Sunday, 18 December 2011

12 by 2012 Update

In the past two months I've been pretty unfocused, so I have found it hard to get stuck into projects unless external factors force me to. So, in all honesty, I don't think that I am going to get everything on my list finished. I can live with that. I've worked on other projects and I've worked on me. The main thing I've achieved is finding an organisational system that works for me, meaning I am actually getting things done now. 

1  on my list was organise the pantry. I've got 3 of the 5 shelves done. I still need to do the baking shelf and the bottom of the pantry. But the shelves I have done are the ones I use most often and they've stayed tidy. 
2 was completing my second blue sock. I'm taking that with me when I go down to visit my parents for Christmas, there is still a chance that I will get that one finished.
3 is the wedding shawl - Complete!
4 is making a wooden chest. I'll do that when I get back.
5 was a container for the laundry powder. I found one and I tidied the top of the drier where those items go, it has stayed tidy since - Complete!
6 was Erin's bag - Complete!
7 is Ellen's cape, I still need to get a lining fabric and make it.
8 was Guinevere's playmats - Complete!
9 is digitise Nan's cookbook. I've photographed it and have started typing up the recipes. Still need to finish the recipes and scan it. That I'll do when I get back.
10 was start a blog - Complete!
11 was work out what I want for my computer work station, an ongoing document currently, but I've been working with what I've got, and all I need to do is shuffle a few things off the shelves behind me and it'll be done. 
12 was organise the nappy changing bits beneath her bassinet - Complete!

So currently 6 of the 12 are complete. One is nearly completed (11). Two are half done (1 & 9). Two aren't started (7&4). One is half done and might get finished by the end of the year(2).
Surprisingly, I'm actually happy with this. I have had a couple of other projects come up as priorities and the shawl took so much longer than I anticipated. 

Now, to go work on a project that needs finished tonight, make dinner and pack for myself and Guinevere for our early morning flight tomorrow. 

#3 of my 12

#3 was the wedding shawl, and it's finally finished. I give it to my friend tomorrow, I can't wait to see her face. I actually finished it two days ago, but I've been busy since then. I fly to my parents for Christmas tomorrow, so I've been trying to get everything around the house sorted before I go. Writing this post is me relaxing.

Here is a photo of the finished shawl:

And a photo of the ruffle. I'm actually quite proud of the ruffle. I unpicked the first 7 rows of it and redid it as I wasn't happy with how it was turning out. It's somewhat painful to unpick rows which are nearly 1000 stitches long, and definitely added a few hours to the project.

Yay for one more project finished and out of the house :)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


Every time I look at you I am amazed at this little life that has been placed in my hands.
Every time I look at you it surprises me how much you have grown.
I look at how much you are learning and how quickly you are learning it and know you learn quicker in the next few years than at any other point in your life.
I look at you and see so much potential. You can do anything you set your mind to.
I hope I am able to support you as you learn who you are.
It scares me sometimes how much I love you, I didn't know it was possible to love someone this much.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

#6 of my 12

Yay, one more project down, one more item out of my house and one less thing cluttering up my mind.

I saw a gorgeous piece of fabric over a year ago, and it screamed to be made into something for a friend of mine, the fabric was just so her. So I bought some. She then mentioned in passing she needed a new bag, so I decided I'd make her a bag with it, especially as her birthday was coming up. I cut out the fabric. Fast forward about12 months, I'm going to her next birthday dinner and the bag is still in it's component pieces.

This week I sat down and sewed it. It took me less than two hours. That was all. Two hours. I spend more than that on my computer some evenings. Guinevere even cooperated and babbled to herself and to me on the floor while I did it around her, explaining it to her as I went.

I gave it to my friend tonight, and she loves it, says she needed a new knitting bag, and it will work well for it.
Here is my finished project:

This means I have now done 4 of my 12 by 2012. 8 more to go. The pantry is half done (I've been doing a shelf at a time). My sock is on hold, I'm taking it with me when I go down to my parents for Christmas. I'm working on the wedding shawl every day, have nearly finished part A, and have asked a friend to help me with part B, I don't quite understand the charted pattern. Everything else is just waiting for me to do it. I'm running out of time. Hopefully now that Guinevere is a bit more settled during the day and going to sleep around 10pm rather than closer to midnight I can get more work done.

Any tips for managing to get things done while looking after a small child?

Monday, 28 November 2011


I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with life currently. The past 5 weeks have been a mess.
What was meant to be our much looked forward to family holiday was cut short due to extended family drama's, which we are still dealing with, and will be continuing to deal with for at least another 2 months, but most likely longer. This is costing us time, lots of money and lots of stress, resulting in my husband being sick lots, as his body doesn't deal with stress well.
In the past 5 weeks I've had the flu, Guinevere has had a tummy bug, then a chest infection then started teething and Gynn had a tummy bug then got bronchitis and laryngitis. Guinevere has also decided that she doesn't need to sleep for longer than 20 minutes at a time during the day, and only a couple of those. She's also wanting to be held or directly interacted with.
This has meant the housework has fallen over, my projects have all gone on hold (including ones for other people) and me trying to get organised went on hold. It also means when I do have time to do something, it's a very small chunk of time, not long enough to really get stuck into doing anything.
All of which combines to leave me feeling frazzled and overwhelmed.

So I'm trying to get myself back into some semblance of order, and the house tidy, hopefully before the role playing boys are over on Wednesday night.

One of my friends recently pointed me towards todoist, and I'm finding it meshes in quite nicely with how my brain works and the word document based organisational system that I've already been working on. I especially love how I can set recurring events, and it lets me know which things I haven't done. So far I haven't managed to do everything I'd wanted to do in a day, but the important things are now getting done, and the maintenance stuff (splitting housework chores onto separate days) is starting to take on a routine like shape.

I've also been reading through Trent's review of Getting Things Done by David Allen. I'm thinking I need to track down this book and read it for myself, as it's really helping me organise things. Especially the next action idea. It's making it easier for me to look at an big project and work out where to start and what little thing I can do next.

It seems to be working. I'm slowly getting things done again :)

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Something just for me

I wasn't having a good day today. My husband has been home sick for a week and Guinevere is nearly over her chest infection. I was also struggling with breastfeeding, as she was feeding every hour or two, and each feed was a two boob feed, plus she'd needed bottle topups. All this, amongst other things, added up to me starting to feel frazzled.
I did manage to come up with a solution. When Guinevere went to sleep

I made a pot of peppermint tea, put my Nan's (Mum's mum) tablecloth on the table, added my special teacup, put some dark chocolate on a plate and worked on a lace knitting project.

When I'm stressed there are two things Guinevere can do to help. One is be cute and make me laugh. The other is go to sleep and let me have some time out. Thankfully she chose the latter today.

My tea cup is special to me. I had been looking for one for ages, but struggling to find one that I liked. I wanted the shape that I got, but it was hard to find a colour and design that appealed to me. When I found this in a Dunedin shop, I fell in love then decided I wasn't paying that much for a 3 piece set. I went back in the next day and bought it. Don't regret it one bit. It felt a little odd putting my Nan's handmade table cloth on our ratty old table, but it really added to the whole experience.

The lace knitting is the wedding shawl I'm working on. It's the cherbourg shawl by Angeline Laballery. It is also #3 on my 12 by 2012. But knitting the shawl fitted in so nicely with the elegance of a nice pot of tea.

It can be hard to take the time to do something just for you. Making a point of doing something just for me really refreshed me, and helped me get through the rest of the day with a smile on my face.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Goals for 2012

I'm not one for New Years resolutions, but I've only today worked out why. To me a New Years resolution implies changing something at the start of the year, then loosing motivation a couple of months in. Resolutions also tend to be vague (eg. lose weight, get fit), they don't provide a finishing point. So next year I'm setting goals. I have found if I set SMART goals, I am much more likely to achieve them as I know exactly what I am trying to achieve and have a finish line by which to judge completion.
I'll probably come up with more as I go through the year based on where I'm at, but for now I have:
1. By the end of 2012 I will have completed or removed from my house all craft projects that I consider small or medium sized projects.
2. By the end of 2012 I will have organised and de-cluttered to the point that downstairs is a usable space again.

I have so many craft projects on the go. One's I've started and for one reason or another not finished. By the end of this year I aim to have created a list with every single unfinished project currently in my house, along with whether it is a small, medium or large project. I'm not yet sure what exactly will determine what makes a project small, medium or large, I suspect it will be based on a time estimate to complete. I'm hoping that the satisfaction of getting my smaller projects completed will provide the motivation to get through my larger projects.

We have a reasonably large downstairs area. There is the laundry, a small bedroom and a large lounge type area that opens onto a deck. Currently it is filled with stuff. Some of it is useful stuff, like the camping equipment and my preserving jars. Some of it needs to be gone, like packing boxed from when we moved in nearly 2 years ago. Some of it is things that I need to let go of. At this point I should admit that most of the things down there are mine, not my husbands, and he is justified in getting annoyed with me having not done anything thing with them in the nearly two years since we moved into this place. So, back to the letting go. There are things down there, like my old school books (I don't need all of my books from 20 years ago), or  my mum's bobbin lace equipment (if I haven't found the time to learn in the past year with no child, I'm not going to find the time in the next year having recently had a baby). Things I am hanging onto just in case I need them, which I haven't in two years. Some in closer to eight years, as they were stored at my parents place, and I hadn't even realised. This is why I aim to do it by the end of next year. Sure, I'd like it done sooner, but it's hard to let go. I figure if I let go of some things, realise I don't miss them, I can then let go of more and bigger things. If I do this consistently over the course of the year, I should have a usable downstairs that only stores things we actually use. Laura over at Organizing Junkie said that "Your home is your “living” space but that can be difficult if you are designating large portions of it to yesterday."   and I've realised that is what I'm doing with downstairs.

Now to think on my other goals for next year.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

#12 Of My 2012

#12 on my list was to organise the nappy change items beneath Guinevere's bassinet. I did that. Then I realised that the entire area needed sorted for me to be happy with it.

Here is what I started with:

It's such a cluttered mess. It makes me cringe looking at it. I was amazed when I looked at the photo of it just how much clutter I wasn't noticing. I think I'm going to have to do the same with the rest of the house as I work my way through it.

This is what I finished with:

It looks so much better. One change has been setting up the change table permanently in the bathroom door alcove, it's making it so much easier to change her nappy. Much easier than hauling it out each time I need it or just changing her on the bed. I think my back is thanking me for it as well. The nappy change items are now corralled in one container:

So much easier to find what I need. The ice cream container holds cut up chux cloths with water to wipe her with rather than using wipes. I've gone this way as it's environmentally friendly and it works out cheaper. Win/win. Under the cloths are old fashioned cloth nappies, used when burping and put under her when she's being changed. My pile of cloth nappy inners on the right, a couple of disposables, dry wipes to dry her off after cleaning her and a box of nappy liners. The only thing not shown is the bucket for dirty nappies.

I also managed to find the magazine with my sock pattern in it, so I can get on and finish that.

This means I've now done 3 of my 12. Yay, I'm 1/4 of the way there. Unfortunately, I've done the small projects, I'm still working on the bigger, more time consuming ones. This means I really need to spend more time on them. Especially as I've only got 7 weeks left in the year.
But not today. Today I'm working on a sewing project for a friend's son.

Friday, 11 November 2011

#8 Of My 12

#8 on my list was hem Guinevere's play mats.I managed to do that about 3 days ago. I have been too busy since then to post, as my little Guinevere got a chest infection.

It really didn't take long to do, all I had to do was iron the double fold for the hems (I rarely pin them, especially if I'm sewing it up straight away) then stitch it up. All done.

Here is the little one enjoying her freshly hemmed play mat in the sun :)

I've been working on another couple of the items. My socks are coming along, but I've run into a hiccup, I can't find where I put the book with the pattern. So they are on hold till I find it. I've done some more work on the wedding shawl, and that is looking good. 
I thought I'd completed one of my tasks when I found a container for the laundry powder. It's now in a big jar that I had. The jar will hold about 4 boxes of powder, and it means I can get my hand into it to scoop out powder. When I put the powder in the jar I realised I couldn't consider the task complete until I'd cleared off the top of the washing machine. Unfortunately, Guinevere chose that time to wake up, and I haven't yet finished it. 

Hopefully I'll get a bit more done over the next few days as she gets over her chest infection. 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

My 12 by 2012

I have a 'Master To Do List'  that I work from. Every time I think of something that needs doing, I add it to this list. It's pretty long. It does mean when I'm wandering around restless I can look at it and potentially find something to do. 
As I've said, I came across a blog post about setting a list of 12 things to get done by 2012. I decided this would be a good idea, I also got a friend on board, so we are encouraging each other. 
There are other things I'd like to get done before the end of the year, but these are the ones that made the list. 

1. Organise my pantry. I don't like my pantry, but I can't afford to re-do my kitchen yet.
2. Finish knitting the my blue socks, I've got second-sock-itis. 
3. Complete the wedding shawl for Sam. I have a deadline for this one, they get married just after Christmas, but she heads away in a month, and I'd really like to finish it before then. 
4. Make at least one of the wooden chests I have the materials for. I have the wood and fittings to make 4, I have had for nearly 18 months. 
5. Find a container for the laundry powder, scooping it out of the box always seems so messy.
6. Finish Erin's bag. This was for her birthday, last year. We just went out for dinner for her birthday this year, so I'm running a little behind. It's cut out.
7. Ellen's cape. This was meant to be for her birthday back in May, not running as far behind on this one. 
8. Hem Guinevere's playmats. They fray a little more each time they go through the wash. And I know they won't take long to do, there are only two of them to do. 
9. Digitise Nan's cookbook. I have my Grandmother's handwritten cookbook, I'd hate for something to happen to it. 
10. Start a blog. Okay, so I've already done this one.
11. Work out what I want in my ideal computer workstation.
12. Organise the nappy changing stuff beneath Guinevere's bassinet. This includes clearing out the shelves that are behind it. 

So this is what I'm working on. Some are small projects, some are significantly bigger. All of them need done. It's trying to find the time and motivation around looking after an 11 week old and trying to look after myself. 

I think I should go work on one of them :)

Where to start?

This is something I've always wanted to do. Somewhere to ramble and share my thoughts. I have no idea if it will get read much but hey, that's not really the point. 
This is somewhere where I can share what I have crafted and actually managed to get done around the house. Where I can write my thoughts on life. Where I can put pics of my little one and share how she has grown. Where I can look back on this in 1, 2, 5 or 10 years time and see how everything has changed. 

It's something that I kept putting in the 'too hard' basket. But a blog post I read last week inspired me to take some of the items from my Master To Do List and put them on a smaller list of things to get done by the end of the year. This was one of the items that made it to my list of 12. So here goes.....