The Sky is Beautiful Here in Colorado Springs, Colorado
The parking lot...not so much.
Whelp, this month is done and we have no idea what happened to it. Although we do know what happened to us. We shut down almost completely every Jan and have done so for…as long as we can remember being together at least. Our period of functioning hours is about 4 hours per day. We switch from mostly high-functioning to mostly low-functioning as most of the day is spent scrambling to keep our health up (i.e. eat, move around, clean the home, hygiene etc), in a dissociative daze, or completely unaware asleep from passing out. However, we do want to note that this year has been so much better: we don’t have the heavy overlay of being around toxic people tainting everything! So though we are still on our slow journey towards recovery, we do want to celebrate that we have made a step forward in the right direction. Boundaries and respecting your values have a very heavy impact on your health.
We managed to keep up a little bit…? I mean we have been working on about 4hrs of interrupted sleep a night every night for over a decade for both of us. We have finally gotten ourselves to having consistently one day of great rest every month! So I try to nap during the day to compensate. To help minimize the impact and help us recover, we have opted to stay home as much as possible. My back has been doing so much better and so far no waking up and unable to move for the past few months!
So with that, we didn’t accomplish as much as we would have liked to, and feel guilty about it. Though we shouldn’t. We did quite well for our health conditions and made some wonderful adjustments to our lives that have proved crucial to our long-term well-being.
I’m not going to be as heavy-handed in this post about our mental/physical health. It’s a big struggle that affects everything we do, say, think, feel, believe in etc. Since our business is based on who we are, where we are, and where we are going. It’ll be necessary to add how and where it impacts our daily lives. We are looking forward to reading these years from now and being proud of our progress. This is the hope for those future moments!
For the yearly update blog post, I wanted to write about summarizing our changes from last year to this year…I’m still working on it. ._. I’m really wanting to write this to share how much we have grown!
For the YouTube Edition posts…ever since YouTube started messing with creators and having them leave the platform, a lot of the videos we saved are now gone…kind of defeating a lot of the reasons why we were doing it. I don’t feel like it’s worth my time or effort to post those if the videos will be gone at any moment. So sadly I guess that tradition was short-lived.
So~ Let’s begin with the main purpose of this post!
Oh, I know I said I was gonna keep a pattern for our blog posts. ,_, So sorry I already forgot it. So I’ll try to have that prepared better for next month. I’m gonna wing it this time since…I’m cutting it close. >->
Crafty Card Collective
What We’ve Been Up To
Crafty Card Collective
Jan’s event went so well! We had about 14 people show up. Not including us. John and I are very appreciative of everyone who showed up and want to thank them for making this year’s start off an amazing one! Last year it was just me, John, and our friend Gracie. I think Candice joined us in Feb with two other people. I also remember us being so nervous and terrified I was almost hoping people wouldn’t show up and that it would just be a “practice” setup...Ya know for when we felt ready. My anxiety was blinding and mind-numbing. Now, I can at least do some Roomba cleaning/organizing while maintaining conversations, and generally able to remember things in the car after the event!! So much progress despite still needing to pass out for 4 hours after each event.
We may have to switch to a larger room.
In this last event, we focused on backgrounds and different painting techniques. So just a lot of fun trying new things with paint. We were pleased to hear how many were having a lot of fun and relieved to finally have a place to experiment without the fear of it looking bad. That’s my goal! These pieces will be worked on next month: cut into ATC Blanks with the scraps around it turned into Embellishments for other cards.
Join us at The Next Us every last Sunday from 11am - 1pm.
Everything is free and no payment is required to join. Just bring an open mind ready to try something new!
Crafter’s Clique takes over all the other Sundays at the same time. So if you stop by the NextUs from 11am-1pm on any other Sunday, you'll come across crafty time!
Who Gives a Scrap
Another year of partnership! We are going to be at a few of Who Gives a Scrap’s Art Swaps again this year and are going to bring our ATC fun~ We were so thrilled to hear people enjoyed us there and were looking forward to creating with us to pull them back! We will not be at the upcoming one but starting at the one in March. I haven't quite gotten the dates yet and hope to get them sometime this week.
We have been quite pleased with our Trade Display~
Our lovely display is still standing at the store and seems may for another year? It’s sadly a bit disheveled from something falling on it last month. So we are planning on updating that in early Feb to make it more appealing and sturdy. Progress coming soon~
Artist Trading Cards Update
Lots of ideas coming but this month was just pulled out from under us. Not to mention we had a lot of shuffling around the home to get to materials out as well as have a place to put them. We live in a home that is two hallways, so saying to use your walls just makes the hallways smaller. But with a lot of items out of the way, more fun kits are to come. I’ll be needing my volunteers who wanted to help with testing out kits in Feb to help so I can release them in March.
Hoping to make tons of kits and start installing Trade Displays. This year we hope to be putting up a few more across the city for people to stop by and trade at!
We are now on Reddit! Funnily enough, two weeks ago was the first time I’ve ever used Reddit. As a millennial…you’d think I would’ve. Anyway, we have a page r/ArtistTradingCards_OOT we encourage you to join and add to! I think it’ll be easier for me to update that weekly than literally any other social media platform I’ve been using for the past 3 years. So information on what we are doing, updates, sharing cards people made, cards you have up for trade, techniques etc. Instagram is dead and with Reddit, we may get people from the only other Artist Trading Card group to join in and trade with our Colorado artists.
I’m also keeping up with my 365 days of Art Therapy ATCs! Since I have issues with communicating all of my health struggles (and keep getting told I’m negative) I thought I would try another method as suggested by my therapist. Every day I will draw a health concern that bothers me daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally or a childhood memory that changed my life. So far I only missed one day and that was because I kept thinking about it all day but didn’t sit down to draw until 12:04. By that point I count it as a miss and have to move on to the next card. At the end of the year, I want to see how many days I missed and possibly WHY. Maybe I’ll post them on Reddit, our website, or publish a book. We shall see. But most of these being drawn will be publicly shared at some point.
I think I’m the most excited to share the Art Therapy aspects of Artist Trading Cards this year. Last year was establishing what ATCs were. Now the different uses for them. Though I’m not pushing them as actual “Art Therapy” in the certified sense, it’s the process of using Art in a therapeutic sense. It doesn’t require a medical professional. Just requires you to be open and honest with yourself. So I’ve been prepping so much for May’s Theme! It will also be the month for a free card page insert that will include materials for the prompts included. (While supplies last) I’m planning on 10 free to grab for first come first serve, so make sure you schedule that day and get there early!
He held onto that barrel for a week just trying to figure out what he wanted to do with it. Better idea than I came up with!
John created a paper-cut barrel! He was very dedicated to it and completed it all within a month. We found the barrel at the thrift store while we were looking for some professional clothes. Since it was only $2 we picked it up and he’s been obsessed with it since. I mean it’s adorable, isn’t it? And he made it look AMAZING! It’ll be up for sale at The Next Us if you are interested! It also has a plastic protective covering but you can't even tell. :)
I love them so much. I'm also making other types of magnets too. All from upcycled materials too! (Except for the lamination)
I am making Memory Magnets to help us with our eating struggles/memory issues. We both struggle with dissociation, object permanence, and time-blindness. During burnout, we can’t read or process words so written lists don’t help. Also, being visual, seeing the items may help stir up hunger rather than stress us out which prevents us from eating. We’ve been managing almost two meals a day after a year of focus! So for us to keep up with what ingredients we have in our inventory, meals we can make, and what we may need to pick up at the store all on the front of our fridge. I’m hoping to have fewer moments this year of me about to collapse with John rushing to make me food so I can stand again. Or us having food go bad because 2 weeks only felt like an unknown haze of time due to burnout.
I will be selling three tiers of these: purchase a black and white print to color and make at home, purchase my colored versions to print and make at home, and custom sets that can be based on the brands you purchase. John will try adding in his version of graphic design too. More on that when I can function. I’m hoping these will help a lot of people with similar issues.
What We’ve Been Up To
John has been working on trying to finish a lot of his projects and cleaning up his areas to resort and figure out what we have. This year our focus word is “Completion” so to finally tie up loose ends from projects we have been keeping with us. And man do we have a LOT of unfinished projects. I have been carrying with me projects I have wanted to finish for over a decade now. That means it has traveled with me and moved over 15 times. I WILL COMPLETE THEM!
We really have ADHD and it can be a really daunting struggle reminded daily of that ONE step you could do to finish the whole project that took 15 hours to do…and let it sit for 6 months. Then finally did it and realized it would’ve only taken 10 minutes. or worse, 10 seconds to glue it down. Rinse and repeat with everything. Not just our projects. But everything. So time to wrap things up and get a lot of those DONE this year!!
These are candied, lightly toasted coconut flakes. So delicious~
And no, they are NOT from the regions of Italy. The lid lies.
We’ve been having more fun baking and sharing our goodies with people. Hope our recipients enjoy our cupcakes and candied coconut flakes. Since we can have snacks at the Next US, we will be bringing our homemade snacks to our monthly event. We are going to be having fun sharing the snacks we create at our Crafty Card Collective events this year! So join us to try some delicious treats.
I’ve been cleaning the home a lot. I mean a LOT. We have shifted our home significantly to clean up, sort, and distribute a lot of what we own. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t choose where you want to sleep. We sleep in the dining room because it’s the warmest room in our apt aside from the kitchen/laundry room. We have had better sleep here than the other two rooms we tried in the previous years. The bedroom was so cold it would drop to below 60 with the door and window closed and THE coldest room in the whole home. The other side of the apartment would be ten degrees warmer. Would wake up multiple times a night not being able to breathe. Here…we can breathe! Worth it. And no we don’t get up that often for snacks. Up and downs get us really dizzy and John actually has a condition that makes transitioning very difficult. So I’m on standby for him 24/7 as his caregiver. Oh and we aren't sleeping right by the bathroom that has a thin wall Sherlock loves to scratch at instead of the litter. ._. Does that keep you up at night?
We got shelving!! We paid about $8 for over $110 purchases at The Container Store~ You know you are an adult when you are thrilled about more containers for organizing stuff! Our apartment complex has a rewards program to participate in every month to gain points. I think I saved up for a year and a half to get this gift certificate and we got shelving and some clear containers to sort the tools/materials we will need. So thrilled~!!
Another update we want to emphasize for this year: we’ve changed our Sundays to ‘Social Sundays’ as church isn’t restful so having a Sabbath on a day that, by default, is NOT restful, is harmful to our health. It would mean we wouldn’t get ANY rest every week. So we have changed it to Wednesdays. We will not message or respond to anyone or schedule anything on these days. So please be aware we may wait until the following day to respond. This is so we can reset our social anxiety stressors and unwind with the pressure of being productive. Though we would like our Sundays to be such, we may wait until we are in a position where we can change that back. Baby steps!
Oh…Another reason we collapsed this month: John pinched something in his back which took almost a week for him to recover from. It was so bad that sneezing put him in extreme pain for up to 15 seconds straight. So I was 100% taking care of everything for a week. Then afterwards I sprained my ankle on our walk which kept me from doing much for a few days. I’ve also been experiencing weird symptoms where if I move around too much I start feeling feverish. We think it’s because I’m close to burnout but I can't stop to rest. When I stop and don’t do anything for 2 minutes I feel completely fine. So we’ve been having to take it very slowly.
We have a lot of accidents and zone out which kind of…causes more accidents. It gets better during the summer. Just holding out until warmer weather!
Our sleep and functioning schedule also has changed. My work hours are at 8pm to 1am when I am the most awake and functional. From 4am-1pm John and I are so exhausted in a daze that we typically have to pass out again. We wake up enough to try and take care of our immediate needs and then pass out. None of the times we fall asleep are restful. Rinse and repeat until summer.
We want to build our business so it can support us during the worst months. We don't need much as we would be sleeping most of the time anyway.
So I think that about sums it up? We are hoping each month from here on out improves more and more! Thank you for keeping up with our updates and cheering us on.
The website is a big task to take on so we are working on it little by little. If there is a portion that you would like to address before the others on our list, please let us know. We will put that higher on our priority list! If we forget to follow up with you, please don't feel bad reaching out to us every week to every few weeks to check in.
Hope you have a better month this month than the last!
Sherlock keeps us happy. Our joy. <3