Friday, April 30, 2010


This week has been really hard. I've been mucking around in grief, and it had a strong hold on me. I was miserable. Until yesterday. Yesterday, I decided that I was going to be happy.

Ok, so I had no idea if it would work. But, for whatever reasons, it did. I miss Dad like crazy. But he would not want me to curl up into a ball and hide away from the world. He would want me to go on. And yesterday, I tried that. I am the type of person who can't stay down for long, so maybe after falling so far, I was due a good day. But perhaps it was simply because of what I had decided.

So, anyway, here's hoping today is the same. I will be happy today. There, it's said.

But what I really wanted to blog about was my need for busy-ness. I meditate occasionally, and can completely be still for that, but that is the only time that I am not busy. It's torture for me to go to the movie theater because I feel NONproductive! I watch movies at home, but my hands are constantly busy. While at work, even when I'm busy working, I'm still popping online and looking for stuff, or uploading things to etsy, or sending out query letters.

And I don't know if that's normal. Recently, on a Sunday, I was just sitting on the couch, zoning out, watching tv. A friend of mine said "that is not like you, what's wrong?" And he was right, I was just zoning because I was overwhelmed at that time... but is it normal to not really be able to relax?

Last weekend, we went on a trip, and I snapped pics the whole day. When we were in friend's homes visiting, I was relaxed and fully enjoyed it. But when in my home, always busy... so... normal?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Link Love

I spend a lot of time online. Work, in the construction business slowed quite a bit, leaving me chunks of free time at work. Time that I *have* to be there, but I have nothing to do. So, today I'm going to share a few of my favorite places with you... starting with a contest I entered and I'd *ahem* love if you'd vote!

I spend time on twitter, where I'm robynsart, on facebook, quite a bit of time on etsy, and then I hop around to my friend's blogs.

Where I go depends on the day... but I often visit my friend Connie at Dirty Footprints. If you click on her link at the top for workshops, you'll be able to read all about her amazing Love Letters Art Journaling Class!

I go visit my friend Ryan... she's a local girl here and a business-minded guru.

Sometimes I go to my friend Theresa's place.

Oh, I also go to Craigs List to search for calls to art, and our local Art Council... where do YOU spend your time online?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Trudging Through

I am a bit stuck today as far as what I should write about. I'm still going through the motions. Still faking it, but I know I'll be making it soon. Life is like that, it has it's ups and downs. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Right now, I'm drifting through... at some point (hopefully soon), I'll be walking on sunshine, and the cycle will continue.

I hope to list some more photos today. I will also be working on 3 custom journals. Um... make that 4. And figuring out a wholesale order for some small journals! I'm thankful for my abilities to trudge through...

I am tired today... family visited and stayed well past my bedtime. So... yeah... work will be fun. But tonight I can both relax and be productive (I can do both at the same time if I'm at home). And I will work on getting some rest.

Does your self-care routine change depending on your mood? I mean, if you know you're down, do you try to baby yourself a little? Or, if you're depressed, does all self-care go out the window?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Faking It til I Make it

I was struck by a realization over the weekend. When I wanted so badly to take photos, but at the same time was a little indifferent about whether it would actually happen.

And last week, I had a conversation with online friends about selling on etsy and I kept saying "what's the point".

I've been struggling with "what's the point" since Dad died. What's the point of promoting my products online and selling my creations? What's the point of going out and taking photos (it's not like I can call Dad and we can compare sunrise photos).

Yes, the grieving has hit, and it has hit hard.

I am a smart enough person to keep on carrying on. I know that if I curl up in a ball on my bed then I could very well stay there for awhile. Life does not allow that. So, I'm going to fake it til I make it. I'm going to keep going through every one of the moves until I'm no longer treading against Niagra Falls.

I will honor the grief at the same time... I will talk it through with loved ones, I will cry. But I will also carry on. It just can't consume me. I need to be that driven girl that Dad knew.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Right Balance

I had an amazing, refreshing weekend. It was the perfect balance of family, friends, and productivity. Quite amazing, really.

Today is the big unveil for the "new" products amongst my group of friends on Etsy. I enjoyed making mine yesterday. I will be posting my 5 new items throughout the day, so be sure to check out . One hint. My new products are not necessarily a new-to-me product. But... I will say less cookie cutter.

I took a lot of photos on Saturday. The mail goal was a sunset photo, but I took pics all day. If you'll remember, I've been struggling with not feeling the desire to take photos since Dad died. But I packed up my cameras and I did it. As I was setting up my tripod for the sunset pic, a friend pointed out a rainbow right behind me. I felt like that was Dad, blessing what I was doing.

I hope you all have an amazing week... try to find that balance.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I have a busy weekend ahead. One filled with many things that I'm looking forward to. One of which is camera time. I have really been missing my cameras lately, have missed editing photos, unveiling new ones to my friends. Hopefully I will get some amazing shots!

If I were to be planning a leisurely weekend, I'd plan in time to take inventory. To assess what is working for me and what is not. At this point, most things are... but that makes me realize all the more the one or two things that are not! So, soon I will be making some slight modifications.

So... as we embark on this amazing weekend, I put the ball in your court. Have you done inventory recently? What is keeping you from utter bliss in all aspects of your life?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Tribute to the Crazymakers

I was thinking yesterday about yin/yang, sunshine and rain. About how one could never appreciate the good without having lived through the bad. And now, I'm going to say something that no-one expects from me. I am thankful for the crazymakers that I've had to endure!

I've had long-term relationships with crazymakers. I've had literally years of suffering through their drama, not seeing a way out. I used to think there was nothing I could do about it if we were related. That's just how it was, they were a crazymaker, I was their (enter relationship), suck it up and deal.

Well, no longer. I've ended those relationships. And I am much happier for it. But the stark contrast of life then and life now is more evident to me because of knowing them. So I am thankful. The world would not be the same without crazymakers.

But since I am thankful and those experiences have helped mold me, will I go back into a relationship with one? No Way! But I will run into them in my life. I will have to deal with them-- at arms length. I will always wish them well and hope they can find some happiness and health in their life, but I will not take the project on.

What surprising thing are you thankful for?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Little Fish

Sometimes when promoting, I feel like a little fish in a big big sea. It's difficult to be seen, difficult to move forward to a new audience when you've saturated your market. But, we must all keep swimming. I knew when I started making my Love Letters Art Journal for Connie's class that it could very well take over, and that was ok. However, though it's keeping me busy, I am still inspired to keep it fresh. My friend Kevin has challenged a group of us to unveil something new on April 26. And I have decided that I will have several somethings!

No real hints now... but they are all in the same realm of items that are already in my shop. I'm looking forward to coming up with new, and looking forward to planning the unveil. Please check in throughout the day on April 26, or let me know on facebook what you think! I will be posting there as well!

The purpose of this post? To make me accountable. Now you know, and I have no choice but to follow through! I hope you all have an amazing day...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Leather Colors! New Inspiration!

Sometimes the smallest thing can trigger inspiration. This week I have 3 new leather colors and inspiration has struck me hard. In addition to the new colors, friends have been contacting me for special orders, so that always pushes me to try new things.

Last night, I dreamed about journal making. Besides the ones available in my shop, I will be starting some one of a kind (OOAK) ones. These will come from my leather scrap bag and the leather piece will dictate the finished size, design, etc. Basically, I will be doing what the leather tells me.

I know how important it is to be in LOVE with your journal! And I fully believe that journaling is the way to map the soul. I want my creations to be able to help you with that process.

If you haven't checked out Connie's Art Journal Love Letters Class, I encourage you to do so. It's ongoing, so you haven't missed the beginning, and you can go at your own pace! Here is what one of her students says about Connie and her class.

I urge you to check her out. Miss Connie is amazing! And when you have a need for a journal to map your soul, I'd love to see you at my shop,!

Kari's giveaway ends tomorrow... she is giving away the most amazing ring. Check it out, and enter, HERE :-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Again

It was a good weekend. Not quite as productive as I would like, but good nonetheless. I found myself thinking of Dad quite a bit. I felt a profound emptiness when I was thinking of him. I know, he is with me, but I am still adjusting and it is still difficult. There was some family drama over the weekend, and he would have been trying to work it out. I did the best I could from where I am, others worked on it as well. But we didn't do the job that Dad would have done.

I am continuing to make changes in my life. I am still exercising Monday-Friday, on a very set schedule. Honestly, I am not seeing the results I would like, but I am still hopeful.

I got some more leather for my Love Letters Art Journal . I will photo the new colors this evening. But I got a burgundy, a new green, and a lime green leather! If you haven't already, by the way, you really MUST check out Connie's class... the whole inspiration for this awesome journal!!!

It's Monday, and I'm gonna trudge through... let me know what you will make of this day!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a gorgeous ring!

Friday, April 16, 2010

I am SO glad it's Friday!

It seems like it's been a very long work week. And at 4:30 today, I can say goodbye to it! I have a lot planned for the weekend. Lots of journal making, shopping for leather, sleeping in, spending time with friends. To celebrate Friday, I'm offering 20% off purchases of $5 or more at . Simply put TGIF20 in notes to seller when you purchase and I will refund the money via paypal after you've paid. This offer is only good til midnight EST. Happy Shopping!

Don't forget to enter Kari's giveaway!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meet DesignsbyKari

1. What is your craft of choice, and how long have you been doing that?

My passion is jewelry. From vintage plastic, or Lucite, to genuine gemstones I have tried it all and love it. All together I’ve been making jewelry for about 20 years. I’ve dappled in all sorts of crafts…I tend to think, “I can do that”. Sometimes it works out; sometimes I destash my goods and leave it to the pros. I always come back to jewelry.

2. How did you get started?

Growing up Mom had a spot in a consignment shop, she made cross stitched pillows and jar lids and such. A few years after the shop closed down we were driving by and it was a bead shop, we looked at each other and said, “lets have a look”. That was it for both of us, since that day we’ve both had our hand in beads of one kind or another. I was 10!

3. What is your inspiration?

I love color! I love to express feeling and emotion through color. You could be wearing the simplest of black dresses, but a bright red necklace, or stunning orange floral ring and it speaks a little to who you are. I’m fond of shiny things that sparkle, hence the new line of gemstone goodies in my shop.

4. How long have you been on Etsy?

I officially celebrated my 1 year Anniversary on Etsy back on January 25th.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would love to say that I see my self having quit my day job and focusing solely on my shop, but my realistic nature won’t allow me to go that far.

So, Balanced! I see that I’ll be able to find a happy balance between family, career and passion. The right mix to allow me to o what I love.

6. What is the most challenging thing about having an online business?

Being seen. The online business community is constantly growing. Every day someone else with an idea and the courage to put it out there for us to see is jumping in the pool. I’m fortunate to have friends with blogs to help put me out there!

7. What is the most rewarding thing about having an online business?

The feedback. I have had some amazing buyers leave me feedback that warms my heart. One woman said she felt like Cinderella wearing a ring I made and another said she hasn’t taken her ring off since she received it. I can imagine the smiles on the faces and that makes every struggle worth it.

8. How does your internet business fit into your life? Is it your job or do you have another job as well?

It fits; right now it’s a bit cramped though. I am lucky to have a job that’s flexible and I can be online listing or promoting when it’s slow. At home, my hubby is amazingly supportive; he will do bath time with the kids or take care of dishes so I can pack orders. He’s in the U.S.Navy and deploys for anywhere from 6 months to 11 months at a time. During that time it’s much more of a juggling act.

9. When you are not crafting, how do you spend your time?

Playing with my kids, ages 3 and 10, gardening and enjoying my friends.

10. Are there any links you’d like to share?

Steel blue topaz ring
Tangerine Chrysanthemum ring
Peruvian Opal Hoops

I'd like to tell you that I own many of Kari's designs and they are all amazing! She takes a lot of pride in both the quality of her work and the presentation of it!

Now... see the ring in the top of this post?? Kari is offering that as a giveaway item to one lucky reader! You will receive 1 entry for telling me your favorite item at, 1 entry for following Kari on twitter, 1 entry for following this blog, and 3 entries for purchasing from Kari. Please leave a message for each qualification!

A winner will be picked by a random number generator on Wednesday, April 21. Please make sure there is a way for me to contact you when you win!

Identity Crisis

I am having a bit of an identity crisis lately. I'm a photographer who hasn't gone out with my camera since right before Dad died. I'm a bookbinder, yes, doing that a lot lately. My day job certainly doesn't define me. I'm a writer who has not gotten out a pen in a very long time. Hmmmmm....

My main label these days, really, is photographer, as I have my work hanging in a local bakery this month, a gourmet pizza place next month, and lining more places up as we speak. I simply need to make friends with my camera again. That's all there is to it. I have a wooded area to explore and perhaps should do that this evening after the treadmill.

I'm constantly, it seems, re-prioritizing in life. It's like I line things up on the dash of the car, and as I drive-- or life happens-- they shift naturally. I then have to line them all back up again. Maybe I should find a more stable surface than the dashboard. Is that what I'm doing wrong? When I organize my life, am I not doing that step properly? I need some advice here! How do YOU keep all your ducks in a row and claim your true self?

Monday, April 12, 2010


Isn't technology great? I spent a half hour this morning printing out postage for a journal that is being re-homed to New Zealand! I've never printed international postage online before, but now I've learned the process!

I am increasingly grateful for technology. Without it, I'd not be able to have a blog, an online business, wouldn't be able to contact old friends through facebook. I am glad that those options are available to me! And when things get a bit obnoxious because crazymakers like to involve even those they know online, there are ignore buttons, and I can always simply unplug!

Today, I'll be researching how to make my life a little easier using my online tools. I already order pizza online. I think I will look into scheduling package pickups. Too bad the computer can't cut my hair! ;-)

I will not be absorbed into an online existence, and use that rather than having any contact with people... I'm just trying to simplify my life to make more room for friends and family, and accomplishing my goals. Speaking of which, I'm jumping right back on that exercise horse today... felt like I fell off a bit there over the weekend.

Friday, April 9, 2010


It feels like it's been such a long week! Time has not gone by quickly. I have dealt with PMS, emotions flying through, filling orders, being on a new exercise schedule, and seemingly endless days at work. But today is Friday and I am spending the weekend with my boys!

Life is pretty good when I get a chance to rest, to breathe. I'm dealing with somethings right now... some decisions I need to make. Once that is dealt with, it will be smooth sailing.

I can't go into it, exactly yet, but I will tell you that it has Everything to do with trying to stay away from crazymakers. Ever since my Dad died, I've become less and less tolerant of them, as you know. So... this has been an ongoing issue for quite awhile now. The situation has NOT changed. But I have. I have changed by leaps and bounds....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oh the Emotions of it All

My youngest son took this photo. I think that, like his oldest brother, he has quite the eye. He uses my camera now, asking for it when he sees something, but I'm sure he'll be getting a camera for his birthday and I can't wait to see what he comes up with then!

I have had a bit of a roller coaster week. I've started receiving orders for my art journals for Connie's class. That has been thrilling! At the same time though, I've been dealing with PMS. PMS, teamed with being tired, has made me relive many things. The phone call when my brother told me Dad didn't make it, the phone call about my stepmom. The calls from my sons asking me if I was ok, my youngest son being the great protector at the funeral and looking out for me. It all came washing back.

I have, in so many ways, worked through all the grief. But like I said, the combinations of tiredness and emotions... I'll try to prepare a little better before next month.

The exercise routine continues. Alternating days between the treadmill or stairstepper and grueling exercise videos. And I feel great as a result! It's too soon to see results, but I swear I *feel* stronger. Even if that's all in my head, it's still empowering! Tonight is an exercise video, along with cleaning before a big weekend.

What is empowering you today?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Journals Journals Journals

I have new colors available! The bottom one is green, a very earthy green, the one on top is shiny black leather, and only 2 of the black are available. I also have a new brown, but still need to photo that. I am really loving making these journals! So far, the ones I have sold are going to Connie's students for her Art Journal Love Letters Class. So I know they are going to be painted in, glued, embellished and loved for years to come... and the journals new owners are on an amazing voyage of self discovery.

That's the biggest draw to me, in my journal making. I am a believer in journaling. I believe in showing up at the page and embarking on that self-discovery! And I love that I have made so many journals that have been part of that self-discovery and self-awareness.

I have made journals for children to collect trading cards in, journals as graduation gifts, journals for troubled children as part of their healing process. I have made a journal for an elderly man with Alzheimers, for the family to help him write in to preserve some of his memories. New moms, newlyweds, journals to be used as the guest book at weddings and funerals.

I am blessed to have this ability, and to be able to share with so many people! I will be making many different styles of journals soon... I hope that your journey to find self is amazing!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Working through

Last Friday, I read several things about Dad that brought tears to my eyes. My blog posts to him. I heard several stories that brought tears to my eyes. I ached to have him back in my life.

Looking back now, I realize that I was pms-ing on Friday. I was vulnerable and emotional.

Most of the time now, I am not in tears. I am not the same as I was before-- that's been pointed out to me many times... but I'm not crying all the time. That's a good step, yeah? For now, though, I think that if I'm pms'ing, or tired, or emotional, the tears are going to flow and I'm going to miss Dad like mad.

I have other times. Times when I'm taking big steps, or assessing them before leaping. And I want my Dad then. My friends keep telling me I have direct connect, and I try... but it's not clicking for me yet. I will get there.

Yesterday, the treadmill went ok. The bicycle went even better. Still moving forward-- in all areas.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Taking Inventory

Before my Dad passed away, I was doing pretty well with stating my attentions, then accomplishing my goals. But since my Dad died, I've not quite fully reclaimed all of that person that I was before... but more on that later.

I recently took inventory. I was making changes in my life at the speed of light. Cutting off ties from crazymakers. Moving and only letting those I love into that new space. I even cleared the journals out of my shop to give me a little breathing room and time to see their direction clearly.

I've also recently assessed my body. There are things I'm not appreciating about it. Physical looks, definitely. I do NOT look the way I feel. I have a layer of fat that I don't wish to carry around any more. I've been a slave to it. Hauling it around even when I'm totally exhausted. Well, no more! An exercise routine has been started. I am tracking it on the calendar, and have a workout partner.

I have always secretly envied joggers. I always wished that I enjoyed running, and that I would be THAT person-- who would push myself to be out there. Tonight, starting on the treadmill. The goal is to be able to jog to the park and back this summer with the boys. It's less than a mile away.

I know it may take a while to see physical results from this. And that's ok. If I could notice soon that I'm not winded from walking up a flight of stairs, that would be good. Or that I don't get a cramp in my abdomen from sitting up too quickly... that would be great!

I will keep you posted. I may need a cheering section :-)

What is your inventory-taking spurring you to do?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Amazingness Afoot

I was asked by Connie to offer journals in my shop for her Art Journal Love Letters online workshop and here it is! I will tell you more about Connie and her art/soul journey soon, but I really wanted to share this journal with you. It's such a substantial thing!

Life is moving at the speed of light... the journal making, hanging my work, networking, and it seems like opportunities are popping up that I could have never imagined! Like Connie's journal...

What I've learned? Keep your heart open to possibilities always!

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