Resolutions for 2012, Part 2

In my previous post, I listed 3 resolutions for the upcoming year. Here are 3 more.

Resolution #4: Create more items out of true trash. 
Here's my dirty little upcycling secret: Most of what I create to sell comes from second-hand stores. I try to choose items that are in good shape but unlikely to be purchased and re-used (like the striped pants I turned into a Kindle bag or a bleach-stained shirt that became a cinch sack). But I also buy my share of perfectly good Scrabble and Candyland games, depriving someone of afternoons of fun.

To be true to the "upcycle" label, I think I should aspire to true trash -- transforming items that are undeniably destined for the trash or recycle bin. I'm finding it's hard to do this and feel ok about charging money for it. I've made a few things out of real recyclables: bracelets made out of paper beads (for sale) and shopping bags out of cat litter bags (which I donated to a local cat shelter for a holiday sale). 

I admire Etsy artist Jenny who makes cool, useful bags out of feed sacks (visit her shop, frankcluck.) 

Resolution #5: Add more "tools" to my craft toolkit.As much as I love getting new gadgets, by "tools" here I mean skills. The more things I know how to do, the more options I have for creating the perfect _________. High on my list is learning how to solder. (I have a bin full of Monopoly pieces that would make fetching charms if I knew how to solder a jump ring to them!) 

And I'd like to improve some of my existing skills, like wire-wrapping and polymer clay work. It's too easy to get caught up in banging out products to post on Etsy and not take the time to hone my skills. (I think Stephen Covey calls this "sharpening the saw.")

Resolution # 6: Balance productivity with creativity
I suspect this is my most important resolution, and perhaps the hardest. I want to give myself permission (and time) to experiment, make mistakes, start things without having a clear end-product in mind. In the January/February 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, Julie Fei-Fan talks about her process of ruin-then-rescue. She says:
"To develop confidence as an artist you sometimes have to ruin stuff, and then discover that you can rescue it. That way, you never fear making mistakes or 'going too far.' " 
I'm thinking a lot about that.