Nudging Creativity -- Checking in After One Month

So how are you doing? Have you been gently nudging yourself to get to all those creative things you've been wanting to do?

Gentle Nudge Towards Creativity, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I would love to hear about them!

I think sharing our successes, whether they're big or small can help encourage and inspire others. Actually, I KNOW it can. If I hadn't discovered stories of other women following their creative dreams, would I have been brave enough to embark on my own creative journey?

Every journey starts with a first step and continues one step at a time. As Mark Twain said, "The secret of getting ahead is getting started." Have you gotten started?

cats, black and white cats, rescue cats, adopt don't shop, studio, art studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

But let's be gentle with ourselves, too. Celebrate successes, not bemoan failures. Not everything goes according to plan. That's life.

My intentions for this past month were simple. Get back into sewing. Continue with crocheting. Try some new recipes.*

My biggest challenge, which I'm guessing might be your biggest challenge, is deciding how to spend my time when I'm not working. I'm fortunate to have time every day for making art (and attending to all the other business aspects of my art-making), but crafting, sewing and other creative things are constantly sidelined by other More Important Things. I set aside time on the weekends, but sometimes I choose to paint then, too, instead of sewing.

watercolor, nasturtiums, botanical watercolor, paintings, paint palette, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Or do things like grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry... And I also want to spend time with Matthias when he's around.

Your story probably sounds similar. We all have so many things we need and want to do, but limited time in which to do them.

But that shouldn't be the end of the story. We can still fit creative projects into our days.

This past month I was able to sort through my fabrics and my sewing patterns and plan out some projects. Sometimes deciding what to do is the hardest part for me. Because I love wearing my Me Mades, my first sewing priority is clothes. I already had the fabric and the patterns (though I did get a bit sidetracked looking for other sewing pattern possibilities). I cut out fabric for one tunic and started sewing it. There were a few hiccups with a misbehaving sewing machine, but I think I'm past that now. This weekend I should be be able to finish it.

It's a pattern I've sewn a number of times as a top and a dress/tunic (you can see them here and here) and I am beyond excited about the contrasting, patterned pockets with the plain linen.**

My excitement about contrasting pockets has me scheming to add some to a linen tunic I found at a thrift store. I could happily wear linen tunics over jeans every day of the week. I love this thrifted one, but wish it had pockets. Good thing I found this Phillip Jacobs print in my stash. It even happened to coordinate with the top I was wearing underneath.

fabric, sewing, tunics, Kaffe Fassett, Phillip Jacobs, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I've been crocheting before bed in the evenings, but sadly I had to frog the shawl I was making. Although I estimated that I had plenty of yarn, I ran out before the shawl was finished. It wasn't long enough to use in a smaller version so I had no choice but to abandon it. Frustrating! But now I'm even more determined to make something with this yarn. Last night I started crocheting a scarf.

(Again, the hardest part was deciding which stitch I wanted to use. I wasn't sure about this one, but I think I'll stick with it).

Finally, I tried some new recipes. I love cookbooks and reading about recipes, but I'm not good about cooking from them. Most of the time I don't use recipes, I just make things up. It's fun and creative and almost always successful. I know what I like and I know what flavors go together to my tastes. Sometimes, though, I do like to try the recipes I find, especially if they're not something I'd normally cook. I tried the Ricotta Blini from Smitten Kitchen Everyday because they sounded heavenly and made me think of the lemon ricotta pancakes I ate at a restaurant once. This recipe was not a success (I did a few substitutions, but I don't think that was the problem. At least Matthias liked them). On the other hand, the dressing for the Sushi Takeout Cobb was delicious (the recipe is also on her blog). I also tried the Mushroom Stroganoff recipe by Sarah Davidson from the new issue of Taproot Magazine. Another keeper.

So that was my month. Do I have much to show for it? Maybe not, but I've come away more determined to fit making into my days.

And I've made a few realizations. Perhaps they'll help you, too?

  • As long as you're making progress, it doesn't matter if that progress is slow. Projects get finished stitch by stitch. A stitch here and a stitch there adds up over time.
  • Go with your gut feelings about a project and don't overthink it. Choose projects that bring you joy!
  • If you need immediate satisfaction, choose a small, quick project (cooking is always a good choice because you get to eat the results!).
  • Not every project will be a winner and that's ok. You learn something with each one.
  • Intentions are good, but adding projects to your calendar or schedule can make a big difference to ensuring that you prioritize them. 
  • Preparation and planning are important parts of the process and can speed things along if they're done ahead of time. (Ex. Make sure your sewing machine is in perfect working condition before you start sewing!).
  • When your crafting space has to do double duty, making sure that your supplies are put away but still close at hand (and visible!) will help keep your project in mind even when you're not crafting. Enthusiasm about a project helps you prioritize it.
  • Sometimes you need to change your plans. It's better to put off a project if you're sincerely too tired (or distracted or crabby or fill-in-the-blank) to work on it. Substituting other self-care (reading a book, taking a bath, going to bed early, taking a walk) can be a good thing (and avoid mistakes and frustration).
Have other insights you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them!

Here's to another month of creativity!

creativity, studio, artist studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

*I've been working in my sketchbook, but I'm thinking of that, and other art, as being separate for me from these other sorts of creativity. For me, my sketchbook is part of the business of my art.

** The rose-patterned fabric is Social Climber by Anna Maria Horner... looking through my fabrics reminded me how many of them come from Free Spirit Fabricssuch a shame they've shut down.


  1. Love this post and find it very inspiring!
    I have been doing a new book 52 drawing labs for mixed media, so that has been fun!
    And worked on a new painting in a style different from what I normally do but I was pretty happy with how it turned out! :) Also trying to work on some writing. I went to my writing group on Saturday and read what I was working on...which is a great way to hold myself accountable to have to work on something....
    Oh...and I love Anna Maria Horner! :)

    1. I'm so glad you found this post inspiring! It sounds like you've been doing and trying lots of new and exciting creative things. Holding ourselves accountable can be so hard when we're full of ideas. Hooray for making it happen!!

  2. I find evenings are my creative time...the day is done and I can relax and enjoy myself! I love your posts - so real and uplifting ; ) Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Eva! We all have to figure out the best time to be creative for us. I love the idea of finishing up the day and taking time for creativity. It sounds like it works so well for you! I'm always impressed by how much you accomplish. Your work is so lovely!


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