Written by contributor Emily McClements of Live Renewed.
If you’ve followed along with me on my blog, Live Renewed, for any length of time you’ll know that I consider myself an un-crafty mama. What this means to me is that I don’t have a natural crafting ability. And, when I do attempt projects that I see on blogs or other websites, it usually goes badly for me, meaning it takes way longer, is way harder, and makes way more of a mess than it did for the original crafter, and the end results look nowhere near as wonderful as theirs.
My other issue is time. Because it always seems to take me much longer to complete something, I get overwhelmed with the amount of time that creating can take away from my day. And these days time is not something I have an abundance of.
It’s disappointing to me, and actually kind of depressing. The fact is, that despite my lack of ability, I really want to be able to create beautiful stuff with my hands. I like the idea of crafting, and I do wish that I was better at it.
Can you relate? Maybe you don’t consider yourself very crafty. Or maybe you’re also struggling to find the time it takes to craft. If that’s you, I’d like to take a minute to offer you some encouragement and inspiration.
A few months ago, I found myself with a stronger urge to create than I’ve experienced before. I was spending lots of time working and writing, and was feeling like my brain, and hands, needed a different kind of creative outlet, and I was so busy that I was feeling the need to create more space for leisure in my life.
I was itching to get out my sewing machine and try a few projects, and I kept pinning knitting projects before Christmas, even though I knew I didn’t have the time to start any of them. I even decided to make handmade Christmas presents for my family.
Over the last few months, I’ve been exploring my crafty and creative side, and now I can’t get enough and I’m feeling a need to create that I’ve never felt before. But, I still have the constraints of lack of time and skill, so I’m learning how to fit being creative into my life. Here are a few things I’ve found that work for me; hopefully they’ll encourage you too!
Photo by Emily at Live Renewed via Instagram
Choose Doable Projects
This one may seem obvious, but one of my pitfalls used to be that I would bite off more than I could chew and try to do projects that were just too hard for my ability level. They would take me more time and not look as good as the original, or just be left unfinished; both of which dampen can your creative spirit.
So, I’ve decided that I’ll only take on knitting projects with chunky yarn and big needles, and I’m trying my hand at easy, and forgiving, sewing projects like these sweater pillow covers, or this infinity scarf that I made for gifts for my sisters. Finishing a project, even if it’s a simple one, is such a great reward and motivator.
Don’t Be Afraid to Pause
I used to think that once I started certain projects, I couldn’t finish until the project was completed. So I would continue working even if the kids were getting restless, dinner was supposed to be on the table, and the house was getting out of control. But everything about that just stressed me out.
Now, I let myself put away the sewing machine, or the project materials, even half-finished, until a better time. And then I have something to look forward to finishing.
Photo by Emily at Live Renewed via Instagram
Steal Quiet Moments
I’m learning there are minutes here and there throughout my day where I can steal a few quiet moments to create. These moments give me peace and help me to push the reset button on my day.
Even if I only have time to finish one row on my knitting project, it feels better and more productive to do that, then to browse Facebook or Pinterest, and little by little, I can complete my project.
Give Yourself Time to Learn
This goes along with choosing doable projects, but it’s important for me to remember that I’m still learning this stuff. Knitting and sewing and other types of creating are still new to me, and I have to give myself grace and time to learn these skills.
Projects won’t be perfect the first time around. Rows will have to be pulled out while knitting. And that’s okay. Learning is a part of the creative process, and I’m realizing that being crafty and creative is more about the process than it is about the end result. The finished project is the reward, the bonus. But finding the time and creating the space in my life for crafting and leisure is really what my hands, mind, and soul need, even more than a pretty pillow for my couch.
Is crafting something that comes naturally to you, or something you have to work at? How do you find, or make, time in your day for leisure and creating?