Tuesday, 5 July 2011

How to turn 24 hours into 26

Cute watch from Amoronia.

I often get the question how I am able to do so much crafting? Since I don't have more than 24 hours per day (wish I could have more… but still) you will have to learn how to find little pockets of time here and there. My children are now 5 and 7 which means that they sometimes are able to play without being tended to all the time, but I will give you a few tips on how to get more crafting time even with smaller children.

First of all. Turn off the TV and turn off the computer. I very rarely sit in the couch to watch TV. When I do, I always bring something to craft with me. Usually something to crochet. The kids love that mummy is watching their favorite DVD with them, but honestly most of them I know by heart, so I don't need to have 100% focus to follow the plot. The kids curl up to me and we all have a lovely time, although I have to adjust my technique slightly (from someone leaning their head towards my crocheting arm) and tell the kids not to sit on the yarn every now and then. I do most of my ironing watching TV, and I usually do it on Tuesdays since that is the day that has most of my favorite programs.

Have a crafting space. No matter if it is just a table or a closet or you have a spacious studio. But just being able to leave your sewing mashines in the same place from yesterday will save a lot of time. If you have small kids that have access to the space where you keep your mashines, please remember to pull the plug out of the wall so that they don't accidentially turn on the mashine and hurt themselves.

Stay organized! Really. There is nothing worse than having to search for an hour to find the tape measure, only to find it under a pile of fabric, or trying to find the missing piece of pattern. When I have had a very intense period of crafting my crafting room usually looks like a mess. Then I will take a day just to organize everything. I put all my favorite patterns in a A4/letter-sized plastic zip-lock bag and then put them into a big box. I have my buttons in glass yar, I have a stand for all my thread and a vintage tin can for all the others, I put away my fabric according to fabric type, and make sure that it is easy to find the fabric the next time I need it. I clean up the table where I keep my sewing mashines, dust them and oil them. I put away all finished products (with labels ready for selling!). I put all the smaller pieces of fabric in a big box, ready for kids crafting or making appliques. I even have a small "Post office" in my crafting room where I keep the stamps, the tissue paper, my business cards, my permanent markers and the mailing bags. When I am done I wipe all surfaces and the floor, since fabric tends to make a lot of dust. And, then I am all set for my next crafting marathon!

Use your waiting time. The kids are playing and you are cooking and waiting for the water to boil. Use that time to clean the kitchen (which means that when you get time without kids you will not have to use that for cleaning). If your kitchen is spotless (yeah right, as if that would ever happen…) use the time and the kitchen table to cut some fabric or draw a pattern. Bring a box of needles, 4 pieces of pattern and a small piece of fabric and cut. Doesn't take much space, doesn't make a mess. When you are done, just move the fabric to your crafting space and you are all set for tonights crafting time. Remember to leave the pattern pieces pinned to the fabric so that you know which piece is which for the garment. If the kids come along, just throw them some leftover fabric and give them a pair of scissors and they will have a lovely time cutting "just as mummy does".

Use your travel time. A lot of people go by bus or train to fhe office, or take long car rides with the family. When we went skiing this winter we had a 6 hour drive in each direction. And even though you need to tend to the children and serve them snacks and change the CD and hand them crayons that is almost 12 hours of bonus crafting time. I love crocheting for this, preferably with simple patterns so that you can't loose track. Make granny squares or a shawl or a simple cardi. Knitting would probably work, and when you get to the complicated part where you actually have to count your stitches make sure to do that when the kids are asleap…

Make a lot of things at the same time. Some people might advice against this, but re-threading the serger really takes some time too. So I usually make either two identical items (one for my kids and one for the shop), or make a few items from fabric that has similar colors. I could cut a light blue peasant dress, a light blue shirt and a light blue sun hat. Then I sew all the pieces together at the same time. This will take perhaps 1 hours. The next day I will use half an our or so to make the hem of the peasant dress and put in elastics around the arms and neck. And the third day I will finish off the shirt, and the following day finish the sun hat. Even with 30-60 minutes a day you will be able to make a lot of clothes. If you were sewing with light blue thread yesterday and today will need to sew with red thread, find five minutes somewhere during the day to rethread the mashine, so when you finally get your crafting time everything is prepared!

I might come up with a few more tips later on, if so I will add them here. There is only one disadvantage with this method. It is possible to keep it up for a while. Perhaps even a few months - then you will desperately need to do ABSOLUTELY nothing for a while. I can feel my yearly pause closing up. I force myself to take time off from e-mails, blogs, internet, wifi and phones. It is absolutely essential to do so otherwise I would go nuts. Most years I take some time off from crafting as well.

So this is my plan for now. Find a hammock, put my feet up and look at the clouds. See you in a couple of weeks! Shop will remain open until Wednesday or Thursday this week...


Shamu said...

Ååå jeg er så enig.
Hvis man skal få gjort noe, når man har små barn, må man spille på flere strenger. Man må lære seg å gjøre flere ting på en gang.
Jeg har justert mine gjøremål masse, for å rekke mer, og er hele tiden i utvikling.. hehe..
MAsse gode tips her Kaja! :-)

metamorphosis said...

Kloka råd och tips!