"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lessons Learned (Or, Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks!)

My last post was my entry into the world of card challenges.  I received wonderful comments from new visitors here, and was even featured on 52-Card Pickup and was just totally tickled at that!

So, I was determined to enter into the card challenge world on a weekly basis.  I started searching challenge blogs and making lists (even set up an Excel spreadsheet) to keep track of the blog, the challenge post date, the challenge itself, the due date--well, you get the picture.

Once more, I allowed my over-organizing self to impede my having fun.  I had even made a card for Bah! Humbug's second weekly challenge, but got so caught up in the idea of posting one card for multiple challenges that I flat over-organized myself out of getting the card posted at all!  (I know.  I hear my friends laughing.  You all know I try so hard to be perfect at things that most of my great intentions fall by the wayside because of my incessant over-planning.)

So, I posted nothing.  I'm following a few more cool blogs, though, and I vow once more to participate more and plan less.  To remember that it is progress, not perfection.  To settle for "enough" (if I have a card done, by golly, I'll post it even if only for one challenge).

Most of all, I want to remember that for me, card making is 1) FUN and 2) THERAPY after a day dealing with the public.  Although they are called "challenges", there is no losing.  If I am featured--hey that's uber-cool.  If not, I had fun trying.  After all, my ambition is to become a published writer.  That is where the greatest amount of my "free" time is being spent.  Cardmaking is just another hobby to keep my creativity flowing when words won't come.

In the immortal words of Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day."  Perhaps there will be a challenge entered then.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Let's Celebrate!

And what are we celebrating?  I am entering my first Challenges!  One of my BFFs over at GottHeartArt has said for ages that I make challenge-worthy items, so here goes.  Of course, speaking of challenges, photography is a huge challenge for me.  Trust me, this little pouch looks much better in person; it seems anywhere I am in my home that has blank wall space ends up with a green or yellow tint to the background.  If I am going to post more challenges, I need to do two things--1) learn how to use all the features on my camera and 2) set up a spot with a decent easel to take post-worthy photos.

Anyway, here it is.  A small gift pouch based on a great You Tube video from Monica's Passions (I love her accent too).  I made my pouch bigger by using a 8 1/2" square of paper.  The SU! Sending Love Specialty Paper (from the Occasions catalog) is glittered on one side, so instead of simply folding the pouch, I also used some SNAIL to keep it all folded neatly.  The Chocolate Chip edge was glued to each edge of the back side of the front flap and the brad holding the bow goes thru the front flap and the two folded sides, but not all the way thru the pouch front which keeps the inside of the pouch neat. 

I put a slight curl to the back edge (my idea) and crunched the bottom as Monica suggested.  Since I am bow-challenged, Monica's idea for affixing bows using brads absolutely ROCKS!

Other products used (all SU!) are the wonderful Pretty in Pink Sending Love Epoxy Brads, both Pretty in Pink and Chocolate Chip Classic Inks, Chocolate Chip Taffeta Ribbon, and one of my all-time favorite punches, the Curly Label

And although I have always liked the wood-mounted stamps from Stampin" Up! they are truly rocking it with the new clear-mount, red rubber stamps, like this "With All My Heart" set.  That's where the punched label's background came from, while the saying belongs to the "On Your Birthday" wood-mounted set.

So, in for a penny, in for a pound.  Now, if I have figured out the Mr. Linky thing (another challenge for me--I sometimes get totally baffled by some of the simplest PC tasks), this seems to fit three Challenges:

1)     Stampin' Royalty -- Birthday Theme Challenge (Their first challenge)

2)     2 Red Bananas -- Banana Split Sunday Challenge "Think Round"

3)     52-Card Pickup --  Make It Count

52-Card Pickup is a totally new blog, and I had originally thought to enter this in their first challenge but they have already posted #2.  I still think it fits the post theme of aims and goals and choices, don't you?

Stampin' Royalty is new, too.  Somehow, new challenge blogs don't seem to be quite as intimidating to a challenge newbie LOL. 

I'm hoping the round edge to the stamp on the tag and the curved bottom help qualify this as "Think Round" for 2 Red Bananas--if not, well, there is always the brad and I will have lived and learned.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Inspiration for 2010 (and a New Challenge Blog)

My cardmaking buddy over at GottHeartArt is one of the most encouraging people I know (and one of the most talented cardmakers I have ever seen).  She pointed me to this brand-new blog and I immediately started following; the post about "choice" resonated in my very soul.

My fifties have been leading me in the direction of appropriate choice slowly but surely.  Each time I set more appropriate boundaries between myself and others; each time I choose to "Finally Love Myself"; each time I exercise for even 5 or 10 or 15 minutes; each time I cook rather than order in; each time I spend even 15 minutes daily doing something creative; each time I write another scene in TGAN--each appropriate choice made allows me to be true to the inner Linda and true to the God/dess of my understanding. And with every appropriate choice, my soul grows and develops into what I should be.

Life is a journey, not a destination.  The "experts" are suggesting that we all plan to live well into our eighties and based on many of my friends, this is not an exaggeration.  That gives me a minimum of 25+ years.  When I was 25, I couldn't see living to 50.  Now, I can't NOT see living to at least 80 and I would prefer 100+, especially if I can still see and taste and move and feel and read and write and...

So I will follow 52-Card Pickup and GottHeartArt and Scandalous Women and Killer Hobbies and all the other wonderful crafting and writing (and reading) blogs listed on my sidebar (and many of the ones listed on their sidebars).  I will emulate these ladies.  I will lurk if I must and participate when I can.  I will learn from them. 

I will continue the journey...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year (and new Decade)--AKA 10 for 10 in 2010

I subscribe to the philosophy that years ending in "0" start the decade (similar to the fact that a person is not one year old until they have been on the earth for 365 days).  So, this is not only a new year, but a distinctively new decade for me.

My "bucket list" is far too long to post here, and many of the items listed will rely on certain other accomplishments occurring first, so let's simply concentrate on ten things I want to achieve this year.  I figure ten achievements for each year of the next decade, and by 2020, I will have crossed off 100 "bucket list" items, and that is certainly not too shabby, especially since 2020 also brings my 65th birthday LOL!

So here are my "10 for 10 in 2010" goals (in no particular order):

  1. Obtain a passport.  Travel to Canada is no longer possible without one, and I'd love to make a trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
  2. Complete the manuscript of "Don't Trust the Rain" in time to start the rough draft of "Lightning Strikes Home" during NaNoWriMo 2010 in November.
  3. Participate in NaNoBloMo at least one month this year, so don't be shocked at some point to find a post a day here (not until after shift bid in February at work, though).
  4. Stampin' Up! has 48 exclusive colors in four color families.  I want a Classic Ink Pad in each color, and only have ten so far, so by December 31, 2010, I want to own the other 38 colors.  Bonus goal would be to also have the markers and refills.
  5. Replace my glass-top dining table with a table made of real wood (and wood chairs to match LOL).  Here's the one I really want, as it will also serve as a great writing desk in my uber-tiny dining room.
  6. Pay off one of my student loans, and then put that monthly amount into savings.
  7. Post at least one card or other creative project on this blog each month, using exclusively SU! products.
  8. Complete the annual 100-Book Reading Challenge.  I'll be posting my list of completed books here.  Just scroll to the bottom and the list will be under the HGTV Green Tips widget. 
  9. Join (and attend) a local writer's group.  The challenge in this is finding a group that is available by public transportation.
  10. Exercise a minimum of fifteen minutes a day at least four times a week.  I have the equipment.  I just need to establish the habit ;-)
Of course, I have minor goals as well, like figuring out how to link to other sections of my blog (the 2010 reading list for instance).  And, if these are complete prior to year's end, I can certainly add more to the list LOL.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolutions for Writers 2010

Oh my Heavens! Friends of mine read J.A. Konrath's Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels mystery series so I know they must be good (they are currently buried in my TBR mountain or out on loan to other friends), but I found this blog thru yet another blog I follow and is this ever the kick in the pants I need to print and post over my writing desk!

All aspiring writers need to follow this blog, no matter the genre. This is straightforward, no-nonsense advice from someone who is where I want to be and who doesn't sugarcoat the pathway.

Wow! I think I'm gonna go write!