Well, I’m still chippin’ away! My goal for February is to pay down a big chunk of debt on my credit card, and while I’m not there yet, I have paid most of my bills for the month, and we’re only halfway through the month. I am hoping to take a couple of huge wacks at it in order to make my goal, but for now, I am slowly chipping away at it. I’ll let you know if I made it or not once the end of the month arrives!!

I am still on the fence about sharing my specific debt numbers, I already feel so exposed sharing what step I’m on and what I’m working on paying off (for example, you know I’m officially on Baby Step Two and working on paying off credit card number three). I am hoping to find a debt calculator online so I can tell you what percentage I am — for example, if it’s totally maxed out, that would be 100%. If it’s halfway paid off, then that would be 50%, so I can at least give you an idea of how far along I am on paying it off.

At the end of the day, what counts is I am working on credit card number three, and I am seeing it go down and only down! (The only time it goes up is once a month when interest is calculated.) As you know, I was frustrated by the slow progress of January because I had to stop my debt paydown and complete Baby Step One, so I’m just ready to really see a lot of progression in February, even if it is a short month. I’m in a unique position to throw a lot at it, and I am determined to do what I can, as fast as I can. It’s still going to take a while, but I am going to make a big difference as fast as I can just the same!

Did I mention I’m still on No Spend February? I’m doing really well with that! I haven’t been shopping and have only paid bills, bought gas, things that are necessary and not frivolous. I have something fun coming up at the end of March that was scheduled months ago so if the momentum goes passed February, well, then I’m just going to let it! Because I want to kick as much debt in the butt as I can while I’m motivated to. I tend to have an all-or-nothing attitude, and if I am on a roll with not spending, I need to ride that wave as long as I possibly can. Is anyone else like that? Does anyone else struggle with the all or nothing mentality?

I hope you’re doing well with your spending. Let me know if you have any tips or tricks to getting your finances in order.

Goodbye, January! Hello, February!

Where has the month gone? So slow at times, and yet so quickly gone, we’re already rolling into the second month of 2017.

My challenge for the month of February is financial related. No, no, you didn’t miss a January challenge (although I have had sort of a writing challenge I haven’t blogged about, but I’ll make sure to get a blog about it in this month because I’m going to continue with it through February) but I HAVE decided to jump on the no-spend bandwagon. There is no specific group I’m joining, no specific challenge or group of women I’m doing it with, but I have voiced it aloud to my local support system (aka the lovely thelittlehouseoutback) and it is this:

February is No Spend Month!

I have stamped it all over my planner so it’s official! It’s a Crack Down. I have failed every one I have done so far so I am going to take a deep breath, take it week by week (and day by day if I need to) and just focus on the goal. There are bigger things ahead, I just have to keep my eye on the prize (which, ultimately, is being out of debt, and the more I do not spend the faster I will get there)!

Now, that being said, we do have a lovely “Good Job!” at the end(ish?) of this: at the end of March an out of town scrapbook store is hosting a scrapbook garage sale and we (my mother, sister and I) signed up to go shopping at that months ago. We went to it last year and went hog wild and let me tell you–hog wild still did not cost near as much as I thought it would, and it’s totally happening but I’ll be budgeting for hog wild this time. And the more I do not spend, the less I will feel guilty for going hog wild at the end of March (and the more I will have saved up for that because I have been looking forward to that since September).

So that is my big challenge to face in February: no spend month! EEK! I am so nervous about it, but I think I can do it because I feel more prepared than ever–I am so determined to see this debt go down, so determined to see a positive difference in my financial situation, and more than anything, I am so determined to keep feeling determined.

Like I have said before, facing that $1,000 Baby Step One has been a bit disappointing for me. It has made me feel like I reached a standstill because all of that could have been thrown onto Credit Card #3, and whoa, what a difference that would make! So I have to get back into my “Chip” mindset and just start doing my little bit at a time thing again when I can, and just keep pushing forward! Every little bit counts, every little bit moves me closer towards the goal of being debt free. It’s so daunting thinking of the whole overall picture, I need to go back towards thinking of just one or two steps at a time. I can’t think of the entire forest, I must look at just a couple of trees!

So my current goal is February No Spend so I can get back in the mindset of Chippin’ Away!

What are your February Goals? Are you planning on filling any Jars?

I am a Christmas nutcase. I love picking out a tree and throwing my decorations on it in a hodge-podge of memories, with no rhyme or reason, other than the fact that I love each ornament. There is never any theme to my tree. In fact, not all my ornaments even go on the tree! I have a glass display that I am currently taking down. As I was dismantling my display this year, I thought I would share some of my favorite ornaments I display in my case, not on my tree.

When I was younger my mom purchased both my sister and I Hallmark Barbie Holiday ornaments. There was a short series of them in the 1990’s. Now, the thing is, my sister and I were never much Barbie girls, and we still aren’t, but don’t you get between me and my Barbie ornaments!! In fact, I’ve even added to it myself in recent years! I am a self admitted doll collector, but that collection still doesn’t include Barbie brand, except for these wonderful ornaments.

I snapped a few photos of my collection before I put them away this year:

Favorite Ornaments to Display1993

Favorite Ornaments to Display
1994

Favorite Ornaments to Display
1995

Favorite Ornaments to Display
1996

Favorite Ornaments to Display
1997

Favorite Ornaments to Display
1998

Favorite Ornaments to Display
Celebration Barbie Ornament
Special 2011 Edition
Inspired by Holiday Barbie Doll
I added this ornament to my collection within the last couple of years. I picked her up for $5 while thrift shopping.

Favorite Ornaments to Display
2015 Celebration Barbie Ornament Set
Inspired by the 2013 & 2014 Holiday Barbie Dolls
Originally $40, I picked this up 75% after the 2015 Christmas season was over–after New Years 2016, Hallmark ornaments at CVS go 75% off and I was surprised to see this lovely set there, so I added it to my collection last year!

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Christmas is my favorite holiday so each yeah, inevitably, I add something new to my collection. The last couple of years (in 2015 and 2016) I actually purged while decorating in December–you have to do damage control every once in a while when it’s your favorite holiday, especially when you know you’ll always be adding more to your hoard! This year I added three new things to my Christmas stash:

Christmas AdditionsThe first thing I added was a beautiful carousel print ornament by The Poppy Tree on Etsy. I have loved her artwork since I first saw it several years ago and this is not the first time I have added a piece of her artwork to my collection (the snowflake ornament in the bottom left photo was sent when I purchased another favorite ornament from her in the past).

If you love whimsical, magical (and sometimes spooky) art, you should really check out her prints.

One thing I decided I wanted to do more of last year was to support “the little guy.” More specifically, the little guys online whose work (whether it be artists or social media) I enjoy. Sometimes it’s donating to someone’s GoFundMe, sometimes it’s purchasing something from an independent artist when I know it’s something I can craft myself, and sometime’s it’s just showing someone that makes something some support any way I can.

Christmas AdditionsOne of those smaller guys I supported this year was The Frey Life on YouTube. I came across their YouTube channel later in the year (and found out my sister’s been enjoying their channel for over a year!). I bought a couple of prints and my mom a fold up shopping bag/backup for her purse (plastic bags are banned in our county, and they just banned them in California, so any fold up, easy to tuck into your purse bags are great for when you forget bags when you go shopping!). When they came out with a set of ornaments I KNEW I had to have a set! I think of their mottos, “Choose Joy” and “Don’t forget to laugh everyday,” each time I see them. And it’s great to have Oliver (their dog) on the tree, too!

Christmas Additions The final item I got this year doesn’t scream Christmas when you look at it, but it reminds me of Christmas. I recently started wearing pins and couldn’t resist picking up a set of Miss Bianca and Bernard pins on eBay when I saw these. Each year, for years, I have put ornaments of these characters on the tree. I can’t even tell you the last time I saw The Rescuers Down Under, but these ornaments bring me so much that joy that my heart just smiles each time I see these pins, and who doesn’t need a little dose of happy when they look down at work to shuffle papers?

Christmas might be over for 2016, but I’m already looking forward to unpacking my newest treasures come December 2017. What new holiday treasures did you pick up in 2016?

 

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03. January 2017 · 2 comments · Categories: writings · Tags:

Journal JarSometimes, you have a hard day. Sometimes, it’s a rough week. Other times, the whole year is a dumpster fire you’d like to forget. *cough*2016*cough*

But the thing is, even a dumpster fire will keep you warm on a cold night. Humans have a tendency to remember the worst while forgetting the best. And sometimes the best might be small, fleeting moments. Nevertheless, they are still there.

Journal JarThis jar can help you remember the good. It can also help you remember some of the bad, if that’s how you want to use it. The main thing is you make it what you want it to be!

The Journal Jar (as my mom and I now call it) is something that has developed over the last few years. We first saw it on Pinterest as The Grateful Jar (which is kind of a mouthful). The idea is to write something you are grateful for or something good that happens to you on a piece of paper, fold it up, and drop it into the jar. On New Year’s Day, you go back through and read the pieces of paper, reminiscing about all the good moments you’d forgotten about.

The next year, we called it The Happy Jar. Later this year, my mom had a light bulb idea: The Journal Jar. Yes, it’s awesome to write the good stuff down, especially when things are rough, but sometimes you want to note when not-so-good stuff happens, too. My amazing aunt passed away last year and sometimes things remind me of her. They may not be Happy things to note, and it might make me a bit melancholy or even a little sad, and maybe I’m not particularly even Grateful for the memory, but it still might be a moment I want to note so that I can look back on it because it’s still a memory tied to this wonderful person, and I want to write it down while I still remember it.

Journal JarAnd don’t put pressure on yourself! All over Pinterest you’ll see photos of mason jars, full up of pieces of folded paper. Our “jar” is a cardboard tube wrapped in pretty scrapbook paper with a  lid. You can’t see through it, you can’t stress about how many notes have or have not been written for the year. I look at it like this: If you write just two things a month that you drop into the jar, at the end of the year you’ll have twenty four memories to look back on. That’s great! That’s 24 moments or thoughts to remember the past year you might not otherwise have had.

And we don’t stop there! We scrapbook our memories so we can read them again. Wait, you say–now you want me to scrapbook them? Don’t run off just yet! You haven’t seen HOW I scrapbook them! We’re all about no-pressure with this project! Now that you have these bits of paper with moments of your life, you don’t want to lose them. So we take a couple sheets of 12×12 paper and glue or tape them down. That’s it. Nothing fancy. I told you it was simple! 20 years from now it won’t matter that you don’t have any fancy stickers or photos taped to it. Sometimes it’s just neat to see your thoughts or memories written down.

Here’s a quick step-by-step overview for your own jar:

1.What is the purpose of your jar? Ours changes each year, but for 2017 we decided on The Journal Jar (don’t feel pressured to actually name yours!). We’ve chosen The Grateful Jar and the Happy Jar in the past and written only happy or good things down. This year, we just want to record whatever happens–be it losing a friend, a bittersweet event, or a wonderful party we went to. We want everything to go in the jar this year! It’s your jar so you decide! Pinterest, blogs and the internet in general is a great place to get inspiration for your jar, just make sure you make the jar you, and something you will be happy with doing all year. Don’t try to please anyone else.

2. What container will you use? You can use a jar, an envelope, or stuff it in an old sock. Use whatever brings you joy!

3. What are you going to write on? I am a paper fantastic so part of the joy I get out of this project is using a variety of paper. I use what’s on hand, as well as changing out the paper in my set up throughout the year. I also put different colored pens so there’s a bit of fun for us and any visitors who want to participate, too!

3. What is the purpose of your jar? Ours changes each year, but for 2017 we decided on The Journal Jar (don’t feel pressured to actually name yours!). We’ve chosen The Grateful Jar and the Happy Jar in the past and written only happy or good things down. This year, we just want to record whatever happens–be it losing a friend, a bittersweet event, or a wonderful party we went to. We want everything to go in the jar this year!

4. Where are you going to put your jar? Make it easy for you to jot down a note and toss it in your container. We have a set up in the middle of our dining room table for ours, complete with paper, pens and Journal Jar, so everything is easy to access and quick to jot down. This allows people that come over to write something down and add to the jar, too, but you might want to tuck yours in a corner and keep it private.

5. Think a little bit ahead-how do you want to store your memories when the year is over? You don’t have to decide now, but if you want to keep them, you might want to think about what you want to do with them at the end of the year. It could affect how you set your jar up. Do you want to use Project Life cards or certain sizes of paper so you can scrapbook them? Do you want to keep an eye out for a special box while you’re shopping so you can store them on a shelf? We chose to do it simple to keep the pressure off ourselves since we’re not fancy scrapbookers, but we wanted to be able to go back through the years and re-read them. It also makes it easy to put them in a scrapbook binder and just keep adding the each year to the same binder since we decided to keep going with it!
Journal Jar

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Just in time for the new year (can you believe it’s already 2017?! I remember the hullabaloo surrounding the 1999 to 2000 change!) I have decided to start a new blog. I used to have one on BlogSpot but I need a fresh start, so here I am!

I think a great way to start the year is by listing my New Year Resolutions & Goals. A couple of years ago I read a blog post about how a lot of people drop their Resolutions because they simply can’t be maintained throughout the long term, so the person would choose one or two things they could do that they would actually complete that year. I loved that idea! It’s so simple, and sometimes can turn your resolution of “Read More” into something attainable that you can finish, be it in 6 months or 11 months, like “Read 10 Books.” I like having Goals, but I also still like my Resolutions, so I usually do a little bit of both.

This is a long post, so…onward ho!

1. CREATE! I want to create more, even if it’s something I don’t consider a “craft.” I’m a very crafty person, and I do want to craft more in 2017, but I don’t want to pigeon hole myself into something I consider a craft. For example, if I had to build myself a nightstand, I don’t consider that crafty because I don’t generally do woodworking (people that know me are laughing right know–when would I possibly attempt to build anything!?!). Or even rearranging the pantry and inserting a new organization system–that takes time and creativity, even if it isn’t “crafting.” I want to train myself to get satisfaction out of the productivity from things like that, even if I haven’t sat down and made a greeting card or a pair of earrings.

2. Prepare greeting cards. With that being said, one of my specific New Years Goals is to premake several kinds of greeting cards–and not just a big batch to get me through the year. I want to do it with intent and make sure I review my stash over the months and make them as I see them being used. I just started making greeting cards this year, and I really only use one Tim Holtz technique I learned from Creative Chemistry 103 over the summer, but I’m having a blast doing it, and it’s really nice that the “burden” of sending out homemade cards (especially last minute ones!) is not only on my mom’s shoulders anymore, I can share that (mostly fun!) responsibility now. I just thought it would be a good idea to be prepared with a few “just in case” ones so there aren’t any last minute scrambles to make one when there isn’t time!

3. Post on my (new!) blog at least once a week and YouTube at least once a month. I really enjoy writing on a blog because it’s another form of journaling for me. In this day and age there is so much that is done digitally, whether it be interactions, writing or photos, and I like to use my blog as a place to record some of that. I used to be a BookTuber (years ago!) and I started a second channel to post my crafts, journaling, and anything else I felt like (because that first channel was such a BookTube channel, I didn’t want to ruin it). I occasionally post crafts I make, and have mostly shared updates on my En Masse Journal and Junk Journals I’ve tried my hand at, but I’d like to try a bit more. I really like the interactions between the BookTube and Craft communities, so I want to be more involved in that as a creator and not just a commentator.

4. Get my finances in order. This is a big one! But now is the time, or never. I also say “in order” because 2017 will not “fix” everything. I spent quite a long time ruining my finances (my credit is not bad, but my finances are a mess!) and it’s time to buckle down and work on straightening them out so things are headed in the right direction. I was blessed with a new job this year and I want to take advantage of that and dig myself out of this terrible hole I’ve dug myself into. I don’t want to be an open book or specific about my finances, but I want to be open enough that I feel accountable to someone other than myself to work on this. I’ve already started on this, but I feel like 2017 is the year for the “big push” to really get it going!

5. Get healthier and lose weight. I eat like crap. I work out with a trainer only twice a week–which is for strengthening and weight lifting, not for losing weight, but I really need to lose weight. I need to get back on track with eating well, and I need to consciously put in an effort to go on walks and be more active in my daily life, not just when my trainer forces me to do a squat. Also, I need to go on walks because my dog needs to lose weight, too.

6. Make household binders. Here’s another goal! It’s something I’ve seen on Pinterest that I’ve been wanting to do that I know will only benefit our household. I’ve seen it online for a few years but I’ve only had the drive to want to do it the last few months, and this year I’m going to make it happen!

7. Purge and organize! This is a big thing that needs to happen in our household, which we say needs to happen each year, but I’m so sick of stuff piling up that this is the year it’s going to happen–or stuff is going to start disappearing without people’s permission. We did a bit of it this year, and one great life-changing purge and organization project we did was the pantry. Life-changing doesn’t have to be big, you know! We got rid of a lot of stuff we weren’t using, let go of stuff we used to use in the past and admitted we’re no longer interested in keeping, organized what was left–and it just simplified our life. And that’s just the pantry! We need more of that, soooo much more of that, in sooo many more parts of our home! I’m looking forward to letting go of a lot of stuff we’re no longer using, discovering stuff we forgot we had that we can use again, and making our current spaces work more efficiently for us.

8. Get Etsy & eBay up and running! This has been on my to-do list for years! And I still haven’t done it. In fact, it’s been on my list almost since we took our Etsy store down, and now is the time to get it back up! I do sell planner pages for digital downloads at TitanciaCreates on Etsy, but I would like to have specific goals set for that shop, as well as to get a physical shop up and running again.

9. Read more books! I was reading 60+ books for a couple of years there, then went into a slump where I don’t even think I hit 10. This year, I haven’t kept track, but I am back on the upswing, and I’d like to keep that going. I don’t want to put a number on it but I am hoping (unofficially) for a minimum of 2 a month.

10. Scrapbook and Memory Keep. I don’t know what this is going to look like yet–I need to figure it out fast!–but I know I want to do it. I have wanted to start Project Life for a really long time and this year the app came to my Samsung phone via Google Play in February. I “Let It Go” and started Project Life back in February without going back to do January! I just went forward and have kept going since then, so while my 2016 memory book might not be a full year, it’s really satisfying to have it done in the first place and I want to continue memory keeping in 2017. I just haven’t worked out the specifics yet.

One of my big things this year was to encourage myself to be productive–whether that was creating something or just cleaning something. I just wanted to be productive with my time. (I can’t even tell you if it was a 2016 New Year Resolution because I’ve misplaced them!) That’s something I’m going to continue with this year and that’s something I tried to make my Resolutions and Goals align with this year.