Earth Crafts: Reusing household items

For the past few years, I have made it a point to make sure I include “earth-friendly” goals as part of my new year’s resolutions. Two years ago, I pledged to only use reusable bags for both grocery and regular shopping. I ordered beautiful bags that I carry in my purse and use when I am loading up at Target, Michaels or clothing retailers. I purchased additional insulated shopping bags for my grocery shopping. I have stuck to that pledge and it makes me really happy.

This year, I add a few more “earth-friendly” goals and today I thought I would share with you a quick project that acts on the principle of reuse which is one I am working on in 2020. More important than recycling, reusing items is a great way to elimate waste.

Calender photo in frame.

Every year, I always purchase a wall calender for my craft room that has some sort of nature as it’s theme. For 2019, I bought a weekly calender with 52 beautiful flowers. So when I replaced it with my 2020 calender I wanted to think of what I would do with it. I could not bring myself to throw away these amazing photos of flowers. So I measured the pictures and grabbed a frame that I previously used with holiday sentiment displayed in it and used it to display the beautiful image. I will cut them to size and swap out other flowers as the year progresses.

Displayed it on my gallery shelves.

I can’t tell you how amazing it looks displayed on my gallery shelves. I could pay a lot of money for art like this in the stores but now I have saved these beauties from the landfill and gained beautiful art for my craft room.

So make sure you pause before throwing things away and try to reuse then because it is so much better than recycling as well as it stretches our creative mind.

Have a blessed Monday my friends!

Belinda

Happy New Year!

Wow, It’s really 2020! I am loving this number. It rolls off the tongue so nicely. I have been away for some time now enjoying the end of 2019 with my family. The holidays tend to sweep me up and I tend to let go of my routines. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and start to your new year.

Reflecting on Belinda’s Crafts in 2019

This is the post I typically share all of my plans for the upcoming year. But first, I want to pause and reflect on last year, in order to prepare for 2020. So indulge me for a bit and read on. (You should grab a cup of tea. This might take a while!)

What happened to Belinda’s Crafts? When I think about this question, there are many factors that come to mind. I have a family that requires my love and attention, I have my health that I work on daily to keep optimum, But one of the real reasons, Belinda’s Crafts started to unwind was after a few years of using Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the visual aspects of this social media platform. I found inspiration from other artists and connected with friends and family.

But one day I realized that the act of using Instagram had become toxic for me. Where I used to find inspiration and community, I began to feel doubt and envy creep. I would find lack in myself when I closed the app. I began to question my skills and products and didn’t see a clear picture of where I fit in. I lost my creative mojo and turned away from creating new products.

Finally it was like a veil was lifted and I knew that Instagram and I needed to break up. I needed a break. I felt like each day, I was bombard with people sharing their lives with me in what I call the “look at me” culture. I had to scroll through so much to get to what I really wanted to see and that was creative and spiritual content. But once you sign up and friend people, you get stuck with whatever “oversharing” they chose to throw out there. I fell victim to it myself but one thing I knew was that I needed to dial it back and focus on me. So I stopped all social media with the exception of Pinterest, Youtube and a couple bookish apps.

Eventually, I took the last couple years off from creating new inventory for my online Etsy store. For the past two years, I only dedicated time to custom orders. It wasn’t intentional at first but I remember feeling more comfortable creating custom orders for people I knew.

This break was perfect because I focused on other interests, coloring with other mediums, with a focus on colored pencils. and reading books like a mad woman and of course time with family. These activities gave and still provide me with an immense amount of pleasure.

However, leaving the big social media platforms by choice meant that I was often and still am out of the social loop with my friends because I don’t log into my Instagram app and rarely touch Facebook (that’s a whole other story.). But I am ok with that, because I feel like I regained my calm and have been slowly rebuilding my confidence when it comes to my business and me.

So what’s up with me for 2020 you ask? Well I have decided I will spend this year rebuilding my company. From visuals (website, branding etc.) to new product development and marketing. I have been thinking about what to do with the question of social media and it’s role to help my business and have decided to create a business account that will focus on my company and connect with a select few businesses for inspiration and support. I won’t have a personal account (so no “look at me” posts). I am going to keep it small and use it to promote products. I will think about a separate one to focus on connecting to friends but at this time, I think it will just be a distraction and I don’t want to go down that path again.

In 2020, I will also be restructuring this website a bit to be more conducive to my business objectives. I will also use it more to market and promote my business as well as a place customers can see what I do at work and when I am at play. I will try to bring more mindful content on a regular basis.

As for my confidence in my craft and products, I will take it day by day and as I create more, I believe I will feel more confidence. I am really happy to say that I have regained my inspiration and will be creating new product lines for Belinda’s Crafts. Most products will continue to be papercrafting products but I have a few ideas up my sleeve that I might give a try.

I hope you all will be patient and stick with me through this because I believe it is going to be an exciting ride with ups and downs but great results.

Thanks for taking the time to hear me out today. I am always so grateful for your time.

Have a blessed day!

Belinda

Clean start

Inside my studio…

What’s the saying? “All good things must come to an end.” For summer ends in our home on Wednesday. Yes, I said Wednesday, August 14th! My boys head back to school on that day and I return to work. I suppose I could lead with that somewhat pessimistic quote or I could cast away the doom, gloom and modify it to: “All good things must come to end to make way for even greater things!”

visual cues

Now I feel a little better. But do you know what makes me really happy? A clean workspace. I cleaned my desk in preparation for my return to work. This little note card is placed right in front of my workspace as a visual cue to not let setbacks hold me back.

view from the side

The sunlight pouring in from the side adds a special glow to the room that makes me happy to be here. I will start actual work on Wednesday but I am finishing tidying up a few other items today and then I will pre-plan my schedule in my bullet journal. I am trying out some new systems with the goal of managing my time better this time around.

items that motivate

I want this space to motivate me because I have a busy fall schedule and it can quickly drag me down. So I like to have items I use often on my desk as well as items that motivate me. This note pad I bought a while back at TJ Maxx and it’s always encouraging when I write a preliminary list on it. The title helps push me to actually complete the items on my lists.

What’s with the rocks you ask? Well I have collected rocks and pretty shells on the beach since I was a little girl and these are two from this past summer vacation on the beach. So seeing them relaxes me and reminds me to take breaks for fun.

I haven’t finalized my blogging schedule for the fall but as soon as I do, you will hear a lot more from me. I have some changes that I will share with you as soon as I get back to work.

Have a blessed Monday my friends!!

Belinda

Monday Meditations

Deep Listening

As I continue to grow and improve myself I look to people and resources to help me. I have a select few magazines I like to read for more opportunities of growth. I thought I would share my take away from an article on Hearing/Listening from Mindful magazine the February 2017 issue.

I am a strong believer that we all can cultivate a wonderful life through our daily practices. I read this article a long time ago but I feel like I need to revisit it. The art of deep listening is something that is fleeting for me. I don’t know if I can use the excuse of being in a time with so much technology and all of the various daily inputs and interruptions. But I remember when I first read the article I felt a deep sadness that I struggled so much with something that seems so basic as listening.

What I failed to let sink in is that giving someone my full attention is a skill that must be a regular practice in order to sharpen it. It must be a conscious effort to strengthen the skill. With a few weeks before my boys start school as well as my return to work, I have to to admit, I am all over the place with my attention preparing and planning. But the truth is focusing my full attention has escaped me on a regular basis. So a review of this article is just what I need right now.

Contrary to what we believe, we really can’t focus on multiple things at once. The brain simply doesn’t work that way. But I feel like our current culture with it’s smart devices and news tickers, create the sense that we can focus on multiple things at the same time. I, for one hate when you watch the news on TV and a news ticker rolls across the bottom of the screen. I find myself stressing, should I read it or listen to the news reporter?

This article talks about of all our communication skills, listening is the one most called upon and neglected. It is the key to learning and creating meaningful relationships and yet we take for granted it’s need to be strengthened.

What is listening?

Often we hear something and before we know it we’ve labeled, categorized, and shelved it. At its core, listening is really just taking time instead to experience what we’re hearing in the moment.

Listening is a skill that takes time and effort. Think of it as a daily practice.What I loved about this article is that it broke things down into manageable bites.

First you need to set clear intentions to be a better listener. This will give you something to reference when you check in with yourself so you can catch yourself when you drift off. This can be challenging because there is no one can hold you accountable because only you know what runs through your mind when you listen and how focused you are. Therefor you have to be clear and honest.

Once you recognize what you’re doing, take a deep breath, smile because you noticed, and redirect back to genuine listening. It’s like returning to your breath in meditation, noticing, and returning to your breath in meditation. And just like with meditation, noticing and returning to the present is really the goal. Your mind will drift away, so keep on coming back.

Once you set an intention to listen, you can work on going deeper in conversation.

Listening involves paying attention both to what another person is saying, and what that person is trying to communicate beyond words.

The article introduced a practice to help hone those listening skills and I plan on restarting it again for myself. It is called the HEAR practice and it can help you deepen your listening skills.

H.E.A.R.

HALT – Halt whatever you are doing and offer your full attention.

ENJOY – Enjoy a breath as you choose to receive whatever is being communicated to you – wanted or unwanted.

ASK – Ask yourself if you really know what they mean and if you don’t, ask for clarification. Instead of making assumptions, bring openness and curiosity to the interaction. You might be surprised at what you discover.

REFLECT – Reflect back to them what you heard. This tells them that you were really listening.

This is a great practice and it really helps you to slow down and be in the present moment. Let me know if you give it a try and be patient for you can begin again over and over with each opportunity you are presented with to listen.

Belinda

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