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Moving Forward

 

 

For far too long, I’ve been in the “selling” mentality.  I’ve had an Etsy shop for over 5 years with my paper roses and when I think of the amount of time, energy plus the supplies I have amassed over the years…it is daunting.  I’ve had over 200 orders over the years…bridal bouquets, toss bouquets , and boutonnieres(especially the comic book ones).

It all started when my daughter was in college and wanted something special for her favorite English Literature professor.  I had just started playing around in making the paper roses(watching the various instructional videos and perfecting it along the way0.  I made a bouquet of Pride and Prejudice book paper, wrapped the stems in ivory lace and ribbons.  It was primitive in regards to what I do now but it was lovely anyway and both my daughter and her professor were pleased.

My second project was making the rehearsal bouquets for the wedding my daughter was in that summer…for the bride and all the bridesmaids.  Since then I’ve made the rehearsal bouquets for all of the weddings of her friends along the way..

Working with brides(and grooms) holds a special spot in my heart since I worked in the Juliette Bridals in Pottsville years ago as a bridal consultant.  You are working with a dream and although there have been “bridezillas” along the way, the vast majority of them were a pleasure to work with.  Like everything else, the time I spent on the roses has not been wasted…the pleasure I’ve had developing the technique is never lost and the many brides and grooms who wrote back to tell me(and show me with photos) of how special the flowers made their day.

My roses have gone to many places over the years…US, Canada, Australia, England and Europe.  Some hairy incidents with the postal service…such as the time the box had been held in the clearinghouse because of flooding and made it to the bride on the day…she had gotten a back up…just in case.  The bride who needed it in time before she left for her destination wedding.  Comic book boutonnieres for the groom/groomsmen who refused to wear flowers.  The  bouquet that we finally got figured out…over 50 emails!  The entire bridal party’s bouquets, wands and boutonnieres that went to the Netherlands…5 boxes worth…and the bride sending me gorgeous pictures of the whole affair.  The brides needing something within the month.  The bride who told me I charged too much…I very nicely told her that there were plenty of Youtube videos showing the process and that she could get her bridesmaids together and do it as a group project.  She thanked me.  Two weeks later, I received an email telling me she had done that, they all each made one miserable rose and her bridesmaids told her, “order the flowers cause we aren’t doing this!”  All a learning experience.

I’ve decided December 31 to close my Etsy shop…the realization came that for far too long, I’ve focused on items to sell and make.  For far too long I’ve left my love of mixed media art, art quilts and upcycling clothing behind…I’d think about doing it and then thinking…oh no,  you need to concentrate on making more bouquets to put on the shop… This is the year for  me to focus on what I used to love to do and leave the selling mentality behind. Who knows, I might even get back to my doll making/repairs again.

A new year is coming up…time to spend a little time thinking about what is and what is not working in your life…I’m not talking about resolutions or goals or anything like that…I’m just saying that maybe it’s time to spend a little time and see if you are focusing on things that really don’t give you the joy anymore…just a thought…

til next time…Eva

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Getting Un-Stuck

001Vintage Hallmark Picture circa 1987

Every once in a while, I find myself in “Stuck” mode.  Nothing in my life looks/feels good.  It’s that “dis-satisfaction” mode…or sometimes it’s the “sadness” mode.  The last week or so has been the sadness mode…when I find myself tearing up for no apparent reason…people, pets, events…all of which don’t normally trigger tears.

I thought at first…oh, you’re just tired.  It’s the heat.  It’s the new/full moon.

Life was just not fun, you know that feeling?

Well, after a week of this un-ease, I decided I had to figure out what the issue  was…and since I’m a writer, I write.  I’m sure there are many methods to do this, but I’ll share the one that works for me.

Sit down and get comfortable.  Have your favorite beverage beside you because this could take a while.  Be sure there are no interruptions…turn off the phone and let others around you know that you are unavailable for a while.  Be in a private space if possible.  This is quiet time between you and your higher self( or whatever name you call it…inner voice, guardian angel, God within, soul, etc.)

I use paper and pen but I guess it would work on your computer screen as well.

Breathe in, exhale.  Now you begin.

Ask your first question.  It can be concise or hazy…eventually you will realize that your thoughts become clear.

That inner voice will respond to your question…I find it responds with another question.  Then your response.  Their response…it feels like a tennis match at times…ping, ping, ping.

Here is an example of my latest session so that you can see how it works: (M is “me”, IV is “inner voice”)

M: I’m out of sorts.

IV: Why?

M: I don’t know.

IV: Sure you do.  How does it feel?

M: I’m tired.  I don’t have any ambition.

IV: Go on…more.

M: am frustrated.  Too many things aren’t going my way right now.  I’m discouraged. I’m stuck.

IV: Stuck?

M: Yes, Stuck.

IV: Where are you stuck?

M: In so many areas…at my age, I’m not where I thought/hoped I would be.

IV: Ok…dig deeper.

M: Stuck, stuck, stuck.

IV: Go on…give me specifics.

M:Stuck in my financial level.  Stuck in physical weight.  Job is unsatisfactory. My life isn’t  fun.  I miss my kid.

IV: I hear you…so, what are you going to do to get “unstuck”?

M: Baby steps.

IV: Ok…how?

M: Each area I’m stuck in, I’ll do baby steps to get myself out of them.

IV: Easier said than done.  So, how are you doing that?

M: Well, I’ll write down each area I’m stuck in and then write down various baby steps and make sure I do something every day and check it off.

IV: That sounds like an interesting concept.  Do you think it will work?

M: Well, it should work to get me moving a bit and maybe I’ll feel better about it and a break through will develop.

IV: Sounds good to me.  Get started then.

After this session, I had a renewed sense of hope and interest.  Got out the notebook and wrote down all of the areas I felt stuck in and baby steps.  (Since I never do anything half way, I had 12 areas that I felt stuck in/dis-satisfied in…a page for each).  Some have many baby steps, some have very few at the moment.  But, it’s a start and I feel energized once again.  If I get stuck in any one area, I simply will do this exercise again.

This technique plus the Dump list are two great ways to get yourself moving/motivated again.

til next time…Eva

 

 

 

The Art of Gratitude

March 8, 2016 010photo by Eva 2016

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.”                       Wayne Dyer

I like to enter sweepstakes and contests…just for the fun of it(www.Onlinesweepstakes.com)…I know a lot of people spend a little time every day playing the various games on Facebook, etc., I enter sweepstakes.

There are usually several sweepstakes for books and I was pleasantly surprised two weeks ago when a package came in the mail with a book I’d won…”The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan.  “How a year of looking on the bright side can transform your life”>

The words “grateful” and “gratitude” have seemed to be showing up everywhere lately and my first thought skimming through the book was, “it’s all nice but really, could just feeling grateful change my life that drastically?”  Since the new year, I had been focusing on being grateful…not to the degree of actually writing it down, but consciously making an effort.  If I’m driving alone in the car to/from work, etc., I’ll consciously focus on everything I’m grateful for…whether it is presently in my life or not.  When the book arrived that day, my first thought was, “well, I must be on the right track but it looks like I need to amp it up a bit.”

This book is one that needs to be read in its’ entirety first and when you are ready to start implementing it, reading each month’s chapter.  Janice Kaplan naturally starts hers in January but starting any month of the years absolutely works.  Each month focuses on a different area.

What I really liked about this book is not that she is telling you how to be grateful…but all of her research and quotes…making it a well thought out book.

The four seasons each deal with a different topic:  Part 1 was Marriage, Love and Family. Part 2 was Money, Career, and the Stuff we own.  Part 3 was Gratitude and Health.  Part 4 was Coping, Caring and Connecting.

Some of her interesting research comments include:

“Around 18.5% of individual differences in people’s happiness can be predicted by the amount of gratitude they feel” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

“Researchers have found that people who write down three things they’re grateful for every night(or even a few times a week) improve their well being and lower their risk of depression”.

“Grateful people reframe whatever happens to them.  They don’t focus on what they’re lacking, they make sure they see the good in what they have.” Dr. Robert Emmons

“Experts used to claim that it took just twenty-one days to form a new habit, but a recent study out of Universal College, London, found that most of us need more than two months and sometimes as many as six to make a real change in behavior.”

Dr. Brent Atkinson, Northern Illinois University/Couples Clinic and Research Institute…”believes there is strong neurological evidence showing that circuits in the brain can be primed to create stronger feelings of connection.”  He advises clients to sit for five minutes a day and dwell on good feelings or happy times they’ve had with their spouse. “Studies suggest that these simple mental practices can strengthen the neural circuits that generate feelings of connection.”

and lastly…

The “looking-for-the-good approach”  “Filter everything through the lens of gratitude and come out with a completely different response.”

This is a book worth reading and let’s face it, if we can change our lives simply by the act of being grateful, it is well worth implementing.

 

 

 

 

Snow and the Inner Child

023Photo by Eva..2015

We had a snowstorm this week of 6-8 inches. My husband went outside several time to shovel, would come in to comment that it was “blue” snow, that it was like a February snow not a January one and that it was wet snowball snow.

I didn’t think about that again until I went for walk today.  It had gone up to 40 and the roads were clear.  I heard laughter and saw three children on plastic round sleds racing down a hill.  When they got to the bottom, they brushed themselves off and ran up the hill to do it all over again.  I got weary just looking at them.  A little further down, I saw a jaunty looking snowman with hat and scarf, stone eyes, carrot nose, stone smile and branches for arms.

At that point, my inner childe piped up, quite sadly I might add, “we never do that anymore.”  When did I stop looking at snow as fun…the times when it was sheer joy to be out in it…that special magical feel of it all?  Packing a snowball and making a snowman.  Making snowangels.

When did it become all work and no play?  I must say, if I honestly don’t have to be anywhere, there is nothing more lovely than watching the silent snow.  Unfortunately, my husband is like a caged animal when it snows(I guess that’s from growing up in the city).  He’ll stand at the window and when it gets to be more than he can stand, he’ll go out to shovel or sweep.  Reminds me somewhat of how a dog is about his territory and has to mark it.  He has this fear of not being able to get his car out if he has to.

The adult responsibilities of having to get to work, to the grocery store, etc. and then the numerous past occasions of driving home and getting stuck…have made me somewhat fearful of snow and ice storms.  I guess if I lived in town and my sidewalks were taken care of and there were shops within walking distance, then maybe I’d look at snow differently.

My inner child is asking to come out and play more these days and I have to stop saying no.  I have to say yes more so that I can see that little blond girl laugh, clap her hands excitedly and jump up and down.  It’s long overdue and the next snowstorm, she and I will go out and put our faces up to the snow and eat snowflakes, make a snow angel, throw a snowball and make a snow girl.  And when we come inside, we’ll have a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy being together again.

What does your inner child want to do?

til next time…Eva