Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Tools for the Creative Process


I wasn't sure what my first project would be after returning from DOL. I spent much of Sunday relaxing and sleeping. Then, Sunday evening, it came to me.

I knew my first task.

At the retreat, Diane had mentioned how useful it is to have a design board. Back when I was quilting I had a flannel wall, but that was long gone.

I googled how to make a giant design board and found this tutorial.

The search for foam core insulation involved three hardware stores (my local hardware store and the first Home Depot didn't carry it). Luckily, the further-away Home Depot is open on Sunday night until 9pm, so I wasted no time jumping into the van.

I had no idea just how big a 4'x8' piece of foam core insulation is.

It's big.

Here was my process:

  • Search the endless aisles for sheets of foam core insulation. Employee #1 helped me find it and told me they would cut it if I needed it.
  • Purchase the foam core insulation. Sales person told me they would cut it if I needed, "just bring it back to the saw."
  • Hoping it fits, carry foam core insulation to van, trying not to take flight in the process.
  • Attempt to force unwieldy object into van.
  • Fail.
  • Go back to store. Someone (I can't remember who) had told me they would help me tie it to the top of my van. But when I went back, customer service told me they would give me twine but, for liability reasons, would not tie it.
  • Find the hidden bucket and help oneself to yards and yards of free twine.
  • Tie to top of van. Tied too tight, causing the twine to cut deeply (12" or so) into the insulation. No problem, it will be covered by fabric.
  • Passerby gives suggestions on how to tie it. Suggestions taken.

  • Get into van and drive about 30 feet. Board snaps in half and the front half is now "skiing" behind van.
  • Re-park. Smile at the passersby who find this scene highly amusing.

  • One half will now fit into van. The other half is still too big and both halves now have a very raggedy edge.
  • Take both halves back into store and head back to the saw.
  • Meet up with Employees #2 and #3, who vociferously tell me they will not cut it. I vociferously insist. It turns out that there was a basic miscommunication. They thought I wanted them to cut it with the saw, which could damage the saw. I did not care how it was cut.
  • Employee #2, with attitude, uses a box cutter to trim the too-big half and "even up" the edge of the smaller half. Both raw edges are now fairly uneven, but no matter.
  • Return to van (it is now dark), place two halves inside, and return home.

I covered the two halves with an old set of cream-colored flannel sheets and lots of white duct tape. I hung both halves from the picture rail in my sewing room, using the free twine.

Voila.
I didn't notice, at first, that the printing on the foam core insulation (which is only on one side) shows through the flannel.
Oh well.

From watching Diane and Marcy work, it became apparent to me that I could use a dress form. I've been resisting a dress form for several reasons. And, to be honest, I had a dress form buried in my garage.

I dug it out (no small feat) and cleaned off the cobwebs.

Well, mostly.

I used this Athena form when I sewed 20 years ago. At one time, it wore bra that was stuffed, and I was thinner back then, though I never had a waist like that.

The dress form is now back in circulation.

Diane suggested that you make your form the same height as you. Luckily I am not too tall. Even though it doesn't reflect my shape, it will be useful for shaping a collar and taking photos.

And I couldn't beat the price.

Australian Stitches Magazine

On another note, a couple readers told me some months ago that my blog was featured in Australian Stitches Magazine, volume 20 no. 9. Sandra V, who lives in Australia, managed to snag me a copy from the publisher.

The very cool thing is that they also featured two blogs I like very much, Margy's and Jane's.

Thanks so much, Sandra!!

P.S. If you aren't familiar with Sandra's work, you should be. She posts her reviews on Pattern Review. You may need a PR account to see her reviews, but a free account works. I am a huge fan of her work.

44 comments:

  1. The design board is a great idea and yours is such a great board! Worth the effort getting it set up. I use my dress form heaps and am guessing you will too. Congrats on being written up in 'the' Australian Stitches :) am happy to help any time (Sandra).

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    1. Thanks again, Sandra! You were very resourceful in securing a copy of this for me. :D

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  2. ROTFL!!! True grit and determination pay off again!

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  3. The hoops we have to jump through just to see an idea develop!!! I know I shouldn't, but I did laugh...looks super on your wall, and it has an original story behind it!

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    1. That's right, Judith! We do what we must. ;)

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  4. Okay I'm sorry but you just gave me the best laugh and brightened my evening considerably! Especially when you shared a picture of the two pieces of foam core - one dangling off the back of your van. Okay I'm barely keeping a straight face typing this. I'm just so glad this had a happy ending! And thanks for the hearty laugh - okay I was crying I was laughing so hard!

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  5. I'd laugh out loud but have hurt a rib-I'm smiling big though. (Vicoden grin)

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    1. Thanks, Mary! And take care of that rib! (I hope Nick wasn't responsible...)

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  6. Yum! A BIG design board - I LOVE it! I set up a tiny one some time ago, and even in its tiny-ness I've found it helpful, albeit in a limited way.

    I would love to see more of yours as you work on projects!

    Ahhhh... your oversized purchase adventure...it hit too close to home for me regarding past Home Depot visits.... Oh, could I commiserate... ;D

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  7. I would to get my hand on a tall dress form.. What a great idea to have a design board...

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    1. Yes, Rachel, I imagine you would need a tall form! Or a regular form on a stool... Diane Ericson is also tall and has a *very* tall form, so they are available.

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  8. Oh my, Shams! What a story! But, I do think it was worth it. To have a wall of inspiration... And, congrats on the mention in the magazine. You definitely deserve it!

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  9. Such a saga! Bottom line, you get it done! Congrats on the publication. I find it sort of amazing that they would publish about you, with a pic no less, without your permission and knowledge. Glad you got the well deserved recognition.

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    1. Thanks, Bunny! Actually, I don't mind that they published images from my blog. I do have a lot of Australian readers and am happy to have been mentioned.

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  10. fun trip to the Home Despot aside....I'm so excited for you!! Creative juices flowing...you have a design board and a dress form. I made a dress form out of duct tape and stuffing. I LOVE it...changed how I sew. I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU!! Can't wait to see what else emerges from your DOL experience!
    Way to go, Shams!

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    1. Thanks, Helen! I'm not sure I want a 3D replica of myself as a roomie. But if I had a bigger house, maybe she could have her own room - that wouldn't be so bad.

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  11. What determination! I often wish that there were some magical way of delivering oversized purchases home.
    Congratulations on being mentioned in the magazine!

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    1. Irene, I had the same wish! I thought about mail ordering, but I'm sure the shipping would be huge. I wondered about hiring someone to haul, but for a $20 piece of board, that wasn't so appealing either.

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  12. YIKES! Foam story reminds me of a friend trying to move a piano in the back of a pickup on highway in El Paso. Yep,the piano took flight (even being tied down -not good enough of course) and piano was no more. No one hurt in the landing thank goodness. congrats on the AS magazine feature. I used to be able to find copies in Dallas, but haven't seen any in a while. I love my old copies and refer to them fairly often.

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    1. OMG! A flying piano. I can't even imagine! You guys *do* do things bigger in Texas!

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  13. Congrats on the magazine feature!!! That is so exciting!!! Great start on your inspiration board. Nothing like a creative trip to rev up our engines.

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    1. Thanks, Rhonda! Am I procrastinating or preparing? ;)

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  14. hilarious! What an adventure.
    ANd congratulations - WOOT! You deserve it, great to see you featured in Stitches!

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  15. Thanks for the laugh.
    You could always make a moulage and use it to pad out your form to be more realistically you.

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    1. Nancy, that is exactly what I don't want to do. ;)

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  16. That is hilarious!! I'm glad you created the design board--I think you will enjoy and get a lot of use out of it. I have two design boards in my sewing room and I love them.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with DOL. I have wanted to participate in one of these retreats for many years, but have yet to combine both available time and available money to make it happen. It was beautiful to be able to have a vicarious retreat experience through your words and photos. I anticipate wondrous things emerging from your studio in the future.

    Marcy

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  17. I would have laughed with you, not at you.
    You should make a duct tape dress form to go over that dress form. My Annie is a bit smaller than me, especially in the bust. I put one of my bras on her and stuffed it, then put the duct tape form over that. I do think you'd find it useful.

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    1. Yes, no doubt. That is a very interesting idea to use a smaller dressform as a stand. But I truly am not sure I want one that looks like me, thankyouverymuch. ;)

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  18. What a funny story!!! Love the idea of a design board. I'm sure you will use it for years go come. I love my dress form, its kind of old, but I use it for photography and it also motivates me to get started on my next project. Love your posts, shams, you never fail to entertain.

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  19. Shams, I literally laughed out loud, and could see myself in the same situation. I LOVE your design board, and think I need one! It is perfect.

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    1. Hi Shams, I tried to get through yesterday but it wouldn't go so trying again today. I'm still trying to get my studio organized to get started on a T- shirt. I took the sleeves out of 2 T-shirts to take them in . I ordered a dress form yesterday and can't wait till it gets here!!! Enjoying your blog as usual. Emily

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    2. Glad you made it through, Emily. It sounds like your mojo is firing.

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  20. oh my!! what an experience! :)

    your inspiration board looks cool!! I love it!

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  21. That was so I Love Lucy, but unlike her adventures, yours worked out well. High fives to you, Margy and Jane!
    PS: Appreciate the inspiration and photos you shared from DOL.

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