Up for a Challenge? Introducing #StashCraft19

In The Studio

‘ve come to realize that I’m very bad at putting myself first. It’s something I’ve been working on, on a personal level, and now I’m addressing the creative needs.

For 2019 I applied for absolutely no design teams so that I could work on more of my own projects. BUT! One of the nice things about being on a team is the deadlines and accountability you have to the organizer. When it’s just me? That’s harder.

Enter the wonderful thing that is public accountability! I’ve created a challenge (and some supporting goals) and I’m putting it all out there in the hopes that it’ll help keep me motivated when the going gets tough.

Here, have a video of me explaining it:

But if you’re not in a place where you can watch a video, here’s the basics:

The Challenge

Create one project a week–with a video–using mostly (if not completely) materials I already own.

Goal #1: Use of the supplies I’ve hoarded over the years.

Let’s face it, my craft stash is considerable, with so many things I’ve purchased, collected, or been given over the years (decades!) with plans to use them someday. Well, someday is now! Time to blow off the dust and finally get to the projects I’ve meant to do for so very long.

Goal #2: Declutter the Abyss

Use it up, move it out, make something awesome! I’ll be able to organize as I go while using the supplies up and weeding out any items that are too old, dried up, or otherwise no longer viable.

Goal #3: Save Money by Using What I Have

Not only do I have tons of supplies to be creative with already, my budget is currently not in favor of spending a lot of supplies to fuel a year’s worth of projects. I’m aiming for 90-75% stash supplies for each project (the 75% in deference to the inevitable using-up that’ll happen by the end of the year) but many things can be accomplished strictly with the stuff I already own. Each project will include a run-down of supplies and what, if anything, I spent.

Goal #4: Make Some Money, If Possible

This is a stretch-goal, sure, but it’s not exactly unrealistic. Blog/Vlog business schtuff alert: First, creating weekly videos is bound to increase my subscriber count and watch time which will enable me to go back to monetizing my videos. Not that it’s a huge revenue source, but it’s something. Second, of the items I’ll be making as part of the challenge, some will undoubtedly be personal projects while others may be suitable for sale and will be available in my Etsy shop.

So that’s it! Every Monday, starting January 7th, I’ll post a new video of a new project created from my craft stash. All posts here, on YouTube, and on social media will be tagged with #stashcraft19 and I invite anyone who wants to join in to do so by using that same tag.

I’d love to know what you’re creative goals are for the year. Leave a comment here or on the YouTube video and grab a little public accountability for yourself!

Being is Believing

Just for Fun

So… 2017. What can we say about it?

There were some definite, not-great things about the year that was that I will not be sad to see go. Like completely losing focus on anything and everything side-business-related. Then there was the hurricane that came barreling towards us in September. Or the massive breast abscess that took almost 2 months to heal only to go for a mammogram and find out I had a lump in the other breast that required a biopsy. Or that my insurance coverage barely covered 10% of all of the above.

Not fun.

But there were a lot more really awesome things that happened this year that easily overshadow the negatives.

The hurricane swerved. Thank goodness (though it still did a lot of damage elsewhere, which is still not good).

And I don’t have cancer. Halle-freaking-lujah. And I have some really good doctors here in town because of it, including a surgeon that called me, himself, between patients at the hospital, to make sure I new the lump was benign before Thanksgiving instead of making me wait until my appointment the following Monday. And since he missed me the first time he called my office, he called back later to make sure he got me.

Then there are the amazing people I’ve met this year: some in person, others online, and can count some true friends and loved ones among them. And speaking of loved ones, Todd and I reached the 10-year mark in our relationship this fall and that’s a pretty major thing! Yeah!

And lest I forget: I got a new job this year! Sure, training my replacement at the old place was stressful as all get out (I was actually training two people, plus filling in some gaps on a third recent hire, while the facility prepped for a big name visitor that was then rescheduled due to the hurricane), but the momentary stress was worth it as I now have all of a 5 minute commute to the office and what will be a fabulous, fulfilling position once the slow transition is complete sometime in the coming year.

I also did a lot of reflection and self-discovery this year, too. It’s pretty much what I did instead of business-building. Some would say that’s just as valuable or maybe even more so. I could go either way on the subject.

So what about 2018, what are my hopes for it?

A lot of the usual: get a better handle on my finances, feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of next year, yadda yadda yadda… But mostly I want to just be.

Be what? Ahh, that’s the thing, now isn’t it.

There are lots of ways to be, and sometimes just the act of being–existing–is all you can accomplish in a day. Some days are like that. I had several of them over the last 10 months or so.

But on the days where I can be more, this is what I’d like to be…

Be Okay
with whatever happens, how it happens, and even why it happens; fight less, accept more

Be Understanding
of people, events, strangers and friends alike, and of myself; don’t beat myself up for simple mistakes, or even big mistakes, they’re gonna happen but it doesn’t have to feel like the end of the world

Be Happy
appreciate what happens, the happy accidents and the unexpected adventures alike; find joy in little things and look on the bright side as much as possible

Be Brave
step out of my comfort zone a bit and try new things, or maybe retry old things that didn’t work out the first time–maybe I’ve learned something that can change the outcome this time

Be Open
to success and failure, to friendship and love, to beginnings and endings, to whatever the universe has in store; judge less, learn more

Be Unapologetic
stop apologizing for things I don’t need to be sorry for, especially those things that have to be done and aren’t wrong in the doing, but the little things, too; find better words for those other times when sorry isn’t the right thing to say but we just don’t have a better idea

Be Enough
know that I am who and what I need to be, not for anyone else but for myself, know that I don’t have to have the answers for someone else’s life, or even always for my own

Be Myself
good, bad, or indifferent I can only be who I am, I cannot keep changing myself to fit the molds and expectations of others; let people see the real me and the ones that don’t like it, I don’t need

Here’s to a happy and fulfilling 2018, whatever that ends up meaning 🙂

January Art Journal Recap

In The Studio

With the stormy weather that one weekend setting me back, I managed to fit two pages into the following week and kept to my goal of 1 art journal page a week for the month of January. It’s a start, and I’m really enjoying the self-imposed deadline each week that helps me get my butt in gear (and in the seat) and do something in that journal I made!

So far I’ve been painting more than anything and, while there’s nothing wrong with that, I think I’ll challenge myself to collage more in February. Amusingly enough, collage used to be my go-to start to any project, so having to tell myself to collage more strikes me as quite the turnaround.

For the sake of completeness, I’m going to include the first page/video here, even though I posted it before.


Just Floating Along (youtube link)


The Time of Our Lives (youtube link)’


Swirl of Confusion (youtube link)


What Do I Stand For (youtube link)

So far I have to say I like the graphic look of the last one best of all, but I think the way the second came together is a close second. It’s one thing to have a particular idea in mind and get pretty close (like pages 3 and 4), but to have only the vaguest notion and then end up with a pretty stellar image, that’s a cool thing. Sure, had I been planning and plotting I might have arranged some of the elements in Time a bit differently, but you surrender editing control and the like when you work in an art journal.

I’m still working out the kinks in the filming department, but i’m sure I’ll have it mastered by the end of February (so she says…)

One other thing I’ve been remiss in mentioning over here is the other project that was keeping me more than a bit busy at the end of the year and beginning of the new one. That would be the first issue of my Activity Book for Grown-Ups!


Click the image above or this handy link right here <Click Me for Fun!> to read through or download your own copy so you can print out the coloring pages, the other printables, and the puzzles for your own amusement. The next issue is set to come out towards the end of March and I’d love any feedback you have on the magazine itself (what you liked, what you didn’t, what you want more or less of, that sort of thing).

2017 is my Reset Year

The Creative Life

Because last year certainly didn’t go as planned!

Let’s take a quick stroll down last year’s goal list, shall we?

House Plans:

  • Downstairs Bath: 85% complete
  • Driveway and Privacy Fence: 5% started?
  • Recycling Sorter: 75% complete per Todd’s plans, but totally functional, so we could call this one a win
  • Compost Bin: big ol’ nope
  • Back Hall/Mudroom: Hah!
  • Utility Room: You’ve got to be joking

Some of those were stretch goals anyway, and the bathroom renovation ended up taking way more time than anticipated. But now we’re a lot more prepared for the next rooms, whenever we get to them, knowing what waits for us under the floors.

Family Goals:

  • Get a dog: check! And it would not be wrong to say this added to the delay of certain other projects.
  • Milestone birthdays: check and check
  • Visit Savannah, Ga: This we’ll scoot over to the 2017 goals.

Career Goals:

  • Career change: This happened, but not the way I’d planned. With the closing of Graphateria, it became a need instead of a want, but I’m glad I was able to maintain a steady income. We’ll just go with that.
  • Book Projects: I did get some work done on the Low-FODMAP book, but there’s quite a bit left to do.
  • The Crafty Branch: TCB was the red-headed stepchild of the year, withering on the to-do list vine. Mixed metaphor aside, I have some plans to revamp TCB for 2017, the first of which will be coming out this week (I hope).
  • The blog: It wasn’t quite as neglected as TCB, but we hit a few low points during the job change and adjustment period.

Personal: Goals:

  • Move more: We didn’t even do the 5K this year, so I’m going to count this as a no.
  • Be more productive: I still got a lot done this year, but not nearly as much as I would have liked.
  • Art every day: started strong, finished weak.

So….. yeah. Not a great scorecard, overall.

This year I’m going to scale things down a bit, knowing what I do about things as they stand as the year turns, so here are a few things to concentrate on for 2017:

  1. Finish the bathroom remodel. We’re close, but the finishing is still a pretty big job.
  2. Get the privacy fence installed–I really want to spend time in the backyard, give Duncan a good space to run, and do all of it without feeling like we’re in the fishbowl of our neighbors. Keeping said neighbors out of our yard is a bonus.
  3. Spend less. Ignoring the fact that I just broke my no-spend January rule on Saturday when I ordered a small piece of tech, my goal is to really get my finances in better shape and that involves, first and foremost, spending less. I did manage to pay off one credit card last year, a fairly large one, but I need to stop using the others so much, too. It’s a process. I’m working on it.
  4. Art every week. A bit more reasonable than art every day, and I have a new journal for it and everything. I’ll be posting the weekly pages on instagram with the #aew2017 tag, follow along or join me!
  5. More videos! Even though it’s been a few months since I managed to upload a video (stuff was filmed, it just never got edited), I somehow managed to pass 500 subscribers on my YouTube channel. That’s wild! And since the art and planner-related videos seem to be the favorites, those are probably what I’ll concentrate on over vlogging (at least while editing time is short and life is not exactly vlog-worthy).

Sure, I’d still love to go to Savannah, but with Duncan and a less-flexible work environment, it’s a little tougher to manage a weekend getaway. But I hope we can make it happen. And there are work and side-project goals swimming around in my head, of course, but nothing I feel comfortable blogging about just yet.

And before I forget, my word of the year isn’t so much a word but a prefix:


As in revisit, revamp, redo, restart, revise, rebrand, revitalize, relaunch, reboot, review… you get the picture. Last year may not have gone the way I’d planned or hoped, but it doesn’t mean I have to start all over from scratch. I have assets in place that I can turn into something, I just have to rethink them and revise the plans. Re- can be back (as in return) or again (like most of the words above). The important thing for me, this year, is to take what I have and go through it again, figure out what worked, discard what didn’t, and work through it again and again until I get it right.

Good luck with your own 2017 planning!

The List

Everyday Adventures

One day last week, on my lunch break, feeling a bit frustrated and exhausted by work and life in general, I made a list:

Things I’d Like to do Again

I wrote down whatever came to mind, everything from having confidence in my work (it was a low day, remember) to blogging regularly, to specific craft projects. Getting it down on paper felt good, it helped me see what had been overshadowed these last couple of months by work and work and trying to de-stress from said work.

As an aside, I now know exactly what kind of days Todd routinely has, days when he doesn’t have time to stop for lunch until the late afternoon (if at all), days when all you’re good for when you get home is to veg in front of the tv for an hour before falling into bed. Not all my days are like that, but enough have been that I get it, now. 

 Now, a list like this could stand on it’s own, being looked at from time to time, wistfully wishing I could go back to having time and energy for these things.

Then I reminded myself that, hello, I’m the one living this life and it’s up to me to make what I want happen, right?! Right.

So, on the facing page I made a companion list:

Ways I Can Make That Happen

And for each item on the first list I gave myself some instructions.

Want to blog regularly? I can either stockpile posts on the weekends or tap out some quicker posts on evenings and weekends. I’ve been working on this one and I hope the shorter, but daily, posts are enjoyable. I feel a bit stiff, still, but I’m hoping that as I keep doing it, it will feel a bit more natural.

Some goals might take a bit more time to get to–taking a vacation, throwing a party, etc.–but they got the simple, “do it” treatment just the same. Whether it’s planning and saving for it, on the list it went.

And what about the work confidence? Work hard, learn more, be patient.

I give pretty good advice to myself. Now to just take it.

Tonight we’re satisfying one of my more frivolous wishes: having chocolate cake for dinner.  I mean, really, why not, right? One of the perks of being a grown up is indulging flights of fancy. I warned Todd it might happen and even put it on the menu. The only real question still to be decided is whether I make the cake myself or I swing by Publix and pick one up on the way home. It depends on how long I’m at The Fuzzy Goat this evening, probably, but those Publix cakes really are very tasty. And already made. No oven required.

Currently the list stands at 13 lines, I suppose I could add more if other ideas present themselves. Have you ever thought about what you’re missing or have put aside that you really want back? And, more importantly, have you ever thought about how you can go about making it happen?