Discovering: Bullet Journals!

I was browsing Pinterest the other day and stumbled across some pins about bullet journals, which had come up because I was looking for mood trackers for one of my friends. I learned about these journals that were kind of an all-in-one planner, journal, to-do list, and tracker of infinite things. After a little digging, I was absolutely inspired! I had to try this out!

Now, these journals are completely custom to each individual who uses them, and it can be as fancy or as simple as you would like. But understanding the base structure of a bullet journal is important to understand before you dive in. I actually stumbled across the official website and found their get started page to be super helpful as I was preparing for my new journal to come in the mail. It is important to plan space in the front of your journal for your index/table of contents so you can find things easily, like your key that reminds you what all your little marks mean.

Part of my preparation process was figuring out what I wanted out of my journal. My biggest focus was productivity and to-do’s. I wanted a simple way to keep track of my  daily tasks, and a habit tracker has served that purpose well. I have a chart laid out for this month with each day and a list of tasks that I do every single day, simple habits I’m trying to form, or medications and habits I want to track. In my new journal, I’ve also created a second chart for tracking my uncle’s medications and meals since I do most of the day-to-day household caretaking for him.

Habit tracker

I have seen many people include a “future log”, where they make notes about their future plans for the coming 6 months to a year; However, because I live at home with my family, the long-term events and plans are made by my parents. I don’t really feel like I need that section, so I’ve left it out. I actually even leave out a month overview, but I may add that at a later date. What I do use is the weekly planning where I lay out my week on a page of my journal, write down any appointments and events I see on our Google calendar, and leave a little extra space for groceries I’ve noticed we need and notes for the week, as well as what meals we have eaten through the week.

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Now comes my to-do’s and daily planning. At night, I make sure I have appointments and tasks laid out for the next day. Throughout the day, I’m actively marking tasks as completed and checking for what needs to be done next. It keeps me time-conscious, on task, and encourages productivity. I’ve found myself motivated to do more, even when it’s not on my list and I’m already out of space for the day (to prevent me from over-burdening myself or writing things down just so I can check them off).

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So far, I’ve felt my productivity skyrocket, I feel positive, and I get excited for every day. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to spend the day doing nothing, and I feel bad when I haven’t accomplished anything. I’ve also felt like I’ve had a hard time remembering things lately, so having this journal on-hand at all times has made it easier for me to retain information. My little book has already started evolving and changing and being adapted as I learn new things and try to streamline my process. I’ll have another post coming soon about my new discoveries!

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You sell what??

Time for a little break from crocheting to talk about what I’ve been up to (besides I’m way behind on projects…). For the past couple months, my mom and I have begun selling some things on eBay; or rather, we are re-selling. We have managed to make a handful of cash off good quality and new-with-tags clothes from the thrift store. Yes, the thrift store!

I’m not kidding. My mom and I go to one of those Goodwill outlet centers where they charge for hardgoods and clothing by the pound. They roll out this huge trays the size of ping pong tables and about a foot deep that are overflowing with clothes, shoes and household linens. We spend about two hours at a time digging through these trays to find unique, well-made items, some of which still have their retail tags on. By the time we’ve checked out and counted up our items, we’ve spent around $1 per piece.

Believe me, I know some people are grossed out by thrift store stuff, with every reason to. I have found some disgusting things in there before. Most of the stuff is just poured straight out of bags into the trays. You find things that smell like urine, are caked with deodorant, or reek of smoke. We make sure everything we bring home doesn’t smell, is in good condition with little to no wear marks, includes all buttons/tassels/pulls, and is without stains or tears. If it passes those checks from what we can see in the store’s lighting and comes from a decent brand or fits our criteria for the season, it comes home.

We then make sure they’re clean, do some research, photograph, and list them at reasonable prices. Prices can range from $.99 to $15 (at the very most for very expensive brands).

With no employment, this little bit of work has kept my spirits up! I have stuff to do, I take part in the entire process, and I’m really enjoying this bit of work. At the end of the month, I make a few bucks for all my efforts.

Thanks for letting me ramble ❤ If you’d like to take a look at what we’re selling, see our store here!

Mood Blanket: Two Months!

Wow! Just last week I finished up nearly two months of squares. The blanket is looking great! I love how all these bright colors come together, and how the colors seem to change scheme depending on periods of my mood. Some sections are bright and warm, other spaces are much cooler and calmer. The past few days I have been happy, excited and motivated since I just got a pair of male parakeets to keep me company. They’ve grown so much in a week!

squares

Anyway, back to the blanket. I have now completed three rows of squares, which adds up to 48 squares so far. I do still have a handful of squares left to do, but seem to be enjoying making them in batches that correspond to rows. So I will fill out the spaces for 16 days, then start crocheting those squares and attaching them, which is why it does not look like a full 2 months in terms of how much I have crocheted.

dates

You may see a drop in photo quality for my newer posts. Normally I would lay things out and shoot them with my nicer camera, but I have felt the need lately to be more spontaneous and just do things right away, which means laying things out and grabbing photos with my phone.

So….we got chickens.

So….we got chickens.

We moved into this house a few months ago, and there was already a coop in the backyard. Our landlord said it was okay to have chickens, so we made plans to eventually get some. This weekend we fixed and cleaned up the coop, and brought home a few 5-week old chickens! Our 5 new babies will most likely be hens, but we can’t be sure until they are older. Hopefully we wont’ have to do any chicken exchanging. These lovely ladies are supposed to start laying in December, and they were hatched July 6th. So far, absolutely in love with them!

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They are dual-purpose chickens, which means that they will lay a moderate amount of eggs, and will also be good for meat once their laying days are over. How will that fateful day go? Not sure. Dad will probably have to do the work. Keeping their fate in mind, a few of them have food names. Introducing: BBQ (red), Dinner (white), Miss Fluffy Butt (tan), Nugget and Mary Poopins (black/white).

inthecoop

They are so beautiful and super soft! I love their little noises that they make, with their little chirps, squeals and trills. We’ve managed to get a few of them to eat out of our hands. Nugget is the bravest little bird, and Dinner is well…the biggest chicken. He tends to hide away under the nesting box when we are sitting in the coop, while the others will eventually come out and scratch around. Nugget will come close and eat from your hand, or peck at your clothes if you’re sitting still enough.

Nugget

Nugget

bbq

BBQ

I am so excited to see how they grow up and what color eggs they might lay. It’s always exciting to bring in a new pet, especially one you haven’t had before. We’ve previously had goats, and we have had birds in the past, but chickens are pretty new.

 

DIY Gold Leaf Wall Hanging

DIY Gold Leaf Wall Hanging

Since I moved in a couple months ago, my walls have been pretty naked. Some of that is just because I didn’t have very much wall space at the old house, and some is just because I haven’t managed to get my dad to help me get my deer prints up. My room’s “theme” is deer and rustic decor in fall colors, and I’m struggling to fill empty space and bring the room together. But decor is so expensive! I don’t have a job, so I can’t bring myself to pay $20 a piece for something that’s just on the wall. I started looking for nature-based decor that I could make at home to take up a chunk of wall space.

And so this beautiful wall hanging was born! It started with Pinterest posts of painted leaves in picture frames, and turned into a search for wall hangings. I went outside and gathered some Black Oak leaves from a tree growing in my yard, and painted them gold, red, and orange. The gold turned out the best, as the metallic sheen covered up any streaks or pooling caused by the texture and veins of the leaves, so I chose to stick with just the gold. I would brush the leaves with a stiff paintbrush to get a majority of the dust off without hurting the leaf, then paint one side, allow it to dry and paint the other side.

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With the branch on the wall, I was able to work in a “join as you go” sort of method and make decisions as I went along. For instance, seeing the way they hang and move and wanting to define the ends. I wanted to make sure the leaves stayed put and didn’t tangle with one another as the air moved in the room. So I weighted them with the premature acorns the same Black Oak was dropping.

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Painting and hanging the leaves took ages. Most of the day was spent waiting for leaves to dry so I could hang them and make more room for painting on the desk. I didn’t mind the wait, but it’s definitely not a quick project, and someone wanting to get it done faster may want to go buy some spray paint to speed the process along. I feel like spray paint would also allow better coverage for the leaves if you chose to use colors.

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I really love the way this little art project turned out, and how it brings so much more life and movement to the corner of the room. It constantly moves as the air moves in the room, making the leaves twist and spin and sway. The gold paint catches the light and glitters. It cost me nearly nothing, since I was using what I had around the house and in my neighborhood.

Mood Blanket Update: Mistakes Happen

Mood Blanket Update: Mistakes Happen

So I got a little over-excited with the size of this blanket. A few days ago I had just finished the 16th square (I am a few days behind), and laid it out on my queen sized bed to see how long it was. Keep in mind, this is the width of the blanket, and it was touching the floor on either side of the bed. Since I do plan on using this for my bed, and a cream border with a hardwood flooring was not such a good idea…I decided I needed to take out a row from each square to shorten it up.

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Now, this mistake will put be even more behind for a bit, but it isn’t the worst thing to happen. Because my squares are join-as-you-go, they are easy to pull back, fix, and reattach. I essentially need to remove the cream border, as well as the outer round of the square, then crochet the border back on. It is a simple fix for this huge problem, without having to start all over. You can see how big of a difference it made in the length and width of the squares, compared to the older versions.

changes

Now, after my fixes, I’m left with lots of little scraps of yarn. I’m not quite sure what I want to do with them or if I even should keep them. I might use the bits and pieces of yarn and connect them using the Russian Join(I may have called it the Weaver’s knot at some point by mistake) and use them in the border of this blanket, maybe as a round of single crochet.

notebook

Lately, as I have been recording my daily moods, I know I have had a handful of not-so-great ones. I am definitely wrestling with some depression right now, which is normal. Having to decide a new emotion every day has made me step back and think about what I’m actually feeling. Am I doing better today? Worse? Have I felt more productive, or am I letting everything fall apart around me? There have been more blue (sad/depression) and brown (tired) squares, and a few in light sage (a bit off). I try to have better days so I can mix in more enthusiastic and positive colors, trying to keep from falling into a pattern. Also, I’ve started color coding with markers, which helps me visually translate what I’m working with.

Flower Motif Lace Throw

Flower Motif Lace Throw

I have worked this yarn so many times, I’m surprised it still holds together so well! I bought this Lily Cotton yarn in Lilac to be a pineapple shawl like the Sonoma colorway I used before. However, I wasn’t feeling it this time around and ended up attempting to work up different patterns only to pull them apart again over and over. Finally, I found a pattern I’m happy with. This lacy throw blanket was actually designed to be a rug, but I have decided it will be a throw blanket for my parents’ room, since their new linens contain lots of purple.

yarn

This pattern I discovered on Pinterest, while searching for crochet rugs to not only whittle down my stash, but also solve the lack of rugs issue in our new home, which is all wood and tile flooring. So it was originally intended to be a rug, but I was worried that even with special tapes to hold it in place, that my mother would fall over it (nerve damage in her feet) or the dog’s claws would ruin it. So, it became a decorative throw rug. When I first started the project, I was blazing through the center motif, but have now slowed down as the ADD has kicked in and I have needed to bounce between projects. I have also had to rip back rows a few times when I’ve noticed mistakes that can’t be “fixed” by adding an extra double crochet when I find a miscount, which put me behind by quite a bit.

progress

Nevertheless, I’m still in love with this pattern, and carry it with me when I leave the house. It’s a great waiting room pattern, and I keep the chart on my phone so I can check my work while I’m away. My other projects require multiple colors of yarn, so a single-colored project is my best friend for when I’m out and about. It’s complex enough to keep my attention, but also easy enough that I don’t have to be constantly staring at the chart.

I’m not sure how large this piece will be. I bought 10 skeins of the Lily Cotton when I first planned a shawl. If it either gets large enough or I start running out, that will determine where it will stop. But for now, I have plenty to work with so I’ll keep going. It is currently about 3′ across, from straight edge to straight edge.

whole

As for the tail that’s featured in a few of these photos, it belongs to my “little” girl, Dakota. My 3-year-old boxweiler who decided getting off the bed so I could take my photos was not an option today. She’s really upset that my mom left to Arizona to deal with a family emergency for the week and has been pouting constantly.

pup