Tag Archives: designing

New beginnings – sort of

A few weeks ago I found myself lying in bed thinking about this website and wondering whether I should just delete it and accept that I wasn’t going to be in business anymore.  It was a hard conversation to have with myself, but I couldn’t see anyway to move forward.   Fast forward to this week and I have just reopened my Etsy shop (you can get there by clicking the link at the top of the page) for the first time in over two and a half years.    Wow!

What happened to change things?  I had a couple of lightbulb moments.    I just couldn’t get excited about making any of the things I used to make, wasn’t inspired to design anything from those lines, and had pretty much abandoned my studio as the household dumping room for anything that didn’t have a home.   Then we had a two week school holiday break for the children where we made no plans – no trips, no big outings, and no commitments.  After a few days of mooching around while the kids did their own thing in their own parts of the house I decided that it was time to tackle the sewing room.  Which took about 6 hours less than I thought it would, and was not stressful.   The light was beginning to shine through the gloom that had been sitting over my creative self.

Then I decided that I needed a tea cosy for my glass teapot to keep it warm when friends dropped in and we drank multiple cups of tea in one sitting.   I did a bit of looking around on line and ended up making my own pattern and whipping this up one evening.

That was the first light bulb moment!   I found myself wanting to create!   I kept making tea cosies, even though I didn’t have a person in mind to give them to.   Then I found myself looking at all things tea related online and had my second light bulb moment. By starting to make again, but not sticking to just one method of making (sewing) and not just one type of product (accessories) I could delve into making but instead focus on a common theme.  Tea!   From there I started down the road of making resusable tea bags.   I drink a lot of tea and always put any tea bags in the compost or the worm farm.  Recently we emptied the worm farm and dug over the compost and all the tea bags appeared amongst the lovely dirt – not at all broken down.  I have since discovered that tea bags are manufactured using plastic!  While I often use an infuser I have found that the hinged ones break, and the cup ones aren’t always the right shape for the cup I want to use. The sewing machine came out, the fabric scrap bin was opened and the experimenting began.

 

After a lot of research I decided that using GOTS certified organic cotton was the safest option, and that using a tighter weave rather than the traditional loose weave muslin would ensure that the bags lasted longer.   Then I drank lots of tea (oh the hardship) using various shapes and sizes of the tea bags, decided on the best combination and sat down and began making them.  Making them involves cutting, sewing, threading, sewing, turning, ironing each little bag, so they aren’t particularly cheap to make, but I believe that they are a good investment in reducing the amount of plastic we are pouring into the earth.

This morning I got up bright and early and photographed, staged, took more photos, wrote descriptions, edited, wrote different words and finally, after a very long time, pushed the ‘publish’ button to list items for sale in my shop again.   It felt good!     I have a lot of ideas but have learnt a lot over the years about what works for me, what success looks like for me, and what causes me to become overwhelmed and freeze.   This means that I am not putting pressure on myself, and will make and list items when I can.  I am a bit proud of these first listings though!  Check out my tea cosy collection!

Yes that is eggs and bacon

And even better, yes that is avocado on toast!

I have also used this new found creative surge as an excuse to hit the charity shops in search of teapots to use for sizing the cosies and tea cups to use in making ‘things’, like a pincushion.

And then because I like having a new pincushion for my pins I made another one for my needles, using a pattern from the Lion Brand website.

So there you have it.  My creative urge is back and I am back in business, but with a new twist. Let’s see how it goes!    There has been a lot happening apart from the creative explosion, but I will save that for another time as there is a pile of crochet calling my name, and some Netflix series to binge watch.

 

Filling your head

One of the benefits of the two youngest chicks moving to a new school that is also our local public school is that I am catching up with all sorts of people I know from all sorts of places.  A chance conversation with two women after I had dropped the children off yesterday morning saw me learning that one (who I knew as the mother of fellow junior hockey players) is actually an artisan who makes porcelain jewellery, while the other (who I knew as a fellow pre-school mother 6 years ago) is a talented sewist.  In the course of excitedly discussing all things creative (as you do when you find fellow creative souls) one of the women commented that when she has her creative mojo happening she doesn’t watch TV, and doesn’t even read books anymore.  What a relief!  I am always happy to tell people that I don’t watch TV at all, but am a little less forthcoming with my guilty secret that I don’t read anymore.

I love books.  I have always read.  I am one of those people who will stay up all night reading a gripping novel, even though I have to go to work the next day.  But for the last year or two three I have not been reading.  Well – of course I have been reading, but instead of reading a book or two a week I have been lucky to average a book every three months.  I have been feeling guilty, as if I am somehow lesser for my abandonment of books.  However in our conversation we discussed that where books provided an escape and a way for our imaginations to be exercised, when we are actively creating we have the escape, and the stretch to our imaginations, so there is not as much need or room for books.  Explained that way I feel much less guilty!!

When I am creating my mind wanders to all sorts of subjects.  I write wonderful posts for this blog in my mind, draft emails to friends I haven’t caught up with for ages, think about ways to stretch a dollar, find some extra time for something important, to solve a problem.  Having had these very satisfying conversations in my head, I regularly forget that these things haven’t happened in real life, and then don’t email those friends, write those posts, or apply those solutions.  I am beginning to understand why people describe artists as vague.  It is not because artists don’t care about things, it is because their head is full, and they, like me, may think that they have already dealt with something because they have thought about it while creating, so in their mind it is completed.   Something to ponder.

My creating this week has taken a different turn, and I have been busy drawing.  I love to draw, so the chance to combine drawing with designing and sewing is the perfect collection of creativity for me!  Now that I have my fabulous machine that can cut out my appliques for me I decided that I need some new designs, in addition to my much loved bicycle template.  After scouring the internet for suitable templates and not finding ones that suited my purpose I decided to make my own.  Hence the drawing!  With some I found photos and drew, traced, stylised, while with others I found other templates and took the ideas and modified them to my own needs.  The results so far are a scooter and a camera, and a police-box that needs a bit of tweaking!  Put that way it doesn’t seem to justify many hours, but I can assure you that a huge amount of work went into creating these simple-ish lines and shapes!  I have started to applique them.  The next step is to attach the appliques to bags!

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At the time of writing I have only appliqued one of the cameras, and am having a debate with myself about whether to go with the zig zag of the first one, or the straight stitch of the scooters.  (When I use straight stitch I also use ‘fray stopper’ to seal the edges so it doesn’t get too tatty too quickly!)   I might just need to keep experimenting until I find the perfect combination.

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I am also experimenting with whether patterned fabric works as well as solids, and complex patterns versus simple patterns.  My brain really has been quite full!

I thought I was going to avoid writing about the weather tonight but while I have been sitting here preparing this post we have had a huge downpour of rain.  The middle chick and I took a photo, through the window, of our water tank overflowing with the torrential rain.  Then 12 minutes later, this was the view from the same window!  As a result – the weather gets a mention.

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I hope that if you head is full this week it is full of creative and wonderful thoughts.  What are you creating, reading, watching or doing this week that is keeping you entertained and providing an escape and a stretch of another part of your brain?