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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Regretful shortcuts - shame on me

With each item I make, I learn how to produce it faster and better.  It's about starting and staying organized and developing systems and processes that make work easier.  I've definitely had those 'one step forward, two steps back' moments - my regretful shortcuts.  Shortcuts are great if they make you more efficient, so you have to be smart when deciding to take one.  If it doesn't work out...whatever....learn and move on.  

Maybe you'll learn from my shortcuts that shouldn't have been taken.  

1.  Using incorrect tools
Once again, my limited funds affected which tools I purchased.  I thought I could get by using tools I already owned, but they led to products being ruined. 
Example #1a: Using a ball point pen instead of an invisible marker (retail cost ~$3)

Every sewing tutorial will include an invisible marker as a supply.  Every tutorial - go ahead and search online.  I thought I could get away using a ball point pen.  So wrong.  I lost time by trying to trim off the pen marks and even ruined an owl plushie because I did a poor job of trimming BLUE INK from WHITE FELT.  I now own another owl plushie because I delayed spending $3 for an invisible marker.
Example #1b: Using a tape measure and general scissors instead of a cutting board, quilting ruler, rotary cutter, and fabric scissors
I can see you shaking your head and smiling.  When making infinity scarves, you need to have straight lines.  Using a carpenter's tape measure led to eye-balling straightness.  I've even tried to use one of my daughter's large hardcover books as a ruler.  Now I see your smile getting wider.  The scissors I used to cut fabric were the same I used to cut milk bags, toy packages, and price tags.  There is a reason why people own fabric scissors and a rotary cutter - sharp tools lead to clean cuts.

2. Lowering quality standards
Example #2a:  From making my flowers, I had a lot of extra petals.  I started making smaller flowers with the leftover petals because I didn't want to waste them, not because I liked what I was making.  
After completing a handful of them, I still wasn't happy.  After making over 20 smaller flowers, I stopped, thought about what I was doing, got upset at myself for lowering my quality standards, ripped off the center embellishments and threw them out.  Like I've always said, If I wouldn't own it, I'm not going to make it.  I wasted A LOT of TIME, but they seriously needed to be thrown out.
Example #2b: Uncovered pin backs make a product look unfinished.  
I held off covering the pin backs because adding a little piece of felt didn't strengthen the bond.  The epoxy I used is strong enough.  Trust - I tried tearing one off.  This task kept bothering me because I knew it had to be done, but had other things to do.  If I had just attached the pin back properly to begin with, I wouldn't have had to spend a whole night gathering different colours of felt, cutting little pieces, opening the pin, gluing the fabric, and closing the pin.  Now it looks finished.

For every shortcut I've taken that I later regretted, there are 5 shortcuts that have made my work life easier.  I'm still learning and applying with each item I make.  It's frustrating at times, but I'm sure customers will appreciate owning well made, super cute, handcrafted goodies that were made by a thoughtful crafter.

Much love,

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