Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Simplify, simplify."

When we made the move from our itty bitty home in Arizona to our painfully smaller-than-a-shoebox apartment in Idaho, we purged a LOT of STUFF.

One of the things I resolved to do in that purging and relocating was to give up some hobbies. I am by nature someone who likes to craft and create. I am also by nature a "dabbler" as my parents have always described me. I tell people that I try out so many new things because I *must* be phenomenal at something...I just haven't discovered what it is yet. And so I flit from craft to craft, from one art form or outlet to the next, in hopes that one of these days I will pick up paintbrush, pen or  instrument and instantly give Picasso or Faulkner or Stravinsky a run for their money.

I think the truth is that I'm impatient. And lazy. I also get a kick out of learning something new--that initial excitement that comes from finding that you are able to do or make something you didn't know you could. Sort of like those first date jitters, but without all the fear of rejection and constantly checking to see if I have lipstick on my huge front teeth...

Anyway. Back to a point--I know there's one in here somewhere...ah, yes...

When we moved, I resigned myself to the fact that no, I was not actually using all the STUFF I had "needed" to purchase to embark on every new hobby that caught my fancy. I had overtaken the entire linen closet with my hobbies, and upon close examination, realized all I was using up was space. I tried to be honest with myself, and decided there were maybe 3 creative outlets I really enjoyed: photography, sewing, and crochet. The rest of the supplies--for candle making, jewelry, oil pastels, watercolor, penciling, paper scrap booking (I still do some of this, but all digitally), stamping, origami, card making, and MORE--were sold, given away to others, or donated. I won't lie. It was pretty painful. I saw all my future masterpieces vanishing with those supplies...

However, in the last 5 months since the move, I have been so grateful to have those things out of my life, and not just for the space I've saved. I have learned that I have never been really good at anything because I never gave myself time to BE good at anything. I was so busy "courting" every different craft I could find that I never took time to develop a "relationship" with any hobby I had--I never worked enough to develop any talent. Since eliminating the excess from my world of hobbying, I have found great fulfillment and pleasure from doing the things I chose to focus on--I can sew to clothe my children and mend for my husband, I am learning to understand and construct from patterns, I can plan and sew from scratch without patterns, I have actually completed crochet projects and taught several of the girls in the dorm how to crochet, I get to spend time every day documenting my children's lives because I can find time to photograph, AND I have linens in my linen closet. :)

{Quilt block in progress...}

{Crochet blanket for Squirrel...}

Ultimately, by giving up the things on the fringe, I gained a great deal by focusing on those things that were most valuable to me. {<-------A good lesson in many circumstances, methinks.}

For some tips on how to help yourself breakup with hobbies, check out this post by the Unclutterer.



  1. Your mom mentioned that you taught yourself how to crochet. It's something I've been fiddling with and I think I would really enjoy it if I could get past just making one long chain!

    So my question is did you use a book? I've checked a few out at the library and haven't found any of them to be especially helpful. Or did you use an online tutorial...?

  2. Shelbey--I learned watching videos online. There used to be an awesome website called Expert Village, but it got absorbed by ehow, which is kind of useless. BUT, because I love you so much, I did a little digging and found the videos over at ehow that I used to learn:
    I like her videos best of the ones I've seen. I had to watch several of them over and over, but finally got it. From there, I just picked out a couple of simple patterns and got started. I'm still not great, but definitely getting better. :)

  3. Thank you so much for the videos! Awesome!

  4. Hey, stopping by from MMB. This post just kind of blew my mind. I'm kind of a dabbler too, but I really only enjoy a couple of types of crafting. I'm gonna go take a look at my crafting closet.

  5. I am stopping by from MMB. I needed this post! I am trying to simplify as well. Both with our belongings and what I choose to spend my time on. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Great lesson to learn. My craft room needs a good purge, too. There are a few hobbies, though, that I have in mind for when the little ones get older and I have time to learn something new again.

  7. We will be moving soon and my heart panged (is that a word) when I read about simplifying. Boy, I dream of a simpler life, with less stress and stuff, and stuff, and stuff. It's good to hear it can be done! Thank you.


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