Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It Worked!

So Much Love To Recieve

Guess what. Nobody noticed! Or if they did then they didn’t let on and gave me gifts anyway. They love me anyway – no matter how I feel about myself. And quite possibly in spite of how I feel about myself just to prove a point because they are cool like that.

My last post was about wanting a certain thing for Christmas and how my self-esteem issues get in the way of feeling like I deserve nice things at all. So I set an intention in order to try to enjoy this holiday more and not become tangled up in my own emotional baggage. My intention is:

This year I am going to make a conscious effort to pay attention to feeling good about receiving. *

Receiving is really all about the love. Taking in the love. My family took the time to think of gifts I would like, went out and bought them with hard earned money, boxed them up, wrapped them ever so carefully (my mom even makes her own ribbon bows!), and presented them with this look of hope in their eyes that I would like them. Add up all that effort and love. That is priceless!! Then repeat for each and every gift.

Would they do that for me if they hated me as much as I hate myself? NO. They. Would. Not. So there, self-hatred! Take that!!! You got a big ol’ LOVE whooping!

It felt great! It felt really uncomfortable! I was squirmy in my seat. I had to keep reminding myself to have a good time. Oh, yeah, right, take in the love. That was the plan. I opened each gift deliberately and slowly trying to take in every electron of love I could handle.

The Result: JOY. Relaxation. Appreciation for how lucky I am. Fun. Happiness. Gratitude. My Love Tank filled up.

This little change in my thoughts about receiving made a HUGE difference in my enjoyment of the holidays this year. That’s all it was. A change in my thoughts. I changed “I am doo doo.” to “I am loved.” and it made all the difference. How simple. How completely complex.

I hope your holidays went well!

- Vickie

*I’m including 2011 in this intention. 

In the photo above I admit I am not as happy as I look. I didn’t want to have that photo taken, but I needed an image for this follow up post. Yes, I do need a scarf at my mom's place. That's a patio door behind me and the cold blows right through it. It's about 30 degrees where I am sitting. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A (Possible) New Gadget For My Old Baggage

I am ridiculously difficult to buy presents for… unless you are buying me art supplies. Then the list of possible gifts is endless and has been known to include power tools like compound miter saws.

I’m not a girly girl so jewelry, make-up, and most fashionable clothing is out. I can’t use lovely scented lotions because I’m allergic to so many unidentified things. I don’t really cook anymore so kitchen stuff is useless, not to mention my kitchen is already well stocked with cookware and gadgets.

I do not like other people spending money on me. I really truly do not like it. In fact, I really dislike spending money on myself, too. So when it comes time for Mr. M to ask me what I want for Christmas, I get hung up in The Spending Money (On Me) Spiral. He is spending money on me. But it’s OUR money. Therefore it’s partly my money being spent on me. Double whammy.

The double whammy causes me to be completely, totally, cripplingly indecisive if I happen to (rarely) want something that is a little expensive. This year’s indecisiveness is brought to you by our friends at Apple because I really want the new iPod Touch.

“But, Vickie,” you say. “You already have a perfectly good iPod Touch.” Yes, I do. I know. I love it. It works just fine. It has brought me countless hours of joy.

But last week my twin sister, Valerie, got an iPhone. This was the first time I had a chance to play with an iPhone. The screen is amazingly gorgeous. I can actually read tiny lettering on web pages on the iPhone that my failing eyesight can’t read on my Touch. Then I played with the camera, the video camera, FaceTime, and then all the other cool stuff that my Touch doesn’t have.

My brain began to scream, “WANT! WANT! WANT!” My brain began to show me in rapid fire succession all the fun projects that I could do with a new Touch like make stop motion animations, pepper Twitter with photos, make video tutorials, FaceTime with my sister and far away friends, and finally have access to things like VoiceOver so I can have the web and Twitter “read to me” when I need to rest my eyes or cannot tolerate light anymore.

I have been going back and forth with “yes” and “no” to Mr. M on this for weeks, even before Valerie got her iPhone. He has not enjoyed my dance with The Spending Money (On Me) Spiral. Today he required an answer. I balked. I stammered. Both “yes” and “no” fought to come out of my mouth at the same time. So I completely gave the decision to him. Now it’s going to be a surprise if he buys it or not. I am quite sure he will buy it because he is so super nice to me and totally spoils me at Christmas all year. But I am not going to be disappointed if he doesn’t buy it either. Like I said, I have a perfectly good iPod Touch already.

So where lies the rub?? What is my damage?

This is not about the iPod Touch. This is not really about the money. This is about my self-hatred, which lately has been off the charts as I struggle to be productive through excruciating pain and fatigue trying to be “good enough” and never getting there.

Inside, I am being torn in half.

One side really wants the iPod Touch and is excited like a gleeful 6 year old about it. This side is jumping up and down inside my head and squealing right now about playing Angry Birds on that clear new screen.

The other side is just doom doom doom. “You don’t deserve it. Who do you think you are? You have a perfectly good iPod already. No one should ever buy you any gifts because you are a piece of doo doo. No nice things for you – especially nice things that will bring you untold, incalculable hours of fun and joy and let you spread untold, incalculable hours of fun and joy to the interwebs!”

I really need to work on this self-hatred problem. It’s sneaking its way into everything. I deny myself so much good because of it. I deny myself happiness, success, comfort, and the list could go on for quite some length. What ends up happening is that I am also denying you - my family and friends - the gifts I have been given to share because this self-hatred makes me isolate and not share my love/joy/art with anyone. This self-hatred makes me feel like no one could possibly ever want to see what I do or spend one second with me. I fight tooth and nail with it just to post what I do on the web, like this post for instance.

New iPod Touch or not, receiving gifts at Christmas taxes my self-hatred significantly. As the pile of gifts with my name on them grows, so does my anxiety. If these people really knew how horrible I am they would be giving me coal like I deserve!

This year I am going to make a conscious effort to pay attention to feeling good about receiving. I’m going to listen more to the gleeful 6 year old in me. I’m not going to listen to doom doom doom. Receiving a gift is about taking in the love from the gift giver. It’s not about me and my cr@p unless I choose to make it about me and my cr@p by listening to the doom. Doom, you shall have Christmas off! I’m going to keep reminding myself that if I really were as horrible as I think I am, then these wonderful people who love me might have noticed by now and wouldn’t be giving me any gifts at all.

As part of my plan for 2011, the word I have chosen to focus on is HEALING (more on this soon). Quite near the top of the list of things that need to be healed is my self-hatred. I think that might clean up some other messes lurking in my baggage, too.

If you are suffering from the “self-hatred doom doom doom” this holiday season let me know in the comments and we will pull each other through this together! If you have a case of the “I’m not good enough”s this year, I got your back, too! If these are things you have worked through and have some solutions to offer I welcome your thoughts!

Please have a happy and safe holiday!


- Vickie

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Customer Action Shots: Kitty Ornaments

My friend Sandy, of PunkyJane.etsy.com, was kind enough to send me a set of dominoes she thrifted for a mere 20 cents last year. I made her two domino ornaments as a thank you. She requested that I put her new kitties, Muppit and Licorice, on them to mark their first Christmas with their family.

I have not done pet portraits before. She sent me photos of the cats and I did my best. She says they really do look like her cats! Yay!

"Licorice" Domino Ornament :: Action Shot

This year she is using the ornaments to mark their stockings. How clever! I asked her to send me some action shots of my Tiny Works of Awesome in use! Are these not adorable with all the Christmas decorations around them?!

"Muppit" Domino Ornament :: Action Shot

I hope you are having a fantastic holiday time with good food and fun with loved ones. I still have gifts to make and gifts to buy! We have not even put up our tree yet. That simply must happen soon. I adore Christmas trees! I could sit and stare at a Christmas tree all night.

But not tonight... for tonight we party! Tomorrow is my birthday, and I intend to spend it sleeping off tonight's festivities. Then a trip to the craft store, of course.

Have a happy happy merry weekend!

- Vickie

Friday, December 10, 2010

Double Your Fun! : A Giveaway!

I am super thrilled to announce another event I’m doing with my local Etsy Team*, the Rochester New York Etsy Street Team (RNEST)! We are a group of artisans living in or around Rochester, NY, joined in a common cause, creating handmade items that we share with the world in our Etsy shops. This is a fantastic group of folks to work with. They are fun and knowledgeable about the business of handmade. Plus they are seriously generous! There is a giveaway on our team blog every week!

Michelle from The Quilted House and I decided to double-team y’all for the holidays. We are offering a great big giveaway! A full gift ensemble… wrapping included!

I am giving away a domino pendant in one of my favorite designs – the “Home Sweet Home Nesting Bird Collage” Altered Domino Fine Art Pendant.

The collage on this domino pendant is a print of a larger work of art that I made specifically for my domino jewelry. The original is 6” x 3”, about the same proportion as a domino but bigger. I sent the edge of the house layer through my sewing machine and am delighted that the detail of the stitching came through in the tiny print on the domino. The text “home sweet home” is itty bitty text cut out, backed with red cardstock, and glued to the little print. It has quite a lot of dimension for being so small.

The winner gets their choice of black waxed cotton cord, ball chain, or ribbon for the necklace as well as their choice of length for the necklace. Keep reading for the details about how to enter the contest.

Plus, through December 31st, entering the coupon code RNESTROCKS will net you 10% off everything in my Etsy shop! [Shipping deadline for Christmas is December 20, 2010] 

Michelle, as you can maybe tell from the name of her shop, The Quilted House, loves quilting. She loves to create useful quilted items such as qPouches for your music player, gorgeous notebook and journal covers,  and awesome stockings and ornaments that are beautiful and will make you smile every time you use them. Her shop is currently chock full of fun items for the holidays and beyond!


She is giving away a cute little quilted mini gift tote! This little quilted gem is the perfect size to hold a few truffles and a gift card, earrings, a ring box, or the fabulous domino pendant you just won. The recipient can then reuse it the next time a gift-giving occasion arises - the gift that keeps on giving! How cool is that?!

I can personally attest to the precision with which Michelle creates her works of quilted awesomeness. I’ve never seen such neat and tidy seams and hems! Don’t get me started about her folded corners on her line of jotters! Whoa! You cannot go wrong with purchasing a bevy of gifts from her shop!

The coupon code RNESTROCKS will give you a 10% discount in The Quilted House, too!

Ok! So you are saying, “Shut it already! How do I win this pot of gold??”

Go to the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team blog and get the details, which involve the usual things like hearting my shop, following the RNEST blog, and bonus entries for tweeting and blogging the giveaway. The winner will be chosen using the random number generator on Tuesday, December 14th and will be announced in the next Wednesday Wellspring on the RNEST blog on December 15th.

Good luck! I can't wait to see who wins! I get excited about giveaways! 

Happy Holidays!!

- Vickie

*What are Etsy Teams? They are an Etsy.com community feature where one can gather at the crossroads of the handmade marketplace and community, meet people with common interests, and collaborate. The Teams feature makes it easy for you to join an existing team or to create, maintain, and promote a new one. It's also a way for shoppers to browse by theme or location and find shops that might interest them.