Archive for the 'life' Category Page 3 of 25



Fitbit One Year Anniversary

Hello, fitbit

It is my fitbit one year anniversary!

Some days getting that 10,000 step smiley face is absolute torture!

Some days it is my saving grace.

I will be honest I have had some days I didn’t get my 10,000 steps in. I’m thinking it was probably around 6 days, and over 365 days that’s not bad! At 3 MILLION 967 THOUSAND and 584 steps over a year that averages to 10,870 steps every day, so I more than made up for those few days that I didn’t make 10,000.

I do wish that it had more of a positive effect on my waistline, but it’s something I work on that through my food choices all the time.

In the time I got my fitbit they have EXPLODED in popularity. I went from having 3 contacts on the friend page to having 20, many have told me it was because of my fitbit talk that got them interested in getting their own.

My feet or back used to hurt walking just to our downtown, now walking all over town and back is no longer an issue.

Today is my #OneYearAnniversary of when I got my #fitbit. #10,000 steps every day, still going strong.   8.11 fitbit one year

Here are a couple articles that you might be interested in reading about pedometer/trackers

Time Magazine Kathleen Parker: Count Me Out

New Yorker article David Sedaris Stepping Out, Living the Fitbit Life

My #fitbit said #woot! 15,000+ steps today

10,000 steps is great and I’m so proud of myself, but occasionally I think I really should aim higher. Obviously I have plenty of “over” days as my average is near 11,000 steps, but I am afraid that I won’t stick to it and it will cause the whole thing to fall apart and I don’t want to mess with a good thing. I feel like since “They” says that the average person should get 10,000 steps that’s what I work towards. Maybe I need to do some research and see what is recommended for someone wanting to lose weight.

I’ve lost my dad

July 9th my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He just turned 72 in June and my parents would have had their 46th anniversary next week. We have received such a wonderful outpouring of love, prayers and support this week as we said goodbye to him with the visitation and funeral. I’ve been so numb and drained but the fact that my whole family lives here, we’ve been able to hold each other up and it has kept us all sane and functioning.

Posts from Instagram


A picture of my dad when he was a kid. I have just been through the worst 2 days of my life, starting yesterday with the type of phone call that I’d never wish upon anyone. My dad died unexpectedly. I’ve often worried about a phone call just like this, partially because my family has been too lucky, too charmed, too fortunate, no one hurt, no one sick, no one died, and that is unheard of. Who gets this far in life without something wrong happening? And here it is, and now life will never be the same.


The man and his hats, legendary. It’s been very therapeutic going through ages and ages of pictures. Here we are, my brother, dad and little me peeking from behind to get in the shot. He was a big guy and some people have been telling us about how he really scared or intimidated them until they got to know him and realized he was really just a gentle giant. A smart and sarcastic, but gentle giant.

Photo collages

My dad

My dad
This is one of the framed photo collages we put together for the visitation. It was so therapeutic going through all of our family pictures, searching for pictures of him and recalling all of our memories.

Some memories or thoughts on my dad

My dad loved everything surf culture, Endless Summer and Dick Dale, we bought him a surf calendar every single year.

He took me twice to see the Rolling Stones in concert.

I have a memory from when I was really little of him laying on the hammock in my parents’ back yard and me asking him in my kid voice if we could go to “the libary” and him giving me a hard time because he didn’t know what a libary was. I expounded, “where they have books with words and pitchers” and he explained “It’s libRARY, and pitchers are for pouring”

I definitely got my multi-tasking from him. He was known to daily watch tv, with the radio on and read a magazine all at the same time.

I remember missing being held by him after my brother was born (at 4 years old. I was and am very much a middle child), and pretending to fall asleep on the couch just so that he would pick me up and carry me to bed.

He was a collector and hobbyist. Coins, knives, radios, guitars, violins, treadle sewing machines, ham radio, taking pictures of dilapidated barns set against the midwest plains, and on and on and on.

He was the hardest person to buy presents for because whatever he wanted he just bought for himself.

He said the movie Animal House was pretty much his exact experience from college and his fraternity years.

I remember visiting my dad’s office one time and seeing that he had posted a picture of me that was printed in the newspaper (when I worked for the paper) and realizing that my dad was proud of me after all.

He was extremely intelligent. I remember him saying how much he enjoyed talking to Mr. Dicky (Dickey?) because he was the only person he knew that was smarter than he himself was. #canyousayhumble?

Despite that intellect, we all found it very humorous then when he would get obsessed with certain tv shows like Clarissa Explains it All or Two and Half Men.

He always carried a handkerchief with him.

He was named after my grandma’s oldest brother, who was a millionaire and owned his own horse ranch.

He went by Dick, so you knew when someone called pretending to be his buddy but called him Rich, chances were it was a telemarketer.

He was an only child and we all remember our mom saying how he couldn’t understand why we (my siblings and I) would always argue and fight. He always figured if you had a sibling it would have been a built in best friend. But my mom, a child with a brother and sister as well, had to explain that’s just how siblings are.

My dad loved hats. We used to go to the Chicago Air and Water show every year. One time we went into the city and he bought two hat at a hat shop. One a regular hat, and one indestructible hat, the salesman demonstrated that you can pull and tug and wring it and nothing would phase the hat. He wore the regular hat out the door and got a box for the indestructible one. We walked out onto the streets of the “windy city” and the hat blew off his head and promptly got run over by a taxi. It ended up being ok, but it was just so funny that of course the indestructible hat was safe in the hat box still.

Project Life

Let me just preface this by saying I am not, nor am I bound to become a Project Lifer anytime soon. This is just the story of my one and only (so far) Project Life page.

When I first heard about and started seeing Project Life examples online I got REALLY EXCITED. I saw people using it in more of a creative art sense, rather than just regular photo album/scrapbooking style. I saw the divided panes as a opportunity to create quick and small individual compositions, and that it would make the act of filling pages much more loose and whimsical. I went crazy and bought all sorts of PL stuff and just as quickly realized it wasn’t at all like I had imagined. The small panes require pre thought out plans and ideas, printed photos have to be sized and printed ahead of time. I pretty much froze. I created two frames on the first 11 frame page. The end… for a while at least.

Fast forward to earlier this year. Kristi Prokopiak created a PDF “course” to raise funds for her dog Chloe’s surgery. The course is not for project life, but rather her own take on scrapbooking that she refers to as scrapling. Kristi has skillz and I could use some inspiration and instruction, plus I love animals and have enjoyed watching Chloe over the years, so I supported the cause.

It helped because I finally finished a whole page. I’m kind of embarrassed of it, but I have to remember it’s only my first page ever. It’s also kind of embarrassing because it is about our cat that we got last year. Yeah, I don’t want to be one of those types of people, but I do love cats and want to hug them all, soooooo….

Project Life Fionna

This picture is the better result after taking other pictures, and then deciding maybe I should google to see how other people do it properly. I still got reflective areas from the page divider, but this is still world’s better than my first pictures.

So, a breakdown of the page. I tried to be cohesive with colors and themes (stripes, chevron, sticks, washi tape, and my handlettering and colors black, gold and gray).

The top row: the first two boxes were what I started when I first attempted Project Life in 2013. I just added the washi tape element and the photograph of a stick across the top of the first box. The second box is the account of how we adopted her. The third picture is of her in the carrier when we were bringing her home.

The middle row: I cut out the letters of her name from gold paper in the final box (3rd row) and liked the discard paper from which I cut it enough to also incorporate it. It says “we thought Bishop had a tiny meow” because people would always comment on how his meow is so cute and tiny but Fionna’s is even smaller and higher pitched, it’s almost inaudible. In the center I used a gold gel pen to share some of her unique characteristics, or at least unique compared to Bishop.

The bottom row: When we first brought her home our biggest concern was how Bishop can be such a jerk. We kept them separate for a few days, only feeding them on opposite sides of the door. This way they had to be right next to each other while they ate. It worked perfectly. And then the final pictures and frames, by accident we discovered that she loves sticks, she plays fetch with them and runs around the house with them in her mouth. The stick theme is shown in 3 places.

Some of the pictures were printed on my desktop printer (HP Photosmart 8150 that I bought like 6 or more years ago) and others were printed from my Polaroid Pogo.  I thought the pogo would be a great option for printing pictures for Project Life, but as it turns out the Pogo does not connect to the iphone, which is what I take most of my pictures on nowadays. Plus, my pogo is funky now and printing with stripes, so annoying.

Canon Selphy

Through the facebook group for Kristi’s PDF course I found someone that wanted to sell their Canon Selphy. A compact printer that allows you to print from the iphone! Imagine that! And using an app, I can print multiple pictures on one 4×6, perfect for printing pictures for Project Life. Granted, I got this after I created this page and then I haven’t really done any more PL since, but I think it will help with being able to print quicker in the future.

In the future I’d really would like to play around more with just doing art type stuff, collage, patterns and colors, sketchbook and art journaling in the project life pages. But for now I have one page under my belt. I think I might be putting too much pressure on myself with Project Life whole page layouts and maybe what I need to do is actually experiment more with just focusing here and there on single panels  and not worrying about the whole. A whole page would become cohesive naturally because each panel would be done by me.

International Photobooth Convention 2014 CHICAGO

International Photobooth Convention 2014

This past weekend I ventured into the city (Chicago) to attend the International Photobooth Convention. Years back it was held in Chicago and I chickened out going and then when the next convention was held elsewhere I really regretted missing that opportunity. I follow photobooth.net‘s blog and facebook page, so when I saw that it was being held in Chicago again I promised myself I would attend this year. I even stated on the facebook event page that I was attending. I couldn’t back out after that now could I?

International Photobooth Convention

Even though I RSVPed about 6 months ago I still was really nervous about attending. I was pretty much in denial that it was approaching up until a couple days beforehand. I didn’t want to drag along someone that wasn’t as into photobooths as I was, but I was still afraid of showing up alone. I had these visions of showing up by myself and the record screeching to a halt as I walked into the door and everyone turning and staring at me. When I think of photobooths I think of getting pictures taken with more than one person, so to show up solo might be a no-no. But, I learned my lesson before and I was determined to be there, push through the fear. I almost had a mini panic attack when I realized the workshop I wanted to attend was limited to only 25 people, so 2 days before the convention I signed up for the workshop on photobooth art with Meags Fitzgerald. I half expecting to get an email that the class was already at capacity, and then I would cry, and probably use it as an excuse to not go at all. But, no message came and the day of the class I woke up early and headed into the city.

International Photobooth Convention
The main room that had 6 of the 8 photobooths at the convention. Meags is pictured above in the red cardigan and notice the machine next to her is open and being worked on.

While the record didn’t screech to a halt when I entered, I do think that most people showed up with friends, and/or knew each other from the photobooth.net community and/or at the opening party the night before. In regard to my artwork and photography I can be very “camera shy” (badam bum) and it is very hard for me to think creatively and be productive when I am feeling self conscious and I can feel self conscious when I am around other people. So, in some ways it was good that I was flying solo because I didn’t have to worry what someone else was thinking, I could get into a booth, close the curtain and be in my own world.

International Photobooth Convention

The workshop with Meags was great and opened my eyes to many possibilities. I really didn’t know what to expect beforehand and have to admit I had never thought too much about photobooth pictures in relation to Art with a capital A, other than self portraits and capturing a moment in time with a fun and unique automated machine. The class got my mind suddenly racing with ideas, but because all of these ideas and possibilities were plopped in my lap moments before we were to start working I didn’t have much time to really organize my thoughts. Immediately after the lesson I sat down at the desk pictured above. I opened my sketchbook and wanted to start brainstorming, but I was surrounded by people and my mind was going a mile a minute I was worried that by the time I had a plan of attack, time would be gone, so instead I just decided to go for it and start jumping in booths. I also had this pressure once I realized that I have access to all these booths right here and now, but  if I come up with some great ideas later on, I will have to travel to get to a booth and each strip will put me back $3-$5. Why can’t there be a photobooth convention every year in Chicago?

Some of my strips from yesterday at the #internationalphotoboothconvention in #Chicago. I think there were 8 booths and I took a workshop on #photobooth art with Meags Fitzgerald. It was so exciting to play freely and explore.

The convention cost $18 to the general public and I think I took over 20 strips home with me, so it was a great deal! I actually can’t believe that there weren’t tons more people there during the open booths time slots. Surprisingly though, the people that were there were from all over the country and world!

Meags provided us with packets with creative tools to use in the booths. My pictures might not all be amazingly creative BUT I’m not done yet! I have some ideas and I think I’d like to incorporate some of pictures into some mixed media and mailart.

Meags Fitzgerald's book Photobooth: A Biography

Overall it was a GREAT experience. Now that I have this under my belt and knowing what I know now, I think I’d be more comfortable attending a future convention. I also took with me a few mementos including Meags’ new graphic novel, Photobooth: a Biography. The book is great so far and I highly recommend it. The page above shocked me and just about made me cry. I had no idea that photobooths are so close to “extinction”.

SO, please, if you like chemical photobooths (as opposed to digital) please visit photobooth.net, search locations to find nearby photobooths and support them now while you can.

Edit to add:

3.28.13 photobooth prints

My photobooth poster DIY project from last year. Make your very own LARGE poster for only $5. It’s easy and FUN!

Smiley Faced Pouch Time Capsule

Smiley faced pouch time capsule

Matt just came home and asked me “Anything happen while I was out?” and I was able to reply “Only that I found a TIME CAPSULE!

I have FOUR HUGE storage bins that I packed up of all my belongings from my parents’ house when I moved out around 2000ish. These storage bins went into a storage shed at my sisters’ house and stayed there until Matt and I bought our house in 2011. Now they reside in my garage, but I still haven’t gone through them. These bins alone are like time capsules, filled with my Cabbage Patch Dolls and diaries and Seventeen magazines, etc., etc., but this is not the time capsule I refer to.

I want to execute a project in our house and had to get something that I knew was in those storage bins. I opened the first bin and fortunately what I wanted was sitting right on top. But immediately underneath, was this little smiley faced pouch. It was a zipper pouch I used in high school, and carried the necessities in it (probably my driver’s license, cash and chapstick) and it might have been attached to my keychain. When I picked it up from the storage bin it was stuffed round and I immediately grabbed it to see what was inside. The zipper wouldn’t budge and then the pull actually broke right off. I could tell the zipper was completely corroded closed and there was no way it was going to zip open. It was so stuffed and I knew I had to find out what was inside so I decided to document opening it just in case it was good.

Smiley faced pouch time capsule

In other news, and just by chance, last week Kaylah from the Dainty Squid posted a picture on instagram that she said was “A collection of absolutely worthless things that mean everything to me.” I replied that she needed to hashtag that and that I wanted to play along. I am 100% the type of person to keep “junk” purely for sentimental reasons. She hashtagged #worthlessthingsthatmeaneverything and I thought “ok, now how shall I go around gathering little trinkets from all over the house and get a picture of it?” Little did I know this gem would all but just drop into my lap a few days later.

I love when things like that happen. I kind of feel like it’s the universe telling me that I’m on the right path.

Smiley faced pouch time capsule

But really, who knew what would be inside? It could be awesome, but it could just as easily and more likely be a bunch of junk like rocks I picked up from who-knows-where because let’s face it, that would be so me. Instead it ended up being AWESOME!!!!! Scroll down.

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2.15.14 time capsule

Can you believe all this stuff was stuffed into that little pouch? Some of it really is junk, like a half of a broken button. What the heck is that about? Maybe in my old life that button meant something to me, but right now I haven’t the slightest clue why I would have kept it. BUT, there were other things in there that really do mean the world to me. Things I have long wondered “what happened to that? I wish I still had it.”

A few highlights:

Near the center, a little to the left there is a white ceramic oval that says my name. I received that, probably for a birthday, when I was 6-8(maybe younger?) from my Godmother. It was a pin that I treasured. It said MY name (Robyn) on it and as a girl if ever I would find customized items, AND on the super rare chance that they would have my name, it would 100% surely be spelled Robin. As a little kid having an oddish name was a rough thing for me, I dreamed of being named Samantha, or Alexandra (then I could have a nickname like Sam or Alex), but no instead I had a name that was unusual and on top of that it was an unusual spelling. I got over it by the time I was in high school and all the kids started wishing their names were unique and trying to come up with unique spellings for Sara and Jennifer. Underneath my name it says “Strength of Character” and my mom always said that my Godmother said about me when I was little, “There’s no worry that Robyn won’t get what she wants in this life. She knows exactly what she wants and goes after it.

When I was in high school I took a train trip to a family reunion with my Grandma Wells. We were in Amish country and they had tons of gift shops. We went into one store and they had an assortment of these super tiny ceramic vegetables, Top to middle of the Righthand side. I loved them so much and talked my grandma into buying them for me. It was no easy feat. I LOVED my grandma, but my memories of her were also VERY THRIFTY and money conscious. She was born in 1910 (I believe) and lived through the great depression, and that pretty much changed everyone that had to go through that. So, getting her to buy something for me was HUGE. I also got her to buy me a pair of huge black, chunky healed maryjanes that trip and I wore those things until they DIED. I still think of those shoes and wish I still had them as well. Sometimes I try to find something similar but that was a very 90s style.  I remember her asking me “what are you going to do with those (the vegetables)? and I said I didn’t know but that maybe I could somehow turn them into charms and make a bracelet. You can see that never happened, but I still love them as they are, all the same. I just love everything miniature and I have often wondered where they went.

In the bottom center is a brass silhouette of a “Jamaican Basketball Player”. It was the very first assignment in my very first metalwork class in college. We had to learn to use our jeweler’s saws and this was the shape everyone in the class had to cut. This is actually the discard piece from the finished piece of jewelry that can be seen here (the second lowest hanging piece on the display)

One last note, the pile of red junk appears to be a disintegrated remains of a red water balloon, yet, the silly putty is perfectly good still!

Please feel free to click on over to flickr and see see the image BIGGER and to hover over the images to see exactly what everything else  is.

36/36 Project

3636_project

Last fall I received an evite from Courtney Cerruti (the internet’s sweetheart) to participate in an Art show in California. In all honesty, I’m in Illinois and probably won’t be getting to California any time soon, and I just assumed that it was a mass emailing and somehow I got on the list. I clicked through the links and thought that it was some sort of accident and decided to just quietly disregard it. A couple of weeks later I got a follow up email, once again asking to please participate and explaining more details about the show. Courtney was curating a show where each participant would create artwork using an antique wooden spoon.

I emailed her back explaining that I live in Illinois and that I wasn’t sure if she really meant to invite me, but that my interests were piqued. She replied that she picked me along with 35 other instagram artists to participate in this show and that I should “Say Yes!” and so I did. You can read more about the show here, including her inspiration, how it all unfolded and links to all of the other artists.

I’m amongst some amazing folks, I tell you. It was probably a good thing I didn’t see this list first, before I was invited. I probably would have been too intimidated to participate (biting my nails).

Can't wait to share what has became of this #woodenspoon. Thank you @ccerruti for inviting me to be part of the #3636project

Here is a little thumbnail of my spoon as it was sent to me. Now I have finished my piece and sent it back. The opening for the show is in a week. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but here is a sneak peak, below, of the work in progress.

I just noticed my #spoon for the #3636project has arrived to its destination in CA so I thought I'd share this progress shot.

While I won’t be able to attend the show, I am so excited to see pictures from the show and find out what all the spoons look like.

The opening is on February 21st from 6pm-8pm at Paxton Gate Kids, 766 Valencia St. San Francisco. Here is the facebook event page. Spread the word!

If you are near San Fransisco or will be in the area on February 21st, please think of attending, and then reporting back to me about it ;)

Lost Packages

Could have been another post for #white. My parent's mailbox. Our mailbox is sadly one of those new, beige, Rubbermaid-looking, ugly things. Love this one though.

I totally lost my cool on the phone with the United States Post Office today. I sat on hold for a half an hour before I could actually talk to someone and then that person was of no help. I demanded that I talk to a manager. I lost my cool on both people and feel like such a jerk. A lot of the anger could have been dissipated if only they had some sort of system set up to deal with lost packages, but their resolution for me was “have your customer check with their post office” and that is not sufficient. After over an hour long phone call I finally was able to fill out a complaint form, in which a USPS employee will call me back within 2 days. Good service that does for me in tracking a $400 package that I entrusted to them. A few hours after I updated my customer, I received a response that the package had arrived today, a month after I had delivered it! Yay, but also boo, because that package was supposed to be pieces sold in their store for Christmas sales.

Post Office run
This is the second time this winter that I’ve had packages go seemingly lost. In my 6+ years of selling on Etsy I have yet to lose a package. Of course there have been a small handful that seem to have been lost, but that turn up just very much delayed. It seems that right when I am at the threshold of losing it, the package arrives. The very first package I thought I lost was being sent only 60 miles away. I immediately sent out a replacement and a few hours later I got an email that the package arrived. I know there was no way that my replacement had arrived that quickly, so I learned a lesson. Always give the post office a little more time. I wish I could go back in time this afternoon and had more patience with the 2 USPS employees.

My 6+ years streak continues on.

Annual Kusadama 2013 edition

Happy New Year!

Our annual #kusudama ornament. We've made one every year, starting in 2008. Our first one was an oops and ended up being about 10" in diameter, too big and heavy for the tree. #robayrekusudama

I wanted to drop in and share our new kusudama ornament we made for 2013, above. We used a black and white patterned origami paper I picked up from Michael’s. Below is 2012’s ornament that never got shared on the blog.

Kusadama from 2012 (but made in 2013)

We didn’t get around to making it in time for Christmas 2012, so we went with all red colors for Valentine’s day instead.

When we made the first one in 2008 I had a vision of having a tree decorated entirely with these, but then we realized how labor intensive it is, so we just made the one, but now we have 6! Only 4 of them are small enough to actually fit on the tree, but still, it is cool to see the collection grow each year. I love this holiday tradition.

  2010 kusudama ornament cropped
2009 Kusudama ornament  recycled ornament

You can click on each picture above to read that year’s post.

Just some facts about the ornaments if you are interested in making one for yourself:

Paper squres (64 pieces) should be no bigger than 3″ square for a resulting 4.5″ ornament. Trust me, our first “ornament” is about 12 inches in diameter!

The instructions (if I remember correctly) say to use glue. There is no way you’d ever get this done if you were waiting for each piece of paper to glue together. The first year or two we used an adhesive tape, but that started acting funky over the years, so we have switched to glue gun and it speeds up the whole process and the pieces hold together SOLIDLY!

We follow this 2 step tutorial each year.

My Fall 2013 list

Time to share a new quarterly chalkboard list.

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It’s been a few days since the Winter Solstice. Matt is always quick to correct people, the solstice and equinoxes are NOT the first day of the season, despite popular belief. Regardless, I will use those dates (roughly) to change my running calendar of what has happened over the season. I’m pretty sure there are a bunch of things missing from this list, things I wanted to write down but then couldn’t remember what they were later.

I feel the need to expound on items on the list because even now I sometimes have a hard time trying to remember what something was referring to. I got the fitbit in August, so technically it should have been on the last board, but I wasn’t fully immersed in it until this board began. Still going strong wtth regular 10,000 daily steps. My sister and I went to Renegade in Chicago, as usual. Garden Harvest, Kite Fest, not sure if the kite fest IS the garden harvest or if I’ve already forgotten what the garden harvest was. We took my nephew to the kite fest and ran around, it was fun. For a very late birthday gift to Matt I got tickets to see Blue Man Group. I’ve seen them several times already, but Matt had never seen them before and had a great time. I’m a big baby and complained about how I just wanted Baker’s Square pie for my birthday and then when it came to my birthday Matt’s parents showed up with the pie from 45 miles away. It was SO NICE, but I felt absolutely undeservedly spoiled. Matt and I went to see the movie Gravity, opening night, and REALLY enjoyed it a lot. We had multiple book club meetings at Twin’s (my neighborhood pub) and everyone got really excited about a woman who comes in regularly to sell customers blocks of cheese. My brother, SIL, nephew, neice, Matt and I went to this “pumpkin patch” which really just looked like someone’s front yard, where they sell tons of pumpkins for SUPER cheap. I taught a notebook making class at the Craft Day Extravaganza. Looking back what I really remember was the panic and stress it caused me, but that was all self induced and unnecessary.  The whole clan went to the corn maze, which we hadn’t done for a few years. My friend Bethany invited me join her and her students on a field trip to SOFA and of course I was filled with tons of inspiration. I decorated our front tree with pumpkins and finally finished documenting the tree changing colors, and made an animated gif of it. I posted to my blog everyday in the month of November. I joined my friend Bethany for an art show opening at NIU and then we took a short class about public installation work. I worked with Food52.com to sell my gold & silver garlands and had TONS of holiday sales between that, my shop and wholesale orders, I went through hell week when it was revealed that the owner wanted to change my work schedule so that I would be coming in at 4 a.m. I was so close to quitting, but we worked it out so that I now work a slightly modified schedule and now essentially have Fridays off, woo hoo, and then of course I threw my 8th annual gingerbread house making party.

Things I just remembered that should have been on the list: I saw the movie About Time and it tore me to shreds, that movie is SO GOOD, I made this skeleton sweatshirt that I love, love, love, I donated items to help benefit Typhoon Haiyan relief, I found new boots, I printed and fell in love with this stationery, I had an art evening with Erica working on gelli prints, my notebooks and necklaces are for sale at the Visitior’s Center in Rockford, IL.

It was a VERY BUSY and productive fall.

It was fitting that on Christmas my nephew zoned in on the board and erased the lower half to draw on. Time for the next list to begin.

Work hours and my life lately

Blerg! I wrote a whole post and even hit publish. The next day I returned to my blog and it’s not there. Who knows what happened to it because only a partial, unedited draft remained in the auto back up in my blog dashboard. What’s weird is that after it went live, I even re-read it online, went back and changed a word or two and resaved it. The mysteries of the internets.

It’s been a crazy few weeks. My hours have been all wonky at work. The week before last I was waking up at 3 a.m. to get to work at 4 a.m. I was getting off at 2 p.m. but then because of the holiday season I was having to stay up super late to finish work for my shop. If subsisting on 3 hours of sleep a night wasn’t bad enough, I had to organize and throw a party Friday night.

My hours have regulated a bit closer to “normal” last week, but as I’ve learned as I have grown older, things I do to my body now don’t TRULY hit me until a while later. Two weeks out at going in to work a couple hours earlier and my internal clock is still not adjusted. This week I’ve been struggling more than I did last week. I’m waking up every hour panicked that I’ve somehow slept through the 3 alarm devices I’ve set. I come home from work and am ready for bed by 6. I remember hearing about a study that said that contrary to popular belief, you can’t catch up on sleep. Once you’ve lost sleep, sleeping more hours than normal doesn’t have any benefits. While it may not have any benefits, I beg to differ that my body (not my mind) wants more sleep than normal. Even tonight, I crashed from 6 p.m. until 9. Somehow I’m still maintaining my 10K steps per day (for the most part).

So, what else have I been up to?

It was a beautiful foggy day today #DeKalb #dekalbil

With new hours at work, I am beyond thrilled to get off of work with just enough time to see some daylight. This has really meant the world to me. I can’t stress how much I spin into a wreck every winter when there is less and less light and then after the time changes, forget about it, I become downright angry. Well, the last few weeks I get off work and feel like I am walking on clouds. We had some days of thick fog when I was working my 4 a.m. shifts and one day after work I went to the Lagoon and walked around and took pictures. While those around me complained about the fog, the daylight was just magical.

Our only #Christmas decoration up so far #wreath It's all about the tree this week. Having it lit just makes me happy. We worried because every year Bishop chews on it, but that's nothing now compared to Fionna. She just spreads the limbs, climbs inside and makes a nest (not pictured, unfortunately) She

We finally decorated for Christmas.

Our very first fire ever, in our #fireplace. Tonight we are decorating, listening to #Christmas music and even sipping holiday drinks.

After living in our house 2+ years, we finally got our chimney inspected and  cleaned. I had been waiting for this forever, dreaming of toasty fires keeping the house warm. Then the inspector shared that “everyone knows that running a fireplace can actually make your house more cold…” blah, blah, blah about drafty windows/doors as well as the thermostat. I was so bummed that we still didn’t have a fire for another week or so. But after we finally did, oh man, we haven’t looked back and have been having fires most evenings. I’ve actually found that having a fire makes our usually frosty (run from the door straight to under the blankets) bedroom to a normal, comfortable temperature.

Plus, it looks so festive, romantic and the cats LOVE it!

5 hours until I have to wake up, 6 hours until I need to be at work and what am I doing? Making Christmas decorations. #priorities

Continuing with the holiday decorations, I made a red and white pom pom garland to go over the mantel. Years back I made some pom poms from my handspun yarn to put in my etsy shop (they might even still be listed on there?) but let me just tell you!!!!!!!!!!! I bought a pom pom maker and this maker is the bomb! I think my friend Ann (a master pom pom maker) uses one too, so I should have known. The way I made them before wasted so much yarn from trimming. These pom poms come out almost perfect and need little to no trimming at all.

Matt and I at the gingerbread house making party. Thank you @cherronsue @uhlisuhzorz @stat1995 @katielicht @yenniec83 @courtneylarking it's been great to see my feed filled with your pictures.

I threw my annual gingerbread house making party. This was the 8th year! I have more pictures I would like to share, so maybe there will be another post in the near future.

Packaging orders

I’ve developed my packaging for my holiday garlands this year. The base now has gold embossing and I wrap each order in scalloped tissue paper. I just hope that each order feels that much more special upon arrival.

Part of a large order that went out this week. Some pieces I really loved in there. #robayre

I had a large order of necklaces and rings head out to Australia! I was thrilled with how the pieces came out and so happy with the way the resin worked for me.

Robayre Travel Journal and Stratum Necklaces with vintage atlas pages

I am thrilled to announce that Robayre travel journals (books similar to the one pictured above) and my vintage atlas spiral stratum necklaces are being sold at the Rockford, Illinois Visitor’s Center (East side, in the Clock Tower Center). This marks the first time my products have been for sale in a brick and mortar in Illinois. I’ve long had a dream of one day visiting a store that sells my items, and now that the   time is here I’m both EXCITED and NERVOUS to actually visit. Isn’t that funny?

#gelliplate #gelliarts #gelliprint #art #robayre  Paper Stencils

Then last Friday my best friend came over and we had a Gelli Arts date night. I covered the ping pong table with plastic, showed her an introduction video to the product on youtube and we dove in. I was a little worried about if she’d enjoy herself and love using the plate as much as I love it. I thought she’d like it because I remembered she had taken some printmaking in college. Well, she LOVED IT! In fact she kept saying how much fun she was having, how time was flying and how she wanted to buy her own plate now and how we have to do it again soon. The image above on the left is a thumbnail of a print, and the picture on the right was my stack of handcut paper stencils as I was putting everything away.

The cold and snow doesn't keep this kid from the park

After another good snow, my brother, sister and I took my nephew to the park. At one point he tripped in the snow and got snow between his mittens and sleeve. While I helped him get the snow out he told me “I fell and then I died.” I said, “well, you didn’t die” to which he replied “It’s just an expression!” Yeah, from the mouth of a 3 year old.

Love my lucky penny ring so much! Thank you @courtneylarking

Monday night I went to a book club meeting and my friend Courtney brought really thoughtful gifts for everybody. Additionally she gave me belated birthday gifts which included this awesome lucky penny ring that I love and never want to take off. I love that it is a wheat penny especially. My dad used to collect coins and so I’ve saved wheat pennies any time I’ve found one ever since I was a kid.