My Very Own (Life-Sized) Upcycling Project

If you’ve been following along, then you’ve read about some things I’ve made and why they mattered to me. And if you’ve seen my About page, you also know this blog is about more than crafts. Sure, upcycling is a hot word in the handmade marketplace, and why shouldn’t it be? Buying an old item that’s been transformed by hand is just plain cool. For me, though, upcycling is personal. I’m endlessly fascinated by the process of finding tired things, seeing what they could become, and making them better.

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Photography has become one of my favorite ways to take care of myself, a huge part of my upcycled life. I find it relaxing and empowering at the same time. Like all shots in this post, I took this while on a stroll around my neighborhood.

And guess what, you guys? There’s no getting around the fact that I, too, could benefit from some upcycling. If you wanted to (and if you were on your A game), you just might be able to make the case that the past several years of my life have been one giant upcycling project.

I discovered what it’s like to live with a husband whose sobriety becomes alcohol abuse. I learned to forgive addiction and the man who has this disease. I found ways to accept the world–and especially myself–for not being perfect, either. But I also got divorced and did my part to make damn sure we did it with mutual respect. (He did his part, too, by the way.)

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I’m taking an online photography class, which prompted us to play with scale. Here, I took something small and made it big, the most important player in the scene.

Along with some tenacious colleagues, I completed a high-profile, multi-year work assignment with too few resources. It’s been awhile since I’ve thought about the night the divorce lawyer met me at my office at 8:30–yes, p.m.–after which I kept working. Finally, I wore myself down to the point where anxiety kicked in. Yes, the diagnosable kind.

There was the chaos phase, then the transition. Next came the rebuilding. Slowly, bit by bit, I managed to construct a solid foundation under my feet. At some point I knew it was there, but I didn’t trust it for awhile. In time, I found my peace again.

I picked up new ways to take care of myself. I figured out how to thrive in my job without letting it consume me. (Okay, some days I’m better than others.) I shifted my priorities and learned the value of taking things slowly. After even more time, I found a sweet new love. Yeah, I still get impatient and tired and restless sometimes. Every single day, though, a moment of gratefulness comes for the phase where I’m living now: growth.

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I tromped through some shin-length weeds to get this shot. Balancing the pink with the grass and sky was great fun. Bonus: The bee in flight!

Things are germinating now, no question. And that’s where this blog comes in. It’s my primary way of capturing the seeds. Some are tiny, happy ones. They grow quickly and show their beauty right away. Others are so big they scare me a little, as I don’t know what they’ll become.

I can tell they’ll take longer to establish roots, but I can feel their presence. They’re here, all right. As I encounter these burgeoning things, I hope to do right by them. I hope to notice them, determine what they are, and make sure they get the light and water and kindness they need.

Five New Blogs That Inspire Me to Create

5_new_blogs_3If you’re anything like me, you want to create stuff. You’ve experienced the jolt of comfort that comes from making something that wasn’t there before.

Blogging has helped me see that creators are all around us. Countless numbers of crafty people can’t help but share their stories with the world. This phenomenon inspires me, and my sewing wouldn’t be the same without it.

Now, I want to help encourage other new bloggers to continue their work. Hear how creation is done by a novelist, a DIY-loving mom, a bag-sewist, a list-maker, and a mixed-media artist. I hope their stories help you find some inspiration of your own. Enjoy!

Torn Apart

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I’m captivated by Torn ApartIt chronicles the process of a historical novelist as she fleshes out a story based on events of a WWII couple whose survival depended on separation.

Her research has brought her to Eastern Europe, led her to discover new books, and caused her to ponder the weather’s effect on her characters.

I look forward to seeing where her muse takes her next.

Stoney Sews 

stoneysews_quoteWhen I read my first post on Stoney Sews, I knew I’d found a kindred (bag-making) spirit. I’d just spent two months sewing a single bag, wondering repeatedly what compelled me to spend hours on each step.

I called my man into the sewing room so I could read him part of the post “Becoming a Bag Maker, Inside and Out.”

Sewing’s not his thing, but he appreciates that it’s mine. He laughed along with me and said something about me having found “my people.”

MissSarahAnne

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MissSarahAnne has an innocent-sounding name and makes her own barbie dresses. If you were to get the “dressmaking bug,” her warm tone would encourage you that making your own patterns is worth the effort.

But don’t let all the sweetness fool you. This mother of two introduces herself with stories of childhood abuse, a heroin overdose, and the severe depression that has sometimes haunted her since.

“It’s difficult to talk about, but we need to,” she says, and she’s right. Her blog reminds me that strength can come in unexpected forms. Whether she’s making doll clothes or a better life for herself and her family, I say, “Keep on making, MissSarahAnne!”

60 While 60

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Everybody loves a good list, so I was happy to discover 60 While 60. If you ask me, creating a lineup of adventures sounds sounds like fine way to celebrate a birthday. (Especially when the list involves starting a blog!)

I appreciate the blog’s playful spirit, as evidenced by this recent foray into geocaching. When she gets to it, I’m ready to ready to hear this adventurer’s take on ziplining.

Hometown Memories

hometown_memories_quoteI hope Carol of Hometown Memories keeps feeling deviant. Her mixed-media art tells stories, including those of people who “just do not want to fit into the molds created by society.”

Her piece shown in Deviant Blogging is just one of many tales her work tells of a small coastal town in Maine.

I enjoy the undulating flow of art and words that come together throughout this blog.

Well, I hope you, like me, got some new ideas from these creators. Now, let’s go out there and keep making new things of our own.