Monday, November 30, 2015

Motivation Monday - Love Is

I've been neglecting my blog lately, I'm not even sure why, I guess I just wasn't "feeling it".  Truthfully I haven't been feeling much lately, it's been a bit of a rough time for me lately and I can't even say for sure why.  Maybe it's just the holidays, they can be a complicated time, and these will be our first on the other side of the world.  I am missing family and friends more than I might normally, knowing we are so much farther away now.

I really do enjoy blogging though and I want to get "back on the horse", so to speak.  My goal is to get back to daily posts and try to finish this year strong, the way I began it.  It was a small thing I suppose, but I did feel I'd accomplished something by doing daily posts for a few months straight, haha.  

With that in mind, here in Japan it is already December 1st, but I can still make a Motivation Monday post and share some pretty pictures and words with all of my friends back in the States.  ;)  I hope you had, or are having, a good day and that this week is a good one.  :)


A few of these pictures have to deal with encouraging and loving others, something that I feel strongly about.  I am forever grateful to anyone who has ever encouraged me, particularly during dark times, and I really hope that I do well with encouraging others too. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Quiet to Chaos

I'm running late on wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, but I hope you all did have one!  We ended up being a part of, and eating, two Thanksgiving dinners.  The first was a big one for Jeff's work - a week early - and another, smaller affair, with some friends on Thanksgiving day.

Things have been mostly quiet here on the creative front, I've been quietly chipping away at some small projects - and neglecting my blog.  :(  However, things are about to get a little crazy.  (That's how it goes sometimes, huh?)  I had a sudden realization the day before yesterday: the Winter Vendor show is...  a week away!  I was almost horrified when I realized that.  So what did Jeff and I do yesterday to prepare...?  We played Minecraft.  All.  Day.  No, not at all what should have been done, but it was fun and a good break for both of us from all of the "adulting" that we need to do most days.

Today, I plan to run the laser and cut out more items for the show.  Also, I have a pile of craft things to finish, including these ornaments:

Tiny cross-stitch snowflake and trees, they still need stitching done and then finish work.  They will each be approximately one inch square, stitched on 18-count cloth:

I think I will actually try the snowflake again on a darker fabric, and/or fill in around it with dark stitching.  I haven't decided yet.  It is pretty, but doesn't "pop" at all on this beige fabric.  The trees will have trunks, decorations, and snow falling.

Next up are a tatted wreath and tree, they still need finish work and decoration.

The wreath will have a tiny red ribbon bow on it and the tree will be trimmed with sequins and seed beads.  It will also have a trunk that I haven't put on yet.  I have several of each, waiting on finish work

I had made a ton of tatted ornaments two years ago and put them in all of our Christmas cards.  There is a third design, a white snowflake.  I still have some of those from the last Christmas tatting marathon, they'll be up for sale too.

Also, I have the herd of Stablemate ornaments that I'd started.  Most of them have their initial base coat of paint and just need to be decorated.

Plus, I'd like to make some Christmas cards, possibly some jewelry, and, and, and...

On top of all of the making, I also need to decide on how to set up our table and display everything, decide on pricing, make signage, do some (last minute) social media promotion posts, and, and, and...

Whew!  I've got a lot of work to do over the next few days.

This all reminds me of a certain saying...

(And this was yesterday, only instead of napping... Minecraft.) 

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Few of My (New) Favorite Things

I was born in Colorado and though I've traveled around and lived in several different places since leaving there, I've spent most all of my life landlocked.  Aside from a few visits to the ocean over the years, I've never spent much time near it.  The ocean... scares me a little.  It's so big, mysterious, and unfamiliar to me.  I do think it is beautiful and fascinating, but I was uneasy about living as close as we are to it now.  It's about 3 miles from our house to the Pacific, as the crow flies.

Here's a sign that we spotted our first time at the beach.  That didn't help me!

Jeff and I have made several trips to the Pacific side and walked along the beach.  During the day and also at night.  It was creepy for me at first, but I started to get used to the crashing waves and the sight of the endless water.  (though we went out in the dark once after a typhoon had passed by and the height and violence of the waves scared both of us, on "our" beach that we'd come to know and recognize in normal conditions).

Our biggest reason for returning to the beach was to look for the glass fishing floats that we'd learned about.  We did end up finding 5 of them in one trip, after a storm had gone by.

Since then, Jeff has found one of the big glass floats.

It has been interesting, finding treasures from the sea on our beach trips.  However, the real reason for this post was to share a few of my new favorite things:

Sea glass, driftwood, and rocks.

The above picture is part of my "haul" from a trip to the beach last week.

While we were at the beach, I was telling my friends here that I've always wanted a rock tumbler, but here I don't need one!  Not with so many beautiful rocks already perfectly tumbled and polished by the ocean and deposited on the beach that we went to.

I've been collecting small pieces of driftwood with the idea of using them as bases for custom model horses in the future.  I think it would be really neat to make a series of horses that are standing on pieces of driftwood from Japan!

(imagine a beautiful custom horse instead of this OF - haha)

The newest of the favorite things is sea glass.  I think it is beautiful.  I don't have any set ideas for it yet, but right now I'm just collecting as much as I can.  I've seen tons of beautiful ideas for using it in crafts, home decor, and so on.  Of course the idea of recycling/upcycling what is basically "trash" is highly appealing to me.

With the possibility of finding some more of my new favorite crafting materials, I find that I'm actually looking forward to going to the beach now.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Motivation Monday - Be Flexible

As always, I hope everyone has a great week...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Revisiting Goals

Back towards the end of January, I did a post on my goals for the year.  I thought that I'd revisit that list, see how I'm doing, and decide what to work on for the last two months of the year.  (yes, it is flying by, isn't it?)

Here's the list of goals I had set and my notes on where I'm at with them now:

--- Keep up my blogging momentum
I've done pretty well with this I think, overseas move and all!  I was able to do daily posts for a few months before the move and thing were a little sporadic over the summer.  But I'm on track to finish strong for the year.  Hoping to do daily, or near daily posts this month and for December.

--- Organize my collection of horses
Well... not so good here, especially since my OF collection is all still (safely) packed away.  I need to finish figuring out my earthquake proofing before they come out.

Recently I did see this post on Rachel Fail's blog about organizing her show string and it got me excited about some options to organize my herd.

--- Finish my Rio Rondo saddle and build more tack
Hmm...  not so good here either.  I did get some parts of it out not too long ago to show a local crafty person, when I was trying to explain more about model horse stuff.  That did make me want to get back to work on it.  I'm hopeful that maybe I will finish it this year.  Added bonus: I now have pounce wheels to do the stitch marks before I put it all together.  Maybe, sometimes, procrastinating is not so awful...  ;)

--- Make progress on the Stagecoach
The stagecoach has not even seen the light of day since arriving in Japan.  The box is sitting on a shelf in the studio, waiting for me to get back to work.

--- Create several new custom horses
I did finish 5 new horses for the show that I went to back in early March... although it dawns on me now that I don't think I ever properly photographed them afterwards.  It appears that I did do a tiny post about them the night before the show, but I never did take those pictures.

Here's a picture of the table in the motel room when I was working on them, and others.  ;)

--- Attend a couple of live shows
I did this!  One at the end of February and another one (or two) - a double show, in early March.

--- Work on some performance entries
Didn't do this...  It's an ongoing long-term goal of mine to assemble some really nice performance entries during my time in Japan.  Then hopefully I can finally take the plunge into performance showing when we go back to the States.

--- Thin out my crafting stash
Nor did I really do this.  I did get rid of some stuff, but once I found out I would have my own studio room again, I, uh, sorta just brought everything else with me.  This is something I should still probably do, since I just don't have time to make ALL the things that I'd like to.

--- Get all finished work posted
Eh, not so much.  However, I did finally get some of my cross-stitch saddle pads listed on Etsy for the very first time.

--- Do more giveaways/donations
I did donate a couple of saddle pads to be raffle prizes at one of the live shows.  Also, I'm cooking up some more giveaways right now to finish out the year.

Okay, so that's the recap!  I think I'm doing okay overall, but it was good to go over this list again and ponder the things that I had wanted to get done.  I'm hoping to finish out the year on a high note, having gotten even more of these goals crossed off the list.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Gearing Up For A Giveaway (or two)

Not much to report on the studio front, except that my approval came in last week allowing me to operate a business here on base!  I'm pretty excited about that and I finally made my introductory post in one of the local Crafter's Facebook groups.

More big news is that I'm planning to do another giveaway (or two) to celebrate.  It'll be open to everyone.  I saw another local business owner announce that she was doing a giveaway in which there'd be a winner for here on base, as well as a winner Stateside.  I like that idea.

One thing I'm struggling with a bit is that I had decided to shift my creative focus (back) to model horses and model horse stuff, but I'm not sure how well those things would sell here.  I do intend to try and get some interest in the hobby over here - wouldn't that be neat?  It turns out there are at least a few fellow horse lovers that I've come across.  Maybe while we are all here, mostly horseless, some of them would be interested in model horses.

Anyway, for the winter vendor event coming up, I am going to do some Stablemate ornaments, but other than that, I'm going to plan on making items such as: Christmas cards, tatted things, different types of ornaments, etc.  So a bit of a warning to my model horse world readers, you might be seeing some random posts about that sort of stuff, especially leading up to the vendor event, and Christmas..  ;)

(here's the slick flyer for the event, made up by one of the vendors who does graphic design)

I've also been working quite a bit on the laser recently, gearing up for the winter vendor show.  We will be there representing the laser business too.  This is one of my newest creations.  It is a small wooden box with pictures of bears engraved on the top, front, and sides.  I took the pictures several years ago and it is fun to see them now engraved into wood.

I have a few other picture boxes in progress, featuring foxes and, if the pictures play nice, elk too.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Motivation Monday - I Can

A short post this time.  I'm only going to share one picture today, but... it's a good one.

I hope everyone has a good week! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy November

Just a quick update...

I've been feeling not so hot the past few days.  In the interest of keeping it from turning into something even worse, I've been sleeping... a lot.  I haven't felt up to doing much, so when I'm not sleeping I've been playing games on the computer, then back to bed.  There are rumors of some nasty things going around here and I'm bound and determined not to come down with them - ha!

I already feel better than my worst day, which was Halloween.  I woke up that day feeling like death (appropriate?) .  I don't think I would have needed much of a costume to venture out and pull off a zombie impression - especially how I was feeling, paired with the nifty, large, creepy heat gun burn on my arm from last week.  "Great makeup!",  I pictured people saying...

Anyhow, I'm hoping to be back in the studio this next week.  I've got too many irons in the fire to be down (any longer) with a bug!

Below is today's beautiful sunrise.  It occurred to me that I think it might be the first that I've seen since we arrived here back in May.  During the spring and summer here, the sun is up by 4am - no joke.  However, this picture was taken just after 6am this morning.  It's a much better time of year for sunrise viewing.