Positive New Years Resolutions ……

@SchrodingersCatflap

I’m beached. I am stuck slumped on the sofa, bloated gut, unable to unfurl, and reading some of my fave bloggers. I’m waiting for the excesses of another ‘eating-as-many-left-overs-before-the-diet-starts’ supper to subside enough to enable me to move again. And I’m sitting here trying not to vomit and feeling thoroughly disgusted with myself…. I’ve just eaten half a carton of Madagascan vanilla custard after a huge bowl of pasta with a four-cheese sauce made with a small portion of the remaining Christmas cheeses.

Then I come across this hilarious but oh-so-true poem by the very funny and talented Dawn of Rhyming With Wine, and I think ‘I feel your pain’.  it begins like this ….

Dear Christmas.

I’m sorry to write you this rhyme,
And it’s breaking my heart but I think that it’s time.

…… and if you follow this link you’ll get to the rest of it, plus (bonus) easy access to more of the poems on her lovely blog.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to sit at my proper computer and write my personal plan for 2018 but as I can’t shift my lardy butt at the moment I’ll make do with my phone app.

I never, I repeat, never. Never ever. I never do the resolution thing… especially the ones where you stop things, lose things, give up on stuff.  They’re such negative starts to goals.  If I do anything (and I usually don’t), I set a positive challenge.  …go to at least one live music gig a month; organise date days out with Hubby at least twice a month (that’s this years one); but this year I need to incorporate some of those stop/lose/give up things to my goals.  So I need a way to reword them with more positive phrasing.

This is my positive plan to improve my lifestyle and well-being in 2018

  1. FEEL GREAT in my own body by maintaining a healthier diet and staying hydrated
  2. ENJOY LOTS of fresh fish, fruit and vegetables
  3. TREAT myself to a fresh pineapple every week. Make loads of fresh fruit salad to nibble on
  4. ENERGISE – start the day with a protein rich breakfast – its nutritious, lasts longer and is easy peasy as I have my own hens to provide super fresh eggs
  5. SUPPORT my friend and belly dance teacher by turning up to class every week and practicing my shimmying in between.  Remember how happy I am when I’m dancing.
  6. DANCE- go see all the great local live music that is available most weekends near home, and boogie the weekends away
  7. GET MORE fresh air and exercise by planning better to allow myself the 10 minutes to walk to the village rather than jumping in the car.  also far kinder to the planet
  8. ENJOY MORE date days out with Hubby with ROMANTIC country walks in the gorgeous Mid Wales countryside
  9. PLAY MORE. If I want to play in my garden, i shall play in the garden.  I love my garden.  I love digging, weeding, raking.  I give myself permission to spend more time in my own garden

I refuse to set a weight LOSS goal or an inch LOSS target, but with this little set of POSITIVE actions I’m hoping that I’ll be treating myself to some skinny jeans before the year is out.

How do you feel about New Years Resolutions?

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

 

Mission Mindfulness

 

Naptime Natter

Focus Aspire Inspire – How Did I Do In 2017?

 


It wasn’t until late February of 2017 that I set my ‘goals’ for the year. One of them being, ‘get more organised’! I was INSPIRED at the time by Debbie of My Random Musings to write down measurable, realistic yet Aspiring goals to FOCUS my mind on my art and my social media. My plan was to review my own progress and tweak my activity throughout the year to meet or even succeed my targets (arbitary numbers that I liked the sound of).

In the original post which you can read in full by following the link I set myself targets relating to Twitter, blogging, teaching, making stock items, obtaining art commissions,, obtaining exhibitions, vlogging and setting up retreats and events at our B&B, Cerdyn Villa.

In August I did my first quarterly review. Seemingly I still had more work to do on the ‘get more organised’ resolution! I was pretty pleased with my progress, some targets had been exceeded, others were in my sights; but a couple had lost direction completely. I resolved to resolve these issues. Four months left to get full marks in my end of year review. In October I blogged an update and sadly the same weak spots remained.

So all in all how did 2017 go for me?

Aside from the goals set. 2017 can best be described as BLOODY FANTASTIC.

A year full of joy and laughter, friendship and parties. I had a massive celebration on reaching my half century in tact; Hubby and I became grandparents.

But lets focus on the 2017 challenges I set myself

1. Twitter – 500 followers : as of today I have 574… I notice that I picked a realistic 500 but had a wild dream of 1000. I think to achieve that I need a course. I need to know how to use lists and analyse my stats. I suspect in 2018 the important thing should be concentrating on engagement and interaction rather than followers. No point in getting 1000 likes if only 6 people ever ‘speak’ to me. Any tips and recommendations people?

2. Sort out my twitter lists. – well I did, but now feel like I need to split them and review them. I also need to know how to make use of them because I’m sure twitter would be a more useful tool if I had some more skills knowledge. I suspect there are loads more I can do with it than I can do now.. so 2018 is about LEARNING and APPLYING that learning to achieve more meaningful INTERACTION

3 & 4. Blog – 150 followers / 20,000 views… well I have 143 followers and 17796 views – I need to work harder at the blog … problem is I don’t know what I want to achieve with it. I write for my sanity. As I have said many times it’s my place to ‘brain dump’, sometimes posts never get published. Would I want blogging to be a money spinner for me rather than a social and mental outlet? I am a little reticent, I generally scan over or don’t read sponsored blog posts. I’m a skeptic, I don’t watch adverts. If someone is being paid to like a product, how do I know they really like it, or really like it more than any similar product. In an ideal world I’d like to continue to write what wanted about anything I wanted to AND earn money from it…hey, wouldn’t we all. It would make me feel less guilty about the amount of time I spend writing and reading blogs. At the moment as we edge into 2018, it remains my guilty pleasure. I have a feeling it may stay that way

5. Teaching – I spent the first 6 months of 2017 co-teaching a fantastic community stained glass project in Myddfai. As a result of that I had the opportunity to co-run three one day stained glass workshops. Incentivised by this I have ‘tidied’ (inverted commas as it’s already messy again) my home studio with a view to running private and small group workshops in 2018. Problem is I can’t work out the structure, format and how to promote them. I’d like to offer bespoke sessions to 1-4 people; tailored to the level and desires of the individuals attending. How do you price that? A one day workshop could include lunch. Maybe somehow I can incorporate our B&B business; that is, to offer stained glass breaks or artistic retreats. So a 2 night package with a day and a half of workshops including lunches. Our B&B can take a max of 8 people. Perhaps I should engage with other creatives so there is a choice of activities, eg photography safaris, watercolour / knitting /needle felting workshops. A build your own break type scenario. I feel I need find another course to teach me how to progress with this idea. Is there a course out there to teach me how to package, price and promote?

6. I got caught out in 2016 by promoting my stained glass light catcher designs but not making any ahead of time. Orders normally trickle in and I make to order. As an artist I prefer the one offs and commissions; on a commercial basis (I suck at being commercially viable) I should have a number of units of each of my own designs already made for times like say, Christmas, especially if I plan to shout about it. Anyway my challenge was to start making Christmas stock in August. Did I? Did I heck!!! So this year I simply didn’t advertise either, so as a result hardly sold anything too.

7. I wanted to have new stained glass standard designs in my portfolio so I set my sights on creating two new designs. I didn’t do it. Full stop. No comment

8. I aimed  to get 3 commissions in 2017. Interesting one this. I did get asked for more than three but none of them came to fruition. Problem is with 3 of them I spent a lot of time doing the design work and getting it approved without charging for the design phase. I do however suspect that at least one of the three might well happen in 2018. In addition I was commissioned to make 3 other much smaller bespoke stained glass items. Two were for before Christmas, one is for sometime in the first quarter of 2018. I also had a painting commission I thought had fallen by the wayside. I’d written it off but in December they confirmed with me. I have until November 2018 to do it and the recipient is paying a deposit before I start and making monthly payments towards the finished painting throughout the year. So what have I learned? Again, I need to be more business like in my approach. I need a charge card and I need to take some money up front. If I am going to spend time doing designs I need to charge for them. They take a lot of time. Plus if they invest in the process from the beginning they are more likely to be genuine and more likely to follow through. The other issue I have is under charging / undervaluing my services. One commission, were I to be asked to do similar again, would definitely be three times the price I charged. How does one value oneself? Especially when the items being made are one offs , made to order. Perhaps there’s a course I can go on for this too ?

9. Run a retreat at our B&B – didn’t happen. Not been forgotten. I refer back to 5. and 8.

10. Complete 2 more paintings in my sky-scape series and exhibit. Job done. Four more paintings, three glass installations and an exhibition with the preview set for 12th January 2018. My first ever solo exhibition. Despite it being in a small, local venue I am bricking it. Thank goodness for supportive friends.

11. Facebook. I wanted to increase likes/following of our combined B&B and my arts page to 1000. In the end I decided to split the two back up. It was all getting too confusing. So this is where you find Cerdyn Villa B&B with its 375 followers and Berni Benton Art and Glass with its 753 followers. I do suspect however that whilst followers may be important, I should be concentrating more on understanding my stats and looking at interaction and engagement. I should also be trying to actively generate commissions and bookings from these pages, particularly as my websites are redundant/none existent. Yet again, there must be a course that I can attend to improve and develop these skills.

12. start Vlogging. ….well….. I did one. better add it to my 2018 list.

So for 2017 three key doing words to work by: focus, aspire, inspire

They’re good valid words that helped me move forward and progress

My work mantra for 2018…

LEARNING, APPLICATION, INTERACTION

… Meanwhile I shall carry along my life with LOVE, LAUGH, LIVE

What words are you living and working by in the coming year?

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE

May your futures be full of love, peace, happiness, laughter and prosperity xxxxx

Letters to my Daughter

Focus, Aspire, Inspire

I have been inspired, as I often am, by certain bloggers I follow.  This time my muse is Debbie of My Random Musings.

As I flutter around in random formation, flitting from this project to that; this passion to that; this idea to that; this demand on my time to that; I get through my days,week and months in a blink of an eye.  Completing a lot of stuff; dipping my toes in many a pond and having a great deal of fun but it all kinds of floats around in a mishmash of activity without borders, direction or guidelines.

That’s all very well.  A nice, jolly, unfocused existence, guided by optimism and chance, but I really would like to look back on a year without being completely surprised by how I got from January to Christmas and the circuitous route I took to get there.

I’m not saying I don’t love the surprised.  I do.  That’s the problem.  I enjoy the freedom of it a little too much.  Sometimes to the point that at any point in the year I’m not really sure what sort of ground I might find under each footstep.  More importantly I’m not moving forward.  I’m treading the beautiful waters in which I wallow and am allowing myself to enjoy things as they float by; maybe latching onto them for stability for a few moments; but never really reeling myself in.

I’d like to be able to say my starting point was A by goals were B,C and D with a few distractions via M,Q and W, but I made it to D by the end of an allotted time.  I’d like to measure my achievements as well as list them.

So *deep breath* I’m taking Debbie’s advice and starting with a bucket list:

1.TWITTER – I’d love to have over 500 followers before the end of the year, a small hop rather than a leap  – in my mind I already know I really want 1000 but let’s be realistic about these things. This is me

2. ALSO TWITTER – I need to find help and learn how to use it more effectively – I love talking politics, parenting, art, religion, tourism – I don’t want to focus on one topic – I love to RAMBLE and REACT and REFLECT as he mood takes me and the words grab me but I must more effectively access the right people for each topic otherwise I am aware I may bore, or worse, annoy my followers

3.BLOGGING – again I want to ramble randomly so I’m aware I need to be smarter with my tags/metatags/linky’s/sharing . Again I need advice .  I can find lots of blog share site but I’m not interested in fashion, cosmetics, hair and makeup and I’m in the UK… I need to find other companions  – as fun as some of those I follow are – I need more of the random eccentrics out there.  I won’t put a link as you’re already here but feel free to have a look round if you can make it to the end of this post 😉

4.ALSO BLOGGING – I need to set a goal for ‘followers’ but I don’t really want followers so much as interactors – I’ll continue writing it even if no-one reads it because sometimes I can’t sleep until I get whatever it is out of my head.  however, it would be lovely to have a few people who felt inspired to discuss my content… Lets say I’ll aim for 36 new followers / contributors in 2017, 20,000 views

5.TEACHING – this is new to me, I’m loving it – teaching stained glass to members of the community as part of a funded Community Project – my goals are to be proud of the finished product, have it installed by the end of summer and to both blog and Vlog the process.  My aim is to obtain another teaching commission for 2018

6.STAINED GLASS ART- let’s get proactive instead of reactive.  Last year I started thinking about Christmas stock mid October – about 3 months too late when I had zero old stock to sell and had to close by order book on 5th Dec because for some reason we decided a holiday before Christmas would be relaxing.  It was.  The run up to it was definitely not.  So. START making Christmas glass in the summer.

7.ALSO STAINED GLASS – I am really really bad at marketing myself, my skills and my ETSY shop (I bet you are thinking ” whoa, she has an Etsy shop?!”) – I looked at my Etsy shop today and all items have expired.  I’ve not been updating my existing ‘made to order’ items or creating any new ones.  Target – never have my shop empty. Create 2 new designs before summer (lets say end July).  Anyway, here’s a link to the shop ..don’t look yet, I’ve written this but I haven’t done it yet, give me a few hours!!

8. ALSO STAINED GLASS – my favourite moment in the artistic process is creating a new design and making it for the first time.  I love most of all the commissioned one-off pieces.  As an artist rather than a commercial maker, the fun and challenge is in the original design and the presentation of it to the individual who asked for it.That said I really need to focus on marketing myself as a designer and maker of one off commissioned glass panels… If I could get 3 more commissions for 2017 I’d be a very happy bunny.

9.BED AND BREAKFAST – Cerdyn Villa is, in my mind small and perfectly formed .  I love that we run it like we are having friends over.  I love that we spend hours talking to our guests over breakfast or sharing our wine/beer in the garden on a rare warm sunny day.  Yes its a business, but mostly its a lifestyle choice.  What I wanted to do last year was to start running weekenders for like-minded people – eg: an artists retreat, a classic car enthusiasts retreat; that sort of thing.  Basically fill our 3 rooms and maybe have 4 or 5 campers come along – welcome drinks evening around a bonfire, breakfast together, some form of group activity, an evening meal together, possibly everyone heading to the local pub together for a pint, some other activity and away they go – fulfilled, enlightened and loving our home and this little village. My target is to run a first one in 2017…In September *better warn hubby*

10.ART  – as an acrylic artist I am again pretty crap at self promotion.  I would however be very happy to paint 2 more original spacescapes to add to my series and arrange for them to be exhibited somewhere before Christmas.  I’m not a mass creator of sellable art I just want to follow my passion and paint these for me – but be brave enough to put them out there for others to look at.

11.FACEBOOK.  I amalgamated my art page (Pink Butterfly Art & Glass) and our B&B page (Cerdyn Villa B&B into one with a view to create a ‘lifestyle hub’  The page is Pink Butterfly Art & Glass at Cerdyn Villa B&B or @CerdynVilla – I’d love to grow that to 1000 likes.

12.LIFESTYLE HUB – with so many facets to life I set up (with a lot of help from my friend and  mentor, Dinah) a ‘one-stop-shop ‘Lifestyle Hub’ combining my blog, Facebook, B&B website, art and twitter into one place from where everything can be accessed.  I need to make it more visible (how? – ok arrange more time with the gorgeous Dinah – for that but mostly for coffee and cwtches).  Plus I promised I’d start a VLOG... so my target is to set up a VLOG!!!

So there you go.  I shall continue fluttering about randomly rambling my way along but at the same time (yes I do plan to multi task), I shall keep my mind on these goals and moreover I shall report back in January on my success/failure/adaptations to the above.

Wish me luck, I’m going in!