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Old 03-05-2018, 10:28 AM   #41
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Robin-
One question I think is important to ask is if you spend time on social media (FB, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, etc) to brush up on techniques or to find some inspiration.

Social media can be absolutely wonderful to give you that boost of knowledge and inspiration, but it also has some side effects that we don't think about or notice. For one, a person can internalize that how DT's do things is how we should all aspire to do things. So, we start thinking that every creation we make needs to be completely unique and inspired.

But the reality is that people who create content for media only share carefully curated content. They will share the one successful card, but not the other 5 they felt missed the mark on that project. Or they'll create projects so far in advance that they can make 10 of the same design, but posted over 2 months so it doesn't feel like they made the same thing again and again. Companies they promote don't want them to share flubs and their "meh" work.

I think when we -consciously or not- hold ourselves to that standard, we'll come up short more times than not. It really does become a case of the unfair comparison of someone's highlight reel with your own messy behind-the-scenes work. If this does resonate with you, maybe you can also experiment with reducing your social media exposure for a while, too. See if it makes a difference.

I have a tendency to be really hard on myself, too. There are some positives to it - such as it being a powerful motivator to continue improving and succeeding at whatever I undertake. But at the same time, I know I have to thread carefully because sometimes pushing too hard leads to a kind of toxic environment that sucks the joy out of whatever I'm doing.

One thing I tried to do that proved to be incredibly helpful is to share whatever I've created. Not just the stuff I was proud of or stuff I was ok. But all the things I wasn't sure about or even things that I felt were absolutely terrible. I came to realize that even the most negative person who commented on my work wasn't even close to the kind of criticism I was giving myself. People either didn't care that the project wasn't my best work or they saw something positive and inspiring that I didn't notice.

That made me take a step back and really think about why I was setting such high standards for myself. I certainly don't hold others to impossible standards, so why couldn't I give myself a break now and then? So, I just made a conscious decision to be gentle with myself now and again, and it's been amazing. I have all those benefits of ambition that come from pushing myself, but I don't sink into moods where I feel like it's not worth it anymore.

I hope that helps a little.
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Old 03-05-2018, 10:38 AM   #42
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It's so interesting that this thread popped up here when it did, because I struggle with all sorts of unbelievably idiotic stuff around my creativity - like whether it has Meaning, or of what Value it is, and I've only recently noticed how pervasive this thinking is, how everything I do gets run through that stupid filter. It is Art? Does it make a Difference? All crap that we ask ourselves when we are not doing a thing for the sake of doing it, but because we have a secret agenda - approval, applause, admiration, etc. All of which are fine and of course we love getting all of them, but it shouldn't be the first thing you ask yourself about something you do when it comes to the hobbies/passions/pastimes that you have in your life. I have no conclusions or revelations to share on the subject, only that I am noticing this, and don't know where the noticing will lead me. And that this "not crafting" test is turning into a different and perhaps more important test than I thought.
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Old 03-05-2018, 11:32 AM   #43
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It's so interesting that this thread popped up here when it did, because I struggle with all sorts of unbelievably idiotic stuff around my creativity - like whether it has Meaning, or of what Value it is, and I've only recently noticed how pervasive this thinking is, how everything I do gets run through that stupid filter. It is Art? Does it make a Difference? All crap that we ask ourselves when we are not doing a thing for the sake of doing it, but because we have a secret agenda - approval, applause, admiration, etc. All of which are fine and of course we love getting all of them, but it shouldn't be the first thing you ask yourself about something you do when it comes to the hobbies/passions/pastimes that you have in your life. I have no conclusions or revelations to share on the subject, only that I am noticing this, and don't know where the noticing will lead me. And that this "not crafting" test is turning into a different and perhaps more important test than I thought.
This is such an interesting observation. I have wondered why people who can paint and draw still stamp, but there are lots who do. My mind tape plays, Iím not artistic so I do this instead with stamps that prop up my lack of ďrealĒ talent. I send cards to people who are ill or lost their pet. They are glad to get them. But no, thatís not enough. Lol. I sometimes ask myself if this hobby is a way of feeding my buying urges and adding to the emotional load. Really have to think about this. Reading seemed to be less angst inducing. Oh wait Iím not reading heavy enough literature. Need to fix that too. On the other hand I prefer keeping company with people who have a few thoughts like this rather than the Iím perfect and I never entertain a moment of self doubt people. Maybe the middle ground is the path-doing it when the spirit moves and for fun, not wrecking the budget, and not overthinking what creative means.
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Old 03-05-2018, 12:01 PM   #44
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I have wondered why people who can paint and draw still stamp, but there are lots who do.
You know, this question can pop up virtually anywhere, and there are so many great answers! Why would a chef eat in a restaurant? Why would a seamstress buy clothes? Why would an artist buy a painting?

The answers range from the joy of exploring a new perspective to the convenience of getting something we like without having to put in a ton of work, to supporting like-minded individuals and the industry we love, to taking a break from the pressure of creating from a blank canvas and so on.

And then you get into specializations... Just because someone can paint gorgeous flowers doesn't mean they can also draw adorable critters. Or just because they can draw adorable critters doesn't mean they've mastered the style that stamp uses.

Or maybe it helps them practice a particular skill. That stamp size could help practice shading in small places. Or that trip to a restaurant will help the chef figure out new flavor combinations. It could be an inspired challenge to help a person be even more creative and skilled in their field of expertise.

I think that it's lovely to see that something can appeal to people with vastly different skill levels and different backgrounds and make them both feel confident and happy. That's one of the most wonderful things about having a hobby you can enjoy and share.
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Old 03-05-2018, 07:09 PM   #45
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I hope what we will see is you back here, but most of all that you find and do what you love.

I hesitate saying this, but my sense is that relaxing and crafts might not be words you'd often use in the same sentence - that your goals are lofty and you're very tough on yourself. (See why I hesitated?)

I dabbled in the art world at one point (kiln formed glass), took classes from renowned teachers who were amazing and so supportive, but rarely just had fun. Nothing I did - almost - felt good enough, and while the pressure was largely self-imposed, the whole arts versus craft conversation was ongoing, which added to the pressure.

I eventually stopped, despite having a fully stocked glass studio with equipment that cost many thousands of dollars and a huge amount of specialty glass. I still have it and hope to sell some, but a lot may be donated. Life costs. (Can be read in two ways?)

Then I found paper crafting, and slowly, painfully at times have learned that it's just paper, it does not have to be Art capital A, and just playing or experimenting is not just okay but can be enough. Blobs of alcohol ink on Yupo without making anything? It's cool.

When I recently purged my craft room, I donated a huge amount, and I felt guilty for "wasting" so much money on what did not fit, but it went to a good cause - a thrift shop that now supports an organization that goes in to areas where disasters hit to help animals.

If you decide this craft/art form is not for you, you won't have less money than you do now if you can't sell much. And it isn't as if you didn't work with and use what you had. How different is that than school books we purchased for subjects not in our field? Or any books we donated to libraries or thrift shops? Or handbags or clothes that went out of style or we grew out of? They had their use until they didn't. Had some fun, learned some things. So it goes. Just my take.

: ) Beth
I just have to say that your post makes so much sense to me, especially that last paragraph. Thank you for helping me see my huge collection of stamps, dies, papers, etc. etc. in a clearer light. I am still loving card making and to a lesser extent scrapbooking for my grandchildren, but I do struggle with guilt over having so much stuff! Your thoughts helped me see my supplies from a different perspective.
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Old 03-06-2018, 07:21 AM   #46
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Thank you for your kind words, Claudia. I'd just add - for me! - that there's a difference between the hobby of crafting and the hobby of buying, although the fun/rush of buying is part of crafting, like buying is a part of most things we do: eating, visiting (gasoline, gift), walking (clothes, sunscreen, shoes, etc.).

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Old 03-06-2018, 07:34 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by CreativeCardsea View Post
You know, this question can pop up virtually anywhere, and there are so many great answers! Why would a chef eat in a restaurant? Why would a seamstress buy clothes? Why would an artist buy a painting?

The answers range from the joy of exploring a new perspective to the convenience of getting something we like without having to put in a ton of work, to supporting like-minded individuals and the industry we love, to taking a break from the pressure of creating from a blank canvas and so on.

And then you get into specializations... Just because someone can paint gorgeous flowers doesn't mean they can also draw adorable critters. Or just because they can draw adorable critters doesn't mean they've mastered the style that stamp uses.

Or maybe it helps them practice a particular skill. That stamp size could help practice shading in small places. Or that trip to a restaurant will help the chef figure out new flavor combinations. It could be an inspired challenge to help a person be even more creative and skilled in their field of expertise.

I think that it's lovely to see that something can appeal to people with vastly different skill levels and different backgrounds and make them both feel confident and happy. That's one of the most wonderful things about having a hobby you can enjoy and share.
As you point out, card making/stamping can be quite aside from one's drawing chops. It can be about design fundamentals and design principles (in no particular order and with omissions) like color, line, space, texture, balance, repetition, contrast. All of those still apply to a small piece of cardstock no matter how accomplished an artist is. And if it doesn't work out, it's easily tossed with little investment.

Plus a professional artist can make cards in far less time than a painting, and be free to share them. Wanting Dini to weigh in!

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Old 03-06-2018, 07:57 AM   #48
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Robin, I was thinking about on-line inspirations - and then the backfiring that can occur that Elle alludes to. And the trap of comparing ourselves to in-life or on-line people. It's a double-edged sword: 1) Wow, this video gave me a boost and taught me a skill versus 2) I can never, ever be that good so why bother.

As for big picture "why bother," we fill our time with tons of activities that don't Matter capital M in the larger scheme. That speaks to meaning of life and I can't begin to guess what it's all about.

I'd lost motivation, partly due to bad news, partly because I just do that a lot. Then a blog on Elizabeth Crafts showed super-easy, minutes-to-make bookmarks (by Judi Kaufman) that perked me right up. Extremely simple and colorful was the spark. Do bookmarks matter? No. But I could toss some in my bag and give them to random people who read real books (I'm an e-reader due to bad eyes), or leave them at the library or somewhere else. Simple, colorful fun. This hobby does not need to be heavy.

P.S. Robin, I was looking at a class a couple months ago at an LSS a couple hours from me and thought how it had your name on it - unusual mixed media by a nationally known artist. I've wondered if spending time with real people who do this stuff would also be nice for you. Easier said than done.
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The bookmarks that moved me: http://blog.elizabethcraftdesigns.co...ute-bookmarks/

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Old 03-06-2018, 10:23 AM   #49
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There are all sorts of reasons people find themselves drawn to this mad hobby of ours, right? I laugh when I think about how I thought it was a way to a) save money and b) save time (you know ... you won't be going down to the card shop to pick out a card, you'll just whip one out yourself. bwahahahahahaha!!!). at least the c) feel artsy fartsy in a safe space was true. and it was enough to get me through the bumpy realization that, for me at least, a and b were dirty lies. (Now, there are stampers who DO save money, and CAN whip out a card in no time, but that isn't me, and trying to reach those goals wasn't satisfying at all ... for me, not saying it's true for anyone else.) and for me, this has been an evolving growing experience. I'm not terribly good at just playing to play, but I've learned to really enjoy just exploring and seeing how this or that will turn out ... just to see. Most of my cards are made over a long period of time. I have a binder of inspiration ideas so if I do need a specific card for a specific occasion and nothing in my stash quite fits, I can use my binder to jump start a card.

On the flip side, I wanted to throw out there the Kon Marie idea that if you're really not using something and it doesn't bring you joy, that letting it go on to someone else, and their joy ... that's a good thing. I don't know if that makes sense, but it helps me when I'm thinking about hanging on to things or letting them go.
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Old 03-06-2018, 11:41 AM   #50
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I resisted card making for many years. I started out as a scrapbooker. The very first card I made with SU I was insanely hooked. I spent many years making cards and they piled up. My card making also improved over the years as well. After few years of sending my cards to local charities I was thinking I could sell some to cover my costs. That began 7 years ago through a couple of farmers markets. Last year I made and sold over 2500 cards. It is still a hobby and I love making, selling and being at the markets. It is now my way of life until I am fed up with it. lol.

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Old 06-08-2018, 02:13 PM   #51
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I am right there with all the thoughts and comments. I have also questioned my purchases. I have recently taken the last 3 years off from stamping of any kind. We have been remodeling the house. My "craft" room now is finished so I am thinking of starting back again. I will be doing mostly scrap-booking this time as I have a dresser full of pictures that I have sorted and have yet to put to paper. I did not sell any of my stuff I just packed it up and when I unpack it I will feel like i have purchased all new because it has been so long since I have seen them.
I will do a few cards and maybe a couple swaps because I enjoy them but, not as a business. I was a SU demonstrator several years ago and I ended up being my best customer. I do not have the people around me to meet the quotas of 300 quarterly so I will just be doing it for fun for me.
So my advice is pack up and wait until you miss it or the timing is right and then unpack and enjoy once again.
Hope that helps.
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Old 06-09-2018, 12:54 AM   #52
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Long but I hope it helps. I know I really need these threads at times too. I love this thread. Such beautiful advice. I went through this too. My thing was finding balance. I love to stamp but I don't like to make cards. I love to make ephemera and journal. I got rid of everything related to stamping cards. I updated for ephemera and journaling.

I set myself on price points. I think this is an expensive hobby. That is great. It's not great when I have other expensive hobbies- gardening, video gaming, decorating. When I began stamping I loved it because I just had my black ink, colored pencils, stamps and my imagination. Then it started going to 20 billion inks, embossing powders, and this and that and even more that. I just got so overwhelmed.

I would look at the stamps and realize I can't buy any stamps because I have to buy Distress Inks. I realized I had a terrible mindset about this. I don't need to buy Distress Inks. I need to buy stamps. That is what I want to buy. I took a step back and really looked at my things and told myself to buy the stamps and what do I need for that particular stamp. I started seeing patterns in my stamping and how I stamp. It really helped.

I want to add that some stampers rather have 20 stamps and all the Distress Ink lines. That is amazing too. I don't want anybody thinking I am hating on DI's, lol. It's all about our stamp personality.

I was spending money on things that didn't give me joy in this hobby. I decided to stop that and start spending money on what gives me joy.

I have given this advice before. I know it is a bit of a repeat. Last year I really went through my room. I made a list of every single thing I use and I put those things to the side. It was very enlightening to do this. It was so easy to get rid of the rest and then I said I am upgrading what I want. Trust me there was a lot of things I didn't think was worth upgrading and spending money on. I am like no I am not buying that I can buy a new Nintendo game for the same price.

I agree with everyone less is more. It is lovely we have so many things to choose from. This industry, like so many others is a cash grab. That is to be expected because we are all just trying to survive and make it. That means we don't have to fall for the cash grab, we learn how to work it to our advantage and how it inspires us.

Last bit, I promise. I use to make Christmas cards. It was really overwhelming. I use to make a lot of cards. I noticed I wasn't getting any back. I mean not even a Dollar Tree card. I wasn't expecting cards. I don't want it to come off that way. You know it still hurts because that is just a normal human emotion. Then one day a dear friend told me she always feels so overwhelmed to give me cards because they will never be good enough. That was like a cold water moment. It was meant to be kind. It did make me realize maybe, just maybe we make people feel slightly overwhelmed and pressured to reciprocate at our artistic levels.

Also, one year a friend handed me a large box and said Happy Birthday. I opened it and inside was all these blank cards from all sorts of holidays and what nots. I was in heaven. One of my friends said "Why did you give her a stupid gift like that?" My friend was like "That's not stupid, she loves cards. She makes things with them."

Hope that helps. It's ok to say over it with the hobby and spend money on your new obsession. It's ok to say I don't want to stamp this way or spend money on this. I rather have stamps and Crayola markers. Most important if we are bored and done then it's a good thing we are growing and learning. If your stagnant in your hobby that is not a good thing.
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Old 06-09-2018, 07:35 AM   #53
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Amen and amen, DeeAnn! I am doing the good, hard look at all of my "stuff" and trying (really, really hard) to be brutally honest about why some things are still in my space. I've been on a creating hiatus for quite a while now (life stuff), so I am allowing for that, but there are some things that I KNOW are just hanging around for sentimental reasons. I'm going to follow the advice given here repeatedly: box up what I don't think I will use and see if I miss it. Previously I've passed stuff on to my daughter who got interested in stamping, but there are a couple of things I want to ask her to give back (shame on me, and I probably won't really ask), so I'm going to sit with the box(es) for a bit and see how I feel in a month or two (or six). I've been playing with ink and paper off and on since 1989, so I have all kinds of tangled emotions about it - we'll see how unemotional and honest I can be about this...
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Old 06-09-2018, 07:47 PM   #54
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I hear you. Although I do like to make cards not many people do send them out. I send you approximately 75 birthday cards just between my family and my hubbies family every year. How many do I get? Maybe 2. I keep on making them and sending them every year. Not sure why.
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Old 06-09-2018, 08:03 PM   #55
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I ‘met’ a college guy thru his card blog. He was up for receiving my stash I was purging.
Going to college he had limited funds to buy stamps and stuff, so I really had fun sending him what I was not using anymore. I would put stamp sets in the box.....pull them back out.....put them back in. Maybe I had not used them for two years, but still hard to just give away. But I did and it is all good. I liked the fact he loved making cards.....and is good at it too.
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