• joychoquette

Books, Bobbins & Balance + Big News

Thriller books. Vintage fashion. Clothes refashioning. Gothic books. Sewing. Book recommendations. Sustainable fashion. Minimalism.

What do all of these topics have in common? They’re all passions of mine. If you’ve visited my YouTube channel lately, you’ll have noticed the banner (above) and a mention about it in the last video.

For a long time, I’ve flitted between all of these interests: I tend to cycle through them at different times of the year. Except some, like books, adventure, nature, and vintage everything which are constant interests of mine.

I’ve hesitated to put them together though, imagining readers displeasure when they stop by my site, expecting a book review only to find a vintage clothes thrift haul. But I’ve been brainstorming and working on a way to tie all these things together. (More on that later…)

Big News from My Creative Studio

First, there is some big news to share: I’ve been selected as one of the Refashion Runway designers for the 5th annual upcycled clothes competition! I’m very excited. I literally squealed and jumped up and down in delight over having been chosen.

This annual refashioning event is the brainchild of Beth Huntington, a wonderfully-skilled upcycling sewist. Here’s a bit more about the project from Beth:

Beth Huntington, of The Renegade Seamstress

As a long-time fan of Project Runway (the one reality show I put up with in order to see the creative genius), I’ve dreamed for years of being part of a competition like this. When I learned about Refashion Runway and re-visited Beth’s site last month, I saw the call of entries and immediately started digging for old before/after pictures to submit with my application.

See, I’m an upcyling/refashioning junkie. A few years ago I was honored to be accepted into STRUT! a fashion show held annually as part of Art Hop in Burlington, VT. Of course, my collection was made up of refashioned clothing and accessories.

Refashion Runway is unique in that both designers and voters work from the comfort of their own homes. That’s right, voters help to determine who will go and who will stay, along with a panel of four expert judges.

Just like with writing fiction, I don’t work well from a plot…or pattern as the case may be. I’m a very, erm, challenged sewist. Patterns might as well be in Greek. I use them mostly to look at the pictures. I can’t follow written directions so I basically guess, pin, sew and very often, unpick seams and try again.

One of the reasons I love refashioning so much is that it’s another way to express my creativity and one that is so tangible. I love the physicality of sewing–the smell of the hot iron, the hiss of the steam, the feel of the different fabrics in my fingers.

Plus, no patterns to follow. 🙂 Dressing, like books, is a form of communication. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.

Thriller Books, Nature, and Vintage Refashioning…Oh My!

At first blush, it could appear that these topics have little in common with each other. However, looking a little closer you can see the threads that tie them together. Here are several:

  1. Sustainability–nature and eco-friendly sewing projects go hand in hand. It’s no secret that fashion is one of the most toxic industries to the planet…and the people who work in clothing production factories.

  2. Recycling–refashioning or upcycling clothing is a fabulous way to keep materials out of the landfill and give them new life.

  3. Books–my favorites are gothic books and thriller novels–very often these are atmospheric and set in nature or in creepy, run-down mansions set in the middle of nowhere. Since I’m also a huge history fan, my love of all things vintage and natural tie in nicely here.

  4. Vintage–I’ve loved old things since I was a little girl. The items and decades I’ve been most attracted to have changed, but not the deep-seated interest in old things. These are the things with stories built-in.

  5. Minimalism–I use this word broadly–I probably own way too many belongings to be a true minimalist, but I like to keep my life as simple, balanced and authentic as possible. Also, I abhor clutter so that means keeping our little house as free from “stuff” as possible while still maintaining a homey vibe.

More than anything, I think what ties these things together is how sensual they are. They are all very focused on beauty: making something from nothing, adventure–often without leaving home, creativity, simple pleasures, lovely, daily things that make a life more wonderful.

What about you, dear reader? What other hobbies or creative pursuits do you enjoy along with reading fiction?

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