Reading for the Win!

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Image Source: Pixabay

For the last couple of years, I’ve set reading goals for myself.  I used to read all the time when I was younger, and then as life got busier, reading fell by the wayside.

When I was lamenting this fact, my husband thoughtfully gifted me a Kindle Unlimited subscription for Christmas one year.  Now, I know lots of people don’t like KU, but I have to say, I love it.

I read lots of books I probably would never have tried and have found lots of authors I truly enjoy and would never have discovered without KU.

Last year I set a goal of reading 300 books.  I actually didn’t set the goal until about halfway through the year, but I still made it.  I use a Goodreads account to keep track of what I read, because KU doesn’t.

I started out this year with a goal of 500 books.  Pretty ambitious, I thought.  I met that in June, so I upped the challenge to 600.  I met that in August, so I upped it to 700.

Today, I finished my 700th book this year!!!

Now, of course I’m going to up the challenge to 800.  And, technically, some of the books on the list are novellas rather than novels, but I’m still counting them.

I taught myself to speed-read when I was in high school, and I still tend to read pretty quickly.  Most of what I read is purely for enjoyment, not heavy reading classics, though I might throw a couple of those in here and there.  I only work part-time at the moment, so I have afternoons where I will curl up with my iPad and read.

We also do a lot of traveling since my youngest plays sports.  Reading is a great way to pass the time while my husband drives.

Still, it’s a goal that I set, and achieved, so – win!!

I Saw the Light

I’m not sure whether to call this a win or a fail, so I guess I’ll call it a tie. I posted before about my frustrations trying to take a picture of one of my mandalas that I had colored.

Creating the mandalas, both the ones for this blog and the ones I’m designing for my (someday) online store, has been a huge creative outlet for me. When I started doing them for this blog, it was more to have something creative to do and share. It also let me learn how to use my iPad, Apple Pencil, and Procreate app better.

In just a short few weeks, I have experimented with all kinds of elements and designs and have felt comfortable enough to move on to experimenting with new brushes and effects and such in Procreate. It has made a huge difference to how I create the coloring mandalas – I am much happier with what I am creating now.

Since the ultimate goal is to create mandalas that people can color, I wanted to try some of my designs and see how they worked. The coloring part went great. The getting photos part – not so much.

After several weeks of teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling, I saw someone on social media talking about DIY light boxes that would help you take better photos. I don’t have a good place in my home to take a photo, so I thought, well, I’ll just make my own light box.

So I watched a few videos about how to do that and then decided that by the time I gathered all the materials and put in the time to make one, I could probably just order one. Amazon, here I come!

I found an inexpensive light box for around $25, which was less than I would have spent on materials and time to make it myself. It came with a little tripod to hold my phone, the box, and 4 different colored backdrops. It’s made to refold and travel, but I’ve just left it set up. It has 2 LED light strips that I run off a portable battery charger and it has a hole in the top that I use to take the photos from above.

Image from Gyazo
Photo from Amazon.com

There are a ton of them online and some are even cheaper, though the quality will probably differ as well. It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done and I was able to set it up quickly and take the photos I wanted all in about 15 minutes.

So, I’m calling this a win because I did manage to get the photos I wanted of the colored mandalas. However, I feel like I kinda cheated because I ordered the light box in order to do it.

Sitting here writing about it, though, I’ve decided I’m being too hard on myself. Professional photographers use lights all the time and no one considers it cheating, right? So – win!

Stay tuned for posts with the actual photos of the colored mandalas. 😀

Success!

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Credit: Pixabay

I’m feeling pretty proud of myself today.  For the last 9 years or so, it’s been a project of mine to scan in all our old family photos.

All of them.  :/

It started out with a small box and then the pile just kept getting bigger.  And the bigger the pile got, the further the project moved down on my to-do list.  I mean, some of the photos are so old I don’t even know who the people are in them.  So unless there are names on the back, I haven’t got a clue.

While I was off this summer, I made a list of projects I wanted to try and complete.  The photo scanning was one of them.  I started off with the most recent ones – the ones that were me and my kids, and then worked my way backwards in time.

And I’m done!

I have a pile of photos for each of my siblings (all extras of the scanned photos) and the rest are stored away in photo albums after scanning.  Why store them after scanning?  I don’t know.  I mean, that was the original intention – scan them so that I could have a digital copy rather than a physical one.

But I just couldn’t bring myself to destroy them.  Trashing photos of my kids or family members seemed wrong.  So, I have both – a digital and physical copy.  But now they’re not sitting around in a box in the floor of my closet, so I’m calling it a success!

I Am Not A Niche

Created with Quozio

I know all the advice out there says you should ‘niche’ your blog. I’m still not sure I understand why. I mean, I get wanting to be seen as an expert in your field. But I am interested in people, not in niches. When I think about it in that light, it makes me wonder about the other advice you always hear on social media – be authentic, be real. But authentic and real people are complex and multi-dimensional, not a single ‘niche’ idea, right?

As an introvert, people usually assume that I hate people. I don’t. I love watching people, observing their behavior, trying to figure out what makes them tick. Interacting with people is a completely different thing, though. Because I’m an introvert, I’m socially awkward. I mean, I can handle being in social situations, but I don’t generally enjoy them. Mostly because I don’t understand them. If you don’t really care how I am, why are you asking? I want to talk about deep and meaningful things, but most social conversation is completely superficial.

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked, sorry. This post is about why this blog likely won’t fit into a neat little niche. The purpose behind it is not to present myself as an expert about anything, but rather to (hopefully) show people that with success comes a lot of failure. I think that people are so afraid these days to fail at anything that they prefer to do nothing. But you don’t learn if you don’t fail. I think that’s a lesson that so many people miss. We’re so focused on success that we forget it is driven by failure.

I decided to start a business, and as is usual with me, I jumped right in with both feet. But after spending a week or so researching and doing some paperwork, that darn imposter syndrome showed its ugly face. Suddenly, the whole prospect seemed incredibly daunting. I have no idea what I’m doing; what was I thinking?

Then I started to really head down the rabbit hole. I don’t even really use social media – I have no ‘following’ to promote this business to, so how in the world am I going to get sales? Then I started researching selling online and all the new tax and privacy laws in the US and elsewhere and it really started to get overwhelming. How am I ever going to make this a success?

Then one day, in the midst of all my angst, I thought, why the hell am I worrying about all this? When I originally decided to start the business, I told myself that I wouldn’t worry about failing. If I did fail, then at least I would have learned something. If I fail, I’ll have lost some money and some time, but at least I will have tried. I’d regret not trying more than I’d regret failing. So, here I am.

If you’re expecting this to be a blog about only things relating to an online business venture, you might be disappointed. I will write about that, but other things interest me, and since this is, after all, my blog, I will probably write about them too.

I’m opening at Etsy shop selling planner stickers and vinyl decals. Topics you may encounter in this blog: starting an online home business, cutting machines (like the Silhouette Cameo), stickers, planners, vinyl, decals, sales tax, using Etsy, etc. I may also write about things like fonts, software, blogging, writing, creating, art, being an introvert (and sometimes a hermit), my tinfoil hat theories (shh, don’t tell anyone about these), and you may encounter my snark/sarcasm.

If any of those don’t strike your fancy, no problem. The internet is a big place, and this is just one tiny corner of it. If you’re interested in watching me fail (or succeed), then slap the follow button and let’s go!