Thursday, September 18, 2014

Therapeutic Creating (Bag Jag)

My all-time favorite project

There is definitely a philosophical aspect to this project.  I've heard people talk about their therapeutic hobbies ... scrapbooking, knitting, gardening, etc.  In my mind that always meant those activities induced tranquil unwinding.  However, my experience has been that creating and maintaining are stressful.  When I'm sewing, my carefully cut pieces never line up, kitting I just want to get through, the blank slate of paper crafts is so intimidating.  There are very few creative pursuits that I calmly enjoy the process.  Spinning would be the exception.  Usually, I am most interested in the end result and some processes are more fun than others.

For me, the therapy of creating is not marked by relaxation, but rather problem solving, adding beauty to the practical, and dealing with some of my inner wishes that haven't found a voice in my head yet.  I am happiest when the practical need outweighs the demand for aesthetics.  If it does it's job, it's ok.  If it does it's job in style, it's a cherry on top.  This allows me to embrace my "ready, fire, aim" inclinations, learning hands on, getting right to it instead of loads of research and brain work.  It allows me to practice, improve, and still be ok with what "not knowing how" produces.

I've experienced some dread from different directions in regard to this trip.  Some of it I can't do anything about.  And some of it I can.
Jeremiah helped pick out these colors.  Pillow cases make a great stuff-all to keep things together.  And it's not plastic. :)

What has consistently annoyed me the most in past camping and road trips:  lack of a good organization system for gear, food, and fun stuff and lack of a streamlined system for accomplishing the daily tasks.  So for trip preparation, I chose to attack the organizational system.

(It was also a glimpse of a hint of admitting to that little tiny secret place in my heart that would dearly love a "pinterest-worthy" camping trip, but thinks I should be more mature than that.)

For me that meant bags.  And lots of them.  And containers, preferably not holding more than 7/8 of their capacity.  And since bags provide the perfect opportunity to insert a bit of fun and style, I was all over that.  It would also make good use of that basket of scrap material that twinges my conscience every time I look at it.  Oh, and my basket of ribbon, spool after spool of all different colors and widths ... they were on clearance somewhere years ago.  So my "bag jag" was unleashed.  I would say it was born, but if you look at my Pinterest, you'd see that this fettish has been brewing for a while.  And if you dare suggest that I save my time and effort and just reuse plastic grocery bags ... >:-|

I did buy some fabric for the pillow cases ... which I regretted later.  4 yards because the flea market would only sell by full yards.  I was in the calico section, so I wasn't even thinking about fiber content.  I'm pretty certain 2 of my 4 yards are polyester.  :(  

As I said, this was my favorite project!  It started out destined keep leashes and dog water bowl handy.  I had the green canvas leftover from another project.  Boxed corners were on the brain, so this  project sponsored that skill.  The calico on the front came out of our nasty, moldy, rodent-infested basement.  This stuff is decades old and I fell in love with it.  Thankfully, someone had carefully wrapped it in paper and it was in the middle of a box.  It escaped with only a good dose of musty smell.  Mom washed it for me and, like the person before me, I carefully stowed it. This scrap was already cut and I loved how the colors went together.  Boom!  Zigzag that loveliness on there!  Nope, sorry dogs, I'm commandeering this one.

I took it down to the local saddle shop and he put rivets and handles on for me, but not without some teasing and "crazy girl"s mumbled.  I realized a very important aspect of shoulder bags.  The length of the handles needs to allow palm to elbow to go underneath without crazy contortions or catching on the bag.  One of the small things of life.  Especially if you're managing a dog, child, car keys, or groceries at the same time.  The best way for a bag to make friends with you is to stay out of the way and not be another thing to manage.  That leaves room for the love and patience we desire to have for the people in our lives.   Once again, the making of a bag is very philosophical.  ;)

The others are just drawstring bags.  Some of them generic, some for specific purposes.

Loved the combo of this calico and denim.  The only problem: it stores the whet stone ... meaning for the boys.  :P

Fiber projects for driving time

Rocks.  :)  Yes, for real.  And any other treasures that might get collected.

Hair bands and bobby pins

Mess kit and silverware

Love this color combination, and it has a muslin lining!
Yesterday, I made a bag for my sandals and extra pair of shoes.  There have been numerous times I've ended up stuffing not-so-clean shoes in my clothing bag because I didn't want them to get lost in the bottom of the car.  Now, the not-so-clean shoes can go in a clean bag and everybody's happy!  Washable with no plastic involved.

As for the daily camping tasks process ... I've done about all the brain work on that one that I can stand.  The rest will have to come with trial and error.  Anyone have any great ideas for streamlining making camp, packing up, laundry, or food on the road?  I'll share what I've come up with in a future post.

I'd love to know who is stopping by!  Please leave a comment!  And I'm open to any and all suggestions for how to do this trip well, places we should see, etc!


  1. Woopy! This is right up my alley! I make bags for everything! In fact I have one of those cute draw string bags to carry my intimates, and personal lady things especially for trips and staying over with friends etc. So that I can leave it in the bathroom with the rest of my toiletries. Those bags can hide everything a girl might need to style! ;D In the past I have also lined them with those thick plastic table cloths and made them just big enough to hold all of my shower things. So now all my wet shower things are kept separate from the rest of my clothes! Or if one opens in transit, the mess is contained in a fairly leak proof place.
    I have always had a soft spot for creating useful things that portray my sense of style. Forever and ever I've been on a brain storming rampage trying to come up with my favorite most practical purse. I have yet to come up with it. I've gotten close..but never quite right.
    In fact I can't wait to tap into my creative stores again. ;D
    Good luck with your creating! I'd love to hear more about your sewing experiments!

    Much love,

    1. Haha! We must be kindred souls or something! I like the waterproof idea .... I'll have to try that. I collected quite a number of remnants in my travels and have ideas brewing for when I get life back in order again!