Friday, January 14, 2011

A Little Something Every Day

Last year, instead of making New Year's resolutions I knew I wouldn't keep, I resolved to do something creative every day. I'm going to try it again this year. For years now, I noticed that I feel calmer, happier and just plain better when I'm creating something. When life gets stressful, it's even more important to do things that make yourself feel good. I'd done cross stitch, needlework and other crafts before I began to quilt and even then the link between feeling good and making things was evident.

Who wouldn't feel good about making these for a soon-to-be-born baby girl?? Right after this is when it got a lot harder to find time to be creative, LOL. The "baby" is now 17 and I can't bear to throw away her onesies I cross stitched . . . . Must have something to do with the upcoming empty-nest I'm facing.

But it gets away from you sometimes, doesn't it? I often try to remember after I finish writing a book and I'm drained and don't think I have any more good ideas in me that it takes a little self-nurturing for awhile to get going again. And I know from experience that when I stop creating,  it's even harder to be creative when I get back to it.

In order to be creative, you have to create.

Does that make sense? The key for me I've learned is that, in order to be creative,  I always  need to be making something, if not every day, then pretty often. I know all of you are thinking: "Hah! Wonder how long she can keep THAT up??"

This year my "Daily" Creative Challenge won't always be a quilt or necessarily quilting-related or maybe not even Daily.  Some days I know I won't have time for much. Today for instance, I have a headache, so there's nothing crafty going on. Some days I just plan to write something creative on the blog (Well, some people  think it's creative . . .). Some days I'll try to get creative with my camera (my family loves when I do that - "Hide, she's coming!"). Or make myself a pair of earrings or a necklace . . .

 . . . or a card out of my lovely scrapbooking paper. And get back to Dear Jane. Or those cross stitch projects I promised myself I'd do this year.  I also enjoy being creative when I cook, especially if I don't have all the ingredients called for in a recipe, LOL. A little of this, a little of that and . . . voila!

No meat in the freezer, so last night it was a Vegetable Stew. Still yum.

To me, all of these count as creative efforts and can really get the juices flowing. Before you know it, I'm looking through my fabric and getting inspired again.

For years, I never thought I was creative and used to wish that I could be as creative as some people. What I did was just play, it wasn't creativity. A musical friend opened my eyes when he told me "Of course you're creative. You admire creative people and love creative things so much - you're just scared to try." I paid attention to that and started looking for small ways to be creative myself and tried not to think or worry so much about failing at what I tried to create. Pretty soon it began to work; he was right. The more I tried to be creative, the better I got at it.

I now think creativity is something that can nurtured and developed in everyone. So if you don't think you're even a bit creative, I'll just bet you are. It seems to me that sometimes what you focus on grows. And that can be good or bad. Try changing your mental attitude to be more positive and constructive, as my husband tells me when I doubt myself. Sounds easy and cliched, and it takes practice, but it works.

I've also learned that if I don't set aside the time and commit to making a little something almost every day, I lose some of that creative urge.  So, if you delay because you think you don't have enough time, try for just 10 or 15 minutes. It's amazing how much you can get into something in a short period of time. If I make even just one little block every day, I'll have a quilt in no time at all! Lately, when I have a few minutes, I've been making a few more little nine-patch blocks from my 1 1/4" scraps for this huge quilt with small pieces that I'm going to create someday . . .  . The little blocks finish at 2 1/4".

I love making small, simple quilts because there's such an immediate satisfaction when you actually finish a project quickly.

Even simple squares can be cute.

If you're a beginning quilter, try not to be overly critical of yourself and try not to worry too much about what others may think. Not everything you create will be perfect and that's okay. It's the process and the practice that are important. Not every quilt I make is fantastic (oh no!). Sometimes I fail at color or technique. But, believe me - it's a process and a journey and you just have to keep at it. Make a little something every day.


Diane H said...

Thank you so much for such a lovely post. It is up to us to feed our creativity regularly
as it feeds our souls and gives us peace.

Sue said...

This is a most wonderful post and I can so relate to that notion that I don't often feel like I'm a creative person, but love created things! HA!

It is true that when we keep our hands busy with something we are at more peace and there is a calm about us.

You just hit the nail on the head with your thoughts today. I loved this post and thank you very much.

So excited to receive your new book! It's got to be coming out soon!!


Merilyn said...

Your little 2 1/4" 9-patch blocks are going to be spectacular in a quilt. Making just a few every once in a while does not seem like a huge task, but collectively....well that's another thing... Can't wait to see what you eventually do create with them.

Jocelyn said...

Wow that is the best post I've read in a long time. And I believe you are right. We are all afraid to take that creative step. I know I am always second guessing myself. I don't feel creative, but I would LOVE to be creative. Thanks for the encouragement.

Chris said...

Wow - just what I needed when I needed it. I am sure there is no accident in that. I have enjoyed your books so much - they give us permission to be creative.

Pam said...

Wonderful post! I also try to be creative at all sorts of household tasks, finding that one creative endeavor (perhaps a meal!) leads to another (hopefully something with fabric!)

Many blessings,
Pam in TN

Linda in NC said...

Thank you for the thoughtful, encouraging post. You are so right that the more you're creative, the more creative you are. Thanks for the reminder that creativity comes in many guises.

marian said...

wise words indeed spoken by your friend. it rings true for me. i'm truly at my happiest when i'm creating and isn't it amazing how you lose track of all time. it also stops me from munching, which is an added bonus lol!
btw i love your sweet beads with the chinese coin..verry nice! and those little nine patch blocks are adorable :))

Connie204 said...

Your post makes me want to jump into doing something besides dishes (my dishwasher just broke) or laundry. Your posts are always a jump start. Connie204

Mary said...

I think this is the best post I've ever read because it's so true! I've lived it for years - it makes absolutely perfect sense.

I love your little quilt-to-be.

Gloria J W said...

There you go Kathleen.. you've just been creative. What a wonderful blog read. I've been absent from my blog for 12 months and I must get back, as I enjoy reading others.
Rainbow smiles:]

Nyla said...

Thanks so much for the inspirational post! Such good advise, I'm planning on taking it!!

irishgirlsews said...

Your are so right about "to be creative you need to create". I work in a quilt shop and you can't believe the gals that come in and say I don't have time to do what I really want to do (which is quilting), and I always say "YOU have to make the time". Most of the gals are either retired or semi retired, its truly a choice and an attitude about doing things with our hands. I too enjoy the journey more than the finished product, once I'm done I could give everything away, I just love the doing of it. Does that make sense?? I don't sew for anyone's approval other than my own,I learned that a long time ago, to sew for me, to make ME happy, then everytime I think or look at the quilt, or dress or purse....I'm happy! Quilting, especially hand quilting connects me to my Grandma and mom and sister, it gives me time to reflect and enjoy the process. Thanks for the great creative blog, love all that you do.

Quiltn Mama said...

My "little something" today turned out to be sewing lesson #1 for my 11 y/o son and 6 y/o daughter. They had a blast designing their quilt top and my son actually sewed (if his lead foot is any indication, we all better get off the road when he starts driving). You are so right when you say a little everyday. I don't know how it's possible, but I get more done in bits and pieces than if I sit for one long spell!

lovetosew said...

Thanks for a wonderful post! You are so right about everything, and I have discovered also, how much happier I am, and how much better I feel, when I am working on something creative every day, where possible. It is so nice to see these thoughts echoed and shared in your eloquent writing!
I hope you are feeling well, as this New Year begins.

Shasta Matova said...

I wholeheartedly agree with this. There was a Create Something Everyday month, and for a whole month, I tried to do something creative every day. I skipped a few days, but for the most part, really enjoyed the process. I think it is a great idea take that concept year around.

Karen said...

Lovely post! A little something everyday goes a long way.

Marge said...

Thanks You for writing on being creative. Most people are very creative, You just need to find your nitch and try not to be so critical of yourself. In my case I didn't quilt for years because I thought all blocks had to match perfectly. I never got past the first block. Then I started noticing quilts and in every quilt there is imperfection so I started quilting. I got a lot better with each quilt and now I try to share my hobby and teach other that quilting is not perfection.

Kathleen Tracy said...

Good for you, Marge. My quilts will not win any prizes, LOL.

Debbie said...

Thank you for a wonderful post. To be creative each day is not does not need be a craft could be dinner or helping someone choose paint colors or rearranging a room. My quilts/sewing projects may not win prizes but my family and friends enjoy them. Each time I make things for charity I feel creative and good.


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