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31 Day Challenge: Crafting, Stories and Solutions

I started my first small business 9 years ago called, Knot Ugly Designs and then DIY Lounge, 6 years ago.  Both businesses came out of a need for me to share my creativity or support other people’s creativity.  Long before I was a professional artist/crafter I was a super crafty kid.  I was the type who always received craft kits for every Birthday and Christmas.  I rarely followed the instructions or patterns.  I regularly skipped school to sew on my mother’s sewing machine, while she was at work and I was a self taught knitter and crocheter by the age of 8 years old.  My creativity was always a source of fulfillment, excitement and at particular times in my life it’s been very grounding to me.

Ironically, I spend very little time making things that aren’t for work these days.  I was thinking about this for a good portion of last year, “Why don’t I make more things for myself and for my family anymore?”  I have the skills, but lack the time as well as not seeing creating for myself as a priority. This is why I am doing this project.  For the month of January I am “sticking with the one who brung me” (an old saying my Grandpa used to say).    31 days of crafting, stories and solutions.

Why crafting stories and solutions?  Well, when I think of the root or the beginning of my sense of myself as a creative person I think of my Grandmother.  She always supported my creativity.  When I was 9 I started making these dolls and stuffed animals with clothing, painted eyes, hand stitched noses and generally they were very detailed.  My Grandmother would freak out about my skills and creative ideas, as no two creations were the same.  She would even pay me to make dolls and would give them to friends, family, etc.  She loved to tell stories and to this day I think she is one of the best story tellers I’ve ever heard – funny, dramatic, expressive and totally entertaining.  When I think of my youth, I think of making things with and for my Grandmother, while she told stories.  Those were good times.

The solutions piece has been a mainstay throughout my life.  I have always needed creative solutions.  My family was extremely poor when I was a child.  We didn’t own a car.  I didn’t always get new school clothes or other essentials.  If I needed something I made it myself or made something to sell and bought it myself.   When I was 12 and my best friend got a new bedroom set: blanket, sheets, curtains and fancy pillows.  I wanted one too so I asked for 3 flat sheets and one fitted sheet for my Birthday.  I made an entire bedroom set out of these, recovering my own blanket and it turned out beautiful.  I didn’t have batting for the decorative pillows so my Grandmother, who was a product of the depression, gave me the cotton from hundreds of pill bottles that she had saved for years.  Sure, the pillows were a little bumpy, but I had something I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Fast forward to now, I have these skills that I have had for most of my life, which I’m not using in my personal life anymore, so for this month I will be making 1 thing per day that is a creative solution in my life, taking a picture of it, talking about it, telling a story if I have one and living inside my crafting rather than putting my crafting outside of my personal life only using it for work.  There are so many projects that I have been wanting to sink my teeth into and now, finally I am making the time.  Some projects will be straight up craft projects and others will be more in the vein of creative organization solutions.

I would love input from readers as to which project you enjoy the most and if I get enough comments on one particular project I’ll turn it into a tutorial after the 31 day challenge of crafting, stories and solutions is over.  So please let me know what you like!

January 1st, 2010: Image Transfer Cards

Here are some cards that I made that I can give to friends and family on upcoming Birthdays, Anniversaries, etc.  It’s a photo transfer process that you can make with your home inkjet printer, inkjet transparencies, gel medium and a brayer.  There are tons of other transfer processes out there, but I like this one for it’s antiqued look.

by: jen

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2 Responses to “31 Day Challenge: Crafting, Stories and Solutions”

  1. Karen Diwan Says:

    Wow, Jen! This is a fabulous Challenge! Love the Peacock card. Happy New Year!

  2. Lindsey @ Yarnia Says:

    What a cool idea! I LOVE the part about the cotton batting from pill bottles — that is hilarious!! Can’t wait to see what all the projects turn out to be…