Sunday, March 13, 2016


I hear it so often - "I'm not creative. I can't draw, I can't doodle, I can't .......,  I can't........."

What would you say to your children or grandchildren if they said that?    You would tell them they are very creative and you would find an example to show them.  So why do we berate ourselves so much?  Are we afraid that we will sound presumptuous? Well so what!   It's just something to think about next time you are about to point out a mistake in your quilt or tell someone that you can't do something.  You could if you really really wanted to!

Anyway - today we're chatting about creativity.  Someone (I think it was Tish) gave me this picture which came from a calendar. It is a real quilt that was used as a photo on this particular page in the calendar. The artist is Judith Reilly.

Artwork by Judith Reilly

I don't have the title to the piece above - it's in my office.  I was using sticky tack to hold it to the wall, but it doesn't stick well.  I need to get it PLAKed so I can jam a nail in the wall to make it stay up.  Got to find a place where I can get that done. Anyone know?  I'm not a member of Costco so don't suggest that. Black's is gone so who else?  OK - Staples   - I bet.   Must remember to drop it off tomorrow!

Anyway - I found this amazing article on Judith's website which I will share with you.  It's called Twelve Life Lessons for Creativity.

Seriously - go there and read through it.  I so agree with this philosophy.  Oh before I get started - I remember in an interview many years ago, the hiring manager asked me to give some examples of my creativity.  It was a computer sales job.  I know - that question blew me away.  Prior to that, I had always thought of creativity in terms of making things. Check out this definition of creativity.   I learned to be very creative in sales and in life. I learned that being creative happens when you make mistakes - get creative to find a solution. Creativity is not just about making things, but solving problems.

Back to the Twelve Life lessons for Creativity - Here is my take on it for myself.

1. We are all unique and gifted - This is very true. But here is the problem.  We do NOT recognize that in ourselves. We are always striving to be like someone else, to create quilts like other people, quilt our quilts like other people. We want to emulate OTHERS, and we lose ourselves in the process of trying to be everyone else! That's why I try to tell people in a class - explore, play, learn how to do it YOUR way, not anyone else's way.

2. Life is perception - oh boy!  How many people are going to complain about the time change!  Seriously - I never even thought about until I heard them talk about it on the radio this morning.  I don't dwell on things that I can't change and really - moving the clock ahead or behind - how does that really affect my life?  Not much. This is a non-issue for me!  I try always to look at the good, I'm optimistic and I LOVE life - even though I (like everyone I know) have personal, private issues that make life a challenge - I choose to keep them in the background and focus on the good things!

3. Childlikeness: never lose it!   Yup - that is me!   If there was an opportunity to drive a fire truck - I want to do that. Get down on the floor and look at things (provided there is something to help one get back up!), play with the dogs, sing like no one can hear you (I sound awful! - but when no one is home....).  It's not just the crazy things that kids do, but the wonderment of seeing something for the first time.  Enjoy that experience - I hope I never lose that!

4. Permission and limitations: choose one and reject the other.   Oh - I could tell you some stories about times when I just took hold of the situation and winged it. Who cares about rules - let's get the job done. Yes, I've gotten into trouble, but no serious harm was ever done. The job got finished and everything worked out fine.  Just remember it is easier to ask for FORGIVENESS, rather than PERMISSION.

5. Don't seek approval.   Come on - we are all guilty of this one. Do you like my project?  Do you think it is ok?  Seriously - the only person you need to ask that question of is YOURSELF!   Why do we care what others think?   Yes - I walked the dogs in my PJs on the street this morning with my bright orange coat and my red hat and my orange shoes.  Do I care?  Nope!

6. We must have wings and feet.  Yes - we need to be grounded with our feet, but we need to be able to dream. Soar above the problems, let ourselves go.  I always say that if you don't have dreams, you don't have life.  Why would I want to get  up in the morning, if I didn't have some vision of a goal?  That goal may be as simple as having a great cup of tea or it may be a vacation that I'm planning next year.  You gotta dream!

7. Determine what is traditional, accepted, expected and don't do it!   I LOVE THIS ONE!!!!!   So imagine you are out for dinner with friends. You go to a fabulous steak restaurant. I don't eat steak, especially when it costs a lot of money.  Just don't like steak!  So I had a bowl of soup!  Did I feel uncomfortable?  Nope - did I go home stuffed to the gills - NOPE. I love doing this - I can't be a sheep!!!   This one is great as it also keeps people guessing about you!

8. Be true to yourself. This is a toughie.  It's hard with peer pressure, accepted norms and all kinds of other influences.  But if I don't do what I believe in - then I'm being fake!  And I hate insincerity and fakeness.  So if you don't eat steak and everyone else is - eat what YOU want.  Soup was the ONLY thing on that menu that I would eat. I'm not a fussy eater, but I hate meals in those kinds of restaurants, I hate eating late and I hate eating huge meals!  I also don't do fancy drinks with liquor so I had a beer!

9. If we're not having fun, we're not doing it right!   Right on!  The day that I don't have fun is the day that I don't want to be alive anymore. Don't get me wrong - there are some drudgery days, but there is always some fun element to it. If work isn't fun and you can't change jobs - find a way to make it fun.  Wear fun clothes, listen to fun music or whatever it is that makes life fun!  You are NEVER too old to have fun!

10. We have to "kiss a lot of frogs"....   (a.k.a  Ooops)    Mistakes - if you don't make mistakes, you don't learn. It amazes me how people fret about making mistakes.  Many great inventions were discovered because someone made a mistake or what they thought would happen in fact did not. If everything was going to work out perfect - where is the opportunity to use our creativity?   Nope - I like making mistakes. Not costly mistakes, but mistakes.

11. We must share our gifts to experience their ultimate blessings.   If you are a master quilter, but keep your talents hidden at home, who cares that you are a master quilter. Share your knoweldge, teach someone how to quilt, show your quilts so others can learn.

12. "Solitude" and "Now" - the gifts we give ourselves.    Wow - this is huge!!!   We are always giving so much to others that we need some ME time.  Time to let your thoughts go, time to rejuvenate, time to just be us.  That is becoming harder and harder as things like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram invade our bedrooms, our few precious quiet moments - we spend those with an electronic device in our hands. I was waiting at the airport the other night and I brought along a book to read. Yes - a honest to goodness actual book made of paper.  I couldn't read the damn thing because the TV was blaring the news over and over again for the entertainment of those in the room.    That noise was almost as offensive as cigarette smoke.  Can't anyone be happy with SILENCE??????

Wow - that got way philosophical!!!!   But it applies to every part of our life - our hobbies - definitely quilting, the way we react with our partners, our children, our co-workers, etc.

We only have ONE life to live and if we screw it up - no one is going to give us a second chance.  I'm going to enjoy every day with as much gusto as I can muster!

On that note - I'm off to the races!!!!   I've got quilts to sew together, quilts to quilt and stuff to prep before going away!

Have an super awesome  FUN day!!!!



  1. What a powerful message Elaine!!! I have sent the link to this many people and hope they read and I hope to do. Thank you for this

    1. Virginia - you are welcome! And have a great day!!! Elaine

  2. Very well said. Nothing makes me sadder than to hear someone say they should just give up after seeing a quilt show or show and tell rather than letting it inspire them and to go have fun.

    1. Helen Anne - right on! That's another reason to take pictures of things you like - NOT quilts you like. Look at the color, look at a block. Start small! Have a great day! Elaine