Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Difference of a Year

This time last year, I was engaged.

This time last year, I was stressing about wedding details.

This time last year, I was worried about money.

This time last year, I was in a car with no heat, no defrost.

This time last year, I was terrified of the future.


Today, I am married.

Today, I am stressing about fertility.

Today, I realize I have all I need and money is fluid thing.

Today, I am in a rental car after my new car was hit by a drunk driver.

Today, I am thrilled for the future.


Family Christmas Party 2010 to 2011...what an amazing difference!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November off?

So some of you may have noticed that I had a hiatus for the month of November. I apologize for the absence, and feel I owe you all an explanation.

In case you haven't heard of it, The Offices of Letters and Light holds National Novel Writer's Month (NaNoWriMo) in the month of November. For "thirty days of literary abandon", they ask their participants to embark on a literary journey, writing 1667 words per day, each day of the month. By the end of the month, WriMo's are winners when they complete 50,000 words. To give you an idea of how many words that is, the entry up to the end of this sentence will have contained 119 words.

Fifty Thousand is a lot of words!!!

As many who read this might know, I do not consider writing to be one of the arts at which I excel. I don't really love anything I write, but I have always loved reading. So, for the last four years, I started NaNo with every intention of putting the fifty-thousand to paper and patting myself on the back. And the last four years, I failed. And in many cases, bailed on the project only a few days and a few thousand words in. Last year I even tried to start with a project I had already planned on starting for a different project and still didn't keep up. It really just reinforced my belief that I was not meant to and would never be able to write.

And for those who do not know me terribly well, I do not do things at which I don't succeed. I don't often put myself in the position to try something and fail marvelously at it unless it is a new art style that I am fairly certain I could give a fairly decent go at it. I don't enjoy trying new things or putting myself in positions where I might embarrass myself.

While I've been recently told I'm the kind of girl that sets her mind to something and accomplishes that goal, I hate to admit that it's a great illusion I like to propagate. See, it's hard to fail at something you go into pretty certain you're going to be able to do with a bare amount of effort. And while I love feeling accomplished at finishing a project, I don't often go far out of my comfort zone to try something I think I might downright fail at. Or, as far as I was concerned about NaNo, was certain to fail.

So, when I set down with day one's determination and no story, I really had no vague dreams that I would succeed. I wasn't going to talk about it too much, because it would draw attention to the fact that I would likely not complete the task. But as day one introduced my first character, it led to day two. And day two led to tandem writing with the hubby. And I started to really get invested in the characters.

But I felt the distractions coming. Until I found a twitter group called @NaNoWordSprints. Sprinting encouraged me to just write, no edits, no delete key for a set amount of time. And come to find out, I am terrible about self-editing. Every other time before this, I failed due to my inner critic. And with these sprints and having a group of peers there to share my journey, I was actually starting to think that I might have a chance at winning this year.

But as with things like this, losing one day puts you behind, and then you start dragging. Thousands of words behind start making you think that the gap to finishing is impossible to cross. And I had reached that point. I had determined that over the Thanksgiving holiday, I'd take my laptop and sprint my little heart out to get past the hump. But in my rush to get to the airport, I left my laptop at home.

That was it....game ender. I would never be able to catch up. I was less than a week away from December first and was twenty-seven thousand words into a fifty-thousand words novella.

No chance I'd be able to catch up

I have no idea why I picked up my laptop Sunday the twenty-seventh. Maybe it was that I wanted to see where my story was going to end up. Maybe I just wanted to see how far I could get before I finally just gave up. But I wrote three thousand words Sunday. Almost twice as many words as I had written on my longest 4 hour night. And Monday, I wrote five thousand. Tuesday, I wrote ten thousand words. Let me write that again...from 10:30 am to 12:30 am Wednesday. I wrote TEN THOUSAND WORDS.

I woke up the last day of November, five thousand words away from winning NaNoWriMo. I was delirious, but insanely close.

I did two #1kin30mins (or for sane people, one thousand words in thirty minutes) and by two thirty November 30th, I surpassed the fifty thousand and I WON NaNoWriMo!!!

Me, the girl who SUCKS at writing. That HATES failure. I not only succeeded when I was tremendously behind and certain I couldn't do it, but I had a story I liked and characters that I thought were compelling. And HOLY CRAP DID I SAY I FINISHED NANO?

When I finished, I was literally exhausted and shaky. But it was such an amazing feeling, an elation that I hadn't felt with something so out of my comfort zone. My brain felt like tapioca and I was sleep deprived, but I felt so proud of myself. Since I'm not afraid of being a bit of a cliche, I am comfortable saying I really did learn a lot about myself this past month. And that is, that I really AM the girl that can succeed if I have faith in myself and what I can do. That even in the face of depression, the fear of failure and personal tragedy, that I CAN freaking kick some @$$ and push myself to do something that I can really be proud of.

So, at the end of this blog, I want to sum it up by saying that I really do believe if you motivate yourself and believe in yourself, you can really make your own miracles happen. Even if it's not something you want to show to the world, show yourself you are worth stopping and investing in!

Now, everyone.....go and make your miracles!!! Do it now!!!!

(Oh yeah, this massive blog entry...only 1,090 words...around 500 words less than one day of NaNo writing. Eat THAT perspective!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011


New felt gnome punkin' guy!!!

And yes, I love him...and yes, my mom already stole him!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Back on Etsy

So I have been holding onto all my little watercolor pieces.

And I'm finally getting around to listing them on etsy!

I will be posting one a day (as they recommend for best etsy promoting) and today is my little gnome painting!

I know there have been some folks interested...well, here's your change to pick it up!!

(Update: The little guy SOLD!)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Applique Felt Pillow

So I've made a couple of these little pillows and I had so much fun, I thought I'd take a dew moments to share a mini tutorial.

Supplies needed:
  • 2 sheets of contrasting color felt
  • 3 shades of contrasting color embroidery floss (I used a matching shade to the leaf color, then brown for veins and burgundy for the blanket stitch on the border)
  • embroidery needle
  • stuffing
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • marking pencil
  • (optional) embroidery hoop
  • (optional) stencil for piece to be appliqued

Cut out piece to be appliquéd and place on felt, fold backing felt in half lengthwise to get crease, opening and laying mostly flat again. Place applique close to the center of one half before putting on hoop (if you want to use a hoop).

Use simple running stitch around the outside to anchor the appliqué to the backing felt.

Back stitch the veins of the leaves with 3-6 strands with contrasting color thread...

And more veins....

Remove from hoop and flatten out creases from the hoop.

Fold in half lengthwise and try to measure out equal distance from applique to edge on either end to get a centered pillow.

Mark and remove excess to square (or rectangle) off.

Cut along the fold to make two pieces of the pillow.

Cut out and running stitch on three sides of contrasting felt onto the "right" side of the back piece of pillow. This will create the back pocket.

Blanket stitch around the edges of the two pieces of felt, wrong sides together. And stuff before it is completely closed. And voila!!!

And a picture of the back with the pocket where you can store little treasures or cotton balls scented with yummy oils!

I hope you like this tutorial and found it helpful! And feel free to ask if you have any questions!

I couldn't resist....

Dah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-na Bat-Gnome!

Thanks to Kimara over at Wee Folk Art for this pattern!

I've wanted to make one of these little dudes for a while now and I finally did!

He's a little Halloween Bat-Gnome for Heather. See seems to like him and he was SO MUCH FUN to make! I'm going to try and make a second tonight!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


It's been a rough month, I'm not going to lie. So when my mom said she wanted to get together to have a craft day, I was eager to hang out and make stuff.

Several times a year, we get together and make little melt & pour soaps. It is an easy and fun craft that doesn't take a lot of labor, and we love giving them to our friends. But this fall, we decided to try several things!

First of all, I was laid up in bed for a while, which made crafting rather difficult. So, I decided to grab some felt and do a little embroidery. I cut out an oak leaf and just started stitching it on. I had no idea what I would turn it into when I was done, but I brought it with me and mom helped me come up with a great idea!

A scented "primitive" style pillow. I just did a little bit of decorative stitching and stuffed it with a little fluff. I put in a few cotton balls scented with cinnamon oil and voila!

We also experimented with cinnamon/applesauce clay. (recipe below) It was so much fun, making pumpkins that we tried several other alternatives, stars, "sugar cookies" etc.

It was a great day with mom and we really got a LOT accomplished!

Here is a picture of the day's bounty:

(Dozens of applesauce clay pumpkins, cookies, melt & pour soaps...and pumpkin bread...for our snack)

Cinnamon/Applesauce Clay:
1 part Applesauce (not chunky)
1 part Cinnamon powder

Other helpful supplies:
Wax paper
Knife & fork (or sculpting tools)
Cloves (for pumpkin stems)
Cookie Cutters

1) Mix cinnamon and applesauce into a thick clay. Be sure to mix thoroughly as you don't want dry patches of powder.

2) Mold the clay into desired shapes. Most of all, have fun! If the clay consistency is too runny, add a bit more powder until it is mold-able, but holds firm. Reverse directions if it is too hard.

3) Leave the clay items out in an open space to dry hard. This may take two to three days to fully dry.

4) Enjoy the delicious cinnamon scented sculptures and share with loved ones!

Monday, September 26, 2011

MoA - Day 26

Today was a crazy day.

So it wasn't until twenty minutes ago that I knew what my awesome for the day would be. Until I saw another vlogbrothers video.

The long and short of it is, that at Kiva.org in increments as low as $25, you can help support a small business loan in a third world country.

The site is extremely simple to use, you get to pick the type of business you wish to support and, as soon as you are repaid your portion of the loan, you can turn right back around and loan it out again. So one gift can help many people trying to make a living.

I think this is awesome squared, but am only sad that the laws in the states prevent it from happening locally.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

MoA - Day 25

today's awesome is in the form of gratuity. No, not tipping this time.

As many of you may have read, I have been pretty ill as of late. In this time I've had some amazing friends send cards, letters and really sweet well-wishes.

So i took my own advice and made some postcards with the tutorial I posted a few days back.

And so I'm sending out a little bit of sunshine to thank them for the consideration that showed me.

Really, their kindness, even in a small gesture of sending a card when I was down really meant the world to me and so I wanted to return the favor. In the spirit of awesome!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

MoA - Day 24

So unlike I had hoped, I didn't come up with a good "free" awesome. I'm still feeling mostly crummy and my creative brain seems to be sleeping until I get better.

So, today's lesson in awesome...overtipping.

We went to a very busy pizza joint, and since I'm not a sports fan, I had not anticipated it being a "game day". So the place was pretty packed. I often try to tip 20%, because I've waited tables...and it's especially icky when there are tons of beer-filled sports fans around.

So I threw in an extra bit and wrote her a note telling her I hope she had a great night.

Sometimes, I think it's just nice to know someone else seems to care that you're having a rough night.

So tip your waiters, they'll be here all week!

Friday, September 23, 2011

MoA - Day 23

I have been feeling pretty ill lately. But I really needed to get out of the house and do something in the world. So Joe and I decided to go to the movies. And that gave me an idea.

Buy a gift certificate for a little more than two movie tickets (it was still kinda early so matinee prices were in effect) and ask the cashier to give it to the next two person customers that came in after I walked away.

I'm learning that part of the fun of this kind of thing is involving other people. The cashiers at the movie theater and the half priced books seemed to be just as excited about joining in. They get to be part of the awesome and so it multiplies the good feelings.

I will try the next few days to try more cheap or free awesome...so I can prove it's not just about spending money.

Be awesome!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

MoA - Day 22

Today's awesome was simple. it started out with me seeing a HUGE fire truck at a stoplight. It had a flag flying on the side and had four firefighters in it. I had a sudden childlike urge to wave at them or give them the peace sign.

I wanted them to know that I had an appreciation for what they did.

So, when it was time for me to go through the intersection, I waved like a giddy child at a parade.

And four adult firefighters waved back.

I must admit, while the exchange was brief...I felt elated the rest of the morning, knowing that i had waved and in some small way shown them my appreciation and they waved back.

It doesn't take much to do something little to improve someone's day...and your own.

Get out there and do it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

MoA - Day 21

Awesomeness for today...

First of all, I am really getting into sending written cards or letters lately and I want to encourage that. So, for the artistic folk, I am going to give instructions on making your own mailable post card.

I recommend using a card stock type of paper or some type of craft paper that will have some weight to it and will withstand the rigors of the postal system.

Feel free to decorate one side with art, stickers ribbons or anything that won't hang loose, or add too much thickness to the postcard. This will help it run smoothly through most mail machines. In the past, I have sent quilted postcards, and i LOVED them! You can do a collage, or painting, or just about anything that is mostly flat.

Here is a template for the backside, just make sure to print it somewhere around the 3.5 x 5 inch range.

The mail requirements for postcards are as follows:
  • Rectangular
  • At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inch thick
  • No more than 4-1/4 inches high x 6 inches long x 0.016 inches thick

I hope this inspires you to get creating your own postcards to send out to folks you think are AWESOME!

And for my second awesome thing...I hope this makes you smile!

Baby Beaver!

MoA - Lost Week

So, as some of my readers might have learned, I have been a bit under the weather for the last week. the hubby and I had a great trip to New Orleans planned and it didn't quite pan out.

We had left Columbus at 11pm Wednesday night and hit the trails, expecting to be in New Orleans somewhere around 4pm the next evening. We got as fat as Decatur AL before I started having really unpleasant stomach pains. So at the advice of my doctor's office, we pulled into the ER down there. After three and a half hours there, we were advised to head home and I was ordered to bedrest.

So, we turned around drove back to Nashville, where my sister in law and her husband live. We got a hotel room and I crashed out until we left the next morning. Another ten or so hours drive and we were back home. I spent the next three days in bed, exhausted and feeling sick.

Thankfully I am starting to feel better, but I will admit, I lost a full week of awesome. And I am still feeling mostly cruddy, so I could really use some encouragement. But...I need to make up for the lost week and try and cram twice as much in each day of awesome as I can.

I wouldn't mind taking suggestions!! And sorry I haven't posted much!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MoA - Day 13

Today I am not feeling very well. So, my little bit of reaching out to a few friends I hadn't in a while over the internet will have to be awesome enough. 

It's funny, once I started this tradition how easily I felt the need to start topping the day before. My whole purpose for this was not to go broke buying stuff every day, but to show you everyone can do a small thing that is both awesome and easy. 

I guess I need to remind myself that it doesn't take much. 

You know what...? I'm going to leave a letter for my postal carrier thanking them for their hard work!

Just get out there and be awesome!!!


Monday, September 12, 2011

MoA - Day 12

For some reason, the picture I took isn't saving, so I will post later.

(edit: got it!)

But I bought a $5 Chipotle gift card while I was checking out and handed it to the person at the end of the line on our way out. I normally don't give things to people directly, but it was hard to set it somewhere subtle in a busy restaurant.

I was so goofy though. I just stuck out the envelope and was like "Here" and scurried off like a frightened mouse while she said "Thanks!"

I'm still sort of goofy at this!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

MoA - Day 11

I don't have any pictures of my awesome today. But I assure you, it was awesome. 

My husband has lost around ninety pounds and while that is worth celebrating alone, he really needed some new clothes. So, I took him shopping to get some fancy duds. 

The look on his face alone when he was in clothes that fit him well and showed off his awesome new physique was so worth it!

Tomorrow, more non-immediate family awesome!

(maybe I will ask him to model for me!)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

MoA - Day 10

So today, I got up early and went with my hubby to his very first outdoor workout training class.

(Look at how chipper I am!)

I wasn't feeling well and was a bit crabby, but I wanted to support him and get back into working out. So, I decided to give it a shot and really try to get into it. Which, wasn't too hard because this type of workout, it a lot like playing!

(Newly certified personal trainer there doing weighted bear crawls)

(And me with my terrible form trying to do plank walks across the too close benches)

(Just going crazy crawling for speed!)

Not only did I enjoy myself, but it was crazy tough and harder on the body than it looks! We got to be outside together on a gorgeous day, playing around in nature and getting a kick-a workout while doing it. And I supported my hubby in the process.

It felt AWESOME!

Friday, September 9, 2011

MoA - Day 9

Today's something awesome comes in the form of me, admitting my limitations.

See, I can't say no. I have, habitually overbooked myself and I have perpetually felt like I'm always running behind, rushing to finish things and never have enough time to finish the things I want to work on. But, I can't seem to kick this volunteerism bug. Until today.

I finally realized that much of the important things in my life are always on the back burner and I can't seem to get things in perspective. So, today, I made the decision not to run for my grove's scribe position for a second term. It was really upsetting for me, because I love working for the grove. But I have to understand that my focus to my faith will be better served by letting go of some things and letting others handle some items.

So, with that done, with several of our weekly games coming to an end, I think I will be able to focus on becoming a better friends, wife and person.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

MoA - Day 8

So, I am learning that awesome can come in small doses. Today's awesome comes in two waves.

1) Calling my mom, just to say hi and let her know I was thinking about her. I saw some cupcake plates that she was looking for a few months ago and I bought them for her. She seemed pleased and said: "Thanks for thinking of me." While it wasn't too much, it felt good to hear my mom say those words. I hope I made a difference.

2) Finishing a project that I started several months ago. This was for myself, and sometimes, you need to be awesome to yourself. By tomorrow morning tonight, I will have a new sweater!!!
(Too tired to smile)

While it may not be as major as correspondence from yesterday, or getting a soldier some mail...the little things really can make a difference!

So, do something awesome for yourself!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MoA - Day 7

Today's small dose of awesome comes in the form of showing support. I read on the internet about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro and the death threats they received leading up to the 9/11 anniversary weekend.

It hurt to read that such a tragedy for America spurs more hate and fear. And I didn't want to let it go. So, I wrote a very short message on their website to try and explain that their community is respected and well...I'll just post what I sent.

"I just heard about the threat you received by telephone. And my heart wanted to reach out. I am a practicing Pagan, not a Muslim, but I wanted to let the members of your community know that there are people in the world who support your right to religious freedom and celebrate the diversity of the world.

I am writing to let you know that not all non-muslims share the same fear and intolerance. I joyfully share this world with so many people of varied faiths, cultures, races and beliefs. And I wanted to share some of that joy with you and your community, despite the threats of some people living in fear.

I hope that your weekend is blessed and peaceful."

And they responded at almost nine p.m.
Dear Traci,

We would like to express to you our sincere gratitude for your thoughtful and encouraging words. It is truly heartwarming to hear such words of encouragement from our neighbors and friends both near and far.
We are very thankful for everyone who has supported us along the way.

We look forward to the day we will open the doors of our new center for all of our friends and neighbors like yourself so that we may thank you in person for your kindness.

Please, Traci, if you are ever in our area feel free to come by our center so that we may express our gratitude to you in person.


The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro

Hearing back from them made me feel really good.I wanted them to know that not all non-Muslims share the same fear and violence. And if there is ANYTHING that the anniversary of this awful day should be about, it is peace and understanding, not hate and fear.

<3 you folks, and DFTBA!

Positivity Vortex

I often find myself thinking about how I could help affect the world. Some of the most amazing people in history had equally amazing talent in a certain area or field.

Leonardo da Vinci was a genius, whose love for invention and his multitude of talents led to inventions that wouldn't be truly understood until centuries after his death. Albert Einstein was also a genius physicist, who's ideas about the current theories of physics led him to create a new way of how we understand the universe, the atom and nearly everything in between. People like Emmeline Pankhurst, Ghandi, Desmond Tutu and so many others have seen injustice and dedicated their lives to repairing said injustice.

I could go on, but these are just a handful of examples of people who have used talent, ingenuity, passion and intelligence to literally change the world.

When I think about the intelligence, the creativity and passion these people had and how many in the world and future generations benefited from them, I am simply in awe.

So on days like this, I wonder how I can possibly do the same. I am certainly not a genius by any stretch of the imagination. I am not horrendously talented in any one area, though I do pride myself in that I have a LOT of experience with learning and trying new things. But am I a physicist, a world renowned painter or sculptor or idea maker? Yeah, definitely not.

So, how does one make a difference, even on a small scale?

I often feel like I am held back, because I'm "not smart enough", "not talented enough" or "not politically informed enough". I have spent so much of my life, trying to learn everything...to keep up with politics or try to watch and read everything that Carl Sagan had a hand in. But it was never enough. I would never know as much about trying to help a cause or write an inspiring novel that would change the world. But I couldn't find one thing that I was good at, or exclusively passionate about.

But I realized that while I loved so many causes and so many subjects, it wasn't being poorly educated or uninformed that was holding me back. It was me. I was creating a place where I was not good enough, not smart enough,. I was creating an absence of faith in what I, as one person could do. I was making myself not good enough. I had created what I will call a positivity vortex. Where, because of my self-consciousness and fear of failure or fear that others would think poorly of me I told myself that I was not good enough. It drew away any positive or forward motion into a pit of inspiration-wrecking doubt.

So how does someone fix that?

Just needed to fracking DO something!

I don't have one particular passion or cause. I don't have one craft or art that I love better than another. But I decided to do this Month of Awesome challenge for myself. I didn't expect to change the world, but maybe make a small difference in someone's day. In just deciding to try something, I really opened my heart, not just to others, though I think most people want to try and help other people. But it opened my heart to my ability to do something that puts a little joy in the world.

And in doing so, I feel like I am alive with ideas, potential...not doubt. And I want to tell everyone who might feel like they don't have a certain something that might make a difference. To destroy that positivity vortex and let your own joy, faith and happiness get back to you!


I can't say this enough. Write a story just for fun, sing out loud, paint, blog about science, campaign for a cause. But DO IT!!

I know I am so thankful that I did! And please tell me how you are making the world an awesome place because it feels wonderful to have support and I would LOVE to support you!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

MoA - Day 6

Today, I followed the advice of one of my hero bloggers, C.L. Tice who led me to the Letter Writer's Alliance's (L. W. A.) blog where they ask for pen pals for Crane & Co.

I wrote the first letter and forgot how much I loved it! So I wrote two more!!

And I loved the L. W. A.'s mission so I became a member! It's funny how exciting doing something simple as writing a letter can bring me back to waiting anxiously in the summer for the mail carrier to come and deliver letters from friends.

I have refreshed my love for written correspondence! And here I am, having FUN trying to be awesome!!


Monday, September 5, 2011

MoA - Day 5

Today's awesome was mostly close to home. I decided to focus on a little awesome around the house. I did three loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen and did a lot of reading on a couple of health and art related subjects. 

I also helped out the hubby in the kitchen and spent some quality time with my hyper pooch. 

I also, want to admit when I fail to be awesome. After trying to be super awesome, I lost my patience with my hubby and we had an argument. It was stupid, it flared really hot for like ten minutes and then we were able to come back and talk about it (and ended up laughing at ourselves in the process)

So to make up for it, we went to see The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Before we left, I had another small awesome idea.
A couple of quarters on a claw machine.

Hopefully they will win something awesome too!!

Have a great night and DFTBA!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

MoA - Day 4

So we were at Half Priced Books on Lane Avenue. I decided when I checked out that i would buy a gift card for $5 and ask the cashier to just give it to the next person that checked out.I asked her not to tell them who bought it if I was still in the store when someone else came to check out.

She seemed nonplussed by the idea and slid the card back to her side of the counter.

The hubby hadn't finished yet, so I was anxiously awaiting someone to step up. I heard a small commotion and a couple were at her register and they were all smiles. It seems as Joe and I were leaving, they were going back to get one more book.

While I had often thought about staying and snooping on the strangers I left a tiny bit of awesomeness for, until today, I hadn't been in a position to. While it was mildly gratifying to see the fruits of random kindness...I think in the future, I will shuffle off. It seems sort of...selfish to stay and watch. But it did feel nice.

DFTBA folks!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

MoA - Day 3

So today...I decided to try something maybe a bit longterm.

So I found a website, called Adopt a US Soldier. While it might take a few days for me to get assigned a soldier, I am excited to reach out to someone deployed around the world. I hope that I will be able to send a little support to someone doing something that I just don't have within me to do.

I have always wanted a pen pal and in today's internet and immediate gratification world, I didn't know if anyone still did the pen pal thing. I'm looking forward to getting my soldier and sending them some care packages!!!

Also, I went to the Random Acts of Kindness site and found a list of ideas, many of which I found to be really interesting! If there are folks wanting to to this, I highly recommend checking it out and getting some ideas.

(I also did a couple of minor awesome things, like make sure I reached out to my parents, started on a project for something awesome next week and went shopping at the local farmer's market which helps support local responsible farming. So I feel good about it!)

And the hubby decided to give some new heirloom tomatoes to our neighbor, who is awesome herself and loves tomatoes. He's getting this random kindness thing!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

MoA - Day 2

With more pictures!!!

Today I decided to give a little love to crafters! I took a blank watercolor greeting card, made a simple pattern and wrote a note to today's stranger.

I also had a $5 JoAnn's gift card I bought for a similar project I never got around to starting last fall and added it in there as well.

And then, I decided to stash it in with the polymer clay, one of my favorite and under visited sections of the store. I snapped a quick picture then scurried off!

It is a little sad that I don't get to see who finds these...but that is also part of the fun. Plus, it makes it that much more magical, to know I just put a little love out into the world and don't know where it will end up!

If you are contemplating doing a day (or week, or whatever) of awesome...let me know!! I'd love to read about it!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

MoA - Day 1

So, day one was brief. I was at the public library downtown and so I thought I could leave a few random notes stashed away in a few books. 

So, I scribbled a few notes of encouragement into tiny blank cards and stuffed them into three books around the library, two of which were self-help books. I told the library strangers that a stranger loved them and wished good things for them. That they were wonderful and the only person that needed to give them validation was themselves.

I think that knowing that someone where in the world, a complete stranger wanted to reach out to you was a good start to my month of awesome, even if it is subtle and I won't get to see the people face to face. 

I hope they know I wasn't joking. 

And I love all you wacky folk out there too...and I mean it too. Life is fantastic and even the worst parts of it can be made bearable when you have love around you!!

Have an amazing month of awesome!!!

<3 - Me

Month of Awesome!

I have a couple of friends. Okay, so I've never met them, but their weekly vlogs make me happy both in my nerd parts but also in my making-the-world-a-better-place parts.

Also, this nice lady some people may be familiar with. She tweets, works for charity and even has a donation to UNICEF instead of asking for gifts when she announced she was expecting.

These are big shoes to fill, but i am going to give it a try.

So as this is the first day of September, I declare it my Month of Awesome! I will do one awesome thing each day and write a brief blog entry about it. It can be anything from something nice for my friends/family, or somet art, or something that helps make me a better person.

I'm going to go get started on my first awesome day!!!


Friday, August 26, 2011


It is not often that I talk about politics. I try very much to keep this blog free from personal politics, but today I wanted to celebrate. See, on this day August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United states finally became law.

So, ninety one years later, and one hundred and sixty-one years after women began formalizing the right to vote at the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention, in 1848, I want to take a look at where we are today.

Written by Kellyanne Conway in, What Women Really Want. Her book tracked trends in female voting and discussed how to reach out to today's women for voting.
"In the 2004 presidential election, more than half (54.5 percent) of women between the ages of 18 and 24 did not vote. However, women in this age bracket voted at a higher rate than their male counterparts, only 40 percent of whom cast ballots. At the other end of the age spectrum, only 29 percent of women aged 65 to 74 did not vote, compared to 26.1 percent of men in the same category. The top reasons women offer for opting out include “illness/disability” (19.8 percent), “too busy/scheduling conflict” (17.4 percent), “not interested” (10.7 percent), and “did not like candidates or campaign issues” (9.7 percent). Excluding the final two responses, it is important to note that nearly nine in ten women did not participate for reasons other than a lack of feeling engaged."
In ninety one years, women have fought for the right to vote, staging rallies and protests from literary to chaining themselves to courthouses. Many of the most outspoken voices in the US women's suffrage movement, like Alice Paul were incarcerated in terrible conditions for months on end, seven in her case, for peacefully protesting, holding signs in front of the White House.

Paul herself, outraged over the conditions of the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia, began a hunger strike. This led the workers at the facility to place her in the psychiatric ward of the prison, force feeding her through a tube a diet of raw eggs. The women at the turn of the century suffered, literally so that politicans would be bombarded and reminded that they wanted equality. I personally admire the tenacity and courage these women endured to ensure that women around the world and eventually with the Equal Rights Amendment, to create anti discrimination laws on the basis of gender, race, religion or national origin.

But, the trend shows that women in older age groups vote more often than their younger counterparts. Most likely, the women who lived through the Civil Right's movement recall the struggles more than women in the 18-24 year old age bracket. Young women are still voting at higher rates in that age bracket than the men, so is this a concern?

I would like to think that if we told every young woman about women like Paul and her contemporaries or even all the people throughout the decades working on equality that they will be inspired to vote. But, I'm not sure that will work. Young people do not feel like they have a voice in today's democracy.

I wish I could inspire and celebrate more people voting. So, I am doing what I can and celebrating the accomplishment and hopefully encouraging those who read not just to take part in your government, but to celebrate those who's passion for equality and equal rights should not be forgotten!!!

Get up and be heard in the world...fight for what you believe in...make a difference for people hundreds of years in the future!!!

I know I want to!

<3~ Traci

Friday, August 19, 2011


I am raffling an hour long photo shoot for folks in the greater Columbus area. This is a very fast raffle, to end a week from Sunday (8/28)

See, I have these two friends trying to start up a business and I want to help. Some may recognize these two persons as Seamus and Mike...my Grove Priests. They have, in no way, asked me to do this (and I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds here) but when asked, they have never turned down a request to lend an ear, offer a blessing and bring forth a level of piety and generosity I want to try and emulate.

So, to the nitty gritty details, I will be providing raffle tickets for $3 each or four for $10. This includes an hour long photoshoot, with a copy of all the images and reproduction rights ad infinitum. All I ask is that I can add my favorites to my portfolio and with the model's permission post a few to my deviantart page and blog. Please contact me via e-mail if you are interested in purchasing raffle tickets.

ALL of the proceeds will be going to the Magical Druid to help defray their startup costs.

Examples of my photography sessions can be found here and here at my blog.

PLEASE help me help Seamus and Mike and the Magical Druid. And if you'd rather, feel free to visit their site and facebook page and SUPPORT THE MAGICAL DRUID!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cake Toppers

I was commissioned to create a wedding cake topper set for a couple's wedding.

While I didn't think I could create what they wanted (and ended up making them rather large for the top tier of their cake) I gave it a shot and this was what I created.

I wish I had more progress pictures making these two figures, but I am really pleased with the turn out and it seems the couple enjoyed them. I loved hearing comments while people passed saying they were a really creative representation of the bride and groom.

I was really proud of the work and so happy for the couple!

Thank you for giving me an assignment that proved to me I can go outside my comfort zone!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More Photography

So last night I threw together another photo shoot involving light painting.

The model (it makes me feel so silly to call my friends models, but it's the appropriate term) is Nathan Ross. And he wanted something he could use for character portraits. So he brought his costuming and was extremely patient with me, despite being stuck in a deathly warm gas mask and top hat.

Anyways, here are a few of the pictures I took...(and LOVE if I may say so!)

Comin' atcha!


He makes it look so easy.

Feel free to check out the other shots on my deviant art page.

The process is really fun, but it can be tricky. Each time I set up a shoot, I never know how the lighting is going to work. So at the beginning, there is a lot of trial and error.
If you are interested in doing long exposure photography, make sure you have a camera with an adjustable exposure/shutter speed. This allows more light to be viewed by the lens and allows you to move the light source after the initial picture has been taken.

Set the shutter speed to around 10 seconds and then set up the shot. If you are wanting to have a picture that looks normal with some light painting, make sure your flash is up. Whatever is in the frame for the initial flash will be the photograph and whatever light painting you do will be in the darkness after the flash fades.

(Tip: If you are doing background work, like flashing lights around, try to wear dark colors and move quickly, so you are not spotted in the shadows.)

I will be posting a tutorial hopefully next week.

Hope this is helpful!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dedicant Oath

So it is official, I will be giving my dedicant oath Thursday at the druid moon/business meeting. This is well over twenty months in the making and I am very excited to get the feedback on my dedicant work.

For those not familiar, the Dedicant Program is the first study program of ADF. It is not mandatory, but is the first step in any of the other study programs. The final oath is the oath one gives at the end of the study program. It details your dedication to your faith, your commitment to the kindred and your desire (if any) to continue this course of study. In short, you profess in front of the community, your desire to continue to live a virtuous life and maintain the lessons you learned in the course of doing the study program work.

You don't ever have to continue, finish or even make an oath...but if you wish to continue, it is important to make the oath public.

I wish I had been completely focused on the dedicant study program, but I am really encouraged to complete this portion and begin a more specific and in-depth study of my faith. I am nervous, don't get me wrong, because this is a very big step in my personal journey and it has certainly been a long time coming. But I am walking into this excited and energized and looking forward to the next phase in my life.

Now, I just need to finalize my written oath and feel out who I will be calling to specifically if any.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nerd Dream Project

So, I have been spending a lot of time contemplating seriously awesome writers, actors, inventors and all around fantastic people who would be considered part of the "nerd experience".

With modern media, I can follow them on twitter, read their G+ feed, see their current projects on Facebook. And it begs me to wonder if folk had any one "Nerd or Geek wish" they could ask from someone still living, what it would be.

I've received several so far on FB and G+. But I wonder, if you could have a wish come true involving someone in an industry that could be construed as "nerdy or geeky" what would it be?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Photoshoots - Last Summer

So last summer, I had this idea, to get a bunch of friends and have them model for me.

I wanted three shoots, one with no makeup, jewelry etc, one with day to day vestments makeup, accoutrements and the third as crazy and wild as they wanted to be.

These are the compilations I made last summer.

(Model: Tracie H.)

(Model: Jen R.)

Thanks again to last year's fantastic models.

Now, who is in for this year?!?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More strange hearts

In case any of you recall, I did a painting a while back called "My Metal Heart".

Well it now has a sister.

"My Frozen Heart"


I have been trying to paint them. I've learned that I'm not extremely fantastic at them, so I went ahead and gave it another shot.

I have it linked instead of posted here, because it's not particularly safe for work.

I'm interested in hearing opinions though.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tutorial: Handmade Envelopes

It has been a while since I've done a tutorial or craft project here, so I figured I'd try something relatively simple but really cute.

I wanted to make my own envelope to send as part of my ATC swap. So I looked at the USPS size charts to see what sizes are legal for mailing. The smallest size was 3 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches.

So, I got to work, painting a full sheet of watercolor paper.

To be fair, you can paint, draw, or use decorator paper, but I really wanted to paint yesterday!

Then I got to my pattern on a piece of cardstock. I started with a 3 1/2" by 5 1/2" rectangle. I made the bottom flap by drawing 2 3/4ths" lines and making a new rectangle. The top flap was 2" tall and then made another rectangle. The side flaps are 1" long.

Cut out your template.

Trace the template onto your fancy paper!

Then cut that out!

Fold the flaps. (fancy folk have bone folders, but I had a mail opener handy!)

I also angled the edges a bit to make it look "fancier".

And there you go!!! Your own handmade envelope!