Sunday, April 13, 2008

Seven Questions...Gettin' Crafty

Meet Kelly! Athletic, smart, beautiful. A world-traveling entrepeneur, a cute cute blogger and the most important person in the lives of three lucky boys. Best of all--she and I share roots on the same family tree.

Kelly is my younger cousin. She inherited our grandmother's gift with a needle and thread and has been putting it to good use. Go check out her etsy shop--Kelly Couture--she's got the cutest aprons, jewelry and accessories! And she made them all herself.

Kelly's darling handcrafted aprons

Since I got skipped over by the stitching and crafting genes (instead inheriting Grandpa's thick ankles and taste for butterfat), I am fascinated by people who can actually make things and ENJOY doing it!

Here are Kelly's thoughts on being creative...

1. Where do you go for creative inspiration?
For me, as I'm sure it is for most people, I find inspiration everywhere. I can go days, even weeks where everything I look at sparks an idea or a project. Unfortunately, there are also lots of periods of drought, during which I definitely doubt my creativity. Luckily, I have a few ways of kicking myself in the butt during times like this.

The first & easiest way to get over the "hump" is blogs & websites. There are so many crafty & creative sites out there, it can actually be overwhelming. But they are definitely a great source of inspiration. I also have a HUGE magnet board in my office that I use as an inspiration board of sorts. the pictures and images rotate often, depending on what strikes my fancy, but it's always filled with things that inspire me... beautiful magazine ads, postcards, photos, fabric swatches... basically anything and everything.

The one thing that never changes is a set of quotes that inspire me every time I read them:

"life isn't about finding yourself. life is about creating yourself." -george bernard shaw

"you can't use up creativity. the more you use, the more you have." - maya angelou

Another thing I do to inspire creativity is my collection of magazines. Recently I've actually given up all of my magazine subscriptions. Getting the magazines in the mail just wasn't working for me at all. My latest issue would arrive & sit for days without me opening it. For me, personally, I've found it much more inspiring to make the trip to barnes & noble, where I can actually peruse all the latest issues & decide if it's really worth investing. Often times, I end up buying the same old titles, but on occasion, something totally random catches my eye.

This way, I'm excited & ready to read my newly purchased magazines... which is always a treat. I love curling up on the couch, and thumbing through these new issues. I read & tear. anything that catches my eye... an advertisement, a project, a room layout, if it attracts my attention I tear it out & later file it away in one of my many binders.

Which leads me to my next source of inspiration... the binders. I have a shelf full of binders, filled with magazine tears. They are organized as follows: patterns, recipes, project ideas, decorating ideas & holiday ideas. If I'm every totally stumped, or just feeling down, I love to page through the binders, something always jumps out at me & helps rev my engines.

Really & truly though, on an every day basis, I just really try to pay attention to the world around me... you never know when the lightening bolt is going to strike. I've had inspiration hit while I was walking through Disneyland, shopping in the grand bazaar in Instanbul, or simply lying on the beach. Often times my creativity is a result of need. I need something, or more often than not, I want something, or have to give something, so rather than buy it, I like to try to figure out ways to make it.

Other times my creativity comes from seeing something in a store & thinking to myself "I can make that for cheaper, or cuter, or even both." (Does that even count as creativity?) Seriously, inspiration truly is everywhere! Whenever I'm in a rut I just have to remind myself to open my eyes.

Handy diaper & wipe "clutch"

2. What does your workspace look like? How do you organize your supplies?
I can answer this question with just two words: organized chaos. My work space is spread out throughout the entire house. Although I dream of having a "craft" room, right now, that just isn't a possibility. So, my sewing is set up in our office. I found this really great sewing armoire that is perfect. When the doors are closed, you don't even notice it, it just looks like a piece of furniture. But when you open it up, it's like a mini sewing room. There are lots of shelves for me to store fabric & supplies. Plus it has a table with a drop leaf extension so it can really expand to make a nice little sewing table.

Usually all of my fabric and supplies are put away nicely, otherwise it can get hard to find things. I like to keep fabrics pieces of like size together, in color order. What this means is, I have a plastic bin with all my fat quarters folded nicely & color coded. I have another bin for odd size pieces, & then one for bigger pieces of fabric.

Within arms length of my sewing machine I have big mason jars... one is full of different colored buttons, another is full of ric rac, and finally one is full of spools of thread. I also have to have all scissors & cutting supplies close. (Although all of my cutting happens in the kitchen. I mentioned that it was spread throughout the house, right?)

I also have another cupboard (in the bathroom of all places) that is full of the fabrics I use to make baby quilts, quilt kits I have yet to piece, stitching & crocheting supplies & other random crafts. Then my kitchen is where i store all my jewelry supplies (I know, totally random).

Overall, I'm a pretty organized person, everything has it's place. I don't really function that well if things are out of place, which makes it hard, because when I getting working, things can go flying. Suddenly my clean, quiet space is a total disaster, & I'll have no idea how it happened. which starts the vicious circle... I'll have to stop "creating" & start cleaning, just so I can find things. Once I've tidied up, I can start "creating again, & the cycle starts again.

3. How do you balance your hobbies/business with your family responsibilities?
I'm not really sure if I do. This might be a better question for my hubby, Jeff, he might have some opinions on this... the one thing I've really tried to do is develop a schedule. I know it sounds boring, but if I didn't schedule, I'd spend all day sewing. I try to do as much of my crafting (for personal or business) while boys are sleeping, either napping or down for the night. It doesn't always work out, but I try. I don't really mind making jewelry while they're up, seeing as I'm in the kitchen, but I don't like to sew while they are awake. (Their little hands love the needle, & their little feet want to sew, so it just doesn't work.)

Right now I'm trying an experiment & am actually trying to limit the days I craft. I'm hoping that if I know I'm only going to sew two days a week, & actually plan for it, maybe I'll be more productive. Plus that gives me more time for other things (like my hubby).

4. Do you work better with a deadline? Or do you need more space and time? I wish this wasn't true... but, I'm a deadline kind of girl. There's just something about a deadline that gives me a little rush. I can have all the time in the world, but it never does me any good, because I just can't function until I have a deadline looming over my head. Then suddenly it's like someone flips a switch in me, & I'm ready to go.

Ahoy, matey! Pirate quilt

5. What is your crafting "uniform"? What do you wear while making your creations? Anything that is comfortable... usually it's jeans and t-shirt or my pajamas. Basically, whatever I happen to be wearing at that exact moment in time. Although, I must say that I prefer to sew bare foot, I just seem to have more "feel" that way.

6. Do you like background noise? TV? Music? I definitely have to have noise. I prefer dialogue when I'm crafting. Right now, my sewing machine isn't really set up for me to watch tv, so I usually crank up the tv really loud, or play a show off the internet. But when I'm really on a roll, I love music with a good beat... it just keeps me pumping along. Basically, I need noise. Absolute silence does me no good.

Kellycouture wish necklace

7. What advice do you have for someone who would like to start creating something new?
In the words of Nike: "just do it". Creativity is a wonderful thing... there are no rules. It requires no formal education, there is no right or wrong. It's all about you & it's all for you. so find a project & tackle it. I love trying new things, testing new ideas & being introduced to new concepts. It's always fun to craft with a group - everyone always has a different take on things, so you're exposed to a whole slew of perspectives. At the end of the day, if you are enjoying yourself & having fun, that's what's important.

Thanks, Kelly! You are an inspiration.

In her "spare" time, Kelly also writes a very cute and clever blog. Check it out here...


Bridget said...

Yeah, another interview!

I love Kelly's blog and creative genius. I bought one of her necklaces and I wear it almost everyday. It's so cute!

Basically, I think I just want to be adopted into your family Gabi. Is that OK?

Jenibelle said...

I must be related, I love ANYTHING fattening.

I love to sew and quilt, but I am not crafty. I checked out the ETSY stuff, way cute!! Kudos.

Your family must have been first in line in the pre-mortal talent line. I forgot to show up for that.

Christie said...

She really is a little sewing and crafting wonder. I love reading her blog to see what she's working on. What a darling girl!

Lauren said...

She is so beautiful and so creative!

Got a giggle out of the ankles and butterfat comment ;)

I am loving that Christmas 2007 card, too!

Ashlee said...

I've been reading her blog for a while now. She is super creative. I wish I had mad sewing skills like her! :0)

mama jo said...

that was a really nice blog about one of my favorite people....thanks for letting everyone know how great she is....(i got the same inheirtance from grandpa...)

Tip Junkie said...

I adore Kelly and I'm so glad you featured her. This really is such a fun part of your blog!

Anonymous said...

first... butterfat??

okay, moving on. Wow, what an amazing woman, and holy cow, way too organized... I wish I could be lke that.

Ahh, I can dream.

Annie said...

Thanks yet again, Gabi, for a fun & inspiring interview.

Kelly--you've got so much talent and... oommph. I'm only good at buying supplies and keeping them on the shelves. Maybe now I'll go pull out that project from 2005...

martha corinna said...

Gab, I really enjoy your interviews, they are all great reads.
Kelly's organization is inspiring, I love to be creative but I need to work on the organization thing.

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