Happy New Year everyone! I can’t believe it’s January again. We’re in the post-holiday slump, where all you do is eat leftovers and clean house. But now is also the time when people make resolutions, things they want to do in the new year. Whether the resolution is to start eating healthier or exercising more or going out on dates – everybody has things they want to do this year. Very rarely, though, do those ever get done.
But that doesn’t have to be you.
Not this year.
This year, you’re going to write those blog posts, ride that bike the extra mile, be that outgoing person. This is the year of change. I can feel it – good things are riding on the winter winds this January (if it’s winter where you are)! So keep your head up and settle in. I got a feeling that this year is going to be a wild ride!
Now you know as well as I do, that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to! But sometimes you can feel a little lost in where to start. Or maybe you just need a little push to get started. Not to fret though – I’m here to share five secrets to keeping your resolution this year! Five things that you can start today that will can help shape your year in your favour!
Don’t make resolutions. Resolutions are like dreams, they don’t have plans. But setting goals can help you laser focus in on what you want. Make sure to give yourself milestones to celebrate along the way. They’ll help you track your progress, and make the larger tasks seem less daunting. Set small daily, weekly or monthly goals that will help lead to when you want the larger goals.
Set Deadlines & Hold Yourself Accountable
Along with setting goals, giving yourself deadlines for these can be the push you need. Setting a spot for your end goal, along with all the little milestones, it’ll give you tangible dates. Setting deadlines can also offer a place to start with if you’re unsure. While telling people about your goals and ambitions will make you hold yourself accountable. Holding yourself accountable can help make you actionable. Stick to your word, and don’t flake on yourself in the last moment! Plan ahead to keep your word, and meet those deadlines!
Part of getting to those goals, is making habits. Set that alarm clock fifteen minutes earlier every few days. Maybe you start eating vegetarian once a week. Set aside an hour everyday to work on your blog. If you want to lose those fifteen pounds by June, make the habit to get you there; get up earlier, set aside some time to exercise, eat less junk food. So don’t just set goals, don’t just make deadlines – start the habits that will get you there!
Getting organized this year will be a huge asset to your resolutions. Whether organizing and prioritizing your schedule to do first things first – no procrastinating! – Or you’re organizing your work space so that you can be more productive. Start keeping a planner or a bullet journal! Adding a little more organization can make the world of difference.
Believe in Yourself
Believing in yourself is the most important part of keeping your resolution. If you doubt yourself from the beginning, then you’re never going to be able to do it. But if you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything! So try and keep a positive mindset while working on your goals! Maybe you get an app that will hit you with positivity and motivation every morning. Maybe you start practicing mindfulness, or recite a positive mantra every morning in the mirror. Whatever gets you believing in yourself!
Some goals can be started right away, while others may take time. Don’t worry about how long it takes, as long as you’re happy with where you’re going. Make the new year yours, and don’t let anybody tell you it can’t be! If you want, write yourself up a motto or a mission statement for the year. Then look back on it when you’re feeling a little lost.
I’m practicing all of these myself, so I’m in the boat with you all! This year want to make my blog even better, and I want to go back to posting consistently. I want to go back to making videos. I’m working on my art, and I’m working on my store. I just want to enjoy what I do with my life. So I have big plans for this year!
Music is the number one thing that puts me in a creative mood. There’s nothing better than put on a playlist, and painting to some tunes. Although the tone changes from time to time – I usually listen to upbeat music while I make things. Whether it’s designing some buttons or working on a watercolor. It keeps me attentive to my work, and makes me not think about how much my hand hurts from drawing.
Everybody has a different taste in music. Some people only listen to Reggea while other might prefer Salsa or Jazz. So everyone has a different playlist that makes them creative. Maybe some people put on classical, so they can feel like a virtuoso. – I don’t know. Everybody is different. I usually prefer to listen to classic rock and modern Alternative Rock. Sometimes pop songs even weasel their way in, depending on my mood.
If you’re more of a TV while you work person, that’s fine! But, if you’ve never tried listening to music while you create, I would suggest trying it! Mood can influence your mood and your art. Inspire you to try something new, or vamp up something old! You never what you might make!
If you’re working on building yourself a playlist to work your magic to – here’s mine!
“Last Young Renegade” – All Time Low
“Life of the Party” – All Time Low
“Renegades” – X Ambassadors
“Your Love Is My Drug” – Ke$ha
“Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne) jackLNDN Remix” – Clean Bandit
[This post contains affiliate links, which means I may get commission if you click/buy from these links]
It seems like she has everything – every pair of scissors, every single pattern in the Simplicity catalog, every color ribbon you could ever dream of. What does one get the crafting mama who has everything?! Trust me – I’ve run into the same dilemma. You’re pacing through Walmart’s craft isle, trying to find the perfect gift – but nothing! Never fret though! Someone somewhere has the perfect gift for the crafting queen in your life! And in this gift guide I’m here to show you just a few things to get her this holiday season!
Sewing boxes no longer just come in white, fake, plastic wicker! There are hundreds of different styles for sewing boxes now a’days, in all sorts of sizes! Every crafty mama needs a sewing box just as rad and stylin’ as she is! So whether she’s into pink or black, there’s a sewing box for everyone!
A straight edged paper cutter is something that almost every crafter needs. Whether you’re cutting scrapbook pages, hand making cards, or just making price tags for a craft show. There’s endless uses for paper cutters in the craft room!
Storage in the craft room is always an issue in my house, I don’t know about yours. But it doesn’t have to be! With this nifty desk organizer, your crafty mama will have plenty of space to put all of her glitter and bobbins and do-dads. Making plenty of room to get more!
Left over fabric just seems like a waste, doesn’t it? But no more! With this cool book, you can make use of the left overs. There are lots of awesome projects bound within these pages. Any sewer would love this – no more wasted money on scraps you can’t use!
Rotary cutters are a life saver. No more killing your wrist, trying to cut with scissors. (And I personally love Fiskars for any craft tools I need!) If your crafty mama sews a lot, and still uses scissors, definitely look into getting her this. She can use it on fabric, paper, felt, vinyl – anything really. Just don’t forget to get her a cutting mat to go with!
With this simple ‘crafty mom’ design, any mom would love this! Something she can wear to a craft show, out to the store, or while she’s crafting – of course!
So in your quest to find that perfect gift for your crafty mama this year, make sure to check out some of these sweet things that she’s sure to love! From that one little tool to replace an old one, to a statement piece in her wardrobe announcing her love of crafting. There’s always a perfect gift for your crafter!
Writing a book is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. Since I was about 11 (I’m 20 now, if you need to do the math). It’s something I’ve tried, time and time again. A book is something I’ve felt this need to create. I formed story after story in my head. But none, so far, have come through. No story clear, no characters so beloved they needed to be shared.
Until I was a sophomore or junior in high school.
That was when I crafted a 20 page short story. It was full of characters I loved, full of a story I wanted to dive into. But this short story wasn’t book worthy. It was nowhere near publication ready.
So it sat and sat, until I tried to add to it. I tried to add chapters to make it a whole book, add details to make those chapters longer. But it wasn’t what I wanted. The story wasn’t something I loved anymore. Not that version. But I’d crafted characters I wanted, and still need to, share. I’ve come up with a story I have to put out there for the world to read. It might be a while before the entire story is there. It might be a while before the entire book is finished.
But today, I thought I’d share with you the start to that story. The start to the adventure I’ve lived only in my head. One I’ve spent years crafting and trying to perfect. I thought I’d give you a taste of the characters I know so intimately in my head, they’re almost friends.
Today I thought I share with you what that short story evolved into.
Today, I give you a sneak peek of No Words for Laney.
(Excerpt from Chapter One: Homecoming)
THE RIDE TO THE BEACH GOT LONGER EVERY YEAR. The older my cousins and I got – the more anxious we were to get to the beach – the more the highway seemed to extend. Each stop in the backwoods towns – where we all would spend some time shopping and stretching our legs – seemed like we’d spent eternity and a half.
This year was no exception to that rule – but for a very different reason.
There were intruders to our little summer getaway.
Aunt Kay was ten years older than my mother. Greying and cranky, she was one of the most judgmental people I’ve ever met. Her children, Caine and Kent, the two heinous boys I called cousins, were bratty and bullies. – And would also be my housemates for the next two months.
If they turned up murdered, it wasn’t my fault.
We were taking two separate cars – since Aunt Kay didn’t trust Aunt Cass’ driving – from our bungalow in Cincinnati down to Black Rock. Black Rock was the beach town in the south that we’d been spending summers at for as long as I could remember.
Aunt Kay followed us, a bit too close for comfort, the whole way. She kept calling, and Caine kept honking her horn from the back seat. I could see the urge to break-check her in Aunt Cass’ eyes in the rear-view mirror.
When we stopped for lunch somewhere in Maryland, Jenny begged to ditch them. Aunt Cass and Aunt Sophie were all for it. However, my mom was the level headed one – she always had to be the level-headed one. This was the one time I wish she hadn’t been. Mom shook her head, saying that we’d never hear the end of it if we left them behind.
Jenny pouted for all of twenty minutes. And then a song came on the radio, which she and Alexi couldn’t resist singing obnoxiously and dancing to. Alice laughed at them in her own quiet way. I had to watch for Alexi’s flailing arms, since I was in the middle seat, squished between her and Aunt Sophie – like every year. Why Aunt Sophie didn’t sit in the back with Alice and Jenny – her children – I didn’t know.
For a short while, everything seemed normal. It seemed like any other year. There were a few songs everybody got into, the entire car shaking as we danced. Snacks were passed, and spilled, from front to back to front. We itched to get the beach and go surfing. Surprisingly, Black Rock had good waves for an East Coast town.
We got to Black Rock early that night. The sun was low and bright, casting a warm yellow and pink haze over the sun baked buildings. Every year was nostalgic, the anticipation growing as we drove the streets that brought us closer to the house. You could practically see the tension as all of us kids (although we weren’t kids anymore) quieted, and stared intently out the windows.
Alexi rolled down the back window when we were at the only stop light in town, and shouted a ‘hello’ to a group of our friends who were on the corner. The recognition was slow, but then their faces twisted – some into smiles, most into smirks, knowing what was to come now that we were there. My fingers tingled, feet going numb, as I thought about the coming events.
I didn’t have much time to dwell though. The light turned green and Alexi rolled up the window. I knew they wouldn’t be here, not in this part of town. Not right now. The time wasn’t right yet. But a small part of me wished I could see them. Just for a little reassurance. I already knew Alice wanted the same thing – but for an entirely different reason.
The house seemed to smile as we pulled in the drive. The wide, deep, white porch grinning at us. The dark windows gleaming like hopeful eyes out from their balcony glasses, on the second and third story. Groaning when Aunt Kay harshly tore into the driveway next to us. The last time more than one car came along, it was a bad summer.
Caine and Kent leapt out of the car, darting towards the house. They stopped when Aunt Kay yelled them to grab suitcases – they had packed enough for a year. All of us piled out of Aunt Cass’ van, and grabbed our things from the trunk. We were headed towards the house by the time Aunt Kay and the boys managed to get one case out of their Janga tower.
The three spent ten minutes arguing before they joined us. Our group claimed our usual spots. Much to the dismay of Kent and Caine.
“You guys got the best rooms!” they spat, standing stupidly in the hallway with their abundance of bags.
“These are our rooms,” Alexi snapped, pointing to names on the doors; we were all standing in the hallway. Alice and Jenny had already denied their requests for room changes. As well as their request to change the music playing over the speakers, that Jenny had her phone plugged into. “It’s the same every. Year. Don’t think that you being here makes you special. None of us are trading.”
They were about to refute when Aunt Kay called up the steps. “Are you two done unpacking yet? – Well?!”
“No, mom,” spat Caine, still sneering at Alexi.
“Quit yapping,” Aunt Kay snapped, “and get to it.”
“Bitch,” Kent mumbled under his breath, glaring at the staircase.
Caine turned his back to us, knocking his brother’s arm with his elbow. “Let’s go, idiot. Those rooms aren’t that good anyway. They’re painted girly colours.”
Kent grunted out in agreement, then turned and stalked to the rooms down the hall. If the boys had put up that much of a fight with us, I could only imagine how Aunt Kay felt about the spare room in our parents’ wing of the house. Alice and Jenny disappeared back into their respective rooms. Alexi let her glare linger on the door guys’ rooms.
“Lex,” I said, the redhead turned to me, her gaze softening. The look I gave her was all she needed. She dropped her head, nodding, the tension visibly relaxing in her shoulders, as she chuckled softly.
“You’re just like Aunt Lily – you know that, Laney?” Alexi smirked at me, winking before going back into her room, and shutting the door behind her with a soft click.
I stood in the hallway a minute longer, staring at the baby pink, wooden letters screwed to her door, spelling out “ALEXI.” On the next door, “JENNY” was spelled out in mint green. These letters had been on the door since we were children. These rooms had always been ours. Alice’s room was next to mine, across from Jenny’s, her name spelled out in pale blue. Mine finishing the circle in a lilac purple.
It was – strange – standing here at nineteen (my twentieth birthday to come in October). The hall felt smaller now; the blonde wood flooring was now worn and scuffed, softened by 17 years of sandy feet. The two rooms at the end of the hall only ever having been occupied one other summer. Although the wide, glass walled sitting room on the third floor was frequently used.
There were cracks in the paint on the ceiling now. Wear marks on all the door handles. Although I don’t know how, considering we hardly stay inside in the summer. This place held the best memories of my life. I lived for summer, the salt water was my summer oxygen.
We were away from our brothers and fathers. In a different town, with people who didn’t really know us. We’d laughed here, found our first loves here, had our first kisses and heart breaks here. This town – it had so much history to it.
It felt more home than Cincinnati ever did.
I just sighed, going back into my room. I didn’t feel like unpacking. I just wanted to go out and find them. Our Summer Boys – their names were Jack Jones and Darius Wyatt. A duo that gave you a run for your money, when it came to proving true friendships. The two were blood brothers – proven by matching star scars, and tribal-style dragon tattoos, on their wrists. There’d never been such a close set of friends, not that I’d ever seen.
Then again – my best friends were family.
This story is near and dear to my heart. It’s been in the back of my mind for years. I’m so glad I’ve finally found a version of it that I love. This is the third time I’ve started it, and I love the direction it’s going in.
Aunt Kay has had many names over the years. Alexi has had many lovers. Until recently, Caine and Kent didn’t exist. And Les the Plastic Pelican has been there for it all. But this story has evolved with me, as I’ve grown as a story teller. I hope to, one day, have this out in publication for everyone.
Maybe it isn’t your cup of tea, and that’s okay! I was inspired to reboot it after reading The Summer I Turned Prettyseries by JennyHan, and not a lot of people seem to like that. No Words for Laney (the original title, which will be changed in the future) is nothing like that, though I was inspired by Ms Han.
I secretly hope Laney doesn’t end up as whiny as Belly…
Howl’s Moving Castle by DianaWynneJones is my forever inspiration. I strive to write a story and a romance half as charming as that! Howl and Sophie are my favourite couple from any series!
I really hope that you all liked the start to No Words for Laney! It’s my book baby, lol
Tell me what you thought in the comments! Would you buy it? What would you change?
I’m just – in shock right now. Holy. Cow. Quadruple digits are staring me in the face! Just – whoa..I can’t believe it! Thank you, everyone, so so much for all of the love and support! It has been one wild ride to get here!
I can’t believe it. Like, my mind is blown right now. I don’t know how to thank you all enough. For everything you guys are doing, and all the support! My love goes out to all the Rocketeers! And so so many thanks! I never ever thought that I’d see that on my screen, or have so many people who supported me. So thank you, so so so much!
I really want to do something to celebrate! Something big and fun! But I have no idea what to do, lol
Don’t mind the quality, the camera I’m using isn’t very good. It’s also the reason the video isn’t full screen. But I’m hoping that you’ll enjoy it, and subscribe either way!! I’d really love if you’d join me for the ride there as well!
Pastel Bottle Rocket is a pin and buttonbusiness I’m trying to get off of the ground. I have an Etsy, and I’m trying to show it off on Facebook and Instagram. Or wherever I can find, really. Even if it’s hard for me to do. I feel like the niche is so tiny, unless you’re making enamelpins. But buttonbadges and pins (like below) are hard to come across. And they’re cheaper to make!
I don’t have $250 to spend on a 100 bulk of a pin design that I’m not sure is going to sell. Hence, all of my buttons are made to order. Fresh out of the printer, hand cut and put together by yours truly. It feels more personal that way. And while I haven’t been exactly drumming up business. – Just the one commission I wrote about last week.- making these things is a huge deal to me.
I love making buttons and pins.
I love getting to design them, and draw them, and put them together. There is nothing more satisfying to me, than to see them pop out of the button maker at the end. It’s so cool to watch and do the whole process for me!
But why buttons and pins? You may ask. That’s a good question. Why, of all crafts, those? I could be making purses, or drawing coloring books (an idea I’m still playing with). So why those? Why pins and buttons?
Because they’re cool. They tell stories. They express so much about a person. You can look at their collection, and see all of their interests laid out. All of the issues they identify with, can be on a button. Or displayed on a pin. A small, yet loud, way of saying, “Here I am world!”
It’s great to see people connecting over them. The joy they get from them. Ivy, the girl I made the buttons for, was so damn happy to get them. And I was overjoyed and honored to have been able to do for her what I did. I drew the characters she could really find, and did her own characters in my style. You get to know the person a little better, just by what they’re asking for.
It’s a great feeling, knowing that the person will cherish them. And that you’ve brought them some joy. I’ve gotten some buttons over the years, and I know exactly who they’re from. One, my favourite, is from my senior year of marching band.
I’d become “Band Mom,” and a lot of the freshman looked up to me. One girl, I called her Princess, gave me note and a button. The button is black with a quarter note, and says band. It and the note still hang on my bedroom wall, three years later. She’s graduating this year – perhaps I’ll pay her back.
But that’s what I mean. Buttons can hold fond memories of things. And they’re good for remembering things that brought us joy in the past. And I’m hoping that, through my pins, I can help people reflect their style. That I can help reflect some inner thoughts, feelings, or attitudes. Or to totally indulge someone’s inner nerd!
So, I may not talk about it much. But my business, button making, is a very near and dear thing to my heart. I changed my major, so I was able to focus more on that. I had an epiphany that that was what I wanted to do. And make buttons and blogging is what I want to do with my life. I’d be very happy to do just that.
Thanks for Reading!
I just wanted to tack on the end here that, if anybody is in need of custom buttons, to write me through my contact page! Whether for presents, fundraisers, personal business, have a design in mind but can’t draw – anything, I’d be more than happy to help. And we can discuss designs and pricing, etc!
Of anything in the world, it is the one thing I want the most. I crave, more than anything, to see new things. To see the world our ancestors have shaped for us. So many places I want to go, so many things I want to do.
There is still so much of the world to see.
This planet is a beautiful place, and I want to soak in as much as I can in my lifetime. I want to see and experience as much culture as possible.
The British Isles are the United Kingdom, Ireland, and a load of smaller islands. There’s so much culture and history here. I’d love to have tea in London and try Scotch in Scotland. See the country mine seceded from.
My family on my paternal grandmother’s side is from Italy, and I got a lot from that side of the family. I’d love to see where we came from, maybe meet some distant cousins.
I know basically everything in Australia can kill you, but I love the accent and I’d like to learn more about it’s history. It’s such an interesting, beautiful country, and I’d love to scuba dive the GreatBarrierReef.
Everybody always jokes about going to Canada for one reason or another. Or makes fun of their supposed politeness. But I’d love to actually go and experience it. It seems like an interesting country.
Japan – Kyoto. Kiyomizu Temple
This is at the top of every anime lover’s list! But I don’t want to go just for that. Japan is a gorgeous country, rich with history and culture. The old mixes with the new in a beautiful, seamless matter. I’d love to experience that for myself.
I’d love to experience these cultures, and soak in all I can. Maybe I’d even learn a thing or two. Hopefully, one day, I can make this dream a reality.
Whoever said writing a book was easy, lied; lied to me, lied to you – lied to whoever else they told. It isn’t simple one, two, three – you know the story beginning, middle, end before you write. Nothing in life is that simple. If that was case, editing would be null and void. You’d know every aspect, start to finish, and have it just the way you want.
Nothing is ever that simple. So don’t let them fool you into thinking it is.
I suppose you can sit down and write randomly – just whatever your mind screams at you to throw on the Word doc. That’s what I’ve always done. Maybe that’s why writing a book is just a dream. One thousand unfinished stories, and a small internet following. But nothing I can send to the publishers.
I envy authors who can pump out a book a year. It’s practice, I guess. Or maybe they are just that creative. Who knows, right? But I’m the worst kind of writer – the kind that only writes in spurts. I get really creative the first few days, and then –
Twenties pages into a book, with characters I love but a story plot that goes nowhere. I’ve been trying to word vomit, lately. Do what all the internet seems to have known ages before anybody else – write and then edit. Get the whole damn thing done, and then go back and try to fix things.
I’m not sure it actually helps.
I live for spending hours rereading, only to put down a few words here or there.
Yeah – whoever decided writing was an easy job, is an idiot. Writers should be getting paid the thousands brain and heart surgeons are. I mean, they’re at least taught the stuff, right? But what about me? What about us? The writers of the world? We can’t be taught a world that doesn’t exist. We can’t observe people that have come from our minds.
So, why then are they paid the lowest? Unless you hit it big like J.K Rowling or Stephenie Meyers, you best be working elsewhere. Also – you better hope to God that your adaption is good in the first place. Too many books have been butchered that way – just look at InkHeart. Such a good book, such an awful movie. I haven’t seen enough of If I Stay, to draw any real conclusions about it yet. But I know I don’t like the person who plays Adam…
I doubt I’ll ever have to worry about that though. I can’t hardly get a chapter out of any given thing. It’s a tragedy in my mind. But the motivation, the story – it comes and goes. Those who’ve read my story starts, say that they can see them on store shelves or as movies. I guess I can too, in a way. I can picture the actors who play my beloveds. The ones who will never play them, because their story is just pages and pages of blank, whiteness in a Word document.
I know they’re there, and they beg to be written. But I just can’t seem to pull their story from the air, the way most people can. So many people can be pitched a theme, and in minutes have a story. A full one.
I could give you the beginning, and the end, and little blits of what happens in the middle. But don’t ask for the full story. Don’t ask for conversations. Don’t ask for me to describe to you each and every eye movement. Each and every every little thing that my mind envisions.
Don’t expect that.
Because I never seem to finish anything.
Even if I wrote a book with a word a page, and the entire book only wrote out a paragraph. I bet I still wouldn’t be able to finish it. I would change my mind a thousand times, or would get half way through and quit.
What story can you tell in a paragraph?
Her eyes found the sky, and then his, and then the ocean’s horizon. Warm hands holding each other tightly, their toes buried in the sand
Yeah, no – never mind. Screw that.
You can’t tell a story in a paragraph. Nothing profound anyway. Then again, I guess it doesn’t really have to be profound. It just has to – say something. Like all those six word stories – most either rip out your heart, or rip out your nerves. It all depends where you find them. I can’t even make a good one of those. I’m always one word under, or one word over. Or it’s just idiotic.
He gripped her hand tightly. But
He gripped her hand. It wasn’t hers.
Okay, I’m going to stop now. I was close, but – no cigar.
“Almost” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades…
I don’t really know what else they say. They’re all kind of weird.
See what I mean? I can’t seem to pull any coherent story out of the air. Even six words. Maybe when I was younger. When I was a freshman in high school, it seemed the stories would just materialize. But now I can barely sculpt them.
So yes – whoever said that writing a book was easy, lied.
In recent years, it’s become like – the attack of the inspirational quotes. They are kind of everywhere. They are all over Pinterest; you can find them on the nearest teeshirts, mugs, notebooks — but they also kind of rule my life. Yes, some of actually work. There are soooo many quotes that have really impacted me, and actually made me want to do shit. I can’t explain what it is – no matter how cheesy they are – I just love them! I know some people think they’re terrible and awful and what have you, but I thought I’d share a few of my favourites today! Maybe they’ll also inspire you too!
It was so difficult narrowing these down, so I chose the ones that still resonate the most with me. Words are powerful things, and they can wake you up and make you realize things that you hadn’t before. These have been my source of get-up-and-go for years. Without them, I probably literally wouldn’t have done anything.
Even if they’re cheesy – they do their job, to motivate you. To get you to get up and go. If these don’t work for you, go and look up quotes that do. It’s a life changer, I swear.
What’re some of your favourite motivational quotes? What ones do you dislike the most?