Tuesday, November 15, 2011

T&T: Making Time to Craft

t and t tuesday

I regularly get asked how I have the time to “do it all”: work, be a mom and wife, keep house and then find time to craft and sew. I definitely don’t do it all. My house is typically a mess and dinner is often times late. I think the priority I place on crafting makes it possible to find the time to do it. But even more than that, having supplies on hand makes it easy to find the time. By having supplies available, I can just get to work on a project. I don’t have to think through all the items needed, make sure it fits in the budget and shop before finally getting my hands on a glue gun or stitching fabric.

I started looking through all my pictures to make a collage of which projects were done on a whim with what I had on hand, and realized that the majority of my projects fit into this category.


Spontaneous crafting definitely works well for me. It’s the planned projects that take forever to accomplish. I finally started making (and almost finished) a jacket that I bought the fabric for over a month ago. I have other piles of materials for very specific projects sitting in drawers. It’s the spontaneous, unplanned projects that decorate my house and fill my closet.

So if you’re wondering how to possibly find the time in your busy schedule to be able to craft, here are a few tips for you.

--Pick up unnecessary items when you can. I find myself throwing a zipper or package of bias tape in my cart when I’m picking up other supplies at Joann’s. I may not have a specific use in mind for these items, but I know they’ll come in handy later. And rarely, when I’m shopping at Joann’s at least, am I so budgeted to the penny that a zipper for $1.49 will throw things off.

--Take advantage of sales and coupons. When I take a trip to Joann’s or another craft store, I’ll usually take a loop around the store after picking out the items I made the trip for. I watch for what’s on sale for more than 40% off (since it would be a greater discount than a coupon could typically get me). Or, if the items I’m already buying are on sale, I look for a full priced item that I’d like to use my 40% off coupon for. It seems like whenever I need to buy fabric, it’s already on sale for a discount less than the coupon would get me. So when I see a fabric I like for full price, I’ll buy some and enjoy using my 40% off coupon knowing I’m getting it cheaper than I usually do when I’m intentionally looking for it. This is also when I’ll randomly buy a bottle of Mod Podge, a package of hot glue sticks, or a spool of ribbon.

--Hit up thrift stores. You can get some great deals on craft supplies at thrift stores. I’ll walk through Goodwill and look for wreath forms. Typically, they charge more for a wreath form than the Dollar Tree does. But if that wreath happens to be tagged with the color of the day, I figure a twenty-five cent saving is worth while. I buy wreath forms even when I don’t have plans for making a wreath. You never know when you’ll get the wreath bug. My St. Vinnie’s is great for zippers and bias tape. I can get zippers for $0.49 and bias tape for $0.65, possibly discounted more depending on the color of their price tag. I love that I now have a collection of zippers. I’ve used thrift store zippers on 3 different projects now. A thrift store zipper is also saving the day right now—I picked up the wrong kind of zipper when I bought the supplies for the jacket I’m making, but happened to have the correct kind (just in black instead of gray) in my collection.

--Be organized. Nothing kills my urge to create faster than having to search for a necessary supply. I know that the amount of crafting supplies you can keep on hand is dependent on how much space you have in your home, but it the more organized you are, the less space you’ll take up. Have your items put away with similar items so you aren’t having to go searching. I keep zippers, velcro and elastic in a tub. Bias tape, loose ribbons and ric-rac are in a basket. Wreath forms and other specifically crafting items are in a rubber made drawer in a dresser. All my paint and paint brushes are in a rubber made tub. And my hot glue gun is pretty much always sitting at the end of the counter in my kitchen.

2011-03-23 002  2011-03-23 008
(Having all my threads and buttons visible and accessible is wonderful!)

Following these four tips means I can get the itch to craft, see some inspiration and then make a 5 minute sweep through the house before starting on my project. That’s so much better than making a shopping list (or not making one and then forgetting things), checking the budget to make sure I have the money to shop, loading Jace in the car, driving across town, shopping (with a potentially volatile toddler), driving back home, and then realizing I just don’t have the time to craft.

A few cautions for you with this, though:

Be careful not to hoard. I go through waves where I keep buying items even when I don’t need to anymore. Make sure that you accumulate actual usable products, and then use them. Don’t just keep collecting more and more of the same items. One bottle, maybe two, of Mod Podge on hand is really all you need. There are only so many yards of every type and color of fabric that you need at one time.

Go slowly. The whole point of this is to gradually build your crafting supply. Don’t think that you need to get a stockpile established by a certain time. Enjoy adding to your collection bit by bit, and restock it as needed.

How about you? What helps you get your craft on?

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  1. Hey I know this has nothing to do with your crafting tips but I love your hair cut. :) I love crafting too but I have noticed your hair cut and I was wondering how you styled it and what texture your hair is. Sounds crazy but most of the time I can not pull off some of the cute cuts I see because my hair is very fine, so I was just wondering if yours was super thick or if it might work for me. Thanks

  2. Oh should have added which one :) the way you have it curled up in the pic of the shirts you made 3 ways


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