Design Paralysis: Why I’m not a designer

As I mentioned in today’s first entry (in which I said I’d be posting less) I’ve taken on a new super duper top secret project designing and producing shopping bags. A sure winner considering the tough economic climate and my anticipated price points (way out of the ball park). I’ve decided to put my advice in the homebased handmade series to a field test. I have little to lose. I have the materials, the skills and with the blog staycation, the time. At worst, this experiment could become a case history of what not to do. Luckily for me, forum members actually named the line and created a logo for me otherwise it would have gotten nowhere. I think it’ll be okay though. I plan to get peripheral benefit from it in the form of industrial pattern making and sewing tutorials and could end up with nifty Christmas gifts for my friends and family.

One annoying thing is holding me back and I’m wondering if this is more common than I imagine. I also wonder (suspect) if this problem is more typical of technical people. The issue is design paralysis. I think this is why I’m not a designer. I’m happiest being told what to do for someone rather than picking and choosing from all the design ideas I have. I can never decide. I know I want to do something but can’t figure out exactly what and then in the case of this project, there’s these complicated artwork patterns I persist in making and those take forever. I can never settle for something simple. No no. I have this inordinate compulsion to wad every trick in my repertoire into the project. One style I was working on yesterday is a leather shopping bag in three colors with two layers of insets. Can I just do something simple? Oh no, I have to junk up everything. Artwork is always a challenge. I really wish I could draw.

Now I’ve got the blue lamb spread all over the table and can’t seem to cut into it because I’m finding all these little things to do that seem much more important. ‘Fess up. You know you do it too. How do you get through it?

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37 comments

  1. Dawn B says:

    Looking forward to all the posts that will result from the project.

    However. 1) I know you’re into leather but most of us don’t use it so questioning whether it will be relevant; and 2) a leather shopping bag sounds really heavy…before I even put anything into it. Sorry to rain on the parade.

    You could always use some nice laminated diaper fabric ;)

  2. karen bravo says:

    Yes, I’ve been there! I find that creating a mood board or putting my design ideas in front of me will help me stay focused on the big picture. This will guide me to actually create the product I had planned instead of second guessing myself or better yet- coming up with a newer and better ideas! I find that if I don’t have direction right in front of me then I’m all over the place. Plus, you can always go back and make your other ideas in the future. It’s better to get your product out there than to get stuck in your studio going in circles. Hope that helps!

  3. Amy Mello says:

    Hi Kathlee,
    I know EXACTLEY what you mean. When I finally learned to do my own patterns and sewing I had years of design ideas and I kept trying to put all of them into one garment. It was a mess….I finally learned to scale down, but even today, as I look at my final design and begin the pattern, I get stuck because I keep second guessing my final decision. I keep thinking “maybe I should go ahead and add this too, or would that be too much?” I think it’s a skill to be able to find the right balance.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Dawn, your points are taken. I’m fabrication will be just the first of ongoing problems!

    Leather is great to work with, I try to encourage people to try it. This stuff is very lightweight, you can sew it on a home machine, but I take your point. Just wait till I show you the velvet one I have planned! Obviously, practicality is not what I have in mind. I’m tired of being practical. I am practical. I don’t want to make practical products especially if I’m shooting for the worst case scenario. The concept customer I have in mind is the woman who wants a reusable shopping bag but doesn’t like sturdy canvas or a floral or patterned bag that clashes with her outfit. You know, something she could use shopping from store to store and then go to high tea with her socialite friends or something. Heh.

    Put it this way, if I can do everything wrong but still succeed at it, then what is there to hold anyone else back?

  5. Kaaren Hoback says:

    Ramblings- written prior to Kathleen’s last post.

    Our Kathleen has such huge talent and skills and a wonderful imagination – no wonder she has so many concept designs that she likes which hamper the selection of what to produce contributing to design paralysis. She might be thinking there must be a better more artful, more ‘green’ way to accomplish the goal now that its been stated.

    I swallowed a breadth at the idea of a drop dead gorgeous, well-designed leather shopping bag. I have a whole hide and I plan to use only about half, so – I WANT ONE for me with a gorgeous Concho on an attached patch pocket. Maybe some stamping, or cutouts! Something like the parrot jacket cut out from some scraps I have. Design ideas swirl in my head – but it is a day to catch up on errands and I need a bolt of muslin for a workshop (I know I have another hiding in this room somewhere!) and groceries.

    Then I started to think while I drove to the store that I’m a foodie- and actually like to cook at home, on today’s list eggs, ½ and ½, celery, tomatoes, a pork loin, a whole roasting chicken, some fresh herbs, sweet red onions, green onions, a mellanzana ( egg plant), a bakery cake for tomorrow’s tea.

    That lead to I wonder how long the scent of fresh celery and onions will stay in the leather and how long that scent will stay fresh. Will the chicken or pork leak from the butchers wrap? Now, I think about the weight and hand of leather versus a woven. The full double shouldered hide I have on hand is chromed, 7/8oz- wholesale discount around $115 – well it squish my poor tomatoes? Or, do I need to go purchase a garment grade split? Gosh, for my normal grocery shopping for just the two of us I usually have 4-5 plastic bags, OW- the expense of 5 leather bags and the weight!

    Ok, get real!! Just who (whom) am I trying to impress- I like pretty things -so this is really just for me- who else besides a handful of fashionistas and designers MIGHT appreciate this rather conspicuous consumption? What is MY real goal? To create a useful yet attractive ‘green’, utilitarian, yet artsy grocery bag, that can get dumped in with the laundry for regular cleaning, with enough pizzazz to satisfy the need for something unique. That needs to store folded flat and small, popped into my smallish handbag in the store while shopping and can stay in a very hot car when not in use, that I will not be afraid someone passing by will break a window to steal.

    With the above criteria in mind, I would say the fabrication should be something along a nice weight rip stop rather than leather, maybe a cordura bottom, and a plastic something to hold a small blue ice block in the bottom. Better yet, swing out on top in an athletic mesh zippered, or Velcro pocket so the cold can flow downwards. Not all bags would need the ice block but that one should seal with a flap of some sort.

    What I need is a set of 3-4 larger than grocery store standard bags, one of which that seals and a portable ice block mesh bag pocket.

    I will save the hide for the ultimate handbag(s) that I purchased it for once I stop equivocating about THAT design. Yes, I have had the hide for well over a month and have, 5 patterns made and tested- they work well but just not quite right to spend that gorgeous hide on- yet! Oh are you thinking design paralysis – yea

    I adore you Kathleen, every time I view your site I am motivated to think. Thanks!

    Kaaren

  6. katyrenee says:

    I agree with Kaaren. “Every time I view your site I am motivated to think.” I also agree with the design paralysis.

    I also have what I call–volunteer regret. It goes something like, sure I’ll help you out with your project without reimbursement and I’ll offer to through in my supplies, fabric on hand, skills, etc. Oh and don’t worry about last-minute things. I aim to please. Then I get stressed out and overwhelmed. Oy vey. Admitting there is a problem is the first step, right? Good luck with the designs–I can’t wait to see your process.

    Katy

  7. David S says:

    Leather bags aren’t nearly as heavy as you might think. Or, at least, they needn’t be. I’ve got a leather backpack, that I just love, and keep because of that (even though it has a hole in the bottom, and isn’t terribly well made, nor even made from a good pattern (don’t put the stretchy bits of the hide at the point of maximum stress!). It’s roughly the same volume as a heavy canvas (#7 duck, I think) shopping bag I use. The leather backpack weighs 775 grams (about 1 lb 12 ounces, for those who think that way). The canvas bag weighs 675 (1 lb 8 ounces, roughly) grams. A store branded bag, somewhat smaller, the sort many stores sell for a buck, which is of some plastic-coated synthetic (no label, no inidication that there ever was one!) weighs 55 grams (2 ounces.). I don’t know if there’s a market for leather shopping bags, or not, but I don’t think weight is what would stop someone from buying one.

  8. Alicia Isdes says:

    Oh, design paralysis! I have that too when I think of the overwhelming amount of choices I have at my disposal. First of all I DO think there is a market for fine leather shopping bags in the Southwest where you live, Kathleen, I used to live in NM myself (and I loved it). It’s classic and stylish and matches everything in the desert climate.

    Second, I think the type of bag you want to make depends on your shopping and lifestyle habits. If you drive a lot, frequent larger grocers, or are far away from your local market, having to plan out your shopping trips, you would be more likely to buy many bags for utility reasons and not style. If you live in a more urban area, and / or are close enough to a market to go daily, you would be more likely to buy one nice bag (like Kathleens) that you can carry every day for picking up a few things for your dinner, say, or carrying your lunch to work. You would probably not be carrying around ice packs every day or need a bunch of pockets, because you would have a handbag as well. You already said they were for a co-op? so it seems like your ideal market. I don’t know much about washing leather so if I were doing it i’d add some kind of synthetic lining that can be wiped out with a damp cloth, for practical reasons.

    As for inspiration, I have a scrapbook and it is indespensable for keeping my head organized on style and design choices. That way I can work on multiple design ideas/stories at once, and each has its own page, and they don’t get so crossed in my head where I want to do everything at once! (simplify, simplify! my mantra). Best wishes on your bag project. Sounds fun! :)

  9. Andrea says:

    Hey Kathleen:

    Glad you’ve taken the plunge! I actually design a market tote bag that has sold for over 3 years. My best seller. Here is the feedback I have received and followed:

    1. Women will use it to carry everything in when they go to work, shopping, gym, etc. They carry their “real purse” in it with lunch, et al. (so you have the stylish part already)
    2. It HAS to be washable
    3. It has to be under $30
    4. It has to fit at least one full bag of groceries

    I sell to women in their late 20’s to mid 60’s. It’s a great bag, all told and there is room for more in the market place. I sell at fairs and online in my etsy shop and if I put a little more energy into it, I could do even better. I like the puzzle of weighing my design sensibility with my customer’s needs. I usually come out ahead. One thing I do religiously with all my handbag designs is test them on myself first and adjust the design before it ever gets to the customer. I also troll for fabric at yard sales, thrift stores and estate sales and then lay everything out on the floor and match by color and pattern. Then I put sticky notes with each style number I am going to make with those combinations and start my production. It also keeps thread changes to a minimum.

    I am sure you will come up with something that excites and motivates you, after all…it’s only fabric (or in your case leather). You will always have another opportunity to try again.

  10. Theresa Riess says:

    Kathleen,
    Your market bag idea sounds wonderful. My sister makes bags for gifts out of billboard sign material. They’re really a fairly thick vinyl, not paper. She gets a lot of requests from friends especially for the more unusual ones. My own shopping bags are Army OD Green nylon made from some repair fabric that kept following me from post to post. Some have self fabric handles, others have nylon webbing handles. Ten years old and they are still going strong. Not big on looks so fashionable leather sounds dreamy. Last Christmas found me making up chili patterned shopping bags to send to the Texas in-laws. I had a brother-in-law e-mail back a request for a larger bag to carry his stuff to work in to replace the Foley’s bag he’d been using. He even sent me dimensions. I had just enough material to make his bag, with two outside pockets, an inside pocket (with zipper) and a snap for his keys. He loved it. The market is ready for this. So much better than the bland Safeway bag. And yes, we do understand about design paralysis. There is no easy way out of it. It does help if your life partner is a jump in with both feet type. It balances the sit back and contemplate all the possibilities aspect of my nature. Just do a simply one. You can always refine it later.
    Theresa in Tucson

  11. Jasonda says:

    That is some truly priceless market feedback in the comments :) I have been using reusable bags long before they were fashionable. Whenever I need new ones, I look for something lightweight and sturdy which stays open reasonably well when being filled, and folds up easily.

    If you are going to do leather, why not do a zip-out, waterproof lining? That way, if you have any spills or weird smells, you can always take out the lining and wash it. It might also help prevent the leather from stretching out over time.

    As for design paralysis, I’ve struggled with it often. I’m a perfectionist, so for me it’s mostly caused by fear of failure. For me the only cure is to just DO IT, make the mistakes, and move on.

  12. Jasmin says:

    Kathleen,

    It’ll be fascinating to see – I’m sure I’ve banged out about it before, but personas and UCD (user centred design) techniques would be perfect – create a persona that reflects the target audience, complete with name, lifestyle, picture etc and design for them – check your two insets against your persona, does “Kelly” really want or need them? How does she use her bag? etc Does she wear flats? Throw her bag in the car/use the train/bus?

    Try http://boxesandarrows.com/view/making_personas_more_powerful_details_to_drive_strategic_and_tactical_design for some interesting links and information.

    Once you have the archetypal users you not only know what they need, you know who your market is too (not as obvious as you’d think ….!)

    I’m terrible at motivating through the little stuff, so I’m trying to structure the little stuff more so it just isn’t there (if the house is clean, you can’t postpone by doing cleaning …)

  13. I totally agree with a liner, although it doesn’t even have to zip out..it could be held in place by tabs with snaps. And even a really good DWR finish washable fabric (like some of my outerwear stuff) would be perfect.
    I saw a handbag one time that consisted of “guts”. It was a funky lining, and you just changed the “outside” to go with whatever you wanted to coordinate. But that’s a different story.
    Anyway, I think it’s a great idea with leather, if it’s lined. It should have a squarish bottom so things like milk don’t fall over. If you get fancy you could even have one version with an insulated liner.

    Now, on the topic of paralysis. I am just the opposite. I just think of it, and make it…then I’m sometimes sorry that I didn’t think of another bell or whistle, or better way to make it. And I don’t always take advice. As you know.
    So there’s both sides of the coin. Somewhere in the middle we get things done after thinking them through.

    Leslie

  14. I second the insulated liner. A bag for the lady who has to take the bus a long way home from work and would love to be able to pick up a few groceries while she’s still in town, rather than walk to her tiny overpriced local market when she gets home.

    Dunno about the leather though. I know you love leather, Kathleen, but what I like in a grocery bag is washability, because something always spills in it before long. You bring home the meat and it drips, or your water bottle is a tiny bit open, or the deli container didn’t get sealed all the way. But if you’re determined to use leather, I am put in mind of early 16th century puffed sleeves. I am envisioning a leather shopping bag with that aesthetic. But then again I’m truly weird.

  15. Marie-Christine says:

    About the bag: much depends on the person. Your average suburbanite who shops from an SUV needs very different bags than a pedestrian or a biker. I’m a geek pedestrian with a backpack, so I favor the supplement of a very lightweight bag folded into its little pocket, unbeatable for my random forays to the store. My sister is a pedestrian with snobs for coworkers, who shops more regularly, so she needs a ladylike big purse or an obvious brand – she’d be thrilled with your leather version. Both of us abhor the idea of ‘standing up by itself’, but do favor the ability to end up somewhat rectangular. When biking you might need a longer strap for a messenger style bag, so you can carry it without a rack. I’d also distinguish between ‘shopping’ and ‘food shopping’. You might need a bag to carry a few books or new shampoo, that’s not the same as a primarily-food bag. The latter absolutely needs to be washable, although I really like the zip-out washable waterproof liner idea.

    About design paralysis, which is a much wider topic. I also tend to spend more time deciding what project to do next than actually doing it if left to myself. The main solution I’ve found is tossing a coin. It actually doesn’t matter what I do next, as long as I do something. If I’m hugely unhappy with the result of a coin toss, I can go ahead with other choice, confident that there was something I’d forgotten to analyze or some mysterious strong motivation lurking somewhere, sometimes it leaps to consciousness when the decision is made but if not it doesn’t matter.

    And about design – try to be Japanese about it. Remember simplicity is the best result, but it takes a lot of hard work to look simple. Simplicity is the basis of elegance, and it will also work better with a lot of different things, nobody wants their shopping bag to insist on being the star of the outfit every day. If it has more than 3 design features going at once visually you’re in overload. So take your design the next day and pare it down. Keep notes so you don’t feel like you’ll be losing track of a good idea, and you can let go of it for this project. I’m not kidding about the next day – you can bully your way through a technical problem to get speed, but design takes time, time to mull things over, time to sleep on it, time to see it again with fresh eyes. And don’t forget making prototypes, so you’re not afraid of wasting your beautiful blue leather.. you can use the ugly canvas version for a few days before you decide to change the strap length.

  16. Just make something! Your first one is likely a prototype anyway. We find in our studio that the first one “incarnate” spurs other ideas that make 2 and 3 better and then we have something we feel good about for production. PLUS, and maybe this is the silver bullet, the time it takes to make something gives your brain a break and it can re-coop and settle down and is then in a better position to tackle the design issues than before when you were frustrated and exhausted. If you’re truly stuck and simply can’t cut into that precious material, walk away and work on something else for a few days. Again, it allows your brain a break from that particular problem. And lastly, if the product is fabulous and the material and craftsmanship are top-notch, there will be people who love it – you just have to get it in front of them.

  17. Barb Taylorr says:

    ‘Fess up. You know you do it too. How do you get through it?”

    I start by letting my design go totally nuts and include every conceivable idea that flits through my brain. Whether this is done by making mock-ups, sketching (yeah, not you), or just writing a list of the features you will include, doesn’t matter. The point is to keep adding until all your creative “threads” are pursued & documented. Sometimes this is more like a tree of ideas than one product design, because one idea may not be possible to include with another on the same item.
    After I have all those bursting ideas purged from my brain I start editing. I choose what makes me most proud of the design, what captures the spirit of the original idea best, what’s functional and affordable for the price point desired…. use whatevr criteria you like to edit.
    I think if you start by intentionally forcing yourself to get over-complicated you will find pairing back and stream-lining a natural extension of your talant and experience.
    Please let me know if you try this and like the process! I can’t imagine working any other way.

  18. Mary says:

    If I didn’t know better, I would have thought you were describing me. I have never have never heard anyone admit to the same issues! Thank you! I really did think it was just me.

    I describe it as thinking like a superball. I need the lid on the box or I just keep bouncing all over the place; too many directions in which to go.

    The only time my studio gets cleaned is before I start a job. All of a sudden, I can’t work unless everything is sorted and put away, until I get the right idea, then I can work no matter what condition the room is in.

  19. Faye says:

    Know what you mean about paralysis, Kathleen. I’ve got that pretty bad. Except not on the design end, but the execution end. I’ve got notebooks filled with sketches of stuff that I keep promising myself I’ll get around to. I’ll either learn how-to or hire a pattern/samplemaker … someday … soon. Your talents are what I lack.

    As has already been suggested, experiment with a washable, zip liner to address issues with spills/stains.

    I’ve been very interested in what you’re doing with leather. The shopping bag project sounds exciting and a segment of the population exists that likes the aesthetic, feel, durability of leather and who’d use a designated bag just for shopping/schlepping groceries, market finds. I can see a deep brown bag that – like my favorite Coach bags made in the 70s given to me by an Aunt – looks even better with age/use/wear.

  20. Becky says:

    I agree with Barb. Letting all of the ideas flow out and then paring down to the reasonable makes a lot of sense. Those ideas are going to continue to float around in your head no matter how you keep trying to hold them down. So, getting them out clears the head and you can procede. That is where the idea board comes in. A way to physically put everything where you can visualize it. Some of those ideas might not work for the original project, but can branch off into a whole new project. Then a new dilema is created. How to keep focused on one project at a time through to completion. Oh the struggles with being creative.

  21. Gabrielle says:

    I’m no help at all with breaking designer’s block–especially for something like a bag that has so many possibilities. Maybe detail three or four of your favorite ideas in writing, put the descriptions in a jar, and have someone else blindly pick one? lame, but it’s the best I can do.

    As an aside, I own a leather shopping bag and I love it. It’s not meant for groceries–the lining is some sort of flannely material. But still, the leather part is obviously really durable and I can wipe it off with a damp rag if it gets gross. So I think a leather shopping bag for groceries is a great idea, and don’t think the lining would have to be detachable. As long as as it isn’t affixed to the bottom of the bag, it could be inverted and wiped down. Some sort of sturdy, water-repellent fabric would be handy in that case. *OR* Ha! You could include a large zipped envelope from said water-proof fabric that could hold potentially leaky things.

  22. Ann V says:

    I haven’t seen them, they’re not designed or produced and I already want one. I have large tote bags that are functional and pretty and reusable shopping bags that are purely functional. I’d love to have an open top leather rectangular bag that would be suitable for both. Preferably in that gorgeous denim blue leather (not patent) that Coach briefly used. Doesn’t everyone shop in jeans? Handles long enough for the shoulder, because groceries are heavy. Could also be used to take book, water bottle, purse, etc to appointments, childrens’ practices. Removable lining would be a plus.

  23. Dennis says:

    I’m no good at designing stuff from scratch. I use my software to come up with basic shirts & pants and use whatever fabric speaks to me. Had the same problem when a child with Tinkertoys & the Erector Set. Could duplicate the items shown in the little booklets or on the container but had a hard time coming up with something original. Cooking and baking, the same. Have to use a cookbook and follow directions exactly, maybe not as I am not into hot spices. Have the same problem when it comes to writing, this is why I am primarily a clerical, not a big twit!

    I need to have someone to show me how to do something exactly such as a garment fitting. Watching “Sewing with Nancy” does not do it for me.

    I have a side of junk leather in the basement, not enough to make a shirt but to make a bag, more than enough. The leather had been rained on before acquiring it at a garage sale for $3.

  24. Ann V says:

    Follow up after thinking a bit…….Coordinating a shopping bag with the color of the outfit you’re wearing is probably a California thing. Sorry. But it’s the main thing I don’t like about my utilitarian bags!

  25. Babette says:

    Step 1. Stop posting and reading our responses.
    Step 2. Look at your tricked up design and cut out the things that either detract from or don’t add to its functionality. Look at those things which are more aesthetic and consider whether they improve marketability, for example have you just zoomed beyond your price point. If they don’t materially improve marketability cut them out. Is the product that’s left worthwhile? If yes, your design is finished. (This is callous, but it might help to get you in the right frame of mind).
    Step 3. Set yourself a goal to achieve by 10.30am, by lunchtime, by mid afternoon and by the end of the day. Reward yourself at each of these intervals if you make it on time. (I like to take a walk outside and pull weeds from my garden but that’s my own sad tragedy).
    Step 4. Really, it’s just time to get on with it.

  26. Deanna Tanner says:

    Design paralysis… give yourself permission to make mistakes. One of those mistakes might lead you to the answer you have been looking for.

    shopping bag… I personally have no shoulders, so bags with 2 handles never stay there. One handle slides down and the whole load shifts to my hip. I prefer bags with one handle that allow you to elbow the load around to your back. The other thing I like is a very light coloured lining. The key to not having a junky “purse” is to clean it out daily. Hard to do if you can’t see what’s in there. I am a great fan of the shopping bag, and refuse all plastic bags. When I shop, I go ahead and place all my items from the shelf right into the bag. Then I know when I have reached my weight limit. I empty the bag and leave it open at the till if anyone wants to make sure I’m not a thief. The next step on my path to environmental enlightenment is to walk the 7 blocks to the grocery store, with said grocery bag. … maybe 2 bags would even the load. hum.

  27. Lisa B. in Portland says:

    I think my designs will flow better when I have space for a cutting table and can get a dress form. Sometimes I can’t see how the pattern piece is shaped, so draping it would help.

    Also, I just took a small metal rectangle that came with some kids’ magnets and taped “Pattern work,” “Cut,” and “Sew” across the top. Then I wrote down all my projects on slips of paper and stuck them on the metal with small magnets (most of which are the kind that are a picture glued to a 1/2″ magnet with a clear glass flattened marble glued on top of the picture). It’s really a to-do list, but easier to manipulate and doesn’t require a computer. It helps me see what I need to work on.

  28. mc says:

    RE design paralysis, it usually indicates that I’m tired, bored, and/or complacent. Possible catalytic solutions would be: rest, exposure to new/different stimuli, or generating some joy.

    I’m not really one to ask for design decisive input help. But, if I had to, I’d choose the most fitting person depending on what my goals were (money, aesthetics, etc.).

  29. Brenda P says:

    There must be a particular set of traits that set sewers apart from the rest of world. Nice to know I’m not the only one in a pickle. How do you get through the stuff? Old age really does help. Of course along with that comes dimmer eyes, fingers that don’t exactly do what they used to do. One you get serious about the time you have left … and think about what kind of mess you want to leave behind when you die and your kids come in and start trashing the place. Fabric, in their opinion, belongs in a dumpster and accompanying books right behind them. So I have to hurry up and use up the good stuff first. Might as well enjoy it while I’m here.

    There is a fine line between a creative blank and “the project just isn’t going to work.” Shorten up the time between leaving a project and going back to it. Time is not a bowl of round chips you can dip in at will like that Mom on the commercial. Time doesn’t age well so you make a decision and then live with it. Procrastination isn’t always a bad thing. I just discovered a roll of beautiful upholstery fabric in the basement I purchased 40 years ago. I know, that’s really bad. The good thing is I just purchased a Ethan Allen loveseat for the sewing/family room for $275 and the color of the sofa is the perfect match to the fabric. Now I’m looking for a particular chair to use the fabric on.

    Keep on blessing others with your excess. It’s an act that comes with a double blessing. You’ll get blessed for giving something away that someone else can use or pass on and you’ll also get blessed with more room (so you can find those extra electrical circuits).

    I’ve kept a spot on the kitchen counter where I put things that are destined to leave the house. Every little hole I create by moving something to that spot will eventually add up to SPACE. Let the stuff sit for a brief time in case someone coming through can use it then pack it up for a Goodwill box. Next week someone will get blessed with about 40 yards of blue velvet upholstery fabric (I used up my share a long time ago), a large bag of great fabric pieces, lots of books, a vacuum cleaner, floor scrubber, a couple doors and pieces of plywood, an old TV and heaven only knows what else. I’m taking a tax deduction over having a garage sale. It’s easier, I’m old and am allowed to be a little lazy.

    Your creative genes are working just fine from the picture. Don’t be so hard on yourself. ANYTHING a dedicated sewer does is far superior to anything that is out in the market. I recently re-discovered the CQ pieces I had been working on before we started the uproar of a remodeling job (that is still going on). When I put it away all i could see were my mistakes. Looking at it now I was surprised to see how nicely it was done. Now I’m anxious to put the finishing touches to it. Everything eventually works out.

  30. Kathleen, I am comforted to have read your blog about designing. You are not alone. I myself have trouble with design. I yern to design amazing pieces, but I have found that I am more of a technical person. That does not stop me though, I still want to make my own designs! I can usually feel the inspiration, I have the faith in myself to do it, have collected oodles of reference- the problem comes when it’s time to do it. I find it hard to transfer all of that into a sketch-even a cheesy line drawing-because I am not good at sketching ( looking forward to that class for help). In the long run I end up making something that is almost there, then the next one is almost perfect. For me part of the process is to make it, and being able to hold the product of that inspiration physically. Then I can see where improvements need to go.
    I have recently had the idea that useful and practical inspiration comes from knowledge. The more I learn about different options for sleeves, collars, hemlines etc. The more my options for designing are expanded. This gives me hope that I will be able to design to my hearts content and be happy with the fruits of my labor once I have studied and tried the many techniques learned in school-that I wll struggle less. One thing is certain though, they will be technically impeccable!

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