Checking in.

Checking in.

Sometimes I think it’s best that I take a step back and check in with where I am, what I’m doing, what I want to be doing, and how to get there.  It’s been a while since I’ve done that here, so I thought it would be a good idea.  I thought that it would be good to set these in a series of lists and questions for myself.  Feel free to read on if you want, and if you don’t want to, that’s understandable.

Why do I blog?

Mainly, I blog because I like to share what it is I’m doing.  More than that, I like to inspire and empower others to create as well.  I’m a maker, through and through.  Most of what you see here is the more crafty end of the things I do, but it isn’t all of what I do.  I’ve also played around with circuitry, woodworking, leatherworking (you’ve seen some of this), coding, metal casting, and generally whatever I don’t know how to do but I want to know how to do.  I like to challenge myself.  And while doing it, I like to do my best at something completely new.

There are also several great communities that I’ve been connected to which I otherwise wouldn’t have been.  While I love my friends in real life, most of them are often busy, and few of them have a passion for creating and making things.  This has been a fantastic side benefit of blogging that I hadn’t expected.

I also blog because I like to share my experiences with all of you.  What works?  What doesn’t?  What have I done, and what haven’t I?  I might be talking out to the great wide open space, but I know that someone is listening because you all occasionally comment, and that makes me feel good too.

Why haven’t I been blogging as much lately?

I started this blog as a way to have a creative outlet.  To provide a space in my life that wasn’t already there.  I can honestly say, this blog has done that for me.  But somewhere along the way, I decided that the only things I can post are things that I can a write complete tutorial for.  My blog was a place for me to teach others to do what I do.  This requires a lot of effort.  Like it or not, my blog is a hobby blog.  I make a very little bit out of the sidebar ads and the affiliate links – just enough to pay for hosting fees.  While I like writing tutorials, and I think I’m pretty good at it, it does get to feel like work sometimes.  Plus, there is a time aspect to it.  I’m working on finishing a few other real world “projects” that take precedence.

Plus, there is a time aspect to it.  I’m working on finishing a few other real world “projects” that take precedence.  And lets face it – good content takes time to come up with ideas, photograph properly, and write up.  Not to mention the social media aspect of it all (which frankly, I suck at).

Finally, as I continue to expand my projects, I’m using tools that are not that easy to replace.  For example, I LOVE my Silhouette Cameo and my Cricut.  And these provide the ability to precisely cut images that would be impossible for me to do otherwise.  As above, I worry that if I spend too much time on these, it limits my audience.  I’m not sure why that’s come to matter to me so much, but it has. Maybe I just don’t like the idea of pigeonholing myself.

My Core Beliefs

I believe that you can learn to do anything.  You may not ever be a professional at it, and your efforts may not result in a perfect  result, but you can learn to do it.  When I was younger, I took fencing lessons.  I really loved it.  I don’t really remember why I stopped.  I knew I would never be an Olympic fencer, but I can honestly say that at one point in my life, I could fence.  Everything I post here, I believe you can do too.

I believe that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.  I don’t mean this from a perfectionist standpoint.  What I mean by this is that it’s worth learning the proper techniques.  Sometimes that means picking up a tool that you might not otherwise have purchased.  Sometimes this means spending hours painstakingly making sure all your parts line up properly before adhering them.  And sometimes, it means making the choice between getting the tool and spending the time.  Either way, it’s worth investing your time and research to learn to do it right.  This means that you learn something new and you can apply that knowledge to other projects.  It also means that you’re more likely to have a result your happy with.

I believe in challenging myself.  So often I see projects on blogs that are touted as easy, or can be done in 30 minutes.  There is nothing wrong with this, but I don’t find projects like that to be challenging or engaging.  I recognize that I don’t have the constraints that many others have (namely, children).  This provides me with the opportunity to push myself in ways that are mentally and physically challenging, and I relish propelling myself further to meet these challenges.  For these reasons, I often try to do something new with each project.

I believe that trial and error is key to doing better.  If you can’t try something and fail, you’ll never learn what to change to make it better.  I know that sometimes this just isn’t possible.  My mom, for instance, hates wasting material.  I understand that, and don’t necessarily disagree.  But here’s the thing.  If I’m not willing to waste some material while learning and failing along the way, I’ll never be able to make things better, push myself harder, and learn new things.

I believe in giving back.  I’m a giver, what can I say.  And I strive to give as much as I can,  since I feel that I’m very lucky to be where I am and doing what I am in life.  Whether it be blogging, crafting, or whatever creative endeavor has captured my gaze, I’m privileged to be able to pursue that passion.  Some of this comes from the support of my husband.  Some of it comes from the choices I’ve made and the opportunities I’ve taken advantage of.  Some of it comes from my family.  And some of it comes from you, my readers, who support me by merely being there.

What do I want to be doing?

Well, I still want to be blogging.  And I still want to be writing tutorials.  But, I also want to do a better job at just sharing what I’m doing with you, without feeling like I need to explain every step I did.  These past few weeks I’ve been really active on Instagram, and I’ve loved it.  I don’t feel the pressure to have perfect pictures or explain every step.  I want to try to bring that feeling back here.

I want to continue to give back to the communities I’m part of.  I dedicate a lot of time to the smooth running of the Silhouette Facebook group.  I care a lot about them.  I’ve also been doing my facebook Craft-it-Forward random giveaways.  I’ll probably do a few of them here as well.  I don’t think that Facebook’s reach has been treating me all that well (does it ever treat anyone well?), and sometimes I don’t think many people see them.  I might also do some instagram giveaways if I can figure out the mechanics of them.

I want to do more trial and error posts.  My most popular posts by far are my Silhouette FAQ and my Cricut materials post.  Those take time, but I find them informative, fun to do, and useful for myself and many other people.  They are good references.  I have to find a good format for them, as well as a process that works, so that might be a bit in coming.

I want to visit a few post ideas that I have but have never written up.  Sometimes I let something sit for so long I figured I can never go back – I need to get away from that.

I want to do some more “hey – look what I did!” posts.  Things that are less formal.

I want to be ok with posting things that are more technically inclined, or use tools that might not otherwise be handy for people.  It’s what I’m doing, so I feel like I should be ok sharing this.  I know this is more mental than anything else, but it’s worth putting here.

I want to finish out some of the series that I’ve started, like the

How do I get there?

Well, for one I need to loosen up with myself.  I also need to spend a little bit of time getting a few ducks in order.  Figuring out how to format certain posts.  I need to get myself more organized at home so I know where my supplies are (this is getting better).  I need to remember what it is that I want to do and make sure that I’m doing that instead of creating restrictions on what I do.

Most of all, I need to redefine what it is I think when I think of myself and my blog.  To that note, I’ll leave you with this quote from Maya Angelou.  Please feel free to leave comments and let me know what it is that YOU like about my blog and what you’d like to see more of.  Thank you for reading.

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10 Responses to Checking in.

  1. I happened upon your site while visiting another and I can honestly say I love what you do and what you post. I to like to do lots of things crafty and sometimes I am in fear of the outcome. I have so many interests it is sometimes difficult to get honed in. Thanks so much for sharing your talent and your words. Blessings, Linda

    • Thank you for this comment Linda. It really made my day. I hope your day is fantastic, and hopefully what I do will keep you coming back. 🙂

    • Sounds good Susan! I’ll make sure to take plenty of detours along the way, shake things up a bit, shall I? 😉

  2. Just want to thank you for your very instructive blog posts. Some of it goes over my head but mostly I learn something valuable and I know I am progressing. I appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge and to inspire others.

    • Thank you Janet! I can assure you that there will still be tutorials, so hopefully you can continue to learn from this space! The fact that you said this is very inspiring to me, and makes me want to keep plugging away at things, so thanks so much for the comment!

  3. Your “Checking In” comments echo my sentiments about my crafting journey. Your post is inspiring and encouraging. Please keep doing your thing!

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