Category Archives: make something 365

make something everyday

decoupage thank you cards

Last year around this time, I decided I was going to try to make something everyday in 2010. My theory was that creativity is a muscle that needs loving care and exercise for it to flourish, and I still believe that. I figured now would be a good time to evaluate my success regarding that little endeavor. Accountability, and all that.

I think if I had to give myself an overall grade on this project, it would be a C+. I did very well in some ways, and very poorly in others.

embroidery practice

On the one hand, I am pretty sure I came very close to actually making something every single day of 2010. I spent an awful lot of time with my sewing machine and sketchbook last year! 2010 was my first full year doing Holland Cox full time, so no pesky day job (or sleeping, in some cases) to get in the way!

On the other hand, the point of the goal was to do crafty, creative things other than making handbags as much as I could. I was trying to diversify, pick up new skills, explore other avenues and all that. I’m pretty sure I didn’t accomplish that goal. The vast majority of my sewing in 2010 was fulfilling orders and preparing for craft shows.

knit jersey fabric flower

Most importantly, I didn’t come anywhere near taking enough photos of the things that I made. My Flickr account (where I was posting my daily project photos) is extremely bare for someone who spends as much time as I do sewing. You’ll notice that there aren’t any pictures from May 2010, and I assure you I spent 100% of my waking hours making things in May (I had a craft show every weekend, plus several bridal party orders!). Either I was too busy, or I simply forgot to take pictures most of the time!

Also, since so much of my sewing was Holland Cox-related, it got sort of boring after a while. How many versions of the jewelry roll do you need to see, really?

So, to sum up: WIN on sewing all the time, FAIL on sewing new things often enough, and FAIL on taking enough pictures and posting them.

custom keychain

I still think it’s really important to practice at being creative, and to stretch your creativity as much as you can on a regular basis. However, this year I plan on increasing my commitment to recording that practice – I think there’s something for me to learn by looking back on older projects, for example. Not only that, but without pictures, it would be impossible for me to share what I’ve learned with you!

If you have a Flickr account, I’d love to connect over there! Maybe we can keep each other accountable while we stretch our creative muscles!


artist trading cards

I’ve been wanting to make ATCs (artist trading cards) for a long time, now. I first heard about them years ago on a crafty message board that I used to frequent. The girls there had organized an ATC swap, and I saw the thread regarding the swap, but had no idea what ATCs were.

Artist trading cards are simply tiny, playing card-size art. The idea was originated by a Swiss artist in 1997 who wanted a way to share what he made with other artists. The idea was to make ATCs representing your work (any medium, any style, any subject…just all made by you and all 2.5″ x 3.5″), and get together with other artists to trade your cards like kids used to trade baseball cards back in the day.

Like most crafters, I find the ATC concept incredibly seductive. The idea of one restriction (the size) combined with limitless other possibilities (style, subject, medium…) is quite simply, delightful. I love it for the same reason I love NaNoWriMo and any other craft-related challenge with minimal (but ironclad) rules. I find the idea of total free reign, but within a set of parameters, to be very exciting, and a good way to exercise creativity. The fact that you are also supposed to share what you make, is wonderful too. Why wouldn’t you want to release more beauty into the world?

Sadly, the urge to make ATCs remained just that…a distant desire…until very recently. My goal to make something everyday in 2010 lends itself very nicely to getting around to things I’ve never made time for before, and ATCs are no different.

Last week I participated in the first craftsocial Twitter chat (hosted by @SisterDiane and @penguintrax), where I thought to ask the participating crafty tweeps if ATCs were still something that people did/traded, or whether I had missed the boat (1997 is a long time ago, friends). I was assured that ATCs are totally not passe, and I was inspired to make my very first one the next day! It ended up being my Day 14 project. Then I got totally hooked, and made three more. Check it:

Inspiration came in the form of tiny reproductions of Italian travel posters that I saved from 2008 and 2009 calendars. I had absolutely no plan for any of these, I just got out my craft supplies and started cutting up things and gluing things and sewing things. Which is why some of them look wonky (can you tell I have never sewed beads on anything before?), but I felt strongly that I shouldn’t think too hard about these or fret too much about them. They are by no means perfect, and I am perfectly okay with that. The idea was to make something, and I did it. It was enormous fun, and I think I will probably continue with this “Italy” series until I run out of the tiny poster reproduction, or I get bored with the theme.

Making ATCs is the perfect craft night craft. They are small and easy to finish, so you get to enjoy that sense of accomplishment when you’re done. There aren’t any rules, and you don’t even have to show anybody what you made if you don’t want to, so it’s totally stress-free. Stress busting if you ask me. I found the gluing and sewing and assembling incredibly relaxing.

Anyway, I’m also hosting an ATC swap for craftsocial participants, but you can join in too! You have until January 21 to join the swap, and then until February 4 to make your ATC and send it off to your partner. When was the last time you got something handmade just for you in the mail? Do it, it’ll be fun. Here’s how to join up.


wardrobe refashion

I have blogged about Wardrobe Refashion before, but this time I am official! I’ve joined up for six months. And I have a little web badge to prove it.

By officially joining up, I pledge to not buy any new, manufactured clothing for six months, and instead refashion what I already own, what I find at thrift stores, and using my existing fabric stash. The not buying new thing isn’t going to be a problem. And obviously I have a *huge* stash to draw upon, plus lots of clothes I don’t wear anymore. It’s the perfect project for me!

This challenge goes hand-in-hand with my plan to Make Something Everyday. My 365 project has already allowed me to finish a handful of UFOs (that’s “unfinished objects”) floating around, and my refashion projects will be no different. I have SO MANY clothes that I don’t wear anymore, that are too ugly/boring/dull/ill fitting for me to bother with trying to make an outfit out of them, but that are perfect for refashioning.

I’ve only done two so far (which isn’t bad, considering this is only the 2nd week of January), and the goal is to post on the Wardrobe Refashion blog once a week to keep the refashionistas up to date on what you’re up to. I posted my first official update this morning, hooray! Out of the two I’ve done so far, I know I’m going to wear this one the most:

This cardigan started out plain and quite dull, and now it is much more interesting, not to mention fitting a whole lot better. I’m sure there will be many more refashions among my daily projects, and you can check them out on my Flickr photostream. If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to put together a tutorial on how I did this to my cardigan, it was super-easy and I’m sure I’m going to give several more the same treatment. What did you make today? I want to see!


happy new year!

Today was my first day back to work after a very long, much needed, and totally lazy holiday. I mailed my last holiday order on December 21, the day before I left for North Carolina to spend Christmas with my parents. Since then, until today, I’ve done pretty much nothing: watched TV (at my parents’ house), read trashy novels, slept really late, ate too much. It was fantastic. I did sneak in a little bit of 2010 planning for Holland Cox and a little bit of crafting (more on that later), and I also had a little cocktail party that had been snowed out on its original date. The vacation was very long, but I refuse to feel guilty. I know it was long enough because I was very glad to get back to work today!

You’ll see on the sidebar that my first event is Crystal Couture in February. I’m not used to doing events until April, so this is a big deal for me, to have something so early in the year. Also, I will be exhibiting for an entire week (!)…you locals should come out and see me! I’ve already started planning my inventory!

Also on tap is a bunch of new stuff for the Etsy store…I’ve got pictures to take and edit before that can happen, but be on the lookout! If you follow me on Twitter or are a Facebook fan, you’ll know as soon as they are up.

While I generally do not make New Year’s resolutions, I do spend some time planning for the year business-wise, and setting broad goals for myself in general. One of those is to make more things. It might sound crazy, because really, isn’t my job all about sewing? Aren’t I making things all the time? But I have vowed to myself to make something every day in 2010. I think that creativity is like a muscle, and it needs to be exercised and stretched and cared for regularly if it is to stay healthy. Doing the same kind of sewing all the time won’t necessarily do that. Moreover, there are all kinds of crafty and creative things that I love to do besides sewing, that I rarely make time for. Until now!

So far, I am on the wagon, and this project has the added bonus of helping me with another goal for 2010, to make better use of my Flickr account. I have posted all of my daily projects there so far…check it out. If people want to join in, I’d be happy to make a Make Something Everyday Flickr Group, and it can be one giant year-long craft-along! I decided that all kinds of “making” will count for my project: fashion, crafting, sewing, art, foodcraft, and writing. Not that I’m going to take a picture of my turkey sandwich that I made for lunch and call it my project for the day, but when I make a special effort or try something new in the kitchen, it definitely will count. Especially for me, aka Take Out Queen. Perhaps this 365 project will help me with another goal of mine, to make food at home more often. We shall see!

Here is Day 4’s project, a 2-drawer box from Ikea that was woefully plain and ugly when I bought it, but is now an explosion of color!

I decoupaged the sides with fabric scraps, and the front of the drawers with green wrapping paper. Bright apple-y/acid green is the theme for my sewing area, as you can probably tell. Surrounding myself with pretty things while I sew makes sitting there for hours a lot more entertaining and enjoyable!

I probably won’t be blogging about my 365 project every single day; I may do a weekly roundup or only highlight projects I’m really excited about. Either way, you can see every single one on my Flickr page, which I hope to update daily. Feel free to call me out if you notice me slacking! So tell me, friends…what are you crafty plans for 2010?