Wednesday, January 23, 2019

What's Up Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I did all of my laundry yesterday, so I'm free today, freeeee!  I can't be the only person who despises laundry, right?  I'm sure you understand that feeling.

How is life treating you all this lovely January Wednesday?  And by lovely I mean terrible and yucky.  I don't know what the weather looks like in your neck of the woods, but here it's 37 degrees and raining.  Which doesn't sound too bad, right?  Except this past weekend it snowed 18 inches, and tomorrow it's going back down below freezing.  I may end up making hubby stay home from work.  That sounds like a great recipe for a broken leg.  Actually, it was weather like this that made my sister slip and break a leg several years ago, so I'm not just being paranoid!

Well, I've had an interesting week.  We had a 3-day weekend because my hubby gets (some) bank holidays off and didn't have to work for MLK day.  However, like I said, it snowed 18 inches this weekend and we mostly spent the weekend shoveling and recovering from said shoveling.  The neighbor across the street got stuck in the snow early Sunday morning, and my hubby and two other neighbors went out to help her.  It was a really heart warming sight.

It feels really good to have nice neighbors.  I often fantasize about living way out in the country with my closest neighbors miles away, but then I remember stuff like this, or sitting on the Petersons' porch in the summer, or petting Heather's cats, or chatting with Charlotte.  It's good to have these people in my life, especially since I'm a hardcore introvert and can go days without seeing another person (sans my hubby).

The crazy thing about the snow is that it wasn't even that much for us.  It's a big storm, for sure, but not out of the ordinary.  I can vividly remember the day we got three feet of snow in one day and we spent almost all day shoveling.  The whole town was essentially shout down simply because nobody could get anywhere.  Now that was a big storm!

So what else have I been up to?  Let's see!  It looks like the lettuce in my Aerogarden is getting almost big enough to start picking.  With all of the news about contaminated lettuce making people sick, I decided to stop buying it in the store (plus it's expensive for something so low in nutrition and calories, and hard on the environment to ship a bunch of leaves across the entire country just so I can have a leafy salad).  The garden cost me an initial investment of $80, but I figure it grows $5 worth of lettuce every week, and lasts about 20 weeks before I need to pull out the lettuce and start again.  So that's $100 every time I plant lettuce in it.  Not bad! 

Speaking of being frugal, I've gotten out my favorite book on saving money and I'm working my way through it for a third time.  It's just a fun read, and it inspires me to try a little harder at saving money and being less wasteful.

One of my goals this year is to reduce the amount of waste we generate in our home, including garbage and recyclables.  My plan of action to accomplish that goal is to: purchase fewer items in general, stop shopping online so much, make do with what I have, fix things as much as possible, buy used if I really need something, cook from scratch, buy in bulk, and grow my own veggies.  I already do a lot of those things, but I'm sure I could be better at them. 

On the list of things to be fixed instead of replaced is our kitchen drawers.  Our house is 100+ years old and from what I can tell, it's gone through quite a few transformations.  One upgrade previous owners made was to put in new cabinets and drawers in the kitchen.  However, it was a weird time in history when they did this, because the drawers they installed are plastic?  And instead of working like a normal drawer with rails on the side to slide on, the drawer glides on a central monorail?  It's such an odd system.  And even though the drawers are cracked and some are downright broken, we've never done anything about it because we didn't know how to fix it and we didn't want to replace the entire cabinet system. 

So I was poking around the internet last fall, looking at how I could possible fix these beasts, when I saw that there's a company that sells replacement drawer inserts.  Yay!  I bought them a few weeks ago and we started working on them this weekend.  It's turning out harder to do that I thought it would be, but Chad said that's just how all home improvement jobs go, lol.  He's probably right.

I've been really getting into my sewing in 2019.  I need, NEED to work on my fabric stash.  I actually ran out of room to store it, and now I have a bunch of fabric just sitting in a box in my studio.  I gotta get this done. The good news is that I have plenty of projects I want to do!  Now I just need to make sure I use the fabric I have on hand instead of buying new stuff to finish them.

My latest project is this pretty table runner that I made for my MIL's birthday (shhh, don't tell her).

I ended up using almost all of  my purple scraps, and a big piece for the backing!  I had to buy the white and greens though.  Hopefully I used  more than I bought. 

I'm gathering up some fabrics to start a quilt for my niece, too.  Her birthday is January 17th, so I figure if I start now, I can have it done for her next birthday.

I pulled out a cool book I got at a quilt show.  Some lady was selling it for $1 and I grabbed it.  The book wasn't complete though (it was one of those block of the month books from the 90s, and whoever had it before me only bought 1/3 of the blocks), so I went on Ebay and bought a complete book for $20.  It's such a cool design, and I'm sure I can use the pattern to use up tons of scraps.

Now that my MIL's table runner is all done, I'm going to get back to work on the hexie quilt.  This thing is just taking so long!  I just started quilting it, and decided that the flowers take 5-10 minutes to quilt, and with 25 stars to quilt, that will take me 125-250 minutes, or 2 hours and 5 minutes to 4 hours and 10 minutes.  For a tiny piece!  Sigh.  That's ok.  I'm sure it will be worth it in the end.  I quilt because I like it, right?

I have a PC project in the works too, but I forgot to take a picture of it.  But I did take this picture:

Now I'm off to work on my 2019 garden plan.  Have a good week, everyone!

Friday, January 18, 2019

2019: Goals, Anxiety, and Finding Balance

Can you believe that we're standing here at January 18th, half way through the first month of 2019?  That first month always seems to zip right by, doesn't it?  Or is that just me?  Have you set any resolutions or goals for the new year?  If so, how are they doing? 

Mine seem to be on the back burner at the moment, but I'd like to change that, and I guess that's the reason why I'm writing today.

A new year is such a cool idea, isn't it?  Technically, there's not much difference between December 31st and January 1st.  The weather is probably the same, your house is the same, you probably are going to have pretty similar routines.  But mentally, it's a fresh start, a chance to put a book end on one part of your life and start a brand new part. 

When I look back to the year that's behind us, I see all the missed opportunities to do more in my life.  I wonder, am I working hard enough?  I probably could be taking my business to another level if I tried harder, worked longer, stopped being so lazy.  So I set a bunch of goals at the beginning of this month with that in mind, goals to design more, blog more, and to become over all more successful. 

And that's about the time when I started having anxiety attacks.  Early in the morning, my heart would start racing and my stomach would churn, thinking about all of the goals I had laid out for myself and my ever expanding to-do list.  I'm grateful that I'm a homemaker and stay home anyway, because it was debilitating.  I spent three or four days sitting on the floor of my living room, trying to chill out, doing nothing on my to-do lists whatsoever. 

Then of course I got sick, and I spent several days huddled on the couch and in bed.  My body is much wiser than I am.  It knows when I need a real rest, and makes me take it whether I want to or not. 

I'm feeling better now thank goodness, and with my better health comes all this ambition to jump back onto the wagon and start working on all of those goals and long to-do lists again.  Except, I can feel it.  In the pit of my stomach, I can feel the inner resistance.  I know that if I jump back in like I did before and try to give myself a nonstop 16 hour work day, I'm going to end up with anxiety attacks again and become completely useless.  Is it worth it? 

I have so many aspects of  my life pulling me in all different directions, and being a perfectionist at heart, I want to put all of myself into each thing.  I want to be a full time designer, I want to be the best homemaker, I want to have a big veggie garden, I want to take care of my mom full time, I want to be the best wife, I want to have a real social life and good friends, I want to be there for my niece and nephews, I want to be ultra frugal and DIY everything to save money, I want to have a sparklingly clean home.  I want to sew, I want to travel, I want to buy a home in the country and have chickens, I want to volunteer, I want to exercise more, I want to read more. 

But I'm just one person, and not even a very efficient or energetic one.  I can never do all of the things I want to do as perfectly as I'd like to do them.  Some things I'll never get to do.  I have to admit these things to myself because holding onto the false notion that I can do everything if I just try harder is clearly hurting me.

So how do you find balance in this world?  I guess it's a matter of setting priorities, but I think it's more complicated than that.  If I only do what seems like is most important, I end up feeling hollow inside because I almost always leave out the activities that make me full of joy.  I could spend my day homemaking and caring for my mom and my garden and my husband, but at the end of the day I feel like I've lost myself.  I need to include those things that make me happy, like sewing or designing. 

On the other hand, as much as I'd like to spend all day sewing or designing, if I don't include my daily routines of cleaning and cooking and taking care of my loved ones, I end up feeling disconnected from my life.  Balance is so important. I just wish I knew how to reach it. 

Now you all know where I am mentally and why I haven't been posting much on this blog lately.  The truth is, I don't know what to do with myself now.  I guess I'll keep muddling through life the best I can.  One thing I read a while back does give me hope and makes me feel better; goals don't matter nearly as much as making progress every single day.  So I guess that's my motto for 2019.

What does that mean for this blog?  I don't know, honestly.  I like blogging, and I enjoy designing small free patterns for the world.  I just need some time to figure out my life and hopefully I'll get back into it soon.  Thanks for sticking around while I work my way through!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Winter Jars

Hi everyone!  I finally got to work today and finished up the winter jars pattern!  Can you believe how much I procrastinate? 

Winter Jars pattern, $4 on Etsy

I'll probably move on to another project before I get back to work on finishing the jar series.  But if you like this one, make sure to go check out my Fall Jars pattern too, and keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming Spring and Summer jars too!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Craftsy Heads Up

Hi everyone.  I wanted to give you all a heads up that almost all of my patterns on Craftsy have disappeared.  In case you haven't heard (and they didn't really make much of an announcement or even warned anybody about it), Craftsy is overhauling its pattern section and has essentially wiped their slate clean with the exception of highly popular patterns.  They promised that their pattern section would return "later in 2019", but who knows when that will be?  You can read more about the update here if you're interested.

So for me, that means I lost all but one of my 80+ patterns that I had on Craftsy.  If you had bought any of my patterns on Craftsy, they are still available to you, this just means you can't buy any more.  Craftsy is also where I stored all of my free patterns in PDF form. You can still access all of my free patterns here on my blog though, they're just in blog post form instead of PDF.

I guess I need to start looking for another place to host my free PDF patterns.  Does anyone have any good suggestions?  I'll let you know when I figure something out! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

What's Up Wednesday

Happy New Year!  Happy very first Wednesday of 2019!  Oh, a brand new year, what a precious gift that is.  A new beginning, a whole year of possibilities.  It's like Monday morning, only a whole lot better! 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations.  If you're anything like me, though, I bet you're really glad that it's all behind us and we can get back to our normal lives.  Or is that just me?  I love the celebrations and getting together with family and such, but it's so exhausting.  After six family get together, stuffing myself silly more times than I can count, and eleven days of my husband being off from work (he took a few vacation days), I'm ready for a rest!  I almost didn't write this blog post because all I really want to do now is sew!

But here I am!  Since I have holiday hangover, how about I just show pictures this week?  I promise to be more alive next Wednesday :)

Decorating all the cookies we made this year (I made a few Dala horse sugar cookies for my Swedish MIL).

Sunshine is helping me wrap presents.

My nephew Gabe giving his best Christmas face.

My fur-brother Gary (my mom's cat).

My adorable hubby with my equally adorable nephew Maliki.

My mom's Christmas tree.

My nephew Benji, actively throwing toys out of the playpen.

My nephew Joey and his mom (plus Benji in the back).

Maliki and his grandpa.

Maliki playing with the present we gave him.

Hubby and my FIL chilling on the couch on Christmas day.

The lovely jello mold I made for Christmas dinner.

My MIL's Christmas tree.

The most amazing new (to me) retro cook book.

Our traditional New Year's Eve nachos and a movie!

My fancy New Year's jello mold!  Yes, yes, I do love a good jello mold.

And Sunshine chilling in bed with me.

Happy 2019 everyone!  I hope this year brings you blessings overflowing!