Are We Walking to Alaska

Are We Walking to Alaska
Are We Walking to Alaska - A True Story

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A few things in my studio


 I've always called my craft/sewing/quilting/knitting/crocheting/be-jeweling room my studio - it bunches it all together and I like the sound of it.  Recently I've had a few people tell me that I should downsize - get rid of the unnecessary things in the studio. What?? There are unnecessary things in there?  I think not.

While we are chatting today, let's look at some of the things I've created over the years.


I like to paint - the bird and the green water are my paintings - I also love to receive paintings - the tall ships painting was done by a friend, from one of my own photos.

I've often heard people say that they feel bad having all their craft supplies, all their fabric, that sort of thing.  They say that they have it and don't use it consistently and should "purge".  Well, the few times I've gotten rid of some crafting or sewing item I've had to go out and buy more, and you know it is always more expensive the second time.




Crocheting and knitting keep my hands busy - and my mind can follow any flight of fancy it chooses - such a soothing pastime.

Let's talk a bit about what we do.  I like to sew, knit, crochet, do rock work, paint, redo furniture (on a small scale), embroider, do leatherwork - and probably a lot more.  I'm a very busy thrifter (bet you didn't know that about me, did you?) and when I come across cheap crafting items at yard sales or thrift shops, I will plunk them into my basket.  Recently I got a bag full of different sized styrofoam tree shapes - I didn't have an idea in mind - but for 1.00 for so many I just couldn't pass up the chance that I'd want them at some time.  No regular prices for me - no siree.  Now that I've had them a while I can think of all sorts of trees to make for the holidays - pine cone trees, ribbon trees, ric rac rose trees - oh the ideas are endless and if I went to pinterest I bet that I'd find a lot more things to do with them.


Fond memories of Ben and Jahn-Zyel at our house, creating something from their own imagination.

I don't think we should apologize for having hobbies - I don't think that we should feel that we should be doing something besides creating.  Creativity is essential to our lives - it makes our minds soar -  it brings happiness in the finished product and it can be a lovely gift in the end, or a prized possession.  We can teach others our crafts - we can share time together, contentedly working on projects with family and friends.

Beadwork, painting on rocks, fabric ornaments and angels made from vintage hankies 

I find it fascinating when I meet someone that truly enjoys their art or their craft - no excuses -  no apologies - just pure, clear enjoyment.  That is the way crafting or art is supposed to be - it is there to open your eyes and your heart to the beauty around you.  Freely enjoyed.

Market bags. I stitched random quilt blocks that I've made, onto canvas bags. In Bellingham you have to bring your own bags for shopping - plastic bags are banned in Bellingham.  I made these bags years before the plastic bag ban.


Too often I hear people bemoan the fact that they have spent an entire day, lost in a project. What a thrill that should be - to wander about in the project, enjoying the feel of the materials used, the sight of the project coming into being, the thrill of finishing a project (or a step in the process) and truly rejoicing in it all.

Pin cushions, needle keeps - felt projects are such fun - and grandchildren can join in the fun with felt.

Let your spirit soar - enjoy your creative space - even if it is the end of the kitchen table - or a tiny tv tray set on the coffee table, or a little desk is a walk-through closet, full of beads, or wood, paints or pencils, fabrics, yarns -  oh so many choices. 


Painting on wooden cut outs - I used to teach classes too, and cut out the wood shapes myself.

When I've been creating I feel so much better, it lifts my spirits.  When I am making something that is going to be a gift I ponder my friendship/relationship with that person - putting the fond memories into the project.  When I make a quilt for someone I always sleep one night under the quilt - giving it a blessing to be taken to the new recipient.


Teddy bears with their new outfits, plastic canvas easter house basket with fabric easter eggs, crewel embroidery and needlepoint pillows

My hope is that you enjoy your crafting and creating time like a little child enjoys being completely submerged in their current project, be it a coloring book or a mud puddle that begs to be jumped into.  Raise your arms and shout - sing a song - hum a tune - listen to nature - and all the while - feel the creativity that flows from you to your project.  Bask in the sunshine that lingers a bit in your crafting space.

The hen and rooster set in the top left I made from a kit from Sitka Bazaar when I was 16.  Definitely dated.  The other two sets are recently finished projects.

I like to embroider - some times I make dishtowels with days of the week patterns, teddy bears, fruit, birdies, sunbonnet ladies - there is no end to the possibilities.  I like the rhythm of the stitches - the pulling of the thread through the fabric, the soft whisper of the thread, the design that grows stitch by stitch.  I don't need more dishtowels, and probably those who I give some to don't need any more either, but that is part of the fun - making something that is not necessary, a whimsy, a delight.


Quilts were my main crafting for many years.  

I make useful things too - as well as decorative - both are as much fun to create.  Right now I'm working on chrismtas gifts - and snowflakes - what a joy to have creative outlets and the enjoy every minute of them.  


Photography is a very enjoyable art/hobby.  Don asked me what my best photo was, and I had to answer - "the next one I take".  It is one of my favorite pastimes and hobbies.

I know that some of you are not crafters/sewers/knitters - but we can all enjoy the results of those that love to create.  One time I heard someone say they were not crafty at all - but they had made the most fabulous displays in their antique store, which is a very useful art.  I think we all create in some way - some tell stories of the past - some write - some make memorable parties - some cook (simple or fancy) - some inspire others to create - some listen.

What lovelies have you been creating? And if not - let's go!!

If you hear a voice within you that says you can't paint - then by all means, paint - that voice will be silenced. - Van Gogh

19 comments:

The Quintessential Magpie said...

You are so talented! You never cease to amaze me! xoxoxox

Rowan said...

I enjoy knitting and cross stitching and have a cupboard and a couple of baskets for my supplies. Time spent crafting is never wasted as far as I'm concerned:)

Franni said...

As the recipient of so much of your craftiness over nearly 20 years, including one of your incredible quilts, I say keep on doing what you love because you make the world a better place by doing it. You spread so much happiness and love and I do love you for it!! <3

Lorrie said...

Like you, I enjoy doing a lot of things. Sometimes I wonder if I should concentrate on just one or two things - but hey, I enjoy it all, so why not? Creativity is a great outlet. I think that if I didn't have craft supplies, I'd be making patterns with rocks outside on the ground.

Loved seeing all your crafts. And now you're passing on your love of working with your hands to your grandchildren. Wonderful!

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

I'm glad you are enjoying your creative work! I used to oil paint years ago and then life got in the way. Now I can't stand the smell of the fumes from the oils. So I am learning to paint with water colors. And of course I love photography.
My mom made me those same appliqued & embroidered sunflower girl dish towels years ago!
For the longest time I didn't use them because I thought they were so cute. But now they are almost worn out. She did a lot of embroidery work.
Enjoy a creative week!

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

P.S. I love your paintings!

joy said...

What a lovely post, JoAnn, and how talented you are. I have a studio of my own too, in which I keep all my bits and pieces, and I love it, my very own space surrounded by all my lovely possessions, craft supplies, books and "stuff". I would ban anyone from entering who suggested I get rid of anything.
Joy x x

Candy S said...

I love all of your marvelous pictures of your projects. I spend every day lost in a project. My life has been a series of wonderful crafts and hobbies. I'm never bored and always busy. A crafters way of life is a wonderful is wonderful way of life (just sayin).

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

I think that I perused most of your QUILTING blog when I fell in love with the BOOK YOU WROTE. I know that you MAKE DOLLS and that you CROCHET and CRAFT little pretties and such and HERE YOU PAINT TOO. And you DO IT WELL!
Then those little hankie-angels...I just fell in love with them.

but do you mean to say that you are a THRIFTER...you mean, like one of those kind of women that buy a bunch of dishes and teapots?
( just kidding of course : )

I get bored easily and can't concentrate on just one thing, so right now there's the rag rug project on the radiator ( I put it away for awhile and just brought it back out yesterday ) and there are pieces on the sideboard for a quilt block/ hand piecing and then some leaves and such for an applique, and then there's a quilt that still needs finished....as to quilting I am like in preschool and you got your Doctorate, ha ha / It doesn't matter....I greatly enjoy your masterpieces and you encourage me on my mutilations :)

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

I love your philosophy about creativity, and I couldn't agree more! We should enjoy ourselves and not begrudge the time that we've spent creating. I love to write, take photos, crochet and cross stitch. I would like to quilt and knit, but I can't seem to get the hang of sewing or doing any knitting beyond a simple stitch!

Jeanne said...

What better way to spend time but to make something with your own hands. You go girl!!

Peg said...

You certainly are a very crafty person. I just don't know where you keep it all!!! But so much fun seeing your creations as you share them with us. And, no, don't get rid of any of it - who knows, I may have to come 'shopping' at your house some day LOL!!!

Unknown said...

Oh I like everything about this post. One of the joys of having grown up under your tutelage is that I am never afraid to tackle a creative project! In my walk-through tiny studio :)

eileeninmd said...

Wow, your are creative, I love the bags and your paintings It must help to be so thrifty. And the snow geese shots are wonderful. Have a happy week!

Mary said...

Dear one, not only are you the queen of beautiful craft projects, you can even write about it all and keep me enthralled! Wow, such lovely things you've shared here today, I feel better just looking at all the pretty things made from so many types of materials. I love your outlook and positive thoughts on crafting in general............and admit when I used to do more myself I did often feel guilty about using that time when perhaps I should have been doing other things, like cleaning house, haha! That's changed now, still like a picked up relatively clean house BUT can actually keep the vac in the closet for longer periods now! After the coming days, when the hard flooring goes in downstairs, I may be cleaning even less, well at least faster. Anyone looking for a big hefty Dyson......it's going out when the Swiffer takes over!!!

Love ya - Mary

Lili said...

Oh Jo I raise my glass high to you for your joyful, creative and inspirational spirit! Wow, loved seeing all of your creations, especially the painting of the green water. You my dear are incredibly gifted.

greenthumb said...

So many lovely photos, I really like your Autumn photos. You must be very busy with all your craft.

Karen Frost said...

I love seeing all your creations, JoAnn! So many darling things and you are just about the most talented crafter I know! I agree with you on not throwing out those long collected craft supplies and how wonderful it is to get lost in a project unaware of the time going by. You are truly a crafter's inspiration and now I need to get busy! Hugs xoxo Karen

Kay said...

Is there no end to your talents? I think not! Thanks for sharing your amazing artistry! (I confine myself to papercrafting and photography...so far. I never had time, energy, or space to do creative play during my working years. What a joy to now have all three and I admit I have no restraint when it comes to tools and materials. "Too much?" No way! That's like saying there are too many colors in a rainbow!