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Why I Create

DIY Cardboard Castle - Swoodson Says

Why do I create? I’ve rewritten this post several times- it’s pretty personal and strays from the “here is what I made!” and “here is how to make what I made!” model that I’m used to. However, I like reading others’ stories on why they sew, craft, photograph so it only seems fair to share my own {be sure to check the end of this post for some incentive to share your own story, too!}

The most honest answer is succinct: I was raised to! My wonderful Mom brought me up with craftiness- as evidenced by the cardboard castle shown above. In the pre-blog/Internet/Pinterest era, she was making something cool out of trash and it set the tone for how to live creatively.

High School Flashback - Swoodson Says

Fast forward a few years to high school; I was shocked at how much money some of my friends were dropping on Homecoming dresses. I dug around in our local St. Vincent De Paul’s thrift store and brought home something to makeover – I wish I had a ‘before’ shot! You’ll have to use your imagination, but the dress above had a pleated skirt with see-through lace in between the pleats, pearl straps, and pearl embellishments all up and down the bodice. Absolutely atrocious (sort of like those shoes). My Mom did all the actual sewing but I was hooked on the thrill of creating something new and beautiful from the reject pile.

College distracted me from creating anything other than essay assignments, and work kept me busy up until I became pregnant with my son. The shelves were divided in two very strict departments: pink + horses or blue + monsters. If you read regularly, you know the gendering of kid clothes drives me batty and at that point in time I decided to truly buckle down and figure out how to sew so I could do something about it.

I stay at home with my son, and after the murky post-partum phase had passed I found myself struggling to find balance. When your kid takes three (short, very short) naps it’s hard to get out of the house, particularly in the thick of winter. It felt like Groundhog Day: Nurse / Cook / Rock / Repeat. I would scroll on Pinterest in the wee hours of the night, simultaneously inspired and discouraged by the beautiful things people were sharing. Making something, anything, that was tangible and permanent gave me energy. The baby still wasn’t sleeping well, the house was still a mess, we’d eaten up whatever meal I cooked, but my stitches, glue, or mod podge was proof that the day existed.

We’re long past the Groundhog Day phase now, but in short – I create because I was raised to value the process and the end result. I create because I like the freedom to reject mainstream kid clothes options. I create because it gives me positive energy and keeps my mental gears turning amidst the constant loop of “Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes”.

The first project I felt proud of was this owl & chevron pouf, which my son now “surfs” regularly.Clothes intimidated me, so it took almost a year before my first attempt which you can see in this post with a raglan & monkey-butt pants posted in October 2013. I’d like to think that both my sewing and my photography/blogging skills have improved – my most recent project was these toddler juggling balls.


I would LOVE to hear your creative and/or sewing story. How did you get started? What was your first project? What fuels your creativity?

This Post Has 19 Comments
  1. Great share Stephanie! I’m not sure I ever wrote a “why I” post. Something g for me to think about!!

    I know one thing, it’s not even optional for me. When I had my college-baby era, I was fine and happy…but when I started sewing again it was like coming up for air after being underwater. I didn’t even realize how much I missed it because I had been so busy!

  2. Such a nice story!

    I had taught myself most of the stuff that I have learned and look forward to learning so much more! I grew up with my mom crafting, and then stopped when I was a teenager because of some major life events… I missed it and wanted craftiness to be a part of my kids lives too…

    Such a lovely dress!

  3. Very sweet story Stephanie, and your prom dress was awesome! Every mother in the world can relate to needing SOMETHING to keep your mental gears turning – love that phrase – sums it up so nicely. Keep creating!!

  4. I was going to link to a specific post, because I thought that surely I’d written one like this….but I haven’t! I’ll have to add it to my list for the next week, because it’s definitely an intriguing question.

  5. what a fun idea! and a great post. I love reading these things. I am definitely going to blog about this in the next few days and add my blog to the linky. Fun!!

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