A Minimalist Craft Haul???

Hi friends! As you know I have been on a massive declutter of my home and craft room over the past 6 months. It has been life changing to say the least. I have accomplished so many things that I have not had time to do before (such as creating my first watercolor course ) because I am not overwhelmed with so much needless stuff stealing my attention. Up until now I have managed to resist shopping, I was never a big shopper before, and the only “new” stuff that had entered my craft room has been supplied from clients for freelance projects. So last week when my friend Kathy asked me if I was going to check out the big sale at Joann Fabrics (there was a 40% off your total regular price purchase coupon) I was conflicted. I didn’t want to go back to my old hoarding ways but I actually needed a pack of thin black cardstock as I had used up my stash and even all of my scraps so I decided to take her up on the offer. Did I fall off the wagon? Find out in today’s video!

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Hooray, not only did I not fall off the wagon I was able to find the two things I actually needed! I valued the experience of shopping with my best friend and that was enough, I did not need to come home with a car full of bargains to justify the trip into town. I feel like decluttering has given me a whole change in mindset and I credit the Konmari method for this. If you want to learn more about how I used the Konmari method from the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up to declutter my craft room you can see the blog post and video here. The reason it worked for me I think is because you gather up all of your possessions by category on the floor in a pile and pick each thing up and ask yourself “does this spark joy” if yes you keep it, if not you get rid of it. I used to think it was the “joy” that made the method work but now I think it is the fact that you confront the big pile of abundance. I think I used to hoard supplies because I felt a scarcity. “What if I use it up and can’t get any more?” “What if it becomes really expensive and I can’t afford to buy more?” “What if zombies take over and all the craft stores go out of business?” This exercise, while it may seem silly or unnecessary, showed me that I had an over abundance to share and after getting rid of what I did I still have plenty. I have plenty and I am content. This thinking about a future of scarcity also leads us to be anxious. You should totally plan for the future but don’t obsess about it, besides our future will be more secure if we have more money in the bank and less crap in our house to trip over.

Tips to avoid over buying (from a gal who used to love stocking up on bargains “just in case”)

  1. Don’t look at the price. Look at the item you are considering buying, determine how much value it will add to your life. Look at the “real cost” of the item (the real cost is the price of the item plus the maintenance and storage) and determine if it is worth adding to your life and then look at the price and see if it is worth the cost. *BTW if you did not know this item existed before you saw it in the store you probably don’t need it.
  2. Determine how much you can actually use. I will stock up on some items I know I will use, If I see a great buy on Arches watercolor paper and I have room in my under bed paper storage I will snag it but you need to make sure it is something you will use up. Also factor in the savings vs losing that storage space until you use it up. In many cases the storage space is more valuable than the item over time. *This was the hardest issue for me because I used to teach art full-time professionally so I was always looking to stretch a supply budget.
  3. Where everyone else is getting the hot new product and you are feeling caught up in the “gottahaveits!” ask yourself if this new thing just duplicates something I already have (do I need the Gelatos, Prima Oil pastels and Distress Crayons or can I make do with one?) Look at stamp and paper designs this way too, every year there are new cupcake, butterfly and botanical stamps coming out. Are you buying the same things over and over? Make sure your new purchases are really adding value to your stash and perhaps weed out the duplicates.
  4. Ask yourself “Why do I want this?” Think about the things that we didn’t even know existed and then Bam! we want them. If you have trouble with this you can unsubscribe from sales emails and place the catalogs right in the recycle bin as soon as they come to avoid temptation. Don’t worry, theses products will still exist in the future if you need them.
  5. The next time you are tempted to shop play with the supplies you already have. The real joy is in the creating, not the acquiring.

I hope I don’t sound like a buzz kill. I totally know the “high” of finding fun new art supplies and getting a screaming deal but you can replace that high with the high of creating awesome stuff with the supplies you have and the thrill of using something up. I used to be afraid of using something up (what if I can’t get it again) but there are always more and newer things we desire and if you do use something up you can get something else and enjoy a cleaner home in the meantime! We worry about “wasting” our supplies but the real waste is letting them sit on a shelf unused gathering dust, we buy these things to use them, not to have them so go and make a beautiful mess already! That’s what I am going to do today:) Happy crafting!

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STUFF: What to Keep, Buy or Declutter from Your Life {My 4 “H” Method}

Hi friends!  I have been decluttering my home for 6 months and it’s no surprise my craft area was (and still is) the most thing-dense area. I must say that I have a more reasonable amount of things and it really feels good to pass on some of my hoard to schools, friends and the thrift shops. Today I want to talk about the things we keep. The things that add value to our lives. The things that make us happier, smarter and more secure (and I’m not talking about the false sense of security of all of the “just in case” back up stuff (I think that actually causes us more anxiety.) I believe in investing our time and money in what I call the 4 “H”s: Head, Heart, Health and Home. Fore more on that please watch (or listen to while you do something else like craft, declutter or paint) today’s video.

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It can be painful to part with things especially if we think about what they cost but by focusing on investing in the things that matter most it can make letting go of things that are not serving us easier.

My 4 “H”s of Investment

All of your possessions require an investment. You have to pay for them, maintain them, clean them, store them, put batteries in them, feed them and think about them. Paying for the things we own does not end when we get them home so we need to make wise choices about how they might affect us long-term. Before buying ask yourself if it benefits your…

  • Head: Education, learning something new, taking a class, reading a book (you can then pass the book on because the knowledge is in your head!) Learning a new hobby or perfecting it also helps your brain so if you are using those hobby supplies then keep them! They are likely to put you in a good mood as well.
  • Heart: Friendships & family.  A board game that you get joy from playing with your family is a keeper! So is a table with plenty of chairs for your friends. Does this object nurture your relationships? If so it is a good investment to buy or keep.
  • Health: Does this make you more healthy, a yoga mat you use everyday is worth a place in your home but the dumbbells gathering dust iare not.
  • Home: Keeping tools or other items that you use to maintain your home is a great investment, a house appreciates in value if taken care of so invest time there. Discard things that do not add value to your life and clutter up your home. A house full of clutter can make you sick as well because it can be so hard to clean and dust everything, you could even get mice or bugs which can make you sick.

My husband got me the book “Goodbye Things” by Fumio Sasaki and I loved it. It is a bit herky-jerky to read in the beginning but smooths out. I’ve also listened to some of the audiobook while I was working on a project. I love how the advice is practical and the 50 tips/chapters were punchy and short so I could read one, get inspired and tackle another project and at the end of the book is a recap of the chapters in list form to jog your memory. As much as I LOVED “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo I think Goodbye Things is a bit more practical. The author was a hoarder who changed his ways whereas Marie Kondo was always a minimalist. It’s good to see different points of view. For me the “does it spark joy” was a great place to start (I’m referencing the“Life Changing” book) but now I am realizing that I like a lot of things and it is not enough of a reason to keep or buy something. Imagine going to the craft store and buying everything that “sparked joy” LOL! I’d need a bigger house and fatter wallet and in the end I’m sure I wouldn’t be a lick happier. Now I can like things but store them at the store OR like something I have but give it to someone who can use it more than I will. I’m not perfect, I still have more than I need but I am finally feeling the sense of peace and balance I have been craving. I hope you got some value out of this vlog today. I will have fun batch of cards tutorial for you tomorrow, til then happy crafting!

 

10 Back To School Shopping Tips! {For Parents & Teachers!}

Hi friends!  Even before I had kids I would hit the back to school supply sales to stock up my own art room. Today I will share my money-saving tips to get your kids or classroom ready for the new school year!

Desk with school supplies. Studio shot on wooden background.

Watch the video to see what I recommend!

Top 10 tips!
1. Wait for the supply list from your teacher. There is no point buying things you don’t need or can’t use (no matter how good the deal is!)

2. Clear out old supplies first and determine what you have. You may still have plenty of pens, post it note and highlighters from last year that need to be used up. If you have old book bags and backpacks that you are not going to use this year but are still in great shape pass them along, same goes for outgrown sports equipment or winter gear. Those soccer cleats that no longer fit could be put to good use by another child!

3. Go refillable! My kids love mechanical pencils and you can get a few decent refillable pencils (I like these side advance ones from Dollar Tree and you get 4 for $1) and have them keep a box of refill leads in their pencil pouch to save space and trips to the store. These are the refill leads I buy. I also like to use these clear refill tapes in my desktop tape dispensers, they are very good quality.

4. If you want the best prices on consumables like glue sticks, crayons, markers and notebooks check out the back to school sales at Target, Walmart, Kmart and Staples. These “loss leaders” are designed to lure folks into the shop there but there is no law that you need to buy anything else if you don’t need it. I would stock up on these sales every year when I owned an art teaching studio.

5. Remember though that the Dollar Tree has the above items for a dollar every day so you can always “store it at the store” which might be more practical if you are just buying supplies for your own children.

6. If you need a large quantity of things like baskets and bins check out the Dollar Tree online. Our local dollar trees sell out of the good stuff quickly and they rarely have to cute colors that I see in haul and organization videos so if you are outfitting your classroom or craft room ordering the bulk supplies online will save you the hassle of going store to store in search of enough of one item.  *I think they might be out of the book bins online as I could not find them today but they were there last week 😦

7. Buy quality and buy it once! It is inconvenient to have to replace a backpack or binder halfway through the year and often times it would just be cheaper to but a quality item the first time around. I am a big fan of the zip up Case-It binders, they last really well and the one time the binder broke before that school year was done to company replaced it no questions asked. They earned my business that day! Just make sure to keep your receipt for warranty purposes or purchase it on Amazon like I did and you can access your receipt in the future if needed.

8. Make sure if you are buying a backpack that it fits everything you plan to carry. If you want to make sure it fits your binder and lunch box then bring it with you or measure it. Again, it is no bargain if it does not do the job you are buying it for.

9. Let kids pick out some supplies like binders, backpack and notebooks. They will be more excited for school if they get to choose! They can also customize their notebooks and binders with pattern duct & washi tapes and decorative paper. I used to LOVE turning old cardboard boxes and tubes into cute desktop stationary organisers and it is a fun project you can do with your child or hand over the supplies and let them go to town!

10. Find out what your kid’s classroom needs and grab a few extra if you can. Wet wipes, tissues and hand sanitizer and welcomed by most teachers who often end up purchasing these items out-of-pocket. I find the best deals on Clorox wipes are at Sams Club (there are so few in a tub of Dollar Tree wipes it is no bargain and you have the leftover tubes to recycle when done, they are a good size to keep in the car for travel clean up tho) and Amazon has the best deal on Lysol wipes. I don’t have a preference myself.

Do you have any tips to share? Let me know in the comments! If you enjoyed this blog post please consider pinning it on Pinterest or sharing it on your favorite social media! I;ll have a fun cardmaking tutorial fro you tomorrow, til then, happy crafting!

*This post contains affiliate links to Amazon and Dollar Tree.

5 Crafty Things I No Longer Buy {Konmari Craft Room Series}

Mistakes? I’ve made a few, especially in the crafting department.  Today I am talking about the craft supplies that I will no longer be buying because they do not add value to my life or I have other items that fulfill the same purpose. Let me know if you have items you no longer buying the comments below!

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I am dropping some truth in today’s video. Please note that this is my list and some of the things I am no longer buying may add value to your life so don’t discard based on my list, you do you. We are all different and that’s why we should never just go buy what someone else likes without determining if it will meet our needs. I’d love to know if there are any items you will no longer by in the comments below!

Video!

Below are the items on my no-buy list.

1. Bulk card and envelope sets and bulk cardstock packs.
Why? Because the cards that come with envelopes are flimsy and I prefer to make my own card based with Recollections 110# cardstock and make my envelopes from the massive hoard of pretty paper I already have using my envelope punch board.  As for the multi color cardstock packs I have a good stash of colors already so I am just going to buy a few sheets of the colors I need open stock when I run out. *Note to self I need to keep a list on my cardstock cupboard!

2. Dies that match stamp sets. These are just to specific and can only cut the stamp sets they coordinate with and at $25 a pop it can get really expensive to buy dies to go with your stamp sets. Instead I invested in a Scan n Cut2 machine so I can cut out anything I have stamped. I paid $250 for my machine (on black Friday) and I can cut out all of my stamp sets (for the same cost as 10 die sets!) *this machine can hook to your computer and do a lot more but I only use mine for scanning and cutting stamped images:)

3. Ribbon: I have enough ribbon to choke a horse as it is and I felt so much relief when I gave most of it away and I do not want to reburden myself with more. Also I can use washi tape or a strip of paper to give me a similar design element if I run out.

4. Craft storage. I have enough and if I need to buy more it is time to get rid of my excess. More craft storage=more craft supplies.

5. Duplicates of non consumables. I will no longer buy 15 of an identical tool “just in case” I need it for a class or I loose, break, can’t find my original one.

What items will you no longer buy?

I set out to declutter my craftroom (home and life) after listening to the audio book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo and it changed the way I look at my possessions and helped me clean out the excess. I have more time to spend on things I enjoy because I spend less time managing my stuff and less time cleaning.You can find the book or audiobook here. I also enjoyed her book Spark Joy, it is a more in-depth book on the Konmari method. I wrote a blog post and filmed an in-depth video about the Konmari decluttering process if you missed it. I only wished I did it sooner! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

2 questions to ask if you are stuck on decluttering.

Hi freinds! In today’s video I want to help you tackle those tricky items in your crafty stash that don’t really bring you joy but they are still perfectly good and you might need them someday….

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…those “someday” items are the worst! 🙂 Watch the video to see how I handle these things!

If you are stuck trying to decide wether or not to get rid of a craft item ask yourself these two questions:

1. Is there something else I can use in place of this item if I discard it? (Do you have another dual purpose item that will make do?)

2. What is the worst thing that can happen if I get rid of this?

Those two questions helped me decide on some of the more tricky items in my craft room and I hope it will help you. I listened to the audio book “The Life Changing Magic of Tiding Up” by Marie Kondo and it changed the way I look at my possessions and helped me clean out the excess. I have more time to spend on things I enjoy because I spend less time managing my stuff and less time cleaning. I also enjoyed her book Spark Joy, it is a more in depth book on the Konmari method. For me, focusing on what I was keeping, not getting rid of make the whole decluttering process feel positive and less scary because when we focus on discarding things we can feel an overwhelming sense of scarcity and it makes us want to hold tighter to our possessions for comfort I think.

These 2 questions might not solve it for you though. I read through your YouTube comments after the video went live last night and I heard a common refrain (a refrain that echoed in my own head) “I have these supplies because they were part of my craft business that I no longer do, why can’t I let them go? I no longer want to pursue this, why is it so hard?” I am paraphrasing of course but there were several folks in the same predicament. Honey, I hear you! In this case it is not only the things we are giving up, we are giving up on that person we wanted to become at one time. Maybe you have supplies to make crafts that did not sell or maybe the crafts sold fine but you decided that crafting for profit wasn’t for you. You might look at these items with regret, you made a mistake and might even feel ashamed to have them. Well, keeping something that brings out such negative feelings should definitely go! Maybe you have supplies from a past livelihood (this would be me with teaching and framing supplies) and you are afraid to let them go because they are your “fall back” occupations and if your current business fails you know that old trade will sustain you. We put so much weight on our things, we can see them as a reflection of us, like a negative status symbol, reminding us of that time we totally blew it or made a big mistake. Well you know what, you already paid for that mistake once and that is enough. I plan on doing a future video on this topic and I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below. Please be kind to yourself. It’s OK if you still can’t decide to keep or get rid of something. There is nobody judging you except yourself. Try to be as kind to yourself as you would to a friend in the same situation, you deserve that. Take care and happy crafting:)

 

 

 

How I spent my winter vacation…

Hi friends! I am officially back and Mother Nature has welcomed us with a couple of feet of snow. So. Much. Snow. Well, it is pretty and luckily many business closed today so people could stay safe at home, they even pulled plow trucks off the roads for a few hours because it was too snowy to plow safely! When I joked from the Bahamas (on Instagram) that I hoped Maine would save me some snow when I got back I dd not expect 2+ feet of it! I hope everyone in the path of the blizzard is safe and sound, check on your neighbors and reach out for help if you need it. The kids and I did some shoveling this afternoon so hubby could get in the driveway after work and thank goodness for those kids, there is no way I could have done it alone. You don’t realize how out of shape you are until you have to shovel snow. I really think snowbirds have the right idea! As you might know our family took our first big “fly someplace far away” vacation last week. It was the perfect time to get away and we went to the Bahamas.

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It was a wonderful trip! Lots of relaxing and plenty to do. I took the opportunity to paint some scenes while I was there and I will share the watercolor sketches in today’s video.

I posted some of my sketches and travel pics on my Instagram in you want to check it out. I like to post behind the scenes stuff and work in progress on Instagram so if you like that sort of thing you can follow me there:) I often post stuff I am thinking about doing tutorials on to get feedback too so feel free to let me know if you want a tutorial of any of the sketches from my vacation. In addition to helping me remember the details of places I have been I also find painting on location helpful with my travel anxiety, having that one familiar thing to spend my nervous energy on helps me relax. Don’t worry about being perfect or precise when sketching on location, nobody is going to judge you and people who come up to you are generally curious and friendly. I got some questions about what I brought to create with and what you can bring on planes and I did this quick video for HGMM before I left explaining this travel set up. Unfortunately I lost my sharpie as soon as I got there (I let me kinds use it to label water bottles LOL!) and it would have been really useful to have, at least it wasn’t an expensive pen!

Even though we had a wonderful time and we just got a pile of snow I am still glad to be back home. I mentioned in the video that we used a travel agent and I would share her info if anyone wanted to know, she is a local friend of mine, her name is Amy and her business is First Class Travel. She didn’t ask me to mention her but she was wonderful and made me way less of a stress ball:)  Please let me know if you would like tutorials on any of the vacation sketches and til next time happy crafting!

What is the Difference between Artist & Craft Quality Supplies?

Ever wonder what the difference is between art and craft supplies? Watch the video to find out!

I think that it’s great to shave so many options at different prices, but it is also important you get what you are paying for. Below I will break down when I mentioned in the video and you can decide for yourself what is best for you:)

Artist quality

  • Artist quality supplies are generally made in house by the brand itself. Research and production is handled by the company. This expertise yields top quality products but the overhead makes them more expensive.
  • Also the fine art market is much smaller than the craft market so they have fewer customers to sell to.
  • Most of the countries that product most fine art supplies have stricter laws regarding emissions and other business practices including fair wages and benefits for workers thus making the product cost more. Many fine art products are manufactured in Europe or USA.
  • This quality control and sustainable business practice translates to you being able to replace a tube of paint reliably when it runs out.

Craft supplies

  • Are generally made for craft companies by 3rd party manufactures, often in China, so they can produce a quick to sell product that is on trend. This allows them to get a product to market quickly and efficiently without having to invest in research and development or a factory. The manufacturing facility can make product to their specs and even package them with their branding. This is why sometimes you see several companies come out with nearly identical product in the craft world.
  • Usually refills are not available for these products (but you can always refill with artist quality) and when a trend is over or a products sales decline they stop selling the product and move on to the next thing.
  • These products are priced to sell quickly, often the quality is nice for the price but contain more extenders and fillers as compared to artist quality BUT since they sell to a much bigger customer base you might find you get a better quality for dollar as they do not need as much markup as the artists quality brands need to make.

I don’t think one method is better or worse, pick the product that meets your needs and budget because the one good thing is that there are plenty of options out there! Let me know what YOU think in the comments below! Happy crafting:)

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