how I {don’t} fit it all in, part 3

How I don't fit it all in

This is the third part of a blog post on how I don’t fit it all in. The first one can be found here. The second here.


Ha ha! So I set out to write a post on how I try to fit art and blogging into my daily life… and both kids got sick and needed my full attention, leaving me no time to blog or art!

Which reminded me I forgot one important tip in part 2… go with the flow! :/

Ain’t life fun?!?!

Anyway, here goes:

Art (journaling)

Keep the journal out all day:

When Kirby was newborn and I could only fit in a minute or two to myself all day, I kept the journal open on the breakfast bar at all times, so I didn’t have to waste time taking it out, opening it up to the right page, or what have you. Then when I had a minute, even if it was just waiting for the kettle to boil, I could add a little something to the page. It made me feel like I still had some me-time, even though I was knee-deep in caring for a newborn.

Kirby is (thankfully) a much better sleeper now, but I still keep my journal open all day when I’m working on a page. It’s ready to go whenever I am.

If you have somewhere safe to leave your art out so you can add to it during the day, I highly recommend it.

Keep an art supply kit:

If you’ve been around a while you know I have worked from a shoe box full of supplies at the kitchen breakfast bar since before Kirby was born, and just change out the contents when I get bored of them or use them up.

I love having an art kit because it means I have everything ready to go, and it challenges me to make the most of whatever is in it. It can be as big or as small as you want/ need.

I recently admitted to myself (and to Alan, who has had to put up with the mess for the past couple of years) that the shoe box format isn’t working (for us). It’s too big and bulky, not sturdy enough, and far too tempting for little fingers. It has to sit out on the breakfast bar, so the breakfast bar is never tidy. It’s driving us both crazy. So I am going back to the drawing board. I still want and need a kit, but it has to fit my needs better. I was thinking of converting Alan’s old briefcase, but I’d have the same problem with storage, so I’m now thinking I might just hang a tote on the back of the door. You can’t see it when you come into the kitchen, but it is still within easy reach.

I’ll do a separate post on what I keep in my kit(s) at some point .

Use supplies suitable to the circumstances:

When Kirby was little, he would only sleep on me (in a carrier/ sling, or in my arms), see picture in the first fitting it all in post, so I pretty much only used WS crayons, coloured pencils, and glue sticks for a while, because I didn’t want to risk touching him when my hands were messy.

Now he’s older I still leave messy stuff till he’s asleep, and do cleaner stuff (like sketching) when he’s around. I fit in a lot more art in my day that way.

Make art with the kids:

Okay, so not all kids are as obsessed with drawing and painting as Aoife, but in my experience as a parent, and former nanny and au pair, most kids like it well enough that you get a few minutes to work on something while they’re working on their own little masterpiece.


Keep notes:

As you know, I try not to go on the computer when the kids are around, but I often think of ideas for blogging when it is off, so I write the ideas down in my catch-all journal and come back to them later. If I have an idea when I’m out and about, I either write it in my phone or use the voice recording app that came with it to keep them safe until I get time on the computer. When I have computer time, I’m ready to go.

To-do lists:

Ha! I know some of you are cringing right now, but you know I love them. I use them for everything, including blogging.

Download/ edit photos often:

I  download the photos from the point-and-shoot and the dslr pretty much every day. I only do the phone pictures once a week, because I don’t use them on the blog as often. I try to edit as I go, so I don’t have a massive job on my hands later, but often use nights when Alan is out to catch up. That way, when I need a photo for a post I just need to resize it and sharpen it.

Speed it up:

I’m terrible at this, but am trying to get better. Don’t worry over every word and sentence, just write. Then leave it, if you can, for a bit before coming back to edit before posting. Much quicker, and much more natural. But, ahem, I’m still getting to grips with that one myself. Instead of just writing, I tie myself in knots wondering if I’m using the “right” words or if I’m using Swedish grammar instead of English grammar (yes, after 20 years in the UK, I still get confused!) , until I have completely over-edited the post. Working on it, folks! Working on it!

So that’s just some quick pointers to how I try to fit in some art and blog time into my days. Hope they’ve been of some help to someone. If you have any other tips that I have missed, please write them in the comments. I’m always looking for new ways.


  1. Awesome Carin… some really wonderful ideas in there… fabulous post… and love the first one… go with the flow… that’s a biggie… do hope that both the kids are feeling better… love the idea too… of hanging a tote bag of supplies behind the door… very clever… and yes… I am a list maker too… if I have an idea for something… I’ll write it down too… or chances are I may never remember it…lol
    Have a super weekend…
    Jenny x

  2. no blog reading time but caught the title of your post and popped in….
    one thing i stopped saying (mostly) a ‘couple of years back is that ‘i don’t have time for x’.
    this was partly a reflection in my shift in how i think of time. and partyly because i started to see it’s more a certain ‘space’ rather than time.
    for example, i need to create when i’m inspired, not when i have a spare moment. art for me is such an emotional practice that it can only be authentic if it happens spontaneously.
    and i need to have space – mental space, silence, no distractions…..
    the last few weeks are proof that i can get an enormous amount done – but it was all mundane, non-creative stuff.
    i have applied that ‘leave the project out’ technique with certain things though. like reading – i make sure i bring my book downstairs every day no matter how busy i am and take it to bed no matter how tired i am. so if a few minutes become available, it’s there. also with crochet.
    i’m not really one to compare myself with others, i’m too aware of how different we are, but you’ve helped me realise more clearly, that when i see someone ‘doing it all’ it can indicate a very different process need happening.

  3. OH!!! I love this post!
    First of all, I don’t want to forget to suggest this – what about a back of the door shoe organizer for closets to put all your supplies in?! You know what I mean? They are usually canvas or fabric and have big pockets for your supplies and have hooks to put on the back of a door? Just thinking . . .
    AND I love hearing that you were a nanny! I didn’t know that – so your babies are with one talented Mama.
    Lastly, that SOC ticker was because of my Dad – he said last week, “hey, where’s your ticker like last year” lol. He is our biggest fan and reads absolutely everything.
    Love to you and happy weekend, xoxo

  4. You´re so clever – I could get better at this! 🙂

  5. Much better thank you! Yay, list makers unite!

  6. Thinking of it as space instead of time is so good. I certainly see creating as space to breathe and get in touch with my inner creative self. I also understand the need to create when you are inspired…I do too, but I am always inspired lol, whether I’m able to act on it or not!
    I do the same with my books. They follow me wherever I go “just in case”. It’s been bliss now the kids have played outsiude together so much. I have managed to sneak in quite a bit lol.

  7. Good suggestion! It’s a bit big for what I need, but a great suggestion all the same. May be good for someone else out there.
    You gotta love yourt dad gets involved lol. And it’s fabulous! xoxo

  8. Äsch! Säger du, som bloggar typ 3 ggr om dan och hittar på så många skoj saker.

  9. Good series, Carin. People so easily become disillusioned about how others handle their lives/time. I used to wonder how people did so much with their days, and then I realized I sleep way more than most people. Then they get jealous because I get sleep, and I’m like nooooo, I wish I didn’t need so much sleep so I could have more time!!! Haha.
    Everyone has their priorities. My mom always had a super clean house, even with five kids. She complained about our messes and said she worked really hard to keep the house clean, but you know what? #1 She had no hobbies she really cared about, and #2 she admitted recently that she LIKES cleaning because it relaxes her. Ha! Sounds to me like cleaning is her hobby!
    I am definitely not in an art season right now. I’m in a health season. Gardening, traditional foods, reading and blogging I do are mostly health related. Even movies, lol. I fit in other stuff for balance, of course.


  1. […] This is the second part of a blog post on how I don’t fit it all in. The first one can be found here, the third here. […]

  2. […] I have loads more to say on this but it’s already getting lengthy, so I think I’ll split it into two or three posts. I’ll be back with part two on Friday. Part 2 here, part 3 here. […]

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