It was at this time of year, in my early twenties, when I made the decision to work on one garment at a time. Scattered around my sewing room were unfinished projects either abandoned at some level of difficulty that I needed to overcome or started in the wrong season, the wrong size, the wrong color, or some other not the way it should be way. I was doing a lot of sewing with not much to show for it and while I know it doesn't work for everyone, one at a time has turned out to be a good decision for me. I've stuck with it for thirty years.
Another decision made at some point along the way was to end the year with no unfinished projects so... I finished the bag. Frankly, I just wanted to get it over with. The main section sat on the work table taunting me until I decided to push forward, learn what I could learn about painting and stenciling, and get it done. I did - push through - and get it done - and I learned another lesson too.
For at least twenty years, I have had three cupboards in my laundry room dedicated to paints, dyes, and supplies even though I've done a minimal amount of surface design. I keep saying that I'll get to it and if what "they" say is indeed true, that visualization develops the exact same "muscles" as doing the actual task, then I am - LOL - going to be very good at this at some point ONLY... I put off getting good until too late and several paint pots were dried up and useless. A sad lesson; get off your pretty little behind and get going.
Above, I've mixed a gold, soft fabric paint with a copper, décor paint. I wanted the softening factors of the fabric paint to help the décor paint and that may have worked but more importantly, what a gorgeous color with all those swirls. It reminds me to stop, pay attention, smell the roses, and enjoy the little moments.
I tried this and that and it seemed like I threw everything but the kitchen sink at this little bag and in spite of the effort, I still didn't like it so...
... I pulled this selection of dots out of my supplies. They are left over from a jean jacket made years ago and they worked so well on the jacket that I saved the rest of the dots and have used them on several projects since. Isn't it fabulous when you find some thing that works for you and you can play with it again and again - YES YES YES.
In the picture above, there's a layer of black tulle over everything and the dots are stitched in place with free motion and scribble stitching in a lime thread. As I worked on the bag, it felt like quilting and the phrase when I was a child kept running through my mind and making me laugh. Not that quilting is bad, or that it is childish, but for me it's a thing I used to do and not what I want to do any more. Those feelings confirmed my need to move in different directions. And I just LOVE confirmation.
Once I finished adhering the dots, I decided to be finished with the project. It's folded up in the bits & pieces to be refashioned box and may at some point in the future be useful in a garment, perhaps as a collar, or a pocket. We'll see when but... right now... I'm moving on. One thing I've decided to concentrate on in 2014 is series work, spending more time on each pattern to perfect not only the technical aspects but to push the creative ones. Going through my patterns, I pulled out basic shapes that I thought would be a great "blank canvas" and then counted the patterns and had a good laugh. Forty. Way too many.
Rather than over think the picking process, I decided to start with Katherine Tilton's Vogue 8691 which Steph is now calling The Myrna and...
... the Burda 8213 skirt which has been a familiar shape my entire life as far back as high school. I'll work with these two patterns and see where they go and when I'm ready for a new direction, I'll choose another - perhaps a button up blouse to explore new frontiers or a trouser pant or a fit and flare dress since both of those have also been common shapes in my wardrobe my entire life. Or work on one of my other goals - refashioning or surface design.
Another decision I made about five years ago was to start the new year with an engaging project. That requires paying attention to which projects you've really enjoyed and making one of those. Last year, I worked on Three Rows Of Ruffles. This year, I'm refashioning the silk knit dress above into a cardigan and recording the step-by-step thinking process for a future posting.
In her comment to my last posting, Seraphinalina wrote a new year doesn't mean the end of old problems or that it's all going to be sunshine and roses on the other side, it's just a date. I totally agree and replied that for me, it's a hopeful date like my birthday or the first Tuesday after the labour day weekend. These are dates on which I evaluate how life is going, make corrections, and try to set a direction that will be positive and encouraging for myself and those around me.
Last year's word (actually phrase) for the year was do the work and that's a perfectly wonderful ambition for this year as well especially as I will learn to do the work by doing the work. I'm happy to start 2014 with a creative direction that is full of potential and of my own choosing. Unfortunately, some of the things we'd rather leave behind cross that invisible date line and come along uninvited and unwanted into the new year and there's nothing we can do to prevent the migration. BUT... we can choose our attitude. I've been thinking about what do I choose to take into the new year and here's the list so far:
An ongoing commitment to faith, family, and friends
Routines and habits that nurture
Continued bible and creativity studies
A really BIG Starbucks card
A (mostly) positive attitude
A desire to learn
A desire to build creative relationships
Developing a dream book
3R's - respectful, reliable, responsible
Smelling the roses
Seeking out the silver lining
... and a determination to hold steady. In The Creativity Cure, authors Carrie Barron and Alton Barron write: the relationship between creativity and resilience is reciprocal. If you can hold yourself steady, you can create. If you can create, you can (gather, bend, and hold) yourself, keep yourself steady. In my opinion, we all need creativity and resiliency in life.
What are you taking into the new year?
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - helpful friends
Psalm 90:12 - Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are. Help us to spend them as we should.