Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm so hollow baby...

I can honestly say I haven’t felt this sad in about 6 years. Mostly though, I feel like a ghost wandering around just going through the motions. I guess it could be worse, I could go off on a crying jag and call into “work” (my current temping job), but being a ghost isn’t all that great either. Today I wore bright red and look super cute in attempts to fool the world (and hopefully myself) that everything is okay. In fact, I had a close encounter with a humming bird this morning who gave me some serious thought before returning to his hibiscus flower.

I’m sorry for being such a Debbie downer on a Friday; I know everyone is getting excited about the weekend, but I can’t help the way I feel. I suppose I could “fake it until I make it” and in some ways I am, but mostly I just feel hollow.

It all started 9 months ago when I met an amazing guy. He was a local bartender who was trying to get a permanent teaching position (if you read my older posts, he’s referred to as “Teach”). Anyways we started dating and from the start he said that he didn’t want anything serious as he might possibly move away depending on where he got a job. Fast forward 8 months, and that’s just what happened. He got a job in Northern California as a sophomore world history teacher. We had both discussed that neither of us wanted a long distance relationship (they are utterly impractical in every way) and so as the weeks kept counting down we both avoided the final goodbye.

Last night was the final goodbye. I told him how sick I was of people saying mean things about him. Surprisingly my friends aren’t as understanding about this amazing opportunity for Teach as I am. I guess I’ve always been a more realistic and rational person (and more like a guy in terms of my emotions) because all my female friends just talk trash: “I can’t believe he would just dump you like this” and “what do you mean he doesn’t want you to move up with him because you guys aren’t engaged?” the list goes on and on. Yeah, it’s shitty that I got left in the dust, but you know what? I’m proud of a guy who had a plan and stuck by it.

Teach told me how sick he was of everyone giving him shit for moving so far away or over congratulating him and telling him how awesome it will be. Of course he’s not looking forward to moving away from all his friends and family to a place he’s never lived before and not knowing anyone. Plus, as he is a recent addition to the staff and he doesn’t even get his own classroom; he has to share. He’s not moving because he loved the job, he’s moving because it was the only position he could get in this crappy economy. He doesn’t want to bar tend another year and hold off, he would rather move to BFE to get a year’s worth of experience and start a new job search next year to get his dream job. If I had the guts to do it, I would, wouldn’t you?

I call that hard work and ambition: doing what is necessary to reach your goals even if it’s not what you want now, it’ll help you reach your dream. I guess no one else sees it that way, or maybe I’m just uber supportive. I didn’t spend the last month moping around and being whiny, I was by his side picking out sheets and throw pillows. I helped him figure out what he needed to bring by sorting through all the crap in his room. I was there with a beer in my hand for him when he was stressed about having to move his life 500 miles away. If I felt emotional, I would save it for when he wasn’t around. I found it odd that while being sad that sometimes when I wanted to have a good cry, I couldn’t, but when I didn’t want to cry, I would. In the end I saved my tears for him in person the very last day at the very last hour with him.

Last night I met him for happy hour at our favorite place after work. Then, I went home to shower and drove over to his place. I spent a few hours cleaning out the rest of his room and organizing the crap he was leaving at his folk’s house. Then (because his mom was being a mom) we went back to my house. We cuddled for a while and then the tears started. They were slow tears at first and then trickled into a steady flow until I was bawling. He was sweet and held me and no he wasn’t made of stone because when I pulled away he had red rimmed eyes and tears too.

We talked about the things we would miss most and how it would be hard, but that we were doing the right thing and how on the 31st (today) we would both be single people again. I know that if we had fallen madly in love with each other things would be different and I would probably be on the open road just passing Fresno on our way up north. But I didn’t fall in love and neither did he as we kept our hearts well guarded in order to make this transition easier.

For the most part it did. I remember being more broken up about a guy, but this just feels different. Maybe because I’m more mature now and because it was a sad and mutual break up. Sure it will make seeing him when he comes down to visit around the holidays hard knowing I can’t walk up and pepper him with kisses, knowing that the only reason we broke up with distance and nothing else, but that’s life folks.

So now I sit here at work in my bright red shirt greeting people and phone calls with a smile. I get progress texts from him letting me know where he’s passing through on the road and even though it’s bitter sweet it’s nice to know he’s still thinking of me. I will be thinking of him too.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wouldn't it be fantastic if I could add this on the sidebar of my blog? I have yet to find a way to do this as Blogger only allows you to use their gadgets. You can add your own but it doesn't allow you to enter in code for the gadget; it only allows you to paste in a URL. How the hell can you get something to work just based on a URL?! It needs code to function!!!

Can you tell that I'm frustrated with this?! If you know how to make this work on Blogger, please let me know how!

*Update: Thanks to Debbie, I was able to add this on!

Daunting Digital Debate

I tried really, really hard to get into digital scrap booking. Every thing from the quick and easy picaboo (where you can only use their templates for design) to the mid-level Heritage Makers (I paid for a month’s membership to try it out. If you get the basic free membership you aren’t allowed to upload ANY of your own digital kits). I stopped before getting into the whole advanced photoshope (mainly because I didn’t have the money to invest in the good software). I know that it’s a million times cheaper for supplies (one purchase of a kit for under $10 that you can reuse over and over) and that it’s no mess as it’s all on your computer, but I just couldn’t get into it.

I made an honest effort, found some super cute stuff online, but I got frustrated with various programs. It takes so much time to do what you want (to cut shapes and manipulate objects etc) whereas when I have actual paper it’s fast and easy to cut what I want quickly. Obviously, cropping, matting and creating actual layouts overall take less time and sure the typing instead of handwriting looks neater, but it just seems to lack the heart.

I like paper scrap books; I always have! Even when I was 14 and elected the historian in our Explorer Post (now currently called “venturing”) I got really into it. Normally people would slap pictures into clear plastic sheets and be done with it, but my mom and I would go down to the stationary store and find cute paper and stickers for the “album”. Back then scrapbooking wasn’t really the “in” thing to do and so I was excited to find themed coordinating paper.

Now scrapbooking ultra hip and trendy and you can find supplies everywhere. Not that I’m complaining, but I think a log of people out there focus more on the layouts then the actual “scraps” that go into scrapbooking. Sure your page is huge and glittery and has 50 different design elements, but where’s your picture? Oh wait…there it is. It’s a wallet size! I know you know what I’m talking about. I wouldn’t classify myself as a scrapping snob, but I’ve been doing this for 12+ years and consider myself a true artist in this form.

Plus my embellishments aren’t all store bought and faux. A lot of what I put into my albums are ACTUAL memorabilia! The program and ticket stub from “the Vagina monologues”, the feather and pretty leaf I found on our last camping trip, The pressed flower from the first bouquet of flowers my boyfriend bought along with the ribbon that was tied around the vase. In a recent baby book I made, I found found a picture of the baby in her mom's favorite one-sie and put it into the scrapbook along with a fabric swatch from the actual one-se shown in the picture. You can't do that with digital scrapbooks.

A few years back I was helping my mom sort through my great aunt’s stuff. We found her old diary that had old newspaper clippings, cards and other wonderful things! It was like living history to see the old soap ad on the other side of some magazine article, marvel at the date on the newspaper and so on. If you have digital, your future possessors of your album, won’t feel the heart and soul of the album. They can’t feel the paper or pick up actual items you’ve pasted in.

I guess it’s the same principles of working with your hands like carpenters. Maybe I’m old fashioned. Even at a younger age (before I knew what scrapbooking was) I had an old spiral bound cardboard book I used to keep cartoon clippings of fairy tales from the newspaper in along with other stuff I thought was cool at the time, some original artwork, birthday cards (from now deceased realitives) and other odds and ends. Once again, you can’t do that with digital! Sure you can scan all that stuff in, but it’s not the same. It’s not an original, just a boring digital copy. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for digital scrapbooking, but it just seems so impersonal.

For now, I’m going to stick with my mounds of paper, spools of ribbon, faux flowers, brads, tags and everything else that makes a scrapbook homemade! Sure it's messier, costs more overall, and takes more time, but that's half the fun!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Craft room overhaul!

I started the process of sorting through my stuff. In an attempt to organize everything in a way that would be useful to me and help to keep my stuff clutter free and accessible, I got some racks to sort my papers. At first I bought a collapsible metal file drawer bin (or whatever it’s called) and it came with hanging file folders. This was great; I was able to sort my papers by color and theme. Over time, however, it turned into a disaster. (this is the overflowing bin to the right of my desk).
It became a quick dumping zone for scraps and other papers I wanted off my desk while I was working and I rarely went back to properly place papers into their correct folders. After a few months, I took out all the paper stacks (themed paper bound together) and piled them on top of tubs because I used these coordinated papers more than the individual ones. Soon the file bin became a home for lost and loose papers (that didn’t belong to a stack or theme) and it became jammed packed. I rarely got into it and since I couldn’t reach papers I had previously put in there, I just forgot about them.

Seeing that this wasn’t working out and was becoming an eyesore, I decided that I will clean out this monstrosity and devise another plan. At first I thought of using a type of upright rack that you use to sort mail. I figured that if I laid my paper flat I wouldn’t be able to thumb through to find what I wanted and it would get messy. So I got a rack, but the coil rack proved too small to use for this purpose. I went back to the craft store and found what I wanted, but the price was outrageous!!! $20 for one metal rack was absurd! It’s like paying $7 for a tiny bottle of flowers just because it’s labeled for “scrap booking”, when you can get a bunch for a buck from a Hawaiian lei! Since I was determined to find something, I went to Staples Office Supplies on a whim. Wouldn’t you know it? They had what I wanted, but bigger and better, but best of all on sale for $3!!!! I bought two. You can get a better visual here.

When I got them home they proved so sturdy that I used them sort the massive amounts of paperstacks I had from DCWV and K&Company (among others)! I used these the most anyways and the racks were so handy that I could pull out what I needed and easily put back whatever was left when I was done. I’m not sure these racks would have the same effect on the loose papers as the other and so I’m at a loss what to do with them.

The good news is that as I sort through these papers however I find stuff that I bought 5 years ago and never used. Some of these are wonderful papers that can be used on multiple projects and some I know I’ll never use and can be passed on to a new home in a swap or to a friend. I think that once I condense the amount of paper, I’ll be able to fit it all back into the metal folder system with ease. Since I hardly ever use it anyways, it won’t become congested if I move it away from my desk to find a new home in my room.

Another thing I have done recently was to sort my projects and store them in one place. I used to work on a project (for example: my Camping album) and when I was finished I would put all the papers, embellishments, flowers, ribbons etc. back to their rightful places, but when I wanted to work on it again the next day I had to start all over and pull everything again. After a while I would just heap everything in a stack and put it on my floor. Imagine having various piles of craft supplies on your floor! Needless to say, this wasn’t working. So, on a trip to the Dollar Tree with my mom we found these 12x12 wide, clear plastic envelopes that expanded to an 1 deep! They were perfect for storing my work-in-progress projects. The best thing was they tie closed and are clear so I can see at a glance what’s in them!!!! I ended up buying 10 of them and they are now neatly stacked (filled with projects) in my metal racks. The best part is seeing something similar at my local scrap book store for like $4 each!

The next task was to get rid of my blue tubs on the left against the wall. I thought at first that these would be great to store stuff I don’t use very often, but soon they turned into another place to dump stuff I wanted out of the way. I started cleaning them out and found that half the stuff in there was stuff I didn’t want and I found other homes for them. Since I needed a place to set my racks on, but that would still be accessible I figured that a small bookshelf (like the one my TV is sitting on) would be the way to go. I started shopping around nearly fainted at how expensive these things were. The cheapest one I found was $50 and it was ugly and black. I’m more of a wood kind of gal when it comes to home d├ęcor. So I went home and tired to picture the perfect wood shelf thing. A few days later I was able to get one from work! Read the full story here

With the blue tubs gone and the new shelf in place, my room is starting to look less cluttered. I know that this will take time, but so far the small improvements have had big results to the overall feel and practicality of the space. As I go I continually sort items into their own bins: faux flowers, tags, brads, embellishments etc. It’s taking some time, but everything is starting to come together.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Law of Attraction

For a long time I have been using the laws of attraction to help bring success and things into being for my life. Some times it was little things like getting a front row parking space and sometimes it was bigger like getting more money. Recently, the law of attraction was made popular by the book: “The Secret”. After reading the book, watching the DVD (which in my opinion is better than the book at getting the concept across), and researching the Law of attraction, I have found that it’s something that I’ve come to believe in; mainly because it really works (it does for me anyways). If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, you can read more about it here (scroll down to the section that says “Overview”).

Some might say that it is just a form of prayer and that it’s really God who provides (I believe this also) however, prayers are when you ask for something, and the law of attraction is where you believe you already have it (in order to get it). It’s a more proactive approach (if you will) to prayer. With the law of attraction if you ask for something, you’ll always be asking and wanting it, but if you believe you have it, you will have it. Therefore I’ve altered my prayers in more of a matter of fact tone thanking God for all the things he WILL provide for me, instead of asking. I may sound arrogant, but try if for a few days if you don’t believe me. Start with something small and see what happens. As with prayers, it may not happen right away, but eventually you’ll find things coming to you from the oddest places (read my side story below). Some may say that it’s purely coincidence, but it’s worked for me too many times to count. Like I said, try it for yourself, what have you got to lose?

Anyways, I hadn’t really thought about that in a while, and the other day I was thinking of how badly I needed a small bookcase/shelf for my room to replace these plastic tubs. I was visualizing the color of the wood and where it would go and what it would look like. I didn’t focus on trying to get one, just on what it would look like and such. I didn’t realize how hard I was focusing on having it, but I just knew that it was something I thought about during the day and right before bed.

Guess what? 2 days later I was sitting at work when the facility guys were wheeling out the exact book case I had envisioned. One guy said to the other that they needed to get rid of it and asked if he knew of anyone who wanted it. I spoke up and said I would take it off there hands. Imagine that! So now I have this really nice and sturdy bookcase just like I wanted in my room. It makes my room look so neat and tidy that it’s inspired me to organize and purge more stuff!

A side story to go along with this post. I have many, many stories, but this one is one of my favorites!

Last December, my mom was using the law of attraction to get money. Her mantra was “Money comes easily and frequently” and she was focusing on how awesome it was to have money and the feeling associated with it. About a week went by and nothing happened. Since it was around the holidays she wanted to cook up some family dishes and borrowed my Grandma’s old recipe box from my Grandpa (my Grandma died a few years back). My mom took the box home and began sorting through it. When she reached the “seafood” tab, she noticed something stuffed down in the bottom and pulled out an envelope. When she opened it, there was $400 in cash!!!!!!! When my mom called my Grandpa, he said that must have been a secret stash from decades ago, and that my mom could keep it! With the extra money, my mom was able to get the gifts she wanted for our family! Pretty cool huh?!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I know, I know....

I'm sorry I've been away so long. July is a terribly busy month for me. Not only is it my birthday month (the 4th of July for those inquiring), but it's also the birthday month for 13 of my friends. On top of themed birthday parties, drinks and other birthday excursions, I've been dealing with other things as well.

My boyfriend got a job way up north and will be leaving in 12 days. Aside from helping him pack and get stuff for his new place, it's been heart wrenching. Thus, I have been spending much of my free time with him and not crafting.

I have several projects I was using to distract me, but then I got a job call for a temp to perm position. Add that onto my BF leaving and birthdays and I've had virtually no free time whatsoever. I'm so glad that I got this job (it looks like it will go perm), but I feel like I've been behind in my projects.

Right now I have these going on (please note I've listed the project along with the supplies I'm using) :

Natalie's baby album - various paper lines: K&Company "wild Saffron", and other primary colored paper themes. Further details can be found here.

Chrissa's 1st year scrapbook - which has more memorabilia than pictures (baptism cap, first finger painting, ultra sounds, announcements etc.)

Camping Album - Colorbok "Friendly Forest" - DCWV "Green" - K&Company "Wild Saffron"

Renaissance Faire Album - DCWV "Once upon a time and other fairy tale mediums

Disneyland Ablum - Jolee Any land/princess/character embellishments

Altered book with the theme "predictions" - Anything dealing with fortune telling like: gypsies, crystal balls, elements: sun/moon/earth/fire/air/water, tarot cards, zodiac, palm reading etc. - I like sepia and bold jewel tones (think Gypsy colors!)

The Mermaid's Trousseau - SO EXCITED about this swap. My friend is hosting this exclusive swap and I was lucky enough to be invited! The details are found here. This swap has become my top priority and I have some lovely projects in the works. I'd post details here, but I'm afraid my partner for this swap might see what I have in store for her! Don't worry, I'll post pictures later.

I know this entry is short and without pictures, but please realize that I have A LOT going on. I promise that I will be up and writing soon. August is just around the corner and by then I feel that I'll have a firm grip on my new schedule. Until then.... please be patient with me and enjoy your summer!