Friday, November 21, 2014

Creative Blog Hop

I was invited by Lindsay of A Wooden Nest to join in a creative blog hop to talk about my creative process. I have been given a list of 4 questions that I will do my best to answer. Creative process is one of those tricky things that can be hard to explain, but I'm happy to give it a good try.

What am I working on?
Sewing: I have been throwing myself into a project of refashioning, up-cycling, and re-imagining men's old work shirts that are no longer usable for their original purpose. I've been calling the project "Pa's Shirts." So far I have made 3 new garments for my daughter out of 2 shirts. This project speaks to my "mend and make do" and re-use philosophy, while at the same time challenges me to upgrade my skill set in alteration, pattern drafting, and creativity.

Mixed Media: I am continuing my work on The Stitched Journal Project, A year long endeavor that I have been so excited to share with other artists. The Stitched Journal Project is: Makers from around the world creating one "page" or piece of work per month and sharing. It is a project to get the ideas flowing, to process the days in a creative way, to try new techniques and to push past fears that keep us from making something.  It isn't about perfection, or getting it "just right," it is about process and perspective.
When I started this project I had no idea how it was going to influence me and my work. It has become such a valuable experience. It has freed me and taught me so much about my own creativity as well as being inspired by the work of other artists!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmmm... do I even have a genre? I'm joking. Reading the other blogger's posts in the hop, this seems to have been the hardest question to answer. It's no different for me. While I am not sure exactly how to answer this question, I do know that my work is always changing, my color ways, my interests and my techniques are always evolving. Like I said earlier, I do love incorporating formerly loved pieces into my work, giving new life to old things, finding new ways to show the tradition of handmade.

Why do I create what I do?
Most simply put, I create because I have to. That may seem a little extreme, but the truth is, I can't imagine my life without creating. It is part of who I am, what fulfills me, challenges me, excites me and makes my life bigger and brighter.  

I have always loved working with my hands, stretching my imagination and making things. It is a passionate affair that has been going on as long as I can remember. It helps me to keep in touch with myself, to slow down, to feel empowered. Whatever the creative endeavor; be it stitching, writing, making music, etc. it lets me express myself and be myself. 

How does my creative process work?
It all starts with a tiny seed of an idea. Sometimes that seed sprouts quickly and makes it's way to a full fledged project right away. Other times, it takes ages for that seed to germinate. Sometimes I am making my weaving way stumbling through it all. I find myself walking into my studio picking up the strangest pieces, working on the small, the details, creating laborious techniques, exploring funny ideas.  It's about textures and color and... imagination.

The ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere. A song on the radio, everyday chores, an overheard conversation, the way someone is dressed on the street, and of course, necessity is the mother of invention. I'll often make a list in my creative journal, sometimes a drawing or five and then work those things in my head until they become more concrete, and take shape.

If I'm feeling stuck I love to get out into nature, go for a walk or hike and just keep my mind open and free. Listening to music can jump start my creativity as well.

I don't have a strict creative regimen to my process, it often happens more organically and spontaneously. I am endlessly inspired by my daughter, my family and my community. 

Thank you Lindsay for inviting me to participate in this blog hop, I am honored. Please go visit Lindsay, Kristina, and Ness, to read their inspiring posts and follow their links to others on the blog hop!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pa's Shirts

As I finally started tucking into the collection of the Mr.'s old shirts that I've been collecting for ages, I began the imagining the endless possibilities to refashion and upcycle them. I unpicked pockets and ripped out collars trying to adjust to the new development of reading/stitching glasses slipping down my nose. It's been cold out with an icy wind so I sat by the fire and I had to laugh, I suddenly had a vision of Little House on the Prairie. Here's me, "Ma" making clothes for the child out of Pa's old shirts.

It started a while back with this skirt...

Yesterday I finished off this shirt made from a shirt. Should we call it a Tunic instead? I'm unsure. I do know that I was helped by my young assistant who suggested the addition of lace. She was quite right about that I think.

Since I last posted about my 6 (and a half) shirts, I uncovered 2 more shirts hidden in the mayhem of my studio. So, I have many more chances to re-imagine and turn them into something else. I think perhaps a dress will be next.

What have you been up to?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

3 Easy Pieces

Drama is very important in life: You have to come on with a bang. You never want to go out with a whimper. Everything can have drama if it's done right. Even a pancake. - Julia Child

Recently, Pony Girl started attending a cooking class. Oh man, what a great thing! She loves it and comes home so excited to tell me all about what they have made that week. She tells me all the the ingredients they used and how they prepared the food. 
It has even sparked a new trend of her and I cooking together with me teaching her some of the classics. Our lesson on French Toast was a delicious success!

My girl told me she needed me to sew an apron for her, "something special," she said. "Of course," says I! I had just the inspiration, this little vintage apron needed recreating Pony Girl style. The apron is just 3 easy pieces, plus straps and handy dandy pockets.

Basically, I sort of simply traced the lines of the the original pieces along the seams. One center piece and one side piece that you cut twice from the fabric. Then I made adjustments in width and length to fit my girl and added seam allowances.

Since I was at it, why not make it reversible? 2 aprons in one is the best! So, happy retro polka dots on one side, and cheerful hibiscus and hula girls on the other.

Yes, an apron with plenty of drama... just like my girl! I love her new passion for cooking and I'm looking forward to many years of spending time together in the kitchen! 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Stitched Journal Project - October

The Stitched Journal Project is: Makers from around the world creating one "page" or piece of work per month and sharing. It is a project to get the ideas flowing, to process the days in a creative way, to try new techniques and to push past fears that keep us from making something.  It isn't about perfection, or getting it "just right," it is about process and perspective.

I am quite upset with myself. I did not finish this month's project. It's been a crazy old month! Along with technical difficulties and a slew of other mundane things I plum ran out of time. Though I did get started and hope to finish next week. All I have to show is a bit of printing on tea aged fabric. My apologies to all of you who worked hard and got yours finished. I can't wait to see what you have been up to!

Below you will find links to the wonderful makers and their Stitched Journal Project pieces for October Please keep your eyes on this spot in the next couple of days as more add their links. Be sure to visit them and leave comments!

If you think you would like to join in as well, it's not too late!  We will be sharing our pieces the last Friday of every month at least until the end of the year. We'd love to have you.

All of you wonderful Stitched Journal Project participants please link up below! Remember to add your photos to The Stitched Journal Flickr Group! and be sure to share with Facebook, Twitter, etc!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Computer Blue

So involved with the machinery...
I'm considered a geezer in tech years, but I do try to be modern, you know, to a point. Still, I must admit that sometimes I might be a little slow. So, what I'm saying is, this might take a minute. See you on the flip-side lovelies!

Gold stars to anyone who can name where I got my post title from.


Friday, October 24, 2014

I'm just a soul who's intentions are good

I'm at least a day late and a few stitches short. Seems to be the story of me these days. I mean well, really I do, but something keeps interrupting my intention and taking my attention away from the work at hand.

I know I'm just a week away from the deadline for Pony Girl's costume, yikes! I'm close though, really close. I can do it. And no, it's not coming together as I envisioned, but that is ok. I got started on the wrong path, I know that now. Making mistakes shows that you're trying right? I always learn something valuable in these situations. The most important lesson I have learned in this is: I wont be making anything like this for at least another year! No, that can't be it. The most important lesson is that my girl is a little bit smitten with it so far, and that makes it a success. It's all about perspective. Yeah, that's it!

I had also intended to show you how I drafted a pattern to recreate this sweet vintage child's apron that a dear friend sent to me. I have drafted the pattern and cut out the fabric (I'm planning to make a reversible version), but no stitching has occurred. So yes, I'll have to update you on that another time.

So for now I am wishing you all a beautiful weekend!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rainy Days and Mondays

It seems the rain is well and truly here now, the scent of pumpkin flavored everything is in the air, and things have started ramping up for the coming season.

I haven't planted the garlic, or my bulbs, so there may yet be some digging in the mud soon.

The bread baking has begun and slow cooked comforting meals are happening again.

Oh, that reminds me, I need to add cocoa to the shopping list!

I'm pulling out the sweaters, Pony Girl needs some new rain boots, and has anyone seen my winter hat?

It's harder to get out of bed in the morning when it's dark out, especially on a Monday.

Happy week all!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In the garden - Seeds of sharing

"Most immigrants to North America did not come with treasures of gold in their pockets, but treasures of a botanical nature – seeds. Seeds so important they were sewn into the hems of dresses or into the brims of hats. Immigrants experienced a full spectrum of emotions from fear to hope to delight; emotions that vacillated with every ocean wave during their long voyage. They had the security of seeds from their familiar garden plants as they planted a new life." 

Do you garden? Do you save seeds? Do you share them?

I'm finally getting around to organizing my seeds saved from the garden this Summer. I do love sharing seeds of plants that I am particularly fond of. This year my favorite was from a Charentais melon. I bought the plant from a local organic nursery and saved the seeds from the best of the fruit. I promised to share some of the seed with friends and family. Along with other seeds of course.

I have a few friends with whom I trade seeds. When I plant the seeds from a friend, I always think fondly of the resulting plant as, "Oh, that's Amy's Marigold, or, those are Crystal's scarlet runner beans." I like that my garden is such a friendly place.

It is a good thing to save and share seeds. If you would like to learn more head on over the Seed Savers Exchange!

I figure, if the seeds are special, why not send them on to new homes in special packets. So I thought I'd show you some of mine in case you were so inclined to do something similar.

This is a muslin tea bag filled with seeds and closed with a fold and a simple embroidery running stitch and a tag with all the information about the seed.

There are also a ton of free printable templates online that you can print onto any paper. I printed mine onto an old and crumpled brown paper bag. I used the template from HERE. If you search the internet for "seed packet templates" you'll find lots to choose from and blank ones you can add your own design to. You just cut it out, fold along folding lines, glue into place and voila!

You can easily sew up a little seed pocket (you all know how much I love a handy dandy pocket). I chose some cheerful vintage feed sack material and used a vintage blue button tied with embroidery thread for a closure. I'll send an info tag along with it.

I even used some parchment paper to stitch as well as fold little packets of seeds. There really are so many possibilities! A great project to do with children as well. 

Saving and sharing seeds really is wonderful and important work.