My LifeBook Experience Today

When I purchased LifeBook 2018 last year, as part of my wedding gift from friends (gift cards are great), I was hesitant and tentative.

I had done two years of LifeBook prior to this year…and then there was a two, perhaps three-year gap…and I am one of those people who didn’t really miss it all that much.  Every now and then I would think to myself, I would genuinely enjoy having a class that came to my inbox every Monday again…giving me a focus and a plan and something to do when I couldn’t think of anything else…

But…I have a lot going on…every day.  I sign up for free online workshops, the kind where you get video lectures/tutorials every day for a week or a month or whatever…and I never have the time to sit and watch or listen to them.  I have bought stand-alone classes that if I fight hard enough I can skim through the videos—which means I am doing something else while the video plays in the background and I listen—and look up if something catches my interest.

Now, there’s LifeBook.  You can see from my blog…I did a few lessons.  The lessons I did felt good to me.  I have ideas for things that coincide with Sarah Trumpp’s monthly Yoga offerings…but other than rough sketchy doodles in my written journal—nothing has yet come of that.

I do have a few lessons that I started yet and haven’t completed…although I watched, as best as I could, the videos…I haven’t done anything LifeBook related since the fifth week.

In February, I knew I would be having surgery and spent that entire month in a state of breathless…waiting…and worrying…and worrying some more…and not sleeping…but worrying some more…and prepping for after surgery as best as I could.

March was the month I had surgery…and I was pretty much out of anything for three weeks nearly completely – and after that have simply been slowly trying to find where I want to be and what I want to do now.  I still have to take things slowly and carefully—even though certain people seem to be ridiculing me for “being overly dramatic” the whole thing.  To them, I say, please…let the doctors put you to sleep, give you a catheter, cut you open in three places to shove medical equipment up inside—and then apologize for the bruising afterwards because they have to really shove to get the equipment in—and then cut out a large piece of you and have to cauterize all the veins and arteries and tidy up all the other bits—without damaging anything else around…and take those bits they removed out of you through a whole other ‘door’…and see what you feel like for the next few weeks, few months…when medical personnel tell you when they went through it they needed 8-12 weeks before they felt nearly like themselves (as at least five nurses and DOCTORS did to me), I don’t think I am ‘being a baby’ or ‘trying to get attention’… I am actually recovering and recuperating and dealing with the issues that come from having had major surgery—it will take me as long as it takes me to heal, to not hurt from surgery, and so on…you have no right to tell people it’s all in my head when you have no idea what is actually going on anyway…

And now…off my soapbox…

Back to LifeBook…after about the third week of my surgery, it felt good to sit and watch the lessons from LifeBook, even though I wasn’t up to doing any of them.  A few weeks ago, however, I started to get cranky.  One reason I had decided to try LifeBook again this year was the emphasis on healing practices.  Yoga is great; Sarah Trumpp is great; I knew there would be one Yoga lesson per month.  It’s not enough for me.

Although I deeply love and appreciate the guest teacher’s and their lessons, I am learning…I should just buy the Tam version of LifeBook every year and let the rest go because I am not really getting a lot out of anything lately.  Now, there are some lessons that I love…and I respect and appreciate all the teachers and all the work that goes into these lessons.  I have come to realize…this isn’t what I want to do.

I hit a plateau where I wasn’t learning anything new…although I will say the lessons I love best are where I learn something, whether it is an art technique or a quote, or if it is just enjoying listening to the teacher talk…my problem revolves back to…I’m doing someone else’s work and not my own.

I know there are ways to take the lessons and do them in my own style…however, the issue for me—and this is my issue—not an issue with LifeBook, or the teachers, or Tam, or anything like that…there isn’t enough substance around the theme—not the yearly theme, the monthly theme, that sort of thing.  There is no toehold in many of these lessons for me to say, ah, yes, this is where I can dig in to further my own process of healing…and right now when I am literally physically healing and having to redefine limitations and ambitions…the healing process is of a higher importance to me…in different ways than it was four months ago, or six months ago…

I have shifted…my body has shifted and is still shifting…my brain has shifted…my desires have shifted…my plans have shifted…my ideas have shifted…and although I can see the light on the Path…I am not certain which direction I am heading…there is a fog yet, as details filter through my heart and my subconscious, bubbling to the surface.  So much is changing for me, within me, around me…and I am still deciding, still making choices…still pondering.

I do not feel the need to hurry at this moment.

I make changes, big ones, like deleting the family website and moving everything over here to this site when the mood strikes and everything feels right.  Other things, like classes I am creating, I am not fighting.  I am writing.  I am finding my footing.  I am moving slowly and luxuriously and enjoying the process rather than rushing through everything.

I am not speaking ill of LifeBook in any way, please understand.  I shall continue to download the materials…watch videos and read PDFs as I am able…and if struck by the LifeBook Muse, I will do the work…otherwise…I shall enjoy the show and let the rest go.  I shall find other outlets, other medicines to soothe my ills, and just be me.

 

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Shopping Experience…

Over the weekend, I went to the craft store.  It was a store I hadn’t been in in a long time, based upon the expiration date of my discount club card thingy.  (It said it expired in 2015…)  This store has everything my meandering creatives heart could desire—fabric, sewing patterns, craft books, yarn, jewelry bits and bobs, paper supplies, scrapbooking supplies, fine art…and enough aisles in between to keep my youngest entertained for a bit as well.

I went in specifically because I just found out about Dina Wakley’s multi-surface journal for mixed media…it has cotton rag paper pages, kraft paper pages, untreated canvas pages, and burlap pages.  I spent a week after seeing that journal online before I could see it in person and decide, yes, I want this.  It was another week before I would buy one—and it’s a good thing I waited because it was on sale when I bought it.  The thing is—I wanted another one.  That is how I ended up at this particular craft store this weekend—looking for another one.

Playing in new Dina Wakley multi surface art journal

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They didn’t have the journal I was after—but they had a lot of other stuff.  I’d like to tell you what, but much of it will be turned into gifts so I cannot disclose the contents.

I am just happy that I found this store again—because it has everything I want in it and more.

A funny thing happened, though, while I was in this store.  In this store, during an incredible store-wide sale…not everything was on sale—it just felt like it.

After I found out about the multi-surface journal, I went to YouTube to seek out videos about it, about what it was, about what people were doing with it…and watching a YouTube video by a fellow artist I follow is exactly how I found out about this journal anyway…I watched so many videos of people working in this journal.  One thing that struck me was how many supplies some people have—because some of the videos were not just hey, watch me play in my journal—they started out as hey, look at my haul, or look at my supplies…and moved into working in the journal.  So, my curiosity was piqued over several products I saw.

Now, fast-forward to being in the store, looking around.  I am not quite in need of fabric yet—I have a stash and I have some patterns I want to play with before I get really into buying fabrics and sewing bits again.

I did buy two skeins of dishcloth cotton, because I have a stack of knitted dishcloths to make and I loved the color and it was one that I don’t see too often…so I grabbed two skeins of it.  Now, I have been having trouble finding a DK weight yarn that I like in the stores I usually shop at (and I try to shop local before shopping online—and I have a budget to stick to)…this store had several yarns that were lovely and DK weight…I think I might still have to go to Knitpicks to buy my DK weight cotton yarn, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.  I have plenty of yarn and patterns in my to be done pile to keep me busy for a while yet…and now my youngest is intent on learning to knit – he has his own needles and his own yarn and we started lessons last night.  If I can get him to pay attention and understand what’s going on…and not drum with the knitting needles every time he touches them … I may be able to give this child something that will help calm and focus him…so fingers crossed there…it will be a trip, I know.

I looked through the paper crafting section—which includes mixed media…no journal that I wanted to be found—but lots of other things, so many things on sale, so many things on clearance…and it hit me…I may want to TRY this product, but I don’t really see me incorporating it into my art or any other work in a cohesive or constant way enough to justify getting it.

That was the weird thing.  I have enough supplies to keep me busy.  I have supplies I love to work with—and there is plenty of experimenting to be done with everything I have yet.  The new stuff looks cool…but right now, I don’t want it.  I have more than enough to keep me occupied.  I’m sticking with what I have and delving deeper into that…and letting the rest go until something jumps out at me…like this journal…

I’ll talk more about the journal itself later…in another post.

Until then…

How Is It April Already?

Absolutely NO affiliate links in this post.  Thank you.  J

 

I forgot that this was April.  I forgot it was National Poetry month.

Honestly, I just flipped the calendar over to the new month yesterday and didn’t notice a thing.

However, I still get emails.  Today, on the 5th, is the first day I received anything that said anything about Poetry month.

On top of that, I know that the 100 Day Project began two days ago.  I have had plans for this year’s 100 days project for a while.  And it fits in beautifully with Tara Leaver’s free 7-day challenge that started today.

Last week, due to the 100 Day Project, I was cognizant enough to pick up paint specifically for my project.  I bought three colors of postcard-sized cardstock, I think back in December (brown, white, black).  I’m not worried about starting late, because with our days, I never thought I would make one thing a day for one hundred days—but I did want to make 100 things within the time allotted.  So I had planned to set up space one day during the week and paint out as many cards as I felt up to…and then work on the individual cards throughout the coming week as I felt able.

Plus, I got an extra push this morning when I received an email from the Kindness Rocks Project suggesting that we leave Random Art of Kindness cards as an art abandonment project.  My original idea was to make up 100 art cards, write or doodle or something (that part hasn’t gelled up quite yet) and then … leave them for people to find…

So—what am I babbling on about here?

The fact that I have four days of poetry to catch up on…and it’s time for me to start my 100 pieces project…as well as making sure I take more than enough time to rest rest rest, recuperate and heal.  Luckily, I can smoosh and splash paint while sitting on the couch…because I am so worn out at the moment…if I had only a few spoons a day before surgery, right now I have one spoon per day…and an energetic five-year-old on top of that…

I will be posting my work as I go along…

Thanks for listening.

Greetings

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A little update for everyone.

I spent most of February planning and preparing for surgery.

Surgery has come and gone.

Everything went well.

I am still healing, and moving very slowly in all areas of everything at the moment.

More content will be arriving, but I have no steady deadlines at the moment.

My focus is on my health.

Everything else will fall into place as it needs to.

Thank you for thinking of me.

The Pirate Journal Is In Use

Remember the Pirate Journal?

 

I have found a use for it.  It has become my surgery diary.

I will be having a major surgery soon, requiring an overnight stay at the hospital.

 

To say I am a little worried about this is a bit of an understatement.  I do have the utmost faith in my doctor.  But, surgery is surgery…and this is a major surgery.

 

I could have turned to my usual daily journal…but this situation felt…bigger.  It needed its own container.  I perused my selection of hand-made journals—and this is the one that wanted to be used.

 

It’s made of brown paper recycled from various packages that we received.  I learned…one fountain pen is ok with the paper.  One other fountain pen is not.  I tried writing in green ink, but couldn’t see it well enough since I was writing at night by lamplight.  An ultra-fine Sharpie works wonders, but tends to bleed through just a little bit to the other side of the paper.  This afternoon, I pulled out my favorite Bic cristal in black ink…and have had no problems whatsoever.  Which is why I always return to this pen.  It’s been a favorite of mine for years.

 

So, what’s going into this journal?  Hopes.  Fears.  Gratitude.  Blessings.  Lists.  Questions.  You name it, if it pertains to the surgery and the recovery period afterwards, it is going into this journal.

 

Will I be drawing and/or painting in it?  Probably at some point, because doing so makes me feel better.  I have also been pondering some collage as well.  I have a great picture of Rupaul that is calling to be used somewhere.  What better symbol or strength and fortitude for me right now?

 

If there is art made in this journal, I may show it.  However, given the dire personal nature of what is being written in this journal, don’t expect too much.

 

This post was more to say…here is what I ended up using this journal for and how I used it more than anything else.

 

Thanks for following along.

 

Until next time.

Process: Journal Cover

I am slowly sliding back into my old ways, a different version of my old self.  I am getting back up on that Poetry Pony.

I am actually taking an online poetry class.  One of the things suggested is getting yourself a notebook/journal that you love, that inspires you…as well as a pen that can become your magic wand as you write.

I have pens…fountain pens, magickal pens, Bic pens, disposable pens…tons of pens…all over the place…just don’t ask for one, because whenever anyone here needs a pen…it takes forever to find one…I still don’t understand that…no pen, no paper, only when needed…any other time…pens and paper all over the place…

So, my first thought was…I’ll buy a journal…no, I’ll make a journal…no, I’ll…drive myself crazy with the ideas of what I want to do and/or want to get and never really get around to doing the actual poetic writing work…hmm…

Luckily for me, it was errand day about that time anyway…so I was able to go to a variety of stores to look at journals, which gave me a clearer idea of what was calling to me for this particular journey.

I did, in the end, buy a journal—because it is bigger than the books I typically have…and it was faster/easier/cheaper to buy this journal from the store than it was to decide on paper and then order said paper, wait for it to come in and then make the book on my own.  I was attempting to avoid procrastination with this.

However, I had ideas for what I wanted to create before I saw this journal…and – as soon as I figure out where I hid the cords and pedal for my sewing machine (I’ve been cleaning—apparently I put them somewhere “safe”) –I will be making myself one – I have the fabric set out, already washed and pre-ironed, waiting to be cut.

So—here is my thought process with this.

I want to make a journal cover, much like a Midori traveler’s journal…but…bigger.  I typically write in decorated composition notebooks, the ones with graph paper in them.  I decorate them myself, yes.  I want to be able to have three different composition notebooks at a time in this journal.  One is my daily journal, where I write, take notes, do all sorts of stuff.  One would be for poetry.  One would be for drafts.  Or for whatever else came to mind.  Perhaps it would be my written journal, poetry journal, and fiction/writing journal all in one spot…which sounds nice to me.  All three of my typical working notebooks in one spot sounds good.  Better, it feels right.

First of all…I want the cover to be gorgeous.  A fabric cover, quilted, several different patterns that I have collected sewn together, perhaps in strips or squares, perhaps with circles of other fabrics added for fun and texture.

The cover must enclose all three journals, and have a fold-over flap with some sort of closure.  I am still pondering what sort of closure I would like with this.  I don’t want any bits of the comp notebooks sticking out. I think I would like a pocket on the inside front cover.  I know I need at least one pen loop, if not a couple more.  My fauxdori always has at least three pens tucked into it…and I only have one pen loop attached to it.

I had some ideas about hey, pockets, different kinds, front and back cover, why not?  Why not?  Because I don’t really use them.  And…I tend to get cranky about too many pockets cluttering things up.  It’s a weird juxtaposition with me; what can I say?

The only other thing I really want is to be sure the inside of the cover and the outside of the cover are all pretty fabrics—but are not duplicates of one another.  I don’t want it reversible or anything…I just want it to be aesthetically pleasing.

I also plan to use one elastic cord per journal, so there will be three cords attached to the cover.

I have also had visions of grandeur, with bits of ricrac and lace and all sorts of additional frou-frou to the outer cover…but although I know I will enjoy sewing and creating such a thing, the idea of using it on a daily basis, taking it out to restaurants, bowling (where I actually do an amazing amount of brain-storming), library or wherever, I think the lacy bits and frou-frou will bother me and get in my way…and grrr unto me if I get any of that bit dirty or messy.  Although, yes, this is meant to be a washable thing, because hey, it’s going to get tossed in a bag, in my purse, on a table.  My kids will dump stuff on it.  The cats will sit on it.  The dogs will find a way to stomp on it…probably after a kid throws it or knocks it to the floor.  So it has to be strong enough to take a beating as well.

I actually have a vague pattern drawn up in my journal…with all my notes scribbled along the sides.  All I really need, other than to verify the measurements are accurate—are the … cords and pedal for my sewing machine, which is currently in whatever “safe” place I put them…bless me and my well-intentioned heart.

This is the plan.  It’s all ready and in place.

Thanks for coming along with me through this process.

 

 

Process: A New Hat

Please note before continuing on: this is not a hat pattern in and of itself. This is my process for how I want to create a new hat for myself. If you don’t knit, you probably won’t be interested. Then again, this is my process; you might not be interested anyway.

 

 

A New Hat

My favorite old hat is … well, it is rat nasty at the moment. It’s not all that old, but the yarn has frizzed and fuzzed and frayed and at times, this poor thing just looks awful. Other times, I don’t look at it, so, it’s fine then, right?

I need a new hat. (never mind I have tons of hats all over the place, ones I’ve made and ones that have been bought or given as gifts…)

I go to some questions to help percolate and generate ideas for a new hat.

What hats do I have now that do work for me?

What hats do I have now that don’t work so well?

What’s working for me in the good hat?

What’s not working for me in the good hat?

What am I looking for in a new hat?

What do I want in a new hat?

What do I need in a new hat?

Colorwork? Colorwork compatible? Plain? Cables? Lace? Cool stitch patterning?

The first thing I look at it: what’s wrong with the old hat?

I love it. I used the Rikke pattern found for free here on Ravelry. I have made this pattern a few times now, in different yarns. Different yarns react in different ways. The red cotton/acrylic version I made of this hat is still in fine condition—although it droops a bit much for my liking.

The bad thing about the hat I am replacing…is the yarn. I used a yarn that isn’t holding up all that well under not much pressure. And no, I am not washing the bejeebers out of the hat. The yarn is simply wearing out, erm, wearing poorly. Since I can’t tell you which yarn I used for this project, only where I bought it from, I shall refrain from naming names at the moment…

I also need to learn how to work garter stitch in the round without the seam-like line running up the back. I know there are tutorials for that…I just have to make the time to find them.

So, cons: the hat looks ratty…and it is not as versatile as I would like it either. Come to think of it. If I fold the brim up…it’s not covering enough where I want it to cover…if I don’t fold the brim up, now especially, it can tend to look goofy.

Now, moving forward…what do I want in a hat?

I want it to be warm. I want it to cover the back of my neck, with extra protection for my ears, since I am fighting a lot of ear issues lately. I want it to look good. And I want it to look good for more than a year or two.

I am in a colorwork mood, so that would be good—however, I want a four-inch foldable brim as well. That much of a folding brim would mean…either I start the colorwork higher…or just do it the way I usually do (2-4 rows up after the ribbing ends) and not worry if the brim covers it or not.

I would like a nice thick fabric when it is completed, but not too thick. I am leaning towards wool, or a wool-heavy blend. I am not sure on what color. Sometimes I move towards neutrals. Sometimes I move towards bright colors.  ANd worsted weight yarn, or maybe even DK if I like it.

The hat can not be tight or form-fitting…I don’t like that…and I need room for my hair—or at least I did when it was longer, so I am going to keep that in mind since I am working on that.

What sort of ribbing do I want? 2X2? 3X1? 4X4? 5X1?

The next thing I will do is…browse Ravelry and all the hat patterns I can manage in a given allotment of time. How much time depends upon the needs of my family and the needs of my body. I may have five minutes to skim. I may have twenty minutes to peruse. I may do this over a day, over a week, or longer…because I already have three projects OTN (on the needles) and I don’t like starting a lot of things that never get finished…it makes me feel defeated. I knit to knit…but finishing things makes me feel better about having plans and having stash for those plans…and it means I can move forward to a new thing.

Whether I decide on a pattern or not, the next step is stash-diving…because I have yarn for hats…for days…I have a lovely heathered grey cashmere wool blend, two skeins of it, that for years has called to be turned into a hat and scarf combo…maybe this is the year. I have many…many…many single skeins of yarn floating around…because buying just one skein means I have a small quick and easy project in my hands…if ever I figure out what to make…it comes in handy making hats.

Right now, I very much want to create my own pattern and work outward from there, even though Ravelry has an incredible number of free hat patterns available – not to mention the paid ones as well.

So, there’s my process.

In the end, I have decided to work a colorwork hat, quite possibly in a deep magenta yarn, with a bright yellow yarn pattern. I want a four-inch brim, and it will probably be 2X2 rib strictly because it is so stretchy…although until I knit it up it is not writ in stone. I found my 2013 Branson notebook, so I have a ton of sketches for colorwork patterns…I will begin looking through them before moving forward.

That’s my process.

Thanks for listening.