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Be Inspired

Avoid Doing This When Making Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s a new year full of new possibilities. This is the time of year we make lists and lists of resolutions. We make plans for the future, which hooray, is now here. We plan and we plot and we carefully craft our goals.

Oftentimes, when we’re rushing to ring in the new year we think of all the things we’ll do differently. All the things that we’ll fix or do better.

But while you’re reflecting on your new resolutions, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for all the good things you did this past year. Because there were good things. All those many, many things you did RIGHT.

Even if this past year was not your year, you have to admit there were somethings that you flat out nailed.

I want to encourage you to make those resolutions. Set those goals. Take advantage of this fresh start at a new year.

That said, I also hope you remember the good things you accomplished this past year. In other words, don’t be so quick dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.

Happy New Year everyone!

Typography A-Z: Creating Outside the Box!

Last month we kicked off a #letteringchallenge and it was a blast! If you followed along, then thanks for joining in the fun! If you missed it or just missed some of the letters, keep reading for a complete recap.

Twenty-six days of lettering in styles ranging from copperplate calligraphy to modern brush lettering. The goal was to step outside my comfort zone and try new styles while also experimenting with different mediums.

Some letters were drawn with a dip pen and calligraphy inks others were drawn with my toddler’s Crayola markers. {smile} I found myself writing on something other than my favorite paper (cotton linen) and doodled my way through paper bags, porcelain and even wood.

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Some of which turned into brand new creations, like hand lettered coffee mugs and signs that are now available in my shop. {yay!}

It goes to show that when we step outside of our comfort zones we open ourselves up to a world of new possibilities and hopefully many great things to come.

(Want more? Click on an image to see all the new products in store!)

a b c d e f gh i j k l m n op q r s t uv w xy zxoxo-red-rose

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Simplify Your Space to Simplify Your Life

The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. This quote makes me think of the beauty behind a minimalist design. The zen feeling of a streamlined living space. I’m not a big fan of clutter and I bet most of you feel the same way.

A place for everything and everything in its place is a nice theory but if you share your living quarters with a roommate, a partner, family or the like, it may be easier said then done. And no doubt, you’ve accumulated things along the way. The hula dancing bobble head collection from Aunt Maggie’s trip to Hawaii. Tubes of acrylic paint from last year’s attempt at finding a hobby. Boxes of clothes that you once wore that you may wear again but don’t quite fit in the meantime. In other words, stuff. {smile}.

Well, we decided to try a challenge inspired by one we found while surfing Pinterest for bookcase inspiration. The Pinterest challenge went like this: Each day for 30 days you get rid of items from your home and either sell/donate/discard them. One the first day, two things the second day, etc. At the end of 30 days, you’re magically 465 ‘things’ lighter. Well we don’t have nearly that many things to downsize (I don’t think?), but I liked the idea behind it of taking a conscious look at what objects surround us everyday. Oh and because one of us misread Trisha’s blog post at 1 o’clock in the morning, {ahem, me} we were removing up to 30 things each day.

It became a game between my husband and I. And it gave us a good nudge to go through the things we didn’t usually go through. Like sorting our closets and pulling out ‘retired’ but not yet ‘donated’ clothes. Or weeding through our stashes of paperwork and mementos that we no longer wanted or needed. And of course, raiding the medicine cabinet and food pantry for expired items- because a point is a point. {wink}.

We’ve been at this for a little over a week with good results. Though we are coming to the point were we’re starting to scratch our heads looking for unwanted excess. Which is a good sign I suppose. The best part about this challenge was that it only took 20 minutes a day. We didn’t have to sacrifice a whole weekend to decluttering a walk-in closet or the garden shed. That and the friendly competition of the point system made it kind of, well, fun. {smile}

How do you declutter your space? Will you try this downsizing challenge? If you put your own twist on it, I’d love to hear about it! Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Remember This When You’re Feeling Ordinary

Have you every woke up and just felt… ordinary?

Sometimes I feel ordinary. Just another mom slinging groceries in one arm and a toddler in the other. Then I look around at all the people; people coming and going. People, who also look ordinary. {sigh} The average looking guy sitting on a bench. The happy older couple holding hands in front of me. The plain woman getting on the bus. No, I’m not ordinary, I can’t be. I force myself to think of reasons I am not ordinary. I think about what makes me… me.

I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter; I am the owner, operator and creative force behind my on-a-whim startup, RC&D. I am a writer, a blogger, a think-outside-the-box-er. I am a calligrapher, a printer, a winemaking connoisseur. A lover of all things hopelessly romantic and a diehard supporter of my little family.

At this point, I feel a little better. I admit that though I may do ordinary things, that doesn’t mean I’m ordinary. But then I remember all those other people I just labeled as ordinary. {hmm} I look closer at them and imagine their incredible stories- call it the writer in me. {wink}

I can now see the cane in the hand of the young man sitting on the bench. I wonder about the number  of tours he served for our country. I look once more at the couple and see the look of new found love in their eyes. I imagine they’ve each had a lifetime of adventure spent searching for each other. I look again at the woman climbing the stairs of the bus. I decide she must be returning from a mission trip to Istanbul and is eager to finally meet her newest grandson.

We all have a story. Maybe your story is just beginning. Maybe you’ve been writing your story for decades. The point is, we all have one and it’s unique to us. We may start out as ordinary once upon a time, but the stories only get better as we get older.

I think all this over as I head for the car, trying not to drop anything. Then my toddler decides to pretend he’s a puppy and barks the rest of the way to the car. And when we get there, he licks me on the cheek. Yep there’s no such thing as ordinary. {wink}

The next time you meet someone, or even chance by a stranger, consider where they’ve been and all the things they’ve seen and done. Chances are their story is as complex and interesting as yours. What’s something that makes you extra-ordinary? Think that one over today and if you’re feeling extra bold, feel free to share with us in the comments.

 

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Write your story. RC&D notebooks coming soon…

Be Limitless

You are limitless.

Just take a moment and let that sink in. {…}

There has never been a more perfect, more right moment to be you. There is no better version of you needed to accomplish exactly what today has in store. Robert Browning once said, “Our aspirations are our possibilities.” And he was so very right.

In other words, if you want it bad enough, you can do it.

Maybe what you really want is to train for a triathlon, when you haven’t exercised in years. Perhaps you aspire to be a concert worthy cellist, despite never having played. Maybe your aspirations have you ballroom dancing all over the dance floor at your wedding, even though waiting for Mr. Right has kept you from signing up for classes.

Well, I’ve found that back-burner ambitions only come to fruition once you start wanting them so bad it hurts. Then, little by little your ‘wants’ turn into ‘needs’ and your aspirations turn into possibilities. Now as long as you can get up… sign up… step up, then you really will be limitless. Start, believe and repeat when necessary. If you aspire to, you can tackle the seemingly impossible.

And if your aspirations are as big and bold as building an empire, be patient… Even Rome wasn’t built in a day. So just remember, today you can do anything you aspire to do. Today you can be anyone you aspire to be. But honestly? I hope you decide to be you. Because you are perfect, and you are limitless.

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How to Prepare to Win

Lately, I’ve been all consumed by research. If you were to stop by my house you’d likely find me swimming, dizzily, in a virtual sea of articles and web pages. But of course as soon as you walked in, I’d dry myself off and offer you a seat, not too, too far from a stack of thick and dusty library books. {smile}

You see, I’ve been doing research for my next big project. The next chapter, so to speak. I am excited for sure, but before I make any moves, it’s important to know in which direction to head. So how do I decide where to start? Well, with any big project I like to do three things to that help me prepare before I act on an idea.

First, I learn as much as I can on the topic or industry. This is where internet searches and library trips come in handy. But in an attempt to spend more time actually ‘learning’ and less time just ‘searching’, I limit my surf time and focus on reading through all relevant material before skipping ahead.

Second, I take note of all the important information and factors that will directly affect me. I find jotting down key facts on sticky notes or in a small note book works great. And as I’m reading and processing, I’m also thinking about my goals and objectives for the project. Those goals as well as a rough timeline will all go down on paper, too.

And third, I arrange all of those sticky notes and scraps of paper into what becomes ‘my plan.’ From there, I not only know where to start and in which direction to head, but I now have an outline for success that is based on my own thorough research. Which makes me even more comfortable – not to mention confident – in the following through with my plan.

This is the process I use whenever I take on a brand new project. Well, maybe just really big, new projects anyway. {wink} It’s a simple process and that’s why I love it. I don’t know about you, but I’m more likely to follow through on things that aren’t made to seem so daunting.

So how about you? Do you tend to plan ahead or leave it all up to fate? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments and have an awesome week.

 

This month’s GIVEAWAY winner is… Stephanie over @ the TinyShop.co! Congrats Stephanie! Please send and email to RaleighCalligraphy@gmail.com with your favorite card and mailing address. You can find all the new stationary styles at RaleighCalligraphy.com.

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Is Failure Inevitable? + The Winner Is…

“Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel

Failure is a powerful motivator. And it seems to affect people in very different ways. Let’s play out a little scenario just for fun. If you were at my kitchen table right now, sipping coffee this is where I’d ask you to close your eyes. But as my virtual friend, that would make reading this scenario problematic. {wink} Okay, so picture yourself in a room full of people. The room is divided into two groups. Now as far as believing in their own success and the limitlessness of their futures, the people on the left are pessimists whereas the people on the right are optimists.

For people on the left, the fear of failing is perceived as inevitable. In which case, your failure overshadows the possibility of succeeding and you cease to try. The ‘why bother?’ mentality takes over and you let the opportunity pass you by. Because hey? if your goal is impossible, if you are destined to fall on your face anyway, why not save yourself the embarrassment? {sigh}

On the other hand, the people on the right side of the room look at failure as a fuel rather than a fear. Failure becomes a motivator, an obstacle that can- and will- be overcome. In this case, your fear is of never having succeeded, of missing out on that once in a lifetime moment. You take on a now-or-never perspective. The fear of letting your moment slip through your fingers without ever putting up a fight, well, for you that fear far outweighs the possibility of failing. Regardless of the odds. {smile}

Now open your eyes. Okay *pretend* to open your eyes. Take a good look around the room and think about where you’re standing.

What side of the room are you on? What side of the room do you want to start being on? Feel free to comment below with your answer to either one (or both) of these questions for your chance to win RC&D swag. Good luck and have a great week!

Last week’s GIVEAWAY winner is… Liz Williams over @ the wildflowercompany.blogspot.com! Congrats Liz! Please send and email to RaleighCalligraphy@gmail.com with your card choice and mailing address.

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