starting where you are

I think if you want to make progress, find your best work and ideas, you must be willing to start where you are – as awkward or small as that might be.  I’m usually very willing to do that – it’s one of my main life skills (the other is that I am insanely persistent, relentless even, the cool hand luke of art and craft).  As soon as I started to compile the patterns I’m working on I realized that video instruction would be helpful – there’s nothing like a demonstration and it helps with language barriers on tricky steps. I have no video making knowledge or equipment beyond my semi  broken iphone and a part of a tripod I found in the trash  but I put something together with stuff I had around that’s working well enough and I wanted to show you in case you’re in need of a similar solution.

video settup

I used a table lamp clamp I got at a yardsale,  a wood clothespin and 2 file clips.  The clips slide in and out of the clothespin easily and I can position it in a bunch of useful ways – it’s getting the job done.  I’m looking forward to getting better but having fun being a mess and experimenting. The whole pattern making experience has put me into that curious and driven kind of place that I was in when I began  7 years ago.

Today I was taking stills ( I don’t use the phone for that) and making videos for the next pattern – paper mache ships and boats (start saving your cereal boxes). I’m hoping to finish the photography tomorrow morning, test the rough draft this week, put it all together over the holiday weekend and have it available just after that.

ship mast

ship romance

paintbox 7/29

paint box 7/29

The ships and boats are a very satisfying project to make and I’m excited about sharing it.

Thanks so much to everybody who has purchased the bird pattern. I’m putting a post together of birds made by y’all and if you’d like to be included you can send a photo to me at: ann at ann wood handmade dot com  (please put bird photo in the subject).


  1. I’m always interested to see how people manage to create what they need at the moment with what’s available… this is one of the best! It truly exemplifies the meaning of what’s behind the scene!
    The ships and boats you make are wonderful things and I’m so happy to hear that pattern will be out soon as well -I’ve already saved my first box…

  2. catherine

    Hello Ann, I purchased the bird pattern and love it! A couple questions:
    1.)I see your lovely paints in little pots. Did you buy the containers and fill them or was paint already in them. Looks so easy and practical wondering where you got them.
    2.) I assume this ship pattern is different then the one you already put on your blog awhile ago?

  3. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been wanting to rig a phone holder so I can try making some rudimentary stop motion videos. This will def help. BTW, I enjoyed your interview with Abby over at While She Naps. Looking forward to picking up some paper mâché tips! Thanks again for hanging in there and continuing to share your work via this blog. I always love seeing what you’re up to.

  4. Wow! you are resourceful. Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes goings on, its been most helpful. I’ve considered a video but I have no prior knowledge of the equipment or set up.

  5. A very clever, handsome (ánd cheap) solution for your camera problems 😉
    I LOOOOOVE your paint box (picture)
    (well : anything with that many bright colours is my favorite !!)

  6. annwood

    Hi Catherine,
    The paint came in the tray – inexpensive store brand watercolors – I think I got this one at Michael’s.
    And yes – this is a different ship pattern – it’s actually going to be 3 patterns – a boat a small ship and a large ship. Thanks!


  7. I always look forward to seeing what your very fertile and whimsical imagination has come up with.

  8. I have several cereal boxes already and so looking forwad to a boat.

  9. LOVE the McGuiver-ed camera/iPhone stand. That is a brilliant piece of engineering. Your mind works in wondrous way!

  10. Kate Fleitz

    Thanks! I love learning about your process and seeing how your creative mind finds solutions!

  11. When I stumbled into my first stamp/arts store, a few years ago, I saw ladies pulling in Roller Bags full of every imaginable product and gadget, most of which they confessed to not using. I then determined, that I would do my best to use my imagination…first. Did I need that cutter, glitter, etc. I love your ingenuity. It really does feel more satisfying when I figure something out first…then reach for a necessary product! Great posting:) Laura

  12. . HOWEVER, Woman B claimed she had never said annhyitg to A about my wife spreading the rumors and that she was simply concerned about her. She was sorry, apologized, but understood if my wife didn’t trust her as a friend. My wife was hurt, but choose to forgive woman B and move on and attempt to repair things with woman A.The next morning, woman B went to A and told her what my wife had done to her. Woman A was concerned about the accuracy of the information she was getting from B. Woman A asked her again if she was sure that what she had said at the party was true, including the party about my wife telling many different people and maliciously attempting to start the rumors. B said this was all true again, and that my wife was really upset with A and wanted to bring her down with what she said.A week later, my wife tried to talk to woman A to apologize for what was said. Woman A would not even look at my wife. She said she was done with her as a friend. She explained that woman B had come back to her to tell her she had been talking about her AGAIN, and she reiterated about the fact she had been spreading the rumors maliciously and my wife wanted to hurt woman A. None of this was true. Woman A called my wife a slew of fowl language in front of me, in front of dozens of her close friends and in front of many of my wife’s friends. She stated that she was lying because woman B had said these things to her twice, and that she wouldn’t lie.My wife is woman A’s boss. Woman A is letting this effect her work. Woman A has cut off all communication with my wife outside of work. Woman B is now completely avoiding my wife entirely as well as woman B’s husband, who is a close friend of mine.My wife forgave them both for what happened. Several weeks has passed. I have a hard time forgiving these people and wanted them to ever be back at our home. They were both very good friends of my wife’s and now she feels alone and isolated because her two best friends destroyed their friendship. I even lost a close friend. The collateral damage goes very deep, since these were mutual friends of almost everyone we know.My wife wants me to move on, but I have such a hard time with that. My wife was trying to do the biblically accurate thing to hold a fellow sister in christ accountable and her other sister in christ; who was not a new christian, but a strong one, threw it in her face. She broke her trust not once, but twice.I just think she doesn’t need to be friends with these people if this is how they treat their relationships. I don’t feel comfortable having them around my home if this is what they choose to do.What do you think?

  13. I’m so glad to have found this! I am really starting from scratch and every other “DIY” I could find had you taking trips to the hardware store and buying tons of supplies. I’m scraping money just for art supplies, so I needed something a little cheaper, lol. A lot of what you have here, I have the same or similar and now I’m determined that I can make something work! Even if it involves clothespins and rubber bands, like you say, you’ve got to start where you are! Thank you for posting this.

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