It’s the end of the month, and time to evaluate my progress with my OLW: Simplify. I’m not taking Ali’s course, but I am planning to assess my progress at the end of each month. We were away for the first 13 days of January, so I didn’t have the whole month to work on my projects. Nonetheless, I am really pleased with my progress. This is a wordy post, so you might want to grab a cup of tea before you get started.
My number one intention for the year of Simplifying is to purge and organize. In addition to taking the class “A Simple Year,” I enrolled in the BPC “Organizing Fundamentals,” after consulting with Cheri who had taken a similar course several years ago. We’re only mid-way through the course, but I am nearly done purging and organizing my studio. The first directive was to totally empty your craft space. I must admit I was taken aback by that, but over the course of the last two weeks I have removed nearly everything from my studio and closet. I did not, however, leave it all in our guest room. After sorting it into boxes “Donate,” “Store,” and “Keep” I brought what I wanted to keep back into the studio. I was already pretty well organized. I just needed to purge. I’ve been paper crafting for nearly 20 years, and being on a design team for two years also increased my stash a lot. My goal was to eliminate 50% of my stash, and although I have no scientific proof, I believe I’ve done better than that. So here is my Zoom In, Zoom Out for Week 5:
After I decided what to donate, I organized it all by type (something I also do in my studio and is recommended by the class). One of my friends came by this afternoon, and took all the ribbon and some sheets of patterned paper she needed for a project. Another friend took all the 6X6 paper pads I was eliminating, and a third friend comes tomorrow to go through the stash. Whatever is left, I will take to a lovely shop that resells craft supplies. The profits are then given to a variety of charities.
Another intention this year was to read four books each month. I finished five this month.
Several years ago, I read a memoir and a novel by Dani Shapiro, both of which I enjoyed. Although I am not a writer, this book was filled with wisdom that applies to any creative endeavor. The most important thing I took away from it was a determination to work on a project for 60-90 minutes each morning BEFORE I check email or read blogs. It’s been a very effective change in my routine.
I read this in Florida, and it was the perfect light reading for a vacation. It's the tale of a man with obsessive compulsive traits attempts to find the perfect wife.
This was our book group's choice for January and the first book I’ve ever finished (but not the first I’ve started) by Louise Erdrich. I loved it. It’s a compelling tale interspersed with Native American lore and law (some of it shocking). I’m now reading her "The Plague of Doves" which features some of the same characters, but I’m finding it more difficult. "The Round House" is told by a single narrator, and "The Plague of Doves" goes back and forth between narrators as well as back and forth in time. Much more difficult.
I’ve enjoyed several other novels by Gail Godwin, and I enjoyed this one. It’s a well-written story of a young girl and the woman who has been hired to take care of her for a summer during World War II--a story of love, regret, and lack of understanding. It will stay with me for awhile.
And finally, "The Joy of Less." This was recommended by Alexa a long time ago. I started it, but didn’t finish it. This time I read it cover to cover, and it helped me tremendously in purging my studio without guilt. I’ll never be a minimalist, but I will definitely be using the principles outlined here as I work my way through the house this year. The focus for the class “A Simple Year” in January was decluttering. In addition to the studio, I’ve decluttered my car, the bookcase in our bedroom, my earring collection and my nightstand.
I walked just 22 miles this month, and finally got back to my routine in the gym only to be sidelined by tendonitus in my elbow. I’m on a anti-inflammatory for two weeks, using a brace, and not allowed to do any weight-lifting. It’s beginning to feel better, but I only have one more week to go. If the issue’s not resolved, the next step is a cortisone shot and two more weeks away from the weights. I’m being good, but it’s frustrating.
I only managed one card making challenge this month, but have completed nine cards, most of which will show up here on the blog in the next week or so. I'm hoping to catch up with the Online Card Class, "Stenciled" this weekend. I’ve also finished my November Project Life pages and have two December ones done. All in all, I feel like I’ve done more in the last 17 days to honor this year's intentions than I did all of last year. Let’s hope I can keep it up!