I'm excited to be here this week hosting and to update you on a project I started in January 2010: my own modified 52 Projects challenge. When I reviewed Jeffrey Yamaguchi's book here last year I knew the idea held appeal to scrapbooking types, but after a year's worth of trying it out myself I've decided it's more than just appealing: it's a terrific motivator that provides a sense of accomplishment I wasn't expecting. The momentum of "look what I did!" begets "what else can I do?" A nifty trick, especially for someone who took nearly ten years to get her wedding photos in an album for her mother-in-law. [I know, I know, both bride and daughter-in-law shame.]
When I began the project with all my annual January creative fervor I set some wise guidelines for myself:
1.) Don't commit to a specific list of projects ahead of time.
2.) There is no specific deadline to finish.
3.) Regular scrapbook pages don't count.
Hence, by the beginning of January 2011, I've completed 33/52 projects:
Interestingly enough, only one has been a traditional scrapbook-related project, though I've done plenty of projects that require use of my scrapbooking products, tools, and sensibilities. I surprised myself with the amount of projects related to sewing; even more, I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed doing those (even if I had to read the sewing instructions out loud, slowly, upwards of five times in order to kind of-sort of get what I was supposed to do). I am not one tiny bit mad that I didn't finish my 52nd project before 2011 rolled around; letting this whole process develop organically is truly the only reason why I've been successful. I am very much looking forward to turning the whole experience into a page when I'm done—wouldn't you just love to know what your great-grandmothers did to gussy up their homes, to make their lives more efficient, to show for the pursuit of their hobbies?
The answer is Y E S. At least for me.
This week I thought it would be fun to devise five projects related to memory-keeping to both keep my personal challenge moving right along AND give you some ideas to start your own 52 Projects challenge. I tried to come up with things that can be completed inexpensively, brighten up your (or someone else's) day, and won't take much more than a hour, tops. Here's my project #34/52!
#34/52: Write a letter to someone from your past thanking them for their impact/influence.
I've had gymnastics on my mind a lot lately as the girls get more and more involved; I was thinking of how I never would have predicted in 2004 when Maddie started gymnastics with Miss Lasheryl that she'd still be at it in 2011. We didn't keep in touch with the coaches from our gym there when we moved, but after Maddie's last meet this season (she won the Level 3 All-Around!) I started thinking that Miss Lasheryl needs to know that this little girl who loved her so much has become an accomplished competitive gymnast in the last five years. With a little help from Google I came up with a probably-correct business address where she works and will drop a letter in the mail with these two pictures in it today. And since I have the story fresh in my mind (with pictures to boot!) I'll make a quick page documenting this important connection, too!
Let yourself think about this one today. There's a good chance that you'll hear a little whisper of the person's name to which you should address your letter. If the person is no longer alive, consider sending your letter to a relative or friend of the person instead; sharing a memory of that positive influence will no doubt be a priceless surprise gift... and not just to the person who will find something other than junk mail in his or her mailbox. It might require a little detective work, but it's worth it. You've just completed Project 1/52!