The main reason I asked the questions of you was that I've been asking myself. It's important, I think, to reassess what we're doing in life periodically. Are we living the life we want? Are we doing things because we've always done them or because we still want to do them? Where's our joy coming from? Do we need to do something new?
Hobbies are not work. They're supposed to be fun, relaxing, energizing, HAPPY. If they're not all those things, something is wrong, very wrong. Re-evaluating and refocusing can help us out of the doldrums.
I was in the doldrums. I made a simple list of what makes me happy in crafting and what doesn't. Now, there's a stiff breeze of enthusiasm blowing through me (so to speak). Yippee!
So, since I never miss an opportunity to analyze data and make
First of all, here's the summary of the top things (with a significant omission explored further on) that make you happy about papercrafting.
- Making a card that "looks like the one in my head"
- Getting inspired by blogs, nature, anything
- Playing, especially with paper but also with any supplies, tools, products
- Learning new things (color combos, techniques, etc.)
- Growing as a stamper/artist
- Having plenty of tools and supplies to play with
- Using computers to craft
- Finding your own style
Frankly, number 1 surprised me though. It was by far the most cited thing that makes you happy, and yet my creative process is completely different. (I've always known I was weird...here's the proof!) I'm going to share it here mainly because anyone who's weird like me might have read all the comments and felt like a weirdo. Well, we are weirdos, but that's okay. Really, it's totally okay!
I almost never have a picture in my head when I sit down to stamp; I feel my way to something that looks like I made it. Obiwan whispers in my ear, "Use the Force, Susan!" For me, the creative process is summed up by number 3: playing. I pick up inspiration from lots of places. Remember that design book I checked out at the library? Heaven above, that was fun! But what inspiration I find (color combo, layout, theme, image, etc.) comes to me in pieces, not a whole.
"Hmm, what can I do with that color combo? It says birthday to me!"
"How would that bag layout translate to a card? I have no idea. Let's find out!"
"So-and-so used glitter in a cool way on that collage card. How can I adapt that to my style?"
And then I play until it works. Or doesn't and ends up in the trash. Whatever happens, it's a surprise to me, and even the failures work to my advantage...at least I learned something NOT to do!
But whatever our specific creative process might be, we're all just so happy to make pretty stuff, be inspired, play, learn, and grow. If you're struggling in one of these areas, it might be time to challenge yourself.
Items 6, 7, and 8 are more ambivalent. They appeared frequently on people's happy list, but also on people's unhappy list. Some people like computers, some don't. Having lots of tools and supplies to play with makes us happy; having too many makes us unhappy. And shopping. Well, what girl doesn't love to shop? Duh. But lots of unhappiness comes from over-shopping. We are finicky critters, aren't we?
I could write a whole week of posts on finding your own style. For some people, I think it's over-rated and limiting. For others, like myself, it was incredibly liberating. You have my permission to belong to either group. I love you no matter.
Now, the above list focuses on our experience stamping, but a massive overall theme of your happy comments was connection with other people. Here are some of the things that make you happy about connecting with other people through crafting.
- Giving away what you made, and having it be appreciated
- Showing love to your family and friends in a personalized, special way
- Connecting with the awesome papercrafting community online and in person
- Crafting with loved ones (especially our kids) or strangers (nursing homes, schools)
- Sending and receiving cards
- Receiving comments on your work online
- Finding generous people online who share their time and talent and product
- Supporting the troops through Operation Write Home
I honestly don't think this list is an accident...more of a self-fulfilling prophesy. People who create want to connect...to listen and to be heard, to give and to love. People who embrace their creative selves recognize generosity because they are generous, and they embrace community because none of us wants to be alone.
I know only two people in my real life who are at all crafty, neither of whom I see on a regular basis. But all I have to do is turn on my computer and dozens of you are right here with me. I'm right here with you. We're together, sharing this crazy
How could that not make us happy?