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.