Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking Forward to 2015

I am looking forward to 2015.  I have made several decisions in terms of where I want to go and do and think this coming year will be interesting, to say the least.

One of the biggest things I have in my planner is 'putting myself out there', both with my art and my writing.  This coming semester will have me putting together a portfolio and learning how to get things to print.  I also just started a writing group this month and we are still in the organizational stage.  I am hoping it works out well.

I am taking part in the Documented Life 2015 project and also the 30 day flow journal.  I will be doing NaNo again, but hope to do more meet ups during the month.  I want to do monthly craft/artist dates with friends.  

I will be watching my pennies and to this end, in January, no fast food.  If it has a drive through, it's a drive "don't"...except Starbucks.

I want to read 100 books in 2015 and receive 100 postcards via Postcrossing.

There are 4 main areas I am going to track daily (I hope):

  • did I take my vitamins
  • how much did I write
  • how much did I walk
  • How much water did I drink
I would like to get my sewing machine out and at least finish up a couple of sewing projects.  There will be more hiking and biking going on.

Overall, I can't wait for 2015 to start!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year End Wrap Up

In 2014, my word was "routine".  Well, there was a honest intent, but can't say I succeeded with that goal.

I also:

  • watched my daughter get divorced and we moved into a smaller place
  • moved Savvy from Arizona to Montana, along with her dog
  • knitted 1 cap for a friend with cancer
  • started a Dr. Who scarf
  • knitted a cowl for me (still needs a button sewed on)
  • not only completed NaNoWriMo, but was the Municipal Liaison for Helena
  • read 112 books
  • created 50 plus mandalas and other digital art pieces
  • wrote and posted over 230 blog posts
  • earned 2 more Graphic Art certifications 
  • took over 4800 pictures (which still aren't organized like I want them)
  • slipped on ice and broke my wrist and had surgery to fix it
I can't wait for 2015 and all the fun things I have in store.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mandala Monday

The last mandala of 2014.  But much more fun planned for next year, especially when I get rid of this cast.  And sleep through the night.....

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Another Birthday for Savvy

It's Happy Birthday time again for Savvy.  Yep, she's getting OLD!  A whole 24 years now.

This year has seen a lot of changes for her.  She left a job she really enjoyed to move to Montana because she just couldn't take Arizona any more.  The driving to go anywhere and the heat took it's toll.  Now she is in Montana with a job she enjoys almost as well as the other one (the pay and benefits are the main difference).  

Sporting a new 'do', hopefully the next year will have her doing even more as she will have to get her driver's license shortly.  Then she can drive me to work! My goal is a bike for ME!

Have a happy one, my big girl.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Wrapping Up 2014

I originally had all these great plans for wrapping up 2014.  All of them involved using two hands!  therefore, I am giving the watered down, one-handed version of ending 2014 and starting 2015.

For Savvy's birthday (which is actually the 28th), we went to watch the final installment of "The Hobbit".  It was bittersweet in that she has grown up with the two Tolkien stories brought to life by Peter Jackson.  Despite being in Helena almost two years now, this was the first time had I been to the movies here.  I am glad I sprang for the 'deluxe' tickets.

What I didn't realize was what a tyrant Savvy was over the snacks.  There are 'movie snack' rules.  Did you know that?

Don't let that smiling face fool you.  She's ready to defend them until the proper time.  

Other than the movies, I have spent my time preparing for the New Year, writing down lists, getting my planner organized, catching up on filing and doing a bit of moving things here and there.

Left to right: 2015 Planner, 2014 journal, 2015 journal.
Top:  Notebook

This year I am trying out an ARC planner from Staples.  My Tranquility du Jour calendar I was using this year didn't give me all the functionally I wanted. I need to be able to add pages and more things to the planner.

My 2014 journal is actually down to it's last few pages.  I will type up what has been going on over the past few days and add it in since I can't write well.

My 2015 journal is a Moleskin Hobbit journal I got in sale this year at Barnes and Noble.

The bright pink notebook at the top is my 'notebook'.  It's also an ARC item.  Texter has has ARC planner and notebook, so we invested in the punch for pages since there are two of us using the same product.

I have already added file labels to the planner for January to see how I like tracking this way.  More water and being sure to take my vitamins are part of my health goals for the coming year, as is more walking.  I will also use the stickers to make sure I am writing something every day.  There is room for either a check mark to show I did it or to write actual amounts.  One page of labels (30) took care of the month.  The "plank" reference is for a challenge I wanted to do before I messed with my wrist. However, since it is a plank and not a push-up, I think I can still do it.

Friday, December 26, 2014


Christmas Eve afternoon saw Savvy, CJ and myself going to see the last (sob) installment of "The Hobbit".  Fantastic.  And as soon as it is out on dvd, and my wrist healed, there will be a marathon Hobbit/Lord of the Rings viewing and knitting weekend.

Anyway, while we were waiting for the film to start, Savvy took this picture...

Which I had to play with and turn into this...

I call it "Create".

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Even with my Wiccan/Buddhist leanings, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Lady K is a year older now and 10 times smarter than last year.  We have a head of curls and a body go big girl attitude and opinion.

Last year we were all over everywhere, traveling and seeing other family.  This year, we are all here.  I admit to being a bit selfish and loving it.

It snowed yesterday evening, so we have a white Christmas.  Today will be spent opening presents, eating and napping.

Everyone enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Word for 2015

So this year it's about pennies.  Or rather watching my pennies more carefully.  I have tried in the past to watch where my dollars go - without much success.  So this year I am starting smaller - pennies.

I have kept a change jar for years.  I can't even begin to tell you how often it came in handy for a gallon of milk or a few gallons of gas or lunch money for the girls.  Change can rack up fast.  My thought is to start small, watch the little things, and maybe the big picture will be less financial stress.

I have my jar ready for the 52 Week Money Challenge.  Actually, I have discussed with Savvy and I think she might join in.  She might become my banker for this so I can't cheat like I did this year.

Another thing I plan on doing for at least the first 30 days, is "No fast food."  That did get a bit of a glare from Savvy since she works for Qdoba.  I told her they don't count since they don't have a drive-in.  It's only places with drive-throughs.  Except Starbucks.  Like with a diet, I can't totally cut out everything.  That is my reward-to-self.  This will also help in another area which is health, by making me go back to fixing meals and taking my lunch to work and stop relying on fast food so much.  

PENNIES in 2015 it is.

Monday, December 22, 2014

That Perfect Moment

Yep, that is how I am feeling part of the time with my broken wrist.  I am taking it all very personally.  You see I had this whole agenda for things I wanted to do between the time school was over for the semester and it started up again.  And they all, for the most part, regarded 'hands-on' experience.  I only have 'hand-on' right now.

I had my word for 2015 to come up with.  I had several projects/goals I wanted to outline steps on.  Getting my 2015 planner all set up.  An artist date or two.  Blog postings. Book reviews. Goals foe next year. Year end recap and review. A writing group to start and design a logo for.  And then THE WRIST.  My fall without grace.  Although I have been told I did not scream profanities in the street when it happened, that I was pretty calm.  But I have had my moments over the past couple of weeks.  Apparently, failure to locate where the grocery store is hiding the cans of Manwich sauce is reason for a near breakdown in the aisles.

Then it hit me.  

I was waiting for that 'perfect moment' to move forward with my plans.  Which is a problem I have faced throughout my life...waiting for that perfect moment to happen to move forward.  Perfect moments just don't occur that often.  That's why, when they do occur, we cherish them.  

But you can't accomplish things you want to accomplish waiting for 'perfect moments'.  So....

I am typing with one hand and writing with my left hand.  Both processes are slow going and in the case of handwriting, not all that pretty.  But things are getting done.  Not in the color coded, multi-paged plans I had envisioned, but they are getting done.  I started my writing group.  And while I don't have sheets of notes for future programs and files of's started.  No perfect moment, but it's off the ground.

So maybe the start of my planner for 2015 won't have the best handwriting in it.  And maybe I will have to put up with some scribbled notes until such time as I have use of both hands again.  But I think I just might be learning to stop looking for that perfect moment.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice - Thinking Back

Today is the Winter Solstice.  Actually, if I had thought ahead I might have asked a friend if we could use her fire pit to 'burn' off the things we want to put behind us this year.   Like my wrist.  Put things we want to get rid of in our lives on slips of paper and burn them, releasing the 'bad' energy.  To cleanse for the coming New Year.  

Part of my planning for 2015 is looking back at this year.  It has not been the easiest year, but it has meant both my daughters are here with me now, which is good.  My 'word' for 2014 was Routine.  Well, let's just say I'm surrendering to the fact my life will probably never flow in a constant pattern.  So I will embrace that as a reason to have elaborate planners!

The next few days will continue the look back and the plans for 2015.  Now for more coffee.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Post Surgery Play

So while I have two weeks before they move me to a cast where I can possibly write and type a bit better.  In the meantime doing a bit more photoshop practice.  This one I'm calling "Winter's Night".  It's a combination of six different pictures.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Not Your Mother's Better Home and Garden

I love my magazines.  I have mentioned several times about going to the bookstore and spending a couple of hours going through the magazine rack for my inspiration and additions to my stash.  Last week I was at Hastings, enjoying a hot chocolate, buying a couple of gifts and relishing a bit of bookstore time.  I was seated next to the magazines rack, the side where all the Vogue, Glamour, Elle magazines reside.  In other words, an area I seldom venture.  Looking up, I noticed a little 'black duck' in amongst all the glossy swans and the article captions on the front cover immediately caught my eye.
picture from IndieChick site

I think the one about living a passionate life was the one which snagged me immediately.  I skirted around the rope separating the cafe area from the bookstore, grabbed the magazine, brought it back to my table and started flipping through it.   It only took a quick look to know this was going in the pile coming home with me.

The cover is grey-tone with splashes of pink, a really nice change from the elaborate covers of many magazines, including my beloved "O".  The next thing I noticed were there were few, very few, ads.  In fact, the couple of ads which were there were to help Indie Chick be published.  So no annoying perfume ads (although I could use a couple of new strips in my undie drawer).  No ads trying to sell me $500 shoes while I am trying to figure out what bills to pay this month.  Many of the pictures have than 'instagram' look to them and the page layouts are edge to edge.  No over abundance of white, glossy space here.  And then there are the articles.

 At the grand age of 57,  I am thinking "what do some 20-somethings know about life"...for me that was half a decade ago and I'm still learning.  A bit gritty and in your face, those are not stories on "how to catch your man" or "50 uses for kumquats".  These are truths your BFF would tell you, bold, bald and out there and not for the faint of heart.  (Definitely not Family Circle.  If you are easily offended and need things glossed over, don't pick it up.)  And this five- decades-of-living-under-my-belt woman enjoyed every one of them.

I giggled a bit over the "7 signs it's a quarter-life crisis".  Even at my 'half-life' many of these questions still arise.  And the passionate life article (by Chrystal Rose) that initially stopped me?  Well, I wish I had known these hints when I was 25 rather than having to struggle at forty-something on starting to redefine and reinvent my authentic self.

The problem with this magazine?  Where was it when I was 20? 23? 27?  Instead I had Cosmopolitan giving me permission to have sex with everyone that came along, a quiz on my style, and how to do it in heels (hey, it was the late 70's, early 80's!)  Another article, by Julie Zantopoulos, (which is going up on my board), is "Screw You, I Don't Need Your Support".  As someone who only in the last few years acknowledged to herself about being a writer and artist, this really hit home.  "You succeed because you're a badass and you're not going to let anything stop you." has become my mantra.  Most of the articles are written by the same handful of young women.  They might be young in years, but I found most of their advice and comments pretty spot on.  The things they are writing about are things I hope I taught my daughters at an early age so they don't have to struggle later on like I did/do.

Showing the magazine to Savvy meant I lost possession of it.  She's looking to subscribe.  Here was a magazine which spoke her language as a young, soon-to-be 24 year old woman.  She fits the tagline of IndieChick - self-empowerment for women.  I subscribed to their website.  Funky, linked to the latest in social media, and insightful, these young women are a force to be reckoned with. 

Meanwhile, the magazine is on the bathroom floor - which is a good thing.  It gets read and re-read and read again. Until the next issue takes it's place.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Day Before

Tomorrow is my surgery to fix my broken wrist.  I am looking at it from two points of view and wishing it were all over, including the healing.   So this is a little something I have been working on over the past few days.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Regifting - Day 2

Lousy night of little sleep.  My body feels like a toxic waste dump.  Come on surgery.

Friday, December 12, 2014


Since I am down a hand, 'regifting' a mandala from last year.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hardest Post

This has to be the hardest post I have ever written.  Not because of subject matter, but because I slipped on the ice on Monday afternoon.  The fall resulted in breaking my wrist.  My right wrist.  And you guessed it, I'm right handed.

What is funny and ironic is that I was following someone across the street who was wearing heels.  I was in tennis shoes with tread on them.  Teach me to care about other people.  But so far I think it's kind of funny.  Until in a phone conversation with the orthopedic nurse which I was referred to by the Urgent Care Clinic advised me my appointment on Wednesday was to discuss my surgery next week!

Wait!  What!  Surgery!

So for Christmas I'm getting an operation.  And not the game.  

Everyone at work couldn't be more concerned (it occurred in the street outside work) and the offers of help are just fantastic.  The girls are being great.  But the kid in me which is thinking "Wow! I have a cast (temp one at this point) is quickly being replaced by reality.  This sucks!

I had all kinds of writing plans over the holidays.  Not this trying to be comfortable and elevate and ice.  In fact, my elevation and icing plans included a couple of drinks out.

But it does give me pause to stop and think there are people who go about their day-to-day lives with only one arm.  They have my immense admiration.

And Savvy pointed out as I was struggling to get out my daily dose of vitamins that thank goodness I have been taking calcium supplements or my intimate encounter with the pavement could have been worse.

So finals for the semester will be interesting.  So will my participation in the Documented Life 2015 project, the Flow journal 30 day class and the start of the writing group next week.

Anyway, be careful what you wish for.  My desire to have a cast came about 5 decades late!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Digital Art

I think I might be getting the hang of using Photoshop....finally.  I'm getting to where I wanted to be when I first started taking Graphic Design classes a few years ago.  I need to integrate some elements from Illustrator into Photoshop, but that's the next step.  Here are a couple of pictures I created over the past few days.

Untitled 12.14
This first one is an experiment blending spheres, doing some fractal-type designs and layering.  What is fun is the background is actually cloud pictures I have taken.  They make a good nebula.

Total Eclipse of the Moon

Once again a composite of a couple of pictures I have taken and some circles with layering.  What I'm excited about is I feel I am getting to where I want to be to start doing the things I want to do.  Hammering out a little Illustrator elements to assist in some of my design elements.  

I'm so happy!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Christmas Shopping Hairdos

Last week Savvy and I went to do her Christmas shopping.  It turned out to be more of a day of beauty than Christmas shopping.  Savvy had her 'do' in mind for several months and her work gave her the go-ahead for her style.  It's a bit hard to see, but shaved on the sides and back and long on top.  Her head feels so soft when I pet it.  I do have to say that the two stylists at Cost Cutters here in Helena did a bang-up job on our heads.  I like them much, much better than Great Clips.  I didn't feel like they were cutting our hair by formula.

I got mine cut while there since I looked like the bear coming out of hibernation.    It's one thing to know I will not have to face the 'old lady pink head' as I get older.  But sometimes it being so thick makes me look like a bit overgrown.  So the back and sides are short (but not as short as Savvy's) and the top longer.  I do have to say I have gotten a few compliments on the 'do', so it must be a definite improvement.

Another thing we did (beyond spending way too much money) was to get makeup.  I haven't worn makeup in ages!  But we went to Ulta and the nice girls there kindly helped this old lady pick out something that wouldn't take ages to apply and that didn't look made up.  I do have to say that a little bit of makeup isn't bad.  (But we didn't have our makeup on in this picture.)

So I am starting the new year with a new hairdo and makeup.  Let's see what other changes are inspired by 2015.  

Monday, December 08, 2014

Mandala Monday - King Leo

Every year when I was growing up in Tennessee, my paternal grandmother, Ginny, would get a large tin of King Leo Peppermints.  These are stick peppermints and are the soft kind of peppermints.  The kind you can put in your mouth and they just melt.  The kind, as a kid, I would walk around and think I was so cool with my 'cigarette'.  (Hey, remember, this was the early 60's!)

These days I know I can order them on the internet, but it's not the same as walking into a store and finding them.  So I was really delighted, when last week I found a small tin of them in a local Helena store, The General Mercantile.

It's a fun store to go into.  First off, it's an old store.  And it is filled with all kinds of fun candy and gift items.  And a huge koi swimming around in a pond inside.  AND, as we found out last week, they make a killer hot chocolate!  

Savvy picked up some items for friends and I got my peppermints.  I'm not going around 'smoking' my peppermint any more.  But I will save the tin and put something in it.  And stick it in the closet or on a shelf so Lady K can find it and go through all the treasures inside, just like my grandmother did with her tins.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Spotted Photo Challenge for December

As I am typing this post for release next week, there is about 6-8 inches on snow on the ground here in Helena.  Definitely getting that Christmas look outside.  Inside - not so much.

First, we are extremely limited on space.  And there is a set of little hands, aided by a set of furry paws, which would wreck havoc on any decorations we put up.  But I will probably get some lights for the windows next week and at least make a token effort at Christmas decorating.  Maybe some stockings 'hung by the entertainment center with care'.

Anyway, the theme for this month's iHanna Spotted Photo challenge is Christmas.  And funny, but I don't really have that many Christmas pictures.  

A pile of Christmas ornaments

Christmas tree from work several years ago

My Grinch quilt - still needs the back!

Book Wreath - huge 

Christmas Village from work several years ago

Christmas morning, 2011
But this year is special.  Both the girls are here and working and healthy and happy.  Little Lady K is almost 2 and smart and healthy.  We have a new member to the family who puts up with all our craziness.  And cleans!

Have a Happy Holiday season to everyone out there......

Saturday, December 06, 2014

My World in 2015

This is the results from a homework tutorial I worked on this past week.  Actually the wording in the tutorial was a bit different, but I felt it reflected how I am feeling about the coming year.  In other words, I want to set the world on fire.

Well, maybe not quite that bold and out there, but there are several things I have in my mind and on paper I want to accomplish in the coming year.  Stay tuned for progress reports!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Homework is Ramping Up to Wind Down

I'm in that last frantic push of homework, some of it fun, some not so much.  But here are a couple of creations for a class.  We had to create a couple of movie ads for a fictitious movie.  I was aiming for the young adult crowd who would have seen Twilight and Hunger Games.  Once again, Savvy played a part by being in a picture a few years ago which I could now use.

My little snow globe I have been making the past few days is coming in handy.  But another fun assignment.  One more and I am through in this class for the semester.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Decorating the Tree

I decorated my tree.  Probably the only one that won't be attacked by a 20 month old and a kitten.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Equal Time for the Holidays

To give Savvy Equal time, her snow globe is in a martini-style glass she recently purchased.  We had vodka gimlets for Thanksgiving and she has a list of drinks for us to try over the holiday season.  At least we will be merry!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

December Prayer Continued.....

This is the refrain to 'December Prayer'.  Every time I hear the part about ' an angel dancing in the air' it makes me think of snow falling at night.  And how quiet it is.  You can hear the snow falling and everything is hushed.  This song really touches a chord with me (no pun intended).

Monday, December 01, 2014

December 1 - Mandala Monday

Here is my snowflake mandala for Monday and the start of (hopefully) a month of various photoshop/photography 'specials'.

I love Christmas carols.  In fact, if I could only have one 'type' of music, it would be Christmas music.  And this from someone who is pagan in her beliefs.  But I love the message behind the songs, which I feel just about anyone can embrace, regardless of their religion.

Anyway, I usually buy a new Christmas album every year.  This year I bought Idina Menzel's album, 'Holiday Wishes'.  This is the only song on the album I had not heard before and it's my new favorite. I chose the first verse to accompany my snowflake mandala.  If you haven't heard the song, check it out.  It is not a 'Christmas' carol per se, but its a beautiful song.