Hot Hot Summer

Is it really the 5th of August?

I’ve been trying to stay cool, but in my single level home without AC it’s not an easy thing to do. This summer has been the hottest I can remember, and I’ve seen a LOT of summers.

My rain gauge recorded 1.52 mm (yes, mm) of rain in July, and so far this month there hasn’t been anything more than a light shower that barely got the deck wet. I’m worried for the farmers; their livelihood depends so much on the weather.

I’m fortunate to live out in the country because I am able to water my garden with well water. I’m glad I took the time to build more raised beds this year, as it makes watering, weeding, and harvesting easier. Plus, just the veggies are getting watered; not all the weeds too. (Although, the weeds do seem to thrive no matter what the water situation is.)

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My last few posts have been about grief and missing Ross, which is where I’m at. However, as much as I miss him I do know it’s not what I should focus on. There are still some hard days, and there are some good ones too. Life goes on no matter what shit-show we’re dealt, and it’s up to us to make the best of each day.

I have spent some time working on new planners and have recently listed two new ones in my Etsy Shop. One is digital (for use with Goodnotes or Noteworthy), and the other is basically the same thing but set up to be a printable. The printable version has an extra category and contains only one of each sheet. Not only does that make it more economical, it also gives you the option to only print the pages you need (and as many of them as you wish for your own use).

The latest planner I designed.

Most people have a Bucket List, which is all the things they want to do before they die. After I hiked to the summit of a mountain in Jasper last fall, I decided there should be a Fuck-It List as well. And by that I mean doing something on the Bucket List, but not wanting to do it again. My latest planners contain that list. 🙂

I am currently revamping the Writer’s Planner I have listed in my shop. It’s going to be easier to use, is clearer than the first one, and will be available as a printable only. I may consider designing a digital one down the road, but for now I feel the printable is better geared to where writers like me are at.

I’m finally getting to a place where the things I enjoyed doing before Ross passed away are bringing me joy again. I love to write, design printables, and design crocheted items. Today marks the 15th month since he passed away, and there’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about him or miss him. As I have said before; I’m not moving on, I’m moving forward.

Now if you’re wondering how I created the planners, I have to give credit where credit is due. I enrolled in a course by The Secret OWL Society and have worked my way through the lessons. If you are interested in checking it out for yourself and creating your own for personal use or as a business, check out the Digital Planner Template. (Please note: I am an affiliate for this product and will receive commission from your purchase, but at no extra cost to you.)

I am enjoying the planner creation process and have learned about myself in the midst of it all. I love the versatility it gives me to move forward during this season of my life.

Have a wonderful day!

My Week in Review

I hope everyone has had a good week and weekend. Mine has been busy with my writing course, a couple extra shifts at work and getting my site updated. The latter was fun for me, and it really made me think about where I want to go in my writing career.

I write almost every single day. My journal is my thinking space, and it provides me with a place to voice my concerns, share my worries and come up with story ideas. Some days are vent days, while others are more productive.

My writing courses have been an eye opener for me in terms of what readers expect from different types of writing. I’ve been utilizing what I’ve learned so far, and can’t wait to see the results.

Even without formal training, I’ve had plenty of positive feedback from clients. Updating my website helped me realize that my work has been valuable to others, and has provided great content for their sites. What more could a person ask for?

Having short stories published has also been good for easing the self-doubt most (if not all) writers harbor occasionally. Polar Expressions Publishing holds annual contests for short stories, and my work has appeared in Shoreline (2016 Summer Collection) and Wherever We Roam (2015 Summer Collection). Seeing them in print among others gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Submitting articles on behalf of our library to a local newspaper helps me exercise my skills as well. There is never a lot of space for an article, so saying all that’s needed in less than 150 words can sometimes be a challenge. I envy those who can write flash fiction, because in some cases a newspaper article is much like that. Short, sweet and to the point.

As you may be aware, I do not spend my entire time writing. I also enjoy crocheting, spinning yarn and needle-felting. Yesterday I invested in a drum carder to make the process of carding my alpaca fiber easier and faster. I have several big bags of it, as well as no less than a dozen smaller bags. Plus I also have four bags of raw sheep wool. Do you think that will keep me busy for awhile?

Crocheting and spinning are my way to relax, and I often find my stories taking shape while I work with my hands. I’m the first to say I’m not much of a plotter, but when a story takes hold I will run with it. If any of you have read The Hidden Estate, you’ll see my hobbies have worked their way into the novel. It was the first novel I ever wrote, and those who have read it have given it a good rating which makes any new author do a little happy dance.

As I wrap up this post, I have to remind myself to take the time to just be. My mind is often going in several directions at once (are all writers like this?), and I have to center myself. And as a writer, I like a challenge. I have my usual topics to write about, but have found satisfaction in writing about something out of my element as well. Should you ever find yourself needing a blog post or article for your website, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Have a great week everyone,

Diane

Getting ready for another couple ounces of alpaca fiber.

Photo credit Copyright Diane Ziomek 2019. The photo is of my new drum carder, taken after I carded some dyed alpaca fiber.

Last Minute Decision Pays Off

I have to admit, I’m a little frugal when it comes to spending my money on something I feel I don’t really need. Or for something I feel is an indulgence.

We occasionally host workshops at the library for different things, and I generally don’t attend for one reason or another. Most often that reasoning is only logical to me I’m sure. Well, on Friday we were hosting a Sea Glass Art Workshop, and after seeing all the pretty things for it I commented to my manager I regretted not signing up. As luck would have it, there had been a last minute cancellation.

I decided on the spot to take advantage of it, and said I would fill that space available. I honestly didn’t give the frugal side of me a chance to list 101 reasons why I shouldn’t take it (it was $160.00) and am happy with my decision.

It was a last minute decision that paid off, because not only did I have a fun evening, I also came home with a piece of art which I created. The design was inspired by a photo found on Pinterest, and was so simple to make. We had a wonderful, knowledgeable instructor who owns her own studio (Shattered and in Pane) in Victoria, BC, Canada. It was a real treat to know she loaded up her supplies and drove them from Victoria to Mannville, AB., just so we could create our own works of art.

I see myself taking what I learned and buying some supplies to make more pieces. I think it’s something my sisters and I could do together, as well as my daughter and I. Not only will we be creating art, we’ll also be creating memories. And at this point in life, I am realizing that’s what’s most important. Creating the memories, having the laughs and drinking that special bottle of wine.

I spent the evening with some amazing women, and even though we were all given the same materials to work with, none of the finished projects were the same. I’m pretty sure mine was the only turtle though.

The photo (also posted on Instagram) is of my creation after a few hours of curing time. It won’t be ready for the wall for another day, just to be on the safe side. Oh, and the turtle’s name is Fred.

The point to all of this is, don’t be afraid to try something new. You never know how something will be until you give it a try. (And if money is an object, perhaps you could start a little side hustle to fund the little extras you deserve.)

On another note, I’ll be adding a few pages to my site over the next couple of weeks so feel free to check back often to see what I’m up to. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and have a great week.

Diane

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