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One collage closer to work-life balance

Nary a photo or word written in weeks. As rewarding as teaching is, I have yet to master the balance between work-work and personal work.

The holiday season drew me into a handmade mood, though. Thoughts of a holiday greeting had me scouting the internet for a mac- and pocketbook-friendly alternative to Photoshop or Illustrator, with layers, for image and text combining. The free option at Picnik gives generous — but limited — tools. I’ve been using this site for a while and have found it easy to navigate with enough font variety to keep me happy. (Yes, I am like a kid in a penny candy store when it comes to a list of font choices, and forget all the rules of design simplicity.) And who wouldn’t love Picnik’s little messages that accompany a page or image upload? “Mowing the grass” or “picking blueberries,” to name two.

Picnik’s upgrade ($24.95/year) gives access to all sorts of fun tools and effects. I had a ball making the collage above. With a vintage cherub from the Graphics Fairy as my base, I was off and running. Do you remember the thrill of a new box of Crayola crayons? All those colors to choose from? The smell of the wax? I can’t say digital collage is a tactile experience, but I like the immediacy of sharing the results online. And it feels like play. Here’s a short article on the stress-relieving benefits of play for adults.  In fact, I had so much fun I decided to give the blog a new look with a fresh banner.

What are your strategies for work-life balance?

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  • saundra azmitia December 24, 2011, 10:42 am

    Guided meditation is always helpful, but it is possible to tap into your authentic self on a daily basis. The drawing of a Mandala is the most centering exercise I have ever done. It takes little time, does not cost anything, and it is YOU in the most authentic way possible. Date and sign you drawings. Save for illumination.

  • Lisa December 15, 2011, 6:17 pm

    Your words are like music to my ears, Jenny (aka, snydeen). Tea and company in January. It’s a definite!

  • snydeen December 15, 2011, 9:21 am

    I’m glad you’re writing again. I love reading your blog! I wish I were doing more homemade things this year. It was my intent, but never came to fruition. I’m thinking about spending the week between Christmas and New Year’s getting started on 2012! I STILL have your housewarming gift. Let’s get together over a cup of tea soon and play. I miss Antiquiteas and you and Trudie.

  • Sue West December 12, 2011, 12:39 pm

    Strategies for work/life balance – two key strategies for me. One is to have enough ideas available or written down for what to do with my personal time that these fun ideas pull me away from work (because I do love my “work.”). Another form of balance is self-care. For me, this means: 8 hours of good sleep, exercise three times a week, a bit of meditation in the morning or quiet reading time before I start my day, and of course, a functioning to do list (which is colorful of course, and it’s called my “Quilt Rows,” so it’s not so boring as a ‘to do’ list but does the same thing!)

    • myartfullife December 12, 2011, 2:13 pm

      You are a master at this balancing, Sue! Wow! I’m taking notes …

  • Fran December 12, 2011, 9:27 am

    Play–yes–essential for one’s well-being. For me, also meditation. Knitting (my play) and meditation keep me sane in a very stressful world. When I have time for neither, hoooooooomama, do I get cranky–inside and out! Thanks for the posting, Lisa. A good reminder for me. (I’m at work, and I just went into a quiet room and meditated for about 15 min. Ahhhhhh, now I can start working.) 🙂

    • myartfullife December 12, 2011, 10:56 am

      That is so cool that there is a quiet place at work where one can go to collect their thoughts, meditate! For some, knitting is meditation, too. But I totally agree about knitting as play. Especially when it involves lots of color work or intricate stitches.