September 10, 2012

Top 10 Things I Learned From Competing

I just wrapped up being the winner of So You Think You're Crafty's 12th season!  Oh yeah!  I learned a lot being part of the competition and just as the new season of competition has started today, I am passing my lessons learned onto everyone.  Especially you season 13!!!

10.  Plan ahead.
This seems totally obvious, but you are given each week's theme in advance.  If nothing else, write down a few this while not browsing Pinterest.  I felt that if I looked at Pinterest when thinking about what I could do, I wanted to match other people's ideas up for the theme, not my own.  You want to know what's great about planning and brainstorming multiple ideas?  You have a back up for the ultimate craft fail.  I had a massive fail the week of summer bounty and my beach angels were made while on vacation in Cape Cod, MA.  I had to find a glue gun to buy so I could do it.

9.  Don't copy Pinterest. 
The weeks that I feel I did the best were the weeks that I didn't take my inspiration from Pinterest.  If you have seen it on Pinterest, or a version of it, so has probably every other crafter and half the voters.  Originality is key!

8.  Pinterest is Evil.
 No...totally kidding here, kinda.  I do love Pinterest, just when it isn't hindering my ability to be creative.

7.  Go inspiration hunting.
I find that getting out of my house, away from my computer and out into nature I get the most inspiration.  My next best place for inspiration is museums.  When competing, the last few weeks of the competition I really started to just run out of inspiration.  So, go out, get inspired. 

6.  Stay away from trends.
I almost went home the second week into the competition because I decided to jump on the trend of the men's shirt refashions.  I saw another great project go home that jumped on a trend later in the competition.  I am guessing people thought it was overdone by the time I jumped on board.

5.  Embrace the challenge.
I had the HARDEST time doing something for ombre week.  I just couldn't embrace the challenge.  I hit the crafting equivalent of writer's block.  I just was at a total loss.  I didn't embrace the challenge and was stuck at the last minute turning out a great piece, but dreaded the entire week and didn't have enough time to take a great photo. 

4.  Stop worrying what everyone will think.
You can drive yourself crazy thinking, "will other people get it?  Will they like it?  Will they vote for it?"  The only thing you need to ask yourself, is if YOU like it.  If you like it, chances are other people will like it.  I would rather go out on a piece that I loved making and loved the outcome.

3.  Stage your presentation.
Present your craft in a wonderful way.  Use humor or whimsy.  Use nature, break out of the white background.  I was definitely guilty of completely staging a shot.  Realtors stage houses to sell them, stage your craft the same way.  That's my hallway, I was standing (climbing/falling over things is more like it) in the hall closet to get this shot.  My house is dark, so the only way to allow the natural light in was to open the front door.  That table belongs in our great room. 

2.  Learn to take great product photos.
I can take some really great nature photos, I get some great photos of my kids, but I have always struggled with product photography.  Bad photos don't sell.  I saw many great crafts not get (what I thought) was the best ranking because I glazed over them the first time around due to poor photography.  My turned bracelet.  I thought this was the best product photography I did all season...and it won!  So, I would suggest really practicing taking photos of inanimate objects until you get the hang of it. 

1.  Have a support team.
If I didn't have a wonderful husband who I bounced ideas off of, who helped watch the kids while I used power tools in the garage, I wouldn't have even made it past week two in the competition.  My friends and family were so encouraging throughout this entire process.  They made the entire competition worth it. 


  1. I just found your blog and it is so nice to put a face to your projects! I am now a follower! :-)


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