31 December 2011

What Fuels Our Creative Passions Part III: Our Space

(Part 3 of 4 of a series of "end of the year" musings)

Isn't our creative space almost sacred--to be untouched by those not trained in the arts?   And haven't we all figured out the type of space that works for us?  (Whether we have it or not is another story for another day...)  Some work best in orderly spaces, others with their tools and supplies strewn about in artistic abandon.  Some like pictures, finished works, books and other items all around for inspiration while others prefer things blank so the mind can be free to think. 

My creative space is always changing. and I bet yours is, too.  Just as tastes change, new hobbies come in and old ones move out.  And that's good--it means I'm not standing still.  Am I creating with what I have?  WHERE are the things I have?  In my mind, if I don't know, then I have too much.  I used to have finished quilt projects proudly displayed on the walls of my room...till one day I felt stifled by them.  My tastes had changed.  So out they went and in came clean, bright walls with just a touch of art and lots of functionality.  I wanted to be able to see and reach everything but I wanted it neat and organized.  Now it's my supplies that inspire me, not projects.  Evolution.  Right there in my sewing room.  And I still have one whole blank "wall of potential".  I just don't think it should happen all at once.  Patience.   It'll evolve with me. 

A Few Must-Haves For My "Studio"

Visible Supplies:  ie, fabric, yarn, needles, thread
Home-y scented reed diffuser (or soy candle)
Books & Patterns


30 December 2011

What Fuels Our Creative Passions, Part II

I've coveted these Pier 1 beauties for a long time.  Today, I caved.  I mean, when you think something is just as beautiful today in the store as you did standing there a year ago and all the visits inbetween, doesn't that say something?   Tastes can certainly come and go, just like 2011.   But I've always been a sucker for a good pattern and great color.  And lately, textures as well.  I think these dishes have them all.   Which means I now have them all.   Oh, lucky, lucky me. 

Santa's Workshop Fat Quarter Bundle Doodlebug Design for Riley Blake Designs

I love to create but I never think of myself as an artist.  A few have even called me talented, which I emphatically deny.  All I've ever done is follow others' directions.  There are only one or two completely original works of my "art" in my home as we speak write read.  Well, sort of "completely original".  I didn't design the fabric, and that's what got me going in the first place.

Sunny Happy Skies 5 

Do you ever walk through a fabric/quilt store and, sure it's all great but some print just grabs you?  I mean physically stops you in your tracks?  Or, if you're a knitter, it's yarn.  Sometimes I'm almost glad the really good fabrics and yarns are expensive.  It keeps me in check....sort of.   I really do NOT know how you scrappers control yourselves.  I can't walk by the scrapbook section in Michael's without fondling the paper.  I know, it's just paper but what can I say?  

53 22425 

Patterns and colors.   Maybe aside from a good latte or mocha, nothing can get my creativity flowing like patterns and colors.  I don't know that I could ever create them but I sure like to have them.   So, what I want to know is, what in our nature causes us to choose the ones we do?  I know it's built in our DNA but what makes us feel we must have a specific pattern/color/textured...thing?  Did the first human creatures on the earth NEED this ability for survival?   It can't be that the prettiest plants are the yummiest--some are poisonous.  Is the prettiest and softest pelt the warmest?  Kind of doubting it.   If there's a psychologist or historian, or other appropriate -ist or -ian out there, I await your insight.


You don't want to be around me if things have gotten too busy to allow for any creating.  It's almost as bad as when I go without coffee.  The first man probably didn't have the luxury of choosing the color of his food or pelt but he still had to be creative in making the best use of these items.  Creativity satiated.  But now, goodness knows, we've long since passed that scary time.  I suppose it's actually pathetic but because we no longer have to create, sometimes we require inspiration to create?   Insert colors and patterns (and plates!).  Ba-bing.  We've creatively figured out a way to inspire our creativity.   It's like the Circle of Life.  In paper.  In fabric.  In yarn.  And in dishes. 
What inspires you to create?

How do you surround yourself with it/them to keep the inspiration going?

27 December 2011

What Fuels Our Creative Passions, Part I

I've ogled quilts and knitting needles for as long as I can remember.  At a young age, I learned just a few basics of sewing but it was enough for me to "damn the torpedoes" and run full speed ahead on my own.  This may not be the most efficient or even the most enjoyable way to learn but there is an awful lot to be said for learning from one's mistakes.  I regret nothing.  Except that I didn't try quilting sooner. 

Obviously, the appeal of sewing one's own clothes is pretty strong to a young teen so I went off in that direction.  It wasn't until I was pregnant with my third child that something clicked and I decided "now is as good a time as any," and off I went.   As with sewing, I pretty much taught myself but, unlike sewing, I think I have many gaps that only others' knowledge and experiences can fill.  Twelve years later, I feel I'm just at an "average" level.  I think if I really challenged myself, I could go farther but I don't exactly have all the free-time that I once had as a teenager.  I do enjoy quilting very much and still tear through--and up--my fabric stash with more fervor than one of our Kansas tornadoes when the fever of a new project infects me.   As far as fabric stashes go, I keep myself fairly "in check" compared to most, but still, it is a stash of which I need not be ashamed.  Each fall, I venture out, slightly less "in check", on my favorite quilt shop hop.  Fabric is, and always will be, one of my true loves.  

 Before I learned to sew, I picked up a tiny crochet hook that came from I know not where.  No one of my acquaintance knew--or at the very least remembered--how to use it so I tried the library.  I can be the most determined person I know when I get a notion to learn a new craft but this one had me stumped.  I had to stop at the chain.  I could go no farther, no matter how much I tried.  And I tried a lot.  Especially for a seven year-old.  I wondered if knitting was easier but  "I know not where" hadn't provided me with any of those so I tried to push that thought away.  

About 7 years later, I came into possession of a huge box of yarn and knitting needles.   Well, that was like Christmas.  In retrospect, I see that the yarn was all very simple in quality and most knitters wouldn't bother to put a needle to it but at the time, all I saw there in that box were scarves, sweaters, blankets--my mind ran wild every time I looked at it!  But, like crochet, I couldn't seem to get it.  And, besides, I had all those clothes to sew.  Still, I dragged that box with me to several different homes and, though I eventually weeded out most of the yarn, I kept the needles--some very odd-looking-- and other sorts of little important-looking bits and bobs that came with it. 

Several years ago I was hit with another "now or never" moment.  This time I sought an authority.  Goodness, all I had needed was to be shown how to knit!  Sometimes all the books and videos of the world can NOT do what another physically present human can do!   (All of you frustrated wannabe knitters out there, please pay heed to that!)  And if you've had any time this holiday season to keep up on my posts, you'll see that I've recently graduated past the scarf and moved on to the hat.  And DPN's.  That's right.  I can say it with pride now because not only do I know what it stands for, I know how to use them.   Laugh away, you seasoned knitters.  I can't hear through my computer anyway.  Only my hands know exactly what it took to get those two measly little hats completed.  And I don't care if there is a very visible mistake on the first one--neither does my son who got it for Christmas. 

Both of my boys are so amazed, excited and proud when I make something that it floors me.   Firstly, that boys could even be interested, and second, that in today's world these boys, at such young ages, can actually appreciate a hand made gift.  Ya gotta love 'em.   Aside from the Faith, if there is anything I've taught my 4 children,  I hope it's that appreciation of that kind of time and effort put into a gift that sticks with them.   The best part of hand-crafting something is giving it away but seeing it received with equal love is what truly touches our hearts,  gives us peace and inspires us to do more.   Couldn't the world use a little more of that?

Linked to:
Hodgepodge Friday

25 December 2011

Little Gifts: Cell Phone Cozy

I love this cell phone cozy that Sarah from
Fairy Face Designs came up with. 
Perfect for my girls, I used the idea
for their Hand-made Christmas Eve Gifts.
I just had the picture to go off of but this is my
version.  Because time was an issue,
I used a ponytail holder for the button fastener.
(I got that idea from the coffee cozies out there.)

(yes, if you zoom in you'll see that I was rushing so much that I didn't even change
out my black bobbin thread when I did the applique.  Not my best work, either
 but, you know how it is when Christmas is inching closer and closer!)

I do prefer the covered-button look that Sarah
chose so if I ever get around to making one for
me, I'll probably take the time for that option. 

And, guess what?
She recently posted a tutorial for
these if you are interested in making your own. 
 I'm hoping to get one sewn up for myself.
I love how it loops onto the strap/handle of your
purse for easy access--I need that!

Thanks, Sarah!  I think my girls really like them!

24 December 2011

Not A Creature Is Stirring--Not Even Me!

Everything is done.  Everything. 
So, how about a few more pics?

These ceramic mini-loaf dishes from Michael's
are perfect for handing out some of the richest 
stuff ever--cappucino fudge.

I like to use bits of floral picks in place of ribbons.

I found this Cherry Oat Scone Mix with printables.

Just for fun and to keep in the holiday spirit,
(because I actually completed everything two whole days early!)
fixed up two of these mixes for a friend today,
making the second one "cranberry" for a little variety.

  I'm already thinking of doing more of this
type of gift next year. 

 I know jar mixes have been around a while
but who wouldn't like a little help with
the baking during the holidays?  Especially
when one is busy making gifts like these:

I'm uber-proud of these hats I made for the boys.
I just learned to knit in the round and have these
to show for it.

I won't go into any details about the
tears, frustration, un-doing, starts and re-starts.
I will just bring up again that I have knitter's ADD.

Just give me complete peace and quiet
and it'll turn out like this.
(You serious knitters out there--please just humor me!
Try to remember when you were learning and simple things
like this were a major accomplishment!) 

That's all I can share for now.
May the peace and joy He brings come to you
and yours this Christmas and in the coming year!
Blessings to all and to all
a good night!
crafters a good night's sleep!

18 December 2011

Creative Gift "Basket"

To simplify, we try to give more family gifts
rather than individual ones.  We also prefer
giving "experiences" rather than material things--
of which, let's face it, most of us have too much.
Coming up with a creative way to give them is
probably my favorite part.

I've known for months that we'd be giving
family memberships to a nearby aquarium.   
 Goldfish crackers and Swedish Fish came to mind
and the DH came up with Lifesavers but I wanted
something to pull this one together. 
And I needed it within 18 hours.

 I've noticed that Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous 
has been posting Christmas &/or craft questions
from followers on Facebook.  How cool is that?
Help from 1,000's of other crafters.
So, to save time, I asked!

Fishbowls!  Of course!  And I had my answer
in minutes!  So grateful to those creative ladies!
I also picked up blue tinsel garland for the "water"
at the bottom of the bowl.

I wrapped them up in celophane and slipped 
red glittery leaves in the tie for a little bling.
I think they turned out great, and they seemed to
be received very well today at one family Christmas. 
How fun!  Now to start thinking on next year's!

One other gift that I can actually post...

I knitted up this wool scarf for--op!  Can't say.

I already have another one of these started, 
and a scarf for a friend's daughter.
My knitting in the round class is over and I've now
finished one hat but have another to go.
But for now, a nice cup of hot chocolate....

with just a tiny bit of Bailey's!
And, speaking of Bailey....How 'bout
George Bailey? 

Yep.  Watching it.
Isn't it truly a wonderful life?

Linking to:

Keeping It Simple

Weekend Bloggy Reading

09 December 2011

Fabric & Yarn--Materialistic Loves & A Scarf Embellishment

I discovered a new fabric today.
(50% off with code FARMYARD, today only)

Hen House Home to Roost Fat Quarter Bundle Heather DuPont for In the Beginning Fabrics

I had my own lamb ("L'Ami") when I was young,
grew up on a farm, have chickens now, love owls...
This fat quarter bundle is perfect for me.
(yes, you may yell at me for not sticking to the "make it with what I have" rule)

I also snatched up some yarn this morning
while out on a coffee run. 
(I have a secret dream to run a coffee shop that opens to a knitting &
crafting room on one side for everyone to just hang, or maybe even
take classes.  C'mon, how fun would THAT be? 
As Howard Schulz puts it, we all need a "third place"!)

I have two, hopefully three, scarves to make.
Oh, and my first "knitting in the round" class
is tomorrow. I'm a little crazy doing this at such
a busy time but I'm making a gift (hat) in the class
 so I see it as some smart multi-tasking. 

One other random thing...

Excuse the poor lighting in this pic but here
is how I made that very simple scarf a little more
special.  don't know what else to do with bucle
other than just make a plain K-stitch scarf? 

This was my first try at rolled flowers
but by the third one, I think I got it figured out.
 What do you think? 
 My mom and DH gave it two thumbs up, and they
are both  what I consider to be good, honest critics.

I'm off to see what knitting I can accomplish with
the rest of this day.  Lucky me! 
I get to stay home ALL DAY!
Happy holiday creating!

Linking up to:

07 December 2011

Tree At Night & Temporary Word Verification

I've completed a few more Christmas gifts!
(sorry, can't post pictures!)
Could there possibly be a relaxing
Christmas Eve in my future? 
I hope you're seeing one as well!

I didn't take the time to get the tripod out but
I did snap a couple pics of the tree tonight.

Side Note
Please excuse the comment word verification. 
I've received quite a few spams in the last week so
I'll have the verification enabled for maybe another
week to see if this will help.

05 December 2011

The Weekend's Holiday Accomplishments

I started this past weekend with a big list. 
The boys helped me put up our flocked tree.

Messy but so worth it.

Definitely worth it.  I found it at the store a week
or so after Christmas several years ago,
unwanted because the box had been open.  
The manager saw me looking at it and threw out,
"Hey, I'll sell it to you for $30!?" 
Well, who am I to pass up 90% off?
I think it was meant for me us. 

And for our sunroom which has three walls
of big windows, exposing the tree to the outside
in three different directions.

Imagine being inside, snuggling under a blanket in
a cozy leather chair with a book or some knitting,
Christmas music playing and hot tea in your favorite 
cup.  You take a sip, sit back and just
enjoy the tree's grace and snowy-white warmth...
(Does that make sense?  "Snowy white warmth"?  Can a tree be graceful?
Oh, flocked tree owners, you know what I'm talking about!)

Well, back to my list...

I finished making two gifts.

This little lunch bag was
a lot of fun and will be perfect for...oops.  
I will say no more.
I'm planning on making another, too.

I finished this very simple scarf but would like to
add a little something to it to make it more
special--a small flower on one end, both ends?
Any ideas?

This is a WIP that I really wanted to be a man's scarf...
but everyone keeps telling me that the pattern looks
kind of scalloped and "girl-y".  What do you think?
I can sure make a different one and this can
go to someone else. 

I packaged up so many homemade gifts (including
the little owls!), adding in my own tags to let the
receivers know "this gift was special-made
 just for him/her".  I tend to just keep adding in
more handmade items throughout the season
if/when time allows.  What can I say?  It's fun.

 With these, I placed 2 Starbucks Via packets inside.
 On the tag I explained how it can be used at home
around a favorite mug to help keep a drink warm.
Or to provide one's own reusable sleeve when
ordering "to go".  Eco-friendly!

How funny that when I was putting these together,
I was on the phone with my mom, who chose that
exact time to mention she that wanted one of
those "coffee cup wrap things."  *snicker*
I've made quite a few of these.

I wrapped many of my own family's gifts, now
under our "downstairs" tree--and out of my closet! 
(excuse my messed-up date in corner of pic!  I can't figure out how to
remove it...and I just noticed the year is wrong!)

I barely got a start on quilting this Friday night
but it was put aside.

There are still more items to be checked off of my
 list and lots more hand-made gifts to finish
but we have lots of time yet.

Busy, to be sure, but I feel like I'm doing okay... 
so far.  Especially if this week goes as planned.
And it's all so enjoyable.  I really should just
work at the North Pole--in fact, I'm sending in
my application at the first of the new year. 
My lack of height should help there, too...

(I am so sorry!  I can't remember whose blog this was on!)

So, let's all relax.  Enjoy a coffee. 
And our favorite Christmas tree.

And stop to think about
Who's coming in just a few weeks. 
Are we preparing for Him, too?

Linked to

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