Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Yay!  Merry Christmas!  I had a very nice Christmas at my parents' house with my sisters.  Niel and his family came over for most of Christmas day, too, and that was also fun.  I loved watching my nephews open their presents and get all excited about it.  My traditional Christmas Eve pajamas was a nightgown with a kitty print that made me miss my cats, but I'll be going back home tomorrow so I won't have to worry about them anymore.  :) 

I had Emily this year for our rotational gift giving, and I made her a set of bookends out of clay.  They are a pair of dragons, and I thought they turned out pretty well.  Emily seemed to like them, so that was good because I couldn't have done anything else -- no money.  I already had the supplies for this.  Dad got Mom a flat screen tv with dvd player attached and a wall mount to put it up in her sewing room.  NICE.  I'm a little jealous!  (j/k)  Mom got Dad a four-wheeler and he had lots of fun yesterday pulling his grandkids around on their new sleds.  It was fun to watch -- while they were in range, anyway.  :)

My mom also got a Wii Fit and everyone had fun playing on that while I watched.  I'm over the weight limit.  That really hurt, but it's given me a new determination because I really want one, and it looked like fun, and I am now the largest person in the family so I can't even use the Wii Fit to get  fit!  So, my New Year's resolution is going to be to lose enough weight that I can use a Wii Fit, and secondary to that is to get a job and save enough money that I can buy one.  For now, my miniature goal to help me get to that one, is to go for a walk -- even if it's a really short one -- every day this week.  When I accomplish that goal, I'll set one for the next week.  I think I'm also going to get a picture of the Wii Fit and  stick it on my door or something so I see it every day and remember that that's what I want.

Anyway, I'll post my progress, and I'll take pictures of Emily's dragons and post them soon, too.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Stockings

A good friend of mine (Tressa) asked me to make her some stockings for her young family, since this is (I think) their first Christmas with their little boy and they don't have any yet. We found a pattern that we liked the shape of, but it was pretty plain and when I really got down to reading the pattern I thought it seemed far more complicated than it needed to be. So I simplified some of the pattern and added the design elements and tweaked a whole bunch of stuff so it made more sense to me, and voila! Green for the boys and red for the girl. I really liked how they turned out and Tressa was thrilled, which made me happy. I did keep track of my now original pattern (I seriously made enough changes that no copyright lawyer in the world would deny it's originality, I think the only thing that's the same is the heel, and even that changed in size) and I think there's probably some small tweaking I'd still like to do, but I'm going to try to sell them for next year. Nice, huh? We were going to add names, but I didn't have time. I worked pretty much straight through for the last 3 days because I'm leaving tomorrow for the next week or so, so my fingers were cramping up anyway. We'll probably add them after the holiday.

Tressa was feeling bad about taking me away from other stuff I need to get done -- especially after I told her how much time they took (I had estimated low -- I always seem to do that). I wish she wouldn't because with having no job, and being pretty down about the future and what I have -- mostly haven't -- done with my life, having a project like this to focus on was seriously a blessing for me. And she did insist on paying me -- too much, especially since I would have just done it for her, but after doing some research I found she would have paid a lot more for handmade items like this elsewhere, so I guess it's still a win-win -- so it was a much better use of my time than what I would have been doing all week, plus I got some late Christmas spending money that I wouldn't have had. Most importantly, though, it taught me quite demonstratively how much better I feel about myself when I have a goal and am able to keep myself busy. I need, now, to learn how to get motivated the way a new project for a good old friend got me going so quickly. I think part of it was the deadline, too. I need to learn how to use self-imposed deadlines effectively. All that stuff I need to get done that I put aside for this, would probably have been put aside for stupid stuff like movies and TV anyway. This way, I feel productive, and I'll still get the other stuff done.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm back -- really

Well, hello to anyone who might possibly still be checking to see if I've updated my blog yet.  I lost my job, I've been seriously depressed and stressed, and didn't feel like I've had anything positive to write about.  You know, therapists will often recommend journaling as a way to help work through the negative thoughts and get past them.  My experience has always been that the more depressed I am, the worse my writing is and the worse what I write makes me feel.  I write what I feel, and seeing the irrational thoughts on paper -- instead of helping me to see the error of my thinking -- just makes me feel more horrible that I really think like that.  So, I've stopped writing when I'm down.

You may have noticed the new gadget just below the header.  It's a link to my store at  I haven't got a lot listed yet, but I decided to stop waiting until I had a lot of stuff to list and just put in what I've got.  All of those journals are a few years old, but they still look like new.  I plan on making a whole bunch more sculptures and focal beads.  I'm feeling pretty good about the whole thing, so I decided I really needed to write.

I'm still searching for a job.  Sending out as many applications as I can.  I think I might have applied for every listing workforce services has for the Cache Valley area!  Well, thank heaven for family and church.  And yes, I'm going.  It's nice.  My friend Janette is very supportive and encouraging and it's nice to have someone like her.  :)

Anyway, check out my store, because it's just cool that I've got one, and keep coming back here, because I'm back and ready to write again!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In the doldrums...

Yes, definitely.  And why?  Because an old college roommate of mine has just gotten her first book published and I'm jealous.  I'm really happy for her of course, but I'm thinking my own book will never get published and that makes me sad.  Oh, and yes I have been working on it, so it will get done eventually, but I guess I'm just sad that I haven't accomplished anything I thought I would have by this age.  Publishing was at the top of the list, along with being in a real career, not just a get-by-for-now job.  Of course what would be really awesome is if writing full time could BE that career...

Okay, the real reason for the melancholy?  I worked tons of overtime this last week and didn't have time for anything fun -- or productive.  (I finally got some time yesterday and I did manage to start a new dragon.  I think he's going to be really cute.)  AND, I haven't started reading the BOM like I was going to, either.  I feel like a turtle myself, pulling head back into my shell when church is even mentioned, just pretending it will go away.  I'm going to have to start sometime, though...  especially since I doubt I can get any of the rest (lose weight, sell my book or my creations) done if I don't get my spirit back into alignment.  I'm all out of wack right now and I'm afraid realignment will hurt which is the reason for hiding in the shell.  Sheesh.  Get it together, girl!  Enough with the pity-party.  Boooorrrring.  Back to work!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Clay creatures

This is the clay turtle (with stone bead accents) that I made last weekend for my sister Emily who collects turtles.

And this is the dragon I made -- took about a week.

Her name is Amy, and Amy loves her amythyst! There's her large rock and several smaller ones in the ground around her -- looks like she found a good place to collect them from. 

She has mother-of-pearl as plates along the spine, and green and purple freshwater pearl accents.  She's my first dragon, but don't worry, Amy will have lots of friends soon!

I also made a lion's head and some filigree beads (which my Mom helped on) over the weekend that look pretty cool, but I don't have pictures of them yet.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Spirituality and stuff

Going to my parent's house for the weekend has, for the last couple years, been a little bit uncomfortable when time to go to church rolls around.  I don't want to go, they wish I would, etc.  This last weekend there was no choosing because it was general conference, and it's just on.  If you don't want to watch or listen, you shouldn't have come.  :)  It was pretty good, actually.  I cringed a couple times just like I would have in church, but for the most part, it was enlightening, like it's supposed to be.  There was one talk about discipline that I'm going to have to see if I can find online so I can reread it.

The point of this post, though, is that it occurred to me that I could be putting my focus on the wrong one of my 3 main goals (see the post from August 26th).  I was going to focus mainly on the physical and mental(creative) but my early plans for the physical goals fizzled out, and haven't gone anywhere.  I have made good progress in the creative arena -- more posts on that later.  I've got pictures! -- but I'm not healthy, and without getting healthy, I won't be able to accomplish all that I eventually want to with my creative work.  Perhaps I'm not getting anywhere with my physical goals because I'm pretty much ignoring my spiritual ones.  Okay, I know of the few of you who read this, most will be nodding your heads and thinking "well, of course," and even though I already knew that -- on an intellectual level, anyway -- I probably still needed that "aha!" moment to do anything about it.  Don't we all?

I'm reluctant to get back into exploring a relationship with God because I know it will involve change (something I've never been a fan of) and I'm pretty certain there will be a large amount of emotional pain involved (something I avoid as a rule -- you have to when you've got a chemical imbalance in your brain that amplifies all negative emotion beyond reason).  I suppose, though, any kind of creation is change, and if I'm going to create a better me, I have to be willing to undergo all of it.  It occurred to me to compare myself to the clay I use to make things with -- malleable, versatile, full of possibilities -- but clay is inert.  It has no control over what happens to it, and that's what I have been -- floating along, letting life happen to me -- and not what I want to be which is someone who lives her own life.  I am not the clay.  I can't let life shape me, I have to shape my life.  Right?

Anyway, if I can figure out what shape to mold my spirit into, then my physical goals will have the backing of my spiritual ones.  What I mean is, right now, my outside and my inside match.  I can't change what's on the outside without changing what's inside, and the inside has to come first -- and whether that's spiritual or just has to do with attitude or habits or all of the above, I think working on my spirit will help to change it all.  Like I said, I'm reluctant (nervous, a little resentful, uncomfortable), but I'm willing to bet this is the only way to make the changes work the way I want them to.  So, for a short term goal under "Define and Live Spiritual Beliefs," I'm going to re-read The Book of Mormon.  I'll keep you posted on what progress I make.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New Clay Technique

These beads were an experiment using a technique I found in a book called Polymer Pizazz presented by Bead and Button Magazine.  Two artists -- Jody Bishel and Aya Teshima -- each wrote instructions for a type of hollow bead, both using cornstarch packing peanuts.  I decided to try my own version, and these beads were the result.  You can't really tell from the picture that the beads are hollow, but they are.  I only made a few and strung them with some glass seed beads and hematite to make this bracelet.  I like the way they turned out, but next time I try it, I'm going to leave bigger holes, both to see the hollow design better and to make it easier to get the packing peanut out.  They're water soluble, and they do disintigrate, but I still had to poke and prod the slimy pieces out of those tiny holes.  Blech.  However, the technique itself has given me some really cool ideas that I hope I'll be able to transfer from my head into reality.

As for everything else, well, this week has been really hard as far as the diet goes -- wait, I was supposed to be on a diet? -- and I've been working 10 hour shifts at work, so I haven't had a lot of time to do anything besides work and sleep.  Should be a nicer paycheck than usual, though.  :)  I'm really happy to have a two day weekend (I worked last Saturday and will have to work next Saturday) so I'm going to make the most of it by getting laundry done, cleaning my room, and working on some art projects.  Hopefully, by tomorrow evening, I'll have more pictures to post.  :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

I love visiting the Back's.  :)  We played with clay, and went to see Star Trek (yes, this is probably the 20-somethingth time I've seen it, but I love it!  Can't wait for the DVD -- Nov. 17th!), and had yummy food at Cafe Rio.  Janet is on the HCG diet too, so she knew what to order for us both, and it was really good.  Jilese and I got lost in Salt Lake looking for bookstores and a Michael's so we could get some liquid Sculpey for a project.  Over all, a very worthwhile weekend.

We made little glow-in-the-dark ghosts and some fairies (we used the liquid Sculpey and glitter for their wings and they looked awesome), but I didn't get any pictures.  Jason even reminded me just before I left and I still forgot.  Oh, well, I guess.  Jayden seemed to have a lot of fun, but Jilese was getting frustrated because hers wasn't perfect.  I know just how she feels.  It's one of my biggest "negative" personality traits to overcome -- the idea that if I can't be best or do something extraordinary, I don't want to do it at all.

All the things I do that friends and family find so amazing and talented are things that came really pretty easily to me.  The stuff that's hard, I give up on.  Which is really why my book is still unfinished -- I'm scared it won't be as good as I think it is or as good as I want it to be.  I know, I know.  Irrational.  But when depression sucks the will to try out of you, that kind of irrationality holds much more sway than anyone who hasn't been there would suspect.  The worst part is, while it's happening, you know you're being illogical, but instead of prompting you to change the behavior, the idea that you are behaving that way just makes you more disgusted with yourself and less likely to do anything about it.  Depression is an evil spiral -- like that scene in Disney's The Little Mermaid where Ariel is lying on the dry ocean floor at the bottom of the whirlpool with the massively oversized evil witch laughing far above her aiming to kill her with the tritan, only the witch is the wall between your emotions and your logic and the tritan is all the negative thoughts you keep trying to jump away from, but can't because the vortex would just spit you back out into the bullseye.  I suppose if I were to contine the metaphor, the prince in the wrecked ship that kills off Ursula would be the medication that breaks down the wall so your logic can start informing your emotions and counteracting the negative thoughts.  Whew.  How's that for a great description?  :)  I think I've said this before, but the hardest part right now is changing all the destructive habits I formed while at the bottom of the maelstrom.  I think I'm making progress.  I hope I am, anyway.

On the HCG front, I've lost 10 lbs.  Yay!  I haven't been as strict as I should be and so I'm not losing as fast as I could be.  It's really difficult, and I'm working on building my will power, but I am still trying, which is what's really important.  The evil witch cannot be allowed to win.

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

Not to sound cliche, but I knew this would be hard -- just not this hard.  I don't have nearly as much will power as I thought I did.  I haven't missed an injection (which I was worried about remembering), but I haven't been as strict with the diet as I planned to be (which I wasn't worried about).  I'm either not getting all the food I'm supposed to eat, or I'm eating one of the donuts the company puts out for employee birthdays once a month.  I think it will get easier.  The hardest part is to not just give up entirely because I haven't done it perfectly so far.  That whole black and white mentality thing I've got going on is really hard to deal with sometimes!

On the creativity side of things, though, I'm going to visit my aunt's house this weekend and spend some quality time doing "art stuff" with my young cousin.  I'm really looking forward to it, and we'll post the results of our mutual creative genius here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ready, set, GO!

The summer has been full of frustration for me -- frustration with the heat, with my weight, with my slovenly habits -- and I haven't written anything because I didn't think I had anything interesting, enlightening, or pithy to say. Well, I've hit a breaking point in my frustration. The point where it's no longer possible to shrug it off, to ignore my disgust with myself and take comfort in the very things that are causing the problems. I'm feeling more like me than I have in over a decade -- thanks to finally finding the right drugs to keep my depression at bay and under control -- and now I've reached the point where I can start changing the negative habits I slipped into in a futile effort to keep 'the pit of despair' from engulfing me.

So, I figure "Charity's Creations" is the perfect place to document the progress of "Operation Create a Better Charity." The operation has three basic long-term goals: 1. Achieve Optimal Physical Health, 2. Define and Live Spiritual Beliefs, and 3. Organize and Maintain Productive Creativity.

Vague enough? :) Well, here's what I mean by that. 1. Achieve Optimal Physical Health. I'm enormously obese. I'm not just saying that, I really am. I break into a sweat and start gasping for breath just hurrying up a flight of stairs. In order to change this disgustingness, I'm going to take HCG. It's a hormone, and it helps you lose weight quickly. I don't intend to go into details about it here, because there are plenty of websites that will teach you all about it if you're interested. It's enough to say that I've read the research, I've talked to people who have done it, and I'm convinced it's safe and, most importantly, will work. The diet that goes along with it is very, very strict, but it's only for 6 weeks at a time. I started taking the injections last Sunday -- the 23rd of August -- and my first week has gone okay, but not as well as I'd like. I've been hungrier than I thought I would be, but I also didn't get all the food I was supposed to eat, because I was unable to plan properly. The foods that I used to eat all the time kept calling out to me -- eat me! eat me! -- and I admit I slipped up a little because I was hungry and didn't have anything else at work. So this week, I plan my meals better and take them with me to work. Oh, and the George Forman grill -- my new best friend. I tried cooking a chicken breast and a steak on the stove, and it just didn't work well. I thought about buying a GF grill, but when I mentioned that to my roommate, Heather, she magically produced one from the back of a kitchen cupboard! (The benefits of having had many roommates come and go.) Anyway, love the grill! So easy, and convenient -- especially cooking for one. :)

So, short term goal to achieve goal 1, follow the HCG program for this first round. Even shorter than that, make it through this next week without slipping up at all. I don't know where my weight is at because I don't have a scale, but I started at my parent's house and their scale put me at 390.2 lbs. Yeah, I know. Told you I was enormously obese. I'm going to start going back to Curves, and I'll weigh myself there. I probably won't go back until I'm back on the grave shift so I can just go right after work, and that is one more week away.

Goal 2. Define and Live Spiritual Beliefs. I've been struggling with my spiritual beliefs for a long time, and though I've investigated a few different things, I keep not committing to anything. Mostly because none of it feels right, and I've had anger issues with God anyway. I don't want to live a life devoid of spiritual belief, so I'm going to have to choose and stick with something. I've decided to give the beliefs I grew up with one more chance (Mom, don't break the chair bouncing up and down in joy) and if it still doesn't work for me, I'll go on to something else. Short term goals for this, though, I haven't figured out yet.

Goal 3. Organize and Maintain Productive Creativity. This one was the hardest to put succinctly and therefore is probably the most vague. :) What I mean by this, is that I want to organize all the projects -- and supplies for those projects -- that I haven't done yet, and get something done instead of just always thinking I'll do it eventually. Eventually never comes! And I'm going to finish my book. I have been working on that a little bit the last month or so, but not consistently. Short term goal for here, is to write for at least an hour every day. I can do that. An hour is really not that long and I'll probably get so caught up that I'll end up writing longer -- of course, that's just fine, because I want to find out what happens. :) I'm also going to box up and store and/or give away most of the junk that's cluttering up my room, which keeps me from getting anything creative done because I don't have space. Then I'm going to work on my clay chess set idea, because that little king was fun to make and I've got good ideas for the rest of the pieces.

So, for family and friends, and anyone else who's interested, this blog is now about my journey towards a better me. Hopefully it'll be a good one. Hopefully I'll be able to share tips and insights, and encouragement for anyone facing the same types of problems (so the blog isn't completely narcissistic). Please feel free to leave comments, and here we go!