Ever since the Maker Faire I’ve had inspiration coming out of my wazoo. Which has created several awkward moments in public restrooms. Nonetheless my brain has been in over-drive with new ideas for my crafteria. So many in fact I haven’t had time to create any of them.
I recorded these ideas in my phone and kept up the pace of tearing tickets or walking wee dogs, as my life has required much of both lately. While reality was holding me captive my list of inspiring ideas was growing longer and longer. I sat down to give it a look and had a moment of panic. There’s just something about lists that I find daunting. I often feel the need to complete items in order. As I read from one idea to another I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the ideas I’ve never accomplished. I have been making lists of craft ideas for years and while some things have been brought to life, others just sit gathering dust, often overlooked.
So this week I decided I needed a new approach to creative crafty time. I want to pull an idea out of a hat and just go. Zoom into the fast lane of crafty goodness and create something unique and exciting. Lists are bogging me down. In this car metaphor the list is creating one toll station after another on my highway of hot glue and embroidery floss. I just want one thing to focus on, not 20, and I don’t want to feel bad about projects left undone. I want a system where all the projects not yet completed are little nuggets of joy waiting on the horizon.
I looked all around my craft room trying to come up with some new form of inspiration organization. I considered covering a wall in cork and pinning up ideas and plans, but then all the undone crafts would be on display just as they would in a list. While I still may cover a wall in cork just to pin some of my favorite things to, I don’t want a wall of unfinished projects. Then I realized I needed to keep my ideas categorized by size and a general theory on how long they will take to complete.
Now if you were to ask Mr. McCluckin’ about my abilities to estimate time and its passing in relation to my doing something, he would tell you I’m the worst. For instance we were recently expecting friends for dinner at 6:30. At 5:15 I told him I would be back with plenty of time after driving to a not-so-nearby mall during rush hour, shopping for 2 items, then popping into a craft store for a few last minute necessities. Assuming I wasn’t distracted by anything shiny or tea-flavored on the way, I would still have had at least 40 minutes of drive time, leaving all of 35 minutes for shopping with blinders on. Nonetheless I arrived home at 7 pm with a whole bunch of stuff I hadn’t planned to buy. Then we all spent the first half-hour of our dining time talking about my asshat-like lateness.
Considering this, I have realized that this new organization system might be a good way to work on my time-required estimation skills. We’ll call this my new Estimated Time of Craft-pletion, or ETC, program. I grabbed a few tins and started writing up craft ideas on wee slips of paper. Organizing them into ETC piles wasn’t the easiest job, but it got done. I found that if anything needed a checklist for me to envision it, it wasn’t a small project. Soon enough I had 2 tins of projects, one for small and one for medium. I also had a handful of grande project ideas that needed a place to live. After a visit to the thrift shop these big ideas had a ginormous stein to call home.
It’s so exciting to have my ideas resting, just waiting for me to pull one out and go to town. I have a wee trolley filled with short projects that will take up to 4 hours. Next in line is my medium ETC ideas taking up lodging in a school house; these projects should take no more than 2 days. Then there are the super projects that will take anything more than 2 days.
Want a sampling of my ideas? Perhaps you can vote on my ability to sort out the time needed for completion? You know, judge my ETC skills.
Small projects include: Altoid tin shrine (subject matter: my wee dogs as saints), food color bubble dyeing of 3×5 note cards, and loteria bunting.
Medium projects: 3D picture/shadowbox commemorating various trips, pop culture icon phrenology embroidery, and fabric records that can be used as hot pads.
Grande projects: a quilt for our king sized bed, creating a Mystery Mansion-esque game for personal use, and Yeti vs. Sasquatch puppets.
So what do you think? Are my ETC skills kicking ass and taking names? Maybe. Nonetheless, it’s so freeing to jot down an idea and toss it into a tin/stein where I know it’s safe and will wait for me to come claim it.
For now I am off to the weasel races. I’ve got a hot tip on a ferret named Lonely Sal in the 3rd.