September 9, 2010

slowing down and loving my craft

I have a confession.  I work fast and I quit easily.  Or at least that's how I've done things historically.  It can be a hard habit to break.

As many of you know I only recently re-opened my Etsy shop after a long, pregnancy induced hiatus.  Getting back into crafting has done wonders for my self-image, but also frustrated me to no end.  I have this little voice in my head saying "This used to be so easy.  Why is this taking so long?  Why aren't you getting this right?"

It's only been in the last few weeks that I've stepped back to take an honest look at what that's all about.

Yes - I used to work fast and produce massive amount of merchandise.  I also used to (sometimes) make things that were less than my best.  I would be in such a panic to get as much done as possible that my execution was not what it should have been.  My standards were sometimes low to keep my output high. 

Lately I've been working on this...
(the message, not the shirt)

What this means to me:
* Setting realistic goals
* Taking my time on each and every project.
* Only creating pieces that I love.
* Take a break from a failing project - but not breaking up with it. (belt buckles - I'm looking at you!)
* Adjusting my prices to reflect the time and work invested in my work.
* Taking my time with photography and photo editing.

Before I would create in an assembly line method.  Halfway through a fifteen aprons I would start avoiding the craft room.  By the end I loathed everything about the craft.  Now I set smaller, more attainable goals.  Most days I try to sew two aprons, cast half a dozen belt buckles and maybe a tote or two.  (I am only able to achieve this much because of a nap-loving baby and a very supportive partner.)

Not only had this changed my attitude towards crafting but it has completely changed the results of it as well.  My most recent aprons and totes are turning out so nicely!  You're going to laugh - but I actually hug every single one of them when they're done (agh - slightly embarrassing omission there).

I don't want to give the impression that I hated the crafting process before.  I did enjoy it.  However, the heavy goals and overwhelming pressure I was imposing was taking so much good out of the experience. 

I'm not going for absolute perfection and uniformity here.  That's not what handmade is all about for me. But I am so elated to finally have reached a stage where I'm happy with each and every item I put out there.  It feels good!  I'm finally here.