Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Simplicity.... with Crafts. Is it Possible?

Product Details

I was recently reading a simplicity book (another one... I tend to read them a lot).  This time it is Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson.  I've followed her blog for awhile - it's very informative about creating a life that involves the least amount of trash.  Some things in the Zero Waste Home sound a little bit more complicated for me but overall I like the ideas that spring forth.  I especially like her take on crafts and this quote from her book -

"As I let go of potential/unifinished projects and seldom-used materials, I let go of frustrations and expectations.  I realized that the unused art supplies had been nagging at me.  They were just sitting there, waiting to become something better, something artful, something amazing, something that would allow me to vanquish my fears and exceed my abilities."
                                                                                                ----Bea Johnson, 2013, Zero Waste Home

I completely get where she's coming from.  With all the craft items in the house, there is a pressure that I should be making beautiful artwork or beautiful jewelry or beautiful clothes or beautiful knitted items.  Instead, she goes on to say that creativity can lie elsewhere - in alternatives to buying new things, in alternatives to reusing something, in alternatives to making do with what we have. 

Right now, my crafts are not alternatives to buying new things - they are just other new things, that require time and effort to be made complete.  Sometimes the time and effort is very well worth it because I sincerely enjoy what I am doing and sometimes, it can just be, well, time and effort spent.  What really matters? 

I also love this quote from the book:
"...I believe that the art supplies do not make the artist.  It is not a wealth of supplies that gave van Gogh's work power, but rather his vision and execution."
                                                                                             ----Bea Johnson, 2013, Zero Waste Home

How true! I must remember this when deciding to get every little accessory to feel like I am truly good at a particular craft.  And from this inspiration, I have another thing to get rid of - a box of possible craft supplies, just in case we didn't have them on hand when we wanted to use them.  They've been sitting in the basement untouched for about 2 years  - a box of egg cartons, clean meat styrofoam trays, empty tissue boxes and paper towel rolls.  Adios!      

Thursday, May 9, 2013

More Yarn to Give...

A few posts ago, I wrote about using the good craft supplies, specifically yarn, to make things.   And after writing that, I sifted through all of my yarn to determine how many good supplies I have.  Well, it splits up into one tub of "good" yarn, one of the bigger tubs of acrylic yarn and one of novelty yarn.   "Good" yarn to me means that the yarn is made with a natural fiber or at least part of the yarn is made of a natural yarn and part acrylic.  Novelty yarn - really???  Seriously???  What was I thinking?  I think that all the stores know that novelty yarn just sells by the plain fact that it is so scrumptious to look at.  Because all of us knitters get home and don't have a clue what to do with it. 
I recently learned that my daughter's friend is learning how to knit with a spool.  Her mom said that the daughter was using some all cotton yarn that she found cheap somewhere (isn't that why all Americans tend to buy stuff?) and it wasn't the best to knit with because it didn't stretch very well.  And so I came in with my cape and rescued her from knitting frustrations by giving her some more stretchy yarn, specifically yarn with cotton or wool and acrylic (even out of the "good" bin).  Still very soft but still easier to knit with. 

This is the scary part of being a craft hoarder or any type of hoarder.  This is the just-in-case scenarios that I live for.   I really like being able to supply other people with that little need they have - that one thing that they might not want to purchase or be able to find.  And that's (at least part of) why I keep things. 
So, how do I get rid of that feeling?  How do I let go of that "helper" notion? 

Projects finished: 9
Projects given away: 3+
Weeks: about 14

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Yarn Wreath

Surprisingly (that's a total joke!)  I had all the supplies for this project at home.  In fact, this is the story behind why this is my next craft to complete.  I was putting away our winter comforter in this large box in our basement when I came upon a few random things, one of them a wreath form that I probably bought sometime last year for what reason ????  Not sure.  But now, it is gloriously made into a yarn wreath (not sure what that is?  just google it - some beautiful pictures are out there on the web).  And I found a Christmas gift for one of the boys - good thing their birthdays are coming up!. 

I should also tell about some of the supplies.  Craft supplies are usually my biggest guilty spending pleasure.  Even when they are second hand....
The First Lady "carefree" yarn came from a garage sale - just like the kind that I talked about two posts ago.  A lady down the street died and before her family sold the house, they had a garage sale.  Luckily, I had some of my whits about me at the sale because I only walked out with the white acrylic yarn (look at the label in the first picture - it's so out-of-date!).  I remember there was also a half-finished sweater that I was strongly tempted to buy and for some reason did not.
The felt came from another second-hand sale.  Do you remember the Clean House shows with Niecy Nash on the Style Network?  Unfortunately, our cable dropped the Style Network, so I don't get to enjoy watching them anymore.   I know they are almost all filmed in Califormia.  But, one year, the Clean House Messiest Home was in Cincinnati.  So, the premise is they have a big sale of all the things in the person's house that will not be going back into the house and whatever they make usually goes back into the decorating of the new uncluttered space, except for the Messiest Home episodes where the money all goes to charity.   My mother-in-law and I and my poor little 2 year old daughter, waited for 2 hours to get into the sale, which actually filled up an old Steve and Barry's store.  There were a lot of things - many of which were not even opened!  And that's where I came upon more craft supplies - who doesn't need previously purchased craft sticks and felt?  Well, I'm never one to pass up a good deal.  And now, 4 years later, the felt is finally getting used.
Here it is, the finished project.

 It turned out pretty well.   It's so bright and it makes me happy looking at it.  This is a pretty awesome craft.  Especially considering I had all the supplies at home....  And this is why I'm trying to stay out of craft stores, as much as I like them.

Projects finished: 9
Projects or supplies given away: 2+
Weeks: about 14