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Each year I like to look back over the previous year, and then set goals for the coming year. Many people do this on Jan 1st; I prefer to do it on my birthday. I often refine the accomplishments and goals until my new year, Samhain, but the bulk of the work is done on or around my birthday. I also like to do a tarot reading.

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For all of my artist friends. You qualify as an artist is you do anything that requires creativity. You are a friend if you have vaguely positive feelings about me, at least for the purposes of this meme. 🙂

The Three Laws of Art

The Three Laws of Art

I’ve been meaning to write a book, a follow up to Magickal Connections, for years now. But it’s a daunting task, and I couldn’t get my ‘handle’, my thesis if you will. Then in late March I realized I had the title and all at once the whole outline came to me.

(Sometimes I hate my muse, but she’s kickass when she comes through.)

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(A friend asked for my advice on tackling the office. Here’s my reply)

You’re right that its a big project, all the more so because it’s not a room anyone writes about when they are talking about organization. (I think everyone its dismayed!) So here is what I’ve done, feel free to use what makes sense and ignore the rest.

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(To be revisited in six months, around my birthday.)

Health:

Peri-menopause is proving to be more difficult than I expected, although why I thought it would be another else, I’m not sure. Having spent two years attempting to get in better shape I find myself at the same place, nearly, that I was post-chemo. This (literally) depressing. (A mental state I wrestle with far too often to be healthy.)

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Next in our year of organizing was the library.

First of all, we looked through the house and found the books that were ‘living’ elsewhere and brought them into the room. Then we went through our books, shelf by shelf and decided to keep (or not). This took most of Saturday, and resulted in three large bags of books going out to be sold. ($45!)

We replaced three glass shelves with wooden ones because they were bowing under the weight.

Then came the big task: filing all of our books. This was most of Sunday, and if it weren’t for clearing out so many books, it would have been grueling, instead of just wearying. As it is, we ended up having a long discussion over lunch about whether non-fiction should be broken out by subject type, or just completely filed by alpha.

Here’s the thing, our paperbacks (99% of which are fiction) are filed by alpha, in two stacks on the top shelf of five bookshelves (10 rows total). Fiction hardbacks or mass-market paperbacks are filed by alpha starting under the first paperback shelf and continuing clockwise around the room until we reach Z (at bookshelf number 3, or 15 shelves total). Then we have two shelves of auto- and biographies, a shelf of gardening books, a shelf of travel books, and a shelf of books I’ve made. Then we start with the other non-fiction, again by alpha, skipping the bottom shelf of three bookshelves to make room for the ‘oversize’ nonfiction books, including my crafting books (yay Martha Stewart) and J’s music library. Under the last two stacks of paperbacks are several shelves for astrology books and tarot books and general divination books. On the other side of the room is a bookshelf solely of graphic novels, comic books, and art books. Next to that are the two bookshelves that are the rest of my occult reference library.

A Queen Anne style armchair sits next to the media cabinet that holds the household server and a table lamp, just right for reading a good book . . . of which we have several. It’s really perfect for settling in with a cup of tea and having a quiet time.

Our first organizing project of the year was the garage. It seemed especially appropriate after the extra special mess created by the holidays.

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Woven into our year of organizing are some very specific projects.

Hang a curtain rod (and curtains) in the guest room. Since there is a lamp post *right* across the street, the light-blocking shade really makes a difference for our guests, but its not so great during the summer months when it also blocks the breeze. So we’ll be hanging a curtain to help the situation.

Paint the hall sideboard. It was a craigslist find from about a decade ago, and is very sturdy. But the top is destroyed (water damage from plants) and it really needs a paint refurbishing. We’re hoping to be able to give it a good sanding and a simple coat or two.

Finish the ‘household binder’ which is awaiting several documents from J and &. This wants a date goal, so I’ll arbitrarily set March 31st and we’ll see how we do.

Paint the ‘dresser’ in the garage. This used to be my main dresser, more than a decade ago. It’s ‘raw’ (natural) wood, and really needs something to protect it from the ravages (ha!) of our garage. Several coats of glossy paint should do the trick (as well as adding a much-needed blast of color). Before we do this, we also need to decide on what color. (And therein lies the trick . . .)

Paint the dresser(s) in the bedroom. We have a kind of crappy little dresser from IKEA that does a good job of being a bedside table. It and the dresser that lives in the main room will both be painted a glossy white to match our woodwork. The room will then have a really nice (and sexy, if I may say) French blue, chocolate brown, glossy white color theme going on, with a change of bedspread from time to time providing ‘pops’ of color and interest. 🙂

Install a screen door for our garage. We wanted to do one for our front door, but the side glass apparently requires a custom mount and I have no confidence the result will look anything other than tacky. So we’re re-focusing on the garage as an option. The option we are looking at is motorized, and really quite nice.

Our guest room and bathroom need a refresher coat of paint. We’ve somehow lost the name of the color of paint we used (darn it) and although we love it, we can’t match it. So all the tiny nicks and scratches that accumulate are starting to get unsightly. It’ll still be a dark green (we love the color), and this time we’ll keep track, and a jar for touch ups.

Speaking of touch-ups, our hall walls have taken quite a beating these last two years. Mostly I blame Leo, who has a weird habit of rubbing against the walls. He’s a very clean animal, but over time the little bit of dirt he does carry around comes of and there is a noticeable ‘line’. Along with the inevitable dings and scratches, we need to do some copious wall repair. I’m hoping it stops short of needing an actual professional.

Our rugs need to be deep cleaned. We’ll need to either hire a service, or rent a machine and go out of town for a day or two while the rugs thoroughly dry.

Our wood floors need a really good re-surfacing. I’m not quite sure what that means. Cleaning, buffing, staining, re-waxing . . . All of the above? I know its not a matter of actually, TRULY, stripping the wood. But I know there’s been damage we want to fix/ clean up before it gets any worse.

Each year I like to look back over the previous year, and then set goals for the coming year. Many people do this on Jan 1st; I prefer to do it on my birthday. I often refine the accomplishments and goals until my new year, Samhain, but the bulk of the work is done on or around my birthday. I also like to do a tarot reading.
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I recently had the joy of creating a gift for my niece — a set of wooden blocks for her to play with. I’ll confess it wasn’t my first time, having made a set for my nephew, Connor, when he was about the same age.

I start with wooden blocks (of course) and then choose images from childhood ‘fairy tales’. I grew up on these tales, as did my sisters, and I think we all have fond memories around them. (Family legend includes stories of how the three of us would put on plays based on the tales, with me as the director frantically attempting to make my recalcitrant sisters do what we planned to do. Yes, I was bossy even then, and controlling. I like to think we laugh now, at least as much as the adults did back then.)

Blocks!

This collection has five stories: The Nightingale (two pictorial versions), The Princess and the Pea, The Snow Queen, and The Twelve Swans. The fifth story doesn’t have a name that I could find, but the images of children playing and flying through fireworks were too enchanting for me to pass up.

detail from The Nightingale

To make them, I size the larger images to roughly the size of the blocks when put together. Then I print in the highest quality possible to thick paper. (Not quite cardstock, too rigid, but something with a bit of heft to it.) Using my handy-dandy paper cutter, I cut the images in pieces to fit each block. Then I glue them on with basic white (non toxic of course!) glue. This part is the mostly difficult, and I usually have to trim the pieces slightly to make sure them fit. Even them, sometimes the images slip a bit over the edge when I apply the glue and by the time its dry, I’ve got an edge.

detail of the little boy

That won’t do for a child, so after gluing each side down and then reapplying glue at least twice more, out comes the exacto blade. Each edge is trimmed carefully, and then I take a nail file and file it down so its nice and smooth. (I guess sandpaper would work, but I didn’t have any ad I was afraid it would take the image off by accident. The nail file offered a lot of control over where I was applying it.)

Oh woe is Me!

Voila! Happy baby blocks.

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