The Value of Just-For-Fun Projects

There are pros and cons to making your creative passion into a career. The obvious pro is that you get to spend your work days, at least in part, doing something you love! The biggest con that I have experienced is that, over time, your worknlife can overtake your creative life. That thing that was once your biggest hobby might not be the thing that helps you unwind anymore. Ask anyone who does creative work for a living.

That said, two weeks ago I had a breakthrough that felt really amazing and I wanted to share it with you!

My parents were in town, and my mom is the kind of person who never wants to leave the house yet gets bored really easily. So we did a LOT of projects. The day she arrived she insisted we clean out and decorate our (soon-to-be) playroom (you can see a peek here). The momentum of finishing that was so awesome, we just kept going!

I had this book I had been saving for a rainy day, so we decided to make hand sewn dolls next. The process was so fun and carefree. I haven’t made something that wasn’t for the blog in A WHILE. I didn’t even know how much I was missing it.

When we finished, I immediately started another project, and another and another.

I realized there is so much value in making things just for fun. It really inspired me!

I have always loved Jess Brown’s designs, so when I realized she had a book called The Making of a Rag Doll: Design & Sew Modern Heirlooms, I ordered it immediately. There are patterns included in the book.

When my nieces were in town, they were obsessed with the dolls I made with my mom and wanted to make some too. Fair warning, it was definitely above their age level (they are seven and nine), so if you want to make dolls with younger kids, be prepared to do most of the work yourself, or just choose an easier pattern. It was still fun for them, though! The two dolls I made with my mom are now hanging out in our nursery, waiting for our daughter to arrive.

I am so happy to have rekindled my love of crafting just for the sake of crafting! I hope that if you are in need of this kind of project, this post will encourage you to seek out your own. xx -Elsie

Credits // Author and Photography: Elsie Larson, Doll pattern from The Making of a Rag Doll: Design & Sew Modern Heirlooms by Jess Brown. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
  • Sometimes it’s difficult for me to just do things that I like without trying to get any other return except enjoyment out of it. I’ve started doing a few things just for fun lately & I’m actually enjoying it. It helps me find my creative strengths & weaknesses!

  • Hi,
    I love the dolls you created! They are so cute. And the fact that you hand sewed these dolls is an added bonus as those of us without sewing machines can tackle this project too!

    Heidi

  • Oh man, as a graphic designer I know exactly what you mean, Elsie! There are days I don’t even want to look at a screen or tv when I come home. I found out a couple years ago that one of the ways to un-funk my creative streak is to do something very different yet creative and that niche was studio painting. I really have to focus and not let the technical side I use at work come into play and that’s really paid off.

    That rush you get from finishing a project that’s just for fun is so rewarding. It’s one of the best feelings in the world. 🙂

  • I totally needed a message like this today. I’m embarking on a new creative venture and I need to keep ideas like this in my mind. Thank you! 🙂

  • This is such a wonderful post! It can be so easy to get wrapped up in doing projects because we have to, not just for the fun of it. I’m so glad you were able to find a craft you could do and enjoy doing just because and I love that that project is making rag dolls – that’s so unique!

    Caitlin
    wandererandwolf.com

  • I don’t have a creative job per say, but I do fall into the rut of only working projects that have some kind of utility (paint a room, organize this drawer, clean out that thing etc.) While I do love doing things that improve the overall quality of my home sometimes it’s nice to do something that doesn’t add real value other than the enjoyment I get from it. I love to unwind with a little scrapbooking or drawing. I’m trying to do a better job of prioritizing just fun projects instead of pouring all of my time into “useful” projects. Hope that makes sense!