Why Make? Plus Thoughts on Me Made May -- Another Gentle Nudge Post

This year I've been participating in Me Made May. Do you know about it? It was started by Zoe of the blog So, Zo... What Do You Know. A lot of bloggers are sharing their me mades on their blogs and many more people are sharing photos on Instagram, but posting photos isn't compulsory. The aim of the challenge is for participants to "wear your me-mades more often and more thoughtfully to learn some useful lessons about yourself, your style, your body, your creativity and so on."

Although I frequently wear things that I've made, this is the first time I'm participating in the challenge and what I've been learning along the way has been so interesting. Mostly that I want to make lots more things to wear! It's really helped me to clarify what sorts of things I want to make, what I like (and dislike) wearing and why some things I've made never get worn.

The challenge has also made me think a lot about why we choose to make, or not make, and what drives our creativity and shapes the way we express that creativity.

What we choose to wear is an expression of our personalities and our creativity, more so when we make what we wear.

spoonflower, fabric design, watercolor butterflies, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

What's even more exciting for me is wearing a garment that I sewed with fabric that I designed.

sewing, fabric design, spoonflower, butterflies, pattern design, Butterick 6024, Watercolor Butterflies, My Giant Strawberry, Anne Butera

I sewed this top a couple weeks ago (it's Butterick 6024 and my Watercolor Butterflies fabric). It's full of plenty of flaws, but even so, fills me with joy (and makes me want to sew lots more clothes with my own fabric). I got so many compliments the day I wore this top!

Although I only started sewing clothes as an adult, I've been making things since I was a child. I don't know if it's in my DNA or if it was because I grew up with a maker mom or if it's a combination of those things, but the drive to create has been pushing me for longer than I can remember. I can't imagine life without creative projects.

Maybe you're like this, too?

Here's a bit of what I've been pondering lately:

Making is a way to express yourself.

No matter who you are or what you do, there's room for making in your life. It doesn't have to be sewing clothing. Or painting. Maybe you piece together intricate quilts with beautiful fabrics. Maybe you write stories. Maybe you invent recipes. Maybe you plant gardens. There are so many ways of being creative.

Making creates connections.

I paint as a way to connect with the plants and flowers and creatures in my world. And I love that my art also allows me to connect with people from all over the world. As customers. As readers of my blog (thank you!!), as followers on Instagram.

Being any kind of maker gives you opportunities for connection. Making creates community. These can be online communities or in-person ones. Maybe you take an art class and meet a kindred spirit. Maybe you wear a dress you sewed and the conversation it sparks kindles a new friendship.

Being creative feels good.

Doesn't it? It gives us a sense of accomplishment. And adds joy to our lives. Everything from that delicious meal you pulled together out of the random bits in your kitchen to the curbside bookshelf you painted and repurposed to the sunflower patch you planted in that empty spot in your yard bring joy to your life and to the lives of others.

Creating is good for our mental health.

Spending time creating makes us happier and more effective in other aspects of our lives. Creating makes us slow down and focus. It can be a form of meditation.

When we make something we exercise our creative muscles.

Of course. But sewing a top doesn't end there. When we craft something we develop problem solving skills. If we create in one aspect of our lives, we become more creative in others. Our minds are open to the question "what if?" What if I try combining these two ingredients in the dish I'm cooking? What if I switch out the bell shaped cuffs for elastic ones? What if I try adding this shade of blue to my painting? Creating makes us try new things, experiment, stretch.

painting, watercolor, tulips, botanical art, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Sometimes there are pitfalls:
  • Feeling that you don't measure up (especially after spending time on social media looking at all the wonderful things other people are making). 
  • Feeling overwhelmed with possibilities and ideas, stifled and uninspired (whether that's from looking through too many books or spending too much time scrolling through Pinterest).
  • Uncertainty about what project to tackle when you've purchased (and hoarded) craft supplies with no plan.
  • Hesitating to begin a project because you're afraid of messing up.
I think we've all been there.

Sometimes it helps to unplug. Step away from the computer, from social media. Spend some time in nature or at a museum. Go to a concert or something else to "fill the well."

Focus on your accomplishments. What are you proud of making? What of your projects bring you the most joy?

Switch gears. Maybe you always work in watercolors. Try another medium. Maybe your crafting always happens inside. Work in the garden instead.

Here are a few inspiring links:

yarn, tea, crafting, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I'd love to hear your thoughts on making. Why do you create? What projects have you been tackling recently?


  1. Your top in your own fabric design is a great accomplishment Anne! I bet not many people can say that they made their clothes and designed the fabric too! You are a walking advertisement of your talents.

    The reason I create is that I feel as though I have wasted my day if I don't. Saying that, most days I don't create anything and it makes me feel unfulfilled. The only thing I seem to be creating recently is a mess.

    My project at the moment is to get my craft room organized so I know where to find things. I have been trying to tackle this mammoth task for a few years now and can't seem to decide how to categorize my many genre of crafting materials. It does get me down because I know it will be so more pleasurable to have a neat and inspiring place to create in but I just can't seem to get it done!

    I hope you have a lovely weekend Anne. I am going to organize just one small thing and hope to progress from there! :)

    1. Organizing can be such a big and difficult task! The process always makes a much bigger mess than what you started out with! Taking it slowly and bit by bit can help, although I know it can make your space unusable in the process. Good luck with it all!

      Thanks, again, Simone for being here cheering me on.

      Hope your weekend was lovely! Have a wonderful week ahead!

  2. Hi Anne. Your blog looks beautiful!
    I've loved to sew ever since I first sat at a sewing machine at about age 18. I've made dolls, wallhangings and fabric pictures ever since then. When I was in my 20's I made many of my own clothes and even my own wedding gown. Now I create something almost every day and it gives me a sense of joy and accomplishment, especially when I'm feeling stressed. If I don't draw, sew or embroider, even for a couple of days, I feel frustrated. I'm really grateful to have this passion as part of my life.

    1. H, Judy! Thanks so much. I'm still not so sure about the format with the posts only showing as photos and titles from the main page, but at this point I'm not feeling up to changing it because it's so much work. Haha!

      You sound like my mom. She made her wedding gown, too, and sewed clothes for us when we were growing up. I wish I had had her teach me how to sew when I was young, but I think I was too impatient for that.

      I tend to get crabby if I don't work on creative projects for a couple days in a row, so I totally understand what you're saying! I need to remember to be grateful for my creativity, I think I take it for granted much of the time, but you're right, it's a gift!



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