My Creative Friend: Marisa

My creative friend this month, Marisa, is a new kind of creative friend. I "met" Marisa when I stumbled upon her amazing blog, New Dress a Day, where she is documenting 365 days of refashioning an outfit every single day on a budget of only $365! She scours thrift stores and yard sales for cheap finds that have potential (and she can see potential in some really hideous, shoulder-padded frocks!) and transforms them into chic, fashionable and wearable clothes.

Checking out Marisa's newest creation every morning before I head to work is one of the highlights of my day. I am continually inspired by her project and how she has made her creative practice a big part of every single day. Thanks, Marisa, for taking the time to share your creative practice here!

{ Marisa }

Hi, Marisa! Tell us about New Dress A Day and how it got started.

I was having a personal creative-funk-crisis this year and needed a bit of inspiration when I started the blog. Maybe it was because I was in the midst of turning 30 or perhaps it came from being overworked in a job that I luckily got laid off from – but what was for sure was that I was in a rut.

And then a Saturday afternoon viewing of Julie & Julia changed everything. Now I didn’t want to cook my way through Julia Child’s French cookbook – je parle un peu Francais, but coq au vin just isn’t my thing – however, I did want to do something that would get my creative juices flowing everyday. And then the aha moment came to me.

The thing that makes this girl happiest is scouring flea markets, vintage stores and garage sales for the perfect pieces to add to my wardrobe. I love finding vintage goodies that may not fit me perfectly or translate well with the current state of fashion and then make them work on me. I get out my trusty sewing machine to change hems, cut sleeves and tweak to transform a lowbudge piece that had its’ moment back in 1976 and give it another shot today, decades later. And whenever I wear my handmade pieces, I always get complimented and the best part is that I get to tell everyone that I bought it for $1 and just shortened it, dyed it or cinched it to make it chic and current.

I feel creative, I'm using things that are a step away from being thrown out, and it's totally budget friendly - the perfect trifecta!

How do you make time for your creative practice?
It took a little while to get into a groove, I'll be honest. It's definitely difficult to manage while working at the same time, but I've found a way to make it work and it's become the best part of my day. That was part of the reason why I started - I wanted to strengthen my creative muscle by working it out on a daily basis. I used to just sew when I had time which was once or twice every few months and I let other things get in the way and take priority. Now I'm making the creative time a priority and it feels amazing.

How do you characterize your style?
I've always been a vintage lover and have beenincorporating vintage pieces into my wardrobe since high school. I'd totally characterize it as a boho/romantic blend. Long flowy dresses are probably my favorite. I love the style of Ali McGraw and Brigitte Bardot and have lots of Kate Hudson in my inspiration book. Love the vintage feel of Marc Jacobs and the romantic ethereal vibe of Rebecca Taylor.

How did/do you learn and improve your creative skills?
Practice! I learned how to sew in 7th grade (Home Ec) and made a patchwork pillow and sweatshirt, so it began there. I've always been crafty and loved making things. I could watch Martha Stewart all day long and spend hours at fabric stores :) Sewing was always something I liked doing but didn't really get into it on a regular basis until I graduated college. I think my creative skills are always improving from skimming through magazines (Lucky and Real Simple are two of my faves), watching films, and even looking at other people to get inspiration.

What are your creative fears?
With regards to my blog, you could say that my biggest fear is not coming up with things that are exciting to everyone reading. I'm not worried about coming up with the ideas, I just don't want to let anyone down :)

What is the first creative moment you remember?
I guess some of my first creative moments were playing with my Barbie dolls as a kid - I LOVED dressing them in different outfits. But, my favorite creative memory is the purse I made to match my dress at my senior prom. I found an article in Sassy Magazine with a DIY for a small handbag. I didn't like any of the bags that were out there (not into the "traditional" prom purses), so I got some fabric and ribbon and made my own. It was amazing - totally unlike any of the other ones and I adored it. Of course I still have it :)

When you work, do you love the process or the result? Why?
I actually like them both - I love the end result because it's awesome seeing what the piece turns out like in the end, but you can't get there without the process. And there is something about the process that is really amazing. Sometimes I'll go in thinking one thing but then along the way change things around. The process is a lot of work, but just as exciting.

Thanks for sharing, Marisa! And good luck - 156 days and $154 to go!

Carole Ann

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