Quick & Scrappy – My Strategy for Fall Art Projects

lafazio felted boxesI've been cruising Etsy and art blogs looking for interesting pieces to decorate my home with, but I've gotten side-tracked with all the ideas I'm getting for holiday decorations. I'm particularly excited about decoration for the holidays this year, and when I say "holidays," I'm starting with Halloween.

There's something about decorating for the colder seasons that just makes a house homier and more personal. And I'd love to add my own artistic touches, of course! But with all the traveling I've been doing and will be doing this fall (can you say IQF Houston?), I'll have to keep those projects short and sweet.

When I'm looking to make a quick project, I turn at once to my fabric scraps. The fabrics alone often inspire me, but on my trips back to the Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors offices back in Massachusetts I've spied some pieces of artwork being shot for the latter mag that I put on my list to make, including these cute spiders and needle-felted boxes.

wood spiderHow I will find the time is another matter, but I have a game plan:

1. Do each project in stages. It's sometimes hard for me to find a big block of studio time, so I'm going to set myself up for success by creating a little at a time.

2. Gather all the materials needed for each project. For example, for a needle-felted box, I'll put a small bin of fibers, a cache of embellishments I want to use, and a few skeins of embroidery floss and ribbon together in either a large bin or a tote bag. This way, the project will be ready every time I am and clean-up will be easy between studio sessions. 

3. Prepare the studio for productivity. Before diving in, I'm going to do some routine maintenance on my machines, install new needles (with spares at the ready), make sure all the studio light bulbs are in working order, and stock up on basic supplies like thread, batting, fusible, and Fiberfil. I'll probably stock the fridge with the necessary beverages, too. (Hey, it is the holidays!)

4. Give myself a break. Home, holidays, and art are all things we should enjoy, not stress over. So, if I don't make as much art as I planned or don't finish a project, I'm giving myself permission to shrug it off–at least until it's time for New Year's resolutions!

How do you make time for small art projects? Let me know in the comments section below. And be sure to check out Cloth Paper Scissors for some scrappy fabric projects.

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6 thoughts on “Quick & Scrappy – My Strategy for Fall Art Projects

  1. I relax by stitching my scrap strips into log cabin “freedom” blocks. Its a great way to use holiday fabrics (with additional fabrics scattered in). Because the method is easy, I can stop at any time and pick it up again another day. When I have enough made, they become tablerunners, borders or even a holiday quilt.

  2. Hi, Pokey

    Time for art projects? First and foremost, I carry an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sketchbook everywhere; waiting time=sketching; doctor & dentist offices, long trains stopping traffic, airports, check-out lines, before chorus rehearsal begins, (I’m in a women’s chorus) a million-zillion commercial breaks, during quilt meetings, intermissions, before the movie begins, waiting to pick up folks, between church services (I’m in the choir, too), that piece of time between ordering and the food arriving, the first cup of the morning. Several fully opened, used security envelopes are tucked into the sketchbook pockets for when I grow tired of blank pages.

    The sewing machine always has something beneath it’s needle; laundry=piecing. A cutting table has a pile of men’s shirts at the ready; unless folks are visiting, every time I go downstairs, I cut a shirt for fabric. Quilting books are kept at hand beneath the sewing surface, art books in another area of the studio. Since I design quilts, applique patterns, stamps, program covers, tattoos, name tags, landscape plans and write & illustrate quilt or sewing related instructions for a variety of folks & groups, each has a manila folder with in-progress drawings & sketches; no wasted time searching.

    As the photographer for several groups, photos of each art quilt exhibit, each meeting’s activities or speakers, each quilt-in or retreat are burned to CD; information & graphics at hand for whatever the need. Series of altered photos are printed and kept in cubbies for future works; my ‘break’ from writing newsletters is IPhoto.

    When I walk, a pencil & small notebook are tucked in a shirt or jacket pocket; ideas for quilts, drawings or poetry come at their own schedule. Likewise a zip lock baggie for those odd bits of treasure, nature or man made, that catch my eye.

    Most recently I’ve collected all my doodles from years past, put them in sheet protectors and filled two large three-ring notebooks; they’ve since become an invaluable resource. Who would have thought?

    Since retiring, the monkey-mind has simply run rampant. Does my heart good; so much to do, so many ways to get one’s fingers dirty. :o)

    Bobbie Brooks

  3. When I want to do a small project, I gather everything I need and put it in one of the extra tote bags I have. When we have a weekend getaway or I just have some free time, I grab one of the tote bags and go! If someone wants to join me, I always have a tote bag for them too. Two projects finished and fun time with a friend with no planning involved. Priceless!

  4. When my adult children were younger not only would I always have a small project ready to work on & go w/ me to soccer/dancing, medical appts or other places kids need to go w/ mom in attendence I also had a good plan to work on projects at home. I tried to set aside time at home for projects but when my days, especially in the fall would become too hectic or full I would make an appointment to work on a project by marking the alloted time really as an appointment on my calendar just as I did all other important family appointments & events. I became so used to doing that then when someone requested that I do something else at the already booked time on my calendar it was so easy to say “Sorry, I already have an appointment at that time” & only a very rare emergency would cancel that appointment.

  5. I find a little extra time when I am prparing dinner, my sewing room is next to the kitchen so in between steps I always get a little bit done. I also live in a town with a draw bridge and will always carry something to do so when the bridge is open I’m sewing!

  6. Most of all, I don’t stress over holiday UFOs. Instead, I view them as prepped and/or half-way finished projects for the next fall. So in the coming weeks, I’ll pull out what I started last year (or the previous) and realize that I’ve got a head start on this year’s holiday projects!