The school year is officially winding down. The school year is so close to ending, I can taste it. I'm so excited.
I've been so exhausted lately I haven't gotten a lot accomplished. That is sort of disappointing to me because I was doing so well for so long. But I know that here soon I will be able to catch up on any time that I owe myself.
I did manage to complete my shorts. I really like the way that they look and the way that they fit, but now I am struggling with the idea of wearing them out in public. I don't know if I am self-conscious about the way I look, my fashion sense, or my sewing ability, but the idea of wearing something I made as an everyday item of clothing is kind of intimidating.
I have put my art work on hold for a while since I have been enjoying the process of making my own clothes so much. I think that next I am going to make a skirt. I am toying with the idea of making a whole mini wardrobe. We have a vacation planned for mid-July and the idea of going on a trip with a closet full of clothing that I made myself is kind of exciting. I think that I have plenty go time to whip a couple things up.
Tuesday, Apr 24
Read for 30 minutes in Hyperallergic's "Required Reading". Did not work.
Wednesday, Apr 25
Read for 30 minutes in Hyperallergic's "Required Reading". Worked for 2 hours finishing and fitting a pair of shorts. I think they will be too large, so I think I am going to make a mock of the size down from what I made.
Thursday, Apr 26
Read for 30 minutes in Hyperallergic's "Required Reading". Worked for an hour and a half cutting out a new pattern and doing a final fitting of my shorts. They are definitely too big. They are also a little short for my liking, so I am going to lengthen the new pattern by 2 inches.
Friday, Apr 27
Did not read. Lengthened my shorts pattern by 2 inches and cut out the pattern.
Saturday, Apr 28
Did not read. Went to Joann's and bought fabric for my shorts. Worked on making my second pair. I still think they might be a little large, but I don't know.
Sunday, Apr 29
Did not read. Finished my second pair of shorts except the hem. They still feel a little big, but I am just going to roll with it. I am fairly sure that I am between sizes, but I am not confident in my ability to adjust the pattern accordingly.
Monday, Apr 30
Did not read. Cut out the pieces for my final pair of shorts.
Tuesday, May 01
Did not read. Did not work.
Wednesday, May 02
Did not read. Sewed my shorts for 1 hour.
Thursday, May 03
Did not read. Sewed for 1 hour. I should be able to complete my shorts tomorrow.
Friday, May 04
Did not read. Finished my shorts. I like the way they look and fit. I am so excited!
Saturday, May 05
Did not read. Planned out some future projects. I think that I am going to attempt to make a gathered skirt next.
Sunday, May 06
Did not read. Did not work.
Monday, May 07
Did not read. Printed out a skirt pattern and made copies. Started cutting out the pattern.
March was all about persistence.
At the end of February, I owed myself several hours worth of work, but managed to make it up at the beginning of the month However, I quickly lost motivation and for the majority of the month, I have owed myself at least three hours. But I can successfully say that I will end the month of March not owing myself any work time. In fact, I am going to be ahead of myself!
My biggest problem with the month of march was figuring out how I was going to create leaves to use in my new project. Initially, I wanted to make them out of dyed cotton and organza, but that did not work out as I had planned. Like, at all.
I finally decided to try watercolors and I have been meticulously painting rose leaves one by one based on what I have been cutting from my neighbor's rose bush. Combining them with the real leaves in the final piece has been a good decision, even though it is not what I wanted at the beginning.
Now my big challenge is how to prevent the leaves from breaking when they dry out. They are super fragile and I need them to be in tact for the most part in order to use them in my work. They break at the slightest touch. Last week, I put some leaves in a glycerin solution to see what they will look like preserved that way. I removed them from the solution this morning, but my initial reaction is that the leaves appear more green than when I put them in the solution 6 days ago. By that I mean the reds and yellows that I enjoy so much (like in the above samples) seem to have faded out.
I will make my final assessment when I get home and they are entirely dry. I'm hoping that I will be pleasantly surprised. If that isn't going to work, I am going to try wax paper/ wax and see what happens.
Tuesday, Mar 13
Read 30 minutes in Hyperallergic's "Required Reading". Did not work.
Wednesday, Mar 14
Read for a couple hours in Hyperallergic's "Required Reading". Did not work.
Thursday, Mar 15
Read for a couple hours in Hyperallergic's "Required Reading". Did not work. I am really just not feeling it this week.
Friday, Mar 16
Read 30 minutes in "The Yellow House". Did not work.
Saturday, Mar 17
Did not read. Did not work.
Sunday, Mar 18
Did not read. Worked for 4 hours making eyeballs and painting leaves. I think that I have solved my leaf problem with creating them in watercolor. They aren't quite what I wanted and I am having to balance them out with real leaves, but I think that they will definitely work. From a distance, you cannot tell the difference between the real leaves and the painted one. I am, however, going to have to experiment with a different way of preserving the rose petals and the leaves because just drying them out makes them very fragile. I think I might cut some leaves off the rose bush outside my apartment and try preserving them with glycerin. I have been wanting to try that for a while, but my only concern is that they may be more vibrant than the dried petals and leaves, and I like the more muted color palette.
Monday, Mar 19
Read 30 minutes in "The Yellow House". Worked for 1 hour painting leaves.
Tuesday, Mar 20
Read 30 minutes in Hyperallergic's "Required Reading". Did not work.
Wednesday, Mar 21
Read 30 minutes in "The Yellow House". Worked for 1 hour painting leaves, researching methods of preserving flowers, and mixed up a glycerin solution to try and preserve some rose leaves that way.
Thursday, Mar 22
Finished "The Yellow House". Read for 30 minutes in "Raven Black" by Ann Cleeves. Worked for 3 hours making eyeballs and painting leaves.
Friday, Mar 23
Read 30 minutes in "Raven Black". Worked for 3 hours making eyeballs and painting leaves.
Saturday, Mar 24
Did not read. Did not work. Spent the day running errands.
Sunday, Mar 25
Read 30 minutes in "Raven Black". Worked for 6 hours painting leaves and sewing the back ground for my new piece. I feel very productive. I feel like I've gotten the farthest on this piece today than I have in a while.
Monday, Mar 26
Read 30 minutes in "Raven Black". Worked for 3 hours painting leaves and making eyes. I'm actually ahead on my time, which is great because I am one week away from a beach vacation!
What a month.
Whereas January was productive, and I learned a lot and made a lot of progress, February felt like a complete and total disaster.
I had to put in a lot of overtime this month in order to make up time from the snow days in January and because of the school play. Because of all those extra hours spent at school, I didn't find the time at home (or the energy) to get stuff done. And then, when I did work, it seems that everything fell apart.
What didn't go well? I lost the motivation to finish the quilt. It isn't serving a purpose, so I'm just not driven to complete it. I may finish stitching together the pieces I have pinned and save the rest for a rainy day. The plan for "LYCBYG" completely fell through. After spending so many hours and painting and stitching, my ideas just did not come to fruition. The feathers I wanted to attach, just didn't work like I had planned, and the egg shells I also wanted to add were just to different from the rest of it. So, both of those major projects have been shelved, meaning I haven't met any of the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year.
Complete and utter failure.
What did go well? I got so frustrated yesterday, but owed myself so much time, that I just sat down and started working on an idea I've had for a while. And I worked almost none stop for over 7 hours. I don't want to jinx myself just yet by posting pictures, but I'm very satisfied with what I've been working on and am curious to see where it takes me.
Goals for March: I'm not sure I'm even going to set goals. As long as I am working for an hour each day, I think I will be good. I do want to make sure that I end March not owing myself any time. I think right now I am going to end the month owing myself at least 2 hours, which I don't like.
Thursday, Feb 15
Read for a couple of hours in Hyperallergic's "Required Reading". I'm ahead for the week, which is good, since I won't be home for the weekend.
Friday, Feb 16
Did not work. At the boyfriend's this weekend. Will be home early on Sunday to make up time.
Saturday, Feb 17
Did not work. We went to the Raleigh Pop Up market and had a good time. Owe myself 6 hours.
Sunday, Feb 18
Came home early today so I could work. I had a hard time finding my motivation, but once I did, I started sewing my portrait. I owe myself 7 hours, including today. I'd like to work at least 4. And if I meet that goal, I might just get the stitching on my portrait done today.
Monday, Feb 19
Read for 30 minutes in "Stuffed Shark". Did not work. I need to do some sampling for my painting, but I need more materials to do it. Will stop by Michael's some time this week. I've thought a lot about my quilt today. I've sort of lost my motivation to work on it because it doesn't serve a purpose. I kind of don't want to finish it, but I all ready have everything ready for it. Perhaps I'll save it for a rainy day.
Tuesday, Feb 20
Read 30 minutes in Hyperallergic's "Required Reading". Did not work. Don't think I will make it to Michael's before the weekend.
Wednesday, Feb 21
Read for an hour in "Stuffed Shark". I blew a tire last night so I had to take the day off to go get it replaced. Even so, I did not work because I was too frustrated when I got home.
Thursday, Feb 22
Did not read. Did not work. This has not been a good week.
Friday, Feb 23
Read for a long time in Hyperallergic's "Required Reading". Did not work. Hoping to make it to Michael's tomorrow.
Saturday, Feb 24
Did not read, but I figured I made up so much time yesterday, it didn't matter. Spent the day running errands and at my parents'. I did finally make it to Michael's to get supplies, but I did not work/ My plan is to make tomorrow a studio day and work as many hours as I can.
Sunday, Feb 25
I worked for over 7 hours today, but it was not an overall good day. I started out by applying feathers to my painting, but it did not look right, so I removed them, narrowly avoiding ruining my painting. Then, I started experimenting with the eggshells I've been saving that were also supposed to be used, but I also wasn't satisfied with the way they looked. I got frustrated and just gave up on the whole thing. I really like the painting, and the stitching, but I'm not sure at this point that there is anything I can do to redeem it conceptually. It may just have to go in the abandoned projects pile. So after going to the grocery store, I just started working on an idea I've had in my head for a while and just went with it. I'm really kind of liking it and I think the reason why is I'm not overthinking. I'm just working. Just going to run with it and see where it takes me.
Monday, Feb 26
January is almost over.
It has been a very long month: starting school, then stopping, starting, stopping. Finally I feel like I am back in a groove, although this spring semester is going to be a long one.
I had some goals at the beginning of the month: work on art for an hour a day and read for 30 minutes. Overall, I have met those goals every single day, although last week was not as successful as others.
I started out with lofty objectives: finish a painting and a quilt and 2 garments by the end of the month. About half way through I realized that was too much for one month with only working an hour a day. So I had to stretch them to two month goals.
The painting ("Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide") is about half way done, which I feel is good. There were some issues, mostly me being indecisive and afraid to commit to it, that held me back but I was still able to get to a reasonable point of completion. I'm going to hit it hard this coming weekend and attempt to get the painting portion done.
The quilt top is just shy of half way done. All the squares are sewed and pressed and just need to be assembled into blocks. I wanted to have the whole top done in January, which didn't happen and I am disappointed in that. For February, I have to finish the top and piece the back so I can hopefully have it quilted by the end of the month to finish it in March.
And the garments...yeah, that didn't happen. At all. I am incredibly disappointed, but I am indecisive as to where to start and I keep second guessing my sewing skills. I know how to construct garments, but the stuff that I have made has all been very simple. I'm scared that I'll invest so much money in it just to screw it up. There are quite a few patterns that I like and in my head I know what I want to make, but I don't know. Excuses, excuses I know. I just need to suck it up and get to it.
I think the thing that has helped me the most this month is writing everything down and staying organized. I write what I need to do in my planner every day, and I love the feeling of satisfaction that I get when I get to cross it off. I have a to-do list for each project I have in a notebook, as well as a general schedule, and I follow it step by step to help me make the progress I need.
I think the one thing that has hindered me the most (besides my indecisiveness) is not dedicating an equal amount of time to all my projects. I've tended to work on one thing for days, or even weeks at a time, and then switch. Next month, I am going to try and alternate days.
Tuesday, January 16
Read 30 minutes in "Green" and finished the book. On the the next. "Blue" is being re-released next mont. Can't wait! I've been wanting to read that for years. Cut out remaining navy squares. Did not work a full hour. I will make up the time tomorrow since I have off due to the threat of snow.
Wednesday, January 17
Worked on the final sketch for "LYCBYG". The stripes on my shirt are going to be a beast. Made a to-do list for "LYCBYG". Read 30 minutes in "Blind Spot" by B.A. Shapiro. So far, it's really good. Painted my background for "LYCBYG". Right now, I am not sure how I feel about it. Started cutting out feather pieces. The more I look at this background, the more I think I need to re-do it. It's just too...happy? I don't know. I can't do anything about it until I can make more copies, which won't be until I go back to work. I'm going to try not to think about it until then.
Thursday, January 18
Read 30 minutes in "Blind Spot". Worked for an hour cutting out feathers. I might have to do a sample of my planned texture because I am not 100% sure that it is going to work like I have it planned in my head. I have also decided to redo the background for "LYCBYG". Looks like I am going back to work tomorrow, so I can make copies and stuff then. Read more in "Blind Spot". It's really good and I will be done with it relatively quickly.
Friday, January 19
Read 30 minutes in "Blind Spot". Took apart my canvas and laminated more paper for the background. Laminated paper for the portrait as well. Dyed organza for feathers.
Saturday, January 20
Rinsed organza for feathers. Read 30 minutes in "Blind Spot". Peeled laminated paper. Going to try and get caught up to where I was a couple of days ago. Then I want to work on stuff around the house. I've been putting off all my home projects. Finished "Blind Spot". Re-stretched my canvas and painted it again. I'm much happier with it now although it kind of looks like a dirty washcloth Worked on preparing my final sketch to transfer. Ironed some quilt squares sitting around and trimmed the corners. I've really put the quilt aside this week. I need to hit it hard next week.
Sunday, January 21
Read 30 minutes in "Saving Italy" by Robert Edsel. Transferred sketch to laminated paper. Cut out feathers. I'm feeling kind of down today, so an hour's worth of work is all I could muster.
Monday, January 22
Read 30 minutes in Hyperallergic's "Required Reading". I have to work late tonight and I have no idea what time I'll be leaving, which means I will have less time to work at home. I need to make sure I stay on task and get work done at home because I'll be away this weekend and won't be able to make up time. Worked for as long as I could cutting feathers and pinning quilt squares. I don't think I quite managed to work a full hour, but I know that I was very close.
Tuesday, January 23
Read 30 minutes in "Saving Italy". Did not get any work done. I have to work late again tonight, so I will owe myself an hour.
Wednesday, January 24
Did nothing today. I'm not having a very productive week.
Thursday, January 25
Caught up on reading today. Read at least an hour in "Saving Italy". Did not work. I have a ton of time to make up next week.
Friday, January 26
Read for at least an hour in "Saving Italy". This takes care of my time on Saturday since I'll be at my boyfriend's. Did not do a full hour of work, but I did finish marking all my sewing lines on my white quilt squares.
Saturday, January 27
At the boyfriend's for the weekend. Did not read read, but I made up that time yesterday. Did not work. I did really well all month until this week. Haven't owed myself this much time all month. If I skip going to my parents' tomorrow, I may make up most, if not all, of my time.
Sunday, January 28
Skipped going to my parents' after I left my boyfriend's. Hoping to make up time. I have until Wednesday to meet my January goals. Don't know if I can do it. Pinned quilt squares until I ran out of pins. Sewed squares until I felt I had enough pins to pin the rest. Pinned the remaining squares. Going to try and sew the rest tonight. Sewed all my remaining squares. Read 30 minutes in "Saving Italy". Cut all my squares apart and ironed them open. Going to take them with me to work tomorrow and cut off the corners. I'm done for tonight though. Still owe myself 3 hours.
Monday, January 29
Worked an hour clipping corners off my quilt squares. That is all done. Read 30 minutes in "Saving Italy".
My mother pulled out the first thing I ever sewed on a sewing machine the other day asking me to stretch it or frame it so that she can hang it up in the house.
I actually created it for a final project in a painting survey in college. Looking at it now it is so bad, but it was so revolutionary for me at the time.
When I first started art school, I really wanted to be a painter, but I favored watercolors, and the painting faculty at the university kind of had an antipathy toward the medium. So, I decided I wanted to be a printmaker, which I quickly found out required me to spend too much time (and money) at the school. I liked to work from home, so it just wasn't a good fit.
Then, I took a textiles class and fell in love. I had always been fascinated by fashion design,fabric, and pattern creation, to the point where I toyed with the idea of being a costume designer. But, I didn't know how to sew. That survey class taught me how to sew by hand, but I still had limited abilities. There were so many cool things I saw other people doing: fabric manipulation, free motion stitching, and I couldn't do them. It was disheartening.
When I enrolled in the painting class, I was incredibly frustrated. I consider myself a decent painter, but nothing I did was ever good enough. The composition wasn't right. My use of the materials wasn't proficient enough. And it drove me nuts that the grad student teaching the class was really more of a mixed media artist than a painter. So I decided that for my final that was what I was going to do too. And since it was going to take me forever to do it by hand, I was going to learn how to use a sewing machine to do it.
So I bought one, and I sewed line after line after line. Then I bought a darning foot and sewed circle after circle after circle. Eventually, I had a collage of blueberries using acrylic, watercolor, organza, wax paper, and stitching. And amazingly, the teacher loved it.
Looking at it now, it is a completely terrible piece. The stitching is clearly amateur and I must have had tension problems I didn't know how to properly fix. But I did it, and it opened a bunch of doors for me.
The piece is spread out over one of my chairs in my living room, and I have to look at it all the time. Even though it isn't the greatest thing that I have ever made, I can't help but being inspired all over again.