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If you’ve recently joined the adventures here at My Little Spacebook, I would first like to extend a warm welcome.  Thank you for being here and sharing in this moment with me!  Secondly, I’d like to introduce you to the Society of Knitters and Nutters (aka SoKaN). We’re a band of eccentric folks who get together and make stuff… jewelry, knits, garden art, birdhouses, quilts, fun, and memories.  We’ve made so much stuff that we have to get together to sell it at times, so we can get together and make more stuff.  We like making stuff and we like each other THAT much. 😀

We’ve reach a critical mass again, so this coming Saturday and Sunday the ladies of SoKaN will be selling stuff at The BIG One.

Here’s what’s been going on lately.

Skattur has been breathing new life into the artifacts that people leave behind.  She takes cups, vases,and saucers that folks cast off and turns them into birdfeeders that pretty-up gardens.  She also turns orphaned plates into art for the garden or the wall…

This one is mine, mine, mine! Skattur said so.

She’s really good at it…

…so the birds can eat in style

You’ll find more of her amazing work (as well as her story) on her Etsy page Recycled by Skattur and of course this weekend at “The Big One.”

The Beady Babes have been busily beading bodacious baubles.  Beady Boop has been doing this new thing that takes her a really long time to do and to explain. So long and complicated was her explanation of the process that I really couldn’t work out any of the details in my head, but here’s the final results of her alchemy …

Pretty,

she made that pendant some how or other…

pretty!

She’s also been at work blinging up some ceiling fan pulls with her Kazuri Beads, which are handmade by families of the Kikuyu tribe in Kenya. The sale of these beads help promote fair trade in Africa. It’s her way of crafting with cause. You can read more about Kazuri Beads on their website here.  Good stuff.

Our other Beady Babe, Elitist Jerk (who Skattur really thinks should change her name), has created dancing beady peep earrings.  They’re really adorable.

She’s also created a line of bottle cap necklaces for kids….

They come in other styles besides peace…for example skull and crossbone if pirate is more your thing.

She’s also made beaded rings…but sadly the Archivist didn’t get a good picture. I guess you’ll just have to come to The BIG One this weekend to see them.

Ok, so what is The Big One?  It’s the largest and most popular swap meet in the Mid-South, of course.

It’s held at:

 Expo Center at Agricenter International

 7777 Walnut Grove Road 

Memphis, TN

If you’re in the area, stop by the SoKaN booth and say, “hi!”

Also, there was a great post today that made Freshly Pressed on crocheting….check it out:

http://thepickledhedgehog.com/2012/07/17/crocheting-to-change-the-planet/

Over the years I’ve found myself repeatedly standing in line at Hobby Lobby (or “Handy Dandy” as Mom refers to it), with my arms full of yarn, Styrofoam heads, and cinnamon Scripture Mints. As I wait, I entertain myself by scoping out what’s in other people’s baskets and imagining what they plan to do with the stuff. When I’ve exhausted those possibilities I scan the odd assortment of merchandise surrounding the checkout line. This inevitably leads to me finding David Green, founder and CEO of the company, staring at me from the cover of his book, More than a Hobby.  By the time I start wondering what’s in his book and whether I should buy it, I’m usually checked out and on my way to do something crafty.

Last week when I found David Green staring out at me from his cover on a library bookshelf, I grabbed him up and checked him out because I really was interested in learning How a $600 Start-up Became America’s Home and Craft Superstore. Green is a likeable guy – the black sheep merchant from a family of ministers.  In his book he details how he developed the idea of Hobby Lobby and how he runs the largest, privately owned arts and crafts retail business in the world.

Don’t expect to find discussions of theory or business buzzwords in his book.  Green is a practical guy who tells stories from the trenches, so to speak.  Chapter 4 “90% Off??” was the most interesting to me because it described some of the nuances and complexities involved in doing business in the global economy.

I enjoyed the book and the take-home message:  You can run a successful business and still maintain your faith, integrity and family.

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.

–Buddha

~~*~~

As promised in my last post, here are a few of the apps I have found helpful in managing, organizing, and simplifying my work-life:

Pocket Informant HD. ($12.99). This app complements the organizational methods described in David Allen’s book Getting Things Done.  It includes a calendar, project manager, and list of tasks to keep each project moving along.  The calendar can be organized by day, week, or month and will show your events accordingly.  It also allows you to set alarms for reminders. You can organize your task list by context, folder, due date, priority, action, tags, project, etc. It  syncs with Google calendar, Outlook, or Toodledo if you need to do that sort of thing.  It has eliminated my need for any other planner or calendar. This only scratches the surface of the app’s features.  There are tutorials on youtube to help you get it set up.

 

Dropbox. (FREE). Dropbox allows electronic files to be stored, synchronized, and shared. Weekly reports from multi-users can be uploaded and processed in batches instead of cluttering up an e-mail box.  You can update, access, and upload files from a mobile device, laptop, or PC without the use of a USB drive.  Here’s a little video that explains a bit more about what dropbox does: What is dropbox?

 

SmartNote. (FREE/$2.99). With this app you can create notebooks and take notes in your iPad.  Your notes can typed, written (with your finger or a stylus), or audiorecorded. You can also highlight and bookmark your notes.  It allows you to export your notes as a pdf or toss a copy in dropbox.  There is no “search” option, so you have to be organized on the frontend if you are taking a lot of notes and make good use of the bookmark. The free version suits my needs and it is the right price. In the free version you will have ads along the top of your screen and your pdf files will have a SmartNote “waterstamp.”

 

 

iAnnotate PDF. ($9.99). I highly recommend this for graduate students and researchers who must read and organize mass quantities of journal articles.  You can download pdf copies of documents, organize them in files, highlight them and add notes.  You can also perform searches through your articles for certain keywords.  This app has drastically reduced the paper clutter in my world and saved me tons of time hunting through filing cabinets or electronic folders for that elusive article I read just the other day.

 

 

GContact Lite.  (FREE/$2.99). This one is a contact file with group capabilities.  It is helpful when I want to send e-mails to groups of people.

 

My LessonPlan. ($3.99). This has been a great way to capture and organize my ideas, websites, goals, materials, etc. as I have been prepping a new class for next semester.

 

Prezi Viewer. (FREE). This gives me access to my prezi collection on my iPad, which has been pretty cool for impromptu presentations with smalls groups.  Unfortunately, you cannot create the presentations with the app, but if they already exist, you can access them. If you’re not familiar with prezi.com, check it out! It’s a fun platform for creating the visual component of your presentations.

What apps have you found helpful for work?

What apps do you love for just chillin’ ?

It is possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and still function productively with a clear head and a positive sense of relaxed control.

–David Allen

Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.  After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.

–Zen Proverb

~~*~~

This past semester I have taken a whole new “zen” approach to my work-life. While I am still doing the academic equivalent of chopping wood and carrying water, I am doing it a lot more these days with a smile on my face and mind more focused on the present. Some good books and a few well-designed apps have facilitated this process. I will tell you all about the apps later.  For now, here are a couple of the books.

This fall I read Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
by David Allen (recommended by The Couch Manager).  The organization methods in this book are helpful in creating a system that captures your projects, plans, and ‘todo’ lists in such a way that you can, well get things done more efficiently and with less stress.  It is not a particularly thrilling read, but I am here to testify that if you implement the principles, it works.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)
by Timothy Ferriss (another recommendation from The Couch Manager) is both practical and thrilling.  It has influenced my thinking about work, particularly in the domain of mobility.  I travel regularly between two states, so I need the ability to do what needs doing in an organized and efficient way wherever I happen to find myself at the moment.

Ferriss is, in a word, pragmatic.  I like that about him. His book offers a wealth of information, tips, and tricks to get your work-life manageable and automated so you can free up your mind (and time) to accomplish more of your goals.  He explains that one key component of this process is “cutting out counterproductive distractions by eliminating artificial needs.”  Those artificial needs will, of course, differ for everyone – from updating your Facebook status several times a day to checking email hourly, etc.  Once I realized for myself exactly how much time was wasted on digital distractions, I tweaked my own routine considerably.  I took his advice and began processing time-sapping things (e.g., email) in batches a couple times a week rather than daily.  The benefit here is that it saves time and keeps the mind focused. One caveat is that it may irritate students and colleagues who check their email every five minutes and expect you to do the same. It is a risk well worth the benefits as far as I am concerned.

Another tip he suggests to free up time is “outsourcing” portions of your work-life. Outsourcing is all the rage these days according to authors like Thomas L. Friedman (The World is Flat) and A.J. Jacobs (The Guinea Pig Diaries). While I appreciate and admire the work of these fellas, I decided to blaze my own trail here to keep more in line with my budding ‘buy local’ value system and to take advantage of my existing resources. Thus, I decided to in-source instead by making more efficient use of my indentured servant.  She’s rapidly developing mad Excel skillz while helping me becoming increasingly organized. Next week we take over the world! (in a very peaceful, zen-like way).

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