I am not Messy, I am Creative

I must have been 10 or 11 when my parents gave me a pad of paper with the title of this post marked across the top. I have been known to be someone who clutters somewhat (a gene I undoubtedly inherited from my father!). Even though the ‘mess’ appears messy and unorganized to ‘outsiders’ in is categorically arranged for me and I am able to find whatever I am looking for. The appeared messiness is part of my creative process. If things are all nicely in their place, put away accordingly, with nothing out of line, there is no room for being imaginative and no room to promote ‘thinking outside of the box’.

I’ve come across some pretty creative blogs; some I’ve been reading faithfully for the past three years and others I have just stumbled upon (October Rose, Nathalie Brodeuse, IsaPurple, Couture & Tricot, Collage Diva, to name a few). It’s nice to see what other people are doing with their imagination and energy. I like to go to these blogs for inspiration. Or, sometimes I have so much creativity in me I just don’t know where to begin or what to tackle first, so I will just procrastinate and put off my ideas to lose myself in other people’s.

Now in this current state of displacement, when I want to create, Iook around me and see none of my usual tools and accessories to help me create what is in my mind, the frustration itches like a rash, or even stronger. To not have that creative zone in which to enter, to just not have any space to spread out and create is agonizing. I feel that it is at these precise moments, when I have nothing with which to work, no room anywhere to pose my materials, that I have the most creative ideas. Perhaps though, this notion is a false illusion due to the fact that I know I can not execute and complete my ideas immediately which makes me want to create all the more.

When I work, when the idea comes, I just want to have to reach out my arm and have everything I need ‘right there’ at my finger tips. Ideas can come spontaneously, they can come quickly, they can come at a time when ‘oh, I have a few minutes ‘cuz the boys are napping, now is my chance!’. The biggest disappointment when starting one of these ‘must-do-now’ ideas is finding out that I am missing supplies needed to complete the project. I have to wait till we go out. Find time to make a stop at the notions shop, measure and calculate how much I’ll need. It just take all the creative energy out of doing the project. The best projects are when I have everything I need before I know that I’ll need it. I love opening the closet and seeing all the ribbons and buttons, papers and fabrics, and other embellishments. In times of transition, like the one we are in now, I find that not only do the ideas flow freely, but it is also the time when I buy the most supplies ‘to put away’ for when I’ll need them. It is like a form of therapy for me or maybe an alleviation. If I can’t create now, I’ll just buy the supplies for when I can create.

On my recent trip to the USA, I did just that. I don’t have a sewing machine, no threads. I don’t have my sons’ scrapbooks or all my scrap-booking paraphernalia, but I still had to pick things up while I was over there. It is an obsession!

I found this great store on-line last year and was able to visit it for real with my mother. It is called the Portsmouth Fabric Company, located in Portsmouth, NH. It is a quilter’s shop, and though I am not an avid quilter, I love their fabric for other projects. I had bought fabric from them several times in the past (I am addicted to Amy Butler’s fat-packs that they assemble) and thought it would be fun to actually go out and visit the shop. I discovered some other fabrics designed by Nancy Wolff and Beatrix Potter fabric, in addition to Amy Bulter’s. Here is an example of what I purchased…


I know that even though I can’t use these right now, I will use them one day! I also bought a fair amount of scrapbooking supplies while in the USA, even though ‘i-really-don’t-need-them’. I walked into Michaels one afternoon (big mistake for me!) and the items where actually calling me, whispering my name…!! I also purchased a few items from Creative Memories. And it is not like I have these exact items already. They are a little different from what I already own (which is in the move or storage and thus *inaccessible*!)


Now that we have bought a house and need to finish the second floor (dormer) I naturally have a whole bunch of ideas, a folder full, of how we can finish the space into a master bedroom on one side and a family room with kid/craft nook on the other side… We won’t be in the house till mid/end of December, so that is also a little frustrating because we are both so excited about getting into the house and getting in finished *like we want*, and we have so so many ideas!! It is even a little overwhelming when you see all the choices out there for light fixtures, and flooring, and bathroom designs…. good thing we don’t have the whole house to re-do!

The other day, I received the prints I ordered from our trip to Chile back in July. I started sorting them out to start making the scrapbook, but that is as far as I have gotten. Atleast the photos are in the right order. We’ll see when I can tackle that project again. I am also working on a counter cross stitch design that I began three years ago when we where in another hotel in another moment of transition but is still not finished. I had originally started it so that we could put it in our apartment, our first as a newlywed couple. Maybe I can try to finish it in time for moving into the first house we have bought as a family!


The words read “Bienvenue Che{z} Les Conrad” (Welcome to the Conrads). I found the design in a French magazine called De Fil En Aiguille. It’s the first time I tackle a design that is monochrome. I never did one like this before because I thought that one color would be boring. I think that this is the reason that it has taken me so long to finish it; I just get sick of the blue, just blue. Plus, when I was motivated to get it finished and framed before our departure from Brazil, I ran out of the DMC 798 blue thread and in Brazil you can only find Anchor embroidery thread. You can imagine my dilemma! I was stuck for a good two weeks before picking it up again. It’ll be our secret, but if you look close enough (maybe the photo doesn’t pick it up) you can see the difference in blues between DMC 798 and Anchor 146, in the upper left unfinished corner… I just need to finish the foliage and add the border and the ‘Z’ of chez. I should be able to finish it. I will keep you posted on my progress.

I have the tendency to begin projects and not always finish them. I am known for having several projects going at once. Starting new projects of new ideas when there are several already begun that have yet to be completed is very common with me. When I was in design school this was encourage. Our professors told us that never, ever would we work on only one project at a time. We had to have atleast two or three projects going on at once. Each with a different criteria, each with a different deadline to be met. I think it is a good technique to master. It allows you to take a step back from the project. When you work hard and concentrate on only one thing, it overtakes you. You might do things to it, add a color, a cut, a crop, that with time and distance will seem out of place, or over the top. Leaving the project for some time and coming back to it lets you give yourself constructive criticism, it keeps the design balanced, the composition fresh, the style hip.

We are a month and a half into our transition, with hopefully just a month and a half still to go before we can be settled. I will bide my time by collecting sample, swatches, clippings of ideas and reading my inspirational blogs in an attempt to store these ideas for later. I hope it will not hinder or restrain my creativity. Perhaps with this ‘time-off’ from actually ‘doing’ projects it will nurture the creativity and make it bloom for that moment when I have, once again, my niche to create.

Updated (Nov. 6 @ 11PM) : I have removed the link to the French cross-stitch magazine De Fil En Aiguille, because I have just learned that the magazine shall no longer be published due to the recession (Oct.22)


About Alexandra

wife, lover, mother, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, blogger, scrap-booker, cross-stitcher, photographer, designer, multi-lingual speaker, dual-citizenship holder, world traveler, dreamer... hopeful, happy, blessed
This entry was posted in creativity, reflections. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to I am not Messy, I am Creative

  1. Catherine says:

    “Leaving the project for some time and coming back to it lets you give yourself constructive criticism, it keeps the design balanced, the composition fresh, the style hip.”
    This statement is like a philosophy that can be applied to so many things!

  2. Pingback: たからぶくろ Takarabukuro | XandraExpressions

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