Monday, November 30, 2015

Two Challenges for December

I have 'found' a whole tribe of planner addicts users who are just as in love with their planners/journals as I am.  And it comes just at a time I am refining my planner usage and putting it all together.  As much as I love tech, when it comes to my journal and planner I am a good old analog girl!

One thing about this Planner Challenge (and the following one) is that it will make me use Instagram (or IG) more.

So my new planner is being worked on during December to be ready for 2016.   

The other challenge is by Susan Conway and called December Reflections. One thing which attracted me to this challenge was the opportunity to slow down and observe.  I haven't been behind my camera lately for various reasons and I NEED to get back to it.

For example, we have had freezing fog roll through the past couple of days.  What it does is make the trees 'fuzzy' and it looks like it is snowing glitter!

It's really hard to capture the look of the 'glittersnow'.  The sun reflects off the flakes and it looks like the Goddess is dropping silver glitter on us instead of snow.

Follow me on Instagram for December and see my daily progress with these challenges.

Mandala Monday - Happy Holidays

Not a mandala, but a start to the holiday season.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Week in Review - November 22 - 28

It's been an odd week.  First, there is Thanksgiving.  But then I have been under the weather figuratively and literally.  We had our first real 'snow' this past week and the temperatures are such, even bundling up, I don't want to go out.  When it is single digits, I'll stay inside.  And then, Lady K and I have been running fevers and feeling 'yucky'.  Not how you want do to Thanksgiving.

Couple of things I did learn from and about Thanksgiving.  First, I found a cranberry recipe I tried.  Don't really do cranberries, but thought I would give it a try.  Something new.  But then I didn't know how to 'use' it.  Basically, you mix fresh cranberries, sugar and orange zest in your stand mixer and let it mix on low for about an hour.  Delicious!  Savvy combined some with gin (a LOT of gin).  I added crushed ice and water.  Texter and I wish we had some Sprite or Ginger Ale in the house to mix with it.  But with water, I get my hydration and a tasty cranberry flavor.

The second thing is something I want to remember for next Thanksgiving. 
My menu read like a buffet line-up.  Since I was under the weather, Texter helped cook a lot of the items.  Luckily, with the cold temperatures, the steps between the basement and outside (which is covered) was a great storage facility.  But still, I have gotten use to eating smaller portions and the plate of food at Thanksgiving, even when not crammed full, was too much for me.  Texter felt the same way.  And then there are the leftovers.  There will be a reduction in food next year!  (Will still buy my free-range turkey though.)

Other things during the past week-

  • Wrote 6 posts, 2 of which were book reviews
  • Finished 1 book, The Girl in the Spider's Web.  EXCELLENT!
  • Steps - didn't do too good - 28,990/13.26 miles
  • Unsubscribed from a ton of email lists
  • Started on the Bonnie Hunter 2015 Mystery Quilt (294 HST to do!)
  • Received my Bee Hive 2016 acceptance and have already decided on my quilt square and how I plan on using it.
  • Sent off a postcard to be returned from Antartica 
  • Completed 5 mug mats (4 of which are a present)
  • Updated my 1930's Farmer's Wife QAL list of blocks I am behind on
  • Worked on the Failynn Fox Cowl - about halfway through
  • Backed up my computer
  • Ordered supplies I couldn't find locally for a Christmas gift
  • Started working on my first quarter planner/journal for 2016

And the biggie -

Breakfast with Santa!

One of our local restaurants, Bert and Ernie's, offers two seatings on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  You get a meal of pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs.  The only cost to the parents is an unwrapped toy to be donated to Toys for Tots.

Lady K can identify Santa and is all about the 'presents', but wasn't too sure about getting close to him.  After a few tries and watching other kids, she did allow herself to get this close.

This was our first time at the event and I can guarantee we will be back.  The employees at Bert and Ernie's were so gracious and the place was beautifully decorated.  We even received a couple of "Shop Small" tote bags (one of my 2016 goals).

For the upcoming week -
  • Finish up gifts for the Chaotic Goddess swap and get it in the mail
  • Finish up the fox cowl
  • Finish up the 294 HST
  • Start two 'challenges' for December - one on Reflections and the other on Planners
  • Finish reading The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Mine my current planner for ideas on how I want to set up my first quarter planner/journal for 2016
  • Lead the final NaNoWriMo write-in of the year.   Our wrap-up event.
Two more weeks and Texter will be over this semester at school and packing to head to South Carolina with Lady K for the holidays with the other grandmother.  Once they get back, some big changes for Lady K.  She will be starting 3 days a week at day care!  Other kids, socialization, and some time for me!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Compass, Ruler, Paper and Now...

Back in the day, when the world was black and white as the girls would say, I spent many an hour with my compass and ruler and a sheet of white typing paper, drawing geometric designs.  I would make grids and circles and loops, coloring them in with my colored pencils or flairs.

I recently saw a couple of videos on circles and mandalas and it brought me back to 'the good old days'.  And I couldn't find my compass.  And I couldn't sleep.  So Photoshop and I spent a couple of late night (or early hours, depending on your point of view) and produced these.

It is certainly easier on one hand to utilize Photoshop to make these designs-rotating, flipping and duplicating.  But I'm still looking for my compass.  I can tell there will be some more of these in my future.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week In Review - November 15 - 21

  • Completed NaNoWriMo with over 50,000 words of, well, crap.  About 10,000 of it useful, but I have plenty of notes for the book.
  • Led Nonfiction book group on topic of organization
  • Led two more NaNoWriMo write-ins, one of which ended early due to no-shows
  • Completed Failynn Fox Cowl for Texter and started on another one.  Texter grabbed it and I haven't seen it since, so hopefully will get a picture of it soon.  Started on a second one.
  • Made a Dr. Who pillowcase for Texter.

  • Cut out, from the scraps of the pillowcase, 6 mug mats -  of which will be a gift.

  • Savvy started a new job and is finishing up her old one, so a hectic couple of weeks for her.  But she is excited and loving the chance to get out of jeans and polo shirt and food odors to handle 'shiny things' and wear 'real clothes'.

  • Weather has been crazy.  Wind storm and now a bit of snow, with more to come over the coming week.  And cold temperatures.
Hard to see, but big tree down at park by the library

  • Steps - 57,424, miles - 26.26  below goal, but will deal.
  • Finished one book
  • Wrote 7 posts
  • Cleaned out files
  • Had friends over to watch a football game
Coming week -
  • Lead another NaNoWriMo group
  • Cook, cook, cook for Thanksgiving
  • Finish up mug mats
  • Work on second fox cowl
  • Get walks/steps in
Gearing up for the holidays with a swap and some present planning/buying.  Also gearing up for 2016 with tons of ideas.  Can't wait for the coming weeks.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Inspiration From the Strangest Places

I am on this whole introspection, planning, 'where do I want to go' type phase in my life right now.  And it just bubbles along in the background of everyday tasks.  

Now, saying that, I am in LOVE with Jim Butcher's books!  I had accidentally stumbled across him as a writer several years ago when I tripped over "The Dresden Files" on TV and realized it was based on an actual book series.  The rest, they say, is history.  I could so do Harry Dresden, just so you know.

I had started his Codex Alera series when there were only a couple of books out.  Now I have to go back and reread those books and make my way through all six in the series (which I was fortunate enough to score off the donation cart!)

I am now wallowing in the first books of The Cinder Spires series.  Since it is such a large book, I bought it as an audio so I could listen to/from work and while sewing.  Right now all I want to do is to make a next in the back of my closet and close the door and make my way through all 70 chapters in the book.  

Steampunk lusciousness--I am really, really enjoying the book.

And cats!  There are cats in the book.  Cats which talk to some humans.  And it is from a cat I pull my inspiration.  (I apologize if I misspell any names in the book as I am pulling this from audio.)

The scene is Little Mouse (as she is called by her cat) is outside the spire for the first time in her young life and embarking on a mission.  She is understandably nervous, something Raoul, the cat, doesn't understand, and he asks, "What are you so concerned about Little Mouse?'

She tells him about her concerns and fears about what they are about to do and experience.  

His response....

"There are many things you have never done," Raoul responded.  "To be frightened of them is of no use to you."

And I realized this could apply to me (and to a lot of people).  We worry about the outcome so much, we often never dare to even start something we want to do.

My biggie is my writing.  So I finish, edit and self-publish.  And....?  What am I scared of?  No one liking it?  No one buying it?  So what.  If nothing else I can say I have written a book.

So I am taking a cat's advise and am going to try to stop being frightened of attempting things I am really interested in.  In the meantime, you can find me in my closet listening to the rest of the book.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Planning the Planner (Already)

I have been really motivated over the past month or so to set goals, have to-do lists, have been consistent in writing my morning pages, and just a bit more focused on where I am and where I want to go.  Personally, I think it is because I feel I am in a 'good place' and a lot of the upheavals which have transpired are over.

With Texter and Lady K being gone for the holidays (only slightly sad about that), I have already scheduled myself a day to set up my calendar/journal for 2016.  I have been jotting down ideas of what I want in it and what I want to keep track of.  One thing which drew me to this workbook, by Lisa Jacobs, was the idea I had of treating the things I want to do like a business.  If I want to write, sew, create, etc, then why not treat them like a business and have more accountability to myself.

So lots of fun coming up.  I will try and document the process of putting together 2016!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mandala Monday - Coloring Books

I was into coloring books a long time before the current craze came up.  But I am sssooooo loving this craze and the wealth of really good 'things' to color.

This mandala was created from this cover...

By Johanna Basford, this is a collection of 20 postcards.  Just perfect for coloring and sending to friends or leaving blank and letting them color.  Texter has the coloring book this is based on.  I like the heavy stock the postcards are on and the coloring book is equally hefty, making it great for coloring and framing.

Of course, they are also perfect for coloring and adding to my journal.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week in Review - November 8 - 14

Huff, huff,'s been a really busy week.  Unfortunately, that means I am behind on my word count for NaNoWriMo.  But I do have it in my head, I just need to get onto paper/computer.

This was the BIG project which occurred on Saturday.  On the spur of the moment.  The carpet in the living room/office was old to begin with.  And stained, some of it pet stains.  Of course, Lady K and the pets added to it.  Nothing Texter or I did could get rid of stains and odors.  So, with permission from Savvy and CJ, Texter started ripping out carpet and padding yesterday.  We are now a hardwood floor in the living area.  It does need some cleaning.  Probably could use being sanded and a coat of whatever put on it.  But here's to hoping it will easier to clean up any spills and stains, both by animals and Lady K.  And it looks good with the colors we selected for the walls.

But it was an all day job and Texter did much of it all by herself.  Once she got the OK, she was off.  She pulled and cut the carpet into sections we could handle.  I was so proud of her work.  It's hard for me to remember/realize she is an adult now and capable in many, many areas. Right now the front porch has a huge pile of carpet and padding which we will have to load up and take to the dump next week.  But it looks so much better.  Now for some area rugs!

For the rest of the week - 
  • Books - finished 4, scanned 1
  • Steps - 56,989 steps/26.06 miles.  About 13,000 miles short for the week!
  • Posts - 5 written
  • Led one NaNoWriMo write in
  • Made reservations for breakfast with Santa in a couple of weeks
  • Finished a cowl for a friend (one project down)
  • Started a baby quilt for a friend
  • Added to my fabric stash for the Mystery Quilt and just 'because'
  • Joined co-workers for dinner Friday to unwind
  • Signed up for a "BeeHive" swap and the Chaotic Goddess Christmas swap
For next week -
  • Another book review posted and another book selected for next review
  • Leading Nonfiction Book Group
  • Leading two NaNoWriMo write-ins
  • More plans for my planner
  • Catching up on writing for NaNoWriMo
  • Go through papers around desk and 'organize'
  • Finalize menu for Thanksgiving and make shopping list
So off to take dogs to get shots and then head down to the library for NaNoWriMo write-in.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Christmas Swap with Chaotic Goddess

I have signed up for another swap with Chaotic Goddess and can't wait.  The "Local" and "Book" swap where so much fun.  Of course, learning about my partner and picking out goodies will be even more fun!

Join in the fun.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Mandala Monday

On my walk to work Wednesday morning, I passed by a planter on the Gulch with lovely salmon pink geraniums covered in snow.  I love the pop of pink and green against the white of the snow.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Week in Review - November 1 - 7

On one hand I feel like not much happened the past week, but then I started listing what I did do the past week and it actually amounted to a lot more than I thought!

We had our first snow of the season on Tuesday.  Unfortunately, by occurring on Tuesday, my day for watching Lady K while Texter is in school, I heard "Gran-ma snowing'!" about 6 million times during the day.

Also on Tuesday, I did what I hope is a month's worth of basic grocery shopping.  And then I came home with the groceries and Lady K and I cooked all day.  Pot roast was put in the crock pot for dinner than evening and then I fixed the following for immediate dinners and to put in the freezer -

  • Granny Soup
  • Butternut squash soup (my first attempt at this)
  • Chicken Enchilada Lasagna Roll-Ups (also, my first try on this recipe)
  • Egg Custard Pie
I have the 'stuff' for two more soups, Tuscan Bean and Spicy Tomato, I will probably make next Tuesday and put in freezer.  Also in the freezer is a bunch of boneless pork chop steaks and a pork roast (pork was the 'special' of the week).

For the week, other highlights were - 
  • Ordered turkey from the Real Foods grocery (2nd year of doing so)
  • Walking - 72,400 steps or 33.12 miles
  • Wrote 3 posts, one of which was a book review
  • For NaNoWriMo about 7000 words (need to really ramp up)
  • Lead two write-in sessions for NaNoWriMo at the library
  • Took trash to dump which had accumulated under the carport
  • Planted tulips in the yard before the snow started

I was given some bulbs from a friend who was planting some in honor of her mother who just passed. I planted them all by the front steps in a tiny area I have for flowers. Can't wait for spring now.  Rhubarb and horseradish will be coming in the spring for the yard.  Already planning out beds in my head.  Unfortunately, I have to leave room for Lady K and the dogs.  But it will be doable for some raised veggie/flower beds.

Another fun thing I did this past week was to help 1+1=1 Gallery move artwork to the garden for some renovations they are doing over the next couple of weeks.  It was a bit scary caring some large pieces of ceramics down the basement stairs, especially with the artist standing right there.

And I jumped in front of a food truck last night!  Ok, it's not as dramatic as it seems, but Bad Betty's BBQ was parked in the Gulch last night.  So Texter, Lady K and I bundled up and walked down in the dark to get some BBQ.  We still had a couple of hours before they closed down for the evening.  As we turned the corner to starting walking down Last Chance Gulch to where they were parked, I see their headlights coming toward us.  NOOOOOOOOOOO!

You see, I had tried twice only a week ago the get BBQ.  But a power outage curtailed their scheduled appearance in the Gulch.  Yes, I could drive to other places they were parked, but I walked down from the house TWICE on Halloween to get some BBQ only to be turned away as they weren't serving due to no power.  I wasn't letting pulled pork, ribs, and brisket drive away again.

Luckily, he stopped while Texter is yelling "Mom! Really! Stop!".  It seems they had been called as an emergency food truck to the fair grounds because another vendor didn't show up, but he was willing to pause and let me get a couple of pounds of brisket.  Unfortunately, the parking police were out and chastised him for stopping on the Gulch in an undesignated spot to serve me food.  Lucky for the parking police person I didn't take a bite out of him!

Texter and I carefully took the brisket home where I promptly made me a sandwich and savored every mouthful.  Right now, the rest of the brisket is residing in the fridge and awaiting other meals.

Yesterday, I sent most of the day (between trying to corral Lady K) knitting the Canyon Cowl I promised I would knit last year and watching "Haven" on Netflix (long story behind that selection).  I'm about 3/4 of the way through and will hopefully finish up tomorrow.  I have the Fox Cowl to do next for Texter.

Of course, with NaNoWriMo going on, I am behind on my 1930's Farmer's Wife QAL.  So what do I do, but agree to do a mystery quilt with a friend over the next couple of months.

I had planned on driving to Missoula on Tuesday for the opening of Krispy Kreme Donuts.  Due to the snow, I decided donuts were not that important.  But having next Wednesday off due to Veteran's Day, Texter, Lady K and I will give it another try.  They need to go to Kohl's to get a dress for Christmas (in South Carolina) and I want to do a quick Barnes and Noble stop if possible.  But we are suppose to get snow again on Tuesday, so we will see if I want to give it a try on Wednesday.

For the rest of the week:
  • NaNoWriMo writing!!!!!
  • Host one NaNoWriMo write-in
  • update my list of 1930's Farmer's Wife blocks I am behind on so I know where to start playing catch-up
  • look for batiks for the mystery quilt 
  • update the monthly calendar on the fridge
  • pull out the 'stuff' I have for a baby quilt and get it basted so I can quilt
  • go through my notes for ideas for my 2016 planner/journal
  • Movie - there are a couple out I want to go see

Monday, November 02, 2015

Mandala Monday

Just like the change in seasons, it's that time of year again - National Novel Writing Month!  I almost didn't post a mandala today, but decided to go ahead and take the time to use the logo for this year and turn it into a mandala.  

So off to write!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Week In Review - October 25 - 31

Today's post will be very short and sweet as I am chomping at the bit to start my word count for NaNoWriMo and I don't include my posts.

Yesterday (and part of the week leading up to yesterday) was spent with this...

Yep, Halloween and Lady K was Marshall the fire dog from Paw Patrol.  She has Halloween and costumes down pat this year.  She knows about ghosts and spooky and skeletons and CANDY!  So yesterday meant a trip to downtown Helena for the Tikes and Treats put on by the downtown merchants during the day.

She had it down pat and was rearing to go.  Actually, her favorite 'treat' was at Aunt Bonnie's Books where she got to pick a book out of the bin.  She picked Me Too Iguana and at that point was all over no more trick or treating.  She wanted to read the book.  Considering we were only halfway through our 'journey', this posed a bit of a problem.  So our candy collection was cut short (sadly for me and Texter) and we were back home to finish up our decorations and to read the book.  She didn't want us to read it to her, she wanted to read the book. However, when Aunt Savvy got home from work, they all loaded up and walked the neighborhood in search of candy.  I learned about 'teal' pumpkins (non-candy handouts) when they returned.  In the meantime, I handed out candy to a couple of dozen trick or treaters and watched "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (really, really good). Last night, she and I sat in bed and she read her book and I read mine.  I was told to 'read book, gan-ma', so I read my book and she read her's.

As far as the early part of the week - 
  • Finished 3 books
  • Wrote 3 posts
  • Wrote Morning Pages 6 out of 7 days
  • Walked 57,798 steps or 26.43 miles (short of my goal)
  • Got bedroom straightened and shelves hung (thanks Texter)
  • Moved drop-leaf desk into bedroom (off the porch)
  • Lead a pre-NaNo group 
  • Pulled out my Seedcrone story notes in preparation for NaNoWriMo
  • New tires on the car
  • Sweated through Texter's registration for next semester
What I didn't do that I really wanted to accomplish - 
  • Stay current on my QAL blocks (will have to wait until December to play catch-up in all likelihood 
  • Review October goals and set goals for November
For this week - 
  • Lead 2 NaNoWriMo write-ins
  • Grocery shopping and menu planning for November
  • Trip to Missoula for the Krispy Kreme opening (which may be postponed due to the threat of our first snowfall of the year)
  • Bills paid
  • Write, write, write for NaNo (and still do my morning pages)
  • Try one new recipe
  • Go over goals for November
One thing I am working on in the back of my mind, is how I want my calendar/journal set-up to be for 2016.  I am liking the combination of all being in one book and adding my own 'design' for the weeks and journaling, etc.  And I have two lined journals, 7.5 X 9.75", I bought on sale a few weeks ago.  And I have been using the third one as my current journal and calendar.  Kind of a 'one-book July', but all year.  I like having to pick up only one book.  And I have some ideas on refinements for the book for future use.  I am using it through December when I will start a new book for the new year.  So I will see what additions/deletions/changes I want to make between now and mid-December when I set up the new book.  Although I am lusting for a hobonichi

PS.  For the month, 327,034 steps (17,000 over goal!) or 149.86 miles (that's 150 miles as far as I'm concerned).