Vision, by definition, is the act of seeing. It is also the word used to describe something experienced in a trance or dream. The same word describes a force of imagination. As words go, it’s an easy one. As concepts go, it’s pretty hefty.potato bush flower3 Creativity relies on vision–all kinds of vision. (Okay, maybe not everyone creates from visions through trances or dreams, but many artists do.) Having perfect eyesight isn’t a guarantee of creativity. Even a broad base of knowledge about what you are seeing doesn’t translate into creativity. And you can certainly have all kinds of visions of yourself as an artist without any basis in reality.

So what is it that sets apart a Creative from everyone else? What happens in the brain and mind to turn sensory input into something other/new/different? Is it something you are born with? Or can you train yourself to “see” like a Creative?

potato bush flower2While the general populace tends to believe you are either born with a creative bent or you’re not, I disagree. I believe we are all born with the ability to be creative–in some way, to some degree. I believe it’s part of our humanity, our soul. For many, the creative urge has been stifled. Usually, early on and with repetitive attempts to “normalize” behavior.

Often, that creative urge is lying dormant, waiting to be valued and set free. All it takes is a tweak to your vision, a change of perspective. After all, what is creativity but a different way of seeing the world and expressing it?

But even if you recognize that creative part of yourself, you may be frustrated. You may feel woefully inadequate at executing the creative visions you do have. Don’t despair. That’s perfectly normal. But you can’t wallow there. You have to build skills, practice your craft and create, create, marigoldIn the meantime, you can feed your creative self by adjusting your perspective. Our eyes take in much more than we actually “see”. Our brains apply filters so we don’t go crazy from all the information we receive visually. But there are additional filters we can apply to change our focus and fill ourselves with beauty. orange marigoldWe don’t have to “see” the imperfections, the unappealing details. We can choose to focus on the things that feed us and inspire us. Once you start to do this, it becomes automatic. You can train yourself to pay less attention to some things and more attention to others. The choice of where your attention, your focus, goes is entirely up to you. Look at this photo:stuff to plantIt’s just a bunch of plants waiting to be put in the ground or in pots. They’re not even grouped to look particularly appealing in the interim. But that’s exactly they way they were when I grabbed the two close ups of the marigolds. And this photo:potato bushThat’s the potato bush waiting to be planted, in exactly the same spot as I got the first two photos in the post. I chose to look at the details and focus on them. Not on the stuff that needs doing in the yard–the weeding, the trimming, the ground cover, etc.

It’s a practical example of what I’m trying to communicate. Vision is not only about the light passing through your eyes and telling your brain what’s in front of you. Vision is as broad or as narrow as you choose. Focus on the things that are beautiful, interesting, different and you’ll soon be drawn to those things wherever you may go. Unexpected textures and colors combinations will show up. Bizarre details will pop out of mundane architecture.

One of the easiest ways to explore beauty and document the things you choose to focus on is to take photos. Those bits of captured inspiration can be turned into all kinds of creative “stuff”. And it’s a good way to train yourself to “see”. In an upcoming post, I’ll tell you about my cameras and how I use them. I’ll share the editing steps I take and talk about how to get eye-catching photos.

So stay tuned!

Color Therapy Block #11 And A Bit More

The Color Therapy Block of the Month is almost over. This month Block 11 has the spotlight. The colors for the month are True Red and Chocolate. Red, naturally, is for strength and love. Chocolate grounds and inspires. (Doesn’t it though?)ColorTherapyBlock11I selected Joel Dewbery’s True Color print for the brown. It’s more milk chocolate than dark chocolate. So I picked Tula’s Moonshine print for the red. It brings in a deeper tone and makes the combination work.

Over the past weekend, I managed to spend some time on the AMH EPP project. The first two rows are nearly done being sewn together.R1 and 2 AMH EPPIt’s becoming unwieldy–a sure sign I’m making progress. But it has to be set aside for a bit, as Free Spirit sent me some of Tanya Whelan’s Lulu to play with for Valentine’s. There will even be enough leftover for a February giveaway!

12 Hexies Blog Hop

Welcome to another stop on the 12 Hexies (or less) Blog Hop! I’m so happy you’ve joined us. When Diane asked if I would be interested in participating in an EPP blog hop, I didn’t have to think twice. Her challenge to each of us was to use 12 hexies or less for our original project. Brilliant idea because we all know how hard it can be to complete an EPP project once you realize you have to make and sew a gazillion pieces. With this hop, you’ll see ten different projects–all doable without investing years of your life in the process.
12 hexie blog hop buttonI had no idea what project I would make, only that I wanted to use some Anna Maira Horner fabric. I grabbed some bits and scraps and made 12 hexies. Then I played with the arrangement and decided on a triangular shape which only uses 10 hexies. Once I settled on something to act as a canvas for these pretty hexies, it came together fast. The end result is this very stunning grocery tote.12 hexie grocery tote To make this tote you will need the following:

  • 2/3 yard of medium to heavyweight fabric such as canvas, twill, or cotton duck
  • 1 1/8 yard of 1″ webbing in coordinating color
  • 1 1/3 yard of 1″ to 1 1/2″ trim (I used Anna Maria Horner’s Gold Reliquary ribbon for Renaissance Ribbon)
  • 10 scraps of cotton fabric at least 4″ x 4 1/2″ (5″ charm pack pieces work great)
  • 10 – 1 1/2″ hexie papers (I use Paper Pieces)

Prepare your hexies. If you’re new to EPP, there are numerous video tutorials available showing you exactly what to do. Here are links to Diane’s clear instructions to check out:

Got hexies? Now you’re ready to sew them together in a triangular shape. Sew each row. Then sew the rows together.hexie triangle stackPress well on both sides and remove papers. You’re ready to applique!

Cut a rectangle measuring 23″ x 41″ from the medium to heavyweight fabric you have chosen for the bag. Place your hexie applique on the right side of your rectangle, approximately 6″ from the top edge and 6 1/4″ inches from the sides.applique locationUse pins or fabric glue to secure. Edgestitch around all outer edges of the hexie triangle.applique close upWith right sides together, pin the side seams and sew. If desired, finish the edges (a simple zig zag or pinking will work fine). Press the folded edge of the bottom to create a crease. Keeping the bag wrong side out, line the side seam up with the freshly pressed crease. Measure 2″ from the point and mark this line. boxed endStitch on the marked line. Cut off the pointy end leaving a seam of approximately 1/2″. Turn the bag inside out. Sew a narrow hem around the top edge.

Cut the webbing into two equal lengths. Place the handles as shown in the picture below. The handles should be overlapping the top edge by approximately 1 1/2″.  Don’t worry about the raw ends. They’ll be covered by the ribbon trim. handle locationStitch the handles in place. For extra security, sew a box stitch on each end. A box stitch is made by sewing a box with an ‘x’ through it.boxed stitchTo finish off the tote, pin the ribbon trim in place around the top edge of the bag. Center the ribbon over the raw edges of the handles to cover them. Stitch along both edges of the ribbon to secure.ribbon placementAnd that’s all there is to it! The prettiest grocery tote in the store will be yours.071

Be sure to check out all the other projects. The links below will update as each day of the hop continues. The hop ends on the 25th so there are more great projects yet to come.