Posts made in November, 2013


“Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
– Gustave Flaubert

how to organize craft supplies

I don’t know about you, but when I get bitten by the inspiration bug, it helps if I actually have a space in which to explore that creativity. My Ready Room (that’s the name I use for my office/craft/sewing room because I’m a giant Star Trek nerd) tends to fall into Chaos throughout the week as I work on projects and don’t always put things away immediately. Lately I’ve been really wanting to give the whole room a make-over, because I can’t put everything in its place if I don’t actually have a place for everything. In my quest for the Ultimate Creative Space, I’ve found some pretty great ideas for organizing craft supplies, so I thought I’d take a minute to share them with the rest of you.

Tips for Organizing Craft Supplies

1. Go shopping in your kitchen.
If you buy food at a grocery store, then chances are you’ve got built-in storage solutions right there in your pantry. Don’t throw away your food containers – give them a new life! You can use them as they are or spruce them up a little bit so they’ll add to the inspiration in your space. (Tip: Make sure you thoroughly wash and dry them before you begin so they’ll be free of food residue.) Use colorful contact paper or scrap booking paper and decoupage glue to decorate cylindrical containers like coffee cans, pickle jars and oatmeal canisters. The result will be something like this animal-print creation from Crafting Rebellion:

Popcorn tin makeover via http://craftingrebellion.blogspot.com/2011/12/popcorn-tins-reborn.html

This same process can be useful to turn cereal boxes into magazine holders, too. Take upcycling to a fashionable new level and organize your space at the same time.

2. Find Functional Furnishings.
If there’s a piece of furniture in your house (or your mom’s house, or grandma’s attic) that doesn’t get a lot of regular use, give it a new job to do. Dressers and bookshelves are particularly useful for storing craft supplies. If the furniture finish has seen better days, give it a new coat of paint to make it more colorful and fun. Tonia from The Gunny Sack even used chalkboard paint on her old dresser so she’d always know what it was hiding inside those drawers:

Image via thegunnysack.com

If you’re using a bookshelf instead, it can be the perfect place to store all those oatmeal cartons and coffee cans you just redecorated in step one.

3. Shop for a Bargain.
If you don’t have any storage solutions lying around your house, go shopping with a bargain in mind. If you can time it right, shop during back-to-school sales; there are a lot of storage supplies that go on sale when college students are getting ready to stock their dorm rooms. Bargain shops like dollar stores and thrift stores will be full of random small containers and baskets at any time of the year; put them to good use holding smaller supplies like ribbons, stickers, or buttons. Purchase plastic drawer storage organizers from a mass retailer to separate writing utensils.

A hanging over-the-door shoe organizer like this one can hold all kinds of supplies, from scissors to yarn. The clear plastic pockets make it easy to see what’s inside each one, and if you don’t have a door you can just use hooks on the wall to hang them anywhere:

Honey-Can-Do shoe organizer, $14 at Target.

A hanging organizer like this one is a great way to store flat supplies, like fabric fat quarters or yardage or scrap booking papers. As a bonus, you can hide it away in a closet to keep your main rooms free of crafty supplies.

Canvas shoe organizer, $12 at Target

With a little creative thinking, I think I’ll be able to reorganize my working space and make my Ready Room ready for anything that comes my way. Do you have any tips to share with me for creative storage solutions? Leave me a comment and let me know!

photo credit: PetitPlat – Stephanie Kilgast via photopin cc

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Join us each week with #ThinkCreateReflect as we allow ourselves to think about what we’ve done, create something new, reflect on a topic and dream toward the future.

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Channel your inner Doctor Dolittle this week, because we’re all about the animals …

If your business had a spirit animal, what would it be? (Hint: a spirit animal is a spirit guide or a muse in animal form; for you Harry Potter fans this might be your business’s magical pet or patronus.) Why did you choose this animal?

Make a visual representation of your animal – draw it, paint it, crochet or knit up a stuffed one, sculpt it out of clay or even find a photo online and print it out. Display your spirit animal in your work space and see where its guidance leads you this week.

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We want to see your animals! Take a moment to Think, Create and Reflect on this week’s post and then leave a comment here with a link to your response, or share it via Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ThinkCreateReflect. We’d love to hear from you!

photo credit: AlicePopkorn via photopin cc

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If it stresses you out, modify it!

If it stresses you out, modify it!


Posted By on Nov 14, 2013

There’s a lot of business “systems” out there — you know: every morning, write a list of what you’re going to accomplish that day kind of things. In general, these systems impose some structure to your workday . Structure is good and this works wonderfully for some people, but not so much for others.

modify your To Dos for less stress

Instead of seeing their structures as building blocks, people often take them as ‘the ONLY WAY’ and blame the people it doesn’t work for. I want to suggest an alternative: an alternative that sees these structures as flexible, inter-changeable water noodles that you can adjust as the waves of your life come and go. (Was that metaphor too cheesy? Yes!)

For me, almost all of the business systems focus on daily actions, which doesn’t work for me. Having a daily list just stresses me out. My days are so busy and planned down to the minute so that any unexpected thing — rain, traffic, a sick dog — feels like it throws everything out of whack. Then I feel more stressed and guilty about not doing things.

So I started exploring  and realized that having the list was great and having the list be for a specific, small period of time was great. It was just that DAILY wasn’t great.

So how about weekly?

Now I sit down on Sunday, make a list of things I want to do that week and look at my schedule. I write out my schedule on my to-do list as well as what I think I can accomplish. I schedule in the big things that need chunks of time, but otherwise, I just leave it as a list to grab as I have time.

And I’ve continued to experiment .

Originally, I was planning exactly what I’d work on in that free hour I had on Tuesday. But that wasn’t working; sometimes I needed to step outside and decompress for that hour instead of work. Sometimes something came up that I needed to do then instead. So I switched to just circling the times I could do things and grabbing off the list based on what I felt like doing (answering email instead of blogging) and how much time I had.

Now it’s your turn to explore and experiment: What parts of the those business structures are working for you? What is causing stress and guilt? Is there a common thread between what’s causing stress and guilt? How can you change it to work for you and the rhythm of your life right now?

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Heart Drawing: #ProjectWednesdays

Heart Drawing: #ProjectWednesdays


Posted By on Nov 13, 2013

#ProjectWednesdays button

I’ve had this image in my head for a tattoo for a long time.  An image of an anatomical heart with a verse from a Pablo Neruda poem “Out of blood and love I carve my poems.”

In run-down, need-to-express-myself moment, I decided to try to draw it.  I haven’t really tried to draw in years.  I found some photos and drawings of hearts online and started to draw.  This is how it came out:
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Any tattoo ideas? Images you need to put on paper? Share your current creations on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #projectwednesdays so we can all see them!
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how to stay motivated in your small biz

“You’ve got to say, ‘I think that if I keep working at this and want it badly enough I can have it.’ It’s called perseverance.”

– Lee Iacocca

You own a business – I bet that means you start off each new day with a fresh perspective and a heart full of excitement and enthusiasm, right?

Maybe not?

When you’re in the throes of running a small business, there will be days when you feel like you’re on top of the mountain, and your motivation is at an all-time high. These are probably also the days when you’re making great sales, getting good press or having positive interactions with your customers. The problem is, those days don’t happen every day; some days are just okay, and some are even terrible. So what do you do to stay motivated on all those days?

First of all, let yourself off the hook. It’s okay to feel a little unmotivated by your business. Heck, it’s okay to feel a LOT unmotivated by your business. The problem happens when you let that lack of motivation become your new normal. So give yourself permission to take a break – grab a cup of tea, read a good book for an hour, or even indulge in a whole day off! Eat bon bons on your couch and watch trashy television. Just don’t stay away from your business, or your motivational sources, for too long.

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Here are some tips to help you find the motivation you need to keep going, any day of the week:

1. Make a Rainy Day Jar. Prepare for your bad days in advance: take a jar or a decorative box, and use it to store up the happy times of your business so you can save them for a rainy day. Every time you get a compliment from a customer, or you have a day that beats your sales record, take a minute to write it down on a small piece of paper. Then slip that paper into your jar, and the next time you have a not-so-great interaction with a customer or a downer of a sales day, pull out a piece of paper from your jar to remind you that every day isn’t going to be like this.

2. Adopt a Personal Motto. Come up with a catch-phrase for yourself; one that will remind you that it’s time to get to work. I have adopted the motto “Keep Moving Forward,” which I took from the Walt Disney movie Meet the Robinsons (and it’s actually part of a longer quote by Mr. Disney himself). This motto reminds me that I don’t have time to dwell on the past or wallow in my lack of motivation: there’s only one direction I need to move in my business, and it’s forward. I also have this printable from Daisy Janie hanging by my desk, reminding me to suck it up and put on my big girl pants because this is my business and this is the life I chose for myself. Whatever type of motto works for you, repeat it to yourself often and display it on your walls to serve as an ever-present reminder of your big goal or your attitude toward life.

3. Give Yourself a Visual Cue. Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete believes that there really isn’t a magical secret for staying motivated; instead, you’ve got to just push yourself in whatever way you can and keep your ultimate goal in mind at all times. He has several tips for motivation, though, and one of them is to use a calendar and put a big red “X” over the days that you completed your tasks. You could also apply this idea to a giant check-list on the wall or even an app on your phone. The satisfaction of checking off one “To Do” can be motivation enough to move on to the next, and seeing all those checks and X marks together will hopefully help you want to add more.

4. Reward Yourself Often. Sometimes, you’ve got to have that carrot on the stick to dangle in front of yourself in order to get through a particularly unappealing task. Maybe you tell yourself that if you get through your quarterly tax reports, you get to have a cup of tea and read a magazine for an hour. Maybe you need more than that – if you get through your monthly receipts then you get to take the day off to go to the movies. Whatever works for you, keep rewarding yourself for good work. You have to be your own boss and your own employee, so make sure the employee part of you knows that she’s doing a good job. She deserves some company perks every now and again.

5. Build Down-Time into your Day. You can’t work 80-hour weeks, stay up all night, never take weekends off, AND maintain a high level of motivation. Maybe you can, but then you’re either super-human or you’re headed for a big crash when you lose that motivation or you lose your mind from all that sleep deprivation. Build a break into your day – you are in charge of your own routine and schedule in your business, after all. Make sure you take the time to eat your meals, and pick healthy ones. At the end of the day, give yourself some scheduled time for rest and relaxation. Taking the time to step away from your business will make it easier to keep coming back to it in the long run.

How about you – what else do you do to stay motivated, when all you want to do is throw in the towel? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

photo credit: opensourceway via photopin cc

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