Friday, October 3, 2014

Crafty thoughts and goals

Okay, time for some honest musings... I'm sharing this because I'm hoping it will help someone else out there. I'm probably not the only person to be in this position, at least that's what I surmise by chatter I see here and there. By sharing my thoughts, maybe it'll spark an idea or two for you too. And if not, I hope it will at least be an entertaining read while helping me get my thoughts and feelings in order.

I had spent the last couple of days trying to clean and re-organize my craft storage and it's led to a lot of reflection and thinking. The cleaning and organizing part, of course, was invigorating and much needed, as my collection of paper, stamps and cardstock has grown and grown and grown. But as I went through all the different supplies, I came to the staggering realization that I haven't used probably 80% of my stash. 80%!!! That is huge! Not only in terms of money, but in terms of space, too - which I am starting to run very low on. And let's not even talk about the mountains of scraps I'd saved from papers and cardstock...

If I'm perfectly honest with myself (and this was really hard to admit because I can justify every purchase and I felt no buyers' remorse), my spending was starting to get out of hand. I'm extremely lucky in that I could and still can afford to buy all of these wonderful products and supplies to play with, and card making has made me feel a lot happier and more content lately. But if all the majority of my supplies are going to do is sit in my closet and look pretty in their storage pockets, it's still a waste of money. And I really hate being wasteful - especially with something that's supposed to be creative and fulfilling.

Another thing I had to really reflect on and kind of hammer into my consciousness is that I don't have to compete with design teams. I truly and honestly appreciate seeing the amazing design team projects that are shared. They are a fabulous source of inspiration, and a great way to start looking at stamps creatively. And, boy are they enablers! (in the good sense). But putting so much focus on feeling inspired by what the design teams were doing has also led to some unsettling thoughts on my behalf.

I'd caught myself in the excitement of new products, and felt like I really needed so many new things. In reality, I didn't. I didn't need 20 different bunny pictures or 20 inkpads and 20 different cardstock colors. I wanted them, yes, but I didn't need them. And that difference between want and need is incredibly important - especially if I want to have a crafty budget and stay within it.

And that's something that I would really like... To have a reasonable budget and know I can shop for fun, but at the same time be responsible and have card making be what it's supposed to be for me -- a fun hobby. I'd like to have many wonderful creations and inspiring designs, while at the same time being balanced and smart about it.

So, I sat down to make a plan, and to make some changes, and here are some things that I decided on:
1) Total spending freeze for the next month or two.
I need to kick things off with a fresh slate, and I've been making way too many impulse buys lately. Especially when there's a sale going on! I succumb to the whole "wow, this is so cheap!" and end up getting things that I didn't really even want, but couldn't pass up.
This step is the scariest of the bunch for me because I like to be stocked up. I have back-ups of my back-ups (lol!). I always fear that I'll run out of something right as I'm about to make a card and the whole card will be ruined. Which is pretty silly, really, because a change in design could turn out to be the best thing ever. I mean, some of my best cards were cards where I challenged and limited myself -- like the Stamp Trio challenges.
2) Avoid Pintrest.
It's a time sink, and an enabler and as much as I love seeing all the gorgeous cards people pin , I get too caught up in it. I spend an hour looking at lovely cards instead of spending an hour crafting. And I always find more things I need to add to my shopping list.
3) Use up supplies.
Especially patterned paper and embellishments. I didn't buy them to own, I bought them to make pretty things with. So, I'm going to challenge myself to throw caution to the wind and use all of those favorite things. They were bought to be used, not to be owned (and yes, I will need to repeat this to myself as a mantra!).
4) Make at least one card with every single stamp and paper I own.
This is going to take me ages! But I need to do it. I need to create all of these things that I imagined when I bought the supplies, and I need to stop pushing myself to be on trend with what everyone else is doing. Being on trend is wonderful and exciting, but it's okay to stray off the beaten path too. That's how trends starts, actually. One person did something very different and it caught on.

And there you have it. My super long, rambling monologue that feels absolutely terrifying to post because it's sharing all those things that make me feel vulnerable -- worries, fears, failings and faults. But I need to say it to someone other than myself. And I'm crossing my fingers that accountability will help.


  1. Hear! Hear! Elle, I hear you! I'm with you ever step of the way. I made a similar pledge to myself not so long ago. It is so hard when you see people flooding blogs and galleries with the latest releases and you feel so inspired by it all too. Aside from the fact I haven't had time lately to read blogs, I've decided to cut down on the ones I visit too because I find myself comparing rather than being inspired and that is bad for creativity too. Still coming here though because I LOVE your cards and your musings too. You constantly inspire me!! I also decided a long time ago to make a card with every stamp I own. Hard to do when the stash keeps growing. lol Good luck, Elle! You can do it! hugs!

    1. *hugs* It is really hard! Especially since there are so many wonderful, amazing, incredibly talented crafters out there that have such great cards... I constantly find just one more stamp, or just one more paper for my wish list.

      I'm still thinking very hard on how to change my perspective. I want to challenge myself to see a beautiful card and think "wow, I need to play with that layout/color combination/technique" instead of just "wow, I need that stamp". Especially since I try not to - to my knowledge, at least - remake the card I've seen. So, I want to spend more time understanding -why- something caught my eye. While at the same time acknowledging that sometimes it's also ok to think that maybe I *do* need that stamp. I just want the decision to buy to come from actual need, rather than an impulse.

      I'm totally with you on comparing, too. And often feeling like I come up short. Which isn't even important. It's not a competition to see who's going to make the best card. It's supposed to be a hobby and a passion that inspires us to make our own great things.

      I'm going to keep at it, and I hope you do to! I'd love to see many, many more cards from you. :)

    2. I hope there will be many more cards from me too. lol If you see my mojo, please tell it to return home. :)

      Perhaps look at the card and then if it is the design, just sketch it out and build up your own sketch portfolio. Or if it is the colour combination, do a similar thing - create a little colour swatch. I've been thinking about doing that sort of thing too, that's why I mention it.

      And you NEVER come up short, sweet friend! Comparison is the thief of joy and the thief of creativity! You rock each and every card you make! hugs!!

    3. Oh, that tricky mojo! Always seems to be gone when you need it the most. Maybe there's a challenge that could inspire a spark of creativity for you? And if all else fails, just sit down to make /something/. It doesn't have to be anything particularly good. But just the act of creating can make you feel inspired. *hugs*

      I like the idea of making a quick outline sketch or noting down the color combo. If I take time to think about what it is I like about a card, it does usually boil down to a great layout, or color/pattern combination. I need to grab a notebook and jot these things down, along with ideas that randomly pop into my head about stamps. :)

  2. Those are awesome goals, very wise! Thanks so much for sharing; I think I just may adopt a few myself. Since it's my job to find and appreciate all the fabulous stuff everyone is making it's hard for me to find time to actually create something. Good Luck ♥

    1. Thanks so much, Nancy!

      At first, I was really very apprehensive and nervous to make the changes, but after having a few days to go over my stash, I'm really excited. I've got a bunch of wonderful new ideas and ways to challenge myself. In some ways, it's been a liberating experience rather than a limiting one.

      Finding lovely things to feature sounds fun, but I image in poses some challenges too. I do hope you'll find a bit of extra time to create, too. We all appreciate the wonderful and kind comments you leave on Flickr and the care with which you choose great projects. But I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I'd love to leave a few more kind comments on your creations, too. :D

  3. Now I know I am not alone. Over these years I just keep on buying and buying but I would say 95% of my collection are actually collecting "dust": not being used at all. But seeing DT creating such a great project and that makes me want to buy too. And now there are so many new companies and monthly releases...
    I'm still learning how to "cut down" my monthly spending...I was thinking at one point I should sell some of the stuff I don't use but I'm the kind of person who can't let go of things. So recently I even have to spend more on storage in order to accomodate my stuff. So they just don't pile up on the floor and I look like working in a dumpster truck.

    1. Oh my, I completely agree! I can't see myself parting with any of my stamps, either. And I have bought extra storage for supplies, too. I used to have one tiny shelf for crafts in my closet, and now over half the closet is for crafting supplies.

      Now I'm happy to finally use all those stamps. Rediscovering them has been great for creativity! I get to make those projects I've imagined, and have fun while I'm at it. :)