Friday, February 6, 2015

Blog Around the World

Hello everyone!

The Blog Around the World Hop is making a stop at ikatbag today! 

The hop is a virtual chain of self-featuring blog posts. Someone invites you, you talk about yourself and your creative process, and then you invite a few friends to carry it forward and the process continues. Anyone who reads these posts learn about you, the person who'd asked you, and the people you linked to - the end result is everyone getting to know many, many more creative people as they jump from link to link.  

I was invited by Melissa Mora from Melly Sews and at the end of this post, I'll invite you to visit a couple of my bloggy friends so you can read more about who they are and what they do.

What am I working on?
There's always something. Right now it's baby bibs for a new baby in the extended family. Last week it was a sweater dress. This past week, it was another sweater dress, while trying to will myself to cut out and sew a faux leather jacket (already bought the lining and zipper, so not allowed to back out). I have a tutorial series partly in my head and partly sketched out in my notebook and fabric from a friend's new line that I'd promised to promote by having it guest star in that tutorial series. I also want to sew pants - I have an old trouser block from 2011? 2012? that I muslin-ed and forgot about that will be a nice starting point. I am also writing (fiction) again, which I haven't done in years, and which is a delightful change of scenery from sewing.

I wish I could say that I also have grand cardboard plans at the moment, but I don't. Alas. All I can say is that our treadmill died last week and our new treadmill arrived yesterday in a gloriously delectable cardboard box. And the children have staked their claim on it, so perhaps there will be some cardboarding happening soon.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Erm. How about "I procrastinate on a smaller project by starting and finishing even larger projects"? Like the time I procrastinated on sewing a dress for a wedding by writing an entire tutorial series. Or the other time when I procrastinated on finishing a bag pattern by writing, finishing and releasing an unplanned second pattern?

I think everyone's work is different. That said, I feel most different when I sew clothes because I don't use commercial patterns and instead sew out of my head, from body measurements. It was how I was taught, growing up, and I never knew anyone sewed any other way until I came to the US.

Why do I create/sew/cardboard?
Mostly to exorcise the ideas in my head that arise from watching my kids at play. They play a lot, and they're hilarious to spy and eavesdrop on. Many of the toys I've made for them are to fill gaps and needs in their play scenarios. For example, the Chicken and Pig were created at a time when my kids were into playing farm and lacked actual domestic livestock playthings. And cardboard is a supreme medium that allows me to not only make for my kids, but with them. We have had no end of fun (and mess) cardboarding together. 

How does my creating process work?
This is a long story, so I'll give you the flowchart versions:

  1. Watch children play
  2. Suddenly have an Idea
  3. Abandon all other responsibilities (sleeping, cooking, interacting with society at large, other projects-in-progress) and brood over Idea
  4. Draw sketches 
  5. Brood some more and wait for body to feel physically ready to transfer Idea from brain to fabric/cardboard/wood
  6. Make.


  1. Look at children/self and suddenly realize old clothes no longer fit because children have grown older/taller and/or self has grown positively or negatively in various dimensions
  2. Panic
  3. Go shopping for clothes
  4. Fail
  5. Get on Pinterest
  6. Assimilate ideas and consolidate emergency outfit in head
  7. Go shopping for specific fabric in exact shade of non-negotiable color
  8. Fail
  9. Panic
  10. Procrastinate
  11. Make other projects, including toys (see above), bags (see below) and entire tutorial series(es) and launch new sewing patterns
  12. Accept random and unexpected alterations requests from husband and children, causing self to
  13. Recoil in disgust and suddenly feel motivated to return to garment idea
  14. Miraculously draft pattern overnight
  15. Dig in stash for alternative fabric that should have been used all along because it was perfectly viable but to which I was completely blind
  16. Cut
  17. Go swimming as reward because cutting was such an ordeal in itself
  18. (Months later) make.


  1. See bag in store*
  2. Covet
  3. Come home
  4. Make.

*or catalog/online/in own brain

It's clear, isn't it, which kind of projects are my favorites and which kind are not?

For a less flippant account of my creative process, see this post  on Whipup and this interview on Apartment Therapy.

Now, meet my friends Amber and Karin, two ladies who are well-traveled, smart and talented multi-media artists inspiring in their execution and thorough in their creative process. And they both love cardboard! 

Amber Dohrenwend is an American living in Tokyo, Japan. She started blogging about her adventures making toys and furniture out of cardboard after she and her husband made a set of cardboard chairs and a table for their 1 year old daughter. Living in a dense urban environment without a car, she wanted to share her ideas for using cardboard  to make life in the city easier, less wasteful and more fun. Read more about her love of play, design and creative living at

Unsurprisingly, it was cardboard that caused the serendipitous crossing of our paths. She does marvelous things with cardboard in costumes and even furniture, like this monarch caterpillar costume and this luna moth costume and this wolf outfit and these tables and chairs and this cardboard marquee.

This is Karin:

Karin simply likes to make stuff. Out of anything: yarn, fabric, cardboard, wood, frosting, ink... and she is amazing at all of it. Check out this stupendous cardboard dollhouse she made for my Lights Project series. Head over to her blog madebyk to see more evidence - this cake post, this playhouse post, this bag post, this picnic table post, this scarf post, for instance. 

And stop by these two blogs same time next Friday to read about their art and creative processes!


  1. Nice getting to know you! ;) Well, I didn't know you were writing (fiction)! I hope you need a proffreeder! ;)

  2. hahahaha! You're awesome! I love your flowcharts. :D:D

  3. Ooh can I sign up to be a fiction proofreader for you? I'm actually very good at that (doing it for my sister at the moment). You remind me of her, although she doesn't craft or blog - you remind me of her because of the exuberant in the moment this is my life and I am letting you in way that you write. I love it.

  4. First, sorry it's taken forever to get to read this! Second, I love the two new blogs you introduced me to, so thanks!


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