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. 

Sunday, August 07, 2016

A little good news

I have a new job, that I really think I will like, working for a company that appears to be really good - caring for it's employees.  I am really excited and hopeful about this.

**From here there were nothing but whiny bits, most of which were removed** - suffice to say - depression sucks and makes it hard to get things done. I'm having a hard time getting things done and I have to pick and choose the important things I can spend my energy on carefully.  Right now putting on the good face at work is most important and everything else is on the perhaps if I'm lucky list.

I won't beat myself up for not getting all the things done (it's bad, really bad, to do that.  It makes things worse).  I don't need other people doing it for me.  If you are going to do that, I'm going to not talk to you.  I am doing the best I can, if you want more than that I need to not deal with you right now.  It doesn't matter that you don't understand how it can be that hard.  At this point in time, it just is.

Yesterday I got about 1/4 of the things that needed to be done accomplished.  But in the realm of less clutter is supposed to be better (and really checking a thing off the list of To Dos is good) I sewed up a sweater that I finished knitting in 2014.  There are some ends from putting in the neck that need to be woven in, but I'm considering it done.

Small victories. 

Today I have to leave the house and get some groceries, no matter how hard that will be.  And put clean sheets on the bed.  

Anything else that gets done - small victory.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Life goes on, sometimes without us

I always try to keep my whiney bits to myself.  I am not always (or often, even) successful.

I frequently become withdrawn and don't communicate.  Usually because my brain has decided to eat all the light out of my soul.  Sometimes things are so bad even the drugs don't seem to be helping.

I have just started making this blanket - Last Dance on the Beach.  The kit was featured in an email from Paradise Fibers.   And because I recognize this struggle, and am fighting hard to stay afloat since last fall. It hurts my soul to see another soul that lost the fight.

And it doesn't really matter how well or poorly life is going.  Every setback is a major failure, no matter how small.  I've had some pretty major set backs lately, but certainly nothing life ending.  I know that objectively, but in my brain the entire world would just be better off without me.  And I'll never fix the mess my life has become. Or better, that the things I'm doing/have done are ruining my loved ones' existence.   And as if that isn't enough the whispers that no one really loves you anyway, are even more insidious.

It sucks when your own brain is your worst enemy.

So with every stitch of every square I'm asking for the strength to keep up the good fight, one second at a time. Because that's the best I can do.

And some day soon, with grace and perseverance, the clouds will part and things will be okay.

I hope.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Where did my year go!?

It's has been a really awful year.

Well not completely, but for the most part 2015 will not be in my book of times to remember fondly.

I did have the great blonde bombshell months.  Platinum blonde for the win.  But holy crap, high maintenance.  And then my position at work was eliminated and regular visits to the salon were out.  That much blonde is just hard on hair, and no trims is also bad. Eventually the color difference got the better of me and I tried to dye it.  I do this all the time, but this time the dye didn't stick to the blonde bits. So I tried to strip the color, fail.  Only one choice - a goooooood hair cut.  I went to a salon, told that stylist - the damaged bits need to go, but NO bangs.  Last thing she does? You guessed it.  I HATE growing out bangs.  Long layers are bad enough, but were a necessity.  Bangs are just a misery.

Over all the hair cut isn't bad.  My hair is much better now and I can face growing out the layers and have my beloved bob back.  The bangs, however, already fill me with dread.

On to better things - KNITTING!

I am making another Baby Surprise Jacket.  This one is a commission knit, for a very good friend. I have 3 rows left before the bind off.  I could have finished it hours ago, but I'm just sitting here looking at it.  I have no idea why, but I LOVE making this little masterpieces.  I even enjoyed the never ending, bulky acrylic, Adult Surprise Jacket I made (and then gave away - it didn't fit me).

I have approximately 8 pairs of socks in various stages of completion.  I would like to finish those this month.  In fact I'd like to finish all the WIPs and start the new year fresh.  Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day so that just isn't feasible.

It would be nice to make a good dent in them though so that will be my goal.  I should make a list and then check them off as they get finished.  It always feels so great to watch a list of to-dos dwindle. Plus I'm sure my mother would like to have the three or four objects I'm working on for her.