Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Created to create...

Lately I've come to realize that I love to create and that there is joy in creating. I surmise that maybe, because we are made in the image of The Creator, that this is the case with all of us-maybe we all need some creative outlet.

However, there were times in the past that I tried to create, and was miserable the whole time. I tried to be creative, and make things, because this was what someone else thought I should do, or because I wanted to mold myself into the image of another person. But, I find, when you are flowing in creativity that is truly a part of the inner you, a part of the gifts and talents put into you by The Creator, then it's a beautiful thing, relaxing, joy-producing.

My mom was a seamtress extraordinaire. Her seams, flawless, her hand stiched hems a thing of beauty. So, sophomore year of high school, I signed up for Home Economics. I was going to follow in mama's footsteps, or so I thought. Red lights of warning should have flashed with neon lettering saying, "Girl, this is just not your thing!", when I chose for my big sewing project to make a two piece swimming suit. Now, ask yourself, do you know one single person with a penchant for homemade, hand crafted bikinis? I did't think so! And the fabric I chose, was just an oxymoron...it was a navy blue calico type print. Who was this fashionable swimwear being made for...Laura Ingalls Wilder? But I wrestled through, and proudly brought my creation home to Mama. I don't remember a look of horror in her eyes, but I do remember her pointing out all the flaws in my sewing technique...and there were plenty! So, I put aside my needle and thread until I was married and had my own baby girl.

I married into a family where Mama Stewart had two cardinal standards that every good wife must abide by. I thought those standards had to do with loving your husband and your children, but hers were, #1 it is a sin to buy what you can sew, and #2 if it is edible, it must be put into sterilized jars, immersed in a big kettle of boiling water, and boil away until all possible nutrients are cooked out of it. Then it must be proudly displayed on your pantry shelves where it awaits to save you if, #1 you are snowed in for months on end, (which NEVER happens where we live), or #2 you are faced with nucular war. (To this day I wonder, who, but she, cans meat, and if they do, who wants to eat canned meat? EEWWW! )

So, in order to be a good wife and mom, which was at the top of my list of things I wanted to be good at, I cajoled my husband into buying me a sewing machine. I sweated over flannel nighties for my beautiful brown eyed girl, I made dolly clothes, I made scary looking, (not intentionally), stuffed animals, I made little baby blankets. But what I very wisely NEVER made was anything she had to wear out in public. And I canned, I canned our veggies, I canned our fruit. I spent hot late summer days in a sticky sauna, formerly known as my kitchen. I was miserable!

My epiphany came when I realized, I am VERY talented at clearance shopping. I can spot high end quality items on the 75% off rack from across the room. (My biggest find was a pair of fully lined brown wool slacks regularly priced at close to $300. I paid under ten dollars.) Why sew, when I can shop, and buy something we can actually be seen in public in? So the sewing machine was retired to the back of the closet and only saw the light of day for occassional mending jobs from then on. Likewise with the canning...it was money saving to can when we pastored in the midst of orchards of apples, pears, peaches and cherries. But, when you live in the city, it's not always cost saving to buy and can your produce. So, bye bye canning jars, bye bye sticky sauna summer days. Do you hear my sighs of relief?

Now if you are the sewing, canning type, more power to you! I admire you! You have patience, endurance, talent, that I do not have. The truth about me, is that I enjoy creating if it is...simple, not too detailed, with quick results. I am about a third grade level creator. This particular epiphany came when I was an educational assistant in the third grade. I did the art with the students. They oohed and ahhed at what a good artist I was. And I had FUN! So, off I went to the craft store, and under the guise of buying art supplies to have on hand for my grandkids, I bought art paper, colored pencils, watercolors, and I began to create. How relaxing and enjoyable I found it to be to try my hand at acrylics, watercolors, sketching with colored pencils.  

Cooking is another creative outlet for me. I am not necessarily a fancy cook. I am a homestyle cook. But I can cook some pretty yummy to the eyes and to the tummy stuff, and I really enjoy doing it.

I can also create a homey atmosphere in a house.  Maybe it's not Better Homes and Gardens decorating..but a candle here, a picture there, a bit of paint, a refinished treasure from the thrift store.  I am creating an atmosphere, creating beauty, creating something that sets my home apart from yours.

I feel God's pleasure when I create. I feel satisfied, happy, fulfilled, as I sit as this computer and make pictures out of words. Creating. Whether it's music, building or carpentry, art, mechanics or metalwork, gardening, cooking, photography or writing, I think that we are all made in the image of The Creator, and that He created us all with the desire to create, to be creative.   

(a repost, with some slight changes, from the archives)

Still following,


  1. Oh, Elizabeth, I love this! I, too, love to create, and there is so much joy in recognizing what we were made to do.

  2. What a wonderful post! I think we can all relate to trying to force creativity into the wrong direction. How beautiful when we find our niche and imitate the Creator and add beauty to our world.

  3. I can't draw a straight line, but I can cook. And I love preserving summer bounty in jars and freezer bags. :)

  4. oh, that was funny.. canning does not take all the nutrients out :-) & canned meat is really really good LOL. but I get your idea :-0
    funny to read one blog that touts home canning & then read that it is of no value on another !
    lol ,funny..

    1. Modern canning is a lot different than the boil everything forever theory of long ago. :)

  5. I really enjoyed your post today as it gave me food for thought while I was admiring your watercolor. I love pinecones for some reason! Canned meats..not for the faint hearted. :) I often wish I was liked canning, but I don't. Thanks for encouraging me to seek out my gifts that I enjoy instead of beating myself up because I'm not the homemaker some ladies are.

  6. Very inspirational post, Elizabeth. I can fully appreciate the amazing talents of others, while enjoying sticking to what I do best.
    Mary Alice

  7. Loved every word of this post! We are created to create - but not everyone is created to create the SAME thing! Loved the idea of your bikini! It brought back the memories of an Army green, lined wool dress I made in Home Ec. and modeled in the high school's Spring Fashion Show. Hated it from moment one - and hardly ever wore it again!

  8. Elizabeth, you are one of the most creative people I know --and good at everything you do--

    I could have written this post except I had sons, not daughters--but yes, I sewed for them also--tried my hand at canning--didn't last long--

    Thank God my mother-in-law did not sew or can--I didn't have that pressure--just the pressure I placed upon myself--

    I totally agree that we NEED to create because we are created in HIS IMAGE and He is, of course, the great CREATOR--

    Loved this!

  9. I thank God for making me creative. Like you mine is simple and easy things to do. As for canning I am going to see if I enjoy doing it or not. I have all the items ready just have to set aside and day or two to can. As for sewing you can forget me doing anything. LOL. It would look like a child tried to make something. I hate sewing! But I am great at taking what I call "smalls" and re-creating them into something useful! You put things so eloquently! Love everyone of your posts and your beautiful pictures.

  10. Thank you for this post, Elizabeth.
    "I feel God's pleasure when I create." What a wonderful, beautiful truth. I was thinking how I have always loved all things home, and homemaking, and how God gave that to me as a desire of my heart, the other day.
    I always think that He gives us the desires of our hearts, means that He changes our desires to things of Him, but when I thought about my homemaking passion....it's not quite so cut and dried as I had kind of assumed.
    There's always more to Him and what He has. Like Corrie ten Boom said about reading the Bible, every day it's like the ink is still fresh on the page.
    Another beautiful way that you create is in your writing. I am sure you feel His pleasure when you write, and then He uses your writing to bless and minister.

  11. I so needed to hear this today - thank you and I thank God for speaking to me through you :)

  12. great words of encouragement here. thanks for sharing from your journey.

    too, the picture of those fried or baked things - are those fried pies!? - was startling in its wonderfulness.

    peace - s.

  13. Creating is relaxing and you just have to find out what gets your juices flowing. Those pies looked absolutely delish!!

    When I'm creating I go into this zone and part of my being goes on auto pilot it's a feeling like no other, it's also when i feel closest to God. Thanks for sharing your creative heart for us to enjoy!

  14. Elizabeth, I loved this so much. I can definitely relate. My mother is an incredible artist - seamstress, photographer, painter, sketcher, you name it. So for me as a child, I looked at her and all she could create and believed the lie that I was NOT creative. Coming to believe I am an artist through my words, the way I build our home, even (as you say) finding a bargain and making something beautiful of it...this co-laboring with God to create joyful moments of loveliness has brought such joy. Thank you for this!

  15. i love your creative side in decor and photography.. that little french fruit crate, come on i need one of those. and you restoration hardware remake on display today with those love dishes in a wire dish-rack, genius! i would love to have a cuppa in your house, and then wander to see what you did. i also LOVE you words, as you know ;) so glad you followed your heart, and found your creation.

  16. oh friend, this is SO refreshing. i am NOT the sewing, canning type. and i've always battled an inner feeling of domestic failure as a result. thank you for setting me free through this post. love you.

  17. This was wonderful, Elizibeth. And you are so right about knowing that you have found 'your' creative outlet when it is relaxing for you.

    I do not have my mother-in-law's panache for bargains, sewing, or for taking anything and redeeming it and turning it into something lovely for her home, but she hates cooking and does not can like her mother in-law was known for.

    It is so funny that we do this to ourselves; what a freeing revelation.

    PS. Your photos are lovely!


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