You Have Too Much Time on Your Hands

This is a repost from another blog I’ve long ago abandoned.  Inspired to repost today by a comment in the Minecraft subreddit where the top comment on a really fabulous creation was, “you need a real hobby or a job.”  Anyway, here are my thoughts:

People sometimes think the most insulting thing you can say to a creative person is, “I don’t like it.” And while that may sting a bit, most of us understand that creating something and sharing it means accepting some negative feedback.

In reality the most insulting comment is, “You have too much time on your hands,” or “Must be nice to have time to do that.”  See, negative feedback means you at least looked at it, evaluated its merit and offered a quantitative or qualitative opinion. That’s not insulting. The casual dismissal of effort is far more insulting.

I’m sure you’ve seen it, you’re browsing Reddit or Digg or Youtube or whatever user-submitted-content-comment-heavy site you prefer, and someone shares, say, a video of the boulder sequence from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” rendered entirely in papercraft*, and within the first 5 comments someone pipes up with the following observation:

“Someone has too much time on their hands.”

Somehow that comment is more insulting and cutting and crushing than any possible critique of technical execution or loyalty to the source material. We creatives can defend our artistic direction, but when our work is dismissed as the result of misused and maybe undeserved idle time, it’s like a slap in the face.

I’ll give a more concrete example. I’ve shared my crochet characters here and elsewhere online. I’ve received great feedback and I’ve enjoyed seeing what other Lost and Mad Men and Firefly fans and yarn-addicts have created. Back when they were newly finished I brought my Li’l Losties into work to put them on my desk and almost immediately a coworker approached to investigate. She asked for a few details, told me it was a “weird” project (no argument there), and then she said it: “You have too much time on your hands.”

The thing is, I don’t have too much time on my hands. Who does? I work full time, commute an hour each way, and I have 2-year-old twins to care for. I get a couple hours after the boys are in bed each night to do something, ANYTHING, and most of the time that anything-thing isn’t very fun. It’s laundry or working out or running to the grocery store.  And that’s after an exhausting commute, cooking and serving dinner, passing toddlers through bath and bedtime routine, no fewer than 5 bedtime stories, and several return trips upstairs to escort newly potty-trained children to the bathroom.

I scrape together a few, brief free moments when I can tackle a project, and that may mean staying up an hour later and going to work extra tired the next day if necessary. That’s how it works with creativity, it’s not a result of lounging around idle time. It’s the result of ideas that beg to be brought into reality, for whatever reason, purely for the joy of creation. We’re not lazy layabouts with nothing to do, we’re people who cram creative time in when we can. It’s the mortar between blocks of busywork.

I haven’t yet been able to come up with a good response to the “too much time” remark. The polite thing would probably be to ignore the comment, but sometimes I feel like it deserves a response. I told my coworker that it was a better use of my evening time than zoning out in front of the TV and doing nothing. It was my attempt to point out to her that we all have time to be creative, if you don’t waste it on being uncreative. Her response was a sincere, “Oh I don’t know about that…”

So maybe there’s nothing that can be said to these people. If they’re sure zoning out slack-jawed at “Two and a Half Men” is fulfilling and, more importantly, less indicative of “too much free time,” I’m not sure there’s any response that would be worth saying.

What’s important is that we know it’s worthwhile.  How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.  It’s not what you build that matters, it’s the building.  Additional poetic image not found.

(*Note: not a real example. Don’t go searching YouTube for this mythical video.)

ALL GLORY TO THE (life-sized crochet) HYPNOTOAD

Want to see what May looked like for me?

Hypnotoad - A Tribute to Futurama

Hypnotoad - A Tribute to Futurama

That’s right, I crocheted a “life-sized” Hypnotoad from Futurama.  Why?  Because everybody loves Hypnotoad.  He’s my second favorite Futurama character, next to Hedonism Bot.

The best part, in my humble opinion, is the sound module in the left foreleg that plays the infamous Hypnotoad sound.  Want to hear it?

More pictures after the cut. Continue reading

Crochet for Tsunami Relief

I just want to thank everyone who has placed a recent order.  I have used these funds to make a donation to GlobalGiving’s Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund via Paypal.  I am committing to donating any and all funds from orders placed during March and April to this worthy cause.

The crisis in Japan is ongoing as more aftershocks roll in and people whose homes were destroyed begin the long process of rebuilding their lives.  Please convo me on Etsy if you’re interested in making a donation to Japan Relief by commissioning a project.

Tutorial: Hair

When I started this blog and decided to make a Tips and Tricks tag I was originally thinking about hair.  After the jump you’ll find a comprehensive guide to hairstyling amigurumis.  It’s just a guide and certainly not intended to be a formal pattern.  I’m hoping it will provide some insight and maybe some inspiration to try some techniques of your own. Continue reading

To Brand or not to Brand

If you’re reading this you probably found out about Xanadoodle and this blog sometime around the last 3 days of February.  Right around that time my Han Solo in Carbonite pillow was picked up by BoingBoing and made the rounds on a dozen high-profile nerdy blogs.  My traffic was through the roof and I was totally unprepared for the attention.  Sorry, skimpy blog. Continue reading

Upcoming Projects

I tend to start out on projects thinking, “I’ll keep this totally secret and just announce it when I’m done.”  Then I get several hours in and the urge to mention it on Twitter overwhelms me and I end up spewing, “BLAHBLAH LEBOWSKIS” or something.

So I’m going to attempt to share some hints about my upcoming projects without completely blowing my wad.  Good luck, everybody else!

The next Etsy order in my queue is another Doctor Who, although I can’t really keep this one secret since it’s already listed in my Sold list on Etsy.  Suffice to say I will be crocheting the tiniest striped scarf in history, as well as a robot dog.

10% complete: A famous vehicle from a classic anime series.  This one started as an order inquiry but even if the buyer doesn’t decide to place the order I’ve already decided to finish it.  Because it’s going to be awesome.

5% complete: A beloved character from Futurama, huggable-sized and may be wired with something electronic.  No, it’s not my favorite character, Hedonism Bot.

0% complete: A total change of pace.  Not a doll, figure, or huggable plush toy, but something Star Trek TOS fans should totally dig.  It might be April before I get to this one.

I’m always open to suggestions and ideas, even if you’re not looking to place an order.  I try to balance orders with stuff that I personally love so feel free give my brain something to ponder.

Love,
Smapte

Han Solo in Carbonite Throw Pillow

I wanted a change of pace and decided to do something on a larger scale than usual.  I’m not quite happy with the final results, but I’m calling it done.

** EDIT: Please know that I’m sharing this project for the sake of humor, not because I think it was particularly well executed.  I’ve seen some comments where people are saying I shouldn’t sell something that looks this unfinished, and trust me it won’t be appearing in my shop any time soon.  Thank you to those who have said nice things, but I totally agree with those who say it’s a better candidate for Regretsy than Etsy. **

Han Solo in Carbonite Crochet Throw Pillow

What is this, I don't even...

It’s 16″ long and 9″ wide.  That’s right, it’s actually a friggin’ throw pillow.  What was I thinking?