My Sh* List

When I come out here to make a post, I’m generally surprised at how much time has gone by since the last one.

I think about Seth Godin, blogging every single day for years (although some of them are very short) and I can’t imagine how he does it.  And I think that someone like me, who always wanted to be a writer, should have enough words in her to blog, say, once a week.

But I have an ongoing problem with doing tasks, like blogging, that appear on my “should list.”  If I think I “should” do something, I’ll find absolutely anything else to do instead.  My approach to things I “shouldn’t” do is roughly the opposite, of course, except for certain things that are on my “really hate” list.  (Apparently I have a lot of lists!)

Lately, instead of writing blog posts, I’ve been responding to various online conversations that interest me.  In doing that, I’ve had occasions where I found myself writing about a feeling or idea I wasn’t even aware I had until then.  One of the benefits of writing things out (especially when pecking them out on a virtual keyboard) is that I take the time to search for just the word or phrase I want.  Then, because spell-check changes words for me, I generally re-read what I’ve written multiple times before posting it, leading me to go back and clarify points that are important, and remove wandering thoughts that don’t really pertain to the matter at hand.  Thus sometimes leading to surprise insights.

None of these conversations were on my “should list” — if anything they were more like things that would go on the “really not wise” list.  (Yep, definitely too many lists!)

Maybe it’s time for me to junk my “should” and “shouldn’t” lists entirely.  Maybe I should just have one big “bucket list” of things that would be fun to do, or that I’ve always wanted to try, or that I’m curious about.  Then again, that’s just another item for my “should list,” isn’t it?  (Yes, Anita, you “should” get to work on that right away!)

Sigh.

The dividends of insomnia

Maybe I should just learn to love the nights when I can’t fall asleep.

Thank you, PIF, pay it forward, markers, coloring

If I can go into the craft room and turn out a few more pay-it-forward cards, while enjoying the peace and quiet of the wee hours, it’s not without its up side.

PIF, pay it forward, thank you, ribbon

No matter how much I enjoy being a “night person,” I’ve been told I should avoid it because it’ll isolate me from others who have to live their lives during the daylight hours.

PIF, pay it forward, doily, flowers

I don’t know whether to be grateful that I don’t have insomnia every night, or grateful that the insomnia can yield these results.

Which would you choose?

Simplify? Simplify!

Thanks to his employer, Jeff and I have visited Iron Springs Resort each year.

It’s just a few days at a cabin by the beach, a little retreat from the everyday list of “things I should be doing right now.”

For those few days our lives are simplified – the kitchen holds a limited (but quite adequate) assortment of equipment, the fridge holds a limited assortment of food items that we brought with us, our “clothes closet” consists of a couple of outfits, we bring a bare minimum of toiletries, and reside in a much smaller space than usual.

And every time, we wonder why we can’t live this simply at home.

I asked Jeff this year whether he thought the two of us (plus the six cats! lol) could live together in such a small place.  With the addition of a shed or shop where he could have his voiceover studio and I could have my craft room, he thought we could.

And when we got back, I wondered how we could create the simple, peaceful feeling of Iron Springs at home.

There are lots of things we could do to declutter our house; there are also lots of things that need to be done at home that we didn’t have to do at the cabin – like paying bills, doing laundry, and scooping litter boxes.  (Not to mention the biggie for Jeff: going to work!)

I suspect that getting our lives that simplified would require not only quite a bit of proactive effort, but also some cash expenditures (e.g., do we hire a gardener, or pave over our yard, or move somewhere without a lawn?).

But there’s nothing to stop us, and much to gain.  So stay tuned…

Cards, blogs, and everything

Pay it forward, thank you

I think about blogging way more than I actually blog.

Which some might say is a good thing.  lol

I know of/follow some successful (as in “making money” and “well known to papercrafters”) card makers who blog a new project every day, with instructions and supply lists.  As much as I love making cards, I’m never gonna be that kind of blogger.  Mainly because I like making cards way more than I like writing up detailed instructions about making cards!

But it’s also because, while I’m a card-maker, and love to share with other card-makers, and would be happy to sell cards and card-making supplies, life is so full of other important things. 🙂

Like health (physical and mental), peace and contentment, gratitude, love, living a simplified life, helping other people, and making a difference in the world.  All of which I (like most people) struggle with.

And one of the things blogs can do is show us that we’re not alone in our struggles.  Whether it’s by simply reading a blog post from someone who shares our particular problems (“I’m not the only one”) or by responding to such a blog post (“You’re not the only one”), blogging has helped everyday people to connect and share from the heart.

So I blog about all kinds of things.  Just like writing in a journal, it helps me to sort out my thoughts and feelings, but it also flows out into the Internet universe, where it has the potential to be of help or entertainment to people I don’t even know, people I’ll probably never meet.

And that’s all the reason I need to continue blogging.

I’m “Guilty” of Disability

For me, it was painful knowing I had to go to work and sit at my desk while my brain was foggy and I couldn’t actually get anything done (fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue). It upped my chronic depression to a whole new level because I constantly felt like I was cheating my employer (and my coworkers). It continually stressed me, wondering whether I was going to run out of sick leave or wind up not being able to hold a job at all.  I even got desperate enough to ask my doctor to test me for Alzheimer’s.

Worst of all, I knew that some people questioned whether I was really “sick” or if I just didn’t want to work.  (And I could understand that, because I’d sometimes had the same thought about others.)

My employer/supervisor was generous and accommodating, providing paid sick leave and health benefits and allowing me to work part-time and on a flexible schedule, but over time even that wasn’t enough to keep me going. I didn’t qualify for disability but felt like I was falling apart. I barely held on until I reached the minimum age to draw retirement benefits, which meant I wouldn’t draw full retirement pay.  I moved in with my boyfriend and let my house go into foreclosure. It was the only way I could “afford” to retire.

But I still have the ability to do something I love – making greeting cards – which uses more visual judgment and creativity than logic (at least when I’m the one doing it).  I’ve started a “teeny tiny business,” and I’m struggling with exactly what I want to do (creative/artistic/inspirational) and who my ideal customer is, but I can rest whenever I get tired and there are no timelines I can’t change.

It could never have happened without having financial support, because my physical problems definitely slow down my ability to learn things (like new technology) and to accomplish things (like getting business paperwork done). So my business will be built at my own (snail’s) pace because it doesn’t have to provide my sole income.

I’m so grateful to be in this space now, and that my retirement has relieved the horrible guilt and stress I felt while I was still working.  And even more grateful to my supervisor, who bore with me through the ordeal!

Gotta love a bargain!

Dollar tree, greeting cards, stencil, pay it forward

I like shopping at Dollar Tree.  Whenever I’m in there, I go up and down all the aisles, looking for interesting things I can use for crafting.  And I always find them!

When I spotted this little notepad/journal thingie, I was, “Oh, that can’t really be cutouts – it must be black printing on the green cover!”  But when I picked it up, I found out I was wrong!  The cute plastic cover has a chevron pattern cut into it.  Score!  One stencil for me!  And it’s just the right size to cover the entire front of a card!

I was able to pry up the edge of the comb binding just enough to pull off the covers.  Luckily, the back cover is the same stiff plastic as the front.  I wonder if I might be able to cut another stencil out of that?  Yet another inspiration (aka project) to add to my never-ending list!

I’m so grateful that I have access to a Dollar Tree store!

What’s your go-to place for awesome craft finds?

 

How NOT to use glitter paper!

heat embossing, embossing, glitter, glimmer

I was working on a “golden” anniversary card, and having a hard time deciding: gold glitter paper, gold foil paper, brushed gold paper, glittery gold embossing powder, or plain gold embossing powder.

In the course of trying out combinations, I tried something I’d never done before, which was heat embossing on glitter paper.  You can see the result above!

In case you can’t tell, the glitter coating on top of the paper is embedded in/on what’s probably a plastic film.  When you heat it, it melts, bubbles up from the surface, then starts curling up and shrinking in on itself.  The card stock underneath is a yellowish color, although the reverse of the paper is white.

It’s always interesting to see how a “new technique” will turn out.  This isn’t one I ever plan to duplicate! Yuck!  lol

Tiny treasures in my own back yard

embellishments, cards, greeting cards, cardmaking

I don’t spend enough time outdoors.  But yesterday I walked around our shady yard trying to figure out if there was any place that got enough sun to put in a small garden (next year, and my sister will be rolling her eyes if she reads this, because I have never gardened lol).

While I was out back I spotted these teeny tiny pine cones in the grass.  So naturally I thought, “Those would be cute on a card (because really, what tiny thing wouldn’t, right?).”

So I picked some up and brought them in.  When I put them on a card, I’ll post a picture.

And now I have another reason to get outside every day – to go on a tiny treasure hunt!  And another reason to be grateful – for unexpected little gifts! Continue reading “Tiny treasures in my own back yard”

Using up the bits and pieces

Okay, maybe I’m a paper hoarder.  Or a craft hoarder in general. 🙂

I can see crafty possibilities in so many things, that I have a hard time getting rid of them.  Take paper scraps, for example.

I often find myself trimming down card layers to get the framing of the layers a little different.  Which leaves me with teeny little strips of paper that I’ve taken to calling “whiskers.”

Instead of tossing them, I found a place to put them away, and eventually used some as an embellishment on a card.  The card turned out great (one of my favorites, actually), and so I decided to find more ways to use my whiskers.

On this particular card, I sifted through my little stack to find reds and pinks and just criss-crossed them to create a little interest.  But I felt like a little something more was needed.

Which led me to poke through some odd-shaped pieces left over from some intricate die cuts.  Yes, I sometimes save those, too, if they’re a decent size and an interesting shape!

So I was able to add a couple of these curlicue scraps to my whiskers to fill in my design a little more.  And I think it turned out great!  Which is why I guess I’ll continue to save these little bits and pieces.  🙂

Whiskers, scraps
Using up little bits and pieces is fun!