Sunday, October 28, 2018

More Pattern Design Stories

I've created some new patterns this week and thought I'd share some more behind the scenes details about them.

Before I do, in my last pattern design post, I shared about the black and white snowflakes. I've added some color to that design for a festive winter touch!


I also made them both in a darker blue, too (wrapping paper, gift bag). I've toyed with the idea of making them in pink snowflakes but PINK SNOWFLAKES? Think that's too much?

I realized this week that I have to keep writing these blog posts so I don't forget the origin of the patterns. A few days go by and I tend to forget which pattern came from where, especially after I've put it on different kinds of merchandise.

Several days ago, I cut a bell pepper for dinner, and inside, was another baby pepper! I'd never heard of pregnant peppers before, and quickly snapped this photo:

And then created this pattern from it:

I like putting my food art on kitchen merchandise, so this one went on a glass cutting board. It's so pretty!

Some of my other pattern work this week:

I'm really having fun with the pattern work. Next week, I hope to share some fall patterns.

Recent posts:

Come visit my TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Journal: 42 Day Loss

When I started my Juice Plus journey, I decided to hold off on posting anything until I stuck with it a little while to see if I liked it and if it actually made a difference. And in this post, I do one thing that will make my precious grandmother roll over in her grave - I reveal my weight. Blech. But I'm on a journey and you're holding me accountable! (How's that for pressure?)

On August 28, I posted that I was starting my Juice Plus journey. I signed up that day to become a distributor, with the hopes of eventually building my own team of distributors. (Want to join my team? Send me a note!) My primary concern about building my own team was the sales pressure to do so - and I've seen NONE of that with Juice Plus. Everything is in place to grow teams if we so desire, but there's absolutely no pressure to do so. 

I placed my first order a few days later. Before the capsules arrived, I received my welcome packet which included order forms, a few brochures, product information, and a colorful box to hold a week's supply of capsules.

Then my order arrived and I began taking the four blends (Veggies, Fruits, Berries, Omegas) on Sept 9th.

On that day, I set up a spreadsheet where I'm keeping all my measurements and I'm keeping a journal to document any progress or bumps in the road.

At first, I decided I'd start sharing my journey when I hit a particular weight loss goal, even though weight loss wasn't my primary goal. But along the way, something surprised me, so I decided to post my progress after only six weeks.

In the past six weeks, I've lost 6.8 lbs.

The first two weeks, I yo-yo'd, but after that, the weight just came off a little bit at a time. It's not the weight that impressed me as much as it was the inches lost.

In the past six weeks, I've lost a total of 17.75 INCHES.

Here are my journal entries since Sept 9.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Today, I officially begin my journey with Juice Plus+ — my journey toward better health.
I’m not going to publish this journal for a time – for my own self-esteem, honestly. I’ve tried and failed with other programs, systems, diets, ideas in the past, and I just don’t want to put this out there until I’m sure I’m on the right track this time.

Today, overall:

I feel lousy. I had a sleepless night of pain in my hands and arms. My neck is stiff this morning. I’ve seen the chiropractor twice in the past week, to deal with hip and neck pain. The hip pain and issues there seem to be gone, but my neck remains stiff.

Today is Sunday, and I take Sundays off work, so I’ll do stretches, drink water, spend some time in the Bible, and read.

I’m currently taking:

One A Day Prenatal 1: I have around 30 left in the bottle, so I will continue taking those as I start the Juice Plus and then decide in 30 days whether I need to or should continue those or some other kind. The Prenatal 1 has helped me immensely after 7 years of chronic anemia.

Vitamin D: My last blood work revealed a huge Vitamin D deficiency, so I now take supplements. We’ll see what my next blood work shows and decide whether I need to continue.

Biotin: My hair thinned a bit with the anemia, and my nails were awful, so I began taking Biotin and it seems to help.

Beta Carotene: Vision problems have been plaguing me for a while, so I’m trying beta carotene to see if it helps. (I used Lutein for one bottle, and it seemed to help too, but I haven’t restocked yet.)

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Well, I was surprised a great deal when I stepped on the scale today. I’d had a rather stressful week, and had done NOTHING different all week long, other than take my daily dose of Juice Plus.

The scale showed 223.6 – a loss of 5.6 lbs since last Sunday.

I haven’t been to the grocery store in about 10 days, due to budget, so we’ve been eating whatever we have, which has included hamburgers, soups, stews, chicken, and a pork roast. Not exactly what I’d call a full diet of health, but the soups and stews are all homemade with meats and veggies, no fillers or preservatives, so it’s not as bad as it could be, but also not as good as it could be.

But 5.6 lbs. I’m impressed.

I’m only going to do bodily measurements once a month – mostly to keep me from staying fixated on that.

But there are some other notable changes this week.

Sleep has been elusive for me for many years. I’ll have periods where I sleep fine, but for the most part, I’m a restless sleeper.

This week, I got really sleepy. I tried fighting it at first, but I found that I seemed to be trying to come down with a cold, so I gave into the sleepiness and decided to let my body rest. Thursday, I took a nap, then slept solid during the night. Friday, the same thing. Saturday, I gave myself the day off, and decided to just hang out on the porch, reading, and watching the seasons change. I fell asleep in Tim’s hammock and slept the morning away. I got up around noon, went back to sleep at 2 and slept until 6. Then I slept solid last night, from midnight until 7 a.m. when I got a phone call. I moved out to the hammock and slept solid until 11 a.m. As I write this, it’s 4 p.m., I’m sleepy, but feel better overall than I’ve felt in a long time. My body seems to be healing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

I’d planned to just write weekly updates, but I want to go on record today, 10 days into my Juice Plus+ journey, because of some notable changes.

My body is changing. I can’t really say how or why at this point, but I noticed my skin looks and feels different. I’m not as puffy as I’ve always been all my life, but it’s not just that – it’s the way my arm feels when I rub it. The skins is more elastic, and the tissues underneath the skin seem to be more firm.

Yesterday, I confessed to Tim that I was scared to get on the scale this coming week, because I am so excited about the weight I lost last week that I don’t want to ruin that with a gain this week. But the way I’m feeling right now, I think I’m even going to measure again at the 2 week point instead of waiting a full month. I’m curious, now.
I’m also feeling better overall. All those little aches and pains seem less each day. I’ve had a crick in my neck for several days, so I’m not counting that – I think that was from sleeping wrong. But all the other aches and pains – just the fatigue I’ve felt all over my body for years – seems less right now.

September 23, 2018

I dreaded getting back on the scale this morning. I knew I had gained all the weight back. But I had only gained back 2 lbs. 

Weight: 226.0

Due to our lack of money this week, I added bread back into our diet, and popcorn. I also didn’t drink as much water during the week as I had the previous week. But I bought groceries yesterday with a load of veggies, so maybe I can get back on track.

Stress is playing a huge factor right now – financial stress. Although I always have financial stress, this week is especially awful because in seven days, I have twice as much outgo as I do income. I know stress has always played a role in my weight, but I’m not one who stress eats, so I’m thinking it’s more due to the chemical changes inside me when I’m stressed. 

No, I’m not a doc and don’t play one on TV. Just in my head.

September 27, 2018

I hadn’t planned to weigh mid-week, but I got my haircut yesterday and Tim bet I’d lost 2 lbs. So I weighed, and sure enough, exactly 2 lbs. 

Weight: 224.0

Then he brings me bacon for breakfast.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Weight stayed the exact same over 3 days – not sure that’s ever happened before. 😊

Weight 224.0

The tape measure surprised me this time. I’m tracking it in a spreadsheet now, but I lost inches in my hips, biceps, thighs, and chest – for a total loss of 10.25 inches since Sept 9. 

That’s impressive to me.

Other things I’m noticing:

My cheekbones are becoming defined again. I look in the mirror and that’s the first thing I see now. The area below my ears – sort of around my jawbone, but not as low as my neck (is that the jowls, perhaps?) – has thinned out a bit, too. Maybe my double chin is receding.

My skin continues to firm up. I’m truly wondering if Juice Plus is dissolving fat. Is that even possible?

October 21, 2018

This has been a crazy month so I haven’t updated my journal like I’d hoped. But I’m proud to report today that even though I’ve been a slacker, Juice Plus has not been.

On Sept 30, I’d lost 10.25 inches since I first measured on Sept 9. Today, Oct 21, I measured again, and I’ve lost another 7.5 inches. 

My weight has sort of “stabilized” at 221.8 – I’ve been at that weight a couple of weeks, but the inches are still coming off. 

Due to stress and budget and time, I haven’t been eating like I was, so I count the loss and the stability both as huge wins. 

I'm no longer taking any supplements other than the Juice Plus capsules. I stopped all of those about three weeks ago.

My hips – the widest part of me – have lost the most. I’ve lost 2.5 inches in my hips since I started. My thighs, where I tend to hold weight, are seeing loss too. My left thigh has lost a total of 3.25 inches (measured in two different spots, upper and middle), my right thigh has lost 2.25 inches (upper and middle). Each knee has lost an inch. My biceps have lost 2.5 inches together. And this week, even my neck lost half an inch.

It’s fascinating to watch the fat continue to dissolve. 

I am now much more conscious about what and how I eat and drink. I work to get enough water in me (and don't always succeed), and KNOWING that I'm getting all my fruits and veggies through Juice Plus makes me think about everything else I'm putting in my body. Why invest in the Juice Plus if I'm just going to eat garbage? 

My habits are changing, my choices are changing, my mindset is changing. Not because it's being forced, but because I see and feel the difference Juice Plus is making in my body and I want that to continue. 

I'm excited to see where this leads.

AND - on the franchise side of things, I've already gotten my first check. 

Juice Plus just had their annual conference in Tampa. Over 8000 people attended. Next year, they'll be in Sacramento, CA. I don't know that I'll ever attend any of those events - I'm just taking this journey a day at a time. But the possibility is there. 

My next goal is to purchase a couple of the Tower Gardens. I've wanted to grow my own food for a long time, and this seems like a great way to do it! It may be awhile, but that's my goal.

Care to join me on the journey?

Friday, October 19, 2018

My New Books: The Young Storyteller's Prompt and Draw Series

Some children love to tell stories. Others have a difficult time using their imagination. Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying, "The greatest gift you can give a child is an imagination." Einstein linked intelligence levels to imagination.

Today, I'm thrilled to announce the release of my new series of books for children, The Young Storyteller's Prompt and Draw Series.

Each of the twelve books begin with "There Once Was a ______." The books are 8.5" by 8.5", perfect for spreading on a table for writing and drawing. Throughout the book, I provide short prompts to guide the child through all the elements of story so that they have a beginning, middle, and end, with some plot twists. Half of the right page has the prompt and lines to write the story, the other half of the page, and the left page, are left blank so the child can illustrate their story as they create it. I also left the covers with minimal design, with a matte finish, so your budding storytellers can design their own cover to match their stories. These books will become treasured keepsakes of their childhood, and even "measuring sticks" of their growth!

I kept the topics simple so the child's imagination could add all the details. As I created them, I thought of my own children as they were growing up and how we'd go off on rabbit trails as they zeroed in on a topic and began asking questions.

If the child gets stuck in building their story, just ask them different questions about their topic and they'll take off again.

About the Books:

Encourage Children to Write and Illustrate their Own Stories!

The Young Storyteller’s Prompt and Draw Series offers basic prompts to guide children through a solid story structure while encouraging their imaginations to soar.

The pages within provide short prompts with lined space for writing out the story and ample blank space for children to illustrate as they create.

This series is perfect for home use, as well as in a classroom or homeschool setting.

Visit my Amazon page for all my books. Here are the links for each of The Young Storyteller's Prompt and Draw Series:

The books can be purchased individually on Amazon, but I'm also making them available by the case (24 books, any combination of books) with a discount for teachers/schools/classrooms, so if you want to purchase a case, send me an e-mail

Click to Tweet: Encourage Children to Write and Illustrate their Own Stories! New Series: The Young Storyteller’s Prompt and Draw Series by @TracyRuckman. #amreading #childrensbooks #PromptAndDraw

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Behind the Scenes with Pattern Designs

My schedule has been wonky the past few months, so I've had almost zero photo or design time. This weekend, we took a day trip and explored a beautiful area that I'll be sharing about in the coming weeks, but today, I want to share behind the scenes of some patterns I created using what I call the discard photos - photos that aren't share worthy on their own, but sure make for some interesting patterns when I tinker with them.

This first photo was taken in Marshall Forest, the only forest in the US located within a city limit. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that one of the walking trails in the park is a "Braille trail" for the visually impaired.

This is the resulting pattern:

I liked the masculine feel of this pattern, so I used it for wrapping paper.

I had an idea for a project, so I was messing with these chains on some marble steps, trying to find a pattern or design that looked like the chains had been "broken" (under Tim's orders not to break his chains. Ha!)

The photo resulted in this interesting pattern:

I used it for wrapping paper and ribbon.

We were driving down a road Sunday afternoon, rounded a corner, and the sunlight focused on these pink flowers in such a way that they glowed. Because I was driving, I just went past it but the image was burned in my brain. We turned around and went back to take a photo, but by then the sun was no longer on the flowers so the photos are quite disappointing.

But I got these magical snowflakes as a pattern, so all is not lost!

The pattern was too fine for wrapping paper, but it made a beautiful ribbon:

I love being able to create art from photos that won't be used as art themselves. Makes me view everything in life with a different perspective.

Come visit my TMPix Art Shop on Zazzle!
Original Photography Turned into Art
Some funky, some beautiful.
Some bold, some gentle.
Some playful, some romantic.

Hitting a Milestone

As 2022 ended, I had plans. Nothing extravagant, but perhaps a couple of adventures and a fall conference to prepare for and attend. But I q...