There’s something about traveling with nothing but a backpack and a smile that makes you want to pare down all the bric-a-brac of your life upon returning. What was your home is transformed, and your possessions become naught but stuff. Burden-stuff.
It is freeing, this all-out reduction. I’ve hauled out clothing, out trinkets, even (and if you know me, this will illicit shock) a book or two. My biggest challenge, however, is my craft stashes. Remember this? Oh yes.
Here I give you the method of my madness: First, there is the throwing out. If I don’t know what to do with it or if the original crafty concept behind the purchase no longer excites me, off it goes to recycling, donation or (last resort) the dump. There is a very good chance that bits of this destashing will soon be up for grabs on this blog as a result of step one (consider this your warning). Second, re-storing in a more efficient and easy-to-access fashion: if I still want to make something but for some reason cannot due to missing tools or supplies, I bag all the required materials together along with a post-it noting what’s missing. Only projects with something missing get this treatment; complete projects proceed to step three of my mad method:
The making. One project at a time, I’m finishing things; as I uncover supplies, I sit down and use them. Once I’m done, I throw out what I don’t need anymore and store (typically a significantly reduced amount of) the leftover bits and pieces I think I’ll want to use it again.
This weekend (really the only time I have for this, making it a very slow process) step three resulted in the creation of these baubles:
First is the final Maneki Neko necklace, triplet to this one. The second one I didn’t show you, but that’s okay: it’s got an identical bead pattern to the first, but uses the silver bead caps of the second. The third, I started running low on the large amythest beads and so added some small ones in:
Second was the long-neglected finishing work for this bracelet, which you may recognize as an example from this tutorial:
And then a simpler bracelet, made as an exploration of ways to use up certain beads:
The first time I ever bought something from an actual bead store, a lifetime ago, said store in the process of closing. I loved these particular beads and hell, they were on SALE and so I bought a handful with no particular project in mind. They have haunted me since- I’ve torn down every attempt I’ve made at using them for the simple reason that my work has a tendency towards the baroque, and these beads (complete with hand-painted dragons) require something simple.
Well, it doesn’t get much simpler than these earrings. And I love them- seriously, one of my favorites.
This leaves me wondering if I can pick up some blank ceramic beads and paints somewhere and hand-paint my own- I know where to find the paint, because I’ve been thinking about hand-painting piggy banks for a a while now. But no! Right now is destashing time, not begin-totally-new-hobby time. Still, I’ll keep the idea in mind.
Rounding out the jewelry work, I have new earrings composed from materials you all might recognize:
Next up: sewing! Sewing is a bit of a sore spot for me right now, as it’s one of my original crafts, but Beastie is still in the realm of the nonfunctional. I want to sew (oh do I want to sew) but still need to set money aside for her repair. Until then I must scratch my sewing itch by hand:
These are pins based off my own sketch (which I then turned into a pattern) and hand-sewn of felt. All they need now is for me to dig out some black seed beads and give them pupils.
The absolute final step of this great clearing out of my life is to move everything onto the Etsy store. This includes not only the new things I make, but old things that I have made and photographed and for some reason or another (typically my great hatred of writing item descriptions) never put up. These next few weeks will be your chance at practically anything and everything you’ve seen on this blog and liked, and quite a few things you’ve never seen at all.
Tonight’s plan, post-homework and other obligations, is to tackle my Sampler submissions and get them all packaged and ready to ship. Then it’s back to the stash busting, sitting cross-legged on the carpet before my closet with a box of ziploc bags on one side and a donation bag and trash can on the other. And once this is all done? I resolve this: comsume less, travel more, and never forget the joy of having nothing but a backpack and a smile.