Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Big Rush

On Christmas Eve, Broadside and I got together with a couple of friends that I only see about once a year.  As we were walking to meet them, Broadside asked me what I was carrying in my bag.  I said, "Gifts."   "Well, of course you have gifts for them.  What did I marry an elf?"  They were small gifts that I had made.  Chocolates and lip balms.   Our friends were touched.  I was thrilled to bring a bit of Christmas joy.
For years, I've been trying to figure out, what "gets into me" when it comes to gifts and giving. This time of year my energy seems to be at an amazing high and in high volume. This year, I've read several articles on studies that giving, especially making gifts, creates an adrenaline rush, that is the same rush folks get when they exercise.  This year, I've amped up my exercise and I was thinking of the theory.  I think there is a a correlation.
Making gifts is a process I truly enjoy. I love the process of finding the ideas, the materials (this year all local and/or upcyled.), I get to focus on the people while I'm making the gifts.  It really does give me a sense of calm and well being.   This also explains, perhaps, the after holiday drop in mood.   How I'm battling this feeling...well exercise!  Walking and Zumba!  Well, that and planning next Christmas, of course.  The articles also say that volunteering does the same thing.   I think it is the fact that we are engaged in a positive activity.  We are engaged in life.  We are engaged and giving of ourselves.  It is the ultimate in using our positive self to rid ourselves and the world of negativity.
So, this post is to all my friends, who get that look of overwhelm when I present them with the gifts I've made. You are supporting my well being and peace of mind.  It really is okay.  You are giving me so much, just by letting me make and give.

What do you think of this theory?  Makes sense to me.  Where do you like to give of yourself to give to others?
Until next week...create to feel great!

9 projects complete! 43 to go!    Happy New Year to you all!

A couple of the gifts I gave this year...wrist wallets.
Super great for on the go.  Runners, dancers, who ever.  Sweet!

Friday, December 23, 2011

And Then Appears The Perfect Christmastime!

Yes, dear reader/follower, yet another Christmas post.  Hang on or pass on by, it is the last one in Year 3 of this Campaign.  Well, maybe.   I can't say the same for the Wooti Dawg stories.

This time of year is filled with expectations. Packed to the rim. Stuffed into our hearts and minds like Santa stuffing his sack full of goodies (or us stuffing ourselves full of goodies).  Expectations are so delicate, they can get shattered so easily.  When I'm full of expectations on how things are going to go or the way things are, I usually wind up sadly disappointed and so out of the moment, it takes me a bit to get my self back into the flow.
So, I work to not deal in expectations.  Especially, this time of year.   There is so much wonderful stuff going on that if I step out of the moment, even for a moment, I miss it all.
This last Sunday, was my scheduled day to decorate Pirate Cookies.  See I plan and schedule so I can give up on expectations and be more in the moment.  It really is a fine dance here.  Anyway, I get a message from Wooti's mom that she is going to be in my neighborhood, maybe with Wooti.  My past behavior would have been, "Oh, I'm busy." (with decorating cookies...I know, give up a chance to see favorite people, just in order to get something off a "to do list". Who does that?)  Not wanting to take time out and stay on track.  Now with this commitment to being in the moment, I was thrilled to see my friend, excited, and very happy when both she and Wooti were standing at my front door.   It was the start to a perfect Christmas week!  As there is nothing better than spending time with these two loving and joyous beings.
As a side bar, Pirate cookies got their due, for those wondering.
I had no idea I was going to get to see Wooti and his mom.  I was planning on shipping their presents to them. The day before, I was baking pirate cookies and my oven decided that it wasn't in the plans.   Everything I touched burned.  I even had a pan of melted chocolate fly off the stove, spin around my head and land on the refrigerator door.  Talk about your magic Christmas moments.  I just hope Santa understands that I had to say those bad words.
In an effort to "shake it off", Broadside and I went for a walk.  We found ourselves in a neighborhood honky tonk bar (I live in Portland, Oregon- and in my neighborhood we have everything).  We were enjoying one of the best holiday drinks I've ever had, listening to a guy spontaneously singing Christmas Songs in the style of Hank Williams.  It brought back so many childhood memories of my dad. Those past moments were filled with some great stuff.  And the moment I was in, was being filled with great stuff.  I decided it was time to let go of the expectations for all my prefect Christmas plans and live in the moment. As all we ever have is now.
The next morning, I baked wonderful pirate cookies.   And had my visit with Wooti and his mama. (Who by the way, gave me a plate of the BEST, yes the BEST vegan cookies- enough to get me to turn vegan.)
And then appeared the perfect Christmastime!  It just keeps coming.  All week long.  It has been filled with the magic and delight of this wonderful time of year.  I know that I can take all this into every moment I experience in the coming year.   Now that is a gift.
Are you willing to give up expectations for a opportunity of some magical moments to come your way?
I wish a very Merry Christmas to you all!
Until next week...create to feel great.

8 projects complete 44 to go!

This week's project is an Advent Calendar.  It was made for a little girl in Serbia.   Her mom and I are swap partners.  I had so much fun designing this.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It Starts With Me

"The first beneficiary of compassion is always oneself. When compassion, or warmheartedness, arises in us and our focus shifts away from our own narrow self-interest, it is as if we open an inner door. It reduces fear, boosts confidence and brings us inner strength. By reducing distrust, it opens us to others and brings us a sense of connection to others, and sense of purpose and meaning in life." 
The Dalai Lama
I really don't know if I can follow up this quote, but you know me I got something to say about it.  I do know it to be true and a great way to live my life.  I feel sometimes it is hardest to be compassionate towards ourselves.  Not self interested or self centered, but a true sense of compassion for who we are warts and all.  The practice of self compassion really does spill over to others.  It can't help it.  When we are feeling compassionate, the world does open up.
This is a great time of year to give compassion a try.  Not just in running out to the mall to get the biggest gift of all, but giving of yourself.  Your time. Your many talents. I say this a lot (mostly to remind myself) be open.  Be in the moment.  Be available to life.  Your life.  We can do this.  It starts with me.  For you starts with you.  Let's go!
How compassionate are you with you?  Are you willing to explore that idea and see what comes of it?
Until next week...create to feel great!
7 projects complete! 45 to go.
This week's project...paper flowers!   Made from dictionaries (old ones).  I haven't had a good glue gun project in months and months.  This filled the void.   Might make it on some of my packages this year.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and to change the world.”—Harriet Tubman
Any one who knows me, knows I love love love Christmas. (Even those of you who have followed this blog for a while might even know this about me.) I know I drive people nuts with my love of this holiday, I do my best to keep it in check, but sometimes I just can't.  Broadside has learned to just smile and let me go, as he knows there is really no stopping me.   I don't do a whole lot of decorating, I don't even have a Christmas tree of sorts anymore, as I really hate clean up and the taking down of holiday stuff.  Yet I love the energy of this time.   The cats look cleaner, brighter and fluffier to me.  There is a little something extra in the air.  I love the lights on houses and the possibility of a Santa sighting.  I can be talkative to the general public and wish them well, and they take it and actually, seem to like it.   I can craft craft craft like crazy and send it out into the world and people seem to take it and actually seem to like it.   Yeah there are more people out and doing craaaazzzzy stuff (where do they go the rest of the year?), traffic is more challenging, lines are longer (I hate standing in a line, nothing is worth it for the effects on my outlook.) and sometimes it can just be a hassle to move along this time of year.  Yet if you simply accept these as the way it is and not let it get to you, I know you will hear more laughter, more kind talk and sometime in the background you'll catch a the sounds of your favorite Christmas song.  You know the one, it is the one that the radio station never plays enough and you might have forgotten about it until you just now heard it.
Here's what else I love about this time of year, it is a time to reflect and dream for the new year.  Yes!   What do you want more of in the new year?  What do you want less of?  Write all that down and dream. Dream Big!  Because your life does depend on it.
So, what's your big dream? It's time to go after it?
Until next week create to feel great!   6 projects complete! 46 to go!
This week's project is a sweater for Wooti.  The Dog with the big dream!  It's almost been a year since his trials and challenges of living in Africa to his dream of the good life in America.  Yay!  Wooti effects everyone who knows about him.  He gets them to think out side of themselves, even if just for a second.  For me, Wooti is the symbol of not to give up.  Even losing a leg didn't stop him!  Go Wooti!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Amazing How Things Work

Last week, I was cutting up vegetables for a stir fry with my very sharp chef knife, and I nicked the tip of my thumb.  It bled a bit, I put a bandage on it and carried on making my dinner.   I realized later the extent of the cut.  I could have use a stitch on it but I didn't I just kept and eye on it and nursed it myself.  As it started to heal, I got a real insight on the amazing power of our bodies.   New skin grew, and I almost have a new thumb tip.  I'm not writing this to be gross.  I'm talking about it because it got me to thinking.  If I can heal a physical wound, it goes to show that we are strong and can heal any hurt we suffer in this life.   We have to nurse ourselves  through the initial cut and pain, until the new grow starts. We have to allow time to take it's course and do the healthy behaviors that allow the healing, be it physical, mental or emotional.  A good support system is like a good bandage.  It protects us as we start to heal.  We don't need the bandage forever, as the wound get better, just like sometimes we won't need the high level of our support system, as we get stronger.  In fact, we can often then be in a place to be a "bandage" for some one else and their healing process.

Yes, I firmly believe we can heal anything in our lives and our world.  Not saying it is easy.  Not saying we will.  But we can. We can regenerate ourselves.

Is there something you would like to heal in your life?

Until next week...create to feel great!

6 projects complete!  46 to go!

This week's project is a lunch sack set.   Complete with a sandwich wrapper, snack bags and a lunch sack.  Here's a bigger for me.  I designed the patterns as well as doing the sewing!   So much fun!  Makes lunchtime fun!