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Miller September 2023 Update


Taken at a lady's house we dogsit for. She has such a lovely little garden and I had fun taking pictures of it!


Another monthly update with a LOT ahead. I feel like we are having a competition to see how much we can accomplish per month. Let's go through what we've been up to!


This will possibly be long so fair warning!


We are going to start with a bit of an overlap with the end of last month. I have been working on a fun video art activity we could do together through a livestream or you can set it up for your own fun with a recording! These are just random ideas I had while trying to use up what empty and dying markers I had. These are a LOT easier than you may think and I want to show you how easy it is to make your own abstract doodle backgrounds!



I'm quite pleased with these but haven't had time to get back to it. I'm hoping to have it recorded and ready to post by the end of next month but we shall see!


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Ever tried scratch art before? Well, thanks to Cheech from Crafter's Clique, I encountered these again and they scratched so SMOOTHLY!! It became very relaxing and soothing to do. Also, the sparkles make it even better. <3 Did these to relax and looking forward to creating more of these!


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Now~ Thanks to Who Gives a SCRAP and their sweet donations, I've been working on using up these paint pods to use the plastic pods for other uses. I ended up getting more than I expected and really didn't want to waste any of the perfectly and even just barely useable paint. So I took tons of scrap paper (many leftovers from John's projects) and just painted them in different patterns/textures. This took quite a bit of time...I believe about a week and a half of painting papers.



I started running out of scrap papers so switched to a different stack as seen below. With THIS pile of paper counted at 99. I don't know how I was only ONE short. I tend to do things "en masse" and these needed to be done so I could get to the empty paint pods.



Even after finishing these, I started using a few of the least likely to be used scrapbook papers to start off some unique paper designs for future projects or ATC kits or free assets on our website for anyone to use. So after using up all of those eventually (though I still have a *few* left I haven't had time to get back to)...I had to clean these. Most of them sat and soaked to make it a bit easier...still took about 3hrs to peel away a lot of the pieces.



I ended up with some interesting leftovers with some of the completely dried paint that I peeled out. So I thought...why not throw them in those bead containers I got for free at WGAS' free section?



John and I started wondering...there should be a scientific chemical method to turn these back into paint. Is there a way with our limited access and available tools that we could do this? We have been wanting to make our own paints (oils, acrylics, and watercolors) so we decided to try our knowledge from that research. I sorted the colors from what I peeled out, cut them up, and stuffed them in. We kept one as control (only added Isopropyl Alcohol), the second had Isopropyl Alcohol and put it through the UltraSonic machine, and the third was Isopropyl Alcohol that had some resin infused from when he used it with this resin printer AND into the UltraSonic machine.



Cute aren't they? We've gone through them three times but we haven't had time to get back to this in about two weeks. So we will have to follow up with the results next month! Or depending on the results, we may just release a blog post about it.


Now back to the empty pods!



Ended up using them for glue while adding toothpicks for ATC kits! Love how much I was able to recycle and reuse. Though I have some more plans for upcoming kits for the others I'm still cleaning and haven't used yet. And some recycled leftover Starbucks gift cards I have....



Anyways cute Sherlock pic break! <3



We adore her and have to share her cuteness. <3


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Updates on our Free ATC Kits which are available at Who Gives a SCRAP!


Today we have made and given out 418 free ATC Kits at Who Gives a SCRAP!! I'm so thrilled that people are enjoying these and having fun. I still have many plans, just still sorting and processing materials to be used in kits. I'd like to send out more and we will be needing more paper bags! I'm hoping this month to go through a LOT of materials. =)


Many are in their final stages and ready to be made, just waiting for our busy week to calm down so I can finally work on the new updates~ I hope you are as excited as we are!



...I just realized four of my little angel things hanging from my frame are gone!!


That makes me really sad actually and I don't have any idea of what could've happened to them. I hope they can be found and put back up!


...


...


Anyways...


Here are just a sample of the few ATCs we made this month. We ended up trying some different ideas while enjoying a monthly Art Swap hosted by Who Gives a SCRAP!

Next month it will be held at PPLD's Monument location from 1pm-4pm on October 7th! Bring all your art supplies you don't want anymore and trade for things you DO want! We hope to see you there! We would love to make some cards with you. =)


While still on the topic of ATCs, I am thrilled to share how exciting this month's event was!


This month's theme was Shaker Cards! Little interactive cards that have pieces that move when you shake the card! Here are some samples from Candice as well as John & I who worked together to finish the top first two.



Our friend brought her daughters and their friends so we had 5 girls running around having fun making as many cards as they could. The whole time John was straight focused on making enough pieces for them to keep using until we had to clean up. I helped with the in-between of prepping the pieces for them and helping them complete their cards. Each girl made about 3 to 5 cards each!



Look at all this fun chaos!! We really hope to see them again next month and hope to see some new faces. I forgot to take pictures of all their cards... I was scrambling quite a bit. xD We didn't think we would need to prep for about 40 cards. But here are two samples from one of the girls. Once they got the idea down the first time, they were all ablaze for their next ideas!



This month we did a lot of creating too~ We spent time with our new friend Terry! Both of us really enjoyed creating and chatting with her as she introduced Mosiacs on tins to us. We really got into topics and conversations that had such depth and meaning and made time speed by far too quickly. We related to her quite a bit and it was great finding a friend who we could connect with.


This was the first one I made and I'm quite pleased with it. <3 We gifted it to Terry and hope to make more with her soon! Don't the pieces fit pretty well together?




The flat gold piece in the middle over the "Friend Forever" is actually part of a large necklace (like the one around the clock on the front piece) where there were multiples of them connected. These two pieces weren't the cut ones and were left intact. It HAPPENED to fit perfectly on the slight inside of the opening so that the lid (that first picture) could still screw on top. Quite pleased when random pieces you collect manage to work out!


We will probably share the other two we made but no rush. They didn't impress us that much. This one...the pieces just worked. =) What do you think?


As much as I want to share what John has been working on...I'm not sure I can until it is finalized and ready for advertising. He has spent probably 200+ hours on it? So not quite yet on sharing... Unless you work with a church that is looking for materials to help children learn the Bible, then you may be introduced to it sooner if you'd like. =D For everyone else...not yet!


Next in our blog review are the two library books we came across this month that we HIGHLY recommend you go check out:



The Complete Pebble Mosaic Handbook has such great basics and details that build up into some complex ideas. John has been going crazy with this book and had found it before we made mosaics with Terry. After our art time, he is just as enthused. We definitely want to get more into mosaics! (And specifically with rocks for John)


The other book is The Organic Artist which goes over the natural materials and methods to make your own paint, pigments, and prints! Quite a bit more information than you may think but very doable. Probably one you will want to really look into if you want to introduce natural artist tools to kids or teens!



Sidebar...how worried should you be if there were small fires in two apartments next to yours within a 30-day period? If anyone knows of someone looking for a basement to rent out or willing to rent out a home in return for work to subsidize payments, please help connect us! We also have another large issue brewing but I don't want to get into it until the whole scenario is over. I had to take a week this month to make adjustments and we basically flipped our whole apartment around...We will write about it down the road of the fun we are having.



Fun stuff. Moving on.



Now we have collected another nice pile of recycled crayons!! I love doing this and wanted to see how these looked with a different method. Not entirely happy with this method as I can't see the quality of wax until way too late. If I melt them in the melting pan I can remove and keep the final pieces a bit purer and cleaner. But these were fun and I even recorded some demolding videos of what these look like after they have been melted! We are stashing up these videos for when we have time to delve into editing and posting these videos. Or if we can create a skill swap with someone who is great at editing videos as a trade-off! Until then, those will have to wait.



The above we created while dog-sitting! I wanted to challenge myself with a little obsession I had with junk journaling embellishments. All I had to use were a spam mail envelope, an empty tissue box, and some words I had printed and cut out earlier. For my tools I used a little glue pod I showed you earlier with a toothpick, a stapler with staples. scissors, and some pens. I made quite a few variations and hope to have a chance to take on this challenge again!


Not the only artsy thing we did...


And we did MORE!!



We have come across many markers in the past few months. Far too many are drying out or too dry to draw with. We didn't want to just toss them out AND happened to want to try making our own alcohol inks so...we going to test a method to see what results we get. Again, another project that has been sitting aside for a while. We hope to get back to this in October!!


Now this portion of the blog is why we say it is more about us and can be more personal. The newsletter sent via email is about our business side of things. I recently took a thorough psych test to get a re-evaluation. My struggles over the past few years I feel like have been overlooked. For many years I also disregarded my needs to where I couldn't even tell when alarms were going off. (Hence my multiple trips to the ER when I finally stopped being able to breathe) John and I are finally finding out how much damage we are carrying without even realizing it. We both have survived through trauma and are realizing how much of a heavy weight we are still holding.


We came across this amazing book we highly HIGHLY recommend:

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD.


John and I are going to go through this book to unravel what we couldn't during therapy over the course of 5 years. We have encountered many therapists who are not versed in trauma and should not have been turned to when dealing with this complex damage. (Thanks again to Sue from Navigators for helping us get this book!) It has given us so much insight! But this is going to be very time-consuming, painful, and slow to go through. Right now John is going through it first while I carry most of everything. Dealing with trauma and PTSD is very draining so one of us has to keep us on track. Once he is in a more stable place (and finished the book) we are going to switch so I have time to collapse afterwards. So many pains and issues we have had we finally are able to start working through and letting go! (I am still processing a little of it as he bounces ideas off of me through his reading)


We are so pleased we are able to work through these painful struggles and finally be free! You gotta do the work to process the experiences in order to allow yourself to be free of them. The processing is KEY to moving forward in life. Don't be afraid of the pain, be afraid of being stuck where you are forever and losing out on everything in your grasp that was meant for YOU!


Anyways with that. I got my psych evaluations back and have started questioning so much (while still having so many answers answered!)


Now these seem really bad (And clinically they technically are). However, this is the updated progress I have made over the course of TWO DECADES. So seeing this actually makes me amazed at how far I have come from being terrified, hiding in my room 24/7, and being forced to go out and do anything. Terrified of being seen and existing that I would hold my breath and not even realize it. I feel like I OWED people something for just bothering them and being in their presence. Feelings like that....what happened to me as a child that I would still have these feelings following me well into my 30s? Why we are eager to go through that book? I can't talk about John's side of things so whenever he is ready to share his story he may. I'll go through a little bit of mine right now. I may go more into it in another post focusing on just this topic.


Now clips from my results:

The results are kind of self-explanatory. The Factor is the issue being evaluated, the T-Score is the score I got from the tests and the Measured Symptoms are what is being looked at to determine the evaluated factor. Under the table, there is the interpretation guide.


Most if not all are clinically elevated and probably have been elevated for at least a decade and a half. I don't remember much of my life without a lot of these happening all the time.


The Doctor who evaluated me basically described my brain as rewired anxious, with my problems being a STRONG mixture of high anxiety and PTSD to where it is difficult to tear them apart and see what issues are from which.


So telling me advice about dealing with anxiety won't work for me. I would have to focus on rewiring my brain for years. I appreciate the concern and the effort, but at this point, it doesn't help. It will get better but will require a lot more research, consistency, and experimental approaches.


The section below has some positive news tho! As you can see the first thing says "Depression" and it's score is "55"! Yes, the interpretation guide states that (30-59) is within normal limits and tho being very close to the end of that...it is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than it was just 5 years or even 7 years ago! Even the Doctor was thrilled to share in this accomplishment! You see, 7 years ago I was in such a deep depression I was breathing the deepest desire to end myself with every breath I took. It grew worse and worse over the course of 3 years. The only 'happiness' I felt (serotonin release) lasted literally TWO seconds every two weeks. It's kind of hard to keep living when you can find no rest or relaxation anywhere. During a time when my parents insisted I just get a full-time job, not sleeping, having constant breakdowns, doctors never listened or cared, I was brushed off asking medical professionals for help over and over and over. What was the point of living when I had literally nothing to live for and seemed like no one cared if I were even alive? This lasted for YEARS. I'm crying just remembering all of this. I lived this and now I have so much joy and a future now! Things are POSSIBLE.


So to see this drop to a mere "55" is so thrilling to see!


Yes,., the rest of the table is heavy. I've been carrying these for over a decade, this is my normal now. No longer can these be excuses but they are VERY much real and weighing me down daily. I have had to be creative in moving forward and accomplishing what I can.


Don't let society demand you follow their lifestyle. Adapting to our health has done wonders and made things much more manageable.


Although the issues above have proven to create some predictable barriers:


I....I have some adapting issues. Though I understand the logic and reasoning BEHIND it all (how to act, when to act, what to say, how to say it etc.), my automatic responses have control. Until I am able to unravel the core cause, it will keep controlling me and weighing me down. I can't do any of that processing if I have to be connected to reality to make ends meet. We are hoping to have our business stable enough for us to take a week off at a time every month to work on our long-term well-being.


We fall behind a lot. We also take a week each month to deal with our health that has nothing to do with anything else (self-care such as eating, cleaning the home etc. taking care of the home to keeping up with appointments or keeping up with social engagements). So imagine you have one month's worth of non-stop busy work but you have to do it all without one week and the threat of losing a whole second week trying to get it all done with the newly added responsibilities that each month brings. Things always get pushed aside.


To get away from that heavy stuff...how about we look at the pictures I happened to take? (Same location as stated above for all of these below~) I'm quite proud of these pics! Such beautiful nature in her well-taken-care-of garden~



Oh, and the reason why we haven't made as many ATCs this month is our short focus on Zines! Thanks to Cheech from Crafter's Clique for making these with us! We were hoping to be at the Zine Fest Oct 7th but we were sadly already double booked! (There was also a conference we wanted to attend that was ALSO on that day...very popular day indeed!)


I made some Mary Kay Zines!! These will be given out for free! =D I just had so much fun with these. I may start handing these out in gift sets I sell as I make them.



Why Mary Kay you ask?


Because I am now an Independent Skin Care Consultant!! <3 And Skin Care because I can't wear makeup much...I don't really go out and I cry too much to be able to wear it enough. But I DO have to see my face every day and I don't want to suddenly be surprised how old I look. (Though my lack of sleep does affect my eyes and that's been bugging me).


It's about the time when I need to start paying attention to my skin before it's too late. So why not now? There were so many reasons why I personally wanted to join Mary Kay and start a business. (Now there are overlaps in why it's a great career and with my values & interests but I'm not trying to sell you either the career or products just FYI!! These are just my personal observations and collections of PROS in my book.)


Now besides taking care of my skin, I was impressed with many things:


1) Their business structure. It's not just an MLM company but a structure that takes business and lives seriously. The more I listen to their videos and look into their product/ordering structure, I am impressed. (I do have a business degree so I do know at least a little something). When I expect a business to show they care about their stamp in history and on people's lives through their choices and actions...they take that seriously.


2) Their focus is God (or Faith) First, Family Second, and Career Third. Their business structure and teachings support this.


3) Flexibility with your schedule and workload.


4) They don't want to hire salespeople. I HATE sales people so seeing how true this is with multiple ladies I've encountered I am excited to be around them. My team is supportive and amazing!


5) Mary Kay already has a legacy and a reputation. I don't have to SELL anything or persuade anyone to buy. It either sells itself or they don't want it. Either way, I just get to let them know that these exist and details about them. This makes interacting with people so much easier as I get to focus on connections.


6) With what I stated above...because of my high social anxiety, I get to work on SPECIFICALLY my social anxiety struggles. I can't improve if I don't face my fears. Having a set pattern already proven lets me sit back in at least something familiar and comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.


7) They do 100% of taking care of their trash and recycling! They have no landfills! I am so thrilled to see that! Makes me want to go see their company in person. =)


8) Out of the 60 years that Mary Kay has been in business, I don't think I have heard of ONE bad thing about the company. Of course about a person here or there working within the company but not so much by the company itself!


9) They want you to succeed. Yes, you can go to the Mary Kay website to see the products but you HAVE to buy them through a Beauty (or Skin Care) Consultant!


10) We get can 50% off products as well as rewards of products to keep or sell for up to 100% profit. The benefits are...just amazing. There is more but I already have written too much. There is seriously a lot more surprises in store for those willing to work hard. (Such as a free vehicle and everything covered the first year? With all the sales tax, fees, and registration costs COVERED?) Yes, the company cares if you care.


11) Cosmetics and Skin Care products are one of the stable markets that will never dry up during a recession. In fact, during the pandemic, sales actually INCREASED. What!?!?


12) They have an option for those wanting to test the waters or think they are too busy, with just a website to get started. I took this because I didn't have enough to start with a starter set or wasn't entirely sure. But after a day of reading into everything...I just kept finding more and more reasons why I was impressed with the company.


13) I could LEARN from them. I took business classes. I have a business degree. I've read business books...and yet this business puts dignity in working flexible hours and allowing you to put your family before your career.

14) I now have a business mentor! Someone to help walk me through the steps. John and I have noticed we tend to give away too much which ends up cutting into what portion we DESERVE to be paid. (i.e. you work for an hour and agree to make $15 for that hour..we feel guilty and will end up giving away $10 from that for free...). So having a mentor helps reinforce the idea that "this is a business and we deserve to make our share that we worked hard for". There is so much more she has been teaching me and has now adopted me as my Mary Kay Momma!


15) They aim to hire busy women. Women who understand what it means to get things done and are creative with their time. Other women who are busy tend to meet a lot of people. I'm not quite one of those people as I keep to some very regular patterns with minimal contact. I'm extremely busy: full-time taking care of my health, full-time taking care of my husband, full-time taking care of the home and connections, part-time setting up our art business...and now adding a part-time getting my Mary Kay business going. I'm extremely excited to get things moving!


16) I'm NOT dropping my art side of the business. I'm using what I learn through Mary Kay to apply to our other businesses. Our biggest issues were the advertising and marketing...the social side of things. Their reputation precedes them so I don't need to push any product. I merely focus on informing what we have and how to use it (as well as consulting on what works best for the individual) and working on paying attention to and connecting with people. I really need those opportunities to practice so this creates a perfect tested structure! So many aspects I get to play with about business that I don't have to prove such as creating my own personal advertisements that still connect to Mary Kay both in theme, style, and level of professionalism. Time to through creativity in!


17) Even John is excited for me to start this business. He also is impressed with the business structure, the possibilities, and the products and is very supportive of this endeavor. He is even eager to help make anything to support in anyway. =) Another fun creative challenge avenue for us!


18) oh right and of course we need money. That's always a driving factor! lol


I have more reasons and this is just so exciting but I wrote quite a bit this time. I'm still extremely nervous about having to be in front of people and remember things correctly while I talk...but I want to get better! If you, or someone you know is interested in Mary Kay products or looking to learn more about skincare products (and doesn't mind that it is from Mary Kay), please connect them with me! I would sincerely appreciate it!


Or check out my personal Mary Kay website: www.MaryKay.com/MHM



I started making my own ATC business cards to hand out! Some fun quick pieces since I didn't have many financial resources to start up with. I'm making most of what I need myself and printing what I can for free at the library. I started with $25 during a bonus month. That was only for the website. Still, I'm willing to put in the work and keep reinvesting!


So I think you can see that we have been doing quite a bit this month. We are honestly surprised at how much we got done...and this isn't even mentioning HALF of what we actually did. Just this post is already 18 minutes so you can imagine how much longer I could've written.


Whew! So much! But we are so pleased with what we have been able to accomplish and all the amazing people we met this month (both new and continuing friends). We feel so blessed to be making connections and feeling more like a part of the community. Which honestly feels weird for both of us never having that in our lives before. We really hope we are able to find a stable house here in Colorado Springs so we can continue to live and grow here with everyone!


With that, we conclude our monthly update and hope you look forward to next month's summary! Please stay in contact!!

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1 Comment


Sally Piette
Sally Piette
Oct 27, 2023

What a post for this month! Once of the things I wanted to ask is: What helped with your depression? You've come a long way from where you were.

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