Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Update! (and a chat)

I mentioned a few entries back that I wanted to make some good changes, so I wanted to go a bit more in detail about what I'm planning to do and why. If you want to just read the changes themselves, scroll down to the Changes title.

A little while ago, I bought a small notebook & a pen, and I started a gratitude journal. At the end of every day, I take a few minutes to slow down and think about 3 little things I'm grateful for - a different something each day. One thing that became very obvious to me right away is that there are so many things in my life that I'm grateful for. The challenge is to narrow it down to just 3, and that's really amazing.

Even though I've only been doing a gratitude journal for a short time, I've already noticed some great benefits. I've found myself a lot more content, which led to feeling more relaxed overall. And that in turn made it even easier to find things I'm grateful for. But more importantly, it made me appreciate what I have. It brought my focus back to enjoying what I hold in front of me as opposed to just thinking about the next thing I need to get. All of it snowballed into making a lot of other positive changes in my life -- from eating healthier to exercising more, to having an easier time at work and more.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, we had our taxes done. This process is a bit more complicated because I'm an independent contractor (i.e. self-employed), so we had to carefully go through our expenses and make sure we've claimed everything properly. In the process of this, we added up the money spent on crafty and art supplies... And it's a staggeringly high amount. I only recalled making a couple of really big orders, but once all the little amounts got added, it just grew and grew. It wasn't so bad that we needed to take out a second mortgage and sell our cars or anything like that. But it's still was so much more than I ever spent on a hobby, and way above any budget I'd set for myself.

Altogether, it was a wake-up call that happened at just the right time. If I hadn't started my gratitude journal, I would have felt that massive feeling of guilt for overspending that would carry onto my card-making. I would have had creeping feelings of resentment about not being able to spend money on brand new shiny things. I might have even abandoned cards altogether. But armed with my feeling of contentment and plenty, I saw it as a another confirmation that I'm on the right path -- that I should continue to focus on what I already have instead of looking for what else I need to get.

This shift in focus means stepping away from buying new products. I'm not going to go on a formal spending freeze or anything like that. I tried really hard several times, and it was never really successful. I either got too tempted and ordered stuff anyway, or I didn't order for a while and then made a massive order with everything I would have bought before anyway. But I am going to spend less. I need to embrace what supplies I own and make use of them - regardless of whether they're retired, used a million times by others or out of trend. They're still new and exciting to me, so I'm looking forward to using them.

However, this exciting new direction also means a change for my current setup. I probably won't be able to make the same kinds of blog posts or join the same kind of challenges. Maybe it even means going completely unnoticed by companies and other crafters (though, thankfully, there are a lot of great companies that love and share their old material, and lots of new crafters who haven't grown tired of an old stamp. So there's still hope!). But I think the change is worth it and I hope you'll embark on this journey with me.

To make this a little easier, I'm going to make a few changes on my blog.
1) I'm going to be focusing on the process, thinking and inspiration instead of specific products. I will still link a few products here and there, as well as add in the right tags so you can find manufacturers easier. I just won't be spending as much time linking and naming everything I used.
This will make writing posts a lot easier for me, not to mention faster. So, hopefully it will mean more sharing.
2) I'm going to walk away from the step-by-step written instructions. After watching a ton of videos and reading just as many blog posts, I've come to the conclusion that step-by-step things work much better in a video. Just reading the text gets a bit boring and bland, not to mention that it really only makes perfect sense to me since I've already made the card.
3) I'm going to do a TON of new personal challenges, mini series and implement ideas I jotted down in my idea notebook. I'm giving a fair warning because they will be all over the place, but there's no reason to wait just because I worry it will be too much. They're things that inspire me, and I should use that inspiration.
4) I'm going to occasionally share mixed media or other art. Though I love cards, I'd also like to get into things like art journaling or watercolor practice. I've gone as far as buying several supplies specifically for art journaling, but haven't taken the plunge yet. I'd like to start in April, after I have a bit of extra time to devote to it. I'll try to share some of my future attempts here.
5) I'm going to change the blog look just a little -- which you should be seeing right now. I've switched the background to be a bit more neutral and simple, and added a blog banner. I hope you like it!

And that's all for now. Sorry for the wall of text, but I wanted to share all of this because I'm both excited and feeling like I'm on an absolutely right path.


  1. I understand what you are saying. I will appreciate more techniques and applications rather than featuring new products. I need to follow your path. I have a plentiful collection of stamps and materials. I make cards to give to others. I am retired from teaching first grade, and card making is my hobby and ministry

    1. Thank you so, so much for your comment and support, Sharon! I can't tell you how happy and relieved I am to hear that you approve of the changes. :)

      And I loved reading why you make cards! It's such a great reminder of what's the most important thing - that you're creating something for others and enjoying the process of creation.