So long, 2016!

Happy New Year, everyone!

As 2016 is coming to an end, I thought I’d share a bit about my year with you. It was kind of a funny year for Scissors & Sage. I found that I didn’t have a chance to write many blog posts on the things that Anne and I were crafting, baking, and doing together. A lot of my creative energy has been going toward planning for our wedding (July 2017!), preparing for the holidays at terrain, and making homemade Christmas gifts for our loved ones.

There are countless reasons why 2016 wasn’t the greatest year ever. You all have your own reasons; I won’t rehash them here. But yesterday I found out that I did not get a job that I had been hoping for for several months. It would have been a perfect next step in my music therapy career. I am disappointed and disheartened to say the least, but I am glad to be able to leave this in 2016. I am excited to see what new opportunities are ahead in the new year.

There was also a lot of love in 2016. Anne and I were able to connect with many friends and family this year, and it left me feeling very whole. We traveled to Arizona to see some of Anne’s family and go to Cubs spring training. We witnessed my cousins graduate from college and my sister from her master’s program. Anne and I went lazy river tubing and felt like kids again. We brought my parents to Chicago and Wisconsin for the first time to meet Anne’s extended family and to spend time wedding planning together. My sister got married and I gained a brother. I spent a night singing with my closest college acapella friends. The Cubs won the World Series. My family had its first-ever holiday book club (we read Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson), and it was a huge success.

I am so excited to ring in the new year tonight. There is a lot on the horizon for 2017, and I can’t wait to embrace it all.

janWe played in the snow in January. [Philadelphia, PA]

febI got fancy for Valentine’s Day in February. [Philadelphia, PA]

marI tried a prickly pear margarita in March. [Phoenix, AZ]

aprI got in bed a little early in April. [Philadelphia, PA]

mayWe made a quiche in May. [Philadelphia, PA]

junI almost stole a dog named Luna in June. [Arcadia Beach, OR]

julWe played bocce in July. [Platteville, WI]

augWe picnicked in August. [Platteville, WI]

sepMy sister got married in September. [Amity, OR]

octWe stamped envelopes in October. [Philadelphia, PA]

novThe Cubs won the World Series in November. [Chicago, IL]

decWe got festive in December. [Glen Mills, PA – We Laugh We Love Photography]

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Lessons From My Houseplants

I often think about how much I learn from my houseplants. I learn how to take care of them and keep them alive, yes, but I also learn patience, the importance of routine and reliability, amongst other things. Tending to plants is a great exercise in mindfulness. Each time I water my houseplants I check to see if they could use fertilizer, pruning, more adequate drainage, etc. Is there something that is hindering their growth? Without the natural elements, houseplants rely on humans to keep them alive. I’ve learned a lot from growing plants over the past few years, and here are some takeaways I thought I’d share with you today.

Everything has its season.

Over the course of Scissors & Sage’s three years, I’ve tended to slow down or take a break from writing in summer months. Sometimes I feel guilty about this, that I’m neglecting the blog, or that the break will turn into something more permanent. I don’t want it to be a project I’ve forgotten about. I’ve learned, though, that everything has its season. No plant grows consistently through all four seasons. Its growth depends on other variables like temperature, sunlight, and watering patterns. We’re instructed to ease up on fertilizing plants during winter months–they don’t need as many nutrients as they do when they’re producing flowers or growing more quickly in summer. We’re meant to ebb and flow, to move at different paces throughout the changing seasons. It’s okay.

We each need a different set of optimal growing conditions to thrive.

Some plants like a lot of sun. Others would have burned leaves if placed in that much direct light. Some like high humidity, while others prefer a desert-like environment. Like plants, we all need different things in order to thrive. I’d prefer bright light and dry air, personally. Maybe somewhere near water. I feel my best when I have routine sleep, breakfast every morning, and time to unwind each night. I can survive without these things, sure, but I’m bound to get a metaphorical yellow leaf here or there if it keeps up for too long.

Change and growth happen every day.

…Even if we can’t see it. It’s really incredible to watch plants grow each and every day. I enjoy watching my plants turn toward the sun, perk up after being watered, and sprout new leaves and flowers. There are few things more satisfying than watching something grow that you’ve tended to. Even if you can’t see each change happening each day, you can notice the differences from week-to-week or month-to-month, and know that those little things add up to become something great.

Never underestimate the importance of vitamin D.

Need I say more?

How do you ebb and flow throughout the year? What optimal growing conditions do you need in order to thrive? How do you see change and growth happening every day/week/month/year?

30-Day “Reset” Challenge

January tends to get all the credit for “starting over.” I don’t know about you, but when January rolls around, our kitchen counters are still full of leftover holiday desserts, our Christmas tree still has opened presents under it, and the last thing on my mind is going to the gym.

February is usually a slog, although this year a little less! It’s leap year, so today I feel like I am winning at life. Plus, it’s my once-every-four-years half birthday. Yeah!

March is where it’s at. It’s almost spring! We, at large, cannot accept the fact that climate change is a real, scientifically-proven thing that is happening, and yet we whole-heartedly trust a ground hog when he pops up to tell us spring is coming early this year. I guess I’ll take what I can get. These hints of warmer weather in Philly recently have just been the best.

So with spring on the mind, I’ve been inspired to try my first-ever challenge. Let it be known: you can eat as much dessert as you want in this challenge, and I will never suggest that you should go to the gym. This is a different kind of challenge. A “reset” challenge if you will. I like the idea of starting fresh with the changing season, and making new growth with nature. If there is one thing I know to be true, it is the importance of living simply.

The objective of this challenge is simple: Complete each task every day, and don’t beat yourself up if you miss one here or there. It’s okay.

Download the image to your computer (click here). Print it out and hang it in your kitchen. Write out the tasks in your calendar or planner. Whatever will help you most in completing each day’s challenge is what I want you to do. If this is your first time trying a month-long challenge, I am joining you in that! Let’s reconvene in April to discuss how it went.

Leave a comment if you’re participating. I’d love to hear how you’re going to stick to your daily tasks! (I’m putting them in our monthly calendar.)

Inspiration for my 30-day “reset” challenge came from Apartment Therapy and Into Mind.

{NEW} FOR HIRE

It’s hard to believe December is upon us! Thanksgiving in Chicago was so much fun.  We even went to northern Illinois to chop down a Christmas tree!  Anne and I put our holiday decorations up last night, as it was the first activity in our advent calendar, and the Christmas spirit is officially in full swing.

I thought I’d take a minute to introduce you to a new component of Scissors & Sage: I am for hire!  In this new section, you will find details on the work I am currently offering.  I’ve also copy and pasted the details below for your convenience.  I hope that you will consider selecting me for your holiday needs this year.  I’ve already finished designing one family’s holiday card, and I have a holiday photoshoot scheduled this weekend with a local couple.


{NEW} FOR HIRE

I’d love to work for you!

Just in time for the holiday season, I am offering my graphic design services to create custom holiday cards.  I will transform one (or a few!) family photographs into a beautifully designed card for you to send to loved ones this season.

  • $45 for one photo per card
  • $55 for two photos per card
  • $65 for three or more photos per card
  • $75 for full-service (does not include printing and shipping fees)

Give the gift of a handmade item.  I will recreate any of the projects seen on Scissors & Sage, whether it’s an edible treat, something hand-knit, or another type of DIY craft.  Rates vary depending on the item(s).

Celebrate a special occasion with a photoshoot.  This may include engagement, holiday, maternity, and “just because” photographs.  (Customers must live in or near Philadelphia, PA.)

  • $75 for 1 hour shoot, photo editing, and digital files
  • $95 for 1.5 hour shoot, photo editing, and digital files
  • $105 for 1.5 hour shoot, photo editing, digital files, and text over photos
  • Text over photos can be added to any package for $15

Receive guidance on that blog you’ve been thinking about starting.  I will help you with blog layout and design, content ideas, goal setting, and more!  Meetings may occur in person, over the phone, or on Skype.

  • $55 for first consultation (up to 1.5 hours)
  • $35 for all other consultations (1 hour each)

Email me at victoria@scissorsandsage.com if you are interested in any of the services mentioned above.  I will then send you a more detailed estimate for the time and materials needed, and shipping fees (if applicable).

Follow these five simple steps if you know exactly what you want, or if we’ve already connected over email:

  1. Checkout via  Buy Now Button
  2. Fill in your desired order in the “Enter description” box
  3. Enter the appropriate item price based on prices listed above
  4. Click “Update” to refresh your order
  5. Pay using either a PayPal account or a credit card

I look forward to working for you!

Scissors & Sage Turns One!

That’s right, folks! Today marks Scissors & Sage’s 1st birthday.  While I take a minute here to figure out where exactly the time has gone, I thought I’d recap all that’s happened in this little corner of the blogosphere.  Milestones are always a nice time to give thought to the previous year.

Although I had contemplated starting a craft blog for some time, I was very hesitant to actually start one.  I didn’t want this project to be something that I would forget about a few months down the road, or that I would quickly lose interest in.  I was afraid that I would disappoint myself if I couldn’t live up to what I had envisioned.

Scissors & Sage was born right before my second year of graduate school.  I was in a Master’s program learning to become a music therapist, and we were constantly slammed with this term “self-care.”  It was my hope that this blog would channel my many non-music-related creative juices.  I decided that I would post once a week about different kinds of topics that interested me: DIY-ing and crafting, knitting, cooking and baking, interior design, and traveling, among other things.

I couldn’t have imagined how important Scissors & Sage would become to me since last September.  Wouldn’t I have run out of ideas already?  Apparently not, because I have about 40 different projects/ideas waiting for me in the notes section of my iPhone.  Here are some recent statistics for you:

Scissors & Sage has…

  • 80+ subscribers
  • 5,000+ views
  • 49 posts (this is the 50th!)
  • been viewed in over 50 countries around the world

Do you know what this means? It means that I wrote a blog post almost every week this year.  I stuck to my goal!  Here’s a cool map of the many places people have been checking out the site from:

Scissors & Sage has also established a social media presence.  Here are some places to check it out:

There have been many internal changes to Scissors & Sage over the past year.  For starters, there’s no more .wordpress.com in the URL!  You can now type in www [dot] scissorsandsage [dot] com, as well as reach me via email at victoria@scissorsandsage.com.  This is big, people!  The site also has new and improved menu tabs up top, including Home, New Reader?, Archives, Contact, and Social.  Archives might be my favorite addition because it’s an easy way to see all of my past posts by category.  Finally, there is an updated sidebar to quickly display my recent posts, categories, tags, and Twitter feed.

Scissors & Sage has been recently featured in the Quail Hill Farm e-newsletter…

…as well as retweeted and favorited by Masterchef’s one and only Willie.

Scissors & Sage has received two Liebster Awards for new and upcoming blogs.

To say the least, I am incredibly proud of what this blog has become.  It helped keep me sane during a stressful final year of graduate school, and it has challenged me to think more creatively for myself and also my readers.  There are so many ways in which I can’t wait to make it even better.  For example, Scissors & Sage is awaiting its first-ever logo design.  I can’t wait to see the sketches!  I also am excited to welcome new contributors to the site (email me if you’re interested in featuring one of your latest creations!).

And lastly, I am thrilled to share that my sister has so generously let me borrow her DSLR camera.  I’m not sure if you all knew this, but the photos on my blog thus far have been taken with my iPhone.  It is my hope that this borrowed camera will help elevate Scissors & Sage in a whole new way.  So keep your eyes peeled for some nice photos in upcoming posts!

And with that, happy 1st birthday to Scissors & Sage!  Thank you all for reading this blog, commenting with your thoughts, sharing my posts, and trying my projects/recipes in your own homes.  I am truly grateful for your sustained participation in this little community.  Without it, I would have lost steam long ago.  Here’s to a successful 2nd year!

-Victoria