2014: A Year of Living Creatively

Was 2014 a creative year for you? A handful of years ago I remember making a list of what I thought were the primary areas in life that were important for happiness & well being. Something like this:

Relationship/Marriage
Family
Friends/Social Life
Health
Career
Creativity
Learning
Spirituality (although I’m not a religious person, I still consider spirituality to be an important factor)

There were probably a few other things on the list that I can’t remember right now. Anyway, I rated each area out of 10. At that time, I rated Creativity as one of the lowest of all — probably 2 or 3 out of 10. I’m happy to report that’s not the case anymore; my Creativity Index has shot through the roof over the last few years, and it’s made quite a difference to my overall happiness & well-being! (In many ways, it’s made quite a dent in my wallet, too, but that’s another story.) It’s amazing what can happen when you take stock of who you are and where you’re at, and think about what you’d like to do or change to make a positive difference.

In any case, 2014 continued to be a big year for both Creativity and Learning for me. Here are some of the highlights.

  • took Intermediate Fabrication from Jewel Envy where I made a silver necklace and this ring

Silver Curlicue Ring with Amethyst CZ

  • I took a course on enameling from Jewel Envy (click the link to see what I made)
  • I took a 4-week course on making rings with metal clay with Jenn Jevons of Metal Clay Atelier (post about these rings coming soon!)

silver metal clay rings

  • I set myself up with a small jewelry workshop at home (cripes, tools are expensive!)
  • Following on from 2013, I took a second course on Wearable Electronics and built a motion-activated, light-up skirt!
  • I took another course on casting from Jewel Envy, where I made the silver & pearl ring pictured in my favourite makes of 2014, below

I didn’t have a bad year in knitting, either, considering I get a good chunk of my knitting done during meetings at work. (This says more about how many damn meetings I have to go to than about the speed of my knitting.) I knit:

  • 3 cardigans
  • 2 hats
  • 5 scarves
  • 3 cowls/neckwarmers
  • 2 pairs of socks

knitting projects Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 8.04.51 AM

Biggest fails of 2014

Vogue 8825 dress

The Grocery Cart Dress

zipperneckdress3

The This-Fucking-Fabric-Is-A-Fucking-Nightmare Dress

My favourite makes of 2014

diagonallinesdress sparkleskirt

silver&pearlsring neonhat

Creative Goals for 2015:

  • 3D printed jewelry is in my immediate future. I can feel it.
  • I hope to learn how to take better pictures, especially of jewelry.

Thanks for supporting me in my creative endeavours and sharing yours with me through this blog! May your 2015 be very creatively fulfilling. Make it happen! Cheers!

‘Tis the Season for Split Personality (not to mention split pants seams)

Christmas_EatonCentre

Here’s a first world problem for you: do you find yourself torn between getting caught up in the ‘holiday spirit’ while feeling a bit icky about all the excess consumption? Of course you do; it’s inevitable this time of year. On one hand we want to honour this special occasion by decorating, baking & cooking, and giving gifts. On the other hand, this all takes so much time, energy, and money, and puts a strain on the earth’s resources as well as pressure on manufacturing economies to maximize profits on the backs of workers.

Case in point, and my current dilemma: I’m hosting the whole family at my home for the holidays, and I’d like to make it “Christmas-y” for them, even thought it’s not something I usually spend too much time doing when it’s just my husband and I. I’m dithering over buying a tree for the first time ever (I usually just decorate a tiny potted evergreen I have in the house year-round), and I find myself considering buying decorations ranging from new holiday-themed cloth napkins to a seasonal door mat and seasonal throw pillows in the living room. Then I stop and think, ‘CRAZY!’. Money, resources, time, all put into a few tchotchkes that will only be used once a year. And I’ll have to find storage in my house for them the other 11 months! And yet, there’s the feeling of being the Grinch — why not just enjoy all the trappings of the season?

I was invited to a new year’s party last year at the home of a friend-of-a-family member, people I’d never met before and am unlikely to see again. They had a beautiful home, and every inch of it had been converted to Christmas decor. They had the biggest Christmas tree I’d ever seen. All the towels in the bathrooms and kitchen were Christmas towels. The handsoap was a special holiday scent. Frames containing family photos throughout the house were all Christmas-themed. Artwork on the walls were Christmas prints. Kleenex boxes were covered in Christmas images. Napkins, throws, pillows, candlesticks, you name it, all were part of the Christmas theme. It honestly made me feel a bit nauseous, despite trying not to judge what obviously was a source of pleasure, even a hobby, for the home owners. (Where do they put all this stuff the rest of the year, I kept wondering. You’d need a whole separate room for storage. And do they do this for other holidays throughout the year, too?)

What do you think? Do you go all out for the sheer pleasure of enjoying the holidays, or do you have smaller ways to enjoy the season without overdoing it? How do you balance the conflicting feelings — if you feel conflicted at all? I’m interested to know. In any case, I hope you are enjoying a happy and healthy holiday season, no matter how you do it. And may all your pants seams remain intact during holiday feasts. xo

Addendum, two days later: I caved, a bit. Went to local dollar store and hardware store and bought two strings of icicle lights, three Christmas stockings, gift bags and cookie tins. All made in China. But I somehow managed to resist the 10-foot, inflatable, light-up Santa-playing-hockey so give me some friggin’ credit, K? 😉

Glamourous Gowns and Garbage Bags!

I know you’re in a last-minute panic about making something to wear to a holiday party. (Or maybe you’re not, because, like me, your office party is a lunchtime pop-and-chip potluck and your husband’s company is too cheap to allow spouses to their holiday party. Woop woop.) But if you are, Woman’s Day magazine’s December 1977 issue (55¢) has the answer: sparkling party tents!

sparkling sack dresses!

Welcome! Just toss your keys in that big bowl over there, ladies!

More sparkling sack dresses!

In fact, you can make these with no sewing skills whatsoever. Just cut giant rectangles, fasten them around you randomly with small ties, and violà — instant party dress. Check out the line drawings of the patterns below!

Sparkling Sack Dresses - Complete with complex line drawings

Sparkling Sack Dresses – complete with complex line drawings

I think if you’re looking for a pattern for a “tunic”, and you find one with a line drawing that is literally a square, you might just want to keep looking.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a one-off party dress that can double as a trash bag for collecting empty bottles and cigarette butts at the end of the night, this could be the one.

THANK YOU Woman’s Day for this awesome laugh. I mean, just look at that guy in the bottom picture above. He honestly doesn’t care that this woman is dressed in a sparkling sack…he is ready to PARTY and he’s got the rose-coloured glasses and bow tie to prove it.

Lest you’re worried about how to accessorize these lovely garments, the same issue provides directions for making this lovely necklace — OUT OF PAPER CLIPS. “Paper clips are glued solid and strung on braided satin cord…”  I am screaming laughing.

This DIY paperclip necklace won't look at all like you glued a bunch of paperclips together.

This DIY paperclip necklace won’t look at all like you glued a bunch of paperclips together. Not at all.

Also thanks to my lovely neighbour who was chucking a whole stack of these old magazines and let me take them. Gold mine of memories of ads and products from my childhood.