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Getting Over Creative Block

Creative Block

Do you ever have times when walking into your sewing room, seeing all those machines and all the fabric, and you draw a blank on where to start. Maybe the room is more than cluttered and only a path through the room allows you to reach the ironing board or sewing machine, because you closed the door after your last project. You look around and you are so overwhelmed with projects and possibilities you can’t get started. Or you think, I’ll just get the cutting table cleared off and I will start something new. Cleaning is not creative, it’s just a chore.

I get creative block a lot. I don’t have a plan, and don’t know where to start.

I could pull out one of the UFO’s…that’s a good idea…. nah.

Why do we get that way?  That’s simple, because life is complicated and busy.  When your brain is stuck in running your household and your job, you brain doesn’t just flip like a light switch to the creative side.

How do you get past it? Here’s what works for me.

The first step is to “exit the kill zone” (the sewing room) and have a cup of tea (or your favorite beverage), with a tablet and pen or a small dry marker board.  Sit at your computer, look at Pinterest, or your embroidery designs, or a favorite free sewing idea web site.  Mine is

Find 5 projects, small ones, that will be quick and easy.  Quick and easy make finishing a project fast. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivation to go on.  More importantly, it helps turn on the creative side of your brain.

I like to make a list and do them one at a time, ticking the list off as I go.    

Make the first one super simple – Embellish a tea towel with an applique or embroidery.

Next, make a gift to give someone at the holidays.  Maybe an ornament, or a table runner with holiday fabric.

Do something you have always wanted to try. A technique, or a design you bought and haven’t used; I have a ton of those.

Make something for yourself.  We don’t always do that, do we?  It could be something for the sewing room, or just an embellished t-shirt, or a scarf.

Make something UP-CYCLED.  I am really having fun with up-cycling.  My Granddaughters gave me a t-shirt a few years back from their softball team.  I haven’t really worn it, but when I see it, I think of them.  So, I made it into a grocery bag and now I take the girls shopping all the time.  They live in Alabama and are at University, so I don’t get to see them a lot.  But I think of them every time I shop.  Up-cycling the t-shirt to a bag took me about 15 minutes on my Babylock serger.

For me, making a short list really helps flip the switch to creativity. Once the list is checked off and complete, make another one.  Now If I could just clean up my sewing room.  I think I will check Pinterest for better ways to organize all that fabric. I will let you know how it goes.

Marlene Watts – Missouri Sewing Machine Company North Store