Friday, April 22, 2016

Play Through The Boxes

The weather has been unseasonably hot. We've had blue skies for over a week and it's been 17 degrees Celsius at 8:30 in the morning. I wore a sleeveless sun dress one day, sat outside to journal several mornings at Starbucks, and ate breakfast and lunch at the table on the back patio. So weird for April. Wonderful though.

This chest cold is a real "winner". I only started feeling somewhat normal on Tuesday. Last weekend, I was lying on the couch feeling like all kinds of miserable rolled together when the clutter started getting on my nerves. Tidying up led to the decision to move a cabinet from the living room where it held yarn to the kitchen where it could hold dishes, which meant moving the yarn somewhere else, and that had a domino effect that somehow led to spring cleaning the entire house... including the studio. Perhaps not the wisest choice for an "invalid" but it did distract me from feeling miserable.

One of the books I'm working through in my journal time is Rice Freeman-Zachery's Living the Creative Life which is a compilation of answers from fifteen successful artist on questions like where do your ideas come from, how did you get started, and what are your tricks for overcoming blocks? It's an excellent book. I've read it several times and get something different out of it each time.

One of the assignments is around providing a rich, creative childhood for yourself now. It suggested to gather together whatever catches your eye and then to start with whichever one looks the most enticing and play with it. That's the important word: play. Don't work, don't set goals, don't give yourself exercises. Just play.

Two things make that just the perfect assignment for this spring and summer. The first happened one morning about two weeks ago when I woke up with that wiggly, jiggly, YES YES feeling in my stomach and thought today is the day - to start being healthier, losing weight, and toning up in a flavourful, maintainable way. I researched losing weight over fifty and it recommended no more than 1,200 calories. I've counted many things before but not calories and WHAT an eye opener that has been. I had no idea about some of my favourite foods. I'm glad I picked that option and - if 1,200 calories aren't enough - can add a bit when my stomach growls.

I already had this recipe book from Weight Watchers with information about their point system as well as calorie counts. It's been really helpful especially as the meals are quick and easy. It must be the right time in my life for this "get healthy" decision because so far I'm finding it quite doable. I decided to weigh myself once a week but mostly to go by the fit of my clothes since I'm also doing a lot of yard work and getting out to walk... which builds muscle... which weighs more. AND...

... the second reason this is the perfect assignment is the bits & pieces of potential boxes. They are in the "whatever catches your eye" category. Normally when I clean my studio and review these boxes, I assess whether the contents still have potential and if so, fold everything neatly back into the box and continue storing it. Only I've been doing that for years. This time... since I've been encouraged to play... and I won't be sewing fitted clothing any time soon, I've decided to play through the boxes. They're sorted by woven fabrics in the two at the front, then knit fabrics, than jewelry bits, painted bits, and quilted pieces. There is a LOT of potential.

I'm about 3/4 of the way through stitching the first quilt for the guest room. It's tedious work that was messing up my dining room so I moved it back downstairs with the second machine at a separate table facing the window and the boxes of potential. While I'm stitching, I can thinking about turning that robe into cosmetic bags and combining those painted pieces with the beads from that necklace to make a purse. I have more than enough ideas bubbling to get started and I'm excited to see how I grow creatively while working through the piles. I imagine some of the pieces will end up back in the boxes but a lot - hopefully - will get moved forward and this is good.

Have you ever noticed that your creativity has grown? One thing I've really noticed since moving here is that I'm taking more time to come to a decision and oftentimes I'll circle around to the next or the next right answer. I'm also seeing potential where I might not have seen it before. The previous owner left two very old wooden ladders, both with at least one rung that is duct taped together. I leaned the smaller one against the post in the carport to use as a trellis for a trumpet vine and will use the taller one on the side of the house when I plan a vegetable garden. And I'm working on a way to display my house numbers with a piece of garden fencing. We'll see how that goes but it's fun to be creative in a different way.

Thanks for all the suggestions for the frumpy dress. In the end, I took out the sleeves and threw away the rest because the fabric just wasn't worth investing so much time and energy into when the other pieces were labour intensive. I'd rather take them forward differently. Above, I made two woven sections of serger strips for the sleeves and below...

... I made a 6" x 42" section of thread lace using the 1/8" strips cut off by the serger and some soluble stabilizer. The thread lace has a much heavier look than I anticipated and looks fabulous as a collar which may take the garment in a totally new direction.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - my oldest grandson turned three this past week. He's healthy, happy, and one of my favourite people.


  1. Hello Myrna, I have been a long time reader, but not much of a commenter. I can relate to this post. My favorite cookbooks are the Looneyspoons and Crazy Plates books written by two Canadian sisters. Excellent lower fat meals that are delicious. The whole family loves them. They also have a website with lots of free recipes.
    I used to sew all my clothes, but got hooked on quilting in the 90's and stopped for quite awhile. I started again a few years ago, and enjoy reading your posts on creating your clothing -I used to do things like this in my teens and 20's but it got lost in the years that my kids were at home. Now I can start again.
    Best of luck with the lifestyle changes.
    Barb from Prince George.

  2. At this stage of my life (retired medical professional) I find myself starting several projects, going in more than one direction, excited about each one, and not accomplishing much. Drives me nuts. I try to stay within a comfort zone mostly because my sewing time is limited. My family and friend responsibilities are significant so I cherish each block of time that I can set aside to work on a project. That said, I admire your persistence at this new path. Having such creative freedom will surely pay off in the end to help you find your best direction. Hopefully you will feel better soon. I had an upper respiratory bug right before Christmas and quite honestly it took a good 6 to 7 weeks to recover. Warm Spring air will surely help. Best of luck.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.