Monday, 31 December 2012

My Month in Numbers 2012: December

Hello, hello.

I know you know, but just in case ...
  • around this time every month I blog a summary of the events and everyday moments of the previous 4 weeks using a numerical thread to gently draw the randomness of it all together and ... 
  • I do it month in and month out. 
  • Next month will mark the start of my 4th year of Month in Numbers-ing. [It's one of the very few good habits I've actually committed myself to!]
  • Every month I throw down the measuring gauntlet to one and all to join me in doing the same...
  • ... and I'm happy to report that every month someone does! A regular dozen or so someones with others dropping in from time to time in fact!
  • And I'm aways glad to watch your links coming in and getting to glimpse into how your 4 weeks added up too.  
Now, I know some months some of you write about how you forgot all about it ... but I think we might be OK this month as December is particualrly unique in its 'hey the month's ending, let's celebrate' style of festivities! In fact they're throwing My Month in Numbers parties all over the world tonight - and there's a countdown live on TV too - so hopefully that will jog your memory this time round. [OK, OK, so they may not all be Month in Numbers parties ...]

But in case December 31st really has crept up on you please remember that - while I blog mine at the end of the month - the invitation is open to you anytime throughout the following month ... indeed for months afterwards and the majority of you do blog and/or scrap your numbers for the previous month in the new one.

And, in my eyes, they all still count.

[Get it? Count? Numbers? ... Apologies, but it's neither the first nor last time I'll use that pun, so best just embrace it.]

Anyway ... here's my December 2012:

12.12.12 = the unusually repetitive date which occurred.

Its uniqueness made me want to capture a moment with a self-portrait - which turned out to be a pretty poor shot - but I couldn't really delete it as that kind of date doesn't happen very often:
Actually ... to push the point, it's the kind of date which I'm not likely to see again in my lifetime.

The next one's not until 01.01.01 - the 1st of January 2101 ...

... which is 88 years away ...

... when I'll be 124.

But hey, before we all get morose, I'm no defeatist ... I might just manage it if I eat and drink wisely... which brings me to ...

3 = the number of Christmas Lunches eaten. Here's the first, consumed on December 1st with 6 friends:
There were actually 3 courses to this meal but by the time the starter arrived my human appetite for food overcame my blogger's appetite for photos ... and I ate it before I had chance to document it!

Having a Christmas meal on the first day of December was a great way to kick of the festive season, so much so that our table was congratulated by the waiting staff for being the only group so far to have worn our paper party hats right throughout lunch! Plus is was far enough away to give me time to work up an appetite for the other 2 Christmas lunches I had on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

2 = the number of rabbits which went into James's first ever rabbit pie which he made for Christmas Eve:
It was the first time I'd ever tried rabbit and I can report that ... in the tradition of all newly-tried meats it duly tasted like ... wait for it ... yes, you guessed it ... chicken!

But really lovely chicken at that - James is a much better recipe-follower than me. However, I did offer a helping hand in its construction including an all-important detail ...

2 = the number of bunny ears I made to decorate the top:
I know.

They kind of lost something of their character in the baking coming out  rather less bunny-ear-looking than when they went in.

In fact, in the first photo I took of them I accidentally had the pie the other way up, sort of spun round 180 degrees ... and, in that position, they actually looked more like ... well, I'm too polite to say ... just turn your head ... and use your imagination ... or maybe don't.

It might be for the best.

3 = the surprisingly low number of alcoholic drinks indulged in over Christmas due to having a cold which left me fit for nothing but drinking cough mixture.

[And, yes thank you, I did have a cough! What do you take me for?]

And on a further non-alcoholic note ...

24 =  the number of cans of Root Beer I received for Christmas after dropping a hint or two:
I also got a subscription to one of my favourite puzzle books so, at this rate I've worked out that during 2013 I'll be able to enjoy:
  •  2 cans of root beer and
  • a whole puzzle book to myself each and every month of the year.
Imagine such a thing if you can.

It's almost like I'm rock and roll to my very core ... isn't it?


OK, those were mine. How about yours?

If you're thinking of joining me here's a quick re-cap of ...

... the Month in Numbers 'etiquette':If you write a post and want to leave a link for myself and others to visit and/or pin to the Pinterest board  please bear in mind it has a shared aspect to it.
  • When you swing by my blog to drop off a link to your Month in Numbers post - please leave a comment for me while you're there. Not because I'm needy ... but because it feels fair. Reciprocal.
  • Please link to my blog in your post. As much as I'd like to think that everyone who reads your blog already knows what 'My Month in Numbers' means... the truth is, they don't. So unless you explain where the idea comes from and how your readers can join you in doing the same next month, they are none the wiser.
  • Please take time at some point in the month to visit and comment on a few of the other posts too. [This part's really easy to do by just dropping by the Pinterest board - even if you're NOT a member - and clicking the image to read the original blog posts behind them].
And, if you're not joining in ... thank you for making it to the end of another of my statistical oddities just the same.

Right then ... there's a really big number breathing down my neck so I'm going to get out of the way until 2013 has nudged its way in!

See you on the other side.

Julie :-)

Monday, 24 December 2012

One final card ... and my wishes for you

Hello, hello.

I won't keep you long, I know you're still trying to wedge the rest of the food into the fridge and remember where you put that present you put in a 'safe place' back in August [have you tried the back of that drawer under your bed?] ... but I just wanted to wish you a happy time over the coming week:
I know that not each and every moment will be filled with unfettered joy ... but I'm hoping there'll be just enough to keep us all jingling along.
So, my lovely, warm, wonderful blog readers and friends ...
  • May all your tensions, sadnesses, and stressful moments be fleeting but ....
  • May your hugs last a little longer.
  • May all your batteries be fully charged .. except those for the karaoke machine. 
  • May your new tights be ladder proof ...
  •  ... and may you find the single remaining chocolate in a box of empty wrappers.

And when it's all done ... swing back here and we'll carry on into 2013 together. Shall we?

Warm wishes.

Julie x

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Cardmaking: with a punning puffin

Hello, hello.

Today's my turn to share a Design Team project on the 3DJean blog ... but I thought I'd share what I made over here too. If only to give you a respite from all the Christmas cards I've been blogging lately.

So, how do feel about a Get Well card featuring one of the stamps from the brand new 'Alice Palace' range available at 3DJean?
I think he looked quite splendid with his glittery bits twinkling in a rare ray of sunshine yesterday:
I've tried fairly hard not to mention how nice his Distress Stickles looked in the sunlight... because it sounds rather risque ...

[Yes, evidently I didn't try hard enough, because I've just said it, but really, if you will insist on calling a product 'Distress Stickles' ... you must expect people to misconstrue it occasionally. And don't get me started on Distress Stains ... ]

Moving on ...

As I often do, I stamped this design on to a patterned paper as I really struggle so stamp on to a completely blank background. I love pattern too much! Then, after stamping, I just coloured him in using colours to match my papers.

The puffin comes with the speech bubble attached - but I cut it free so I could use it in any position I fancied.  And as for the sentiment ...
... I stamped it using the huge alphabet roller I mentioned in this post, and I know it's an awful pun but I just couldn't resist!

If you like stamping - you can go look at the other Alice Palace designs here, and I'll see you soon.

Julie :-)

Products available from 3DJean:
Alice Palace puffin stamp

Friday, 14 December 2012

Christmas cards: in black & white

Hello. Ahoy.

How's the dark days before Christmas treating you? [It's 11.40am now and I'm till waiting for the sun to realise it's daytime here!]

If I hadn't had to go out this morning I don't think I'd have bothered venturing beyond my doorstep. But I had a box of papercrafting supplies waiting for me at the sorting office ... and it would've been heartless to leave them there in a cold storeroom feeling unloved ... so I braved the chill.

And, now I'm back I thought I'd share what probably ought to be [although I can't promise it actually is] my final post sharing my handmade Christmas cards. And today's offering is brought to you by the colours black, white and sepia:
As with all the Christmas cards I've shared so far, the images are from a 12x12 sheet by Pion Design [these were available here from 3DJean, but this particular sheet has now sold out]. And I think the sepia of the photos works nicely with the kraft base card.

Although, really, what doesn't go with kraft? Not much. As I've said before: kraft is the denim of the paper world!

[One day someone will beg me to combine all thesecrafty philosophies into a 'Little Book of Papercrafting Wisdom' ... I'm sure of it ... any day now]. [Actually I shouldn't really make out that that's a joke ... it's seriously on my ever expanding 'Things to do one day' list!]. Anyway ... back to the cards.

Here I had fun mixing textures combining the wooden snowflake with a glittery sticker and button, mini pompom trimming, a length of black German Scrap and a snippet of gingham ribbon:
And I repeated the trimming details on this next one too this time with a tiny feminine touch:
And I think that of all the cards on which I've used the 'Naughty or Nice' sentiment ... perhaps this image fits it best:

She certainly looks like she's having to think back about which category she falls into this year!


Thank you for not only putting up with my Christmas card 'show + tell over the last few weeks but for also being kind enough to leave encouraging comments and emails.

Consider yourself firmly written down on my 'Nice' list! In pen!

Right, I'm off to turn the heating up. Even my animal print M&S thermals are struggling today!

Julie :-)

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Christmas Cards: in turquoise + kraft

Hello again.

Yes ... I really am going to talk about Christmas cards  ... again. For the fourth time this month.

But hey, if I can't talk about them now, you're never going to let me do it after Christmas when all the twinkle is less ... twinkly and the warm festive glow is not quite as... glowy. So I'm going to take advantage of your good will to all cardmakers for a couple more posts. Starting now:
Believe it or not I found this card in the bottom of my crafting tote in what was almost like a crafter's equivalent of an archaeological dig!

I was scrabbling round looking for blank square kraft cards when I came across a handful of half finished general greeting cards I'd started over a year ago!

Some just had the first background layer stuck down while others, like this one, came complete with journaling block and bunting. So rather than put them to one side and keep on hunting for blank cards ... I just chose the best colour-matching Santa and tucked him in beneath the pre-existing layers:
And, while there's nothing especially festive about the background, journaling card or bunting ... I think that sticking a Santa on something along with the words 'Season's Greetings' is probably enough to fool anyone!
This is another one which I found with a pre-made background, but the sepia images I used meant I didn't have any colour-co-ordinating to do here:
I just added lots of pretty layers of embellishments, lace, leaves, pins, a button and I love the look of the tiny peg on the twine [I think I'll be plagiarising myself at a later date with that idea!]:

If you missed any of the posts in my 'I-was-so-surprised-to-have-willingly-made-lots-of-Christmas-cards-that-I-blogged-them-all' series you can catch up on the rainbow here:
Thanks for stopping by today. If your weather's anything like ours then, if you do have to go out, make sure you're either wearing non-slip soles ... or lots of bubble-wrap.

Or both.

Julie x

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas cards: in green + peach

Hello hello.

Just swooping in with a quick pre-Elementary post tonight. Because in my world everything stops for Elementary. Sometimes even breathing ... oh ... my ...

Nw look what you've made me do. Who mentioned Johnny Lee Miller? And his eyes. I'm sure I came here to say something el... oh yes Christmas cards.

For those of you who left comments on my previous post then I should just say [a] thanks and [b] no, I didn't really make 156 Christmas cards. I was exaggerating. Wildly. Although by the time I finish blogging the ones I did make ... we may all feel like there were at least 156 of them. If not more.]

So, I'd best move straight on to them!

 Last time I shared cards in red and white and now we're moving on to splashes of red with shades of green:
On this card I used one of the techniques I return to again and again but more often in my scrapping and art journaling: using up the leftover surrounds from a sheet of label stickers. Here I have them poking out behind the vintage-style Santa image as I liked the way the colours matched!
This next one's probaby the most traditionally Christmassy of them all:
And now we're back to some smaller cards with the 'lets-skew-everything-and-push-the-layers-slightly-beoynd-the-edge-of-the-base-card' design I'm currently favouring:
And another:
As with all of my Santa image cards, I've used the printed image as the inspiration for the colours across the rest of the card:
And, because each of the 15 Santas on the sheet was different ... each card naturally turned out differently
  And the final few [for now!] are just peachy. No, really, look:
And finally, does anyone know why Santa's on the phone in this next one? Or, for that matter, why the phone's on a tree?
OK, I'm going to leave you t ponder that one while I go ponder Johnny Lee Miller ...

Julie :-)

Vintage-style Santa images by Pion available here from 3DJean.
Lots of trimmings + pins from my friends at The Ribbon Girl

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Christmas cards: in red & white

Hello you.

If you've witnessed the tomatoes on my windowsill [in my November Month in Numbers post] you'll be aware of how much I like to arrange things in colour-order!

So now, following on from the pink Christmas card I shared last week, here's a couple more in the same style ... but in red this time:
As much as I love the vintage Pion images I didn't really want to do a full on vintage look with them so tried to incorporate bright reds and fun touches with the embellishments:
Now, here's quick question for any cardmakers amongst you:
  • do you use alphabet stickers on your cards?
  • Or do you prefer to use a stamp or a pre-preinted greeting?
I only ask as I think alpha-stickers are more often found associated with scrapbooking and yet I find them just as useful for customising and personalising cards:
Obviously success with using alpha stickers on cards depends on a combination of:
  • the size the card
  • the size of your stickers ...
  • and the length of the word you want to spell out!
But there are lots of small alphas available ... so you should be able to fit even really looooonnnnnggg greetings on there with a bit of creative kerning!
The only thing I found difficult while using these particular images ... 
... is sticking to the 'these-are-actually-Christmas-cards' plan and stopping myself from thinking up funny captions to go underneath them!

[However I didn't bother to restrain myself earlier in the year, when I made this card and this one using the romantic images from the same range.]

As a younger sibling I look at this particular one and wonder about that as-if-butter-wouldn't-melt look the older girl is giving the camera. I reckon that the very moment the shot was taken the little one ended up unceremoniously shoved through that door on the left!

 If you're not already too bored of these cards, I'll share some more ... the next in the rainbow of colours I've made ... next week. See you then.

Happy December to you!

Julie :-)

[p.s: Let's face it ... chances are I'm going to be sharing the rest of the cards whether or not you're bored of them... it's not that I don't respect your feelings or anything ... but, y'know, I'm just fond of the cards ... and I've already photographed them. All 156 of them.]

[p.p.s there aren't really 156 of them. Yet].

Some of the supplies used:
Vintage images: from the 'Grandma's Attic' range by Pion [they were from 3DJean but are not in stock at the moment]
Leaf pins + seam binding: The Ribbon Girl
Heart pins + cabochon: 3DJean
Black + white paper; kraft ticket: by Collections Elements [from 3DJean]
Paper flower + leaf: Prima

Friday, 30 November 2012

My Month in Numbers 2012: November


To paraphrase John Lennon ... so this is November ... and what have you done? Another month over and a new one just begun ... all together now ... No? Anyone? OK, let's start again ...

It's the end of another month so, without further ado or reference to any more Christmas songs .. let's see how my numbers stacked up this time round.

[For more info on the My Month in Numbers project visit here].

6 [7 including this one] = the number of blog posts published.
Looking back over previous years it would seem that I've always had a dip in blogging around this time of  year. But this month has been quite spectacularly low in comparison to the rest of the year.

For this I'm blaming my laptop [which had a virus] and, truth be told, what has been a general lack of inclination to sit still and focus on squeezing the words out of my head. Yet I have not run out of things to blog which makes my lack of blogging even more anxiety-making. I've got several months worth of plans and ideas trapped in a blogging back log, a blogging log jam .. a blog jam!

What I really need is to find someone who can follow me around coaxing out the ideas from my brain, bashing them into coherent sentences, taking dictation, photographing finished projects, editing the photos - on a virus free computer - and who can then blog them for me. That's all.

*Puts 'Blogging fairy' on Christmas wish list*

minus 3 =  the temperature in my garden right now. And this sudden cold turn has brought with it a very pretty and festive feeling frost. It's like December just kicked November out of bed and yelled at it to start doing something wintry-looking.

Now let's take a big leap up to some larger numbers ...

10,000 = the approximate number of starlings we watched carrying out their 'murmuration' in our now annual visit to the local RSPB reserve's 'Soup + Starlings' event.
I say it's an 'approximate' figure as I couldn't quite count them all myself ... so I'm going by what the bird-expert who led the event said. And he seemed pretty confident!

And on a related note:

20 = the number of individual items of clothing I dragged onto my body to keep the November chill at bay whilst standing on the aforementioned reserve for an hour and a half.

2 = the number of sandwich bags I wore on my feet - in between two pairs of socks...
...  just in case my much-adored-but-getting-on-a-bit boots let in any water I might have to tread through following the recent rains and flooding. Fortunately I didn't get too wet [and better still ... the extra pair of socks on top nicely deadened the crinkling and rustling noise they made ... ].

323 = the number of footsteps it takes to climb up the 10 floors at work which I mentioned in my Month in Numbers post last month. I counted the footsteps [not the stairs] early on this month but since then I've started supporting another student immediately before having to get up those 10 flights so now I have to get the lift instead. Which would be OK ...

... if, on the first time I had to do it [with no time to spare] someone hadn't pressed all the buttons for every floor, 1-10 on their way out making me have to stop at every floor in between. Student japes eh?

And finally ...

235 = the number of tomatoes left to ripen on the kitchen windowsill.
Looking at our little greenhouse early on in the month we had to give in and accept that, as it was now November and the days weren't likely to get any sunnier anytime soon, all of the perfectly lovely fruit was never going to ripen naturally on the vine.

So James brought them in from the greenhouse in two big bowls which he left them on the worktop ... but I thought that the tomatoes - like me - might benefit from a little more access to sunlight so I cleared everything off the windowsill and tipped them all out so they could get the most exposure possible.

[For the record: I've never actually tried to access more sunlight by personally laying on the windowsill to soak up a few extra rays. Well ... not up to now I haven't ...]

Later in the month I noticed him looking ponderous at them all laid out there ... scrutinising how they somehow seemed to transition, 'ombre' style, from bright glossy green at the lefthand side all the way through shades of yellow, orange and right up to the most ripe reds at the righthand side ...  and I could guess what he was about to say next ... and indeed he did:

"Why do you think they're all going ripe first at that side?" he asked, no doubt trying to gauge whether the quality of light was different at one end or something scientific like that.

Yet ... what had apparently momentarily slipped his mind was ... that he lives with someone who finds arranging things things in colour order the very height of entertainment.

Frankly ... it's almost like he's never met me!


OK then, that was my November 2012 ... now I'll hand over to you.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. If you're a number newbie - you might find  it useful to read through the tutorial I made and for new and old number crunchers alike, here's a quick reminder of  the Month in Numbers 'etiquette':

If you write a post and want to leave a link for myself and others to visit and/or for me to pin to the Month in Numbers Pinterest board please bear in mind that this part has a shared element to it.
  • When you swing by my blog to drop off a link to your Month in Numbers post - please leave a comment for me while you're there. Not because I'm needy ... but because it feels fair. Reciprocal.
  • Please link to my blog in your post. As much as I'd like to think that everyone who reads your blog already knows what 'My Month in Numbers' means... the truth is, they don't. So unless you explain where the idea comes from and how your readers can join you in doing the same next month, they are none the wiser.
  • Please take time at some point in the month to visit and comment on a few of the other posts too.
  • Dropping in on the Pinterest board makes this last bit simple as you can see all the participants in one place - then hop on to their individual posts from there.

Right then let me leave November behind with one final statistic ... 25 = the number of days 'til Christmas! 25!!!

Now, where's that Christmas music CD? All together now .. and so this is Christmas ...

Julie :-)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

How I slayed [or should that be 'sleighed'?] the Christmas cardmaking demons

Hi, hi.

What with making them in advance for magazines right throughout summer ... I usually really struggle to make Christmas cards nearer to 'real' Christmas.

[To be fair, I also struggle to make them during the summer ... but I'm getting paid to make those ... which magically seems to focus my mind ...].

By November I'm often just Christmas-craft-ed out, but this year I had a bigger demon to slay: a sort of: I can't-be-bothered-to-sit-in-my-craft-room-on-my-own-but-I'm-bored-and-really-want-to-attack-some-paper-and-make-something-anything kind of demon. And it's that one that won the day!

So, armed with just a box of paper and a tote [which, granted, is the craft equivalent of Mary Poppins's bottomless bag!] I sat myself on the settee with a tray on my lap and made Christmas cards.
And it was fun because ...

I restricted myself to using a limited set of supplies:
  • 2 sheets of 12x12 featuring vintage festive images [by Pion from 3DJean];
  • lots of papers by Collections Elements and Pion which Jean had supplied for my 3DJean Design Team projects over the last year; 
  • half-used sheets of alpha stickers / label stickers;
  • flowers + buttons;
  • only the ribbons I had in my tote;
  • and decorative pins.
Because many of the embellishments were the kind of item that tends to get used one or two at a time, I had quite a few odds and ends left over and lurking in my craft tote until, after using them with gay abandon on around 20 or more cards ... they'd all just about gone.

I know some people like to hold their supplies close, saving them for 'best', nurturing them for a while ... blowing the dust off them when they're been their for a while longer ...

... but, from time to time I like to clear the decks and just use something up completely. Gone. Finished. Out of the way. Freeing up space. Put to good use. Fulfilling its crafty destiny!

And, after doing this, not only will you feel righteous and wholesome and cleansed ...

You can then start collecting things again ... guilt free!


I've got lots more examples of the cards I made the day I slayed the Christmas cardmaking demons which I'll share over the next week or so. and I think I'll do it in in colour order ... because I'm like that.

So, after today's fuchsia offering I'll see you back here for some red + white Christmas card inspiration next time time.

In the meantime, tell me:
  • how do you trick yourself into getting inspired?
  • do you limit your supplies / pack yourself a kit / set yourself challenges?
  • do you use up stash until it's all gone?
  • do you, like me, sit onthe sofa in a landslide-like eagle's nest of supplies giving puppy dog eyes at the nearest person to keep you supplied with tea?
Thanks for reading me today.

Julie :-)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Shop sale. Just in time for gift buying & December journaling projects

Hello, hello.

So ... lists.

Have you made one, or more, yet?

Actually, there's [at least] two types of list we're scribbling on at this time of year isn't there?
  1. the "Things he/she/it might like. Hopefully. Please let them like it. Well, they're getting it anyway' list ...
  2. and the 'Things I'd like to receive thankyouverymuch. After all I have been especially good this year. Honestly. Ask anyone' type list.
And, to hopefully help you out with either or both of those lists I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop:
[The shop listings show the non-sale price - the discount is applied after entering the code once you've placed the order.]

So ...

Have you had your eye on something in the shop but not got around to treating yourself to it?
  • well, you could either simply treat yourself now ... while there's 1/4 off the usual price ...
or ... 
  • why not [subtly ... of course] send someone a link to what you'd like suggesting [in the nicest possible way] that they grab it for you while there's 25% off?
  • The code they'll need to use [the one on the poster above ^^] is also clearly marked at the top of my shop, under the title banner if they forget.
  • I promise I'll keep it secret and not tell you that they've treated you ... and I can even leave off any shop branding from the envelope if they mention it in the 'Note to Seller' box. Just don't you go opening any parcels not addressed to you! ;-)
Do you need to pick up a few affordable-but-creative stocking fillers or Secret Santa- type gifts for crafty friends?
 Or maybe you're taking part in some kind of festive crafting yourself, in which case ...
  • there are full size packs of Christmas and winter themed Plundered Pages in stock and in the sale too [all large Plundered Pages will be £9.00 during the sale]:
These would make a lovely touch of retro nostalgia to any of the popular Christmas documenting projects such as 'Journal Your Christmas' from, Ali Edward's December Daily or even just your December Project Life / 365 style pages.

OK then, I'll leave you now so you can go have a browse!

Don't forget:
  • you've only got until I finish my Sunday lunch [2pm Sunday 25th November 2012] to place you orders.
  • you must enter the code THANKSANTS when prompted at the checkout to receive the discount.
  • Then, as usual, I'll have them in the post to you within 1-2 working days.
See you soon

Julie :-)

[p.s: I will add in a free gift to the first person who - in the Note to Seller box of their order - correctly mentions/guesses where I got the term 'thanks ants' from! I'll announce it on my Facebook page and Twitter if/when someone gets it!]

A little bit more about introversion. Then I'll be quiet. Y'know, for a change?

Hello again.

It seems my post yesterday drew out a few fellow introverts in the comments.  I knew there was a good reason to bring up the subject and loudly declare myself as one of the quiet folk!

So thank you for adding your voice to mine.

As I mentioned yesterday, it's taken me until now to realise that 'introvert' is probably a good way to describe myself. And I'm ambivalent about that.

Not because I don't want to be one. But because it took so long to make itself clear.

Because, ever since then I've been able to start letting myself off the hook for things I've always thought I needed to change about myself. Things like:
  • being quiet even when I have a lot to say;
  • preferring to stay at home than make an effort to go out and socialise;
  • being reluctant to make video tutorials to share here or to branch out into teaching crafts in 'real life';
And the most recent ...
  • being hesitant to take my products to a craft fair, which I'd like to do ... but where I'd have to discuss them with more than one person at a time! The horror ... ;-)
Now, I'm not saying that just because I've willingly stuck an 'introvert' label on the front my cardigan that I'm using it as an excuse not to do things, not to push myself, not to progress, no ... it's just that:
  • It's given me a reason to be kinder to myself while I 'gird my loins' and prepare myself to try new things.
  • It allowins me to give myself breathing space. To stop beating myself up.
  • It's helped me understand how I can feel completely happy and confident in myself ... while not always feeling able to project that to others;
And also, importantly:
  • reading up on how introverts find social interactions physically tiring has helped explain how I can attend meetings etc with perfect confidence and composure ... yet sometimes when I return home and lock the door behind me I slump into a small heap and just want to be quiet / watch TV / do puzzles / read / sleep etc.
  • Knowing that this is common amongst introverts has come as such a relief to me! As someone who once suffered from depression these moments would often make me afraid it was somehow sneaking back into my life. But it isn't. It's just who I am. What I do. And, fortunately, it only lasts a few hours.
Sharing this with you is helping me to clarify what I've recently learned but I hope it helps someone else too. Maybe you. And I think it's good to reach out and speak up ... because quiet folk really do get a rough deal at times, for example ...

How often have you been in a social situation - with other adults, not children - where one person walked up to another and told them outright, sparing no blushes to just shut the heck up? Not very often I'll bet ... yet people seem to think nothing of telling a quiet person that they should be saying more! 

 And, on a personal note, in a job I once had in a school I was once told by a member of staff - in front of others - that they'd been expecting one thing, one particular kind of person ... but then they got me!
And for a long time after that I felt I couldn't possibly be doing that job properly until ...
  • until a teacher said she admired the way I could sit quietly with the children, especially in art lessons, 'modeling' the behaviour and the work that was expected from them;
  • until a headteacher said I did a good job at sitting and playing board games and chatting with kids at breakfast club;
  • until a teacher wrote in my leaving card that she'd now have to find someone else to calmly keep a particularly distractable child on task!  
  • until I realised that I simply had a 'different' way of working, which helped different children, in different ways to how a more extrovert, gregarious mentor might have. And I learnt that different certainly didn't mean worse!
So, with my true confessions over for the day ... I'll leave you with a few related resources:

It's around 20 mins long but well worth watching if, like me, you're tired of feeling that you need to change to fit in with what the wider world expects!  
OK, I'll leave you in peace. Feel free to go and slump on your sofa now ... if you're not there already ...

Julie x 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A bit like my previous post, but with half a tortoise this time

Hi, hi.

Firstly I'd really like to thank my agent ... no, hang on, that's wrong, I'm getting mixed up with my Oscar acceptance speech again ... no, I'd like to thank all of you who took the time to leave a comment on my previous post about creating our online identities. And such interesting comments at that!

I've not been feeling like blogging much lately and yet suddenly, with that post, the blogging muse reappeared and it poured out. Yet I had wondered whether anyone would really want to read my thoughts about psychology lectures and parts of pigeons ... but fortunately some of you did. Which was good to know!

When I began blogging I always said I wanted it to be about more than telling people how to stick one piece of paper to another ... so when I get such positive, engaged, feedback from a post like that ... it feels good.

It feels like what I'd like to do more of in fact. So ... let me do just that ... with a little help from the body of a tortoise and a head that reminds me of Virginia Woolf:
As the journaling suggests ... my name's Julie ... and I'm an introvert. And, as obvious as this statement is to me right now ... I only really started believing and understanding it from this year.

Now, as much as I could now go off into a reverie about this and write a whole post about introversion ... I'll resist [for today at least] and instead relate it to what we were previously discussing about online identities because, for me, the two things are closely connected.
For an introvert who likes to play with words blogging and social media are ideal social and creative outlets for me:
  • I get to share and communicate from the comfort of my own home; 
  • I get to share and communicate through the written word; 
  • It allows me to choose, craft and to present what I want to share it in my own time, with nothing to fluster me or make me change my mind and decide to keep quiet instead;
  • It allows me to connect with lots of people, with you, at my own pace and in relaxed surroundings. Heck, sometimes I'm in bed listening to Radio 3, when I blog [and I've never been to many social gatherings where pyjamas and Rhapsody in Blue were the preferred attire/entertainment ... and if they were ... I might go to more parties ....]
And all of this connecting with others is important to me because ...
  • despite some people misinterpreting 'quiet' for 'shy' or even 'antisocial' ... us introverts like people. A lot.
  • We honestly, truly, do like talking ... just maybe not as part of a group [although presenting / official speaking I'm OK with ... but informal stuff .... not so much. I've always been aware of the contradiction that when I was little my school calle dme 'quiet' .... while my family called me 'chatterbox'.]
  • And to me blogging, which is just chatting to you, here and now, is just like my most comfortable kind of conversations: one-to-one ones!
So, now we've had that chat you know a little bit more about me and once I get over my nagging doubt that I might be over-sharing [!] ... I think I'll be glad I told you.

And if it gets you to think about yourself, or others, in a different light ... then all the better!

If you're interested in reading more on the topic ... there's a wealth of information out there .. on the good old internet but tomorrow I'll share a great video I found on the subject and a few other links too. But, until then, who's up for a spot of quiet introspection in their 'jamas?  Anyone?

Julie x