Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Seven Helpful Habits for ADDers

Every adult with ADD has special talents. The trick is to uncover them–and use them to achieve important goals.  by Edward Hallowell, M.D.

Do you sometimes worry that attention deficit disorder (ADD / ADHD) will hold you back? There’s no need. Everyone has special interests and abilities that can help them reach their goals. The trick is to identify these often-hidden passions and talents—and put them to work.
In more than two decades as a psychiatrist, I’ve known countless people who have managed to thrive in spite of—and often because of—their ADD. I’m thinking of people like my friend R.L., who parlayed a gift for gab and an ability to stay calm in chaotic environments into a dynamic career as a television anchorman.
Of course, I’ve also met plenty of ADDers whose careers and personal relationships were hijacked by their condition. What explains this “success gap”? Why do some ADDers struggle, while others succeed? I think it’s a matter of habits. That is, successful ADDers tend to be those who have learned to focus on their strengths and who have developed these good habits:

1. Do what you’re good at.

Everyone is good at some things, and not so good at others. Often it’s more productive to focus on improving your strengths rather than on trying to shore up your weak points. And when you must do something you’re not particularly good at? Work with family members, coaches, or tutors to find coping strategies that help you become “good enough.”

2. Keep in touch with your friends.

Good friends are essential for happiness. And friends can provide you with valuable perspective.

3. Ask for advice.

Life is tricky, but there’s no need to go it alone. Figure out whom you trust, and confer with them on a regular basis—and especially when problems arise. Ignore naysayers and finger-waggers.

4. Get enough organized.

You don’t have to be totally organized—perfect files, no clutter. That’s too hard for most ADDers and, in my opinion, nothing but a waste of your time. You only need to be organized enough so that disorganization doesn’t get in your way.

5. Find an outlet for your creativity.

What’s your hobby? Music? Karate? My outlet is writing. Life is always more interesting and fulfilling when I’m engaged in a writing project.

6. Learn to delegate.

If you’re faced with a task or responsibility that you find particularly difficult, ask someone else to do it for you in exchange for doing something for him. And don’t assume that someone else will pick up the slack for you when you don’t get things done. Ask him or her to do so. Asking for help is especially important within the context of marriage; failing to acknowledge that you are leaving the not-so-fun stuff (housekeeping, bill-paying, and so on) to your non-ADD spouse invariably leads to resentment.

7. Stay optimistic.

Everyone has a dark side, and can feel down sometimes. But do your best to make decisions and “run your life” with your positive side.

This article comes from the April/May 2007 issue of ADDitude.

Copyright © 1998 - 2010 New Hope Media LLC. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm full of it...

I am full of it - Gratitude - that is.

I refuse to go even one single day without consciously being thankful for something - usually it's several things.

My family. My awesome son. My amazing husband.  My job.  My health. And on and on.
I am even grateful for much that I don't have!   

It's easy to find things not to like.  It's easy to complain.  It's even easier to find bright sides. 

To CREATE your own gratitude is to find happiness.  There is a measure of peace to be felt in everything we can find to be greatful for.

I challenge everyone who reads this to start a list and add to it at least one thing everyday.  Make it pretty!

DESIGN your own gratitude!

Monday, November 14, 2011

What I'm making - Wine Cork Board and Beer Cap Tack Tutorial

Remember I told you I was going to be making some wine cork board/trays for my mother and sisters-in law?  Well I got two of them done this weekend and thought I'd share.  I also made some beer cap tacks to go with them.  I was unusually lucid and I had the rare forethought to take some pictures of my progress so I could post a tutorial about the tacks. - I'm thinking I might also have to include some wine charms to hang from those beer cap tacks. 

I gotta say that this whole thing was super easy - in fact the hardest part was puzzling the corks together so they fit nice and tight in the trays.

I had originally planned on using picture frames that I picked up at the thrift store, but on a recent foray into my local Ross, I found these beautiful trays for $6 each.  They're really too nice to cover with corks, but there ya go. 

So the rule for the day - If you want an amazing end result, you have to start with quality ingredients/supplies.

Box o' corks and my $6 tray - I used real corks rather than the rubber variety, simply because I think they have more character and it's easier to insert tacks in to them.

Lay them all out.  You may need to cut one or more in half or thirds with a sharp utility knife to make them fit snugly.

Keep your band-aids handy! 

Then hot glue them in one at a time - To the tray and to each other - Use the High Temp glue in case it's used as a trivet so a hot casserole dish won't undo all your work.

For the beer cap tacks, you'll need flat and round pliers, strong adhesive, beer caps, a straight pin and some resin.  I used Mod Podge Dimensional Magic.

First bend your pin at a right angle

Then use the round pliers to bend, first one way, then the other, to make a swirl - You can do an actual swirl or whatever - the idea is to give your pin more substance for a base to hold it in the cap.


Use your super strong glue and stick the pin to the cap.

When it's dry, fill the cap with the resin to cement to whole thing.

Allow to dry at least two days. 

Tack on your tag, wine charms, gift certificates and GIVE!  = >

Cheers! Salut! Prost!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What're you making?

I ususally make most of the gifts I give to family - The exception being my husband and son who prefer electronics, sporting equipment, toys and gadgets - But everyone else gets goodies I make. 

In years past I've made gift sets of Dip & Rub mixes and mixes for soups and breads all packaged with my meal saver and wrapped in handmade burlap sacks, dish towels or oven mitts.  I've made liquers and ornaments and hand woven rugs, crocheted scarves and yummy soaps too.  (A lot of these can be found in my shop)

I usually make too much.  Enough so that I inadvertently make my relatives a bit uncomfortable.  In fact that's how my Etsy store came about - With my husband asking what I intended to do with all the stuff I made.

This year I'm making wine cork boards/trivets with beer bottle cap tacks for the grown ups and manicure and travel baglets for the nieces.  (I was considering some funky monster fur leg warmers, but simply don't have time to test my sketchy sewing skills.)  I've also been making jams, jellies, salsas and loaves of bread that I've frozen to bring for the holidays.

I'm very interested in what others give for presents.  One never knows what will inspire the next fit of manic creativity.  I'm posting this question on here and on my FB @ adcdpage, on my twitter feed @idahocrystals and I'm also pinning any pictures that I can find that may inspire you on my Pinterest boards.

So - What are you giving?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brutal HonEtsy...

...Some unsolicited observations
from an Etsy underachiever...
You know those posts on the forums of Etsy?  The ones where people whine because they're not selling anything and they can't understand why people aren't lining up to throw money at them for making those profound works of art and amazing macaroni bracelets?   When you visit their site, you're speechless because you can't think of where to start? 

I've seen a couple from some obviously left-brained crafters that made me close the thread and back away - I couldn't possibly spend the rest of the day giving them the same tired advice they could have found in the thousands of other threads from similarly dissillusioned, asthetically- challenged crafters - and still be nice about it.  (Regretsy anyone?)

 Some of these poor "Martha-bees" had some pie-in-the-sky expectations about selling hundreds of creations and having product fly out of their shops as soon as they created the listing.  Some are truly mystified as to why they're not eeking out a living wage with their Etsy shop.

The Quit Your Day Job Series is a wonderful aspiration, and I've seen a few snippets that do a pretty good job of glossing over the Raman-Mac N' Cheese budget most of the actual subjects have finally attained.   Those articles make them sound so romantic!  Seriously, no mention of health insurance or vacations or retirement planning or other "luxuries" that most evil capitalists consider important. 

Remember, there's a reason they're called starving artists and, just like celebrities and professional athletes, the one's who do make bank are the exception, not the rule. 

If you're really mystified as to why you're not selling more of your stuff, here are some questions you might ask yourself:

1* What are your goals? - Do you really want to quit your day job?   Can you plan on working night and day until you can?  Do you need a regular paycheck, health insurance and a retirement plan?   Are you a stay-at-home parent and is it realistic for you to spend 8 - 12 hours running your business or will your TV be taking your place with your kids?

2*What do you know about starting or running a business?  Like any other venture, you get out of it what you put in to it.   Working full time online, might  earn you a part time income.  Running a successful business online or in a brick & mortar store will always take far more time & effort than if you work for "The Man".

At last Google, there were over
half a million results for
so you can get some input from
people who are undoubtedly
more driven to sell than I am...

3*Is your market saturated? - There are literally millions of jewelry listings and hundreds of thousands "photos" or bath and body products.  What's going to make your thing rise above all the rest?  Where and how will your creation stand out? 

And speaking of unique -
4* Can anyone make what you're selling?
   - If it's pretty easy and requires very little time or skill to produce, why would anyone pay to have you make and ship it to them?   There are litterally thousands of jewelry makers on Etsy and 10 times that many beads strung on to widely sold findings or those "ooak" pieces of mass produced crap hot-glued or jump-ringed together - (Cabochons?!  UHG! I can't be the only person to think these things are creepy!)
         If you started making stuff as gifts for friends and relatives and they suggested you start selling it, you have an idea.  If you do the research and find out your product makes a nice gift, but people just won't pay you enough to make it profitable or you can buy something that looks nearly identical elsewhere for $2.00 - it's time to rethink.

And finally - Lights, Camera, Blah -
5* WHAT is that?! ~vs~ I didn't even see it
    - You're making an amazing and really unique product - but who would know because it looks like you took those pictures in your basement.  You've obviously seen the pictures Etsy (and buyers) seem to love.  Those muted color, bright, clean, glossy magazine-type photos can be of your product, no matter what kind of digital camera you use.  Really!  My phone takes better pictures than my camera!
*Does your camera have an exposure adjustment?  -Turn it up.
*How about that Macro? - Play with your close ups.
*Do you spend time editing your phots? - You don't need Photoshop - just a regular FREE program like Gimp or PicNik or Photscape or any of these others.

These are just a few things to think about -  The next step would be marketing - But that is a whole other can of SEO worms and will definitely require a post all it's own...