Friday, November 25, 2011


Thanksgiving is over, but I think it's good to think about all that I have to be thankful for no matter the date.  Here's a by-no-means-all-inclusive list, in no particular order, of some of those things for which I am most thankful:

My beautiful, wonderful little boy:  I am thankful he is healthy and happy and that I get to spend most of my time with him.  I am consciously thankful for him every day.

Health, my own and that of my loved ones.  So important.

Pandora internet radio.  Love it. 

Quick shipping when I order supplies online.  And good customer service, especially when I email places like Paper Source with questions!  They actually email me back, and quickly.

Thankful and very happy about another awesome Market Day Black Friday sale today.  Love meeting new customers and talking about what I love to do with people who are interested.  And loved seeing so many folks shopping local, as well as folks in town for the holiday weekend who had never been to Market Day before discovering and appreciating it. 

Being surprised today with a visit from my friend Katie, who came to visit me at Market Day.  Totally wasn't expecting to see her, which made it even better.  Thanks, Katie!

Not-freezing, not-snowing weather in late November in Iowa.

Really good books (recommendations always welcome); I just finished Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, which I loved.  Sometimes I wish I didn't read so fast, because it's so much fun to be engrossed in a good book.  I'm also loving Fannie Flagg novels these days as well, and recently re-read my three favorite Jane Austen titles: Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and Emma.  

And....there's so much more, but for now, I'll stop here.  Every day I make an effort to think about something in my life that I'm thankful for and I find this helps me remind myself how good I've got it. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

A bit of word art to inspire

This has been my favorite project/new product the last two months.  Yes, it's the same John Lennon quote I quoted in my last post.  I think about this every day.  Career update:  I'm happy! 

This project is simple, if a bit time-consuming.  The good part is it is easily broken down into steps.  If you decide to make one yourself, be forewarned: stamping such a long quote will leave your fingers stiff and black with ink. 

I use a 16 x 20 size canvas.  Have fun with some acrylic paint and make a background.  I like to make some different layers/patterns with bubble wrap and whatever else I happen to have lying around.  You'd be surprised what you can find in your junk drawer that could come in very handy in your art projects!  While your paint is drying, you can work on stamping your quote.  I used these stamps:
I picked these up a while back at Half-Price Books for five bucks and I love them, absolutely love them.  I love vintage typewriter font.  Because yes, I'm old school, and remember using a typewriter. 
So you stamp, and stamp, and stamp some more until your hand almost hurts, and then you're finished.  Then comes the fun part, which is cutting up your words and arranging them on the canvas.  Then it's time to glue:
Lots of options for glue.  I happen to love Claudine Hellmuth Studio matte medium.  But I can also use matte Mod Podge if I have to.  But I don't love it.  But it works just fine.  Sorry, Mod Podge.  Just a personal preference.  I pretty much use Studio matte medium for all my collaging and recommend it highly.  And no, I'm not paid to do that (unfortunately!). 

After your glue has dried, the final step, which might not be absolutely necessary, but is something I like to do, is adding a coat of glazing medium.  It will protect your piece, and yes, make it shiny.  You could use another layer of matte medium or a spray matte finish if you don't like shiny. 

I like word art because I like having visual reminders of what's important to me. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

If it makes you happy: Deep Thoughts on Self-Esteem

I enjoyed seeing my father a few days ago; he was here in Des Moines a visit from his home in beautiful, warm Arizona.  We talked about a variety of things, but one in particular has had me thinking a lot about it ever since.  We were discussing my "employment status" which appears to be  a disappointment to both of my parents--which is ironic, because my mother and my father are very different people. We were discussing the reasons for wanting a "real job": you know the kind, the one where you show up for eight hours a day, five days a week, demonstrate the behaviors appropriate for the culture of the workplace, and in return, you receive a steady paycheck.  My dad said that a "job" or "career" such as this is a source of self-esteem. 

I disagree. 

My self-esteem is not dependent on proving my abilities to a handful of people in positions of authority.  I have had quite a few jobs in the last twenty years; some of them I've enjoyed, and some of them I have fervently detested.  In the majority of jobs I've had, I've found that the skills and abilities that are most valued are regular attendance and the ability to never disagree with those in upper management, or just plain keeping one's mouth shut.  Now, I'm pretty good at showing up for work.  No problem there.  But the other skill, keeping my mouth shut and not saying what I think or feel, is definitely not something I'm good at.  Being able to voice my opinion is important to me.  What's more, I enjoy it.  And sometimes, disagreeing with the higher-ups makes them uncomfortable.  And people don't like to feel uncomfortable. 

Earning the approval, respect, and esteem of others is great.  But compromising my own value system and my own personality in order to do that isn't so great for me.  The good opinion of others isn't the most important thing in the world to me.  There are a handful of people in the world whose good opinion matters to me.  But as we all know, you can't please all the people all the time, so you might as well please yourself. 

Since losing my "real job" this spring, I've had time to focus on what is most important to me--my son and my craft business--and as a result of doing what I love, my self-esteem has soared through the roof.  I feel good about myself when I spend time with my son, doing activities that improve his quality of life, whether that's reading a book together or going for a hike or playing outside.  I've been able to spend time making new products that people pay money for, which is, of course, very gratifying!  I've had opportunities offered to me that demonstrate that I am earning the respect of other people in the world simply by doing what I love most, to the best of my ability. 

That makes me happy and I think that happiness means one is successful, no matter what you do for a living.  John Lennon said it better than I can:  "When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down "happy."  They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life."