How to tackle all of your UFOs (un-finished projects)

How to tackle all of your UFOs (unfinished projects) |

Last weekend I stumbled over an unfinished project, a white mug I wanted to paint for 6 months. Then another, a minialbum I haven’t finished yet for 8 month. And another… I started to see them everywhere, those little UFOs (un-finished objects). Thankfully we had just bought a big box, so I began to collect every UFO in it. The box filled up so very fast – in only ten minutes it was full to the brim and I still hadn’t dug deeper into the craft boxes, where some projects were still hidden.

Those mugs and plates and bags and wooden boxes and minialbums and… and… and… you know these crafty projects you see in the shop and know you want to do these too. All those little craft projects I buy on the go, because I simply fall for them and think, they would look lovely in our home.

You buy the tools and material, bring them home, maybe leave them on your workplace for a few days, but then other projects are back in focus and the new project is left alone on the shelf or in a box with the other 100 lonely projects. And that’s it. From time to time you come across them and think: ‚Oh yes, I wanted to do this sometime. But not now, maybe…“ And then it’s back in the box forgotten till you open it the next time. You know, what I mean, right? It’s time to bring these UFOs back to daylight, out in the open and finally finish them. Here’s what I did to organize my UFOs:

Collect them in a big box or on the floor. Get every little project out in the open, so you can see it and have an overview about everything.

Write a list or take a photo of every project like I did. And I mean every single one. Not just write down ‚paint mugs‘ but instead make it a point to document every single mug like ‚paint mug no.1‘. This way the points on the list are not too overwhelming, the steps are much smaller and can get checked off much faster. Therefore you will see the process more clearly and stay motivated to finish one UFO after another.

Some projects will be just one step, like folding an origami bow. But others will consist of two or more steps to finish, like choosing a quote for a mug, sketch it onto the mug, paint it and then burn it in the oven. Or if you want to paint some wooden boxes with stain, you need to grind them first, before you can paint them. The action steps will make it easier to see, which steps you can summarize for different projects and therefore will be faster to do together. And if you style the action steps like a checklist, you can cross those steps off of several single projects at once and see your process, even when you don’t finish one project right away.

Choose one project and simply finish it. Maybe you choose one project first, that’s fast to finish. Therefore you feel empowered and motivated to do more and don’t get stuck at the first project, because it will be so hard to get done.

How to tackle all of your UFOs (unfinished projects) |

I took the time to take a photo of every UFO and made a collage to have all together. I was bumbed, when I counted all – there are 50 UFOs! Not to mention all the photos that wait to be put in minialbums and Project Life pages. It’s time to do something about this situation. Therefore I will print this photo collage of all UFOs and hang them next to my desk, so I will see everyday what I can work on and don’t forget about them. Another benefit is the consciousness, that I shouldn’t buy any new material and tools since I already have enough things at home to keep my hands and my creative mind busy. The plan is to cross every photo off the collage, when I finish it – like a to do list with pictures.

How many UFOs do you have? How do you tackle them?

string art – lessons learned

string art - lessons learned |

Do you know, these craft projects you see on the internet, Pinterest or Instagram over and over again and think everytime: ‚I need to try this too!‘ Yes, I think, you know what I mean. One of these marvelous projects was a string art picture for me. I stumbled over these beautiful pictures again and again and an idea for my own evolved in my head. Eventually in September I started to make it a reality.

I bought a board, cut it into a square (30 x 30) and painted it white. Then I needed two to three attempts to sketch the pattern for the nails and strings in the right format and position the nails right, so they formed the perfect circle and integrated the two letters in the center at the right position. I think there are a lot of good tutorials out there, therefore I just want to share my lessons learned from this DIY with you. Maybe it helps, to prevent some mistakes I made for your project.

string art - lessons learned | cut and paint a board |

  • as string I used embroidery yarn. There’s a big selection of colors and the yarn is wether too thick nor too thin for string art.
  • when you paint the board, be sure to put something between the board and the paper to hold some distance. Otherwise the paint will stick between them and leave paper bits on the back of the board.


string art - lessons learned | make a sketch on squared paper |

  • make a sketch on squared paper. It’s the most important lesson doing string art. I needed three attempts to get the sketch right and put the two letters exactly in the middle of the circle and find the right place for the nails to build the frame of the circle. So take your time and use squared paper. One centimeter (two squares) distance between two nails worked very well for me.
  • the benefit of the sketch on paper is, you can fix it with tape on to the wood and hit the nails directly through the paper into the wood. Afterwards you only need to remove the paper.


string art - lessons learned | nail it and mark the letters with string |

  • use nails without head. Although the string slips off much easier, it’s looks much better later on the finished picture, when you don’t look at the big circle heads of the nails.
  • the nails shouldn’t be too long. Otherwise the distance between string and board will be too big. I choose nails in size 1.5 cm.
  • before you remove the paper, you should mark the outline of your letters with another colored string. That way you know, where you are not allowed to cross between nails with your chosen string.


string art - lessons learned | when finished with the string, remove the paper |

  • keep the string on strain while you wind it around the nails, otherwise the string will get lost on the last few nails.
  • if you want the string art looking straight and clean, you should think about the route to wind the string around the nails. Because if you do it as you go, it will look like mine, messy and far from perfect.
  • pay attention to the parts, where the string must go along in any case. That’s the outline of the letters and the outline of the circle. If you forget a line inside, it’s not that important. But if you forget a line between two nails, that mark the outline of the letters or the circle, you will see it on your finished picture later, like you can see on mine. I forgot two lines at the letters.
  • you have to try which direction is better to wind the yarn around the nail. It depents on the direction of the next nail. Sometimes it’s better to wind it clockwise and sometimes counter clockwise will secure it better.


string art - lessons learned | cut the string ends and you're done |

have fun & let the crafting begin



#365craftingtime: experiences & process

#365craftingtime | a 365 challenge |

It’s about half time (164 days) since I started this challenge. Unbelievable, but I made it to here. I didn’t quit. I had some slips through this time, but thanks to my rule of catching-up, I didn’t stop and have everyday filled with a little bit of crafting. If you don’t know, what I’m talking about… in September 2014 I started a challenge called #365craftingtime. The challenge is to craft everyday and if it’s just sticking some washi tape on an envelope or sorting through photos. The main goal is to make something with your hands. I’m a programmer and work entirely at the Mac everyday, so I’m happy to do something by hand in the evening. The challenge was the right way to turn this hobby into a habit.

Now it’s the most normal thing for me to keep my hands busy in the evening or sometimes even in the morning before I go to work. I lerned a lot in the past 164 days. For example origami figures are perfect for this challenge. They are mostly quick to make, you have something to decorate your home with and see your process. The same is it with greeting cards. Fast to make, something to show and a gift for friends and family. Three things at once. Simply perfect. More than that, those little and bigger projects triggered my creativity in other parts of my life too, like at work and in cooking. And my creativity isn’t fading, instead it is growing even more. I’m totally in crafting mood, like you can see in my post about my crafty year 2015.

my #365craftingtime process documented with the Collect app |

The only thing that’s a little bit hard at the moment is documenting the action everyday. In the last weeks I so often forgot about taking a photo, when I was crafting. So I had to fake it later. Even harder is to post it on the tumblr blog everyday. I’m so behind with it at the moment, therefore it’s my goal to create a new routine around it. I was so sad to see the Everest app shutting down. It was the perfect app to document the challenge, because you could set a date for every post and even choose a date way back. On tumblr I have to post it in the right order, when I want the posts to appear chronically. But I still love the Collect app. It’s so magnificent to see every month filled with crafty pictures.

When I started the challenge in September, some bloggers joined in on this challenge immidiately, some did it later and we are getting more everyday. On Instagram look for the tag #365craftingtime. There are so many creative, fabulous photos from everyone. When I wrote to some of the first participants, who started along with me, and asked them to share their experiences with me and my readers, they were in immidiately. I’m so happy to present you four inspiring ladies and what they lerned while working on this challenge.

Anne Marie of oh.hello.anne

favorite #365craftingtime photo by oh.hello.anne

Follow Anne Marie via Instagram

“As an artsy fartsy person, discovering the #365craftingtime challenge was indeed a pleasure, because I get to do what I want which is paper crafting and paper quilling and at the same time I could share the things that I do to the world.

As the days go by, it gets harder to think of ideas on which projects to do because it is a daily photo challenge and we all know that artists sometimes have the trouble of coming up with a new idea. In order for me not to loose ideas, I have to do tons of research in pinterest, behance and Instagram, I also look around me and it would even surprise me that I could come up with something by just looking at different angles. The pleasure of crafting kept me going, but I temporarily had to stop because of some personal matters like moving from the Philippines to the United States of America, imagine that huge change in my life. I certainly learned a lot of things and the most important is patience and originality. If a crafter does not possess those qualities, they would definitely not achieve success. Documenting my process is very simple, I first do my crafty project and then I take a picture of it and upload it in Instagram, just as simple as that.”

Lauren of Lauren-likes

favorite #365craftingtime photo by Lauren Likes

Follow Lauren via Instagram & her blog

“When Sabine announced this challenge back in September it could not have come at a better time for me. I was in one of those ‘everyones stuff is better than mine and I have nothing to make’ funks. Truly, this project pulled me out of the trenches.

I am using the collect app to add a quick photo everyday of what I create and am so proud to say that I have not missed a single day! This is the most committed to a project Ive ever been and what makes it possible is the flexibility. I can count anything I want to count as a creative act each day. We travel a lot, so I cant create while Im traveling (for the most part) and that is actually a great thing for me! Im able to break off the thoughts of ‘only paper and glue mean you are creating’. I will give myself a photography challenge or will collect things or will just be intentional about taking photos to use in a project back home and count those photos as my daily creating. When I am home, sometimes I will spend hours editing photos for the blog, as much as I would rather be making with my hands, this is still an integral part of the creating process for me, so it counts. Sometimes, something as simple as cooking something new for dinner gets counted.

Creating and making are a part of all of our daily lives, if only you choose to acknowledge it. For the most part though, I do find time to actually sit down in my craft space, use my hands and make. Even if I have no direction, I find myself wandering into my craft room and will wake up in a daze not knowing why Im there. The answer is: Im there because this has become such an established habit for me that my body literally gravitates towards that room after dinner without my brain telling it too. Im in love with this. Not only do I plan to finish this project strong, but I plan to allow my mind, body and hands to continue pulling me to my workspace daily, for forever.

If you want to participate in a project like this, but aren’t sure you have the commitment, my advice is to set simple and flexible goals. Commit to something like working on a project (not finishing) for 10 minutes a day or taking a photo of something colorful everyday. Give yourself a direction, but not strict boundaries. The accountability of the Collect app has been wonderful for me. It gives me a notification around 6pm, which is when I normally start creating. So If I have forgotten, I am reminded to either start or to stop and take a quick photo. The photos are not important to me, its the accountability and the documenting that I have done my task for that day. So, find what works for you and dont stop until it becomes part of who you are!”

Tanyalee of The Drawing Board

favorite #365craftingtime photo by drawingboardau

Follow Tanyalee via Instagram & her blog

“I first heard about #365craftingtime on Instagram. I love painting and drawing and had been wanting to find a way to commit to it every day for a while so this project was perfect. At first I thought it would be an easy challenge, but we all have days where other things take priority and we just can’t spend the time painting or drawing or being creative. In the beginning I was motivated because I was seeing a lot of posts showcasing amazing creations on Instagram, but as I suspected, other things got in the way and I ended up forgetting all about the project – until the new year. I thought it was as good a time as ever to start again, and I was on holidays from work so had more time to commit. I have learnt that for me to succeed with this project I need to keep it simple – so I have taken a calendar and diary art journal approach – small entries shouldn’t be hard to complete even when life gets busy. I really like sharing my progress via Instagram and my blog. I have received some really lovely feedback recently which motivates me to keep going.

I love that there are no real rules for 365 Crafting Time. It gives me the freedom to decide exactly what I want to create on any given day. I think rules would make it a bit more difficult for me to commit to. I often find that rules make me feel stressed and blocked creatively. That is why I love this project so much just the way it is.

Thanks Sabine for motivating and inspiring me with this project – being creative is very therapeutic and is the perfect way for me to end my day.”

Megan F of Peach Sponge

favorite #365craftingtime photo by Peach Sponge

Follow Megan via Instagram & her blog

“I started this challenge, because I love to craft and I don’t do it enough. This was a way to push myself to create more and to try new things! I add it to my to do list every day to remind me. I’ve learned to push myself to try something new, and I’ve learned to be confident enough to share my creations – people are generally always supportive, even when what I’ve made/painted doesn’t look fantastic! To make the process easier for me, I added a rule that baking can be a part of my Crafting Time. I love to bake and it is something that I don’t do enough.

What keeps me going? The fun of it! I love crafting and it is so satisfying. Even if some days I just make an envelope, stick washi tape to something, or even if I totally ruin whatever it was I was making it still feels good.

I think I am doing quite well. I’ve missed a few days here and there, generally only because I was out all day having fun so that is totally fine with me. I show my creations each day on instagram and use the Collect app that Sabine recommended! It gives me a little reminder each night if I haven’t added the photo that day.”

It’s so inspiring to read about everyone’s experiences and how these lovely, creative ladies adapted the rules to fit their routines. Thank you, ladies, for sharing your thoughts with us.

I’m looking forward to the second half a year of crafting. If you feel inspired, you are welcome to join us. Simply use the tag #365craftingtime on Instagram, when you share your daily crafty projects. Have fun! 🙂

what’s on my craft table?

make it happen | garland |

‚Make it happen‘ – this little garland should spend motivation, when I’m working on my craft table. It hangs above my head in my chosen colors for this year. This year is about getting things done, staying motivated and share it with everyone.

Project Life cards |

Since I decided to do this year’s Project Life album just with the colors black, white, grey and gold (more to that in another post), I collected and made a lot of cards. I cut some from scrapbooking paper like here from the awesome collection of Amy Tangerine ‚Stichted‘, painted some myself and collected beautiful pictures from Pinterest and put them in the right format. Now I’m looking forward to a lot of Project Life this year.

Project Life cards |

When I saw all these beautiful cards on Pinterest and was inspired by all the gold used lately everywhere in design, I started to design my own Project Life cards. Some are especially focused on my one little word ‚share‘, since it will accompany me the whole year.

one little word calendar & project planner |

The year of 2015 began with my one little word ‚share‘ and a whole lot of planning for smaller and bigger projects. I created a calendar with my „one little word“ to accompany while working on my craft desk. You can download it here. And I made a little board to stay focused on all the photography and craft projects this year.

Project Life album |

Last week I finally ordered the rest of 2014 photos for my Project Life album and almost all photos of January 2015. I spend almost the entire Friday evening and Saturday with cutting, corner rounding and filling in photos into the pockets. Some of it I even did on Saturday morning in bed. Additionally I put some filler cards into old pages from my teen years and started with my 2015 album. So much fun.

origami fox & bows |

Since I had so much fun with origami in December I made it a point to try some new origami projects in 2015 like the bows for gifts and the baby fox (found via How About Orange).

art journal |

In December I was so busy with Christmas preparations and crafting little origami trees and Santas, that I never got to art journaling. Not until January, when I finally grabbed my art journals and started again and that with a big bang of an art journal marathon.

knitting |

I don’t know why, but in January I feel like knitting. Like last year I started a new attempt. This is how far I’ve got until now. The problem is I started with too fine wool and knit needles. Therefore I don’t really see a progress and that’s not really motivating. So I plan to buy thicker knit needles and wool and hopefully I will stick to knitting for a long while.

a crafty year has started

crafty year 2015

Around Christmas I cruised through my Pinterest boards for new craft ideas I definitely want to make this year. I even started a new board to collect those project ideas and suddenly I noticed, that I could collect without much effort 53 projects I really want to come to life. And within an instant the new project was born: 53 craft projects in 2015.

It’s 53 crafty projects because there are 53 weeks this year and one project per week will be definitely manageable. That doesn’t mean, I have to do one every week. I can do two or three a week, if I have the time and motivation to. Thus there can be weeks without one project finished, that will foreseeable be the case around Christmas for example.

It’s an addition to my #365craftingtime project, that is still running. I’m at the moment a little behind with posting, but the challenge is still on. And thanks to my catching up-rule, I haven’t lost one day since the start of the project. The main idea with the new project is to document the process. The documentation was the main reason to name it a project and choose concrete tasks. I want to focus on these little craft projects, because they are important to me. Some because I just need them to decorate our home or to progress with other projects like Project Life. Others are simply on the list to lern something new like sewing. Therefore I don’t have simply „lern to sew“ on my bucket list for this year, but a concrete project that has a start and end point. “Lern to sew” is on my list for years, so I hope this new project will do the trick.

On this page you find an overview about all 53 projects I want to do. As soon as I finish one, I exchange the text picture with a photo of the finished project like I did already with number #10 („Design a calendar“). I hope at the end of the year, this page will be all colorful instead of grey and white, filled with wonderful craft projects.

01 Make soap by hand 05 Paint mugs 06 Paint plates 07 Sew a pillow case 08 Cut a geometric wall art 09 Paint the bedroom cupboard 10 Paint mugs 11 Make soap by hand 12 Fold an origami butterfly 13 Cut a geometric wall art 14 Fold an origami fox 15 Paint mugs 16 Make soap by hand 17 Make an adventure fund box 18 Cut a geometric wall art 19 Paint the bedroom cupboard 20 Paint a tote 21 Make soap by hand 22 Sew a pillow case 23 Cut a geometric wall art 24 Paint the bedroom cupboard 25 Fold origami bows 26 Make soap by hand 27 Sew a pillow case 28 Design greeting cards 29 Style shelves with washi tape 30 Make washi tape feathers 31 Make soap by hand 32 Sew a pillow case 33 Make a garland 34 Paint the bedroom cupboard 35 Paint mugs 36 Make soap by hand 37 Sew a pillow case 38 Make a notebook 39 Paint the bedroom cupboard 40 Paint mugs 41 Make soap by hand 42 Sew a pillow case 43 Cut a geometric wall art 44 Paint the bedroom cupboard 45 Paint mugs 46 Make soap by hand 47 Sew a pillow case 48 Print some Project Life cards 49 Paint the bedroom cupboard 50 Paint mugs 51 Make soap by hand 52 Sew a pillow case 53 Cut a geometric wall art

Do you plan something similiar this year? Maybe we can motivate each other.

Let the crafting begin