Browsing Category: Creating

Sewing Room Reveal

For a while now I’ve really struggled with my creative needs. The triplets stopped napping soon after Peter was born, and, try as I might, I just haven’t had the time or energy to sit down and write or sew or anything. It sucked; it still sucks. Plain and simple.


One of the big struggles was every time I went to go in our unused dining room to sew, it was a project just to unearth everything. Not to mention that I was using a folding table for my cutting and a gate-leg table for my machine. Less than desired. It made creativity an impossibility.

This past winter we’ve tried to be really intentional about finishing some of the home projects that were put on the back burner after our major renovations. The two major ones were our basement and setting up a sewing room. The basement is still a work in progress, but the sewing room is  done (other than it’s been taken over by plants for the garden).

The Sewing Room Reveal

What I love most about my sewing room is the amount of light it has! Doesn’t matter the time of day, it’s always bright (probably because 3 of the 4 walls have windows). It’s a peaceful and enjoyable room to be in.

So let’s break it down…shall we?

really wanted a peg board in this room. I was so tired of things being in drawers and boxes and never where I could find them. I really wanted it to have a shelf above it too, so that I could store some baskets (that’s my grandmother’s sewing basket up there) and some jars with notions in them.

The peg board gives me a ton of storage for all of my scissors, rulers, tape measures and everything else that I need while sewing.I was all set to buy a counter top at Ikea, but then we found a piece of laminated particle board that we had saved from our old kitchen that was 9′ x 3’…it was perfect!

 

Heavy and strong enough to support the weight of two machines. Matt ripped the board town to 24″ wide and it fits both my serger and my sewing machine perfectly. Now when I’m working on garments I can roll from one machine to the other without having to stop and set things up.

 

I ended up taking some cheap pine edge molding to finish it, so that fabrics don’t snag. We mounted the board to the wall and then built a frame underneath so that it has two legs (we bought them at Lowe’s), so it looks more like a table. The best part was that other than the legs, we had all the materials, even the paint.

My spool holder became a nightmare. I got this as a gift several years ago and just never used it, because there was no place to put it. I ripped the stand off the back of it an hung it on the wall, only to find out that NONE of my spools of thread fit on the dowels. Ahhh!

I had two choices…toss it or cut all the dowels off and re-drill the holes for smaller dowels. I opted for the later.  It took me quite a bit of time, but I managed to fix 81 of the dowels to fit the new spool sizes. It was tedious. But, I’m pleased with how it came out.

The other big project we had in the room was creating me a cutting table. Try as I might a plastic folding table just wasn’t….wait for it…cutting it. My in-laws had a teak table they were looking to get rid of, so we built a base for the top (which was the perfect size, and has a side that I can lift up when I’m working with yards of fabric).

I think we spent about $40 on the wood for the base. We went with the stain-grade pine boards that they sell at Lowe’s. Now I have a place to store the projects I’m working on, as well as the fabrics that I have plans for. I also put one of those magnet strips above, so that I can put my rotary cutter and scissors right were I need them and away from little hands.

The other big obstacle in the room was my ironing board. I had always kept it up, but it was usually in the way. I ended up getting some hooks for the wall and hiding it behind the door. The iron sits on a shelf on my peg board and when I need it I pull them both out.

It’s such a nice space to work in now. I have all the things I need at hand and space to spread out when I’m working on projects. Now I just have to find the time to actually get in there.

Overcoming Creative’s Block

This blogging thing hasn’t been coming easy to me the past few months. I think I feel so far removed from my creativity that I feel as though overcoming creative block is impossible.  I’ve allowed myself to get to the place of “Why am I even trying?!”  Which is absolutely ridiculous, but it’s the truth. I see so few people reading and sharing blogs, see so many who are writing and creating beautiful spaces, that my space seems rather more an eye-sore, than a heart-salve.Overcoming creative block

I tell myself it doesn’t matter if I don’t have perfectly curated graphics and pinnable images. That it isn’t necessary if the words resonant with at least one person. The problem is that I desperately WANT to create that visual beauty in whatever way it is birthed. I take pictures and look at them and wait and ruminate (did you know that you should wait before sharing a picture on INSTA-gram? That it’s better to really be intentional about the photo and what you say?) and then convince myself no one wants to see this, that it’s not as good as I want it to be, so why bother. Of course, this has also bled over into my quilting as well.

Can you tell that sometimes most times I am my own worst enemy and critic?

But who isn’t?! We all are. I’d love to tell you that I figured out the fail proof way of being free in one’s creativity without feeling like a failure or that it’s good, but not nearly good enough. Or that good enough is good ENOUGH. I don’t. I don’t know how. I do know that it takes a bit less moaning and groaning and bit a more just doing it. Just putting fingers to the keys, blades to the fabric, and needles to the thread: Letting the words and fabric fall where they may.

Sometimes the hardest part of starting is getting started.

That’s where I feel I am.

I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic (READ IT if you consider yourself a creative of any sort). Unfortunately, I had a library copy that I couldn’t mark up, because there was so much delicious goodness in that book (seriously, just google quotes from the book)! So much that just spoke to my struggling creative soul, and ALL OF IT telling me to just get over it, over myself, and just do a little bit, just START! That if I don’t even do that, then I’m doing myself and the world a disservice by not delving into my God-given creativity.

The bottom line: I need to get over what I expect my writing should look like; I need to get over feeling as though, if I can’t do “perfection” then I shouldn’t try; I need to get over this hurdle and just write. That’s what I need to do. I need to convince myself that I am a writer, even if I don’t have any “published” works. That I don’t need to have a certain pen and paper or laptop (even though I function much better when I’m not distracted by things that are seriously bugging me). That I can just string words together and let them exist for now, maybe to be edited…maybe not.

I know I’m not the only one struggling with this, because if I was Big Magic wouldn’t be as popular a book as it is, and there wouldn’t be a plethora of writing groups on facebook: Obviously, a lot of people struggle with their creativity. Who’s with me?! Who’s struggling to creating, whether it be with words, paints, fabrics or something else. I know I’m not alone.

Finding Time to Have Fun

Finding Time to Have Fun When There is Just so Much to Do! @JessicaMWhite.com

Even before kids people would ask me how I managed to find the time to do things. After kids, they REALLY wanted to know how I managed to “do it all”. Not just the menial day-to-day that we ALL have to do, but the other things that are the fluff of life: Reading, blogging, quilting etc.

Finding Time to Have Fun When There is Just so Much to Do! @JessicaMWhite.com

It’s a very simple answer, but most people aren’t willing to do it. There’s this thing called “Guilt”, ever heard of it? People very often will feel guilty if they don’t handle all of the must-dos, before the would-like-to-dos. Because of this, and the endless list of must-dos, the would-like-to-dos never happen.

Guilt aside….what’s the answer: I don’t do it all. Bottom line.

I leave the dishes in the sink some nights. I don’t keep up with the laundry. My living room sometimes goes days {or weeks} being trashed. I don’t always cook fanciful meals. I do the absolutely necessary and leave the rest to when I have time. Sometimes I’m on top of all these things and sometimes I just let them go, so that I can work on a quilting or writing project or head to bed early to read.

That’s what most people struggle with: Letting themselves NOT fall into the traps of what they are supposed to do, giving themselves the freedom to let those things slide so they can accomplish the things they enjoy, the things that fill their tank.

We are a great culture for guilt…if we don’t fill the presubscribed ideology of what someone should do, then we feel like a failure. In the mean time, we feel like a failure anyway, because we can’t EVER get all those must-dos done. I hate to say it, but sometimes I do have a “why bother” attitude about certain aspects of homemaking.9780800723484_alt5

{I’m sure my German grandmother is rolling in her grave right now that I don’t prioritize the must-dos.}

There’s this book that recently came out by Jessica Turner of TheMomCreative.com called The Fringe Hours. The premise of which is the importance of self-care and the importance of making time for those things that you love to do. Most of the book focuses on addressing the guilt we feel when we do the things we enjoy, particularly when the must-dos are not done; as well as how to better use the in-between minutes of our day. It’s a great book. It’s the book I wish I’d written.

That said. To me….my house is not a priority. My kids are. My husband is. My creativity is. That’s how I find the time to do the things I love; I don’t do any of the other things I’m supposed to.

*To read another of my posts on this topic, visit here: Thoughts on Creativity: Why I Make Creating a Priority from April 2013

**You can pick up your copy of The Fringe Hours at Amazon.com or DaySpring.com {these are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission on your purchases at no additional cost to you. You can read my Disclosure Policy here.

Creativity as an Act of Worship

Over the last few years, and more this past year, a handful of people have told me that my children should be my priority, that this is not the season for me to spend frivolous time on my writing {and blogging}, sewing, photography or reading {for fun} or any other non-necessary creative endeavor. That I somehow am doing wrong by my children, if I continue to pursue these avenues.Creativity as an Act of Worship @JessicaMWhite.com

My responses have been lacking any sort of gumption: Some mumbled words about not losing my identity because I’m now a mom. Which is absolutely true. I’m not going to stop doing things I enjoy, simply because I am now a mom. I will how ever do what I can to balance those things with the needs of my husband and children.

I think it is good for my kids to see their mother creating, that their mother has skills and interests beyond them. That I’m not just some sort of maternal robot, here to serve them with no other facets of interest or personality.

People sometimes ask me when I find the time to be creative: Honestly, it doesn’t happen as often as I would like. Most of the time it is delayed or interrupted by sibling spats or daily tasks. Sometimes it is months between projects, sometimes projects don’t get finished for a long time {I started a quilt when I was on maternity leave and waiting for Ave to be born….it’s still not even to the point of having the blocks finished}, and sometimes I get on a roll and am able to finish several creative ventures in the course of a few weeks.

Overall, I stay up way past my bedtime and sometimes I will be a bad mom and stand at the kitchen counter, with the laptop {I can see the kids} and write or edit photographs…sometimes, I even go hide in the office to write for a few minutes, which is only another 8′ away. Or I go in the dining room, a few feet in the other direction, to work on a sewing project, while the kids play or watch a show. {One of the perks of a small house}.

Honestly though, these past few months have been hard. Especially with sewing and writing. I feel like there are constantly ideas swirling in my head, but to find time to sit down and execute them is near impossible.

My “sewing room” is now our actual dining room {since we can’t fit a full size table in our kitchen}; I can’t just leave projects lying about, because they would inevitably get destroyed. Writing happens in the evening, after the kids are in bed, if I have my thoughts together and Matt doesn’t claim the laptop. Sometimes I do go sit in the office with the heater on, but only if my brain is burning.

With such demands on me wouldn’t it just be easier to not bother? Absolutely, but I can’t. It is something I HAVE to do. I HAVE to create. I HAVE to have that outlet for my thoughts and hands. I find the time to be creative, I eek it out wherever I can, I do whatever creative thing is within my grasp, because I have to create.

“Creativity is good theology – God began with creation.”

Those were the words that Ann Voskamp spoke at Allume; words that have just filled me. Knowing that my God began with CREATION somehow releases me from feeling as though I’m not allowed to create during this season. This season that is already so difficult, because there is so little time for Mommy’s own interests.

I heard it a while ago, and I’m not sure where now, that we are created in God’s image and God is an artist, He is THE Creator…so why should we expect ourselves or others to put away their creative nature, simply because it isn’t something that we have gads of time for, or because we have other responsibilities. We shouldn’t. We were MADE to create, to share beauty, whether with words or images or textiles or dirt. We create, because He first created us! {rephrase of 1 John 4:19}. { <——CLICK TO TWEET }

Creating is an ACT OF WORSHIP and wonder at GOD’s CREATION! Not only were we created to be creative, the creativity within us is meant to be unleashed to God’s GLORY. Being creative, putting time in to creating beautiful things can be a form of worship, whether to God’s glory through creating or to His glory by providing for our families’ needs.

My sewing, cooking, photography, renovations, painting are all ways to create beautiful things for our home, gifts of love for family and friends, clothes for our children, and a means of trying to save a bit of money while doing all of these things. It is our calling as women to do all of these things, and to do all of them for His Glory!

No, no more will I feel guilty about taking time to create, to pour out of myself the gifts that God has given me. No more will I question whether sewing or lying in the mud to get a picture just right is a good use of my time. No more will I try to justify something God Himself has put inside of me. I will embrace these gifts and use them to His Glory.