process

Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at whipup.net over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Amy Palanjian works as a food editor at Better Homes and Gardens and contributes to Recipe.com; in her spare time, she quilts, sews, crafts, and spends time in her kitchen and garden. She has just written the soon to be released So Pretty! Crochet: Inspiration and Instructions for 24 Stylish Projects by Chronicle books. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband Josh.

My husband Josh and I are expecting a baby the first week of June (ish—she of course may decide to come sooner or later than that!), and with that, my outlook on crafting and creating has changed a bit. I’ve always enjoyed making things out of scraps, found objects, and vintage fabrics, but my desire to teach our daughter to be resourceful, without having to rely on always going out and purchasing things, seems to be coming through front and center with how I’ve approached preparing for her arrival.

When I found out I was pregnant, I looked for inspiration for this new period in our lives. I found it through many bloggers including Meg of Sew Liberated, Sara of Feeding the Soil and Kylie of How We Montessori. Getting to know these women and their approach to parenting through the stories that they share each week has been enormously helpful—their lives look and feel similar to ours and they have given me a lot of hope that adding a child to the mix doesn’t necessarily have to change that. In fact, it can make it all a lot more fun, meaningful, and interesting.

I’ve made a few mini quilts for the baby to play on using fabric that had been lingering in my stash for months (or, in some cases, years). I also made a quilt using a collection of vintage blocks that I’d picked up at a local antique mall for a few dollars last year—the fabric was already so soft and broken in that I can’t help but think that it will be a lovely place for a baby to play. We purposefully kept our registery list short in the hopes that we could teach her about the world through real objects, rather than relying on toys (though we do of course have some toys!), and each time I think I want something for the baby, I consider whether I could make it myself.


When I found wall decals that I loved, I realized that I could probably make something similar using supplies that I already had in my house. I gave it a go and crafted some fabric wall decals in the shapes of butterflies to decorate behind the crib. I used fabric that played a role in our wedding and that I had used in a quilt that I made last year for a good friend’s new baby. Sure, I still need to figure out a more secure way to adhere them to the walls, but for now, I’m content with knowing that I did my best with what I already had.

I am sure that this way of thinking will change, bend, and react to the girl once she is here with us, but I am finding that it’s been a good place to start. Waiting for our daughter to join us has been a joyful experience, but one that has been filled with wonder and questions.

Making time to sit and make things with her in mind has helped me stay calm and sane throughout the past 8+ months.

Will I have time to sew things once I have a baby to take care of? Will I ever be able to keep the straight pins that are surely hiding in my couch (where I sit and quilt) away from the baby? Will my beloved fabric shears be safe from little hands (and will she be safe from them)? Will she like to spend time in the garden with her dad as I am hoping that she will? Will she love quiet and books and good food like her parents do? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but I hope that as a start, we are able to teach her how to use her own creativity as a way to explore the world.

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I love looking at how people make – the process behind the finished product is so fascinating to me – here is some progress shots in the whipup flickr pool – would love you to add your process/progress shots to the pool.

1. wip: napoleon vest, 2. wip – stitch it project, 3. WIP Moody Blues Felted Pouch, 4. YIP 365.192 :: Supersize shoo fly wip , 5. Tangled Yoke Sleeve, 6. wip, 7. Grannies, 8. textures, 9. ::making progress….one stitch at a time…::, 10. Embroidery work in progress, 11. work in progress- pillow in love, 12. finishing the cat-fox, 13. My creative space…, 14. buried, 15. i love to make things, 16. autumn

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True up posted a roundup of a whole heap of fabric designers who shared their process of creating a design from their initial doodle through to their repeats in illustrator – fascinating process.

[image from daisy janie]

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