For the past 3 weeks or so, I have not had a major project. I fnished my last portrait & vowed not to start anything else big. A couple of summers ago, I spent the time staring at a half finished portrait that beckoned to me from the studio — and then strangely, when the summer was over & I had time to spend on it, the muse was almost gone. I had practically finished it in my head and didn’t want to work on it any more. It is nice when you can work with the muse and ride it through a project — and hell when you missed the journey. I suppose I could just lay the work aside and start something new, but I learned from my mom that a professional artist works through blocks.

So I have been having a hard time. Last summer, I laid everything aside. This summer it has not been so easy. The first couple of weeks, I made small things. I made 5 cell phone pouches — I love mine. Made one for me, my mom, my 2 daughters, and my best friend.

Then I saw a great article in the magazine Altered Clothing. Someone had made a bustier using the Chanin style. Chanin is a native Alabamian, like me, and she has a bunch of women in Florence that hand-stitch things like Tshirts and pillows that she sells in New York boutiques. I liked the bustier, but I’m not really the type — I’m more of a T-shirt gal — and I’ve seen Chanin’s work online so I knew that it was just a matter of a few simple materials and some time.

I bought a black & a white shirt from Wal-Mart. I layered the white shirt under the black shirt & then basted them together at the neck & the bottom hem so that the white shirt would peek out. I decided to keep the design simple & traced circles & teardrops onto the front. I used up all of the white DMC floss that I had (years ago I used to cross-stitch) and then bought more — and stitched on the lines with a backstitch. Then I cut out the black just inside the stitch lines leaving the white to peek out from underneath.

I want to say that this is Nigerian applique — but I think that that isn’t technically correct because I don’t turn under the raw edges. Because it was knit jersey, I felt comfortable that it would be OK left alone. When I washed it, I turned the shirt inside out. It came out of the wash fine.


Great shirt for little $. I think I’ll make a few of these to wear this summer.

And then yesterday, when I thought that my brain would explode, I pulled out my small drawing pad and a black Sharpie. I realized that I needed to drop the pencil — stop with the hesitation & erasing — and just go. I doodled about 4 pages worth — and it made me feel a lot better.

I think I’m going to start going through drawing tutorials on youtube in the mornings when my kids have swim practice. My muse seems stronger this summer, and bottling her up isn’t going to work — so I’m going to come up with things we can do poolside.