beginning Take it Further challenge

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December was a short and difficult month - there simply wasn't enough time to get all of the things done that I needed to do and none left over for blogging. Today life is almost back to normal after another week of sickies in the house and two days of 30 below temperatures in Almost Canada, NY. This has been a true old fashioned winter around here. When it isn't 30 below zero, it is snowing. We have more snow here than we have had in the last 5 winters combined. I took ashes out to the garden this morning and sunk up to my thighs in the show! many people are complaining but I am really enjoying it - it feel like a return to my childhood in the '70's when we went sledding and built snow forts in the huge heaps of snow left by the plows. If it is going to be cold, there might as well be snow! I'm not sure I would want a return to the winters of the '40's and '50's that my Dad experienced, though. He tells stories of digging a tunnel from the house to the barn and being able to step over the telephone wires on his way to school, the snow was so high in Colton some winters.

I've been cleaning out my studio/the dog's lair and coming across many old projects that need to be ditched, lots of forgotten supplies and a serious organization challenge. I took some "before" photos which I will probably be too ashamed to post and plan to take some "after" photos when I'm finally done ... maybe today?? I definitely need lots of new bins, big and small and I need to let some stuff go. Recently I read a quote by Suze Ormond on an artist's blog site that said; "If you are not making the money in your life that you think you should be making, if you have debt, if you cannot save a penny, I am willing to bet that clutter is standing smack in the middle of what you have today and what you could have tomorrow." Well, that's me. I'm just not productive enough because I am too busy trying to get through the clutter in my house and my life. So this year, I am trying to be more purposeful and organized about the things I keep, the activities I choose and the work I do.

Here's a list of the things I plan to work on in the next few days and weeks:

- - Two pieces of Round Robin fabric. As noted in one of my first posts, I'm participating in a complex cloth round robin and I'm behind. I now have two wildly different pieces of fabric waiting for my attention in my studio. One of them will get a layer of dye. One of them will probably have some dye discharged. Photos to come when I get the studio clean.

- - Sharon Boggon's Take It Further Challenge which starts this month. Each month Sharon will post a theme and a color scheme for stitchers and other artists to work with. Participants post their progress on their blogs and/or on the Flickr site for the group. The challenge theme and color scheme have only been up for a few days and already there is a great deal of excitement and interest. It is going to be fascinating to watch all of these artists work through their various concepts and goals during this challenge. One funny thing - for our anniversary, my husband and I bought new sheets and a comforter set for our bed in a color scheme that just happens to match the scheme for January perfectly. I hadn't seen the challenge page yet so it was a bit surreal to see my new bedroom colors posted up on Sharon's site yesterday!

- - Some new polymer clay beads and magnets. I've been planning to make some face beads and magnets for several months now and just haven't got to it yet. My friend, Hilary, who is also my boss at the Arts Council has been looking for some ceramic face beads for several months now with no success so I thought that it would be nice to make her some polymer beads for planning and practice. They were going to be a Christmas gift but if I hurry, she might get them in time for 3 Kings Day! Also as I was preparing for Studio Tour this year, I opened an old box of beads and came across the one remaining Transformation bead from a set I made two summers ago. I had forgotten how much I loved these beads and how much fun they are to make. I posted the one left on Etsy and want to make some more in different colors to go with it. Maybe I'll play with Sharon's green, gold and purple color scheme on some of these.

I also have several Alchemy Scarves to iron and edge as well as a beaded bracelet and brooch in progress. Beading is a good activity for 30 below weather when one is sick. I like to sit by the Fisher stove with a plate of beads in my lap and play with new techniques and projects. That way I still feel productive but I am not working on anything that I can ruin while I'm muzzy headed and slow.

It is now time to get everyone dressed and get the day moving in a purposeful way. The 3 year old is still sick and snotty in nose and attitude so it looks like a fun day around here!

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