So I’ve got this really nice creative space to work in now, and…I’ve hardly stepped foot in it. Have I mentioned that I’ve got two high school seniors at home?
Spending time alone making things is good therapy for me. Focusing on creating keeps my brain from hamster-wheeling about things that do not benefit from pointless mind-spinning (Ack! I’ve got two seniors! How did that happen? What will their lives be like next fall? Where are the kids going to be living? How are we going to finance college? How did this happen so fast? What is my life going to look like now? What do I want it to look like? How did I get this old? Am I old?…), and time away from people recharges my batteries. (Learning about introversion changed my life. I suddenly understood why I felt exhausted so much of the time.) I’ve realized that when I don’t get any of this kind of time, I get really cranky.
The problem with getting only small bits of time for projects, of course, is that it can be hard to keep momentum going and to get anything finished, and that creates frustration. I get bugged because there are so many things I’d like to do, but I feel like I should limit myself to just one project (so that I can have hope of finishing something). Ideas for other things slip away from me before I can even capture them, creating a different kind of frustration. I start having difficulty choosing one to settle on, and fritter away what little time I have dinking around on nothing much of anything.
I’ve been realizing that it can be helpful to think of “create” in slightly different terms and to embrace the small project. There are a few I’ve done in the last few weeks that fall into this category.
Sewing Notions Holder
Previously, my sewing notions have been both stuffed into a plastic bin with drawers and stashed in other places because the drawers weren’t big enough. As I put my studio together, I wanted something more functional. On a recent trip to The ReBuilding Center with Cane, I found a drawer with dividers in it. I saw an instant organizer for thread and pins and scissors and such:
It was missing a knob, but I found a spare one in a box of knobs and handles in our garage. Not needed at all for function, but it’s cute.
Normally I wouldn’t even think of this as a creative project, but it kinda was. I had to figure out where to put things. I found the mug for the fabric markers and decided how to use the spaces. I screwed the knob to the drawer just to make it a little more aesthetically pleasing. I was originally going to hang it on the wall, but then I decided I didn’t want to put more holes in it, and I like it resting as a shelf on top of my work table.
Nope, I didn’t do anything fancy or awesome. No tricky paint jobs or lining the back with decorative paper or anything, really, than propping it up on the table and filling it. But it’s now more functional and it’s visually pleasing (to me). Good enough.
I wrote earlier about covering composition books, and last week I branched out to a different kind of notebook:
I had some ideas for doing something more creative than simply affixing a piece of fabric to the cover, but I didn’t have time to play with any of those ideas. In the interest of getting something fiinished, I decided to let the fabric stand alone. Because, honestly? I like the fabric by itself just fine, especially on the back cover:
This fabric was a remnant from Bolt, a wonderful local fabric boutique. I bought it to cover a chair seat cushion, but it wasn’t right. So, now some of it is a notebook cover. I might play around with attaching a tie to it:
I knocked this off on a day when I just needed a small win. I needed a little time in my studio by myself, puttering with fabric, and getting something to go right. I don’t even know what I’m going to do with this little notebook. It wasn’t really about the notebook–which is why I’m calling this one good just as it is.
Coffee cup Planters
I’ve got a bit of a problem with vintage kitchenware. I love old plates and bowls and mugs. I don’t have complete sets of anything because I could never settle on just one pattern. We have a random collection of things. Still, I don’t buy everything I love. (There’s too much!) What I do bring in has to be functional and fit with the other things we already have.
Over winter break, I found a sweet little trio of 70’s coffee cups. Normally, they are the kind of thing I would admire and then put back on the shelf. They are smaller than we like for coffee and tea. But they were just so cute, I decided I would get them and fill them with…something awesome.
…And they sat around our kitchen for well over a month with nothing awesome in them. Until I finally went out and got some little succulents for them:
This is not the most original project. (Do a Google image search for “succulents in coffee cups” and you’ll see just what I mean.)
It has also been a bit of a fail because one of them died almost immediately.
It went from this…
Nonetheless, I’m feeling inordinately pleased with these, despite the dead plant and lack of originality. Projects like these should count in our creative ledgers. I had to find time to get to the plant store, select the plants, and then get them into the little cups. Obviously, there’s some art to selecting the right plant (because one so clearly wasn’t).
I don’t have a good photo of these on my kitchen window sill (because the back light makes for a fairly terrible one), but that’s where they are. They fit perfectly there, and they please me every time I’m doing dishes. That’s definitely worth something.
So, I got nothing ground-breaking or earth-shaking to share here today, other than perhaps this little bit of encouragement:
Maybe you’re doing more than you think you are.
Maybe you should give yourself more credit than you do.
Maybe what you’re getting done is plenty.