Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September 2015: Month in Review

What can I say about this month... I definitely started off strong with making and doing things, but somewhere around the middle of the month I hit a wall.  There was a week where I pretty much did nothing on my to do lists but go to work. -___- boo! So yeah... on to the details!

9/1: I made a crochet project bag!

9/3: I made an instagram frame photo prop for our church's youth reunion.

9/4: I had photos taken 0.0 It's so weird being in front of the camera and not behind.  I did business headshots, some photos for when I get around to updating the look of this blog, and some Orlando Magic themed ones for Lamar. These are a couple of my favorites.

9/5-6: The North Orlando SDA Youth Reunion weekend. It was packed to the edges with activities, new (to me) people, and music music music!

9/7: I delivered Cherie and Kwame their wedding photo book and they loved it :)  I love doing things like this for people.

9/8: Lamar's parents celebrated their wedding anniversary.  We all went out for dinner at a little family owned Italian restaurant.  The food was great!

9/10: National Suicide Awareness Day

9/14a: I was in Winter Garden at 6:30 am to photograph a workout class for one of my church friends, Dania.  She has started a fitness program called Fitmomster  and lemme tell you, they were workin!

9/14b: When I was leaving the house to go to the class, I saw Venus and Mars o.O Be still my star-nerd heart!

9/15: Birthday time! My big-little brother Aaron turned 27!

9/18: Birthday time! Happy birthday to my Brother-in-law, Jason!

9/22: East Ridge High School vs. South Lake volleyball game.  They won and I was there cheering, getting mighty stressed out, and practicing lettering, lol.

9/23: Birthday time!  Happy birthday Sheree!

9/24: I made a set of aromatherapy bath bombs for my friend, Tiffany.  Now I wanna make a bunch more.  Bath bombs for everyone!!

9/25: Brianna and I went to hot yoga... I was not prepared... my shoulders just stopped hurting yesterday, sigh... that just shows I really need to get back into it.

9/27: I had a really great maternity shoot.  Thumbs up for new business opportunities and portfolio updating!

Throughout the Month
*The cucumbers finally bit the dust... again... I haven't replaced them just yet, but I will.  Hopefully, the third time really is the charm...
*I am up to 1 Chronicles in my Bible reading.
*I've had a bunch of new work opportunities for photography and crochet.

September Goals Report
I did nothing on that list.  I need to get myself together with these monthly goals... color me shamed -___-

October Goals
*Do a One Landscape photo-story (photograph the same landscape 10 times over a month)
*Get that Etsy live by November.  Even if it only has a couple things listed.  Get them up!
*Make food at home instead of eating out so much.
*Go to Yoga once a week.
*Finish 3 books.

I think these goals are totally doable.  I need to write them down and put them in a few different places where I can see them.  I think a big problem with my September list was I only had it written in one place in my planner.  We'll see.

How was your September?  What are you planning for October?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Currently I'm...

Reading:  1 Chronicles - I'm slowly but surely making my way through the Bible. :)

Playing:  1010 - It's a puzzle game on the ipad. If you like puzzles or brain games, check it out.

Watching:  Criminal Minds - I have one episode left in season 10 on netflix... I'm rather sad about that.

Listening to:  John Mayer - Technically it's my John Mayer Pandora station.  It plays the best mix of music from my high school years.  I am forever on a trip down memory lane *.*

Working on:  Handlettering - My handwriting is getting better with all this practice.  I've found that now I'm super mindful whenever I write something for someone else.  It's nice.

Eating:  Honey Crisp Apples - YEEEEEAAAAAHHHH!!!  It's fall somewhere! (Not here in Florida, but meh) I'm not normally one to eat apples, but I tried these kind a few years ago and I've been hooked ever since.  I wish they were in season year round.

Wanting:  To Scrapbook - I haven't been scrapping as much this month.  I really want to get back in to it especially since I seem to have a compulsive desire to buy stickers... sigh...

Needing:  A Nap - I've had a few early mornings coupled with late nights over the past week or so and man lemme tell you, I think a nap once a day is what I need in my life.  Taking it back to kindergarten ^.^

Loving:  My Family - They're all pretty cool. What can I say... I'm blessed.

Thinking:  About my Schedule - What did I do before I kept a planner??  Oh yeah, I wrote lists in a notebook... I love that I can dump everything I have to do in my planner and check them off as they get done.  So satisfying.

Feeling:  Sleepy/Creative - I want to take that nap, but I also want to make things...  Oh the life of a crafty night owl with a day job... lol

Celebrating:  Awesome Photos - I've done a couple photo shoots recently and I'm really proud with how the pictures came out.  It really makes me feel good about my skill.

Grateful for:  New Opportunities - Recently, I've gotten SO MANY new opportunities to use my creative skills (photography & crochet) and I've been working with a recruiter to try to find full-time work.  Thumbs way up for new and awesome opportunities!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Story Time: 1 Kings 19:11-13

The other day I was re-listening to chapter 19 of 1st Kings and I heard this passage that I somehow missed the first time I listened.  Here is the passage:
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.  And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.  And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave.  And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here Elijah?
[1 Kings 19:11-13]
This passage has stuck with me throughout the last few weeks.  If has me thinking about how often we expect God to come like a hurricane wind or earthquake or the fire... but He is often that whisper.   It's almost as if the scripture is warning us not to miss who God is while focusing on what we think He should be.

I love the idea of God as a whisper.  And I love that He is also that great storm.  Thinking of God as having both of these qualities really gives a clearer picture.  He is the kind, comforting, inviting God who sees me.  He is the hurricane, the earthquake, the pillar of fire - the Mighty God.  He is the beginning and end of everything there is and the sustainer of life.  He is the protector and provider.  The builder and the breaker.  He is all these things, but still bends low to hear me.  He numbers the hairs on my head and knows my deepest hopes.  This is my God.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Baby Photography Props

Last week all the portrait studio district managers had a huge meeting.  One of the ladies made a bunch of crochet coffee cup cozies for the group and my manager's first response was 'hey Caleisha... you should make these and sell them.' Lol ^.^  Then she went on to tell the group about all the things I've crocheted for the studio.  (She's been super awesome at pushing me to actually make moves with my Etsy shop dreams.)  Anywho, a few of the managers asked me if I could make some baby props for their studios [insert kool-aid grin here] and of course my mind went zooming down the design/crafty road.

I've been eyeing this book at Joann's for a while for the basic diaper cover pattern and this developing interest in my work gave me the excuse reason to buy it.  My plan is to make a few costumes and price them for the studio managers.  So far I've been asked if I can make a cowboy costume, a monster, and a turtle.  I also started a board on Pinterest to collect photo prop ideas.  I'm so excited for this opportunity to share my crochet work with more people.  ^.^

It's such a blessing to have a manager that no only cares about me as a worker, but also as a person with ideas and dreams of my own outside of the job.  I'm so glad that I walked into the portrait studio 2+ years ago and that Liz thought it was a good idea to hire me :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Garden Update: Basil Babies!

A few weeks ago I noticed the flowers on my basil plant were all dried up.  Since I know that flowers are the precursor to fruit or seeds, I decided to take a closer look.  Sure enough when I rubbed the dried flowers in my hand... there were a bunch of basil seeds!!!

So I grabbed a little pot and planted them.  I also planted the rest of the package seeds that I originally purchased.  Unfortunately, the pack seeds didn't make it.  I think it was because I planted them in the same container as the grown basil.

Anywho, the 2nd generation basil babies are doing well.  I'm excited to have added them to my garden.  It seems that if all the plants I originally chose, the basil is the easiest to grow and maintain.  It isn't fussy and wilts a little when it needs water.  I would definitely recommend having basil if you're considering starting a container garden.  It's s great ego booster when your cucumbers or spinach  won't grow... *cough cough*

I'm hoping I can get the plants large enough to have a basil bush. That would be absolutely awesome!

Friday, September 18, 2015

My Tattoo Story

Behind this tattoo is a set of burn scars I gave myself during my battle with depression.  Burning became my coping mechanism.  My "if you can take this, you can take anything" thought pattern.  So I would sit and burn stripes onto my wrist in hopes I would somehow develop the strength to make it through the night and tomorrow.  Whenever I got down or overwhelmed I'd light a candle, hold a razor over the flame, and press the metal against my skin.  The worst of those scars are behind this tattoo.

The symbol is the Wawa Aba.  It represents a person that has persevered through hard times.  It says this person is tough.

I am tough.

This tattoo is five years old now and fading, but it is still a reminder that I promised not to harm myself in the face of any sadness.  It's a reminder of where I've been and where I've been carried out of.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Natural Hair Style: Bedtime Twist Up-do

Recently, I came across a super useful video in my YouTube recommended feed.  The video was called "Last Minute Fix - How to Style Bedtime Two Strand Twists" by Naptural85.  As soon as I read the title I knew it was for me ^.^

I keep my hair in chunky twists for the vast majority of the time.  Mostly I cover them with hats or headwraps.  Sometimes they go into a ponytail and sometimes they're half up half down.  That's about the extent of my styling ability.

...or so I thought!

This past Sabbath, I reproduced her bedtime twist up-do and I was so proud of myself.  I even got compliments on it at church *.*  That was pretty awesome!

I may have gone a bit hairpin crazy and my roots have ALL the fuzzy, but it worked!  So maybe I'm not as styling-illiterate as I thought :)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

DIY Product Labels

[This is a repost of the original one from 8/20/15 which I accidentally deleted -___- silly me]

Ever since I started gifting and selling my crochet work I've known I should have some kind of label.  My mom is the main person reinforcing/reminding me of this fact.  So I decided to search on Etsy for customizable ones.  All the ones I was finding were more expensive than I could justify.  So I did what I always do, I found a DIY soulution.  ^.^

On Pinterest, I came across this pin of how to make name labels for your children's clothing and I thought the method would work perfectly for my needs.

The materials you'll need for this are:
  • fabric transfer paper
  • an image flipped horizontally to print
  • ribbon (I used 3/8" and 5/8")
  • scissors
  • iron & hard surface
  • needle & thread
I started off with the idea to hand-letter the design but it didn't translate well to the computer (I need more practice with my lettering I guess ^.^)  I liked this idea with the mixed fonts so I reproduced it digitally.

diy fabric tags product labels
not bad for my first foray into hand-lettering huh!

diy fabric tags product labels

Next I flipped the image and copied it into a table in a Word document.  Each row of the table was 1/2 inch tall.  I printed the whole page onto the fabric transfer paper and cut off the first row of labels.

diy fabric tags product labels
Avery Light Fabric Transfers from Walmart -here-

Following the transfer instructions, I ironed the printed labels onto the ribbons.  They had to cool for a couple minutes before I could pull the backing paper off. 

diy fabric tags product labels
The instructions say to iron on a hard surface, but all I had was the regular ironing board.  It came out fine.
Here are the finished labels before I cut them apart.  I'm going to go ahead and iron labels on to all the rest of the ribbon spool soon.  That way I have them ready to go whenever I finish my next project.

diy fabric tags product labels

The finished labels cam out pretty great!  I'm very proud of myself :)  I like the white and cream colors I have, but I think I'm going to get some smooth satin ribbon instead of the grosgrain I used.  Also, the 5/8" thick ribbon worked a lot better than the 3/8" one.  The only thing I didn't do on the finished labels was try to burn the edges so they don't unravel.  Hopefully that doesn't mess up the transfer.  I'm really happy with how they came out ^.^ 

diy fabric tags product labels
I think the little cross stitches add the the cuteness :)

Now on to put labels on all my hats and blankets and anything else I crochet!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

One More Round

"Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats." -Voltaire
Prompt: Write about a song that is meaningful and uplifting to you.  Describe the lyrics and how they make you feel good.

As soon as I read this prompt, I knew that I wanted to write about the song "One More Round" by Barlowgirl.  I first heard this song in college during my senior year.  This was around the time when I had my first run-in with depression and self harm.  Looking back, this song was truly a Godsend.  It has such a powerful message and back then I felt like I was given a second wind every time I heard it.  Now I feel an emense gratefulness for God bringing me out of those days.

My favorite part of the song is the verse that says:
I am not defeated
Though you cannot see it
I have never won a battle on my own.
I find strength in weakness
I find hope believing
If God is for me who can bring me down?
So take me one more round
I'll just keep fighting!

Those words bring me to tears every. single. time.  I think about my past and current struggles with all the things that try to take me down.  The things that get me into that dark headspace where I wonder if life is really worth it or I start thinking that maybe everyone will be better off without me.  Or I just get tired of being knocked around and beaten up...

This song comes to mind and tells me that despite the fact that I may be broken up, God will help me go one more round.  He's in my corner and when everything gets to be too much, He tags in ready to give a good bare knuckle beat down on my behalf.

If life is taking you though the ringer, take a moment and listen to this song.  God is in your corner and His strength is made perfect in weakness.  And let's be honest, going through depression, anxiety, self harm, eating disorders, low self-esteem, relationship issues, mood disorders, and anything else can really make you feel weak.  Let this song be your battle cry.  Tell your struggle that you are NOT defeated.  

I'm telling you now I'm not gonna lose it here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August 2015: Month in Review

This month was kinda up and down in the productivity department.  I definitely didn't do as well at writing consistently, but I didn't totally fail at it. So I'm counting it a win ^.^  Since I knew this post was coming up, I wrote little notes in my planner of things I wanted to remember.  So without further ado, here are some bits of August.

8/6:  I shot the cutest daddy/daughter session at the studio! The little girl was around 4 or 5 and dressed like a princess.  I loved how she looked at her dad like he was her knight in paint-spattered boots.

8/9:  I started my very first crochet cardigan!

8/10:  I buckled down and photographed ALL of the items I wanna put up for sale in my Etsy shop.  Very productive day ^.^

8/11:  Brianna and I walked & photographed Downtown Apopka for my 30 Before 30 list.

8/14:  My lovely aunt Ludie sent me this super awesome Crochet book!

8/15:  Lamar and I got to spend some time with my cousin Felicia when she was briefly in town.

8/16:  Swimming day with friends!

8/17:  Cherie and I went shopping at Community thrift for National Thrift Shop Day.  We both found some good bits.

8/20:  I made a set of DIY product labels for my crochet pieces. 

8/22:  I finished my crochet cardigan and proceeded to wear it to work every day!  I'm so proud of this cardigan!!!

8/27:  Cherie asked me to make a football newborn hat.  It came out really cute :)

8/28:  I bought my first few bath bombs from Lush! (Avobath, Ickle Baby Bot, & Butterball) They smell soooooo goooood!!! I want to buy all the tings!!!

8/31:  I finished Cherie and Kwame's wedding photobook.  I was such a procrastinator and ended up working on it nearly all day to finish it like 4 mins before my offer expired ^.^

Throughout the Month
  • The garden struggle continues... but thumbs up for ripening tomatoes!
  • I'm into 1 Kings in my Bible reading.  It makes me really happy to see that I know a bunch of the stories. (Good job Mom & Dad!)
  • Snakes and Spiders, oh my!  Snake on the window sill and ginormous spiders running on the floor. *dead*
  • I've been practicing my brush lettering with watercolor.  I'm really enjoying the learning process.
September Goals
  • Get the Etsy shop live by October 1st
  • Exercise at least twice a week (yoga, walking, zumba)
  • Crochet a top
  • Organize the Suicide Awareness Yarn Bombing
  • Create and maintain a personal budget

And there you have it!  Another month gone, but full of 'doing'.  Even though I did have a particularly rough patch this month, I'm glad to say that it didn't last too long.  Here's to September being more productive, positive, and purposeful... (gotta love somewhat unintentional alliteration ^.^)

What are your August highlights and September goals?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Carry On the Fight: A How I'm Feeling Post

I did all this brainstorming trying to come up with a really cool/interesting 300th post, but this is what it's gonna be.  I was and am really reluctant to post this because I feel like I'm being a debbie downer, but this is me.

Yesterday I got out of bed once.  I spent the vast majority of the day in tears freaking out about all kinds of things.  It was like the first worry woke up the melancholy and then the clouds settled in, the rains came and the waters rose and I was trapped.  Days like that make me want to sleep indefinitely...

As someone who has had her own dance with depression, I'm always hyper vigilant when it comes to fighting against its familiar pull. But yesterday... I wanted to welcome the quiet of giving up.  The peace of the bottom.  The silence of putting my weapons down and letting the waters swallow me whole.  I could feel it. The weightlessness and cold of disconnection.

*sigh* But for some reason I can't not fight it.  I get tired.  I think about drinking half a bottle of benadryl and spending my time glazed over... I think about burning and deepening old scars... I think about driving with my eyes closed or walking out in the street.

But I'm fighting all these things.

My mom prayed with me yesterday that I would be able to focus on the good things.  But sometimes the discouragement and the bad gets so big that everything is overshadowed and no matter what good things I recite they don't make a dent.  So I end up crying to God please help me.  Praying and hoping for a break.  Do You really have plans for me or am I just adrift in a sea of 7 billion other faces all calling to You with 7 billion other problems?

Last night I had 'Holes' by Passenger on repeat. I painted this.  It's kinda what I'm always telling myself... Everyone's got some struggle, but we carry on.

Water color brush lettering hand lettering

Yesterday I barely made it out of bed... Today I did, but the feelings are the same. Small victories I guess.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Chevron Lace Cardigan

About a week and a half ago I finally started working on a crochet sweater! In my 30 before 30 list I have "crochet a shawl, a top, and a sweater" and I'm so excited to have my first sweater underway!

Green Crochet Sweater Cardigan

It took me a really long time to settle on a pattern, mostly because I wanted it to be simple enough to to not be frustrating at my first try, and also something I could wear in Florida.  I had spent days scrolling on Pinterest and Ravelry when I came across the Chevron Lace Cardigan.  It was very pretty in the pictures and I was pleased to see it was a free pattern ^.^ huzzah!  So I started working on it on August 9th and it's been as simple as I hoped.  Starting the sleeves has been the most fiddly part.

Green Crochet Sweater Cardigan

My plan is to finish it up in the next few days and wear it... Everywhere!  It's light enough to wear to church and hopefully warm enough to keep me comfy in the studio.  After this one is done I want to make another in white maybe, bolero length with cap sleeves.

Green Crochet Sweater Cardigan

Green Crochet Sweater Cardigan

Green Crochet Sweater Cardigan

Green Crochet Sweater Cardigan

One of my teacher friends has already asked if I can make her one for her classroom.  I love it when my friends like my work enough to ask me to make things! Plus as far as I'm concerned that's free advertising ^.^