Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Off list craftyness

I’ve been working on a new project since yesterday. It’s a mobile for Martha’s bedroom, inspired by this tutorial. Oddly, I had a strange inner brain argument about whether I should be using precious free time to progress something that wasn’t on the 40 list. Surely the list is my priority? Clock’s a ticking, and all that. It was a strange thought and it made me pause.

I have felt a bit like I’ve been in a flurry of activity lately, and for the most part, it’s been a lot of fun. But I’ve also found that the more I spend my little parcels of free time on creative projects, the more creative projects I keep dreaming up. It reminds me of when I made the transition from phD-land to working full time in an office.  As well as being thrilled at the prospect of earning Real Money in an occupation not at the mercy of grants or contracted positions, I thought I’d have the luxury of all that time after work to spend on creative projects; at this time four years BK (before knitting) I’d been trying to practice short story writing. Ha! she says, with the luxury of hindsight. I also used to write in my spare time at uni, but thought I’d be able to do more when I wasn’t reading and writing all day.  What I found was the opposite - office work sapped my creativity. Here, hindsight helpfully says, well duh. When I’d been researching and drafting chapters day in day out, that productive word-loving part of my brain was continuously being fed. In cubicleville it was starved. No surprise really that I produced only a few strange stories about the creatures who live in office photocopiers stealing stationery before I gave up and started watching Desperate Housewives of an evening instead.

It feels a bit the same now. In the shower this morning I had ideas for three different knitting patterns. After I’d worked on weeding the veggie patch, erecting the new trellises, digging in some water saving crystals, and then planting, as documented in yesterday's pictures, I quickly became sidetracked with ideas about decorations. I’ve been thinking about some community gardens Dave and I visited in Melbourne some years ago (I shall have to dig out some photos) which had wonderful whimsical touches throughout. So I put in a few little windmills, ostensibly to amuse Elly, but really I think they amuse me more. We also talked about building a scarecrow. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey, we should build a scarecrow. What do you think?
Elliot: Yes! I like scarecrows.

Now that’s also on the agenda for this week. It’s not on the list, but it’s certainly in the spirit of the list. This morning, looking at one of the wheel-flowers spinning around I also pondered how hard it would be to connect up a little motor and maybe power something small, like a garden light. Enough already, brain! Too many ideas! Too little time!

But back to the mobile. I’ve found it relaxing to trace and cut out these little balloons. I’m trying to use a bunch of things I already have and only bought a few odds and ends. Being a bit obsessed with all things crafty “things I already have” is a broad church from which to choose. It includes things I have bought but not used for their intended purpose, such as little split pins I originally got for lace blocking that are perfect loops for the tops of the balloons, and things I can’t remember why I bought, like double sided photo tape. I’ve got a wire ring ready to string up all six, once I figure out how I’m going to attach it to the ceiling. Dave helpfully told me not to hang them upside down “because they’ll look like bombs”. Geez. Next he’ll be telling me to take those mushroom cloud photos off the nursery walls...

(Last comment a little bit self-referential to my phD).

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