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Planning for Fiber Artists

This article, was originally a sub-section of last week's article on Fabric Art Journals. However, I ended up having a lot to say about that (go figure, seeing I'm not an fabric artist) and the thoughts about planning seemed to interfere with the goals of introducing you all to fabric art journals. Therefore, this week we'll take a look at how fabric and fiber artists plan their projects.

Now I know that if I don't write my long-term artistic projects down somewhere and keep them together in my Project Folder system, then when it comes time to "create" I get lost and spend more time looking for all the items I want to use rather than spending that precious free time making art. And that's just from a purely paper-artist standpoint. Fabric artists need to keep their projects in line. Is there an organizational methodology that could work for knitters? What does a knitter who always has a rotation of 3-4 projects going on at one time do to keep all their projects in line? Read on to find out more.

Let Yourself Go: Harnessing the Power of Meditation

Each morning, before I start my day, before I even look at my planner or eat my breakfast, I meditate. I sit down in a quiet room and stretch my body. Then I regulate my breathing as I take it through a series of breathing exercises. These help to ground and prepare me for my day. Finally, I perform one final meditation exercise to organize my mind for the day ahead. This is similar to hypnosis. Whereas the usual definition of meditation is to empty one's mind, I use this one to vent the mind. Venting basically means getting rid of extraneous information, while also organizing the information I do need for the day ahead.

This article explores how I meditate and how it can help you focus and prepare yourself for your day. Think of it as another tool you can use to help organize yourself and get ready for your day.

Into the Wild (no starvation required)

Sorry I've been away a while, folks, but sometimes my work takes me places that just aren't accessible to the Net. Thanks to Innowen, as usual, for her tireless leadership (and great articles, as usual!) while I was away.

Wood Bison, (c) 2008 Douglas Johnston

So, I came face-to-face with a small herd of wood bison last week. These are truly wild, shaggy creatures nearly the size of a small SUV --I'm told they're the largest land animal in North America-- and quite capable of running up to 50 mph. And right now, at the end of the lean season, they can be downright ornery and rather dangerous as they roam through the sub-Arctic Northwest Territories wilderness in search of patches of frozen, dried-up grasses. I did manage to sneak up within 20 or 30 feet of them and take a goodly number of photographs before my fingers went numb with the cold and I lost the ability to manual focus. When the alpha male began to feign charges, I figured it was a good time to leave.

Here's yet another shout-out for Noodler's Polar Black fountain pen ink. Yes, it does work in extreme cold, and I've used it in -50C temperatures. As soon as I got back to the vehicle, I wrote up my notes using a still-frigid Moleskine and Polar Black in my red Lamy Safari. (Red, because it inspires warmth....)

On a vaguely semi-related note, does anybody else think the main character of Into the Wild should have spent less time reading Thoreau and more time reading nature books, and perhaps even buying a map and compass? Sheesh. An excellent film, but ultimately a very frustrating one for me to watch.

Soft and Squishy: An Intro to Fabric Art Journals

closed art journal, by gramayreWhile I'm not a fabric person, per se, I can and do appreciate those who have a penchant for fabric based arts. These artists knit, quilt, sew or do needlepoint and come up with fabulous ways to make clothing and art. If you're an artist of this category, then you'll love what I'm going to talk about today. This is the one you've been waiting for. Today, I'm going to explore fabric art journals. This creative art form allows you to take all those left over scraps of fiber and fabric and use them for other purposes. I'll tell you what I know about this technique and give you some ideas on how you can go about creating one of your own. I've even got a few ideas for sample projects that you can undertake on your own. At the end of this article there's a small list of resources that you can turn to if you want to tap into this new art form. Please be kind, I'm no expert on this subject, as I don't delve into the fiber arts. But it does fascinate me and I love seeing what my fiber arts friends produce.

Art journaling, or the craft of recording your thoughts and feelings and events using images, is something I constantly talk about here on D*I*Y Planner. Fabric Art Journals is an extension of this concept. These journals are created using fabric pages and sometimes bound by fabric. Artists write in their journals either by with fabric words or painted words. It's a fascinating new way of journaling that lets anyone, who prefers fabric arts to paper, in on the scene. I've seen a lot of really nifty journals out there that combine elements of traditional quilting, felting, and custom needlepoint together to weave a personal and unique book. Some of the journals don't even take the form of a traditional book. I've seen artists who create their "books" by using wall hangings or pillows that tell specific moments, like the birth of their child or marriage. Anything goes when you get around to making a fabric journal.

Go Ahead, Ask A Question and Let the Answer Organize You

On Monday, I attended a free teleconference offered on marketing small businesses by Veronika Noize. She taught us how the questions we ask can provide us some structure throughout the day. I really liked this idea because it helps me avoid distractions such as T.V., email, etc. An example question she offered us was, “What is the highest and best use of my time today?"

The above question, however, is just a start. Some other good questions include, “What do I want to accomplish today?”, or “When will I get a specific task done today?”, or “What is motivating me to work on my business, career, school, etc. today?” These are just a few potential questions that can be used to help organize your thoughts when you plan your day out in your planner.

Healing Through Words: Keeping a Grief Journal

Loss comes in many forms: death of a pet or person; the loss of a friend or position; the loss of youth we experience as we grow older. It's a part of life that we sometimes shuffle past and don't delve into. Today's post touches on this sensitive topic. I don't want to make anyone upset or trigger past emotional issues; but seeing that the topic of loss hit me hard during my hiatus, I felt that writing my thoughts down on this process and sharing them with all of you is important. 

Please, if you have lost someone and are having issues "getting past it all", find someone to talk to and perhaps keep a journal of your thoughts. Grieving is a long process and the more you deal with the whirlwind of emotions you feel, the faster you can start the healing process. Writing down your thoughts is one tool that can help you feel better about what happened and help you move on and rebuild your life.

Prompts by Bullets: using bulleted lists to plan time

Currently, I'm working on writing up a business plan for Imagine Your Reality, my life coaching business. While I already had an idea of who my target audience is and I want to accomplish with the business, after a long discussion with a good friend (who is also an entrepreneur) I realized that my practice wasn’t as tightly focused as it needed to be. I had taken a shotgun approach to my life coaching, by offering to focus on a variety of areas. My friend pointed out to me that when you take that kind of an approach you don’t really tend to stand out. And standing out was something I wanted to do. Therefore, it was time to sit down and figure out exactly what I wanted my business to go.

It was time to start writing a business plan that could help me organize the material I had already developed into a more cohesive and focused program for building my business. I had come across an excellent template for writing a business plan and decided to use it to help me further flesh out my own plan (See http://www.veronikanoize.com/marketing_plan for the template). As I started reading the template, another thought hit me. I realized I needed to integrate my planner into writing the business plan. I grabbed my planner and blocked time in my day to note when and which sections of this template I would fill out. However, I went one step further. I included a series of bullet point prompts to help me get some quick brainstorming ideas down.

Review: LifeShaker; or why I like my to-do list shaken, not stirred

LifeShaker, a desktop to-do list application from Funky Cloud, makes adding items to your daily list almost as fun as crossing them off. It's available for Mac OS X and costs $29 USD.

I'm going to be blunt for a second. Let's get real... I can use a simple pen and paper to track my daily goals. And that's how I typically go about writing down all the things I need to track and when to get them done by. So why would I even bother taking a software to-do list application for a test drive? Because it looks cool and makes entering goals into it more fun than a piece of paper. If you're picky like me, you know a program has got to have something special in it to make me WANT to give it more than a passing glance. And LifeShaker has got that something special that makes me want to use it.

LifeShaker immediately draws you in with its unique interface. The bulk of the window shows you 9 squares, each with a goal or "next action" step for a goal. This innovative grid view allows you to quickly see how many tasks you have without feeling too overwhelmed. The bottom of the screen includes lines for you to add new goals. Click the "plus" button to add your tasks. If your task includes several steps before it's done, then click the "plus" button in the Steps list to add the steps you need to do before that project is complete and the goal achieved.

Write Free Book Giveaway Winner

Last week I proposed a contest to you all to win a copy of Write Free. I asked that you all submit your stories about what your perfect creative life would be like. Out of the 13 entrants, I selected one of the names at random. And we have a winner with wbb!

Wbb's answer was:

I'm retired from an exacting type career. I'm the Chair for the Finance Committee of my Home Owner Assoc. Never thought I was creative. Now that I'm on my spiritual journey, (that didn't fit in my exacting world either) I'm looking at life, nature more. I feel lacking, or "I can't do it", but my teachings say that is not the truth and to fully express the good, I must grow and stretch. Being open, creative in different ways is part of it.

Picked up a drawing kit from Costco and a Pentel Color Brush online. Still drawing stick figures, but I'm taking the time to look and see things differently.

Congratulations wbb, I'll be getting in touch with you for your address to send you the copy of Write Free. Thanks to everyone who posted a response, I hope your creative dreams come true!