Monthly Archives: December 2019

New Year, New Me – NAH. New Year MORE ME!

I’m not going to wake up tomorrow a different person and nor should you. Enough is enough with the “New Year, New Me!” mentality. Change takes time and constant effort. This is why so many resolutions are unresolved. Things can be completely overwhelming when you look at them as a whole. By breaking the goals and dreams into much smaller, easier obtainable, steps and working at it consistently – that’s where the real change happens.

So no, 2020 is not going to showcase a different Stacey, although I have set up some goals for myself for the year.  2020 is hopefully going to be a more conscious year for me. Instead of operating under chaos, I’d like to operate with more intention and get closer to where I want to be. I am hoping for a year of significant growth and learning. “MORE ME!”

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I’m honestly already on my way; who really needs a “New Year” to be inspired to move forward?

I’ve learned some macramé techniques and have made a bunch of plant hangers. I also got my glass bottle cutter and am determined to master it. So far it’s been a fail but I know it’ll take time and once I have it, I’ll have it! I’m excited about this and how it can expand my glassware skills!

I’ve saved some money and have been more conscious with my spending. Ya’ll, I’ve even leveled-up as an adult and have been grocery shopping for our family for the past two weeks, using the sales flyer to guide what we’ll be eating for the week. I’ve also been using the ibotta app, using it to search for deals for things we would be buying already. It’s only been two weeks but I have just over $5 in cash back from using it. (I strongly feel the key is to remember the adage of “just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you need it”.) Doing all of this definitely takes time and organization, but it’s only a couple more steps from what I was already doing with our meal planning. Now it’ll just be more financially efficient.

My eBay sales (for my decluttering goals) have been consistent, as well. I’m not making big bucks or anything off of this but it’s been very easy and satisfies my love of e-commerce and is hopefully cutting down on things simply going into the trash or recycle bin. So things are leaving our home and going to another to be re-used and loved again, while providing a few bucks that will be going directly toward the purchase of a shower for our downstairs bathroom in January. (Every little bit helps, you know?)

So, New Year MORE ME ~ More authenticity, better planning, more intention. Less negative coping mechanisms and worry about where I stand in relationships with others that aren’t a priority. I have good feelings about this new decade.

There’s a fire ~ starting in my heart.

I was wondering last night if certain childhood dreams are meant to be realized, or simply meant to be cherished as they are – as wishes, ideas.

There’s something calming about working with my hands. I use my brain all day long at work managing my legal caseload and then I go home and help manage a household and all the things and people in it. To simply be quiet and keep my hands busy is a lovely feeling.

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Putting my hands to work gives my brain a chance to roam free and unravel things that are going on in my head; a lot of the time they are things that are hanging out in my subconscious. As I was working on the above last night, I was thinking about this childhood dream I had of writing a novel and having it published. Specifically – am I truly burning to do it OR am I simply in love with the idea of doing it and how it sounds when I tell people?

I have had a lot of really honest talks with myself while creating. None of the outcomes are ever set in stone; life’s too fluid. I enjoy learning new things about myself through the process of making – funny how I’m 36 and am still getting to know me. I hope you are still getting to know yourself, too!

If I’m truly honest with how I’m feeling at this time – being authentic to myself and what lights me up – creating with my hands excites me more than the idea of sitting down and writing my novel. Learning a new thing that I can make and do on my own fascinates and THRILLS me! From making my own household cleaners to plant hangers to decorative glassware to this rag rug I’ve officially started as of last night – I’m pumped! And when I talk to people about those things and when I write about those things here, I can feel the electricity within me. When I talk about my idea for a novel, I bumble my words and feel intimidated and underprepared. I love to write (clearly), but maybe…just maybe…this childhood wish/goal of mine isn’t as important to me as an adult. And that’s okay.

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I don’t want to let things that aren’t really a priority cloud my thinking and add stress to my life. It’s okay to just daydream and drink tea. My life is full and so much about it revvs me up!

So, my crafting plate is pretty full right now and I’m happy! I’m working on a rug made from scraps of cloth (as shown in the photo above); creating long strands of square knotted material that will be eventally woven together into a rug of a size that’s unknown to me at this time. I hope to work through the majority of my scrap cloth to use it all up. These thick strands feel durable, yet are squishy enough to be comfortable to step on.

This is a project I’ve originally wanted to start in 2015 but it didn’t happen. I had collected so much donated fabric that all went to waste. So here it truly begins, at the tail end of 2019. I hope to finish it by the end of 2020. It’s not quick work and I don’t want it to be. Good things come to those who wait and patience is key for good stuff to be made!

Another project I’ll be starting is a revamp of this [ugly] framed wall…art? Can it be called art?

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This project will be for a friend’s birthday present in January. This will have to be started very soon, as it will need to be worked on in stages if it’s going to be done properly. Much of what I do is done in many stages so it feels right for me to have multiple things going on at once so that I always have something to work on! (Because I am going to be working on the candle stick holders I referenced in my last post, too!)

#AllTheThingsAllTheTime ~ my happy place. 🙂

Oh, the silence!

It’s the day after Christmas and we can all begin to breathe again!

Since I had done so much preparation for the holidays before Thanksgiving even hit, I felt I was immune to a lot of the holiday stress people around me were experiencing. I felt busy enough with two holiday work events and three family parties in December; I can’t imagine trying to fit in the holiday shopping. I did what I could for people this year and didn’t go overboard. Also, everyone got a little something handmade by me – whether it was from my garden or something I physically created. I felt really good about gifting those things.

Although earlier this month I said December was going to be a “no spend” month when it comes to buying things for me, I failed. At a craft show I bought myself a handmade quartz ring and coat hooks for our home; two really nice fountain pens on Amazon, AND…right on Christmas day, I treated myself to a glass cutter.

I’m SUPER eager to give glass cutting another go, with hopes to expand into glass drilling, glass etching, etc. I’m ready to learn new things and expand Weird Glass Art Studio’s horizons into more than just table-top home décor.

To praise the good, my extra purchases only set me back approximately $100 AND I put away nearly $600 into my savings. Not too shabby.

My next project is a set of these:

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Please excuse our nasty stove; we’re hoping to limp along with it until we’re ready to re-do our kitchen.

I got these pretty wax battery powered candles from my mother-in-law as part of my Christmas gift. I’ve always liked taper candles but I don’t currently have holders for them. My first thought was to put them in wine bottles but the candles are just a bit too wide for them. I then tested one out in this vodka bottle and BINGO. It fits perfectly! The fun part is that I have a matching set of these bottles, too.

So consider this my “before” shot of the candle stick holders I will be making for my household out of recycled vodka bottles.

Now that the holiday is over with, I feel like I can begin to settle back into my routine again. I’m looking forward to creating and simplifying my life for 2020. I’m going to enjoy the silence immediately following this holiday (I am enjoying it already!). I’m also going to listen to the silence of others because sometimes that says more than words can express. I’ve spent too much of my life worrying about how I vibe with others personally and professionally and trying to keep things copacetic. Part of simplifying my life is letting things be and not taking it upon myself to mend fences or continue to make sure they’re all in good working order. It isn’t always my job and I can’t let it continue to add to my anxiety.

Blogging with a purpose (or not)

Most of the blogs I follow have a clear purpose to them. Whether it’s to teach others some new skill, advertise something, or to advertise themselves as whatever they want you to see them as.

A year ago when I started my blog I had two intentions: 1) to be open and honest about my struggle with depression and anxiety; and 2) to showcase my art. I think I have done both (amongst other things), but the first intention has been hard. There are days that are wonderful and amazing – there are big patches of my life that are. And then there are the unexplainable days that are super challenging to navigate, but navigate I do because while one day may suck, the next may not. This day is awesome and tomorrow could be too. [But if it isn’t, it’s okay. It’s just a day.]

I go with the flow.

So my blog hasn’t stayed on one steady path. It’s been very much like my life.  I used to feel self-conscious about my various interests and goals because I’ve been harshly criticized behind my back for them, but over the past year or so I’ve gotten over it. My take on it is if you’re going to judge me, you’re obviously paying more attention to my shit than your own. Maybe that’s why your own shit isn’t getting done. #RealTalk

Grass didn’t grow under my feet this weekend. It wasn’t filled with last minute Christmas shopping or anything crazy like that. It was a task-filled weekend that included bathing my dog, roller skating, grocery shopping, meal planning, organizing, cleaning, eBaying, AND making macramé plant hangers.

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This was my first one and making this was like making a giant friendship bracelet for my spider plant. I loved working with this soft gray macramé cord and doing something a bit out of my norm when it comes to crafting. I’ve been working on primarily glass for over a year now and it feels inspiring and refreshing to learn a new skill. I don’t want to ever stop learning.

Peace on earth ~ in my living room.

Last night at around 9 p.m., my house was so peaceful. Everyone was in bed at this time except for me and although my wife was waiting for me to snuggle and look at phones, I wanted to take some time to sit in the stillness near the Christmas tree and write in my journal. Adam joined me. 🙂

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My to-do list over the next few days feels a bit overwhelming, between fun stuff (the Trans-Siberian Orchestra tonight at the Times Union Center, rollerskating, family Christmas party) and tasks (holiday baking, taking Adam to PetCo to use their self-service dog bathing facilities, grocery shopping and meal planning), so I felt I really needed this moment. A bit of calm before the storm.

Doing Cubii things~An informal review of a Cubii under-the-desk elliptical.

As negative as things felt in the couple of weeks prior to this one, this week feels pretty damned good. I did feel like I was getting too close to a suck-hole of depression but I was able to step back from it and, while it’s still there, I don’t feel like I’m about to step in it.

Maybe I’m just motivated by my goals right now. [Hint: I am!]

I will say – THIS GIRL BE PHYSICALLY TIRED. Between it being near dark before 4:30 every afternoon, my workouts at home, and this under-the-desk elliptical I brought in from home this week…my body is pooped. Today’s a rest day and I’m grateful for that. I may use it to hit the sack early.

I want to talk about the Cubii for a moment.

I feel absolutely silly with it under my desk. To me, it’s just ridiculous to have unless a doctor recommends one. My wife bought it for her desk at work, only to find out that she wouldn’t be sitting very often (lucky her, right?) So I figured I’d bring it to my office and see how I liked it. I mean, it was $250! If I can get some use out of it, why not!? Note that I do have a platform on my desk that raises, so I can spend part of my day standing up. Lately I’ve been opting to sit more only because I’m up and around the office so often that it feels nice to sit and relax. It feels like a treat.

Now in comes the Cubii. I was instantly surprised at how I could pedal and type at the same time. I figured I’d have trouble managing both but it’s day #3 and I’m pedaling away as I type right now without much thought whatsoever. I don’t consider it a substitute for a workout [for me], but I have to say that I feel the motion pleasantly in my calves and quads, which is honestly more than what I expected. They’re fatigued after almost 3 days of this, coupled with my cycling at home and whatever amount of running around I do at work. I feel like it’s making any sort of fidgeting I’d normally do into a more purposeful movement. [Not to mention it’s a great stress reliever – I had an angry client on the phone yesterday and he couldn’t hear me cycling away as if his face was underneath the pedals BECAUSE IT IS THAT DAMNED QUIET!]

Anyway ~ so far, 10/10.

And here’s a meme that sums up my life quite nicely:

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How sage green cans are inspiring me.

I’ve said before that I don’t care for New Years Resolutions and I don’t typically set them for myself. While journaling this weekend, I realized that I am going to set some because I don’t like floating in my life without any sort of goal to work toward. I am not waiting until January 1st to get started though, I decided to get started right away!

You should have seen me Sunday morning ~ I took a large box and filled it with clothing and shoes that I no longer need or want, and purged my bookshelves of books I don’t need to keep. Some items I donated; others I posted on eBay. After the holidays are over, whatever clothing/shoes I have not sold on eBay I will either bring to a local consignment shop or donate. I don’t intend on putting a ton of energy into this because I am trying to simplify my life ~ not add tasks to it. Simplifying my home and belongings is a part of my purging. It’s step #1!

Step #2 was filling out my new calendar book! I discarded my other one, as well as an old journal. I set myself some pretty clear goals when it comes to saving money, in hopes that it will deter my spontaneous spending when I am having a bad day, as well as the compulsive Wendy’s lunches on those same tough days. So, not only will I be thinking twice about buying more clothes when I don’t need them (I really don’t need anything until spring), but I will be thinking twice about going out and eating garbage foods. The savings plan I linked to is pretty aggressive but I figure if I follow what I can on top of what I already do with my direct deposit, I’m still ahead of the game!

I also want to slow down on my creating so I can learn new crafts. I have this beautiful light gray macramé cording I’m dying to learn how to make into fancy things. I want to take the time to expand my horizons so that I have a continuous feed of inspiration to draw from.

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I’ve been consistently updating my Etsy shop and I’m ready to slow that down and focus on quality and uniqueness. I’ve been producing to create a larger inventory and while I am proud of everything I’ve made, I look at some of my older, more basic projects and know I can do better. So less is going to be more for me when it comes to updates to my shop for 2020. No more projects that pander to trendy discount shoppers. I want each and every piece to be authentically me.

As weird as it sounds, the creation of the cans above kind of solidified that desire in me. Something has been feeling off with my art; I’ve felt anxious about it. Unsettled. I realized that my mindset has been more on making things that sell as opposed to making things that excite and challenge me. Although I use mainly recycled materials in creating, I want to challenge myself to use even more recycled materials in different ways. I want to create techniques that maybe no one else has ever done before. So by updating my Etsy shop less, I will have more room to do so. (And get ready for the inevitable FAILS on my Instagram!)

Step #3 ties into everything. It’s my goal in 2020 to go down to a more part-time work schedule. In order to do this, I have to take care of my finances and simplify my life and needs. I want to do this so I can have more time to do the things in life that bring me satisfaction and joy. While I enjoy working where I do and with what I do, sometimes I feel like I spend so much time working on other people’s stuff and not enough time on the things that would benefit me and my family.

What are your goals for 2020?

The bad, the good, the crafty.

I’ll keep it simple – I had a really hard day at work yesterday. When I called my wife as I was leaving and she told me that she has this new job opportunity in the bag, I burst out crying. I didn’t know the crying was going to happen, but it did. I’m so happy for her; her job has been such an unnecessary stress for so long that it feels like a bright, shining rainbow coming into our lives.

That sounds super gay and I don’t even care. Stress over work seeps into the home and makes it less of a safe haven; less of a retreat from the outside world. Even though I had a miserable day, where thoughts of resigning were rattling around in my head, I just felt like this new job for my wife was a win for me, too. Something to look forward to. Something to celebrate. Someone has to win and my wife deserves that.

While I probably shouldn’t blog about my job as it isn’t exactly hard to find this site if you Google my name, I’m going to. Certainly I’m not going to go into full details about everything because for one, it’s a legal job that comes with strict rules about confidentiality, and, two, everyone has job-related issues at times. Nobody really cares to read or listen to it after a fashion.

With that being said, my biggest struggles here are unclear/changing procedures and proper chain of command, as well as the multitude of personalities that come with working in a bigger office. My reference to this being a “bigger office” is my perspective – the last firm I worked with had only 8 people, including me. To step into a place that, at the time of my hire, had 24 employees, was certainly a difference to me. Not even really needing to mention that I knew the other 7 people pretty well – now I had a whole new group to get to know.

So, regarding the various personalities, I’ve learned who is helpful and who is not. Who skates by, not producing very much, and who works their ass off. Who will (nicely) assist me when I need it, and who will (begrudgingly) assist with a passive-aggressive attitude. Who knows their shit inside and out and who doesn’t care to learn anything else. Who will take the time to teach me something I don’t know, indulging me with my questions so that I can understand things and become a better paralegal.

Yesterday was one of those days, man – I felt that I was scolded for doing my job for one matter by someone and then, later on, was met with a super unhelpful attitude by another. There’s always a fly in the soup. It would just be nice for the 8 hours we’re at work, people could just keep it together. Work isn’t real life – if you’re mad about your life, change it – but don’t be a dink to the people that want to collect a paycheck in as comfortable of an atmosphere as possible.

The other part is the changing (or lack of procedures), and the hoops I feel I have to jump through to get things done. I don’t see it as productive to involve 75 people for a relatively simple task, but a lot of what I do seems stopped by having to go up a figurative chain of command for an answer to something relatively easy. Having to do this makes the task overcomplicated and can be super wasteful of time, money, and patience. I’m a get shit done kind of person and feeling like I need permission for a lot of things is very frustrating. I hit unnecessary speed bumps every day and I’m just tired. It’s mid-week and I’m just tired.

With that being said, I’m going to stop talking about work and talk about things I’m working on at home because that makes me HAPPIER.

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These are the homemade toilet fizzies I talked about in this post! My first batch came out too soft because I added water too quickly. This second batch came out the perfect consistency and I was able to blend in my first batch with them so that nothing was wasted.  I didn’t have a silicone mold large enough so I hand-rolled them. That’s why they’re ugly (lol)! They work and smell heavenly. I’ll have to find myself some silicone soap molds to use in the future.

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I’m also working on this sage green aluminum can upcycle project! Tonight I’ll be able to flip the cans right side up and sponge on the top rims so they’re uniform and deal with the sharp edges inside. They didn’t seem very sharp but guess who cut their hand on one yesterday while painting?

I also have two more sets of coasters going, so I’ll be taking the next steps with those so that they can be done by the weekend!

I’ve been trying to get in at least a little bit of crafting every weekday in some way in order to keep these small projects moving. It gives me something to look forward to on work days and even small steps in the right direction are going in the right direction and are making a difference.

Today will be a better day than yesterday. I just need to keep my head down, focus on the things that matter, and let the work stuff brush off of me.

2018/2019 Comparison

Soon it’ll be time to burn my 2019 calendar book and start recording in my fresh, clean 2020 book. To say I’m looking forward to that is an understatement; 2019’s book has been bent and beat-up, having been dragged along in my purse all year. It has helped me so much, not only to keep me organized but to show me how much progress I’ve made.

I started my Etsy Shop about a year ago now and it was in January that I was like “Okay, I’m going to give Etsy a real try for this entire year!” In order for me to gain an understanding on how best to run a shop, I needed to break down my goals into smaller, attainable ones that I could feasibly accomplish [at least part of] in a month. I haven’t been consistent throughout the entire year because I got lost a few times. Between my mother’s diagnosis, my own feelings about that and other things – it’s not as if I had just Etsy to focus on. Either way, I was decently consistent with it.

My education of that site is still on-going and I think as long as I’m on it, it will always be. Big changes were implemented by Etsy this year and while none of them really affected me, I expect to encounter changes in the future that will. That is, if I do not start my own website this year. I have not fully decided on that.

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I’ve done a lot of reading into successful tagging for listings, how to read my stats, and how to cross-post listings on social media platforms effectively. It’s a continuing, on-going education. BUT here’s the thing: earlier this year, days would go by and my shop wouldn’t even get a single view without a fight. NOW, I am consistently getting a few views a day, even if I go days without posting links to my items on social media. It’s taken all year to build that and it’s not even like I’m getting a LOT of views nor making a lot of sales online. But it’s a persistent effort – a slow burn – that’s gotten me at least here.

Here doesn’t suck – here has items of mine in a local shop in Schenectady called the Schenectady Trading Company, where the past two months have been good for me, sales-wise and connection-wise with other local people and businesses. Here is with a solid Instagram community and Pinterest page. Here is with this blog, which just celebrated it’s year anniversary, that now has over 80 followers.  Here is with a possible collaboration of plant hangers with a dude who sells air plants, which is out of what I’m doing on Etsy with my glassware but is still valuable because they’re easy and fun for me to make.

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Be Weird. Be Kind. Be You. Click HERE for the listing for this set!

Here is feeling like I have a healthier balance between creating (without compromising my visions), writing, my physical and mental well-being, my social life – here is feeling like I’ve been working toward the “go deeper, not wider” advice that my boss gave to me in January of this year. It’s been a hard road because I want and like to do so many different things that it can be tough to focus. The calendar book has helped IMMENSELY with this, too. Here is being more conscious of choosing what events I will participate in and what could-be-opportunities I let slip by because my time and space are more valuable than money.

Instead of scattering myself so very thin on a regular basis, I’ve been much more aware of taking tasks on and eliminating things that I don’t need to be a part of. So, for example, along with Facebook’s deletion yesterday, I also deleted my Mercari shop, including the app on my phone, because it was just one more thing to check up on every morning that had stopped being a fruitful source of extra income. Why put forth any further energy into it? I can put that energy into something else I enjoy doing.

HERE is also a place where I deleted an extra Instagram account I wasn’t using and canceled my Best Fitness membership because I don’t make it there regularly anymore and I don’t care to try. As I was thinking of things yesterday, I realized that although I would pay a penalty, I’d rather do that and not have a gym membership and a Peloton bike and membership payment. In the long run, it’ll save me money. I can just use the bike and the classes it offers and be at home. It’s been working for me.

Here is a good place to be in 2019. I expect 2020’s year-end post to show even more strides in the right direction.

Reality Check.

I decided to delete my Facebook accounts this morning and not wait until the end of the month. Since my decision last week to do so, I’ve felt lighter. While I wasn’t spending a lot of time or energy on the site, making the announcement on my business and personal pages made me realize how little anyone cared.

My intention with that statement isn’t to sound whiney and pitiful; it’s to bring to light a point: we’re connecting but not really connecting. I don’t know how many friends I had on Facebook when I deactivated my personal account – perhaps 400? Out of those 400 a half-dozen people connected with me on Instagram, Pinterest, or by text because they wanted to stay in touch.

I didn’t feel I needed to update my page every day for the amusement of others, but I know many people do, consciously or impulsively. I know (knew?) quite a few people who would update numerous times a day, sharing every update to their life like it needed to be recorded for some sort of census. As if we were all waiting on the other side of our screens like – ‘I wonder if Susan got her house cleaned for her holiday party this weekend!’ 

Admittedly, I haven’t made it a point to be involved in daily posts in the past year or so. I don’t know how people keep up with everyone online, their families in person, their jobs, their hobbies, and their health, without sacrificing one or more of the above. I’ve gone through a season of my life that was heavily social media based and a lot of the real-life things happening around me escaped my attention when they really needed it. What’s the point of visiting with friends you haven’t seen in forever only to be on your phone, scrolling to see what someone else is doing? Betcha they aren’t doing anything as awesome as you are right in that moment.

A lot of time is taken up by providing updates to people who wouldn’t pick up the phone to call to see how you’re doing. That’s not the main reason I decided to leave the website, but it’s a small part of the big picture. I mean, why would I spend the time catering to apathetic strangers online when I know my dad would love to talk to me over the phone and my time would be better spent doing that? If you died, who would show up at your funeral? Your close friends and family, with whom you’ve cultivated meaningful relationships with or Karen from your spin class, who only likes your gym check-ins?

I’m all set.