Category Archives: Blogging

May Challenge DIY Postcard Swap

I have been involved in some sort of art crafting since my 50 in 50 Challenge in 2016. I have been dabbling in art journaling of some sort since.

DIY Postcard Swap

iHanna has been running her DIY Postcard Sway for ten years. Last fall, I wanted to join in, but I didn’t give myself enough time to create. I started on the postcards and worked on them, here and there. It was fun to just pull them out, look at all my saved epherema, and add paper, paint, stamping to them.

iHanna DIY Postcard Swap

The Swap is the Second Week of May

I will get ten addresses from Hanna, and send out my cards. The rules are simple: Make ten homemade postcards, nothing bought. You can do whatever you want!  ANYONE can make postcards, as Hanna says on her You Tube Channel:


Here are my Completed Cards

DIY Postcard Swap

DIY Postcard Swap

DIY Postcard Swap

DIY Postcard Swap

DIY Postcard Swap

Yes, there are eleven postcards. A friend sent me a postcard and I decided to craft an extra postcard and send his way.

I’m excited to see what the snail mail will bring me this month!!

F is for Fun in the A to Z Challenge

Type 1, Tpye 2, and Type 3 Fun levels have been around the outside community  for years.

I first heard about the three levels of fun on The Dirtbag Diaries.

Level One Fun

Just a fun activity:  you are having a good time doing it, no worries, like skiing, or running in the mountains. Just a cool day in the outdoors, normal fun stuff.Level One Fun

Having fun at the Black Hills 100K.

Level Two Fun

Level Two Fun is being over your head and miserable. It really sucks being in the middle of it, but once it’s over (and didn’t turn into Level 3 Fun) it turns into a good story to be told. You kind of forget how badly it sucked.

My finish of the Wild Oak Trail 108 miler would be a good definition of Level Two Fun. An excerpt from my blog when the fun was Level Two teetering toward Level Three:

“Of course, I am getting colder and colder.  I slip chemical handwarmers into my gloves, as I can’t feel my thumbs.  But now my thighs are getting cold. My thighs never get cold, I can feel the cold on the outside. I’m getting genuinely concerned for my well being.”

“Everything hurt, mostly due I believe, to the calorie deficit, and the tense body contracted against the cold.  I was so punch drunk from the sleep deprivation. I felt awful.”

Level Two Fun

Spoiler alert, I did finish my TWOT 108 mile run. One of my proudest running achievements.

Level Three Fun

It’s not fun when it’s happening, you still aren’t laughing about it afterwards, and it’s still miserable to discuss. Level Three fun could possibly involve search and rescue, or becoming the subject for a case study. You don’t want to go there!

You think you can’t encounter Level Three Fun in your backyard? Think again. My Type Three Fun happened  in my local state park:

“The mud on the trail was shoe sucking awful, so I decided to go off-piste. I follow a creek bed downhill. But my path is short lived, as the creek goes off a precipice.


I scrambled around the drop off and crawl back up the creek bank. This is fun until some logs are blocking the creek, and I have to hike through the greenery beside the creek.

Stinging Nettles

 I’m hiking through these plants, and realize my legs are on fire with little tiny stinging bites-all over! I realize I am covered in tiny bites! It feels like I am being bit by tiny bugs over and over again! It hurts enough that I want to cry!

Multi Flora Rose

I go up in the woods to escape the nettles. . This is where it all starts going south. I run into groves of multi flora rose bushes. Multi-flora rose is an invasive species, a perennial shrub.  It can grown into impenetrable walls. Ask me. I tried to go through them.

I would follow a deer trail, which would then go through a thicket.  I would try to find another way. I was frustrated and irritated. I was lost, yet I wasn’t. I was between the lake and the bridle trail. I was trying to get back to the trail, mud or not!! It was truly hideous. I was so irritated at myself, for getting stuck in this mess, for not bringing the compass (if I had the compass I could at least tell if I was wandering in circles). I tried to pretend this was good training for Barkley, good heat training. My legs were getting shredded. I had blood all over my legs.


I finally made it back to my vehicle. The legs are still warm and inflamed. It’s lucky I’m still on an antibiotic due to my teeth!”

That my friends, is Level Three Fun. It is now amusing to reread, a few years later, but it was never fun.

Do you have any Level Three Fun you are willing to share?

E is for Empower in the A to Z Challenge


Empower: make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

It seems the theme of my A to Z Blogging Challenge is swiftly changing from “Venture Outside of your Comfort Zone” to maybe tips on “Trying to keep your sh*t together in the pandemic”  I am willing to go with that.

Part of the national anxiety is the fact that we really can’t control our lives right now. Especially Americans, which I guess would be the majority of my little readership, who have pretty much the freedom to do what we want, when we want.  Now that has been *taken away* for most of us.

We also have this invisible virus which might be around us, or already in us that we can’t see or react to. We can’t control if or when we contract this illness that we don’t know much about.

How to Empower Yourself in April

Take control of items you know you can control. Like cleaning your house. Decluttering. This can give you a sense of accomplishment.

Switch off the news. You can hear about Covid-10 24/7 and that really can be upsetting. I turned off the constant Dow Jones update-the huge swings made me anxious. There’s nothing I can do about the state of the economy. It’s easier just to check in at the end of the trading day and get the news, good or bad.

Focus on the positive. For  me, at least, in Ohio, spring is arriving. The greening of the landscape has begun. The daffodils are up!

daffodils and garden boots

Start a challenge. I’ve got several. Ride my bike 2020 miles in 2020. My positive affirmation card. My A-Z blogging challenge. My “ride every day outside in April” challenge.

Hang in there!!

D is for Dream in the A to Z Challenge


Your 2020 year is probably not going as you expected. What can you do in these rapidly changing circumstances?

Dream Big!!

Take some time now and brain storm. Grab a piece of paper-or open up a tab on the browser-and start writing. What would you like to do if there was no limit?

Just try it!! Don’t be reasonable. Who cares if it costs a lot of money, is highly dangerous, on the other side of the world, beyond your ability!

Come back and look at your list a few days later. Do you see any similarities? Are there some activities or events that REALLY peak your interest? Are some bucket list worthy?

Do Some Research

Since we have this wonderful miracle called the internet, check out some data dreams. What route could you take if you wanted to bike across the country? Or maybe just the state of Ohio?

Dirty Water Route


There’s lots of opportunities to dream big now. And maybe doing a bit of day dreaming will help  you cope with reality right now?

B is for Biking in the A to Z Challenge Month

bike in front of fountain

B is for Biking. I have become a reluctant yet enthusiastic biker after retiring from running.

I started on this idea of A to Z Challenge in February, long before our world was turned upside down with the onset of Covid-19. I am tempered with the idea of trying to keep my blogging challenge up, to keep some motivation going.

Why am I now enthusiastic for biking?

Visiting New Locations

harpers ferry west virginia

The best part of biking is visiting new locations. I have seen areas of the country that I would have never traveled to if I was just running.

Going farther distances, faster

Riding a bike lets me cover more distance faster. I could not run seventy miles under twelve hours, I am able to do that on a bike.

Campground Greenbrier Trail West Virginia

Gentler on the body

Biking is a non-impact sport. It is easier on the knees and other parts of the body. It allows me to get a good work out without wiping me out physically.

New Challenges

Being on a bike opens up new challenges. Learning how to ride a bike on a trail for example. Or biking every day in April-I’ll explain that one tomorrow.

Learning new things

One of the reasons I never started biking earlier was I was not interested in learning about my bike. (News flash, I still am not interested.) HOWEVER, I have been, and  still am, learning ALL ABOUT my bike, and how to fix it. Why? So I am self sufficient and won’t get stuck somewhere, miles from home with a broken bike.

Personal Class

My local bike shop offered a two day bike repair class in February, two sessions, two hours long. As I ended up being the only person in the class, it was awesome! I got to ask “all the dumb questions” that I could think of.  I highly recommend attending a local bike shop maintenance class, even if it is only “how to change your bike tire”, you will learn a bunch.

This may be a good time to try and get on a bike again. Start slow and bike short distances. Expect your rear to be a bit sore-this too shall pass.

All In! A to Z Blogging Challenge


A to Z Blogging Challenge

Blogging A to Z Challenge

I’m back! This time my challenge is the A to Z Blogging Challenge. This is to create a blog post daily (except on Sundays) suggested  by the letter of the alphabet.  This challenge has been around since 2010-Most of the time if you subtract Sundays from April, you then have 26 days–one day for each letter of the alphabet.  When April 1st lands on a Sunday you begin on that day which will be the only Sunday you would post during that month’s challenge.

Blogging Challenged

I’ve been very writing challenged, due in part to be being out of work in 2018.  Gainfully employed again, things are starting to settle down with an entirely new routine, both home life and work life. I’ve missed writing. I’ve been doing more art journaling-off line.

A to Z Challenge Versus NaBloPoMo

What’s the difference between the April A-Z Challenge and the November NaBloPoMo-aka National Blog Posting Month? The November Challenge is to simply post a blog post daily in November. The A-Z Challenge is a bit more difficult. Most writers will have a theme, and craft their blog posts around the theme.

What’s  My Theme?

My theme is “Out of the Comfort Zone”. The idea is to inspire people to try new things, drive to work down a different road, go to a meeting or coffee shop or bike shop by themselves-or with new people.  Stretch a little. You might be uncomfortable at the beginning. You might not like what you are doing. But maybe, afterwards, you find yourself proud of what you did, or you learned something,  or maybe you even had a GREAT TIME without even intending to!!

52 in 52 Art Journal Challenge Completed!

I did it! I completed my challenge for 2018, 52 in 52. This was to create a weekly mixed media art page-outside of my comfort zone, based on some random prompts generated.

This turned into a  true challenge. Many weeks I ran out of time, realizing my gung ho attitude on Monday had dwindled toward the end of the week. I ran out of time on most.  Sometimes the prompt wouldn’t trip my trigger of creativity.

I’m not much of an artist. This was a fun exercise to use some materials not very familiar to me and “get out of the comfort zone”.

My 2019 challenge will go in a different direction, far more physical than cerebral. Below, please find completely out of order, my creations for 2018 52 in 52 Challenge.


My only big fail “Dream Fire Tower”. I’ll have to do this and redeem myself.




art journal challenge tree graffiti
 Journal Challenge Fireworks
Art Journal Challenge Week 52 Winter