Thursday, October 27, 2011

...To be continued

Why procrastination is a bad habit

In the deepest, darkest corner of my storage closet you will find a basket, my basket of shame; all the unfinished projects that have conquered me and have reluctantly been resigned to their home of solitude and out of my site. But out of site does not mean out of mind; for me, leaving a project unfinished is mental build up, something like when a machine gets gunked up from not being cleaned and starts to operate poorly, it even hampers my creativity. If you are having a hard time being creative it really helps to clear the air (or your head) to build confidence that you can and will finish what you start.

Something I try to think about when I get a build up of unfinished projects is, why did I not finish to begin with? Usually I find fear at the base of each problem, i.e. something doesn't seem to be going the way I hoped and I don't want to put any more time into a failure, in which case it is helpful to know when to throw out and start from scratch, I have actually thrown away a half completed project (only when there aren't expensive supplies involved). So, just know when to bail.

Also, I find myself stuck when I don't understand the next step, like before I figured out how to put in a zipper really well, I would try and find alternatives to zippers and usually this wasn't a success and there would be an unfinished skirt stashed in my fabric bin. Don't be afraid to learn a new trick, if something seems unreasonably difficult then chances are there's a trick you don't know, search online for how-to videos, get a new skill under your belt, you will be relieved.

Lastly, my reason for procrastination would be lost interest, there isn't much of a cure for this obstacle besides just powering through for the sake of not wasting materials and commit to truly analyzing whether the project is worth your time before starting.

For a recap this is what I suggest:

1. Go through stashed away projects
2. Sort into "keep and finish" or "throw out" piles
3. Salvage what you can from the "throw out" pile for future projects
4. Make a list of needed supplies to finish your projects
5. List skills needed to learn for completing these projects
6. Start finishing your projects one at a time!

Here are some useful tips that I run through my mind to prevent incomplete projects:

1. Will I use/wear this when it's finished? (or the person I'm making it for)
2. Do I have all the supplies needed?
3. Is it cost effective to buy all the needed supplies?
4. Do I understand and know how to accomplish all the steps through the process?
5. Do I have the time needed to complete this project?

Don't be limited by these questions and never learn something new, but use this as a guide for practicality and time management.

As always my hope is that you will exceed your own expectations on whatever you set your hands to do and never doubt that you are capable of doing great things!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

DIY why?

It's a big deal right now, DIY... a.k.a. do it yourself; is it that we have developed an obsession with homemade looking crafts and clothes? Or maybe it's a result of economics and being on a tight budget?

I have a few theories that have come from analyzing my own desires to make anything from my own laundry detergent to the gown I need for my next formal event.

First of all, everything has gone mobile, there's very little material evidence of what keeps us busy all day; when I finish a DIY project I feel a mental relief at having a substantial piece of evidence in my hand for what I spent my hours on. It's very therapeutic.

Secondly, I don't have loads of cash laying around to spend on the latest fashions and trends (and my gadget needs take up my spending cash :-0); spending half the money on supplies to create an outfit rather than buying something new, or re-purposing some odds and ends to create a work of art for a bare wall, it really makes sense.

Thirdly, because I don't generally have extra cash laying around to do things like going to the theater or concerts, or whiling away hours at the coffee house drinking lattes, DIY is a really fun pastime to do with friends!

And the fourth and final reason for my DIY projects is there are so many Internet sites trending these projects out that I have an over-abundance of material to provide me with a rather long list of projects that could make my life more creative and resourceful.

So, these are my reasons, what are yours?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Woodland Elf Winter Hat knitting pattern

Woodland Elf Winter Hat (Toddler)

  • Proficiency level: basic knowledge of knitting and purling
  • Yarn: Dreamy Super Soft Yarn in "chocolate"
  • Needles: set of size 9 (5.5 mm) and one yarn 
  • Sizes: 9-12m, (12-18m), (2-4y)

CO 38 (46) (52) stitches
Row 1-6: knit 2 purl 2 to create rib
Row 7: knit 18 (22) (25), increase 1 in next 2 stitches, knit to end of row
Row 8: purl
Row 9: knit
Repeat rows 8 and 9 until your work measures 6.5" (7") (8.5") in length
Cast off and secure yarn
Fold hat in half and stitch up back seam (opposite end of ribbing)
Make a finger chain or braided chain with remaining yarn 32" (34") (36") long and weave through the base of the hat to create a chin strap

Happy knitting! And please let me know if you have any questions. If you don't understand all the terms I will be more than happy to help you out although there is much to be learned on YouTube videos.

If you don't knit or you'd prefer to buy this from me handmade then check out my etsy site:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A color by any other name

Trends are peculiar in the sense that they sneak up on you. I don't remember when it was that I realized that mustard yellow was trending but it built momentum for many years before I realized it was a "thing"; I was having a conversation with my sister over the phone discussing her frustration at not finding a sweater online in the color "goldenrod", I knew the color she was describing and insisted she should search "mustard" instead, not to my surprise did she find many options in varying hues of gold and yellow.

The trend is for "mustard", it has taken over and dominated the world of decorating and accessorizing, it's not yellow and not goldenrod, it's very specifically mustard. In the case of this mustard yellow trend it's not just the color you're desiring, it's almost a lifestyle, add gray and you've taken it a step further.

Brand is important, if you are pushing a product or service or even just creating art, being vague won't raise your work above the noise of mediocre, you need to be bold and memorable, you need to be new and unique, push a new idea and become iconic.

This is branding, mustard yellow and gray are stamped on my generation like bell-bottoms on a hippie, it is defining, it is new (for now), it is current (for now). Enjoy it while it is here but remember it is a trend, so let it go when it is gone.