Friday, March 4, 2011

Keep a craft room (or household) journal

Why Bother to Journal? Part 8

Several months ago, I ran across a discussion on a rubber stamping forum about cataloging our supplies. When I walked into my craft room, I nearly suffered a heart attack thinking of the task that lay ahead!

That room is filled with  so many cool tools and so much…well…stuff. But it’s my stuff and I do use it. So, I began a craft room journal  of all that “stuff” in an organized fashion, listing the items and their use and replacement cost.

As the thread suggested, I started with my markers and coloring supplies. But I soon gave up because I had so many run-of-the-mill dollar variety sets, purchased during those back to school supply sales each summer. However, I did manage to catalog all the more valuable items like punches, scissors,  die cutting supplies and non-consumable tool items in the room.

Oh my aching head! Why would I put myself through this tedious torture?

  • One obvious reason is for insurance purposes. Heaven forbid if a disaster ever struck my craft room and all its contents were lost (No, I’m not talking about those whirlwind creative days when hurricane Bonnie blows through the room. LOL!)

I use many of my craft items on a continuous basis and would definitely want to replace them if something happened. But in the aftermath of a fire or other destructive event, I know I wouldn’t think clearly enough to remember all the items I have. After all, I’ve been purchasing tools and supplies for this card-making passion of mine for over 15 years.

  • A second reason to keep this type of journal for my craft room is to be able to see at a glance what supplies I have to prevent duplication when shopping.

It’s true. I come from a family of habitual hoarders! When we began clearing out my parents’ home to sell it, we started with only a pathway to get through the rooms. As we worked our way to the outer walls, we found several  cases of paper towels and a dozen unopened 3 pound cans of coffee. New sheet sets still in the wrappers and brand new bath towels while the shredded ones hung on the bathroom towel bars.

Groan! I promised myself then that I would never succumb to the family disease, but I do have a craft gadget fetish. If there is a new tool that will do the job more efficiently than one I already have, well….. But at least I’m not buying the exact same tool or Cricut cartridge twice, though I have found some duplicates among my $1 stamp sets.

  • Perhaps the most important reason for me to keep this craft room journal is to see how much I have invested in my craft hobby (obsession). What an eye opener as I went through my supplies and tools shelf by shelf!

I found consumable supplies I purchased on sale thinking that “someday” I would use them. But someday never came and here they still are taking up space while I buy more sale items to squirrel away! I have wonderful stash of design paper, cardstock, brads, embellishments and other assorted treasures – enough that I shouldn’t have to purchase anything for a loooooong time. And those addictive little $1 stamps…I have over one hundred of them, most of which haven’t seen ink yet.

So the challenge is now to use it or lose it as I streamline things. Not only am I reclaiming valuable space in my craft room by whittling away at my consumable stash, I’m saving money. Before buying new stamps or consumable items, I can see what I have at a glance and peel my fingers off that I’ll-use-it-someday sale item.

I’ve even been able to sell a few of my tools that have duplicate functions. Hmmmm….Florida, here I come!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Shortcut Less Travelled

“If you don’t change the direction you are going,
then you are likely to end up where you are headed.”

~ ~John Maxwell~

Every once in awhile,  Dan and I enjoy taking a drive off the beaten path, turning onto roads we’ve never travelled before to see where we end up. What a great way to get to know the communities where we live, a chance to see unusual and beautiful sights and  time to chat, uninterrupted by phones or the television.

A few years ago, we headed toward home in Maryland after visiting family in PA. There was no rush to get home and the day was gorgeous for driving so we decided to turn off the Interstate onto a less travelled road that went through a state park. We knew generally where we were and where the road should come out so we opted to take the scenic route. We still had about 30 miles to reach home, but we thought the road might offer us a shortcut. No problem.

At first it was a nice two lane, well-maintained road with houses on either side – a typical country road. Then we entered the state forest land.  The road was still paved, and there were no signs indicating  a dead end, so we kept going. But the farther we travelled, the narrower the road became, turning into  gravel, then a packed dirt road.

Since Dan grew up in the country, he wasn’t fazed by the changes and decided to keep going. After all, we knew that a road bearing the same name came out near our home road.

But soon the dirt road narrowed into a single lane, grassy wooded path. There were even muddy puddles from a recent rain which I was sure could swallow us up and no one would ever find us since there was absolutely no traffic. No signs warned us to turn back.  I got a little worried and wanted to turn around, but there wasn’t even any place to turn around.

Still unfazed, Dan kept going, slowly but surely down the path, navigating  around the water puddles and careful to avoid branches which had fallen on the path. I’m not sure whether the Royal Ranger, explorer side of him kicked in or whether he was just too stubborn to backtrack and make our trip home even longer after wasting so much time on our current path.

Just when I had almost persuaded him to try to turn around, patches of gravel appeared on the path, sparse at first, then more often until we were back on a gravel road. Soon we were back on a real road again, complete with the white no passing stripes down the middle. Whew!

We ended up near where Dan thought the road would come out and with a few minor course adjustments, we soon turned onto our tried and true shortcut road home. It was an INTERESTING afternoon jaunt.

I’ve been on the journey with the Lord long enough to know if He directs me down a certain path, I’d better take it! It might lead me through some interesting, narrow, muddy, tree-strewn places – some places where I’m tempted to bite my nails and feel like turning back, but as long as He’s guiding me, I will come out exactly where He wants me to be.  Thanks Lord!


     Today’s In Other Words  is being hosted by Nina  of Mama’s Little Treasures. If you’d like to play along, share your thoughts about John Maxwell’s quote on your blog today.  Then, visit Nina’s blog  and share a  link to your blog.

Be sure to visit the others who have also written on it and leave them a comment so they know you were there! Happy Tuesday!