Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Call Me Crazy - Ten Ways To Make FOCUS Work - a Ten on the Tenth Post

Remember me saying my One Little Word this year is "FOCUS"???  And that my biggest goal was to FOCUS on just one thing at a time???  Well, as we all know, life doesn't really come at you one thing at a time. So how do I corral this whole concept of FOCUS? How am I going to make this word work for me?

One. I've been writing morning pages ala Julie Cameron, The Artist's Way.  I was finding myself totally distracted during the writing process and constantly stopping to check my email or google reader. So I bought a kitchen timer. I set it for twenty minutes. I turned off my computer monitor (note, computer is still running, just not in my face!), and started writing.  Soooo much more effective!

Two. I'm NOT involved in Project Life or any of the "365" type projects.  I know I would never keep up with it, although I'm mighty impressed and awed by all you ladies who do!  I'm well aware of my own limitations.  But beyond what will go in my One Little Word album as I live with FOCUS, I wanted a way to track my year and all the different topics I choose to FOCUS on.  I already had a 2-up photo album that holds 300 photos, originally purchased with the idea to use it for photos in the "Picture" series at BPC.  I never did get started with that. And since I'm all for working with what I already own and repurposing, I now intend to use this album as my 2012 FOCUS project! :)

That's a little self-portrait in the lower left corner of the album - me caught in the glare of the cover.

I had been toying with the idea in my mind, when I saw this post from Carrie.  Which really clinched it for me. I'm going to do this! I'm not tied to every single day ... that wouldn't fit in the album anyway.  Some days will be photos, some days journal cards, some days maybe a bit of ephemera.  But each month, I'll be FOCUSING on a new topic.  For right now, the breakdown looks like this:

January - Healthy Eating
February - Meditation/Rest
March - Movement (aka Exercise)
April - Lightroom (learn the program and implement it with my photos) and Digi Skills.
May - Photography (working on my camera skills)
June - Family and Friends (to coincide with three graduations and a big party!)
July - Creativity - Mixed Media
August - Creativity - Scrapbooking
September - Learning (to coincide with Shimelle's LSNED class)
October - Kindness (my idea is to practice and document random acts of kindness all month           - thanks to Kelly for this idea!)
November - Gratitude (documenting a month of what I'm grateful for in November - perfect!)
December - Christmas Spirit (nicely fits in with JYC, right?)

This list is not set in stone. It is subject to modification if a different topic moves me in a particular month or things need to get shuffled around because life gets in the way (it has been known to happen!). But this gives me a structure and place to document all the wonderfulness I hope to achieve this year.

The other thing I've done differently is set up all my online classes for the year already.  Say what??? No, you read that correctly! I've got this year nailed already, and here's the line-up:

Three. For FOCUS:
One Little Word with Ali Edwards at Big Picture Classes - this is a year long class with monthly prompts. The actual time commitment doing this last year was fairly limited, but it kept my word active for me all year long! Registration is open all year, so you can join at any time! PLUS, my own 2012 FOCUS project noted above! :)

Four. For healthy eating and movement:
Move More Eat Well with Cathy Zielski at Big Picture Classes - this is a year long class with monthly prompts and a lot of information, inspiration, and challenges in the community and on the message boards - registration is open all year!

Five. For Lightroom:
Finding Photo Flow with Kayla Lamoreaux.  This is a self-paced class that will allow me to learn the Lightroom software at my own speed. I actually signed up and got started with this in December.  Karen and I are going to work through it together.  So fun!

Six. For Digi Skills:
Beyond Layers with Kim Klassen.  Another year long class, this is weekly emails with prompts, downloads, challenges, and new things to try. Starts January 16. I've always admired Kim's photos and use of textures, so I'm sure there is lots I can learn here!

Seven. For my Camera Skills: a variety of classes that I started and never finished (but will this year!) most particularly Your Life: Captured Through the Lens with Katrina Kennedy.

Eight. For Mixed Media:
The Art of Wild Abandonment with Christy Tomlinson and Junelle Jacobson. A 3 week workshop starting March 12.  I couldn't pass this one up - I've seen Junelle's work and I follow her blog and I frankly can't wait to learn from her!!!  Followed up immediately by...

Nine. 21 Secrets - An Art Journal Playground at Dirty Footprints Studio beginning April 1st - this is self-paced but runs through the end of 2012. It features a workshop from each of 21 different instructors including Christy Tomlinson and Dina Wakely. That's a lot of inspiration for the price. I figure if I like even two or three of the 21 instructors, the class price was fair - beyond that it's a bargain!

Ten. For Scrapbooking:
Twelve with Stacy Julian at Big Picture Classes. (Sorry, registration is already closed). This is a 12 week 4 Experts class, but Stacy is continuing it beyond the 12 weeks with prompts and inspiration all year long.  Her idea is to get us to scrap 12 layouts each month for a total of 144 by the end of the year.  I admit that I had a lot of trepidation about entering this class. I knew going in that I wasn't going to hold myself to that number - I mean, come on, 144 layouts??? I've NEVER scrapped that much in a year! But now that I'm in the class I'm really excited about the possibilities! I'm trying to do things as Stacy is outlining them, not my usual change everything and make it more difficult than it needs to be!

Stacy wanted us to paint a muffin tin to house color-coordinated embellishments. I didn't want to buy anything, so I repurposed a cardboard egg carton - lots of mixed media fun putting this together!
Close up of detail on front.
Inside of egg carton with all my color-coordinated embellishments. I did this by putting down a coat of gesso first (so the paint wouldn't all get absorbed into the paper fiber). Then painted each egg spot a different color, then finished with a coat of mod-podge and labeled each spot with the topic that the color will represent.
Close up of my embellishments.
This is my Inspiration File. Again - repurposed an old accordian file that I've had sitting around forever! Perfect, because it had exactly 12 file spots! I used my cropadile to hole punch the upper right corner so I could attach my bingo cards. We are using those to track our progress in the class.
View of accordian file expanded.
Top-down view. You can see the back portion of this file folder also holds my Twelve class notebook!

So... I get to spend an entire year with three of my favorite scrapbookers - Ali Edwards, Cathy Zielski, and Stacy Julian! Plus a host of digi gurus and mixed media artists! I'm planning to treat this just as though I'm back at school with a full roster of classes and need to structure my time to make sure I "pass" each one. And I'm so excited about my professors this year! I never had a line-up like this when I was in college! I'm hoping that with this full roster I won't be tempted by all the other great classes sure to come up as the year moves along.  After all, tuition has already been paid and is not refundable if you drop one class to pick up another...


scrappyjacky said...

I am totally awestruck by this post,Cheri....you are already so amazingly organised and focused.You are going to accomplish sooooo much this year.
I love what you've already created as well....you've inspired me to really think about repurposing what I have before I buy anything new.....the egg box looks amazing. Your creativity knows no bounds!!
Good luck as you start on this year's journey.

Unknown said...

That sounds like such a great way to lay out your 2012 book! I'm glad that I inspired you - can't wait to see what else you fill your book with! :)

Sian said...

I'm speechless! Not only are you so well organised, but you have made such carefully considered choices. Even if you only do half of this (and of course I'm cheering you on to do the whole lot!) you will have expanded your skills in areas you already know and love. And that sounds perfect to me

Anonymous said...

This is just awesome Cheri. I need some of your determination to get a little organised.

Jo.C said...

That really is focus! That was a word I was considering but am now dithering between another two - just can't make up my mind - so need some of your focus to rub off on me. Have fun - I am so impressed.

Anonymous said...

You are really focused!! Great post.

alexa said...

My goodness, you are not only organised but focussed already! I admire your ability to keep up with so many classes, and expand your knowledge and skills in so many areas. Wishing you every success.

Unknown said...

Wow, you planned your whole year! I love the idea of focusing each month on different subject. It sounds like a great plan. Your egg carton looks absolutely gorgeous! I didn't know the egg carton can look so pretty LOL I also did some modifications to the set-up. Yours look great!

Melissa said...

Sounds like we have a lot of the same things going. I really like how you are repurposing and using what you have!

I'm not doing the muffin tin because I don't plan to "mark" my layouts this year with a color just to remember it was for this workshop. I will have them recorded on my Twelve layout instead. I'm still undecided about the inspiration bin - waiting to see more how we will use it before deciding if I want one or not.

I'm also hoping not to join any other classes except a few on photography this year. With three year-long classes, I'm good to go for a while!

Looking forward to seeing how we progress this year.

MonicaB said...

Wonderful post with so much information. You are going to be one busy lady. I love the egg carton - great idea and it looks so beautiful. Have fun with all your classes!

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Wow, Cheri! When you said FOCUS you weren't just a kiddin' were you? I loved reading this post, and am left feeling SOOOOO unfocused right now. HAHA. Ok, I LOVE the egg carton and that awesome accordian file with all of your inspiration tucked sweetly inside. Gosh, you are clever! I'll look forward to following your progress as you work through all those awesome classes and ideas you have planned out. Go girl!!!

Unknown said...

I never got around to everyone's blogs for OLW Jan 1st to I'm visitng everyone today. Impressive line-up for this year even without PL! I like how organized you are - I love having a plan! I like how you adapted and altered items for Twelve.

Unknown said...

I'm going to echo all the WOWs you're getting from everyone else... I'm very impressed and envious of your already organized and focused New Year. Rock on! I can't wait to see your progress!

Anonymous said...

Oh, my goodness! This is such a fabulous plan, and seems absolutely overwhelming, but equally exciting, to me! Your focus per month reminds me of one of my favorite books, The Happiness Project. It seems like such a good way to organize! Once I get home, I'm going to look at my list and see if that might make sense to me.

Cheryl said...

I LOVE your egg carton! And your album idea is a fabulous one. Best of luck with your focus - I can't wait to read about your progress throughout the year.