What to do with UFOs or PIPs?
Jennifer at Beadfx started it all on their Facebook page: she asked about unfinished projects (UFOs). I replied with a short description of my PIPs (Projects In Process). Then Maureen asked about the bags I used. Then Heather wanted some photos… So here are the details: read and beware of the perils of boredom.
I start with a cardboard box with a lid, the kind you get at an office supply store to hold filing folders (or tax receipts in case the Feds come calling).
Inside the box are gallon bags (Ziplock, Hefty, etc.). Find these at a dollar store or a grocery store. Problem: recently Ziplock has switched to a new, improved version that has a pleat at the bottom. Don’t buy this kind if you can find ones without a pleat. Here’s a photo.
1. Gather your information and any supplies for one project. It doesn’t have to be everything that’s needed—perhaps only a drawing and maybe a focal bead.
2. Grab a gallon bag, and put a 9×12 in. sheet of stiff paper (card stock or similar) in it to help keep the bag upright. If you’re putting in a magazine with a project you want to make, then you don’t need the card stock.
3. You can write notes on the card stock—perhaps an idea for the next step to take (e.g. beads to source). You can write on Sticky Notes & stick them to the card stock.
4. Take a blank label and write a title for the project.
Repeat steps 1-4 until all of your PIPs are in gallon bags & in a box. Click photos to enlarge.
5. Sort your PIPs into the kind of project, e.g. Beadwork, Wirework, Chain Mail, Resin, Crochet, etc.
6. Look at each PIP of a particular kind and decide on its status: Planning, Ready to Start, or In Progress.
Add the Status to the label. (I also have a category called Instructions (that I need to write). )
The projects In Progress can be sorted further into two sub-categories according to the amount of brainpower required: ones that have stalled & need a problem solved before they can be continued, and ones that can be worked on in front of the TV or as a passenger on any trip over half an hour. (I’ve even taken these to a hair salon to do during “processing” time).
7. Sort the bags according to Status.
8. We’re getting there! Now look at each bag & decide on its priority. Write an A on a project that’s high on your priority list, and E on the ones that can wait the longest. The priority may be an A because it’s for a gift you need to be done soon, or it’s for a class you promised to teach, or it’s something you really want to wear with that new top you just bought. It may turn out that the E projects should be terminated & the supplies put back in your stash, or it may be that your original idea needs serious re-working.
9. The next (somewhat anal) step is to put this information into a spreadsheet with columns for Number, Priority, Status, and Brief Description. (I also have Project Type, e.g. beadwork, and Category, e.g. personal, kit, experimental…) It’s easy to sort the spreadsheet by any of the columns or to search it using a keyword.
Then print it out and drop it into the box so it’s handy for editing or quickly jogging your memory.
10. Last of all, print labels for each of your gallon bags.
Here’s an example of one of my labels for a project that started with a pendant I bought at Bead Fest last year from Charmed, I’m Sure. (No, it’s not finished. I keep going back to it with new ideas.)
P-2-B In Progress
CU Tree Pendant – Foxtail
Warning: Organizing my projects was quite easy. The hard part is keeping things updated. I started this in January 2011. I suspect it’s past time to update things. (An understatement if there ever was one!) Many new bags have handwritten labels, And some old bags have changes on the labels. Guess I’m not perfect…