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Archive for January, 2010

I went shopping the other day and saw the aisles of pink and red valentines, ready to fill your child’s box at school.  Since I believe we are never too old for a valentine – here is a download for you to use in your holiday frame or to make valentine cards of your own.  Or better yet – give someone a framed valentine and teach them how to change out the image on Download Day.

So many possibilities.

Enjoy!

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I will go into more detail about each activity we have planned throughout the year but here is an overall list of what we are going to be focusing on as well journey along our quest for “Every Needful Thing.”  One thing is for sure, we cannot cover everything that is possible so we are choosing the most needful things and working on those.  If this gets carried over into next year, we’ll tackle some more topics.

As has been commented already, this theme is very open-ended.  It can be taken many different directions, according to what you want to have happen.  We are going to work on increasing our “life management” skills because that is what our group seems to need right now.  You will see that reflected in our plans for the year:

  • “Every Needful Thing” Kickoff Night
  • Organization Fair (time management, cleaning tips, simple organizing ideas)
  • Favorite Things Dinner (celebrating each other and what is needful in our lives)
  • Pantry Meal Kits (learning and creating meals from items you have on hand)
  • Book Club Melting Pot (individuals read a life management book of their choice and share ideas from them)
  • Girls Night Out (dinner at a restaurant – we all need fun and food)
  • Cannery (dry pack canning and food storage)
  • Recipe Exchange (easy freezer meals, crock-pot recipes or other simple meals)
  • Every Needful Thing” Craft Day (making projects that support our theme and can be used for Christmas gifts, etc.)
  • “Year in Review” Night (photo and memory management + learning how to make a “Year in Review” photo book, review the things we learned this year)

Kickoff Activity

So let’s talk about our first activity: “Every Needful Thing” Kickoff Night.  It will be held January 27 and we have a lot planned for the hour and a half.  Here’s the rundown of what is happening:

  1. theme introduction (talk from the president of our group)
  2. slideshow of all the women (songs: “Smile” by Uncle Kracker and “Daughter of a King” by Jenny Phillips)
  3. “how to use the holy spirit to help us determine what is needful” (talk from one of the women in our group)
  4. “how gratitude helps us decide what is needful in our lives” (talk from one of the women in our group)
  5. notebook introduction (discuss activities for the year, the gratitude journal and purpose of the notebook)
  6. notebook instruction (putting together their own notebooks that we have kitted for them)
  7. dessert (we’ll bring that out while they are finishing their books – socializing and eating…a perfect combination!)

I’ll share photos and more information from the activity after we have it.  In the meantime, I better do my part of the getting the kits ready!  It’s going to be a fabulous year, everyone. I can’t wait to share all of this plus so much more with you.

Enjoy!

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Step by Step

This is a winding road in Park City, Utah.  It goes in a loop around my in-laws home and is mostly uphill.  It is exactly 3 miles and now it is covered in snow.

I ran this loop over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Twice.  With the hills and the higher altitude, it was hard.  I had been running 3 miles about three times a week up to that point but this was a tough one for me.  But I did it.  And miraculously, when I returned home and did my normal 3 mile run it seemed almost easy.  The next time I ran I did 5 miles.

Then I made a decision.  I signed up for a half marathon in May.  Wait…did I just say that?  Yes.  I signed up for a half marathon.  I can’t believe that I have actually paid good money to run 13.1 miles.  True, you get a t-shirt – but come on….is it really worth four and a half months of work?  I seem to remember, not so long ago, being shocked when Jim at Jim’s Gym challenged me to run a 5K.  That’s just over 3 miles.  I run a 10K on a regular basis around my neighborhood these days.  How did that happen?

I come back to running the loop in Park City.  True, it was the same distance that I had been running for a few weeks before, but something changed after those runs.  Because they were more difficult to do, because of the hills and higher altitude, it pushed me to do more than what I was used to.  This allowed me to break through the 3-mile barrier that I was up against.  All because I had to work a little harder.

Now I’m on my way to 13.1 miles.  I am up to 8.1 miles on my long run each week and I still take it slowly.  I’m working on increasing my pace from an 11 minute mile to a 10 minute mile.  But I have four months to do it.  The first 3 miles are still the hardest, then I get into a rhythm and it becomes easier.  Mile 7 seems to be the easiest, amazingly enough.  I have always heard runners say things like that and I never believed them.  Now I am the one saying the same things.  I’m shocked at myself, if you want to know the truth.  I never imagined being able to understand what it felt like to have this particular goal and believe I could actually accomplish it.

You all know how I started at rock bottom when it comes to exercising (click here if you want to see how it all began).  I couldn’t run a half mile, much less a half marathon!  Now, four and a half months later, I feel like I can do this.  Thank you for your encouragement along the way.  I am proof that anyone can do this.  Step by step, it’s possible to accomplish something that might seem impossible at first.

So, a new countdown begins and the goal is 13.1 miles on May 15.  Here I go!

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I spend a lot of time in my home office.  It is at the front of our home and I like looking out the window at our neighborhood.  Cole can easily reach this window and I have found him looking out of it a lot as well.

It stands to reason, since this is my view for the majority of my day, that I would find many things out my office window to photograph.  The snowplow that actually came into our cul-de-sac for the first time since we’ve lived here (hooray!), the Christmas tree waiting to go to the dump in our neighbor’s trailer, two neighbor kids using our paver pathway to walk along and play.  Daily life happens right outside my window.

We have had a lot of fog over the last couple of weeks.  It makes the air smoggy as well and we can’t wait for a little wind or a storm to blow it all out of the valley and give us our fresh, clean blue skies.  When I go out for a run I come back smelling like a diesel truck and even have to wash my hat in order to get rid of the smell.  Gross.  I can’t wait for fresh air.

One of my favorite photos in my Project 365 book, however, was taken on a foggy day, through my office window.  I see this picture all winter long when I sit at my computer and just glance to my right.  Then I see the same view without the snow all summer long.  This particular day it seemed so beautiful to me, with the fog and haziness.  I think I captured the essence of the scene with this photo.

This is what I love about Project 365 – the freedom to take photos that might seem random but are the bits and pieces of our lives.  For our Download Day, I’m giving you something wintery,  just like the scene outside my window.  You can craft while you stoke up the fire and make yourself a cup of hot chocolate.

Enjoy!

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I know that you are wondering what the final journaling block in each notebook is for (click here for more info on the ENT notebooks).  I love personalizing things.  From the time that I was a teacher, I have always believed that there is power in a name.  Everyone loves something more when their name or initial is on it.  Why do you think we have a collection of the letter “H” in our entryway?  Or various “K”s in my office?  I love monograms and from my experience, so does everyone else.  People have an affection for things that are theirs – including their name or initial.  Adding a name or initial is the easiest way to personalize something and take a “mass produced” project into the realm of individualized.

We are using this principle for our notebooks but taking it a step further.  Here is what we are doing.  The other leaders of our neighborhood Relief Society are helping me to write a personal note to each woman in our group.  We have divided up the list and will have the notes to hand out at our first activity where the women are putting together their notebooks.  I love this part of the project – it takes time to write personal notes but I can’t think of a more meaningful way to let each individual know of their personal worth.  It’s empowering to read something positive about yourself and to know that someone values who you are.  Then, to have that message in a permanent home inside your notebook so that it can be read and reread?  I can’t think of any better gift we could give each other.

One of my favorite books is Alexandra Stoddard’s, Gift of a Letter.  I read it for the first time years ago and it’s 123 pages have tremendously influenced my views on the power of a handwritten note or letter.  In this day of emailing and texting, facebook and myspace, handwritten notes are hard to come by.  That’s what makes them such a treasure.

Writing and mailing a generous letter is so life-enhancing, so rewarding to the writer and the person receiving it.  Is it better to give than receive?  I like both.  I want it all.  – Alexandra Stoddard

I like both, too.  Therefore, each woman in our group will get a handwritten, personalized note that is meant just for them.  The “generous letter” she mentions in the quote certainly can mean the length of the correspondence.  But to me, I think she was talking about being generous with yourself and your thoughts and your true feelings.  I think she meant generosity in praise and compliments and kindness to the receiver.

It goes back to the download I offered from November (click here).  “Never suppress a generous thought.” – Camilla Kimball.

Here’s to generous letters – taking the time to thank and strengthen and encourage, one by one.

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Now that you have seen all the pieces and parts to our Every Needful Thing notebooks, I wanted to explain why we put each part in the book and what some of our plans are to use the notebooks.  (If you are wondering what I’m talking about, click here for background info or look back at all the posts from the last week.)

Gratitude Journal. You all know what a fan I am of gratitude journals in general but in this case, the reason we put one in each notebook is because we feel like the more grateful we are, the easier it is to sift through what is “needful” in our lives.  When we recognize the things we have, we focus less on the things we don’t have.  So, gratitude becomes a very important tool in determining “what is needful” in all areas of our lives – the things we have, the way we spend our time, the goals we set…everything.

The journal can start at any time – just jot down the date in the little box next to the lines on the paper and you’re ready to go.  Notice how there are very few lines for an entire week – that is on purpose.  Rather than getting bogged down with having to write a lot each day, there is space for something simple.  Maybe a sentence or two, even a phrase or single word will work.  This format for the journal gives each woman flexibility to do what she wants with it.

Quote Envelope. Each month when we have a service project or activity with our women, we will be focusing on a different topic or skill that we feel is helpful to our group.  All will relate to the quote from Doctrine & Covenants that I shared on Monday – especially the part that says, “Organize yourselves, prepare every needful thing…”

After each activity, we will be providing the women with printed quotes (much like my weekly downloads) that they can use to remind and inspire them after the activity.  This envelope is a place to put the quote each month or any quote they gather if they choose.  Our monthly quotes will become a weekly download here on my blog – so don’t worry, you’ll get them, too!

Pockets. Many of the women in our neighborhood are looking for help with time management, organization, easy meal preparation, teaching children how to work, etc.  These are the daily “needful things” that are necessary parts of any woman’s life.  That is primarily what we are focusing on this year – how to figure out what is needful as we manage the ins and outs of our daily lives.

Each month we will provide a list of “tips” for incorporating whatever topic we are discussing into real life.  The tips will come from the women themselves (using the above questionnaire) and will be a list of great ideas for applying the principles we are discussing.  That’s the “Quick Family Tips” section.

Whenever food or refreshments are part of the activity then copies of the recipes will be available so that women can go home and use them.  Since we are trying to increase our knowledge of homemaking skills, this will be a key part in helping women do that.  Hence, the “Recipes” section.

The third pocket is called “Things to Try” and it is a place for handouts about each topic and a place for women to take their own notes regarding the lessons.  Since each person has to decide for themselves “what is needful” for them or their families, this is a place to jot down ideas from each activity that they want to try.  No one is expected to do it all – our goal is to offer a variety of information and let each woman choose what they can and want to incorporate into their individual lives.

Obviously, you can make the pockets into anything you want.  I gave you the same tabs that we are using simply because that is the information that I will be sharing with you over the next months – things that go in those particular pockets.  Feel free to do your own thing, though.

Final Thought For You. This notebook that I have shown you is specifically designed to support the things that we are going to be focusing on throughout 2010.   I am a big believer in being able to look at the big picture or entire vision for something and have all the parts interconnect and relate to each other.  This notebook, although it’s cute and fun to have, serves a greater purpose for us to be able to tie it all together this year.  Although our activities will differ from each other, we won’t be floundering about with random ideas of what to do each month – we have a plan, we have direction, and by thinking about the year as a whole, we have the ability to create a more meaningful experience because it will all be interwoven to create a complete work of art that focuses on our goal.

Tomorrow I will share what we are doing with the final journaling block in the notebook so watch for that.  Next week I will also give you a list of the activities that we have planned for the 2010 “Every Needful Thing” program.  This will give you an idea of where we are headed and what is to come.  Each month, when we have an activity, I will give you more details of what we are doing beforehand and then after the activity, I will share the ideas that we talked about and learned.  I hope you will continue to participate by commenting regularly and contributing your thoughts and ideas as well.

Happy Friday!

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This week I have been sharing a new pseudo-workshop that I am offering here on my blog called “Every Needful Thing.”  If you want to get in the loop then click here or go back through the posts from this week for all the info.

I now get to tell you of my favorite new find in the paper crafting world and what I used for the covers of our Every Needful Thing (ENT) notebooks – BLACK CHIPBOARD.  Now, I know that black chipboard is not new…but an easy way to get it is what is new to me.  You’ll never believe where I found it – in 12″ x 12″ size, no less.  Wal-mart.com.  Yep.  You can get 12″ x 12″ chipboard from walmart.com in black, white (which is only white on one side) and raw (or natural).  It comes in packs of 25 sheets for between $9-$12 per pack.  That makes the sheets less than $.50 each and since you only need one 12″ x 12″ sheet for each notebook then…well, you can do the math.  Seriously good deal.  Good enough to buy a pack to create your notebook now and have the rest on hand for future projects, don’t you think?

Come on, who’s excited with me?!!!!  For those of us crafters who bemoan the availability of just regular chipboard sheets that we can do what we want with, this is quite the find.  No more having to use the backs of notepads to find the treasure of just one chipboard sheet.  And it says the chipboard from walmart.com is “Medium Weight” but I consider it heavyweight.  It is very sturdy (also hard to find) and thick.  Click here to see for yourself!

As far as other supplies are concerned – the flowers are Bazzill Basics Paper brand, along with the ribbon and envelopes.  We purchased the binder rings in bulk from mrlock.com.  Click on the previous links to see what I used.

The patterned paper on the front cover is by 7gypsies but has been discontinued long ago.  I think I might have scrounged up just enough sheets for our group from different internet scrapbook stores so you probably don’t want to waste time looking for it.  Isn’t it great that there are so many yummy paper choices out there, though!  Have fun finding just the right one for you!

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It’s Instruction Day here on my blog.  All you have to do is click on the image below to access the instruction pdf.  It is a large file so please be patient as it downloads.  If you would like more background on the “Every Needful Thing” program that I am offering this year, click here or choose “Every Needful Thing” in the Categories on the right side of my blog.

One of the ways that we are personalizing each notebook is through the color.  Every book will use black chipboard as its base, covered in this black and white patterned paper.  Every book will have the same ribbon.  Every book will have the same quotes and die cuts, printed on the same cardstock.

So, how will we make them personal?  By using black, white, and cream as our main color theme, it is easy to add in one more color to the notebooks.  Everything you see in the instructions that is the aqua color is actually what each woman in our neighborhood will get to choose.  We are offering pink, green, red, black and aqua in the color of the flowers and pockets.  This way we can “mass produce” the notebooks but still offer each woman a sense of individuality.

I will share another way that we are personalizing the notebooks later this week.  It involves the inside of the back cover – where on the instructions you will see has a blank sheet mounted to it.  I’ll tell you what we are planning for that sheet in a few days.  I think that it might be my favorite part of this whole project.

Along with the instructions, I am also giving you the downloads needed for this project.  Click on each image to download the pdfs.  The download for the quote from Doctrine & Covenants is in the post from the beginning of this week.  Click here to see that.

With regard to the excerpt from the talk by Henry B. Eyring, the download I am giving you is to create two cards with the printing on the front and back.  Don’t be confused when you see that the same words are shown twice on the first page of the download – the second half of the quote is on the second page of the download to make it easier to print it front-to-back.

What are your plans for this project?  Any ideas yet?  We would love to hear your thoughts about how you are going to approach “Every Needful Thing” this year.  Happy downloading!

Enjoy!

____________________________________________________

Just Added….here is an email I got this morning – I thought it might be helpful to others as well:

Hi Kolette,

So this is an in person class with 90 women and you and your team will provide kits for them, right?

Now here is where my question is…are you also inviting your blog readers to participate?  We then download and prints the pdf’s to put together our own book.  So we ( I ) need to acquire my own embellishments, cardstock, etc…is that right?

Thanks, Catherine

Yes, Catherine.  You are exactly right.


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Welcome back!

As I was going through the instructions and downloads for our “Every Needful Thing” notebook, I decided to break it up into parts because there was so much to tell you, show you and give you.  Today I will show you photos of the finished project – many of you who are experienced crafters will figure out how to do it quickly and if you need more instruction, the step-by-step directions will be available tomorrow (click here for the background on this project).

You’ll be happy to know that we were on a very tight budget so we are making each notebook for less than $5.  Much of the reason why these two goals are possible is because I designed the artwork so that we don’t have to use a lot of embellishments – and you will reap the benefits of that as well!  I will include all of the downloads in tomorrow’s post.

Another goal we had for this project besides affordability is simplicity.  90 women will be creating this book – many of them are not crafters at all so we needed to keep it simple as well as useful, meaningful….and of course, cute. Our plan is to cut everything beforehand, kit all the pieces and parts for each notebook in a bag and on the night of the event, each woman will create the covers, the pockets, and assemble their book.  This way we will be able to have everyone feel ownership to the project without taking hours to complete them – we don’t have hours.  Yes, it will be more work for our committee to get it all ready but we feel like this will accomplish our goals for our kick-off activity better (I’ll share more about what else we will be doing during our kick-off activity later).

Use today to get familiar with the format of the notebook, how it is put together, what the pieces and parts are, then think about how you want to approach it.

List of Notebook Parts

chipboard cover (front)

excerpt from a speech about gratitude

gratitude journal “title page”

gratitude journal pages

quotes envelope

“things to try” pocket (with note-taking paper)

“recipes” pocket (with note-taking paper)

“quick family tips” pocket (with note-taking paper)

chipboard cover (back)

How will it work for you?  Do you need to add more pockets?  Do you want to include the Gratitude Journal section?  What supplies do you have on hand to use and what will you have to purchase or substitute?

These are all things that take me a little time to process when I am working on a project so I thought it would be helpful to give you that time as well.

Some Technical Info About the Notebook

(complete instructions will be available tomorrow but this will help you as you think about it today)

cover dimensions: 10″ x 6″ chipboard

pocket dimensions: 10″ x 6″ (and the pocket fits a half sheet of paper for future handouts)

paper for note-taking + journal: 8.5″ x 5.5″ (half a sheet of copy paper)

binding: 2-hole punch from an office supply store (easy and exact)

sheet protector: regular 8.5″ x 11″ trimmed down to size

Think, Think, Think…

Now the thinking and planning begins!  I’ll see you tomorrow with complete instructions and all the downloads that I created to make the notebook possible.  Plus, I’ll share with you how we are making “mass production” more individualized and personal.

Enjoy!

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Life Management.

That’s a tricky thing sometimes.  We all have unique lives – different families, different work situations, different homes, different adversities, different likes and dislikes, different personalities, different everything.  Because of the need to adapt strategies to fit our individual circumstances, learning how to manage our lives can be challenging.

A Little Background Info

I don’t think it is a secret that I have a deep belief in God and I am very active in my church.  All leadership in the LDS Church is volunteer (this doesn’t include staff such as secretaries, media personnel, etc. who are employed by the Church and work a 9-5 job).  That means that we, as members of each congregation, we are also the leaders and teachers to one another and are asked to serve in different areas to help the church run.  For a couple of years I was in charge of teaching the 8-year-old children, another period I was asked to lead and teach young women ages 12-18, the most daunting task was probably when I was asked to be the music leader/teacher for children 3-11.  That one definitely didn’t come naturally for me but I did it and learned a lot.   I have had many responsibilities over the years in our church, starting at the age of 12.

We believe that part of our growth and development as people centers on these volunteer experiences in our church.  They help us learn how to work with different people in a variety of situations, planning things or administering programs or teaching.  These experiences help us become who we are, learn leadership and planning skills, teach us about the scriptures and church doctrine, as well as give us many opportunities to serve one another.

For the last year and a half I have been serving in the leadership of what is called the Relief Society.  The Relief Society is a women’s organization in the LDS Church, founded over 150 years ago to administer to the poor and needy.  It still serves that purpose, but has expanded to encompass the teaching and enriching of women as well as serving others.  Although it is true that all women of our church as also part of the Relief Society, you don’t have to be a member of our church to be a part of what the Relief Society does.

One of the things that Relief Society works to do is to provide women with activities, learning opportunities and service experiences.  That is what I am in charge of right now in our neighborhood and area of our church.  I have a group of lovely, hard-working volunteer women who, as a group, help me plan ways to give women a chance to socialize together, learn uplifting things and serve others.

I know that many of you have similar involvement in your congregations and places of worship as well and can find many similarities to how these kinds of things work in the LDS Church.  I tell you all of this simply to give you a frame of reference for what I am going to share with you this week.

I want to invite you all to participate in my experience with our neighborhood Relief Society this year.  You don’t have to be a member of our church to do so – I invite you as my friend.  I think that what we are focusing on is beneficial to any woman’s life – no matter your religious beliefs, economic background, place of residence or cultural heritage.  Yes, some of the things that I will share will be religious in nature because that is why we’re developing the “Every Needful Thing” program in the first place.  But I firmly believe that there will be much information that is applicable to anyone – which is why I still would like to share it with you…religious or not.

Our Focus for 2010

“I’m so stressed out!”  “I can’t do it all!”  “I don’t know how to organize my life!”  Do these phrases sound familiar?  I think that every one of us has felt those emotions and said those statements at some point in our lives – very possibly right now!  I believe that we can choose joy and happiness despite our circumstances but let’s face it, real life can be crazy and busy and overwhelming, too.  We have found that so many women in our neighborhood feel this way that we wanted to try and address this issue during 2010.

Our goal is to provide opportunities to help women learn how to manage their lives a little better – to have more confidence in their ability to sort through what is truly important; to be a little more efficient, a little more simplified, a little more at peace.

In the Doctrine and Covenants we find the following words:

This year we are going to work on establishing homes that are more focused on the things that matter most.  No matter the family situation or religious views, we all can apply this principle to our lives.  We are using the phrase “Every Needful Thing” as the center of our efforts as we work to figure out what is truly needful in each of our lives.

Now the interesting thing about this idea is that although we will be providing classes and workshops, tips and handouts to help teach strategies and principles of life management, each person will have the opportunity to decide for themselves “what is needful” in their own lives.  Because we all have unique lives, we all have different things that are important – so it is up to each of us to gather the information, sift through it, and choose what we want to incorporate into our families or individual lives.

As I share this journey with you this year you will receive many things.  First, if we are trying to teach how to manage our lives then we need some sort of place to manage the information, right?  So, tomorrow I will give you instructions and downloads for completing the “Every Needful Thing” notebook that each woman in our neighborhood has the opportunity to create this month.  It will have a place for all of the things that we will be using and learning about this year and will be a continual resource for each of us to refer back to.

Each day this week I will share a little more, both in information as well as downloads, regarding the foundation of the “Every Needful Thing” program.  I invite you to participate in any way that you see is “needful” in your life.  Perhaps you don’t want to create a notebook but you want to use some of the tips that we will share as the year goes on.  Maybe you don’t want to print out the downloadable quote from today but you still want to concentrate on determining what is truly needful in your life.  Whatever way you want to participate – you are welcome to do so.

Think of this as a FREE online workshop – it will have many of the kinds of things that I usually offer in my Big Picture Scrapbooking classes but we will do it together here on my blog.  We’ll share our journey of determining “Every Needful Thing” together – something that I think all of us are striving to do better at.

Thanks for experiencing this with me.  Please feel free to comment and ask questions as often as you can so that we can share our thoughts and experiences together.

I’ll see you tomorrow!

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