Monday Musings #1 – Keeping crafting fun

Hey everyone!

I have been thinking for a while about starting a blog series that is crafting related but something more meaningful than just a card post. After sticking to this hobby for so many years now, I have found that I have a lot of thoughts to share around it that go beyond discussing the latest trends and tools. So I’m starting this series this year to spark discussions.

I have made a few small changes to my blog to enable good discussions on these posts. If you leave a comment or reply to someone else’s comment here, they will automatically get an email and can visit again to comment back. I will get an email for every comment you leave here and I’ll be replying as well. I hope we can all have meaningful discussions and share our thoughts with each other on different topics.

This may or may not be a weekly series but if I have a new post, it’ll always be on a Monday.

With that, I’ll start with the first post of the series…

My Story

This post was inspired by the fact that in the last couple of years I have struggled to strike a balance between crafting, work and family life.

In crafting, I had a long list of goals to achieve – designing for DTs, creating stamps, publishing, blogging more… the list was endless. I felt sad I couldn’t do all of it and sometimes felt even worse when I saw a really good DT or publishing call that I just didn’t have the time to apply for.

I love my work too and enjoy it a lot. I had a long list of things to achieve there as well. I still do. Its a big feeling of accomplishment to tick off something from my list, to build something, to contribute in some way.

And ofcourse I love my family life. This includes time with my husband. We love to travel, cook and do many things together. This also includes time with family and friends. We have a great friends circle and lately I found myself wishing we could meet everyone more often.

I love all three parts of my life and wish I could do all three all the time. But thats an unrealistic thought. I thought I could conquer it with scheduling and discipline. But creativity doesn’t follow a schedule. Many times I’d set aside an hour to finish making cards for a DT assignment and before I knew it the hour was up and no cards yet! Sometimes I’d find I had an idea that I really needed to get on paper fast! Then either sleep or family time would go for a toss because this was usually evenings or late night! It affected my work life too because who can concentrate well on work when you are tired from a marathon crafting session?

Most importantly, crafting started to feel like a chore for me at some point. It was a stressful job with deadlines. There were times when I really wanted to play and try a new technique I saw, but a DT requirement said otherwise. There were times when I wanted to use some particular products but I needed to use others for an assignment. Crafting stopped being fun!

So by the end of 2014 I laid down 3 rules that I have been following for the past 2 months. They have really worked for me and let me strike the balance I wanted between crafting, work and family!

My 3 rules of keeping crafting fun

Rule 1 : You don’t have to do everything

Its ok to pick and choose. Its ok to let go of a publishing call if you feel something else in another part of your life is important. Same with a DT call. There will be other opportunities. You should also be realistic and decide which of the different aspects of crafting you enjoy. For me its designing stamps and creating with my designs. So thats what I focused on. This will automatically free up your time for other parts of your life.

Rule 2 : Don’t be afraid to make your own path

Being on a DT is a lot of fun and I’ve made some really great friendships that way. But don’t forget to choose wisely. Only commit to the DTs and guest design gigs you truly believe in. Don’t let it become a burden for you. Also, don’ be afraid to take charge of your blog and create your own content. Working for yourself is very rewarding. Iron Craft was my biggest success so far and it was incredibly fun and satisfying to work on it because it was my baby from start to finish! I also started making sure I had time to just play and create what I wanted with the tools and products I felt like using at that time. It made a huge difference!

Rule 3 : Stay organized

I know I said before that organizing didn’t really work for creativity but it was still useful to have a schedule in many ways. I couldn’t have done the Iron Craft series, my DT commitments and all the other posts here without some scheduling. I did learn to keep it flexible and allow some wiggle room for creativity. Its important to have a schedule but to also be ready for changes in it.

A thought for the day

I’ll conclude with a thought for the day. A journaling card I designed that sums up this post. I currently have a board in my craft room with this and other such inspirational/reminder cards. Feel free to download and print!

MondayMusing-01

 

Thanks for dropping by! I hope you will leave your thoughts on how you keep crafting fun. Do reply to others comments if they speak to you. Looking forward to a great discussion about this!

19 Comments

  1. Hussena

    I love the thought you posted on the journaling card and so many of your points that you shared here regarding your crafting dilemma echo with me! You are so much more organized with your work and posts and I’m sure that would have helped you in your journey. There’s some lessons that I’ve learnt and few new points I got to learn from here.
    Loved your blog post! 🙂

    Like

    1. Chaitali

      Its a huge struggle to be organized for sure! I have plenty of days when I’m scrambling last minute to put together a post. And plenty of times when I feel like I’d rather be watching TV with my husband or reading a book than crafting. I’m hoping to reduce those moments this year and always pick the thing that makes me happy!

      Like

  2. AngieB

    I love your concluding thought! There are things in life I have to do and many of them don’t make me happy but when it comes to my passion for paper, ink and stamps this is a MUST apply! It’s so incredibly easy to let this passion overwhelm all the areas of my life and it’s so easy to get locked into too many assignments and feel the build up of stress. I too have found that I don’t have time to make mistakes and that is a frustration because that’s how we learn and grow. If the end result has to be “awesome” for a deadline then I have to do the tried and true without experimentation. You have some terrific points for me to ponder.

    I love every moment I spend at my art table. I am always shocked at how much pleasure I derive even when the end result is a flub or disaster!! That always makes me shake my head, how can several hours of work be pleasurable when the end is a huge mess? There’s something about working with paper, coloring mediums, stamps that makes me soar. That doesn’t answer your last question on how I keep it fun, all I know is that it is my favorite place to be!

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    1. Chaitali

      I agree so much about the mistakes! Its so amazing when I have time to sit down and just play with my inks and paper. Sometimes it makes something nice, other times I shut the craft room door and walk away from the mess. I’d love to have more such moments!

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  3. Donna Maligno

    I’m glad you are addressing these problems, Chaitali. Most of us crafters share the same dilemma and wonder how to release ourselves from the quagmire we’ve gotten ourselves into. Letting go is uppermost — deciding on just what it is that makes you happiest and “setting aside” the other things such as being on a design team. As an entrepreneur running my own business, this can sometimes create havoc with my inner muse. I love my bow making tool and the people I have met through its growth. Things are under control with the business, and I’ve learned how to utilize my time wisely with it. This also leaves me with the creative (teaching) side screaming to be let loose. So, the only way to address this is to take the best of both my worlds and work from home and teach from home. I have recently started teaching twice a month from my home using any and all tools and techniques that make me happy and that I love to share with my students. Since hubby is my staunchest supporter, he has started creating little desserts to serve the ladies after class. They absolutely love it and the relaxed atmosphere it creates. Now the girls have started calling and asking if they could bring dessert for a class! I’ve definitely put aside the idea of being on a design team for now as that definitely adds pressure that I don’t need. I have my own design team and know the demands of timetables that I have set forth, so I let them be my creators and show the world what a wonderful tool I have. Lastly, I so love your sentiment about doing what makes you happy. We should all adopt this mantra.

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    1. Chaitali

      Great view Donna! I’ve heard this from other owners of craft businesses too so you are not alone. Its a struggle to balance the business side with your crafty urge!

      Like

  4. mzdjoy

    Love this post. It is spot on! I too need to find some time to just create for the sake of creating. I love the design teams I’m currently on but have promised myself that once these terms are over I will take a break and just create. Happy New Year and I wish you all the best for 2015. I’ll be following you!

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  5. Becca Cruger

    This is such a great, great post. I have to tell you – being a new blogger I am struggling with this right now! All of your tips are very helpful and insightful – especially the one about doing what you want to do!

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    1. Chaitali

      Congrats on taking the plunge into the blogging world Becca! I wish you lots of luck and creativity. Please do remember to do what you want to do! I know how hard it gets when you have so many options and want to do everything.

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  6. Rubeena

    This is really helpful 🙂 I am so new to crafting, I am trying to take it slow. Family, my relationship, friends, school…that comes first. Oh, me as well! haha. I’ve learned a lot and am still playing around with so many techniques…at times it can feel like a chore or a competition but I just remind myself that I want to do it for fun! I love making things, sense of accomplishment at trying something different, and to give to others 🙂 Love all the people I’ve met along the way!!!

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  7. tsurutadesigns

    Great post! I remember when I first started out I applied to any open DT call…live and learn. I’m still learning a bunch of stuff but I agree, only apply to the teams that you’re passionate about.

    I definitely keep myself busy but I’m fortunate to work part time now so that gives me a healthy balance. I generally craft in the morning and typically don’t have the desire to craft any other time. I step away from my desk top computer at 7:30….

    I’m in the process of reorganizing my studio and hope to get it some kind of amazing organized haven…ha.

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    1. Chaitali

      Hehe I remember the “apply to any call” phase. I was afraid I wouldn’t be chosen anywhere. then suddenly I was on 4-5 DTs at a time and it got really tough with a fulltime job! Balance is the key!

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  8. Virginia L.

    AWESOME post, Chaitali! I can’t agree more! I think as long as you enjoy the card-making, anything that comes your way, just embrace it/ or say no….there is no rule! LOL I am still learning every day, too. This year I hope to mail out more cards (including yours!!). Hope that you are happy and content. Looking forward to your new Monday’s post!

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  9. Carol Mc

    Great post. I always say I’m going to be more organized every year.
    Somehow that seems to fall by the wayside. But I am learning to do
    those things which make me happy.

    Like

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