Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 One Little Word Wrap-Up

For the last two years, I've chosen One Little Word to guide me for the year.  As a fan of Ali Edwards, her thoughts on the effects of choosing just one word, resonated with me.  And so I began the process in the last days of 2009, choosing 'Live' for 2010 and 'Grow' for 2011.

As I began reflecting on this last year, I pleasantly discovered that I had accomplished several of my goals and did indeed, Grow in many ways.  Sharing some of the ways I've grown on here at Time Crafted, seems only appropriate since so many of you have given me both inspiration and support.

I began the year taking Ali Edwards' year long One Little Word workshop at Big Picture Classes.  And while it was great to see Andi, Siri, and other familiar, friendly faces, I mostly worked on this offline.

She's repeating the workshop for 2012 and I'm leaning towards signing up again.  It definitely helped me keep 'Grow' close at heart throughout the year.

One night on Twitter, @thienkim urged me to check out The Sketchbook Challenge.  Her enthusiasm was infectious and I was excited to create along.

Creating an art journal always seemed intimidating to me.  It might sound silly, but many creative bloggers and artists I visit, have mad crazy talent and I fretted about not measuring up...until I realized that the goal isn't to 'measure up', but rather to grow, try new things, learn new skills, and improve on what I already do.  So, I did.

After reading the creative writing goodness that Mandy weaves with her words, I wanted to get back into my own creative writing.  I missed it and knew that it had been far too long since I swam with crazy colored words.

I decided to start small and began with a microfiction meme.  It's the shortest of short fiction, written in 140 characters or less, including spaces & punctuation.  Turns out, microfiction is a whole mess o' fun!

Looking at where Mandy was sharing her fiction with, I headed over to The Red Dress Club, which is now Write on Edge, a virtual writing community.

I began writing and sharing my fiction with their Red Writing Hood prompts, as well as some memoir with their RemembeRED prompts.

And then I got brave.  In November, a group of writers within the Write on Edge community participated in NaNoWriMo and I joined in.

I didn't hit the word count, but I'm okay with my results.  If you want to know what I thought was so cool about the whole process, check out my really short post: NaNoWriMo in 8 Sentences.

When Bruna, @beeswithhoney, said she wanted to feature me on her Let's BEE Friends series, I was tickled pink.  And when Sarah, @MamaRiceCake, asked me to write a positive guest post for her, I went Dancing with Rainbows.  Mandy asked me to guest post on Makes Fun and I wrote the low down on The Little Red Bear.

And speaking of writing, one more area I wanted to grow was right here on the blog.  In this case, I wanted to literally grow...more posts, that is.  I didn't set a goal or a specific number to hit; simply that I wanted to post more than I had last year.  And with this post, I'm coming in with 51 more posts than in 2010.  Grow Goal, accomplished.

I spent most of 2010 knowing that I needed wanted needed to upgrade my Point & Shoot camera.  I had squeezed out every ounce I could from it and was itching for a DSLR.  In February last year, it was time to take the leap.  I bought a Nikon D3100 and while I'm still learning how the heck to use it in manual, photography is something I've grown to love since beginning this blogging journey.

2011 became the year of the virtual Book Clubs, starting with Andrea (a sweet Book Fairy) leading one on the SITS Girls site, which is now over on her site Great Thoughts. She selects great books and we wrap our reads up with fun monthly Twitter parties, tweeting with the books' authors, using the hashtag #Gr8Books.  You should join us!

This fall, @thienkim asked me to be a From Left to Write Contributor.  What's wonderfully unique about this book club is that we write posts inspired by the books we read.  As a result I was able to share Who Will Tell Your Story?, as well as a favorite artist of ours, Michel LeRoux.  Another unique bit is that the book selection here really varies, widening my viewpoints, and hopefully, others' too.

This was a looong post, I know.  If you're still here, give yourself a pat on the back, a taste of Nutella, a cuppa java, or an ice cold martini.  Thanks for hanging in there!

The One Little Word, Grow, has taken me on quite a journey this year!  How about you?  Do you chose just one little word to hold near your heart, to guide you, to focus you in your year ahead? 


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Favorites

Here we are, wrapping up the remaining days of 2011.  Can you believe it?  I barely can.  And yet, when I was writing a wrap up post on my journey with my One Little Word for this year, I came across quite a few paths travelled.
Mama’s Losin’ It

But, that post is Friday, so do come back!  Today, thanks to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, I'm sharing a favorite (or simply special) post for each month of 2011.  Grab a cuppa and join me down memory lane.

Just before Christmas 2010, I got the uber brilliant idea that it was time to organize my son's crazy huge collection of Lego bricks.  Actually, it was indeed a brilliant idea.  My timing, though?  Not so much. 

And in January, I shared our results and what has become my most frequently visited post of 2011, From Lego Landslide to Organized!

In case you are wondering how well this organization system has worked, I can tell you that a year later, thousands and thousands of Lego bricks are still in their appropriate drawers after hundreds of building sessions!

My daughter's sweet face in the morning sunlight had me clicking my camera, capturing one of my favorite photos of the year:  Sweet Lashes.

Good friends can make a person tick and I'm lucky enough to have a close friendship with three gals for well over twenty years now, who are like sisters, who keep my heart tick tocking in time.

In Gravity or Instinct, I Just Knew, I shared how I met one of these women, all those years ago.

In Even the Easter Bunny Gets Creative, you'll see how that Bunny likes to have fun in our house!

I took a stroll down Memory Lane to share this experience:  Sushi Gone Wrong.

In R.S.V.P., the first of four fictional characters emerged, Cassie. If you like her, the next installment is Kick Ass Shoes!

Taking a day trip to the coast is a favorite activity for all of us; we Love the Ocean, Dig the Beach!

When listing 10 Places I Love to Be, I found that not all can be found on any kind of map.  What about you?  Can you look up your favorite places?

One of those favorite places in August's list led to For the love of bound paper... - obnoxious signage, promised treasures, and the sad reality that sank in.

If you're coming in from Mama Kat's (or one of the millions who read Pioneer Woman), you might remember the prompt that led to the post that showed me I have done more than I realize over the years.  22 things I { have } done

After an Unexpected adventure, I felt the impact that someone you don't even know can have.

My last piece of fiction shared here this year brings new characters and the beginning to a brand new story, The Doorbell Rang.

What about you?  Where have you journeyed to in 2011?  I hope you'll make one more stop back here this year, on Friday, looking where just One Little Word can take a person.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Santa's Smiling Treat

Just a li'l Christmas share today, before wrapping up the holidays here.

Santa's Smiling Treat

The kidlets dutifully left Santa and his reindeer a thoughtful GFCF snack. They said they want Santa to be healthy. But, the kicker was the smiley face they left the Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies, mug of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and carrots in the shape of.  (Yes, the carrots got a li'l wonky in transit from the kitchen to the living room. Nope, didn't fix it - it's their effort, I'm just documenting it!)

Guess they thought Santa deserved to be greeted by a smile upon arrival. They knew he had been traveling for quite a long time by the time he hit our house. Did you know he even visited the International Space Station this year? He did. That Santa Tracker that the kidlets had me refreshing on my computer all night said so!

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I regularly purchase Pamela's mini cookies (the ginger ones are my fav, the chocolate cookies are the kids' fav variety) and the Silk almond milk (it's delish in my coffee, when my son doesn't drink it all...the almond milk, not the coffee!) with my own money.  Affiliate links are used in this post.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's been a whirlwind of Christmas activities in this li'l dot on the globe.  And as exhausting as it all has been, every last bit has been worth it.

Our days have been filled with lights, tree hunting & decorating, school field trips, singing, bell ringing, Christmas crafts, shopping, wrapping, Advent Calendar ornament hanging, gingerbread house candying, card making, GFCF Christmas menu planning, more shopping, more wrapping, more singing, and a whole lotta family smiles and laughter.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!  May the holidays that you celebrate be filled with loved ones, giggles, hugs, and fun!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

#iPPP ~ Bird Ribbons

We see these small birds every year, sometime in November or December, scavenging the remains of the harvested vineyards.  The way they fly together and abruptly change directions make it look like there are ribbons dancing across the skies.

 Bird Wave Ribbons

Last year, my brother snapped a couple pics on his iPhone to show me.....because he thought they were bats.  Nope.  Tiny little birds, flocking together.

Birds Flock Together

I'm usually behind the wheel, driving when I see them and have never been able to take a photo, so I was stoked that he did.  Aren't they cool?  Their movement drops my jaw in awe, every year, every time.

Taming Insanity

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

From The Good Life, a la The Actor's Studio

Stasha, at The Good Life, has a great list of ten inspired by Bridget, inspired by James Lipton from Inside The Actor's Studio, inspired by the Proust Questionnaire.  And since I somehow, quite mysteriously and rather accidentally, took a week off from blogging, dipping my toes back in via a list makes the water, as it usually is, mighty fine.

1. What is your favorite word?
You might think the words 'actually' and 'just' are favorites, since I actually use them just far too often.  But, they're not.  I am rather fond of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, though.

2. What is your least favorite word?

3. What turns you on?
Contagious laughter, creative thinking, creativity manifested.

4. What turns you off?
Intentional rudeness.

5. What sound do you love?
Water rushing, lapping, trickling.  In the ocean, on a lake's shore.  Through a stream.

6. What sound do you hate?
Extreme whining.  Car alarms.

7. What is your favorite curse word?
Frak and all derivative states of it.  Yes, I'm a scifi geek.

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Plumber.  Spelunker.  Deep sea diver.  Can you see the theme here?

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

And yes, I just now realized that today is Tuesday, not Monday.  Rather silly, considering I spent all day yesterday at my daughter's school - which is obviously not open & active on a Sunday.  Going to go pour myself some java now and hit my reset button.
{ Shaking head, rolling eyes, facepalm. }

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Music

It's been awhile since I last updated my Christmas music - awhile, as in everything was on CDs.  Now, while I do love some of those CDs - Il Divo: The Christmas Collection, Sarah McLachlan: Wintersong, and Josh Groban: Noel - they're a few years old and it's time to update!

And these are the directions I headed in:

Admittedly, I came to the Glee party nearly a season late (gasp!). But oh my, I haven't been able to get enough since climbing on board Glee Train.  Naturally, I had to check out their first Glee Christmas album from last year!

And while I was getting my holiday Glee on, I had to go shopping for the Glee Christmas Album Volume 2 - of course!  Mercedes' (Amber Riley) All I Want for Christmas is so lively it's perfect for when the To Do list starts to get overwhelming. :>

I adore listening to this guy!  Michel Bublé sings his snazzy Christmas album as only he can and we love it.  My girl's favorite on there right now, is his Jingle Bells with The Puppini Sisters - so fun!

What are you listening to this holiday season?  I've been updating my whole music library, so if Christmas music isn't a holiday you celebrate or simply isn't singing it's notes to you, what are you listening to?  Any new favorites?

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I purchased the music myself, this post is not sponsored, and there are affiliate links included.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Red Writing Hood: The Doorbell Rang

The doorbell rang, barely audible above clanging pots in the kitchen, “Jingle Bell Rock” humming from the living room stereo, and the family’s chatter.  Nevertheless, Aunt Suz heard it chime and hurried to answer it.

Still wiping her hands on the Christmas red kitchen towel, she opened her front door.

“Craig!  Merry Chr…” Her voice dissipated when the look on her husband’s friend’s face reached her.  Dressed in uniform with another officer, he motioned for her to step outside.  The kitchen towel slid through her still damp hands, drifting to the ground.

“Suzanne.  Are your parents inside?”

“Of course, it’s Christmas.  Almost everyone is already here.”

Everyone was already at the house, everyone except Aunt Suz’s sister and her family – everyone except my parents and me.

“We need you to come with us.”

“I can’t leave.  I have a ham in the oven, potatoes on the stove…I…”

“Suz.  We need to go.  We need you to come.”

In a daze, Aunt Suz quietly passed off Christmas dinner instructions to her sister-in-law; slinging on her ivory wool coat, she slipped out door and into the night.

Watching out the window as the officers drove her to the hospital in the next town over, she jerked in the frigid air that refused to fill her lungs with anything but dread.  She dug her nails into the icy vinyl backseat of the patrol car, deeper with every mile traveled.

The other officer swung the car to the curb at the entrance and Craig helped her climb out of from back.  She focused on putting one foot in front of the other with her husband’s friend guiding her by the arm.  The Emergency Room’s automatic doors whirred open, catching the soft white reflection drift down, they looked back; it had begun to snow.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-HoodIt's fiction day at  Write on Edge!  And I'm writing with a new story and characters today.  We were prompted to:  use the holiday season to inspire you to write a piece beginning with “The doorbell rang” and ending with “snow began to fall.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

RemembeRED: Crash

Crash.  The impact changed more bits and pieces than I can count.  Crash.  The tiny car I drove collided with an eighteen wheeler big rig, or so I’m told; I have no memory of it. 

Crash.    Waking in the ICU, only flickers and images of those three days remain.  Crash.  A week in acute care and a few realities set in.  People only kissing me on my upper left forehead – something was wrong with my face.  A cast had made a home on my leg.  Every part of my upper body cried out, if I tried to move.  A phone call from the CHP officer asking me if I remembered what happened – I didn’t.  Filling out his report, he told me I was not at fault.  Visitors, lots of visitors came in and out – family, friends, coworkers from my new job, and my new boss popping wheelies in my wheelchair at my bedside.  It hurt to laugh, but I smiled.

Crash.  Two weeks on the rehabilitation floor.  The mini gym on the lower level found me twice a day for Physical Therapy.  Once a day, I navigated through Occupational Therapy for simple tasks that weren’t quite as simple anymore.  While washing my thick curly hair without getting that cast wet was a necessity to learn, I argued with my therapist that burning my lacerated face to bake chocolate chip cookies to prove I could feed myself upon release was rather ridiculous as there was such a concept as a sandwich – simple and without the need for a hot oven scorching my face.  Crash.

Released from the hospital, still in a wheel chair and using crutches for stairs.  Crash.  Feeling years older than my young friends in college, even though we had celebrated the same number of birthdays, I took advantage of every physical therapy appointment over the next four months.

Crash.  I was twenty-one years old and almost every aspect of my life changed.  People always told me that I was lucky to be alive.  I always responded that I was lucky it wasn’t worse.

From a single crash came a completely new world.  While there’s some stuff I’d hand back in a heartbeat if I could, I’ve learned quite a hefty volume about myself and the world I live in.  I was looking forward to the future then and fifteen years later, I still am.

Write on Edge: RemembeREDThis week's RemembeRED prompt from Write on Edge is a tad different.  They gave us the word "Crash" to write on for ten minutes, polish, and publish.  It's flash memoir!

Do you have ten minutes?  Come write with us!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Infusing some December Daily into my days with Her Lost Tooth

Turning on her light, she barely stirred more than a deep breath inhaled.  Other than her hair streaming out, I could see nothing beyond her two colorful quilts, made with love by a grandmother and an auntie, covering her small body.

“I wonder if the Tooth Fairy came?” I mused.

Fast as a cork released, she popped up from her cherry red framed twin bed.  Taking no more than a second to steady herself, she ran down the hall to the blanket folded into a pillow left on the table next to the front door.  The tradition began with her big brother and his first lost tooth.  It was only logical to leave the pillow near the door to make the exchange easy for the welcomed Tooth Fairy.

Not my first rodeo, I had my camera already in hand, turned on, ready to capture her expression as she saw the lump in the blanket pillow.  Already smiling, she rapidly progressed to squealing with delight as she pulled out a present from the fairy who had taken her first lost tooth and left behind a small toy.  In the low light she saw the small Lemon Meringue figure from the Strawberry Shortcake bunch, a tiny comb, itty bitty hair clip, and a long hot pink hair extension.

I might have held a piece of technology in my hand, meant to capture moments in a flash, but the best moment captured was her pure joy burning a place in my heart.  The pictures will record the gap in her mouth, the jammies she wore, her hair pulled back, but my heart will hold her bubbling delight in its treasures.

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I've already shared my excitement for the creative bonanza that is Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas, but the other creative infusion I get at this time of year is from Ali Edwards' December Daily album.

I've always wanted to create one, in real time, throughout the month of December.  Without a photo printer at home, I've never been able to make the project function for me (same reason I've struggled with Project Life, but I'm toying with some ideas for next year and will get back to you on that! :>).

But, no more excuses!  Whether I jump in and get a December Daily album put together or not, I'm not going to let 2011's December memories fall into the blurred oblivion of one Christmas season fading into the next.  To ensure that, I've been writing a single story (or journaling it, if you're coming from a scrapbooking perspective) to etch the day into our family's preserved memories.

And I thought I'd share today's with you!

How do you preserve your memories?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 Wrap Up

A whole month has passed since NaNoWriMo began!  The excitement was a brewin' and I shared NaNoWriMo in 8 Sentences.

How about eight more (with lots of run-on sentences to squeeze it all in)?

The picture above says, "Participant" and not NaNoWriMo Winner for a reason:  while NaNoWriMo continued to be an incredible experience, I did not reach 50,000 words - not even close - and surprisingly, I'm okay with that.

I have an unhealthy relationship with the backspace key, hitting it nearly as often as I tap the letter keys to craft words together - that does serious damage to NaNo word counts!

Word counts quite obviously die when you don't write least when you don't write words for your NaNo project (I missed Maggie, Cassie, Adrianna, and Lauren too much to leave them alone for so long).

I learned what inhibits me creatively, which I think is probably the most invaluable lesson I will take from this experience.

I learned that even if I don't go the outline in advance route, I need to have my story idea more established in my head before taking on my next NaNo (yes, I hope to write along again, sometime) - this year, I was beyond what wrimos call a "Pantser"!

And as a Pantser (someone who starts NaNoWriMo without any outlines or characters sketches or pre-writing work done and flies by the seat of their pants), thank goodness for the writing software, Scrivener - I'm using the free trial right now, but participants get a discount to purchase it - to help me get my proverbial ducks in a row and be able to easily skip around when writing and still keep my story organized.

I learned that yes, I can write while the kids are in the same room with me;  we turn on my writing music, they do their homework and their reading and I click clack across my keyboard and we're all happy.

I have a brand new main character, supported by more than a dozen other characters, quite well established now;  which means, I'm not done with this story and plan to stick with it in the coming months;  it's like my own Christmas present to myself, from myself,, peeps at Write on Edge, Cameron Garriepy for organizing us, my tweeps on twitter, and a rip roarin', rockin' awesome NaNoWriMo community across the interwebs - Thank You!

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