Blog Hop Around the World

I was asked to join a blog hop -my first- and after seeing the lovely posts already written I thought “why not” it would  give me an opportunity to define for myself the winding road that led me to where I ended up creatively.

Before you read this you may want to check out a guest post I wrote for John at Practical Civilization titled 4 Simple Ways to Save the Environment.

Now back to today’s topic: Crafting.

Wendy, (Quarter Acre Lifestyle) invited me to join the blog hop. As you know from last week’s guest post I greatly admire Wendy for many reasons. What more can I tell you about this wonderful woman.  If you missed Wendy’s guest post (you may want to stop and check it out), she and her husband live in a home with only a quarter of an acre of land but in that space they have been able to create a lovely home through their love of repurposing and are building towards self-sufficiency through growing and preserving the foods they eat.  They even dug up their driveway to feed others.

img_3317

Don’t those foods make you want to tear up your drive too?  But this hop is about crafting and Wendy and Roger have that down as well from the rustic heart lovingly hung on the wall Roger made from barbed wire to the restored finds Wendy has filled her home with. You can read Wendy’s blog hop post and learn more about her.

wendy

I don’t think of myself as a crafter, yet when exploring the idea I realized that we are all crafters in our own way every time we make something whether that be a meal or a way to solve a problem in our homes. So maybe I am a crafter. ;-)  I have four questions to answer today, they looked simple enough until I gave them some thought and realized there was much more to my journey than I had realized.

WHY DO I CREATE WHAT I DO?

The simple answer is for sanity and practicality, but it’s never simple is it?  I always wished I could be an artist.  Do you remember those advertizements intended to get you to enroll in an art school where they had a simple drawing and asked you to make a copy and send it to them?  I did, I sketched each one I found, I think there were three total images used in their series, but I never submitted them.  I told myself I wasn’t an artist and the only reason my sketches looked good was because these were designed to be easy to take my money.

My other dream was to become a hairdresser.  I loved creating with hair, especially with color. I began cutting hair at age nine and by twelve had my own clientele and a nicely growing savings as a result.  I studied with the best and specialized in specialty and corrective coloring.  I also redesigned the way I gave perms.  Instead of using only perm rods to wrap the hair around I experimented with everything from rags to juice cans and that need to create was satisfied, for a while.

It turned out that my skin couldn’t handle the chemicals and constantly being wet and I had to leave the industry.  I realized I still needed an outlet and found it in interior decorating.  Again I carved out a nice little niche for myself and supplemented my meager earnings while in college raising my two boys.

As my disability worsened I found my days of interior decorating were coming to an end when I could no longer climb the stairs to see spaces in clients homes.  It left a huge void in my life until a couple of years ago when moving back to the university town I had raised my boys in I grew dismayed by the amount of good furnishings curbside destined for the landfill.  My instincts told me to save them purely from an environmental motivation.  But once home I found myself excited to try new ideas, give these pieces a new modern twist on their humble beginnings.

Little one has a creative streak as well. She picked out all the colors and helped me to restore this dresser.

Little one has a creative streak as well. She picked out all the colors, the entire design is hers, She also helped me to restore this dresser.

HOW DOES MY CREATIVE PROCESS WORK?

I never really thought about this. I don’t intentionally set out to create until I have spotted something needing a function.  I don’t just have one craft, I’m more the jack-of-all-trades where I can do many things but am not an expert of any one.  Working on furniture, it’s usually the cleaning/sanding process in which ideas start to come to me.  I let the piece talk to me, show me its lines and personality then I try to show off the aspects that make it uniquely different from other pieces.  I work with color, a natural progression from my days of hair color.

My projects start either with a need that needs to be met or an item needing a useful purpose.  It might be extra fabric I want to use up, which was the case with the children’s aprons.

C's apron

Or as with the case of an older entertainment center, a new purpose to continue its usefulness now as a place to store toys with a reading nook to relax in.

entertainment center no more

In either case, I envision how the item could be useful. How can I make it fill a need in a way not thought of before.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF IT’S GENRE?

First of all, everything I do is self-taught as I have had no training, formal or otherwise.  When it comes to furniture restoration the biggest difference I’ve seen is that I use no strippers to remove paint or varnish, everything I do comes from my love of the planet and my desire to use the simplest tools and the least amount of chemicals.  I use sandpaper instead of strippers, I will cut up old blankets to use as batting in new quilts, and all the paints I use are given to me by people who would have thrown them in the trash. In the garden, I needed trellises for some of my plants but didn’t want to buy new. I used pieces of furniture being trashed and created my own.  I work within the constraints of what I have on hand at the time. Does this make what I see mostly as my hobbies different from others, maybe some.

WHAT AM I PRESENTLY WORKING ON?

I am currently working on several things at once.  The children and I are making new birdhouses for next spring from items saved from the recycling bins; I have a desk chair I am recovering; I finally have all the materials needed to reupholster the loveseat I saved for my home; and I have a dining room table and four chairs being delivered today that need work and a new look.  Finally, I’ve been asked to create a sleeping nook for my grandson to give him some privacy in his new apartment with his father.

Here’s the fun part of this blog hop, sharing some of my favorite crafters.

I think I have pretty much ruined the hop from continuing as the bloggers I contacted about participating are so busy right now they aren’t able to participate.  I was so focused on these three bloggers I didn’t think past that to who else I could invite.  I decided I would share them with you anyway.

Katherine, blogs at Pillows a la Mode and lives right here in the US.  Katherine had to be included here based on her series called “What Can You Make With A…” In this series Katherine takes old clothes and makes completely new items from the material.  From an environmental point by sharing her ideas and inspiring others to think before they throw out or donate their old clothing we can reduce our trash and fill a current need without using new resources. My absolute favorite repurposing post was the wedding dress she cut up to make a child’s first communion dress.

front1

 

Janette (The Green Dragonfly) lives in New Zealand and is a mother and all round busy woman who’s creativity knows no bounds. From her about page she describes herself this way:  “Mama. Maker of stuff. Crocheter. Closet Hippie. Creative. Hugger. Artist. Musician. Cook. Greenie. Painter. Drawer. Driver. Chief kisser of booboos. Photographer. Writer. Inventor of boredom busting games. Gardener. Poet. Dreamer.” And it’s all true.

Head on over to the Green Dragonfly where you will be amazed by the free projects Jeanette offers. You will find tutorials for crochet projects, kids crafts, sewing and even her own handmade coloring sheets you can download for your own little ones -they are way more beautiful than anything you can find in mass produced coloring books.  If you enjoy cooking don’t miss her recipe section.  One note, I have not added any pictures from Jennette’s creations because her images are copyrighted and I didn’t obtain permission to use them prior to writing this.

Finally, an artist whose work I have hung on my own wall.  Jennifer (Winter Owls) is a mother, teacher and one very creative individual who lives in Australia.  Along with her lovely prints, Jen uses vintage and salvaged materials in her creations such as this owl pillow created with vintage chenille and doily.

 

We all have a creative streak what is yours?

 

Don’t forget to head over to Practical Civilization to read my guest post.

 

34 thoughts on “Blog Hop Around the World

  1. Lois so loved your sharing of this in the Blog hop around the world… I loved reading about your self and what you had tried… I think you have great talent and are amazing in what you achieve and produce from your finds to salvage and reuse.. Your finished products are a joy and its been my pleasure in reading about the processes you go through.. Love of course your little helpers… who also put alot of love and effort into the finished results..
    xxx Hugs Sue

    Like

    • Thank you, Sue. If I hadn’t waited so long to ask I would have asked you to join in, but then I knew you weren’t doing much blogging. Your talents, while different from mine, are truly amazing, especially your paintings.

      Like

  2. Lois I got such a lovely surprise to see my self mentioned on your post. Thank you so much. You are very inspiring with all your upcycled and recycled finds and makes and I’m looking forward to seeing your birdhouse creations. I loved reading that you let the piece talk to you, before you decide what to do with it. That is a big part of my creative process too.

    Like

    • It’s good to hear from you, Jen. There was no way I could do a post on crating without including you. ;-) I don’t think we can force a piece to be something it doesn’t want to be, so yes we do have to listen to it. For me I think it’s a bit easier as I am working mostly with furniture and the style tells me what it needs to show off it’s uniqueness.

      Like

  3. You are such an inspiration. I fear I have a love/hate relationship with crafts. Love to start projects, hate to finish them! I also have a REALLY hard time getting motivated to do something “just for pretty”, so most of the things I do by hand are more in the functional category. That being said, my “profession” these days (if you can call it that) is designing graphics & backgrounds and photography. So I suppose I get my visual fix that way.

    Like

    • I for one know you are way more talented at creating graphics after the lovely job you did for me. I think I have a pretty good mix of functional and pretty of my recent projects, but if I had to chose which to do on any given day function would win over pretty. I only do “pretty” for my home so once the walls are painted and the art hung there isn’t too much more in that category.

      Like

  4. Wonderful post, Lois. It was very interesting to see your journey. Art is a funny thing. Whenever I took a class, be it painting, sewing, quilting, etc., I always thought everyone else had nicer, better, more creative work than I. One day I decided that those thoughts were keeping me from doing anything. So I put the yardstick away and decided complete was better than perfect. Especially since perfect was impossible with Art. Now I just have fun with what I do. You are an eclectic crafter. They actually have a magazine called Green Crafts or something like that. They could take a page out of your book. It’s wonderful that there is so much variety in styles of creativity. You fill a creative niche I and others don’t do so the world needs you in it. Keep working away. I love seeing what you come up with.

    Like

    • Marlene, I think you are very creative but then I guess we all tend to look at others work and compare, finding ours coming up short. I’m glad you quit measuring your skills against others.

      Yes, lol I would say I am a very eclectic crafter. I don’t have one craft I prefer or do especially well. if I were to pick one thing I do well it’s to see color where there isn’t any and know how they will go together.

      I will keep on, it’ brings me happiness and a sense of accomplishment, you too as your projects are lovely.

      Like

  5. I really enjoyed reading this!! Nice to read more about your history/life and what inspires you. I also enjoyed doing the hop post as I only ever admire the work of other’s wishing I could make what they make only to realise in writing mine that I do do what I do and can call myself creative even if it’s just in the little things such as cooking or putting a nice vase of flowers somewhere. I would love to have done interior design!!!!! Re-using something and making someone old and unloved beautiful and useful again has to be the ultimate outlet for creativity and I much admire what you do :)
    You have linked to some lovely blogs here as well that I never knew of, even another “Kiwi” :)

    Like

    • Yes, Wendy, our skills may be different but they contribute and keep us happy so we need to quit wishing for more. ;-)

      As for interior decorating, I fell into it by accident. My sister was complaining that her apartment was so bland and boring but she wasn’t allowed to paint. I off-handedly told her she could redo the entire space for less than $50. She dared me to prove it and make it her Christmas present. I used what she had, some yard sale finds including some contact paper and discounted fabrics. It turned out so cute everyone asked her who did it. When she said me, a business was formed. It was great because I could do that with my children, not needing to pay for extra daycare and gave me a reason to yard sale.;-)

      Like

  6. Wonderful to hear about your creative journey Lois. I did get your email, and am so embarrassed I’ve not responded. It’s been incredibly busy here and as you will no doubt have noticed very quiet on the blog. I’ve got a few things ready to blog about but no time to take photos or out together the posts! Hopefully at the weekend! Take care Janette x

    Like

    • Please don’t be embarrassed, I did see you hadn’t been posting much as of late but I wanted to include you as I’ve benefited from so many of your ideas. I look forward to seeing what you’ve been up to.

      Like

  7. How wonderful! What a ‘Jane’ of all trades you are, Lois. I am really inspired. Love that reading nook, and the aprons, and all of it. I too have lately begun painting furniture to give new life to someone else’s discards. Thank you for sharing all that you’re up to in this great post, and thank you especially for the inspiration! Cheers, Gina

    Like

    • Happy to inspire you, Gina, but it sounds like you’ve been in a creative mindset for a while after seeing your new gardens. I love the older furniture that is currently being tossed. Great-grandma’s old chairs were built so much better than what can be bought today. A few simple fixes and a bit of paint and you’ve got a piece that will last generations.

      Like

    • Hi Pauline, you know I haven’t forgotten your wonderful offer but right after that I read your blog hop post and it got me thinking about my situation and what I want. I tend to look at the art others do and wish I could be like them instead of embracing my own talents. I may still pick your brain but for now I am working through some thoughts you sparked in me with your post and trying not to compare myself with others as I was before.

      I have much to thank you for, and will find a way to show you my appreciation at some point here. ;-)

      Like

      • I am really pleased to hear that Lois! Comparing ourselves with others is a fraught and wrongful thing in my opinion – I say this after coming through years of doing the same and always finding myself wanting! I have no idea what I said – but am glad I said something helpful :-)

        It’s pretty obvious to me you have a cartload of talents to explore further and to share. Woo-hoo! Rock on Lois!! :-)

        Like

  8. Congratulations, Lois. I love this and enjoy reading more about you and your gifts and talents. I’m glad you took us along on this blog hop journey around the world. What a talented group of fellow bloggers you’ve paid forward this honor to. They’re inspiring, just as yourself, in what can be created from the little stuff. You’re all true artists making this a better world.

    Like

    • Thank you Pat. I hadn’t really thought about how I ended up doing what I do and was a bit shocked at how color was such a consistent factor in everything I’ve done.

      These women are my heroes and give me hope more people will learn to keep an eye open to repurpose items first.

      Thanks for reading.

      Like

I enjoy hearing from you, please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s