Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My Monthly Kits

As I've mentioned before, part of moving to our new house involves some serious down-sizing. Our new house is about 900 square feet; that's about a quarter of the size of our previous home. And there is only one bedroom, which means no separate offices and no craft room.

As someone who has amassed a shitload of supplies over the last 20-or-so years, that was a hard pill for me to swallow initially. But I've come to terms with the fact that my habits are going to have to change...no, I've more than come to terms with it, I've embraced it. I'm ready for change. I'm ready for new challenges. And I'm ready to have less stuff to deal with.

What I'm not ready to do is to simply toss all the things I've collected over the years. There are a lot of supplies in my stash that I still love, even if they are a little out of date or out of trend. So instead of getting rid of everything and continuing to collect new things, I made a pact with myself. I cancelled the Studio Calico Documenter Kit subscription that I've had for over two years and instead decided to make my own kits from things I already own. 

My goal for 2017 is to limit what I buy to essentials (page protectors, glue runners, etc.) and a small amount of digital products. Other than that, I want to only use things that I already have. It's a big goal, and I'm almost positive that I will slip up at some point, but that's okay. I will still be adding less to my stash than I have in past years, and more importantly, I will be using the things I already have and love. 

For each kit I tried to stick to a kind of recipe so that I would be sure to have enough to work with but wouldn't add too much and overwhelm myself. Each kit has two sheets of 12x12 colored cardstock, 10-12 12x12 patterned papers, 8-10 sheets of 6x6 paper, 8-10 of both 4x6 & 3x4 journaling cards, alpha stickers, washi tape strips, and various other embellishments. 

When I sat down to make the kits, I started by picking twelve of my favorite items from my stash, then built a kit around each item, keeping seasons and holidays in mind. Each kit is coordinated and completely different from the others. 

I had more than enough in my stash to make 12 kits, and I can't even tell you how fun it was to put them together. I have all of them packaged up and waiting for me to rediscover at the beginning of each month. 

I also set some goals for using the contents of each kit, like I want to make more traditional layouts and even try my hand at card-making, in addition to continuing with project life. And there's plenty in each kit to do all of that. 

Now the only thing left to do is get this house finished enough that I have space to actually make something!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Home Sweet Home

We bought our first home in 2004. It was the summer before my senior year in college, and we knew we'd be around for at least another year, so it seemed like a solid move.

It was definitely a fixer-upper. We removed fake wood panelling from nearly every room in the house, took down rickety make-shift closets, and had a list a mile-long of other things we hoped to accomplish while we were there.

A year later, when I had finished school, and we had managed to make a small dent in our list, J was given the opportunity to work in Vancouver, B.C., and we took it. We left our little house for the big city, and when we returned six months later, our priorities had shifted. We were ready to move on to bigger and better things.

Luckily our little house was located in a college town, and there were no shortage of renters. So we finished as many of our to-do list items as we could, and our little house became a rental.

Fast forward 8 years to the fall of 2015. I was living in an apartment in a small town in southern Indiana while working as the local library director, and J was still living in our country house three hours north of there. It was hard and stressful and lonely for both of us.

Then our thoughts returned to our little rental house. It was half way between the two places, within driving distance to both of our jobs. So after much thought, we decided to move back home.

Being a rental for 8 years had taken a toll on our little house. It was in need of some serious TLC. We started renovations in August of 2015 with the intent of being done by the end of September. Oh, how optimistic we were!

Renovations never go exactly as planned, and now, a year and 5 months later, we are just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. That means that for the last 17 months we have been living in a construction zone. The word "chaos" doesn't do it justice. 

I wanted to share this to give you some context to my life as it is right now. So many of my decisions over the last several months and my goals for the next year have come from this place of chaos and the need to feel more grounded and settled. 

I couldn't be happier to be back in a town that feels as much like home to be as anyplace ever could, with old friends I've missed terribly, and in a house I know I will truly feel at home in. But it's been a long road getting here, and we still have a long road ahead to finish what we've started. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hello, 2017

I don't do resolutions. I don't make big sweeping statements about radical changes I intend to make just because I flipped a page on the calendar. It's not realistic. And I know myself well enough to know that I will buck against any rules I try to set for myself.

But I do believe in the power of goal-setting. I set goals for myself all the time. Some of those goals are well thought out and have a support system in place to help me keep them. Some of the goals I set are more like wishful thinking. Clearly one method works better than the other.

So for the start of 2017, in an effort to put last year behind me and focus on the coming months, I have set some goals. Goals that I have been thinking about for quite some time. Goals that I have done the work of creating support for. Goals that I am invested in enough to not simply blow-off in a week or two.

I'm excited about the changes these goals will effect, both physical and mental, and I hope to share more about them over the next several weeks.

What goals have you made for yourself for 2017?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 In Review

Let's be real here. 2016 was a total shit show.

All of my plans went to crap, and I spent the year living in a house without a kitchen or most of a bathroom. It was stressful and depressing, and I'm pretty sure it took a good five years off my life.

...And that's not even mentioning the things that happened outside of my personal life. Ugh.

To say that I'm glad 2016 is over is an understatement. If I could have kicked 2016 is the ass as it headed out the door, I totally would have.

So here's to hoping 2017 is a better year. And just to start the year on a positive note, let me recap the handful of good things that happened in 2016.

J had the opportunity to spend two weeks in India. While that doesn't sound like a good thing to me, he had been looking forward to it and hoping it would happen in 2016. He met some great people, had some interesting experiences, and brought back presents, so it was a win-win.

We had the chance to spend lots of time with friends, including camping for a week and attending the John Hartford Memorial Festival in Bean Blossom for the fourth year.

J and I also got the chance to get away, just us and the dogs. We spent a week in Michigan on Glen Lake, and I will never get over how beautiful it us up there. 

We added a new member to our family. Nacho kitty has been great for Scrunchy the demon cat. Scrunch has completely given up attacking us and now saves all of her pent up frustrations for Nacho. Plus Nacho is the sweetest, cuddliest kitty I have ever known.

Abi completed her therapy dog training, and she was a rock star. All that's left is for her to take the final test, and then she'll be a certified therapy dog. Not bad for an old girl.

My mom and I drove to Kansas to spend the weekend with family at the Whatever Craft House. It was amazing. We had so much fun (maybe a little too much, eh mom?), and the house was gorgeous. I'm so glad we were able to make it happen.

And that about covers the positives for the year. So adios 2016. Here's to a better year ahead!