Sunday, November 2, 2014

Falling back, looking forward

Staircase: Handley Regional Library, Winchester VA
    Falling back...the time change.

     This early Fall event signals the start of our family's dread of dwindling daylight and all the mood and motivation that dwindles with the sunlight. We live near the eastern edge of the Eastern Time Zone so as I started this post at 430pm telling the dog 'it's not time to eat yet', it IS looking a lot like the dinner hour instead of afternoon...and it will only get worse the closer we get to the Winter Solstice.
     At any rate the flipping of the calendar to November always triggers in me a sort of reflection upon the year and thinking forward to the new year.
     In past years, around this time I usually get caught up on the annual scrapbook, start thinking about what goals I set at the beginning of the year, what I still have to accomplish or table for the next year, and begin really thinking about holiday plans.
     Let's take a little inventory of where I stand on some of those things and where I want to go....because some of these things will come up in my posts in the coming year as the goal of this site is a forum for creativity through writing, photographs, and artsy crafty productions.

  • Annual scrapbook: Yes, I'm one of 'those' people. I try not to let my pictures reside in the deep recesses of a hard drive for infinity. That being said, I take a very low stress approach to it. I use it as more of a storytelling and writing avenue and a reason to get all those pictures off digital media rather than a terribly creative one. Plus I suffer from CRS (Can't Remember, uhhh, Squat) and memory keeping and writing helps me preserve the thoughts in my head that leave as quickly as they arrive. (Thank you Day One App for iEverything) As much as I love paint, canvas, paper, stamps, ink and glitter for the purpose of cards or cutesy fun things, I actually hate scrapbooking in the traditional sense. I could never understand why people used all that stuff for one tiny picture on a huge 12x12 page. I tried it, and I was pretty decent at it, but I always knew it just wasn't me. 

     After being 'caught up' for all but two years in the mid 2000s, this year I bagged the family scrapbook way back in Week 2. I decided it just wasn't in the cards this year despite the easy to manage method I use (Becky Higgins Project Life with lots of inspiration from Cathy Zielske) I did, however make sure to keep my proven photo organization intact on the computer. If you want to see a photo from June 2014, I can get you one in about 10 seconds.
     My personal opinion on the scrapbooking thing is that it is very valuable in telling the stories of your life, especially the day to day things that at the time may seem mundane but when you go back later on are the most treasured bits and pieces. Plus, nowadays we all seem to have a camera in our hands. The stories behind them need preserved for the future. I have released the idea of our 2014 book being in the shelf. In future years its absence will be a void, but that tells a story as well. The 2015 book's opening pages will likely explain why to the future reader. My focus needed to be elsewhere this year.

  • Resolutions Goals for the year. I stopped making resolutions several years ago. Who keeps them? Really? Several years ago I was going through a refocusing of my life and ran across a blog post on Ali Edwards  website, who I follow still. She selected a word of the year, and called it One Little Word. I was inspired at the approach because she really has a way of embracing a word each year and making it hers, then seeing how that word shapes her year.      So in late 2008 going into 2009, I decided this was how I was going to set goals and approach things going into the new year. I chose the following that year and in subsequent years: Simplify, Focus, Discover, Leap, Build, and this year Trust. You can check out last year's One Little Word post to get the idea. It really is kind of fun. 
      The single best thing about choosing a word these last few years, for me, has been each word becomes a mantra for the year at the beginning, then toward the end it is a pretty accurate reflection on the year. Even though I didn't scrapbook my year I do recall times when the word (as well as previous years' words) found me in my every day life this past year. I often bring the word to mind when trying to make a decision or deal with a situation. Trust this year has meant trust the processes in my life, trust the people in my life, trust myself, trust God's plan for me, among other things.
      This is the time of year where I start looking for next year's word to find me, and it always does. I'm sure this will be the subject of a later blog post.

  • Holiday projects There's something about this time of year where even the least crafty of us tend to get a little creative. I've always thought it's a lack of outdoor activity thing bringing us indoors after active summers and a perhaps a throwback to our childhoods of making things in school to give as gifts to our families. Who doesn't love a paper chain hanging on the tree? 
     This fall I'm taking part in the 'thankful' movement and doing Cathy Zielske's 30 Days of Thankful project. It is a pretty simple documentation with photo(s) project of what many people post on social media throughout November. I may share a few things from the album here in more detail in coming weeks, but lots of what I photograph and journal is private family stuff, and the internet is a pretty public thing, so I'm guarded that way. (I'm trying here Dad, to do what you told me, and not waste my love of the written word, we'll see how it evolves. ;-)
     I may do December Daily along with Ali Edwards, but I've yet to determine a format that isn't too overwhelming and I want to focus on some hands on paper crafting with cards and things this year so we'll see what happens. These mini digital projects help me with my ongoing goal of learning more about Photoshop and doing most of my scrapbooking with digital templates, then either printing the final product in a book or printing the pages and dropping them in an album. I also want to get my habit back around to regular life documentation because I WILL be doing an annual album again in 2015. Just like anything else, if you have a routine and a habit, you'll be more likely to stick with it.
     I'm doing the Project Life  method again as the backbone of the album because it just works for me. If you are curious about scrapbooking but just don't know how to get going, check it out. I do digital pages, then keep the little pieces of life's ephemera and put it all in one album per year. But if all you want to do is print your photos and write a little something about them, it really is just that simple with the products available. Oh yah, and there's an app for that too which is a game changer for lots of people. No computer required. Just your iPhone or iPad, upload to a printing service or photo book, and you're done. (coming soon to droid)
     I spent some time today assembling folders on my computer with digital elements I plan to use, most of them from Cathy Zielske. I took last year's title page, which never got printed, and adapted it for 2015. I taped a few visual representations of the elements I chose to use this year to my computer screen so I can easily decide from week to week what to use in the albums. I have so many more options in my collection, but after the derailing of last year, I realize it's best to just keep it super simple. I realize that my super simple may be more complex than your super simple. I encourage you to find your own 'simple'. lol.
     So that's where I have been today, and where I'm heading. Thanks for coming along on the journey. it time for bed yet?

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