Simplify? Simplify!

Thanks to his employer, Jeff and I have visited Iron Springs Resort each year.

It’s just a few days at a cabin by the beach, a little retreat from the everyday list of “things I should be doing right now.”

For those few days our lives are simplified – the kitchen holds a limited (but quite adequate) assortment of equipment, the fridge holds a limited assortment of food items that we brought with us, our “clothes closet” consists of a couple of outfits, we bring a bare minimum of toiletries, and reside in a much smaller space than usual.

And every time, we wonder why we can’t live this simply at home.

I asked Jeff this year whether he thought the two of us (plus the six cats! lol) could live together in such a small place.  With the addition of a shed or shop where he could have his voiceover studio and I could have my craft room, he thought we could.

And when we got back, I wondered how we could create the simple, peaceful feeling of Iron Springs at home.

There are lots of things we could do to declutter our house; there are also lots of things that need to be done at home that we didn’t have to do at the cabin – like paying bills, doing laundry, and scooping litter boxes.  (Not to mention the biggie for Jeff: going to work!)

I suspect that getting our lives that simplified would require not only quite a bit of proactive effort, but also some cash expenditures (e.g., do we hire a gardener, or pave over our yard, or move somewhere without a lawn?).

But there’s nothing to stop us, and much to gain.  So stay tuned…

You’re never too old…

Greeting cards, pay it forward, handmade, thank you card

…to try something new.

It can be hard to change your habits, particularly ones you’ve had for over 40 years.

I’ve always had a tendency to start things I didn’t finish, but as I got older I began thinking I might have undiagnosed ADD.  I’m easily distracted, and each new idea I come across leads away from completing the preceding idea.

In my craft room I can be distracted by every piece of paper, embellishment, ribbon, and die.  I generally have at least three cards in progress at any given time.  I’ll look for an embellishment for a card and spot something else while I look that I really want to use, although it won’t work on the current card.  So I start another card before I finish the first one.

I’m grateful to have such a wide variety of materials to work with, but it’s hard to keep your table organized and decluttered if you’ve got multiple projects going at the same time.  And you greatly increase your chances of messing up one card while trying to work on another one in the same space.  (Well, maybe you don’t, but sure do!)

So I decided a couple weeks ago to try something new:  I’d finish one card before starting work on another!  (Hope you weren’t expecting some earth-shattering revelation! lol)

I started with one of the cards I had in progress, and didn’t allow myself to deviate until I had it done.

It worked out well, so I finished the two others I had going.  At that point it seemed much easier to tidy up my work space before starting a new card.

Next it occurred to me that I had many pre-cut squares and rectangles of paper, but at the same time was going hunting through all my papers, always looking for “something different.”  Which meant pulling out various sheets of paper, holding them against each other, and then pulling out more when what I had wasn’t quite right.  And guess what?  I’d be too excited when I found the perfect paper(s) to stop and put the rest away again!

So I decided I was going to make cards using my previously cut papers instead of pulling out new ones.  I know that I can easily make cards that don’t look alike, even if they do happen to both use a piece of the same patterned paper (a 12×12 sheet leaves you with a lot of leftovers after making one card with it!).

At some point I might figure out a reasonable way to limit  my ribbon or embellishment choices, too, but for now I don’t want to go that far (no, must have many, many embellishments! lol).  And since my embellishments are mostly in drawers sorted by color, they’re pretty easy to put away.

It’s been heartening for me to discover that I actually can wait to start a new card until after I’ve finished the current one.  I wasn’t sure if I could make myself do it.

Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks! lol

Let it go! Let it go!

Rose, flower, card, greeting card, flower

Okay, I love that song from Frozen, but it’s sometimes tough to do.

i have a hard time using liquid adhesives.  Give me a tape runner, a glue stick, self-stick embellishments, foam tape and I’ll do fine.  But lately I’ve been trying to use more of the supplies I’ve collected over the years, and some of them call for (four-letter word here) GLUE!

I’ll pull bits and pieces off shelves and out of drawers, and mix and match to get a “design” I like.  And then, I have to GLUE something.

Now I have the vision of the end result in my head, but I have to stop working on it until the glue dries.  And that’s so hard for me that I generally need to leave the craft room entirely.  Because if I stay to work on something else, I’ll go back and check on the glue, which is never dry yet! lol  (I sometimes think glue simply won’t dry when I’m in the same room with it.)

Having experienced a number of glue-related mess-ups, I’ve retrained myself pretty well now.  I’ll squeeze out that dollop of glue, position my two pieces, peer down over them to check the placement, then actually pull my hands up and step back from the table, reminding myself to let it go instead of fiddling with it any further.

For me, I’d rather find myself wishing I got more done, than find myself swearing over a project I’ve just ruined because I couldn’t wait for the glue.  Just let it go!

Now, if I could just figure out how to do this with food!  lol

It had to be done…


Everyone knows how frustrating it can be to go to a government office and wait in line.  Even though it’s been eight years since I had to renew my driver’s license in person, that couple of hours (plus travel time) felt like an eternity.  But it had to be done.

I heard someone say, “I should’ve brought a book.”  It didn’t occur to me until after I got home that I should’ve brought a project.  I used to keep a portable card-making project that I could take along to appointments where I might have to wait.  While papercrafting in your lap isn’t ideal, I think it’s time to put together a new project pack that I can take on the go.  If it has a basic set of tools and supplies, it can also be a “grab-and-go” for taking to classes.

And anything that gets me crafting is a good thing. 🙂

Time Flies When You’re Making Cards…

Greeting card
Your kindness (in sharing your tips) is appreciated! lol

I recently did some timing while I was in my craft room to see how long it actually took me to make a card.  I practiced on some little thank-you cards, and I made each one unique, because I’m not fond of mass-producing cards.  (If you’ve ever done it, you may understand why.)

I was shocked to find that it was taking me 20-30 minutes to produce a 4×4 card!

I quickly discovered that I have a lot of work left to do in organizing my supplies and work areas – which seems to be a never-ending battle for me!  I suppose it might help if I stopped buying things for a while. 😉

What slows you down when you’re “getting your craft on”? Have you discovered any tips that really helped you?  Please share them with the rest of us!