Project overload: where do you begin?

I know it happens to the best of us- project OVERLOAD. It can take a few different forms, and of course there is more than one way to handle it. Today I want to share where I’m at, and what I’m doing to combat it!

The first thing is this: I will ALWAYS AND FOREVER have more that I want from a day than is physically possible. I will never be bored or wish I had something to do.

Continue reading “Project overload: where do you begin?”

Around here: October in the studio

Scrappy (above) watching over the neighborhood from a newly discovered perch. Hey guys! All is CRAZY here but it’s (hopefully) coming to an end so I wanted to share! The short version of the story is… except my room and the kitchen we reorganized the entire house. This has been going on since around June – it’s a process! Let’s focus on the fun & painting and crafty details!  Continue reading “Around here: October in the studio”

Where do you begin? {Big Project: Part 1}

Facing a big project can be paralyzing. It can also be frustrating and make you want to quit before you even begin. Some people take a “oh I’ll just start over here in this random spot and see where it leads” approach. Whether we’re talking about a scrapbook layout or a studio remodel this is a HUGE mistake. Why? One of a few things happen every time:

  1. You waste time or resources by forgetting what you’ve done and repeating or causing excess work.
  2. You lose track of supplies/materials/focus
  3. You lose interest or get overwhelmed and quit
  4. You stop and go make a proper plan so you can proceed in a way that works.

I’m trying really hard to gain momentum and make more of the ideas in my head become reality in 2017, so many of them simply had to sit and wait around last year.

Now that the studio is back together (yay! see above photos) I’m ready to begin tackling other projects. Like getting back my scrapbooking momentum and making some of the funky beaded and mixed media projects that I keep putting off. In a future piece I will talk about shopping, keeping up, and other elements of taking on a big project. Today though, I just want to share some brainstorm “before that first step” thoughts.

Above you see the photographs I just ordered. It took 4-5 hours to go through ALL the photos from vacation (and the last 5 months or so), weed them down, and order the prints. I don’t print one photo at a time or custom – I simply get my photos printed all 4×6 and work from there. I don’t really edit them either. I just enjoy the real shots that I get everyday or on a trip. Anyhow that was one big step I took before really making a scrapbook plan.  Sometimes there are early steps you can take because it’s a type of project you’ve done before and you know “first, —-” so doing so won’t mess up anything – in fact in my case it made things easier!

Here you can see I’ve got my bin full of ephemera and bits from a recent trip as well as allll those photos. I need to decide what I’m doing with scrapbooking and albums and all that. But first, I need to think more general and ask myself:

  • What is the project at hand? What is my end game, my goal?
  • Do I see pieces or chunks I can break this down into easily? Or is it more complicated?
  • How much time do I see giving to this project, and do I have a deadline?

And the most important factor: be realistic. Oh I’d love to throw a creative week long retreat taking over a massive hotel and inviting you all to play (for example) – but might it be more realistic to bring day retreats back to local shops first? Get that going? Probably. The same goes for any project. Yes it’d be nice to hand make 100 different Christmas cards but perhaps 1 design that allows for slight personalization and alteration is more realistic to actually see them mailed before next century.

I’m all for dreaming big – but sometimes that also includes breaking things down into bite-sized pieces that I can handle today. Or this week. In the case of my scrapbooking I need to make some calls on album size, how much time each week I want to commit to memory keeping (since I’ve fallen behind and want to at least get some stories captured before they’re lost), and a few other details.

Big ideas can be scary, overwhelming, and quite frankly seem impossible. But we can break them down from the dream of having all those photos organized to creating cards for all 300 friends and family this Easter. Whatever the big project, first really look at what it is going to require and consider your options for approaching it.

Me? I’m really working hard at writing down my thoughts more. This post? This post was 2 pages of notes about some specific projects I want to get at and need to think through. It now has me on my way and is a blog post too. Win all around? I say so. The #1 thing to remember with big goals and projects whether to eat better or exercise or take on a massive scrapbook project with over 1,000 photos: it’s gonna take a lot of small steps. hundreds maybe. That’s ok! We can handle the small stuff, right?

If you’ve got creative tricks or tips for plotting out big projects I would love to hear them! I’m always working to be a better me where more of these crafty ideas get out of my brain and into reality…

Say no to obligation crafting!

Whether it is creating a baby album because you ‘should’, making your own Christmas cards because it is ‘expected’ or creating the best dessert party table ever because everyone on Pinterest does… today I encourage you to say no to obligation crafting.

Creating should always, in my opinion, come from a place of joy, love, or at the very least genuine interest. I’ve been in the creative craft industry for a long time (13+ years) and in that time I’ve seen a lot of people quit due to burn-out, doing things they didn’t love, and because they let the feelings of obligations guide what they created.


If you scrapbook – creating a single layout per year, skipping huge chunks of time or events, and only creating what you enjoy? Totally fine. Give yourself permission to just have fun with it. If you love making cards guess what? It’s ok to buy premade cards sometimes! You don’t have to always make things from scratch.


Don’t worry about what you’re doing vs anyone else. I don’t know about you – but my creating time is my own, and I treat it as such. What some could label as ‘selfish’, I look at as time invested in my own happiness. I see it as keeping my mental health positive, and keeping myself happy and charged up so that as I face the challenges of the world I am in a better place to assist others. It’s like the airplane safety warning – apply your own mask first. Then you’re taken care of and able to help others.

No matter what kind of creative play you enjoy – use colors and styles you love. Trends and styles are going to come and go- except one. The best trend I know, and the one I’ve been seeing gain momentum is to simply be YOU. To embrace your own unique style and combination. You don’t have to label yourself and you don’t have to play inside just one creative box.


Mix and match. Test and try stuff. Play and enjoy. For me any time spent with my hands on embellishments, paste, or paint is time that I’m grateful to have. It’s creative play time. So I try to, as you may know, keep the rules and what should be done out of my head and to a minimum.

I turn up the volume on enjoying the act of simply creating.

Am I a “scrapbooker” “card maker” “mixed media artist” “paper crafter” “art journal enthusiast”??? I am all of these things, and none of these things. I am, like all of you, a creative person who enjoys the process.

Creatively speaking: priorities

#1 thing you will not hear me say about creating things? That I don’t have time. I have the same number of hours as everyone else, it isn’t about “having time”. Its about having priorities and what I decide to do with my time.

Nothing wrong with prioritizing work, family, other hobbies, or even binge watching a new to you TV show. The key is to acknowledge that what you do with your time, ultimately, is what the priority is.


There’s a reason I am not on Facebook (haven’t been for many years) – it was taking up a lot of time, therefore it was too much of a priority on my free time. Lately I’ve not been prioritizing my fabric crafts as much as I’d like. I’ve also not been prioritizing cleaning up my alphabet stickers, as you can see above.

I have been prioritizing weekly clean-up sessions. Some exciting new projects. Staying ahead and scheduling blog posts. And generally getting in better habits that will boost my productivity.

Some days I am totally selfish and just sit and play with whatever I want to. Nothing wrong with that – it’s taking care of and nurturing myself! Other days, well other days it’s all about paperwork and forms and responsibility. I try to keep a good mix of making space for just for fun alongside need to do items. Some examples include putting away all 100+ layouts I had out for my Tried & True class (that is from the don’t wanna but really should list!) back into their albums. Or reorganizing my desk to accommodate my new embellishments (fun).

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Even if you only have 5 free minutes – a bit of coloring, a bit of creative play can really help keep things going and help you make creativity a priority. Looking for motivation? My friend Kathy is hosting a month-long challenge on her blog encouraging everyone to color – any medium any style – just for a few minutes. You may want to check that out.

I’m always changing and adjusting what is a priority – or what I want to be making. I’m ok with that. It keeps things crafty and interesting around here, that’s for sure!

What crafts or projects have you been prioritizing? What creative play has been making your t0-do list?