Claiming what is yours – no excuses

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Continuing from last week’s post on thinking like a designer, I thought where and what can I shake up or build on. Or better yet build differently. One prototype I am working on is becoming a better writer. That actually took a lot to just add the word “better” in that sentence, but that is part of my design process.

At what point can we call ourselves a writer, painter, potter or anything which is a creative endeavour? Do we have to be published, sold a piece of art or have speaking engagements to be able to put say “I am a……..”.  I say no. We don’t have to be earning an income from something we enjoy to call ourselves anything! If you have journals of poems you have written you are a poet. Period. Full stop. I am a blogger and a writer (fiction). If it takes me years to get published, that doesn’t take away that I am a writer right now.

I say this year we start calling it as it is. I am…. We are….. No excuses or explanations.  Do not say when this or that happens I will be….. If you are doing it now in any capacity you are.  Our current design prototype is to shake ourselves up, take a big breath and call it as it is.  As designers or creatives (who choose the word) we are moving forward and the first step is claiming what is ours. I am a blogger and writer.  Failure is a learning experience and all part of the bigger picture of getting more out of life.  We can so do this!

You can always start now!


Book Club – Designing Your Life !

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

If you have been following me you know I like a good self-help book.  I am somewhat of a “homework” junkie.  So when I came across this book the title alone grabbed me, as I feel I am on a journey to create a joyful life.

The authors show us how to build a well-lived life by thinking like a designer. Designers  build and move forward using prototypes.  They look at their “failures” as learning opportunities and what they can change and take forward.  A sample of a designers mind-set is:

  1. Curiosity – invites exploration.
  2. Try stuff – designers try things and test things out.  They create prototypes until they find out what works.  Designers embrace change and are not attached to a particular outcome because they are curious about what will happen next.
  3. Reframing – is how designers (us!) get unstuck. Reframing is a change in perspective, to step back and examine biases and move forward.
  4. Ask for help – radical collaboration.  Design is a collaborative process and we are not alone. The book will show us how to get mentors, advisors and a supportive community to help design the life we are building.

What I liked about the book is right off they authors said “you don’t have to know your passion to design a life you love.  Most people are passionate about many different things….”   I think we often get caught up in “finding our passion” and don’t move forward building the life we want as we are often waiting for that ball to drop.

A few other areas that are explored are brainstorming, creating a workview (why work? what for? money? what defines good or worthwhile work? and a lifeview (why are we here? purpose? where do family/country/world fit in? what is the role of joy/sorrow/justice/love in life? Also creating a supportive community.

You are given exercises so get the pen and paper out.  Their web site is:

I came away realizing I am on the right path. I just have to continue to build the life I want and embrace putting myself out there regardless of outcomes. As it is all good if I take away a learning experience and move forward.

You can always start now !


A different kind of challenge – pushing boundaries

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I wanted to try something different for 2017.  Last year Wanda, over at A Wandafulthing, and I did a monthly craft challenge.  It was fun putting my thinking cap on, checking out Pinterest and getting glue gun, paint and paper out.

This year I want to challenge myself in a few different ways, still on a monthly basis, so hope you join in.  The first Wednesday of the month I want to put my challenge out there and go for it. The challenges I’m thinking about range from crafts, to book club, to exploring new places and trying new things.  I would love to hear in the comments what you have tried, what you think and suggestions on how else can we push our boundaries.

For the first challenge I want to go with is podcasts.  I want to check out a few new podcasts this month.  If you have any favorites please let me know in the comments – I would love to check them out.  I’ve included two podcast series I have listened to and a few I am planning on checking out this month.

  1. Dear Sugar  “radically empathic advice” from Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond.   I have been listening to Dear Sugars for a few years and enjoy the variety and honesty of Cheryl and Steve.
  2. Oh No Ross and Carrie – I listened to Ross and Carrie infiltrate Scientology.  The tag line is “we show up so you don’t have to”.  Just be prepared for frank discussion and observations.
  3. Vibrant Happy Women – I haven’t listened to this podcast, but I am putting it on my list for the month.  The title alone appeals to me!!
  4. Bloggers are weird – another podcast I haven’t listened to but looks like a variety of individuals talking on various topics.

I am planning on listening to a few episodes of Vibrant Happy Women and Bloggers are weird in the next month.  I’ll report back the first Wednesday in February on the podcast challenge.  Along with giving us our next challenge.

I’m excited to start something new and hope you’ll come along for the ride.

You can always start now!


What caught my eye – favorites from the past month

30 NYE Resolutions Everyone Can Try This January start the year with an empty jar. Each week add a note with a good thing that happened. On New Years Eve empty the jar and read about the amazing year you had.: I saw this on a few sites and Facebook posts and thought it was a neat idea. Research says it takes 3-5 positives to wipe out one negative and I can believe it. So let’s start the year out right and make sure we remember our positives for this year.  Also it will be neat to re-read at the end of the year.

Winter Landscape Watercolour Painting

For anyone looking for a challenge check out The Wonderforest for a class in painting in watercolors a winter scene.

I thought this was too cool.  A the piece of art using a shower curtain over at House of Jade Interiors blog.

Easy Winter Wreath for Less Than $3 Using Thrift Store Finds:

The one decorating thing I like to do is switch my wreaths up on my front door.  Found this winter wreath over on Hometalk and thought it was different and easy to do.  I mean wrap a scarf around a straw wreath!

Whatever successful means to you, there are certain habits of successful women that help them to achieve their own success. Which habits do you have? Repin to share the success with others.

Let’s end my favorites for the month with the above list from Daily Femme.  We can so do this!

Hope you enjoyed what caught my eye the past month.  Would love to hear your favorites for the past month as always looking for something new!

Instagram Challenge 2017 – a year in the life of……

I watched a video that Helen inbetween did on Instagram and gaining a following.  Instagram is something I have just recently gotten into (I know I am so behind the eight ball), so found it very informative.

The part that resonated with me was creating a story.  Capturing your life through pictures and letting people see your world through your eyes.  I like the idea as it is not just random photos, but people, events, places I want to remember and share.   I also think when we take a picture we solidify that memory more – if that makes sense.  We take the time to focus the shot, look around for a better angle and wham we capture that time and place.

So starting in 2017 I am going to Instagram my year.  I am going to make sure my phone is charged and ready to capture memories and my story in 2017.  I would love for you to follow along and even start your own year in the life of…… Instagram challenge.

Let’s see if this challenge pushes us to do different things, so see things in a new light or explore different possibilities.  I am excited to see what I can capture and where this year takes me.  Phone charged? Attitude reved?  Let’s rock Instagram this year!  Maybe hashtag #2017startingnow.   Let me know in the comments if you think of a more original hashtag!

You can always start now !


Monthly craft challenge – cork

For the past year Wanda (A Wandafulthing) and I have been doing a monthly craft challenge.  I can’t believe this is the final month.  It has been fun and some months more challenging than others being the non-DIYer here.

I did my December craft the end of October as knew November and December were going to be busy with other commitments, so I guess I cheated a bit.  I used wine corks and painted them orange (remember I said October!) and white.  I am going to put them on gifts as a little something extra.  Also thinking you could put them on a bottle of wine for a hostess gift.

 Wanda over at A Wandafulthing did coasters.  She purchased the cork (theme!!) coasters and modge-podge pretty paper on them.  Check her out for further information and instructions!

We hope you enjoyed our year of craft challenges as much as we did.  Not sure what is up for 2017 so check back as you never know! Below are links to our other craft challenges this year.   Happy Holidays and thanks for stopping by.

November craft challenge – wreath

October craft challenge – recycle containers

September craft challenge – mason jar

August craft challenge – terracotta-pot

July craft challenge – fabric

June craft challenge – embroidery hoop

May craft challenge – picture frame

April craft challenge – kitchen utensil

March craft challenge – yarn

February craft challenge – puzzle pieces

January craft challenge – canvass

How to treat our creating as a priority

Last month I wrote more than I have written all year.  The reason was it was National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWri).  NaNoWri is a worldwide event to write a novel (50,000 words) in a month.  I quickly signed up and checked out my regional forums for write-ins and I was off.  I was committed to getting my 50,000 words by the end of the month.  I treat it serious and I am at my desk writing every other night and watching my word count slowly grow.  I enjoy the process, take in write-in and encourage and support my fellow NaNoWri peeps.

So why is it come December 1st I am back to not writing or putting it aside until I can find the time?  I mean I have a draft (be it awful but still an idea is in there somewhere) to work on and fine-tune.  So why am I not writing every other day or at least twice a week?  I know I am not the only one and I realise it is not just writers but anyone who enjoys creating.  For me it is being part of a community and having a deadline that spurs me on in November.  I see my regional word count increase and I want to get my ideas down.

How can I keep the momentum going the rest of the year?  Creating can be isolating and it is often the first thing that is dropped when other demands are put on us.  We can pick that up whenever, this needs to be done now or basically everyone else’s needs and wants are more of a priority than ours.  So, here are a few ideas I have jotted down for us to consider starting now!

  • We have to start treating our time as a priority to create.
  • Block off time like you would to take a class or to help a friend.
  • Find a friend or group to hold you accountable.
  • Check out your area to see if a painting, writing or other classes are offered.
  • Head to your local library and write or a coffee shop if you are distracted at home.
  • What about creating a group on-line to check in with and help hold each other accountable.
  • Consider your lunch hour as time to connect with your creative self.
  • Start taking note of when you are the most focused and creative – is there a trend?
  • What can we do as a community to support each other?

You can always start now!

What caught my eye – favorites from the past month

I find it hard to believe it has rolled into December.  Fall has flown by.  I have been checking Pinterest looking for Christmas crafts and as always in awe of all the creatives out there.

Here are a few things that caught my eye the past month.  I love the galvanized metal for decorating over at The Inspired Room.

small-christmas-tree-in-a-zinc-bucketUseful diy projects had amazing ideas using lace.  The dresser is just one of them.  Check them out. So pretty.


Analina rag dolls has a list of 25 DIY Christmas ideas.

Over at Refunk my junk there is a post on 75 ways to decorate those clear-glass ornaments.  I mean 75.  Surely we can all find a dozen or so to do!


Love the idea of making pretty body scrubs for gifts.  Check out the recipe over at A Wandafulthing.

And over at French by design they show us 9 alternatives ideas for Christmas trees. Here is a peek at one!


I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday Season for every holiday and/or special memory you want to create.

You can always start now!



Real Neat Blog Award

I want to thank you to Invisibly me (check her out!!) for nominating me for the Real Neat Blog Award.  You put me to work on answering some of the questions.


The Rules…

1. Post the Award logo and answer the questions asked by the person who nominated you.
2. Thank the person who nominated you in your post and link to their blog.
3. Nominate and link to some bloggers you’d like to see respond.
4. Create 7 questions for your nominees to answer & let them know they are nominated in a comment on their blog.

Okay here are my 7 questions to answer:

  1. What would your perfect day look like?  It would start with not setting the alarm the night before.  I would get up, make a pot of coffee and sit at my desk (which is my mother’s linoleum and chrome kitchen table) do emails and check out my favorite blogs.  Leisurely morning before getting ready to meet friends for a late lunch downtown.  I would get home earlier enough to crash and watch a Netflix show or two.  Currently on Netflix I am watching Shetlands.
  2. What is the first thing you do in the morning?   Jump in the shower as I work full-time.
  3. What has been your biggest challenge?   Not second guessing myself.
  4. When does the festive Christmas season start for you?  It usually starts when a good friend and I start our Christmas shopping usually last Saturday in November.  We have our lists and make a day of it.  Of course we stop for lunch.  For me the whole month of December is the Christmas/Holiday season so I put the tree up first weekend in December and enjoy!
  5. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever spotted lying around anywhere?  You would think this question would be easy.  I don’t own a vehicle so I walk or take public transit everywhere.  I have been thinking about this and nothing stands out – I don’t even find change lying around.  I would love to hear in the comments anything wild from anyone!
  6. What do you wish you had learned earlier?  To let go of past hurts and not let others define who I am.  I guess be comfortable in my own skin.
  7. What has been your highlight, positive or negative, of 2016 so far?  2016 has been a good year.  So highlight….I think going to Ireland this summer.  Did a few firsts like stayed in an AirBnB and hiked the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland.  It was a great trip – beautiful country and well worth seeing.  Loved Dublin and could see writing a few posts in a pub!

My 7 questions are:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What book(s) or courses are on your 2017 list to take?
  3. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?
  4. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
  5. How/why did you get into blogging?
  6. What is your favorite decorating accessory?
  7. What are your favorite Instagram accounts right now?

Nominations … I nominate the following for the Award :

The story files

Cookie Crumbs

A Wandafulthing

DIY Passion




Ideas for a less stressful holiday season

thinkoutsidetheboxLaptop or paper and pen, coffee (or something stronger) and time.  Okay, I’m thinking the time one might be hard to achieve with the busiest time of year soon upon us.  So I think we should strategy how to make this easier.

♥    Take your laptop and/or paper and pen and leave now or soon and head to a coffee shop alone. Treat yourself and just sit and take a few deep breaths.  Okay paper & pen out.  Start making your lists of people to buy for, groceries, events to attend or host.  Remember NOT to let your coffee get cold.  Sip, breath you are doing fine.

♥   If you work full or part-time outside the house start taking advantage of lunch hours.  You can do a duck in and grab, even if only for one item it is one less you have to worry about.  Or lock yourself in your office and do your online shopping – remember it your lunch break.

♥   Can you delegate?  Or share?  Do you have a friend who is heading in one direction and you in another?  Are there easy items you could pick up for each other? Say wine? Stocking stuffers? Chocolate?

♥   What about baking – yes baking.  It is not for everyone but if you hate it how about having a friend do some baking for you and you do some wrapping for her?

♥   A few years ago I decided to give my nieces and nephews pewter Christmas ornaments.  Is there a gift you could give yearly? Maybe a magazine subscription, ornaments, flowers, baked goods or good coffee?

♥   If you send cards put them on the coffee table and write out addresses while watching television.

♥   Maybe this is the year you decided to do a family gift exchange instead of individual gifts.

♥   Purchase pretty napkins and have on hand for quick and easy hostess gifts.

♥   Consider gift cards – now those you can pick up on your lunch time.

♥   If you have a Farmer’s Market or Craft Market grab a coffee to go and head there.  Buy local it is a win/win for you and your community.

♥   Breathe and realize people remember experiences and how you made them feel more than anything material you give them.

Happy Holidays

You can always start now ! 

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