It means roughly the same thing as “from one end to the other,” or “from top to bottom,” or “from start to finish.”

On this blog I use the expression in conjunction with the small space on our houseboat that has filled with art and craft materials over time. This hoard, also known as a crafter’s “stash”, has become less a source of delight than a nuisance to me, over the years: All the money I spent on these things at the time! And there’s no room for any of it, anymore!

Who hasn’t got a gypsy king’s ransom in beautiful fabrics, beads, fancy papers, yarns and threads, ornaments, et cetera, stacked to the ceiling in dark closets, brooding quietly to itself? Every time I open one of my crates and see all of that latent fabulousness languishing away, I tell myself, “I should really start using some of that up…

Take the 20-minutes-a-day challenge

But where do you begin? Taken in its entirety, the stash can seem overwhelming…insurmountable, even. Enter Michael Nobbs’ little beauty of a post, Take the 20 minutes a day challenge, where he proposes publicly committing to doing a list of jobs, and breaking those jobs up into small bites of time—20 minutes a day, to be precise—and slowly, steadily—without too much exhaustion or despair—herd them towards completion. So I decided I would try that.

from Hell to Breakfast is my way of “publicly committing” to a list of art and craft projects designed to use up the creative stash that threatens to sink my floating home, is almost old enough to have evolved into a sentient being, and has been eying my cat with some malevolence in the past year.

When I came up with the “rules” for this project, I decided that I would…

  1. …pick up one bit of material from the stash—be it a piece of fabric, a bag of beads, a packet of Fimo, a ball of yarn, a primed bit of canvas—

  2. …decide what to make :: picking a project from any of the hundreds of tutorials online, a favorite craft or creativity blog, from one of the books in my craft/art/DIY collection, or repeat something I’ve done before (though I like the idea of pushing myself to try something new rather than fall back on techniques I have used before)—

  3. …hit the stash again for additional materials that the project needed, without buying any MORE material in the process! (With the exception of consumables like glue and staples…)

  4. Then I would make the thing;

  5. document the process;

  6. blog about it;

  7. and get rid of it, somehow; i.e. put it in my Etsy or Madeit shop, or give it away, or swap it with somebody. With very few exceptions, I don’t see myself keeping all these things…

  8. Keep going until I’ve used it all up.

My motivations are:

  • to simplify my life
  • to do some space-clearing in my home and cut down on the clutter
  • to not let good things rot in a cardboard box, or waste the money I spent on them
  • to make others happy
  • to learn a crafty/arty thing or two
  • to finish what I started
  • and learn to not buy so much the next time

4 Responses to About

  1. I am buried in craft supplies from all my varied artsy interest. Now you’ve added new ideas and I’m not sure I’m going to pare my stash down. I see ways to add to it. Love your blog and wonderful, unique ideas!

    • *laughing* Well, THAT”S not good! I’m sure you could come up with ways to use up your stash without buying one thing more—It’s a challenge! And we really need so very little to be happy in this life, it’s crazy how loaded-down and overwhelmed we allow ourselves to become. Always that “one thing more” to buy that we firmly believe will “complete” us, and we all know that it never does. These days I simply tell myself “It won’t make a bloody diff’rence, so get on without it!”

  2. Kristin says:

    I am so happy to have found your blog! I moved from a house to an apartment last year, and my bedroom is piled floor to ceiling with boxes of fabric and yarn. I’ve been torn about what to do – give it away or try to find time and space to use it while working full-time and parenting two pre-teens. . . 20 minutes a day may be just the trick! Thank you!!!

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