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!

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Craft Room Tour & Supply Organization Tips {Collab with Maremi Small Art}

Hi friends! It’s that time of year again. Time to clean up after all of the Christmas crafting and wrapping and get organized for an inspiring new year! I was talking with my friend Marta over at Maremi SmallArt and it turns out we both needed to get out crafty act together so we challenged each other to clean up our spaces and then do a video about it. Her craft space is half of her living room separated by a large shelving unit and mine is in the back corner or my unfinished basement. We both have different amounts of different things and different needs that we have to address so you are sure to find ideas for your craft space in our videos.

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*Feel free to skip this paragraph if you just want to get to the decluttering. If you want to know the nitty-gritty or the “why” that inspired my decluttering journey over the past 2 years read on:)

You may remember about two years ago I embarked on a decluttering journey following the popular Konmari method from the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I needed a change. I was spending so much time on my computer, and making videos and so concerned with social media that my health and well-being suffered. I saw a loss of views online as a personal attack and the harder I pushed on YouTube the worse I felt. I would shop and share what I bought because Haul videos did better than my actual tutorial videos. Don’t get me wrong, I got a high from finding awesome deals and sharing the purchases with you but I started to notice that I forgot about many of the things I bought and only used a fraction of it. I also was stockpiling more than a reasonable amount of my favorites. That book could not have come at a better time for me. I also was suffering from chronic lower back pain made worse by my sedentary lifestyle. I needed to move more and have less. Every time I went into my art studio (a space that used to bring me such joy) I felt oppressed, sad and overwhelmed. I need to deal with the huge amount of stuff I had hoarded and get rid of the stuff weighing me down. You can see the entire process of my Konmari craft room clean up here. Long story short my back started to feel better until I was totally pain-free due to a combination of daily exercise and less time on the computer and I feel refreshed when I enter my craft space instead of oppressed. I also launched my online school and brought my husband into my business. It’s amazing what possibilities appear when you don’t have so much stuff in your way!

And now, on to the tour! You can watch the video below!

And here are some photos! I repurposed and thrifted most of my storage items but if they are still available I will link to them. Affiliate links may be used which provide me with a small commission if you purchase an item at no additional cost to you. Thanks! I did want to mention that Consumer Crafts has a lot of specialty craft storage for less and with coupon code SAVEJAN19 you can save 15-25% and orders over $49 ship free *coupon code good through Monday 1/21/19

***I also wanted to warn you NOT to buy any storage if you are decluttering until AFTER you are done because you will probably have more than enough to suit your needs once you part with things you don’t need.

As you walk into my space to the left is my stamp storage. My wood mounted stamps are on a shelf made of 1×4 pine and then there is a sturdy utility shelf of binders holding stamps in page protectors organized by theme. When I need a stamp I grab the binder for that theme, say “trees” and l can see what I have as easy as flipping through a catalogue. I do no other cataloging of stamps although some people find it handy to have a computerised list.

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I was able to clear over half a shelf of space once I emptied my binders and sorted and got rid of what I knew I would never use again. Some things I had used so much that I was tired of and other things had outgrown their usefulness like excess stamps for children’s themed cards as my children are teens and I rarely make birthday cards for little kids. I kept my absolute faves and passed the rest on. Next to that is a work bench (hollow door on 2 saw horses) where I can sit and work on jewelry. I have a 9 cube storage unit with fabric bins from the dollar tree for yarn and accessories. I had the yarn in 3 huge plastic totes before and I never used it because it was hard to get to. I am hoping to use the novelty yarn on cards and other crafts as well as embellishments on hats and such. If it turns out I don’t use it then it can go next year! Nursing homes and libraries with knitting groups gladly accept donations. My jewelry supplies are also stored here as I sit and work here. My radio and older laptop on top of my jewelry storage for entertainment as I work as I like to have chatter in the background. Under the bench I keep my EdenPure space heater  (No, I don not run it under the bench or leave it plugged in when I am not there. BTW I have tried an oil filled radiator and one of the box style ones and this is by far the best I’ve used.) and 2 plastic carts with shallow drawers that hold tubes of watercolor paint, templates and other supplies.

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Next to that is a chest or drawers with my brushes on top and in the shelf above I have jewelry tools, my YouTube play button I received when I reached 100k subscribers and other decorations and stretched canvases are above. The plastic baskets hold mounted and foam alphabet stamps.

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Next to that is where my large yarn totes used to be. I took a small shelf that was on the jewelry bench and put it where the totes were and my Stampin Up stamps are there. Honestly I didn’t think to go through them but I probably should. I like those sets though because it is easy to grab a set and create without much bother. On that is an advent calendar I repurposed hold buttons and a parts bin of stained glass shards I use to make fused glass pendants, a tub of wooden spools and ink sprays. In other words things I don’t need to be handy. I have a stool if I want to sit at my easel to paint. I was glad to get rid on the bulky totes because now I can put up a 6 foot folding table if friends want to come over and craft!

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Next to that is my die cut area and cutting bench. My paper trimmer and Scor-pal sit on top as they are used daily and next to that is my 12-year-old Big Shot I also use about daily. It is on a computer monitor stand and I keep dollar store white plates I used as palettes stacked under it. I have a bench vice that holds a magnetic dish where I place dies in use so I don’t lose them. My electronic cutters can be pulled down and used on the bench (after removing the trimmer and score board) and my laptop can go on the monitor stand if I am cutting a computer  file. I move the magnetic dish if using my computer there just to be safe. Bulky items are stored below.

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Working your way around my table I have a tower of framing and packaging supplies, then cardstock in a vintage record cabinet. In the cabinet the cardstock is stored in thick, sturdy job ticket holders so the corners don’t get bent.  In the corner a utility shelf with workshop teaching supplies that I keep packed up and ready to take with me (I clean and repack after each workshop so I know everything is in working order) as well as other bulky supplies I do not need to access daily.

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Then you can see the cube units that make up a freestanding “wall” between my husbands workshop and my art space. I also have curtains tacked up to keep his sawdust out. It ain’t fancy but it works. 🙂

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I love how useful these various cubes are for storage. I keep my pencils/crayons in tins by brand and just bring over the tin to my table as needed. All of the things in this open storage gets used regularly and I like seeing where it is so I am reminded to use it. Pattern and specialty paper is also stored here with the exception of mulberry and vellum because that is a bit fragile so they are in closed accordion files on the bottom shelf with my stamp binders. The blue trays hold projects in process. I have watercolor and alcohol markers in a pen display I bought from a scrapbook store going out of business and I have a turnabout from harbor freight to hold daily supplies like blending sponges and adhesives. I have a plastic tower of various paints and mediums, my photo area is on top and the rack under the orange fabric folds larger paper pads and sheets of pastel and drawing paper.

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Under my desk on the side where I usually work I keep supplies I reach for often. I have a cart of shallow plastic drawers that hold ink pads, scraps of white paper for stamping and my pegstamps. I have a trash can and 2 bookshelves with my watercolor palettes, inks and on top of that, full size inkpads and water buckets.

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On the other side of the work table I have my fabric supplies, an iris cart of embellishments, embossing powders (BTW here is the awesome embossing powder technique book I mentioned in the video) and glitters and crates of canvas panels, school supplies and on top scrap papers sorted by color in hanging file folders. Here you can see how my work table is hollow door I painted sitting on top of 2 nine cube units. Fabric bins keep unruly supplies contained and neat.

Lighting and filming

I also wanted to mention that the best part about having my art studio in my unfinished basement is being able to mount all of my lights to the ceiling so nor cords or stands to trip on. I use clip on aluminum shop lights and daylight balanced CFL bulbs so my light is bright and true. My husband rigged up 2 camera mounts over my table that I can film from as well so I do not need to fuss with a tripod for overhead shots.

The video goes in more depth but if I showed you what is in every nook and cranny we’d be here all night! I hope you enjoyed this art workshop tour and I hope you check out Marta’s craft room tour as well. You will get lots of ideas from her space too! Thanks for stopping by and til next time 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!

1 Year Konmari Update & My Personal Rules!

Hi Friends! Last year I decluttered my home (and most notably my over stuffed art studio/craft room) using the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo as a guide. I ended up with a tidy home but there were other unexpected benefits to and that is what I am going to talk about today.

What I appreciate the most about going through this process was the mental clarity, reduction of anxiety and increased self-confidence it gave me. I now have more time because I have less stuff to manage. I have more creativity because the supplies I kept fueled my creativity where as before the excess dampened it. I learned to let go of “fantasy Lindsay” and just be me. I got to admit that just because I wished I liked something didn’t mean I had to like it and just because someone else likes something it doesn’t mean I will. The fact that we are all different is what makes life fun!

The decluttering of my stuff (and my schedule) helped me clarify personal rules which guide how I live my daily life. There is nothing profound here but often it is the small things you do everyday (and not the big things you do once in a while) that have the most impact on your life. As they say how you do anything is how you do everything.
Lindsay’s Rules:
1. Wear shoes (this rule comes from my dad who would often tell his lazy child to “get your feet dressed!” LOL I never feel ready for the day without proper shoes on. The FlyLady echos this rule)

2. Put first things first (This is credited to Stephen Covey from his book the 7 habits of highly effective people. You need to set your priority and focus on it before you get bogged down or distracted by non important tasks)

3. If it’s not a “heck yes!” it’s a no. (I have said yes to projects out of obligation or fear that I would miss out on opportunities if I declined anything but now I say “no” unless I am super excited about another person’s project.)

4. Don’t leave a room empty-handed. (Whenever I leave a room or an area I scan the room to see if anything there belongs where I am going…there is always something LOL!)

5. If it takes less than 5 minutes do it now. (Reply to that email, write that check, mail a birthday card, return a quick phone call. If it needs to be done and takes less than 5 minutes I just do it. This is for actually important things, not for checking Pinterest real quick:)

6. Begin with the end in mind. (Another Stephen Covey gem, before beginning any project visualise the outcome to stay focused and also to determine if the juice is worth the squeeze.)

7. Do something creative each day. (Nuff said.)

8.Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. (Lack of sleep will leave anyone irritable, sad and not at their best plus people who get more sleep live longer.)

9. Sharpen the saw. (S. Covey again here:) Spend some time each week challenging yourself to improve a skill)

1o. Be Lindsay. (This advice come from Gretchen Rubin. Don’t compare yourself to others, you don’t have to like what other people do, you don’t have to do what other people do and you don’t have to want what other people want.)

Here are the books I referenced in the video. I really found value in them and they are popular enough you can probably check them out from your library. In case you want to purchase them I have included amazon affiliate links.

Thanks for spending some time with me today and til next time happy crafting!

The Old Coat…

Last weekend I did a bit of sewing that I didn’t share. Honestly, it wasn’t that interesting to anyone by me but I thought I’d share the story as it might motivate you.

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Twenty years ago I was fairly fresh out of college and working in my chosen field of radio broadcasting making about $5.50 an hour, working odd overnight and early morning airshifts and the odd DJ gig at various bars and roller skating rinks. If it sounds glamorous let me assure you it was! I was being paid in fun and for a 21-year-old you really couldn’t ask for more. I needed a nice winter coat and it had to look smart because working in radio in the 90’s with deregulation and small stations being bought up by larger companies you never knew when you came in for work each day if you would have a job or if your station would have new owners and would have fired everyone. Hence I had to look good for my constant hobby of interviewing for new jobs. I went into TJ Maxx on a mission and found the most beautiful burgundy wool coat that was tailor-made for me it seemed. It was double-breasted, knee-length with a fabulous weight and the perfect color. It was also $60 so I thought long and hard about buying it as it was easily half of my take home pay that week. I bought it and never once regretted that purchase. I rarely carry a purse so my keys would rip holes in the pockets which I mended. I replaced buttons after they gave out from getting caught in the holes of my laundry baskets from my pre house owning trips to the laundromat and later getting caught in shopping carts lifting my kids for cart to car seat. That coat saw me through many adventures.

About 2 years ago I had to face facts, the pockets could no longer be mended and the lining was in tatters. Mending might not be able to cut it this time. Feeling fairly competent I bought a couple of yards of burgundy satin (for $8 at Mardens-a local discoutn fabric store) and a matching spool of thread and decided I would sew a new lining for my coat. Now, I am the type of person who needs to jump in and do a project the moment I get inspired because If I spend to long thinking about it or researching different ways to do it I get overwhelmed. I read too many tutorials, I asked to many proper sewists how they would do it and ultimately I did nothing.  The coat sat in my closet unworn while I grabbed lesser coats to wear outside. Because I felt fat and dumpy in my other coats I didn’t want to go out often in the cold. I didn’t pop into the library to grab a book and chat with the librarian when I was out, I didn’t feel good about myself in those coats so I would simply wait in the car to pick up my kids, heaven forbid if anyone saw me. All that wasted time, even if it was just a few minutes it was wasted.

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As you know over the past year I had held each of my possessions in my hand and asked if they “sparked joy” and my old red coat still made me happy yet I kept those other very “unsparky” coats because I needed something I could actually wear outside (and quite frankly if you are going to do any serious work or play outside in the snow you want a machine washable parka.) Because of undergoing the Konmari method from the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up I had fallen down the rabbit hole of other mindfulness and minimalism bloggers and last Saturday I happened to be reading an article about fast fashion. The article referenced a documentary on Netflix and I had a burst of motivation. I grabbed my sewing kit, beautiful coat and fabric and set to work on mending my coat as I watched the documentary. I started by cutting out the pockets and using them as templates to make new ones out of satin. I sewed them on my machine then hand stitched them in to my coat. I examined the lining which was the most overwhelming task and realized that most of the tears were on seams so I hand stitched the small awkward rips and machine sewed the rest. Turns out it was not as big of a project as I thought! By the end of the hour and a half documentary (which was not that great) I had a fully functional coat! I dug out my Dryell home dry cleaning kit that I haven’t used in over a decade and cleaned my coat (and I was super excited to see they still make Dryell! It is such a fantastic invention!) and it looked fabulous. I realized it had lost a button at some point but I had a matching one in my stash so I stitched that on and it was as good as new. Maybe better than new because the satin I made the pockets from was thicker and sturdier than the original. It also made me glad I didn’t rip out the lining because I think the satin might have been too stiff to work as a lining fabric. Here is my 22-year-old coat as good as new and still my favorite!

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The old saying goes: “They don’t make them like they used to…” and in this case I agree. I had tried on other coats over the years thinking that I could just replace my old beloved red wool coat but the coats I found felt cheap, flimsy and just didn’t feel right or make me feel the way I wanted to in them. I think we often try to buy something because we think it will rekindle the feeling we had when we bought a similar thing. That’s why fast fashion has such popularity, you can buy something new and cheap to replace something old and dull but the novelty soon wears off. I think that the amount of thought you put into a purchase is related to the enjoyment you will get out of it.

I have grown a lot over the past year of decluttering. Two years ago when I bought the fabric and spool of thread to take on this project I thought I was being smart and thrifty. Turns out I already had a spool of thread in the exact color I needed and I only really needed enough fabric to make pockets and not replace the entire lining. I could have done this repair with 1/4 yard of fabric at $1 vs the 2 yards of fabric plus spool of thread for $10. Also I would have actually done the project quickly because I would not have been hung up on what I thought I needed to do instead of what I really needed to do.  Still its way less wasteful and less expensive than buying a new coat of that quality which would cost about $200. I hope this post inspires you to tackle a task you have been meaning to do but overwhelmed by. Do what needs to be done and enjoy life now. It’s usually less work than you think it will be and always worth it because even if you mess up a project you learn something new! What are you going to do today? Let me know in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

Cookin’, Wrappin’, Relaxin’ & Preparing for Snow!

Merry Christmas friends! I have to say that this has been my favorite Christmas season in many years. What was different?  Why was I not a stressed out mess like I usually am this time of year? Well, there are a couple of reasons. For one, my house is less cluttered. Holiday decorations used to stress me out because we were always so rushed and I always meant to declutter before decorating but I would get busy and the kids would want the decorations up so I would go up to the attic and drag down the totes and let them have at it so there would be decorations on top of the everyday clutter. It was a mess. This year I took everything out of the attic. We went through everything, got rid of a lot of things that were shabby and did not hold any sentimental value and put out the stuff we loved. We had 14 totes of christmas decorations and we weeded it down to about 5. I have been enjoying my home decorated for Christmas instead of looking forward the the 26th when I can pack them all away. Why did I live like that?

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I also I decided to get rid of expectations. I would not “panic shop” because I have found that gifts bought in that frame of mind seldom hit the mark. I did most of my gift shopping locally (I used to dread going out in public and shopping but this year I enjoyed it!) I took the time while waiting to pick up my kids from practise to stroll around local stores and choosing gifts that I really felt people could use and love. Let’s face it, four crappy panic gifts to not equal one good gift. I wrapped gifts as I went and never when I was tired or cranky. If I was tired I went to bed whereas in years past I would just brace myself and marathon wrap until it was done. Ironically I never felt done, if I had extra time after wrapping I would go into panic mode thinking I must not have bought enough if I am done wrapping already. This year seeing my kids discard several panic gifts that never got opened helped me see the error of my ways. The biggest change I made was allowing myself enough time to do something instead of cramming every little thing in that I could. Today I cooked some cranberry sauce and baked garlic rolls for Christmas Eve dinner. Old Lindsay would have squeezed in one more DIY gift project before starting to bake and left the house in a wreck to leave for the party only to come home to a stressful mess. I stopped the insanity! Oh, and I think my garlic rolls came out better than before, I can taste the calm! I’m not sure what I taste in the Cranberry sauce…the zesty tang of my new zesty approach to life? It’s a bit tart LOL:)

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This Christmas will be a bit different from every other Christmas as we are getting a foot of snow tomorrow between 3am and 6pm so traveling to my folks for Christmas will be out. I called my mom and asked if we could get together on the 26th instead due to the storm and she said it was fine so for the first time in forever we will hang out at home and take our time opening gifts and lounging around enjoying each others company. I’ll miss spending Christmas Day with my folks but I am looking forward to hanging out with hubby and the kids all day and staying home too! And since we will visit on the 26th it’s like we get to extend the good times!

I think it is funny that something as simple as decluttering my home this year would make such an impact on my life as a whole. I think it helped be to be more present instead of rushing to the next thing. That is why I am enjoying this holiday season more, because I am in the moment. I am setting realistic expectations and pacing myself instead of cramming more in. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate) and a safe and happy New Year! Take care of yourself and til next time happy crafting!

Optimized vs. Maximized: What are you?

Hi friends! I am back today with another minimalist Monday vlog. I know that I can get in the habit of pushing  through things quickly only to pile on more tasks and before we know it our life becomes a treadmill of productivity over balance.  Often it is just busy work tricking us into thinking we are being productive. I’d rather be effective than busy. I’d rather have an optimized live than a maximized one, how about you?

Video!

I’d love to know what you think in the comments below. This year has been a turning point for me and oddly enough it started by decluttering my house using the Konmari method from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I know it won’t work for everyone but I am so thankful for the day that I pressed play on that audio book. It might be a good gift for someone who is struggling with clutter and overwhelm. I used to be maximized and my art studio was proof of that! Do you have any good books to recommend? Let me know in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

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