Sunday, February 28, 2010

Personality Types

I came across a post today on The Blog Herald.  The author, Andrew was discussing an article he had read wherein 64 graphic designers were given the Myers Briggs personality test.  If you've ever been a candidate for any kind of professional job, you may've been asked to take this test, as potential employers often use it as tool to "identify" your "fit" within their company.  

Though it's been several years since I had taken this test (and thought I had forgotten what "type" I was), it was interesting to note that upon reading the type descriptions, I quickly recalled that I am an ENFJ.  ENFJs are generally regarded as "Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership."  While this is written in the most flattering way (there are no negative attributes given), I DO feel this adequately describes me and my motivations.  So, I'm still wondering what the majority of the 64 graphic artists turned out to be?  Any guesses?
What personality type do you see yourself as?  Care to share?  Click HERE to read a brief synopsis of the 16 types.  

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Choose Your Colors!

So I was reading in one of my favorite magazines today (second only to US Weekly...I know, it's trash, but I'm hooked), Where Women Create, and came across a fun little sidebar in the article about The Paper Source:

"...our 'Colorscope' is also about coordinating colors– and then learning how those colors reflect your personality. Our founder Sue felt that a person’s favorite colors revealed something interesting about them, and thus was born the Colorscope. Try it, pick out your two favorites...and read what they tell you about yourself. Just as I’m wowed by how our colors work together, I’m blown away by how my favorites really speak to who I am."

How fun is this, right?  I mean, I know, it's kind of like rubbing a Magic Eight Ball or picking Lotto numbers based on what your fortune cookie reads, but I can't help myself!  When it comes to mini-quizes, personality-tests, or any other type of prediction game, I'm in!  (Remember that game MASH?  Where's my Lamborghini, 6 kids, Mansion, and husband Patrick Swayze?)

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to come across one of these "pick it and your universe will unfold before you"  things from such a reliable source as The Paper Source!  Why not join in the fun with me?!

Here're the Descriptions
(Because it can be too tiny to read!)

You enjoy life and good health to the fullest. Be careful of those around you, your personal power and financial success can overwhelm them.

Grand adventures are part of who you are. You are assertive with powerful energy. People feel like they are your close friends moments after they have met you. You explore the inner meaning of life.

Finding a balance and creating a nurturing environment is important to you. You also love to be needed.

You are so good at making decisions. You have great strength and conviction in your beliefs. People have a hard time figuring you out, but can always count on you for a crazy adventure.

You listen carefully to everyone around you but really listen for information and details, not emotions. You have amazing logic. You need to find refuge–a place for yourself. P.S. You are also a flirt.

You are a dedicated party person who hides your sensitive and sentimental side. Although you are pessimistic about your personal dreams, you are incredibly skilled at innovation. You are fearless in your dress and put together the most unusual combinations.

A great champion of the helpless and defender of the underdog, you have an amazing ability to get things done, as well as to fix things.

You are very lucky with opportunities appearing like magic. You are an enchanter, attracting people to you. You are open and enthusiastic.

Curious, enthusiastic and easily stimulated, you are a magnet for opportunity and every new idea. Be careful not to over stimulate yourself, but learn to focus.

You know who you are and what you want. Popularity, money and power are all yours. You are kind and generous to your friends. You love to have fun at parties, especially if you are in charge. You are also a perfectionist and you state your opinions boldly.

Courageous and passionate, you have a playful side that balances your serious and spiritual nature. You are confident and not afraid to take action. Remember that the journey is often more important than the outcome of your endeavors.

You are inspirational. You are sympathetic and empathetic. People love to be around you because you make them feel important.

You are able to gently say the things that your friends need to hear. You have a lovely smile but you need to smile much more often. You are too serious and you need to be more tolerant of failure–both in yourself and in others.

Your appearance is amazing–you always know what looks good on you. You are charming, concerned with the reaction of others and find balance in life. When in a bad mood you may have the tendency to see only the negative.

You are intuitive and have the extraordinary ability to find the center of things. You can predict the future and have a fabulous sense of fashion. You are a great advisor to your friends.

Friends know that you are the shoulder to cry on. With inexhaustible energy, you are a great team builder. Love relationships are very important, but usually you are the more supportive and unappreciated half.

You are traditional and reserved on the surface, yet you are a renegade at heart. Your demeanor is steadfast and mysterious. Popularity is not important to you,–which makes you all the more enticing to others.

You are very attractive, talkative and have beautiful, expressive eyes. One of your greatest assets is your sincere love for those around you. You are in touch with your emotions and help others get in touch with theirs.

You are the one that everyone should ask for advice because you stay objective and don't get petty. You need space and like opinions, especially in love relationships.

You have a classic style, are a romantic, easy to love, and people find you appealing. Some may think of you as quiet, but you are really thinking deeply about what is going on around you, and then coming up with the perfect solution.

You are down to earth, comfortable with who you are and have a great ability to find joy in life. You don't take things personally, you rebound from failure, and go for what you want.

As an activist you have the power to change the world. Both admired and loved as a friend, you must learn to appreciate both yourself and what you have accomplished.

Pressure stimulates you and you like setting goals for yourself. You are exciting, curious and are great at parties. You surround yourself with lots of unusual people and have loose boundaries.

Committed to making the world a better place, you have strong faith and a calming effect on your friends.

You are highly emotional and very loyal to your friends. You are disciplined, an overachiever and very serious. You have a keen understanding of the past and are aware of why things happen the way they do.

Though for me it was VERY difficult to choose only two "favorites" (I'm a color-junkie), I chose leaf and strawberry, though lake and fuschia were near tie-breakers!  What were your two favorite colors?  Do they accurately describe you?  Please share with me! 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Living Life Amid the Thorns

Ah, blessed Saturday evening!  Thankfully my sweet one and I got our errrands done early today, and decided instead of going out, we'd just hang at home.  After spending about an hour returning things to their rightful place in the studio, I decided it was time to try to "catch up" on some of my favorite blogs.  (Does anyone else feel sad when the Google Reader toolbar says "434"-- meaning there are 434 posts I haven't caught up on yet?)  So many people I want to visit, so little time! 

One of my biggest problems in blogland,  I think, is that I get so easily sidetracked.  I'll start by reading one of my favorites, and then I just have to stop and comment.  (I'm one of those who STRONGLY believes in positive encouragement and reinforcement.)  Next thing I know, I've noticed someone else's clever or insightful comment, and I have to just "take a quick peek" to see who she is.  I tiptoe lightly over to her blog, and then it happens all over again!  I HAVE to comment on what she's so courageously shared (we are sharing our hearts and souls here!)  Next thing you know.....   You get the idea.  And so, 2 hours later, I'm down to "433" and have found 3 new blogs to "Follow"! 

I came across the wonderful blog of a gal who lives right here in my own area (Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex).  Ordinarily, I'd love to share her with you, but I don't want to overstep.   She mentioned in one of her posts that she had been feeling blue lately (largely in part to an infection she'd been overcoming AND the winter gray skies.)  She also commented about a loved one accusing her of throwing a "pity party" and it just broke my heart.  As someone who struggles with depression (and Seasonal Affective Disorder), I could SO feel her pain. 

At that moment, I just had to stop and send her a personal email letting her know that I can empathize.  I've dealt with depression for many years now and a few months ago, I too, was recovering from a serious infection.  The antibiotics can really reak havoc on your emotions! 

Then, because I STILL felt like I really wanted her to KNOW that she was understood and valued ('cause, really, isn't that what we all want?), I thought, "I'll just create a quick digital collage with a quote I like for her to print and hang."  Well, if you're anything like me, "quick" is a word that is incongruous with "create".  Another 2 hours later, I finished my small 5x7 collage and attached it to my email. 

I'm not trying to "boast" or say what a good person I am or anything.  Not at all!  I hope it doesn't come across that way.  I just SO know how alone one can feel at times due to illness, tragedy, or circumstances beyond our control.  I'm so thankful for my blogging community that gives me the opportunity to connect with others who are going through tough things, too.  It allows me the opportunity to forget about my worries and focus on caring for another, if but only in a small way.

Live Collage meant to print as 5x7 or smaller.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Drawing Winner!

Whew!  Valentine's Day came and went and I haven't gotten around to declaring the winner of my Blogaversary drawing until now!  So sorry to leave y'all hanging in utter suspense (I know you couldn't sleep at night just wondering if you could possibly be the lucky recipient of this Oh-So-Lovely Love Journal)! 

I put all the names in the "hat" and the winner is...........

Well before I announce the winner (suspense done American-Idol-Style, which I find to be uber-annoying), I'd like to show you a sample of my husband's endearing handwriting.  (p.s. I LOVED all your comments about your loved ones' quirks!  So much fun!  Thanks for sharing.)  This is from the inside of the Valentine's Day card he gave me.  I hope he doesn't hate me for broadcasting it to the world...aka Blogland. 

Isn't he the sweetest, most adorable husband EVER?! 

I hope y'all enjoyed Valentine's Day as much as we did!  And, Sarah (yep, you won it, baby!) I hope you and John enjoy the Love Notes journal, too! 

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Love Notes and Blogaversary

My friend, Alisa, passed along a fantastic idea:  a conversation journal.  The idea is for you and the loved one to leave little notes for one another periodically.  However, instead of having little post-its (not wedding vows, Grey’s Anatomy fans) and scraps of paper to try to keep up with, all the notes can be kept secure in one nifty little place. 
Lloyd & Cheryl 5th Wedding Anniversary 121009 4x6 size 1
I love my dear sweet husband, Lloyd.  He is the most loving man I’ve ever known and treats me better than I ever imagined anyone would treat me.  He’s kind and honest and sensitive, and has amazing patience with me.  He has so many wonderful qualities, but good penmanship is not one of them.  Though he’s smarter than most people, he just never seemed to get the point of taking time to write properly.  But, I love this little quirk about him.  I love getting greeting cards from him on all those special occasions:  Christmas, Birthday, Valentine’s Day, Anniversary, etc.  He always seems to pick out the most beautiful cards with verse that seems to be perfectly written about our relationship.  As much as I love these chosen words, however, what I love MORE is the personal message he always includes.  He writes little things about how much he loves me and wants to be with me forever (and sappy stuff like that, which makes my heart melt and my eyes water.)  These special occasions are the rare times I get to see his clunky and ill-formed lettering, and it just endears him to me more.  So, when Alisa mentioned the conversation journal, I KNEW this was something that I HAD to implement into Lloyd’s and my life. 
fortune cookies
One of the gifts Lloyd had given me last Christmas was this miniature book kit about Love Fortunes.  (He’s one of those “shop-on-Christmas-Eve” kind of guys and I never know what crazy thing he’s going to bring home!)  When I first opened the gift, I tried not to show my disappointment.  “What a waste of eight bucks!”  I thought.   But, being the semi-decent wife I strive to be, I graciously accepted and thanked him. 

How wrong I was!  That little silver fortune cookie and book of perforated tear-out love fortunes has been one of the best $8 we’ve spent in our marriage!  I took it in the bathroom one day to flip through while doing my business.  I saw such cute fortunes, I quickly picked one out and folded it inside the silver fortune cookie.  I left it by Lloyd’s sink for him to find.  The next morning when I got up, I was thrilled to see a new fortune waiting in the silver cookie on MY side of the vanity.  

Although we’ve run out of most of the “good” fortunes, we’ve begun adding our own little comments in addition to the generic ones printed (and no, they don’t all end in “in bed”—though I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that!  :)  I’ve so enjoyed Lloyd’s little hand-written notes and have saved all these little fortune slips for future scrapbooking layouts.

Now, with a Love Notes journal, Lloyd and I can continue our little notes to each other, but I won’t have to try to keep track of 100 little slips of paper!  I will, however, have a book full of precious love notes written in my sweetheart’s horrible handwriting to cherish forever.
Love Notes Journal 020810 1 Front

With all that said, I decided that since I missed my 1 year blogaversary (during which most bloggers offer a giveaway as a celebration), it was time to offer a giveaway to anyone kind enough to follow me here.  I’m going to giveaway this lovingly-crafted (notice I used my paper toasting technique) “Love Notes” journal so you and your loved one can share in the fun!  (Or, if you’re not currently involved with someone—take this opportunity to use it as a journal for yourself, and write about YOU and the things you LOVE about yourself!)

The rules:  You don’t have to comment unless you feel like it.  If you’d like to be included in the giveaway drawing, however, I will need you to email me or otherwise leave your name and some way I can contact you (email address, blog address, facebook ID, whatever.) 

If you DO choose to leave a comment, what I’d like to know is this:  what’s your favorite quirky thing about your significant other?  And if you don’t have a significant other (which I TOTALLY get because I was single a LONG time!), tell me about a favorite quirk about a family member or friend, or even your pet!

Finally,  it is not  requisite that you click on the “Follow Me” tab to the right to follow my future postings on this blog.  However, I’d be thrilled to add new readers/friends.  I’ve so enjoyed the friendships and connections I’ve been developing over this last year in blogland and hope to continue to do so.

Drawing will occur on Valentine’s Day 02-14-10 (Sunday).  I’ll announce the winner on Monday 02-15-10.  Good luck!

Love Notes Journal 020810 2
Inside Front Cover to Write Your Names and the Year

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Paper Toasting

This month’s ATC theme was “Winter”.  Almost immediately I knew I wanted to use a doily somehow on my design, as doilies most perfectly simulate snowflakes (except for the fact that unlike snowflakes, all 12 doilies in a package ARE exactly the same—remember Arnold Horshack’s poem in “Welcome Back Kotter?”)  With Valentine’s Day approaching soon, there was no problem finding doilies in the craft store.  I love the crisp white filigreed edges!  How perfect they are!  But, as we typically work in Vintage style, I wanted to make my doilies look more aged.  They were just TOO crisp and white!  I didn’t want to tea-dye them because I didn’t want them to be entirely mulled cider color.  I wanted just the edges to be aged looking.  But, that was another problem. 

For those of you familiar with scrapbooking and crafting, there’s a technique known as “antiquing” paper.  It’s also sometimes referred to as “aging”, “inking”, “edging”, and even “distressing”.  The general idea is that you take a sepia or other neutral colored ink pad to the edges of your desired image.  This makes the image look older and more “worn”.    This is the look I was aiming for with my doilies, but NO WAY was I gonna be able to get ink to all the intricate edges of my doily.  So, I referred back to a technique I developed a few months ago that I call “toasting” (you know, like toasting a marshmallow over a campfire.)

It’s very simple.  Basically all you need is a HOT heat gun.  I say this because I imagine a low-wattage heat source won’t work the same.  The one I use is a 2-temperature one by The Paper Studio I bought at Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon.  I use the “high” setting. 
Doily Toasting 4
All you have to do is “blow-dry” the edges of the doily and then also kind of straight down from above (to get the inner filigreed cutout edges.)  As you move your heat gun around, you will get varying colors of “aging” effects.  Toast as little or as much as you like.  It’s just like toasting a marshmallow.  Initially it takes a little patience, but once you see the golden brown goodness, you’ll be hooked!

See the difference between the “before and after” doilies?Doily Toasting 1BEFORE (unaltered)
Doily Toasting 2 AFTER (lightly toasted)
Doily Toasting 3 Isn’t the “aged” look from toasting just wonderful?!

So, with this technique in mind, I created my winter-themed ATC by implementing an antiqued doily to represent winter’s snowflakes.  The inspiration for my winter ATC was my favorite song of all-time, “The Rose”, sung by Bette Midler.   I’ve discovered that several of my ATCs reflect music lyrics.  I guess most people who know me know that I love music.  Music speaks to me more powerfully than any other medium.  It’s no wonder that when I think of my art designs, I think in the language of music (and words—my second great love).  

As someone who has always been overweight, I didn’t have but a handful of dates in high school.  Even though in college I had more guys ask me out, I still felt like it was going to take FOREVER to find my “Mr. Right”.   Many lonely Saturday nights I felt so like that barren seed buried beneath the winter’s bitter snow, awaiting the arrival of my springtime blossoming.  God was my Sun and I knew with His precious care, one day I would become the rose.  I feel so thankful that when I was 30, my Prince Charming found me and we fell deeply in love and were married. 

It’s been over 5 years now and I still remember that cold bitter winter of my life vividly.  But, those memories make me even more grateful for the Sun’s gentle love and the opportunity to finally blossom. 
Doily Toasting 7
Note:  if adding glitter, such as I did here, be sure to add it after you’ve toasted.  Otherwise, the extreme heat melts it.
ATC Envelope 1
My finished ATC rests inside this hand-crafted envelope. 

Friday, February 05, 2010

Hearts of Wellness

We did it!  Recently I was fortunate enough to come across a wonderful website,   On this site you can select your area (by city or zip code) and it will show you mulitple volunteer opportunities from which you can choose.  I came across a program called "Hearts of Wellness".  

There is a clinic located nearby that is manned by volunteers (including doctors and nurses) that services children who are uninsured or whose families can't afford doctor visits.  Pediplace was asking for Valentine treat bag donations to hand out to their patients during the week of February 11-16. 

Hearts of Wellness Service Project 020510 1

I emailed the volunteer coordinator to inquire as to how many treat bags were needed.  For some reason she was very vague and I couldn't seem to pin her down on a definitive answer to my query.  She mentioned that she had two others who had volunteered to make and donate 25 Valentine treat bags each.  Again, I asked how many more they needed and all she would say was, "Please feel free to just donate as many or as few as you are comfortable with.  We'll take any donations we can get." 

After further exploration of the website, I read somewhere that Pediplace tends to as many as 75 patients/day.  With some handy-dandy calculator magic (because yes, I am THAT poor at doing math in my head), I came up with a number of 375 (75 patients x 5 days of the week).  I then had a goal in mind and quickly got to work.

I have learned a great deal in Photoshop this year and always love working on digital projects.  So, I whipped up about 7 different Valentines that could simply be printed from one's computer and cut to size.  I then attached these Valentine pictures to a bulk email that I sent out to over 100 of my friends, asking them if any would like to participate with me on this service project?

Well, not surprisingly at all, I had many wonderful people respond with loving hearts and willing hands!  These ladies generously purchased and put together a total of over 250 Valentine treat bags complete with signed Valentines and LOTS of candy!  (Shout out of thanks to the following friends (and their families) for happily helping me with this project:  Cara Stimson, Lori Tolbert, Suzanne Strickler, Denise LaJoie, Crystal Bell, Glenda Crump and Jennifer Long.) 

Although the Valentines were made in an effort to help these children who are economically challenged feel the community's love and support for them, I'm the one who ended up feeling loved and supported!  My heart was full of joy in being able to participate in this simple act of kindness, but also by being willingly joined by wonderful friends.  I couldn't have done it without their generous hearts and feel so blessed to know these great gals!

Hearts of Wellness Service Project 020510 2
The staff at Pediplace was SO amazed when I showed up with a giant Rubbermaid tub full of donations!  They had no idea that I would be bringing so many for them!  I only wish all those who participated could've been with me to see their happy faces.  Thank you, ladies (and families), for all you've done!