31 Days · creative habit · Jewelry · Memory · Thrifts

31 Days: Creative Habit – Day 26: Mining for Gold


Apparently “Memory” is my theme this week. I chuckled when I opened Chapter 4 of Twyla Tharp’s Creative Habit today and found the title to be “Harness Your Memory”. In it, she talks about mining your memories for inspiration, and about how metaphor (“connecting what we’re experiencing now with that we have experienced before”) is key to art.


This chapter is so good – I underlined huge chunks of it to go back and read again and again.


One part that was interesting was when she referenced her “coin exercise”. I looked ahead a few chapters to find out what it is – moving coins around on a table until you reach an arrangement that is just “right”.


This is exactly how I work on a necklace. I cut apart a vintage strand and play with the pieces until they are just as they should be.


I know when it’s “just right”.




One of the exercises at the end of Chapter 4 is about using old photographs to mine for memories. I dug through all the old photos I have, and the pickens were slim – most photos of me as a child are still at my Mom’s house.


But I did find this gem. So far, what I’ve mined is that my eclectic fashion sense has always been a part of me. Check out my pink pleather jacket and sweet rainbow and horse (unicorn?) Myrtle Beach t-shirt. Where was this taken? Yeah, in a tent. I’m wearing pink pleather at Girl Scout camp. When I showed the photo to Husband, who has camped with me many times, he just nodded knowingly.

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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31 Days · creative habit · Memory · Sewing · Style · Tennessee · Thrifts

31 Days: Creative Habit – Day 24: Little Blue Dress


I’m still thinking about memory today, but not all the things I keep forgetting. (If I’ve forgotten them, I can’t think about them anyway.) No, it’s the memories of things I did when I was little.

Chapter 3 of Twyla Tharp’s Creative Habit is about Creative DNA. (Yes, I’m only on Chapter 3 – it’s hard to create something every day AND read. Don’t ask me about the Power Of Habit book.) She talks about who we are and what we create being our DNA of sorts – our “creative hard-wiring or personality”.

I’ve written before about making jewelry as a child, about going to garage sales and flea markets and coming home to put pieces together. And about going to Goodwill to piece together costumes for drama productions. Somehow, through the course of my life, that has evolved into a passion for repurposing – for recreating something, breathing new life into an old piece.

Take today’s project – a dress. I could go buy fabric and make a similar dress. But for some reason, the challenge, the “making it work”, the creating something new from something old, is the joy for me – taking the broken and discarded and piecing it together into something lovely and purposeful again.


So, here’s how this dress started out. Shoulder pads, double buttoned placket, white collar and cuffs – pretty frumpy.


But I loved the fabric. It looks like polka dots, but it’s really more of a leaf design close-up. I decided to un-frump it by making it a strapless dress.


I found an old dress in the closet and measured the top of it to determine the size.


(I don’t know why, but whenever I measure on my own body, I never get the right measurements – I always end up making it too big – so I think going with an existing piece works better.)


I made this dress similarly to how I make a skirt with elastic. I measured the length from the waistband to the sleeve opening to make that the measurement for the entire bodice. I cut the fabric, sewed a little channel for the elastic, and stitched it up, leaving a bit open to insert the elastic.


I threaded the elastic through the channel and then stitched the elastic together before closing up the channel of fabric.


The fabric is lovely for a summer dress, but I think it will pair nicely with a cardigan and tights and boots once fall weather really hits. (It’s October, but it still mostly in the 70s and 80s – sorry to all the Tennesseans – I hear it’s pretty cold there.)


It needed a little something, so I paired it with my new necklace.

I kept the original buttons, but I’m not sure I like them. What do you think? If I remove them, will it look weird with the button holes? Please, share your thoughts!

24 - blue dress

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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31 Days · creative habit · Jewelry · Memory · Thrifts

31 Days: Creative Habit – Day 23: Fine Memory Earrings


I asked some friends on Facebook yesterday to help with the “Mint Gray” necklace. I knew there was a word for the color of the beads, but I couldn’t think of it. I seem to have poor memory skills these days. (Is that just because I have two little ones? Will it ever return? Maybe I don’t want to know the answer?)

I remember my PreCalculus teacher in high school telling us that we had 10,000 (that number could be wrong – I don’t really remember) song lyrics in our heads and that we’d need to dispose of a few of those in order to remember PreCal equations. It’s safe to say I’ve disposed of most of those equations, along with song lyrics, titles of books, favorite recipe measurements (Hot Fudge Sauce – I have to call my friend, Audrey, every. single. time I make it), names of people I know (so embarrassing), birthdays, well, you get the idea. (I asked Husband to help me with this list. Me: “What are things that you forget? Like song lyrics, books you’ve read….” Husband: “I forgot what I was doing two minutes ago.” I love him.)

As for the color name, my Facebook friends came through with flying, uh, colors:

  • Seafoam Gray
  • Sage
  • Oyster
  • Silver Moss

Yes, all of these are so much better than Mint Gray! Thanks, friends.

As I was dropping BB off at preschool this morning, a friend asked if the earrings I had on were the matching pair to the necklace from yesterday. Nope, but brilliant idea.


Ta-da. Sage Oyster Silver Moss Minty Seafoam Gray earrings.


(It also appears that I’ve disposed of the knowledge of how to make earring hooks. I taught myself in January, then promptly forgot. I had to spend some time practicing with floral wire today. This floral wire is Forest Green. I know that one.)

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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