Monthly Archives: July 2019

“The authentic self is the soul made visible” -Sarah Ban Breathnach

I had a couple of really good conversations yesterday with two different friends. To boil it all down to one sentiment, it would be “Is this it?”

As in – the routine of life we are all in, is this what life has to offer us? Or is there MORE out there?

I was then asked by one of them what makes my “soul sing” It’s a hard question because quickly thinking about it, it’s a lot of things!

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But when I peeled away the layers and the bullshit, the answer is pretty simple: Create. Grow. Pick. Those three things can be used in many different contexts.

I find great joy in making things. All kinds of things – not just my glassware. I like making all sorts of crafts; I like canning veggies and whatnot from my garden. I like making household cleaners out of natural ingredients. I like creating an entirely new outfit from pieces and parts of things I already have.

I love to grow things, whether it’s my garden, a blog, an authentic social media following, the relationships with those around me, or my knowledge on a subject.

Picking is simply reaping the reward of hard work; a job well done; or the ability to choose for yourself. Who doesn’t like any of that?!

If we can get real with ourselves and what we want – “What makes my soul sing?”  – perhaps we can achieve greater success and peace in our lives.

Last night, after reflecting on these conversations, I was left wondering how I can channel this energy – this restless, yearning-for-more energy – and direct it toward something that can achieve a result. I don’t have the answer to that yet but I will say that I feel rejuvenated and inspired this morning. There’s something about connecting with those around you and having them challenge what you think you know.

“Anxiety – the sane and the insane rivalry”

Oh, my achin’….anxiety.

It’s been kicked the EFF UP the past few weeks (off and on, but mostly on). Sometimes I cannot pinpoint the cause of my anxiety; in this case I can point in the direction it’s coming from but can’t state what, within that, is exactly causing it. It remains to be seen. It’s all work, too. It’s all about my job – which is strange because up until a few weeks ago, work was the least stressful thing in my life.

But things have shifted.

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It’s ridiculous.

We all have a lot of work to do and the vibes are just wrong. Laying in bed at night has me dreading the work day…I haven’t felt that way about a job in YEARS. But I just find myself wanting to focus more on doing and less typing. More picking vegetables, more cooking and preserving (which in the past few years I’ve not done, really), more creating art, more cleaning and organizing. More decluttering. More…MORE life, less papers and e-mails.

I want to go back to this feeling:

Chillin’ and enjoying life by the moment.

I am exhausted from fighting clients that I’m trying to help…that hired us TO HELP…on top of a large workload. I wish people would stop and consider that they are one of over 100 files I am working on and that I take what I do very seriously. I don’t half-ass it; I want to see it through and see it all done correctly. I’m good at what I do and I do like it – it’s an area of law I find interesting. But man, so many argumentative, difficult people recently has me wondering what the purpose of everything is anyway. People have over-complicated everything, even the stuff that happens after we die and often lack appreciation for the people that help us navigate through it.

It’ll all get better ~ something has to give. I’m not even sure if my feelings of anxiety are all mine – I could very well be picking up on the feelings of others. I just want to feel better again. More calm and at peace again…and not just for a moment. Like, continuous moments. So, for that, I re-downloaded the Headspace app a few days ago and, every night, I’ve been meditating for 10 minutes before bed. It’s helped so far calm me down enough to fall asleep at a decent time but last night it was no good, which is expected. It takes practice and re-training of the brain. I’ll get there.

Heat Wave Weekend!

I was looking forward to this weekend ALL. WEEK. LONG. I didn’t even care about the heat advisory that’s on us ~ I’ll happily stay inside and continue to work on my goals. (However, tomorrow I may visit the town pool. It seems a shame to spend the entire weekend cooped up!)

Today, I finished the clothing donations. I dropped off one large garbage bag and three small ones at a local donation bin. The remaining toys will be either gifted to a family member or the kids’ former nursery school. I have some of my own personal clothing held back because they are listed on eBay and they end within the next 24 hours. Whatever doesn’t go will also be donated.

It just feels amazing to purge. I’ve never lived with 3 other people before and it’s amazing how much we buy, keep, outgrow and somehow still…keep. Because I’ve moved so many times in my adult life, I’ve learned to keep my own personal belongings to a minimum; it was simply too exhausting and expensive to keep moving boxes of unnecessary items from apartment to apartment. I’ve become a minimalist, albeit not a super strict one.

Something I do have trouble with purging are craft items. I’m not saying I don’t do it; I recently got rid of a TON of fabric that I knew we’d never use. But when it comes to, say, vintage jewelry pieces…

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…it becomes hard for me to feel justified in getting rid of it. The string of beads you see that I’ve glued on to this strip of burlap and lace is from an old necklace. You don’t see metal beads like this anymore; the white paint has chipped, showing the faux gold underneath which is actually quite perfect for a vase I am working on.

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Burns happen, unfortunately!

I’ve been working off of the same Ziploc baggie full of jewelry pieces for over a year now. I paid $20 for it and some of the jewelry was perfect fine and I re-sold as vintage pieces, recouping the cost of the entire lot quite easily. I try not to disassemble pieces that could actually be re-worn and enjoyed as they are. Thankfully, though, jewelry doesn’t take up too much space.

I hope to have this new white and gold vase ready and in my Etsy Shop by the end of this weekend.

While I’m working on that, I’ll be working on these, too:

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I’ve been dying to get my hands on some clear wine bottles…I had to drink their contents, first, and I’m not really a white wine drinker. (But I am still not complaining, lol!) I love the sea foam sea glass spray on them – you just can’t get brown bottles to look like this.

So, on I work ~ may as well take advantage of the hellish weather and get some stuff done!

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Well, that didn’t turn out as planned…Project Failure!

 

 

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Ugh.

These bottles have been difficult between the paint not adhering properly, the wax clumping and pulling paint off, and then to some sort of oil spots showing through it…It’s a bit of disappointment because this set would really be something to be proud of. I loved the contrast between the black pleather guitar shape and the paint and fabric.

Here’s what I learned though – and it’s a very basic thing: Your projects are only as good as the materials used. In this case, I think the turquoise acrylic paint is past its prime and needs to be discarded. I’ve never before had an issue with this paint sticking to glassware until now. I’ve collected a lot of paint over the years and it’s time to give it a good inspection to see what needs replacing.

So while this project is a failure, I plan on salvaging what I can of the design and re-creating it on new bottles with new paint. It’s not really a failure; it’s just a cause for a re-do. Glassware is forgiving. I can scrub these clean and start over relatively easily.

I also learned something else: It’s important to have a few projects going at once so that momentum isn’t totally stopped up once a project goes down the toilet. Because my projects have many stages to them, I need to have at least 3 in progress in order to make the most use of my time to not totally hault productivity. I was hoping to have these bottles in shape to add to my Etsy shop this weekend but that is not in the cards. So now I am unsure about what, if anything, I’ll be able to put up in my shop to keep it fresh.

Can’t rush the process.

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Oh, July – You are so good

We’re halfway through the month and over halfway done with 2019. I’d like to acknowledge to every adult who told me that the years would fly by after high school…you’re right. You’re so right. It never feels like there’s enough time to do all the things I want and need to do.

But, I’m checking in on my goal of clearing things out this month.

I’m

kicking

some

serious

ass!

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I had a yard sale on July 5th and got rid of a bunch of things. I was left with a ton of clothing and kids stuff, however, and that’s taking me some time to get through. I’ve been taking photos and bringing bags to the donation bin at a local church. Since then I’ve gotten rid of the equivalent of, what I’d guess would be, about 3 or 4 garbage bags worth of items. Larger items that didn’t go went by the curb and, living on Balltown Road as I do, they were picked up pretty rapidly by some very nice people.

It just feels fabulous to be clearing out some space. It’s so freeing.

I am mostly done with the clothing/accessory part of things. I still have a lot of other items (crafts, gifts, kids’ toys) that I need to find new homes for. The toy part is difficult because the Salvation Army stores around us are just not taking them; they’re overrun. It’s disappointing because I can’t help but think there has to be a kid, somewhere, who would love the toys that our kids have outgrown.

I’m open to suggestions for toy donations, if anyone has them!

So, this project is my sole focus, but I’ve still been doing some creating. Today, I listed a new item in my Etsy Shop ~ HERE

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AND I updated/revised all of my listings to accommodate for free shipping. I received an e-mail notification sent out by the CEO of Etsy that they are giving priority advertising to items that have free shipping. So I best get with the times – people don’t want to dink around with extra shipping charges; they want it all buttoned up into one price. I get it; I’m the same way.

I am also working on turquoise guitar-themed bottles but they are giving me trouble. What was supposed to be a set of 3 has become a set of 2. This set will be a labor of love, I tell you. I’ve had paint trouble, some sort of grease showing through the paint of a bottle, to chipping…projects do not always go as planned as I’m working on them. It’s my goal to have them perfect and finished by next weekend so they can be listed.

Wait a second, I don’t have to explain myself…but I’m going to.

Since my mom’s diagnosis, my family and I have had some discussions about things we’ve never talked about before. One of the topics that seems to creep around more often are our personality traits ~ who is more like who, etc. We probably all have some variations of opinions on this, but I’ve expressed to my parents that I feel my sister is more like my dad and that I am more like my mom.

One big difference is that my dad and sister will debate topics, while I have no desire to do so. I bring up this particular personality attribute because it’s been talked about quite a few times now, with me being told by my dad that I tend to get angry at him often when he tries to tell me things. My parents view me as the sensitive child…the weaker one.

I say “weaker” because in a conversation a few months ago about this, my mom expressed concern that I would let my sister bulldoze over me. I personally look at people who allow others to run over them as weak – the word “weak” was not used specifically in this conversation or any others after. My sister’s personality is big and bold – when she walks into the room, people notice her. I also have a big and bold personality, I just choose when and where to showcase it. I don’t view my sister as bulldozer and I don’t see myself as a doormat.

I’ve calmed down in my 30’s. There are a lot of things – ideas, opinions – that I realized I had spent too much time on. I had too much emotional energy directed toward things and people that really didn’t matter. I feel I was more sensitive then – I cared more about others, I cared more about being right, about being seen and heard; cared more about what others thought.

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Life kicked me in the pants in my early 30’s and I realized that, even by caring what others thought, people were going to think whatever they wanted to anyway. They were going to gossip; they were going to go about their lives in the way they saw fit, no matter what I said or did. So why was I caring so much? Why was I wasting energy I could use to focus on bigger and better things on things I could not change? Things that weren’t my job to change? Those things were unnecessary speedbumps in my life and I was sick of having to constantly replace the tires and wheels of my car.

So, no, I don’t debate. If you feel a certain kind of way, I will listen (as long as it’s not super unproductive, hateful or ridiculous), but it isn’t my job to tell you if you’re wrong. Life has a way of doing that to people; it certainly did for me.

I spend my free time trying to do things that bring me peace; no where in any of that is confrontation, conflict, or bad-feelings.

Is it perfect? No; life is not easy, but I think I have the energy to tackle it because I spend way less time on things I used to that created feelings of unhappiness and unease in my life. People have told me over the years that they wished they had the energy and motivation that I appear to haveThis may be why – it’s the road I chose and the one that works best for me. I think that when we find the right path in our lives, we care less about the thoughts and opinions of others. We become less volatile and more evenly-balanced. At least until it’s time for the path to change.

It is just strange to me that I would be viewed as sensitive and/or weak by those close to me simply because I often choose not to engage and that my choice to not engage and create a distance is viewed as “anger”. It isn’t anger and it’s not complete detachment either. Sometimes it’s disappointment; sometimes it’s a little bit of sadness for the person. I’d just rather walk away in some situations than argue through them; I’d rather preserve my inner peace and move on with my life. But I suppose I’m falling into an old bad habit here – caring what others think of who I am and feeling that it needs an explanation. It doesn’t.

So, where does my mom’s personality fall in all of this?

I see her in the woman I’ve been becoming in my 30’s. Content to let you think what you want without becoming attached to it; content to be quiet and have quiet hobbies. No real desire to argue or debate unless it’s truly of importance. More inclined to listen than speak. I see this in my sister, too.

But my analysis of things comes from my dad, I think. My dad’s personality traits in me created this blog post and likely all of my blogs in general.

Work isn’t life…yet…we spend so much time thinking and worrying about it.

The thought of coming into work lately has been causing me anxiety. I feel a bit guilty admitting that because my job is great – the work itself and the environment; there’s zero reason for me to be unsatisfied. But, since returning from my honeymoon, I’ve been churning over what’s important in life and what I’m doing to make a difference. (This is what I do – I’m prone to frequent existential crises.)

Others around me have different reasons for their work anxieties – excessive work stress, terrible work environments, unreasonable goals, long hours, no recognition, general job burn out…

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I think I lead a pretty balanced life between work and home. Returning to office life has allowed me to focus more on my family and my hobbies – life outside of work. I don’t talk much about being a paralegal in my spare time. My spare time is just that my time – and I don’t want to cloud up that time with thoughts or conversations about work, if I can help it. I’m usually too busy thinking about crafting, gardening, animals, family, reading, laying in the hammock…not necessarily in that order.

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My latest addition to my Etsy Shop (can be found HERE).

So why have I been going to bed at night, wishing that I was independently wealthy and able to stay home every day? Because I’m a non-stop dreamer. It’s what I do.

Too many people are working at places they hate because it pays the bills that the stress leaks into their personal lives. Tainting it. Changing it. Sometimes ruining it. Work, career…it’s a part of life but it’s not everything. The balance is out of whack.

Although I’ve had people scoff at me for saying this, but my opinion is that people are not meant to work 40+ hours a week outside the home. It leaves such little time for doing the things that really matter in life – the things that are productive to ourselves, physically and mentally. No wonder so many people (sometimes me, too) are completely overwhelmed; we have families, homes to maintain, obligations, chores…the basic necessities of eating healthy and resting can easily take a back seat when those BASIC THINGS allow us to function well. When did this all happen?

I feel like I need to tie this blog up with some advice or something…not just leave it with a question. I’m not an expert on anything, but here’s my 2 cents when it comes to promoting a healthier work/life balance:

  • Find a job that you like. One that you can leave from and shut off from when you aren’t there. It may take you some time but don’t be afraid to get in the driver’s seat of your life.
  • Live within your means. If your monthly output is $5,000 and you’re only making $3,000…need I say more? Review what you’re spending your money on and see where you can make some changes.
  • Treat yourself with respect. You work hard – don’t treat yourself like garbage. You can’t help others effectively and to your full potential if you are neglectful of yourself.
  • Start a vegetable garden, whether it’s in the ground or in pots. It’s a rewarding hobby that saves some cash and promotes healthier eating.
  • Create more. Whatever that means to you – drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, dancing…I think we are all more creative than we give ourselves credit for and spend too much time comparing our creativity with someone else’s. There’s room for us all to shine at something.
  • REST – it’s okay to not be productive 100% of the time.

 

Expanding my social media presence

As many of you may have already read, I’m a bit jaded when it comes to social media. I think instead of uniting us it can separate us from reality. I see too many people just scrolling their lives away when they could be present in the moments surrounding them.

However, it seems like a necessary evil (?) or risk (?) in order to BE SEEN to market products for sale.

So, I started a Facebook page specifically for my Weird Glass Art Studio. You can find it HERE.  By liking my page and interacting with it (commenting, sharing posts that interest you, etc.), you’ll be helping me get my name out there. Thank you, if you choose to opt in and help a sista crafter out!

Other social media links:

ETSY.

PINTEREST.

Regarding my goal for July of decluttering – two items are leaving the building (a/k/a my house) as of today! A dress and a pair of shoes. Although it’s no way near the volume I need it to be at for the end of July but I have a feeling that the tag sale I’m going to have will be the biggest help to get rid of things – as well as the inevitable donations thereafter. I am looking forward to clearing out some space!