Three phrases to live by from Big Magic

Life lessons for any creative person

The book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert was a pretty big deal... last summer. But of course I didn't read it at the same time as everyone else, I read it at the beginning of this year and loved it. You may wonder why I'm only just blogging about it now though and the reason is that recently I've found myself flicking back through its pages to re-absorb the encouragement and inspiration found within. It may sound a bit daft but it really does help with the inevitable self-doubt that comes with creativity especially when, like me, you're starting out in the scary world of selling the things you make. 

So rather than a book review, which would just be me saying how much I enjoyed it, I thought instead I'd pick out three phrases that stood out to me and could help any creative person through life: 

"Cooperate fully, humbly and joyfully with inspiration" (page 40)

Why it's important: You can't force inspiration. If you sit around waiting for it, it won't strike. So when you do get that exciting idea don't rush it, work with it.

"You do not need anybody's permission to live a creative life" (page 86)


"Or if you do worry that you need a permission slip - THERE, I just gave it to you. [...] Now go make something." (page 90)

Why it's important: I had a cliched 'lightbulb moment' when I read that sentence. Subconsciously I'd been waiting for the 'permission' to give things a go. I don't know whose permission I was waiting for. But at that second I realised I was waiting for it. The lesson here is to stop waiting and simply start, because waiting rooms are pretty boring places. 

"Don't rush through the experiences and circumstances that have the most capacity to transform you." (page 247)

Why it's important: I'm SO impatient. Always trying to skip the journey and rush to the destination. But it turns out that's pretty stressful and tiring and, you know, impossible. A good approach instead is to go through the obstacles in your way, rather than try to rush around them.

Those are the three things I'm reminding myself of often at the moment. I've applied them to my creative business, but the book itself is about a creative life, therefore use them as affirmations in whatever way you need - to take that new class, to tackle that big idea or simply in your everyday decisions. And of course, it's a brilliant book so you really should read the whole thing if you haven't already!

If you've read it, I'd love to know what you thought in the comments.



Five things I learned weaving on a circular loom*

By a complete weaving novice

Weaving is big right now and has been for some time, and you can see why, any craft that encapsulates gorgeous squishy yarns, pom-poms and tassels is kind of guaranteed to be a hit. Especially one which effortlessly crosses the bridge between modern design and traditional techniques (check out this pinterest board if you want to see some stunning examples...).

I've tried weaving once before with the freebie kit that came with issue 58 of Mollie Makes. Obviously I loved it, but didn't really know where to go with it next. So as soon as I spotted the Rico weaving kits on Sew Crafty Shop I knew what my second Design Team make would be! Ever ambitious (or fool hardy) I decided to try the circular weaving loom with some gorgeous DMC Natura Just Cotton yarns in blush, coral and teal.  

The yarns are just beautiful, super soft cotton and as soon as I saw the shades I knew they would be perfect for a rose. I couldn't help myself and added the pom-poms to finish it off which work well with the bowl shape I ended up with (see tip 5!). There's something so special about sitting down with a weaving loom; it's such a relaxing craft, the movements are rhythmic and it's not something you can rush so it's the perfect craft to unwind with after a day at work.

The Rico weaving loom comes instructions to warp your loom, weave and cut off, which were invaluable to a novice like me. But here's five extra tips I learned along the way: 

1. At the start of your circular weaving, keep pulling the yarn tight
After warping (setting up) your loom, the fun bit starts. But the first few rounds of weaving on mine looked anything but pretty, until I pulled the yarn really tight and the wobbly ovals transformed into smooth, even circles.

2. Free-hand is fun
There aren't many crafts where you can pick up the materials without any prior plan or design and create something beautiful. Embrace it. 

3. Trying to 'draw' shapes while weaving in a circle will blow your mind 
If you do decide to try to weave a particular design do keep the 'free-hand' bit in mind, my rose shape evolved very naturally and halfway through I did try to draw how to finish it off, but of course you are constantly working with a curve shape which didn't translate to my drawing and mainly just caused me a bit of a headache! As soon as I abandoned the drawing and went back to free-hand, the rest of the rose appeared just fine.

4. Make the most of your edging
Pom-poms and tassels, need I say more?

5. Iron your piece after cutting off but before tying your ends together
Or if your piece uses big bulky yarns that aren't really suitable for ironing at least be sure to hold it flat before tying your ends together. Otherwise your weaving will curl into a bowl like shape, like mine has! 

Have you tried weaving on a circular loom before? Let me know if you have any extra tips too!

*some of the materials for this project were supplied by Sew Crafty, but all opinions are my own.



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