November 28, 2014

Making a list

This post is Part Two in my ‘Christmas Project’ series.  Here is the previous part.

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In order to get anything done, a list is essential to me.  It keeps me on track and it’s like a map for a project.  It reminds me where to go and it feels good to cross an item off the list.

On a basic level, this is what my ‘Christmas Project’ list looks like:

  1. Research how to sew a zippered pencil case.
  2. Buy fabric and zips.
  3. Make pencil cases.
  4. List on Etsy.
  5. Promote on all social media channels.
  6. Sell them.  Hopefully.
  7. Ship them out in time for Christmas.
  8. Donate profits to charity.
  9. Recover from all of the excitement by sleeping for a really long time!

However, this is just the outline.  Within each of the steps above are many, many smaller steps. For example, Step 2: Buy Fabric and Zips sounds quite easy, but it actually took a significant amount of time to complete. Time was spent to:

  • Visit a few places to get the best quality and range fabric at the cheapest price.
  • Choose a combination fabrics that were the right weight (heavier for the outside, lighter for the lining) and matching colours.
  • Decide how big the pencil cases would be, as this would impact which zips to choose.
  • Consider fabric/zip/thread prices – which is the best value for the length or size?
  • Choose zips that matched the fabrics chosen.
  • Take everything up to the counter and get it measured (which in itself seems to take ages, regardless of whether you have 2 or 10 bolts of fabric to be measured).

But, by breaking the massive idea into many smaller parts, it didn’t seem so unachievable.  Overall, there were nine main steps to completing this project and 25 mini steps within those nine main steps.  And at this point in time, I’ve already completed 10 of the mini steps, so I’m nearly halfway.

Stay tuned for the next part in this series coming up on Monday.  It was one of the hardest decisions: deciding where the money will go!

November 26, 2014

How my Christmas Project began

On Monday, I mentioned that I had come up with an exciting, super fun, bright, cheerful Christmas Project, that will be launching December 1.  Today, I want to tell you how my project came about …

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I am an ideas person.  I love coming up with new ideas.  Particularly fresh ideas. Ideas that are totally new to me, not an improvement on ideas I have already had. I have books full of them. My problem is that I am poor in the execution.  I can come up with an idea, polish it, write down all of the steps involved with achieving it and even begin the process.  But then I lose interest/passion/momentum and for whatever reason, the idea never sees the light of day.

This year I decided to complete a ‘Christmas Project’, based on an idea I had a few weeks back. It is part of a bigger idea that I had, but rather than jump in (like usual) to try and achieve something massive, but never get it off the ground, I thought I’d try it on a really small scale and see what comes from it.

I thought it might be interesting to share the thought process behind this project so you can see how it all came about and follow how it went from idea to actuality.

So, it all began when I was given a sewing machine for my birthday. I’ve been learning how to use it to complete a number of basic projects.  I have done an envelope cushion cover and a minky baby blanket, so far.  I also started a circle skirt, but I realised halfway through that I’d chosen the wrong sort of material for it (denim = too heavy for it to sit properly), so that one is on the ‘I-need-to-think-this-through-a-little-more-before-I-finish-it’ pile for now.  After trawling Pinterest for a while, I realised that a good next project that would be making some pouches or pencil cases. As a teacher, I thought making some simple pencil cases for my class of 18 girls (as an end of year gift) might be a cheap, thoughtful present for them.

Unfortunately, my class is one of 4 Year Six classes and, for the sake of consistency, each teacher would all need to give our class the same end of year gift, which would mean making 72 pencil cases (because nobody else was that eager to be sewing).  Seeing as I hadn’t even made one yet, that sounded pretty … well, unachievable to say the least.

But I couldn’t let go of the idea that my next sewing project should be making a pencil case.

It then occurred to me that perhaps I could make them and donate them to a charity that arranges school supplies for underprivileged kids.  That would work.  It had potential.

After some research online, I quickly realised that the charity groups that do sort of thing would prefer to receive money to buy the supplies the schools need locally, rather than trying to coordinate supplies being shipped from different donors all over the world.  The cost of postage, the time it would take in shipping and potentially corrupt mail systems in many countries put a dampener on this pathway.

After some thinking, my idea then evolved one step further.  Why not make the pencil cases, sell them online and donate the money?  That would satisfy my desire to sew and be able to give a charity what they need – money to buy the supplies.


And the next step was to make it happen.

(To be continued in Part Two).

November 24, 2014

Around here

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So, first things first.  We moved house.  We now live by the beach and I love it.  Runs and walks down there almost every day and it also means that we have a dishwasher (win!) and we are allowed to have a dog (double win!) The downside to moving house is that we have had masses of troubled getting the internet working and I have a longer drive to work, which has pretty much created a radio silence around here.

So, I’ve been filling my time in other ways. I’ve been listening like a maniac to Serial and I’m totally obsessed with it.  I even donated because I’m so keen to hear it keep going.  I’m also still mad for some Elise Gets Crafty and The Art of Simple. Although I have to ask: Where are you Joy the Baker and Tracy Shutterbean? I have a Joy the Baker shaped hole in my life from a lack of Joy the Baker podcast.

My Christmas cakes are looking so good (and smelling amazing!) They are still getting a weekly feed of brandy and I can’t wait to ice them in the next few weeks.  I’ve also bought nearly all of my Christmas gifts already and I’m looking forward to getting them wrapped and under the tree come December.

There are only 9 more teaching days left at school.  It is both an exciting and sad time of year.  I’m excited to meet a new class next year, but I’m will also to sad to farewell this group of students too.

I’ve also been getting into the sewing in a big way. I’ve hemmed a dress, made minky baby blanket (featuring some applique – crazy!) and I’ve even come up with an exciting craft project to keep me busy in the lead up to Christmas.  In my next post, I’m going to share my idea (it’s super fun, bright, cheerful and pictured above!) and the process that I’m going through to get it off the ground by December 1.

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