Thursday, July 25, 2013

Guest Post: Christmas in July is about planning!

Hi! I’m Wendy Zingher, and I’m the project manager for Dover Pictura. I was asked to write a guest blog post this week, with Christmas in July as our guiding theme. This week we are all about starting early! 

Why am I posting? I’m not a terribly good DIY-er, and I celebrate Chanukah. But I do have a lot of experience with project management, and what Christmas giving and technology management have in common is planning!  These are my top 5 tips for planning your DIY activities.

Top 5 Planning Tips

#1: Identify the recipients!
In software projects, we identify the need. What is the business need of our customers? In a crafting project, we’d ask – who am I making gifts for? Make a list of your recipients. As much as I like napkins and the backs of envelopes, for planning, I’m a fan of spreadsheets. I’d put the list on a spreadsheet, and the gift next to it.

#2: What do you need?
In a tech project, you want to know who is doing the development, and what training and tools they need. For a crafting activity, you’ll need to know what you need, and where you are going to get your supplies. Make that shopping list! If  you are using tutorials, they’ll have the list of supplies up front. I like keeping links to my online tutorials, or a note to the book/magazine, and I write down the page – still on my spreadsheet.

#3: Do the hard stuff first.
Figure out the parts of the project that are risky. Is there something you don’t know how to do? I say that’s risky! For me, that’s the knitting project. So, try putting that first, so you give yourself time to figure it out, and learn from mistakes.

#4: Pad your timeline.
Leave more time than you need. In software projects, optimism is sometimes not a good strategy. So, add extra time to your timeline, because you will run into snags.

#5: Plan for finishing touches.
In a software project, that means testing and more testing. For DIY’ers, that means creating that perfect wrapping so your gift looks as special unwrapped as it does when your recipient opens the box and oohs and ahhs.

Here’s a simple spreadsheet, that will make your planning easy:

While I was putting together the spreadsheet, it helped me spread my DIY wings. There are so many easy and beautiful gifts you can make with stencils. I had no idea!  I found some fabulous stenciling ideas, in keeping with our theme this week. Did you see our collections of stencil images on DoverPictura this week? 

With DoverPictura stencil images, you can make great stuff like this tablecloth and napkin from Design Sponge.

Or awesome wall decals from Homemade Simple
(wall decals sell for $22 each on

Or a placemat for your pet's food bowls! Really.

How do you plan for gift making? Please share your story. Comments welcome!

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