Embracing Author and Publisher

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Child & Doll's Nightgown

My daughter, now seven, has grown up with her Granny, my mom, sewing her dresses and pajamas her entire life. I'm sure at this point she just thinks it's normal to wear handmade clothes and accessories. I love that for her. I grew up with the same mentality; however, until recently I had no interested in doing the creating myself.

This year, my creative energy has reached a new high and I have branched out from my go-to form of creation (writing and scrapbooking) into many different styles including sewing, knitting and cross stitch.

My introduction into sewing came in the form of Zoey's encouragement to make her a nightgown with a matching doll gown.

Challenge accepted!

Except I had no idea what I was doing. I fought with my sewing machine, I called my mom and I got really handy with a seam ripper.

Zoey chose a simplicity pattern, number 1129. I'm not sure if it is a beginner level pattern or more intermediate, but I managed to sort through it. She also picked out this cute Tusm Tusm fabric with a light pink trim.

I started by cutting out the pattern and sorting through the pieces. Then I cut the fabric for the entire project: Child's nightgown, baby doll night gown and the eye mask. I continued to cut out the rest of the pattern and sort it by project and store each set in plastic sandwich bags within the pattern envelope so I can keep everything tidy and organized.

I then sat down to start working on the baby doll gown first. I figured since it was smaller, I could figure out the pieces and correct mistakes a little easier. I believe this was a good idea because it took me about two weeks to complete the doll gown. I finally did though, just following the directions, asking questions and looking up a few tutorials online.

I was so excited when I finished the doll's dress. It made me feel like I could actually do this.

In the end, I did it and I think it came out pretty nice.

Ultimately, I had to get to know my sewing machine. Once I understood how to thread the bobbin (I have a very touchy vertical bobbin that I had to look up how to wind at least five times in the process of making this outfit), I was well on my way.

I read the directions on the pattern several times over and had to call my mom for verification on a couple of things. I altered a couple things as well, like not putting a bow on the front, it seemed more trouble than it was worth.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I Think I Need To Fail More

There is an old saying, "The master has failed more times than you have tried."

I imagine this saying with a meme of Yoda, old and sage, guiding young Skywalker to fulfill his destiny.

photo credit
I laugh along with it, just like everyone else, but then I start to see some truth in his words.

Writing has been a passion of mine for most of my life. I've written about it recently in a post called, Why I Write. But even though I've been writing for years, even being published in newspapers, magazines and literary books, I want more. I want to write a novel. I want to make a career out of writing. The thing I realize it this... I need to fail more.

Which means I need to produce more. Because the result of doing a lot of work is not always grand success. Sometimes it is as simple as finding a process that works, an inspiration that calls, or a motivation that entices me to finish.

I need to write and publish more, without a fear of failure. So what if two out of ten posts are a complete flop. At least I continued my practice of developing ideas and putting them out into the world for review. I can learn from what doesn't work more easily than I can learn from what does. People are always more specific in things they dislike as opposed to things they like.

When someone reads a post or a book they either hate it, nod at it an then move on, or it inspires them to create something of their own. I always aim for the latter, am happy with the nod, but it's from the haters that you can learn to be better at your craft.

Now don't get me wrong, haters are gonna hate. There are going to be people that just don't get you, think completely differently, or are just having a bad day. Nonetheless, there is always constructive criticism worth listening to and developing from. There is no use getting worked up over this, it is all part of the process. It is just another failure on your way to becoming a master of your craft.

I want more of this. Not that I like failing, but to become better, you have to challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone. This can be hard and you may not be good at it, but keep trying, it will be worth it in the end.

I want to fail more so that I can be better. And because it means I am giving all of myself to my craft. I want to keep working and trying to improve. Most of all, I want keep doing the thing that I love in the hopes of inspiring others to do what they love. If I can do that, for even one person, then all of my strife, rejection and success will be worth it. The simple act of writing is enough for me.

Don't be afraid to fail, be afraid to stop trying to do new things and explore what you love to do.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Exploring Yoga

Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash, Edits by Amanda McCusker
Though yoga has interested me for many years now, I began practicing in earnest almost three years ago. Yoga has a lot of preconceptions notions surrounding it for different reasons, but I will say this...

Yoga has helped me find a confidence in myself that I have never had before. It has reduced my anxiety and shown me that self-care is essential to being better to the people around me. I have gained strength and flexibility that I didn't know I could achieve. I have lost weight, but the greatest victory for me is the pleasure I find in the everyday.

Life is hard. There is no way around it. There are all kinds of crazy things happening around us on a world, national and personal scale. However, there are also wonderful, kind things happening simultaneously in all of those places. We have to focus on the compassion and light up the dark with the brilliance of our energy.

By linking my breath with my body, I am able to slow down my mind and process my surroundings more freely. I am able to be present in this moment and let go of all the things that distract or frustrate me as well as all the clutter and superfluous things that just get in my way.

By being consistently aware of my surroundings, I can face an encounter head on. Once I define a problem, I can solve it, or a need, I can fill it. Whether it is from a person or a process that I need to supply. Everything around me has a purpose, it serves a function or it just makes me happy when I see it.

Yoga has changed my whole world. I can now touch my toes and beyond, but I can also feel the calm contentment in my heart. I know I can handle anything that comes along, which allows me to stop worrying so much.

There's a lot of depth to the study of yoga. Beyond all those poses on the poster. There's the 8 Limbs of Yoga, which serve as the foundation to gain peace of mind. There are the Chakras, which help you identify how you are spending your energy. The poses themselves also have history and benefits when doing one versus the other.

I intend to dive deeper into these philosophies so I can share the many ways yoga has helped me become more secure and active. More on that to come soon.




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Balance of Inspiration and Motivation

Any project, big or small, needs both inspiration and motivation to complete. I apply this directly to my writing, but honestly it pertains to my hobbies as well.

Inspiration is an animating action or influence for creation, providing a reason to start a project. I find insight in my writing, but also in my yoga practice, my cross stitch, my painting, my cooking, and my reading. Honestly, the list could go on. I find an idea to explore and give myself room to do just that. Inspiration helps me convey a concept, at the very least it gives me a reason to try something new or do something that I already love.

Motivation is having a strong reason to accomplish a task. This is what you need to finish a project. I've seen numerous motivation posters calling to make it to end of the race or the day. It is what makes you persist through the doubts and setbacks. It is what we need to be able to share a complete idea or product with others.

You need both. It must be a balance. The inspiration begins the journey and the motivation sees it through. It can work in any medium; however, I apply it most to my writing. I get a thought, or spark an idea and want to move forward and find the right combination of words to aptly share that idea with others.

However, life gets in the way, constantly. I get distracted and nothing makes sense. Someone needs me or I have another project that needs to be priority. Some days I'm just too tired to even bother. Those days without motivation irk me as much as the days without inspiration.

Sometimes I am ready to work, I have the motivation, but I can't decide what to work on or where to go next within a project. I lack the inspirational influence to create something new. I steadily write notes that surround me, but it seems if I wait too long to expand on an idea it floats away never to return.

The balance between inspiration and motivation is difficult, I'm not going to lie. It remains a consistent struggle. To create a habit of writing that is continuously seeking new input and refining designs for output, is the key to be able to do it forever.

This habit is still in progress for me, but I'm becoming more confident in my abilities. I'm starting to see where I need to reach for to make my passion into a force to be reckoned with. There will always be good days and bad days. Projects that shine and others that fall flat. But that is okay and it is part of the process. Some things work and some don't, but you have to keep trying. Don't fear incorporating new things into your practice and yearn to grow as an artist and as a person. You never know how far you will go when you seek both inspiration and motivation.

Try, fail, and then keep moving forward. Be inspired and be motivated to share it with the world. Now go!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

{A Poem} There Is A Place

There is a place that is just for you.
I believe it to be true.
One that comes alive,
where you enjoy the view.

Sometimes it is far away.
Sometimes, it's right where you left it.
The first place you seek
Or the last space you look.

If you pursue your heart
it will lead you there,
to the perfect place
where you'll finally care.

Or care a little less
and be able to share
your true self
the one you are still trying to find

Then once you find it
enjoy it
and hold on
because one day you may have to find it again.

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