Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!

Here it is the end of one month on our calendar and the start of the Chinese New Year.  Unfortunately, I didn't have any pictures of horses to create a mandala for it.  So I am going for the 'springtime' look to kick off the New Year.

This is a lupine I took a picture of last spring.  And as there is 3-4 inches of snow on the ground and it is expected to be below normal temperature wise for the next week, I thought I could use a little reminder of warmer days.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Money, Money, Money

With the New Year I made a couple of commitments to myself financially.  I am so tired of having more month than money.

First off, I joined up for a Fabric Diet.  And unless there is someone holds a gun to my head, I have not bought any fibers or fabric all month.  And right now, as far as I can see, this will hold for February - although there are a couple of fabric lines I would love to get a set of fat quarters for to have for future use.

To further my Fabric Diet and to get some items off my to-do list, I joined in with a Lovely Year of Finishes for 2014.  I have so many projects waiting to be worked on, it seems a shame to keep buying more and seemingly getting nothing done.  January has gone well with that plan.

One of the best things I have done, is to print out the weekly planner for 52 Weeks of Saving.  So far I am on goal and I have big jar where I have the chart folded up and check off the weeks as they go by.  I know the first weeks are easy with just a couple of dollars going in, but hopefully this will create a habit which can keep up.  I would love to split up $1400 at the end of the year between the girls and I for Christmas (and so would they, I think!).

I also joined up with the Living Well, Spending Less on Facebook.  It's difficult to go out and spend money on things I don't really need when I read about people cutting back and saving hundreds or thousands of dollars a month.  And loving it!  It inspires me to come up with menus and plan my grocery shopping.  And not to do any frivolous spending.

So as the first month of the year comes to a close, I feel a bit better about my life in general and my money in particular.  Of course, I do have this large box of papers I have to go through and resort where the dog chewed up my filing box and scattered papers everywhere in my room.  I have to do that in order to do taxes (which will be a bear this year with two states to file taxes in).  Hopefully, this weekend can see some progress on that front.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Live is Crazy!

This is how I feel my life is going right now.  Not bad.  It's certainly 'colorful'.  But it's crazy and not at all the ROUTINE is was going for at the start of the year.  And I can't believe a month has gone by already!

But I have accomplished several things.  

Fractured Grinch top is complete.  That was one of my January goals.  And the 'Snowfall Shawl', which had been such a pain in the rear for me is complete and on it's way to Arizona.  My fingerless mitts had a few additional rows knitted, but not complete as I wanted them to be.  They are moving over to my February list of 'to-do's'.  Same with my block for the Joy quilt.  Couldn't quite get them done.  They too will be moving, along with the addition of February's block.

I have done more postings than usual this month, which is a plus for me.  I have planned menus and pretty well stuck to them throughout the month.  I have gone into the doctor for an annual checkup.  Mammogram and bone density tests tomorrow and a followup for all my results in February.  I am really happy to say, at 56, I am not on any medication, other than taking my Vitamin B and fish oil.  
Now if I can up my exercise daily.

Lady K and I are working on a 'plan' to regulate her bedtime.   So far, we have managed about an 830pm downtime and about a 6am uptime.  If we can just keep it up, then my sleep time will be better.  I installed a 'sleep app' on my phone to see how I actually sleep at night.  Last night was the first time I used it and I am at 88% efficiency for sleep.

So, deep breaths and calm thoughts and a prayer I can get my homework done by Sunday night!  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

More or Less Fractured Grinch

I had all my blocks together, but needed assistant (or a second opinion) on how to lay out the top.  The original pattern calls for a 7 X 8 block quilt top.  Since I bought the fabric first and then decided on the pattern (and didn't want to buy more fabric), mine is going to be 5 x 8.  I had thought about turning it into 2 lap quilts, one for each of the girls.  But then I decided, "No", this one was for me.

Texter had me set out the 4 different blocks in a pile and hold onto our helper, Lady K.  She laid out the blocks according to the pattern and then set about doing some rearranging.  She does a good job on figuring things out like this.  

My design wall is downstairs and definitely not big enough to accommodate a 62 x 99 inch quilt top.  She laid out the blocks and then put down colored post-it-notes on the 4 different blocks.  That way she knew what she could exchange for what easily by just exchanging like colored notes.  (Rather smart of her, I think.)

Our goal was not to have groups of the same colored blocks.  And I think we accomplished that rather well.  Needless to say, this is a very bright quilt top.  What I have to do now is to figure out the remaining pieces and turn them into pinwheels which will probably go on the back which will have to be partially pieced.  And I have 1 block left over from the front which will also go on the back.  The fabric I have for the back is also "Grinch" flannel, but with large motifs which I didn't want to cut up for the front.  And I have another piece which I hope will be enough to fill in with and do the binding.

I ran outside with it and some binder clips and clipped it to the fence before it got too dark to take some pictures.  You can see it's going to be a pretty big quilt.

But piecing the top together was one of my January finishes, so I am successful there.  Now for February I will focus on the back and then in March quilting the huge thing.  I have only made one other quilt this large and I tied it, not quilted it.  So interesting times are ahead.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Things Are Looking Up

So far I have been able to only finish one of the projects  I want to finish in January.  But, Gibbs now has the next few days off, so I will have baby sitting help!  I plan on plowing through homework so I can spend some time at the sewing machine.  And to get onto the projects I want to get off the list in February.  And I have a book I really want to be able to sit down and digest - about the whole 'did Shakespeare really write the plays' controversy.  And some writing.  And maybe a hike or two since the weather is actually being cooperative.  I might have to drag Gibbs out as the baby carrier for a couple of walks.

Do you ever work on something, but wish it was over with so you could move on to the next thing?  I think I have ADD where some of my projects are concerned.

So starting tomorrow, there will be an extra set of hands where Lady K is concerned.  Menus are planned for the next few days and shopping is done.  I am off work until Sunday.  There will be progress on all fronts!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sunny Mandala

It's been a 'non-Routine' week and that really bugs me.  And it snowed yesterday.  Montana and I need to come to terms with snow definitions.  Their idea of a light dusting or gentle snow is a near-blizzard to me.  But I will learn.

So with the nose issues with Lady K and the pre-diabetes issues with Texter (which explains a ton of other problems), I felt the need for a little sunshine in my life.  And I haven't done a mandala in awhile.

I'm feeling a bit stressed with the lack of being able to be on track, so I need to take some deep breaths and refocus my attention to tasks at hand.  And grocery shopping.

(Yes, I know, it really does look more like bug eyes!)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snow and Homework

This week has been 'exciting' to say the least.  Texter was sent home from work on Saturday night, pale as a ghost.  She had been shaky and lightheaded and sweating as the night had gone on at McDonalds.  So Sunday morning, I took her into Urgent Care.  While they were checking her out, I had to go to work, so Gibbs came and subbed for me with Lady K.  However, Lady K decided that she wanted to perform a high dive out of her dad's arms onto the tile floor at the clinic.  Lady K now looks like Ricky Raccoon.  We  will know Friday if it is truly broken or not.

So there went my Sunday morning homework time.  Monday, before work (I had to empty the book drop as the library was closed on Monday) we took Lady K in for her first check with the pediatrician, who then forwarded her onto an ENT doctor on Friday.  In the meantime, Lady K is suppose to be sleeping with an adult since her breathing is a tad bit restricted.  

Tuesday morning, before work, was spent with Texter at the doctor for her.  Fasting blood sugar is 119 (Sunday) and 120 (Tuesday).  They are running some tests, but this might explain her headaches, fatigue, etc.  Hopefully, we will find out something today.

But I have gotten a bit of homework done today.  And I have the next 3 days off work, so my goal is to get finished by Saturday night.  I really, really want to get some sewing time in.  But here is an ad I had to do for my homework.  

While I am not checking as much off my 'things I need to do' list, at least it is moving forward.  Now to eat breakfast and get ready for work.  Through the snow today, but the rest of the week is suppose to be in the 40's, so it won't last long.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Anticipating Finishes and Starts

Tonight is the premier of Season 3 of 'Sherlock'.  So with an episode of 'Downton Abbey', I have a couple of hours of "DO NOT DISTURB" in my future.  Of course, Lady K does make this difficult at times, but hopefully between Gibbs and Texter (if she is not working), I will have my wish.

So while indulging in TV goodness, I will hopefully get the last 30 or so rows of my fingerless mitts completed.  They are on my list of January finishes and now that "Snowfall Shawl" is done, they are next to be completed.

Unfortunately, I brought home a book from the library, Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Hat Book, which is full of hats I want to knit in the future.  I have some yarn I purchased 'just because' and need to go through and see what will work with what.  

I think I am going to have to buy this book as there are so many hats in it I want to do.  So for February, I think I am going to find a hat and have it on my February WIP list if I can find some yarn to fit a pattern.  Otherwise, I have yarn to make a pair of socks for Savvy and another monkey hat for Lady K.  But since Lady K doesn't like hats (and has several as it is), I might make the monkey hat for me.  I have really bright, primary colors to knit this one in already.

Monday, Texter and I are both off work (except for a couple of hours where I play library brownie and go in and check in books so we are overwhelmed on Tuesday).  Hopefully, she can help me get a layout set up for 'Fractured Grinch'.

I would really love to get this top sewn together over the next couple of days so that I can get the backing laid out and the whole thing basted together.  If that is done, then I will add it to my February list for actually getting it quilted and bound.

And I need to get my flying geese for 'Joy' done.  I missed the class due to baby sitting duties (sigh).  I also have to look and see what is due for February.

For February, I would like to get the shirts I have deconstructed and ready to be cut up for a quilt.  If 'Grinch' is done, then I need to get it quilted and bound and would like to get my Disappearing Four Patch quilted.  It's ready to go, just need to sit down and do it.

It's a nice lap quilt size and it's a shame not to use it.  

With another day off in February from the library, I would like to get the alphabet blocks finished up. They just need seaming, stuffing and closed.  I can seam, Texter stuff and then I can close them up.  Lady K would love playing with them.

All these projects would be off my WIP list!  And I haven't spent an extra dime on anything (except for maybe the book).

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Yeti Shawl Or I Won!

I was strolling through our local Ben Franklin craft store 3-4 months ago and they were having a yarn sale.  I saw this scarf made up with the Schachenmayr Argentina yarn in cream.  The cascade of lacy reminded me so much of something that Savvy would wear.  I have knit up this type of yarn before in one of these scarves and it goes quickly.

Being the brain that I am (insert hysterical laughter here), I decided rather than a scarf, I would make a shawl for her.  She often talks about how chilly she gets with the AC on and needs something to cover her shoulders.  To me this seemed the perfect yarn to make a lacy shawl - something light and airy enough not to be hot, but enough to keep out the chill.  And being all lacy, it would hit on her girly side really well.

So after all my Christmas traveling I pulled out the yarn and decided to whip up what I thought would be a quick knit.  HA!

My pattern was soooooo simple.  I pulled out about 3 yards of yarn and threaded it onto a set of Addi Turbo needles.  And then my plan was to knit into every other 'hole' in the edge of the yarn until I ran out of yarn.  Ah, but the simplest plans can be some of the hardest.

First off, if you happen to drop a stitch it is almost impossible to find it in all the froth.  Secondly, I had brownies or pixies or....

a Brosky (that's Savvy's name for her niece).  Anyway, I would lay it down and go back to knit some more and there would be a whole row 'dropped' out of the middle somehow or the yarn was all twisted up and there was no way to resume knitting.  I must have ripped out this shawl a dozen times.

Finally, I realized part of my problem were the Addi Turbo needles - they were too slick and I needed something with some 'grab' to help hold onto the yarn.  So I pulled out a size 15 wooden circular needle and started all over again.  After two attempts at knitting this shawl and ripping it all out again, I finally realized I could 'tie' the needle ends together and it held the shawl in place really well.

One episode of Downton Abbey and Les Miserables (Savvy would be proud to know those are knitted into the shawl) and this appeared.

A luscious fall of yarn.  All soft and cushy and beautiful.  It's big enough that it covers me around the shoulders and about down to my elbows.  On Savvy it will fall a little longer and have more of an overlap in front, although I can see it being worn a little 'off the shoulder' with a skimpy top and flowy skirt.

The pin I was given to be a fastener for it looks really nice.

(On the pin it does not show that gold edge, it's the early morning lighting.)  The bind-off with this yarn makes a nice edge to the top of the shawl.

So one project for the year is crossed off my list of works in progress I have laying around.  After all the trouble with this yarn, I was calling the shawl "Yeti" because it was a real monster.  But seeing it now I think I am going with "Snowfall".

I can't wait for Savvy to get the shawl and wear it.  I think hope she will enjoy a little 'Snowfall' in Arizona.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January WIP or 'I Hate This Yarn!"

My white shawl.....sigh
Two skeins of lacy yarn....sigh
It's kicking my butt!

Personally, I think I have pixies which come in and rearrange the yarn on my needles during the night.  Once again I have ripped everything out and started over.  I am really determined to plow through and complete this shawl.  Or I will take the yarn out and beat it with a big stick in the back yard.  Completion sounds better than beating, so I will try and get my homework done so that I can work all day on it either Friday or Saturday and get this off my January list.

Monday, I don't have to work and neither does Texter, so I am hoping to get Grinch laid out so that I can start sewing the blocks together to get the top finished.

In the meantime, I am waiting to head out to the drugstore to get an eyeglass repair kit so that I can replace the lost screw in my current glasses.  I am using an old 'emergency' pair which are great as far as the lenses go.  However, if I remember correctly, I had fallen on them or they had taken a bad fall and are all 'wonky' as far as the frame goes and sit a bit crooked.  Only two months until my eye appointment and new glasses period!

Then there is this....

No, it's not my laundry, but my February project I want to start on.  I bought a huge trash bag full of men's dress shirts at a yard sale last year.  I pulled them out and washed them so they would be ready in February to be but up and used for a quilt I have in mind for Savvy's fiancĂ©.  How much more manly can you get for a quilt than dress shirts?  I think I even have the pattern in mind I want to use - but more about that next month.

So, now off to do homework, so I can beat the white yarn before it beats me!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Feel of a Good Mug

I have discovered there are two camps when speaking about Starbucks.  Either someone loves them or hates them.  To me, they are my luxury, my pampering of myself, my indulgence.

I fix good, old Folger's coffee at home just about every morning.  And into it I pour an embarassing amount of sugar and milk.  So I guess you could say that I have a latte every morning.  Personally, I blame my coffee preference on my grandparents who let me drink coffee this way when I was little and staying with them.  (And no, drinking coffee at a young age didn't stunt my growth - I'm 5'10".)

Starbucks is my 'thing'.  I rarely do a flavored coffee at home.  I just can't do them the same way.  Even the frappaccino's.  I have tried making some at home, but they are just not the same.  A Starbuck's Gold Card holder, I will drop a few dollars on it every time I get paid.  That way, not only am I funding my coffee habit, but I get a free drink every now and then.  But my real appreciation are their mugs.  Yes, they do have their logo plastered on most of them, a shameless bit of self advertising.  However, they 'feel' good.  

There is something about the way a mug or cup feels in your hands.  Whether you pick it up by the handle or by the body of the cup, it just has to 'fit'.  There has to be a sense of comfort and 'heft' to the mug.  And all their designs just fit nicely into my hand.  The one above I bought at the grocery store in their 50% off for Christmas items, so I don't rush out and buy every mug Starbucks comes out with (although I would love to).

My daughters know they can get me Starbucks as a gift any time.  They can't go wrong with a mug from Starbucks.  I even bought the bright, shiny Christmas red cup and saucer for Savvy and I for Christmas.

I have tried other mugs.  I fell in love with a set of 4 mugs Hallmark was offering one time.  They were almost a ball with an opening in the top.  They were textured and sea green with a wonderful Maya Angelou quote on the side.  A good friend bought them for me as a present.  I remember making a pot of coffee and pouring it into the mug and taking it over to my place on the couch to savor.  And spilling it all over myself.  Like many things in life, the mug was lovely, but just didn't work.  You couldn't drink out of it without spilling what was inside all over yourself unless you were very, very careful.  It wasn't long before they became flower vases.

So here is to the person or persons at Starbucks who selects the cups and mugs they sell.  They know what a coffee/tea mug is suppose to be - a holder of liquid comfort, a friend to share the quiet of morning with.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Looking Back to Look Forward

One of the things I have noticed on several sites is a look back at 2013.  One of my favorites, ihanna, gives 10 reasons why you should list your achievements.  It got me to thinking (which can be a sticky subject in itself)....

What exactly did I accomplish in 2013?

So while waiting for a repairman to show up at the house, I decided it would be a good exercise since I am working on my 2014 plans.

In 2103, I....

  • Retired from a company I had worked for for almost 34 years
  • Moved 2400 miles across country
  • Found a new part time job that I love
  • Completed NaNoWriMo for the first time in the years I tried
  • Read 33 books (I know that the list isn't really complete)
  • Started 8 quilts
  • Finished 3 baby quilts
  • Completed 4 knit hats
  • Made 4 complex bags
  • Made 2 fabric wrapped baskets
  • Created 1 yo-yo toy
  • Wrote 161 blog posts
  • Took 7130 pictures
  • Took 3 quilting classes (one is ongoing)

Now while this is not the sum total of my year, I do feel proud of myself, that is a very nice list of what I accomplished last year.  And while I don't anticipate another cross country move, it will be interesting to see what I can 'get up to' this year.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Missing My Southern Scents

(Texter is calling this my 'killer carnation' and says it looks like it is ready to eat someone.)

I was laying in bed the other night, thinking about winter and how soon spring would or would not be here.  Back in North Carolina, I would be starting tomatoes and early spring plants inside about now, or at least ordering seed.  That's not the case here in Helena.  

But what prompted the whole idea of scents and what I wouldn't be experiencing here in Montana (or at least I don't think I will be) was that I bought 3 hyacinth bulbs in a bulb vase, ready to bloom shortly.  I love the smell of hyacinths and being on my dresser in my bedroom, I can't wait for them to open up.

So the hyacinths lead to paper whites, which I love, but some people don't like the smell of.  They remind me of my paternal grandmother who had them in her yard.  This lead me to other floral fragrences I will miss.

Wisteria.  Banks and banks of wisteria growing along the highway and all over porches.

Magnolias.  There were several trees in the neighborhood I would get a bloom from and come home and put in a bowl of water to make the whole house smell like I just cleaned with lemon pledge.
Honeysuckle.  What could be more Southern than a fence line of honeysuckle?  And the perfume on a warm summer night is wonderful. 

Gardenia.  Whether they are the miniature or regular, nothing beats having a gardenia bush by the front door or under your bedroom window.
I was excited to see the lilac bushes everywhere here in Montana, so I will have a replacement 'scent'.  Peonies and sweet peas are also prominent here, but there will always be a place in my heart (and nose) for my Southern scents.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Finally a Fiber Post

I have been watching everyone else (well, it seems like everyone) discuss all their new projects and completions already in 2014.  Me, I'm kind of limping along on the fiber front.  Actually, I have been ripping along.  

Saturday afternoon I was in charge of Lady K while Texter was a work and decided to work on something 'simple'.  Something I could pick up and put down without issue.  I had two skeins of this white ribbon yarn and planned on making something for Savvy with it.

Normally it is used to knit/crochet a quick scarf.  By knitting it, it naturally corkscrews around and makes this lovely cascade of yarn.  However, in Arizona she doesn't really need a scarf.  But she does need something to throw over her shoulders at times as a barrier against the air conditioner.  So I came up with this idea of taking the yarn and making it into a 'cape-let'.  Figured the layers of the yarn would make a really nice, lacy, girly drape.

I pulled out a 3 yard length and that was my measurement for the width of the shawl.  Since it does draw up somewhat during the knitting, it would still give a nice length to go over her shoulders.  I even had in mind of finding/making a pin so that if she wanted to pin it and not have to worry about it falling off she could.  I mentioned something about it at work and one of my co-workers brought me in a selection of pin she had in her jewelry box and wasn't using.  I picked this silver leaf, thinking it was a nice addition to my 'vision'.

And with the Star Wars marathon going on, I started knitting, keeping one eye on the knitting and the other on Lady K.  So for 3-4 hours I knitted along and was getting this really lovely cascade of froth. While knitting with this yarn is super simple, the problem is that the yarn is rolled up on itself.  As you knit you have to 'open' up the yarn as you go along.  It's not a difficult knit, it is just a little time consuming, having to stop and open up the yarn for a length and then resuming knitting.  

I was through one skein of yarn and starting on the second skein when I had to put it down.  My plan was to pick it back up on Sunday night, after work, when I was watching 'Downton Abbey'.  What could be more appropriate than a shawl while watching this period piece?

However, between Saturday and Sunday, the yarn pixies apparently decided they needed to help.  When I started working on it on Sunday I had apparently gotten something twisted around and what was on my circular needles was not what I thought I had left there on Saturday.

So this is what is the yarn looks like now.....

A big pile of yarn, ripped out and needing to be wound back into a ball so I can start over again.  With homework fairly light this first week, I might get some knitting in the next couple of days.  After all, I have the pin to go with it already.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Serendipitous Day

I am a big fan of Jim Butcher.  And Diana Galbadon, George R. R. Martin and Sherrilyn Kenyon.  So when I saw an anthology edited by Martin and containing, among others, Galbadon, Butcher and Kenyon, I immediately put it on my Amazon wish list.  It also had the added benefit of being titled Dangerous Women.  But at $21 it was on my 'one-of-these-days' list, because containing these authors, I wanted MY copy.

At the library we have a cart we put out in the lobby for people to take books which the library has withdrawn or we have received as donations and can't use or don't want to use.  They are free to the public with the only limitation being no more than 2 books at a time per person.  I have to check it out occasionally to be sure there is nothing I 'need'.

On Tuesday, I darted out from my post during a lull to check it out.  Mainly I am looking for books to stockpile for Savvy.  Since I had taken a car load down to Arizona for her at Christmas, I am stocking up again for her.  As I am running a quick check on the cart, there, down on the bottom shelf is Dangerous Women!  A brand new, doesn't look like it was ever read, copy!

Needless to say, I almost hurt myself snatching it off the cart and running back to my locker with it.  And then I reunited a gentleman with his car keys he had dropped in the parking lot of the library.  

Boy, Tuesday was a really good day!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Exploring Mandalas

With the snow on the trees outside, I snapped a couple of pictures from the comfort of my nice warm living room.  One of those I turned into a mandala to celebrate the snow.  Then, while laying down for my nap,  putting Lady K down for a nap, I thought about how the image changes depending on the number of sections I use to make the mandala.  So, while Lady K was quietly napping, I got up and used the same picture, but with a different number of sections for each picture.

This is the original mandala I created and it uses 8 sections to create.  I think it almost looks like a mouth ready to eat you (too much Syfi channel).

So I went back and this is the 6 section mandala.  I know what Savvy would say it looks like.

This one is 10 sections in total.

The above is 12 sections.  And I like how the edges are starting to get lacy looking.

This is the 16 section mandala.  It is hard to see in this picture, but the center is really lacy looking and more brown.  

Sometimes one of the most difficult choices I have to make is how many sections I want to use for the mandala.  As you can see, each option produces completely different results.  This is one reason I am going back with the extra fabric I have and make a one-block wonder quilt using octagons rather than hexagons.  Same fabric, completely different results.

Now, off to knit and study.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Winter is Coming - Montana Style

Last Friday started off blustery.  If blustery is what you call gale force winds.  I knew there was a 'wintery mix' approaching according to both the weatherman (who is all of about 20 years old here) and my headache.  So all Friday morning I watched the bird feeders twirl around like an out of control midway ride and the trees lay down from west to east.

About noon, you could see the approaching front in the clouds.

Despite the wind, the day had been sunny and then there was this line of clouds, all big and white and puffy with that hint of darkness behind them.

Then the clouds got bigger and puffier.  I was trying to stand in pretty much the same spot in the house to take the pictures to give an idea of what it was actually looking like outside.

The nice, white puffy clouds moved on by me to the south (the wind had changed from coming out of the west to out of the north) and their little, grey cousin came sneaking in.

And then the snow started.  Just a little bit fell during the afternoon.  Enough to coat things white, but not enough to really be impressive.  I'm getting use to it I think.  I don't have this urge to run and stock up on milk and toilet paper when it snows (around here I would have a closet full of toilet paper at this point).

Saturday morning the snow started again.  This time laying down some impressive amounts (by Southern standards), quickly covering up the dogs' prints on the patio where they had gone outside.

Ok, the roast went into the crock pot for dinner Saturday night and I was all warm and cozy inside, with no plans to venture out except to maybe take some pictures.  It was time to knit some. 

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Systems Not Goals

Like many, I have declared my intentions, goals, plans, etc. for 2014.  I am awaiting delivery of my new calendar/planner to really get down to the day-to-day 'scheduling' of my ROUTINE (word for 2014).  (I say this as I am scraping off even more nail polish from my hand and nails that Lady K decided to anoint us all with last night, so I do realize life can't be totally scheduled.)

While sipping on my first cup of coffee of the day (yes, I have more than one) and glancing over my blog feed, I was pointed to this article on 'Forget Setting Goals' and how to focus on systems and not goals.  

When I read the article it really hit home with me.  I am already very self-critical (believe me, nothing you can say to me will be worse than how my inner critic can hit).  And the idea of goals being a way of saying we are not 'good enough' already and are chasing a sense of perfection, which dooms us to failure and even more self-criticism struck home.  The notion that by putting a system in place which we follow rather than striving toward some goal goes with my word of 2014 - ROUTINE.

Rather than having a 'goal' of losing xx number of pounds, the 'routine' of eating healthy and properly works for my mind (and body) so much easier.  I feel less like I am climbing a mountain than walking along a path.  Believe me, there are enough real mountains for me to try to walk up around here rather than creating my own.  And the scenery on those mountains is much nicer. 

So with selecting the word routine for 2014 I was already heading in what I feel is the correct direction for me and flows well with the whole idea of systems rather than goals.

(Hopefully, in the next few days I can get back to reporting on my process on some of my needlework/sewing projects.)

NOTE:  The mandala above was created using a picture of a calendar cover I          collaged a few years ago.  I really love how the purple iris became wings and the girl was mirrored so nicely.  Then the center portion reminds me of Persian tile.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Magazine Pet Peeve Unleashed

I enjoy flipping through magazines as much as the next person.  I particularly like 'O', 'Real Simple' and 'Martha Stewart Living'.  I don't often actually buy a copy of the magazines.  A favorite activity use to be going to the book store and buying a coffee and leafing through magazines on a leisurely  afternoon.  Can't do that here in Helena however.  No major bookstore in sight.

So when I saw this issue of 'Real Simple' at the grocery store, it seemed to have several articles I would be interested in.  I decided to splurge a bit and buy the issue.  Besides, it had orchids on the front.

Now I have to say up front, I realize that this particular magazine is not the only one guilty of what I am about to rant about.  They ALL do it.  Which is probably why I don't pay any attention to the fashion section of the magazines.  Come on, $500 jeans is just not in my budget.  I don't think I've spend $500 on all my jeans combined my whole life.  (And who decided skinny jeans looked good on everyone?)

The article which sparked me finally ranting out loud (and a letter to the editors) was one entitled, "Wardrobe for Life".  The premise is that depending on how you spend the majority of your day, this is how you should proportion your wardrobe (10% dressy/40% casual/50% work, etc.) and they pictured a sample outfit and of course, in the side bar, the cost and how you to can obtain these items and reproduce the outfit.  

As I said, the premise was sound, but what stopped me was the 'at home' outfit.  Per 'Real Simple' 
             "...It's easy to fall into a yoga-pants rut when you telecommute or take
              care of the kids.  What you could really use are styles that can multitask
              around the house as effectively as you do and look smart when you 
              venture out.  The gaol is an outfit that looks pulled-together but not overly 
              fussy, says Brown.  Mix up your rotation with flat boots, a chambray shirt, 
              and quality leggings." 

Then when you look at the pieces of clothing, the tunic they selected was SILK.  Really?  Silk?  For a stay at home mom?   Of course, it was cheap at only $195.  The total cost of this outfit is $1112.00.

The price tag for this one outfit is probably the combined total of both my complete wardrobe and Texter's.  And I do like the outfit, especially the cardigan.  But at $265...really?

So I went and totaled up the other outfits to see how they fared.

If you spend most of your time on your feet, the outfit above is for you.  At only $1459.50.

For the out-and-abouter, it will only cost you about $1200 to duplicate this little ensemble.

And for the office gal, this little outfit at $1217.00 is just the thing to make it through the day in the cubicles.

I will be the first person to admit that a nice outfit and/or clothes that make you feel good, so a lot for you mentally, as well as physically.  We all have those favorite pieces of clothing we wear until they fall apart.  I will also admit I am guilty of running around the house in yoga pants and old t-shirts for the majority of my time at home.  But $1112 on one outfit to make me feel better and look better? 

Now I realize that they probably don't really expect the average reader to try and buy the outfits.  But I just wish they had come up with outfits where they went to Target, Walmart, and Old Navy and put something together for about $100.  Now that would hold my interest and possibly my wallet.

But really, SILK?