Monday, January 30, 2017

Organized? I could only hope.

Last July an online friend mentioned she had started using a bullet journal.  It sounded intriguing so I decided to give it a try.  I have lists, notes for projects, bits of research; everywhere.  I have a terrible time finding them when I want them.  A one stop shop for all those things would be wonderful - right? I have tried date books before but I don't need a page for every day of the week; I like Saturday and Sunday of the weekend together, since that is how I plan my weekend; I rarely need all the parts you end up buying (usually to get the piece I do want I end up paying for more pieces that I don't want) they have also been expensive.  In the end I have not found them to be terribly useful.

Like a lot of good ideas, this one is simple.  Take a blank book and turn it into what you need and will use. I love that the person who put this idea out there is really up front about: this is what works for me; give it a try; find what works for you and use it; throw the rest of it out.

My first idea was a Midori Travel Journal. But I'm not paying $40 for a leather square with elastic bands attached.  So I made a couple (one for a friend) and some inserts.  There are some really amazing people who create awesome things and give them away on the internet.  I found free calendars and things to print and a tutorial to use my sewing machine to turn them into books to use in the journal. My friend really liked hers.  I was not so thrilled.  The one I kept was, I think, made with leather that was too thin.  This meant the cover was always getting caught and folded/pushed around on stuff, especially when it was in my purse. The elastic on the outside spine edge was always getting caught on things.  Whine - whine - whine.

Idea number two was a Moleskine.  Luckily, Barnes and Nobel had one marked down, it was cheap and I could bring it home the same day.  This has worked really well for me.  It's hard cover so the pages and cover don't get mangled in my purse.  The flat elastic band doesn't catch on things nearly as often.   I think I have found my favorite weekly layout though.  Just the right amount of room for the things I need to write down (most of the time).

I tend to make up a new calendar layout every month or two and spend a lot of time looking at blogs for new ideas. There are some VERY artistic people out there.  I am not one of them.  My journal is NOT pretty, although I have started using different colored flair markers, but that is random and has no 'plan'.  It's just for a little visual variety.

As I find the lists, notes and bits of research - I'm putting them in the journal.  Being able to find them when I need/want them has been very nice.  I've added some trackers to keep track of my progress on my projects, exercise, and other goals.   I'm thinking about adding meal planning next.

I've filled roughly half the current journal (half the year, half the book, seems reasonable). I've started looking for a replacement.  There are a lot of nice options out there.  And a lot of things that give me the 'hmmmmmm' head tilt.  What are they thinking?!  Just the price variance on Moleskine books from site to site is awe worthy.

The Moleskine is good but it has lined rather than dotted pages.   Dotted pages will make some of the more layouts I've found useful easier to create.  At least I think they will. Won't know before I try.

Next up - I need to find my camera so I can add pictures to new posts.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sleeping cats and pouring rain

It is raining,  the cats are sleeping, I'm drinking coffee.  Seems like a normal Monday around my house.

I am attempting to clean up some of the WIPs/UFOs that are cluttering up my house and work room. They have, again, gotten out of control.

I started a Stained Glass afghan using scraps from the never ending acrylic supply.  It looks to be about 1/3 done.  I have several good size scrap balls made so I'm trying to focus on getting it done.  It is working up quickly.

I'm hoping if I focus on one project and get it as far as I can I will at least make some happy progress and have new things to wear and use.  And fewer things giving me baleful looks about being neglected.  I'm not sure if I have enough scraps gathered to finish this yet.  Like the Primrose Path afghan, I've sewn all the finished blocks together but I need to make more. The Stained Glass pattern tells you how many ounces are needed but that would require that I made some effort to keep track of how much I've already used.

I also found this really beautiful afghan I want to make.  I think I have enough in the 'stash' to finish it. Of course the list of things I want to make is HUGE.  I have found 8 new afghans to make just since Christmas.  In no particular order: Rose of Avalon, Lotus Moon, Cognac Matelasse, Flower Fountain, Geek-A-Long (there are 4 of these 2014 - 2017),  Lily Pond, Retro Ornament,  and Demelza.  (sorry for all the Ravelry links, some the public can see, some they can't.  I never know which).

So many ideas, so little time.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Holy COW

I'm not sure if any of my readers (both of them) know that I do historical recreation with my non-knitting/crocheting/quilting/working time.  Or that Saturday was my birthday. These two bits of information came together at my local historical group's winter event.

It was like my local group had a big party to celebrate my big birthday (that's my story, and I like it).

I even finished a new dress just for the occasion.  I'd actually started it quite a long time ago, but I'd just never gotten around to the final bits of hand work. I think it turned out pretty well, getting a picture of it was not as easy as you'd think though.  I always look rather goofy in pictures and I usually have my eyes closed. So here is a picture of me, on my 50th birthday, wearing my new dress.

 At least my eyes aren't closed.

It was a nice day.  I got to see and visit with a lot of people I don't have the pleasure seeing and visiting with very much, including friends from Canada and South Dakota that I haven't seen for more than a few years. It was quite nice.

The first 50 years were pretty good.  I'm looking forward to the next 50!

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Happy New Year

I wrote this on the 1st.  Some how I messed up and it didn't publish.

2016 was a mix of good and bad as all years are.  Bad things happened. Good things happened.  I  hope that in 2016 the good outweighed the bad for you.  May 2017 be so filled with good that you don't notice the bad.

I spent yesterday going through yarn and yarn projects.  I pulled a few projects that I'm not going to finish and am working on raveling, skeining and washing the yarn.  I started a new sweater on New Years Eve, but after finishing about half the back I ripped it back.  I'm going to knit this instead:

By  Frankie Brown .  So far I have managed to make two leaves

I've decided to rip back this afghan: 

I've found a couple of small block patterns I like and a bin to chuck them in.  Pixel Squares and Mini Hexies.  I found a good container to store them in and when I have enough I'll sew them up.  

I sewed up all the Primrose Path blocks I have and I need to make more.  Luckily I STILL have a bin full of acrylic yarn to use. 

Otherwise, yarn-wise,  I seem to have an ever growing list of things started and nothing on note finished. 

I took a long arm quilting class at a local quilting store.  I've quilted a baby quilt (part of the class), a charity quilt and my mother's Christmas quilt from 2015.  So far I've only used the all over patterns you follow but I'd really like to try my hand at free hand quilting.  At $15 an hour  I'm not sure when I'll manage to try that.  The staff and customers at the store are amazing though.  They have all been very helpful and if it wasn't for the kindness of the other customers (who are more experienced) my time on the machines would have been less successful.  

I've also been trying my hand at quilting on my regular machine.  So far it has been unsuccessful.  I can't get the tension right, I can't get the stitch size regulated and on and on. I've signed up for a couple classes online.  I'm hoping one of them works.  My next plan is to try one of the other machines I have.  Sometimes that does the trick.  I have no idea why.