Mar 302014

It’s 70 degrees today, probably the warmest weather we’ve had all month, promising that spring is around the corner. Boy, am I ready! I don’t have a single bloom poking up its head in my garden, however, so it looks like I will have to settle for a virtual garden. Fortunately, there are a lot of flowers to be found on Etsy, so I hope you’ll enjoy the ones below. Each image is clickable.

© 2014 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Oct 202013

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, beginning with the first week this month, when I updated last’s year training podcast for Students for a Creative Iowa, the non-profit that administrates Iowa’s Destination Imagination program. I re-wrote parts of the training, then recorded and uploaded a series of audio recordings to the Web site.  Then I began to prepare for tomorrow’s education conference, where I’ll be co-presenting with another Board member the connection between creative problem solving, STEM (science, technology, engineeering and mathematics), 21st century skills and collaboration. My husband will be sitting at an exhibitor’s booth at the same conference, so when I’m not  presenting, I’ll be in the same place.

Two craft shows are now behind me, with one more to go. The second one took place yesterday, and the first one was a week earlier. To be honest, I don’t have much to report about either one. They weren’t remarkable, sales-wise, and neither of the organizers put a lot of effort into advertising. There’s a lesson there to be learned, so that’s all I will say for now! If nothing else, preparing for these two shows certainly did enable me to generate a lot of product for Mister PenQuin! I spent the better part of today photographing and listing new items.

Meanwhile, I’ve allowed a bundle of unfinished posts for this Web site to languish in files on my computer. One of them is this one, where I’d like to draw your attention to some really beautiful books, journals and journal covers made of fiber, fabric and thread—or a combination of  these materials. I’d love to add books or journals of this sort to my Mister PenQuin at some point, but in the meantime am content to admire others’ efforts. I hope you do, too. Feel free to click on any of these photos to see the items in more detail.

[sh-etsy-treasury treasury=”NjIyMjQyNHwyNzI0OTI5MjE0″ size=”large” columns=”4″ display=”complete”]

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Sep 232012

It has been nearly a month since I posted here, an unusually long time for me to take a break from blogging. I wish I could say I’ve been taking long walks outdoors, enjoying early autumn, but that’s not the case. On September 1st each year, Destination Imagination® (DI) releases its Challenges to students from K-12, as well as university and college students. This causes all of DI’s Affiliates to update their Web sites, ramp up their recruiting efforts, and welcome new program participants. Since I’m one of the state’s Webmasters, that means I’ve been investing a lot of time updating pages and writing new posts. And this weekend I dealt with a hacked Web site, an experience I don’t hope to repeat anytime soon. There’s also an education conference in early October where I’ll be manning a booth, which has called for existing marketing materials to be gathered, old materials to be revised, and some new documents to be written. Finally, a talented group of Instant Challenge (on-the-spot problem solving) writers on our state Board has begun generating ideas and writing practice exercises for Iowa’s participants, and I’m part of that effort. In fact, I coordinate it. In a word, I’ve been busy, so I hope you’ll excuse my lapse in blogging.

Still, fall is my favorite season, and even though I have not been experiencing the wonderfully cooler temperatures because I’ve been stationed in front of my laptop, I still enjoy the view out my window. I heard on the news last night that in Duluth, Minnesota it snowed, and overnight here in Urbandale, Iowa, the thermometer dipped to 29 degrees, causing us to turn on the furnace for the first time since spring. For the most part, however, winter is thankfully some time away. You can see from this sunset photo that some of the leaves are starting to change. In another few weeks, I expect we’ll have a riot of colorful foliage around the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, there is evidence everywhere, especially on Etsy, where I sell my handmade items, that people are enjoying autumn. Shops are filled with earthy fall colors—brown, gold, apricot, wine and green—and curators on the site are assembling Treasuries including handmade and vintage goods that celebrate the season. I couldn’t help curating an autumn-themed Treasury myself this weekend, as you can see below. The items featured are from the shops of other Etsy sellers who included my handmade items in earlier Treasuries of their own.

I assembled two Treasuries this weekend, in fact. The second one, A Zen Moment, reflects some of the peace and quiet I hope to enjoy after the initial rush is completed to get Destination Imagination off to a good start in Iowa. I love the combination of blue and gray; it somehow always makes me relax. Feel free to click on either Treasury, which will take you to Etsy, where you can do some early holiday browsing or shopping. And wish me luck in taking some time off to enjoy the fall weather this coming week!

© 2012 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.