Last week I was passed the Blog Hop baton by the lovely Francesca from the amazing blog Fall for DIY. (She does the coolest jewelry DIY's and tutorials and if you haven't seen her blog, you should definitely check it out asap.) So today, I hope to give you a little more insight into my creative process and motivations. The photos are snapshots of parts of my apartment, a little behind the scenes peek at where I'm hanging out. I hope that you get to know me a little better by the end of this post and if you have any questions for me, fire away!
Why do I write?
This feels like a hard question. First and foremost, I'm a visual designer. But along the way writing and blogging has become a big part of that. So here it goes.
Reason #1: I’ve always been a maker of things. I’m driven to create things whether it’s sewing, knitting, jewelry making or designing. Somehow along the way, writing has become of part of the process. Mostly, it is a way to share my creations with other people. Sure, I could just show pictures but words are integral to explaining how things are created, the why and the how of it all.
One of my favorite pieces of art in my home is a print that says “All I want to be someone who makes new things and thinks about them.” It very nicely sums up my being. If I wasn’t making things or thinking about making things, I don’t know what I would be doing all day. Maybe I’d exercise more? :) I do know that I have to be making and I like sharing those things. And to share those things I need to write about it too.
Reason #2: Being a DIY blogger, and especially a sewing blogger, is a great way to share my creations and keep a record of what I’ve made. There are many times that I search my own website to find out what pattern I used for a particular top and what adjustments I made to it. Blogs and the online sewing community are the best resource when trying out a new sewing pattern and I’m so glad to be a part of it.
Reason #3: I started blogging about 7 (?!?) years ago. I was working as a graphic designer at a job where I also developed simple sewing patterns and tutorials. I concepted the projects, tested them, wrote the instructions and drew the instructional diagrams. I was starting to read blogs and thought, “Why am I doing this for someone else to profit from? I should start my own pdf pattern company and to get started, I should write a blog”.
Since then, I’ve created a few patterns and a lot of tutorials that I’ve given away for free. I’ve honed in a little tighter on what I want to write about and what my style is. And earlier this year, I started to blog under a new name.
What am I working on?
Lots of things! I'm always struggling with the balance of staying focused on projects and following my creative impulses. Over the years, as my commitment to blogging ebbed and flowed, I always wanted to be making things that were inspiring, things that I wanted to be making. This is a hobby for me not a job and I don’t ever want it to feel like work (in the way that work can drag you down sometimes). So, that said, I will always be working on the thing that is inspiring me right now. And that might change tomorrow. Right now, I’m planning to make some shorts and a dress before the summer is over.
But on a bigger front, I still want to release pdf sewing patterns. I’m working a design for a really simple, cute top that I hope to have launched before the end of the year. It’s quite exciting and something that I’ve wanted to do for so long. So, fingers crossed and knock on wood, that I can pull this off!!
How does it differ from others of its genre?
There are a couple of ways that I think I’m different than most DIY/Sewing bloggers. First, for my day job I work as a designer and art director. I’m thinking about design all the time and try to incorporate some of that perspective in my blog content. Every week I choose a theme and share inspiration for a DIY to be shared later in the week. On of my favorite parts of my job, is creating style boards of inspirational images to visually show a client the style of design I'd like to do for their project. My Moodboard and DIY Outfit posts are a way of sharing the process and planning of creating a DIY that is very similar to the way I work outside of DIY.
Second, I’ve never been afraid or daunted by creating. (Yes, I know that sounds incredibly cocky. New things are scary and it's totally ok to admit it!) I started sewing and knitting as a child and grew up in a family of people who make things. We look at something in a store and say, “I can make that myself”. Usually, it’s more affordable to make it yourself but it’s also more satisfying. In the end, that thing is truly yours, you created it and customized it just for yourself. And that’s a great feeling to have. Imagine being surrounded by a home full of things that you actually made, as opposed to things that you bought.
How does my writing process work?
At this point, I kind of have a formula figured out for content on the blog. I have a fairly regular weekly schedule of Monday is a Moodboard post, Tuesday DIY Outfit, Wednesday/Thursday finished DIYs, and Friday Pinterest Picks. Each week has a theme and I keep track of the posts using appointments in iCal. It works for me as I can drag appointments to different days when I change my mind or something isn't working in time for a post. At the same time, if the other parts of my life get too busy, I just won't post and I don't feel guilty about it. The planning really helps though to keep me on track and know what's coming up.
First, one has to come up with an idea. I read a lot of blogs and magazines. With all of those things percolating in my brain, ideas pop into my head while I drive around town or am about to go to sleep. I take notes of my ideas wherever it is convenient at the moment–on my phone, in Evernote or in a sketchbook. And then there is Pinterest. It's been revolutionary for saving visual ideas. Saving everything there is so much more efficient than saving a jpeg or screenshot to my desktop. I have pinboards for a variety of categories: food, design, DIY and fashion. So, if I'm looking for inspiration for branding a beverage client, I can go to my Drink It and Branding boards. If I'm looking for something for my next knitting project, I'll go to my Cozy Knits board. After all the research, note making and visual gathering, I start working on and planning the ones that stick in my head. I'll get my hands dirty and start testing and making.
Then when I'm getting ready to write a post, I start out by gathering my images, either from the web for a moodboard or taking photos for a DIY. Next I start writing. I think I've gotten better at writing over time and I always read it over a few times before hitting publish. If I can, I'll leave it for a day or so and then come back and edit. By the way, 99% of the time, I do my writing while sitting on my couch, watching something on tv that's not too distracting with a view of the photo at the top of this post (my little brother made that piece of art and I love being able to see it everyday). Recently, I've been thinking I should use my desk for my laptop instead of my sewing machines but my priorities are not quite there yet!
I hope that you've enjoyed reading a little bit about my process. Next up on the blog hop is going to be Susan from Measure Twice, Cut Once. She is a fashion designer and sewist who launched a line of pdf patterns this year, starting with a set a super cute knickers and most recently a racerback top. I love seeing a bit of her design process as she is inspiring me to make my own undies and most importantly start launching my own line of pdf patterns.