Spring has sprung and what does it mean for creating your ideal life?

Spring is in the air, even though it is not quite here yet, but it is definitely around the corner. While working on your goals, and creating your ideal life, have you decided what you need to do to prepare for the new Spring season? Are you ready to put away the winter clothes and take out your light weight and usually more comfortable ones? What have you decided to purge and clean as part of your Spring cleaning?

If you are anything like me, you have let yourself, and your environment go over the winter. I know I have not been as careful as I should have been in many ways. I have allowed myself to become somewhat lazy and not clean, organize and file as much as I should. However, every spring, I do start fresh. That is what I am in the process of doing. I am creating a fresh start for the spring season. What about you?

What of your goals have you not accomplished over the winter that you need to come clean on and start fresh? Have you put your goals to the side, and need to bring them out again and dust them off? Do you need to purge papers and clean up your work space? You can’t come fully clean unless you have a clean work space and environment to do so. A clean work space is at the heart of creating your ideal life. If you don’t live in an organized environment, you won’t be able to accomplish much. It takes organization, papers filed, and a clean, neat work space to be able to be creative.

In talking about work space, I am not talking just about a desk with file cabinets. If your work space is a crafting desk, complete with sewing machine, fabric, beads, scrap booking materials, cards, or whatever else you use, and it is cluttered to the point that you don’t want to sit and work, then it is definitely time to get in and de-clutter. Put your supplies away where they belong, so you can find them again in the future. Set aside time each week to clean and organize, and it won’t be so daunting. If you continue to wait until it is totally overwhelming, it will not only take much longer than necessary, but it will also make it so you will not even desire to attempt it. This is where the problems come into play. Make sure you take the time to clean and organize on a weekly basis, if not daily.

Now that you have cleaned up your work space, go over your goals and assign suitable deadlines to accomplish them. Without deadlines, you won’t accomplish much. Put your deadlines on a calendar that you can see on a regular basis, so you can be sure to follow through. If you don’t things will fall through the cracks, and not get accomplished. You will not be any closer to achieving them and will feel frustrated. To prevent this, make sure your goals are not too extreme, they should be reasonable and easily accomplished.

Here is to spring cleaning and creating a fresh start in achieving your goals to bring you closer to creating your ideal life!

Getting Back in the Game

Do you ever feel the need to just shut down and take some time away?  Do you allow life to get in the way of your interests and desires?  I don’t know about you, but I very often need to just pull away from certain things and allow myself the time to absorb what has happened.

I don’t know if you noticed, but I have not posted here for a while.  I have allowed, and yes, I accept responsibility for it, but I have allowed outside influences to take over and control my actions and what I do.  As you may or may not know, I was working part time for a while, but in February started working full time.  Was it my ideal job?  Of course not, but it did pay the bills.  Was it something I could see myself doing for the long term, definitely not. And did the hours allow me the flexibility to enjoy myself and spend time doing things I truly enjoy?  No way!!  I was working extremely long hours, commuting to a job I truly didn’t enjoy, and while being able to pay some bills, it didn’t get me any closer to my true goals.

Well, I have now taken full ownership of what I am doing.  I have left that position, and taken another one, that while still not ideal, is somewhat better.  The hours are still long, but not as long as the previous position, but since I won’t be commuting as far, I can now spend more time on things I truly enjoy, such as getting back to this blog!!  I have missed being able to discuss crafts and how to create your own ideal life.

Also, this current position, also, is a just a stop gap.  I plan on finding something that will offer me more flexibility to truly create my ideal life, all the while helping others create theirs.  I have made huge strides and am much further along than I ever thought possible.  Due to this, I know I can work with and help others identify their passions and move forward.  What most people don’t understand, is that in creating an ideal life, sometimes you have to do things that don’t appear to move you forward and closer to your ideal.  However, if you look at things from a point of learning and growing, you are indeed moving closer.  Also, you need to know when it is ok to step back and take a break, even from things you enjoy, in order to move forward and get your head back in the game.  In most cases, it is something you need to discover for yourself, but please don’t beat yourself up if you feel you are not getting to where you want to be.  Life will throw curve balls and how you handle them is what truly matters.  Allow yourself to accept them as part of the learning and growing experience and before you know it, you will be able to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move forward. And don’t forget one of the most important things, make sure you have a strong support system to be there for you when you are at your lowest point.  This is something that has been discussed in earlier posts.  Your support system is most important to help you recover from life’s curve balls.

Here is to getting yourself back into life and back into the game!

Holidays have come and gone

I don’t know about you, but due to extenuating circumstances in my life, I am always happiest when the holidays have come and gone.  True, we still have New Year’s Eve to get through, but Hanukkah and Christmas, and even New Year’s are difficult for me.  As such, I prefer to be as busy as possible.  For me, while yes, it is a time to be with family and friends, this time of year is also to remember loved ones who are no longer with us.  You see, between December 2008, December 2009 and December 2010, I lost three very close family members, my father, grandmother and mother.  In fact when my mother passed away on December 14, 2010, my sister’s comment (not wrongly) was at least it wasn’t New Year’s.  The reason for this is my Father’s funeral was New Year’s Eve day in 2008 and my grandmother passed away on New Year’s Eve day of 2009.  Thus the reason why December has become my least favorite month.

It is challenging trying to deal with the cheerfulness of the holidays, when you have severely negative experiences associated with them.  Me, I try to keep as busy as possible.  In recent years, this has not been easy.  In fact, while I celebrate Hanukkah personally, I usually celebrate Christmas with friends.  However, last year, I was seriously sick with severe bronchitis and high fever and this year was actually in the emergency room with an extremely bad back.  So much for enjoying the holidays.  I will say, though, that friends came through with the holiday spirit and cleaneDo youd my apartment for me on Friday, since I was incapacitated!

I also had to curtail certain holiday traditions I have with my children.  For the past several years, I have gone into the city with my daughter to see the holiday window displays, the tree at Rockefeller Center and the shops at Bryant Park.  Last year we cut it short due to being sick, and this year, are still hoping to go tomorrow, but all depends on what the doctor has to say this afternoon.  Not easy having to modify our wonderful traditions!!  She is resilient and understanding that I didn’t plan this, but that I do want to go, as long as I am physically able to.

What do you do for the holidays?  Are your crafts enough to keep you going?  As you know from previous posts, I always have something with me, and even in the ER, had the doctor ask if I knew how to sit still doing nothing.  I answered honestly, no, I need to keep my hands busy!  What about you, under similar circumstances?  Do you carry projects with you at all times or can you actually sit still with nothing to keep busy?

Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy New Year and looking forward to catching up again in the new year!



This entry was posted on December 29, 2014. 3 Comments

Personal Life Goals – The Basis for Crafting Your Ideal Life

Welcome to the third step in crafting your ideal life, creating your personal life goals.  In previous posts, we have discussed determining your passions and once determined figuring out how to add them into your life.  Now that you know them and have come up with ways to add them into your life, you need to create your life goals which will be the driving force for truly living your ideal life.

What is a goal? Why are goals important?

The dictionary.com definition is a noun meaning: the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

What does this mean for those of us who are looking to create goals to live our ideal lives?  Actually it means a lot. The result we are looking to achieve is a life on our own terms, not someone else’s.  It means living a life we are happy and proud to live.  Without goals, knowing our passions and adding them into our lives really does not mean much.  We need to have something to look forward to. Something that will give what we do purpose.  Living our passions can only do so much, but having personal life goals will add an extra dimension to everything we do.  We need to have something specific or tangible to reach for, regardless of what it might be.

So what are your goals?

When we were talking about finding our passions and adding them into your life, what did you view your life to be?  Did you have a specific image of how you would be incorporating your passion, whether it be writing, photography, jewelry design, or any other craft (and yes writing is a craft) into your ideal life?  Would it just be a hobby to use as a stress reliever?  Or did you imagine yourself creating a business, whether part time or full time?

This is where the goals come into play.  Will you be learning a new craft or perfecting one you already know? These are all questions to ask when creating your personal life goals.

Personal life goals should be simple, have a time line, and allow you to grow as a person.  you should not come with a goal that is not scarf in progressachievable in some way at some point in time. They should be realistic, but with some stretch. Here is an example: If you already know 3 stitches of crochet and can create some beautiful items (scarves, sweaters, etc) that you give to friends as gifts, a new goal might be to learn 3 new stitches and add them into your repertoire of tools. You can give yourself a 3 month time period to learn and perfect them, then 6 months to start creating new items with these new stitches.  This way you are doing what you already do, but are reaching to learn something new and make it part of you every day routine.  Now the next goal, if your friends really like your products, what about considering deciding if you could sell them to make some extra money, if nothing else, you might be able to use the money to buy new yarn. Wow, look at these new goals!  You have just gone from making something for gifts and fun to starting to create a new business.  Yes, this is just a side business, but in time this might become more.

Do you now see how personal life goals come into play?  You need to think about the future, create goals that are achievable in small increments of time, and then use them to build more.

What is the next step?

You have discovered your passion. You have determined how to use your passions to create your ideal life. You have started setting personal life goals to achieve what you desire.  Now what?

Well, I am very glad you asked!  I actually have a perfect solution! Surprise, surprise!

Well, actually a few solutions.  They are as follows:

1. Determine exactly what you want to do.  While this is geared for crafts, it is not exclusive.  Here are a few ideas:

– Continue to be a hobbyist and either gift or sell your crafts to family and friends

– Sell at craft fairs or specialty venues

– Sell on Etsy/Ebay/Amazon (either stand alone or create a store)

– Create your own website to talk about your craft niche (like this one)

– Set up your own Ecommerce site

– Join an Ecommerce Co-Op or consignment site (ask me for more details)

– Join a crafters co-op or sell at consignment stores

2. You know what your passions and goals are, but are still unsure how to put them to work to truly create your ideal life. You feel you need further assistance in determining what changes need to take place. Life coaching will help you work through your concerns and blocks to truly allow you to open yourself up to fully actuallizing your goals.

Please contact me at alison@alisonswerdloff.com or alison@yourcraftyourlife.com to discuss further options.  I will continue to post these thought provoking questions here as well. I have a true desire to help others become their best possible person and truly live their ideal life.

I hope these questions have truly gotten you t

This entry was posted on November 5, 2014. 4 Comments

Crafting for the Holidays

The holidays are coming, are you ready? Do you give your handmade items as gifts or do you purchase your gift items?  What creations work well for gifts?

For me, even though I make jewelry, I tend to crochet scarves for those close to me.scarf in progress Firstly, not everyone wears jewelry, and even if they did, not all jewelry is suitable for everyone.  Scarves on the other hand, can easily be made to suit each individual person.  Thus, they are quick easy products to make as gifts. Since I find them easily portable, I can finish a couple of scarves in a relatively short time.

When creating your gifts, do you customize colors and styles for each individual or do you do one for everyone? Me, I try to customize my gifts as much as possible.  Here is a perfect example: a friend of mine loves purple, so I will probably create  a purple scarf for her.  It definitely makes it easier than trying to figure out what to get for someone.

What about you? What are some of your  go to holiday gifts? Do you have something specific you make each year or do you change it from year to year? Do your gifts represent you as a crafter, or are they different for each individual?

Origami – The Ancient Art of Paper Folding

Recently, I was asked a question about learning the ancient art of Origami, the ancient art of paper folding.  While I am definitely not an expert, I have had some experience with creating fun projects.  However, I did need to do some research for books that will teach what you need to know about it. Below, please find the reviews of 3 wonderful books I discovered that will whet your appetite to learn more. Believe me, there are so many books and resources out that, that I just chose ones that were of interest to me at the time.

The Complete Book of Origami: Step-by Step Instructions in Over 1000 Diagrams by Robert J. Lang and photography by Robin Macey51wZJanRX-L__SL110_

This book was published in September 20, 2012 and is geared for ages 8 and up, or 3rd grade and up.  Thus this is suitable for children and adults, but might be more suitable for a slightly more advanced or intermediate folder. Interestingly enough, you can purchase this book for either the Kindle or in paperback. According to the publisher’s review: Create nearly 40 striking paper figures with clear, step-by-step instructions and helpful diagrams. Features simple to advanced objects: cube, parrot, rabbit, seagull, cuckoo clock, rocket, mouse, elephant, violinist, Viking ship, and many more. I think this is very interesting in that you can truly learn to create some wonderful projects.

Origami Animal Sculpture: Paper Folding Inspired by Nature-Includes Instructional DVD by John Szinger and photography by Bob Plotkin                                                                     untitled

Have you ever wanted to learn how to create beautiful paper animals?  Well, if so, this is the book for you.  It is a paperback that also includes an instructional DVD that allows you to truly follow along! The book was recently published, September 16, 2014 and already has incredible reviews. The online description states: Origami Animal Sculpture offers a refreshing take on the endlessly fascinating field of animal origami paper folding. In this book, folders will find beautiful photos, clear directions and an instructional DVD that make the creatures in this new collection a joy to fold and display. Author John Szinger has put together 22 expressive lifelike 3D designs with intermediate-to-advanced models of unusual animals and related objects. Do-it-yourself projects include:Adirondack animals and objects like the Canoe, Foxy Fox and Brown BearCephalopods such as the Octopus and Giant SquidArctic marine mammals including the Bull Walrus, Elephant Seal and NarwhalInsects like the Inchworm and ButterflyAnd many more! Origami folders will find that the sculptures they create are customized to exhibit the subjects’ personality and attitude. Szinger’s attention to detail is the hallmark of his work. He’s been folding paper for most of his life, starting with paper airplanes at a young age. He devoured origami books at his local library and soon began experimenting with his own designs. Ten years ago, Szinger came back to origami after a long hiatus and began attending conventions, where he met other dedicated folders and was inspired to create his own original models. From these encounters, he began folding origami pieces for personal enjoyment, and to share with other origami makers. If I were interested in this creative outlet, I would definitely get this book!

Practical Origami: Folding Your Way to Everyday Accessories edited by Shuo-no-Tomo and published in 2012

This book is different than the other two I reviewed above.  While this book shows paper folding, you will be creating real items that are perfectly usable around the house! Here are a few of the examples of what you can learn from this book:

Publisher’s Review and description: With Practical Origami a world of simple useful designs await. With little more than some paper and your hands colorful sheets are transformed into everyday necessities such as stationary, packaging, toys and even kitchen utensils. You can impress your friends with origami-inspired wallets, table settings, and envelopes that pop up, fan out, and even hold hidden goodies. With a few basic techniques under your belt and the endless opportunities that paper offers, Practical Origami’s projects will teach you the fundamentals of origami as you create playful animals and other designs perfect for greeting cards, jewelry, and more. The possibilities for using origami in design are limitless. Some applications take advantage of the richness of the folds that have a depth all their own. In addition to explaining the three very simple steps of the technique, the authors show how even novice folders can create breathtaking works of paper craft, as well as accessories and home furnishings incorporating these three-dimensional embellishments.

Sweets Box,practical origami Deli Box, Lunch Box, Cutlery Case, Handbag, Japanese Chopstick Holder, Rabbit-shaped Chopstick Rest, Hat-shaped Chopstick Rest, Crane-shaped Chopstick Holder, Cherry Blossom Dish, Crane-shaped Place-mat, Pepper Shaker, Heart-shaped Napkin Ring, Card Stand, Photo Frame, CD Cases, Wallets, Business Card Case, Pencil Box

With this book, you can create a wonderful assortment of items for your home or to give as gifts.  Imagine the surprise when these wonderful items get opened!!


Now that you have perused some incredible books to utilize to learn origami, what do you do next?  How do you find the proper supplies for these crafts? Here are some options:


Global Art Folia 6-Inch by 6-Inch Origami Paper, 10 Colors, 500-Pack by Global Art






Japanese Origami Folding Paper Case Box #4006

paper case








Happy Paper Crafting!!

This entry was posted on September 26, 2014. 4 Comments

Crafting4Cause – Adding Meaning to Your Crafts

Crafting4Cause, what is it and what does it mean to you? How does it add meaning to your crafts?

Why we craft

As crafters, writers, photographers, etc, we perform our craft with something specific in mind.  It might be a completed work, or it might be the pleasure someone gets when they receive the gift we created with our own hands.  However, for most of us, we get pleasure from the creation and even more in seeing the work to completion. Other than giving the gift or selling the product, what else do we get from it?

Personally, I always feel a sense of satisfaction when I complete any project, regardless of the medium used.  I do a variety of crafts, so have many different mediums in my arsenal.  Many of you use only one or two.  Think about what you personally get from completing a project.  Now, add another element to it, and what do you think happens?


Crafting for a cause, is creating an item that benefits a specific cause.  It could be anything that is near and dear to your heart.  Me, personally, I have wanted to create quilts or jewelry to benefit thyroid, lung, liver and breast cancer.  However, since my quilting skills are not as good as I would like, I have not done that as of yet.  I also have close connections with the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and now more recently the Chron’s and Colitis Foundation.  I am hoping in the near future to be able to create items that I can sell to send the proceeds to these wonderful organizations.

One of the largest Crafting4Cause items, that many of us are familiar with is the Pink Quilting project to benefit breast cancer awareness.  This quilting program has been done in so many states and the quilts are truly works of art. Remember, there is not one right way to create a quilt such as this.  However, there are some guides that might help you along your way, if you decide to participate.

For more information on this project, here is a book that discusses it and provides step by step patterns to create several items that can be indexused to donate to breast cancer support groups.

Remember that this is only one way to craft4cause.

Adding Meaning to your Crafts

How does this add meaning to your crafts? For me, it adds meaning because the finished product can either be given to someone who is dealing with this illness or being used to raise money for research and recognition. For me, the organizations I mentioned above hold personal meaning.  My son has a severe food allergy and also suffers from colitis.  Thus, both organizations could benefit from donations to help fund research and to spread awareness. The thyroid, lung, liver and breast cancer have all affected family members, which is why they are important to me and the crafts I might create definitely have the added meaning.

How can you create something that will benefit others and add more meaning for you?  I would love to hear from you as to what ideas you can come up with.


This entry was posted on August 29, 2014. 4 Comments

Crafting on the Go – Portable Crafting Projects

Questions to think about:

Are your crafts portable or stationary? Are you able to travel with your projects or do you need to stay in one place to work on them? My thoughts: I don’t know about you, but I am always on the go, between my activities and those of my children.  When I do most of of my crafting, even at home, I love having items that are easily portable, so that I don’t have to worry about losing my place.

In fact, this weekend is a perfect example. Nicole at NAMMy daughter has participated in the National American Miss pageant for the past 2 years.  This year, due to her school schedule, might be her last, so yesterday, on my birthday, we drove to New Jersey so she could compete again before starting college.  As there will be many hours with nothing to do over the next 2 days, I made sure to have plenty to keep me busy.

My Projects:

I was planning on starting a new project, which I have witten about here in my blog.  I was material for pillowgoing to start creating a pillow using the English Paper Piecing method of quilt creation.  However, due to time constraints, I was not able to have it ready to go.  The material has been purchased, washed and ironed and the templates have been purchased.  However, I was not able to cut the pieces required to begin the project.  This is on my list for the next couple of weeks, though, after getting my daughter off to college. I do however have 2 projects already in progress and one other to start that I brought with me.


Project 1


necklace in progressThis is a bead crochet necklace that I have started and need to complete.  I am hoping to have the crochet portion complete this weekend.  Items such as this travel well because once the beads are threaded, they fit into a pouch which is easily portable.  I can take it and sit in the hotel lobby and people watch, while working on it. Since I don’t have the findings with me, I won’t be able to fully complete it, I can finish the main part of it and add the toggle when I get back home.

Project 2

This second project is a scarf that I started ages ago, but just have never taken the scarf in progresstime to finish.  I was actually working on it last night before bed, and found it very relaxing.  After a few rows, I was able to turn off the light and go right to sleep.  Love how soothing the repetitive motion of straight crochet can be. This scarf is also extremely portable, since it fits into a small bag.  If I can finish it, I can post both of these projects on my Etsy store for sale!


New Project


black beadsNow this third project is not in progress yet, but has begun.  I have purchased the necessary beads and thread for it, and if I finish the other two, I will be starting it here.  I did bring the beads, thread and a travel bead board with me to start threading them.  This is a necklace that has been commissioned.  This will not be started until the others are done, as I really do need to stop having so many works in progress.



Concluding thoughts

To me having portable projects makes it so much easier to be creative.  I am not restricted by my space, but have the ability to work at will.  Yes, I do have some projects that require more stationary locations, but i also have those that are truly portable, especially after they have been started. What about you? Are your crafts portable or stationary? Are you able to just pick up and go, or are you required to be in one place for most of the time with them? Does it matter to you or are you more comfortable being more stationary? Please feel free to weigh in on this topic.  Looking forward to hearing your ideas.

This entry was posted on August 24, 2014. 4 Comments

Crafting Your Ideal Life Pt 1 – How Your Passions Can Help Guide You

Ok, so you have used the previous questions and started thinking about your passions.  You have a handle on what they are, and realize that you might need to make some important changes in your life in order to truly live your ideal life.  But………how do you actually do that?

What is an ideal life?new life button

To each person, their ideal life is totally different.  You might be living it now, or you might realize that you need to make some changes.  In order to identify what your ideal life is or would be, here are some questions you need to ask yourself before you move forward.  Yes, I know, I am having you think more than you have in years, but there is a good reason.  And here it is: The only way to make the necessary changes is to truly know what needs changing! Just jumping in and making changes will not amount to anything if you are changing the wrong things!


1. What is going right in your life right now?

2. What would you like to change about your life?

3. Of the things you want to change, what specific changes would make your life better?

4. If you could live your ideal (dream) life, what would it look like?

5. Where do you envision yourself in 2 years, 5 years and 10 years?

6. What role in your envisioned life do your passions play? Are they the main focus, a continued hobby, or your financial lifeline?

7. What are the negatives in your life right now that you would live more securely if they were no longer part of your day to day life?

8. Once you have identified the negatives, are you willing to do what it takes to remove them from your life?

The continuing journey…….

With this set of questions, we are taking the second step to identifying and crafting your ideal life.  Remember that Rome was not built in a day and that your ideal life artist painting old photodoes not need to be a dream, but can be a reality.  However, it does take time.  Really think about your answers to these questions.  Just like with the questions about your passions, make sure to write down your answers so you can review them at a later time.

Again, there are no right or wrong answers, only the best ones for you!  No one is grading you on how you answer.  However, your life will start changing for the better once you make the decision to shift your focus from the life you are currently living to the one you truly desire to live.

As always, please comment below.  I love hearing how my questions are helping you to identify your passions and how you can make your life better with them.  And stay tuned!! Much more to come, including an entire program in identifying, and using your passions to craft your ideal life!


This entry was posted on August 22, 2014. 3 Comments

Finding your passion – your first step to crafting your ideal life

What is passion and how do you find it?  Once you have found it, how can you use it to live your best life?  These are some questions that have been asked for years.  Everyone has different goals, dreams and passions.  No two people are the same and you should not gauge your life based on someone else.  You need to live your own life.

What is passion?

First, here is a dictionary definition of the word, from Dictionary.com:????????????????????????????????????????????????

1.  any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
2. strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor.
3. strong sexual desire; lust.
4. an instance or experience of strong love or sexual desire.
5. a person toward whom one feels strong love or sexual desire.
6. a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything:a passion for music.
7. the object of such a fondness or desire:  Accuracy became a passion with him.

 From this you can see that passion is just a burning desire for something.  How you do find your passion or burning desire?  Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will be providing information on how you can determine what your passion is, can be with regard to utilizing materials for a craft, discovering something new about yourself, coming to terms with what you are truly looking for out of your life, and then figuring out how to incorporate your passions into the life you are living so you can live your perfect life.

Finding your passion

In order to find your passion, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.  Remember when doing this, be as honest as possible.  You might be surprised what you discover in this assignment.  Also, remember that there are no correct answers. Whatever you determine is right for you.


1. Am I completely happy with my life right now?

2. Is there anything I might want to change to make my life better?

3. What is right with my life? What do I not want to change?

4. Is there something I love to do, that I could do all day for free and still feel wonderful about it?

5. Does the craft I do provide me with a wonderful feeling?  Or is there something else new I would like to learn?

Again, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions.  This is just a starting point. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting more about how to create your ideal life through whatever craft you participate in, and how to determine which is best suited for you.  Stay tuned! Please comment below and let me know if this information is helpful to you!  I certainly hope it is. Also, if you are so inclined, I would love to hear about your results when going through this project.  You never know what you can learn about yourself with this process.

This entry was posted on August 15, 2014. 8 Comments