Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Good Reminder: What I Chose For My Custom Bangle

Did You Guess Right?

I have to say, it was a nice little surprise to get something in the mail, other than bills.

It was even nicer because it was my custom sterling bangle.  Remember, I told you about it last week......I won it from Sima G in a giveaway hosted by my blogging pal Diana over at exPress-o. Sweet!

All I had to do was decide what I was going to have Sima stamp on my bangle.  So many choices, but in the end I went with...........drum roll please...................... (Debbi, you got it!)

I thought it would be a great daily reminder to make the most of each day.

It's perfectly wonderful.  Thanks again Diana and Sima!

I also think that this little wrist reminder is especially powerful on this 1 year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. In the background of my studio, I have one of our Boston stations on and they have extended coverage today with many stories from survivors.  Survivors like Marc Fucarile who lost one leg, is burned extensively over the other, had serious damage to his ear drums, and was the last survivor to leave Spaulding Rehabilitation Center.  He has since had to undergo two other surgeries and the doctors are trying to save his remaining leg, but it is still in question as to whether that will be the outcome. He experiences excruciating pain and the burns he suffered have further complicated his healing. 

In an interview a reporter asked Marc and his fiancee Jen if they were nervous about the marathon next week and attending any of the events that will be held for the survivors. Jen answered immediately and said that she was definitely nervous,  "I'll never be as carefree as I used to be."  The other day Jen went to leave their apartment, but when she got to the elevator there was a bin in it. She went back to their apartment and said to Marc, "There is a bin in the elevator. I'm not getting in there."

It turns out somebody was simply moving and the bin was theirs, but the story illustrates how their lives have forever changed. Marc takes it all in stride and says he's not particularly nervous about Marathon day, to the chagrin of Jen who says 'I don't think everything has set in for him yet.' Marc responds, "No. I do. I just choose not to live in the past. If I 'live' in that day, I can't move forward and I want to move forward."  Marc then proceeds to lift his prosthetic leg (which is attached) up , turn it one 180 and put it over his shoulder and behind his ear and says with a chuckle, "how many people do you know who can do that?"

Theirs is just one story of resilience after surviving the bombings. Just one of many.

Then there are the stories of the four people who lost their lives as result of the bombings and ensuing melee - 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, 8-year-old Martin Richard, 29-year-old spectator Krystle Campbell and MIT officer Shawn Collier. God rest their souls.

live . love . laugh

The kind of reminder we really shouldn't need, but the reality is that sometimes we do.

Make it a great day today. It's a great day to have.

Ciao for now,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Rituals

Changing of Seasons

Living in a place where we have the extremes of all four seasons, I think it's a given that there are also rituals associated with each season. Whether we are welcoming, or saying goodbye.

Spring has been a long time coming, and so has one of my favorite Spring Rituals.

The day I get to sit on my back stoop and have a morning cuppa tea.

I finally got that day last week and have been enjoying it when it's warm enough, ever since.

Today is exceptional. So instead of sitting and watching another few minutes of the news, I sit outside on the back stoop with a cuppa tea. I take in the sunshine. Gather a little inspiration for the studio from whatever magazines I have on hand. I listen to the birds sing and the trees rustle.  Enjoy the fresh air and the sight of the trees budding.

It's a sort of meditation for me, when everything else can wait a few minutes while I appreciate the season that is Spring.

Do you have a favorite Spring Ritual?

Hope you have a fantastic start to the week. In fact, make it so!

Happy Monday

Ciao for now,

Friday, April 11, 2014

FREE Friday: The Best Of Lists..........So Much To Be Grateful For

Write It Down

To top of yesterday's post, about 5 Quick Tips For Dealing With What Life Throws At You, I have one more to add. It's one of my favorites. Something we should do more often and a great way to start each day.  Honestly and truly. Each day.

As we near the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, there are many interviews with the survivors and I find them utterly amazing and inspirational.  Instead of looking getting sucked up into the vortex of all that's gone wrong with their lives, they choose to look at what's gone right. In spite of everything, they find they are grateful for so much- both large and small, and that's part of what has gotten them through.  I watched Heather Abbot (who lost on of her legs from the knee down) this morning in an interview and she expressed how grateful she was for the support of the city, and the country, and from people worldwide. That there were some days when she didn't even want to get up off of the couch, but she was lucky that people - even famous people like Beyonce- who had reached out to her and according to Heather 'how do you say no to Beyonce?'. She was grateful for the strength that every one's support gave her to face the challenges of the last year.

Pretty amazing outlook, yes?

So, how do you incorporate that kind of gratefulness into your own life?

It's really not that hard. Write a list of 5 things you are grateful for at the start of each day. They can be big (I am grateful that I have a roof over my head), or small (I am grateful that I was able to enjoy a cuppa tea this morning on my back stoop), because you'll find it doesn't matter. You'll find that the simple act of recognizing how much you have to be grateful for changes your outlook on things.

I challenge you to start this ritual. To help you along, I designed this Free Printable Grateful List.  It prints 4 to an 8.5 x 11 page and there is enough room at the top should you want to punch holes in it and string a few together to make a pad.

Look at that, a blank slate each and every day.

This free printable grateful list makes it easy for you to take a moment and reflect on all that is right with your life.

You can download it here.

My 5 today?

Easy peasy.

1. It's Friday. I love Friday's. It's usually a busy day, but somehow it is a day to wrap things up, tie up lose ends and generally speaking it has a slower feel even if I'm busy. All hail Fridays!

2. The company of two office dogs today. We're taking care of our neighbors pooch and there's nothing like a little puppy love to make your day better.

3. G. My other half. I'm so glad I've got him.

4. The weather is fairly springlike at the moment. Though the sun isn't shining brightly, the warmth is quite welcome.

5. So many people around the world who take the time to be here. Thanks you guys!

BIG  Bonus..........

6. People and fellow Boston Survivors like Heather Abbott, Celeste, and Jeff Bauman who somehow find the strength to face huge life challenges head on and head held high.

What about you? What's your 5?

Freeform Friday

Well, I'm quite sure I've shared this before, but I think it's rather appropriate for today's post because each day is a blessing and it is a beautiful day. And honestly, it just makes me feel good. Thanks Ziggy.  Click here if you're reading via email.

No big plans on the horizon for the weekend, other than hopefully getting in a campfire out back at some point. Tonight isn't look great because there is some rain heading our way. Perhaps a game or Yahtzee or scrabble.....a drive to get some fresh air.....design work at my desk.....house cleaning. That reminds me, I have a load of laundry I need to hang out on the line.

Away I go.

Make it a great day and 'keep your head up high'.

Ciao for now,

Thursday, April 10, 2014

5 Tips For Dealing With What Life Throws At You

Dear Life: Ow. I Wasn't Ready To Catch That!  

I had another post planned today. One that included pictures from pinterest. However, there are so many pictures on pinterest that are not linked back to their original source that I could just scream.  What that means in plain English is, I gave up.

So, instead, quick tips for dealing with what life throws at you and how to get through those moments that make you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Note: life will throw stuff at you. A lot. This I know to be true. These tips are easy to remember and easy to employ.

1. Remember to Breathe
This seems like a given, but in times of stress you'll find that you can get all locked up and tight and honestly, completely forget to take deep, cleansing breaths. You can also forget during less stressful times. So all together now, breathe in deeply. Breathe out deeply. I like to take it a step further and use yoga breathing, or Pranayama and you can learn how to properly breathe this way here. It can do wonders.

2. Laugh As Much As Possible
Imagine, if a smile is a mood changer (literally, there is plenty of research on it) what would laughter do for you?  Even at times of major upheaval or challenge, when you can find something to laugh about you'll feel all the better for it.  Remember, sometimes if you don't laugh, you'd cry.

3. Do What You Can, When You Can
That is to say, don't expect too much from yourself. You are not a superhero.  Everyone deals with things in their own way and in their own time. Do what you 'can' do at that moment, and don't focus on what you can't do. Leave it at that.

4. Take Time For Yourself
If we could only remember this one thing, we'd all be better for it. Whether it's a moment of sitting in the sunshine, taking a walk, having a cuppa tea, or taking a bath- stealing moments that are just for us can help us be 'in the moment' and wash away the rest of the flotsam and jetsam.

5. Do Something For Somebody Else
Did life throw you a curve ball? Facing a big challenge? Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Take a break from 'your' stuff for a minute by doing something for someone else. It can be someone you're close to, or perhaps a random act of kindness for a stranger, but when you do something for someone else it just makes you feel better immediately. Give and you shall receive (perhaps a small bit of peace).

What do you do when life is overwhelming you for whatever reason? Do you have a coping strategy that helps get you through until things are better? And it's OK if it's a bowl of ice cream. Really.

Here's hoping life throws you a spoon for the ice cream today, instead of a curve ball.

Make it a great one.

Ciao for now,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What Inspires You Wednesday: Morocco

Patterns & Color

Much like last Wednesday, I am inspired by some things that I am working on for a client.
My inspiration is coming from a place of bohemian-old-world, meets Morocco, mixed with a modern flair.  Oh yeah, we're talking a boatload of happy design here people.

There is no shortage of inspiration to be had when it comes to this kind of design. I simply love it all.

Look at all these different patterns that work together just beautifully.

Riad Decor, Northern Medina, Marrakech, Morocco - Handmade tiles can be designed and customized by ceramic designers 

Swoon worthy colors combinations (including the outfit).

marrakech jardin majorelle 
source: blasfemmes

Patterns, textures, shapes, combined with natural elements and brightly hued pigments that all work together.


photos by: armelle habib

I very much appreciate the clean lines and mostly neutral colors of Scandinavian design, but every time I try to pull it off in my own home, I just can't quite do it. I apparently have a need for color and pattern because it usually ends up looking more bohemian than I intended. I think that's why this project is really speaking to me and inspiring me.

What's inspiring you today?

Big news here in the North. I had my first cuppa tea of the season on the back stoop this morning. Ah................that feels better. Thank you Spring.  There may be a distinct crispness in the air today, but mornings on my back stoop means there is a never want for sun on your face. Unless of course it's cloudy. A lovely spot for a cuppa and a ritual of sorts.

Make your Wednesday fantastic!

Ciao for now,

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

From The Desk Of: Pamela J. Bates

A New Way To Brand Your Business

Hey gang! How's your week so far? Mine is busy, busy which seems to be a running theme. Spending many hours in the studio =  design time.  I've been working away on many custom logo designs and branding collateral design and am happy to be doing so.  Along the way though, as I create and revise, and finalize logo designs for clients, there are logos (or the beginnings of what could be a great logo) that just don't end up working for that project for whatever reason that sit in my 'someday' file.

It's high time I put some of them to good use and here's one way for me to do that:  One of A Kind Premade Logo Designs.  What that means for you or other small business people is you can professionally brand your business for success with a professionally designed premade logo that is yours and only yours.  I've offered the OOAK option in the shop as an add on to a premade logo (that hadn't been purchased previously by anyone else), but I'll now be offer premade designs that are specifically made to be one of a kind designs. 

This also helps me to continually add product/services to my shop offerings. That is something I've found to be very helpful as an etsy shop owner, in driving new traffic to Bates Mercantile Co. As a business owner, that's important to me and my bottom line.

And here's the first OOAK Premade Logo now available in the Bates Mercantile Co. shop.  I'm offering, which I think could lend itself well to a lot of different business types, from wedding based businesses, jewelry design, professional services, salons.....the list goes on.

Premade logos, whether one of a kind like this new design or not, give small business owners an affordable way to create a well received presence for their business.  Being one of a kind makes it all the more special.

 I think it is a strong, classic logo that is quite versatile. Especially considering that rather than have to purchase a premade logo and then an add on for font changes, color changes and minor changes to the logo, they will be included in new OOAK Premade Logo listings (1 set of initial changes, and one round of revisions).  So if you liked this logo, but wanted it in a different color or font, it's included with your purchase.


If you're interested in this one of a kind premade logo, you'll find it here

More to follow as I find time. For now, I'm busy working on custom designs.  If you are interested in working with me on designing a custom logo or collateral for your business and would like to get your project on the boards you'll find more information here. It's one of my favorite ways to spend time in the studio. I'd welcome the chance to learn more about your business, as well as your hopes and dreams for where that business is going to take you.

What's happening in your world today?

I wish I could say the sun is shining, but it's a rainy, cloudy day here. Of course, all things being relative, I guess that's better than snow!

Speaking of relatives.................A quick birthday shout out to my mother's baby brother, my Uncle Bobby. 

(Celebrating in Florida with part of our family gang.  
They're obviously treating him right. Thanks for the pic Stacey!)

Happy Birthday Uncle Bobby! Our crazy family wouldn't be the same without you!  

See you all on the flip side.

Ciao for now,

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Good Start To The Week: I'm A Winner. No Kidding.

This Usually Doesn't Happen To Me

That is to say, I'm not usually the winner in this house. It's usually the 'Luck Of The Irish' lad. I mean, he even won a trip to Dublin for St. Patrick's Day one year and we got to surprise his family! I did win a trip to Florida once so I guess I can't complain (really I can't), but if we're doing the math, G wins things way more often than me. Scratch tickets? I'm not sure why Santa even brings them to me in my stocking. I'm lucky if I win a buck.  G? Another story completely. In fact, I usually make him scratch some of mine because I know if anyone is going to scratch a winner, it's him.  OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. I did also win on Kentucky Derby Day a couple of years ago, but still, bar that and the Florida win, mine are few and far between.

However..............this morning I started my day with an email from the lovely Diana over at exPress-o, notifying me that I'd won the giveaway she had on her blog last week. I won a beautiful custom stamped bangle/cuff bracelet from SimaG Jewelry. Woohoo.......lucky me!

Say What You Want To Say ---The price is for ONE ---up to 20 lowercase letters - -Say Anything On YOUR cuff---Custom  By SimaG 

Awesome Dawson!

I won, I won, I won, I won..........doing my own little snoopy dance over here.

Now for the even funner part, I get to decided what to have stamped on my bracelet. Oh, as you can see from the above image, the possibilities are endless, even with just 20 letters max.

At the top of the running for me are: 

- live, love, laugh
- be happy
- peace

Well, what's your vote? Which of the three above would you choose. Which do you think 'I' will choose? And if you were choosing for yourself, what would you put on a bracelet from SimaG?

Many thanks to Diana at ExPress-o for hosting the giveaway and to SimaG Jewelry for sponsoring.  I don't know if I've told you this, but I'm a bracelet kind of gal.

So, how was your weekend? Ours was good. A little trans-Atlantic Skyping with my best frined Tina on Friday. Saturday, I watched some hockey (we won!) and a movie or two. Yesterday we ended our day with a cocktail and some cheese and crackers with the neighborhoodlums.  And, as you can see, my week has started off with a bang! What's happening in your world?

Ciao for now,

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