The Funny Thing About YouTube…

Hi friends, I debated whether or not to post this video on my blog because it has more to do with my youtube channel than anything (and how social media manipulates you to stay on their platform longer.) I decided to go ahead and post it because even though you guys probably follow my blog (if you don’t there is a handy subscribe button in the upper left-hand sidebar, it’s free) so you likely get notifications in your WordPress reader or an email when I post a new project. I am SOOOOOOOO grateful to all of my blog subscribers because you trust me enough to invite me into your email inbox:) With my blog, I can reach the people who opt-in to get emails. If you subscribe on YouTube or Facebook (I love those subscribers too!) you may or may not see my posts. I have no control over it. Social media platforms are going to push certain posts to you based on how they want you to behave. I’ll explain why in today’s video. If you have noticed that you are not seeing some of your favorite crafty people on YouTube or other Social Media platforms lately this is probably why.

***This is not a tutorial***

I feel like the art and craft community has been hit lately due to YouTubes shenanigans. I found I was missing videos from some of my favorite creators as well. Most of these creators don’t have a blog audience to reach out to but I am sure we share some subscribers audience so be sure and check up on your faves, you might have missed some good stuff!

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You Could Sell That, but do You Want to?

Hi friends, do you ever feel like you need a reason to make something? I had been feeling like it was a wasted effort to create something just for me. I thought I was alone in feeling this until I read this article and I realized that I was not the only one feeling this way and with the popularity of social media the need for approval of our creations has gotten in the way of us creating just for fun. Have a listen to the video and let me know what you think in the comments below.

It seems like in this age of the side hustle “having a hobby” is not good enough. We need to pressure ourselves into making a living from it. I know I have encouraged thousands of people to turn their passion into profit and while there is nothing wrong with that you should have something that is just for you that you don’t have to feel obligated to share if you don’t want to.

It’s like the food blogger who creates beautiful meals but they never get to eat a hot meal because it’s cold by the time they have photographed it. You deserve to enjoy your hobby, that’s why we have them. If you find yourself feeling that your art isn’t good enough unless it sells or gets 100 likes on Instagram it might be time to step back.

True honesty here, I totally need to practice what I preach! It’s hard to grow when everything you do is being watched and judged, that’s why it’s important to have that private creative time. It’s also important not to equate sales and likes with your self-worth. You can forget what you even like anymore when the approval of others guide your creativity. Take a bit of quiet time to doodle in a sketchbook or work on a painting that you want to make, art doesn’t need a practical reason. The personal fulfillment and enjoyment are enough.

I hope this little rant was helpful to you:) Happy crafting!

Got Cabin Fever? No Creative Mojo? Try Frictionless Crafting!

Hi friends! As I write this it’s snowing and already we have about 6 new inches of snow atop what we already had. It’s pretty, I’ll give it that but come March I am pretty stick of cold weather and being stuck inside. Short day and cold temps can have you feeling tired and unmotivated. In today’s video I’ll try to help you overcome it!

It occurred to me that many times when I was lazing on the couch watching TV that I would much rather be creating. Instead I might scroll through my phone hoping to be inspired or start the next episode of a show I am watching. Why am I spending my doing these passive activities when I really want to go make something. The reason is simple. These actions are frictionless.

To start a new project I need to leave the room, think of an idea of what to make, gather supplies, clear a space to work, make the thing and then clean up afterward. It can seem much more appealing to stay put and keep scrolling but you can engineer your crafty time to be more frictionless. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and yes, even YouTube have engineered their platforms to be easy to use and consume more and more. The good news is that you can apply this trick to your crafting!

Overcoming our own blahs…

Complaint: I’m too tired to get off the couch and start a project.

Solution: Keep a portable project kit next to the couch. It can be a knit/crochet project, stamped images and coloring tools, a small set of watercolors or watercolor pencils and a waterbrush and sketchbook or even a subscription box if you have any. That what you can create and not miss an episode of Friends!

Complaint: I don’t know what to make!

Solution: The next time you are scrolling Instagram and a project looks fun stop and go to your supply closet and see if you have the stuff to make it, pull those supplies and save the inspiration photo for reference. Then your workspace will be set up when you have the time to create.
Tip: A great time to pull materials is when you have a 15 minute gap of time like you are preheating an oven or waiting to put laundry in the dryer. Use those “too small to do anything” scraps of time.

Complaint: I hate looking at the white canvas, I don’t know where to start.

Solution: Find a photo of something you want to paint and draw (or trace) it on your canvas. It will be more fun when you return to it if the drawing is done and your materials are laid out.

Basically you are removing as much friction between you and starting that project. You can do it! Think about how easy it is to go on amazon and order craft supplies. It’s frictionless. *Tip, I remove my payment info from my account so if I want to order I have to go find my credit card, see it works both ways LOL! I hope this video inspires you to create today and til next time happy crafting!

Look what I found when doing my taxes!

Hi friends! I was preparing all of my paperwork to send to my accountant the other day and came across a rather long receipt from a craft store! I couldn’t believe the amount of items on that slip and then I looked at the date. It was a month before I started my big declutter based on the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up two years ago. After recovering from the shock I had a good laugh and thought I’d share the mindset change I have experienced over the past 2 years.

Hey, we all change, make mistakes, learn and grow. I still get the twitch to buy new things and sometimes they are great and sometimes they are a bummer but I make sure I am going to actually use or try out the products I allow into my life. I also think I am better at predicting the amount of supplies I can use up in a reasonable time now than I usd to be. That said I have certain “price points” in my head that if I see a staple supple (like Arches watercolor paper for instance) drop below the cheapest price I have ever paid ($2.50 a 22×30 #140 sheet) I will stock up knowing that I will eventually use it if I have room in my long-term storage file. I do have that limit because it is not a good deal if it is more than I can maintain and it ends up getting damaged.

It is a struggle for me because on one hand I love having a variety of supplies on hand but on the other hand I like a clean space and I get overwhelmed by too many choices. I also think everyone’s “overwhelm vs inspire” point if different, I used to thrive in the mess  but now it paralyzes me. Some people are better at keeping more plates (or supplies) spinning at once and that’s OK too. Don’t feel like you need to get rid of your things if you enjoy them but also don’t feel like you must keep them if they were a mistake to buy. You already paid for that mistake once, don’t keep paying for it. I am not a minimalist. I think that’s why I like Mari Kondo’s book so much, there was no recommend amount of things. If you like it, if it “sparks joy” you keep it. For me focusing on what to keep helped. I know some of you are really sick about hearing about the Konmari method, with the new Netfilx show and everyone either jumping on the bandwagon or rebelling against it so it can be a drag. You do you. I only want you to be creative and enjoy your art & craft time.

Don’t feel bad that you have supplies, use them and find the joy in creativity! Happy crafting!

My #1 Art Tip!

Hi friends!  Want to improve your art? The way is simple, I’ll explain in today’s video!

So the next time you feel like you are afraid that you will ruin a painting go for it anyway. You succeed or you learn! Don’t get stuck in a rut. Art is here to bring you joy and growth is the way to happiness and the way to avoid burnout in your hobby.

Just a reminder, if you feel like you want some help along the way with feedback on your current art projects check out Critique Club. I give personalized feedback on your paintings and you get two real-time tutorials per month in the group. Click here to learn more or sign up!

Happy crafting!

Thoughts on Keeping Cards…

 

Hi friends! I like making cards. I see it as a positive hobby where the fruits of your labor can be enjoyed twice: You get enjoyment making it and then you get joy sending it and another person get’s joy receiving it. I guess that’s 3 times! Many of us have expectations for our cards beyond those 3 joys and that’s what I am talking about today. BTW if you ever get a card from me you have my blessing to discard it whenever you like;)

Don’t let your {or others) expectations dim your light or tarnish your hobby. Make and send cards because that’s why you bought the supplies to begin with and til next time happy crafting!

Have you ever got sick of your hobby?

Hi friends! I apologise for not having a sketchbook Sunday for you today. We celebrate Christmas and we are hosting Christmas Eve this year and traveling on Christmas Day so we have a lot of prep to do today. In addition to store-bought gifts I have been working on secret handmade things as well so even though I am creating like crazy I can’t share the results yet;) This video was made in response too an epiphany while I was working on my yearly scrapbook calendar I make for my parents each year. I used to scrapbook all the time and I really enjoyed it. As I was fighting with my printer that decided to no longer accept heavyweight photo paper and searching the far corners of my computer and phone (my kids phones and facebook friends photos) for enough 2018 photos to fill the 12 page calendar scrapbook I longed for the day when we had one device that took pictures and then we picked up the stack of photos, such as they were, at the photo lab. There wasn’t the endless amount of options for taking photos, editing, enlarging, and printing. What we had was “good enough” and it was certainly a lot more efficient and fun!

As I was working on selecting, resizing and editing my photos I was listening to a “best products” of 2018 video and they were talking about a new tool that was just the same as another tool we all have and have been using for years but it had a different grip and color so it was so worth adding to out hoard and it hit me! This is what has been bugging me about cardmaking!

  • The same tools and products rebranded as “new”
  • Super specific “life changing” tools and supplies that do only 1 thing (non-versatile) that you need to store, find and remember what you bought it for. These items take up space and take longer to find and use than any time they are theoretically supposed to save.
  • Constant churn of supply releases. New stamps released every month only to be discontinued the next moth so people feel like you need to get it while you can. I reminds me of fast fashion. Rubber stamps are designed to pretty much last forever but many people (myself included) have stamps that have only been used once and some that have never met an ink pad!
  • Slightly different versions of the same thing such as nesting frame dies with stitching, double stitching, wavy stitching, (stitching holes) changes up year upon year so you never quite feel “on trend” and the collector aspect of the hobby makes you feel like you should add each new version to your stash. There is also “full set syndrome” where you feel the need to own every color in a product line or every peice of a collection.

The #1 thing that annoys me though is the planned obsolescence of items that can theoretically last forever. If I buy a stamp (I really like stamps!) and use it on a project to share with you and then you can’t find it because it has been discontinued you might get upset with me that you can’t find it so I feel bad using the older stuff but on the other hand I like the stuff I already have more than many of the new things and I also think you can substitute images and supplies for what you have and prefer, otherwise all our cards will look the same and what fun is that?  I will discuss that and more in today’s video.

What do you think? Have you been feeling the same thing? I have to admit I also felt a bit horrified that I could be contributing to this feeling in others by reviewing products and in my tutorials. If I have made you feel overwhelmed instead of inspired I apologise. Please know that the work you make is enough. You are enough. Sometimes I feel that companies market on the premise that you are missing out and who you are and what you have is not good enough but let me set the record straight. You are enough. No stamp, die or watercolor set will make you a better artist. It is within you and anyone who makes you doubt that is wrong. Hobbies are meant to enjoy, art is there to inspire and taking part in these activities should foster a sense of growth and challenge yourself to improve and gain mastery and satisfaction. Shopping and collecting can be fun, no doubt, and as makers we see the potential in everything. In an age where it is so easy to add to our stash we must be vigilant to make sure it does not subtract from out creativity. Did any of this make sense to you? Maybe I am the only one who has had these feelings lately and if so it’s probably good because I don’t want others to be overwhelmed but if you were feeling like this I hope it helped. Happy crafting!

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