More or Less

Speaking of intentions . . . 

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This week, Carole asks us what we'd like to do more of -- and less of -- in 2016.

I want:

  1. MORE mistakes. . .
  2. and LESS holding back.

  3. MORE smiling . . . 
  4. and LESS grumping.

  5. MORE making . . .
  6. and LESS buying.

  7. MORE risking . . . 
  8. and LESS waiting.

  9. MORE color . . . 
  10. and LESS erasing.

How about YOU?   What would you like to do - more or less - in the new year?

This Year


Last week, I shared my two-word intentions for the new year in a blog post.  Those two-word intentions are really just place-holders for me . . . of more detailed goals or aspirations or hopes-and-dreams (or whatever-you-want-to-call-thems) I have for the year.

Today, Carole asks us to share our intentions for the year, so I'll provide some of the "backstory" for my two-word intentions.


Ten Things I Want to Accomplish This Year:

  1. I want to go through All the Things and reduce-reuse-recycle.  Seriously, I'm in a PURGE mode!  I mean . . . What am I keeping some of this stuff FOR, exactly?  How did I come to have it in the first place?  What do I think I'll ever DO with it?  Do I need it?  That kind of thing.  I have just started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying . . . and I say Let the Magic Begin!  (Maybe I'll even have a garage sale.)
  2. I'm going to use what I have.  Yarn.  Art supplies.  Ingredients.  Lotions and potions.  Chapstick.  Pencils.  If I already have it, I'm going to use it.  Period.  (I'll save money, too.)
  3. It's time for a little freshening up!  I've lived in my current house for 12 years now.  It is time for a little . . . rejuvenation.  Seriously . . . I hated that valance in the library when we moved in.  I really don't like it now!  I'm not talking about anything major, but a little moving-around and touching-up.  Maybe some new rugs and a curtain or two.  (And maybe some new windows and a new slider, but that's a whole other thing altogether.)
  4. I want a labyrinth in the garden.   I haven't sprung this one on Tom quite yet . . . but we had to have a tree removed last fall (diplodia tip blight. . .)  so some space has opened up.  I love walking labyrinths, and I think we can incorporate a small one into our space.  (It'll give me something to ponder and plan, now that winter has returned.)  (And Tom loves to dig.)
  5. (Okay.  Let's just all roll our eyes over this one. . .)  I want to become proficient with PhotoShop.  I know.  This has been on every goals-list I've put together for 6 years.  But this time . . . I mean it!  Sure.  I've already completed THREE PhotoShop classes (online AND in-person).  But this time, I'm committed.  (I'm not going to let LAYERS intimidate me again.)  (I mean it.)
  6. I want to explore my creative side in a more intentional way.  I'm no artist, but I do feel like there's some untapped . . . expression . . . in there, ready to break through.  So I want to try some new things and take some artistic risk this year.  (I've even taken a huge step in making this happen.  More another day.)
  7. I want to get back to strength training.  I've pretty much got the cardio-thing down when it comes to fitness.  I mean, I run regularly, I spin, and now that I'm not working (!) I'm back to my dance and kickboxing classes.  But . . . I've really let my strength training go.  I'm getting back to Pilates and I've discovered a new class at the gym called "Body Pump."  (Trendy as hell, sure.  But effective.  So there.)
  8. I want to stitch more.  I say MORE ALABAMA CHANIN in 2015!  I love the AC shawl I made last year -- so much that I bought a new AC kit right before the holiday madness began (this time, a t-shirt).  I'm eager to begin.  You can bet that I won't leave this kit - untouched - in my closet for two years.  (Like the last one.)  I'm not intimidated anymore.  (And yesterday Vicki sent me a link to an AC project featuring grids.  I am giddy. . .)
  9. I want to Go Someplace.  Actually, let's make that plural.  I want to Go Places!!  My sister and I are starting to get itchy again.  Tom casually mentioned Mexico last night. (I'm All In.) (Even though he wasn't talking about the two of us going to Mexico.) And I'd like to take some small trips, too (Pittsburgh to see Erin, local adventures with my Mom, Chicago with Tom).  (Who knows where I'll end up. . .)
  10. I want to reach and grow and try some new things this year -- but I also want to settle in with the things I love best.  Hanging out with Tom.  Reading excellent books.  Digging in my garden. Knitting and stitching and creating.  Listening to music.  Enjoying poetry.  Sipping some wine.  And keeping up with friends!

How about YOU?  What are your intentions (or aspirations and goals) for the year?


 Join the fun!  Sign up to recieve Ten on Tuesday prompts here - or read other lists here


I had planned a nice blog post yesterday (New Year's Day) following the "begin as you mean to go on" theme of the new year.  But.  My cold took a nasty turn for the irritating-and-tedious, and I do NOT mean to go on in that way at all.  

So I took the day off -- and thought about my intentions for the new year instead.


Each year, on New Year's Day, I sit down with my journal and I write out a list of "intentions" for the coming year. My list is very free-form -- but I do have two rules:  Each intention I list must (1) have only two (or three) words, and (2) must be an action.

Once I get my initial list finished (this year I started with 29 two-word intentions on my list), I let it percolate for awhile . . . before paring it down to a shorter, "master" list of intentions.  (I usually find that themes bubble up -- and I can create a final list that encompasses all of the my original intentions.)

Here is my list of intentions for 2015:

  1. Pay attention.
  2. Look inside.
  3. Jump in.
  4. Stretch and bend.
  5. Make a mess.
  6. Trust yourself.
  7. Risk it.
  8. Get lost.
  9. Pack lightly.
  10. Freshen up.

These intentions will serve me well through 2015 . . . as I focus on my One Little Word:


It should be an interesting adventure!


My Own Spin


The One Little Word prompt in May . . . is the type of prompt that makes me freak out a bit . . . and then shut myself out of the project for a while.


Yes.  The "messy art project" prompts are really just not my thing.  Too prescriptive -- but with a veneer of "creativity."  I always think it strange to combine a creative-you-can-do-anything message with a 40-minute video showing how to be-this-particular-kind-of-creative.  (Maybe that's just me, though!)*

For me, I find the painting-layering-stenciling-stamping-sticker thing to be somewhat interesting, but far too tedious for my liking.  (Clearly, I am not an "art journal" kind of person.  And I'm okay with that.)

In past years, I've left this kind of prompt alone.

This year, I decided to put my own spin on it.

I got out some tags and my stamps (I like stamps because you can make plain paper look "fancy" with little to no effort!), and in 20 minutes I did my own kind of Creative Thing.



Even though my own process was very much abbreviated and involved far fewer art materials and a whole lot less mess (as compared to the monthly video prompt), I found that the creative process was . . .



and a bit inspirational


I am . . . finding that putting my own spin on things . . . makes One Little Word less intimidating and far more meaningful!  (And I'm pretty sure that's the whole point.)


To be fair, Ali Edwards, the intrepid One Little Word leader, makes it clear at every step of the OLW process that it is BEST for participants to do their own thing.  She encourages individuality and doing what's meaningful to YOU.  She has a lot of "followers," though, who want to do exactly what she does . . . so she puts together videos and materials lists so people can do just that.  It's a flexible project, though.  Completely flexible.  And I'm finally letting myself GO MY OWN WAY.



As soon as I read Carole's Ten on Tuesday prompt this week, this song . . . 


popped right into my head!


Ten Things I'd Like to Try:

  1. Beekeeping.  (Seriously - but not in a serious way.)  (I just love my bees!)
  2. Worm composting.  (I've wanted to try this one for years.)
  3. Making beer from my own hops.  (Which are taking over the garden.)  (Just sayin.)
  4. Mosaic.  (Garden stepping stones.) (Or maybe a little tabletop.)
  5. Serious Writing.  (Like a book.)  (I've had an idea in my head for years.)
  6. Kayak the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.  (Doesn't this look great?)
  7. Knit charming Christmas stockings. (Colorful and unique.)
  8. Watercolor.  (Real watercolor.)  (Not the app.)
  9. Use Photoshop regularly.  (Enough to remember how to use it.)
  10. Run enough to run a 10K.  (But not in an official way.)

How about YOU?  What would you like to try?


 Join the fun!  Read other Ten on Tuesday posts here, or sign up for weekly prompts here.   


Hello 2013!

I don't really DO "New Year's Resolutions."  Or, at least, not in the traditional sense.  I usually do resolve to live a certain way -- usually with a list of verbs -- but I don't make resolutions like "get in shape" or "eat better."

This week, though, Carole has suggested we list our Goals for 2013.  I might not make "resolutions," but I ALWAYS have "goals!" 


Here are my goals for 2013:

  1. SAVE more!  Tom and I realized that we only have two more tuition payments to make!!!  In a year, we'll be free of college tuition!  It's time to get back in a savings frame of mind.
  2. KNIT FROM STASH!  (I know.)  I'm not going to get all hung up on this, but I am going to use up some of the Very Nice Yarn . . . that I already happen to own.
  3. ORGANIZE my space!  Last year, I tackled some really big organizational projects in my house - with great success.  It feels really good to have those projects completed -- but there is MORE to do.  This year, I want to continue organizing my space . . . one drawer/container/box at a time.
  4. LEARN new things!  I'm not talking about a university degree here . . . I'm talking garden conferences, new knitting techniques, PhotoShop tricks, and work webinars.  Gotta keep that brain busy!
  5. READ as many books as possible!  I expect I'll keep my main reading time focused on contemporary fiction -- but I want to explore more poetry and short stories this year, with some Dickens and Thomas Hardy thrown in for classics relief.
  6. PAINT bathrooms!  (Now, there's an exciting goal.)  I'm so pleased with my painting success from 2012 that I'm ready to press on.  This year:  the upstairs bathroom at home (which means . . . I need to strip wallpaper first; wallpaper that was apparently applied with SuperGlue. . .) and the bathroom at the cottage.
  7. MAKE STUFF!  I have so many ideas.  It's time to make cool things happen.
  8. Keep on MOVING!  My fitness routine is a good one; it works well for me and I'm happy with it.  But.  It's good to throw new things into the fitness "mix" now and then.  I'm not sure what I'll add this year -- but it's going to be something! 
  9. GET OUT!  Vacation.  Go to movies.  See a play.  Go on road trips.  Visit new places.  Taste new foods.  Experience . . . life . . . outside my front door.
  10. Be OPEN . . . to SURPRISES!  Because. . . they're everywhere.

How about YOU?  What are YOUR goals for 2013?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.


"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.  And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."  -- Neil Gaiman


When I saw that quote flying around on Facebook yesterday, I realized . . . I just couldn't say it any better.  As he so often does, Neil Gaiman has inspired.  He has given me my motto for 2013.

Surprise yourself.



As for the rest of my New Year's resolutions:

  • Listen
  • Support
  • Act
  • Consider
  • Risk
  • Try
  • Reach
  • Stretch
  • Move
  • Offer
  • Plan
  • Grow
  • Rest
  • Document

So, let it begin!

(Good madness.  Don't you just love it?)


Happy New Year!

I celebrated my own, personal version of Rosh Hashanah on Sunday evening.


I'm not Jewish, and I have never celebrated Rosh Hashanah before. 

But this year, I decided it was time. . . to partake, at some basic level, in the Jewish New Year!

So I ate my first Honeycrisp apple of the season.  With some honey (and, truth be told, some peanut butter, too).  And I set about writing my goals and resolutions for the coming year.*

  • Freshen up
  • Pare down
  • Sharpen tools
  • Get out
  • Keep moving
  • Big stretch
  • Make room
  • Try things
  • Pressure OFF
  • Consume responsibly
  • Explore faith
  • Create light
  • Express myself
  • Eat well

Happy New Year!


*Writing my goals has actually been a month-long journaling project.  I'll spare you the details, but just know that each of the two-word goals listed above has a corresponding "story" and set of sub-goals. . . deep in the heart of my current journal!

It's Summertime. . . and the Livin' is Easy

It sure felt like summertime around here this weekend.  Hot and humid.  It's a perfect time to think about summertime goals . . . prompted by this week's Ten on Tuesday topic . . .


Ten Goals for This Summer:

  1. Find plenty of opportunities to put my feet up and . . . relax!
  2. Eat fresh -- visit the Farmer's Market for fresh, local produce.
  3. Go to the Lake Michigan shore now and again . . . catch a sunset!
  4. When it's too hot to be outside, stay inside where it's cool and organize a closet or two (or three).
  5. Do a little "sprucing up" at the cottage -- some paint, some new shelves, replace the flag.
  6. Visit a botanical garden or two; go on some garden tours for inspiration.
  7. Research cameras . . . take the plunge and buy one!
  8. Finish the Photoshop class.  (It's time to Just Do It!)
  9. Smell the roses!  Don't stress out about what's "not done" in the garden. . . and enjoy what "is!"
  10. Soak up the sun!  Get out and "play" in the delightful summer sunshine.

How about YOU?  What are your goals for the summer?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.