Friday, December 30, 2011

Saying Farewell To 2011

I'm sorry if you arrived here expecting a traditional Four Ways Friday post.  I feel it's necessary to somehow mark the end of the year - the conclusion of 2011.  To stay with the Four Ways theme, today's post is about Four Ways to bid farewell to 2011.

1.  Reflect:  As this year draws to a close, it is a perfect time to reflect back on where it began.  As I stamped my 2012 calendar I realized that my 2011 calendar could be put to good use.  I am going to take some time prior to midnight on Saturday to reflect back on each month and do a bit of journaling.  I am going to take those 4 3/4" x 4 3/4" calendar months and write on the back of them - things I was grateful for that month; significant events in my life; lessons learned.  I keep a daily gratitude journal so I will be able to look back at my daily entries to reflect on those moments that stand out and write them on the calendar months.  One way to bid farewell is to reminisce about what you have experienced.

2.  Bid Farewell With Gratitude:  If you are reading this post, you have been given the gift of being alive for the year 2011.  You have been able to breathe every day - breathe in and breathe out.  You have experienced the gift of life - with all of its ups, downs, sideways and reverses!  Be grateful.  What an amazing gift it is!

3.  Bid Farewell Surrounded By Those You Love:  Whether you sit on the couch, find yourself in a large crowd, or experience your own personal ritual ringing in the New Year, surround yourself with those you love.  For some of us, we will actually physically be with those we love.  For others of us, we will need to connect with them via phone or on-line chat, or email.  Most of us also surround ourselves with those we love by turning our attention, our thoughts, to them - whether they are still with us or have passed.  Surrounding ourselves with those we love makes us appreciate the opportunity to live this life with love.

4.  Welcome 2012 And All Its Possibilities With Open Arms!  I drink tea by a company called Yogi and on each of their teabags there is a message.  The one I opened tonight had this to say "When you are in tune with the unknown, the known is peaceful."  This seems very apt as we see the wide open unknown of the year ahead.  Know that you don't know what lies ahead in the coming year - it is a mystery.  If you can be in tune with the unknown - if you can accept it is unwritten, that it will unfold as it will - then the now - the moment that you are in at this very time - is a place of peace.  What a perfect way to bid farewell to 2011 - to bid farewell from a place of peace.

I wish you and your loved ones a 2012 filled with infinite possibilities.  May you find peace in all of your moments!  Thank you for sharing moments of your 2011 with me - it has been an honor.  I hope to see you again in 2012! :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Every Little Bit 2012 Jewel Case Calendar

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  Time Is The New Currency
Every once in awhile I channel surf on the television and come upon a show or a scene that makes me stop and think.  That happened the other day when I landed upon a show about people who take couponing to the extreme.  They collect newspapers - maybe even go diving into garbages for them - and then spend hour upon hour upon hour categorizing their coupons and planning their shopping trips.  Then they go on these crazy shopping trips where they buy tons of grocery items at the supermarket and save a ton of money.  I was struck by one of the husbands who was commenting that this was going to be his wife's last shopping trip for awhile since she had been eating, sleeping, and breathing coupons and coupon cutting and had little time for anything else.  And that's what made me stop and think.  What we see on the show is the cash register total going up and up and up as these individuals shop and then watch as the total begins to go lower and lower as the coupons get redeemed.  The impression we are left with is that these individuals are saving a ton of money...and maybe they are.  What we don't see and what I really question is what is that savings worth?  Aside from the fact that it seems these shopping trips involve buying items that I can't image will ever get used (take for example the 30 boxes of artificial sweetener packets), what I am really struck by is what people are willing to trade the precious minutes of their life for.  And it makes me question that about myself as well.  How much is saving $500 at the grocery store worth to you?  The week or more that it will take to cut coupons and sort them and shop?  If that takes you 40 hours, does that mean you are willing to trade an hour of your life for $12.50 in savings?  Maybe you are and maybe you aren't.  What seems important is that we focus not just on what we appear to be saving, but also on what we are sacrificing to do it.  I would gladly trade the $12.50 of savings for an extra hour of walking with Buddy out in nature.  That to me is worth trading the currency of time for.  I guess for each of us, what we are willing to "sell" our time for will differ.  As we come upon 2012, I wish that we all will consider what our time is really worth and what we are willing to "sell" our time for.  My hope is that we think of our time as the new currency - the new wealth - and that we use it well.
Today's project is a calendar that I have made in the past - at least the "body" of the calendar is the same.  The pages are 4 3/4" by 4 3/4" and fit perfectly into a CD jewel case that can be placed on your desktop.  The twist is that I wanted to try to decorate the entire calendar using just one stamp set, Every Little Bit.  I succeeded but for one month where I incorporated a few letters from the Calendar Alphabet & Numbers stamp set.  Here are photos of each of the months...I hope you enjoy them!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paper Crafter’s Library Design Team Submission

Today's post is a special one!  I have decided to try to become a part of the Paper Crafter's Library Design Team!!!!  What a fun way to challenge myself to create new projects and videos while receiving some great new products and supplies at the same time! :)
It has been an interesting journey trying to put this post together.  The submission guidelines require me to share pictures of 3 projects as well as a project video.  So, I started looking over past projects and videos and it was like a journey through time!  It is interesting to look back at your own work and see how you have grown (or gotten stuck!).  As interesting was stopping to read some of my posts and look at some of the day-to-day photos I have shared with you.  This chronicle of my life has definitely been a work of love and passion!  Thank you for sharing the journey with me!
So, here are the 3 projects and the 1 video I have decided to submit.  They are pieces that represent the variety of items you can create with your stamping supplies and they are all pieces that make me smile:
Stamping provides a wonderful way to say "I love you" to those special people in your life!  This little accordion book provides little pockets as opportunities to share special messages, photos or coupons for the one you love :)  You can watch a video for how to create this adorable book here!
Tags add such a special touch to your gift giving!  They can also be saved, included in scrapbook layouts or reused by the recipient.  To learn more about how I made this tag, you can check out this post or this video (of a similar project).
This final piece I am especially proud of since it was the first piece I ever had published in a magazine!!!  This piece was published in the 2011 special issue of PaperCrafts Magazine entitled 350 Cards & Gifts :)  It was quite a milestone for me!
Finally, the project video I would like to share is how to create this shaker card using transparencies/window sheets, your sewing machine, and some glitter!  Enjoy!!!!

I want to thank PaperCrafter's Library for their consideration of my submission!  I will let you all know how things turn out!!!! :)
p.s.  If this opportunity sounds interesting to you, why not apply????  You can find out more info here!  Good luck!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chalkboard Mug

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  I Am Drawn To Handmade Things
I guess today's lesson might not be a surprise to you, although I have to admit that it is a bit of a surprise to me.  I have traditionally been a fan of big box stores - stores like IKEA and others, where you can affordably furnish your home.  Lately we have been thinking about making some changes to the inside of our house and have done a bit of browsing in some of these big box stores and I'm just not feeling it.  Today we started looking at websites of artists and artisans who do woodwork and millwork and couldn't stop ourselves from saying "OOH!" and "AAH!" at every turn!  Now we are thinking about making change more slowly - bringing things into the house with intention - things that are instilled with the spirit of the person who made the object and that approach just feels right.  It may not happen in the same amount of time - the handmade items will cost more and therefore won't be purchased at once.  Regardless, the thought of having a few handmade things v. filling a room with store-bought fixtures really speaks to my heart (as I sit here at my laminated desk and look at my $20 bookcases from the big box store down the street!).  I guess each thing has its place and time.  As I live in the now, I know that handmade things are what appeal to me most.
Speaking of handmade things, I have been enjoying the kitchen turned craft room :)  I haven't put the extra table away yet!  Instead, I have added to my glass painting and have started painting on ceramics!  Again, I am using paints that can be painted, then air-dried, and then baked in the oven to make them dishwasher and microwave safe!  How awesome is that?!  I purchased some mugs at Crate & Barrel and have been experimenting with ideas.  On this mug I painted a rectangle of chalkboard paint and added the handwritten message "I want you to know..."  I made two of these mugs to give as gifts to a friend and her boyfriend.  The mugs will gifted along with a pieces of chalk attached to the handles with a pieces of string/ribbon.  That way, every day, they can write messages one another when they make their morning tea/coffee/hot cocoa.  I also made one for Michael :)  I figure that I can leave it on the counter for him in the morning with a new message everyday :)  (I am already imagining that some days the message will be "I love you" and other days the message might be "we need more apples!" :)  I love that this mug can be "recreated" every day with a new message :)  I hope you like it!  Tomorrow I plan to be back with a project you can make using some of your Stampin' Up! supplies (with a few other household items thrown in!).  Thanks for joining me as I took a break to play with some new materials :)
I also wanted to share this picture with you...looks like peace to me :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Painted Martini Glasses

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  Play Like A Child!!!!!
This weekend we had a ton of fun in the kitchen turned craft room!  Michael and I set up a table in the center of the kitchen...
and we played like children!!!!!  I had recently purchased some new paints - glass paint and porcelain paint that you can use in your home.  You can paint glass and ceramic/porcelain objects and then, once they are dry, bake them in your own oven!  We had no idea what we were doing, but we dove in with enthusiasm!!!!  We began with the glasses pictured above - a gift for a friend's birthday.  Michael painted two and I painted two and boy did we experiment!  We dripped and drew and sponged and spattered!  Yes, the internal critic showed up along the way, but we told him to shut up and just kept going :)  After all, if we are playing like children, why would we listen to any "adult voices?!"  I highly recommend some time to play like a child - draw outside the lines, make a mess, break the rules!!!!!  It feels amazingly free! :)
I also want to use this post to say a very special thank you to Doris for your wonderful comment this weekend!  You put a huge smile on my face and warmth in my heart!!!!  Thank you for that!!!!  Also, I absolutely know where you can get your hands on some sequin waste (also called punchinella) ;)  I know someone who would LOVE to send you some if you would be willing to provide a mailing address :)  Feel free to email me at so you can keep your email private (although I guess I just made mine incredibly public :)  It truly would be my pleasure!!!