Imagine That: September Projects and Big News!

Everyday Adventures, In The Studio

So… September, huh? Where in the world did that go?!

My September was a whirlwind (could have been literally had Irma not scooted over when she did thereby saving Thomasville from the direct path) of big big changes:

I ended August by giving notice at Canopy Cove so the next two weeks were spent tidying up as many loose ends as possible and training both my replacement and the new insurance specialist. There were days when I felt more like a proctor or study hall monitor than an employee and my voice was hoarse on many occasions.

9/2: My monkey Moleskine on the Imagine Crafts blog was my second project picked up by the Craft Gossip newsletter!

And then there was the aforementioned hurricane scare which, sure, meant a second 3-day weekend in a row but with an added scoop of stress and cutting the time to finish my to-do list even shorter.

That next weekend I started rehearsing with the Rose City Symphonic Band. I wish I could say that the transition back into concert music has been a smooth one. It… hasn’t. To be quite candid, I’m not sure I have the chops to handle that kind of playing as I’ve been struggling to consistently hit and maintain an F natural (aka the first note I learned the play on the damned horn at age 11, 30 freaking years ago). Time will tell whether I emerge victorious or bow out gracefully.

9/22: Get a head start on the holidays by stamping out some quick gift tags on the Imagine Crafts blog!

On the 19th I started my new job in Thomasville at Balfour Timber. I love my new workplace and really am enjoying learning a new industry and the transition has been pretty gradual, allowing me to learn not just what my job will comprise but the rest of the office as well.

And because the Universe has a sick sense of humor, the night before the new job started I came down with something and I’m still dealing with it. I’ve been on antibiotics for the last 19 days with 6 more to go and there’s still a chance I might need minor surgery to resolve it.

9/26: Rose Gold and Navy Pocket Letter featuring the new Rose Gold and Champagne Delicata Inks on Imagine Crafts’ Blog

And, finally, plans are afoot for me to attend Creativation this January! I actually decided to book my flight once the Irma threat was over, but it looks like I’ll be hanging out a lot at the Imagine booth helping with demos and stuff! I’m super jazzed about it (I’ve wanted to attend the CHA show for ages) and have been counting down the days in my planner!

Coffee? Tea? Or Maybe Something Stronger…

In The Studio

This weekend I spent a little over two hours creating a batch of cards. Not for a deadline or project or because I needed to send one out the next day, just because.

Because I had a cute kit (Simon Says Stamp, February 2017) that I hadn’t used yet. And because Donut Day (last Friday) reminded me I had it. And sometimes it feels good to craft for no other reason than to do it.

Of course, since I’m me and I’d decided to go ahead and use the kit anyway, I figured I’d go ahead and film it and see what came of it.

The what being a 20 minute video of me rambling a bit, but it’s done and uploaded and I think it’s pretty cool. Again, it was nice to have the time and space to put the cards together and then, by some stroke of magic, get it edited, voiced-over (voice-overed?), and exported all in the same day.

The last video I tried to export, that being the CSI Scrap With Me, took 2 days, multiple restarts, a graphics driver upgrade, and a software upgrade, and a few more hoops just to get the blasted thing to export, much less anything else. This time, however, things went more smoothly and I have to say, major kudos to Premiere Pro for updating it’s title tool (finally!).

Last week (and the week before) was a bad tech week for me, in general. Work computers were wonky, my home laptop was threatening to fail (I was seriously thinking about replacing it during the holiday sales weekend), and then I was extra clumsy Wednesday morning and dropped my phone. Twice.

Apparently it’s better to drop a cellphone where it bounces of a corner instead of landing flat (face up or face down doesn’t matter, and it’s not like we choose to drop our expensive handheld devices one way or another, of course). Because when you drop it flat, the chances of some very important pieces detaching increases astronomically.

First the screen took on this sickly greenish tinge. Then I noticed the touch-screen (which is 99% of the function of a smartphone) wasn’t responding. I figured I was doomed no matter what, so I smacked the phone against my palm and the color corrected. Yay! But the touch screen still wasn’t responding.

Or, I should say, it wasn’t responding how I needed it to. It was doing it’s little zzzt! vibration, like it was registering a command (I have my phone on silent and work and, since I get so few calls anyway, tend to forget and leave it that way at home for days–ahem, weeks–at a time) but it wasn’t getting past the lock screen.

So I did the logical thing: I took out the battery to do a hard reset. After a few moments I gave the phone back it’s battery and then nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I can vividly remember a time before cell phones and it wasn’t even all that bad. Even a time before smart phones. Again, not that bad. But my word, driving to work without a cell phone? That sucked. I couldn’t listen to my podcasts or music (thank goodness for some CDs I had in my car, saving me from drive-time djs). I couldn’t search for the nearest Verizon store. And I couldn’t see if maybe Costco might have better prices on phones. It was pretty horrible, she says from her perch of technological privilege.

It was, however, perhaps the quickest I’ve ever been in and out of a Verizon store: 30 minutes for a new phone and various accessories. Of course I was a year early for an upgrade, but Todd’s contract was up in about 4 months so I was able to buy out the rest of his and then sub in a new phone without drastically changing our bill. And based on my rash of bad phone luck, I did not leave without a case and a screen protector (which I had the sales rep install for me, just in case) and within two days I’d purchased a pop-socket, because the new phone is larger than my old one, and having something slightly more secure to hold onto makes incredible sense.

That’s what I’ve been up to, more or less. What about you?

The Universe Has a Sick Sense of Humor

Everyday Adventures

I’m not a fan of April Fool’s Day. I like to think I have a decent sense of humor, but I don’t like practical jokes in general. Maybe it’s fallout from being teased as a kid, maybe it goes hand-in-hand with my dislike of pushing people’s buttons to get a rise. Maybe I just hate the embarrassment that comes from being taken-in. At any rate, not a fan of the day or the shenanigans (though, okay, I did participate in one small bit of subterfuge today on the Helmar blog, but that was by request and, hopefully, not harmful to anyone).

The last two weeks, though, have been like one long, surreal, joke. One of truly questionable humor.

Most things have been small annoyances. My phone is glitchier than normal (I never named it, but it’s begging to be called Vanellope from here on out) but it’ll have to hang in there for a while longer. The freezer has started this *really neat trick* of popping open just a smidgen when you close the refrigerator door. Not every time, that would be too predictable, but it’s resulted in a couple of mornings coming downstairs to melting this or that. This very site has gone down twice in the last week due to issues with the cache something or other and attempts to get an answer as to why keep leading me in a Sisyphean loop (though I think I might finally be getting somewhere, maybe, I hope).

But no, the real fun began on the 22nd, when the boss announced that we were closing in a little over a month (that would be the news I mentioned a few times in the last post).

Now, on it’s own, that’s not a joke, it’s just bad. And as the bookkeeper I was all too aware that it was a possibility if things didn’t change. Change was being sought, we’d pulled out of slumps before and survived the economic downturn/great recession where other shops did not. To go from high possibility to startling reality, well, that took a little getting used to.

The joke comes with a bit of a history lesson.

4 years ago… things happened. What and why and by who aren’t really important, water under the bridge for the most part and all, but I almost gave my notice. I didn’t (obviously), but I realized that I didn’t want to be here forever. I was, at the time, 36 and had been with the same employer for all of my adult life.* I had never set out to become a bookkeeper, it just turned out to be something I was good at. But I’m good at other things, too, and so I set a goal for myself that I’d be at least 50% self-employed by the time I turned 40.

Our last official day open is 4/29. My 40th birthday is 4/30.


Of course it’s not quite so cut and dried. While the company will be closed for business there are still a lot of loose ends to tie up and, since I’m the one that handles the paperwork, I’ll be around for a few months after that. The boss and I’ll be roaming the ghostly halls as we basically dismantle the company piece by piece. While I’m grateful for the slightly extended stay of unemployment, it’s a weird sort of limbo to be in, too. And if I find a new position before it’s all done I’ll be doing both for a while.

Everyone’s taking it as well as can be expected (well, almost everyone, but that’s not a story for today). It’s weird to know that certain tasks or projects you’re working on for the last time. The end may be nigh, but we’ve still got jobs to do, and most of us are getting on with getting on.

What will I do come August? Still very much up in the air.

Part of me says take this time to cultivate more freelance clients, really invest in the blog and products that I already have, and embrace self-employment. That part of me conveniently ignores the bills that I pay every month, says the other part of me, and urges to get a job, any job, maybe two jobs if necessary.

It’s very house-divided in my head these days.

Chances are it’ll be some combination of the two. I’m looking for another full-time position while also creating contingency plans if nothing pans out or it takes longer than expected to find the right fit. Todd and I have talked about how we’ll handle the finances should I end up on unemployment (which would only be about half my take-home pay, max) or worse. It’ll work out how it needs to, things just might be tight for a while. But we’ll get through it.

The moral of the story is: be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

*I’ve worked here since the week after high school graduation, minus a 5 month leave of absence to finish my Culinary degree in 2000, coming back because my replacement didn’t work out and I have this pesky need to be able to pay my bills. All of them. In the same month, even. I know, quirky, right?


Everyday Adventures

I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed lately–with all the things I want to do, with everything go on around me, with the desire to chuck it all and just sleep for a week–and while I’m not giving into any urges that would being permanently damaging I am trying to be a bit more conscious of a few things that I tend to forget from time to time:

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

It’s true, I’m a bit impatient at times. I love projects and endeavors that provide instant gratification. And while I won’t go so far as to claim that the wait is always worth it, some things are worth waiting for or taking my time on. (Let me repeat that a few times to myself again.)

In the case of the house, we’re still not finished unpacking but we’re getting there. Where we’re no longer in a hurry is on the renovation front. For a couple of reasons (looming holidays, taxes, etc.) we’re putting off any real renovation until 2015 and we’re okay with that. After all, we’re planning to be in this house for a long time, so why not live in the space for a bit before we start making decisions about how to change it.


We did decorate for Halloween, though, and that was fun. So far it’s just the outside (and having a bigger outside to dress up means I definitely need more items, but it’s coming along) but the inside is high on the priority list.

Have Fun Without Guilt

All work, no play, you know the rest. But it’s less about becoming “dull” and more about being happy. Even though I have a mountain of things I want to accomplish, if all I ever do is work on whittling that list down what will I have to show for it? Where will the memories of a happy life lived come from?

So I’ve been playing a bit, lately. Last night I was feeling super rundown so I changed into pajamas right after supper and dug out my copy of Practical Magic and just chilled. the fuck. out. I’m not saying that watching the antics on-screen completely restored me (neither did going to bed a bit early) but it helped. And reminding myself that I deserve a little downtime helped assuage the guilt coming from the unchecked items in my planner.

We Make Our Own Rules

Aside from the whole ‘death and taxes’ bit, the only rules that are important are the ones we make ourselves. We agree to certain rules as part of a lawful/moral society, but beyond that we retain autonomy over our own lives. Just because ‘they’ do it that way doesn’t mean I have to; especially if their way is dragging me down.

I’ve been examining some of these ‘rules’ and finding out (like the pirate code) that they’re really more just guidelines. And some of those guidelines are going on the shelf for a bit (if not forever) while I create new rules and structures that suit my purposes better.

So, yes, I’ve been spending a bit of time in my own head these past few days as well as spending some time thinking about very little at all, and just coasting for a bit. It’s important to note that, from a creative standpoint, I’m not blocked or frozen. The ideas keep coming and the hows keep getting answered and I’m still planning and plotting my next phases. I’m just not so much on the action at the moment.

And that’s okay.

I Have Yet to Unpack the Witty Title Vault…

Just for Fun

Labor Day weekend was slightly less productive than anticipated, but certainly not a total loss.

While there’s still work to be done in the living room and library, I did manage to get the majority of The Abyss boxes unpacked and sorted onto their shelves. Amusingly enough, it’s the eight boxes marked ‘desk’ that have yet to be dealt with, and yet me desk is rather cluttered already. Sure, I have two desks if you count the art table and they each have a fair amount of shelves and cubbies, but I’m still a bit flummoxed at how all those boxes are going to unpack into these two spaces.

Time will tell.

Our other big project was assembling our new storage shed, thus enabling us to clear off a lot of what’s clogging up our back porch. The ground was cleared (by me, thank you very much!) and the bottom frame laid in place. And that’s it. The ground is far from level out there (a fact which really shouldn’t have surprised us) and we lack a shovel to deal with a medium sized root that’s in the way. How we’ve gone this long without a shovel is beyond me, but there you go.

After some deep thinking by Todd, a combination of bricks, pushed-around earth, and maybe some sand will be used to level the corner I cleared and we’ll be able to proceed at some point.

On the upside, I did get my last round of pattern designs submitted this weekend, which reminds me: I had some goals I was going to work on this month. Let’s see how I did on those:

  • Unpacking: we’re getting pretty far along on that, though there are still a fair amount of areas needing attention. I’m going to call this a win, though, as all rooms are functioning with their stuff.
  • Planning the housewarming party: still up for debate. Had we gotten more done this weekend I’d be all set with it on the 13th, but now I’m wondering if we should push it to the 20th just to be safe.
  • Scrapbook 10 pages: hah! This didn’t get done at all. Resetting that goal for September.
  • MIID Summer School: complete! While I wasn’t really loving my second round of submissions, with a bit more work I think they’ll be closer to what I had in mind. The last set I love, though.
  • Portfolio redesign: begun, but far from complete. Definitely still on the list for September.
  • What to Feed Your Raiding Party substitutions supplement: considering I just found the forms and notes for this project last night I’d say it’s safe to say I’ve got a ways to go on this one, still.

Of course, the question then becomes what fresh goals to set for this month, or if there’s really room for more with the continued unpacking and the work still waiting on the portfolio and book supplement. After a half-second’s reflection, I think I’m going to stick with what I’ve got this month, and maybe try to blog a bit more.

Speaking of blogging, I’d set a schedule for myself that just isn’t working with the current time constraints and feelings of chaos at home. So I’m saying screw the schedule and I’ll post what I’ve got when I’ve got it. So expect a lot of house stuff, because that’s pretty much my life at this point, or ramblings of one sort or another. And then, once life finds it’s new stride, I’ll revisit the whole schedule idea.

We good?


Got any goals of your own for September?