Sunday, 23 March 2014

Comfort zone

My husband said the other day "I'd like a comfort zone. Everyone talks about being outside your comfort zone, but I'd like to have one; I don't think I have". He ended up writing a poem about it.

But it got me thinking. I've been looking ahead to next term's teaching, trying to decide between ideas and projects, trying to come up with something that will stretch those who need stretching, but not intimidate those who are just starting out: I want to challenge people to move a little out of their comfort zones, but not so much that they get scared and don't come back in September! I've also wanted to introduce a random element to the class, where they don't know what's coming next or have to make quick decisions, just to mix it up a bit and get us all out of our ruts.

Then I stumbled across the work of Lauren Shanley on Facebook, and thought "aha!".  (BTW, Gina Ferrari has also recently stumbled across the work of Lauren Shanley, also said "aha" and she's beaten me to it with doing something similar in her own class!).

Here is my tentative start. Hating the colours:

I used some free fabric that I was given the other week. When offered it, I said YES! and got all excited, but discovered on receipt that it is all less-than-inspiring colours, and all just a bit bleurgh. So I was well and truly out of my comfort zone using those colours, and those fabrics - quite heavy duty furnishing stuff. And there weren't even any useful patterns for a bit of the ol' broderie perse.

Here it is after some stitching down:

And here it is with an idea pinned into place:

Then today I had a lovely stitchy day with a group of friends, and managed to finish it:

I'm kinda happy with it, but I still don't like the colours!

I've started a couple more, in different colours and sizes, as I found it difficult working on such a large scale as the one above.

My favourite is, of course, the last one. The smallest and the most colourful. Which in itself has been an interesting revelation (to me, probably blatantly obvious to other people) - my comfort zone is SMALL and BRIGHTLY COLOURED! 

More evidence can be found in the small and colourful things in my recently revived shop. Why can't one ever see what is right under ones nose?!

As the first side note to this, I've also been forcing myself out of my other comfort zone (pootling, checking facebook and emails, browsing charity shops, doing a bit of cooking, having a google and a pinterest) and I've been GETTING STUFF DONE! All thanks to this blog post about using a kitchen timer. By jove, it works! Highly recommended - go get one!

And the second side note, and only pictured here by popular request, I happened to be wearing this little object for much of this creative spree:

It is my new Getting Arty Things Done Potato Sack. There, you've seen it now. That'll do!


  1. Exciting concepts - and all because you have a thoughtful, thought provoking husband!

  2. I love your first "LaurenShanley" inspired piece. Looks fab! I'm going to persevere with my kitchen timer.

  3. I like your first piece although I must admit that I don't like Lauren Shanley's work - far too busy for me.
    Kitchen timer is definitely a good idea.

  4. I really like your first finished turned out rather well!
    I looked at Lauren's those bags :-)
    And I want a 'getting arty things done potato sack'!

  5. Wow - I had to look twice at these as it was hard to see how you made them look so beautiful when they, frankly, looked so uninspiring at the start. Out of comfort zone is good .... as are the three M's you talk about on your other blog! I do all those. xCathy

  6. I love LS, very inspiring. Love your pieces too, but seem to have missed the bit about comfort zone. As your DH said in his wonderful poem, why having spent all your life trying to find it would you want to get out of it!


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