Organizing Craft Supplies

This month we explored the many different reasons why we craft. Then we shared tips for organizing our craft supplies. Many helpful ideas were shared!

August 14, 2019

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Audio Transcript


Crafting Circle – Organizing Craft Supplies

Presented by Leeanne Frydrychowicz and Linn Sorge

August 14, 2019

Leeanne F.: Okay, so we have two topics we're hoping to cover today. The first one is why do you craft? What do you do what you do? What are the benefits for you? What do you get out of it, basically? Why did you choose to become a creative person? Have you always been? And then our second discussion, we'd like to shift over to how to store craft supplies, and I know that we represent a large area, a great number of crafting fields.

There's all of the fiber arts, there's wood, there's just a myriad of people joining us all with their different ideas, and we'd like to see what do you do to help you keep yourself organized. Or, you could be like me and have total chaos well. So let's go first to why do you craft? What do you see as a benefit to you? I'll just open it up for discussion, and I see that Sandy's hand is raised. And so Sandy, what would you like to share with us?

Sandy: Hi Leeanne. Well, first off I want to say I'm one of your past students.

Leeanne F.: Sandy, can you hear me?

Sandy: Yes. I'm one of your past students.

Linn S.: Oh.

Leeanne F.: Well, fantastic. Thank you for finding us. That's great. Sandy, what kind of crafts do you do?

Sandy: I did everything. I'm low vision, but I taught the blind doing crafts years ago.

Leeanne F.: Okay. And do you currently-

Sandy: Yeah. I don't do counted cross-stitch. In fact, I’m in the process of giving away and selling all of my stuff.

Leeanne F.: Okay.

Sandy: Because, it's too hard. I do stamped cross-stitch with special magnifiers if it's large enough. But I'm 71 years old and I'm sticking with quilting, some crocheting if I can manage it. Knitting, I just don't feel like doing it. But I sew. And I got a Baby Lock Ellegante 2, because it-

Leeanne F.: Okay.

Sandy: Well, it was expensive, it was about $8,000. But-

Leeanne F.: Nice.

Sandy: Everything is touch sew, it threads itself. The needles. And everything is just on screen. There was a magnifier, even being low vision.

Leeanne F.: Sure.

Sandy: But you had me in the course. I've had several eye surgeries and about I'd say 30 to 40 percent of my eyesight has been restored. I'm a diabetic, juvenile. So, I'm doing a lot better.

Linn S.: That's great.

Leeanne F.: Okay.

Sandy: At one point I could barely see.

Leeanne F.: Fantastic. Welcome to the group. Now, we're just trying to focus on why people craft. What do you get out of it? What are the benefits to you? Okay, Kayla. What do you have to offer for us and why do you craft? First of all, what do you do and what benefits? And you should be unmuted now.

Kayla: Okay. My passion is crochet, that's what I do 90% of the time and I do a lot of it. I actually started in high school because I have ADHD and so crocheting, having something to do with my hands helped me pay better attention in class. So, I started way back then and so that's my passion and then I also teach a general craft class at the Arizona Center for the Blind. So, I'm here to help get ideas of stuff to do with them, but I enjoy all crafts except knitting, I suck at it and so other than that, I'm pretty much good. I can sew and all that. But, yeah, that's mine. I do it mostly for anxiety and just relaxation.

Leeanne F.: Okay.

Kayla: That would be my big point.

Leeanne F.: Okay, all right. Well, thank you for sharing, Kayla.

Anne: Yes. The one craft that I used to do was macramé and that was years ago when macramé was big, and I liked to do it because it was, when you produced something, it was functional not just decorative. I could hang pots in it and hang it on the wall, and I actually sold them. It was a big business for me, when I was a young person. And it doesn't require that I see colors, which I don't.

Leeanne F.: Okay.

Anne: And it was a good stress reliever. I love tying knots because it was good for getting out all that stress. Tying those tight knots, it was great, and I don't know if that's still a thing, but even if I only did it for myself, I'm wondering if I can get back into it. Even if I only did it for my own entertainment. If there's still those materials around, knots and the jutes and beads around, I might want to try and get back into that.

Linn S.: Yes, there are materials like that around. I used to macramé too.

Leeanne F.: Anne, I was just going to point out that you made a few points. It's a stress reliever for you and getting out that stress as well as a business. So, our crafting can also be an income source which is definitely a benefit of crafting, absolutely.

Anne: Yes.

Leeanne F.: So, Marcia, what do you have to share with us?

Marcia: Okay, well in the past I grew up being a very heavy sewer and I used to make my own clothes but recently when my vision began to deteriorate, I could no longer do that and so I went into actually crafting with needlepoint and using magnifiers over the last couple of years and I do the crafting to give away as gifts to the family. I always felt was kind of nice to give something from myself and they would have a memory. Now at this point, over the last year, it's been very difficult with really low vision and so I'm looking for some new crafts that maybe I can do and hoping to pick up on that today. Just see what some of your other members are finding interesting to do. So, I basically did my crafting so I could them away as gifts.

Leeanne F.: Okay, okay. Well, thank you... sure, sure. And I agree. I think that giving something of yourself that you made with your hands has a big impact on the person that not only gives but receives as well. Knowing that somebody took the time, energy, effort, and took these raw materials and made them into something beautiful to share with somebody else, I think that that for the most part is something that people really remember. I have one friend that is a huge card maker and so she is always using rubber stamps just making the most beautiful cards and I have to tell you, after many holiday seasons and receiving may cards from many people over the years, the ones I hang onto are the ones that are handmade, because there's just, they put their heart and soul into that and there's so much love in giving a handmade gift. So, I would agree that being able to give the gift and give something of value, that's also usable, is fantastic.

Marcia: I agree.

Leeanne F.: Okay, so Marcia, I'm going to mute you. And lower your hand. Some people that we haven't heard from. What do you get out of crafting? What do you get out of the particular craft that either you do or that you want to do. I personally feel, I'm knitter, I do other crafts as well, but I truly love to knit, and I think for me it's not about the end product. It's about the repetitive motion. It's about the releasing my mind of my daily worries, of my stresses. I always say it's cheaper than therapy and I truly believe that it is because it just allows me... it goes both ways.

On one end, it just opens my mind and it frees it to think about whatever I want. And then on the other side of that, sometimes when you're dealing with a difficult pattern, you're so focused on it, the rest of life and what to make for dinner and everything just goes by the wayside. And I think that having that freeing of the mind when you create, doesn't always have to be about the end product. Sometimes it's just the act of doing that is really useful and helpful for people. There you go, Linda, you are ready. What can you share with us?

Linda: Hi. I have always crafted. My grandma taught me how to embroider and to sew and things. I have just started quilting. My goal is to make a quilt for all my granddaughters. I have six. And to have quality quilts. I've made a couple, and they aren't perfect.

Leeanne F.: That's a big task.

Linda: But I enjoy knitting. I've knitted for a long time and I can crochet and mostly the quilting and knitting is what I do the most. But I do it, I like to make things for my kids and that helps me to stay awake at night.

Leeanne F.: Okay, there you go. You get really involved, and it's hard to put a craft down once you're really invested in, especially when you have deadlines if you're trying to make them for your grandchildren and you give yourself deadlines and it's that challenge to see if you can make them. I know. Last year I got this brilliant idea after making a quilt for an old friend for her birthday in August. I thought, I'm going to make quilts for my kids for Christmas. I had this aha moment, I'm like, "They're going to love them and I'm going to be so invested in it."

Well, then I realized I only had four months until Christmas, and I have four children. So, it was the fast and furious. It kept me up because I had to stay up because I had to find hours around work to make it all fit and I just decided, and oddly I have two boys and two girls. My girls don't really use theirs. Not yet anyway. And they're just throws, so that way if they get cold, they can always just grab it and cover up if they're watching TV or something. But my boys both use theirs on their beds daily, religiously. And I was a bit surprised. I thought it'd be the other way around. But, I thought, if they don't appreciate the handmade uniqueness and all of its little quirks and idiosyncrasies of mistakes that I made in there, if they don't appreciate it now, maybe when they're adults they will. Who knows?

Linda: Right.

Leeanne F.: Who knows? Okay, Linda, I'm going to go ahead and mute you. So if you have the phone number that starts with 801, could you please tell me your name and then share with us what you'd like to share?

Ray: Hi, my name is Ray. And I do woodworking and I do it for a lot of reasons.

Linn S.: Hi, Ray.

Ray: Namely... Hi, I do woodworking and I do a lot it. One, for enjoyment just because I love the smell and feel and touch of wood but also, I sell my stuff so I can support my habit and re-invest whatever I earn into other equipment and that. But, I find that making the gifts and that and like you were saying earlier, doing something handcrafted and whatnot is, people really appreciate that more and plus it saves on the budget, because you can make something a lot cheaper than you can buy it. And I guess that's about it.

Linn S.: That's a great idea.

Leeanne F.: Sure.

Linn S.: But I do that too, I think wow, my budget is a little tight. But you can give lovely things and as some woman was saying before, just the fact that you made them also is special, but you can save money by giving more of your time than buying something very expensive.

Leeanne F.: Right, and when you sell and create a business out of it then you get to support your habit. Which, I think that that is fantastic.

Linn S.: I do too.

Leeanne F.: That's fantastic. Thank you, Ray for sharing. Okay, Cheyenne, I'm working on un-muting you. Go ahead and share with us.

Cheyenne: Okay. I am a beginner crafter. I just got into beading last fall. And I do mostly just kids’ beads, not really tiny beads and I just do necklaces, not anything really fancy yet. But its relaxing to me. I have health conditions that make it hard to get out of the house, so this is a way for me to give gifts and to relax and focus on things that I can do and not on things that I can't. So, that's it for me.

Leeanne F.: Sure. Cheyenne, I think that that's fantastic. Like Linn, I also have rheumatoid arthritis and deal with a lot of daily pain. I find that when I knit, when I quilt, when I scrapbook my pain feels, it's less than it usually is.

Cheyenne: Yes.

Leeanne F.: And there's research actually behind that. People that are fully engaged in what they're doing, especially in creative outlet, there's less pain. And so people that suffer from chronic pain of any kind, I think really benefit and if you really think about it, if you do suffer from pain, when you're crafting check where you're at, check where your pain level is and I think that many people will find that it is lower because you're involved in something that you're engaged in and you're enjoying and it's creative and your brain just focuses on different things and it doesn't focus on the pain as much.

Cheyenne: Definitely I have a lot of pain, I have a lot of-

Leeanne F.: Thank you for sharing, Cheyenne, that was really great. Okay. All right. Well, thank you. Okay. The Leanne with one E. I see you're unmuted already, so what can you share with us?

Leanne: Oh, about crafting? I don't do one specific craft, but when I make something, it's for gifts and so a purpose of that besides what everyone has said is that you can personalize it. [inaudible] Christmas ornaments for my family and we would always use plays and we'd do something in the summertime, so I would make ornaments relate to that theme or I used [inaudible] grandsons all have a T-shirt and made a quilt out of it. So, there's ways you can personalize something that you couldn't buy at the store.

Leeanne F.: Sure, and I think that that personalized aspect... again, the receiver usually truly appreciates the thought, the time, the effort that went into something that, you know, it's their favorite color. Or like you said, using old T-shirts, that's all the sports they were in or clubs they were in and making a quilt out of that. That's a lifelong memory.

Okay, anyone else have ideas as to why they craft? I'm hearing a lot of to give gifts, to sell, to reduce anxiety, sometimes to reduce stress. I'll share one that I really feel that, for me, making something by hand slows my life down. It makes me be in the here and the now. I live in a congested area; I have a busy life with four kids and a full-time job and whatever else life is throwing at people.

My parents lived in the same house for 41 years, they just moved a few days ago and trying to help them with that so life is just busy for many people. And so for me, when I craft, that's my time to just take a deep breath, both figuratively and literally, and just focus on something that, to me, it's almost a simpler way of living instead of consuming and buying and purchasing. When you make something with love, you take that time and it just slows me down and it keeps me balances. So that's probably the main reason that I craft. That and it's cheaper than therapy. So, okay, Merle I'm going to go ahead and unmute you, hopefully. So, give the computer a minute to catch up. All right, you're unmuted Merle. Go ahead.

Merle: Okay, well I've been crafting since ‘79. I used to do ceramics when I could see. And I casted all my own ceramics and painted them and sold them and did all kinds of stuff. And in 2002 when I went blind, I started doing bird houses and wooden piggy banks and stuff like that and last year I started turning wooden ink pens and that and I just love it. And I don't know if any of you people know about Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind in Sandy, Oregon, but it's a good organization and I'm going up there, actually I'm going up Friday and I'm going to be helping other blind people turn ink pens and I just love doing it.

Leeanne F.: That's fantastic. Okay. So besides being able to sell them, do you like the feel of it? What is it about the process that you really enjoy?

Merle: I used to do wooden banks and boxes and stuff like that, but I started wood turning and it just... I quit making all that other stuff because it's so much more fun. It's interesting, I got a feel it better, I can feel it more. Like I say, if any of you people ever decide you want to go to Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind, you want to check it out and see because I'm going up there Friday for an adventure. They call it an extreme adventure, they're going to do rock climbing, white water rafting, lava tube caving up there at Mount St. Helen's. They do all kinds of different stuff, and I'm going to be doing woodturning while I'm up there with people.

Leeanne F.: Fantastic. Well, thank you Merle for sharing that. Okay. Merle, I'm going to mute you. Okay, Cynthia, I have you unmuted. What can you share with us?

Cynthia: Hello? Am I on the line?

Linn S.: Yes.

Leeanne F.: Yes, we can hear you.

Cynthia: Perfect. I learned crocheting and other crafts when I was about 14 and I'm 62 now, so that's quite a long time. I've done crocheting, knitting, crewel, cross-stitch, stamping, I don't know what else beyond that, but pretty much a lot of everything. I've always just enjoyed the process of doing the craft and then usually when I finish a project is when I figured out who gets it and the ones that kept saying, “Oh, this would go perfect in my living room or in my bedroom” or whatever are the ones that usually did not get it because it's the ones that admired it and didn't want it, didn't say they wanted it, but you could tell they would respect I were the ones who got the craft. And now, since I've lost my sight, the only one that I can seem to continue doing is crocheting and the problem is I haven't found anybody that can help me convert my sighted patterns into braille so that I could continue crocheting a variety of things. So I've started actually designing a few of my own small patterns, so that's what's been really nice. And it's just fun. I've tried selling stuff over the years, but I've never been good at selling. I just like doing. That's it for me.

Leeanne F.: Sure. Okay, thank you, Cynthia for sharing, I appreciate that. Okay, Jackie. If you can hear me you can start talking now.

Jackie: Yes, why do I like craft? Well, my craft are earrings, but I have other crafts such as crochet, ribbon flowers and calligraphy. But I love making earrings.

Linn S.: Evelyn? Keep going.

Jackie: And the earrings are for maybe a future business. But when I make earrings I just love other people approving of my earrings and so that's why I like making earrings as a craft.

Leeanne F.: Okay. Thank you. I think it is very validating when somebody sees something that you made and says, "Wow, you made that?" Or, "Oh, that's beautiful." It's like a really nice pat on the back, even if we didn't think that we needed one, everybody could use one every now and then.

Jackie: Yes.

Leeanne F.: Thank you for sharing Jackie. Yeah, there's so many reasons that people craft and it's really amazing and I think getting those creative things and for me, I think to see how people respect a person with a visual impairment, seeing that you can do pretty much anything that you set your mind to doing, is just the frosting on the cake. As a visually impaired person, I think that that is another level of, hey, look just like you, just happen to not be able to see as well. And I think that that's an important message to share with people. Let's shift gears now to organization. How do you organize your craft supplies? If you're a braille reader, how do you label things? And I know we have different crafts going on, but what are some ideas that people have about how to keep yourself organized as a visually impaired crafter, or as a blind crafter? And feel free to just raise your hand. Linn, you might be able to get us started on this.

Linn S.: Yes, I'd be glad to. Because, I do several different things. I do beading-

Leeanne F.: Thank you.

Linn S.: And then I weave and sometimes it's being creative just in how you organize your crafting world. I found a really neat storage thing at a craft store called an E-Z-Y, easy locking caddy and it's a canvas case with zippers and various pockets. But it also has seven 14-compartment things and they lock. So, if you want to open one of the compartments, you press a little button and open it. Which, if you're a beader or using tiny things, it's really, really helpful. You can also add all sorts of ideas to it. You could put red at the end of one of those sets of compartments. Green at the end of another. Or if you are an audio person, you could put a PenFriend label wherever you wanted it.

You could say, "Dark red." Or, "Greenish blue." Whatever, and you just keep your PenFriend nearby and you can find those types of things. When I'm using yarn, my rule is to label the inside of a big cone of yarn in braille or use Ziploc bags. If you've got various kinds of yarn or various, and inside that bag you can put a braille label or a big large print label saying exactly what it is and always keep your yarn in there. All the time. And that really helps.

You can also do something very economical, you can collect pill bottles and if you are a beader then you put some sort of label on your pill bottle, either with a pen-friend, a kind of mark you want. Even you can glue one of the beads, if you're going to have a whole bottle of a certain kind of bead, in the lid. And then you don't need a braille or print, you just look and find that shape that you're looking for. But pill bottles work really well and they're very economical. So there are, I'm sure we're going to hear many, many other ways, but those are some of the ways that keep me organized. Over.

Leeanne F.: Thank you, Linn. I really like the idea of just, something as simple as keeping your yarn in a Ziploc bag. You label the Ziploc bag and then as long as it’s ... once you take it out, use it and you put it right back into that bag, that's fantastic. I would not have thought of that, so thank you for that. Okay. Ray, you are unmuted, what can you add to the conversation for us?

Ray: Well, I was going to say about the pill bottles too and this goes probably more for Merle with making the pens, I do a lot of woodturning and I use the pill bottles to put braille labels on for my bushings that you use to make pens and I also use Ziploc bags to take the different species of woods of the pen blanks and put in a three and a half by five card that I brailed on with what species of wood it is or what type of pen kit it is.

Leeanne F.: Thank you so much for sharing, Ray. Okay, thank you. All right, Sandy, I'm unmuting you and as long as our computer will cooperate, you can talk and it looks like you're open, so please share with us Sandy.

Sandy: Yes, hi. Well, with me, I went from a 12-room house with a craft room and a store to a three-room apartment. So, you know I have a lot. And what I do is I invested in, because you can't just use regular crates, milk crates, something like that. But plastic containers and I have... patterns for instance. I have on is crochet, one is knit, one is crochet and knit, and on the outside, I have labels or a piece of paper or whatever you want to use, whatever your medium is, of what's in it. So, I can reach it if anyone wants.

Leeanne F.: Sure, absolutely and then we would probably need titles and maybe that's something that we could post on the Hadley website, once the recording and the audio script post, there's place that says show notes and that's something, that's where we would post of we shared an article that was maybe pertinent to the information, or we could share patterns. I would post something in there.

Do you have any tips and tricks on how to organize your supplies?

Merle: I just rubber band all my pen blanks together and I got a PenFriend and I put a label on it and it scans on it and tells me what kind of wood it is. I just rubber band a whole bunch of them together.

Leeanne F.: Sure. Okay, well thank you Merle. I appreciate that. All right, we might have time. Okay, I think we have time for one more. And I, whoops ... let's see. Okay, it's the person that starts with the phone number 662. Can you tell us your name and what your tip is?

Courtney: Hi, my name is Courtney and I use Ziploc bags, I use mostly and maybe plastic tubs or plastic shoe boxes to organize my stuff, my craft supplies and I would also like to, anyone that is new to crafting or new to vision loss and trying to craft, invite people to join Krafters Korner where we teach knitting classes, loom knitting, crochet and other crafting mediums and that's Krafters Korner with a K.

Leeanne F.: Okay. Well thank you so much Courtney, I appreciate that. All right, it looks like we are one minute to our closing time, so we should probably close up right now. Thank you so much for everybody that has shared their fantastic ideas with us and I think maybe at the beginning of our next meeting, if anybody has any other ideas or specific questions, we could try to get to those first before we move on to the next topic. And then Linn, I was going to ask of you, a few people had mentioned PenFriend. I'm not sure if everybody knows what that is, but maybe we can either touch on that next month or we can maybe type something up and put it in the notes, on the website so that people are able to learn a little bit more about pen-friend. Or if it's a topic that we want to discuss at a later time, we can maybe go into that more, but I think that that's a very useful tool that a lot of people don't know about.

Linn S.: I think that's a great idea. You can get it at various different places. And this will be just a very quick little... it's kind of like a big clunky looking pen. But you can record anything on a little tiny round label. It could just say, “chicken noodle soup” or it could give an entire brownie recipe on the label. Or you could say, "Number six blue beads, number eight green bead." Or whatever, and then you put this little... and you can do it in your own voice. You stick the little label on whatever you want. One of our woodworkers was doing it on his pen blanks, and then you take the tip of the pen, push a button and it will say right in your voice, "Number eight, blue bead." Or, "Here's the brownie recipe for Duncan Hines." And it will read the whole thing.

Leeanne F.: Thank you so much for joining us everyone, we hope to see you in two months. And maybe you'll tell us what you've been working on, your projects of successes, failures, if you're fairly new to vision loss or fairly new to crafting, if you have specific questions, by all means make sure they get asked so that we can find others in the group that are more experienced and able to share their experience with us. So, thank you very much everyone. I'm going to end the call momentarily. I appreciate everybody joining us and I'm going to say goodbye for two months and any questions, contact Linn or myself., Have a fantastic day. Take care.