Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One Year Ago... Reassess

I can't believe I started this blog last January.  For some reason, I thought I started it in February (and therefore, had more time).  But it's been a year and where have I been?  I started this with the hopes to significantly dwindle my crafty obsession at this house.  I thought it would be all done through completing crafts but in this past year, I've realized what I can actually accomplish in a year full of other demands vs. what I thought I could do is quite different.  There are only so many hours in each day. 

This is the list that I thought I would finish first... (from the 2nd post)

OK.  Here's the list of UFOs I wrote about getting started on last January:
1)  Half knit hat  - completed in February
2)  Partially knit blanket - completed in April
3)  Crochet rope bracelet (2 of them with beads strung) - half done in February and realized this wasn't going to be my craft
4)  2011 calendar of cards to make - some cut out - completed in February
5)  Wall hanging for my daughter's room - completed in June
6)  Partially crosstitched stocking - working on it now
7)  Linea bag - from a kit - looked at it in disgust and sold it on ebay, even partially completed

                                              Making progress on #8...
It really has been a learning year.  I learned that just because I am home with kids, doesn't mean that I have huge lazy time all day to just craft.  It does take work to take care of kids WELL.  I learned that I don't want to do every craft.  I've learned to step back from all most of those cheaply made craft kits at the hobby stores.  I've learned that I would rather be outside rather than inside doing a craft.  

I think in the end it's all a matter of priorities.  I follow Gretchen Rubin's blog about the Happiness Project.  She talks about 'Being Gretchen'.  Once you realize what makes you happy and what you like, well, of course that leads to a lot of things that you realize you will not be.  I will not be a great sewer, and there are lots of great sewing inspiration that I wish I could do - in that I want the outcome but not the process.  I will not crochet jewelry - and oh, the pictures of crocheted jewelry are so pretty.  There are always limitations in life, as there should be, but sometimes that's hard to hear.  

What about this year?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Clutterfree with Kids...Is it Possible?

A new book is coming out on January 27th and I've gotten a sneak peek of it.

Have you ever checked out Joshua Becker of the blog Becoming Minimalist?  I've been following his blog for quite awhile and have read his books, Simplify and  Inside-Out Simplicity - excellent books I might add.   Depending on where you are in your simplifying journey, one book may work for you more than the other.  Personally, I preferred the Inside-Out Simplicity, for the depth in which it made me think about why I need and want change in my life.  I even referred to Mr. Becker's blog in my very first post.

But today's topic is his newest book, Clutterfree with Kids:  Change your thinking.  Discover new habits.  Free your home.
Click to Enlarge: 1000X895
As you can probably tell from this blog, I'm already on may way with decluttering our house of what's not needed.  But I  constantly feel I need reminders of what this life should be about (and it's not STUFF).  The book has three sections as the title states.

First, its all about 'change your thinking'.  While this section may not have been completely targeted at me, since I already have immersed myself in Simplicity and Minimalism blogs, books, articles, etc. in the last few years, it still was targeted at me, the mostly stay-at-home mom of 3 kids - 7 years and under - who enjoys seeing my kids find joy in new toys and things.
Daily my kids remind me of what's really important in life - just spending time together, helping others, even working hard for a goal.  But it's not fun when we can't do as much fun stuff because we have to spend so much time cleaning stuff up.  This section really discusses how owning less can change your heart and reviews the multiple benefits of less.  I really like the concept of 'The Simple Joy of One.' -(you'll have to read the book to find out more) and about simplicity teaching kids generosity.  My daughter freely gives things to her friends that they might like - she has such a generous heart that I think has been born from asking her to go through her items to find things to give away that she no longer wants or needs since an early age.

The second section is more practical steps to simplifying.  Each chapter is dedicated to an area that involves kids clutter and has a personal story of how freeing this area has affected someone's life in a positive way.  It also poses questions at the end of each chapter to help you go through your stuff and think about what you need.  This was probably not the intention of the book (but more along the lines of the intention of this blog), but the thing that has stuck with me most from this book is this tidbit:
  "Limit your toys too.  Kids will always learn more from example than words."
Really, isn't that the purpose of what I have been trying to do for this past year?  I didn't really think about my stuff in that context before.  But all the craft kits, yarn, beads, books, even my oboe from high school - aren't these all my toys?  And if that's so - I may have more toys than all 3 kids combined.  Those are the things I 'play with' to have fun.  Really, what are the kids learning from me?  I don't want to think that they need to have one type of every toy (like all my variety of craft kits).  I don't want them to think that they need to be good at everything (like I think I should be good at all types of crafting - still having a hard time with the concept that I'm not going to be a good sewer.)  I don't want them to think that because they enjoy doing something now, that they have to enjoy it for a lifetime (which explains me keeping my oboe that hasn't really been played for over 10 years, because I really just don't enjoy it as I once did). 
It's a lot of food for thought - and I took some action (as you can see from the last post).

And the last section - 'Free Your Life' - which talks about where living clutterfree can lead if you can keep it up (and how to overcome some of those obstacles - teenagers, reluctant partners, consumeritstic culture, and comparing).  It also has a section of becoming a one-income family - which is quite relevant to my family.  I quit work after becoming pregnant with my 3rd.  In some ways, we were always a one-income family - we went from me working full-time and my husband going to school full-time to him working full-time and me staying home with the kids, but I still find it hard that with a master's degree, my life is now judged on how well I keep the house clean.  Joshua writes this:
 "Find an outlet for service........   Just because you have decided to stay at home does not mean you resigned from using your gifts to change the world."
How true!  Something I'd like to work on more and will have more time to do once this place is clutterfree!

This book really is all around a great book for parents who want to live their lives differently and enjoy their time with their kids rather than be consumed from the everyday pressures of what this world wants to feed us that our lives should be about. 
It especially hits the nail on the head coming out after the post-Christmas influx of toys and STUFF!

***I did receive a free copy of this book for review but receive no other compensation for the review.  Hope you enjoy it as I have!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Seeing the Light

It's January.  We've gotten all the Christmas stuff sorted and put away.  It's been snowy and cold and it feels like we'll never be able to go out and enjoy any warm weather (or sunny weather - as any Ohioan could tell you).  We are inside all the time and so the stuff creeps up on me.  I got the urge to go through the bin of 'kits' and realized that I have at least 15 cross stitch kits, and not just those little ornament ones - I have 6 cross stitch Christmas stocking kits (and there are only 5 of us in this family), 4 big kits - (with completed designs that will be 11" x 14") and several others, including one that makes cross stitch cards - can't seem to have enough cards.  That doesn't include the punch needle, linea, crewel and silk ribbon embroidery kits.

Enough is enough!  I easily chose 4 kits that I knew I would rather not do.  I am sure they were appealing when I purchased them, but the design on them is not my favorite anymore. 

So, I decided to venture into the ebay world to try and recoup some costs from these.  One good thing - ebay is currently not charging any listing fees until January 21, 2014. 
The bad thing, I can't find anything that says what the actual fees will be after an item sells.  

The first thing I listed was a hit - a Dimensions Gold Collection stocking that apparently is in big demand in the ebay world.  You can see it above.  The other items, not so much.  Maybe they will get some buys at the end of the auction.  

There are so many other things I would rather be doing than listing items on ebay.  Something to remember for the future.  I shouldn't buy anything until I am ready to make it right then and there.  Because I will always find something.
Projects finished: 21
Projects given away: 11+

Weeks: about 50

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Have I told you how many crosstitch kits I have?  Whew!!!!  It's a lot.  I usually spend an afternoon a week doing crafty things (usually jewelry) with a friend.  She started working on a crosstitch kit and that inspired me to do the same.  But I wanted something quick -where I could see the finish line when I started, so this little Christmas kit fit the bill.
Cute, simple, crafty.
Projects finished: 21
Projects given away: 7+ 

Weeks: about 40?

Monday, January 13, 2014


We've had 5 empty frames on our wall of framed pictures since I put them there.  My husband had made names for the pictured people in them (the pictures were those that came with the frames when purchased).  I knew I wanted to make silhouettes of the family but unsure of how to go about doing them.  So I dug in and just figured that if I accidentally cut the silhouette paper wrong - well, then, it's just paper and I could try again.  
This is by far one of the easiest projects that I've done and wished I had done it awhile ago to really capture the difference in face shapes from an infant to a toddler for the kids.  
Of course, as I say it's been easy, I also want to redo some of the face shapes and haven't done so yet.  My daughter's hair is a little weird in one.  One son's face shape could be bigger and my husband was weirdly jutting his chin forward when I took his picture.  
This was as simple as taking a picture on the digital camera and taping the wrong side of the picture to the wrong side of the silhouette paper (since it really didn't matter to me which way everyone was facing) and then cutting it out.  I actually used a really good pair of nail-trimming scissors to cut them out because they are tinier and really sharp and I could get more detail with them.
Projects finished: 20
Projects given away: 7+ 

Weeks: about 40?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The holidays were busy but that's no excuse for not crafting!  So, the next few days will include some of these finished ones and one that is steadily progressing...

First, a needlepoint bag.  A Martha Stewart kit that I found on clearance (of course, the way most of the crafts have been attained), probably in 2011 or thereabouts.  Unfortunately, I recycled the paper insert that shows the instructions and 'finished' copy.
So here it is,

Actually, it's quite pretty.  The colors are bright and it has just enough detailing on it.
I wish I would have left the name off of it.  I think it would be a nice gift for someone and frankly, I have a few wristlets and I've really been purging all the STUFF that I do have around the house and not trying to accumulate as much, but maybe this will be the push to get rid of another wristlet. 

And here's the one that is progressing, a crosstitch stocking, started, oh, maybe 9 years ago or so?   Ideally, I wanted to make a crosstitch stocking for the hubby, me and any kids we had, but, well, they take a really long time to make so I ended up making the kids some fairly easy felt applique ones, myself - I kept the one my mom made for me and my hubby has been stuck with a stocking I got as a gift from a friend a while ago.  Maybe 2014 will be the year  he'll have a handmade stocking. :)
I'm trying to get one strand of floss stitched up each day.  Since I picked it up around New Year's Day, I've finished the tops of the trees and all the deer that is done and lots of little odds and ends.  

Projects finished: 19
Projects given away: 7+ 

Weeks: about 40?