Monthly Challenges: UFO Progress and May

So…. Yeah.  It’s not pretty.  I think we all knew I wouldn’t advance very far on my list.  But in case you were super curious, here’s the final result of two months:
  • Partlet  To my horror (delight), I discovered that this wasn’t actually cut out, and therefore not a UFO.  So it’s automagically off my list.
  • Big totes
  • Felt bags
  • Messenger bag
  • Floral skirt
  • Bird skirt
  • Teal place mats
  • Frog tote
  • Bird tote
  • Panda tote
  • Floral cozy
  • Repair cozies
  • Pads
  • Autumn place mats
  • Boxers
  • Coffee tote
  • Skull tote
  • Yellow bag
  • Pot holders
  • Nelephants
  • Fix peace necklace
  • Corduroy skirt
  • Fix wrap skirt
  • Sushi cozies
  • Black floral cozies
  • Iron out cat and black floral wallets
  • Green wrap pants
  • Fix brown tote
  • Republican cozy
  • Six onesies
  • Sundress muslin
  • Animal tote
  • Patriotic place mats
  • Strawberry tote
  • Green peace tote
  • Blue flowers tote
  • Clocks tote
  • Turquoise stripes tote
  • Red peace tote
  • Blue paisley tote
  • Pink flowers tote
  • Brown flowers tote
  • Pink stripes tote
  • Vinyl bag
  • Finish brown pants
  • Coasters
  • Lemon bag
  • Blue bag

May’s challenge had better be successful, or I may give up on challenges all together so I stop feeling like a damn failure.  And May’s challenge is….

Making that not that.  (That is the sexiest grammar you will ever gaze upon, so soak it in while you can)

It is time once an for all to tackle the mess (understatement) that is my sewing area.  I really think my lack of progress was in very large part to the state of the dungeon.  I literally have room to turn my chair from side to side, and that’s it.  It’s got to end.  In the process I’ll pitch whatever UFOs I deem don’t make the cut.  I will also be gathering up any costumes or costume supplies I no longer care to own so that I might sell them in a MNSoC garage sale toward the end of the month.

If for some reason I succeed with time to spare, I have a couple extra things that need cleaning, but I refuse to mention them out loud. If I get to them, awesome, but if I don’t, and you know what they are, I’ll feel like I’ve failed.  Even though I said they were extra credit.  Yes, I was one of those kids that felt extra credit was mandatory.  What of it?

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March Challenge Recap mit Tutorial

I know it isn’t quite the end of March yet, but it’s fast approaching, and I already know how I feel about it.  

I didn’t come even remotely close to finishing my list.  Not even a little.  I got a lot done, but no where near enough to be proud of.  Toward the second half of the month, I just couldn’t get the motivation to sew.  Working overnight and sleeping until 3 or 4 in the afternoon made me want to just chill on the couch until it was time for work.  I felt like I shouldn’t tax myself because I didn’t feel confident in my ability to stay up until 6am without crashing and burning (this is also why I’ve WAY overdosed on caffeine lately).

So I’m going to do something rather unprecedented.  I’m going to extend March’s challenge into April.  I’m going to give myself one more month to finish those UFOs.  After that, anything that isn’t finished will very likely go into the trash.  If they weren’t important enough to work on at all over the last three years, I won’t miss them.  

Since the occasion has passed, though, I would like to share something I did finish in March:

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Steampunk onesies!  Some friends were having a steampunk baby shower, and though I couldn’t attend, I knew I wanted to send along some awesomeness.  The designs are all from Urban Threads.  I added a circle around each, stitched them onto some (I think) organic cotton, cut around the circle, and fringed the edges.  The cotton wrinkled when I washed it, giving it an aged look to add to the steampunkiness.

I laid each circle on Heavy Duty WunderUnder (so I wouldn’t need to sew them to the onesies) and poked holes along the stitched circle like so:

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Then I cut the WunderUnder along the dots to make a perfect fit inside the fringe.  This way the fringe isn’t stuck to the onesie and can get down with its fringie self.

Iron the WunderUnder to the back of the applique:

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Peel off the paper back when the applique has cooled and iron applique onto onesie (or whatever):

 

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Ta da! It’s just like magic! Fun, cute magic.

March Challenge: Week One

The first week of March has flown by, and it’s time to check on my progress.

  • Partlet
  • Big totes
  • Felt bags
  • Messenger bag
  • Floral skirt
  • Bird skirt
  • Teal place mats
  • Frog tote
  • Bird tote
  • Panda tote
  • Floral cozy
  • Repair cozies
  • Pads
  • Autumn place mats
  • Boxers
  • Coffee tote
  • Skull tote
  • Yellow bag
  • Pot holders
  • Nelephants
  • Fix peace necklace
  • Corduroy skirt
  • Fix wrap skirt
  • Sushi cozies
  • Black floral cozies
  • Iron out cat and black floral wallets
  • Green wrap pants
  • Fix brown tote
  • Republican cozy
  • Six onesies
  • Sundress muslin
  • Animal tote
  • Patriotic place mats
  • Strawberry tote
  • Green peace tote
  • Blue flowers tote
  • Clocks tote
  • Turquoise stripes tote
  • Red peace tote
  • Blue paisley tote
  • Pink flowers tote
  • Brown flowers tote
  • Pink stripes tote
  • Vinyl bag
  • Finish brown pants
  • Coasters
  • Lemon bag
  • Blue bag

I still have a lot of work to do, so it’s time to buckle down and really crank some stuff out.

March Challenge

February’s challenge is just about at its close, so it’s time to reflect on it a little bit.  And a very little bit, indeed.  It’s a little hard to wax poetic about drinking a crap load of water/tea.  It wasn’t bad, though.  I spent the month mostly hydrated.  I still do not understand the days that I probably had at least 10 cups of water, and still was thirsty.  It was as if I’d just eaten a salt lick (I had not).

But mostly I just spent the month going to the bathroom.  A lot.  Which is fine for me–it’s like a little break from my day–but I always worry that my coworkers are going to think I’m pregnant or something (I’m not).

In the end, it came down to listening more to what my body and mouth said than the exact number of cups.  And that’s what this is all about, really.  Because some days if I had to drink one more cup, I was probably going to hurl.  That didn’t happen often.  Usually my body was very happy to get more hydration.

So now that February is behind us, I’d like to remind you of the fact that I said March would be far more creative.  This is entirely unintentional, but it seems fitting that this coincides with National Craft Month.  March’s challenge is to finish every… since… UFO I can find.  I’ve made a list.  It’s terrifying.  But I’m going to do it.  As [your] god as my witness.  And I will try to report once a week on my progress.

  • Partlet
  • Big totes
  • Felt bags
  • Messenger bag
  • Floral skirt
  • Bird skirt
  • Teal place mats
  • Frog tote
  • Bird tote
  • Panda tote
  • Floral cozy
  • Repair cozies
  • Pads
  • Autumn place mats
  • Boxers
  • Coffee tote
  • Skull tote
  • Yellow bag
  • Pot holders
  • Nelephants
  • Fix peace necklace
  • Corduroy skirt
  • Fix wrap skirt
  • Sushi cozies
  • Black floral cozies
  • Iron out cat and black floral wallets
  • Green wrap pants
  • Fix brown tote
  • Republican cozy
  • Six onesies
  • Sundress muslin
  • Animal tote
  • Patriotic place mats
  • Strawberry tote
  • Green peace tote
  • Blue flowers tote
  • Clocks tote
  • Turquoise stripes tote
  • Red peace tote
  • Blue paisley tote
  • Pink flowers tote
  • Brown flowers tote
  • Pink stripes tote
  • Vinyl bag
  • Finish brown pants
  • Coasters
  • Lemon bag
  • Blue bag

That’s it.  For now.  Actually, I know that’s not it, that’s just all I could find so far.  If I don’t find the rest before the end of the month, no biggie.  There will be other months and other challenges.

 

Month of Writing: Entry 2

Name something you lost or gave away that can never be replaced.

Date written 11/3/11

Not once, but twice I lost the best pen in the world.  My old stand-by, the Pentel R.S.V.P. pen, is great and all, but this pen was beautiful, perfectly weighted, and had amazing ink flow.  The pen was a promotional item from Olympus.  I generally don’t care for things that have company names emblazoned on them, so that should speak volumes to the awesomeness that was the Olympus pen.  It was deep slate blue with a hint of a metallic finish.  It was a capped pen made from a weighty metal.  I looked forward to the day that I could go buy a refill for it and use it forever and ever and ever.

I received the pen the first time when I borrowed it from The Hippy and promptly informed him he wasn’t getting it back.  Since this pen is the greatest pen in the whole world, the fact he was willing to part with it is clear proof that he loves me.  I tried to treat it well, keep it safe, but a fateful trip to the grocery found my beloved pen (AND my favorite notebook, another thing I’ve never been able to exactly replace) left behind in a shopping cart.

I begged The Hippy to see if there were more pens.  He got it at work and was dubious about finding more.  But find more he did.  Two more, in fact, and brought them both home.  His and hers pens.  Which we promptly both lost to the house that eats prized possessions for breakfast.  It’s somewhere in the house, of that much I am sure.  When it will turn up is another matter entirely.

January Update, February Challenge

In some ways I’m starting to grow tired of the challenges.  In other ways, I fear that I am going to grow stagnant if I stop doing them.  So for now I shall continue to challenge myself to do something for an entire month.  Maybe I’ll start coming up with weekly challenges, but I’m afraid that I’ll either run out or forget to do them.  As it is, I’m having a hard time coming up with new ideas for each month, so if you have anything you think I should do, please leave a comment.

So, let’s talk exercise.  For the first half of the month, I was all about the yoga.  And then I quickly got tired of the fact that I needed to find an hour out of my day to accommodate the yoga video I was using on netflix.  I also had a hard time exercising when The Hippy was around, and there were a couple days when I just didn’t get up early and The Hippy was home in the evening, so exercise didn’t happen.

Then I read a blog post about 5 easy exercises to add to your day–every day.  Because they only take a couple minutes, you can pretty much always sneak them in.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember what blog it was, so I can’t give credit where credit is due.  But what I’ve added to my day is this:

  • 50 leg lifts, each side.  I often do these while brushing my teeth, or waiting for the microwave to beep, or waiting for water to boil or the bathtub to fill.
  • 25 waist bends–I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what a waist bend meant, so what I do is bend at my waist, try to touch my toes, and bend back up and touch my waist.  I do this while doing all the “waiting” above.
  • 15-20 push ups–I do cheater push ups against the edge of a counter or the bar of my oven door, again during waiting periods.
  • 25 crunches–these are the ones I have the hardest time fitting it, because they’re harder to do while “waiting”.  I don’t have enough floor space in my bathroom, and the kitchen floor seems like a weird place.  Sometimes I do them in bed, sometimes while watching TV.
  • 10+ squats into toe lifts–this is another one I like to do while brushing my teeth.  Squat down, come up, stand on my toes, squat down, etc…

The fifth one was actually not specified in the original blog post–she said something about switching it up like another arm exercise or more crunches.  I chose those because they are easy to do whenever.  And I can do most of these behind closed doors, so I don’t have to worry about They Hippy catching me in the act.

Sure, they aren’t fat busters like kick boxing, but they are something I can make a habit of every day.

Now, onto February’s glamorous challenge.  Drink 8 glasses of water or tea every day.  I’m not going to super measure, but I figure two of my water bottles and 4 cups of tea should do it.  To make it easier on myself, I’m going to give up my morning matcha latte with breakfast and have just plain green tea.  I know I’ll get my liquid requirement from milk, but I’d rather stick with something more pure for the month of Feb.  I think next month’s challenge is going to be pretty cool, too, and it doesn’t require me to do something every day, but does require me to be super creative.  Stay tuned.

Whoooooooo Are You? Oooh oooh, oooh oooh

I have a confession to make.  I have been avoid this blog.  Actually, the theme of today has been facing things I’ve been avoiding, so this is fitting.  The reason I’ve been avoiding it is because November’s challenge was an absolute failure.  Okay, it was a half failure.  I believe I wrote for 18 days.  I have plenty of excuses for why I didn’t make it the whole month, but let’s just chalk it up to me giving up.  It is what it is, let’s move on.  I still do plan to post the things I did write in those 18 days, but that will come later.

I did continue challenging myself through December, and December’s challenge was to eat at least 5 servings of vegetables every day.  For the most part I’ve done really well.  I started a calendar, but after veggies became somewhat of a habit, I stopped keeping track on “paper”.

As you may notice, there’s not a ton of variety.  I’ll be honest, I don’t really have a lot of time for variety.  The Hippie hasn’t been around much–working on a business he’s determined to get running–so I haven’t been cooking much at all.  I did try to make most of my alone meals salads instead of fast food.  I really would have liked to have been adventurous and tried new veggies I’ve never had before, but this month also corresponded with a couple unexpectedly high bills, and I really need to try to keep my grocery bills at a minimum which meant more Aldi–not exactly known for its variety of produce.

What I did learn from this is a new appreciation of the veggies I already liked.  I tried to come up with newer ways to eat them (one way will become a blog post soon), and I tried not to make it too much of a chore.  I decided about halfway through that I was getting sick of eating the same stuff, and if I didn’t want to eat veggies, well, then so be it.  But to avoid not making my goal (and there’ve actually only been a few days that I didn’t hit 5  and one day that I flat out refused to eat veggies (and frankly way more days that I went way over 5, so I consider it a wash)), I made sure to eat veggies as early on as possible.

My favorite easy way to jump start veggie eating was by putting veggies in my eggs.  Here’s my method for easy breakfast eggs:

  • One mug (you can spray it with cooking spray, but I’ve found that this does nothing to make clean-up easier)
  • One Egg
  • Veggies you like: I used spinach or asparagus and mushrooms
  • Tomato sauce

If using spinach or frozen asparagus, precook it.  I loaded up the mug with spinach and zapped it in the microwave for 1 minute.  Drain the liquid.  Add the rest of the veggies, chopped, and spoon in a couple tablespoons of sauce.  Add egg and beat until everything is combined.  Microwave for 1 minute, stir, microwave for another minute.  The eggs should be set by now, so stir up and plate.  Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese if desired.  Eat with toast if you’re like me and for some reason the idea of eating scrambled eggs without bread grosses you out.  It’s a texture thing.

The way I see it, this breakfast, if done right, is around 2 servings of veggies.  A veggie snack and a serving or two at lunch and dinner and you’re golden.  I will certainly work toward keeping this up.  I am fully conscious of my veggie choices, unlike when I gave up sweets and was just conscious of the fact that I was being a mean ol’ jerk.  I do need to reign in my sweet consumption again, though.

Or at the very least up my physical activity (that was a segue, see what I did there?).  That brings us to January’s challenge.  Since January is *the* month of resolutions, I decided to tackle two challenges.  One is a challenge of omission, the other a challenge of addition.  The addition challenge is to work out every day.  I’ve got a lot of exercise videos queued up on Netflix, and I’m already used to getting up an hour early for work (during the holidays we open at 8 instead of 9, so I was going in earlier).  The omission challenge is to not buy anything except for groceries and the small handful of meals eaten out with friends.  I’ve done this challenge before, but it’s time to do it again.