My mind is quite the fertile place. I’m not bragging – not everything that comes outta there is worth sharing, but my brain meats love to chew on a notion or a problem until a fully formed idea or solution pops out. Unfortunately, sometimes I forget that I’ve already solved said problem or solidified said idea, and that’s when I start to obsess. I thought I’d help myself by carrying little notebooks, writing down thoughts about potential projects so that I wouldn’t forget that I’d already thunk them once. I think. Except I didn’t realize I’d have such a difficult time deciphering my own spazzy notes. One note reads, bnd lng edg, bnd shrt edg, sw ins o, bnd w lng sd o, more contrast? !!! nd to mk intrfc sm than fab
Seriously. What the hell, Kat?
The only part of that note that means a thing to me is the three exclamation points – I was obviously *quite* excited about this innovation. The rest is suspect. Something about edges, interfacing, fabric, blah blah blah. Who knows? Another note reads, rvrs appliqué!!! Again, quite excited, and just as useless, because I have no idea what project warranted reverse appliqué. Sigh.
I try to make my notes a little more clear these days; I try to give them titles; I try to give them drawings. And that’s been working out well, because I make these notes during waking hours. But sometimes inspiration strikes me in the middle of the night (or, as was the case last night, several times) and when I wake up with the PERFECT idea there’s no reason to write anything down. Why? Because the “ideas” that spring from sleep are usually completely jacked up and impossible to create.
Like this owl pillow I’ve been asked to make (woo, custom request! woo!) I’ve been arranging and rearranging felt and roving and fabric and floss in my head for DAYS. I’ll need to engineer the layers of the owl properly, and there is no do-over – I don’t have enough felt! I went to bed ruminating on the problem, and woke up a few times with the silliest of ideas, none of which I’ll share here (all because I once thought I’d dreamed up the perfect movie plot – it involved two kids, a dinosaur, and time travel and made no sense the next morning.) Foggy and grumpy, I went to work and hoped for an epiphany. Because my drab cubicle is where creativity goes to die, I had no such epiphany. I did, however, realize that my design and aesthetic will very likely result in a cute little pillow, regardless of which particular combination of elements I use.
Why can’t everything be this easy?
Well, if I could stop at one (which I will, but not for the lack of flaws) I’d offer up this: I’m more afraid of success than I am of failure. Failure’s kinda easy, actually, and doesn’t stink so much when you have a network of people who are more than willing to tell you how much it’s not your fault that things went wrong. The thing about failure is that it doesn’t take much effort to accomplish it. Success, on the other hand, happens to take quite of bit of work, and time, and sometimes talent. And money. Once I succeed at something, I realize I’m totally screwed. I want nothing more than to figure out what laurels are, and if they’re comfy enough, rest on them. I’m totally okay with the idea of being a one-hit wonder but suddenly it seems like it’s not up to me.
I’ve had a lot of awesome things go down lately (like my pillow being featured on Ismoyo’s blog!) that maybe might kinda sorta indicate that good things are happening for me, the kind of good things that lead to the dreaded success that will keep me from being lazy and unproductive. The kind of things that actually encourage me to get up off my butt and head into the labs and work until I smell like an exotic cheese.
I’d smell like an exotic cheese if it meant I got to do what I love every day. I might not have many friends if I go around smelling like cheese, but I’m thinking my minions wouldn’t mind so much.
It’s a real indication of how busy I am when the ol’ blog doesn’t get updated. Lots of things going on lately: needlefelting demos at Paste , etsy sales, designing new items, and preparing for my upcoming needlefelting class (also at Paste, on 8/4.) It’s been awhile since I’ve taught anything, and I’ve never taught needlefelting but I think it should be fun – just need to get some people signed up!
In the meantime, the labs are an absolute disaster – it’s like a Hobby Lobby vomited in there, but somehow I’ve been managing to work around the scraps of fabric and felt, stray threads, and escapee seed beads. I know that I really should take a few hours and get everything straightened up but it’s more fun to just keep making messes. What bothers me more about the labs are the stark white walls that surround me. I can’t tolerate a white wall very well; I just don’t see the point when there are so many colors in the world that I’d rather look at. As much as I’d love to paint, the thought of emptying that room is absolutely unbearable. And when I think about how many things I could get made during the time I’d spend painting, it just seems silly.
Speaking of, the next project I’m going to attempt is a coin purse with a kiss-lock frame. I love kiss-lock frames; they remind me of the coin purses my mom used to carry when I was younger. She didn’t carry any cash in hers though – her coin purses existed solely for the purpose of transporting her cigarettes, lighter, and various shopping lists in style. I found a vintage wool plaid skirt in a Goodwill that I’m going to use for the outer fabric, and I’ll probably add some needlefelting for embellishment. I’ll post pictures – WIN or FAIL – when I’m done!
She’s in my head, that’s why. I can’t stop listening to her. And she’s getting to be pretty annoying, what with all this second-guessing and doubting and wondering. Bah.
Maybe it’s because it’s Sunday night, a Sunday after a whirlwindy kinda week in which I spent a lot of time in the lab. Just making stuff left and right, and feeling pretty good about it. But I told myself I could take today off, even though I shouldn’t have, and now I’m regretting it. When I’m actually making the stuff I like, I have zero time to sit and wonder if it’s useless or ugly or just stupid. I’m too busy making sure my stitches are even and my color combos are pleasing and what have you. But when I’m merely thinking about making stuff….oh no. That’s when I have entirely too much time to think, “Who wants this crap?” and “What’s the point?”
Well, I had about enough of that so I hurried my heinie into the lab for a couple hours and now I feel a bit better. The worst that can happen is that I end up with 30 sweet little felt coin purses (like this one.)
And if that happens, well…you know what you’re getting for Christmas this year!
Let’s get this straight: I hate drafting patterns, and I hate making prototypes. Drafting patterns feels like I’m reinventing the wheel (which is actually probably easier) and making prototypes feels like an enormous waste of time. I’ve an idea for an iPhone sleeve ever since my pal Amy showed me what she was using for hers, and I finally had time tonight to sit down and try to figure it out.
I picked out two coordinating fabrics; I laminated one of them with iron-on vinyl (totally badass, and I can’t wait to use it again, except next time in a WIN! situation), and fused them together with double-sided interfacing, so the thing would have a bit of substance. I measured, I cut, I fused, and then I was kind of stumped. And it’s embarrassing, because this shouldn’t be this difficult – I’m basically making a pillowcase for a phone, and a pillowcase is often a first project for beginning sewists (ooh, do I like that word? Sewists? Not sure, but “sewers” looks like the stinky underground things, and “seamsters” makes me think I’m gonna break your kneecaps.)
In short, I had too many variables packed into such a tiny project and was too excited to sew to really allow myself time to think it through. So, this is what I ended up with. The vinyl laminate got completely distressed because I had to turn the thing inside out, but actually, that’s kind of cool (win!) But I mis-measured, so, this actually turned out to be a nice little case for my old RAZR (also useless.)
The only really positive thing here is that instead of being discouraged, like I usually am after a hefty fail, I feel challenged and kind of excited to try it again. And maybe next time I’ll measure for my laptop, and it’ll actually be the right size for the iPhone. Maybe.
Wouldn’t I love for that to be the case?
It’s more like, I do a couple things pretty well, a lot of things better than some, and few things pretty terribly but I don’t care because I enjoy doing them so much. Singing and dancing would fall into that category, but alas, no one pays me to do those things.
So the curse that I’m referring to is really just the beauty of having so many things to do. Seems as though the top two priorities lately are the etsy store and my band, Midtown Thieves. Both endeavors are coming along nicely – 9 sales in my etsy shop in two days! Yeah! And mixing is just about complete on our forthcoming EP…needless to say, I need more time in the day. Who doesn’t?
A day that I don’t make something, or play some music, is a day wasted. I hate wasting days. And with my parents both spending time in the hospital recently, I’m reminded that we don’t know exactly how many days we have to begin with. I know one thing, though – if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I feel sorry for – and then envious of – whoever lays claim to the crap in my craft room!
Maybe if I made stuff out of crap just lying around my house (or the dumpster behind my apartment), then I’d feel like I had a little more freedom to make mistakes. But oh, no – I have consistently chosen to dabble in pricey hobbies, including my current love of wool and felt. I’ve considered raising my own sheep ’cause I think it’d be cheaper but I doubt my landlord would like that, plus I’m really lazy. So I order supplies a little at a time, and when they arrive, I’m torn. I want to start making stuff immediately BUT I know that as soon as I tear into it, I might as well be working with actual dollar bills. Scares me, especially when I’m trying new projects. And I do NOT have the patience to make mock-ups of whatever it is I’m trying to create.
I’m better about taking the risk these days, but when a project fails…ugh. It’s a double whammy – a FAIL and a waste of money. There was one such project taunting me in the lab – it wasn’t horrible but the craftsmanship was not up to par. I knew I’d never even give it away let alone try to sell it, yet I let it sit there so I could stare at it and be reminded that I failed. So tonight, I did something I’d never really done before – I reclaimed a project. I took the thing apart, salvaged what fabric I could, and discarded the rest. And it felt really empowering, and bonus! I could now say I use (some) recycled material!
So I sat working on my new project with my salvaged fabric and thought, Did I really go through all that trouble just to reclaim a 3″ square of fabric? You bet your ass I did. ‘Cause that’s how I roll (when I’m not being neurotic and weird, which is nearly all of the time.)