Hopping to it.

IMG_9439Suzicate is a creative kindred spirit, with her poetry blog, her sewing/quilting/fiber arts blog in addition to The Water Witch’s Daughter.  Suzi is an amazing photographer as well as an inspiring writer.  Whatever the topic of her latest post over on The Water Witch’s Daughter, I find it has some relevance to what is going on in my life, every time.  She approached me a few weeks ago about participating in a creative blog hop with her.  As I often find myself either in some sort of conversation about creativity or following the path of some creative avenue, I thought it was right up my alley.

What am I working on?

I’m a serial multi-tasker.  I can’t do just one thing at a time.  I like to skip around, so that when I get ‘stuck’, frustrated or bored with something, I set it down, take a little break, move onto something else.  When the inspiration strikes again on that particular endeavor, I pick up where I left off. Sometimes the break lasts a few hours, sometimes months, even years.  I’m very much a slow burn project sort of gal on some fronts.  Here’s my current list of projects….

On the sewing pile,  a hand stitched table runner out of lace doilies as well as restoring a favorite quilt made by Pat’s grandmother.

In the knitting column, I’ve been working on a new cowl for myself that is a nod to the Irish fisherman sweaters.  I came up with the pattern which is somewhat complicated in that I need to remember which row number I’m on when I set it down.  It has several different cable patterns involved, so it’s definitely going to be interesting when it’s all said and done.

On the writing front, I recently stepped down from my monthly Home & Garden Column for CharlottesvilleFamily magazine.  I was running low on ideas, so I thought it was time to hand off to someone fresh.  I’ve been doing some freelance work for Central Virginia Home magazine.  I had a piece in their spring Charlottesville edition, as well as their Lynchburg and Roanoke editions.  It has been great fun to stretch my design muscle working for them.  My college degree was in Interior Design, I worked in that field until Edie was two – I love dipping my toes back into it through a different angle.

As for photos, I’m still getting the hang of shooting manually with a nice camera.  I will sometimes take ‘notes’ if you will with my camera, trying to capture a feeling or scene. I’ve heard some of these shots referred to as my ‘artsy’ shots.  It’s not entirely my intent, but hey, I’m glad they are considered that.

I’m putting together the next edition of homespun, a series of creative day retreats. Currently I’m getting the marketing campaign ready to go, which requires a bit of a strategy, text, photos, website and flyer creation. I find it taps a good number of creative outlets in one fell swoop.

I know there are those that say cooking isn’t creative, that it’s science.  That might be true, but it’s also soothing, like knitting. And since knitting is considered to be one of those crafty creative things, I think you can call cooking creative.  Certainly the meals I come up with, where I just throw things I have on hand together making almost no dish the same way twice, are slightly creative. Whenever I’m blocked on a project, I find that starting dinner is an excellent way to walk away, get some perspective and get slightly inspired.  Honestly, most of my blog posts, including this one, get written while dinner is simmering away in the next room.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’m going to defer to something my friend Kendra once wrote to me.

I look at you and I see someone who’s living “the good life” by her own lights–and that’s inspiring, girl. Cuz it’s the opposite of that perfectionism we women get so hung up on –the perfect pie crust, the perfect dining room table, the perfect husband-child-job, whatever… From the perspective of the good life I see you living and I’m trying to live, perfect is really the enemy of good, isn’t it?

I am quite honest about dinner fail, housekeeping fail, garden fail, motherhood fail, laundry fail.  I find there are often lessons to be learned in that failure and sometimes, the end product of that failure is just as good, if not better than what I initially set out to do. It’s about the journey, not necessarily the end product.

Why do I create what I do?

I like to make stuff.  I’m not known for sitting still, I like to be productive as much as I possibly can.  I like results.  I like to see how much I use I can get out of an item.  Just because a tablecloth has a huge hole it in doesn’t mean I have to toss it – that’s a few yards of fabric still there with life left in it. In the case of my Christmas apron, I couldn’t just toss the entire tablecloth – a wedding gift to my parents – because it had some unseemly gravy & red wine stains.  So I cut around them, making myself an apron and Edie an Advent Calendar out of it. I still have a little bit left I’m waiting for inspiration on ways to use it up.

How does your creating process work?

My creating process is probably as scattershot as I am.  Sometimes I get inspired and just dive on in.  Sometimes, especially when it comes to sewing, knitting or any other craft requiring items from my so-called ‘happy corner’, I will distract myself by cleaning up the corner under the auspice of needing to clean up the last project so I have room to start the next one.

Picture 221As you can see, sometimes I really do need to put one mess away just to create another.  Sometimes, as I ponder an idea,  I will study up on approaches to it, tapping my small resource library in said corner as well as the local library.  Sometimes I will use the internet in fleshing out ideas. And then there is the friends vetting, where I will babble to what feels like anyone who will listen about what I’m thinking about doing this week.  I really do have the best friends, who not only never seem to get tired of hearing about my latest and greatest plot, often help fine tune them, encourage me when I get stuck in a rut and sometimes even jump into to help out.

And now for the blogs I’d like to pass this along to.  First up is Cassi.  When not teaching at her local community college or being a wife & mother, she can be found playing with her beads, making some beautiful jewelry.

Which brings us to my friend Will.  I first met him when I went down to look at Auburn and we’ve been friends ever since.  If there is anyone who understands how my creativity is tied to my need to be productive, it’s Will.  In fact, he’s probably the only person I know who’s idea of a lazy day is as productive as my own.  We have had some chats here recently on the topic of creativity, living the dream and documenting it via a blog.  I’ve encouraged him to start a blog – if nothing else, to post the in depth descriptions of the fantastic meals he makes on weekends.  I actually picked up the phone to call him to ask him about participating in this, as he is just dipping his toes into this blogging business.  I figured it would be a good way to get those wheels spinning and thankfully, he agreed.  I’m sure the fact that I called well into happy hour on a Friday had nothing to do with it.

They both have a week to answer the above questions, so be sure to go back and visit them.

8 thoughts on “Hopping to it.

  1. pattisj says:

    What lovely things your friend had to say about you. I’m glad you included that in your post. I had to get a double-take on your photo (thought that was my sewing/writing/painting room for a minute) then I saw the circular storage box, mine is a different pattern.

  2. suzicate says:

    Where is the LOVE button! I love your creative process; it’s much like my own.
    When I was at my moms’ this weekend I picked up her canner. I told her if I can’t figure out how to do it, I will come up for a week when you are teaching a class.
    I’m contemplating making marinara with summer tomatoes. I’ve had people tell me it does better freezing than canning. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Becky says:

      If you can marinara, you have to follow a recipe specifically for canning. It has to do with maintaining the proper acid levels. That said, I did a batch of marinara last summer and it was quite nice to have it on the shelf. All I had to do was pop the top and viola! Dinner!

      • suzicate says:

        I will read up about it and decide. I’m sure freezing is easier, not sure about the taste. I always love being able to reach into my cabinet and pull out a jar rather than always making homemade spur of the moment.

  3. Cassi says:

    This is a lovely idea, and I love that you thought of me. It’s been fun to read through your answers, and I’m looking forward to participating, and visiting Will’s post too!

  4. melissawest says:

    You are one of my heroes–living creatively on your own terms without all the pressure of perfection. And you have NO FEAR, either!

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