2016 New Years Resolution Postmortem

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Another year, another set of goals not fully met.

I know that sounds really pessimistic, but that’s just how these things go – I’m not a resolution maker who actually expects to fully complete each. Instead, I make resolutions with the goal of making progress, and using those goals, however unattainable, to improve myself or particular aspects of myself.

So I never really expect to fully fulfill them. If I do? AWESOME. If not? Oh well – the real question is did I TRY?

So let’s see how I did this year, shall we?

brush pen

1) Learn Brush Calligraphy

Success Level: High.

I think I did pretty well on this one. I’ve gotten significantly better – although obviously I’ve still got plenty of room for improvement (particularly when it comes to spacing and design) – I’m pretty happy with the progress I made on this one.

sketchbook

2) Fill a full sketchbook with figure drawing

Success Level: Low

I did not successfully fill a sketchbook. Bottom line is the year sort of got away from me with this one, and like last year I filled several sketchbooks, but all with lettering – not with figure drawing. So this one I think qualifies for another attempt.

reading

3) Read for at least 2 hours a week (reading not required by work) and be better about updating Goodreads.

Success Level: Medium

I didn’t quite meet the 2 hours a week quota, but I definitely did better about making pleasure reading a habit again. I’ve gotten through almost a dozen books that are not directly connected to work (of course my actual tally is much higher – but again I’m not counting stuff I HAVE to read, only the stuff I CHOOSE to read for no other reason than I want to).

WIPs

4) Finish all outstanding WIPs – both Knitting and Crochet

Success Level: None.

I really shat the bed on this one. Not even a single FO this year. I guess I just wasn’t feeling knitting in 2016.

sneakers

5) Run another 5k

Success Level: Another None.

Nope. This one just didn’t happen.

recipe books

6) Try 12 new recipes

Success Level: Medium

I added a few more recipes to my repertoire, but not 12 like I wanted. The reality is I really really did not cook much this year beyond sort of “okay lets throw something super quick together for myself.” No real meal planning, nothing complicated. This definitely needs to change come 2017.

makeup

7) Get better with makeup

Success Level: High

I’ve actually learned a lot in the last year. I’ve started using more of my eyeshadows, gotten better with liquid eyeliner, and even started wearing red lipstick occasionally. Overall I’m much more comfortable with my makeup skills, and all those amazing products I have saw a lot more use over the last year.

PJs

8) Pajamas are for bedtime only.

Success Level: High

Part of this has to do with the fact that I spent a lot less time working from home this year, and the other part of it has to do with actually HAVING a dedicated bedtime wardrobe that is separate from my lounge wardrobe. So yea, this one happened pretty consistently.

9) Make the damn bed. EVERY. DAY.

Success Level: Medium

I’ve definitely been better about it, but there’s certainly still room for improvement.

10) Organize, Organize, Organize!

Success Level: Medium

Again, the success here has been mixed. In a lot of ways I feel like my surroundings have ended up even further out of control than they were last year. I’m thinking 2017 is going to have to be the year of purging as opposed to the year of organizing.

11) Drink more water

Success Level: High

Generally I’ve been a lot better about this. Getting into the habit of carrying around a water bottle has helped, and specifically they addition of a Tervis water bottle was great – far easier to clean and keep clean than those nalgines since it just cleans like a regular cup.

gratitude

12) Stay Thankful

Success Level: Low.

I’ve had a rough year in terms of stress and its sometimes very hard for me to stay grounded in gratitude when I feel like I’m being chased by someone with a knife all the time. I’ve spent a good chunk of the year working on ways to help manage my stress a little better, and keep all my various commitments under control, but it’s still a struggle.

So 2016 was a pretty mixed bag in terms of my own personal goals. Hopefully next year I can improve on them even more!

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017!

How did you do on your resolutions this year?

(All photos originally appeared in the original resolution post here)

Six Last Minute Knitted (and Crocheted) Gift Patterns

It’s that time of year again! Gift giving season! I figured that this would be a perfect time to post a compilation of a few of my favorite, tried and tested fast knitting patterns – you know, in case anyone needs to procure a thoughtful, hand-knit gift in the span of a mere afternoon.

favorite last minute gifts header

All photos are taken from the Ravelry Pattern page, and link back to the original source.

FernLaceCowl_medium2

1) Fern Lace Cowl by Jami Brynildson – I’ve made several of these over the years – it’s a quick knit that’s interesting enough to keep you entertained without being too brainpower intensive, allowing you to easily pump this project out in an afternoon. And the finished project looks way more complicated than it is, and is very versatile. It can look drastically different depending on your yarn choice – in case you’ve got more than one to make!

Polka Dot Christmas Stockings

2) Polka Dot Christmas Stocking by Priscilla Hewitt – Again, a pattern I’ve used a number of times over the years, both last minute and in advance! The rounds are super quick to complete making this another 1 afternoon make. The only tricky part of this one is putting it all together at the end – there is no piecing diagram – but it’s not too difficult to figure out. Three rounds per row, offset to make them lock in with one another. The toe can be a little finicky if you’re not good with spacial reasoning (I have one or two of these that has a little bit of a lumpy toe as a result of me rushing too fast) but even if the toe doesn’t come out quite right, it still ends up looking great in the end.

Bella Mittens

3) Bella’s Mittens by Marielle Henault – This is a pattern that was SUPER popular a number of years ago in the heat of the Twilight craze, since they’re based off of mittens the character of Bella apparently wears in the movie. I was never a Twilight fan. The whole premise and execution of it is just really icky to me for a number of reasons. But this pattern? I LOVE this pattern. I made these mittens as a gift for my mom, and had allotted like, three weeks for them since I had never done cables on DPNs before. I definitely did not need it. They were done in an afternoon and a half – and honestly the extra half afternoon is only because I stalled putting on the thumbs. The bulky yarn has a great deal to do with how quickly they knit up, and you can also shave even more time off by cutting the amounts of repeats on the cuffs so they don’t go almost up to the elbow.

hill country Hat

4) Hill Country Hat by Clara Parkes – This was my very first hat pattern, and it’s remained in my repertoire ever since because of the ease and speed that it knits up. It’s also easily editable for big or small heads, and for those who do or do not prefer some extra length to fold up.

Calorimetry

5) Calorimetry by Kathryn Schoendorf – This is the OG messy bun hat, if you ask me. This pattern is probably in almost every raveler’s notebook in some form or another – it’s crushing popularity after its release in the Winter 2006 edition of Knitty was just insane. It’s got over 18,000 projects filed on Ravelry, making it the 3rd most popular free pattern on the entire website. It’s easy to knit, easy to personalize with crocheted flowers or other embellishments, and SUPER practical (in addition to this style of headband being pretty “in” right now). That said, you do need to be familiar with your intended recipient’s head size, as the sizing can be a bit finicky in my experience. The first one I made (and I even paid attention to gauge, which I NEVER do) wore more like a babushka than a headband on me. However, with its immense popularity there’s a lot of ways documented about how to adjust for a bigger or smaller head available in Ravelry project pages.

cozy ribbed scarf

6) Cozy Ribbed Scarf by Dawn Regan – And lastly, this cozy ribbed scarf is also a winner – super simple pattern, and again, easily customizable in terms of look depending on yarn choice. It can look polished or casual, preppy or boho. Chunky yarn makes this knit up super quickly, and the result is warm and totally “in” right now.

Do you have any favorite quick knits (or crochets)?

Meet Seiglinde.

I’m a little late on this post, since we got her in June and she’s pretty much a full grown dog by now, but better late than never I suppose.

puppy play

So this is Seiglinde. Pronounced Zig-Lin-Deh.

I call her Linde (Lindy) for short. My mom and I spent the entire hour and a half ride up and back from the breeder’s arguing about her name. Ultimately Mom won, since she’s her dog not mine.

Tongue out

Seiglinde is Brunhilde’s half sister. They share a poodle father. They are both also characters in a Wagner opera – one of the Ring cycle shows. I don’t know which one. I never cared for Wager. I was always more of a Puccini girl, myself.

But anyway, the characters are half sisters too, so there you go.

So, this is Linde.

Playful Linde

And Linde? Linde is an asshole.

Rough housing

While Hilde had a rough introduction into our lives, what made it rough was entirely outside of her control. No puppy is going to be perfectly perfect when trapped in a cast for two weeks. She was strong willed and resilient, indeed – but once the cast came off, the stubborn streak went away. And even with it on, she was sweet and learned super quickly and willingly.

Hilde had (and still has) a need to please. She likes making us happy. She likes being given tasks. In fact, she trained so easily and so quickly we thought that there might be something wrong with her at first. No puppy is this obliging. It must be too good to be true.

It wasn’t. Hilde is just awesome. She lives to serve. Probably would have made a great service dog if we weren’t too busy spoiling the living bejeezus out of her.

Cowlick

Lindy, on the other hand?

Yea, she’s just as strong willed and resilient as her sister… but in very different ways.

Hilde needs to please. Linde, on the other hand… need to BE pleased.

Post op puppy

She is stubborn, and strong willed, and when she decides she wants something, by golly she’s going to have it. She barks incessantly, she picks fights with her sister, she plays way too rough, and she has taken FOREVER to train by our standards. Simply put, she is a demanding dog.

But she is also hilarious, sweet, and a barrel of fun.

That Smile

And most importantly, we love her. And I’m pretty sure she loves us too.

Seat Stealer

As long as we surrender our seats to her, anyway.