Creativity insights during the pandemic


At the start of the pandemic and lock down, I decided to change up my routine as I was fortunate that life wasn’t going to change too much at that point. I stopped working on my whole cloth and started work on the little projects that never get done. I wrote a list and it was longer than I anticipated but I got stuck into it anyway.

I started with the Bernina 880 sewing caddy and the machine covers and then did another 17 projects in the first 5 weeks like making covers for foam cushions, painting and mending. I was a machine and it was awesome.

Here’s where the insight comes into it. All of the projects have no plans, just make it up as you go along. They all worked out and worked out well. I learnt that after sewing all my adult life, I had to trust myself that it would work out and that if I needed it, I had a quick unpick and more fabric and not to worry. There was one cushion cover that I felt my machine should be confiscated as I was making so many mistakes yet this one was no different to the others I’d been making (method wise). The quick unpick got a workout and the finished cover was the best one I’d made, it was perfect.

I procrastinate on a lot of things and have always said the hardest job to do is the five minute job (no matter how long a five minute job takes). Stopping a quilt project half way through is not my thing. I only work on one project at a time so I look forward to getting it done so I can get on to the next one. If I take a break, I find it hard to get back in to but in this case I decided to get all those five minute jobs out the way and then go back to the main project. The insight is that those little projects aren’t as overwhelming as they were before when done as a group (except for making a jumper, that’s at the very end of the list and the most needed).

So I encourage you to trust your instincts and go for it no matter what it is. I also find that although I rarely get bored, that’s when I want to do the boring jobs and leave the exciting things for when I’m in the mood. After a month of recovering from a bad fall, I’m getting back into the rhythm that I had.

The next thing I’ve done during this time is buy some (ok, lots) of artificial floral stems and some plants. The house isn’t suitable for real ones so forgive me on that anyone who is against them. I’ve never arranged flowers before but after creating the Christmas tree last year and watching heaps of youtube videos, I trusted my instincts to have a go. Here are some of the results.


Flowers and trees Fiona Schiffl

The flowers started off as a glass vase of 75cm large tulips stuck in the vase. I added some hydrangeas, tulips, greenery and ferns around the base. It looks amazing in real life. With all those stems in the vase, it looked messy so I bought a lovely metal bucket. To go with it, I got some trees, a couple more buckets and to hide the stems, I put some more ferns in them. Then I bought a hall console table to finish it off.


While getting the tulips here in town, I saw a white metal bucket and thought that might be nice for something. You know when you see people who get a bunch of flowers and greens to arrange pop them in a bucket or the sink and they look fantastic? I took inspiration from that and this next arrangement is called (yeah, it has a title) ‘Waiting to be arranged’. It started out with the greens and tulips. This week I added the hydrangeas. The other day I added the poppies for a spot of colour. All three arrangements look awesome and will be changed up on a whim.


Flowers in bucket Fiona Schiffl



Today I saw the sun hit the artificial flowers on the dining table and took a ton of photos. I played around with them on the phone and came up with this cartoon filter adaptation. Enjoy!


Flowers Fiona Schiffl


I was watching THE QUILT SHOW (Alex’s home show) the other day and a few minutes in, I saw something familiar. She was having a giggle over the Bernina Q20 dust cover Linda Campbell had made from my post. She commented it was creative. Nonetheless, I was proud and surprised it had caught her attention despite it not being my version. If something you designed gives Alex a giggle, it’s got to be a great day, right?

Happy quilting,


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