Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What I'm Creating

While I don't consider myself particularly creative, I do enjoy creating. Whether that's in the kitchen, at the sewing machine, or with the decor of my house, I find it necessary to allow myself time to create. For me it's a stress-relieving activity (most of the time) and if I go too long without it, well, you just don't even want to be around me.

Last year was a bit stressful with all the traveling, with very little time to sew or cook or do much of anything creative. I wish I was one of those people who could sew or knit or whatever in the car, but I'm not. So you can imagine what state I was in by the end of the year. As we were getting ready to go on vacation right before Christmas, I decided that it was high time to remedy the barren landscape of creativity and take SOMETHING to do while we were away. For a whole week we'd be in one spot and that afforded the luxury of both time and space to create.

To that end I loaded a bag with colorful felt, some quickly downloaded patterns, embroidery thread and assorted sewing notions. In the end I spent more time sleeping than creating, but I did make several felt ornaments for next Christmas. And that time spent carefully cutting and then sewing those simple shapes made me intensely happy and content.

I wouldn't exactly call it a New Year's resolution but I did purpose to find more time this year to do creative things. So far, so good. I was surprised when I stopped and realized how much I've actually gotten done in just seven short weeks. I've been doing a lot more baking (thanks to my KitchenAid stand mixer!) and trying new recipes.

But the real progress has been in the sewing room. Or on the couch, as I've done a lot more hand sewing too. More for my own benefit, I decided to post on a semi-regular basis this year what I've accomplished. I'm not sure how often this will happen (hence, the emphasis on "semi-regular") but I want to be able to look back at the end of the year and see proof of what my hands have made.

When I have enough, these will be assembled and mounted on a painted canvas and hung in our new home. Inspired by Pinterest, but then I couldn't find it any more. I thought I'd pinned it, but apparently not. Silly me. A google search found that it's a project featured over at Better Homes & Gardens and now it's safely pinned to my art board.

Parasol Girls:
While most of my sewing is done at the machine, hand sewing is an even more relaxing activity so I started digging through my UFO pile (unfinished objects) and found a batch of Parasol Girls. If memory serves correctly, I began working on this project back in 1993-94.

One block was completely finished, two were appliqued but not embroidered and the pattern pieces were cut for four more but that was as far as I'd gone. The pattern is from a club I belonged to many years ago, called Spinning Spools by Georgia Bonesteel*. Each month or so I'd get another packet of pages to add to the ginormous binder I'd received at the beginning of my membership. The binder is long gone, and I think this is the only project I kept -- probably because it was in the bag with the unfinished blocks, instead of in the binder. The page has a purple corner that says "Toybox Treasures #4". Anyway, the seven blocks are now finished but I'm going to have to wait for until I find a nice soft gray to serve as sashing before I can finish the quilt top. I'm thinking about doing a lot of embellishing on these, and turning it into a wall quilt.

Diaper Bag:
We hadn't been home too long when we found out a young friend had just had her second son. I decided a pretty diaper bag would make a nice gift, so relying on my go-to bag pattern which I modified, I created a 12"x18" tote with pockets on the inside and outside.

Various Star Blocks:
Then it was back to another UFO; this time a zip lock with a few completed blocks and a bunch of envelopes with pattern pieces cut out for additional star blocks. I got a bit carried away and ended up cutting out and making up even more blocks, in order to have enough for a lap quilt. I'm thinking ahead to cold weather when it would be nice to have a comfy quilt to throw over the couch, ready to snuggle under while hand sewing in the evenings.

While in the U.S. I picked up a few clothing patterns, including Simplicity 2063, size A, for little girls. I thought dress B with it's ruffles would be perfect for a patchwork of different fabrics. I copied the pattern for size 4 onto tracing paper and then went through my stash of fabric remnants looking for coordinating pieces that were big enough.
With the first dress I had enough of a lovely pink and green floral (wish I'd bought more of it back in the early 90s!!!) to serve as the front bodice, but had to use something else for the back. Fortunately I'd picked up a bunch of solids at a garage sale a number of years ago, and one of the greens was a perfect match. I used more of the solid as the base of the dress and one of the ruffles, and then rounded it out with a gorgeous stripe that I'd bought along with the floral (lo! those many years ago), and a pretty pink print purchased much later. I'm just a wee bit sad that the pretty little pink shoulder buttons fade into the floral print, but not enough to make me change them.
With the next dress I used a lot of a floral print picked up on sale, along with coordinating pink and blue solids.  I like both dresses, but the pink and green is my favorite, simply because I like the fabrics soooo much.

This is a fun pattern, not too hard, and I like that it doesn't have a collar (collars confound me every time, no matter the style). Will definitely be making more of these, in other sizes, as well as the other dress included in the pattern envelope.

Last week I made an apron based on a retro pattern from Sew4Home, to give as a birthday gift. This pattern is not hard but it is time-consuming so I've figured out how to do it differently next time so it doesn't require so much bias tape. Sew4Home is a wonderful site for all kinds of tutorials.

Over the weekend I cut out the pieces for a baby quilt but haven't done much on it yet, so those photos will have to wait until the next What I'm Creating post.


skoots1mom said...

it DOES feel great to create...
and you've done it beautifully!
i'll have to make a folder for those kinds of things to help give myself a pat at the end of the year...
so cute! eager to see that baby quilt

Sharon said...

excuse me, but I did not see a picture of the felt Christmas ornaments. I assume it will be forthcoming? perhaps in a private e-mail? I was playing with felt today and wanted to see how you embellished them.

rita said...

Wow! That is about all I can utter.