Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Collage Answered...

One of the coaches I approached answered with a very nicely worded email that basically said - paraphrased by me - I'm really busy. I don't think you have what it takes. I don't want to work with you. I've learned when I get these types of responses to stop and, instead of wallowing in ouch, look at what it is that person is seeing that I'm not feeling.

Do I have what it takes? In the past thirty years, I've taught locally, on-line, and across North America. I have spoken to groups from 5 to 50 to 500. I've designed a line of patterns, written a regular column, published four books, self published one book, and developed and taught over two dozen workshops. I've studied design and fit and fashion at numerous levels from personal to international and I've maintained a blog for almost as long as blogging has been around SO... yes I have what it takes. OR...

... more realistically speaking, I had what it takes. Do I have it now? While introducing myself, I told the coach about my priorities of work-life balance, continuing to develop my own creativity, and putting relationships first. These are such vital priorities now because they've been areas of difficulty in the past.

For the past few weeks, I've been thinking about making a collage so when my friend Francine was here this weekend, we both made one. My question was what does the next year hold? The collage answered first with an overall impression of calm and making a home and then with more specific details.

How I live my life is my choice. That's a simple fact however, simple and easy are not at all the same thing and very often something that is both simple and meaningful is also a lot of hard work. Simple. Not easy.

The older I get, the more important it is to me to live an authentic life and not one that is dictated by what "they" say. Why should I wear yellow if I don't like yellow or tights when they make me look like a lollipop or tiny jewelry when I prefer statement necklaces or paint my house muted colours when I like bold ones or... or... or... I have found a huge amount of freedom in ignoring the trends and doing what works for me. It's way more fun. And makes me eccentric. One day - since I'm getting older - I'll be an eccentric old lady and that has a delightful ring.

In 2017, my goal was to work toward holistic health meaning emotional, spiritual, physical, relational, and financial health as well as abundant creativity. I've since realized that this will be a lifetime goal and that at any given time I'll be working more on one area than another. The phrase The Art of Piecing speaks to me about combining together all the ingredients that maintain my priorities and fill out my life. Every time I sift and sort my home or my studio, I am picking through the pieces and determining what no longer works for me and what needs to be added. Each day I craft my existence.

Master the money issue is a really Really REALLY important phrase especially as it doesn't appear to fit with the rest of the collage. I am not terrible with money nor am I hugely in debt yet I'm also not amazing with money and I have debt that I'd rather not. I'm an intelligent, mature, responsible, reliable woman and I know I can do better in this area. I also believe that what I see in the collage is God's answer to my prayers about guidance and future direction and it is entirely possible that if I do not become far more proactive in this area, I will miss out on some of blessing and adventure that is meant to be mine. We made the collages on Friday and later that afternoon, I found Gail Vaz-Oxlade's book Debt-Free Forever on the bargain table at a local bookstore. I call that guidance too.

Working on The Outfit Project is really exciting for me. I can see that I am beginning to find my voice with creative everyday clothing and that I'm taking learning and applying it specifically to who I am and what I want which IS to life fully, to live authentically, to develop my personal style, to be who I am now and who I am becoming, to make a statement whether with a necklace or a comment, and to make it - life - memorable. The collage is covered with phrases like these. It was a bit of a surprise. I didn't realize how much I was feeling called to savor life more fully.

This picture of the woman's back will definitely mean different things to different people. To me, it exudes calm and confidence and a peaceful resting of the soul which is what I also associate with rocking chairs and I'm particularly fond of wicker rocking chairs. This one looks very much like the one I bought when I was pregnant with my first child. It has a strong association with hearth, home, and family.

I know I've mentioned previously that food, fitness, and finances are three areas I'm working on and as you can see, they all found their way into the collage. Parking thirty minutes away and walking to and from journal time at Starbucks is helping with fitness. Right after I post this, I'll start on the assignments in Gail's book and work on finances. Food is simple. It's not easy. I need to work out a plan to learn new tricks and retrain my taste buds.

If you'd like to make a collage, here is how I approach it. First, I chose an open and specific question such as what does the next year hold as opposed to am I supposed to be in business. Next, I cut a piece of poster board to the size I want to work with. Having a predesignated size forces me to really pick and choose what images and phrases get to be in the collage because I will have more pictures and phrases than space. After that, I pick about half a dozen magazines whose cover calls to me in some way. For my collage I picked one Oprah, one sewing, two gardening, and three home decor magazines. Then I quickly go through the magazines page by page and pull out anything that appeals to me and after that I go back through what I've pulled out and cut out only the phrase or part of the image that speaks to me. I do not make do. If it's not 100%, I don't keep it.

Once all the phrases and images are ready, I begin to place them on the poster board until I'm happy with what is included and how it is arranged and then I glue the pieces down and start looking for the message. Sometimes there will be an image that insists on being in the collage and you don't know why and there doesn't seem to be space for it. The picture of the dress above was like that. Not only did it want to be included, it wanted to be on the path. I may have an idea of what it means but I'm not sure yet however, I do know from experience that...

... more answers will appear over time as I continue to read the collage. You're probably wondering if I decided if I have what it takes to be in business right now. I believe the answer is a measured yes... IF... it's the business I really want, not a compromise or a capitulation. There is a path designed uniquely for me and  I do not need to manipulate and make it happen because doors will open when they are meant to open and if they are not meant to open, I will find peace with that answer. Until then, I can be calm and confident, focus on making a home, developing my creativity, and living holistically including improving the 3Fs - food, fitness, and finances which appear to be 2018's top priorities.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a fun day making collages with a friend

Friday, January 12, 2018

Still Broken

I have overnight company staying until nine tonight and haven't had a chance to figure out an alternative picture formatting method so... I'll post asap. Hopefully Howard will fix my desktop tomorrow and things will be normal again but if he has to take it away, I can learn a new method - LOL.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a husband who can fix my cars and computers

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

All Words

My computer decided to pack it in last night just as I sat down to write this posting. The tower powered out and won't come back on so I can't access the photos I had ready which makes today's posting all words... written on my notebook. Howard is hoping to fix the computer when he's here on Saturday. I'll figure out a way to get some other photos into Friday's post and show you the stored ones later.

SO.. without pictures...

During my journal time, I read and respond to a daily inspirational reading, a spiritual study, and a creative study. The spiritual study I'm currently working through is Geri Scazzero's book The Emotionally Healthy Woman. The chapter on nine life changing tools includes The Hat of Wisdom and asks the question how can you apply past lessons to a current situation you face today? I think that's a fabulous question, one I wish I'd paid attention to a much younger age when I was circling - what seemed like endlessly - back through the same lessons.

My creativity coaching sessions with Diane were so successful that for the past several months I've been looking for a business coach to help attain some writing and teaching goals. While I've had a wide range of responses from the positive to the negative, in each case the coach was too busy to take me on. When I hit a dead end once or twice I keep trying. When I continuously hit a dead end, I've learned that life will be calmer if I just wait for the next step on the path to unfold.

Perhaps I will eventually have a business coach and perhaps that's not what's meant to happen. Either is okay. The bonus of looking for one has been clearly defining my priorities and goals. The younger me made decisions around business, creativity, and relationships that the current me is not willing to make. There's a verse that keeps running through my head. It's Mark 8:36 which reads what good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you. What could you ever trade your soul for?

Success now does not look at all like success did thirty years ago. Now, success is about maintaining a good work life balance, about  putting my creative development first before sharing with others, and about maintaining healthy relationships. If I have to alter one of these priorities to be a successful in my business goals, then that's not a success I want. I will instead chose to be successful out of business.

I've also learned how important it is to do the things (or not do the things) I want to do (or don't want to do). Several people have told me that blogging is becoming a thing of the past and that if I want to become known and hired as an instructor, I will need to become involved in some form of social media. It's not hard to tell that blogging is shifting magazines about blogging - like Artful Blogging - profile Instagram accounts and when once prolific bloggers haven't posted in months. However... I like blogging and I believe that's a key ingredient in living a healthy life. There are lots of things we have to do; there need to be things we want to do as well and not just for what they will get us.

In the studio, I've been working on the dress to go with the tied together bolero. I cut the front and back pieces of Vogue 1410 and then used three different sizes of flower stencils to create small to large flowers that were spaced further to closer apart from the top to the bottom of the dress. I'm not good at stenciling... yet... but I've did my best with what I knew and the results are good and enough - as good and enough as I can make them. And next time, my good and enough will be even better. I'm more about learning and developing now and not at all about perfection any more. Which doesn't mean sloppy. It means that being more realistic is a whole lot more fun and takes me places I'd never go if I strove only for perfection.

The dress is made using the remainder of the curtain panels. There is nothing precious about this fabric. It's polyester. It's a curtain. In fact, this may be a day dress - as in worn once for a day. Longevity was not the point. The point for me is exploring the potential of The Outfit Project and of each individual starting point and following those ideas down the what if path. When I looked at the panel and thought what if I... that was enough. This is vastly different than how the younger me sewed fashions. That was more about tailoring and couture techniques and the very best of the very best. Now, while I do my best on every stage, I'm less interested in a perfectly produced product and far more interested in a delightfully explored creative path. At one point in the past, I was so burned out that I didn't even know if I liked fabric anymore. That's a place I never want to return to and I'm so grateful that now I'm excited, overflowing with ideas, and enjoying time in the studio. YES YES!

The outfits are for the March Design Outside the Lines Retreat in Ashland, Oregon. The first retreat I went to was in June 2012 and I am only now getting to some of the ideas that started dancing in my head at that time. Not only does it take time to process so much new learning and ways of being creative and put them into action, life keeps doing its up and down, ebb and flow, at the same time. Now, five and a half years later, I feel like I'm finding my voice, that I'm taking those lessons and applying them to how I dress and how I live and how I like to create. I'm thrilled to be working in my studio and creating from that place of exploration and curiosity that first attracted me to creative everyday wear. The journey, the creative process, the fun of making things, is what I now find precious and I'm not willing to lose that for anything.

What creative lessons have you learned in the past that are influencing how you work today?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - lessons learned, priorities

Sunday, January 7, 2018

I Forgot Friday Was Friday

Keep being the beginner. so hone your skills; take your craft seriously; learn what you need to learn' invest in yourself, practice your ass off, keep going, get really really really really good at what you do, but don't lose the fun in the process. Because, like, what's the point of doing all that work then? The only thing you need to do is do the very best you can. Once you've done that, the only other thing that matters is that you enjoy yourself. - You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

Apparently I will not be working on the outfits in a linear process. I have parts of all of them starting as well as more ideas than outfits... which is a very good thing. While sorting the studio, I came across a pair of fuchsia curtain panels I'd bought at Ikea for my bedroom and then decided not to put up. I was about to send them to the thrift store when I realized they'd be great for serging into yarn. Using purple thread toned down the polyester look of the fabric and muted the colour somewhat.

After serging half the curtain, I knit the fronts and the sleeves and then weighed those to get an idea of how much more yarn I'd need for the back. I guessed well - on two meters too much which is better than two meters short although I then made another twelve strips to tie the pieces together.

This detail shot doesn't show the correct colour but you can see how I tied on the neckband. The pattern is the same as the grey one I knit in November although I had to alter the numbers for the change in gauge. With the knotted strips, there are 2 1/2 stitches per inch.

Here you can see the front and back. The back has an angled hemline and slit at center front that isn't showing very well in this image. I intend to do more shaping with it once the dress is finished. The really great thing about this piece is that any shaping is done by tying more knots. Too fun. I made several extra strips and put them in the cupboard I'm using to store the bits & pieces of The Outfit Project.

Today, I'm working on the dress to wear underneath. After tying the bolero together, I realized that this outfit was the perfect one for the tied on hem-line from the Luuka inspiration. I've worked my way through three different patterns before settling on altering Vogue 1410 to have a 3" band around the bottom tied to the upper dress. The back view gives you a better idea of why it'll work. I'll also eliminate the tucks front and back and add darts instead.  For the dress, I intend to stencil the curtain fabric with purple.

I'm reading You are a Badass as the creative portion of my journal time. This author writes with vulnerability and humour about her own personal journey and about how we can be our own worse enemy. I'm really enjoying it. While The Outfit Project is going to take up large portions of the first quarter of this year, I am looking forward to working on some business related goals - like the website, blog, teaching, and writing - this year. In the last posting, I asked what gift would you give yourself this year? This is one of the gifts I'm giving to me - being brace enough and out there enough to explore opportunities to share what I have learned in income producing ways that resonates with me.

I know it's Sunday and not my usual day to post. Howard was here all last week and we slept in and moved slow and generally had a fabulous start to the knew year. And I forgot Friday was Friday.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - It's snowing and snowy days are perfect studio days.