Sunday, January 26, 2014

Attention-Seeking


Happy Sunday, y'all!

I'm just popping in because I need.....well, I need your opinions. My issue is attention seeking and I want to know your thoughts.

Growing up I was not an 'avid reader'. My mother, an English teacher, would read books by the library bag full. I  struggled as an over active kid and teenager. I have always had issues with organizing my mind, my stuff and its something I work on regularly. I am sure if the ADD or AD/HD diagnosis had been available in my youth I would have been a gold star candidate. I did manage to read books on a semi regular basis- Babysitter's Club, The Diary of Anne Frank are a couple that stand out to me now. As an adult I devoured the Harry Potter series, reading for hours at a time. 

Fast forward to 2014. I am an 'avid audiobook listener'. I 'read' 2 or more books a month this way. I listen to podcasts and read blogs. I made a goal last year to read 6 non-fiction books...and I only made it through 2. Something about sitting down and focusing on something like text for a long period of time has become so hard for me.

Am I the only one? 

In this world of 140 character conversations, Tumblr posts and YouTube videos my already overactive mind is being rewired to go from thought to thought without really digesting it.

Am I the only one? 

I don't mean to sound overly dramatic. Lord knows I am not losing sleep or looking at myself in the mirror and thinking 'loser-go read a book, why don't you?' Because, well....that would be mean. However, I do think that I need to WORK on this habit. In this year of WORK I think I could really benefit from learning some new skills, and re learning the enjoyment I get from reading. I want to read some of the books out there on business, creative living or maybe a great memoir? I made a goal today to read this book for a solid hour.


How To Win Friends.... is so far very interesting. One of the topics it ponders is how to truly influence people amongst all the noise of social media. Boy, did that resonate with me. I am a little embarrassed to admit that reading for a solid hour was kind of hard. Not only did I read for exactly 1 hour and 15 minutes (because I looked at the clock), I thought about writing this post, what my cats were doing,  what I would say on Twitter? I mean....really. One hour should not have been that hard.

So, in summary- I have a little WORK to do. I think I am realizing that I need to turn off the iPod every once in a while. Maybe what I need is less noise and more focus in the present. 

If you have made it to the end....thanks. I really appreciate you for reading my very self indulgent post today! Now, share your thoughts. I would really love to hear if you have felt the same way or not. If this is something you find important....or not. 

Lastly, what should I read after How To Win Friends.... ? Link me up!

If you are wondering why I keep referencing WORK in all capitals, click here to see my recent post on goals for the new year.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Embossing and Watercolors- a Hero Arts and Mama Elephant Card

Hey y'all! Hope you are having a great week. I have had a recent burst of creative energy and I whipped up a bunch of cards over the weekend. I wanted to play around with embossing and watercolors, and I was inspired by two challenge blogs I've talked about many times here. The challenges for this week:

I bought this background stamp over Christmas (on clearance-woot!) and knew it would be perfect for embossing. I used White Zing Powder. I don't own a set of watercolors, so I just used a few colors of Mr. Huey's watered down.  I didn't know how the colors would look, I just started with the green, added the yellow, pink, then decided it needed a little more blue. I love love how this turned out! I put it all together with one of my favorite sentiments from Mama Elephant. I don't know what you cal this kind of card, with a flappy thing holding it closed?? lol. 


I'll be back later in the week to share a few other cards I made using the same technique. Make sure to go over to the blogs at Simon Say Stamp and A Blog Named Hero

Later,
Michelle

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Free Fun Friday- 2014 Calendars

Hello peeps! How are those New Years' Resolutions going? What are you working on right now?

For the first Free Fun Friday of  2014 compiled a short list of free printable calendars I have pinned to my Freebies Pintrest Board. If you are like me, you may not have a nice desk calendar. I am pretty reliant on my iPhone to keep track or appointments and reminders, but I need to see the date sometimes, so I need something easy to access to stick by my desk. Plus, they are pretty, aren't they? To get to the calendar, just click on the picture or link below it. Check it out:

If you need planning pages, or calendars, or other helpful printables- Miss Tina's blog is a great resource!

This is the one I printing out for my desk!


Love the idea of writing out a goal or two each month keeping me on track!



This one reminds me of Charlie Haper. I think my aunt would love this one.


from Elli.com

Happy clicking and don't forget to follow me on Pintrest

Later,
Michelle

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Easy Gift Idea: Wall Tray Decoration


Hello! This post is embarrassingly late. I meant to post it long ago, I even had the pictures loaded and ready, but then....well. Christmas. And my birthday. And holidays....all got in the way. I still wanted to share it, and this kind of gift could be used for a variety of holidays- Valentine's Day, Father's Day, Halloween. 

I've made about a dozen of these decorated trays. I made a couple for a family's gift exchange and then my uncle ordered some for his kids the next Christmas! I still get compliments on them every year. This is the kind of  gift that is so easy and fun to make but makes a big impact!  The base is a tray manufactured by 7Gypsies. I have also seen a store brand sold in Hobby Lobby. It comes in several different styles (this one would be fun), but I have only used this one with 4x6 spaces


The way I approach it: I pick out a stack of coordinating papers and bits from my scrapbook stash. I cut six pieces of 4 x 6 patterned paper. Then I play around with all the pieces, working as if if each section is a canvas, waiting to be filled! This is a really good way to use up scraps of paper or random embellishments you have left over from other projects. Keeping the paper from a similar line or matching the colors helps to make the overall project stay cohesive.  Here's a couple of close up looks:


I included a large chipboard star that I covered in Glossy Accents and Martha Stewart Crafts Tinsel Glitter
. To the right I used these great stamps to create a text background for a die cut tree. One thing to keep in mind is to use plenty of adhesive. Since it will hang on the wall and might get banged around it needs to stay durable. I used a lot of Glossy Accents
on my trays. Love that stuff.


Thanks again for stopping by,  I hope you use my inspiration to make your own gifts!

Later,
Michelle





Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy 2014 Peeps!

Checking in on my 2013 goals and making a list for 2014.


In 2013 I wanted to:
1. Finish 3 quilts- I started them, does that count? I have one top sewn together and two in strips.. Hoping to finish them in the next week, so that's pretty close
2. Save a nest egg towards my next trip. Ahem, moving on.......
3. Take a cooking class. Check! I learned how to make crab cakes with my friends Nicole and Alicia.

4. Update my Heritage Album. No (this is starting to look bad for me!)
5. Take a new class at the gym. I've been to two Pilates classes and I think I'm going to try Zumba next week
6. Host a goetta brunch. Check!
7. Paint something to hang on the wall. Check!
8. Read 6 non fiction books. I've read two. I am so lame.
9. Go to a new thrift/antique store. Check
10. Take a road trip.Check.
11. Redo my bathroom.Check!! You can follow along with my progress here. 
12. Learn how to make my Grandma's noodles. Not yet
13. Take part in a new Derby event. Check. Check.

Overall, this year has been challenging to say the least. My family lost a close friend, someone who was closely tied to my mother. I was surprised at how hard this hit me. I also struggled on the job front and I am currently looking for another position. Of course, there are a lot of blessings- I have a great family, an awesome group of friends that I really tried to appreciate this year, everyone in my life is safe and healthy. And, I do have a lot of fun memories from the year. So...let's agree to make 2014 rock our socks off, ok? I sat down and made a list for the new year. Let me know what fun plans you have for 2014. I need the inspiration! 

In 2014 I want to WORK. 

I have become lazy in a few areas, ideals that really are important to me have gone to the wayside to make room for a lot of clutter- emotional, physical, etc. This year I want to really focus on being responsible and organizing my crazy brain to accomplish a few things I need in my life. Sound very esoteric and undefined, but I swear, I am going somewhere with this. 

I want to WORK on my finances. I used to be really strict about making a budget and paying all my bills on time. I even made a point to pay off my car loan, student loans and other debts a few years ago. This year, I am going to set a monthly budget AND make room to put some in my savings. For my next trip (see 2013 goal #2)

I want to WORK on my fitness. I dabble in working out, taking long, lazy breaks. I am soon going to give up my gym membership for money reasons, but I want to find an activity I will enjoy and...umm, do it! lol


I want to WORK on my blogs. I have this space and another that I started last year. By start I mean set up, posted a few times, then......stress overtook me and I just wasn't feeling inspired. I would really like to turn these spaces into a place for growth (both financially and career), so I am going to WORK .

Lastly, I really enjoyed my little list from 2013, so I am going to come up with 14 things to do over the next year. Not work, but fun! Goal setting is something I am not great at, and this year I really liked having a list of things I wanted to cross of over the year.

So, here's to a fantastic new year, my friends! Please, please, tell me one thing you plan to do this new year!

Later,
Michelle