Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Overcoming Avoidance – Part One, Writing

August 12, 2019

I need a patron saint for procrastinators. My gargoyle of “get going, girl!” hasn’t been doing the job. Oh, I’m getting some things done (note that this blog is posted), but I’m not getting enough done. Perhaps I can’t really call my problem procrastination. If I had an idea where my characters were taking me I’d be writing those scenes, and if I had decided where I wanted to take them I’d have finished the book. There’s a great scene in an episode of Babylon Five where Zathrus says, “Cannot say. Knowing, would say. Do not know, so cannot say.” That pretty much sums up my writing these days. I’m open to suggestions for overcoming avoidance. In the meantime, I will meditate on journeys and hope my characters speak up about the ones they want to take.

Luck and wisdom!

Deco Done Wright

June 5, 2019

The binding is on one of my Projects in Piles (PIPs), and it is labeled, so I can check it off the list. This is Deco Done Wright, a project that began with a coloring exercise.

Betty Busby had some of these Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired printed squares at an Art Quilt Santa Fe retreat. I used Derwent Inktense pencils to color in parts of my square, then put it away for “the perfect project.” Since that never comes around, no matter how long I wait, I pulled it out for my quilting buddies in the Progressive Party to finish. They did such a great job I put the project away again because I didn’t know how to quilt it. When I started my PIPs challenge, I decided I would combine hand and machine quilting.

Once again, the power of a deadline came to the rescue and I now have a wonderful quilt. Force yourself to finish things. Setting a deadline works for me – find the way that works for you. You’ll feel a foot taller without the weight of unfinished projects on your shoulders.

Luck and wisdom!

You Are Never Too Old For Toys

April 17, 2019

My daughter sent me a box of Harry & David treats, and I discovered that kids and cats have it right after all. The cardboard box is always part of the gift – in this case, the insert in the box that kept the tower of treats from rattling around during shipping. I set it aside to use for elevation at displays. I will drape some fabric over it, then lean things against it, put something light on top of it, or surround it with ribbon to draw attention to my booth. Then I noticed that the little cut-outs looked like eyes. “Self,” I said, “you’ve got a mask here.” So I decorated it.

Oh, yeah, we’re having fun now!

Luck and wisdom!

Remembering Backwards and the Writer’s Life

April 8, 2019

This is what happens when I walk and think at the same time

The latest issue of the Harvard Women’s Heath Watch has an article about boosting your memory by walking backwards. Given my record of not being able to think and walk at the same time, I’m not sure I want to try this (my ankle is healing well, by the way). Still, I remember being taught to memorize poetry by reciting it to myself while walking, so perhaps there is something to this. My big question is how can walking backwards possibly help me remember where I wanted to go in my novel when a subplot threatens to take over the book?

Luck and wisdom!

Display Block Doggie

April 3, 2019

I took a workshop from Nancy Brown last month. She does beautiful hand applique, and teaches her students how to get the same results. Here is the dog I made from her Labrador Retriever pattern.

I knew I would never get a full quilt out of this one block, and didn’t feel like keeping it around until I get through my other projects and can make brothers and sisters for old Blackie here. Instead, it will become a Display Block for my guild’s collection. These blocks go up at our guild outreach events, at local libraries, wherever we are offered a chance to talk about quilting. It’s much better for someone else to enjoy the block than for it to languish at the bottom of one of my piles, yes?

Luck and wisdom!

Hearing My Own Advice

April 1, 2019

My husband is writing an article he hopes to publish soon, but it is fighting him. The basic information is mostly there, but he isn’t happy. I assured him that once he got the bones in order, everything else would fit, or be recognized as irrelevant. His face lit up, and he thanked me for telling him what he needed to hear. I went about my morning, when suddenly I heard my own words. My outline for The Captain and Chenille is fighting me because I don’t have all the bones in order.

I have known for a long time that I have to wrestle with all the subplots that are popping out, lest this one book turn into a three-volume novel, but I haven’t had the energy to start the weeding process. I told myself it was because I needed time to think. While that is true, and while I recognize I’ve been using my lack of time as an excuse, for the first time I realized I don’t have all the bones of the novel in place. There is still more information I need to put in the outline. This requires far less energy than taking out story lines that I’m finding interesting, and once I do that there is a better than average chance the subplots that don’t work will fall away of their own accord and become short stories, poems, or perhaps a series of quilts. That’s the wonderful thing about the stories in your head – they really don’t care how they’re expressed, as long as they get a chance to come out and play.

Luck and wisdom!

Picking (Up) The Low-hanging Fruit

March 27, 2019

My plan to sort through the piles is working, and I think I’ve hit on the “organizational” scheme that will see me through. I’m working on the piles on the floor near my sewing machine. I can see them, reach them, and I’ll have instant feedback of success because there won’t be as much to leap over. This week I am working on two class projects that I determined from the beginning would become donation quilts. This is what the basket class project became:t

I found a cute flannel for the back, and decided to machine applique some of the animals in and around the baskets.

The binding is a stripe I had thought would make a good handle fabric. It didn’t, but I still wanted to use it, so binding it is. The top is busy enough that I did an overall loopedy-loop quilting design. The quilt is labeled and ready to donate, I’ve put away all the leftover fabrics, and I’m ready to start the next project. Is this what progress feels like?

Luck and wisdom!

Finding Your Feet

March 25, 2019

It has been six months since I wrenched my ankle, and for the very first time I was able to extend my leg behind me, then push off with the injured foot to return to standing. This means I may be able to return to my regular yoga practice soon. Reaching this milestone won’t win me any prizes, but it does bring me joy to feel I’ve found my foot again.

Finding one’s feet is as essential in writing as it is in exercise. If you aren’t grounded, balanced, and steady you will never complete your project to your satisfaction. At best, you will bring it far enough along to fall out of love with it, and leave the manuscript as a dusty file on your desktop (physically or digitally). So, take some time to find your feet, and rejoice when you do.

Luck and wisdom!

To The Sea Again

March 20, 2019

When I finished this quilt and showed it to my husband, he said, “Well, that’s clever, to have the sailboat surrounded by a boat.” I almost refrained from admitting that I hadn’t intended to piece the sea so it looked like a another ship, but I’m happy he likes it all the same. I decided I didn’t have the energy to quilt in more than a few words, so all I wrote was “to the sea again.” That’s also the title of the piece.

I used the fabric at hand, partly as an exercise in creativity, partly out of laziness, and I used a modified improv piecing technique. I wanted the sand and the sky to angle a bit, but I did use rulers to make sure I had a clean edge. Rather than try to fit the angle where the sky meets the palm trees, I sewed the strips part of the way, then folded back the tree fabric, finger-pressed the seam, and used the crease as my guide. When I was finished quilting, I trimmed the bottom so that the sand  ran at an angle, and squared the rest of the quilt against that line.

Luck and wisdom!

Sailboat Block

March 13, 2019

One of the Progressive Projects had us doing individual blocks of houses or transportation. This sailboat, although lovely, didn’t fit in the quilt I envisioned with the other blocks. I kept it aside for “the perfect project.” Now it is one of my PIPs (projects in piles), and it will be made into something.

I read that humans like pictures of meadow-like landscapes surrounded by trees because we evolved in that environment. I prefer seascapes to meadow-scapes, but the palm tree fabric gave me the idea of combining the two views. The next problem to solve is how to quilt it. I’m auditioning phrases that incorporate the word ocean or sea so I can use this for the Challenge assignment, “Use Your Words.” Getting double or triple duty out of one block would please me out of all proportion.

Luck and wisdom!