#Reverb10 Day 7: Community

Note: This is the seventh in a month-long exercise called Reverb10, where bloggers reflect on the year before and think towards the year ahead. The idea is to post daily, based on the day’s prompts; let’s see how well I do.

Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

It’s hard to pin down a community that I only discovered in 2010. I’ve been a member of the Drupal community for over 2 years now, part of my community of friends anywhere from 5 years to over a decade, and a member of the local food community for at least 2 years. Add that to 5 years in the sustainable business community and… you can see where this is going. I have too many communities.

If there was one place I can really say that I “discovered” community this year, it was with my family. Sounds odd, given I was born into them, but I’ve had odd relationships with most of my family for much of my life. Then the wedding happened, and despite some moments where things just got odd (ask me about the cat. Go ahead), I realized that this was the family I was stuck with, and no matter what, they would be proud of me.

There was a lot of healing in that weekend.

#Reverb10 Day 6: Make

Note: This is the sixth in a month-long exercise called Reverb10, where bloggers reflect on the year before and think towards the year ahead. The idea is to post daily, based on the day’s prompts; let’s see how well I do.

Day 6: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

This is a bit of a loaded question. I make every single day. I even write about making. But if I had to pick one thing that I made, recently, that I’m most proud of, it’s this journal.

Here it is! My *almost* perfect journal.

I’ve been a fan of journals since I was fifteen years old. With all the stuff I do in the digital realm, there’s truly nothing that works better for me than good old pen and paper – preferably in an attractive package.

The last few years, specifically, I’ve been exploring different options for journals – hoping to one day find a journal that would work for both personal writing and work notes. I’m a huge fan of Dot Grid journals and Action Method products, but I’ve been hoping for one that a) wasn’t plain black, even if it had a lovely embossed cover; and b) didn’t force me into having a to-do list on every page. In addition to that, I wanted to be able to color code pages (with labels) depending on whether they were work or personal, and I wanted multiple bookmarks, because I often have more than one thing I have to keep track of.

Love the dot grid. FEAR the dot grid.

The end result of many hours of thinking and sketching was the journal you see above. I still have a couple of design tweaks to make for future iterations, but I’ve been incredibly pleased with the result so far.

The exterior is chipboard, decorative paper and bookcloth from PaperSource. The interior is Neenah Environment PC100 writing, with a dot grid design and a line to add date, page references and numbers. There’s also a box specifically for “stuff to remember” (a nod to the Action Method’s “Backburner”), and a spot for a to-do list (which, right now, is half an Action Pad that I plan to tape to the page. Ideally, it’d be labels). I used bookbinding thread for the bookmarks and closure, which I’m thinking of changing in future iterations. Most of all, it’s PRETTY. Which is the point.

#Reverb10 Day 5: Let Go.

Note: This is the fifth in a month-long exercise called Reverb10, where bloggers reflect on the year before and think towards the year ahead. The idea is to post daily, based on the day’s prompts; let’s see how well I do.

December 5: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

Many, many ideas that kept me from going back to school. The feeling that I had to keep running a business or else I’d be a “failure.” My gall bladder (gotta love that, right?). RELATED: my yoga practice – which I want to get back.

There were people, things, and concepts that I dropped this year; some for carefully calculated reasons – and others just because I had reached my breaking point. As 2011 inches closer, I have a feeling that more things will end up shaking off my plate. I’m not sure what they’ll be yet, but it’s nice to be in a place where growth is happening.

For my own perspective, I created this today: an infographic timeline of my education and career for the past 20 years. I’d been thinking about this since the Boston Chamber of Commerce meeting last Wednesday, when the Marketing VP at Bank of America shared the story of the circuitous route she took to where she is today, in charge of one of the largest banking brands in the world. Her message, which I took to heart, was that it’s not always clear at the outset where you’ll end up, but the point is to look at the opportunities, and jump on them.

A brief history of the last 20 years. Click to embiggen.

As a college theatre student in the mid-90s, I never thought I’d get into design. As a print designer in the early 2000s, I never dreamed I’d be into web design. And although I always knew I’d run my own business someday, I didn’t think it would actually happen until I was already doing it. None of it was planned in any real way; it happened because that was the opportunity I was presented with.

Yep, that’s about all I can say about that.

Reverb10 Day 4: Wonder

Note: This is the fourth in a month-long exercise called Reverb10, where bloggers reflect on the year before and think towards the year ahead. The idea is to post daily, based on the day’s prompts; let’s see how well I do.

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

In 2010, wonder (in the childlike sense) was hard to come by – until, on the verge of burnout, I decided that it was time to reinvest some time into personal projects.
The most obvious one is this site – which I decided to use as a chance to push myself creatively, and come at a project from a more conceptual angle. In case you can’t tell, the idea behind this site comes from the “ideal notebook” I’ve always imagined – one that was based on a dot grid, had color-coded tabs for organization, and a pretty patterned cover. I still have elements of the user experience to tweak, but as a first iteration, it was delightful to watch come together.

The second project, and one that’s still very much in process, has been actually designing said Perfect Notebook – something that I’m starting to work on with the lovely Miss Holly Gordon. The last couple of weeks, I’ve been gathering materials, playing with prototypes, learning letterpress and bookbinding, and perfecting the interior pages as well as the organizing system. The ultimate goal is to sell them, but the point of the notebook isn’t really a business as much as it is a creative outlet, and a notebook that I can use to replace the 2-3 notebooks I carry with me daily – a goal I’ve had for the last five years.

If you want to see some of the prototypes, check out the pics below. I’m guessing that this project will be one of the big sources of wonder I’ll be working with in 2011.

Reverb10 Day 3: Moment

Note: This is the third in a month-long exercise called Reverb10, where bloggers reflect on the year before and think towards the year ahead. The idea is to post daily, based on the day’s prompts; let’s see how well I do.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

The week before my wedding, I was a complete wreck. I hadn’t been sleeping, had barely been able to focus on anything, and we were still dealing with logistical issues between the camp and making sure our families could figure out where the camp was. Up until the moment I walked down the aisle, my nerves were shot. It wasn’t until I got down there, and saw the eyes of my husband, that I finally realized I was going to be fine.

The weather was more perfect than we could have imagined; a soft breeze, unseasonably warm, but not so hot that we were all sweating bullets. The ceremony space was set up in a huge ampitheatre with a view of the lake, with a bit of music (frantically put together on a CD the night before we left for camp) playing softly as guests sat down. I was in peacock blue, with bright red shoes and a dark orange flower in my hair; Nick was in a blue suit with a peacock blue paisley tie. Both of us started crying almost as soon as I got down there. Our officiant and friend Joanna read a beautiful ceremony that she’d created just for us, and I could see the look of incredible pride in my parents’ eyes from the moment we started the procession to the end of the wedding.

I can honestly say, in my entire life, that I never thought I’d have a day like that day. A child of divorce, it wasn’t until I actually met Nick and had been with him for a while that I’d even considered myself the marrying kind. Now that the day is over, and Nick and I have happily settled into our married life, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.