January 7, 2012

Clean, Organize, and Declutter

Things have been very busy around the household.  When we moved to Miami, we moved from a bigger house to a smaller house with less storage.  We have been working for more than a year to try to reduce the amount of things we have so we fit into our house (because, really, there is no reason we shouldn't fit in the size house we own - it's not like we moved into an efficiency apartment).  We haven't gotten there yet, but we're working on it. 

Well, now that the baby is coming in just over a month (I hope she holds out until her due date), it is more important to get really serious about getting rid of the excess.  I don't know if you guys know this, but babies come with a lot of stuff!!!  We definitely need to get rid of our extra stuff or we will never fit all of the things for the baby.  So, we are making runs to Goodwill and throwing away things that are not good enough to donate. 

Another part of our mission is to digitize things so we can get rid of paper.  We are taking all of our old printed pictures and having them digitized.  I'm also working on going through all of my beading magazines and scanning the projects I like and want to attempt.  Each magazine is small, but when you take 100s of them together, they take up a lot of space.  And, I don't like to throw them away... because, you know, I never know when I'll want to create that one project I saw once.  So, now I'll be spending hours next to our scanner with a pile of magazines scanning and organizing all the projects and techniques I'm interested in keeping.  The next time my renewal comes up, I think I may go with the digital version of the magazines because it takes out the middle step of scanning the articles I want to keep... but, I must say I will miss flipping through the magazines when they come in the mail. 

Our mission will take more than a little organizing and digitizing, but I can't wait to get rid of the extra stuff.  It's difficult to make the decisions to get rid of things, but there is something freeing about losing the clutter.  I hope to get to the point where we can live a minimalist life.  Any organization and clearing out techniques are definitely welcome.  The fact that this project has been going on for so long illustrates the fact that I can use some help :)

January 1, 2012

Move Over 2011... Here Comes 2012!!!

So, at the end of 2010 I made a list of goals (resolutions) I hoped to accomplish in 2011.  The only thing I can say is that if I am measured only on how well I attained my 2011 goals, I would have to think of myself as an epic failure.  However, my life changed drastically in 2011.  Early in the year, I found out I was pregnant (I'm due in February -- wish me luck).  This affected me in many ways -- exhaustion like I have never experienced before, lethargy, a lack of focus and ambition, single-mindedness, etc.  In many ways, becoming pregnant explains a lot of the resolutions I failed to meet:   a lot of my fitness resolutions were put to the side because making it through the day was difficult enough, the same can be said for my jewelry making resolutions.  However, I was able to meet one important resolution (maybe the most important resolution) -- I found an awesome job I really enjoy and am proud of.  It takes a lot of time and is often stressful, but it's great and I love what I do!

So, after reaching only one of my 2011 resolutions, I'm questioning whether or not I should even bother making resolutions this year.  However, I'm going to be optimistic.  But, I think I will make a different kind of resolution.  So, let's see how I hope my 2012 will turn out:
  • Run 500 miles in 2012.   A lot of my friends are doing a 1000 mile challenge in 2012.  However, I think that would be a bit much for me since I will have a baby in February.  Losing 2 months of training time for the year on top of being out of shape from being pregnant could completely sabotage the 1000 miles goal... so, for me it will be 500 miles instead.
  • Get back to being creative.  Make time to bead every week.  It doesn't matter if it is a large project or a small project, but I need to get back to making jewelry.
  • Blog... not because I have an arbitrary number of posts I need to meet, but because I have things to share.  "Speak" when I have something to say.
  • Focus on being a good mom.  I've never been a mom, so I have a lot to learn.  I just hope I will be good at it.  I will need more patience than I have ever had, and I hope I am able to find the traits I need in order to be a good mother. 
Good luck to everyone in 2012.  If you make resolutions, may you find the tools and energy you need to meet them.  If you don't make resolutions, then may you have a great 2012.  And, to everyone, may 2012 be your best year yet.  I think I'm going to need to hang on tight.  I have a feeling this year will be a bumpy ride!

August 14, 2011

Where Have I Been? Am I Back?

I don't know.... I started 2011 with great ambition.  I was ready to fight for a really great year.  I was going to start selling jewelry and blogging religiously.  I was going to lose weight and get into shape.  I'm not really sure what happened between January and now. 

Life has simply gotten away from me.  I got a new job in February, and I absolutely love it.  I work for three amazing women who own their own company.  I have the flexibility to build the training program the way I want it to be, and I make a difference in the company.  So, on a professional level, I am right where I am supposed to be. 

My personal life is great too.  I'm happy and enjoy the point I'm at in my life.  There have been a couple of big changes in my personal life, but they didn't stop me from making jewelry and blogging.  So, I'm not sure what happened or where I've been.  I'm not sure whether I'm back for good, but I hope I am.  I hope I'm going to be able to make some amazing jewelry and get my jewelry making back on track. 

May 22, 2011

A Giveaway so Amazing I'm Not Sure I Really Want to Share It!

OK, this giveaway is amazing.  I really really really want to win it... which is why I'm not sure I really want to share it.  If I share it, it gives me more competition.  But, luckily (for you anyway), I decided to share.  So check out all the amazing beads in this giveaway from the Art Bead Scene blog

The giveaway is in honor of Bead 2011 which is presented by Beadwork Magazine.  Erin contacted as many of the artists in Bead 2011 as she could and asked her to contribute to the giveaway.  And, boy did they respond.  Check out her blog post for complete details about the giveaway and instructions for entering

Here are a FEW of the beads I am drooling over at the moment.  There are far more included in the giveaway... these are just my personal favorites!

March 13, 2011

Long Overdue Fall Inspiration

Way, way back, a long time ago, I received my fall bead blogger challenge from Artbeads.com.  I was to select any type and style of beads in a color pallette that reminded me of fall.  The beads didn't have to be in a traditional fall color scheme.  They just had to remind me of fall.  Well, I selected my beads right away...  and that was the last thing I did right away.  I fell into the end-of-the-semester trap and became caught up in papers, research, teaching, writing finals, taking finals, and ran out of time for beading.  Then, I left school and had to look for a job... which became more than a full time job on its own.  When I finally found a job, I actually ended up with more jobs than I could handle.  So, I am just now showing off my fall piece.

I wanted to try something different than my usual style, but I still wanted to use seed beads because they are my favorite.  I also wanted to work with some of the fabulous pendants offered by Artbeads.com.  I ended up ordering seed beads in six different luscious fall colors.  I also ordered a copper leaf pendant and a gorgeous olive green porcelain pendant.  Initially I planned to attempt bead embroidery around the pendants to create a bib-style necklace.  However, that is not where my muse took me.  My muse decided that I was going to use some silver rings I already had and create some rings out of seed beads to create a custom chain. 

I decided to keep the piece simple and hang both pendants from the front of the chain.  I then used a claw clasp and created the closure in the front so I wouldn't disrupt the flow of the chain.  The piece is incredibly simple and comfortable, but it took a LONG time to make.  Each beaded ring took an hour or so to create (that's probably slower than it has to be, but I'm still new at creating them).

I really like the way the necklace turned out.  It is very simple, which suits me.  I've worn it a couple of times.  The first time, it was a bit stiff.  However, it was really comfortable in later wearings.  It loosened up and lays really well. 

I hope you enjoy the necklace and my interpretation of fall.  My knowledge of fall comes from my childhood in upstate NY where autumn was filled with crisp cool air, piles of scarlet, orange, yellow, and brown leaves as tall as I was, apple cider, and soccer.  To me, this necklace represents my childhood and my favorite time of the year!

FTC Disclosure: The items in this post were provided to me free of charge from Artbeads.com for review or design purposes as part of the Bead Blogger program. I am providing an honest review of the products for which I am receiving no compensation.

February 3, 2011

Update on my New Year's Resolution Update

Okay... I know I just wrote a post with updates about my New Year's Resolutions... but I thought this warranted an update to the update. 

I just found out that I got the job I really really really wanted.  I start on Wednesday, and I can't wait.  I'm going to be the Corporate Trainer for BCA Financial Services.  I'll be able to design and develop instruction as well as teach.  It's everything I like doing mixed together! 

Yeah for dream jobs and for things working out!


January 31, 2011

Update on My New Year's Resolutions

So, about a month ago I listed my goals for 2011... now, it's time to look back and see whether I've made any progress toward my goals...

Here are the goals I set and my progress toward each:
  • Find a good job. After leaving school, I am not bringing in any money. I have to find a job, and I need to do it quickly. I've put in a lot of applications and I'm hopeful. Hopefully, this is a January resolution instead of a year long resolution.
    So far, I haven't found a job.  However, I've had two really good interviews.  Both are for good jobs that I would love to have!  I should find out whether or not I was selected for the first job sometime this week, and I have a second interview for the second job this week.  The waiting is killing me.  In some ways it is good because I can still hold out hope that I'll get one of the jobs... but in other ways, it's bad because I am so excited about the prospect of getting one of the jobs that I just want to be told that I have it.  I guess the good/bad ratio depends on whether I get either job.  If I get one, then I hate the wait.  If I don't get one, then I will want to go back to the waiting period where I still had hope.
  • Run a half marathon. I completed my first half marathon in 2010, but I didn't run the entire thing. I had to walk quite a bit. This year, I want to run all 13.1 miles.
    No half marathons yet.  In fact, I haven't worked very hard on my training for it... however, that all changes today.  I'm starting to eat right and train today.  It's time!  Hopefully, at the end of next month I'll be able to report that I've made progress toward my goal!
  • Run a marathon. My husband and I have decided to sign up for a full marathon after we complete our half marathon, and I want to run the entire thing.
    Same as the previous... nothing to report yet... but everything changes today!
  • Start selling my jewelry. I've decided to take another leap this year. I'm going to try to believe in myself and start up an etsy store and sell my jewelry. I'm also going to contact some local bridal stores and see if they will carry some of my jewelry. I'm hoping to start taking custom bridal/wedding party/ bridesmaid gift orders.
    I haven't started selling yet.  I still need to figure out some tax and other business type things.  However, I've been working on making jewelry and trying new techniques so that I have something to list when I open my store.  I think I will try to create a jewelry catalog this month so that I have something to show bridal stores when I talk to them!
  • Blog at least 4 times a week. In 2010, my blogging was spurradic. I had months where I blogged a lot, and other months where I hardly blogged at all. In 2011, I want to make sure I blog at least 4 times each week. I also want to improve the photos I take for the blog.
    Well, I think this is my 12th blog for January, so that is not quite four times a week... but a lot better than last year.  I'll try to increase to my goal next month and keep up the blogging all week long.  But, I'm happy with 12 blogs this month.  It's a pretty good improvement.  I just have to work to get even better!
  • Learn to make glass beads. My wonderful husband bought me a lampwork bead making kit for Christmas, and I can't wait to try it out. I have wanted to learn to make glass beads for awhile and want to jump in and do it this year.
    I haven't set up an area where I can work on making glass beads yet.  I also need to purchase the correct eye protection.  It's still going to happen this year... just not in January.
  • Get back in shape. The last few years have been difficult on me. I've dealt with depression, anxiety, and my father's suicide. I let my workout routine get away from me. I want to start working out regularly and get myself back. I think it will improve my confidence and make me feel better all around.
    This one is the one I'm the sorriest about not working on yet.  It's so easy to put it off for a day... every day.  Then, at the end of the month you haven't done anything.  Today that changes.  I've taken out my work out log/ food journal and I'm going to hold myself accountable.  February is going to be a great month!  I'm ready now.
So, as you can see, I haven't made much progress toward my resolutions.  But, I'm trying not to be too hard on myself.  I have the whole year to accomplish these things.  I'm re-evaluating and figuring out what I need to change to make them happen going forward!  Right now, the most important thing is finding a job, so I'm putting a lot of time ad energy into finding a job... but that doesn't mean I can't work on the other things at the same time.

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