Finding the time to craft

How do you all find the time to craft or indulge in other personal pursuits? That's been my challenge for the last few weeks since summer vacation started. The children are pretty used to doing their own crafts alongside me, but of course I am much more distracted than usual. I'm trying to keep my projects to small, manageable and simple things right now – dreams of dresses and other such things are put off till the fall. 

I started getting really excited about beading because I finally got a small kit of tools. I'd never realized before how accessible and easy professional-looking bead projects are to make if you just have a wire cutter, pliers, and the right little components. It is very quick, too. While I was doing it the boys were digging through all the beads themselves and looking for all sorts of treasure – they've always loved beads and beading but I never expected them to get excited about beads for "real" jewelry. 

This is one that I got started on – since it's a "floating" style necklace it is very fast; the only tricky part is making sure the beads are spaced equally apart.


While I worked on that, the boys were making their own things. B loves anything with gold in it. Daniel is into crystals.



Then I moved on to tiny sewing projects. I loved these tissue holders because they take 10 minutes, max, to make. 



They're both made of Japanese fabric. I want to get more of the polka dotted one by Lecien – I realize I don't have enough plainer fabric to use as lining when I make bags and pouches.

Speaking of which this is a bag I made yesterday. I made it very quickly because I just had to try a tote bag to see how it's done. You know? I wanted to get it out of my system. I was excited to try out the french seams mentioned on this tutorial at Sew, Mama, Sew. However, I learned that if the material I use is too heavy, it won't work well. Both the fabric and the lining were fairly thick and it was hard to make the corners as sharp as I'd like, plus I now have to handsew the top sides down because they wouldn't go through my machine.


Here's a closeup of the strap and lining. The strap is described in the Sew, Mama, Sew tutorial and I really like it. 


While I made that, the boys were seriously busy making a fleet of paper airplanes, because B had discovered a trick to make them fly far and fast. So I was sewing while paper airplanes were flying around my head! Kind of a typical moment in my life actually.



I finally finished my first needlework, about a week ago, using a Wee Wonderfuls pattern, and was waiting for some inspiring idea to come to mind about what to do with it. Frame it? put it in a hoop on the wall? Finally I decided to make a pillow out of it. Here it is and the blue is what I think I'll use for the back of the pillow. I am going to wait to finish it until I get a pillow form so I know how big to make it.


If you do needlework, what's your favorite way of showcasing it when you're done? I will add embroidery to little baby items (once I get or make little baby items!) but what do you do with larger projects? 

I also made a few baskets lately – again, to figure out how they're made. I am really happy with how this basket turned out. It's quite small and I think I will make a couple of these as gifts.


It gave me a chance to practice boxing the corners in. I also tried this basket, but it was larger, and ended up a little floppy, and handles this thin were hard. Mia loves carrying it around though. I also made the baby blocks inside but wasn't as pleased with them – it's hard to get them right with just batting, not foam blocks, which I'd rather not use. So I think I'm done making baby blocks!



One last basket photo – this one turned out okay. It was the first one I made. These handles were better, though too thick. One of these days I'll get them right! Though it shaves a lot of time off this project not to put any handles on at all.


If you want to make a basket of your own, the tutorial I used for basic reference is here.

Finally, the boys have been playing around with paper lately. We have a tiny little paper maker – just postcard sized – which Daniel really likes. I wish there were a way to make the pulp without using a blender – if anyone knows, please tell me! The original kit came with some pieces of dried pulp that kids could shake in a bottle with some water and marbles (to help agitate them). Maybe I could make a big batch in the blender and then divide it up and dry it. I think Daniel would make paper more often if it didn't involve having to ask an adult to blend the pulp first.


And a final paper project – both boys enjoyed this – just watercolor paints and salt. Here's a beautiful blog, Kleas, with a link. It's a very easy project – you should give it a try!



11 thoughts on “Finding the time to craft

  1. Amy Hanson

    Wow! Lots of wonderful stuff! I don’t sew, so I can’t help you there…But I do find it hard to find time to craft. My girls are back in school now, but while they were out, I pretty much just devoted my “crafting” time to them. It just seemed to reduce everyone’s frustration levels…now that they are back in school, maybe I can get to a few things…We’ll see!

  2. Katherine

    You find the time to make so much stuff I am always amazed. If you want to make the blocks come out a little more square without using foam, you can cut cardboard squares a little bit smaller than each side, and put them in just before the batting. You shouldn’t need to fasten them down, they can just float there held in place by the shape of the cube and the stuffing. That trick is used a lot in small felt construction, like putting a circle of cardboard/heavy paper in the bottom of a cylinder to keep it flat when you are making a bottle, so that it sits up and doesn’t fall over.

  3. Christine

    Yes, I think that’s a good strategy! I find us doing that too, or at least I find myself doing something of my own alongside them, but I do feel perpetually distracted. I think that’s why I’ve been waking up earlier and earlier these days, to get my own time….

  4. Christine at Origami Mommy

    Katherine, thanks for this tip – it’s great! Perhaps I’ll get back to making another one sometime, then. I actually did this with the felt chocolate cake – I don’t know why I didn’t think about it this time. It sounds like you’re saying to leave some stuffing between the fabric and the cardboard, right?

  5. Jennifer Fink

    What beautiful projects! I love the image of you patiently sewing while paper airplanes fly around your head. πŸ™‚
    You’re inspiring me: I haven’t done much in the way of crafts, ’cause the boys are around all the time. But maybe I need to make some time to persue my own creativity and give them time and space to persue theirs.

  6. Nancy

    Let me be perfectly honest about this. I find time to craft and make art by neglecting my work. And my housekeeping. And my family.
    If I could make a living at this, the work would be put on the back burner. The housekeeping would never, ever get done. But, okay, I’d probably still make time for my family.

  7. Claudine M Jalajas

    I also do stitching. I was really into cross stitching for a while–really small, lots of detail. Now I have piles and piles of things all framed and just sitting. WHAT do I do with it all??! I have done crewel too (love that.. kind of fun) and also working with ribbon. Makes really amazing flowers etc.


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