Handmade Conversations — Weekend Projects with Kelly Wilkinson

Posted by on Mar 12, 2013

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Weekend projects are quick, easy crafts like a glittery acorn ring or a customized pin board that can be finished in just a few hours. Yet, despite how fast these crafts are to make, many of us struggle to find time and/or motivation to complete them. Kelly Wilkinson, author of "Weekend Handmade: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Crafting," shares how to make time for crafting in hectic, over-packed weekends. Read on for her tips on what to do when crafting feels like a burden, how to protect your craft time and more.

weekend project
What are the benefits of weekend projects over months and months–long projects? What are the downsides?

The biggest upside of a weekend project is instant gratification. I usually have a range of projects on the go at any time — both shorter projects that I can start and finish in one sitting, and longer projects that I chip away at over months (or years, if I am being completely honest here!). Every crafter must have a sad little graveyard of abandoned projects — for me, whenever I see an unfinished project it tugs at my heart a little. So quicker, weekend projects fit more with the way I live my life right now — it's just more realistic to carve out smaller moments to craft.

However, I do like to balance that with projects that require me to sink in and pay close attention. I have publicly committed to making a quilt this year, and I am already savoring what I expect will be a massive sense of accomplishment that comes from sticking with a longer, involved project. I suppose that like most things in life, it's about finding a balance with what works within my life.

Does completing a weekend project ever feel like a burden? If so, how do you overcome this?

I don't set a goal every weekend to finish something, so there really is no burden. Sometimes painting a birdhouse with my niece is just as gratifying as making a skirt. For me it's more about the mindset — trying to find time to make something by hand, whether that's pancakes from scratch or starting an embroidery project. Of course, working at a start up doesn't help matters! We all joke that even through we are the Creativebug audience, we rarely have time now to test the actual projects on our site. But just getting to see all the projects on our site from start to finish means I can still vicariously craft.
weekend project
What most frequently prevents you from completing or even starting a weekend project?

Definitely time. But I like to think that for all the weekends that I loaf around and don't accomplish anything, I am percolating ideas for the future.

How do you protect your time to complete weekend projects?

Making a decision and sticking to that is the best protection. I am a compulsive list-maker, but I try to keep my weekend lists short and doable. Just the other weekend, I made a card with some packing tape transfers I made at work (from this workshop — which is terrific and perfect for a weekend), and even that quick project was immensely satisfying because of the sense of accomplishment it delivered. Then of course, once you make and finish a small project you are looking for the next thing you can make. So small weekend projects can be perfect "gateway projects" for people who are looking to inject a little more creativity into their lives.

Is having a crafting room or space essential for your crafting?

I wish! I live in an apartment in San Francisco, so my crafting room is an overstuffed closet and our dining room table that I commandeer when inspiration strikes. I aspire one day to have a sewing corner so I don't have to haul out my machine, but for now everything lives in the closet.

Image credits (from top): All images courtesy of Make Gather Grow

cover of "Weekend Handmade"
Kelly Wilkinson is the author of "Weekend Handmade: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Crafting," published by STC Craft. Check out more of her weekend projects at her blog, Make Grow Gather.

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