Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Holy Moly

I know, I know, it’s been forever since I last posted….again, but it’s been a VERY busy year!
January through March, not only was I working full time Monday-Friday, but I also spent my time after work (5:15-7 p.m.) split between two different local high schools where I was choreographing their high school musicals (“Damn Yankees” and “Anything Goes”).  Then from 7:30 until 10:30-11 each night I had my own rehearsal for the French Farce “Boeing Boeing” at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre here in Jamestown.  The link above takes you to the full Facebook photo album for the show, which was an absolutely BLAST to be apart of!  I hadn’t done a straight play since middle school, with the exception of scene work in my college Acting classes.  This was the first "challenge" that peeked my interest in auditioning for the show (after the fact that the show is a RIOT).  Next came the fact that I was cast as Gretchen, the German stewardess.  I spent 6 weeks working tirelessly to master the best German accent possible.  I still love throwing it around every now and then ;-)  And the final “challenge” that I overcame during the rehearsal and performance process during Boeing was announced to our friends as follows:

A few thought we were getting another dog, but we did not!  This October, we are expecting our first baby!!  I realized I was pregnant about 3 weeks into rehearsals and was 10 weeks pregnant by the time the show closed.  Other than our parents, no one knew until the end of March about the baby’s arrival.  I had to tell my director, and good friend, a few days before Tech Sunday because my flight attendant dress could not be worn w/o the jacket without my belly starting to show (more of a carb baby that actual baby pump at that point LOL)! My counterpart in the show also figured it out one night and was great about keeping my secret until I told the reminder of the cast closing weekend.

I enjoyed every second of all the theatre work I did this spring.  I was EXHAUSTED 90% of the time and had to drag my nauseous self to every step of rehearsals that I had on a particular night, but once I was there I felt just fine 99% of the time.  I think if I’d just gone home every night after work I would have done nothing but sit on the couch like a blob feeling horribly sorry for myself!

Plus, we found out the end of May that

Our summer has been very busy.  In addition to slowly trying to get ourselves ready for the baby’s arrival, Jonathan and I are both busy running our family business, Panama Rocks Scenic Park for our 2nd year and the 130th year since it was founded in 1885.  We have been having a great summer so far and have seen a wonderful increase in the business over last year.  I am, of course, still working Monday-Friday outside of the Park so that we have a steady income and health insurance, and have still kept very active with marketing and choreography at the theatre.  There’s no slowing me down just yet – in fact I’m getting ready to start rehearsals next week as Choreographer for “The Addams Family”, our annual fall musical.

In June, Jonathan and I were fortunate enough to be able to get coverage for the Park’s office, and took a week off and went down to the beach.

My in-laws currently own a condo on Estero Island, Ft. Myers Beach, FL and we hadn’t been down since June of 2012.  They have decided to sell the condo for multiple reasons so this was a combination last trip before the condo sells, and Babymoon.  It was a wonderful, relaxing week on the beach filled with lovely memories of our first vacation together, honeymoon and now babymoon (plus a few other vacations in between).  We will certainly still vacation in Ft. Myers Beach in the future, but it’ll never be quite the same.

There was crocheting from my favorite spot in the world (the condo's lanai), virgin Mojitos at Doc Ford's, amazing sunsets, a growing belly, sunset selfies, LOTS of ice cream, the most incredible rental car in all the land (2015 Mustang Convertible) and a tan & growing baby bump!

Oh August 6th, Jonathan and I celebrated our 4th Wedding Anniversary.  Still hard for me to believe that we've been married for 4 years already, and yet only 4 years.  Here's a very detailed collage of pictures from us from the past 11 years that I posted to Facebook back on the 6th - you should be able to click on it to see more detail if you're interested in seeing how we've both aged over the past decade ;-)

And here are me, and the "girlfriend", as I've been calling her, at our Anniversary dinner last Saturday night:

As far as crocheting, I didn’t really do any during my first trimester.  I was too busy, too tired and too nauseous to  really have any desire to do so.  My nausea went away around week 14 and I’ve continued to putter and play with multiple different projects since then.

From July until December I have 7 babies, including my own coming into our lives (6 girls by the way and only 1 boy – GIRL POWER!!) so I have some little projects that I’ve been working on since June on that front, but nothing is actually finished.

Then, a co-worker of mine returned to work last week so I whipped this up real quick over the weekend for her baby-girl (another girl!!) to wear this fall:

This caused me to be bitten by bit of a "fall crocheting" bug that still hasn’t let up this week!

Over the weekend, Jonathan and I were fortunate enough to get a day off from the Park (first one since June 28th when we returned from the beach) and went to Chautauqua Institution for the day.  We set ourselves up for a picnic in the shade by the lake and I started crocheting this scarf:

I'm not exactly sure what this stitch is called, but after you chain your width you do a sc ch1 then skip the next stitch.  Starting on Row 2 you continue the same sc ch1 pattern with each sc going into the ch1 space of the previous row.  I half thought this was called the Moss Stitch, but the quick Google search that I just did proved me wrong.  Anyone wanna help me out so I know for future reference??

The past couple of nights I’ve been pulling out half finished Owl Hats from last fall, and some additional colors to stock pile on these for gifts & orders, and spent the past two lunch hours this week crocheting the whites for the eyes on as many hats as I can get made.

Two days progress - if you’re curious it does take me about 5 minutes per eye J

I also have the most AMAZING blanket for myself that I’ve been working on since early June.  I’m obsessed with it but don’t actually have any photographs of it to share right now – will have to be sure and take a few soon.

Last, but certainly not least, I did finally pick a pattern and yarn selection for my baby girl’s baby blanket.  I was ridiculously picky in this process but have an inspiration photo that I love, that Jonathan instantly loved, and all of the yarn just arrived earlier this week.  It’s a new to me pattern that has been making it’s rounds on some of my favorite crochet Facebook pages for some time now – hopefully I pick it up quickly!  I also have purchased multiple photo prop patterns for our newborn photoshoot with the little one in October.  I haven’t started on these yet either as I’m waiting on some clothing that was also purchased to arrived to make sure that my yarn matches accordingly.

So, as you can see, we have been VERY busy up here in our little corner of Western New York!  Sorry it’s taken me so long to post anything.  I’ll try and be better as I finish up some projects and have exciting news to share!  I still read all of your blogs, almost daily, and Pin and print loads of patterns and recipes to try!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January Recap and on to February Goals

Before opening the image I created for my January goals, I was feeling pretty good about things.

Then I reread them

1.  I have made a LOT of progress on one of the baby blankets.  Unfortunately it's taking longer than I anticipated given it's size, and had to rip out almost the top 1/3 because I needed to go down a hook size to get closer to a square.  This is before I started my "ruffly" border.  Have any of you ever crocheted a ruffle border?  It looks adorable, but good golly it's taking me forever!!! 

2.  Basically haven't touched by craft room since my original post about January Goals.  Started out giving myself an F on this, because it felt like I deserved one, but I did get [almost] all of my yarn put away early in January, and I have been able to get in there to access yarn when needed, so I'm not calling it a complete failure!

3.  Eh.  Early January I put away our Christmas decorations and got out my Valentine's Day stuff - which was amazing because I hadn't seen any of it since 2013, possibly 2012 (I can no longer remember which holiday I decided to make my last with decorations pre-move to WNY).  We also got our coffee pot set up with the fridge, but has been more hassle that it's worth when we don't have any water access on our side of the house just yet.  But the fridge is nice to keep beverages cold from when we're watching TV!  My in-laws left to go south for the next 3 months last Wednesday, so we primarily spend our evenings watching home downstairs in their living room since our pups are down there, and they have cable, which we do not on our side of the house!

4. The pattern continues - I haven't opened my gift-giving spreadsheet 1/8/15 (according to the last time it was saved).  I've had gift ideas running through my head for Valentine's, and Jon's birthday which is in March, but I haven't taken (or HAD) the time to go in and add things in as I think about them.

5.  TOTAL SUCCESS!  On January 11th Jon and I went skiing for our first time together as a couple, and my first time in almost FOURTEEN years!  The lift tickets that were removed from an old ski coat that still fits me were from March 2001.  Craziness.  My equipment is pretty old.  No joke, my skiis were likely purchased around 1997 and are JUNIORS skis.  Jon wanted to buy me new gear this year, but I told him it made more sense for me to ski with what I had (once it was graced by the local Ski Shop) this year to make sure I was still going to ENJOY skiing - after all, 13+ years is a very long time.  Well, I loved it!  After making Jon go down the Bunny Hill with me twice I was off and skied every run at Peek'n Peak that Sunday night.  It was as much fun as I remember skiing, if not more!  And I was skiing better than I ever remember skiing in high school.  I couldn't wait to go back.  We went back on the 18th with another couple, and I did not have the best of times.  It was super icy which I've always hated, and it made my knees very sore.  I ended up having to call it quits before anyone else was really ready to, but I was skiing terribly and didn't want to get hurt.  Our third trip skiing didn't happen until this past Saturday.  We went with the same couple as before, but this time we did a day trip up to to Holiday Valley.  It was AMAZING.  Just enough fresh snow to have an amazing time!  The next time we go, I want to rent equipment so I can try out a pair of parabolic skis.  Don't know when it's going to exactly be, but I.CAN'T.WAIT.

Hard to believe it's already February, isn't it?  I'd originally planned to do my January recap and February Goals as separate posts as to not make either too long, but it's already the 3rd of February so bare with me, cause I'm plugging along!

1.  I wasn't 100% successful in January, but I can't give up now!  Realistically I doubt I'll finish all 3 with such a short month, but hey, a girl can dream [crazy dreams] right?  right.

2.  I feel as though I've talked about this before, but last November after our whirlwind trip to NYC I felt amazingly rejuvenated.  On the drive back to Panama we were discussing this weightless feeling that I had, and we talked about saying that one day over every weekend would just be about us.  Maybe a little laundry if need be, and it could be with another couple but no remodeling with my dad, no major overhauls of rooms, etc.  Just Jonathan and Holly time.  We're not always the best and keeping true to this every weekend, so I'm hopeful that 4 consistant weekend's this month could make it a habit!

3.  I'm tired of feeling like I live in a mess.  Overall it's not going anywhere anytime soon, but I'd just like to feel like there aren't piles of clothes waiting to be put away in the bedroom and piles of yarn stacked on the caught and a mess lining the walkway in the hall and projects that are way overdo that I still don't have done.  Just want to feel more on top of things come March 1st!

4.  I've definitely caught the bug, and want to keep skiing while the weather is good.  Yesterday I totally wanted to play hooky and go skiing in all that amazing snow we got over night, but I was a good girl and went to work.  I definitely foresee  Jonathan/Holly time in February also being skiing time.  And I'm okay with that!

5.  This one probably got a big WHY out of many of you.  Well, the next show that I'm going to be in is "Boeing Boeing" this March at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown.  I'll be playing Gretchen, the German flight attendant.  We've just started blocking this week, but I'm very excited about the challenge of this part, and being apart of this hilarious production.
Here's a peak at the Broadway revival in which Mary McCommack portrayed Gretchen and recived a Tony nomination:

^This 2nd video is better, but Blogger won't let me embed this, but please, take the 4 minutes to go in and watch it, you will not be disappointed!

So there you have it.  I'm going to try my best to work on all of these goals during the next couple of weeks, but it's not surprise that rehearsals are going to take up a lot of my time, especially in the evenings.  Add to it that I'm also working to choreograph not 1 but 2 different high school musicals ("Damn Yankees" and "Anything Goes") which both open in March.  Throw pesky little work in there, and the fact that I actually need to sleep and my schedule is F-U-L-L

Monday, February 2, 2015


I really prefer owls over football. 

I especially find crocheted owls to be suburb!  This little guy is part of my 2014 Mood Blanket (that still hasn't been touched since February 2014).  Free pattern can be found HERE.

We don't really watch sports, unless it's the Super Bowl, or the Olympics.  I know we are in the minority, but I gotta say, as a non-sports watcher, I'm often SO HAPPY that Jonathan is also not into watching sports on TV all weekend.  We are able to get so many other things done!

We do always watch the Super Bowl.  Mostly because I say we need to watch it, and that's because I wanna make Super Bowl food and use that time to crochet (and watch out the commercials) <----did anyone have a favorite commercial?  I found many companies using millions of dollars in ad time to come up with the "oddest" thing they could as their way of being remembered by the end of the night.  I always enjoy what Budweiser does, the Snickers one with The Brady Bunch was funny, and the #withdad Nissan one and #girlpower ones just made me all weepy!  I've always enjoyed Katy Perry and found the Halftime Show to be very entertaining.  Plus all the special effects and quick costume changes always make this theatre nerd giddy!  And as a theatre nerd - hello amazing Idina Menzel singing the National Anthem!  Seriously, she can do NO WRONG as far as I'm concerned.  End of story.  Don't try and tell me otherwise, because you will not convince me, or win!

It was just the two of us (and the dogs) so we didn't make a ton of food.  We had these INCREDIBLE Chicken Nachos that I thought were going to end up being a snack, but were definitely enough food for just the 2 of us as dinner (we did have a late lunch too).  They looked so amazing as soon as Jonathan brought them in, I didn't even think to photograph them!  I was too busy cramming them in my face and keeping the dogs away from said face.  Seriously, they're amazing.  I just love Ree and her blog!

And for dessert were had these little beauties:

I've always been a big fan of No Bake Cookies, so when I saw this recipe on Maybe Matilda last week, I knew they were a MUST for the Super Bowl!

Next time I make them, yes! these will definitely be made again, I'm going to try just using 1/2 cup of chocolate chips with maybe a little less than 1/2 cup of peanut butter.  It was almost too over-powering for the yummy Oat mixture to have such a thick band of chocolate on top.  Jonathan agreed, and I feel like that's saying something because I didn't think it was possible for him to have TOO much chocolate!  It was probably also a combination of the fact that we used dark chocolate chips vs. semi-sweet and the only pan I had to use was like 11" x 6" instead of 9" x 9"..... SOMEDAY I'll have my own kitchen again (and equipment for cooking and baking!)

By the 3rd quarter I was ready for a snack:
Living in Western NY Bison Chip Dip and STBC are pretty much a way of life - and both are always so yummy!!  Helles (Where the Helles Summer?) is their new Spring Lager.  Tastes an awful lot like Bud Light, which I'm okay with.  I'm just not sure how frequently I'd pay craft beer prices for something I could get for much cheaper by purchasing Bud Light.  We'll see, this was only #2 out of my six-pack so I have 4x left for Helles to convince me it's worth it!

Speaking of Western New York, we got hit with snow last night and this morning.  We live about 70 southwest of Buffalo, NY so we missed the CRAZY November storm.  We're also 400+ miles west of New York City, so we weren't close to being hit by Juno last week.  In all honestly, this winter has not been that terrible "snow-wise" - not compared to what I remember growing up.  Jon and I constantly talk about how badly we want a big snow storm or blizzard - the kind that keeps you stuck in doors in your jammies all day!  Didn't quite get this, but this morning was a bit closer to what I remember from my childhood!

Here's the view out the kitchen window as of 7:50ish this morning!  Probably close to 15" of snow came down starting at 5 p.m. through the overnight.  Our driveway is approximately 1/4 mile long and it took Jonathan over an hour to slow-blow the bare minimum width for me to get to work this morning!  Only about 6 school districts in the county closed today, so many were digging out and on their way to work & school (as is life in these parts 6 months out of the year).  Roads were decently plowed (for the most part) - all came down to what Mom and I often refer to as "winter roads".  Always thankful for how WELL my Jeep drives in the winter!

Out the backdoor, you could also see how much snow had accumulated up on the top of the garden gate.

Our metal roof collects a LOT of snow and ice in the winter.  This shot is looking out one of the living room windows.  I was sitting near this window during the Super Bowl last night, and a lot of snow and ice from the roof right above here came sliding down at one point and crashed to the ground scaring the bejezus out of me and the pups!

And, speaking of the pups - here's what Copper and Osa thought about watching football
such sweet dups :-)

Jonathan and I also both passed out before the game was over.  Woke up having missed the Patriots final Touch Down but did get to see what I'm certain will be remembered as one of the worst plays made in a Super Bowl and the "end-zone brawl".  As soon as it was all over, we switched back to Netflix for some of our favorite documentaries on castles in England.  Like I said, we don't care too much one way or the other!

I did do some crocheting.  Not a lot, so there really wasn't much to photograph and share.  I didn't even start crocheting until the 2nd half of the game because I was SO COLD!! Couldn't figure out why having a fire wasn't warming up the room, and me in return.  By the time we went to bed around 11 p.m. our bedroom was an ice box.  Turns out our gas was out and Lord only knows how long we'd been sitting around without heat.  I'm guessing mid afternoon cause it had been cold upstairs around 2, but we had a window open knocking down some ice so I didn't think much of it.  I didn't do any laundry that required warm or hot water so I didn't notice it then.  Even when I was washing my face at 11, I must have been too sleepy to realize that there wasn't really any hot water (probably just the little bit that was left in the hot water tank that was luke warm at best).  Jonathan trudged out into the snow to reset....whatever it is that has to be reset when that happens, and we warmed up quickly once the furnace kicked back on!  #superhusbandtotherescue!

Happy Whistlepig Day to you all!  We will be watching "Groundhog's Day" just as soon as I get home from my Board Meeting tonight.  and hopefully it'll be warm enough to crochet!  Today is one of Jonathan's favorite holidays, and this is definitely one of his favorite movies :-)

Up tomorrow - successes and pitfalls of January Goals and my February Goals!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Love Bug

I've always had this really bad habit of not starting on holiday crafting until far too close to that specific holiday to realistically finishing every anything in time.  Somewhere around March or April 2014, I realized I should already be working on Summer crafting so that in the summer I would be working on Halloween crafting etc.  I always see fabric and crafting supplies at JoAnns many seasons out, and I know exactly why, I've just never been good at implementing this into my every day crafting.

I'm trying to be better this year, and in realizing that it's just a little over a month until Valentine's Day, and the fact that I got out my Valentine's Day decorations last weekend means I've got the BUG to start some new Valentine's stuff!

I was super duper excited when I got these finished last year, and loved them as much as I remember as soon as I got them out this year.  Here is their new location for 2015 - between the 2 windows in our current "living room"

don't mind our only-primed walls and lack of framing around the windows - this room will one day be a child's bedroom, and isn't close to being finished.  For now we are just loving it as our own space outside of our bedroom for watching TV, lounging and crocheting!

I tried to be all artist in the photos I took this morning.  Then I got to work and looked at them more closely.  Good grief, between the icky morning light, grainy cell phone photo and seeing how curled all my hearts are I'm definitely disappointed in this quick attempt at taking good photos on my way out the door! LOL

I saw the pattern to make these ADORABLE stuffed Hershey Kisses last year, printed out the pattern, bought some white ribbon when I couldn't find my stash, and, in true form, never even started one! This year, I'm gonna make these happen.

Sarah, over at Repeat Crafter Me is one of my top 5 favorite pattern designers/crochets/bloggers out there!  I use and reuse her patterns all the time, and always get excited when she posts a new pattern.  When she posted this key chain on Wednesday, talking about a crochet version coming the following day, I couldn't wait to see it.  Trust me, it did NOT disappoint.  How cute is THIS!  Can't stand it cute if you ask me!  Now I personally could never put this on my actual key chain and run the rick of ruining him, but I have loads of ideas for other places he could live.

High school musical rehearsals are in full gear around here, and I've been asked to choreograph the shows at two different schools this year.  While it's an honor to be asked, I've definitely got a full plate with coming up with the choreography and then I spend most of my week nights at each of the schools teaching the kids.  This means I have zero "free" time to crochet right now so it may be a bit before I have much finished to share (or even give a sneak peak)!  Hopefully within a week or so I'll have more of the choreography set so that I can spend either my lunch hour or a bit of time after work crocheting again vs. choreographing :-)

I leave you today with this really cute article.  It was a sponsored post on the Facebook page, and it made me smile.  Clearly all of this transfers over to crocheting pretty well!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Please vote!

You've heard me speak of my sweet little guy Copper a few times now, and if any of you are Facebook or Instagram friends with me, you've seen LOADS of posts and photos and videos and ridiculous stories about my little boy!  If not, here are a few highlights:

This is from the day we first met Copper (his name was Colby Creek at the time) at his foster family's house (July 9, 2013)

The day Copper officially came home to live with us (July 14, 2013)

Our first summer together (2013)

Copper loves his bones, begging for treats, snuggling and giving kisses

Please take a minute to vote for Copper in the Hot Dogs, Cool Cats Pet Photo Contest which is put on every year by our local Humane Society.  Copper is a rescue dog from Central New York, where the owners of 'mom' got the point with the litter where they no longer cared what home this last little puppy went to.  Thankfully he was brought to the Jamestown area and fostered by a wonderful family with a BIG heart for beagles until his path crossed mine.

Vote for Copper | Hot Dogs, Cool Cats Pet Photo Contest


Friday, January 9, 2015

January Goals

Time to breakdown what I'd like to accomplish in January:

1.  I know,  This almost feels like I'm already giving up on the possibility of crocheting a Christmas gift this month doesn't it?  Ok, well maybe not to you, and yes, I will certainly be crocheting more than what's listed under Goal #1 - I just feel like before I can start on any big project for 2015, I've GOT TO finish the not one, not TWO, but THREE baby gifts that were started over the past year and are not finished!  One is much smaller than the other two, and very close to being done.  And another is close to 3/4 done.  The other has a ways to go, but if, for once, I were to focus on these solely, I could actually get them finished by the end of the month no problem!  So far now, I'm holding off on starting a Christmas gift so I can get the monkey of these old projects off my back and out the door.  Besides, these babies need my crochet goodness to keep this warm this winter!

2. and 3.  These go hand in hand because there was a "great shuffle" of boxes and things over Thanksgiving weekend to give us a temporary living room in the 2nd bedroom we originally had demo/electrical/insulation work done to back in early 2013 (see the first set of before and afters HERE)

Here is what the 2nd bedroom/"storage central" looked like when we started in on Black Friday:
yikes, right?  
I know, it almost makes me twitchy.  I spent close to 18 months completely ignoring this rooms presence when I walked through the upstairs hallway.

Well after moving and shuffling and repacking and moving and labeling and shuffling and moving to the attic and the amazing super power that was having my parents helping us (seriously, I do NOT know what we'd do or where we'd be with out them), here's where we were by Sunday early evening:
As we rolled up an old mouse eaten rug from the room to replace with a remnant we purchased that weekend, we found this hole in the floor!  Crazy thing is, can't say any of us were all that surprised by this (other than the fact that I just thought it was a soft spot under the carpet when I would step there - not an actual, uncovered HOLE).  We've found this time and time again in the house where holes were cut in the floor for whatever reason access under floorboards was needed, and usually the fix was to just nail down whatever they had over it to cover the hole.  This would include tin can tops, parts to tin can tops and a 12" x 12" section of wainscoting (all were found on the original floors of our Master Bedroom)  The house originally operated as a Bed and Breakfast starting in 1885, though sections of the house are older than that (2 smaller houses were brought up on the hill by ox cart from the village and much work was done to build everything together into one large hotel.  When they demoed our Master Bedroom, in January 2013, there was newspaper being used as insulation from 1813 found in the walls - pretty cool huh?)  We believe many of these types of holes were created in the early 1900's when they would have been running electrical wiring in the house for the first time, and access was needed to hang chandeliers down in the 3 first floor parlors.

A few nights before we left for Disney, we had our couch, TV unit and coffee table from Maryland set up in our "new" temporary living room.  I snapped this very grainy picture with my cell phone on this night to post to Facebook:
It was my first time sitting back down on our couch since we had left Maryland 18 months prior and I was feeling all sorts of feels: sentimental for our old apartment, missing our friends and excitement for some progress on our side of the house.

I have cleaned blankets to use on the couch now, and my favorite couch pillows are out.  We even got a small fridge for drinks and a Keurig for morning coffee up there. I just need to clean up a bit this weekend before I can take some more after photos to share.

Moving all of my crafty things out of "storage" and quickly just into my craft room, meant my beautiful, almost finished craft room went from this:
(all that's missing is some moldings and my tile flooring - we decided to let me move everything in now and use the room as I can while work is being done on the bathroom, etc and that we'll get the tiles laid one of these days when we have professionals in working on the bathroom or something and Jonathan and my dad are in need of something to keep them busy! LOL)

to this!

Scary, huh...  
It's better than this now thanks to all my yarn being 90% put away (as I mentioned yesterday), but there is still tons to get put away so I can easily find things and use this room - including getting my sewing machine out of that box on the counter and start using it again!

4.  While I don't really knit anymore, I thoroughly enough reading Stephanie's blog.  Not only does she make me wish that I was a better knitter, but she's hilarious to boot!  One of my favorite times of year with her blog is during the month of December when she writes to non-knitters daily about what they can buy the knitter in their life.  Always amazing things that she researches and shares, many of which nicely convert over to use for a crazy crocheter like myself!

I'm always so insanely unorganized during the Christmas season (or, at least, it felt that way this year), and Stephanie's spreadsheets really spoke to me in my haze of just not knowing what I was doing for Christmas gifts.  Before Christmas was officially upon us, I had built out my own version of her spreadsheet to make sure that I had all the gifts I needed, and that I wasn't forgetting something stuck in a bag, hiding on the counter of my craft room behind a large tower of bins filled with was very interesting getting in there on Christmas Eve to find the Santa gifts which still needed wrapping!

Since wrapping up Christmas 2014, I have begun building my own gift-giving spreadsheet for all of 2015!  Whether birthdays, anniversaries, for Jonathan, my parents, sister-in-law, the puppies, or Bingo gifts for Christmas Eve; everyone has a row and every holiday a column.  It's still evolving (just yesterday I added in Mother's and Father's Day, and I blacked out any holidays where gifts aren't needed for particular people. I don't tend to buy my puppies Anniversary or Father's Day gifts, but I do spoil them with special treats on their birthdays, home-a-veries and on Christmas!  Nor do we buy my dad and father-in-law Mother's Day gifts - you get the idea)

I'd like to have, at least, a first draft of my 2015 spreadsheet well under way by the end of this month.  Mostly the crochet/sewing column - it's really the only way I'm going to effectively know what I need to make each month and stay on track, right?!?

5.  For those of you who don't know me personally, I skiied my entire childhood.  My parents were both on local ski patrol (my dad was actually on ski patrol at 2 different resorts) so I started skiing when I was 2 - which is actually 5 years before I even started taking dance lessons!  The last time I went skiing was my senior year of high school.  We used to come home from DC for the holidays thinking we'd get to ski but we'd run out of time, or the weather would just be too warm.  Now we're on our 2nd winter in WNY and we still haven't gone skiing.  That's changing this Sunday!  I'm excited and nervous all at once to pick something back up that I used to love, but haven't done for the past 12 years.

My boots still fit, my skis and bindings are being checked my a local ski shop.  Last night after work I stopped at Mom and Dads to go through what ski gear I still had that was usable.  Everything still fits or was in good enough condition (some mearly good-enough to get me through what's left of this winter) except for ski pants.  Turns out my hips are not as thin as they were when I was 18.  duh....I totally knew that 

There you have it - my January Goals.  Will try to remember to photograph my progress and completion throughout for a month-end recap!

Stay warm out there today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Goals

I'm a couple of days behind in getting this posted, esp when you consider the fact that I've had my 2015 goals set since New Years Eve!  Unfortunately, Jonathan and I got sick while in Disney mid-December and the "ick" that seems to be taking out any and all in our region has kept me down for weeks now - to the point where I didn't get off the couch or out of my jammies all day on New Years Day :-(

Last January I had big plans of keeping track of goals vs. resolutions throughout the year.  Well that was big flop long before I stopped blogging in March.  I'd like to try again each month to come up with around 5 things that I want to accomplish.  Some may tie into the 2015 goals I'm sharing with you now, while others may just be on a month by month whim!

1.  As I mentioned in my last post, this past Christmas I crafted far less gifts this year than for the past few years.  For a while I felt bad, almost guilty about this, but there came a point in December where I had to just "Let It Go" and remind myself that my family would not think that I cared less about them this Christmas just because their gift came from a store vs. my crochet hook or sewing machine!  I've certainly said it before, directly after the holiday stress and rush that I'm going to start crocheting Christmas gifts earlier next year!  Well, to make it seem a bit less daunting, I thought I'd just hold myself accountable to one gift per month.  In theory this means I should have 12 gifts made by Christmas 2015 - makes sense right?  We shall see how it goes!

2.  Shortly after midnight New Years Eve (well, technically Day) I proclaimed that this was my big New Years Resolution for 2015!  I had been thinking it for a couple of days at this point and hadn't shared with Jonathan.  For some odd reason I was bursting with excitement to share my level of commitment to this over the coming year.  Sadly, Jonathan's response was to scoff and say "what do I get if you buy yarn?" I was definitely disappointed that he wasn't taking me seriously (he later apologized, he's really not a stay up late kinda guy and was getting tired cranky).  It also fueled me to prove him wrong!  

Have no fear though, I will have ZERO problem crocheting lots this year while also keeping this goal.  This is, of course, because I quite possibly have the yarn stash to end all yarn stashes:
Mostly importantly, I'd like you all to please disregard the laundry and coats hanging in the doorway, and the bags stacked up on the floor.  My craft room is most definitely still a work in progress!

My yarn bin was designed by me, and fully built and executed by Jonathan and my Dad [who built everything in my craft room.]  The cabinet is deep enough that what's in there is 2 (sometimes 3 or 4) skeins deep right now.  As you can also see things like purple, veregated, baby, pound of love and cotton yarns are missing from my yarn cabinet.  There are 3 large plastic bins of veregated yarn along with 2 large plastic bin of purple yarn under the counter top just to the left of my yarn cabinet (bins are similar to THESE and were purchased at Walmart 2 summers ago).  My baby yarn is all stacked in a hanging cabinet in the corner of the same side of the room.  My cotton yarn and pound of love stash is in 3 plastic bins (2 of cotton, 1 of pound of love) in the floor to ceiling cabinets that were built to hold these sort of standard size Sterilite totes (20 in total, 10 pink and 10 silver if anyone truly cares other than me!)  And as I was telling my mom this morning this doesn't include the multiple bins and bags of yarn which is either part of a WIP or was purchased specially for something which I haven't given up on actually making one day...

So, as you can see, I will NOT be running out of yarn anytime soon this year, or next, or likely the year after that!  I have controlled the desire to walk through the yarn aisle at Walmart, or just swing by Michaels as I drive by, or even look at online sales for yarn so far.  Yes, I know, big whoop we're only 7 days into 2015!  But I'm trying.  I do foresee the possibility of needing more of a neutral like white, black or cream or a specific shade [say of blue] by mid year, but for now I'm really concentrating to use what I have!

And one day, what yarn I have will fit in my specially designed and built yarn cabinet.  It just won't be today.  Or tomorrow :-)

3.  I'm a bit on the fence on this Goal since typing these out back on New Years Eve.  It's taken me quite a few days to write this post around everything else in life, it's now January 7th and I haven't begun to pull together the materials to do this.  Heck, I haven't even come close to finishing my Mood Blanket from 2014!! As always around this time of year, everyone is talking about goals and projects for the following year.  First, I had to Google search what a Temperature Blanket even was.  Once I knew the answer to that, I felt a bit stupid for not putting that one together on my own.  As I kept looking, I found this pattern which got me exciting by the idea.  Now on the 7th of January, I haven't begun, my Mood Blanket hasn't been crocheted since last February (I have notes for every day of last year) and I'm starting to wonder if I want to bother....
The only thing keeping me holding onto the idea is 1. I love the pattern and it would allow me to try it out 2. I think this blanket would make an awesome Christmas present 3. if it gets to be too much, or I don't like the pattern after all I can always quit (keeping track of moods felt so much more personal last year that even when I had packed up the yarn for it, I still wanted to keep track of my moods throughout the year) and 4. think of all the yarn I would use up!
We'll see what happens.  Maybe I'll get some motivation over the weekend to dig in...

4. Cutting in dangerously close already, aren't I??  Can't believe my last post back was already a week ago!  Life has just gotten so busy lately.  Gonna try and be more organized and write with purpose in 2015.  Of course, if I have nothing interesting to write; I may miss a week, but I'm going to try and be more dedicated to the blog this year.  I write for me, and don't want it to be stressful, or feel like work - I just don't want to go 8 months between posts again!

5. I didn't read much at all last year.  I'd like to change that.  I have books on the shelf (and far more still in boxes), books on my kindle, books in my Amazon wishlist and even an subscription so it's not that I'm not interested in books, or reading/listening.  More importantly, when am I going to fit reading into my day with everything else??!? 

Up next: My January specific goals.  I will try and make that post a little shorter too!