Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Spark of Inspiration - Item # 4

I love everything about this book.

The story is delightful.
The illustrations are peaceful.
And it's messages....
the joy found in crafting, 
the importance of friendship, 
and the power of a smile....
the messages are magnificent!

It continually amazes me that a book so small in size can be so big in inspiration.

I first wrote about M. B. Goffstein's  Goldie the Dollmaker several years ago 
when I hosted it as book of the month for January. Of all the books I featured that year
this one definitely sparks the most joy for me when I hold it in my hands.

Goldie herself has become a friend of sorts.
I think about her when I craft my own little dolls.
During the construction,

the painting,

and especially when I gather a batch of completed lovies 
 together on the worktable.

I remember her with each Pick-a-Lily I make up...

...and with every petite Pinelope.

She even lent me a helping hand in my most recent project.
It's auction time at the preschool again and I wanted to donate something 
that had as much love put into it as I receive when I walk 
through those doors every day.

Another dear friend 
(from real life, not the pages of a book mind you)
clued me in on a delightful Moda panel by Stacy Iest Hsu.

It featured Little Red Riding Hood, an admiring wolf, and the sweetest 
color combinations you could ever hope to work with.

The makings for a mini quilt and pillow were also included 
to which I added a few extras of my own.

I made a few adaptations,

bestowed a few embellishments,

and in general mixed things up a bit.

Dressing Lil' Red was the most fun of all!
Two shiny buttons and a pom pom collar,

a cozy wood walking cape, 

and a tiny pair of red mary janes of which I myself am most envious.

Her quilt was reassembled as was....

a companion comforter for Mr. Wolf.

All could have been said and done except for the fact that I had some leftover 
scraps and a snippet of an idea I wanted to try out.

What if I made a teeny tiny Lil' Red?

She could have a flouncy skirt...

....and a pincushion of her very own.

Of course a cape would be required,

as would some bitty blossoms that Lil' Red could pick for grandma.
I'm pretty sure Goldie would approve...mostly because I had so much fun in the process!

The love of and attention to each action...
be it a cut of wood, a paint stroke, or a tiny stitch...
always brings peace of mind.

Sharing creations with others however...
that is pure joy!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Dolly's Bed and Lily Red - Spark Joy Items #2 and #3

 Once upon a time I imagined myself stitching up an army of aprons, 
fashioning more than a few frocks, 
and queuing up quite a number of quilts. 

I purchased a Featherweight 221 for sewing fine seams and soon after began  
collecting threads and fabrics in every color of the rainbow.

Rotary cutters.

and check!

 Unfortunately, while I could envisioned the piecing process,

...the completed projects,

...and even the way they would fit into my daily life, 
the actual practice of producing these creations was a struggle.

It wasn't the Featherweight, it ran like a dream.
Patterns and instruction books were readily available and my technical 
skills were able to perform the directions I found in them. I had every supply needed and 
an ever growing stash of fabric. Something, however, was definitely missing.

And then.....

...she arrived.
I named her Lily Red.

Measuring in at a mere four inches I would have never guessed what an enormous influence 
she would have on my creative aspirations.  

Suddenly the projects were practically creating themselves.
Aprons, frocks, and quilts were being produced, only on a much, much
smaller scale than I first imagined.

As I concentrated on outfitting Lily Red's world I soon discovered
a passion for hand sewing, a love of all things tiny, and a desire to be more
playful in the creative endeavours I took on.

I wanted to have fun.
And so I do!

 Except, unfortunately, when remnants of supplies from 
those long ago ambitions cross my path.
What a killjoy that is!

A stack of quilts by my hand will probably never reside in our linen closet 
so why do I still have yard after yard of fabric stashed away for the backings of them?
 A couple years ago I did start to scale back a bit...if I had eight yards of a print I would part 
with half, keeping the rest just in case I ever decided to make 
a frock or some such wearable with it. 

So while Lily Red and her little bed can stay, perhaps it's 
time to revisit my scale back process. The chances of me actually whipping 
up a dress or two in the near future are slim to none, especially if a zipper is involved. 
Putting zippers in makes me want to rip my hair out! 

...strange I've held onto a pile of zippers then isn't it?
They spark something but it certainly isn't joy!!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Spark of an Idea and Item Number #1 - My Thimble

Look what fell into my hands the other day. 
It was delivered via a kindhearted and kindred soul I have luckily crossed paths with.
Funny thing is, it was exactly one year ago that I had a similar thing happen 
with Marie Kondo's first book, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up."

While reading that first book I was truly inspired to declutter my way to peace and serenity. 
By year's end, however, it was apparent that not much progress had been made.
Trouble was, no matter how much I organized and tidied I had failed to grasp the idea
that a substantial number of material possessions needed to

Not to the basement, or the attic, or to a nifty storage container.
Nowhere they could easily be retrieved and reinstated into my day to day.
And definitely not given "just in case" or "maybe someday" justifications.

Remember this from last time?
 This is what I need to do.
 Thank you Joshua Becker!

And this is going to help me.
(Notice it's a library book....that means I have no choice but to get it out of here when I'm done reading it!)

Marie Kondo sets the best criteria for knowing what to get rid of...
determine those items that bring you joy 
ditch the rest.

How do you know if an item "sparks joy?"
Well first off you hold it.
You see how it makes you feel.
What are its' ins and outs?

It's ups and downs?

This is my thimble. 

It fits my finger perfectly.
It used to float around in an old tin of buttons, I remember seeing it there when I was little.
Without it my finger suffers at the end of a needle and so it serves a function.
In the summer it tends to get sticky but in winter it spins in circles.
Wearing it means I am doing something fun.
It brings me joy.

I'll be keeping this thimble.
I had a fitting session with the rest and found only one other that fit me as well. 
It doesn't have the memories this one does so I declared it to be my travel thimble since losing it would not bring heartache.

All of the others went to the supply bin to turn into thimble pincushions.
I even flattened the tips with a hammer so there would be no take backs on the decision!

And one more thing....
thinking about my thimble made me realize how much I enjoy the time spent wearing it and making things. I wanted more of that and less finger surfing on the phone so I disposed of every single unnecessary app on it. I guess that phone is not so smart now is it!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Crafting or Crippling?

I got a "smart" phone awhile back.
It was awesome.
The internet was literally at my fingertips.

In two shakes of a lamb's tail I could acquire recipe details pertaining to 
edible greenery for Christmas cookie plates.

Thanks to Pinterest (and Ally Egass) I could mastermind the perfect holiday favors...

...right down to their clustered basket presentation.

I even discovered the most amazing process to track anything and everything in your life...

It was quite the rabbit hole I traveled down in my obsession to transfer every paper snippet in sight...

...onto the pages of a new moleskin.

By the time I finally resurfaced it was to discover  I was   
sitting in the same old chair,
looking at the same old walls,
and feeling very...

Luckily some wise words of wake up by Joshua Becker came my way
and culminated with this quote.

"The first step in crafting the life you want 
is to get rid of everything you don’t."

This was huge.
In so many ways.

Sadly, my first instinct was to make a list of everything I didn't want.
A bullet list.
In my bullet journal.

somewhere in Becker's post 
I recalled a bit about getting up and living.
So instead I turned off the phone,
closed the journal,
and picked up a brush.

I'd lived with those "Dewy Twig" green walls for fifteen years.
Another day with them was something I truly didn't want.

No more peering through the looking glass,
wishing for a life lived in a Pinterest board.
I'll make my own.

Culling and curating by instinct rather than instruction... create a home...

...and craft a life.