noun, plural sew·jos, sew·joes.
Motivation, reason or inspiration to Sew or Stitch.
I love this term, I was reminded of it recently by the lovely Cat of Raspberry Rainbow.
Last week I lost my sewjo. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t a pretty week. Normally one to love picking up any kind of craft, not even the prospect of a bit of cross stitch or making a pom pom could draw me out of it. Struggling with the tail end of Hong Kong flu I disappeared into a slump of questioning everything and anything in my life. I didn’t know it at the time but this quiet slip into depression was a side effect of the cough medication I’d been prescribed and it was a scary place to be. I still don’t quite feel like my old self but the very thing that I’d lost the motivation to do was what made all the difference.
My gorgeous, caring husband looked at the state of me and said… today once the kids are at school I want you to do the thing that always makes you happy. Turn on some tunes, really loudly (I’m known for my love of loud music and have blown more than one car speaker… that’s another story)… anyway… turn on some tunes and Sew. Just sew anything. OK?
So I did.I cried for most of the time – the kind of tears you shed when you’re pregnant and have no idea why you’re crying, you just are. But by the time I’d done two hours of sewing I felt like a new person. I really did. My sewjo was back. My smile was back. My eyes were ridiculously puffy. But a little ray of sunshine had come out. Perhaps it was the leopard print, and really how can you not smile when working with leopard print??
I have to say that this fascinates me – I’ve always known that for me crafting isn’t about making stuff, it’s making happy but having been lost there for a moment I’m going to explore it some more. I’ve started reading a book called Craft to Heal by Nancy Monson and I really want to learn more about this link between craftiness and wellbeing.
Have you ever used craft to heal? Does sewing, painting, baking lift your spirits?
Oh how relevant this blog title is. Last week I got to sewing up a zipper clutch – it was the last moment of calm before the storm of a very nasty flu knocked myself and the rest of the family out. So while I made a clutch bag I’m also desperately clutching at straws to get myself and the boys settled in Hong Kong. Two steps forwards, one step back and all that. Crazy Times.
Focusing on the positive, this project was so easy and so satisfying. I’ve wanted to use the Tula Pink Octopus forever and I love the neutral hide on the outside and cheeky colour on the inside. The tassel was a cinch too. Would you all like a tutorial for this one?
On Thursday the lovely Cat from Raspberry Rainbow took me out to Sham Shui Po – Hong Kongs heart of textile and haberdashery supplies. This place was nothing short of spectacular! We couldn’t have picked a worse day – cold, grey and rainy but that didn’t dampen our crafty spirits. Shops spruiking beads, ribbon, zippers, fabric, thread and yarn line the streets of the entire suburb and I don’t mean your general notions kind of store. They tend to sell one thing – on one street the shops were filled with wall after wall of ribbon, a store brimming with every zipper you can possibly imagine drew us in and yet another street had several button shops. Little drawers full of ornate buttons and clasps were stacked from floor to ceiling. Oh the joy!
It was a sight to behold. Had it not been pouring with rain I would have taken many more photos of the streets (more next time I promise!). In addition to all of these shops there was the fabric market – on the outside it looks like a shanty town. Inside is a treasure trove of fabrics at ridiculously cheap prices. Wool, silk and a healthy amount of polyester but oh my… what heaven to rummage through.
So here’s the damage:
I had no intentions of buying leather, but I fell in love with the print on this hide and it just had to come home with me. I have plans for a little clutch bag, hopefully with a suede tassel to dangle from it. I’ve never sewn with leather before so it’s a complete experiment but these cost me almost nothing so I’m feeling extra brave!
Many zippers and embroidery thread were purchased and this leopard print is destined for some very special hot air balloons.
I spotted this pure silk print and it was another – just have to take it home purchase. This one is simply going to be a light scarf for the summer and on my next Sham Shui Po trip (oh yes, there will be many more) I’ll have to find a co-ordinating pom pom trim.
And then there were the gold sequins, these are going to adorn a pillow for our bedroom. While the rest of the apartment is almost finished our poor bedroom is just thrown together. I’m planning on white, navy blues and little sparkles of gold to go on our new bed. Oh so many projects to be done! There were a few more trims purchased but overall I think I was pretty restrained. Can’t vouch for any kind of restraint next time I visit.
Love is in the air on valentines day. If you’re anything like me it’s going to stay in the air and is highly unlikely to materialise into red roses, cards or gifts.
Fear not! The Schmaft loves you and I’m sending a complimentary softie or mobile pattern your way with any purchase in the Craft Schmaft Etsy Shop until midnight tomorrow night. Just leave a note with your order to let me know which pattern you’d like.
P.S. Do you like my new sequin stash? I had a big spree yesterday, full damage….err…. purchase report tomorrow!
I’m not sure when my love of gold began, I’ve always been more of a cool tones silver girl myself but the golds are just enchanting me at the moment. Funny how our tastes change over the years and what you love today you may be horrified by tomorrow. I think the 80s sums that up really. Anyhow, metallic threads, pearlised fabric and even gold zippers have all been catching my eye. Here’s a little mood board of golden inspiration for the week…
Image Credits: Gold Sequin Trim: Inspire Lovely, Chinese New Year Display: Craft Schmaft, Michael Miller Fabrics
While I’m on the subject of stash therapy, here’s a little something for you all. A few readers asked for a printable version of the fabric quote I created last week. I’m delighted at the prospect of it being on desktops or craft room walls so please feel free to print, share and enjoy (for personal use only please). Click here for the PDF: You NEED more fabric printable
Happy Crafting lovelies!
I’ve had lots of gorgeous emails and messages from customers desperately seeking Hot Air Balloon Kits and fabric panels. Most of my stock in Sydney was snapped up in December and January from the Craft Schmaft Etsy and Big Cartel stores. Although there are a few panels and kits left I hear you on the demand for all the colour ways, especially circus and sunshine. Well, fear not! More stock is coming in all the colour ways and there are some very exciting new developments in the pipeline too.
Hong Kong is quite a hub for the textile trade and that’s opening up all sorts of opportunities for Craft Schmaft. It opens up all sorts of temptation for stash therapy too but that’s a whole other blog post. So thanks for all your patience and I hope to be able to share some big news and new products with you very soon.
In the meantime, if you can’t buy them… win them. The very talented Renegade Seamstress is having a give-away of the Pink Petals kit over on her blog.
Click here to enter the Hot Air Balloon Kit give-away.
The past few weeks have been all about making our new apartment in Hong Kong a home. Three bedrooms of white walls, white tiles (faux marble if you don’t mind), white ceilings and windows looking out to the skyscrapers of the Island. It was a completely blank canvas.
We landed in Hong Kong without a stick of furniture but with a little re-location sum in our pockets. In a moment of bravery I decided not to bring any furniture with us from Sydney thinking that it either wouldn’t fit or my precious vintage pieces would get damaged in transit. The boys had outgrown their beds too.
Rubbing my hands together with glee, I explored pretty much every nook of Hong Kong Island. My theory was Ikea for basics, local stores for investment pieces like our bed along with Etsy and some very clever international designers for embellishment. I wouldn’t say it’s quite home yet but I thought I’d share our lounge and dining room with you…
The gorgeous map cushions are by the very talented Cath at My Bearded Pigeon (etsy). For the dotty cushion I embroidered spots onto remnant fabric with thread from our wedding invitations then sewed the whole lot together.
Pretty Pegs furniture legs for our Ikea Karlstad couch – these are such a genius idea from Sweden. Hong Kong Ovo Sutio oak side tables and the black “Don’t leave me” table from Hay. I’m in love with the versatility of these three little tables. The portable DLM makes an almost “gold cinema class” table between us with wine and cheese on it. I brought over the beginnings of my vintage camera collection and hope to add to it while we’re here!
Lights are by NUD from my new favourite store eclectic-cool in POHO Hong Kong. They’re hanging on Ikea Ekby Valter shelving racks – love an Ikea Hack hack! We can’t drill into the wall so these are help up with a slathering double sided table. The pink was a brave move but I think it works (my kids think I’m a princess).
I splashed out on our danish dining table but went basic with the ikea chairs and the vintage posters we shipped over from home. It’s a completely different look from our Sydney place but I’ve loved putting it together. It’s almost feeling like home. Still work to be done on the kids room and I have crafty plans for the little entrance hall. but for now it makes me smile.
Since my post on “Why do we craft?” (thanks so much for all your comments!) I’ve been thinking about craft as therapy and supply shopping… or stash therapy as I like to call it.
I don’t know about you but I often feel a little guilty about craft purchases. I shouldn’t, whatever the cost my crafting habit is way cheaper than therapy, but there’s that little moment when you think… did I really just spend that much on fabric/yarn/thread? I’m sure that I’m not alone.
I thought I’d share with you my favourite stash story…
Once upon a time there was a talented crafty lady and her crafty bestie. They sewed up a storm and blogged with the best of them spreading their handmade joy across the land. Whilst their new hobby brought them untold satisfaction it did come at a cost – the fabric, the gadgets, the notions and machines. How on earth were they going to get this past their husbands? Wonderful men who simply didn’t understand that the latest Heather Ross Fabric, cutting mat and binding clips were absolute essentials.
They devised a cunning scheme.
Both with small children, they would hold off on claiming their medicare rebate (money back from the government for medical expenses like visits to the doctor) until the annual craft fair. Days before the event they would hand over a stack receipts at the medicare office and line their pockets with cash.
Said cash would then be spent on all manner of crafty supplies, guilt free and completely untraceable on any bank statement. Items would be stashed away in craft rooms before husbands came home, credit cards were clear and crafty ladies happily sewed for months to come.
Absolute genius! It’s like craft supply laundering.
And to think I went to the trouble of creating an entire craft business to justify my purchases. Duh. What about you, how do you justify your bouts of stash therapy? What lengths have you gone to in order to get your craft supply fix?
Prosperity. Abundance. Joy. Family.
If I had to sum up Chinese New Year in Hong Kong these would be these words say it all. I allowed myself a few hours yesterday to discover Chinese New Year Hong Kong Style. I’ve never experienced lunar new year in an Asian city and, wow, they really go to town. I expected dragons, lanterns and lots of red… but I’m blown away by the warmth and celebration that is New Year here. It’s the cusp of spring and the flowers everywhere are breathtaking. The warmth of glazed cherry red with sparkly gold and tones of cherry blossom pink that adorn the city are just gorgeous.
I’m not usually one for pink but I’m just loving the warmth of these colours all layered and singing together. Welcome to the year of the Horse.
Kung Hei Fat Choi.
I have a thing for dots at the moment. Not the perfectly aligned, dumb dot or honeycomb kind. The hand drawn, not quite perfectly spaced kind.
So I’ve started randomly embroidering dots on fabric scraps to turn into a cushion cover for our new Hong Kong apartment. I’m using a vareigated rayon thread that was used to embellish our wedding invitations and candles (eeek….nearly eight years ago… does that make it vintage?).
Yes, I’m a hoarder of all things crafty and overly sentimental about a skein of thread but even if nobody else has a clue about it’s significance, I do. Every time I look at this cushion I’ll remember our wedding day.
It’s a great little project because I can literally do one dot in a five minute kid free window and then put it down again. I’m using satin stitch and just keep going over and over my stitches until I’m happy with the shape. This technique creates a raised kind of a dot which I like. I wrote in the last post a piece about learning to love imperfection and this is a great example. I like the texture of imperfection and the interesting ways the thread sits over itself in each dot. Because the thread is vareigated the colours vary from spot to spot too.
Is anyone else sentimental about their craft stash? I also kept all the ribbon from bouquets of flowers when my first son was born and used them to create this little Tag Monster. My husband thinks I’m nuts!