

This lovely story turned up on my radar...


My mom knows how to live.

Maybe it’s because she lost her dad when she was only 15 years old.... she developed a new attitude.....  

“All of this is temporary, and nobody knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, so we’re not going to waste a single moment today.”

And so, my mom is a vivacious firecracker who loves to swim in the ocean and play the ukulele and laugh until she cries.... And when she gets a wild idea — like buying a super last minute ticket for a cruise ship in French Polynesia — she doesn’t think about it. She actually  does it.

She invited me to go on the cruise, too. My first reaction was, “That sounds so fun, but…” {insert various excuses about why it’s too expensive and why I’m too busy and also I’ve got lots of clients and projects right now, and…} and then she cut me off and told me... 

“Stop it. I am your mother. I will be dead one day. Come on this cruise with me.”

You can’t really argue with that. And so, I packed my suitcase.....

- Alexandra Franzen

Continue Reading


This is it. All this is temporary.

We're not here forever. Make it count.

If somebody invites you to meet for brunch… see a movie… go shopping… book a last minute ticket for a cruise ship (with or without your sewing machine)… or just sit and talk… don’t pull away from the invitation. Do make time. The tasks and chores can wait. Say yes to your life.

Don't wait for universe to give you a sign ( like I did ).



What I'm wondering is...

Was there something you've always wanted to do, but have been putting off?

When was the last time you say " YES " to something expected, because life is too short?

Simply  Email Me  & Share your story with us :-)

With all my love,



Janome DC2150 Beginner Sewing Machine + 15-Piece Presser Feet Set LAST FEW!
Janome DC6050 Quilting Sewing Machine + The Ultimate Feet Set On Sale


Thank you for sharing this.

I am trying to live life like this, with a few hiccups when I let things get to me. I also suffered complete burnout after being a social worker in child protection for 20 years. The hassles of being in middle management!

Anyway, I will keep up the good things, holidays on my bucket list etc. once again thank you for reminding me.

Regards Gillian


Thank you for your interesting messages.

Keep up the good work & Merry Christmas to you.



My story...

Meeting the man I married six months after I met him, and I proposed to him! No waiting around for me! Thirty three years of happy marriage this January!

Grab every opportunity that comes your way!

You never know where you will end up!



Thanks for sharing this Shelley, I really enjoyed reading it and glad all is good with you :-)



Hi Shelly,

Sewing is my to go to place. I have my own space on my front verandah with a reverse cycle air conditioner.

My story started about 10 years ago.

My Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, a few operations and treatment later

We brought him home where he had a few years doing things he wanted that didn’t stress him out as he was dependant on

His oxygen machine most of the time. They lived in the next town to us which is 106 km away and I went down at least once a week if not twice depending on what had to happen.

My Mum did a great job few a while and then it got too much for her. They were both in their 70 by this time.

Then I get a phone call one night from our son in law to tell us that our eldest daughter who was 32 at the time had

Cancer, this was bad enough but they were living in Belgium at the time. Made arrangements to get over to her, she had two small children at the time.

The cancer unit was brilliant over there and long story short they would do a transplant if a downer could be found.

She was one of the lucky ones and her youngest sister was compatible. Now she had two even smaller children and so

After being over there for a few weeks and everything organised Jeff and I flew home and her two sisters went over. Transplant done

Then they flew home. (short version) This all worked in its own time frame. They then moved to Singapore, closed to home and Anita’s health was quite good

For a couple of years. In this time my dad got worse and passed away. Then my trips to Mum increased and she got dependant on me. Lucky for me I have three brothers that stepped up to the plate when necessary.

Anita came home 6 years ago not feeling well and wanted to settle the kids into school in Queensland. Her husband flew in and out to his job, I went as often as could as they lived in Brisbane, leaving my husband at home working and running our own business. I came home end of every month and did the book work..

Another long story short, the cancer came back with vengeance and I spent 6 months in Brisbane nursing Anita and looking after her kids.

She passed away after a great fight in 2013. Her sisters transplant let her children grow up to be old enough to know there mother.

12 months later my Mum passed away after a very short illness.

Cruising along all ok and 2 years ago my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer, had a operation and removed, recovered very well

Is having hormone replacement treatment every 3 months and is on top of the world. They can never say they have cured cancer but he is all but.

I can’t get sick or go under i am to busy. I am fine now , admit I have my good and bad days but he good are now outweighing the bad.

Sewing is my therapy.

Cheers Kay


Hi Shelley

Reading your story, brought back some lovely memories when I had a week in Tahiti nearly 10years ago! Beautiful friendly people, wonderful place.

One of my girlfriends has just asked me to go on a cruise next year, and I said “YES”. So we leave next June for nine days, cruising to Noumea! can’t wait!

Have just got back into sewing, bought a new sewing machine and thoroughly enjoying my new taste for living life!

Warm regards

Jo Fox


This email came at such a perfect time.

I visited my Mum's best friend today to discuss my Mum (dying slowly from Alzheimer’s) and her brother (dying from a hideous rare disease). We talked about her Mum who died 3 years ago. We talked about her health and mine.

I told her I take one day at a time, I can’t do it any other way. She told me of her stresses and I mine.

We strolled around her garden in the bush, we visited her rescue hens, her rescue cockatoo, her 2 peacocks and multitudes of wild ducks that wander into her house. We fed the Kookaburras that landed on her balcony trying to eat what the Currawongs were eating.

We watched a Magpie jump on her window sill waiting for her dinner and watched one of her peacocks wander into the kitchen and past us to sit in his lounge room with his magnificent feathers flowing across the floor. I said you live in paradise. If I had the choice, I’d live here. You have many stresses and hardships but you are lucky.

We looked out of her bedroom window and I said look at what you DO have. She thought for a minute and said, “you know, you are right”. She hugged me with tears in her eyes and smiled.

Moral? Think about what you do have not want you WANT or what is going wrong.

Take comfort in what’s going right and do NOW what you can, take one day at a time and build your strength to get through the tough times, and accept help and love from those that offer it.

Live your life like it’s your last day. Xxx

Shelley Clarke


Both stories say it all

Kerryanne Farley


I need to tell you - thank you so much.

[Life hasn't been kind to me as a child but] I have been blessed with a good adult life.

What you wrote today resonated with me so much.

I have started a new life at 49 lol, and as part of that new life I aim to always be happy. It is hard but worth it.

Thank you for your honesty with your words. You are a constant reminder to me that life I shall worth living and the little things do not matter.

Thank you

P.S. Absolutely beautiful photos.


Hello there Shelley,

I just wanted to say.... I find your newsletters so refreshing.

Sew “on point”, relevant, down to earth, caring and fun to read.

Thank you,
Sharon Tunbridge in WA

P.S. I live to sew and I would love to sew to live! We all should all live in the moment more...


Dear Shelley,

Thank you for this inspirational story; it touched my heart quite deeply.

There is so many things I dream of doing and will but for some time I have been helping a family member under go medical treatment and myself also.

I dream of being an author - taking people on a journey through literary creativity, I have a passion for the arts and of course sewing.

I am aiming to save for a sewing machine as I am currently sewing by hand but the love of joy that comes from that is magical as I can remember how my grandmother taught me for the very first time and from there on the machine.

I'm so grateful for everything you continue share with us and have a beautiful weekend.