Crafte's Inferno

comments (8) July 30th, 2008     

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MichaelaMurphy Michaela Murphy, contributor
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Prairie girl, Jennifer Worick proudly displays her first Quick Stuff to Sew project; a pair of pajama bottoms.
Here I am giving the Brother 6000 a spin.
Five of the seven new pillows from our crafternoon.
One of a matching set of pillows (making for a grand total of seven).
Prairie girl, Jennifer Worick proudly displays her first Quick Stuff to Sew project; a pair of pajama bottoms.

Prairie girl, Jennifer Worick proudly displays her first Quick Stuff to Sew project; a pair of pajama bottoms.

Photo: Michaela Murphy

Last week I had dinner with a few of my friends here in Seattle. They were all excited about my job on Craftstylish and one of my friends looked at me wistfully and said "Oh, you're so lucky! You must be in heaven making all of this cool stuff." I looked at her sort of dumbstruck with craft shame: I hadn't made anything at all since the site went live. The next day I was sitting here at my desk going over all of these fabulous projects, idea submissions, and plans for the future on Craftstylish when suddenly I realized that if I had to look at one more fabulous project, post another terrific how-to, or hear about the crafty exploits of some talented DIY all-star I was going to stick a fork in my thigh. I was in Craft Hell.

My craft hell realization might have been confusing had I not been across this River Styx before. How many times have I vowed 'never again' over a seemingly simple how-to? How many 'quick-to-make' tutorials have taken me six months to execute? How many times have the words 'How hard can it be?' led to tears and PHD candidate applications that never get filled out? How many? Well, lets just say a lot.

The difference this time was that I wasn't cursing the project at hand, I was upset that there wasn't anything in my hands.

Really, the big surprise was that I was surprised at all. This is, after all, a dream job for me, I love to make things. In fact, my favorite recreation is to either make something myself or cruise the real and virtual worlds and see what other people are making. But now that my recreation had become a full time job I had been neglecting my own creative endeavors. I was now a DIY Tantalus with a glorious feast of fabulous projects just outside of my reach.

I had unwittingly stumbled upon a new circle of Craft Hell: The Work-for-a-Fabulous-Craft-Site-and-Never-Craft-Again Circle

Happily, my Inner-Virgil (IV) came to the rescue and I came up with a how-to-get-out-of-craft-hell tutorial of my own. "Call Jennifer Worick" My IV commanded, and so I did. I actually met Jennifer via Craftstylish and she lives right here in Seattle. Jennifer is the kind of crafty pal who you can call and say "Hi, I am in craft hell." and she instantly knows what you are talking about (that's why she is the author of many best selling craft books--she too has learned the hard way) "Let's have a crafternoon' Jen said and that is what we did.

Crafte Paradiso

I picked up Jennifer and her brand new Brother 6000 sewing machine and brought them both over to my house (after a quick stop at the Pacific Fabric Outlet where we drooled over all the Amy Butler prints and recently expanded crafts section). Jennifer is a sewing newbie and she made some awesome pajamas from the CraftStylish Quick Stuff to Sew issue. I dragged out my fabric stash uncertain of where to start and then suddenly went on a tear and whipped up seven pillows!

After Jennifer went home I sat here in my living room hand watching a Law & Order rerun and handstitching up the last of my new home decor creations thinking," I wonder what we can make from the site next week" At last, crafting paradise regained.

Next week, I will write about the second circle of Craft Hell: Heavenly Aspirations meet Hellish Skills.


posted in: craftes inferno, part one

Comments (8)

MichaelaMurphy writes: Hi Sweet_Pea,
Thanks for your comment and story. I am a big believer in the power of shaking things out and starting fresh--I just have to be reminded about it all of the time. I just got back from traveling and have two new Crafte posts in the works, one will go up later this week.
BTW, love the embroidered place-mats that you have posted in the gallery--thanks for writing.

Posted: 3:32 pm on September 13th
Sweet_Pea writes: Micheala,

I loved this article and will be looking for the other updates. I think there are many of us who can relate to the feelings you have experienced. My fulltime job is not in the craft industry, but I do love to sew, crafts and quilt. However, I do a lot of craft shows. It seems that I spend most of my "crafting time" getting ready for shows and very little on myself. And, then there are always the projects everyone else wants me to do for them -- mend this, can you make that, will you do this, blah, blah, blah. Well, I got in a crafting/sewing funk and let me sewing room go to pot for months -- never getting anything done except keeping up on the computer groups and looking at other people's projects. Finally, I thought, "What am I going to have to do to break out of this!" So, Labor Day weekend I bought some paint, had my husband pack up my sewing room (and no, I didn't care how he packed it -- it was a mess already), and then I commenced to an update. I just felt I needed to do something for myself. Everything got a good washing, some new paint, updated window treatments (made with fabric I had on hand), changed up some door and drawer knobs and handles (luckily with some that were being stored in the garage), and a bit of artwork (which was also being stored -- intended for another room that never got done). For the cost of 2 gallons of paint, some elbow grease and a weekend, I got a refreshed sewing/crafting area to jump start my creative juices. Since the update just a week or so ago, I've gotten 5 simple projects finished and am excited to do more. They are lined up. These items are also for my craft shows, but I don't feel like I'm pulling my teeth out to do them for a show. I'm doing them because I feel like being creative again.

I guess, to sum it all up, sometimes revamping our surroundings can help us out of a crafting funk. I love your "Crafternoon" idea too. Now that I'm revamped, reorganized and reenergized, I may just invite a friend or two over for a Crafternoon too!

BTW, great pillows and love Jennifer's quirky PJ pants!
Posted: 1:01 pm on September 13th
JenniferStern writes: Isn't is amazing how the stuff you need to do for the crafts you love get in the way of doing the crafts you love when you're in the business???? I'm so glad you took the time to make those gorgeous pillows!
Posted: 6:00 am on August 5th
susanstars writes: Yay, Michaela! Your pillows look amazing (and nice pajamas, Jen!)

I just made something for fun for the first time in six months yesterday. So exciting. I must be on your Crafte Inferno parallel... :)

Here's my sewing project, at last:
Posted: 3:50 pm on July 31st
Minimeg writes: The striped fabric on the second pillow from the back looks very familiar... I think I have some samples of that same fabric in a ton of different colors. One of my Professor's daughters used to work at Donghia, and she had a huge collection of discontinued fabric samples that the store was going to throw away. My Professor wanted them out of her house, so she gave them to me! I actually used many of them for the tote bag challenge :D

Anyway, the pillows are cute! And I can just imagine all the nice textures.
Posted: 10:13 pm on July 30th
Jen_W writes: And notice how the PJs artfully cover up my belly, full of a fish burrito from Taco del Mar? I meant to do that.
Posted: 8:41 pm on July 30th
Jen_W writes: Gosh that was fun but I'm now back in the first circle of hell, writing a book about crafts without time to make anything really for fun. I guess at least I'm still crafting but when a book is due in two weeks and you have 20 projects still to do, the fun sort of scurries out the window. Hence, I think a regular Michaela fix is on order. Have you seen those pillows? They are totes gorg. My PJs are a bit wonky but hey, they're PJs, right?
Posted: 8:40 pm on July 30th
MaeveQ writes: This post is a riot! Michaela, your pillows are beautiful and Jennifer I want you to come to my house and get my crafting!
Posted: 7:41 pm on July 30th
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