The Creativity Fix

Today is the first day of summer vacation, and to say I am happy is an understatement. My plans for the summer are full of creative projects. I want to read, write, sew, crochet, paint, and so much more. Creative endeavors help me to recharge my batteries. And I got to it right away. My first project is to attack the pile of clothes that has been building up under my sewing table for repair. Today’s creativity is about fixing what needs to be fixed. I sewed the hole in the pocket of my husband’s shorts, stitched a few ripped seams, and lengthened a couple of pairs of slacks. Each of these things took very little time, yet during the school year, that time seemed far too long to fit in.

One of the problems, of course, is time of day. After work it seems like such a chore to set up the sewing machine to sew the hole in the pocket closed; there’s still dinner to be cooked and probably more grading or planning to be done. Having gotten up at five am to get ready for work, I am just too tired to do it. Even though running the pocket and reinforcing the seam that seemed to be fraying probably took about five minutes to run through the machine, it seems like a monumental task when one’s tired. Plus, we all know that sewing while exhausted isn’t a good idea: nothing’s more frustrating than sewing a really good, tight seam only to realize that you accidentally caught up the other leg into the crotch (or the like).

But here we are in summer! In the morning, with the sunshine streaming through the windows, set up is a breeze and the seams are fixed lickety-split. It may not seem that creative to run a seam, but I think it is. No I am not actually “creating” something new, but I am using my skills to repair something that I value. Do you know how many people go to the tailor to have their pants lengthened/shortened? It is an accomplishment to be able to do that for oneself (or one’s husband). I am six feet tall; buying slacks long enough can be a challenge, but because I can let the hem down and add a false hem with some hem tape, my options are a little wider. As for my husband’s trousers, that’s another story. I actually bought him a pair of khakis that are too long, but the waist is right and they were on an incredible sale! Seriously, these are Eddie Bauer khakis that I bought for about $15. I can shorten those for him easily. That’s a creative challenge met and answered.

I still have some hand sewing to do to finish off the hem on my slacks, and my husband has to try on his trousers before I start those, but then I’ll move on from the creative fix to new creations. All of it is good. Even if you don’t have summer off, set aside a Saturday here and there to pull out the machine for a creative fix. It feels good.

A few of the items I fixed today.

A few of the items I fixed today.

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AlyCatCreations1

As you know if you follow this blog,  I love to create. I crochet and sew and paint and draw and bake and write. I sing, and play the flute and piano as well, though less successfully than my other myriad pursuits.

Do you ever wonder what to do with all your creations? I do. The baking,  well that’s no problem. Everyone loves homemade baked goods,  and even if something is not finished,  it goes bad and you throw it out. And the writing,  well that can stay in a drawer, a notebook,  or a file (and burn a hole in my heart). But the textile crafts,  the sketching, and painting, that’s another story. Of course,  there are gifts. I have made baby blankets for friends’ children,  and I’ve painted pictures/portraits (okay, animal portraits) to give as gifts. I have donated paintings to auctions as well.  (Should I worry that those auctions no longer take place?) But that does not really take care of all the goods I can produce. The sketches stay in their sketch pads, but even those take up space. And while I have quite a few of my own paintings on my walls, but there is only so much wall space in a two-bedroom apartment. And then there are the crocheted and sewn goods. They (and the raw materials that go into their making) take up more than their fair share of said apartment.

So, why do I keep crocheting more scarves, shawls, and blankets? Why do I keep sewing? I love it. Crocheting is a nightly activity for me. It relaxes me. I sit on the couch after a long day of teaching and grading, and I crochet while I watch TV with my hubby. As I wind the yarn around itself, I unwind myself. And, as a bonus, I have a completed physical product at the end of it.

The sewing? That feeds my creativity. The physical product, the knowledge that I created it myself, the unique item, it is an accomplishment. I teach for a living, high school English, and I love it, but there is no physical product by which one sees one’s accomplishments. Having a hobby that ends in a unique physical creation is a satisfying hobby for one who spends so much of her time in the mind.

Yet, that physical product builds up. I have a storage bin now filled with scarves, shawls, and blankets.

Luckily (?), my good friend Alyson has a similar problem. Fabric shops call to her with promises of projects. Her stash threatens to take over her apartment.

So, we finally did it. My friend Alyson and I finally opened our Etsy shop. We are putting our collective goods together for your benefit (we hope). Please visit us: we are AlyCatCreations1 on Etsy.com, Facebook, and Instagram.

Here’s our Etsy link: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AlyCatCreations1?ref=hdr_shop_menu

https://www.etsy.com/listing/234584960/crochet-blue-ruffle-yarn-spring-summer

And a few photos of some of our products. I hope you enjoy.20150217_152420 - Copy 20150503_222936 20150504_083143 20150514_175152