Monday, November 22, 2010

Stepping Outside

We all have a comfort zone.  It's that little area that we rarely step outside of for any number of reasons.  I have many reasons.  Shall I name them all?  Alright, perhaps not all, but I'll give you four of my top reasons for not stepping outside of my comfort zone.

1 - fear of the unknown
2 - too much work
3 - too much to think about
4 - fear of failure

Fear of the unknown is always a tough one!  But if we never push ourselves into the unknown, we would never have have new jobs or even children for that matter.  My biggest issue with childbirth and delivery was fear of the unknown . . .hearing all those crazy childbirth stories that people told you, even months before your first contraction.  Those stories only added fuel to the fire for my fear of the unknown on childbirth. 

Too much work . . . well if I never conquered that one, I would never have had the opportunity to work with such awesome talented people at New England Scrapbook Company.  I am not just talking about the owners and employees (who are incredible individuals), I'm also talking about working with (scrapping with) some extremely talented customers as well!

To much to think about . . . it is true.  My brain is on overdrive 24/7.  When I'm not sleeping, I'm thinking.  It seems that anything outside of my comfort zone just gets my brain churning with possible pitfalls.  Then comes the panic and the sweat.  If I could only turn off my brain.

Fear of failure is a tough one.  There are hundreds of quotes on failure, and one of my favorites is from Benjamin Franklin:  "I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong."  I have spent many years as a parent, girl scout leader, co-worker, or mentor saying that mistakes are good, we learn from them.  But I have a hard time making sure that I, myself, can hear that message. Self-doubt is something that I carry with me all the time.

And how does this apply to scrapbooking.  There have been a number of challenges that I've seen on message boards, blogs, and websites that I have wanted to join, but I've not for all of the reasons above.  I either don't know how to post things electronically.  I find it to be too cumbersome.  I stress about it and think about it.  In the end I convince myself not to do it because I just wouldn't win anything anyway.

This past weekend I decided that I will no longer overlook opportunities within my reach simply because of the four reasons above.  I saw an opportunity to show my work with one of my favorite die cut companies, CottageCutz.  The challenge:  For every project that you upload to their Facebook site featuring the use of a CottageCutz die, you are entered to win a die of your choice.  It can be a new project, or a past one, and you can enter up to three times.  Last night I did just that.  I posted my camping layout using their camping dies.  Check out their wall.  I may have time to post one or two other projects this week (and have one in the works as we speak).

My second challenge did not go as well.  I hit all four of my top reasons!  There were some unknowns (posting onto a message board was a stumbling block), the technical side of things appeared to be too much work (I couldn't re-size the photo and this required some research), I definitely stressed about it, and in the end . . . I FAILED!  By the time I was able to figure out the photo size, I realized I didn't have access to the message board.  I had to apply, and by the time the permissions were granted, deadline over!  But alas . . . there is still next week's challenge.  I hear they do them weekly.

I have one more challenge on my radar . . . for one of my favorite paper/embellishment companies. I will keep you posted on my progress.  To some this might seem small.  For me . . . this is HUGE. 

Step outside of your comfort zone!  No matter what it is, challenge yourselves!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Have a Stickling Day!

I completely over-crowded my November with committing to do a lot of classes at NESC.  And not must one class, but three . . . yes three classes!  And one of them was the calendar class (thankfully only six of the twelve months, but what was I thinking).  I don't mind that I committed myself.  I just mind that I didn't realize all of the other things in my life, and my creativity was a little rushed.  I wasn't sure that my pages were up to snuff!  However . . . 19 calendar kits were put together by my co-instructor and I, and 19 calendar kits are gone.  And talk about a great day.  My co-instructor and I were blessed with a great group of attendees.  Great job, ladies!

In just nine days I will be teaching my Holiday Page class . . . two very different layouts.  Loads of die cuts.  And what is a die cut without a smattering of Stickles?  A die cut is just a die cut.  Add a little Stickles . . . and we're talking a whole new die cut.  I did some monochromatic trees on one of my layouts, and I really love the way they turned out.  The colors were a bit daunting at first, but when I was done I just kind of mellowed to it all and had a great feeling about the way it turned out.  That doesn't always happen, so I treasure those creative moments.

And just eleven days from today, teaching a Holiday Card class . . . five designs, ten total cards.  Talk about rushed . . . I had all of the paper picked out.  I just needed to figure out how to pull it together.  So last night . . . in my new kicking myself in rear mode . . . I sat down and got to work.  Today I delivered the ten cards to the store.  I used some die cuts.  I used some stamps.  I have to say . . . a stamped image is just a stamped image.  Sure, they're beautiful.  But when you color them in or add some sparkle, well, it's a whole new stamped image. In fact, I'm so excited to be doing the class that I'll be putting together another design on the fly for those who attend . . . so it will be six designs - twelve cards total! 

Things are a little dicey at my Monday to Friday job, and life can be rough around the edges.  Wouldn't it be great if I could take some Stickles into work and go to town at my desk . . . a little on the phone . . . a little on my files . . . edge my shelf with it . . . perhaps edge some of my informational manuals?  And with life . . . perhaps Stickle some of the folks who aren't feeling so well or going through difficult times.  Sure, it's pleasing to the eye, but it doesn't cure all of our woes.

But where it does work . . . use it.  Add a little Stickle to your day!