It’s the Journey

The creative efforts of others often inspire me. Besides books, one of the creative outlets I turn to for inspiration is My Froggy Stuff, a crafting channel on YouTube. Even if I don’t make the projects featured in the videos, I’m still energized by the act of creating something with my hands. How about you?

My Froggy Stuff

(Commercial break: Yes, I’ll get to the winner of Charlotte Cuts It Out by K. A. Barson—another inspiring creative effort—in a moment. [Click here for that interview.] And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.)

Case in point, I made the doll sofa in the photo below out of felt and cardboard (with yarn trim) after watching a video on My Froggy Stuff. It’s about three-and-one-half inches wide—perfect for a Lalaloopsy mini doll.

Doll Couch Too

In this photo, you can see all of my hand-stitching mistakes. 🙂 But that’s the beauty of crafting. You don’t have to be perfect. (Yeah, I’ll keep telling myself that.)

Anyway, in the comment section of one of Froggy’s videos, in which she explained how she made doll furniture, one of the commenters asked her why she made anything. The commenter then went on to suggest that Froggy buy everything, rather than make it. Perhaps the commenter really thought she was being helpful. Another commenter, however, promptly suggested that the first commenter shut up. (The joys of the internet.)

Yet the first commenter caused me to think about why I prefer to make things if I can, rather than buy them, even if I have to spend hours and hours doing it and make tons of mistakes in the process. Wanna know what I discovered? Come closer, and I’ll whisper it.

Because it’s fun. And relaxing. But you already knew that, right, as well as this old saying:

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Some journeys are life-shaping—we experience growth in the process. I burned myself several times wielding that hot glue gun as I glued felt to cardboard. I also pricked my finger with the needle while sewing. Okay, maybe both of those don’t sound like much fun. But they’re part of the process—hazards of the job. They also taught me to slow down and focus—also important whenever I’m writing or editing anything.

The joy of working with their hands is why gardeners take to the soil, and put up with pests like weeds, aphids, and other inconveniences. Like deer and rabbits. Last summer, rabbits and deer applauded my brother’s gardening efforts by eating just about everything he planted. Did that sour him on gardening? Nope. The joy in the accomplishment was greater than the annoyance of unwanted garden guests.

The creative journey is empowering! This is why many people spend months or years restoring vintage cars.

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And, as you know, when you continue to make things by hand, you get better at it. The first sofa I made took days to complete. The second (the one above), took maybe two hours. (Well, it was smaller, so that helped.)

Now, as promised, on to the creative efforts of Kelly Barson.

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The winner of Charlotte Cuts It Out, thanks to the Random Number Generator, is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Is . . .

Nancy Hatch of Spirit Lights The Way!

Congratulations, Nancy! Please comment below to confirm.

What was the last thing you made by hand? Why did you make it? How did you feel after you did?

My Froggy Stuff logo from YouTube. Journey sign from Pinterest. Franklin D. Roosevelt quote from BrainyQuote.

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52 thoughts on “It’s the Journey

  1. Very well said and I think we’ll always be faced with people who don’t ‘get’ the joy of creating something. They may see it as wasted time or effort when you can order the same thing on Amazon. Maybe there’s no interest in creative endeavors and they aren’t very good at realizing that not everyone is like that. To be fair, I’ve met some creative people who are baffled by anyone who buys something that they can make. Probably need both types to keep the world spinning. Each one does have their own journey in a way. As an author, I keep wanting to describe my path as the one with more colors and the non-creative as rather drab. Yet, I will admit there are a lot more twists, turns, pitfalls, and dead ends on my journey than if I did the safe, easy thing.

    • Thank you, Charles. 🙂 I agree that both kinds of people are needed. I don’t make clothes, but I’m not really good at fine sewing. But I appreciate those who do. And I make my own hats at least, because I like a quirky hat and don’t want to pay big bucks for something I know I could make.

      Being an author has its up and downs, certainly. I sometimes wish I’d become an electrician or something. But then I reread a scene I wrote that I like and feel better. 🙂

  2. Congratulations, Nancy! I think I’ll stick to my jigsaw puzzles for my creative outlet. Sewing gets me so agitated…I can never thread the needle. I do like your little sofa though. 🙂

  3. Wonderful post!
    Well, now that you’ve asked (you may be sorry, L. Marie) . . . the last thing I made was a floral arrangement for a buffet table for a garden club luncheon. The meeting was about the green earth movement/hydroponics/aquaponics. I noticed something by our neighbors’ dead tree, asked Tom if he could waterproof it, and, tada, I made a floral arrangement out of a large piece of wood and bark that had come off the tree. It has the look of an old wooden dough bowl. I put cuttings from a plant inside and it turned out to be quite beautiful, if I must say so myself, and am now using it out on the deck. As the tree came down yesterday, I showed my neighbor the “vase”, which she was happy to see. The end.

    • Wow. That sounds fabulous, Penny. I hope you’ll show photos on your blog. I’m amazed at how people create art out of found objects. Someone made a crown of thorns for me out of some thorny branches. I can’t imagine having to work with something like that. But it’s quite beautiful.

  4. Yes, indeed – making things is so much more fulfilling than just buying them, even if the end result might turn out to be a little… er… unique! It’s ages actually since I last made anything – I must find a new project…

    • I have several “unique” items that I made. Which is why I confine my pillow sewing to the doll-sized variety. I wouldn’t want to subject anyone to my efforts!

  5. Thanks for the post, Linda! I recently listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s narration of her book BIG MAGIC. In it she shared that someone asked her early on how she’d feel if she never got published and had wasted all that time writing books. She replied that if the person couldn’t see what joy her writing was bringing her in the present moment, then she’d never be able to explain that it wasn’t a waste of time.

    • Wow. That’s a great quote, Laura. What a thing for someone to say to a writer. 😦
      Writing takes us on a journey. We would never say to a traveler, “Why would you waste time going on that trip?”

  6. I have many fond memories of making doll furniture and doll clothes, also of all the cards I made for my parents. Now I’m on the receiving end of homemade birthday cards and thank you cards from my grandchildren. On a couple of trips to Mexico, my granddaughter and I painted ceramic frogs and fish. I still have mine in my bathroom. They’re very cute.

    One of my recent projects: coloring in an adult coloring book. http://nickichenwrites.com/wordpress/art/adult-coloring-books-and-my-small-act-of-defiance/ It’s always a pleasure to create something and approve of your own work.

    • I remember that post! So many people love adult coloring books!
      I love to paint ceramics. There used to be a pottery place nearby where you could paint bowls and cups, which would then be glazed for you to pick up. I miss that place!

  7. Hello, lovely Linda! I haven’t been around lately but it’s nice to stop by your place! 🙂 That is the most adorable little couch! I love everything miniature. I so agree with you, making things is so rewarding. I’m somewhat crafty and creative and I get quite a rush from creating and making it up as I go along. I do follow some instructions but usually, I tend to figure it out on my own. Lately I’ve been using acrylic paints and creating abstract art. That’s tons of fun! 🙂

    Congrats to Nancy on her win!

    • Thanks, Maria! I know you’re on vacation. (Saw your comment at Andra’s blog.) I love miniature things too.
      So glad you’re painting! That’s so awesome!!! Hope you’re doing well!

    • Thanks, Timi. Of course writing counts. Writing is a journey. Some of these journeys seem longer than others (like the novel I’ve been revising for eight months). 🙂

  8. I like your doll sofa. Your remark about crafts not needing to be perfect reminded me of the Japanese ideal of wabi-sabi, “the beauty of things ‘imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete'” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_aesthetics#Wabi-sabi). Lately the only thing I’ve really made by hand is food, but I have a bunch of folders to decorate for my nostalgia box, where I’ll store things I’ve made to forget about and rediscover later. I want to finish that sometime in the next month.

    • I like the fact that you keep learning, Andy. That’s great! And I’ve enjoyed your cooking experiments. Thanks for the reminder of wabi-sabi. Some of the faculty of my grad school mentioned wabi-sabi in their lectures.

      Hope you can get your box completed! Glad you have a plan!

  9. Congratulations to Nancy! You know I love to knit 🙂 And sure, I’ve often seen shawls, socks, sweaters, etc that I could easily just buy for less than the cost of the yarn it would take me to knit the items myself. But it is the journey, as you note. For me, it’s the idea that two knitting needles and a ball of yarn can turn into something wearable, something of substance. I used to spin my own yarn and weave and back in the day I actually had garments that I made through that whole process. One fond memory is of a “peasant blouse” I made by spinning silk and cotton into yarn, weaving the body of the blouse and sleeves with the cotton yarn and then crocheting trim with the silk yarn. A coworker asked me if I would make another if she paid me. I had to laugh because when you factor in my hours as well as the materials, it would have cost her hundreds of dollars (this is back in the mid-80s, now it would be a h*ll of a lot more). I no longer have the blouse (wouldn’t fit me now anyway) but it was all about the journey. To have something I could wear at the end, or give to a friend was and is just icing on the cake 😉

    • I know what you mean, Marie. I could easily buy a hat, instead of making one. But making a hat is so much fun.

      Back in the day, I tried spinning yarn too. A friend of mine was really into it and even had angora rabbits for a time. We used to belong to a knitter’s guild. But some of the projects got to be a bit much. That was back when I knitted primarily. I returned to crocheting, having abandoned that for a time after I went to college. So much fun!

      • I quit spinning after we moved to Florida from California. Much too hot and sticky to sit with a lap full of fleece 😉

      • So true! I haven’t done it in years either. Our guild met at renovated barn. There were so many beautiful skeins of wool! So expensive too!

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