Creative Living

It’s Okay to Simplify

A week or so ago I started a project I was really excited about. Like, super excited. I had all sorts of layouts in my mind and a total vision for how it was all going to work out. Mind you, I have not done any sort of paper crafting since before the move. I don’t even have my craft desk set up to do that kind of crafting. My supply carts were (and still are!) in the garage, along with a couple random boxes in there, and a good number of boxes and storage tubs in the basement. My supplies were everywhere. I did my best to piece together an assortment of things I could use…and it wasn’t much. I didn’t know where my Silhouette cord was, which didn’t matter because my computer has been needing a clean up and was running terribly anyway. I couldn’t find my acrylic block for stamping. I couldn’t find my ink. I could not find any red paper. I was completely unprepared to take this project on at the moment.

I was so excited for this project though, remember? I had a vision! I just wanted to get started so I took a deep breath, lowered my standards, and told myself I was just gonna make do with what I had.

It’s been mentioned multiple times that joining a crafting challenge where there are rules and guidelines can actually help you be more creative. Well, this was my own personal crafting challenge: a crappy computer, minimal supplies, and it’s already 10pm – time to craft!

In any other circumstances I would have given up until I went shopping for the proper supplies or organized my crafts but I just felt the need to create – the need to make something with my hands and hold it when I was done. So, with my newly lowered standards, create I did!

Here’s the first page of my newest project:

I had posted pictures on Instagram with this caption:

“I feel like it’s a bit grade school-ish with fussy cut elements and stickers but it’s what’s working for me right now. Mostly because I don’t feel like dragging out my Silhouette and changing the blade in my cutter and digging for better alphas.

I just felt like creating without all the production. So I did. And so should you. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good. ❤️”

I first heard that last line on the “Happier” Podcast  by Gretchen Rubin and ever since she said it on the show I was in love with it because it resonates perfectly for my life. I tend to overthink things. I get caught up in prep work and research a lot because I want what I do to be really good. But sometimes you just need to start and make something, regardless of whether it’s perfect or not, and I’m working on that.

Does my page look as good as other more seasoned crafters? No. But I made it because I felt like making it. Just because it’s not as polished as other layouts you may have seen doesn’t make it any less worthy. When I was done I still eagerly and happily came downstairs to show my husband the finished product, as I always do. I might have been even a little more proud seeming as I did it with so limited of supplies and resources. I earned that finished page, dammit!

A beautifully cut, stitched, layered, color-coordinated page is awesome. I love them.  But any page is still better than no page at all. If I had given up because I couldn’t make the perfect page, I wouldn’t have had any page. I might have even abandoned the project altogether.

It’s okay to simplify. It’s okay to do what works for you. We are here to make. There is no rule that says you even have to make well. How do you think those amazing and talented crafters, artists, and makers got that way? They made a bunch of shitty, not-so-great stuff first. I guarantee it.

Forget about perfection. Give yourself some allowances and permission to make less-than-perfect things. Give yourself permission to fail. It’s the only way to get better.

Make for the sake of making. Go forth and craft!

-alex marie



  • Meg Woolston

    I totally agree with this! This is why I chose “Flow” as my One Little Word for this year (as in “go with the flow”). I’ve always been a thoroughly-plan-but-never-finish kind of person, so this year I’m creating what I want when I want and not doing a dang thing when I don’t feel up to it!

    • Alex Marie

      Damn straight! I think putting too much expectation on ourselves can definitely halt any creative efforts.

      Funny aside about “go with the flow”: When I feel myself getting stressed about things not going to plan I will literally say aloud (usually to my husband) “It’s okay…I always go with the flow. It’s okay, I’m easy breezy.” Half sarcastic, half hopeful that maybe I can convince myself it’s true. Lol!

  • Mika

    Absolutely adore what you crafted! You definitely should be proud of yourself, and yes don’t let the concept of perfection stop you from doing things you’re interested in! At the end of the day, only your joy matters.Can’t wait to see what else you craft.

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