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I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned (probably many times) that I grew up in a crafty family, or at least surrounded by crafty females. I remember at a young age reading a story in a craft magazine that has really stuck with me. Keeping in mind that I may not have even been double digits when I read this that really means something. I’m fairly sure it was an old issue of Nutshell News, a miniatures magazine from many years ago, but I could be mistaken. It’s about finding time for hobbies, and I found it very insightful. I’ve told this story many times over the years.
A woman was taking some variety of class, or was part of a group, and was asked to complete a project. She said she didn’t have time. So for her project, she decided to use woodchips and each time she had free time she’d write how much time on a woodchip. She expected, of course, to end up with a maybe a handful of chips, and maybe an hour or two a month of time. So she started with some chips. 5 minutes waiting while a pot boiled, 10 minutes in the school pickup line, 30 minutes in a doctors office waiting room, stuff like that. At the end of the project, she had a large box full of woodchips! Totaling, of course, an amazing amount of time. At the project beginning, she was thinking only of the total time a project would take. She could only picture spending hours on end working on something. She, like most of us, never had hours, but she found that she had a lot of minutes.
So here is the question, how often do you think only of the hours? How much can you do if you think of the minutes, the woodchips, instead of the completed project?
How I Utilize This Lesson:
Since this story impacted me from a young age I have been trying to utilize it for a long time. Here are some of the ways it works in my life.
- Keep Projects Handy- I keep most of my projects in a tote bag, basket with handles, or Ziploc bag so that I can grab it and go. Whether that go it out of the house somewhere or just to the other room.
- Have Multiple Projects- Usually, this is discouraged, but I think it is wise if done correctly. I usually have one knit project going, one crochet project going, and one or more of something else. I try to keep a variety of complexities. I try to have one more complicated project that takes some brain power, and one simple one that is pretty mindless, and then something in between. This means that I can utilize the project for the moment instead of twiddling my thumbs. You can’t do a complicated lace stitch with a detailed chart while waiting at the doctor to be called back, but you can do a garter stitch scarf.
- Keep Projects in the Most Useful Spot- I usually have a project near each space I spend my time. A larger project is usually downstairs near the tv, something to work on after dinner while the family watches tv. An easy project near (but not in) the kitchen that I can work a bit while waiting for a pot to boil or a timer to go off.
- Woodchips Come in All Sizes- Sometimes you end up with a decent amount of time, a large woodchip, use this to dive into a project and get a jumpstart. For example, I am in the process of clearing out a lot of our books and organizing the bookshelves. I took several hours on Mother’s Day to work on the shelves and filled several boxes with books to get rid of. Now I have a jumpstart and use my small woodchips to work more. So when I have a small woodchip I go to the shelves and pull just 2-3 books that we can get rid of and add them to the boxes to donate. It works for crafts too. Use your large woodchip to cut all the fabrics for a quilt, then small woodchips to sew it together. Use the large woodchip to cast on a project and set the initial few rows of pattern.
- Get Creative- Maybe your projects don’t seem portable but parts of it can be if you get creative. Maybe you can’t sew a quilt on the go, but you can pin squares to sew later. Maybe you can’t cut cardstock for cards or scrapbooking on the go, but you can carry a few cut pieces and a corner rounder or punch. If you paint, you certainly can’t do a giant canvas anytime anywhere, BUT maybe you could do a small postcard, an ATC, or even an inchie! (An inchie is a project that is exactly 1″ square!)
So, take something from this lady’s lesson, look for the woodchips, and don’t let your busy life steal all your fun! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, comment below or contact me!