Saturday, January 9, 2016

2016 Craft Resolutions

Do you have any craft resolutions for 2016?

I have a few.  I have been pretty good at working on them in 2015 but I do want to list them here as a reminder for me to follow them strictly.

Resolution 1: Use products.

What do you mean?  How can you not use products?  You may be wondering.

I do not know about you but I have already accumulated a craft store worth of products, many of which are consumable products such as paper and embellishments.  Needless to say some of which are still staying in their original packaging.

I have always had this disease where I do not want to cut the pretty paper.  I worry that I may make a mistake; and I think the paper may look prettier in its original 12 x 12 size; sometimes I just like to admire the pretty patterns of the paper.  I often waited to use the pretty paper when it has been retired.   Even then, I was only willing to use a little of it.  As a result I tend to hoard or collect, rather than actually use the patterned papers.  The pile of paper I have accumulated is just massively voluminous.
Starting in July 2015, I began to use new papers more frequently and confidently.  I told myself it is okay to make mistakes.  I also told myself that it would be better if I make mistakes during the time when the products are still available so I can re-order them again to finish the project.  Think about it, if I'm using retired products and I make a mistake, where in the world would I be able to buy it again?

So far I have been staying on track with using new papers.  I want to continue doing the same in 2016 (and thereafter!).

Resolution 2:  Purge frequently.

Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo?  I am gradually picking up reading and I couldn't pass up this popular book that I literally saw everywhere from Paper Source to Target to Amazon.  I picked up a copy and finished it in one sitting.

We all love new goodies, especially when a new machine or tool brings a lot of inspiring craft ideas.  I would really love to buy all new gadgets under the sun.  However, the limited living space compels me to set boundaries to my craft possessions.  Unlike many craft gurus who have the luxury of an entire floor, living room, basement that's dedicated to crafting, a hobbyist like me only have a corner.  If I continue to buy without purging anything, my craft goodies will soon crawl up to my bed and sleep with me.

I'm fortunate that a local craft store hosts an annual flea market sale.  Last year I gave away quite a bit of stuff by selling in that flea market sale.  It was so nice to send those items to a lovely home where they will be used and enjoyed. Then I also gave away a lot of stuff by donating them to some non-profits, daycare centers.  Some of my gently used items were given to my fellow crafty friends. I remind myself that Jesus said it's more blessed to give than to receive, and thus I want to purge constantly.

Resolution 3:  Budget wisely.

This one seems obvious but this is my problem area.  I spent an incredible amount of money on this hobby in 2014 (including supplies, classes, etc.) so I set up a budget for 2015.  I was pretty good at recording all craft-related expenses but I was not good at sticking to the budget strictly.  I constantly gave myself an excuse that I was spending below my other budgets such as clothing and eating out so it wasn't a big problem to go beyond my budget for this hobby.

This year I can't use the same excuse anymore.  I give myself a budget and I have to stick to it.  Otherwise what's the point of having a budget?

To achieve this goal, I think several action items may help.
1)  Think before you leap/purchase.
I want to want what I have, rather than to want what I don't have.  So before making any purchase, I should think about whether I already have something similar and whether I'm replacing an item that has run out.  I should also think about how it will fit with my current collection.

Whenever I contemplate buying any new clothing/shoes, I ask myself these questions.  The same should apply to buying craft supplies.

2)  Pause before I checkout.
Whether making purchase in store or online, pause and examine the items in my cart before I checkout.  For purchases in store, make sure my cart isn't accidentally filled with some other people's items (it has happened to me!).  For purchases online, check my cart to ensure I have the correct items.  Nothing upsets me more when I realize that I had added the wrong color of the item to my cart when I open my box.

3)  Resist the temptations of sales/new trends/new techniques.
I was pretty good at resisting the temptations of sales in 2015 and I must continue to do the same in 2016.

I have always been enjoying to try new products, new trends and new techniques.  Who doesn't?  They bring excitement to our hobby and new life to our creations!  But before I make purchases I do want to pause and think whether that new technique is my style and more importantly, whether I have the time to try them out.  I'd also ask myself if my little craft corner has the space for this new item.

The pragmatic side of me uses this hobby as a way to express gratitude and love for my family and friends.  I've made several Christmas albums as gifts in 2015, for instance.  I love that I got to enjoy the fun of making an album which will be a meaningful gift for the recipient.  When making gifts, I tend to stay within my comfort zone because I cannot afford any boo-boos in any gifts.  So if I only have limited time for this hobby, some of which allotted to  make gifts, do I still have time to play with those products to try out new techniques?  If I don't have the time for it, I should pass, at least for the time being.

So these are my 2016 craft resolutions.  I've given myself a event reminder in the middle of the year to see how I am doing.  Yes I have resolutions but if things change dramatically I would not be afraid to shift my resolutions.  Regardless, I want to continue to enjoy this fun hobby and I wish you the same!

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