For several months now I have been beating myself up because I have an office full of awesome fun things with which to create beautiful things – cards, gifts, home decor, whatever. It’s crafty heaven for me. And yet I have avoided that space like the plague.
I’ve walked into my office every few days thinking “I really need to make something” and then would just look around before walking back out again. I had no idea where to begin or what to do. I’d sit down to make a card and I would get bogged down with all the options and would end up not making anything. I’d see pictures of things my friends were making and think “I really ought to get creating stuff again!” But I’d do nothing.
I spent the last few weeks thinking long and hard about why I was feeling this way, why I was avoiding this space. It didn’t make sense to me really. I love to make things. I have a need to be creative every day. I have missed doing it. So what was stopping me?
Expectations and lack of purpose.
I have realized two things about myself in the last few weeks.
1. I was setting expectations for myself that were impossible for me to achieve, based on past circumstances rather than on present conditions.
2. I need a reason to create something, a purpose. I can’t just sit down and make something for the sake of making something.
A baby card I made for friends
So I’ve made some changes in my head and it’s affected everything!! I changed my expectations – I’m out of practice and I can’t expect that I’ll be churning out beautiful things quickly and easily like I once did. I’m going to have to labor over them like I did when I first began to make pretty things and I need to relearn the skills I had before. And that’s okay. I’ve also changed how I approach things – I’m looking for reasons to make things, to create things and I am finding them everywhere! And with that change, I’ve made several things in the last couple of days and I have ideas for more!
I’m no longer looking in the door of my office and feeling guilty about not using it. I’m not feeling the pressure that I was before. Who knew a simple change of perspective would change everything?
I learned how to sew a straight seam on Thursday afternoon and so I decided I knew enough to attempt a slightly bigger project than a little bag…A QUILT! I picked up a Jelly Roll from the local quilting store (Katja’s Quilts) and got to work.
It’s really quite easy – sew the strips together end to end to create one LONG strip of fabric (and I mean LONG!!!). Then fold it in half, right sides together, and sew from one end to the other along one side (you cut the fold open right before you get to the end). Open it up, fold it in half again end to end and sew up one side…basically you repeat step 1 a few times until it forms a crib sized quilt top. It’s SUPER EASY!!! I did it while sick with the flu on Friday!
Here is my finished quilt top – now all I have to do is learn how to finish it off with the batting and binding and all that stuff! I’m going to let some lovely ladies from my church teach me that in a couple weeks.
My First Quilt Top! (Ignore hubby’s feet!! and the mess in the living room!)
The whir of the sewing machine is a sound I grew up with – it wasn’t a constant in our home but mom was never without a machine to hem a pair of pants or sew a stocking or make a simple dress. I had to learn how to sew in Grade 8 but wasn’t so excited about the idea. Our project option was a pair of bermuda style shorts with an elastic waist. I chose to make mine in a HIDEOUS Royal Purple polyester fabric. I don’t remember if I passed or failed that project in terms of sewing skills but I do know I failed in the fashion department!! To this day, whenever I think about Grade 8 sewing, I see this hideous purple in my mind. It’s really no surprise that to this day purple is NOT one of my favorite colors…at least not THAT purple!!
Fast forward to the last few years. As I have become more comfortable with who I am and my creative nature, I have become more aware of things I would love to make – from toddler busy books to beautiful quilts, there have been many things I have wanted to make but been unable to. I have been handcuffed by a lack of machine and a lack of confidence in my ability to make it work. Seeing the beautiful modern quilts on Pinterest really piqued my interest and my desire to acquire this skill so I set about finding a machine.
I have my Grandma’s OLD machine but I can barely lift it off the closet shelf – it’s heavy! So I put an appeal out to friends and have borrowed one from a girlfriend. I decided today I was going to learn how to make it happen so I pulled it out and got ready to go.
My little pouch…open
30 minutes after sitting down at that machine I did it!! I sewed my first straight seam!! And several practice runs later, I sewed a small pouch. Feeling more confident, I found the pieces of a Christmas Stocking that my mom had cut out and never completed and I finished it off complete with a little ribbon loop. I’m SO PROUD OF MYSELF!!!
My Little Pouch – closed
This afternoon I picked up my first Jelly Roll of fabric and began the process of putting together my first quilt. I AM SO EXCITED!!! And I know my mom would be so proud of me for setting out to learn a new skill! I still have many of the basics to master and expand on before I will ever consider myself an accomplished seamstress but now that I know I can do this much on my own without help, I know that with a few lessons from others, I’ve got this!
Now I need to go and grow my “sewing projects” board on Pinterest….and add to my Quilting board! 😀