Fifty Days to 50: Favorite Apps

 

First of all, I’m sorry I missed yesterday.  I had every intention of writing a post, but came home from an appointment not feeling at all well.  I was afraid I was coming down the the flu, but all I needed was a good night’s sleep.  Thankfully.

So today I thought I share a couple of my favorite apps at the moment.

The first is the Libby app.  Libby is a reading app for borrowing digital books and audiobooks from your library’s OverDrive collection. This free app, created by OverDrive, is available for Android, iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod touch), and Windows 10 devices.  I have it installed on the iPhone and my iPad mini.  You do need to have a library card and if your library has a digital collection, you can access through the Libby app.

While I love reading actual books, it’s really handy to be able to find a digital book and begin reading right away if it’s available.  You can place books on hold and the app automatically downloads the book when it becomes available.  You have it for 3 weeks and can return it early if you want.

The other is the Brainsparker app.  “Brainsparker is a creativity app designed to spark your imagination, disrupt your routine thinking and trigger your brain to come up with new ideas and better solutions.”  It’s free to download and comes with a set of “creativity cards”.  You can add their whole pack collection for only $3.  It includes a blogger’s pack, coach’s pack, and journal, quotes and words packs.   You can set up the app to prompt you with a daily Brainspark and who doesn’t need that!  I can get stuck in a rut with my thinking and it’s nice to shake things up a bit every now and then.

Until tomorrow,

Grace

 

 

 

 

The only app I need is the one that feeds me kibble and walks me.  Oh wait, that’s you mom!

 

Posted in 50 in 50 days, Accountability, Books, Creativity | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fifty Days to 50: DIY Sticker Book

 

My day ended up being a bit of a rabbit trail today… all because of a YouTube Video ;-).

There are a few things in life I can’t seem to get enough of… boxes, glitter, yarn, dogs and stickers.  Today I’m focused on stickers ;-).  I have always loved stickers.  There was a time when there were stores devoted to stickers.  Like a candy shop, you could browse the rolls of stickers and buy as many as you wanted in all sizes, shapes, colors and themes.  Sticker only shops don’t exist any more, but my love of stickers hasn’t waned.

0128ddfe6fc4958380d22ac734e2684c4e342e5ce0I remember in high school my closest friend came home from a family vacation with a little strawberry covered tin.  It was a gift for me and it contained stickers.  I still have that tin and the memories of how happy that gift made me.  My friend had no idea how much I loved stickers or how thoughtful her gift was that 35 years later I still have the tin.

For a while now, I’ve been looking for an efficient, easily accessible way to organize my stickers.  Currently I have them divided into categories but they’re not easily accessible.  They’re all in boxes and drawers and it’s not ideal.

I came across a YouTube tutorial where the host was talking about Sticker Books.  At first I thought she was talking about books filled with stickers and she was in a way – the books were filled with her stickers. These were blank books with nonstick paper for you to arrange and organize your stickers.  I looked them up on Amazon and while they weren’t terribly expensive, the DIYer in me thought, “I could make my own.”

I searched around the interwebs to find out the best “paper” to use and discovered that Reynolds Wax Paper is the best.  I then found this tutorial by Knicnax on how to make a DIY Wax Paper Sticker Book.  I found my wax paper, some cardstock and made my first Sticker Book.  The tutorial was excellent and I think I’ll make a book for each category.  I will also spend more time decorating the cover and labeling.  I love the “bookstyle” for easy storage and accessibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m always on the hunt for efficient and inexpensive organizing ideas especially for my craft supplies.  If you know of any, please send them my way.

Until tomorrow,

Grace

 

 

 

 

Buddy and I would love to help you with the sticker book devoted to all your dog stickers.

 

Posted in 50 in 50 days, Accountability, DIY From Scratch, Homemade, Paper Crafting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fifty Days to 50: The Best Planner is the One You Actually Use

I mentioned the other day, just briefly, my obscure obsession with Composition Notebooks.  I don’t know what it is about them, but I find myself using them for everything.

For the past year, they’ve served as my go to planner notebook utilizing a bullet journal type system.  And while they don’t have a lot of bells and whistles, they’re all I seem to need at the moment.  I’ve written about my search for the “perfect” planner in the past here and here and here.

My weekly spread

Loving all the washi tape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently, this is the planner that I use.  Because the composition notebook paper is thin-ish, I use a gluestick to glue two pages together and then secure the edges with washi tape.  It’s my nod to mixed media and I really love the look.  The best part of all:  I use this planner EVERYDAY.  I’m trying to keep all my notes, ideas, appointments, habit trackers all in one place and this seems to be doing the trick.

My chore tracker

I sit down every Sunday evening with a ruler and my favorite pen and map out my week.  The nice part of this system is if I decide I want to add a tracker or change the different components around, I can.  I’m not locked into a particular layout.  That being said, I generally stay with the same layout, but I have changed it a bit over the past few months. I will use a book mark paper clip (a dog bone, of course) to mark the current week and can reference back if I need to previous weeks.  If I have used a two page spread for note taking or setting up a chore tracker, then I just go to the next blank two page spread and set up my next week.  As soon as I’m finished with this book, I’ll date it and open up a fresh notebook.

My Make Journal

Make Journal Index

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, I’ve wanted to create a separate journal for all my projects – I call it my “Make Journal”.  I’m using a composition notebook for this as well.  I covered this one with fabric and attached a button enclosure.  I dedicated the first 5 pages as the Index section and then am designating a two page spread for each project.  One notebook with hold a total of 96 projects!!!!  I hope that’s enough lol!!!

I plan to use this as I work through the classes I’ll be taking through Craftsy/Bluprint.  I love that all my project notes will be in the same place and I’ll be able to see which ones need my attention.  At the moment I KNOW I have unfinished projects that are “out of sight, out of mind”.  I want to gather them all up, decide if I’m going to finish them and then plug them into the Make Journal.

I’d love to know what systems you use to keep track of your life/projects.  Let me know in the comments below.

Until tomorrow,

 

 

 

 

“Remember when you made me my Cubs bed?  This could have gone in your Make Journal.  Maybe you need to make me another bed just so you can add a project in for me.  Just a thought.”

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Fifty Days to 50: The value of Daily

I don’t know about you, but I’m always amazed at how fast time seems to fly.  I blink and another month or year has passed.

Mindy and I were walking the other day and I remarked to her (don’t judge me for having a conversation with my dog-she’s a great listener) that in a year I didn’t want to say to myself, “I really should… [insert task]”.  There are some projects/tasks that I’d really like to be done with.  I wondered why these particular tasks stayed on my ToDo list for such a long time and I discovered it’s because that’s the only action I take with them:  putting them on my ToDo list.  They’re all long term projects that require daily effort.  And I’m not putting in the daily effort.

That led me to thinking about the simple, yet powerful benefits of Daily.

I’m great with the discipline of Daily at the beginning of a journey when everything is fresh and exciting.  About day 7, however, I start to wane and get bored.  A friend of my commented on my #onemileadayfor50days challenge saying that it should be easy because I always walk at least a mile with my dogs.  I do always walk at least a mile, but I don’t do it every.single.day.  And never for 50 days straight.  This is my challenge, not only with walking, but in all aspects of my life.

I need to develop the same attitude that Mindy, my dog, has towards her daily walk and meals.  She acts as though this is the first walk she’s ever been on or the first meal she’s ever eaten and she’s over the moon with excitement.  Every time we leave the house or I fill her bowl with kibble, she’s like this.  She eats the same kibble and we walk the same route, sniff the same lawns/trees/bushes/flowers, see the same doggie friends and she brings the same level of excitement each time.  The other attitude she has is one of, “I GET to do this again?”  Now, I know she’s a dog, but there’s lots to be learned.

Great things can happen when you commit to a daily discipline:  you become healthy and fit, you finish projects, your faith deepens, you master skills, you accomplish your goals.  Daily attention to these areas requires commitment and consistency, faith in the process, a bit of humbleness and a willingness to settle in for however long it takes to complete.

Just my thoughts as I keep moving, daily, towards 50.

Until tomorrow,

 

 

 

 

“Ok, I only understood two words: walk and kibble.  And I’m all ears.”

Posted in 50 in 50 days, Accountability | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Fifty Days to 50: Going back to school… sort of.

I always loved school.  From elementary all the way through college.  I was one of those kids that looked forward to the end of summer because that’s when you bought your school supplies.  I remember my first Trapper Keeper, college-ruled binder paper and a plastic zipper pouch filled with pens and pencils.  Nerd alert!!!!  I still enjoy the back to school sales and actually have to refrain from buying large quantities of binder paper and glue sticks.  I also really love composition notebooks. 😉 (more about that in a later post)

In the early part of this year, my husband and mom started asking me what I wanted for my 50th birthday.  I really didn’t know.  I’m not terribly difficult to buy for – anything craft related, dog related, book related or school supply related and I’m good.  But this is my 50th so I began thinking.  I don’t remember the sequence of events, but one day I knew what I wanted. An annual subscription to Craftsy/Bluprint.

Craftsy/Bluprint is an online craft education website that offers classes in knitting, sewing, crochet, drawing, painting, quilting, photography, papercrafts, cooking, baking, cake decorating, embroidery, woodworking, and jewelry making.  They have also added dance, yoga, and fitness classes as well as classes designed for kids.  You can purchase these classes to download and keep forever or you can buy a subscription (annual or month) and have access to all their material.  You don’t own the classes with the subscription but you can watch them as often as you like.

Originally I was going to start the subscription on my actual birthday (Nov  24), but Craftsy/Bluprint is having a subscription sale at the moment and I thought, “why wait?”

So for the next 12 months, I’ll be “taking classes” every week in all the categories.  I’ll definitely blog about my progress and share my makes.  I’m just glad there aren’t any tests.

Time to dust off the old Trapper Keeper and get organized.

Until tomorrow,

 

 

 

 

“I love school also.  That’s where I learned to sit like this.  And a whole bunch of other stuff.”

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Fifty Days to 50: “Socks for Dobby” Christmas tree

Yesterday I wrote about being excited for the changes and new paths that will emerge as I approach 50.  Changes can come in all shapes, sizes and intensity and I’ll admit, I’m not very good with change.  I enjoy the comfortable dependability of our traditions and knowing what to expect.  I think we can agree that life just isn’t that simple.  I like to think that I’ve improved in my handling of change over the years, but it’s still a struggle.

About six years ago I wrote a blog post about our Christmas Wall tree.  I love our wall tree now, mostly because of the circumstances that led us to choosing a wall tree.  (I’ll give you a guess:  it involves dogs)  But it was a change to my annual Christmas decorating plans that required flexibility and creativity because we had always had our tradition of  picking a tree from the Christmas tree lot.  I loved the smell of fresh pine, the cozy feel the tree gave our living room and, of course, getting out all the decorations and spending an afternoon stringing glitter yarn and hanging ornaments.  There are so many memories wrapped up in our ornaments and I enjoy the trip down memory lane. We made the leap to the Wall Tree (out of necessity) over 15 years ago and haven’t looked back.  There’s no smell of fresh pine, but I’ve found some cool candles that solve that problem ;-).  And our living room is still Christmas cozy, but now with more space.

That little rabbit trail brings me to today.  I’ve decided to changes things up a bit with our Wall Tree this year.  Quite frankly, I’m ready for a change.  I still love the tree, but Woody and Ellie are no longer with us and the memory of them is intertwined in the tree.  I’m still going to string the glitter yarn and lights, but it’s going to be a “Socks for Dobby” tree.  Let me rewind….

For several months now, Mike and I have been reading through the Harry Potter books.  He had read them all, but I hadn’t (I’ve seen all the movies). We’re currently in The Order of the Phoenix.  We finish a book and then watch the movies.  I have to say the movies are much more meaningful after reading the books.  By now we’ve been introduced to Dobby the House Elf and his “freedom producing” sock.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you’ll know I’m a knitter and I love knit-a-longs because of the challenge and commraderie they bring.  Back in September, Denise of the Earthtones Girl Podcast started a #minisockgarlandkal (KAL=knit-a-long) encouraging us to knit two mini socks each week for 12 weeks.  I was late to the party, but last week starting knitting my mini socks like a crazy woman to catch up.  I fully intended to make a sock garland for our mantel.  To join in with the fun, I hung each sock on my wall tree, took a picture and posted my progress to Instagram.  I currently have 5 socks.  The socks are still on the tree and here’s where my plans have changed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve decided to make a “Socks for Dobby” Christmas Wall Tree this year.  I’ll need more than 24 socks (possibly 50 ;-)) but at my current pace that shouldn’t be a problem.  I’ll still get out my ornaments and figure out another way to display them, but for this year I love the idea of a sock tree.  I can always string the socks into a garland in the future, but for now I love the plan that has emerged along the way.

Can’t wait to show you our “Socks for Dobby” Wall Tree when it’s finished.

Until tomorrow,

 

 

 

 

“Please tell me you’re not making me any socks.  I don’t do socks.”

Posted in 50 in 50 days, Accountability, Challenges and Contests, Christmas, Decorating, Dogs, Homemade, Knitting, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fifty Days to 50: Being of value

I came across this quote by Katharine Hepburn the other day.

“You can’t just be talented… You also have to become necessary to people, by working hard and well and bringing more than your bones and your skin to the project.  Don’t just show up.  Transform the work, yourself and everybody around you.  Be needed.  Be interesting.  Be something no one else can be… and consistently.”

As I’ve been thinking through performing CPR on my blog over the next 50 days, I wanted to make sure that what I offer up every time I post is of value, first to you dear reader, but then to me as well.  Blogging takes time and effort and I want my posts to be worth your time.  I think this quote is a good measuring tool to use each time I start typing.  It speaks to the idea of going the extra mile, being willing to do the extra not necessarily for attention, but because of the value that will be added and the transformation that might take place.

I’m excited about this next season… to see the changes that will undoubtedly happen and for the new paths that might emerge.  I’ll be sharing some of my ideas in upcoming blog posts and it is my sincere hope that you’ll join me in this uncharted journey.

What are the areas of your life where you feel like you’re on an uncharted journey?  And how do you feel about it?  I’d love to hear from you.

Until tomorrow,

 

 

 

 

“We’ll go on uncharted journeys with you every.day.of.the.week.”

 

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