Thursday, February 4, 2010

Just Do It

By-Jenny2

Don't worry, I am not trying to make a sports metaphor. I just had a good crafty day yesterday. Why, you might ask? Because I listened to the little pep-talker in my head that said "come on, just do it" and I did.

This might not seem like an incredible feat, but for me, it is. Like you, I am a stay-at-home mom who has had a difficult time with the lack of structure that comes with life with young children. We've talked about this before: it makes finding time for projects a challenge, amplified by the need to strike a balance between necessary and fun projects. The conscientious part of me feels like I should prioritize the to-do list projects over the purely creative ones. As a result, I drag my feet (because really, who wants to hem curtains?), waste time on the computer instead, and don't get much accomplished.

I have a list a mile long of projects on which I should work, and while these projects should take priority whenever I have a free moment, I decided yesterday to let my creativity guide me and "just do it". I've had the increasing itch to try some log cabin quilt squares recently. A few bags of colorful fabric scraps have been gathering dust in my fabric cabinet -- some are mine from leftover projects, and some I scored from my mom. They've been beckoning me for weeks, I decided it was time to answer!

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Toward the end of Ben's nap, the moment of the day I usually panic at the thought of everything I'd still like to get done while he's sleeping, I realized there was enough time to at least figure out the first steps in a square and/or quilt project. "Just do it", I thought. So I laid all the scraps out on the dining room table. After debating for a bit where and how to begin, I decided to make some large squares on a color theme. (I think the idea came from seeing the Paintbox Quilt Along posts and photos on the ever-inspiring blog Oh Fransson!) You gotta start somewhere! I then organized all the scraps according to a general color range.

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To begin, I picked orange -- again, an arbitrary choice I pushed myself to make. I selected several scraps that fit that color scheme and cut small and large rectangular pieces as I went.

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I started with 2 pieces that I sewed together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance; then turned the piece sideways and added a 3rd piece to border those first 2; then turned the piece sideways again and added a 4th piece to border the previous assembled pieces; and so on. While I tried to keep seams straight, I wasn't specific about measurements. I just added variously sized pieces to create a large square, then trimmed the finished square to roughly 10 x 10 inches. In less than an hour and a half (with Benjamin running around by that point), I had two awesome orange-ish squares!

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Now that my square-making journey has begun, I am envisioning a large lap quilt with various color squares bordered and sashed with natural linen. I was inspired to come up with this idea by Red Pepper Quilts and I Heart Linen, two fantastic blogs! I am not sure on the backing and binding yet, but let's not put the cart before the horse!

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I am so excited about this! Seeing these two finished squares laying on the table was such an affirmation for me that I can get something rolling, even with 20 minutes of free time. From that first step come small accomplishments, which little by little, add up and end up feeling quite satisfying. I am going to make a point to apply this "just do it" philosophy to all my projects -- the fun and not-so-fun ones -- and I'm hoping it'll lead to increased productivity on my part. And for me, productivity equals fulfillment.

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What do you think of this "just do it" philosophy? I know there is plenty of stuff on your crafty to-do wish list. Can you let go of mental and practical restraints and just do it? In 5-minute increments between nursing a hungry baby and doing 3 loads of laundry? Come on!

Angel-mini-buttonI've definitely come to appreciate the "just do it" philosophy. With two small children that's the only way to get anything done! In my case, with my disaster area of a craft space, it's not helping me much at the moment. At least not with projects. Time for a complete overhaul of my space, I'll take pictures as I go along so I can get some input.

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