Thursday, January 30

Gong Xi Fa Cai - Blue Moon Beads

It's Chinese New Year, 31 January 2014 welcomes the year of the horse and my latest Blue Moon Beads project is a lucky red bracelet in celebration.
The red flower is an acrylic connector bead and I've used some metal ball connector beads too.
For the black beads around the bracelet I've used black line Agates from the Stone Age semi precious beads range.
They aren't completely black all the way through, there are little pale lines in them making each bead unique.  All of the supplies are from Blue Moon Beads.

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year.

~ Kate

Tuesday, January 21

Love - Blue Moon Beads

With Valentine's Day coming up I've been working on a cute necklace focusing on this fabulous metal pendant from Blue Moon Beads.
I've strung the pendant from a long chain combining colourful fabric beads with pink jade stones, all available from Blue Moon Beads.
It's combines into a very tactile long necklace to brighten up my winter sweaters.
~ Kate ~

Monday, January 13

No time to craft?

Well that last week has just flown by.  My plan to organise my time went well.

Monday: Had to work, but as it was pre-booked I was able to do a bit of cleaning and tidying on the Sunday.
Tuesday: Sorted lots more of my craft supplies.
Wednesday: Transported loads of garden waste to the dump, definitely a step forward there.
Thursday: Had 2 appointments in town so that scuppered my plans.  I managed to sort some of my jewellery supplies in the evening, but I need to crack on now and finish the necklace I'm working on as it's perfect for a Valentine's theme.
Friday: Worked.
Weekend: The Christmas decorations were languishing in a box on the floor so I managed to get them tidied and stashed away and at the same time I pulled out the hand-me-down clothes that were waiting for the boys to grow and sorted through them.  I'd promised my nephew one of our big Lego sets for his birthday and it took the rest of my weekend to find all the parts and build it before I then dismantled it all and gift wrapped it.

Full steam ahead with the plan for this week.  Jewellery making is top of the list for creative time, but who has time to craft right now?  Have you seen all the amazing video footage, blog updates and photo galleries that are coming out of CHA?  The Paperclipping sight has so much footage alone, I can hardly drag myself away to start on today's cleaning schedule!!

~ Kate ~

Tuesday, January 7

2013 is so last year!

My plan for 2014 is going fine (although I'm only really 2 days in!) and I thought it would be a good idea to kick start my creativity so I've signed up for not one, but two online courses.  The first is with the wonderful May Flaum.
The first time I 'met' May was with the Fiskateers and I have been following her work ever since. Craft With May is the new home for her online classes and the Creative Retreat caught my eye as there are some great instructors lined up.  Links on May's blog currently offering discounts for advanced sign-up.

The second course is with Shimelle.  There is something about Shimelle's videos that draws me to them, not just the inspiration and ideas, but some je ne sais quoi that makes me happy.  The latest class is 'Return to the collection' and is video based, so that was me signed up.
It also happens to be about using one collection to make several layouts and I have just picked up this Amy Tangerine, Yes Please collection for a great price at TK Maxx, so my plan is to make that the base for my pages.

Over the weekend I started to completely strip out my craft supplies for reorganisation prompted by the need to remove a baby changing unit from the corner of the bedroom.  It was one of those awful jobs I had been putting off as it involved practically emptying the room to reach, dismantle and remove it.  At this point I can confirm that it is out!!  But, a lot of boxes and bags remain all over the floor extending out into the hallway.  If I can just get them all sorted by 20 Jan I shall have my reward - 2 online classes and with a brand new space to work on them.

~ Kate ~   

Friday, January 3

Bring on 2014!

Ok, so it's already the 3rd, but you can't rush these things, right?  For me 2014 is going to be about balance, hopefully rather than juggling!  Personal life and family with creative time, health with happiness and work with play.

For my plan to be successful it needs to be simple and flexible or, no doubt, I will fall at the first hurdle.  My work, for those that don't know, involves bank cover for staff who are sick, on training courses, unexpectedly absent etc, so I might not work at all one week and then work 4 full or part days the following week.  I think the easiest way to plan is to set aside set days which have one goal to them.  I then have the opportunity to swap days around if I'm called to work or can fit in extra tasks if I get the day's main goal completed.

Here we go then: Mondays - cleaning.  Yuck what a start to the week!  I know that the children will have made a mess over the weekend and I don't want to be on their case about it during their free time, so this is the logical day for the clean up to take place.  Expect to see me on the social network sites and blogging most Monday's, long live procrastination - just joking!

Tuesdays - House move.  Every Tuesday do something positive towards our planned house move whether it's clean out a cupboard, paint some woodwork or reorganise my unsightly crafting stash so that prospective buyers don't think we live at the tip.

Wednesdays - Free day.  Free to be creative, go out on a photography trip, shopping trip or plan ahead so that work doesn't derail the rest of the week.

Thursday - Jewellery designing.  Dedicating a daily goal to this to keep me on track.  I wasn't able to manage any Christmas fairs this year due to time clashes and lack of preparation.  By September 2014 I want to have stock organised, packed and ready to go at a moments notice whether it's for a fair or to take a class.

Friday - Be Busy!  Friday is my busiest day of the week and also appears from past experience to be the day I am most likely to be called into work.  In light of this it would be pointless to set a specific goal here, so every Friday with a bit of free time will be a bonus.

Evenings - Family time.  Cooking, homework, games or just having a chill and a chat.  Of course once the children are in bed there's the possibility of creative time.  I find myself sat on the sofa looking for something to watch and settling for any old thing, when I could be crafting because there's nothing worth watching.

Weekends - Family time, craft fairs, shopping and at least some creative time each day.

That just leaves health.  I walk a lot.  I just wore through my boots that I bought a year ago.  Looking back I calculate that I walk at least 1000 miles a year and this year I will set out to try and record the actual figure.  SMO suggested I leave earlier and add an extra 20 minutes to my journey.  Realistically I will only manage an extra mile and I think my body would do better from varying the type of exercise.  We have some free weights at home and I think I will try and work with them 3 times a week, then review how I feel about it.  The children love going to early swim sessions on a Sunday morning so one of these a month will be good for the whole family.

I'm not going to diet.  Diets make me miserable and then the balance between health and happiness is lost.  Instead I am going to look at making better, healthier choices for meals and more importantly snacks!

Look out for a New Year - New Me update at the end of next week!

~ Kate ~     

Thursday, January 2

Thinking about 2013

For me it feels like 2013 happened from September onwards as my circumstances changed and my daily life with it.

One of those changes was an increase in my working hours (at a local pre-school) and gone was the leisurely outlook to my daily routine.  The result of this was that things just didn't get done, if you leave stuff til the last minute and then the last minute gets hijacked there really isn't any time left.  Lots of my plans and projects for Christmas just fell by the wayside.  Learn Something New Every Day from September remains unfinished, but as it was such an important time for me I will go back over it, complete it and learn from it.

After Christmas I did do something to liberate my creativity.  I deleted all of the e-mails for Journal Your Christmas 2013.  I'm just bringing LSNED over into 2014 (plus one sewing project) everything else will be a fresh creative start.

A new routine and a new outlook for 2014 is needed..............................

~ Kate ~