Saturday, November 14, 2015

December Daily 2015

Hi, everyone :-)

I have tried to create a December Daily for several years now. Probably for as long as Ali Edwards have actually made one :-D

So, this year I am going to make it happen, and I enlist you, my readers, to help me with it.

1) Assign a place to "make it happen". You need what you need to make art journals, scrap books, or any paper crafting. To me that means a table with reasonable bare working surface, a chair that is OK to sit on for hours and all my tools and materials available and close-by.
I have already a work place, which I intend to use for this, too.

2) Make a plan for your December Daily. Look at pictures, and pic some 20 that you find wonderful, the photos that made you want to make DD yourself. And then just decide. If you don't like it, you can always make a new one next year. But remember, "done is better than perfect". You should see what I have inside my head! The awesomeness would break the Internet! Like all fantasies...
So - pick a format and go for it. It's just 31 days. You can do it.

- choose color scheme
- collect some ephemera, embellishments etc.
-- you will need numbers, from 1 to 31
-- you might want some ribbon and string.
-- Christmas wrapping materials are great - wrapping paper and ribbon
-- any paper scraps in your chosen color scheme. If it's red and green, the junk mail, catalogues etc. will be full of these colors.
-- I like anything glittery for Yule.
-- anything flat can be used, like flat ornaments, buttons, crocheted shapes, cupcake toppers and drink sticks, napkins, paint chips, sequins, post cards, paper scraps... Found objects are a nice, unusual addition, and there's usually something in junkmail at this time of the year, that can be used. There's also interesting things used as packing material.
-- I think snowflakes are perfect for DD and paper doilies look very much like snow.
-- I also like transparencies. It could be plastic or tissue paper. You can make your own printed tissue paper and washi tape.
-- I like metal embellishments. You can make quite a lot yourself, from old cans and tins or with aluminium foil.
-- I also like wood vaneer. It's not difficult to make fake wood.
-- You can fake almost any material. There's tutorials online on how to make fake wood, stone, metal, enamel etc.
- get some stamps and stencils.
- I like my albums layered. So learn to make different minialbums and tip-ins. Lapbook community has tons of tutorials on how to make interesting things to add more surface and layers, like minibooks, flaps and folders.

3) Make the album or covers or what ever you decided on. Get the empty journal. Get the photo album. Get what ever it is you decided.
Get the empty pages or make some sort of note or draw a sketch of each empty page as placeholder for when you get the actual page. Some might want to use this year's holiday greeting cards or junkmail as pages. You need to have some sort of marking of that "here is a page".

4) Have a sketchy plan on what you want to have on each page. With "sketchy", I mean "this page is going to be about our trip to fetch the tree" or "this page is going to be about holiday baking".
There are tons of lists and suggestions on what to put on pages, just search "December Daily", "December photo a day", "December journal prompts"  and "December project life", etc.

5) Get into habit of taking at least one photo each day. If you don't have a camera, or if you don't want photos, you can skip this step. But don't expect that on December 1st you wake up with an irresistible lust to take photos, if you haven't done it in November. Make yourself take at least one photo each day, from today.
Remember, NO-ONE DOESN'T NEED TO SEE YOUR PHOTOS. Not even you. You can delete them right after shooting them. But if you want photos, you need to take photos, and the only way of getting better with it, is to do it.

6) Look at the embellishments and backgrounds of people's DDs and start collecting that kind of things. Most people seem to have a basket to store these things. You need a box or basket or tray big enough to hold your December Daily album and a couple of boxes, bowls or cups to hold the "small stuffs", like stickers and gold flakes and buttons etc.

Now you are ready for December.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Stocking stuffers for the not-girly-girl women

Here's a great list: 50 awesome stocking stuffers that don't suck under 10 dollars

These are a bit suck-y: Stocking stuffers for her

* Don't buy her make-up, nail polish or perfume if you are not 100% sure of what she uses. Some women - like me - use no make-up, and finding make-up in my stocking is saying "I don't know you at all". You do NOT want to say THAT to your girlfriend.

* give her a gift certificate to a book store rather than a book. Especially a book you are told about by people suggesting you what to give as a gift...

* I hate digital watches. And metal wrist bands on watches. So if you plan on giving her jewellery, check what she uses. I don't use much jewellery. I use earrings and sometimes necklaces and brooches, but rings? bracelets? No. I don't use a watch either.

* Don't assume she loves chocolate because she is a woman. Find out what is her favourite candy. I would be happier for a box of salt liquorice than smoked chocolate.

* Candles... well... if that's not the only thing. But find out which smells she prefers, because there are smells people don't like, and it's highly personal and subjective. the same goes with incense. Also, if you plan buying her incense, see that she has something to burn it in. And not everyone likes incense.

* The only machines you can give to your girlfriend/wife are about fun. Do not give her a fabric steamer. It doesn't matter how expensive it is, if she needs it, if she wouldn't ever buy one for herself, because when you give her a household appliance, anything to do with household chores, like cleaning, cooking, ironing etc. you are telling her that you expect her to be a good little 50s housewife. AND by giving her a fabric steamer, you are saying "I have noticed you are a bit sloppy with your clothes".

* iPhone cover... Does she even have an iPhone? And what kind of patterns does she like? What kind of patterns does she use in her clothing, home, stationary? Giving ME an iPhone cover with cutesie flowers is saying "I don't know you at all, but I expect you to be a girly girl who likes pink and flowers and a modern, trendy girl who has an iPhone like everyone else." OK, then. Go find a girl that fits that cover, because I'm not her.

* "Adult coloring books are officially a thing and whether she admits it or not, there’s a good chance she wouldn’t hate getting her hands on one."
No, I wouldn't. And if you listen more to the guys at "ask men" than your girlfriend, I think you should date them, and not me.

* I don't use scarfs. I use shawls. Give me a pashmina, not a "geo print blanket scarf". That's ugly and not in my colors. You should know me well enough to at least know what kind of colors I like!
So, with this as with everything else; accessories are a great stocking stuffer, BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT SHE LIKES.
If she doesn't use gloves, it's stupid to buy her them.
If she doesn't use hats, don't buy her one. If she doesn't use handbags, don't buy her one.
If she does, tell the store clerk what kind of handbags you have seen her use. They come in a lot of different styles, materials, brands etc. You don't want to buy her wrong kind.

So, what to buy, then?

* travel trinkets, like baggage tags and passport case, are great gifts, because they are telling her that you expect to take her to see the world. Unless, of course, she hates traveling :-D

* experiences - it could be a hot balloon ride or day at a spa, but I was thinking about "movie night" or "date night" kind of things :-D An exotic cookbook with necessary spices.

* if you can't think of anything, go to Pinterest and search "wish list" at boards...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dede Willingham's Idea Book II

When you look at this video, YOU NEED TO HAVE PAPERS AND PEN WITH YOU and WRITE IT DOWN.
This is where your idea collecting starts.

Also, as you watch this video, write down the impulses you get and answer the questions. This is a video, it's OK to pause it for the time it takes you to hunt your ideas.

Also, this will take quite a lot of time, so start watching this when you have time!

What is mind mapping? How to brainstorm? How do people actually collect ideas? What is a bullet list? Would it work for me? Would it work for me in some other project, like in a planner? What is ephemera? How could I get my hands on more ephemera? Where do I get tickets like that? What could I use them for? Do I really want them? What would I want in stead? Why? What could I do with that?

This is an exercise in idea collecting and brainstorming, nothing more. You are not to realize any of the ideas, or pursue them further, you are just to get trained to see everything around you as potential resource and getting used to record your ideas. It's important!

Dede Willingham's Idea Book I

Goodies, Idea Book, Old ATCs

14:48 First mention, I think
She is talking about "Project Life" things that fit in a standard binder and how the PL things can be used in the Idea Book.

You can jump straight to 55:40

"What I wanted to do this year... an idea collecting project."
"I'm going to give you ways and means to collect ideas... ideas, techniques, references, colors and color combinations, supplies (resources)... ...notes, sketches, magazine scraps... ...themes, mind mapping..."

There are two things that are very important here:

1) The idea with the Idea Book is to USE IT. So do what you KNOW you need to do to ensure you will use it!

2) It is going to be tailored just for you. Personalized, customized, to your preferences and needs. What ever Dede says is just suggestions, that YOU NEED TO ADJUST TO YOUR PERSONAL PREFERENCES AND NEEDS - so that you will use it!

It is an IDEA binder. Not a place to storage things like pretty papers or ephemera. IDEAS. Inspiring pictures. Scribbles, sketches, notes.

"This is going to be for your ideas, not for your projects, it's not going to be an art journal, it's not going to be a collage journal, it's not going to be a sketchbook, it's not going to be anything like where you finish something - use your sketchbooks, your art journals, your canvases for your finished projects, for things that are "more done"; it's not going to be a place where you develop your sketches"

Now, at 1:26 she starts talking about the ATCs - artists' trading cards, so if you are after the idea book stuff, you can move on to the next video.

Things you need for the Idea Book

You will need a binder. 
The size and other requirements are up to you.
Dede is using a standard 3 ring binder, 2" wide, with D rings, but if you KNOW you are more comfortable with a small binder, use that. If you love filofax binders, use them. There's all kinds of things for that. If you like composition notebooks, use them. Moleskines. What ever rocks your boat.But Dede uses the big binder, so everything she talks about is based on that. You need to adjust your idea book to your needs and preferences.

You will need pages.
Dede uses prepunched printer paper, just because it's relatively cheap and readily available, and if you have 500 pages, you won't be stingy with them :-D
But use what makes you happy to use it, use what you know you will use. If you prefer pale pastel colors for your pages, choose that. The colored printer paper isn't that much more expensive than the white, and if you are more bound to use it, the cost is justifyiable. :-D As said -and it will be repeated often - you need to USE it, so  

You will need dividers and tabs
There will be main tabs, but also sub tabs, if you want to.

You can use page protectors as dividers, as the page protectors are wider than the papers in the binder, and hide the dividers.

You can print tabs on post-it-notes and just stuck them on the page protectors.

You can also use Project Life tabs and just cut them to fit the ordinary binder.

Here, again, Dede will talk about tabs she is going to use, but you need to adjust the tabs to your needs. She said: "I'm going to give you ways and means to collect ideas... ideas, techniques, references, colors and color combinations, supplies (resources)... ...notes, sketches, magazine scraps... ...themes, mind mapping..." Most of those categories are going to need their own tab, and you will need a table of contents to remind you where to find what, as it's not very useful to write long things on the tabs. Numbers or symbols are usually good.

(materials, resources, inventory
If you don't do collages, don't have a tab for collages.
Have a tab for "your art and crafts")

You need to create a system that will work for you, so you will need to keep an eye on things/tabs you use, and what you don't use, so that you can remove what you won't use and add what you need.
There is really no need for you to have tabs in your idea journal you know you are never going to use, to take space from things you are going to use.
So when Dede says "your art", it doesn't mean that you MUST have only one main tab for every art and crafts form you do and then have subtabs - you can have a main tab for each and every one, and then have subtabs there - like "Colored Pencils" - sub:animals, sub; abstract, sub;realism, sub; special techniques

You will need page protectors and card sleeves etc. 
These are for storage of smaller bits of paper and "stuffs".
There's a lot of different "sleeves". Just google "storage pocket refill sleeve photo archival". :-D
You'll find plastic see-through pocket inserts (like page protectors) divided for many different uses. Dede speaks about the collectible card storage sleeves, but there are sleeves for business cards, photos of all sizes, mounted slides and negatives (still - some people are still using analogue cameras and film), the sleeves for photos come in different sizes, some has wider pockets for photos and narrower pockets for journaling, and that is wonderful, I think.
There are sleeves for storing stamps, coins and bills for the philatelists and numismatics.
There's postcard sleeves.

Here in Sweden the binder rings are standard, so every punched page and pocket and sleeve fits ANY standard binder - the big ones, the small ones... so you can use the page protectors for the SMALL binders in a BIG binder, especially if you use them to store smaller pieces, not A4 papers.

You can also take a page made for ANY KIND OF BINDER; cover the punched edge with sturdy tape or self-adhesive film, or glue pretty paper or cardstock to cover the holes, and repunch it to fit your binder.
You can also do this with folders to create pockets.

You will need some clear plastic bags for storing smaller pieces. You can get small postcard size bags quite cheaply, and also use collectible card protectors. (Which is what I do, because I play Magic the Gathering and have the card sleeves and pages ;-))

You will need a couple of folders for extra project ideas, clip art, articles and scraps you don't want to store in the page protectors. Especially if you have cut your page protectors to not cover the tabs, and want to store the extra pages unfolded.

You will need a notepad.

Dede has the "Big Ideas Notepad" in the pocket of the cover of the binder and a hairband to keep it in neatly in place.

The Big Ideas Notepad: 100 Brainstorming, Mind-mapping & Awesome Idea-generating Sheets
by Mary Kate McDevitt
ISBN-13: 978-1452114149

It's good to have ring hole reinforcer stickers, because the printer paper holes will tear. Even when you are really gentle with your binder, which you shouldn't need to be, because the more you need to think about things like that, the less likely it is that you use it. You shouldn't need to think your binder at all. You should be able to store it wherever, grab it at any time and scribble in it what ever you want.
Which means that you need to store at least one good pen with the binder all the time. Preferably more than one, in different colors. I need my mechanical pencil, and extra lead and erasers.

* how to make a fabric cover with pockets for a binder

* How to make a Duct tape binder pocket page
* Sew a 3 ring binder pouch - really pretty, and just adjust the instructions for your binder.
* How to make tabs - I really like the messiness of this journal. She simply cuts square or rectangular pieces of pretty papers, folds them in half and glues on the page dividers.
* how to print on post-its
* how to make custom page providers

Also, read this about jewelry design idea book and this, about the value of keeping a sketch book as a jewelry designer.

DIY Filofax inserts

This was written by Clare at "Less Grafting More Crafting" - on May 16th 2014, but the site seems to be dead now, so I decided to repost some parts of the tutorial here:

"This tutorial combines a mix of making your own inserts from scratch and customising pre-printed inserts – the beauty of this project is that you can keep working on it throughout the year and you don’t need to finish it in one go! This also means that you can really make it work for you, so don’t be afraid to try out ideas and then scrap them if they don’t work."

"To make this insert, measure the size of your pages and cut out a rectangle without a divider tab. Use the holes of the divider as a guide to punch out the holes in your new page."

"You can make simple storage pockets using pieces of card or scrapbooking paper"
"You could make a divider page before each month using scrapbook paper – I used some little stickers for the month on the front of each one. I haven’t put divider tabs on these, but you could if you want to."

"To make divider tabs, just use your old divider inserts and draw around the tab."

"When it comes to the actual diary pages, there are so many possibilities! You could customise bought inserts, or print out your own."

"When it comes to the pre-printed inserts, you can also use washi tape and stickers to decorate. "

"These little envelopes are perfect for storage!"

 They gave a link to how to make these envelopes.

Clare has written a new version of this to her current blog (I think), where she talks more about this and shows more photos, and also shows how to make the tab dividers.

Now, if you do anything with this, go and share your creation at Clare's facebook page: . She would really like to see how she inspires people. :-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

120 questions to get you thinking

1: Who did you last say "I love you" to?
2: Do you regret it?
3: Have you ever been depressed?
4: Do you like dinosaurs?
5: Are you insecure?
6: What is your relationship status?
7: How do you want to die?
8: What did you last eat?
9: Have you played any sports?
10: Do you have an attitude?
11: Do you like someone?
12: What is your real name?
13: Have you ever read a book?
14: Do you hate anyone at the moment?
15: Do you miss someone?
16: Twirl or cut your spaghetti?
17: Do you tan a lot? over the summer?
18: Have any pets?
19: How exactly are you feeling?
20: Ever eaten food in a car while someone or yourself is driving:
21: Good driver?
22: Are you scared of spiders?
23: Would you go back in time if you were given the chance?
24: Do you regret anything from your past?
25: What are your plans for this weekend?
26: Do you want to have kid?
27: Do you type fast?
28: Do you have piercings?
29: Want anymore?
30: Can you spell well?
31: Do you miss anyone from your past?
32: What are you craving right now?
33: Ever been to a bonfire party?
34: Ever had a silly band?
35: Have you ever been on a horse?
36: Have you ever broken someones heart?
37: Have you ever been cheated on?
38: Are you thinking of someone right now?
39: Would you live with someone without marrying them?
40: What should you be doing?
41: Whats irritating you right now?
42: Have you ever liked someone so much that it hurts?
43: Does somebody love you?
44: What is your favorite color?
45: Have you ever changed clothes in a car?
46: Milk chocolate or white chocolate?
47: Do you have trust issues?
48: Best friends name?
49: 2nd best friends name?
50: 3rd best friends name?
51: Who was the last person you cried in front of?
52: Do you give out second chances too easily?
53: Is it easier to forgive or forget?
54: What was your childhood nickname?
55: Favorite food?
56: Was your last relationship a mistake?
57: Do you believe in God?
58: Have a best friend?
59: Like to go on walks?
60: Do you believe everything happens for a reason??
61: Did you have dream last night?
62: Have you ever been out of state?
63: Do you play the Wii?
64: Are you listening to music right now?
65: Do you like Chinese food?
66: Who are you texting right now?
67: Are you afraid of the dark?
68: Is cheating ever okay?
69: Are you mean?
70: Can you keep white shoes clean?
71: What year has been your best?
72: Do you believe in true love?
73: Favorite weather?
74: Do you like the snow?
75: Does it snow a lot where you live?
76: Do you like the outside?
77: Do you wanna get married?
78: Is it cute when a boy/girl calls you baby?
79: Are you hungry?
80: What makes you happy?
81: Would you change your name?
82: Ever been to Alaska?
83: Ever been to Hawaii?
84: Do you watch the news?
85: What's your zodiac sign?
86: Do you like subway?
87: Do you talk like your friends?
88: Have you ever seen someone you knew and purposely avoided them?
89: Do you have a friend of the opposite gender who you can act your complete self around?
90: Do you bite your nails?
91: When was your last physical fight?
92: Are you gonna get high later?
93: Ever made out in the bathroom?
94: Would you take any of your exes back?
95: Did you ever kiss someone whose name starts with an E?
96: Kissed someone in a pickup truck?
97: Have you made a boyfriend/girlfriend cry?
98. Do you have a good relationship with your parents?
99: Do you believe your most recent ex thinks about you?
100: Who was the last person of the opposite gender you talked to?
101: Do you feel good?
102: Who was the last person you had a deep conversation with?
103: Can you count to one million?
104: Are your finger nails painted at the moment?
105: Favorite number?
106: If you could pick two people your own age or younger to be stuck on a stranded island with, who would it be?
107: Are you a hunter?
108: Tall or short?
109: Favorite subject in school?
110: What 5 people do you trust the most?
111: Who do you think has amazing hair?
112: Parents divorced?
113: What city do you live in?
114: Where were you born?
115: Recliner or couch?
116: What two people do you miss talking to?
117: Who will you be with this weekend?
118: City or country?
119: Water or soda?
120: Was this a waste of my time?

These 120 questions were posted at "and so she says", but that post doesn't exist anymore, so I repost it.

Also: 5000 question survey
If you answer one question every day, it takes you almost 14 years to answer all of them.
I think it's a bit of a waste of time, but... might get you thinking.
You could, for example, think of a better question, a question that DOES make you think about your life and life in general, and universe and everything.

30 questions quaranteed to make you think

Here's 15 big questions to answer
P.P.S. Guess what? I found them :-D
It turned out this was a shortened and a little changed version of the 200 questions. The missing questions are:

Are you a boy or girl?
Are you alone?
Are you currently bored?
Are you proud of the person you've become?
Did you ever been on TV?  
Did you ever bought porn?  
Did you ever broken a bone?  
Did you ever bully someone on the internet?
Did you ever cut yourself for no reason?  
Did you ever drink alcohol?
Did you ever fail a driver’s test?  
Did you ever find something valuable on the ground?  
Did you ever get your heart broken?  
Did you ever graduated from college?  
Did you ever have surgery in your life time?  
Did you ever have wisdom teeth taken out?  
Did you ever kiss someone a different race than yourself?  
Did you ever kiss someone before you were 14?  
Did you ever kiss someone whose name starts with an M?
Did you ever learn another language?  
Did you ever made fun of someone for being fat?
Did you ever played on a sports team?
Did you ever sexted someone?
Did you ever showered with someone else?
Did you ever snuck out of the house?  
Did you ever stalk someone on facebook/ MySpace?  
Did you ever talked to someone via webcam?  
Did you ever watch TV for 5 hours straight?
Did you ever watched “The Breakfast Club”?
Did you ever wear someone else’s clothes?  
Did you ever won a trophy in your life?  
Did you speak to your father today?
Did you think this looked like fun to do? 
Do you enjoy piercings and tattoos?
Do you go to church?
Do you have a bank account?
Do you have any siblings?
Do you have STD?  
Do you know your father's birthday?
Do you love MTV?
Do you miss your last relationship?  
Do you prefer to shower at night or in the morning?
Do you think you're a good person?
Do you want to please everyone?
Do you wear make-up?  
Does it matter if your boyfriend/girlfriend smokes?
Ever beat a video game?  
Ever been in a wedding?
Ever been late for school?
Ever been late for work?
Ever been on a boat?  
Ever been on a road trip longer than 5 hours?  
Ever been on an airplane?  
Ever been outside my home country?  
Ever been to a concert?  
Ever been to a Japanese steakhouse?  
Ever been to a professional sports game?  
Ever been to a wedding?
Ever been to prom?  
Ever bought condoms?
Ever broken something expensive?  
Ever caught the stove on fire?  
Ever dyed your hair?
Ever failed a class?
Ever got engaged?  
Ever got in a fist fight?  
Ever got in a verbal fight?  
Ever gotten pregnant?
Ever had a credit card?  
Ever had a three-some?  
Ever had a virus on your computer?  
Ever had an eating disorder?
Ever had braces?  
Ever killed an animal?  
Ever kissed a boy?
Ever kissed a girl?
Ever kissed in the rain?
Ever meet someone famous?  
Ever played a drinking game?  
Ever rode in a helicopter?  
Ever rode in a taxi?  
Ever rode in an ambulance?  
Ever stayed up for 24 hours or more?  
Ever used a little paper bag for lunch?
Favorite lyrics right now?
Has someone ever made you a promise and broken it?
Have you ever been in a car accident?  
Have you ever been on a diet?  
Have you ever been on the computer for 5 hours straight?
Have you ever been on vacation?  
Have you ever been out of the country?
Have you ever been overweight?
Have you ever been unhappy about my weight?  
Have you ever had a crush on someone of the same sex?  
Have you ever had a job?
Have you ever had sex in public?
Have you ever made a boyfriend/girlfriend cry?
Have you ever made out for more than a half hour straight?
Have you ever missed the bus?
Have you ever prank called someone?  
Have you ever run a mile in less than 10 minutes?  
Have you ever said you'd never love again?
Have you ever slipped on ice?
Have you ever smoked a cigar?
Have you ever smoked cigarettes?
Have you ever smoked weed?
Have you ever walked outside completely naked?
Have you heard a song that reminds you of someone today?
Have you left the house without money?
Have you noticed this survey stopped getting personal?
How many months until your birthday?
Is this year the best year of your life?
Longest relationship?
What are your top 3 favorite colors?  
What do you wear more: jeans, sweats, pants, or shorts?
What is bothering you?
What is the last thing you did before you went to bed last night?
What is your number 1 favorite animal? and why?  
What is your number 1 favorite sport?  
What’s your favorite singer/rapper?  
What's going on between you and your best friend?
Where do you go if you are butt naked and locked out of your house?
Why did you decide to do this quiz?
Would it be hard to kiss the last person you kissed?
Your best friend of the opposite gender likes you, what do you do?
You're a Sharpie marker, what color are you?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Journals to keep, diaries to write, books to create...

1) Morning Pages

2) Gratitude Journal

The purpose of the gratitude journal is to ACTIVELY COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS AND RECORDING YOUR FINDINGS TO SUPPORT YOU ON DAYS WHEN LIFE FEELS BLESSINGLESS. And the funny thing is, that as you do that, you become more grateful, positive, appreciative and satisfied with life, even when you don't do anything "fancy" and "complicated".

Steps of keeping a gratitude journal:

- get something to write on and something to write with. The ideal is to have a book you find beautiful and delightful to hold, and lovely to write on; and a pen that writes smoothly and leaves a readible print on the paper; a pen, that sits well in your hand, that is a joy to use.
But any piece of paper is good enough and any pen, pencil, what ever that leaves a mark on the paper.
The journal and the pen are not the point here. What you write down is.

- Record 3-5 things you are grateful for every day. Things that bring you joy. Things you enjoy. Things you love to have in your life. Things without which your life would feel poorer and less likable. You can call it a happiness journal, if that makes it feel better :-D
But do it every day. There is power in repeated actions and habits. Do it even on days when you don't feel much gratitude, when it's boring and stupid, when you don't have time to do it... just write it.

That's it.

- You don't need to use any format, write long, explain anything. You just need to jot down nice things about and in your life.

This list is good enough:
- my family- my bed
- my computer
- my home
- breakfast cup of tea

- it's OK to record "obvious" things. It's OK to record mechanically, without "really thinking about it". 

- it's OK to not feel grateful as you record these things. "Counting your blessings" work even when you don't actively try to "feel" things. Even when you feel nothing.

- it's OK to repeat the things. You don't have to find NEW things every day to report. It's not some sort of competition or a challenge.

- it's OK to write down more things than 3-5, but try to write something every day. As said, it's OK to repeat. So when you have "nothing" to be grateful for, just copy what you write on the previous page.

- you don't need to "change your attitude" or "try to be more positive". Crumble, whine and murmur just as you are used to do. Let the action have its natural consequences without trying to force it.

- It is OK to "borrow" things you are grateful for from other people. Sometimes we don't see what we have before we read someone else being grateful for that thing.

- it is OK to compare what you have with what others have. 
I for one am incredibly grateful for living in a democratic, Western country with solidarity and social conscience, that is living in peace. I am incredibly grateful for not needing to flee to save my life.
I am very, very grateful for having a roof over my head and walls around me and a door that I can lock behind me.
I am grateful for the food on the table and the good, clean water in the pipes; I am grateful for plumbing, I am grateful for the WC - I grew up without plumbing. There's thousands, millions of people who don't have plumbing and not even clean water!
I am grateful for being still mobile.
I am grateful for my loving and kind husband, whom I love and find pleasing to look at and lovely to discuss with, and with whom I have so much fun and intimacy. :-)

- it's OK to write about things. This is not a competition. No-one else but you are supposed to see this book. It is highly private and personal, and you shouldn't be thinking about "what others might think of you if they knew how petty/stupid/shallow you are". Accept who you are and what you like. The things you will write in this will be short and simple. The best things in life are. Just think how much there fits in a word like "mother", "daughter", "beloved"... Your pet. His name is enough to define him to you, but there are no words in the world to define him to others :-)

3) Art Journal

4) Line-a-day
A good way of keeping a diary or log of your days. Just write one line to describe the day.

5) Smash Book / Junk Journal / Glue Book

6) Travel album
Remember that life itself is a journey...

7) Scrapbook
In the beginning there were "scrapbooks" that were for collecting scraps - cuttings from newspapers and magazines and other ephemera. Then photography was invented and became every man's business and where there were first photo albums, people started decorating the photo albums and adding journaling, and then when the "scraps" and ephemera amount increased, people started calling them scrapbooks. Today we understand "scrapbook" as a sort of decorated photo album with journaling. Very few still remember that scrapbooks really were about books where you glued scraps from newspapers and magazines.

8) Personal planner

9) Idea Book

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mabon Bingo

Adapted from Thanksgiving Bingo

You will need:
as many bingo calling cards as you have players, and one for the caller
some blu-tack or pins and corkboard or some other such, to keep the cards in square for playing. (read the whole instruction to understand.)
15 markers for each player. These could be nuts, for example.

Cut all into squares.All the players and the caller mix their squares in front of them, picture side down.
The players pick 16 cards and arrange them into a square, which ever way they like.
(If there are some kids who like to copy someone else, let them arrange the square in the order they pick them up. In four rows, four cards in each row.)
It might be good to have some blu-tack to tack the cards in the square, so that they won't get mixed during the game
Caller turns over a card randomly and calls out the picture.
Any player with that image, lays a marker on top.
Play continues until the some gets four in row in any direction including diagonally and shouts out BINGO!

(You can, of course, adjust the cards to your own symbols and traditions. This is mine.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Autumn Bucket List 2015

My autumn... well... datewise it's from Lammas to Samhain. But August doesn't feel like autumn :-D And I am divided, because I do feel Mother knows best, better than our calculations, traditions and calenders. Basically... one could think the autumn is when most trees have changed colors. But... that seems to be happening later and later every decade, and I am not going to wait for October to celebrate Autumn. I would miss Mabon! So - from Lammas to Samhain it is, and I am going to explain August as "the first days of autumn that feel like summer still", just as the first days of spring feel like winter etc.

Different definitions of autumn:
- astronomical - begins at Autumn Equinox, ends at Winter Solstice
- meteorological - here it's "Summer is when the median temperature of days is over 10 °C five or more subsequent days", so when the median temperature sinks below 10 °C. In USA it's "June, July, August"

- write an autumn bucket list

- write a list of 92 things you love/like about autumn

If you don't get 92 things on your list, don't worry. Write as many as you can think of.

- commit to take a photo on each day of Autumn according to this list of your personal favorites. This is why the number os 92. If you didn't get 92 things, don't worry about it, just take more photos of some of your favorites. 

- get better with photographing.

- Search "[name of the month] photo/photography challenge". There's dozens of suggestions on-line. Pick your favorites, print the list and cut it into strips, and put the strips in a bowl. Every day of Autumn, pick a strip and take a photo. 

Yes, it's a lot of photos. But it doesn't take more than a couple of minutes top most to snap a photo of a thing. It doesn't need to be the greatest photo in the history of photography. It doesn't even need to be a good photo. Or a photo you are proud of. Or a photo you like. It just needs to be a photo of something. 

- Start an Autumn journal
  • a bit like "December Daily", though this is "August/September/October Daily"
  • illustrate it with your photos-a-day
  • make the pages like an art journal, "Project Life" page or a scrapbook page. 
  • make a page every day
  • there are different journal prompts around, and "project life" prompts etc. Use them.
  • write down the best part of each day. This doesn't need to be perfect, amazing, inspiring or even good. "best" means "the least bad". 
  • start a gratitude journal - write this, too, in your autumn journal
  • start writing morning pages. Write these to separate pages and add to your journal.
  • keep a nature journal or notebook. Write down the weather and nature phenomenon you observed. For this you need to take a nature walk every day with your camera... so we'll get both practice with camera and exercise in the list just like that :-D 
  • Pick a beautiful tree and take a photo of it once a week from the same spot, to see how the seasons change. Pick a tree with beautiful autumn colors, like a maple or aspen. Rowens are nice too, with their berries.
  • "Sharpen your Observational Skills through Drawing" - again, it doesn't need to be good. The point is to sharpen your observational skills, not to make art... and that you will get better with drawing is just a bonus. ;-)
  • "Think about the “seasons” of life, and write a letter to yourself about what you will savor about this season"

- clean your home for winter. There are several "fall cleaning" checklists and suggestions on-line.

- decorate your home

- prepare your wardrobe for the transition.
Create a fall capsule wardrobe fit for your lifestyle, activities and purposes.
On my list is "tweed promenade suit, 40's felt hat, plenty of patterned tights, brogue oxfords with heel, leather gloves"
Check the sweaters and cardigans, let them air in the crisp autumn air and start wearing them.
Get a pair of good, comfortable, classic fall boots you will be wearing the rest of your life, and a pair of boot socks.

- Knit something. Learn to knit. On my list is a white, soft aran sweater and a fair-isle set of vest and cardigan. And a tam.

- Take the "week of dressing dangerously" challenge.
Look at all the clothing styles people have, all the costumes, all the tv-series and everything where people wear clothes. Pick five favorites. Pick five of the costumes or outfits you wish you had or could wear or would wear "if..." If you were skinny or curvy. If you were tall or short. If you were a man. If you were in your favorite fantasy world. If you were your favorite superhero. If you were a rock star.
Get yourself these outfits/costumes.
Wear them a whole day, as if it was your normal attire.

On my list
  1. tree
  2. steampunk
  3. goth
  4. gypsy
Change your life in 30 areas to reduce your carbon footprint

I do have the Japanese "oil from plastic" machine on my shopping list... and then I will be making oil. But until I get one - or build one - there are other things to do.
  • have a “earth day” every day – 1 hour of no electricity
  • use water as if it was a rarity
  • use electricity as if it was a rarity
  • get a bike
  • start walking at least one hour every day
  • get a monthly bus pass and get to know your town.
  • get good curtains to every window – black curtains and thick side curtains
  • turn off lights
  • unplug items not in use
  • get more houseplants
  • plant more trees
  • keep the electric appliances clean
  • learn to use no fire cookers
  • minimize your belongings – take the 100 things challenge. Only keep things you love and that make you feel good
  • eat more veggies and fruits. Have at least one vegetarian day every week.
  • eat more locally produced and organic food
  • write a food plan and keep it
  • stop throwing food away
  • cook from scratch
  • eat less
  • shorter showers
  • take the stairs. Elevators and escalators use electricity.
  • get a compost and start composting everything that can be composted
  • recycle all your garbage
  • start cleaning your environment. “roska päivässä” movement
  • change electric appliances to manpowered, crank or treadle powered
  • use less dishes and wash them by hand, air dry
  • use less clothes and use them wisely. Get work clothes and use clothes-protecting items like aprons and sleeve covers. Air your clothes often, wash them less.
  • buy minimally packaged goods, and make things of the packaging
  • eliminate disposable products - make reusable pads, reusable produce bags, reusable handkerchiefs, reusable shopping bags, sandwich bags, reusable bowl covers for the fridge etc.
  • check how to use cloth instead of toilet paper (this is VERY EXTREME)
- One of the most important "things" in my life, one "thing" I'm grateful every day, is my husband, and I want to do things for our relationship.
There was a list of some 25 things you could do this fall with your husband, but I can't find it :-( There were really nice ideas.
There are also "fall dating ideas" lists. Go through some and pick things that sound reasonable to do with your spouse.

Go to a date every week in Autumn
  • spend a whole morning in bed
  • write a fall bucket list together
  • go reading together in a park with sammies and wine
  • go tossing a frisbee
  • make a kite together and go flying it
  • build a fort in living room and have a movie night
  • have a ghostbusters movie night
  • have a scary movie marathon
  • have a Harry Potter movie marathon
  • read ghost stories to each other in candlelight
  • make a quilt together for snuggling
  • have a game night
  • go to a market, buy things and come home to cook something with those things
  • cook a romantic dinner togehter
  • bake together
  • go to a flea market, second hand etc. buy a piece of furniture and fix it together
  • go on a bookstore date
  • go on a sunrise or sunset date
  • go shopping some fall decor and things
  • go picking some nature elements that can be used to make fall decorations with, and make fall decorations together
  • make autumnal gingerbread house
  • go to a picnic in a romantic place and play in leaves
  • get bicycles for both of us and go on a biking tour with picnic basket
  • go bowling
  • go play pool
  • go hiking and camping, spend a night in the wilderness and watch stars together, by a fire, in a blanket, and make s'mores
  • get a new hobby together (I chose cabinetmaking :-D)
  • learn a foreign language together (I chose French)
  • learn to dance with my spouse and go dancing
  • learn to give massage and give each other massage
  • paint each other's portrait
  • go tour your home town; either take a guided tour or find out information to share with each other
  • learn to play an instrument together (I chose guitar)
  • learn to play a new card game
  • practice yoga daily together
  • go on a "day trip" (I chose a zoo nearby, which is going to take the whole day.)
  • take a CPR/first aid course together
  • learn to make candles
  • make candy together
For this I added three things to my own autumn bucket list:

* build a home theater (within our resources, naturally. It might not be much more than rearranging the living room so that the television and comfy chairs are "strategically" placed with the coffee table - but that alone would improve the movie and tv watching time together.)

* build a fake fireplace (to be able to cuddle in front of the fireplace and to decorate the mantel)

* make a "cuddle kit"

Write - I have a couple of books I need to write on my list

Compile a collection of spooky stories

Have a teddy bears' picnic, October 27th (The International Teddy Bear Day)

Host or attend a fall festival with fun games, crafts, and prizes!

Invites friends over for chili night

Have a sock knitting bee

Learn orienteering

Learn the Thriller dance

Make 30 autumn cards and send to people

Make a pinecone weather station

Have a board-game night

Play hide and seek outside

Play pumpkin bowling

Prepare the balcony for winter

Find five scents that feels like autumn

Learn to solve puzzle cubes

Surprise someone you love with a fall-colored mum

Take a walk in the rain, without an umbrella. Don’t resist the urge to jump in puddles

Visit a craft show with friends

Visit a haunted house

Visit Skogskyrkogård

Stay up late and watch the harvest moon 28/9

Celebrate Rosh Hashanah September 14.

Celebrate Yom Kippur September 22.

Celebrate Sukkot September 28-October 5

Celebrate the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival September 27

Celebrate Mabon 23/9

Celebrate National Potato Day, 19/8

Celebrate Oktoberfest

Have a Halloween bonfire with hot apple cider

Have a Halloween masquerade party with apple bobbing

Build a Dia de los Muertos altar

Collect autumn leaves

Plant Lily-of-the-valleys for Independence Day

Create an autumn nature table

Enjoy autumn

Go apple picking in an apple orchard

Go indoor apple picking

Go for an early morning walk and watch the sun rise on a cool, crisp day

Go to a leaf hunt

jump in leaf piles

Make a fall leaf maze

Make a nature shadow box

Make land art with leaves

Play conkers

Play with a fall sensory bucket

Look for signs of fall

Play fall "I Spy"

decorate an autumn cake

Get 8 Sabbath boxes and start filling them. (I want 8 big boxes with all the Sabbath associated stuff in, and nothing more.)

celebrate Mabon

Do some Autumn crafts
The following is from my personal bucket list, so not autumn related

Paint china

Improve my French

Improve my German

Learn the basics of all Celtic languages

Learn Latin
Learn hulahooping

learn whip cracking

learn baton twirling

learn herping

learn juggling

learn to brew cider, mead, ale, wine



reconnect with highschool friends

build a baker's cabinet

make 3 baskets in different ways

make 3 beaded works

learn leather work

learn flowerwork

learn bonecarving

create a cactus tray

create a terrarium

create a bonsai tree

make 30 books in 30 days

make 10 different kinds of candy

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Command centers and staging areas :-D

Military has hundreds of years of effective organization habits and inventions. It's a great idea to apply their ideas to the family lives.

To get a family working better, it is good to have a command center.

I prefer my command center to be somewhere centered, undisturbed, where everyone knows the bulletin board is to be found and other important information.
I need a small book shelf, a table, a chair - I think a secretary is great for this purpose.

I have several binders in my command center, one household binder, one for cleaning, home and interior decor, one for bills and guarantees and other such papers and one for all the other important papers.

There needs to be a calendar, with the whole month visible at one glance, and a "week ahead" schedule.

There needs to be the menus and shopping lists

There needs to be a place for the post

There needs to be the chore lists and to do lists.

There needs to be a white or black board for writing notes to the family, and a memo board to put all the important little notes and cards etc. up, so that one knows where to look for them.
There also need to be the whiteboard pens, chalks and other pens close by, easily accessible.

I don't have the gadget charging area in the command center, nor the keys. Those are in the staging area (aka launch pad), which is - and in my opinion should be - separate from the command center. 

In the staging area one empties one's hands as one gets in through the door. There are all the things that are to be taken with one when one leaves home, their bags, keys, wallets, telephones and other such things, sun glasses, hats, and everything else. Because of this, it should be as close the door as possible.
Ours is right next to the door, but the charging center is by our bed, because my bed is my office.
Every member of the family has a basket where they will leave their things, and where the things they need to remember to take with them are left, like lunch etc.
There is also a clip on the door for all the letters to be posted, store bonus coupons and other such things.
I have the library books in the staging area as well. All the library books are in the book shelf in the entryway, they are fetched from there to be read and returned there, and there is also the library bag with a pocket for the library card there, so that it's easy to just take the books and return them-

Declutter your home - flow chart

Of course there are complications, but the main thing is "have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful".
I would also like to add "that makes you feel bad"
. If an item reminds you of unpleasant things or makes you sad, get rid of it. You don't need any reminders of the unpleasant stuff in your life.
If an item reminds you of unpleasant people, get rid of it.
If an item makes you sad, ashamed, angry, afraid, stressed; get rid of it.
If an item doesn't make you glad, happy, pleased, satisfied, calm, at ease, get rid of it.

Get rid of the tons of craft material you are saving "because you could make something out of it". If you don't have a specific use for "it" right now, AND your home is a mess, get rid of it. Give it to someone else to make something of.

Collect all the materials, tools and instructions you need for a project in one place; box or basket or bag. Put a date on it. If you haven't taken the time to finish that, give up. You most likely are NEVER going to finish that. Unless there has been an upheaval in your life, like someone died or you are in the middle of a move or change or work or something other Big, that is the only reason why you "may" hang on to UFOs. (Un-Finished Objects)
These things just weigh you down and give you bad conscience. You don't want that.
I promise you, that when you have cut your "projects to do" list in manageable size, you will be a lot happier and actually will finish the projects you have started. That gives you more self-confident and you will be finishing even more projects. Just be careful not to have mote than five projects at a time. Also, set a deadline. If you haven't finished a project to that date, you most likely never will. Move on.

Don't hang on things you can't use. 
Things have "best before" date. Some things can be fixed to become useful, but there are things that cannot be fixed. If you have something you don't use, think about if you really need to have it.
Why don't you use it?
Is it because it's too small or big, or is complicated and difficult to use, or it's not sharp enough or right size or color or material, doesn't work properly, is broken, dirty, unpleasant to touch, see, use, is associated with an emotional load?
Can you fix it?
If you don't like the thing but need it, can you replace it with something you like?

All the things you decide to keep, gather them in "stations".

Keep all your clothes and all the equipment needed to take care of them in one (or two) places; wardrobe and laundry station. "All the equipment" includes things like clothes brushes and stain removals. The only equipment needed that doesn't need to follow this rule is the sewing machine and all the equipment associated with that, and only if you use it to sew other things. If you only use your sewing equipment to mend your clothes, keep it with the clothes.
The same about the iron. That is good to keep in the laundry station, so that you will iron the clothes before you put them in the closet.

all your cooking things in one place,
all your baking things in one place,
all your paperwork in one place, with a shredder in place over the garbage can so that you will shred the trash post immediately, and with a letter opener to make opening the letters easier.
I have a pot full of bookmarks in my bookshelf. I love bookmarks.
I have all my library books on one shelf, together with the library card and library bags (a couple of sturdy canvas bags... I am a huge user of libraries :-D)

All the things that belong together, that are used together, are kept in one place, in the room where they are used.

Boxes for stuffs

- crap baskets - every person in the household has a basket or a box, where their "lost things" are gathered. Everything found out of place is returned to each person's basket and in the end of the week the people take these things and put them in their right places.

- recycling

- "keep", "give", "toss", "sell", "fix", "return", and "gifts" which in our household is called "the mathom box".
It's best to storage these in a neat container that you can't see through... so that you won't see the things you have already once let go, and get the idea of that you want to save it anyway. Don't.

Things you don't know what to do with

Go through these things with the mindset "would I buy this if I was shopping?". If not, let it go.

The idea with decluttering is not to "live minimalistically because you should", or "you get the bad reputation of a hoarder when you hang on things". You declutter because:

- the more stuff you have, the more difficult it is to keep your home healthy. For you. An unclean and messy home is a home filled with unnecessary health risks.

- the more stuff you have, the less of it you actually can see, use and enjoy of. When you clear up space, you see your things better and can appreciate them. You get the access to your things. You clear up working surface to actually do the things you want to do.

- things get easily spoiled, broken, damaged beyond repair when stored in piles.

- the more stuff you have, the harder it is to keep your home clean, the more work you need to do to clean it, the more time you must waste in cleaning. Decluttered home is easy and quick to clean.

You DON'T NEED to give up all "your stuff". You just need a place for all your stuff, so that it's easily accessible, that you can use it, that you can see it and love it, so that you won't lose it, or break it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

E squared , experiment 2

I know you want it all, and you want it now.
You don't want to wait for 48 hours, not even 24, not even 2.

The purpose with the first experiment was that there is a force out there that actually hears you.

The purpose with the second experiment is that you start noticing what happens around you.
It's basic psychology. It's pretty common knowledge that women who have just found out they are pregnant, see pregnant women and mothers with babies everywhere. You will see what you are looking.

So, if you don't see something you are actively looking, (when it's something as normal and general as blue cars or yellow butterflies) you are not looking. You might not find your keys, but if you are looking for keys, any keys, you will see keys. Pictures of keys, things shaped as keys, real, actual keys.
If you don't, there's another basic psychological phenomenon in action.

It's a bit like your mind is layered. There's the conscious thinking, subconscious, you know. You know that sometimes you are irrationally scared or moved by something, not knowing yourself why you react emotionally. It's a bit like you are more aware of your subconscious than your conscious mind. You can lie to yourself with your inner voice, but your subconscious hears only the truth.

If you are going through this book with the idea of that it's full bull and you KNOW it won't work, you will find evidence of that.
If you believe it's true, you will find evidence of that.
You will find evidence to support anything you believe.

This is not some magic hocuspocus scam, this is basic psychology.

Now, the fact that you see what you are thinking of, isn't any proof of anything, except that you will see what you want to see.

So - magic hocuspocus scam... the psychology behind these books is sound. The authors might just not know it, or they might be using words that make it hard for you to actually understand what they are saying...
But - let's look at this from the purely scientific point of view.

The book - and it's kind - are very nicely leading the readers into a certain mindset - the mindset of activity. The mindset of bravery - doing even when one is afraid. Risking knowing that good outcome is just as probable as bad outcome. Trying to get us shaken out of the passive, submissive, victim mentality, trying to manipulate things by pretending to be weaker, lesser, more needy, in such a degree one believes it to be true; codependency. (Most women in the world has been taught this for some 2000 years. We have learned.)
There's nothing negative, bad, dangerous, despicable in this mindset, nothing magical, supernatural, paranormal, superstitious or anything unnatural with this. God or some metaphysical force of Universe (written with a capital initial) is not involved. It's still basic psychology.

But because we have been well trained, we need the permission from someone, something higher and more powerful than any authority in our palpable world. We need to be able to leave the responsibility to someone else, because we aren't really allowed to think for ourselves, we aren't allowed to feel good about our choices, what we choose to wear, eat, read, do. By whom? By God, by our parents, by our husbands, friends, teachers, bosses, co-workers, society, world, media, magazines...

Anyway, this book gives us the permission. This book tells us that we not only may, we should. We should go for happiness. We should go for what we think makes us happy. We should dare to believe our dreams are possible.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

E Squared, Experiment 1

There are two popular ideas circulating the "spiritual community"; Ego and Karma.
I don't believe in either.

I believe our wishes, dreams, hopes, ideas, wants etc. are specific and unique to each of us.
I believe we are here to live, to feel, to sense, to emote. I believe we have a body with senses so that we use it. I believe we have a body with hormones and emotions so that we use them. We are not to deny the desires and lusts of this sensual body we have, because we have it just for that reason.
I believe people who try to reach Nirvana and stop existing in a physical body has gravely misunderstood the idea of life and physical body.

I believe in "muscle testing" and testing our body reactions to know if an idea or suggestion is a good and sound one. Without a body we can't do this.

I believe in "I". I believe we ARE separate from everyone else, even though we are united, connected and the same. Same, same but different.
I believe this "me" existence has a purpose.
Because I believe in God and I know nothing happens without a purpose, and that God has ways of turning everything to good.
"Everything will be fine in the end. If it's not OK, good and fine and right, it's not in the end."

Maybe it's just that I haven't understood the concept of Ego as the New Age community understands it, because I don't believe things like narcissism, psychopathy, "power of the weak" manipulating, Ayn Rand pragmatism and machiavellianism are beneficial for anyone.
Nevertheless, I believe we must love ourselves and remind ourselves of our good qualities.
I believe manifesting won't work without ego, I, me, and being in me, being ME.
I believe our primary obligation is to take care of ourselves. I believe people who are codependent and always think about someone else or others first, are lost. I believe the classic idea of self-sacrificing mother is very, very wrong.
I believe there should be limits to kindness, generosity, friendliness, giving, considering other people's feelings, respect, and other such qualities. I am not to make a doormat of myself. I am not to become codependent, but interdependent, independent, self-confident. I am to be kind and generous toward ME first, to be able to give anything to anyone else.
I don't believe in victim mentality and the idea of that I NEED to manipulate others to get my needs satisfied. I believe it's better to satisfy my needs and do what it takes to get my needs satisfied in a healthy manner, without manipulations and using others and expecting others to do this, or expecting some karma or rule of three or any other such "people do to you what you do to them" idea.
People are not kind to you because you are kind, they are kind to you because THEY are kind. You can't manipulate people to be kind to you.
I don't believe in fulfilling my needs and wishes at the cost of others' needs and wishes. I believe my rights end where yours begin, and no-one has any rights that violate anyone else's rights. I believe the Universe is limitless, abundant and naturally generous and giving. I believe even our most magnificous dreams are just a drop in the ocean of the abundance of the Universe. I don't believe we can ask for ANYTHING that would deplete the resources of the Universe.
Another thing I don't believe in is "reality", in the way "you need to be realistic". I believe in fantasy, imagination and magic. I believe in fairies. I believe in the kind of world Findhorn founders talked about, with other dimensions and other lifeforms and that there is more that can't be seen, measured, tested, controlled than what can. I believe the world is like an onion except reversed - what's in the inside is bigger than what's in the outside.

I don't believe in blaming anyone. I believe in taking responsibility, sure, but it's more important to DO and try to correct, try to fix, try to clean up, without caring whose fault it was. I don't care whose fault or responsibility it is. I don't care whose duty it is to fix it. I believe if one sees something wrong, one needs to right it. If we wait and expect "someone" to take care of things, and not do it ourselves, nothing will be taken care of, and I believe everyone is better off when things are taken care of.

I believe hostility is part of "being closed", and that quality is not just bad. I believe the feelings and ideas behind the hostility are sound and good; taking care of oneself and people who are important to one, and so on. I believe our world is in circles and one cannot and should not expand from one circle to the next before one is ready. The innermost circle includes only "me". The next one is my "family". Then comes our "friends". Then comes the community one lives in, and that circle goes from neighborhood to village to county to country to continent to planet to Universe...

Anyway... I could be speaking about this until the cows come home, but this is not what this blog post is about.

E Squared Experiment #1

The idea of the experiment is to open your eyes and start seeing good things that happen to me. It's to start appreciating the goodness we already have in our life. It's starting to notice all the hundreds of ways how God tells us that She loves us, every day.

I already have so much of goodness in my life, and it started to feel like the Universe is just laughing at me for expecting it to give me a gift when we both are so aware of that the Universe showers me with gifts 24/7.

So I was pretty p'd off yesterday, screaming to the Universe to give me something REALLY BIG, because I have been a good girl and I believe... and this morning I realized the Universe had given me something REALLY BIG. Something I won't tell you what it is, because it's private. I can tell you that it's not material, and it's something I have been praying for for years.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Week 17

Gelli printing

Most people sort of abuse this wonderful tool. Gelli print plate is a special printing base with soft, rubber like surface that is easy to ink and easy to make imprints on. It is especially amazing with the "ghost prints", the second print after some ink or paint is removed. It is amazing how well it reproduces fine lines and texture, like that on plants or textiles.

You can make your own, follor the video above, or buy a ready-made one. The printing works the same way, the difference is that the store-bought version is more durable and not as easy to damage, but if you damage the home-made version, you just melt it and remold it.

Most people just "play" with it, with no - or not much - planning they just throw colors on, spread them and put on stencils and masks and make abstract papers - and that's just fine, too. Some of the papers created like this are amazing!

But let's go through the dos and donts.

- you will be producing quite a lot in relatively short amount of time, so see that you have place to dry your prints without them touching anything.

- have quite a lot of space around the gelli plate so that you can move papers and stencils and masks and what ever you are using.

- you need to keep the gelli plate stationed on non porous surface, like plastic, glas, china, metal - cutting boards, trays and baking plates work fine. Otherwise the gelli plate will suck itself stuck to the surface. Do not place it on paper.
- you also need to keep the surface of the gelli plate above the immediate surface around it. Keep at least a hand's width free all around the plate.

- the best paper is thin paper. Some say "use cardstock"... I use printer paper, because that is what I have ample access to, but I would use tissue paper or rice paper if I had easy access to that. I still haven't found a place that sells tissue paper in bulk.

- get a brayer. Get a good quality rubber brayer with smooth roll that rolls smoothly :-D

- You will need a junk paper to clean the brayer on between the layers.
I use baby wipes to wipe it properly clean between layers, because I have noticed that some times the paint will stuck in clumps on the brayer, and these will leave marks in your prints.

- Don't open your paint bottles above the plate. Tiny flecks of paint might fall on the plate and create havoc later.

- It will get messy, so see that you have protected the working surface. It's good to use a newspaper or something like that under the surface you have the gelli plate on, so that you can clean your tools.

- It is good to have some kitchen paper and water spray bottle (you can have a little soap in the water, if you want to, but you don't need to) so that you can clean the plate every now and then.
You also need some tissue paper to lift up the extra paint, so that you won't waste it :-D All this paper becomes new decorated paper that you can use in your art journal.

- You don't need to use the size of paper your gelli plate is. You can print large papers in sections, use the gelli plate as a stamp, or print small pieces of paper, like tags or cards, on big gelli plate.
You also don't need to use the whole surface of the gelli plate.

- you can use a retarder with your acrylics to keep the paint wet longer, but if you notice your design has dried too much, let it dry all together, put a new, fresh layer of paint on top and it's possible the fresh paint will lift the dry paint from the gelli plate.
It doesn't take more than 10-15 minutes for the paint to dry.

- Have some plan before you start.
Collect the tools and materials you plan on using.

- any water based medium is fine. Most use acrylics, but I have used watercolors too, and those work fine as well. Someone said that ink colors the gelli plate. I don't know. It's ok, though, except for the esthethic impact. It won't dye the papers you are going to print.- don't drown the plate in color. It's better to use too little than too much paint, because the paint will smudge the print if you have a lot. About 1 teaspoon is good. Three blobs of the size of your fingertip.

- The more colors you use, the more probable it is that you produce "mud". When you mix all the colors of the rainbow, you get nasty brownish grey color. Use only one color at a time; colors next to each other on the color wheel or colors with white and/or black. For example; blue-green-purple is OK, blue-purple-red, red-orange-yellow; yellow-green-blue, green-blue-turquoise - green and purple without the blue in between starts to create mud.

Opposite colors is an almost certain way to get mud.

Now, if you like the vivid and energetic impact of opposite colors, you need to let the first layer of one color dry and then print on the other color. Just be aware of that if you use transparent color - and most acrylic hobby paints are translucent - you will get sort of mud effect on places where the top color layer is thin. You could use masks and leave parts of the paper white when first printing, and then printing the second printing on those white parts. People who are used to printing are pretty good at placing the paper on the plate so that it falls about the same spot, and there are some tricks to this, too, but I would make the first print, let the paper dry and then mask - on the paper - the colored parts, either with paper (mask/stencil) or masking tape - and printing the second time this masked paper, to be sure I get the paint where I want it.
It's nevertheless best, if you make your papers and then collage them together, to keep the colors bright and clean.

note what kind of color combinations you like. Do you like clear patterns? Then you should use a light and a dark color.
If you like more batik kind of patterns, then you should use colors that are close to each other in value. But if you print light blue on light blue, grey or purple, you won't see much anything. But that might be an effect in itself. Experiment.

Also, start collecting color combinations you like. 

- gelli plate is created to be an easy and quick way of adding color, so it is designed to be used with stencils, masks, stamps, combs etc. It's a bit like a combination of linoprinting and paste paper.
I like paste paper...

Don't mix patterns a lot. Don't put a strong pattern on a strong pattern, you'll end up with a chaotic mess. And a weak pattern on a weak pattern will create a weak blah mess. :-D
Strong pattern on weak pattern creates a nice batik kind of effect, weak pattern on strong pattern gives nice texture.

You can use any stencil when printing with gelli plate, but if you use the stencil as mask (let it lay on the gelli plate as you print) it should be very thin and have big, clear, open holes.
If you want to use an intrigate stencil, you use it as a stamp and push it on the paint and remove before printing, like when using the bubble wrap. 

The best way to get in the mood is to watch all the videos by Gelli Arts. They have plenty of instruction videos on how to use their product, and they give you a lot of ideas and tips.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Moon Blood Ritual

Moon Blood Ritual
By Dorottya Varga

“When the women of the world return their blood to the earth.
Mother earth will know peace is on its way.”

Our bleeding is a beautiful thing. It is our entry into womanhood. It is a thing to celebrate. To listen to deeply. To honor. It is our higher calling to shed these old ways of thinking that do not honor the power that our menstrual cycle and moon blood possess. The blood of a woman is her inner power.

We women are deeply connected to the earth, to the moons pull, to the joy and the pain that effects our great mother. Our sacred moon blood is the gift of life and when we give it back to the earth it amplifies our gifts to her and it creates peace within us and within our lives. No longer do we need to feel ashamed for this gift. It is sacred. Menstrual blood is life-blood. When we give this blood back to the earth it allows for clearing, healing, sacred connection, ceremony and ritual. When you listen to the calling of your womb and her desire for you to sit, to allow, to just be, this is when physical pain and discomfort is no longer there, it leaves. You are tuned in and listening. Listen to your womb. What do you need and what do you need more of. What are you willing to let go that no longer serves you. Allow your moontime to be a time of deep reflection, nurturing, tuning in and just being. Allowing yourself to benefit from rest, sleep, hydration, nourishing meals, to allow for less doing, and more being. This is a time of great receptivity.

Your blood has powerful magical and spiritual properties. It will enrich and bless the land it is given back to. I saved my menstrual blood from my very last moon time which was one year ago this full moon, my last cycle before becoming pregnant with Naia. I waited until that August when we moved in with my love onto this sacred land that we are blessed to live on and I then offered that last blood to the earth in quiet, peaceful ceremony as a gift of gratitude for blessing us with a beautiful home where Naia was to be born, a place where our family has grown in love and community & continues to grow.

Collect your moon blood each time you empty or change your blood vessel. I have a special jar for my offering, which is waiting to be used once I begin to bleed again. I use a Diva cup as my vessel and each time my cup is full I pour it into the jar. If you choose to use tampons or pads (cloth or otherwise) you can put them in water and create an infusion and gently massage the blood into the water and this can also be an offering.

Create a sacred time and space, to create ceremony and ritual, to offer your sacred blood back to Gaia, mother earth.
Sit on the earth.
Go to wherever calls your spirit.
Take your offering of sacred moon blood, and listen.
Talk to Gaia.
Ask her for her permission, and share your intentions with her. Your intentions for wanting to share this divine gift.
Listen for the answer.
You will feel it.

May you begin to allow yourself to listen more closely to your body, to your womb, to your beautiful flow of menstrual blood each moon. May you honor her, and in turn honor our Mother Earth in sacred offerings of ritual and ceremony. May you listen and do this if it resonates with your soul, your highest calling, your truth. May we honor our bodies and heal the old wounds that may reside there. As we heal, honor and rise together we in turn heal and deeply honor our sacred mother earth. We are one.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Week 16

Adding pockets to your art journal

1) The easiest way to do this is to take an envelope or a bag of some sort, and glue that on the page.
You can use these as extra pages or "tip-ins" (Tipped-in page is a page that is printed separately from the rest of the book and then added to the book as a page; either bound in together with the other pages, glued in or glued on an existing page.)

It's fun to use envelopes with windows or plastic bags or translucent bags.

There are also printables online, like library pockets. Those are kind of cute. :-)

2) You can also glue a pocket in by adding glue or double-sided tape on the edges of a page, or tape it on place.

You could also sew the pocket in place, or staple it. Any way you can attach the pocket on the page is good. (Sewing and stapling adds texture, if you use washi-tape, you add colors and patterns.)

It doesn't need to be a rectangle, you can use any shape as a pocket.

3) Glue two pages together at the edges, leave the top open. That is sort of a hidden pocket.
You can also leave the side open.
Or you could glue the pages together at all sides but leave them unglued in the middle, and cut a slit in one of them to create a pocket. It might be a good idea to glue the top of the slit on the "background" page, to make it easier to use.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Week 15

Art journal every day: a weekly plan

Last week of this different ways of encountering art journal! This week's style is "doodling" :-)

I am very fascinated by this style, but I haven't dared to venture into this venue...

Pinterest inspiration: Zentangle Art Journals

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Week 14

Art journal every day: a weekly plan

Week 14 we'll go all scrapbookish :-D

And again some inspiration from Pinterest: Scrapbookin/ArtJournaling

Week 13

Art journal every day: a weekly plan

This week we will be making collages :-)

And again some inspiration from Pinterest: Collage art journals

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Week 12

Now it's time for the wordy week of Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's art journaling week.

Here's more inspiration: Kreative Koncept's Journal Journey February 2015

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week 11

Read this: art journal every day, a weekly plan
and do it.
Dedicate one of the following 5 weeks to each of these different ways of art journaling, and do the exercises. I believe every creative person is capable of all kinds of creativity, and experimenting with something different from what you do every day will cause ripples through your whole life.

So - this week we'll do painty.
Week 12 it's wordy
Week 13 collage-ish
Week 14 scrapbook-ish
Week 15 doodler

I love Suzi Dennis' videos. Very inspiring, I think :-)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week 10

 I love Vicky :-) She has a lot of inspiring art journal videos on YouTube.

Some things I have been ruminating is how everything is connected and how much power over our own lives we have. The human mind is a powerful tool. Placebo effect exists. Happiness is not connected to things like money, material goods, children, education, not even health. Happiness is 100% in our mind...

Another thing, that's connected to art journaling, that I've been thinking about is paper.

People wanted to know what deli paper is.
Deli paper is the same paper as sandwich wrapping paper or food basket lining paper. It's thin, waxed paper.
Parchment paper, baking paper, bakery paper is not waxed. Its non-stick qualities are created by special production that slightly "gelatinizes" the paper. Waxed paper is not suitable for baking on, because the wax (or oil) used to make it melts in hot temperature.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Week 9

I like this series of art journaling "play dates" :-) This is episode 15, there's some 26 or so uploaded. 

Omens and signs

Firstly, get Callia Underhill's great book on divination.
In that book, she explains how to create your own system of symbols

Then I was thinking about Adrian Calabrese's Sacred Signs... now, I think the book is rather stupid and not very well written, but I do believe she has a point. I do believe there are no co-incidents.
Nevertheless, whether you believe in "signs" or not, the point is to believe IN YOU.
Any reason to make up your mind is about as valid as any other reason. 
They have studied people in dangerous situations, and those who survive are those who DO SOMETHING. They do what they think of doing, without analyzing and contemplating.
So, if you find tarot cards helpful in the process of making up your mind, use them.
If it helpful to believe in signs and omens, and keep your eyes open for such, do so.