What’s Your Word?

Last year was the first time I took the time to select a word to reflect my goals and intentions about the coming year. My word for 2011 was 'Focus'. That post is here: http://www.sallylynnmacdonald.com/weblog/2011/01/whats-your-word.html.

I feel like I accomplished the essence of what that word meant to me in different parts of my life throughout the year. Sometimes just really looking closely helps you make decisions.

To our great misfortune, I had some time to myself during an impromptu trip to Kansas and the unexpected passing of my sister, Carole. Every time I pause upon those words, a feeling of disbelief engulfs me. When I was alone in that hotel room, I reflected on so many things. Family and relationships. Connections. The future.

When I got home, I focused on business to my mind occupied. I spent some time reviewing business paperwork and realized (oh that's not the right word…)! Let's face it. A truth hit me upside the head like a ton of bricks! When I focused on how much I had been traveling over the last several years several things came to mind:

Why so much traveling? I want to go to a lot of locations, but frankly I hear more often than not, that many people don't have a local store to go to. They don't want to travel to a store. Many cannot afford to go to a weekend retreat or a cruise.

I spend an inordinate amount of time and expense traveling, and I'm not reaching more people. I don't charge the stores for my travel expenses, but the number of people who take classes is still dwindling, because folks who have a local store have a wealth of class choices and the fact that I traveled to get there just doesn't matter to them. What's the value add?

How can I be more effective? I love to teach. But my kids have tons of activities that I want to be a part of. And more often than not – these activities occur on the weekends. I want to be here for them and not travel as much.

Why is my studio so disorganized? If you follow my blog, you know that I decided to organize in February, 2011. I started with little areas, but I knew the truth of the matter was that 15 years of schtuff lie in wait in my studio. It was time to attack the problem head-on. So I threw up my hands and decided to simply empty it out and start fresh in August, 2011.

The number one reason that it was so messy was the 'piles of shipment' (as my husband refers to them). In comes a box of supplies. Out goes a box to a store. Here comes the return of the unused supplies. Nothing ever really gets emptied. The studio became more of a warehouse than a place to create.

I also have multiples of things, some things approaching an episode of hoarders. When I buy something, I usually buy 24-30 of that item for a workshop. Try to store that!

The 'workshop mentality' takes over my ability to create freely. When I'm creating, an internal, subconcious dialogue runs through my head that says, 'Do you have enough of that for a workshop?' Is it cost-effective? Is it new/current. blah blah blah. How can I possibly create anything good with all that noise?


  • I need to clip my wings and travel less.
  • I need to reach more people when I teach.
  • I need to spend more weekend time with my family.
  • I need to stop being a warehouse and start creating more.
  • I need to create for the joy of teaching techniques, not projects (at least I need to shift focus).
  • I need a way to bring in a small income to support my endeavors.

And thus my word for 2012 became clear to me.


The word, 'nest', means so many things to me. It means starting fresh from what you can gather, creating an environment that will shelter and support, nuturing its occupants, teaching them to fly and eventually letting them go.


I made this assemblage piece to reflect upon throughout the year.  Please click for a larger image if you want to see it.

I used a Vintaj metal canvas blank, which I stamped little bird scratch foot prints on and embossed some leaves and branches.  I attached a piece of metallic punchinella to the top of it which I had used for many projects and had a feeling of painting and sanding and much-loved use.  I bent and attached some Vintaj hinges to the top of the piece with the protuding hinge portion used for the hanger clips to grab onto.  If I could have found my pin drill, I would have riveted them into place as well – but I can save that for later.  I made a nest out of tied ribbons on a coppy wire.  I attached wings to the base and placed the nest on top.  I took an acrylic bird and used an awl to make a hole in the center, through which I attached two varying size spinners to the top of a vintage watch face.  I selected various different styles of letters to spell nest.  I tied an envelope to the hanger faceplate with thin gold wire.  It can be opened and a tiny message placed inside!

As I said last year…Do you have a word that drives your intentions in 2012? It's so much more liberating than a resolution and so much more encompassing. Give it a try.

My first step to start off 2012 was to take a beginning sewing class with Courtney yesterday.

Tomorrow I'm starting a new job for a few hours a day, working at my local bead shop, A Bead of Roses.

This year is starting off just great.  I hope yours is too!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *