Creativity tip: Tiny toolkits

striped-pouchA while back, I wrote about my grand plan to put out more frequent, shorter, simpler posts. For example, I thought I would share tiny great ideas. So far I’ve done it exactly once. Ha! Typical Elena. Brevity is not my thing.

But today I have a little tip for you, if you’re trying to weasel in time for a creative life. It’s such a simple thing really and practical and has been so helpful for me on a daily basis that I wanted to tell you about it!

Over the last year I’ve gotten a bunch of questions and comments about “balance” and finding the time to be creative and make stuff in the middle of all the momming brouhaha, to which part of me snorts and chortles a weary PFFtTHHHHhh – because I think I get about a 20/100 in the balance department, at least as it is typically conceived of. Ain’t no one who can do it all, neat and tidy, least of all me. That said, balance is in fact subjective, and one piece of the pie that has had a huuuuuuugggge impact on my happiness is making time for creativity. Even when shit gets cray, I have been doing a little arty/crafty something or other pretty well every day for almost a year (!!!), new baby and all.

I credit (at least a little bit) my TINY TOOLKIT!

Years ago, before I even had kids, a friend of mine who is an amazing time management superstar and now mother of SIX (welcome, tiny Jane!) while being an avid quilter told me how she kept a little purple Le Kit pencil box, a relic from her childhood, stocked with everything she needed to work away at her latest hand-appliqued quilt. She could then pull it out while her small kids were at the playground, making a puzzle or eating a snack or just whenever she had a “spare” 10+ minutes.

Somehow this stuck with me, and while doing the 100 Day Project last year, I put together my own toolkit. Mine is a cute striped canvas pencil case I got as a gift for my 30th birthday, which somehow seems significant. I’ve been building it, refining it, and USING IT ever since. Of course I still pull out bigger stuff lots, my large watercolour set or prismacolors, ziplocked paper scrap tornados, whatever. But this little kit has the essential elements – pencils, erasers, a small ruler, a few pigment liners, even a water brush pen, so if I am just not feeling like the hassle, I can at least grab that case and sit down and tinker while watching some show or chatting with Achim or probably both at the end of the day. It takes the effort out of initiating the creativity session, which is half the battle for me. I even grab it on the way out sometimes – I did a bunch of illustrations in the waiting room at the doctor’s office while pregnant, for example. If I’d had to orchestrate that – collecting all the stuff on the way out the door – no way that would have happened, but if it’s as easy as a cute little case thrown in to my bag, no problem.

SO. If you are looking to try and work a little more creative time into your day, make thee a tiny toolkit!

Annnnd I am stopping short of massively extending this post with a photographed inventory of the things I keep in my toolkit, as is my impulse! Another time! Lol.

Have a wonderful week!


13 thoughts on “Creativity tip: Tiny toolkits

  1. Iris Fitzpatrick

    I can only agree, I have one too. It lives in my handbag and I admit there are weeks that it doesn’t get pulled out that much, but as the weather will improve and more playground trips will be made I know it will see a lot more action. Good tip to share though.

    1. Sophie

      (Also this is a great tip, I definitely don’t do creative things as much as I’d like because it’s all scattered everywhere)

      1. Elena

        I think I will do the inventory one day – I’m never sure how interesting it will be to anyone else, like many creatives I get great pleasure from all my beloved supplies, it’s the association I think — but that doesn’t always translate for others!

        Have you put together a little toolkit? let me know how it goes if you do! xo

  2. Dakota

    Oh this is such a good idea! I keep a journal in my purse, but not art supplies. I should definitely put one together, especially as we go into summer… it will make art on the go so much easier.

    1. Elena

      It’s the best, Dakota! You know what — I am in a coffee shop as we speak with my little toolkit, I stealthily made a picture of a guy drinking his coffee and then showed him and he bought it! Another possible perk. 🙂

  3. Lena

    I’m so happy to hear that other people like the name Jane for a baby! I love that name.
    And your idea too! I should dig out the old Le Kit box. And maybe ask Achim to get a job in Regina. We could craft together again!

    1. Elena

      Jane is adorable! I will meet her when she is about 4. 😉 Unless that Regina job comes through, of course! I sometimes think I should just do a post about you, Lena, and all your crazy (effective) strategies.

  4. Pingback: Current Favourite Art Supplies - Elena's Treehouse

  5. Willie

    Le17&82t#;s just say you don’t want to have a serious illness. However, if your persistent and have family on the outside to help, you will get treated eventually.


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