Crafted in October 2016

Evaluation of the Creative October Challenge 2016

Crafted in October 2016 - What I did during the Creative October Challenge this year.

The Creative October Challenge is now done for 2016. It has been a lot of fun and even more so thanks to having some more people to share the experience with!

Great contributions in the Facebook group

One of the best parts of opening up the Creative October Challenge to the public has been to see what the other participants have been up to. I really loved seeing the creative spark that this no-buy challenge initiated – from creating napkin rings using toilet paper rolls (seriously, I would have never guessed!) to making a clothing hanger made out of scrap wood and rusty nails, toddler bibs made out of retro fabrics and much more.

I really loved the exchange of ideas and the conversations about consumption and creativity in the group. I look forward to doing this again next year and then with a few more improvements such as maybe daily or weekly mini-challenges for those who want to participate. If you want to join the next edition, sign up for the newsletter at the end of this post to receive information about when the Facebook group opens up again.

My own crafts projects

First I had the idea that I didn’t manage to get as much done this time as I did last year, but when I look back at the month I actually managed to do even more this time.
Lavender pillow and necklace
First up was this lavender pillow with a golden acorn printed on it. I made it using scrap pieces of linen fabric, printed by hand with golden acrylic paint and then hand-sewn. The lavender flowers came from my terrace garden. I added a braid made from yarn rests to hang it up (for instance in a closet).

The necklace in the picture was made from braided black silk thread with one thread of silver, an old recycled chain lock, copper wire to strengthen and a rock crystal pendant which I bought together with a few similar ones on Ebay a couple of years ago. They were said to come from an old jewelry store that closed and are probably 40-50 years old.
Knitted wool cowl
I finished knitting a scarf/cowl made from a ball of wool yarn I had left over. I’m now adding a piece of fleece fabric to insulate it better.

Since I was invited to a birthday party with a rock n’ roll theme I needed something to wear. I made this blue dress from an old piece of wool-acrylic knit fabric. The price tag was still in German Mark so it’s definitely vintage. The color tells me somewhere around the late 1980’s to early 1990’s. It’s very blue, but I still enjoyed wearing it at the party. With the right accessories I might use it more times.
Blue rockabilly inspired dress.

Bringing out the old quilting skills

I learned quilting when I was around 11 I think, but haven’t used it much since then. That’s a shame because it’s a great technique to make use of small pieces of fabric. I created this pillow case using scraps of wool fabric left over from sewing some of my medieval garb. The white one was actually the excess fabric from the 13th century surcot I worked on last year.
Quilted wool pillow.
It didn’t take very long to puzzle this together and I’m happy with the result. The pillow was filled with leftover filling from a sleeping pillow that was too high and the backside fabric was taken from a failed dress project.
13th century dress interpretation - inspired by the Maciejowski / Morgan / Crusader Bible -

A 13th century silk dress

I have wanted to make a fancier 13th century dress for my reenactment group for some time and now I finally finished it. I will wear it on our yearly knight’s dinner on Saturday. The model takes inspiration from the dresses seen in the Crusader Bible following the fashion of the early to mid 13th century with sleeves that are narrow at the end and wide at the shoulders. These dresses are often referred to as “bat wing” dresses. I lined it with linen fabric since the silk is very thin. All of it made with materials that I already had lying around. Sorry for the silly poses, I mainly wanted to show the shape of the sleeves.
Owl coloring sheet
As a little bonus project I printed this coloring sheet and sat down with my coloring pens. I needed a small break from creating with a purpose to just relax and do something creative without a specific goal in mind. I really needed that. Oh, and I almost forgot the upcycled skirt I started working on. I haven’t had the time to finish it yet, but I’ll get going on it soon again.

Last but not least my partner in crime and I recycled some candle stumps and made new cast candles in cups.
Recycled candle in cup.

How did the no-spend challenge go?

The Creative October Challenge is more than a month of creative pursuits. It’s also a no-spend challenge = I challenged myself to buy nothing besides food, hygiene products and paying for transports. I managed quite well with that this time. The only exception I made was eating one meal out that cost me 5 Euros. The reason I made that exception was due to lack of time for preparing dinner one evening when I was going to a concert (to which I had purchased the ticket way before I decided to do this challenge again).

Besides that I didn’t spend any money and it has felt really good to see how much I have been able to do anyway. OK, now I really need to buy sewing thread, but I haven’t lacked a thing during October. Rather than feeling limiting it has inspired me to do more things on my own instead of buying them and really think over what I need and want. I truly believe this is a healthy thing to do from time to time.

If you’re up for a challenge next year and a great way to question your own need for consumption – join me and the others in the Creative October group. We’ll keep on doing this!

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Veronica is the founder of With one foot in the past and one in the future she takes inspiration from older aesthetics and ideas to apply them in updated form today. She is passionate about teaching timeless skills and believes that the world needs more polymaths.

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