Tuesday, 29 March 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Things I'd Like To Make

This crocheted bunting is adorable! I especially love the sewn details, and it would be fairly easy to make. At the moment I'm very focussed on decorations for the new flat - though I should probably finish unpacking first!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Statistics Time!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a bit of a Statistics Geek. Ten months ago, when I decided to re-name and re-vitalise my blog, I was determined to write 3 posts a week. The other day I was wondering how that was going, so I decided to do a bit of analysis.

Below we see a Column Chart showing how many posts I wrote per week, between April 2010 and March 2011. The posts I did for the Reverb10 writing project are excluded. I also didn't count the 3 weeks when I was in Europe. Even still, it seems I'm falling far short of my determination to post 3 times per week! On average, I'm posting 1.5 times per week (rounded off).

That bump there where I did 5 posts in one week was the week of New Year's 2011. I had a lot to share that week! I also thought I'd do this whizzy Pie Chart [below] to investigate what days of the week I normally post.

I wasn't surprised at the outcome. I tend to start the week with good intentions, to document every step of my arty and crafty adventures. But then after working full time and all the other things in life, I realise all of a sudden on Friday that I haven't taken a single picture of what I've been doing. Sometimes I haven't even been doing anything to take a picture of!

I know many other bloggers have written about it before, but it really is true that writing meaningful blog posts, taking photos and editing them can be a lot of work. It's a labour of love, don't get me wrong! But sometimes I still want to share something, even when I don't have the time to go to all that effort. That's why I've decided to inaugurate Ditzy Tuesday! Tuesday is right about that time when I'm on the uphill climb - I'm firmly entrenched in the working week, but the weekend still looks so far away. I need something to cheer me up! So I'll use the Powers of Pinterest to post a photo of pattern I might like to try making, a project that someone else has made that I'm admiring, or even an unrelated but swoon-worthy photo that suits my mood.

Stay tuned for the first Ditzy Tuesday tomorrow!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Another finished project!

In my last post, I wrote about a project that took me a year to complete. You thought that was bad? Check this out. This is a pair of baby bootees that I knitted from the Paton's Quick and Easy Baby Knits book.



Easy - yes. Quick - no! I started these in December 2005. Yes, 2005, people - that's not a typo! And I finished them earlier this week. So that makes 5 1/2 years. I made them for a baby that's turning 6 years old this year. It's possibly the most pathetically long time it's taken me to complete a project - ever! They're too small now even for Baby Nephew, who's over a year old now.

So what motivated me to finish them now?? I'm due to have another little Baby Niece/Nephew in a few months time. Plus, they'd been sitting at 95% on my list of Works In Progress for so long that it was really starting to drive me nuts. I decided a while back that I would limit the number of projects I have in progress at any one time to 30. Well, that's all good, but the first thing I had to do was get the number down to 30!

I've had so many ideas lately that I want to get started on. I don't need these old projects cluttering up my hobby room. I'm proud to say that my WIPs count is 28 at the moment. However! When we moved house I found a few half-finished sewing projects that I'd forgotten about which aren't on the list. Oops! It'll be interesting to see whether that top - which I started sewing 10 years ago - would be something I'd be caught dead wearing now. =)


All photography today courtesy of Boy. xx

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Finished Printer Cosy

Not long ago, I finished a printer cosy. Sometimes I joke that I want to make a cosy for everything I own - don't worry, things haven't gone that far yet! I only use my printer once every couple of weeks, and I noticed that in-between times, it got very dusty. It needed a cover!


Artistically scrunched detail shot


Shot of cosy in situ on the printer.

I re-started a few times until I found a colour combination I liked. So retro! I just went round and round the square until it was big enough to cover the top of the printer. Then I stopped increasing to make a drapey-down bit. Lastly, I crocheting a shell edging to complete the retro look. Sure, it's cheesy and some might say a bit of an eye-sore, but it makes me smile whenever I look at it, and that's the important thing!

I started this project in March 2010. It took me a year to finish. Hey, I've been busy! But if you think that's bad, wait til you see the project in my next post!

All photography today courtesy of Boy. xx

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Help if You Can

I feel it would be trivial and a bit wrong to go on about craft and such without at least mentioning this. Of course the earthquake and tsunami in Japan have not been the only natural disasters to happen recently, and if I had the time and money, I would try to help all the people in the world who are hurting. I have made a donation to the Australian Red Cross Japan Disaster Appeal and I hope you will consider making a donation of time, money or something else as well.

The earth and its people are hurting, and we all need to stick together and be good to each other.

Thank you.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Trip to the Library -- Procrastination Books

If you remember my Actions for January, I decided to read a book on procrastination. Ironically I not only got around to doing it, but I read two! I'm glad I did, because the approaches they used were so different, I was amazed. I thought I'd do something a bit different, and review them in picture form. I used Boy's graphics tablet for the illustrations.

The first book I read was Eat That Frog! : 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time / by Brian Tracy, a motivational writer and speaker.






That's pretty much it. The book focuses almost wholly on procrastination in the workplace. In the Introduction, Tracy explains that he's not going to go into the complex details of why people procrastinate, but concentrate on strategies to stop procrastinating. This assumes a frame of mind for the reader that hasn't necessarily been achieved yet. I certainly haven't. Besides, I'm not really interested in making more money and having a fancier car. In conclusion, I don't think this book is really for me.


The second book I read was The procrastinator's guide to getting things done / by Monica Romirez Basco. This approaches the topic from a completely different viewpoint. Basco is a psychologist specialising in cognitive behavioural therapy. So, unlike Eat That Frog, this book is all about why people procrastinate.



Basco covers procrastination in all areas of life and for many reasons. The Support Group members in the book struggle with everything from delaying telling a grandmother about a divorce because of the possibility that she won't approve, to not doing housework because watching DVDs is more fun. The focus is on making progress in small steps and thinking about why you're doing what you're doing - or not doing! There are exercises and tips for dealing with procrastination in a wide variety of situations. The "On A Personal Note" sections, where the author writes about her own experiences with procrastination, add a friendly, reassuring touch. In the final chapter, the Support Group members all make at least some progress, leaving the reader with an feeling of optimism. For anyone who is truly willing to change and is ready to examine their issues and mental processes, this book will prove very valuable.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

❤❤❤ Things I'm Crushing On ❤❤❤

Here are some random things I like at the moment:

@ Iris on YouTube Iris does hair tutorial videos, mainly in 1940s, 1950s and pin-up style fashion. They're very detailed and easy to understand, and there are lots of them. I love that in some she shows how to get good results without using expensive styling tools. Plus she has gorgeous hair!

@ Jmag Scans I go to this LiveJournal community to download scans of Japanese fashion and craft magazines - only the ones that I can't buy in real life, of course. You have to faff around a bit with the file download site - look at the ads while waiting for the download to 'unlock', etc. Then it takes about an hour and a half for each mag to download. But it's definitely worthwhile if you're a Japanophile like me!

@ Pinterest I know I've mentioned this site recently, but I'm absolutely in love with it! I spend hours and hours trawling it for pretty images and inspiration. I've even started reading some new blogs just so I can save their images back to Pinterest. So much so that I've neglected my craft completely a little bit recently, I have to admit!

@ Man Repeller This is one of the new blogs I've found. Leandra is a fashionista, but she takes fashion from the point of view that it's meant to drive men away. She's not afraid to dress in some truly nerdy outfits, and she's absolutely hilarious.

@ Paper Thin Personas I've always loved paper dolls and this site has them in abundance! Rachel draws them all herself, and releases at least two every week. Styles include modern fashion, 19th-century, futuristic, Goth, steampunk and fairy. As soon as I find my cutting mat and craft knife, I'm going to print and play!

And a swoon-worthy craft picture to finish off:


Source: Sewing Daisies.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

[ Reverb10 : Day 20 : Beyond Avoidance ] AND [ Reverb10 : Day 21 : Future Self ]



These two pieces were written in January 2011.

Day 20. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing?

I smile wryly at this prompt. First because I've been told - how many times? - that the word 'should' is unhelpful and to eliminate it from my thinking. Secondly, because all I really need to do if refer to my blog post 2010 in Review.
I rest my case.


######################
Day 21. Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)


Dear Me aged 34,

Hi! It's me! You, that is! Aged 39. I know that you're just crazy enough to believe me, so let's skip right past all the pondering how this could possibly have happened and get on with it. Now, I know it's obvious, but I need to point out first that I can't actually tell you anything, because it would interfere with the space-time continuum. So you may wonder why I'm even bothering to write to you.

I remember you had a feeling that a lot would happen in 2011. It was going to be a big year, with a lot of changes. Well, you were right. But don't worry. Remember what Wayne always says? "Things never turn out how you think they're going to - but they always turn out better."

I want to tell you that everything's going to be all right. Not just all right. All Right. Honestly. It really is. Take a deep breath and let that warm feeling of peace spread inside you.

And,

I love you.

See you in five years!
Love from,
Me/You, aged 39.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Dear Me, aged 24,

Hi! It's me! You, that is! Aged 34. I know that you're just crazy enough to believe me, so let's skip right past all the pondering how this could possibly have happened and get on with it.

I know you'll laugh when you see this letter. We're always having fantasies about going back in time. When the people there ask what the future is like, we always get mad and tell them that we can't interfere with the space-time continuum! I'm going to make an exception today because you're so special.

Dearest, so much is going to happen to you that's wonderful. Even though you don't realise it now, you really are the luckiest person. Life won't be perfect. Bad things will still happen to you. But they won't be very bad things, and you'll bounce back from all of them. In fact, you'll learn some valuable lessons. You won't believe me at the time they happen, but from 10 years' distance, you'll realise it's true. Trust me, I know.

For example, I could tell you not to take that job. It's true, you'll be treated badly and you'll be miserable. You'll be underpaid and overworked and so tired and confused. But it will make you strong. You'll learn so much about the professional world, about people and what they'll put up with when they're too scared or not confident enough to ask for what they're entitled to. You'll stand up for yourself. You'll be brave and quit. Far from jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, as you're always so scared of doing, you'll fall on your feet. And you'll learn so much about yourself in the process. I can't say yet how the whole thing will pan out in the long run (I'm only 10 years older than you, after all!), but it'll be worth it.

There's so much more that I can't go into now, but let me tell you this: the most important thing to remember is that everything's going to be OK. You're strong. I know you and I often don't feel that way. That's only because we are unbelievably lucky that our strength isn't tested that often. But believe me - you can handle anything.

And,

I love you.

Love from,
Me/You, aged 34.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Pinterest

I was home sick today with a cold, which isn't too nice. But on the bright side, it gave me time to take advantage of my invitation to Pinterest, which I was emailed earlier this week, after a wait of about 2 weeks. It's a site for collecting and commenting on images, a sort of virtual pinboard. So now I have a place to catalogue all the images that make me go, "that's a great idea!", "that's beautiful!", or simply just "awwwww".

Here's a screenshot of one of my pinboards (the craft one, of course!):


Click on image to be magically whisked to pinboard.

I'm still getting the hang of this thing, but I have a feeling it could become a bit of an obsession.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Conclusions for February / Actions for March

THEMES FOR 2011
CREATE....................MEDITATE....................MOVE....................DE-CLUTTER

I always forget how short February really is, don't you? It's only a couple of days shorter than normal, but it feels like it makes so much difference. I didn't do so well this month in the things I wanted to do, but I was quite run down, I developed an eye infection and the second half of the month was pretty crazy with Boy doing night shifts. If I'd known all that beforehand, I may have chosen goals that weren't as ambitious. I'm still working this thing out!

So - no, I didn't unpack a box every day, but I did unpack 18 in total. Which is quite a lot when I think about it. I didn't manage to do my interval training twice a week - more like once a week. But I did make progress and I'm happy with that. As for the other things, I don't want to make excuses. I'll just say that I didn't do them because of circumstances and not being in the mood, and leave it at that.

So what do I want to do in March? Part of me wants to say - nothing! So perhaps this month I might focus more on relaxing and reducing stress:

* Go and see a live show; create something inspired by it. (CREATE)
* Read a book on Mindfulness Meditation and give it a go. (MEDITATE)
* Do my yoga DVD every week. (MOVE)
* Spend time every weekend on organising the hobby room. (DE-CLUTTER)

Finally, I'm excited to say that there's going to be some craft content very soon!