Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Little Bit Done

Ah, the sweet feeling of done-ness.

The scrapbook weekend was a qualified success.  I got a lot done, but nowhere near as much as I'd hoped.  Because the week leading up to the retreat was hectic, as all weeks are when you take a Friday off, my photos weren't fully sorted out.  In fact, only 2000 was really in good shape.

Most of Friday was spent getting 1998 and 1999 into good enough shape to start laying out pages.  Even that got pretty dicey; I ran out of layout guides and had to resort to the "this bunch of pictures will probably fit on a 2 page spread" method of using the guides.  It makes for much slower work after the sorting.

But by Sunday night, all of 1998 and part of 1999 was in the photo album.  The remaining photos for 1999 are mostly sorted, so finalizing the layouts and getting the pages done shouldn't be too painful when I can get to it next.

The real success story is this:  the Bee Welcome door hanger from Bird Brain Designs is done!  It has been inching closer and closer to that blessed state since I got back from the scrapbook weekend.  Last Sunday, I sat down and spent a couple hours stitching the top and bottom blue pieces onto the green backing wool.  Just last night I cut them out.  It was so close to done I said phooey on paying the bills, did the hangar pieces, and attached the top hanger and the two little bits that attach the top and bottom together.  TA DA!

And one last bit on the Pow! scarf:  it is up to 57 inches.  In another 23 inches (or thereabouts) I get to make the second pocket.  Once that is done, there is only some stitching up to do and I have my scarf.

Progress is sweet.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Second Progress Report

Time to check in with progress...

Backwards sucks.  I got through 2000, still have 1999 and 1998 to go.  It is really hard to tell whether I'm on track to have the things that should be in 2 page layouts in 2 page layouts.  Spent way too much time working that out on Saturday at Valerie's house.

I do have all the patterned paper pulled out for the scrapbook.  I'll need to make a run to the local scrapbook shop to fill in the solids as photo backers.  Black is always good, and I'll make sure I'm well stocked on colors that go with the CM "Delight" pack.  (In the fiber world, we'd call that a colorway.)

Chair Seat:
No icing (see the last status report).  More of the background worked on at Jane's.  More background to go, and I'll need to cut more wool tomorrow.  Then more background and more background.

Fewer appointments, less knitting done.  The hoodie is just over 1/2 done, so still I feel like I've made good progress.

Bee Welcome Applique:
Did the bees.  I misread the directions, and instead if attaching the bees to the background with buttonhole stitch, I just went  around the outside of the bees, like I did for the flower.  So I had to whip stitch the bees on after they were assembled; not the smartest thing I've done all month, but they look fine.  Monks cording is done, so now I have the pieces to attach to the backing and the hangers to stitch and assemble, and it will be finito!

Monday, September 6, 2010

First Progress Report on The Plan

Here's my progress to date on the four projects I picked to work on.

I purchased all the photos from 1998 - 2000, and sorted all but a handful of the 1998s into their correct month.  I'm working backwards for the page layouts, starting with the end of 2000.  I made it from Christmas that year all the way back to late September when we took the trip to Yellowstone.  I'm not really sure why I chose to work backwards for this one; I guess I wanted to make sure I ended on a two page spread.

I'll continue creating layouts through this week, and into the weekend when Val has her workshop.  With any luck I'll know if I need a second coverset by Saturday.

Chair Seat:
I took the daughter with me to Jane's on Wednesday and got about two hours of solid hooking in.  This time I hooked in more than I pulled out.  Yeah me!  Jane won't have a workshop this week, so I suspect I won't make much progress on the chair seat until week after next.  The plan will be to pick it up then.  Anything else is just icing.

I've made some good progress here, if slower than I would like.  I took the knitting to Jessica's doctor's appointments this week, that's the allergist, the dentist, and the orthodontist, and knit at the pool at the Grand Californian.  I'm guessing I've done in the neighborhood of 1.5 inches,

Bee Welcome Applique:
This has the advantage of being a quick project if you work on it steadily.  I haven't been, so getting it done has dragged out quite a bit.  On the other hand, it is a fun project to do, so it isn't hard to pick it up for a bit to get it going.  I worked on it on our first evening at the Grand Californian.  I've gotten to the monk's cording and the bees, I think I will assemble the bees before doing the cording.

Me Darling's Gone to Sea

Ah, the lament of mothers in ages past. The youngest has gone to sea.

Of course, in this case, we sent her to camp aboard a tall ship, the SSV Tole Mour, and will pick her up at the week's end. The SSV designation means she is a sailing school, and they train by ASTA (American Sail Training Association) standards.

The daughter will have an assigned line (last year it was the mizzen downhaul, which she really liked because it was right by the helm); they have 3 watches for their sailing duties, and by rough calculation based on the GPS transponder on board, they hit 11 knots today. Not bad.

I'm publishing this a full two months after I started it, so I guess it isn't cheating to say that the daughter had more than an assigned line to haul.  She was the mate for the fore gaff sail (I'll have to get the really-o, truly-o correct name later, she's konked out right now) on her watch.  And there were older, more experienced kids aboard.  Yeah!  That's my girl.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

That Balance Thing Again

I was thinking about this blog as I sat in the audience last Friday at The Hollywood Bowl, listening to John Williams conduct the L.A. Philharmonic in a program of movie scores. I was thinking about how I had not posted in a while, and how I should post about how to enjoy what you have, and wondering how long it had been since my last post. Ten months (egad) it turns out.

It occurs to me that maybe it is a little bit wrong that I should be thinking about the blog, rather than being in the moment of lovely music (or at least memorable music; the Theme from Jaws isn't lovely, but it is definitely memorable) in one of my favorite places to listen to music. But that's where my brain went, and it led me back to thinking about how spend our time and how to achieve that pinnacle of accomplishment: Work Life Balance.

We work hard. These days, every one is a little worried about keeping their jobs, if they are employees, or keeping the business alive and growing (or maybe just afloat) if they are business owners. How do we clear time to play as well? For hobbies, for the things that give us depth and breadth?

Personally, I have too much going on, too much that I want to do, and not enough time to get it all done. Maybe if I didn't have to cook dinners, maybe if I didn't have the DD to shepherd, maybe if I didn't ... well, you know that litany and can add your own entries. In truth, I could have all those things done for me and still not have enough time for the projects I want to do.

I am going back to basics. To setting goals, to planning things out. It sounds dull, it sounds boring, it sounds painful, it definitely sounds like I'll have to say "No" or at least "Later" to some interesting things. Like learning to spin or learning to dye. But with limited time, focus is everything. And so I will plan what I want to get done first, what I can use to fill in (because not all projects are portable), and what I will use to add the variety that I need. Just a little, you know. And then maybe, just maybe, I can stop obsessing about what I'm not doing and start enjoying what I am doing.

So first, I'll get the photo albums firmly in control. This is actually well under way, 2009 got finished last month. I started in 2001, now I can pull some previous years to work on while I organize 2010. I have 1998 - 2000 pulled out ready to be sorted before the workshop in October. My friend Valerie hosts a scrapping workshop one Saturday each month, and my friend Kelly has friends over for a get together with room for scrapping (or crochet or knit or whatever) when her schedule allows.

Second, there is the traditional hooked chair seat cover that I can work on a couple hours most Wednesdays at Jane Olsen's workshops. I didn't mention that I took up that craft this January, did I? I'll have to fill in that story another time. But I did, and I've gotten the rose (Tea Rose pattern, pictured on this page) completed and am now filling in the background. I'm using a #4 cut of wool, so it hooks up fairly quickly. Good choice, for once. Jane is a great teacher, and is wonderful at guiding you to making reasonable choices.

Thirdly, there is the POW! scarf that I started last year and have been plugging away on as time allows. This is my portable project; I can do it in the car, or while waiting for the movie to start. I'm not up to knitting during the movie, I'll mess up for sure. This one is half finished, and would be closer but I keep having to unknit.

There is a little penny rug project (Bee Welcome from Bird Brain Designs) that can be finished in a good afternoon, or two shorter sessions, I think, that I will use as filler.

If this sounds like too much, and it may well be, it is still a fairly hard trimming of what I could be working on. There is a pile of other projects waiting in the wings. I am putting off the hemstitch sampler that is 1/3 finished. I have a study course in crewel embroidery. There's a couple of needlepoint projects that will be very pretty once they are done. I have tea towels to stitch, each a pretty small project but taken as a whole, well. There is the lap quilt that I started a very long while ago, and I pull out from time to time.

If I can limit both my expectations of everything taking only a little bit of time, and my exuberance for new projects I can complete some of the things I have going and begin to enjoy them. And that is where I want the balance to be.