Friday, December 29, 2017

An Exciting Year Ahead - 5th Friday Post - December 29th

Hi Everyone!

So here we are on the cusp of yet another New Year.  I've written before about no longer making resolutions but there ARE a few things I DO like to do before or at the New Year.

First, I love to choose three words that I want to be my focus for the coming year. I print them out and keep them above my editing station and I check in with them from time to time.  I haven't settled on any of the three yet for 2018 but I feel I DID manage to stay true to the ones I chose for this past year, especially "diligence".

Second is an old family tradition that I loved when I was a kid. Every New Years Eve I put several coins out on the windowsill and leave them out overnight until New Years day. The coins should be silver (symbolically, not literally) and when you bring them in on New Years Day, you put them somewhere safe so that you do not spend them the rest of the year. If you do this, it is said to ensure that you'll always have enough through the year and I will say that it's always worked for me. . . but not when I was a teenager. . . I was always broke then. : )

Third, I will make my annual reading pledge at Goodreads. Last year I chose 30 books as my goal and ended up reading 33 or 34 I think. . . I may increase it to 40 this year ( I can always sneak a few comic collections or graphic novels in if needed).

I'm looking forward, as always, to the year ahead. I've got a full range of new ideas for my shops, I'll be furthering work on "The Ledgerkeepers" novel, working on off Etsy web sites for that world and for my Shadow of the Sphinx shop. Oh and I will be starting up on Instagram in January!

Ok, can I just make two small complaints about instagram already? I signed up and chose an account name a few weeks ago.  It's not my name OR any of my Etsy shop names by the way. . . that's just me preferring a little anonymity. . . . and I was immediately bombarded with a list of people I might know/want to follow. Now, I have not been active on any social media platform for quite some time and so almost all of these people they've recommended are from the distant past. . . I just find it creepy that they instantly know and are linking me to people who I've known in the past! AND, I checked in yesterday just to get myself ready and I already have two dozen followers. . . only one of them is someone I know, the rest are random accounts, some seem fake, and a few local area business accounts. Come on now.  I have ZERO posts! Why would anyone who does not know me be following me already???  What if I start posting really bizarre or disturbing art? Still wanna be my friend there "Tiny Vacation Home Rental in PDX"?

OK, rant over. :)

That said, I AM looking forward to getting the visual feed going and I am secretly hoping it allows me to find artists who inspire me from all over the world, like the old days on Myspace when it was still cool and ad free.

Well, I think that's it for this edition. . .

I am sending wishes to you all for a wonderful start to your own New Years and may it be filled with light, love and inspiration each and every day!




  1. Hi Nicolas :)

    Wow, your reading pledge is outstanding. I am always in awe of you people who read so much! I do love to read, but dang if I can find the time! Most of my reading involves biographies during summer months and mostly blogs and cookbooks! :)

    I have a similar Winter Solstice tradition. I go outside with silver dimes and toss them up in the air. As I'm catching them, I wish for a prosperous year ahead, then hide them! :) If I spend them, all bets are OFF!

    I like your word ideas for the coming year. I have a blogging friend who does that too, with one word and this year for her it's FOCUS. I haven't thought of my own yet, but I'll likely ask my Tarot for some guidance :)

    Wishing you a great 2018!

    1. Hi Rain!! Thank you so much for dropping by and for your lovely comment! I have to say I somehow manage the reading goal mostly reading for just 15-20 minutes a night before sleep takes over, often til the book falls on my face as I try to defy it! :) I just persist and find my way thru to the end that way on most books. And I choose a fair number of shorter books too which is key!

      I adore the silver dime Solstice tradition! Yes, I would imagine hiding them is KEY! lol I can't quite recall where my coins went form last year but I know i hid them too. : )

      We have been seeking a few meaningful traditions for all the major events of the calendar year. Do you have any you observe for the one coming Imbolc?

      Focus was actually another of my words this past year too. It felt separate from diligence for a number of reasons. And I may just keep Focus this year as one of my words since I feel it slipped a bit the last month or so. :)

      I was just reading about the tradition of using what we now call the twelve days of Christmas as divination for the year ahead. Each day represented one month in the coming year's cycle. I can't say I've had strong impressions/signs for a few but then for others, yes, I did feel a strong impression so we shall see, still halfway to go. :)

      May 2018 be bright and beautiful in your world!

    2. I'm pretty sure I have piles of dimes hidden and buried all around my rental lol...but I think I may have spent one of those dimes in 2017 because we had a rough year financially...I'll have to be more careful!

      I usually do many readings this time of year. I love the winter for thought and self-evaluation. I do a 12-card reading every New Year's Eve for the coming calendar year and it's fun to look back throughout the year and see how things are different or interestingly similar to what the cards said on December 31st!

      I also celebrate 12th Night on January 2nd to welcome and to encourage the crops to blossom and flourish this spring! We'll be having an apple wassail and I'll be making a King cake to honour the Oak King too. I have a few blogs, but my spiritual one is if you want to take a peak. I usually blog about the things I celebrate in more detail on that one.

      For Imbolc, although I love calling it Candlemas - only because I love candles :), I do some candle meditation and candle magick. Lore says that the Monday after Imbolc, any nice house fairies you have at home may up and leave, so it's a nice idea on Imbolc to leave them a bowl of milk and honey to encourage them to stay with you. :) I live by the seasons so Imbolc is another festival to celebrate the Sun, the longer days and the coming of spring. I always plant something...even though it's -30 below! This year it'll be some flowers in my window. And I take time to plan my summer garden as well. :)

    3. Ahhh thank you Rain! Those are wonderful celebrations!

      Candlemas!!! Yes, I just could not think of that for the life of me. Somewhere, in the past, I separated the two in my mind and am still getting used to them being one and the same again! I'll be leaving the milk and honey out for certain. I know that I would stay close to the home if offered such favors. : )

      We made a tiny Nisse figurine for watching over our altar this year, since we have no barn or farm animals for him to tend, and left him a small offering of a tiny bowl of oatmeal with butter on Christmas eve. In the morning, the spoon had been tipped out of the bowl. The cat claims it was not his doing so we are left to assume it was the Nisse. :)

      I haven't made a King Cake in years! I began making many of the traditional seasonal bakes this year again. The "Lucy Cats"/Lussikatter(sp?) a saffron laced sweet bun with currants, and Martinmas Horns had to be my favorites.

      I am enjoying your blog and look forward to following and catching up on your thoughts and cheese making exploits this year! Thank you so much for all that you shared here.


  2. Wow, you pretty much blew my good reads total away. I think I’ll just stick with 25 or so, don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I am a pretty slow reader in general though. I like to draw out a book as long as I can.

    I also pick a word a year, just one for me though.... and I haven’t figured out 2018’s yet either. I would agree you have been “diligent”!!!
    I like your silver coin tradition. We used to make little time capsules every New Year’s Eve where we each answer questions about our favorite things and put in photos etc, but haven’t done it in a few years. I still have an unopened one done in 2000.
    I am surprised by your followers of no posts! I just did a slightly ranting post on Instagram 2 days ago because I posted some collages of elf photos right before Christmas and lost about 30 followers because of it. It is so fickle, plus I find a lot of creepy followers who have fake accounts like “doctor joe” or “captain frank” with about 6 supposed selfie photos posted, and they never comment on any posts of mine but they randomly send me messages like “hi there”. I am in the process of blocking them now. Other than those two annoying things I still find Instagram to be a very inspiring and encouraging community! Can’t wait to see you there. I have two accounts (I started the second one after I lost a ton of followers for posting a cat photo... I thought I would keep one for personal stuff but it ended up being one for most of my art and the second one for nature related art and photos) @andreadeanethompson and @fallingladies

    Happy New Years! Patiently waiting to be able to read more of ledger keepers!!!

    1. Happy New Year Andrea! OK, so I don't want to obsess over instagram. . .but why do you think you lost followers for posting the elf and cat images??? That sort of blows my mind! Fickle indeed!! It's good to know I can block people with fake or sketchy accounts. :)

      Oh I LOVE the time capsule idea! I wish I had started that years ago!!! What fun that would be to go back and open them.

      Oh, as for Goodreads, I am just like you. I will luxuriate in a book I love, like "A Face Like Glass" which I am currently reading, and so I make my "quota" by reading comic collections usually 5 or 6 issues in one volume or a few picture books. :) lol

      Anyway, I'll see you on Instagram in a few days! I've got a completely new piece of work, a fantasy faun figurine, to make my first post with. :)

      May 2018 be the brightest and most inspired year yet!!

    2. Can’t say for sure why I lost followers but I guess people wanting to see my usual watercolors somehow got offended by the change in subject matter! Seems ridiculous to me as I don’t mind seeing different things in my feed. I have heard other people say when they post a photo of themselves just once they lose followers. I guess the only way to deal with it is to stop checking numbers, and just concentrated on the comments. Everyone I have actually “talked” to there has been so helpful, and generous!
      I bought a years worth of audible so I am now in the process of picking my years reading.... I stop every time I start because there are so many I want that I just can’t choose. What a great problem to have, right?

      Happy new year!

    3. I can't believe people have the time to worry about such things as un-favoriting feeds! lol Ohhh audible. . . that is a very good problem to have and I could see myself doing the same thing. I can't even decide which four books to check out of our library's online reading service (Hoopla) each month and then I wait til the last few days of the month and frantically pick four at random from my way-too-long list of favorites! Wishing the happiest of New Years to you Andrea!!

  3. Happy New Year Nicolas. Always love visiting your blog. I wish you all the best for 2018. I have made my blog private but please give me your email address so I can add you to the special reading group :) xx

    1. Hi Louise!! Happy New Year to you as well and may 2018 be filled with light and love each and every day!! I will send you my email later today as I would be honored to be in the inner circle for your blog! :)

  4. What lovely new year traditions! Your blog is full of such beauty and wonder, thank you so much for sharing such amazing art and compelling thoughts. Happy new year wishes!

    1. Thank you Lisa! May the New Year bring you all the inspiration and joy it can hold!!

  5. Happy New Year Nicolas!! 40 books?? Wow! You go dude! LOL! I love the tradition about the coins. For me this year, I am starting to meditate an hour a day and truly connect to my heart and what ever it tells me, (insights), I am going for it! I am kicking fears/addictions to the curb. It will be hard, but even when it's hard, it's more fulling, then if I don't do it!
    Big Crow Hugs!!

    1. You have my full support Stacy! I hope that the New Year brings you all that you seek and more! Anything worth doing will be challenging and offer us new experiences and growth! Big Crow Hugs!!! You go girl!!

  6. Nicolas, I forgot to say, that is kind of scary about Instagram! I was only on facebook for a year, and I don't miss it at all. I might be starting up on twitter. I don't have a cell phone, so trying to be on things, that I can use on my laptop.
    I really do hate, how much these "places" keep track of you!!

    1. I think I am just a little extra sensitive to it and always amazed that the prevailing idea is that we would all want to remain connected to everyone we ever knew. I just can't imagine it!! lol

  7. Hi Nicolas, wishing you and yours a very Happy New year and all the best in 2018. Loved hearing about your traditions, the coins..very magical! I love all that you create and share and I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful work!
    May you new year be filled with new adventures, many blessings and heaps of magic along the way.

    1. Thank you Victoria! I look forward to all the many inspired posts from all of my blogger friends and yours are always among the dreamiest and most magical. :) Happy New Year!!

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  9. OK, now I am confused over what happened to my very long comment as apparently you don't actually have moderation on as that last one was maybe I need to post in sections to keep shorter? Luckily I copied the whole thing and will try that now...

  10. Happy New Year, Nicolas. I always leave here feeling warm and cozy and somewhat a sense of mystique and wonder after reading your posts...and often too, the exchanges between you and your readers. :)

    It's interesting reading you and Rain write, for example. It's like a totally different world with apparent actual fairies and what not. Fascinating. All that reminds me, did you ever read my account of "fairies" when I was a little boy? I think I mentioned it here ages ago and am not really sure if it was real or spirits shape shifting into what I wanted to see or figments of my imagination. Regardless, it was totally magical at the time and my sister saw it too, as she related the same things. We were 6 and 5 at the time.

    I've never heard of the tradition of leaving coins outside. Do you think it actually works? Is it about intent perhaps? I love how you (and Rain) have these magical traditions that you do each year- whether you fully believe in them or not I don't know or if it's just playing along for intrigue - but, regardless, they are unique and ground you to the earth and the seasons. That's fabulous! I need more of that sort of thing in my life too.

    I too have used a focused word for the year. About 3 years ago, it was "Radiant" which I often reminded myself of through the months but really, can't say it made a scrap of genuine difference! I think taking it to prayer does more in that regard in my own life but loved the idea of it nonetheless. It's going to be really interesting seeing what you settle on ..especially as you choose multiple words, not just one. I hope you discuss how that works; which one do you focus on when and so on. Please. :)

    1. Hi Michael!

      Thank your being so diligent! I am so happy to have your comment to mull over. Your comments about words made me decide to altar my schedule this week and post about the words I chose for this year as well as how they work for me so that post will be up later today as my First Friday installment. Thank you!

      I LOVE radiant as a word to focus on!

      Your faerie experience. Yes, I do recall it and I think those experiences, especially as a child are certainly part of us being closer to the thresholds of our worlds at that age. It always seems to happen to children before too much is "unlearned". Some say it is just imagination. But I have to be honest and say that those similar experiences in my own life NEVER happened in the midst of an imaginary play world. Those imaginary worlds were conscious choices I set foot in whereas the experiences of the "other realms", of faeries and malevolent forces were not ones that came about in an imaginary world of my choosing. They interrupted or broke thru the real world. And other than those, I cannot recall ever having similar episodes in the "normal" world about anything that you would think a young, imaginative mind might tend towards. . . . I never "imagined" my mother made my favorite dinner or we went on an imaginary trip to the amusement park! So why would I only imagine things from a faerie like realm that I had no understanding of? That wasn't even something I made up often when I DID choose the make believe world!!!

      Rituals are important I think. The coin ritual is a connection to my family that have passed. I learned it from my grandparents and keep it going in their memory. My mother jus said the other day that she just realized that as long as you don't spend those coins, you won't be broke. lol Since I know that the tradition is very old, perhaps as far back as the Middle Ages, I would imagine there was a time when doing this with a few coins and mot spending them meant a lot more than it does today. :) I DO think it is about intent, the observation of the ritual and a connection to something far older.

      I have another ritual I started in a similar fashion years ago which is that I save every two dollar bill I come across. This too comes from my grandfather who gifted me with three of the oldest two dollar bills from the series of 1950. That was around 30 plus years ago. I started saving them when I worked at/owned coffeehouses I began saving every one that came thru the shop. It might be as few as one every few weeks but then sometimes I would get two or three in a week. Then my mother, knowing I saved them, sent me any that she got and I kept those as well. I never spend them. Over the years that has led to me having over six hundred dollars in two dollar bills now. So I can say that THAT particular ritual has worked as to ensuring I won't be broke! lol Of course, those never go out on the windowsill but just stay in an old cigar box.

      I'll respond to the second half of your comments later tonight Michael. Thank you for taking the time, I SO appreciate it and I look forward to more exchanges with you here and at Scribble Picnic in the year ahead!!

    2. And ditto thanks for responding. I love how your grandparents passed down traditions to you. I never knew mine...but then again both my grandmothers were horrible people it seems (one a drunk and slut, if you will, the other mad with mad cows disease and utterly neurotic).

      "she just realized that as long as you don't spend those coins, you won't be broke. lol"
      So true. ha.

      YES!! i totally 100% agree with you about the imagination thing and it usually drives me bonkers when i watch a show like "A haunting" where family members tell of their paranomral experiences but there's always at least one person who doesn't believe it and somehow thinks they are "imagining" it yet how does one imagine things like chairs moving jsut out of the blue or whatever, especially if a couple of people saw it together! :)

  11. Aha! that worked.... here's part two! :)

    I don't like a lot of social media, especially personal facebooks, filled with people's political angry rants, and so on, but I do love Instagram because there is so much less of that and as most family is not on there, one doesn't feel compelled to have to follow them. Regardless, there are so many great IG accounts to be inspired by. I mainly follow children's book art style illustrators and some great personal blog photographers. Funnily enough, most of them end up being from UK or Ireland somewhere with a few from the US east coast. I just like the cosy design aesthetic more. :) Anyway, if you end up pursuing IG, I can give you an Irish ladies' one I think you will enjoy a fair bit for her photo woodsy aesthetic. Mine is @a_dotty-hill if you'd like to follow but it may be a little dull as of course there are far fewer words and reflection on that medium. I like it best for the IG videos/stories one can load and watching others too so you get to know them better than jsut a person who puts up pretty pics.

    All that follow stuff is the result of spammers. You can report them to when blocking them, if needed, and I have done that on a few occasions. I really don't know how some people have 10's of thousands of followers, if truly organically grown, as, like Andrea, mine too jsut fluctuates back and forth between 890-905. Any one day I can gain 5 people and lose 7 and it has nothing to do with what I post or I suspect with what Andrea posted. Unfortunately, there are some bots out there that will sign up to follow you automatically, or based off of certain keywords, but are programmed to un-follow if you don't follow them back within an allotted time. You don't want those fake ones anyway! Speaking of which, A LOT of the supposed people who follow me are either fake or were fakely added as one day I grew from 350 to 900 in minutes as my last post had been featured somewhere so as soon as I deleted that post on my IG, they instantly stopped. Definitely bot related. And funnily enough, all the people were seemingly Fijian and such. Really bizarre. I have about 25 people who actually bother to comment now and then and about 40 people who might at any time "heart" a post truly. Keep in mind too, many people follow something like 900 plus people so naturally one does not see all the posts from everyone at any time. I try to periodically go through mine when it's got out of hand and weed down the list I follow too so that I am not missing content from the ones I really want to see. Ha, but then I will do a search on a certain hashtag or go to the basic search screen and find even more amazing feeds so son enough it grows again.

    OK, I can't seem to leave you succinct enough, short replies. Once again, a lot of typing here. Take care, Nicolas. All the best to you. Looking forward to reading what words you settle on, etc.

  12. I used to make new years resolutions, then I chose words, but found I fail to follow through with these and in the end, leaves me feeling kind of low. This year, I've chosen to take a few free online courses that encourage one to change their mindset and approach to what they do in order to usher in abundance in one's life. So far, despite battling bronchitis, I'm enjoying it. :)

    I LOVE Instagram. I used to LIVE on my business Facebook page but now that FB owns IG, I focus on IG and "push" my posts to Facebook. Whala! Anyway, I know it's overwhelming at first, and sometimes feels a bit intrusive, but I believe you'll enjoy it. I've met so many wonderful followers and fellow artists and gain SO MUCH inspiration each day out there. If your keen to following me, you can find me @alexandrasillos

    Wishing you and yours a lovely new year with many blessings! x