Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Goal Setting (Danielle)

My whole life, I've struggled to set goals, and goals are impossible to reach if you don't have any. I started Spun Dreamz with a simple dream, to make money using my passion for fiber arts. My dream is a great dream, but unlike goals, it's not tangible, it's not measurable, so should I be happy with one single sale, or do I want more? Of course I want more, I want a consistent income from this. That is where goals come in.

No matter what you are doing for money, a dollar goal is essential, whether it is to replace a current income or supplement it. So with a number in mind, and a time frame, my husband wants to see something come of this by the time our youngest starts school, I needed to break it down into something bite sized.  Some people can do this alone, other's, like me, need a sounding board, that is where a best friend who won't judge, no matter what, like Lisa, is a great asset.

I picked out five goals, some are short term, setting up working systems to make the most of my resources, and others are longer term, that I need to build habits to complete, and be consistent about it all.

By knowing where you want to be, and breaking it down, it opens doors you might not see. My ultimate goal seemed huge, until Lisa and I sat down and broke that down into numbers of sales. Even those numbers seemed like mount Everest, so we broke it down further, from monthly, to weekly, still to big? break it down further, you are not going to reach your goal overnight.

The sky is the limit, but it's going to take time to get there, baby steps and stepping stones are the only way you will get to where you want to be.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Musing - Fiery Passion (Lisa)

We say that passion burns like fire. We accept this statement easily without ever looking deeper. Passion is like fire. If we let it burn unchecked, it can consume everything. If we tend it, it will warm us no matter the storms that hit. If we ignore it, if we refuse to feed our passion, it will die to embers. Yet like the hot coals left after a fire has gone out, our passion can be reignited by adding the simplest of fuels.
When you build a fire, you start small, or you risk smothering the flames before they have a chance to catch. So to when you follow the path your passion leads, it can be too easy to bury yourself in it so completely that you forget to breathe. you smother yourself and burn yourself out. Follow your passion. This is vital to your life, but just as the fire needs fuel, it also need oxygen, air. Without that it dies. You too need balance. You need to feed your passion, to fuel it, yet your passion also needs room to breathe, and you need room to stretch.
Passion burns like fire. Passion fades like fire. But long after the flames are gone, the coals remain hot. The stronger your passion, the hotter your flame, the longer your coals glow. And just a little fuel will cause your passion to flare up, as eager, and as hot, as it first was.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Future of Flames - Sale! (Lisa)

I hope to have a blog post up later today, but for now, I just wanted to share: The Spark is free this weekend!

His darkness is the one thing that could save her. Her fire could destroy everything. Will shadow and flame be enough to heal them both?

The Spark:  Free http://amzn.com/B00NE3C75G

The Ember:  .99 http://amzn.com/B00R6P8FE0

Wildfire:  http://amzn.com/B00V8PIUSA

Friday, 17 April 2015

Chaos of Sound (Lisa)

Chaos in Sound
The world spins around me. Chaos and noise erupt. The clamor of every day life is deafening. It's as though the vibrations of the sound are trying to shake me apart, as though the volume of the world has been turned up for me alone. It's deafening.
I feel uncertain. There is so much around me. The voices, the footsteps, the laughter, the screams, the sobs, and the machines. The machines shriek at me. They beep. They hum. They buzz. It swirls around me in an endless cyclone of noise. It pulls at me, wrapping me in a fog of sound.
I cannot focus. I cannot hear past the turbulence. I cannot think past the unrelenting roar around me.. It permeates me, affecting every part of me. My lungs feel heavy, weighted, as if it's harder to breathe, even when it isn't. I fight to keep from gasping. My stomach clenches, flooding with butterflies and cramping in pain all at once. My head aches, making it impossible to focus. My legs tremble as if I have run for hours, yet I've barely taken a step. I feel hollow, as if someone has scooped out all that makes me...me.
So I sit here, huddled in a corner, hoping no one sees how close I am to tears, how close I am to falling apart. The world trembles beneath me, yet none around me feel the tremors. The air is thick, choking me, yet no one else struggles to breathe. The lights are too bright, yet I am the only one squinting in the brightness. The volume on everything increases ten fold, yet the others only talk louder to compensate. No one else feels any change.
I long for shadows to hide me, to muffle the noise. The chaos melts away in the darkness of night. Evening comes, and the world falls silent, and for a moment, just for a moment, I can breathe. I can remember that I am me. I can remember that there is peace in this world of noise. I can remember.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Finishing (Danielle)

I ended up very sick today, but have finished so much in the last little while, I sent out two packages to their new homes last week,  I feel like it took way to long to do the spinning contract, I wanted to be done by the end of January, but I find stress slows me down, and finishing gives me that boost I need, which is why I often finish two or three things right after each other. Everyone enjoys a finish, as I write this, Lisa has just finished writing Wildfire, I have not one but two Finished projects winging their way across the US to their final destinations. We are both proud of our accomplishments, and why not? It is a big deal after all, and leaves us open to do even more, further our crafts, and grow as people.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Cover Reveal - Wildfire

I just couldn't wait to share this with you!! Here's the cover for my latest book, Wildfire. It's book three in the Future of Flames series and is being released next month!  I'm really excited about this! So tell me, what's exciting for you? what makes your heart beat faster? what thrills your soul?

Title: Wildfire
Author: Lisa Messier
Release Date: March, 2015
Series: Future of Flames #3
Published by Entertwine Publishing
Shadowed flames dance on a winter's breeze, drawing Kateraina into the world of the Dreamers. Her fate rests in the hands of the one who Guards her. Dinan NightWalker must show her the strength of the darkness she holds. Wrapped in his arms, she must stand firm against the nightmares she endures. Shadowed secrets lie buried in a long forgotten shrine. Sweet winds whisper twisted truths, turning friend into foe. Searching for answers will test the bounds of their loyalty. Will betrayal tear them apart, or will a fate cloaked in prophecy guide them through their Future of Flames?
About Lisa Messier:
Someone once asked me why I write. I write for the same reason I breathe; it's necessary for my survival (and sanity). I use my writing as a way to express myself and learn who I am. Words make me into the person I want to become. I've been writing since I was a young girl. Now I'm a stay at home mother of my own three girls. I was born and raised in rural Alberta, but moved to the 'big city' three years ago with my husband. In the last year I've finally admitted that I am indeed a geek. I've fallen in love with corsetry and can spend hours researching corsets and their applications. Perhaps one day corsetry will find its way into my writing.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Musing - Who Are You? (Lisa)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In times past, families were represented by a coat of arms. Heraldry was used to depict who a family was, what they stood for, what they fought for. Signet rings were used by royals to show that documents were legit, that what was written were truly the words of the king. Wax seals were used to seal letters. they also indicated who the sender was.

I recently faced the challenge of creating my own such symbol. Something that represents who I am. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, then such a symbol should truly be able to tell you who I am. I struggled for days trying to come up with something. No matter what I saw, it didn't quite fit my idea of me. I spoke with others about it, and finally my husband shared a concept that just felt right.

I spent the better part of two days trying to sketch out what he had envisioned. It includes the first letter of my first name, fire, and a quill. For those who know me, fire makes sense. I am slightly obsessed. I have a pyromaniac tendency or two....kept under tight control. Usually enjoyed in the form of candles and campfires. Fire also represents passion. I'm rediscovering mine, and I see passion as vital to life and health. The quill is my passion. Writing is my life. It's who I am. It's what I need.

While this isn't representative of all I am, it is true to who I am. I holds the most sacred part of who I am as a person, what drives me as a mother, a wife, an artist. This symbol is me, and it truly is worth a thousand words. I've since had that symbol made into a stamp, stickers and it's on a pen. Seeing it surrounding me, I'm starting to feel confidence building in myself. I look around and I see this symbol, this representation of me, and I like what I see. I want to become what this crest is saying with its thousand words.

What picture is worth a thousand words to you? If you had to choose a symbol to represent yourself, what would it be? Think about it for a while. You may find you learn something about yourself. You may gain confidence in who you are.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Why Give Up? (Danielle)

Why would someone give up on something they are truly gifted at, or passionate about. Lisa alluded to this on Friday, which makes me think.
When I was in Jr High and High School I would have identified myself as a writer, it was the only way I had to express myself at the time. Writing was a passion for me, it allowed expression of emotions, hopes and dreams that I wouldn't have otherwise shared with anyone else. I don't write fiction anymore, I still have a love of the written word, but no longer write those stories.

I also knit for a number of years, before stopping, and starting again, I did this more than once, and again with my spinning, start, stop, start. What makes this happen? I'm not entirely sure myself. I now identify as a Mother, Wife, Friend, and Fiber Artist. My Oma, was also a fiber artist, there are millions of people around the world who write, knit, spin, with or without identifying it as a passion, or as who they are, What makes people start down this road, what makes people stop?

Most people are influenced by someone or some event in their lives that allows time to try these things, my Oma, Lisa's School assignment, when I was writing, it was my best friend at the time who got me going, we would start a story, and read them to each other, as we went, I continued to write for a little while after we drifted apart, but I could see despite an increase in knowledge, my best work was influenced by her, by a desire to share that part of myself with someone else. I still have notebooks everywhere, some written in, some not, I still love the written word, but I don't have that same passion for writing as I used to, I grew away from it. The last time I tried to write a Novel was the same month that Lisa started writing the spark, we talked so much, and encouraged eachother, and I never made it far, but I realized something my passion now lies elsewhere, the fibers, and yarns that fill my home, bring joy to me and to my children, like me when I was their age, they love to watch me knit, or spin, and feel the fibers, just being there as something is created.

Both Fiber Arts and Writing are creative outlets, creative spaces, and they both create something useful, Lisa's work brings you to another world, where you can do anything, and be anything, I find mine to be grounding, it brings me back to my roots, Everyone needs a passion, and just because you lose a passion for a time, like Lisa did, or walk away from it, like I did, doesn't mean there isn't something there for you. Never close your eyes to what makes you happy, don't turn your back, but if it doesn't make you happy, ask yourself why, and see what there is that is allowing passion to shine back into your life.

Life without purpose and Passion is dark, and lonely, lets bring some light back into our lives, and do something we enjoy, something that makes us feel purposeful,

Friday, 6 February 2015

Musing - Closet Writer; Hidden Passion (Lisa)

  A friend of mine recently referred to herself as a 'closet writer.' She loves to write; she has a passion for it. Her closet is full of notebooks, but she refuses to share her words. It's only recently she's begun sharing any of it with anyone at all.

  That same day, someone asked me when I knew I was a writer. My answer was easy. When I was young, maybe eight or nine, I was given an English assignment. I was supposed to write a single paragraph and include five specific words to show I understood them. I wrote an entire children's story about two dog detectives. Once it was done, I realized I needed to go back and add those five words into the story. I was so wrapped up in telling my tale that I forgot the entire point of the assignment.

  I knew in that moment that I was a writer. I was, and am, meant to write. It's not something I do; it is who I am. A few years after that, I tried writing again. A novel this time. I had the story. I had the words. But I was missing one small detail. I could start a story, but I didn't know how to end it. I figured that I simply lacked experience.

  I struggled for a while. So much happened at the same time in my life, that I lost sight of who I was. I lost myself, and I stopped trying. Eventually, I forgot that moment, the moment I realized I was meant to write.

  I couldn't stop writing entirely. Words came out of me. I wrote poems and song lyrics. I poured my passion into rhythms and rhymes. But I insisted it was just a hobby. I never thought my words could ever go anywhere. I didn't think I was capable of making it, so I refused to even dream. I packed my passion away. I buried it in the back of a long, deep, dark closet.

  For years, I lived that way. Convinced writing was just a past time, I searched for my 'true purpose'. I could never decide what I wanted to do with my life, because I refused to see my own passion.

  Less than three years ago, I started talking to a couple of other authors. They also mostly wrote poetry. We created an online forum to share our work with each other. It was a great way to get feedback. One of them shared a six line poem with our group. It inspired a six page short story. I wrote it in one sitting. It's still one of my favorite things that I have written.

  For the first time since I wrote that children's story when I was eight, I finished a new story. And I loved it. I soon gained the idea for a new story, and joined a writing challenge called NaNoWriMo. With a goal of writing 50,000 words in the 30 days of November, I never thought I'd be able to achieve it. It was impossible. But I reached out to an author who wrote a book I adored. I reached out to friends I knew who wrote.

  But I did it. I won that challenge. I wrote the first 50,000 words of The Spark. I kept working after November because my story wasn't done. I finally managed to reach The End in January. I had done it! I had reached the end of my first novel. I had done what I believed was impossible.

  Then I did it again when I completed The Ember, sequel to The Spark. I'm almost finished with the third book in the Future Of Flames series, Wildfire. The Spark and The Ember have been published. Wildfire will be released in a couple of months.

  In my early teens I became a closet writer. I had hidden away my passion, and I felt lost. I forgot who I was, denied my own desire. I had locked away my dreams so tightly that I forgot I ever had them.

  Then one day, I let them out to play, just for a moment. For a single evening I freed my passion, and it changed everything. I'm still relearning who I really am. I still can't quite grasp that I AM an author. I am a writer. It's not what I do. It's who I am. It's my craft, my passion, and my life.

  I am taking daily steps to expand my craft. I'm trying to write every day. I keep my desk cleared. I purchased he tools I need, good pends and quality notebooks. I am invested in my passion. And when things seem overwhelming, I reach out to those I care about. I trust them to support me, and I offer them my support in return. There are authors and a publishing company who stand with me. And Danielle, who joined me in this blog. We work together to follow our passions, and even though we have different crafts, we encourage and support and push each other. I am no longer walking this road alone.

  In expanding my craft, and letting my passion free, I have made some amazing friends. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And more than that, I am happier and healthier than I can ever remember being. I write now. Because this is who I am. A writer.

  Who are you? What is your passion, and how can you let it free? How can you expand your craft? Can you imagine how following your passion can change your life?

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

To Dye or Not to Dye (Danielle)

So here at the home of SpunDreamz, I have decided to set up a dye studio. Dyeing wool is not difficult exactly, liking the results of your work, a wee bit more so. Some of the chemical dyes are not appropriate for use around the home studio, and I will be avoiding those, as there are more friendly ones. I have ordered my first set of professional dyes, they should be arriving some time in the next week or two, I have my room picked out, though not set up, and I have chosen a heat source, which I am still sourcing.

There are three things required for a dye studio: first is, a clear work space away from food, the dyes I am using currently are food safe, and I can clean up the kitchen appropriately before and after a dye session, the new dyes are not food safe, so I have chosen to use the Laundry room, my husband has already installed a large wash sink, and we've agreed to a budget for a work top. I have found the work top I want, now it's a matter of some other life issues sorting out to free up the agreed budget.
Second: I need my dyes, the first set of these have been ordered, I haven't used professional dyes before, only food safe ones, so I still don't know what I will like, I ordered a starter set to get me going, and I can add more over time, based on what I like, and what I use.
Third: A heat source, wool requires an acid dye, with needs heat to set it, I debated the options, and chose to go with a crock pot, it applies an even heat, and allows me to leave the fibers untouched until they are completely cool to reduce or eliminate the risk of the wool felting and becoming unusable.

I'm looking forward to adding these choices to my shop, and my skill set. Once I get everything set up and going, I will provide all our blog readers with a tour of my 'Studio' and a pictorial demonstration of what dyeing entails. What sort of advances would you like to make in your Craft?

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Musing - Why I write (Lisa)

Someone once asked me why I write. It took me a long time to figure out how to explain it. There is a drive, a passion to write. It's a need, much like hunger or thirst. You can sate it temporarily, but it never truly goes away. Yet there is so much more to writing. It's so much a part of me that I spent months trying to describe it in a way others would understand. I finally realised how simple an answer it really is. I write for the same reason I breathe; because it is impossible for me to survive if I don't.

Now that's not to say I would physically die if I stop writing. My body would survive, but I would not. If I cease writing, who I am will change. I would become someone far darker, far colder, and far less sane than I am now.

Writing is my passion. But like breathing, it is so much more than a choice. I can control my breath, at least for a while. I can make myself breathe faster or slower. I can breathe deeply, or take shallow puffs of air. I can even choose not to breathe. Well, for a while at least. Eventually though, my chest hurts. My lungs burn. My eyes start to water, and my face turns red. Then, at some point instinct takes over, and I breathe again.

Even if I managed to maintain control, eventually, I would pass out. The moment that happens, my body takes over. Breathing becomes automatic. It doesn't require thought or control. It happens all on its own. Air moves in and out of my lungs. It happens as naturally and easily as, well, as breathing.

In a major way, I can control my writing too. I can write more or less. I can choose when I write, how much attention I pay to it, the topic I choose. I control (mostly) what words I write, what colour I write in, and how often I place my pen against paper. I can even choose to stop writing, at least for a while.

But there are side effects. I begin to feel on edge. I feel tired and drained. Dealing with the emotions of the day exhausts me. I'm more likely to end up depressed. I'm more irritable. I don't sleep as well. I experience more panic attacks. Eventually, I feel like crawling out of my own skin.

And then, instinct takes over. Stories pound in my head; voices invade my days. I catch myself singing songs that have never been written, words that flow but slip from my memory minutes later. I may be able to stop myself from physically writing anything on paper, but I cannot completely prevent myself from writing. It happens anyway. It's beyond my control, often beyond my awareness. Writing is automatic. It's instinct, the way breathing is.

I write for the same reason I breathe; because it is impossible to survive if I don't, because I simply cannot stop. Instinct takes over. I write, because I breathe.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Changes: For Better or Worse (Danielle)

It is on this momentous occasion, that I get to join these two friends in the bounds of ... Blogging.

We have been best friends since the beginning of our children's lives, it's about time that we actually did something we love together. Our passions are so different, that it was hard to think about them meshing well, then it hit Lisa upside the head, like a big stick. We both spin a yarn, just in different mediums, her medium being words, and mine being fiber.

We are each other's Google search, if I need to know something, I call her, and she does the same. When things go missing, Lisa always asks me, as I have a knack for finding stuff in her house, without ever being there. If only I could find my own missing items. We are a matched pair, and I hope you all can handle that. My sense of humor can be caustic, which is often off putting, and worries me, as I don't intend to leave people out. My lifetime theory is, if I don't care about you, or know you well enough, you will not be on the receiving end of my humor in person, otherwise, get used to it. There are a few exceptions to my rule, there are a small number of people who do not take my sense of humor well, and they are given a pass, but Lisa will never be one of those people.

A bit more about me, Knitting and Spinning are not my only crafts, I also enjoy cross stitch, and am currently working on a large one of a woman and a wolf, it's almost black and white, mostly shades of grey, with a small greenish tint in places, it's a real challenge between knitting projects. I started it when all my projects were mindless repeats of the same patterns, Then recently started with a new batch of projects, they seem to come in sets, and I actually have to focus on these patterns. My brain is all of a sudden in a different place than it was a month ago, and I haven't touched the cross stitch. It will be beautiful when I finish, but for now, it waits.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Letter from Liz' - Spinning Changes (Lisa)

Changes are coming. Lizzie's Scribes is now Spin A Tale. I've been joined by Danielle Strasdin!

Who are we?
I'm Lisa Messier. I'm an author, wife, and mother of three girls. I adore my family. I have a passion for words. I write for the same reason I breathe, and I have a love of music and corsetry.

Danielle Strasdin is one of my best friends. Also a mother of three, we've been best friends since our oldest kids were born. Highly creative and motivated, Danielle shares a passion for knitting with her Oma, and she has the talent to spin her own yarn as well!

We'd love to have you come along on our new journey as Danielle spins her yarn, and I spin you a yarn! We'll explore our crafts, and share our lives, thoughts, and joys with you.

Who are you?

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Letter from Liz' - Paperback!

I just wanted to remind everyone to follow your dreams. Find your passion and never let it go. You can achieve great things if you never give up. You can find your dreams - even the ones you didnt dare to dream - coming true and changing your life.

Yesterday, I recieved a paperback copy of my debut novel, The Spark. It's beautiful. I can't explain the feeling I have holding it in my hands and flipping through the pages. It's a dream I was never brave enough to really admit to, but it's here. I've seen this passion come to life, and change my life. I see myself differently. I see the world around me differently. I know more about myself than I did before I started this journey, and it has been one amazing ride. Thank you to those who have taken it with me. I have no words.