Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Another One of My Brains
or my morning sanity keeper...
I ran across this picture of a picket fence basket organizer I made 10 years ago. I bought the 'basket' and then glued on fabric flowers with Aleene's® Original Tacky Glue® tied a raffia bow and I was ready to keep everything that I needed together.

Today, I have this 'bucket' set-up on a ledge as I walk in the door and I automatically put the necessary things I need right there. In the cute little bucket I put my keys, my glasses find their home in one of the loops of the bucket (usually sunglasses) and I have my cell phone charger cord through the other loop, so not only is it charging, I know where it is. It helps my sanity in the mornings. Grab and go! Oh, I received this giant paperclip as a gift - it keeps my bills right there ready for me to pay.

Make it a creative day!

Monday, January 28, 2008

This Weekend I Did Whatever I Wanted to Do

and it was FABULOUS!!! After weeks and weeks of overtime and being sick and trying to play catch up, I had absolutely nothing planned and let the weekend unfold as it would.

The box of chocolates was gone Friday night, I half watched a movie, went to bed early and woke up at 3 a.m. and finished the movie.

The storms cleared on Saturday and I got in a wonderful walk - fresh air and being outside was awesome! Late in the afternoon I returned my videos and before me were the majestic snow capped mountains - the sun was shining on them and WOW! They pulled me in and I went for a drive - it was so beautiful! The hills are starting to turn green and I was so disappointed to have to end my adventure all too early because it was getting dark.

The storms came back with a vengeance on Sunday and I opened my bedroom window to see and hear the rain, turned up the electric blanket and read for hours. Then the afternoon came and it was time for my voice lessons!!! I did not have the butterflies in my stomach I'd expected and when I was done, it made me question why I'm afraid of anything - but, I'll have to address that when I have to do a solo at an upcoming recital - yikes! Next week I get to sing two songs we selected - one is the song we sang at my sister's installation - You'll Never Walk Alone. The experience was fun and freeing - my teacher is over-the-top enthusiastic and we'll see where next week takes me.

Today brings more rain and tonight I'm finishing up the book I started this weekend - I was going to try and sneak in a few pages at break and lunch, but I decided to savor it tonight.

As my friend Pattie says "have fun with it!"


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tomorrow's the day...

Well, I've been putting off returning the phone call to start voice lessons - I kept saying to myself, I was working so much overtime, I just didn't have the time to call. I saw the phone number on my to do and I just picked up the phone this morning. Tomorrow at 2:30 - YIKES!!!

What I wasn't prepared for was my very emotional and tearful response when the teacher asked me what I wanted to accomplish.

As a young girl, I loved to sing in elementary school - my teacher, Mrs. Wilson, was strict, but I knew she loved each and everyone of us and only wanted us to be the best that we could be. We sang probably a couple times a week and had concerts throughout the year. I remember standing on risers in Kindergarten singing Frosty the Snowman - it made such an impact on me, my parents bought the 45 record. I have visited Mrs. Wilson a couple of times since I moved 'back home'. This occasion deserves a note thanking her for making singing so enjoyable.

On to Job's Daughters - we sang a lot in the organization as part of our meetings (we even sang a song during 'refreshments' when someone noticed another girl with her elbows on the table and she'd have to run around the tables until we finished the song - you only put your elbows on the table once in that organization!). For my sister's installation when she became Honored Queen (kind of like a president of an organization), I was asked along with 3 other girls to sing a special song for her. I remember becoming very quiet and not projecting.

So, now, it's time to find my voice again. What I hope to accomplish - I do not know, but at least I am trying.

My wish for you - to step outside of your creative box - if you think you can't knit - try, loosen up a bit and take your project just a little beyond what the designer did - take a little risk and see where it opens you up to. I'm excited for you and me!

Thing is, I thought I'd be petrified, but I'm calm about all this. We'll see at 2:30 tomorrow!

Take a risk...see what happens! More tomorrow afternoon!


Friday, January 25, 2008

It's the Weekend !!!

The weekend is FINALLY here and my boss has told me not to take any work home!!!! That's all I needed to set a relaxing weekend in motion. It's supposed to be a very rainy, cold weekend, so, at lunch, I rented a couple movies, bought a 'girlie' book and a box of chocolate and I have firewood from a couple weeks ago when we were supposed to have power outages. Perfect!

In three hours, I'm out the door to veg for the weekend. Have an awesome weekend and I encourage you to find time for yourself.

Make it a great one!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wire Organizer

Here’s a nifty place to keep a little inspiration message or a reminder to do that ‘thing’ you just have to do!!!

What you need
Aleene’s® Original Tacky Glue Sticks™
10 gauge Artistic Wire (your choice of color for holder)
24 gauge Artistic Wire (your choice of color for twisties)
Artistic Wire Wire Worker
Craft foam, scrap
Beads, assorted
Rubber stamp, inspirational saying
Stamp pad
Decorative papers, one or two different
Scissors, deckle edge
Permanent marker
Wire cutters, flat nose pliers

How to make it
1. For tall holder, cut a 30” length from 10 gauge wire, using wire cutters. Cut a 24” length for smaller holder.
2. To curl base, grasp one end of wire, using flat nose pliers. Protect wire from scratches by placing craft foam over wire where it comes in contact with pliers. Twist, moving along wire until a sturdy coil base is completed. This will be 2-3 turns, depending on size of loops. Set aside.
3. Assemble Wire Worker, using flat bar, following manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Cut a 36” length from 24 gauge wire. Insert one end of wire through hole from top of Wire Worker. Secure by twisting around base of tool.
5. Wrap wire around bar, holding in place with your fingers. Turn handle with other hand, coiling wire around bar. Randomly thread beads on wire as you coil wire. Slip coil from bar. Trim excess wire at each end, leaving ½” above coil.
6. Place coil over holder. Refer to photo. Wrap coil ends around holder to secure. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until there is 6” of 10 gauge wire not covered.
7. Coil end of 10 gauge wire to make note holder section. Refer to photo.
8. Stamp image on paper. Let dry. Cut around edges, using deckle edge scissors. Embellish edges, using pen. Let dry. Glue on a second piece of paper, using Stick Glue. Cut out, allowing a large enough margin so that coil does not cover any of the stamped image.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Craft Trade Show Hub Bub...

Here's the view from my desk and the poor extra large printer across from me has hardly cooled off in days. We're getting ready for CHA (Craft & Hobby Association) trade show. Our booth is huge, so we're printing and then constructing a huge amount of signs. Once the signs are printed, we adhere them to foam core and then they are placed in the booth.

Our theme this year is, Your World Is Our World so a huge sign with that saying hangs under our even larger Duncan sign. Below that are product line signs (really big too!) and then what we're calling sub-header signs for each category and within those categories are other signs! Whooooooosh! I was out in our booth assembly area and it looks absolutely awesome! Everything is coming together. Beyond the booth we're working on a new catalog, media kit, new products and many, many other projects.

The show is February 10-13 in Anaheim. If you're going to be there, check out booth 4001 - there are lots of surprises - book signings, oodles of new products, make it and take its - too, too, too many things to mention !!! And we have a special part of the website set up that shows what's going to happen.

CHA is a trade show for buyers from around the world to come and see what's new and buy, buy, buy so it's on the shelves for you! It's very exciting and very fun! I will be 'walking the show' for a couple of days and reporting back to you what I see...

One of the make it and take it's is with our new baby line (it's the tie-dyed camo onesies - but I can't tell any more!) There are also a ton of mouse shaped glitter laden T-shirts drying around the plant. As you can see, a lot goes into the trade show, it's challenging, it's hectic, but it's so rewarding to stand back at the show and see all the hard work look so fantastic! My friend, Lindy, is coordinating the show - she's doing a fantastic job - and we're still making time to get in our 30 minute workout at lunch! You go Lindy!!!

I was going to say that all this activity leaves me little time to craft, but looking back over yesterday, I can't say that. I did a glue test. A friend came over last night and was wondering what the heck I was doing. I'm testing two glues, so I had paper, fabric, metal, glass, cardboard, etc. all over my table and then all kinds of things glued to them - bottle caps, pom poms - it looks like some kind of scientific experiment gone bad. My friend and I crafted for a couple of hours - it was nice to experiment, have fun and not have an agenda.

My parents are spending the night tonight, so I'd better get to some OT I need to get out of the way - thank goodness for Precious Thyme - I'm thawing some Cranberry Chicken Breasts and we'll have Spinach and Feta Quiche from there also - warm up some frozen vegies and we'll have a relaxing meal.

Upward, onward and sometimes sideways - make it a great day and a fabulous week!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I'm Going Outside My Comfort Zone Big Time!!! YIKES!!!

When I was going through my journals in preparation for this new year, I ran across something I wrote when I was on vacation at Big Sur last year. It was there that I did a little (OK, big) brain dump and wrote things down as they came to me. One of the things on the list was voice lessons. I was shocked - I don't remember writing it because singing lessons have been coming to mind and I mentioned it to my mom and she said she's always wanted to take lessons.

Last week on my way to my doctor's office I was stopped at a stop light and noticed a sign for singing lessons - I go by this place at least every two weeks and this was the first time I had seen the sign. When I got to my doctor's office, I noticed a cute metal Christmas tree and walked over to get a closer look and on it was written The Voice Shop. I questioned my doctor about it and she said that's where she takes voice lessons. Come to find out, The Voice Shop is the place I drive by - kind of spooky, if ya ask me. I knew then it was a sign for me to call and today, I called and left a message. This will be a very huge step outside of my comfort zone. One NEVER knows what will unfold before them - maybe even a voice shop.

It's been a week of mega overtime getting ready for our big trade show next month - I'm working on booth signs, the media kit, a huge catalog, ads and 10 kits for a new product launch we're doing at the trade show. I'm also busy with a brochure for some new glazes being added to our ceramic line, working on 30+ projects for the February web ( and doing a test for a potential new glue, so, overtime it is for a while.

I'm headed to my parents tomorrow for my dad's 81st birthday - hard to think it was a year ago that Marilyn Monroe graced his party.

As for my PC (Pulse Check) this week - I didn't get much accomplished, but with OT most every night, things have to go by the wayside. I did have dinner with The Crafty Chica (hey, Kathy!) and two other friends - it was a nice diversion.

Lindy and I continue to do our 30 minute workouts at lunch - thanks for the inspiration, Lindy! We keep all the fixing for an awesome salad at work, so we just have to assemble and we're back to work.

Oh, I almost forgot...take some time for yourself today, even if it's 10 minutes to add a little something to the project you're working on. As for me, I indulged in a 1-1/2 hour massage - this girl can make me feel like rubber!!!

Back to work - make today an outstanding day!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Year Pulse Check

I remember my first few months working at Duncan and the incredible things we did as a company that blew me away. One was a Pulse Check - when we were in the middle of a BIG project, we'd all get together and have a Pulse Check to see where each of us were in the process. Well, it's a process that I have brought into my personal life and it's actually quite gratify. More on that in a sec.

The new year is shaping up fabulously for me!!! My friend and I workout at lunch for 30 minutes in our company's fitness center, then fix a quick salad (I bought all the fixings at COSTCO and we figure we're spending probably less than $2.00 on a salad we'd pay eight or more bucks for at a restaurant). So, I'm exercising, eating right and generally getting my life in order and a lot of it goes back to getting my 2008 Notebook together - I call it My Brain. My bosses, boss hit the nail on the head when she called it a place to 'dump my brain'. I have mentioned to friends on numerous times that I just 'want to get out of my brain'. And, this has really helped. I've dumped it, yet I know it's there when I need to refer back to it.

Back to the Pulse Check. Now, with My Brain, I do a quick PC every day to see what needs done AND what I did last Sunday evening, was do a Big PC where I looked at my long and short term goals to see what I could do this week to move toward those. I wrote little notes to myself (kind of like a teacher making comments on a kids' paper). I got lots done last week and am very proud of myself. I am reminded of one of my accomplishments as I smell a broccoli bacon cheddar stuffed chicken breast in my oven - yes, it is before 6:30 in the morning, but I'm trying this new thing for me - a company prepares meals and brings them to you - you just pop them in the oven when you're ready. I was anticipating having a scrumptious dinner last night, but they were frozen, so breakfast it is! Back to my last week - I opened up my Holiday Saving Account, made phone calls to get a ROTH IRA set up and on and was a wonderful feeling!

My earring organizer is working beautifully - it is so nice to have all my earrings in one place, by color...and I've been a good girl about putting them back each night.

Well, my broccoli bacon cheddar stuffed chicken breast is calling me name. More about how this great year is shaping up later...

Make it a fantastic day!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Jewelry/Earring Organizer
Get Organized in the New Year with Crafts
The weather forecasters said 'button down the hatches, the biggest storm in over 20 years is going to hit the area'. So, I bought some firewood, lots of candles and food that didn't need heated and hunkered down for the weekend.

So, what's a girl to do when she's stuck inside for the entire weekend? CRAFT!!! GET ORGANIZED!!! HAVE FUN!!!

I got out my jewelry organizer project that I'd started last month (see most of my jewelry on the table - yikes!) and I finished it! It didn't turn out quite how I'd expected and it grew to other things, but in crafting there are no mistakes.

I covered a Styrofoam wreath with fabric, gluing the fabric to the back of the wreath with Aleene's® Foamtastic. Since I had to ease the fabric around the inside of the wreath, I glued on silk leaves to hide the cuts. If I was doing this project again, I'd use ribbon or something softer because I couldn't put earrings through the silk leaves.

Then, it was time to organize all my jewelry. Once I started placing the earrings I knew I wouldn't have room for anything else. The earrings poke effortlessly into the Styrofoam, so I'll see longterm how this works out. Oh, I did have room on the sides of the wreath for some of my pin collection.

My sister gave me tons of butterfly pins from her mother-in-laws estate and I chose to place them on a watercolor butterfly quilt I'd made ages ago. See how this is growing...

Bracelets - I have a few bracelets and decided to put them around a small decorative bottle I had in my kitchen - the bottle is filled with apples, so it makes for an interesting display.

On to my necklaces - I'm not happy about this quite yet. I got a wonky wrought iron tree from Coldwater Creek at an after Christmas sale. You can't tell from the photo, but it's really cute. Not being satisfied with the way my necklaces are organized, when I woke up this morning I eyed a towel holder that sits in my bathroom area - we'll see.

Today is filled with some overtime that needs done but I'm determined to be done by noon, so I can light that fire and work on a book idea I have.

Make it a great day!


Tuesday, January 01, 2008


It was a most wonderful first day of 2008! It was nice to have a day off work and do a little of this and a little of that - the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. I have to admit that I ushered in the new year ASLEEP! I had had some plans but they got cancelled at the last minute and I think it was meant to be. I was in bed by 8 - oh, my!

Since I went to sleep so early, I was up before dawn and decided to take some advice of a dear friend. My friend has been in my life for 3+ years. I met her when I dabbled in real estate after the Aleene's magazine was cancelled. She is very relaxed, very intelligent, very intuitive and someone who is always there when you need her to be. She is one of the top real estate agents on the Central Coast of California - from Paso Robles to Santa Barbara. We only email or chat a couple times a year but I also know that if I picked up the phone right now she would be there for me. I am always in awe of her wisdom and her knowledge about women, relationships, and what someone 'should do' in any situation. Never pushy, just always right on.

She shared a quote from Morgan Freeman's character in a movie. He said, "Before Buddhists get into Heaven they are asked two questions. One, did you have joy in your life? And two, did you bring joy to others?" This made such an impact on Pam that her new year's resolution intention is to 'bring joy to others, which will make me joyful'. That's my friend.

My friend's intent is to make 2008 the best year, personally and professionally. She challenged me to do the same. What a challenge, but I'm up for it - how about you?

She was there for me at the beginning of a very traumatic and life changing experience that started 3+ years ago. She knows the things I've been through, the challenges I have faced and the challenges I am now facing.

Once again, she challenged me and that is how I spent the first few hours of 2008. I share her thoughts with you in that you may take a few moments and think about these very things that I did this morning.

Write down your goals, the activities you want to do, how you want your home to be, what you want for a career, how you want your finances - picture it all, write it down, cut out photos and put them where you can look at them every day (she didn't know I was already working on this). Then, write a story in the present tense about all you've thought about and read it every day and 'then start building your bridge, watch, it will come true...I tell you 2008 it's gonna be a great year...Happy New Year to us all!'

I wrote and wrote and wrote some more. My hand cramped, but I kept writing and suddenly I was done. I put my 'story' in my new 2008 notebook where I will have it at hand to read every day. Reading through it after I was done, I just sat and smiled - I finally had a feeling of some kind of direction in my life.

I do want to be organized and more in control of my life. So, several days ago, I started a 2008 notebook. Here's what is inside.

Inside Pocket - holds my 2008 calendar where I keep all my appointments. Below the pocket I put in a definition of success - the achievement of one's goals; series of accomplishments. It also holds my daily to do list that's divided in three and 1/2 columns - COMPUTER, TO DO, CALLS AND OUT (calls and out share a column). COMPUTER is where I list all the things I want to do on the computer - mainly search things on the internet or print out a document...I put the OUT section at the bottom of the page so I can tear or cut it off and take it shopping with me...yes, I've thought about this for a long, long time!

Hole Punch - the next item is a hole punch at the ready to add those important papers as I get them

Plastic Pocket - a plastic pocket holds coupons and items I need to act on this week

To Do Tab - I got colored plastic tabs with pockets in the front (nice to keep things I need immediately). Inside the pocket I put my New Year's Resolution (my little secret)

Short Term Tab - here's where I keep a list of my goals for the next 3 months - everything from starting a holiday saving account (I'm going to use it to transfer money for gifts, car insurance, stuff that surprises me when it comes due). Also, I finished the first chapter of the Suze Orman's book Women & Money and I copied the checklist from the book and put it in there - it's a 5 months process, so I'll change it out every month

Long Term Tab - Things I want to accomplish this year (I'm sure this section will change as the year evolves!)

Account Balances Tab- I have an account balance sheet for my checking and savings accounts, a sheet for my expenses, and since I'm trying to control where my money goes, I put in a sheet for Money Saved - so far today I've saved $30 - I did my own pedicure! I also have an Income sheet - I want to keep track of how much money comes in. Since vacations are a priority for me, I have a Vacation sheet and I'm going to send money every month to an account I have out of town so I'm not tempted to use the money for other things.

Ideas Tab - It's hard to keep track of all those ideas that float around in my head, so I have a sheet for Ideas. I also thought about what it would mean to me to have these ideas move forward and to accomplish them and that is freedom, so I wrote FREEDOM at the bottom of the page.

Ponder Tab - I read somewhere recently about all the reasons people use to not do something. This particular case it was why single women over 50 don't travel alone, so they posed a question 'If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, where would I regret not traveling?' So I wrote that question on my Ponder page and wrote down my answers. I've added several blank pages to this tabbed section to write down things as they come to me.

Well, that's it for my tabs and I see there's one blank tab left. If I know me, I'll be putting something in there real soon.

As my friend said 'Happy New Year to us all!' Yes, Happy New Year to us all!


P.S. A couple other things I worked on today - my Wish Board - I glued on a house that intrigued me and a wrought iron bed I absolutely love!

Oh, I found this heart with a saying in it from a scrapbook from my college days over 30 years ago (gulp!) As I mentioned before, I'm trying to get my immune system back up to par and I want to remember to take my vitamins - I put 7 days worth of vitamins (those lovely little packets from COSTCO) in a pretty glass and then put the saying in with it. I truly wish I could remember who gave me the saying, but I truly don't.
Again, happy new year! Make it your best year EVER!