Thursday, March 29, 2012

Magnolias or Spring Always Comes

Magnolias, or Spring Always Comes

I took this picture on the way to work this week. The weather was astonishing. Warm, sunny, with bright blue skies. Flowers were popping up everywhere and the grass was growing velvety and rich.

Spring was here!

It always surprises me, spring. It's like I can't believe winter will let go of its hold. I can't believe the bare branches will grow leaves or the temperature will rise or things will get a little bit easier without mittens and hats and bulky coats.

But it doesn't matter how hard the winter has been, it is an unassailable truth that spring always comes.

After I took this picture (it has been an uncommonly mild winter and early spring, actually) we actually got a cold snap and all those pretty, creamy white and pink flowers turned brown and dropped off, but even so, spring will not be held back.

Spring is my favorite season. It's not just the warm breezes and flowers, but the reminder that life always comes back around. It's how I remember to trust that I can get back to being productive and creative. It's how I remember that even when life seems still and sleepy and inactive and even dead that when it is time everything will blossom and come to life again.

Spring also reminds me that it is hard work to blossom. It looks effortless from the outside, but it is hard work to get those energies stored up, to pull in the sunlight, to wake up again. Or at least I imagine it is. I imagine the cold little budlings and hibernating animals to be like little factories in their underground burrows and bulbs, chugga chugging into gear as we get nearer to the sun and the the seasons change.

Oh look at me getting all poetical and such.

Spring does that to me.

Time for me to go off and plan my blossoming now.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Two Steps Forward One Step Back (don't give up)

Two Steps Forward One Step Back...(don't give up) [detail]
journal pages, stamps, watercolor, gold sharpie

My intentions this spring have been to get back to journaling, writing, painting, blogging and various other creative, business and real world ventures. I was doing ok, getting my momentum going when, blam! from out of nowhere, I got a stomach virus which knocked me out for a couple of days and left me limp for a week.

So here I am recovering, looking at my blog and my journal and avoiding looking at my lonely novel in need of revision, and feeling entirely dissatisfied and unproductive and just plain BAD. I feel like I CAN'T do it, I CAN'T paint, CAN'T write, CAN'T get back to that place where I want to be.

And then I remembered... this is the process. This is the way growth works. Not all at once, not in a smooth upward climb towards success, but in fits and spurts and moments of going nowhere and then bursts of energy.

I have not been defeated by my momentary illness, it's just another one of those knock-backs, just the step in the wrong direction before I find my right direction again.
Two Steps Forward and One Step Back (don't give up)
Journal Spread, watercolor, stamps, sharpie

I did some journaling yesterday, also, thinking about my bad feelings and negative reaction to not being able to get my creative mojo back up after being ill, and I thought..."Well, hey, what if it was my first grade son who was having these feelings of inadequacy? What would I say to him?" And here is what I came up with.

My Advice to My Son

  • Keep trying. Don't give up because it is difficult or seems like it isn't going anywhere. Keep trying and you'll figure it out.
  • Pay attention to your progress. Look back at where you were last week, or last month, or the beginning of the year, and see how far you've come and what you've accomplished. If you could do it then, you can do it now.
  • Practice makes you better. Even if you aren't great at something right now, the more you practice it, the better you will get and the more you will learn. Learning is a process, and it takes the struggles to get somewhere.
  • Sometimes, mistakes are good. We learn from our mistakes. We learn what doesn't work and we learn what does work. We're supposed to make mistakes because we're learning new things.
  • It's okay if you don't get it right or do it perfectly, because once you try, you can look at what you've already done and fix it so that you like it better.
  • Sit down and concentrate. Take it slowly and be careful. And for goodness sake, stop fidgeting and wiggling and stop watching the tv (or in my case, looking at the internet).
  • Stop looking for excuses and do it now. 15 minutes on the timer. GO!
  • Trust yourself. You are smart enough. You are good enough. You can figure it out.
  • If you can't figure it out, that's okay.  We'll figure it out together. Or we'll look it up. Or we'll ask for help. We don't have to know everything and we don't have to get it perfectly.
It's funny how much of my advice to my son when he has been learning how to read and write and do math and develop work habits and get homework done and become a good student can help me in my attempts to become a better artist, writer, blogger etc. Even if I'm not new to this game like he is, but when you've been knocked back by the winds of growth, it can seem like you're a beginner again. It's not such a bad idea to treat yourself like that beginner and give yourself the room to make mistakes, to be imperfect, and to not have things all figured out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Finding your Stories When Life is Too Loud, or Looking for Stars at Noon

Looking for Stars at Noon
Felt Charm/Bookmark
wool blend felt, cotton embroidery floss, metallic embroidery floss, thread, metal jump ring, cotton fabric

Yesterday, I was in an internal uproar. It was my day off of work and I wanted to write a blog post and I knew what I wanted to write, more or less, but I couldn't find a way in. And then I just stewed in my discontent and spent a lot of time on line and did a lot less than I wished.

The thing is, I'm a writer, and I need to write in order to be happy, but it's often such hard work to write that I get wrapped up in the difficulties and knotted up in not being able to write and just get, well, un happy.

I have a novel that is sitting in my drawer, waiting for me to finish it. And it is so close to being finished, it's like I am sitting on its chest, not allowing it to take its first breath. 

So here I am with my internal discontent, my thwarted creative jones, and my poor unloved novel. It would be a good place to just get blocked.

But I've learned something about my creative process through the years, and I've learned something about not being so hard on myself for not being perfect. 

In order to get back to the place to where I can tackle a big project like that last revision, I have to condition myself, to build up my creative muscles, so to speak. Just like athletic training. You don't jump up from the 24 hour couch to do a marathon. You need to get back into shape. You need to stretch. You need to get your head in the game. Is a marathon a game? Well, the point stands.

Here are some of the things I do to condition my creativity.
  • Browse pinterest. Yes, indeed, I use pinterest to fuel my creativity. It is not just an obsessive waste of time for me. I find things like this, and this, which get my brain thinking, and then I do things like make today's book mark.
  • Make things that use other parts of my brain. It might be cooking. It might be sketching. Today it was stitchery. What does this bookmark have to do with writing? Well, follow with me down my thought path. So I saw the cross stitch thing on pinterest which reminded me of stars in the sky, then I thought of this gray felt I had, then I thought, 'Hey, white thread on pale gray would almost be like stars, but when the sky was light. Hey, that's almost what it's like trying to write when my day is so full of living, working, raising kids, cleaning house, cooking food, just being. It's like I'm trying to find the bright lights of my story in the even brighter light of the day time sun.'  And then voila, here I am making my book mark which reminds me to find the starry story in my day to day. 
  • Read things that remind me about what it means to write. Books like Finding Water, by Julia Cameron (she of The Artist's Way) or articles like this or this or this. I found these starting with a pinterest search. In fact, I started a To Write board so I could keep my online writing inspiration organized. It helps.
  • In fact, I've got a couple of boards for writing. I pin images that remind me of stories I'm writing, or give me glimmers of ideas for stories I am not writing just yet. Far from being a waste of time, these kind of boards keep your head in the story, they allow ideas to rumble around and bump up against each other in your subconscious. Being active in looking for ideas for your stories means you are actively thinking about writing. Even if you are not writing, that's part of what writing is. Thinking about writing. Ruminating over ideas. Collecting moments and characters that belong to your story.
  • Get back to business. I'm thinking about being productive again, after this long winter. Thinking about my blog, actually writing my blog again. While this is not "the novel" it is writing, and these muscles are being stretched.
  • Speaking of, I'm writing in my journal again. It's astounding to me that I pretty much stopped writing in my journal for a while. There is nothing like writing in a journal to practice those writing muscles. 
So here I am, slowly getting back into writing/fighting shape. Have I picked up the last draft and started going over it yet? No, I have not. But I tell you what, in my mind I have picked it up. I have considered how I will pick it up and which direction I will turn it when I start revising it again. I have thought about what to do with that chapter I need to get rid of (which is what stopped me where I was the last time) and I have practiced in my head just how it would work when I opened up that file and got back to work.

 Here's the other side of the charm. Is that the story that's looking to be told?

Hmm. And do you have any ideas or suggestions for ways to condition your creativity? Any hints for getting creative again?

Oh, I actually do have one more hint, one that I am not quite ready to try myself, but I know, that is what it comes down to in the end.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Do It Yourself Kindle Cover from a Vintage Book

Hello. I am a kindle.

A what? You don't look like no kindle to me. You look like a book with a pretty cover. A kindle is flash and dazzle. You belong next to a cup of tea and a rocking chair.

Yes, it's true, I am dressed like a lady, but on the inside, I have the soul of a Star Trek episode.

Take a look. But be gentle, remember, I'm a lady.
No, really. I got a kindle for Christmas and then I realized I needed something so that I could carry it around. Could I have bought something off of Amazon? Yes, but I didn't want to. I am categorically opposed to buying something when I can make it instead. It doesn't always make sense, but there it is.

I don't have  tutorial for this, because it was kind of experimental, and I combined a bunch of different online tutorials to make it, but I'll tell you how I did it. 
First, I found a book that was a good size for my kindle. It was quite a few inches larger than the kindle, and that was fine with me. 
Then I removed the pages from the binding by slicing carefully along the inside spine, with an xacto knife. Be careful you don't cut through the binding. I did a little, but knew I'd be covering it with fabric, so it would be ok. This book was also an old canvas covered book, not paper covered, so I think it was a  little stronger. I got the inspiration and some instructions for repurposing a book from this tutorial. However, I didn't have all the supplies she did, and I am still intimidated by my sewing machine so I knew I'd prefer to sew by hand so I worked out my own details.

 First, I didn't like the cover of my book very much, so I decided to cover it.
 I picked out my fabric, this is some upholstery remnant that I thought was pretty. At this point, I simply covered the book with the fabric, the same as you might cover an old text book, but I glued it down.

I placed the book on the reversed fabric and cut it out to size, so that there would be about two inches all the way around the book. Then I covered the book, back and front with glue and pressed it down on the reversed fabric, carefully in the center. I smoothed out any wrinkles or bubbles and then turned the book over onto the inside.

At this point I cut off the corners of the fabric at an angle so that they were no longer square, so when I folded it over it wouldn't be too bulky. I put more glue on the inside edges of the book and folded the edges over, smoothing down the glue as I went. I used elmers white glue, thinned slightly with water, for this part. I think a spray fixative might work even better, but it definitely should be a thin film of glue so it adheres evenly and smoothly with no lumps of glue. 

I used this tutorial here to help me cover my book with fabric, except as I'd already cut out the pages, it was simpler to cover the spine area. I had no pages to work around.
 The inside portion was tricky. This is where I kind of figured it out as I went along.

I didn't have elastic or velcro or anything that other people used to hold their kindle in place, so I kind of took my inspiration from photo corners, like in old style photo albums. But how was I going to fasten my corners to my book cover?

In the end, I decided to cover the inside with a pretty felt that matched my fabric and to sew my kindle corners onto that felt before I glued it down. So I cut some triangles out of more felt in a contrasting color, also matching the fabric. There is a trick here. You do not want to cut out right triangles, because right triangles sewn onto a right angle will make a flat pocket but a kindle is about a half inch thick, and you need to make a three dimensional pocket so the kindle can fit in it. So cut the triangles to a wider angle. Test them against the edge of your book to make sure they will pop up enough. They shouldn't be TOO wide, because there will be some give. Also note that the whole set up is still larger than the kindle. About a half inch on each side. The kindle has room to slide around a bit, but does not fall out. My triangles are big enough for the extra room to not be a problem. They also leave room for the buttons and the usb jack, which I can use without removing the kindle from the cover. Pin the corners down and test the kindle out for all of this before you sew anything.
When I finished sewing my felt corners onto my felt lining (I used a blanket stitch for most of it) I glued the felt down to the inside of the book cover, firmly, using fabric glue. Hot glue would also work. And then it was done. It was a bit time consuming, but once I worked it all out, it didn't turn out to be that difficult. To be honest, my glue might not have been the best glue, because the corners do actually pop up from the book, but the center is firm and I have not had a problem with it.

Some day, I'll make another one using better glue and then I'll take pictures for a real tutorial.

I'm not even sure what lesson I can learn from doing this kindle, except to say that sometimes it's fun to figure things out on your own. I am very satisfied with how I made this. I didn't use the methods that everyone else used, and I went old school instead of newfangled, and it turned out far better than I expected.  There is a satisfaction in doing something by hand, also, that is quite remarkable.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hand Stitched Felt Eyeglasses Case, or Be Open to Inspiration

 Felt hand stitched eyeglass case

Look what I made yesterday!

It was my day off of work, and after going through my blog and my face book page and my etsy shop (I am doing some revisioning of my internet "empire" and trying to figure out where I want to go with it and how to do that) I decided I wanted to make something with my own two hands instead of just clicking on a keyboard. I love felt and sitting there embroidering or appliqueing or just plain old stitching. It's meditative, almost. And I love the pretty colors and the feel of nice felt.

I was inspired by my pinterest boards and this photo of a hand stitched glasses case and decided to make my own. It didn't take very much time. I cut out a squarish shape with the flap on it, then added the flowers.
 It's pretty easy stitching. I probably should have stitched around the outside edges of the flowers, but I kind of like the looseness. You do have to add the detail before you stitch up the glasses case, though, or you'll make a headache for yourself.  I cut out the flowers and placed them on the felt to create a composition to my liking. I like odd numbers for this, and I like asymmetry, so I put them off center and left a lot of back ground. Chose contrasting yellow thread for a bit of springtimey feel, particularly since I chose the dark red for a background. I feel like the pink and green of the flowers is an unusual choice with the autumney red, but it pleases me.
Then I folded it up, rounded off the edges for a pleasing look and blanket stitched in brown all the way up around it too the edge. I took a few reinforcement stitched up at the top where the two sides meet. I also blanket stitched around the single layer of felt on the flap and openings, just because I didn't want the felt to stretch or pull too much. Then I added a button and cut the button hole. Super easy, it took perhaps an hour to do, and then I felt my happy little feeling of accomplishment all day long. This morning, too. I'm feeling quite pleased with myself.

So here's my lesson from this. It's good to have goals for your day. It's good to have vision and to lay out your plans and to follow things according to your plans... but it's also good to leave some room for spontaneous living. You never know what can pop up and inspire you... especially when you're already in the mindset of getting things done and being productive.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Stamp Carving Tutorial-- It's Fun!

 After sitting on this block of stamp carving material for a year or two, I finally got off my butt and decided to make a little stamp for my flying girl. Let's show you the process. It's really not that complicated.

First I drew out a little design in heavy #2 pencil. As you can see from this picture, my original plan was to use a champagne cork. I drew a circle around it on the paper so I would know the size for the stamp, but upon further reflection, I decided that the cork was too firm to easily cut into for the delicate shapes I wanted, so I went into my craft drawer and dug out the hunk of soft stamp carving medium. It is MUCH softer and easier to carve. For something of this size, I could also have used a rubber eraser. That is almost as soft and quite effective for rubber stamping.                                                                            
Then I cut out my drawing and pressed it onto the rubber carving medium. I rubbed it firmly so the graphite from the drawing would show up on the rubber. You can also draw straight onto the rubber, but I have learned to remember that you want to draw the reverse of what you want your image to be or your stamp will be backwards, but the graphite rubbing technique will get rid of that problem. I once made a flying girl stamp out of a rubber eraser and she was flying backwards. (Does it really matter? not really, but if she's facing left, she seems to be flying backward in time to me. Don't question my logic.) Then I use my xacto knife to cut my drawing out of the block of rubber. I don't want to waste it, so I cut pretty close to the drawing.

 Now is carving time. I actually have a set of carving tools, but I found that with something this small, the xacto knife works better. I carefully run the xacto knife around the drawing, only going into the rubber about a 1/4 inch. Maybe less. Try also to keep your knife straight, you don't want to undercut your image, because it might crumble after use. I actually started with tiny straight lines, even though it's not that hard to curve the blade, I was playing it safe, knowing that I could go back in and fix the detail later. For that reason, I also carved slightly outside of my drawing. You can remove rubber later, but you can't put it back.
 Then I, very carefully, cut off the excess rubber. I put my blade about 1/8 inch from the top and slowly slid it toward my image that I had already cut around. Be careful not to cut into the image. For the longer pieces, I actually sliced those off in stages, cutting off bit by bit, rather than being macho and trying to get it off in one larger piece. I didn't want to risk it with such a small, delicate image.
 Here she is cut out all the way. Ok that's not a 1/4 of an inch. It's more like a millimeter. Next step is to test it. I took out my little ink pad and gave it a go.

The first stamp I made was the image in the middle. I found the legs and arms to be too blunt and the edges of the stamp too prominent, as they showed up when I pressed. No problem. I went back in with my razor blade and narrowed the limbs, as well as cutting off the edges so they were more rounded away from the image and no longer made marks on my paper. You can see the fixed image in the other stamps.

Ta da. All done. Easier than I thought. If I had picked a simpler image like a heart it would have been easier still.

And here is a bonus image. I still had that champagne cork, so I decided I would make something from that. I'd seen an intriguing scallop stamp among the multiple stamp carving pins on my "projects to try" pinterest board, and since I love scallops, and that's a much simpler shape for the more difficult cork medium, I gave it a go. There's another step if you're carving a cork, and that is to cut off the bottom edge of the cork to make it flat, as the champagne cork is rather rounded on the edge. If you can find a smooth flat cork, you can skip that step. The original scallop stamp tutorial is actually made of wood and a little bit more labor intensive than mine.

I simply drew my scallop edge on the cork, following the round edge, and then sliced it out. It took more effort to cut through the cork, but if you go slowly and carefully, it's not that hard. When stamping, it leaves an interesting texture. The texture wouldn't have worked with the flying girl, but I can use it for the scallop.

I can't wait to see what I can do with my new stamps. I'd like to find a wooden block to glue the flying girl onto, but the cork scallop is ready to go. It might be interesting to use it in my journal, or to make my own wrapping paper, or maybe a scalloped edge decoration. And I'm looking forward to using the flying girl on correspondence or maybe I'll even make my own business cards or stationery.

I can see that this stamp making might be a little addictive. Try it and you'll see.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wood Land Paper Dolls, a work in progress

Wood Land Articulated Paper Dolls
giclee print, ink, mini brads

For my daughter's birthday, I made some little paper dolls for the goody bags. It was a fairy princess tea party theme, so along with flowers and glitter, I added some creatures to keep the fairies company.

This isn't the best picture. That's because along with being creative, I'm trying to make my professional set up more... well... professional. I never got a good product shot of all my paper dolls. Part of that is because I was running my little tuchis off until the first guest got in the door and the part of my to do list where it said "take photos" was at the end. And I never got to the end of the to do list, I just ran smack dab into the party. They don't tell you that a "fairy princess tea party"  means mommy is a waitress for the rest of the afternoon, pouring tea and serving cupcakes and escorting little girls to the potty. So all the paper dolls and containers of fairy play dough and glitter cardboard crowns and pretty paper flowers all got taken away or messed up before I could show them to you. Poop. I still have white and yellow and green crowns, but everything pink, purple or silver has scampered off.

I'm going to have to go back in, find what's left of the party, the dregs if you will, and do a photo shoot. It doesn't help that the only sunny days have been when I was at work. The rain and snow messes up my light. Of course that means today is rainy.

But I am trying, like I said. I've been researching different ways to set up a home photo studio on pinterest. And, after the news of the demise of picnik,(they say they are moving to Google+ but I like to have options) which I have used for photo editing for the last few years, I decided to try out picmonkey. I used picmonkey to make the most of my midnight, lamp lit photo of the wood land paper doll favors in progress. It's kind of cute, more about process than product, I guess. But, i figured it was better to get something to post now, instead of waiting for the perfect photo set up to show everything off.

Remember, being creative is not about getting things perfect, it's about working with what you have and seeing what happens. I still have time to get the details right, but nothing will ever get done if I always wait until I have everything figured out before I do anything.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Meet the Hoot Hoots, Your Friendly Neighborhood Stuffed Owls

 Mrs Hoot Hoot and her brother Hoot Hoot
cotton chenille, upcycled felted wool, clothing scraps, upholstery remnants and wool blend felt, thread, poly fiberfill.
approx 18" tall

While I'm doing this business of paying attention to the creativity that I am actually taking part of, I thought I'd post some of the things I have made while I've been away from the blogosphere.

I know a lot of people are addicted to pinterest (as am I) and we talk about how it is a time suck and makes us less productive and all... well I just wanted to say that it doesn't have to be that way. Yes, I haven't blogged much since I started pinterest (oops) but I really do use pinterest to fuel my creativity.

My son is obsessed with Harry Potter right now, and so for Christmas I decided to make him his own Hedwig type owl. My daughter has always wanted a pink owl for some reason, so I went through pinterest looking for ideas. One of my favorite versions of stuffed owls is Mimi Kirchner's, but then I love her work and much of my stuffed animal making is inspired by her. But I never just copy what I see online, I use it for inspiration. Combined with Mimi, I also found things like this, and this and this. Looking at these things helped me consider what I could do with the media that I had on hand. On top of that, I also searched pinterest for visual references of actual owls. Ok, well, I just searched owls, but it helped me to know that a barn owl was different than a snowy owl, and some owls have ears and some owls don't and they have different patterns and shapes and all.

For instance, please note Hoot Hoot doesn't have a face patch, but Mrs Hoot Hoot does. Mrs Hoot Hoot also has ear tufts. I did my research. Snowy owls are round as eggs, but other owls aren't. And if you were to turn them around, you would notice that Hoot Hoot is chenille all the way, but the girl is not a fan of white unless it's covered over with pink, so I made sure to put lots of pink and the back is another pink pattern. If you are a long time reader, you might notice also that I used Mrs. Hoot Hoot's tummy fabric before. Yes, this is a scrap from Pink Kitty. I like to use what I have, plus it's such a cute fair isle pattern and I'd already felted it for the Christmas before. And now her owl and her pussy cat match. Oh dear.

Another thing you might notice is that Hoot Hoot is far more worn than Mrs Hoot Hoot. I suppose that is a the sign of a successful stuffed animal, because Mrs Hoot Hoot is basically just another pillow on my daughter's bed, but Hoot Hoot himself is much loved, squeezed at night, carried around during the day, and brought out every evening when we read our chapters in Harry Potter. He has also been through a bout of boy stomach flu and a whirl through the washing machine. In retrospect, I shouldn't have done that, as the upholstery fabric does not seem to like being washed. Everything else held up reasonably well, although the felt eyes pilled. Lesson learned. Either say "don't wash" or make everything a washable material.

Anyway, I am sticking to my goal of a return to blogging, despite the fact that I am now running late for work. So I'm going to hit publish and hope that I didn't need to edit too much of this. I am at the point in my creativity where it is more important to get it done than it is to get it done perfectly. So I hope you will forgive me my flaws. And forgive yourself your creative flaws while you're at it. Creativity is not about perfection anyway, it's about adventure, experimentation, seeing what happens, using what you have and going for it.

On that note, I'm going to stop talking and go. I wonder what today will bring?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Make (and throw away doodle sketches done while watching tv)

note pad, faber castell artist pens, uni-ball artist pen.

I have decided to start being intentional about my creativity again. I am going to start blogging again. I am going to work on my etsy shop again. I am going to paint again. I am going to write again, and I am going to pay attention to the creativity that I AM practicing.

So I have a job and kids and bills to pay and a house to maintain and food to cook.  So what?

I have a me to maintain, too. And that me demands that I make things that are meaningful, beautiful, purposeful and sometimes even fun.

One of the things I'm going to do, on the way to being purposefully creative and organized and productive again, is to pay attention to what I'm already doing that is creative. This counts, is what I'm saying.

It counts when I try out a new recipe or mix together play dough, or decorate for a birthday party, or rearrange the kids room or crochet a granny square, or write down notes on the stories I'm writing, or make a blog post, or cobble together a play kitchen out of cardboard boxes (I'm almost done, will post on that later.)

scallop doodle sketch while watching tv.
note pad, uni ball pen, hilighter

It also counts when I make a doodle on a pinky purple notepad, a little throw away scallop doodle sketch while watching tv. A thing I might have ignored and not counted.

Yesterday I was going through my photos that I took recently of all the crafts that I've done and feeling no inspiration for a blog post. I couldn't see anything that I could learn from or give to you. Then I gave up, grabbed a handful of chocolate and sat down on my bed to watch Raising Hope.  And that's when I noticed the throw away sketch and realized....creativity is not the big projects that I can turn into tutorials and show you how to make, it is not the finished paintings, it is not the stuff I can sell on etsy, or a finished 300 page novel that can be shoped around to agents... or rather, creativity is all of that, but it is not limited to that. Being creative is about making something new, something that did not exist before.

And that includes dinner, or a  rousing rendition of 101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, or a rearrangement of the tchochkes on the bookshelf or the doodle in the notepad while I'm doing something else.

Be creative. Make something. And give yourself credit for being a creative type of person, as we all are.  Then pay attention and take a look at what you've done and see if you can build it into something that is bigger or grander or closer to that intention you have for yourself. Or just love it for the artsy-craftsy pretty thing that it is.

Rock on, you maker, you.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Long Time No See and A Little Bit of Lovey

upcycled fabric, felt, yarn, thread and vintage doll clothes.
approx 18" tall.

What does one do when one hasn't posted in months and months?

One doesn't wait any longer to make it perfect, one just posts.

And so, I'd like you to meet Lovey.

I made Lovey out of upcycled fabric and leftover felt and yarn stash. She was my daughter's fifth birthday present. I worked on her for quite a few evenings after the kids went to bed. It was good to get back into a creative habit again. I love to figure out how to do things as I go along. I actually designed her to be the same size as an American Girl type doll, well, the Madame Alexander one that my daughter has. If you look carefully, you can see that the shoes are actually store bought plastic ones. I think they are the Target brand. The adorable sailor girl outfit is actually a vintage outfit that my mother in law gave me. It has matching bloomers. The plaid tights are the legs themselves. The face is appliqued wool felt... so I guess she doesn't get thrown in the washing machine. 

The hair was the scariest thing to tackle. I never really knew how to do doll hair, so I searched pinterest and came up with quite a few tutorials to figure out how I was going to do it. In the end, I decided to follow the tutorial on bybido. I'm not 100% familiar with her blog, but I can tell you that her dolls are ABSOLUTELY adorable. She knows what she's doing. It's interesting how much you can learn when you search around for different tutorials. I almost never follow one tutorial. I almost always take a bit of this and a bit of that from different places. As for Lovey, I pretty much winged her until the hair, ("winged?"), and then I learned so much from the way other people sew dolls that I feel like next time it will be much easier to make one. I know for sure that I will suck it up and take out my sewing machine. The big thing scares me sometimes, but I think a machine sewed head and body would be much neater than my hand stitching. Oh I suppose I could just learn to be a better seamstress, but... oh well. It's all part of the process, and I am working on it.  

And that's what posting again really comes down to. I'm getting back to my creative habit.  I get burned out on nanowrimo and the holidays and then I'm hit with the winter blahs and the winter flu and so on. I'm becoming familiar with my pattern. I'm not sure I like it, but perhaps making peace with it would be better than just getting frustrated with myself. 

So, in the spirit of getting back to the making of art and writing and crafting, I am going to start posting again.  I have a lot of crafts that I can show you guys. I've been going like crazy for my daughters birthday party, which was this past weekend, and I have all sorts of paper crafts and such to show you. So much of it was inspired by pinterest. I wonder if my activity on pinterest and my inactivity on my blog isn't perhaps not so coincidental. Hmmm....

Anyway, here's to being productive and creative again. 

I hope to see you around.

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