Thursday, May 22, 2014

Challenge Your Traditions

Every Spring I make new herbal sachets to put in the closets and drawers around the house. It's one of my favorite annual creative projects, and it keeps our small spaces pleasantly fragrant, so I pretty much do the same thing every year: make up little bundles of herbs and spices, sew them into little decorative pillows and bead or beribbon them to death. It's riveting stuff, I know. Next week I'll tell you what I do to get grass stains out of jeans.

This year I started out the same way I usually do, but after I made a couple of sachets I felt a little frustrated with myself. Traditions are great but they can also get really boring. My sachets might be pretty, but after a year they lose their scent and are basically rendered useless, so I always have to replace them. Problem is, there is really only one way to make a sachet. What I needed to do was change my sachet design to be more green.

I like to challenge myself to change things up, even with my best beloved creative traditions, so I went to JoAnn to get some ideas. While I was debating between putting button flaps or zippers in the back of my sachets I spotted this bundle in the bargain bin:



Six canvas mini-totes for ninety-seven cents was a nice bargain, although they were so small they wouldn't be practical for anything but maybe a tiny gift bag, or a doll purse, or a gift card holder, or . . .



Yep, I made them into sachet totes. Inside each one is a little lace packet of herbs and spices:



Thanks to the tote handles, I can also hang them in different places:





The open top of the sachet tote allows the fragrance to permeat the space where I put them. I love to make totes so that's not a problem, and next year, when it's time to replace my sachets, all I have to do is empty and then refill the lace packets. Nothing wasted, nothing thrown away, and since I used scraps from other sewing projects to make the totes this half-dozen cost exactly ninety-seven cents to make -- you can't even buy them for that little.

As writers we develop traditions with how we work, and this is not a bad thing. Having a routine process generally helps consistency and productivity. Yet no matter how much you love that process, every now and then it's a good idea to take a step back and evaluate not only what you're doing but how you're doing it. Challenging yourself to change may feel scary at first, but the only way to grow is to try something new. Your traditions won't go anywhere, so if you want something better, you have to.

7 comments:

  1. Aren't they lovely? What a fab idea and you get to enjoy it all year round. I think I'll have to have a go myself, especially as I've got lots of scrap fabric.

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    1. Thanks, Fran -- and they are a fun way to use up fabric scraps. :)

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  2. Um, I'd like to know how you get grass stains out. But yes, re-evaluating approach can really be helpful.

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    1. Baking soda toothpaste applied to the grass stain with an old toothbrush. Scrub it in, let it sit for a few minutes, then wash the jeans as you usually would. Works every single time for me. :)

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    2. THANK YOU! You saved my kid's brand new Gap jeans.

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  3. These are lovely. And thank you for the nudge out of a couple of writing ruts I've been in.

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  4. A beautiful and creative idea .

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