New Year, Old Contract

Last month I was inspired by a post by Sharon Boggon discussing dreams and goals.  It reminded me of a time when I was incredibly organized having been trained to train others in time management and organization.  I have been feeling pretty useless and quite the underachiever since my injury in September.  Sharon’s post inspired me to pick up my old skills and think about what it is I really want to be achieving.  Sometimes when you do that, you find you are not quite so far from your goals as you think.

And for any creative person who feels they are spending too much time in mundane activities and not enough in the creative outlets that feed one’s soul, the activity suggested by Sharon and described here are good tools.

Dreaming Big

Girl Dreaming

It resulted in the resurrection of a Contract With Me.  What is this?  It begins with identifying dreams that I have in several aspects of my life.  For example:

Physical Health:  I will reach a weight I can live with for the rest of my life.
Emotional Health:  I will be “happy.”
Finances:  I will live within my means without a sense of deprivation while honoring my obligations to others.
Spirituality:  Ultimately —become enlightened.
Creativity:  I want to be a virtuosi in needlework, especially blackwork.  I want to publish a book that sells well to my audience.  I would love to have my creativity support me and Jeff.
Social:  I hope I can always have at least one very close friend with whom I can shared my Dreams and hopes.  And, yes, woes, too.
Community:  I want to be well respected and looked to as an expert and reference in the stitching community.  I want to be able to give generously to the world, to the causes that promote  peaceful coexistence.
Occupational:  I want to support myself with my creativity and never have to work for someone else again.

Dreams are pretty vague, pie in the sky sort of statements.  It’s important to give yourself permission to dream and dream big!  

But to quote Thoreau,If you have built castles (i.e. dreams) in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations (i.e. goals) under them.”

cloud castle wallpaper

Free Wallpaper at this address

The next step is assessing your dreams.  How do they fit together?  Do some areas reflect the same dream?  Do themes run through the dreams, like money or health or art or connections to people or your Creator?  Make note of such factors.  They are important messages from your subconscious.  So, on to the step that comes before making goals or my…

Overview:   Most of my dreams dovetail from one or several of the others in the list.  Prioritization and flexibility will be key.  Hence review periods of 4 to 6 months should be set to see if it is time to introduce new goals, while maintaining previous progress.

  1. My ability to manage my money is integral to a positive relationship with Jeff and with creditors, so Financial goals are a priority.
  2. My ability to do anything at all depends on my physical health.  My RNY post-op behavior affects my physical and mental health.  This is a high priority to set a right.
  3. Creativity is not just an outcome, it is like a tool for me.  It is a “medicine” for my mental health.  It is a catalyst to spiritual growth.  My community is founded in creativity and this ties me to them, makes a place for me.  It is the zeitgeist in which I want to live.  It is how I wish to make my “living.”  Because of how integral this aspect of my life is to my being, I cannot just “be creative.”  I must exercise and strengthen the creativity muscle.  I must have a “workout” plan for my creative muscles.  I must first identify what those muscles(skills) are and develop the appropriate workout schedule.  Something that has always been useful in the pas that must not be forgotten is the Dreaded/Craved Weekly Artist’s Date with myself.
  4. I tend to be an all or nothing sort of person, no halfway measures here.  This is nowhere more clear than in my community/social connections.  I have many blogs to read.  Three e-mail accounts that are quite active.  A number of virtual groups I belong to.  I tell myself that each is a tool for growing my potential business and connecting my potential audience.  This is true.  But, how much is enough?  Which connections are critical?  Which ones contribute to my overall growth?  Which ones are really creating connections?  I need to figure out how to evaluate these questions and more.  Then assess the situation and simplify to give myself more time for the critical activities that will truly lead to my overall well-being and making dreams a reality.

Summary & Recommendations:

  1. Develop and implement a plan to improve eating behavior.
  2. Outline a daily routine that will meet all goal implementation needs.
  3. Research ledger types and pick one that will make it easiest for me to monitor financial transactions.
  4. Look at financial transactions and define which are needs and which are wants.  Decrease spending on wants and give that money to reserve fund.
  5. Develop and implement a plan to meet needs to exercise all my creative muscles and develop those less often used.
  6. Data collection and research to create these goals should be completed by January 1, 2013, with goals to be written and implemented by January 15, 2013.
  7. Review periods should be set at one month (2/15), four months (5/15), six months (7/15), and nine months (10/15).  Annual review to begin 10/15 with recommended plan for following year by 10/31.

What do  you think?  Is this something that could work for you?  Would you like to see what the next steps look like?  Would you like help doing this for yourself?  Let me know and I’ll do what I can, including coaching you to creating your own Contract with Yourself.

NOTICE

Will everyone who complimented me on the Autumn sampler stitching Please Take Note:

I did not stitch this!  Now go to Janet Granger’s blog and compliment her.  I REBLOGGED her post because of the method she uses to keep track of the time she spends on projects.  I made a PDF of her method and filed it here under References so you can use it, too.

Now, I’m going to go finish my own posts.

Remember in a previous post I mentioned how interesting and worthwhile it is to track your time on projects. Janet Granger has come up with a brilliant method. I have followed her lead and created a PDF of her grid format. You’ll find it in the Reference section here.

And look at her Celtic Autumn piece.   35 shades of autumn in the lettering!!! Incredible!

Janet Granger's Blog

This past weekend, I made a start on the Lavender and Lace Celtic Autumn design, in the alternative colours. I stitched all the hours I had available, and, including a couple of weekday evenings, I’ve managed 10 hours of stitching so far, and it now looks like this:

I’m stitching it on Zweigart ‘Platinum’ 28 count linen evenweave from Sew and So, with DMC stranded cotton (two strands). There are 35 shades in this design altogether, so the shading is really subtle in places, plus gold thread (I’m using Petite Treasure Braid PB03), plus five shades of Mill Hill seed beads. It’s very tempting to add some beads now, ‘just to see how they’ll look’, but I mustn’t get tempted too much, as I’m stitching this with the fabric on a rectangular rotating frame, and adding beads now will mean that I can’t roll the fabric up properly later. When…

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Orts

A couple little bits (hence title!)

  1. To help you know if there’s anything new on support pages, check the bottom as I always note the update date!
  2. I have just updated Photography Tips in the References Section.  Don’t know where I came across him, but Timothy Adam of Handmadeology is a successful craftsman selling his art on Etsy.  He has created this blog to help others be successful on Etsy, too.  I just like his tips for success in general and for photography in particular.  He has done some research and posted a “big list” of photography tips that you bloggers out there might appreciate.  Check him out and subscribe if you like what you see.  I do!
  3. My thread storage system is going to get tweaked.  I can’t close the photo album, so I’m going to either create my own book using rings and foam board for covers or I’m going to the old fashioned ledger with expandable pins so I can grow my “thread book” as needed.  I upload some pics when I get it moving along.

Stitchers’ UFO Challenge Update

I know it’s been more than a month.  Like every other stitcher out there, been busy.  It’s like you have a choice.  Blog or stitch.  I’ve been stitching.  Well, not true, I’ve also been updating two of my other blogs as well as this one.  (Relatively Ryan and Site Sniffing)  Sadly, my favorite blog is the one that gets the least attention.  That may be about to change though.  Thanks to the Stitchers’ UFO Challenge.

Followers know that I have been very busy with Take A Stitch Tuesday, the Pin Tangle sponsored weekly challenge.  In spite of this, I have been very actively working on two UFOs and a Pilot Project that I’m completing for the American Needlepoint Guild.  Although I’ve done all that I really need to for the Pilot evaluation, I’m enjoying the piece so much that I want to complete it.  I don’t need another UFO to add to the stash!  I’m writing the designer to see if I can post pics of the piece because it is such an incredible design, I think people would be excited to see it.

I am close to completion on my Blackwork Chess Board!  When it is complete I will get back to my Mystery Blackwork Sampler designing.  At this point all I have to do is  launder the piece and fringe it.  Jeff plans to actually use the chess board, so I’ve personalized it to his specifications.  He’s as excited to see it nearing completion as I am!

The other piece that I’ve almost completed is a Shepherd’s Bush Christmas Stocking.  I was going to make it for my new grand-niece, but decided to make it for her mother instead.  Of course I had to purchase another stocking pattern for my grand-niece!  The stocking front is complete except for adding hair.  I will do that when I add the other embellishments.  Before I add the embellishments, I want to stitch the front and back together, so it lays flat as I push it through the sewing machine.  As soon as it stops raining here I can do that as I use the picnic table for my sewing machine wherever we are camping.  Not a lot of room in this travel trailer!

Do you like the gallery type of photo display or the slide show in a previous post?

So, by next month I will be able to cross these off the list and mark another UFO as picked up again!  Look at the list.  Is there something you’d like to see in its completed form?  Tell me, help me make up my mind what to pick up next!

New Page on The Shop Sampler

I have created a new page.  You’ll find the tab for it on the top bar next to the other pages that are kind of integral to this blog.  I hope you’ll check it out now and then as, like the Sampler Sayings, it will be updated periodically.  Here is the text as I have posted it today:

Noteworthy Stitching Blogs

As I have been taking classes and participating in stitching challenges, I’ve come across some incredible stitchers and beautiful work along the journey.  Too many to include in a blogroll which according to the blog tipsters I read should be kept on the shorter side so your own work can shine.  So, I decided I’ve give these special people their own page on my site with a link to the latest work that they have done that is my favorite for the moment.

So, here are the “winners” (as they say on Dancing With the Stars) in no particular order.  Please, check out the work.  I know you won’t be sorry!

Check this page now and then as I’ll update it regularly.

◊◊◊

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Image

Tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day and I have little to say or show for myself over the past couple weeks.

I have not been stitching much, or doing anything much in the past two weeks as I’ve been sick.  When a person who has had Bariatric or stomach by-pass surgery has gut pain and vomiting, it’s taken seriously.  So I even spent a day in the ER in a strange new to me hospital in Foley, Alabama undergoing CT scan and other tests and evals to make sure there is no problem related to the Roux En Y surgery I had two years ago this month.  Thankfully (maybe) they could find nothing amiss and sent me on my not so merry way with an Rx for more morphine than I took when I was a fresh post-op!  But that’s what it took to keep the pain at bay.  After two days in bed, I started to feel like a human being again while still not knowing what was wrong.

So, now it’s St. Paddy’s Day.  We will not be eating the traditional (gassy) meal of corned beef and cabbage.  But I thought I’d share three of my favorite St. Pat’s recipes with you.

Irish Potato Pancakes

Boxty on the griddle, Boxty in the pan, If you can’t
make Boxty, You’ll never get a man.

First up, Boxty.  Boxty is a terrific way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.  We make extra just so I can make this recipe.  I make more Boxty than we will eat and wrap up the leftovers in meal sized packets and freeze them until we need a fix.  You reheat them the same as you would frozen tater tots or frozen french fries.  But they are soooo much better!

My Favorite Soda Bread Recipe

My Favorite Soda Bread Recipe

Next, Irish Soda Bread.  I found my favorite recipe in a Gourmet magazine years ago.  The article author traveled around Ireland and reported on the Soda Bread found at various B & B’s.  While several recipes were given, the basic one, plain and simple, was my favorite.  And, I get raves whenever I make it for other people.  You will, too!

Irish Potato Candy

Irish Potato Candy---neither Irish nor Potato, but very delish!

Finally, Irish Potato Candy.  This recipe is neither Irish, nor is there a potato in it.  But it’s fun!  Last year was the first time I made it.  I added macadamia nuts to the recipe, poking them into the little “potato” candies so the nuts looked like eyes in the potato.  Then I got some Easter Basket grass and buried the potatoes in the grass and mounded some on top, too.  Whimsical, effective, deadly sweet confection for spring!

Enjoy!  Tell me which recipe you try, and how you liked it!  If you make changes to make the recipes better, I must know this, too!

Pinterest: Shining Some Light on Possibly Shady Practice

I was planning on doing another post regarding Pinterest given what I have found out in the past few days.  But this comment from Kim Salazar of String Or Nothing has moved me to action.  She says:  “I have a love hate relationship with aggregators of all types, including Pinterest. I am not happy when pattern scraping Pinterest collectors repost the graphs I offer up on my site, for exactly the reasons you mention. It’s just a visual rehash of the same parasitic problem that About.com posed – reuse of the target’s intellectual property without recompense or permission. Thanks for surfacing the problem again.”

When I have pinned things on my Boards I have given serious thought to creative property rights.  But Time Thief (my favorite Blogging Tipster) pointed out in a recent post that there is another issue with Pinterest.  Have you ever wondered how such sites make money?  It has been the topic of discussion for savvy bloggers.  The shady practices of Pinterest have even got the New York Times talking.

I am removing my Pinterest links from my blogs.  And as soon as I book mark the sites on my Boards, I’ll be terminating my relationship with Pinterest.  I don’t do business with companies lacking in integrity.