Create Something

I posted a quote from Kurt Vonnegut on Facebook last month:

The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
-from Man Without A Country

While spending a day with my friend Paula, of Fashion Over Fifty, we talked about what’s next for us. We’re about the same age, and thinking about the transitions ahead. Paula’s a talented artist and has lots of fantastic ideas (she makes cool videos too). Her advice to me was simple: do something creative.

I’m not an artist by instinct or by training. I am a left-brainer, give me a spreadsheet. I stumble through the visual aspects of blogging by studying and copying getting inspired by other bloggers. I do like to write, although I haven’t written poetry or fiction since junior high.

So how can I follow Paula’s advice? I got a jolt of inspiration today from artist and blogger Pao (Project Minima). She made a groovy dress from vintage tablecloths! And I love it.

This is Pao in her self-designed dress.

I think I want to play with fabric this way, and I may make some complete monstrosities of it. But no one will get hurt, and I might create something totally new and totally cool.

Maybe some awesome trousers, like Sheila‘s wearing, in a 60’s print:


The first step is to finally buy my sewing machine, and move a table into the guest room, where I can work, curse, throw things, and try to create. I have saved enough $$ for the machine and some fabric, so please, wish me loads of luck. And if you have any favorite sites for simple sewing, I would be  most grateful if you’d share them below.

How do you channel your creative energy? Have a juicy day, and stay fabulous,

P.S. Today is my first Red Cross Disaster Relief training session, and I am
pumped up about it. I will give you a report soon. I may have to pack a
go-bag (although I sincerely wish for no disasters, anywhere).

(Visited 111 times, 1 visits today)



  1. Everyone is a sewin' lately! Can't wait to see your creations. You will share them right?

    I too need to start flexing my creative muscles more. This blogging thing has taken over my life.


  2. Great advice from Paula, I can't think of a better way to be creative than to just create something. I'm with you on the sewing and just picked up a sewing machine this year. I kind of got hooked on quilting with a bunch of friends but I haven't ventured onto anything else. Looking forward to seeing your creations.

  3. Oh I think you will really enjoy the creativity of sewing! In my job things are vey linear and studied (I am a computer programmer) and it seems like I never get to complete anything. I have always enjoyed artistic endeavors and do sewing, quilting and needlepoint to name a few. Things I do for the love of it. Just take your time and remember that it doesn't have to be perfect the first time.

  4. Ah, but you are already creative – and blogging is your platform. It takes vision to compose posts and choose images for your readers.

  5. I love the idea of sewing. You can do so much: create clothes that fit, recycle into cool, etc. IF you like to wear hats (which may be tough in your climate) I have found hats relatively easy projects. Easy hats that is – berets and pillboxes. but let you're imagination run. And see if their are in-person classes nearby. I think that the hands-on touch is helpful for things like sewing. I wish I had learned patternmaking in my earlier years. Perhaps it will come. Oh and speaking of creativity, I just took on a poetry class and it's been scary, but scary good. (you can read about it at

  6. This quote makes me happy because it rings so true with me. I'm a jack of all things but a master at none and I think that keeps life interesting. I think being creative is just as important as eating healthy and being physical. Have a great time sewing, enjoy everything about it, even the hunt for the perfect fabric and patterns.

    Pao's jacket is insane I'm in love with it too! What a perfect place for inspiration to start. Run with it girl!

  7. That quote is so true. About ten years ago I gave my nieces pastel linen drawstring shoe bags, I embroidered their names on them in a contrasting thread. I really loved giving them to the girls. But my brother in law remarked 'someone has got too much time on their hands'. This thoughtless remark stuck with me. Last week I went to my eldest niece's presentation day. One of the items in her beautiful, creative display was a handmade, drawstring shoe bag… It made me very happy.

  8. More power to ya Patti! I couldnt use a sewing machine in my life. I went to school for Jazz Guitar and truly beleive everyone has the ability to create. I am working on a piece of music myself, creativity is so important as self expression. If you can, on another note, stop by as I am trying to creatively display my Karina dress….


  9. Kurt Vonnegut has been one of my favourite writers and the quote you have used here seems especially applicable at this point in my life where I am finding myself frustrated by the amount of time I'm spending not producing anything. Sewing seems to be taking over the blogging world, and I too have been inspired by Pao's tablecloth dress, and Vix's curtain couture. I don't have a sewing maching, but I am yearning to create something crazy and wearable out of some of the fabric I've had lying around for years. I purchased a hat pattern online recently so when I receive it, I may start off with that. I think a flowy pair of pretty patterned pants would look wonderful on you!

  10. A wonderful/helpful post. For me, creating things (in my case poetry and some questionable art pieces) is a way of being heard and understood. I'm finding as I get older (I'm an aging hippy at heart who has lived a very proper life) it's more important than ever to stay vital and visible and connected…and sometimes more of a challenge to do so!

  11. So jealous! I want a sewing machine! Can't wait to see what you make and good luck at training.

  12. Flares like Sheila's are really easy to make, you'll be pleasantly surprised. My only problem is finding cheap fabric that I love so I'm limited with my sewing choices until the right curtain comes along. Pao's dress is wonderful, everything she makes is, such vision.
    Enjoy your course! x

  13. Oh I am excited about your sewing journey, Patti! Having just begun my own, I was overwhelmed by all the support, encouragement and advice from experienced seamstresses out there. And when I get stuck, YouTube seems to have video tutorials on just about everything! I look forward to seeing what you are going to make – and you have reminded me that my next planned sewing project was to make some flares, like Sheila's! I find that sewing, writing and taking photos for the blog fulfil my creative needs nicely. xxxx

  14. Oh Pao…she always leaves me gaping in awe with her creativity. Imagine, that fabulous dress out of tablecloths. And I was swooning over those pants of Sheila's too. There are many sewing blogs out there, and will drop some names if I think they might suit you. Otherwise, feel free to email if you get stuck along the way. Have FUN!

  15. Wow Patti, your style seems so right-brained!! Go get that machine and dig in. I've been at it for a year and love it. Reach out if you need help…

  16. I love this quote. I, too, became interested in sewing again after about a 15 year hiatus. I sewed when the girls were little and then life got too busy, the machine broke, and I forgot about it. I feel such a satisfaction in the creative process. Most of my clothing is flawed, but I am starting to finally wear things that I make. I have had most of my success sewing bags, aprons, lap quilts, baby presents-things that don't need to fit. "Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake." Boy, does that speak to my soon to be 60 year old soul!

  17. Lol, hey, there's me! You could totally make trousers like these! I know what you mean, though – I've been feeling the lack of something creative in my life lately.

  18. Great quote by Vonnegut. And I have to say that I have really enjoyed the creative spirit that blogging is feeding in me. Like you, I'm trying to sew more, along with doing other visual arts. Like Connie said, there is a sewing revolution a brewin', so you definitely will have a lot of inspiration and mentors. Have fun! I can't wait to see what you come up with!

  19. I've followed your blog for a very long time but I'm just now commenting. I get so much inspiration from your site! A few years ago, I lamented not being able to buy a simple white linen skirt, so I dusted off my old sewing machine, perused the pattern sites, visited JoAnn's for some fabric and dove back in. What I found was the wonderful online sewing community at my fingertips – lurve the interwebs! There are two specific sites I would suggest for beginners, or for anyone returning to sewing after a long hiatus. The first is Pattern So much info! The second is This is a video virtual-classrom platform for all sorts of crafts, but I've used it exclusively for sewing projects. Check out Sewing Studio with Diana Rupp; it looks to be geared for beginners. There's also a couple of free classes on basic sewing machine usage (which was great!) Once you sign up, you'll probably get a coupon for a great discount on your first class. Oh, and YouTube is a wealth of information, some of it better than others. Keep us posted on your journey, and enjoy!

  20. Good quote, Patti. I make a living in the arts – though I'll never be rich (financially), I enjoy what I do.

  21. It seems like there's a sewing revolution a brewin'. I say Bring It On!!! It seems like there are so few affordable well-made fashions for those of us of a certain age so we might as well Make them ourselves. And give our creative brains a workout while we're at it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.