Don't Get Stuck in the Planning -- Another Gentle Nudge Towards Creativity

Can you believe it's been a month since my last Gentle Nudge post? How have you been doing with your creative projects? I'd love to hear what's worked for you (and what hasn't worked, too).

I'm still trying to find a good rhythm for my projects. I've been tackling my pile of sewing ideas and am constantly dreaming of other things I want to do. This is a never ending list. Which is a good thing, right? It would be sad to have no ideas.

Sometimes, though, it seems very slow going. I need to remember to celebrate each finished project instead of lamenting the fact that I don't have more time to get others done.

I finished the tunic I mentioned last month (you can see it in this post) and I added pockets to my thrift store dress, too. I spent way too much time trying to figure out what size and shape to make the pockets. (And I got a lot of help with the process).

sewing, fabric, Kaffe Fassett, Phillip Jacobs, cats, adopt don't shop, black and white cats, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I tend to get caught up in the planning. It's easy to do. Whether that's choosing a pattern or a fabric (or combination of fabrics) or even just looking for inspiration. There are so many ideas out there that it can be overwhelming to decide.

For this project I searched online for pocket ideas, but nothing seemed just right. In the end I used a template I'd created for another project.

sewing, fabric, Kaffe Fassett, Phillip Jacobs, cats, adopt don't shop, black and white cats, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

When I used the template the first time, I gathered the pockets at the top, but I liked the look of the long, shallow shape and tried it out on this dress.

Sometimes I just need to make a decision and go for it. If I think and ponder and wonder and plan, I'll never get anything accomplished.

sewing, fabric, Kaffe Fassett, Phillip Jacobs, dresses, tunics, linen, thrift shopping, upcycle, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

In this case, I LOVE how the pockets turned out. I tilted them slightly and let them overlap a tiny bit to the back of the dress. They make me happy!

I'm happy with my scarf, too, which I finished last weekend.

artist, artist studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry, me made, Portfolio Tunic, crochet, sewing

Now I need another crochet project. I have some beautiful yarn that's waiting for just the right pattern. I think I want to make a lacy shawl. If I could only decide on a pattern. You see how I get myself into trouble?

I have a couple other sewing projects in progress and am working on making peace with letting things be in progress. It's hard not to be impatient. I'm not a fast sewist and I'm not very good at reading patterns. Sometimes I have no idea what they're talking about. I constantly make mistakes. It helps to use patterns I've sewn before, but I also want to try new things.

I think the important thing is to always keep going, even if that going is slow. It's true for all creative pursuits, whether that's sewing or painting or gardening or gymnastics. If I had given up on painting when I first started because I wasn't happy with the results, I would never have gotten to where I am today.

painting, gouache, Prussian Blue, botanical painting, roses, botanical art, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Although planning is wonderful for any project, getting stuck in the planning is really just a delay tactic. If I spend all my time thinking about the beautiful paintings I'm going to make, I'll never create failed paintings. Of course, that means I'll never create any paintings, failures or successes.

We learn by our mistakes, with paintings, sewing, cooking, whatever. So what if I sew a sleeve or a pocket inside out the first time? Next time will be better. And spending more time planning the perfect project won't be a guarantee that I won't make mistakes. We learn by doing, not thinking.

I have a post-it note stuck to my computer that says "Don't get stuck in the planning -- eventually you need to DO."

fabric design, surface pattern design, process, painting, Photoshop, Art Studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Here's to the DOing!

Oh, and those blue roses? If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen my obsession with painting in Prussian blue. I've put those bits together for a new fabric design. I am so excited (and already thinking about things I'd like to sew with the fabric!). I'll tell you about it next week. I've also put together a gift for my JoyList subscribers using some of those same elements. It will go out to my subscribers next week! Not yet a subscriber? You can sign up here.

So, are you with me? Are you going to DO? Let me know what project you tackle next. I'd love to hear about it!


  1. what a cute crafting, buddy........gloria g. in Wellborn, FL

    1. :) Thank you! I adore these cats. We adopted them just over a year ago and they fit in as if they were the missing piece in our lives. I was a little wary because they're older (they're 11 now), but we love spoiling them and making these last years of their lives the very best they can be.

  2. I love the pockets you put on the dress, it really changes the look. I really like the lavender top you have on in the picture. Did you make it? Super cute scarf. Hugs,

    1. Thank you, Sandi! I did make the lavender top. It's a Portfolio tunic published by Simplicity but designed by Liesl Gibbons of Liesl and Company (I'm working on sewing my 3rd one right now). Sadly it's out of print.

      Hugs back to you! I appreciate you being here and sharing your thoughts!

  3. Hi Anne. All your creations are beautiful! So much truth and personal recognition reading this post. It is a double-edged sword having a busy creative mind full of ideas. You're right that we sometimes need to just 'do' and 'finish' and I like the reminder that sometimes we need to sit comfortably with something taking a long time to finish. We just need to keep going and not get knocked back by 'failures' because they're what help us progress and learn. I am drafting my novel (again) because it needs to have a lower words count. But I've surprised myself by learning new skills by having to do this, and even enjoyed what I'd been sure I was going to begrudgingly hate. Your post is very apt for me at the moment. So lovely to enjoy your beautiful words and photos.

    Hope all okay with you.
    Kat xx

    1. Hi, Kat! Lovely to hear from you! You've been on my mind as I know your birthday is just around the same time as mine.

      So glad to know that my post resonated with you and how cool to hear that you've found joy in a project that you assumed you'd dislike. Also, congrats on continuing to plow away on your novel. I know it's a huge, long process. I hope to be able to read it one day!

      Wishing you joy and a wonderful birthday filled with many celebrations! Hugs back to you, too!

  4. I'm loving both your outfits on this post, great job!! You are so talented in many things. I have big ideas but then peter out before most get finished. My unfinished stack is high... including a quilt I promised my dad for his Christmas/Birthday gift! ugh. I'm going to try and take your advice, just do!

    1. Thanks so much, Jaime! I have plenty of big ideas that peter out before I get finished. Sometimes before I even get started! Haha. But I think chipping away at them bit by bit is so doable. Keeping them near (physically and in my head) helps a lot. Something to hold me accountable. It's all (always) a work in progress!

  5. Your tunics and scarf are such lovely, springtime colors. A real treat for the eyes. My Tula Tuesday project is turning out to be such fun. Steady progress because of accountability! Also having fun with the VTMQG---as our guild grows in numbers, our programming has gotten stronger, with challenges and projects that are so inspiring. It's such fun to see your two kitties "helping" you out. As soon as I head down to my basement sewing studio, Wilma is at my heels. Happy spring and happy birthday on Thursday, Anne!

    1. Thank you, Karen. You're probably feeling the need for color with white being the only view from your windows lately.

      I'm loving your Tula Tuesday project. Such fun. Picking something small and doable like that makes staying on top of it that much easier. (And yes, kitties always like to help out, whatever the task, painting, sewing, cooking, crocheting. Not always so helpful, though!).

      Thanks for the birthday and spring wishes. Sending you some warm spring thoughts. That snow can't last forever!


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