February 12, 2012

Pettiskirts, and a little of this, a little of that...

Once again, the week has been busy.  I think it is always busy, part of the reason that I haven't blogged consistently in the last year.  In fact, I think my life has honestly become too busy.

Take today for example:  arrive early at church, for choir practice, meeting after school for planning for senior youth group (my youngest is this age, and I have agreed to be one of the parent helpers; one of 5, I hope), ushering for a concert at church, and the final 'supper and shred search committee papers' party for hiring our new minister.  It is a little more packed than normal (take out the last two, and it is a normal Sunday chez The Boppings), but you get the idea.  Way too busy. There is only one thing in there I can really sneak out on early, and I probably will.

But it definitely begs the question: what is busy enough, and needs 'efficiency' and what is just too busy?  I haven't figured this one out (as you can all see from the above schedule).  But that is my goal for the year--cut to the jewels, and focus on that.

On the crafting front, I've finally cast on my OWL project (and nearly finished the first ball of yarn!) and I'm humming along on the squares front, too. 

I also finally sat down at the sewing machine for the first time since the plum pants (which are getting too big!) and sewed a pettiskirt.

What I thought I was sewing, from the Martha Stewart Living Instructions, 
Well, what I sewed was more like two half pettiskirts, one of which is not going to work, and one which will be beautiful. 

I foolishly started with the instructions from Martha Stewart Living.  Let me say that you should just not go there.  I have a half finished tiny pettiskirt that is not able to be finished because I did not have enough stuff.  It is maddening.  What a useless and annoying tutorial!   It leaves out many steps, doesn't refer to many things, and is plain wrong on the fabric count.

If you double check the math, however, you would have quickly realized that her numbers are wrong, and that she does not explain nearly enough of anything to actually accomplish the project. Had I read further, on other people's issues with the tutorial like this one, I would have quickly realized that I was going to have a problem.

I, of course, since I was in a hurry and the project is way over due for my friend, did not do the math.  I thought--Martha Stewart.  Should be ok.  That seems, a, little, light for fabric, but ok.  Um, yeah.  Trust your gut.  It was about 3 yards too light on fabric.  I have one part of one ruffle finished, and half of the second on the back.  It is just...aggravating.  I am going to finish it, but I have to go back to the store and purchase about twice more stuff than I have currently in my spare time.  Right.  Notice the schedule above?  There is no spare time.  Has to be done, though. Just too annoying to get it this far and not finish it.

(I will insert a picture of the half finished skirt here, later).

When I ran out of ruffle on the first half of the skirt, I gave up, and went back to my instructions from You Can Make This for pettiskirts.  I pulled a blue mystery fabric from the stash, and some white lace I have on a roll that cost me all of a dollar from a yard sale, and started again.  Longer ruffle cut lengths.  Flat construction (ever tried to put a full 8 yard tulle ruffle on an already constructed waist band?  I did it with the Martha Stewart instructions and I can tell you it is Not Recommended).   I changed a few things from the instructions--like using my ruffler set at the 2:1 ruffling ratio instead of trying to pull the ruffles by hand, but all in all, the whole thing works much much better than anything else.  And, seriously?  Their estimation for the amount of ruffle fabric is 2 1/2 yards just for the ruffle.  Martha Stewart had you purchase 3 yards total for the project.  Yeah, math.  But, even half finished, you can see how much better this one is going to be.  It isn't pink, but it is beautiful. 

(Insert picture of the half finished pettiskirt in blue, here!  )

I'm hoping that the princess twirl factor will over ride the 'not pink' factor.  If it doesn't, I'm keeping it! It will work as a faeryfest skirt for me.

February 5, 2012

A little squee...

One of my squares for the insanity blanket was featured in this month's House cup blog. project showcase. Squee!

I'm onto square six--and I am half way through the last colour of the middle cross.  I think I am going to do several middles before I tackle the outside borders (which are not as exciting and are actually good travel knitting). 

I pulled out all the yarn I think I will use for these square, and...I'm not sure I will actually have enough wool to make the silly thing!  I have a large black bag space full of yarn, but it is actually not the equivalent of 16 balls  of RHSS.  I might need to buy more.  Eep.  If I do, I do.  But, wow--the thought actually boggles my mind. 

February 4, 2012

Pomodoro, or how to master the marking and report card challenges

This week, I faced reality.  My marking bucket was more of a marking graveyard (does anyone else's get that way?) and I was having trouble facing the 'gigantic green basket'.  So, I decided to apply two things I had heard on different podcasts and start facing the music and dealing with the stuff.  Not just school stuff, but report cards are due in a week, so they are the highest priority right now.

First, on the Knitpicks podcast, I heard about the Pomodoro technique.  Essentially, in the easiest form, it is focus on a job from a list for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break.  There is, of course, way more to it than just that little description, including a book and sheets and lots of other issues (like, staying on task, dealing with interruptions, making your time efficient, and lots of other stuff), but I wanted to see if it would help me get through my marking bucket. It did.  I accomplished 7 pomodoros today, and all that is left is the pop-up books.  I can do this; I'm estimating they will take another two pomodoros tomorrow, which I can definitely manage if I work on them between church and the super bowl party. 

I also started working on a 'Worry Journal', something I heard about from Cogknitive.  This is a book that you write down all the stuff that is worrying you, and all the things you are doing about the stuff that is worrying you, or the steps you need to take to deal with the stuff worrying you.  Essentially it is a fantastic journal to keep track of all that stuff you have to do, eventually. Then you do what you need to do from your list, and write everything into your book.  Everything.   I love it.  I am keeping track of my list.  I am getting stuff done.  I am accomplishing things. 

And, more importantly, I am not totally exhausted while doing it. 

February 1, 2012

Weekly check in and a proud of me moment!

 (Warning, long picture free blog post ahead.  Don't say that I didn't warn you.) 

Today, I took the difficult but necessary step to look at my finances.  If we ever want to purchase a house, I have to get things back under control, and the first step is to figure out why the month is so much shorter than the money.  Because it is currently much sorter than the money, and it should not be. 

So, step one: try and log into phone bill.  Be unable to log in to phone bill.  Give up after cursing at computers, phones and all manner of things, and call phone company to get them to help me reset what ever I need to reset so that I can actually see my bill from cell phone.

I love my phone company, Telus.  I've been with them nearly ten years, and they have always been great.  The only time I have ever been irritated with them in the last ten years has been when we tried to separate out my daughter's phone from ours, but that is a whole other story.  I am not a high volume user of phones but I do text, and I love my phone.  When I could finally get online to look at my bill, my lovely customer service representative, Monica, looked at my bill, and announced that I was seriously paying too much for what I was using and that she needed to fix this. How often do you get customer service people like this working for a phone company? 

So, with a little bit of time, and a lot of patience on her part, which included her calling me on the land line so I could look up a phone number I was calling frequently (seriously? I don't even recognize the number!) on my phone, we got it all sorted out.  My bill has gone down by 2/3, I have caller ID, and since I also paid them much more than needed last month, I don't need to pay them for a little while.  A long little while.  A full HPKC term long little while.  (Yes, that would be nearly three months.  Go me!)  No wonder the month is a little shorter than the money.  If you pay three months worth of bills after Christmas, the month is going to be shorter than the money. 

Onto the important stuff:

Jacob James was born on the 21st.  5lbs 5oz tiny and about 3 weeks early, just like both of his cousins.  Needless to say, we've been focused on baby, not house, home, or other stuff.  Baby!  Squeeee!