Calendar Girl

Greetings all! In the midst of my frantic packing to move over to my BFF’s house next weekend, I’ve found a bit of time for online shopping, in this case for that marker of time that seems so quaint to a lot of people but is indispensable to me:  calendars.

I’ve always loved wall calendars in addition to my planner fixation – I used to have as many as five per year, giving me an endless cycle of changing artwork that I could take apart in December and frame or collage or whatever my little heart desired.  That love hasn’t changed, but nowadays it has a new outlet…you guessed it…Etsy.

So without more ado, I give you my favorite calendars and planners for 2015…with a surprise at the end!

Fandom Editions:

Doctor Who Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey 2015 Calendar – The awesome thing about having a new Doctor is that now calendar makers can rejoice; there’s a Doctor for every month!

made by thejoyfulfox

Harry Potter Divination Planner 2014-2015 (Pick your starting month) – I like the relative simplicity of this one, and that you can get it in an ultra thin month-in-view-only version if you like.  You’ve got to love a planner that asks for your Patronus and House on the ID page.  Also available are two Doctor Who planners (one called a Time Lord’s Companion, which is awesome) and a Sherlock version.

by Ruskerville

Kitty Krishna – Hello Kitty, Hindu style, done up like those restaurant calendars you get from your favorite Indian takeaway.  Art by Vicki Berndt, perfect for an auspicious and adorable New Year.

by BERNDTOFFERINGS

Sass and Kick Ass

 Quit Slackin’ and Make Shit Happen 2015 Weekly Planner – Nothing like a little sass to liven up something as pedestrian as a weekly planner.  Nice and uncluttered on the inside, “retro” on the outside.

by ninjandninj

Printable Minimalist Calendar Template – endlessly useful for folks who, like me, can never remember birthdays.  Put ‘em front and center (or left-column, as the case may be) and still have room in your monthly grid for holidays and happenings.

created by empapers

Fruits and Veggies 2015 Printable Calendar – an adorable 5″x7″ calendar, simple and colorful.  It’s just so freaking cheerful, it would be perfect in a kitchen or breakfast nook.

by eloycedesigns

2015 Doodle Monthly Planner – So. Cute. Each month is a different kind of grid – there are fish, a dirigible, picture frames, Autumn leaves, a beehive, and more.  This one’s also a printable, letter-sized.

by SkyGoodies

Typographic Wall Calendar – I’ve been looking for an all-on-one-page 2015 calendar; at my day job it’s really handy to be able to go from month to month without having to stop and turn pages.  I love the feel of this one, the gorgeous dark blue, the elegant script.  What can I say? Love me some printables.  Make as many as you want, no shipping costs, and no waiting.

created by SimpleSerene2

Printable Calendar – Coloring Pages with Kolam Indian Motifs – Grown ups should color more.  There’s something so therapeutic about it, and these designs have the added meditative benefit of working with a mandala.

by InkBiteDesigns

Last but not least, I’d like to introduce my very first attempt to join the calendar fray – a printable 2015 monthly wall calendar of my own artwork – drawings, paintings, art journal pages, and ACEOs!  Step right up for your very own copy, $7, no waiting.

Wings & Branches, 2015 Printable Calendar by Dianne Sylvan

 

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A Picture of Words is Worth 1000…hmm.

I think, and I hesitate to say this at the risk of jinxing it, that my overall Bipolarometer might be tipping ever so slightly toward the more positive end of the scale.  There’ve been some wretched days and nights lately, but I keep getting little flashes and glimpses that remind me there are other ways to feel besides depressed.

Meanwhile, I started a new journal; Daisy Jane, my faithful art journal, was finally full.  So far this new one (as yet unnamed) is just ink and pasted-in pictures, but I’m sure it’ll be good and messed up before long.  I’ve been doing some self-analysis as it is a week (exactly) before my 37th birthday.  Thus we have one of the first pages, my “To Be List”:

2014-11-11 16.48.03

And just to show you I don’t believe in guilty pleasures (if your pleasures hurt no one, you should never feel guilty about them), we have my current playlist, a bunch of albums I threw together and have been jamming out to all week.

2014-11-12 12.32.24

I bought this notepad from Eclectic Notecards to go on the inside front cover of my planner. I love it – the paper is absolutely luxurious. Click on the picture to see more of her wares.

More soon – enjoy your Day of Humping!

 

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Me and a Bear

Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls.

Jack, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls.

I’ve had quite a few people, particularly on Facebook, asking for an update on Shadow World Book 6 (and also the next Agency volume).  I figured I’d better talk about it over here on the blog so a wider swath of my readers could see it.

Book 6 is not finished yet.  Like, nowhere near.  I just finished Chapter 4 for the third time, if that tells you anything. Aside from story issues out the wazoo, this year has been fraught with personal problems as well as, I have to be honest, absolutely zero confidence in my abilities anymore.  There’s a reason most of my blog posts have been about planners and crafts and stuff like that.  (Two reasons, actually, the second being that I love those things.)

I don’t want this to be like the time That Horrible Harridan destroyed my love of writing and I didn’t touch it again for years.  Mostly now I’m dealing with some serious confusion and disillusionment over where my career is going, or rather not going.

The upshot is:  At this point I cannot give you a firm date when Book 6 will be out.  It doesn’t even have a name yet.  Even after I finish principle writing I have to get it edited, find a cover artist, and a bunch of other stuff I haven’t quite figured out yet because I’ve been too paralyzed by my own feelings of inadequacy to do any real research on self-publishing.  But getting the thing written is the first goal.

Since the Agency stories were originally released one by one, not in full book format, I’m also having trouble deciding how to handle them.  If I can make any progress on this next one I might just release parts of it for free.

If I could come up with a new idea, even a germ of one, I’d love to start a third series and have it go the way the Agency went, where it’s free until I’ve got enough material to start creating volumes out of it.  I miss the instant gratification of putting something out there for people to read and respond to right away.  Writer egos are particularly delicate.

Anyway – as soon as I have more specific information on the next book, I promise I’ll say so, here and on Facebook and anywhere else you want me to.  I’m working very hard to get through the mess in my head, and hopefully someday the blue fairy will turn me back into a real writer.  Please just bear with me.

images

Unusual forms of suicide: Boop this nose.

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Chthonic Fatigue Syndrome

from anthropologie.eu

from anthropologie.eu

“What is to give light must endure burning.”
~Viktor Frankl

I was born during the season of death.

It’s one of the unfortunate downsides of being a Scorpio.  Your life and the year’s end are inextricably linked; you begin where all things end.  Luckily time is a wheel, or a spiral, or whatever – we can just agree it’s not a straight line, so nothing really ends, any more than anything really begins.  Everything just changes form.

My Scorpio brethren and I are therefore lifelong skin-changers.  We are addicted to transformation, to the point that we frequently destroy ourselves just for the chance to rise.  (Most of us don’t realize we’re doing it – it’s not exactly an accident, but it’s certainly not something we’d actively choose.)

You might think that sounds all spooky/romantic and like I’m trying to make us seem cool, but the thing is, it’s not cool.  I mean, obviously I think we’re the awesomest sign of the Zodiac, but what people tend to overlook is that all of that relentless self-examination, transformation, introspection, and deep-sea diving is fucking painful.  It’s exhausting.  Being incapable of leading a shallow existence means you’re pretty much always on the verge of drowning – which is why raging alcoholism and suicide are rather common on this end of the star chart.  We tend not to be happy people.  People who think too much rarely are.

Of course now that I’ve told you all of that, I have to kill you.

Aside from any personal reasons I have to find this time of year difficult, it’s that continuous pull of the Underworld that makes this both the most amazing season and the most emotionally arduous.  Not to mention, it’s the lead-in to the time of year I hate most, societally speaking – the holidays.  At the same time, though, the air tastes like Witchcraft and the energy of the season sounds like the rattle of dried leaves and a raven’s call.  There’s nothing more delicious than Fall.

Pumpkin spice lattes.  Just sayin’.

The last few years I’ve felt trapped by my own life.  I don’t know when I let myself become so powerless; I certainly haven’t always been.  When I think back through the ghosts of Samhains past, I think of how my answer to “Did you do anything fun for Halloween?” used to be something like, “I channeled the dark gods, spoke to the ancestors, and lit candles with my brain.”  I’ve wandered through the days half-asleep, so tired I could barely think, carrying the weight of the world in both hands and a backpack.

The point is, my black little Scorpio heart does not approve of how I’ve been living lately.  She’s curled up in her bower, presumably dressed in something slinky and drinking something dark red we’ll just say is wine, rolling her eyes at me.

“Powerless,” she mutters, accepting a cherry from the hand of one of her lovely acolytes.  “Nonsense.  Willfully blind and mindlessly craven, perhaps, but never powerless.”

She’s the part of me I’ve called upon to help me struggle to my feet when I was bleeding in the dirt; to keep on walking even through fire; and to gather up the stones the world has thrown at me and build worlds to populate with my imaginary friends.  I locked her away a long time ago for reasons I won’t go into now.  Oh, I can never be rid of her entirely – I need her to write what I write, after all.  But I’ve kept communication to a minimum.  I didn’t want to open the door to that darkness in myself because last time it ended rather badly.  I don’t need her, I thought.  I will transcend that part of myself, focus on light happy things.

The result?  I did not, in fact, become a lighter happier person.  I became instead a pale imitation of myself.  The only way to transcend your darkness isn’t to transcend it at all, but to embrace it – what you run from will only chase you down.  If you are willing to accept and even revel in all of your parts, not just the “acceptable” ones, you can become a whole integrated being, and as a force of nature, virtually unstoppable.  There is nothing in this world more powerful than someone fully alive.

I disconnected from myself – my body, my truth, my life.  My health declined.  I lost all sense of integrity – my ability to honor commitments, keep my word, speak honestly, has eroded.  I developed an almost paralyzing fear of death.

Whatever the opposite of a Scorpio is, I’m there – well, except for the sarcastic bitchy part.  I’ve always had that bit nailed.

This Samhain, then, as I feel the Wheel turning under my feet and wonder if I have any Dramamine in my purse, as I finally do something brave in 2014 and leave behind the home I’ve lived in for 10 years to take the first wobbly steps toward something new, I have realized that every time I turned away from that dark part of myself, I’ve turned away from the chance at real change.  Every time I ask myself why I can’t change my life, I can hear her sigh, the black-vinyl-clad elephant in the room.

Today I’m standing in front of the brick wall I built, holding a sledgehammer (and safety goggles, of course – a safe metaphor is no accident).  I have no idea what to expect, or how I’m going to proceed, but I get the feeling that once I get started, once I make the smallest crack, there will be an enthusiastic push from the other side.

All I have to do is take a swing.

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The Delicious Crunch of Organization

A bit more than a month into using my Erin Condren Life Planner, and I’m still quite enamored of it.  I’ve been having fun making stickers and trackers for other people (many of which can be used in other kinds of planners or on calendars), but the ones I make for myself are especially enjoyable.  For those, I don’t focus as much on original art – whenever I draw something I try not to have it in my face a lot afterward since I tend to pick apart and grow to hate anything of mine I’m forced to stare at.

The first thing I did when I started customizing was to create header stickers to cover what’s already there – each day is divided into morning, day, and night, and frankly, I don’t do that much crap especially in the mornings.  I turned mine into Goings-On, Projects, and Self-Care – a square for events and things that happened, another for my to-do list for the day, and a third to keep track of water, meds, exercise, all those other things I never do.

The first two I could use as-is or use a stamp or sticker to create a checkbox list.  (Right now I’m using a set of stamps I got from Tiny Stamps Big Plans on Etsy in an attempt to reduce the amount of sticker-bulk in my planner.)  The third, Self-Care, needed something a little more special.

So I created a whole new box to smack on top of the old one, et voila!

Except I can never leave voila enough alone, so I tweaked.  Who knows what the thing will look like by the time 2015 is over and I decide whether to go with the ECLP for 2016?

self care v1

self care v2

self care v5

 

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