The Importance of Taking Time Outs

I’m the kind of person who thrives on discipline and routine.  Otherwise, I don’t have motivation to complete my goals.  There are many times I don’t really feel like running, for example, but I know I’ll feel really guilty if I don’t.  And so I run.  Or cleaning my house.  I’m never, like, “YAYYY I CAN’T WAIT TO MOP!” but I get stressed when my house isn’t clean.  And so on Sundays, I do all my weekly cleaning chores.

Theoretically, there are many things I’d still  like to accomplish with my life.  I make it sound like I’m getting into my twilight years – I’m 33 and that’s still relatively young.  But there’s only so many activities we can devote time to until we feel overworked.  Getting my Professional Engineer’s license and project management certification are tangible, responsible things I’m working on now.  But if we’re talking theoretically – I’d like to be published (maybe a book of poetry); learn guitar well enough to release a self-recorded EP of songs (but not those overwrought covers that are suddenly trendy because I think we can all agree that those are officially The Worst); be fluent in Italian and French; be a craft designer and blogger; qualify for and run the Boston marathon (!); be a studio drummer.  What else?  If we’re getting really fantastical, have a dachshund farm and sheep farm (for my own line of home-dyed yarn, duh!). And throw raising a couple of kids in there.

But since I can’t do ALL THE THINGS, I choose some of the things.  A handful of the things.  Really just three things.  Right now I’m focusing on work, studying, and running.  I wake up, do yoga, go running on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, come home, eat dinner, study for an hour and a half, then go to sleep.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

But yesterday I just felt so exhausted.  I’ve been trying to increase my running distance and in this heat, it’s just taxing on my body. I felt bleary-eyed at work all day and didn’t feel any kind of  motivation to do much of anything, other than wanting to fall asleep.  My routine was catching up with me and I couldn’t motivate myself to come home and study.  So instead I made a nice dinner with Fiancé, we walked our dog and then I did NOTHING! It was great! No studying.  No reading serious articles about North Korea and our increasingly unstable president on the internet.  Instead I read about the real issues, like WHY DID ANNA FARIS AND CHRIS PRATT BREAK UP? and ARE ANGELINA JOLIE AND BRAD PITT EVER RECONCILING?

I fell asleep before Colbert came on and just slept all night. It was great.  I woke up this morning and instead of doing yoga, I typed out this blog post with a cup of coffee and belligerent dog by my side (he’s upset about the unknown entity in the chimney. Let’s give him some space).

Goal-setting, keeping a routine, and having discipline are all crucial elements to accomplishing what’s on your constant to-do list.  But sometimes if you don’t listen to your body, you’ll burn out.  By taking a break from my routine, I feel refreshed and motivated to start my day.  Sometimes a quick little break is just as important when it comes to meeting your goals.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to work and stuff.

Where I’ve Been

HELLO MY FRIENDS WE MEET UUUUUUGAIN!

I nearly upgraded my site just so I could post that Creed video and you all could judge accordingly, but it’s kind of pricey to upgrade so I’m just going to trust that you all click the link and shake your heads.

So.

How’s it going?

It’s been over three months since I posted and I’ve been missing this little blog.  I’ve been keeping pretty busy, but to keep from boring everyone I will just focus on the highlights.

TEST

After my last post, I succumbed to “obsessively check and wait for results” mode, which was awful. Waiting is the worst!  I finally received results in late May and, like I expected, I did not pass.  It was pretty disappointing.  But the difference between my score and the passing score was in the single digits…so…I am not far.  The next test is October 27th, and I have already started studying. I will pass this time!  I NEED TO PASS THIS TIME.  The next test after the October one is April 2018, which is when I’m getting married, which is a big NOPE.

TRAVEL

Another thing I started focusing on after my test was scrubbing up my admittedly weak Italian.  My family and I had a trip planned in June.  It was probably late May where I realized I wasn’t going to learn 32 years worth of Italian in a month, so I relaxed a little bit.

I will need to do an entire post on Italy but it was a pretty great trip.  We were there for two weeks and I was able to see my family, who I hadn’t seen in so long! My Italian was still bad, but I learned a lot being immersed over there.

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Selfie in Positano

Work

As one of my aunts says, “Lavoro é lavoro” (work is work), but I’ve been enjoying it.  Lots of reports to keep me busy. I really enjoy the projects where I get to dig deeply into the data (because I’m a nerd), but projects involving a lot of data can always be stressful because you want your analysis to be perfection.  I was also in the field for two weeks this month at a couple of my sites.  Guys. I’ve lived in Texas for over 20 years so I’m used to this heat – or I thought?  But one week was just so bad!  I’m so glad August is crunch time at the office and I have an excuse to be in the AC.

I do have one funny story – a gate wasn’t closed properly at my site, so we arrived the next morning to find a bunch of cows who had decided to make a visit.

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Just a small sampling of the cows at the site.

 

That was a call I wasn’t looking forward to making to my project manager.  He said we needed to herd them off-site.  “I…um…is there a way you recommend herding them?” I asked.  He told us to make lots of noise.  So I started running at the cows wildly, waving my arms and yelling “SHOOOOOO!” while my coworker jumped in his vehicle and started honking at the cows.  We were able to get the cows off-site and back to their proper home in ten minutes, which exceeded my expectations.  I can now add Jenny: Cow Herder to my resume.

CRAFTS

I want to post a couple of pictures of things I’ve either worked on or finished. I finished a couple of other neat pieces, but I want to spend more time on those posts.

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Fun sashiko-inspired piece from Studio MME

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Another Studio MME piece. I finished this one in Italy – this is my aunt’s table, isn’t it beautiful?

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Fun amigurumi piece from Little Box of Crochet

Wedding

We’re actually getting a lot done.  Booked a photographer (NOT the guy who told me, “I’m a hugger, deal with it” and openly admitted to google stalking the both of us – good lord), finding a caterer, and narrowing down on a baker and officiant.  Fiancé has been really helpful and taken the lead on a lot of the vendors.  Go Fiancé!  Planning is making this wedding less of this nebulous event and something real and tangible.  I’m getting really excited!

Alrighty, I need to get ready for work, but I will be back soon! I have been toying around with ideas for this little blog and hopefully we’ll have some fun in the process!

I’m Back!

HEY GUYS!!!!

I’m back!  My test is done!  It was on Friday.  It’s a pretty intense experience – 8 hours of testing, 100 questions. It was open-book and you can bring in whatever references you want.  It was pretty wild to see everyone wheeling around their carry-on bags full of books (myself included).  I actually had someone at work tell me I was lucky it was open book, like somehow this made everything easier.  FOR REAL?  That only means that they can test you on pretty much anything.  Doesn’t anyone remember how much harder the open book exams were in school? The failure rate for the environmental exam hovers around 40%. Good times!

So how did it go?  It suuuuucked. I’m pretty sure that I failed and will be retaking the test in October.  There were just too many questions where I was like, “Cool, just gonna bubble in ‘A'” for me to feel good about passing.  But honestly, I’m so elated that it’s over with that I don’t even care that I probably failed it.  There are worse things in life than potentially failing a test.  I am just really happy that I tried.  Now time to wait 8-10 weeks for the results.

And I just have to give a shout out to my family and my fiancé for all their support! They were amazing!

But for real, I don’t know what to do with all this free time and these songs encapsulate my feelings.  And if you clicked on those links, YOU’RE WELCOME.*

Anyway, my Willow Tank is done!! Lookit!

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This was my very first time making a shirt.  It was pretty intimidating but my teacher did a good job of stepping us through the process.  It was also my first time sewing darts.  My darts are really wonky and apparently sewing in a straight line is still a difficulty for me.  But I’m so happy it’s done! I finished sewing the bias tape to one of the armholes and collar this evening since we ran out of time in class.

I must admit I tried really hard to do the “thoughtfully contemplating my shopping list” pose that everyone on Instagram seems to do when modeling their makes.  You can tell I’m trying really hard not to laugh in the photo above!  Fiancé took the photos of me and I had to explain to him why I was staring at the ground like this:

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I hope you all had a great weekend!  Please catch me up on all the crafty things you’ve been doing.  I’m glad to be back.  Talk to you all soon!

* I don’t even like this song all that much, but I just can’t help belting out the chorus from time to time.  THIS IS MY TRUTH.

Two More Weeks Until the Test, or: MORE PICTURES!

Hi guys!  I hope you all had a good weekend.  It’s less than 2 weeks until my test, and I’ve been really stressing out about it.  But only two more weeks of studying and I will be freeeeeeeee.

Today I was feeling very grumpy, and like a small child, I was mollified with a treat (Starbucks) and toys (pretty fabric).

PICTURE TIME!

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I stopped by The Cloth Pocket today to pick up some fabric for my upcoming Grainline Studio Willow Tank class.  I’m so happy The Cloth Pocket is around, especially now that Stitch Lab has closed.  They are offering so many cool classes and honestly, the location is a lot easier for me to get to than Stitch Lab’s.  I was so excited that I signed up for the Fancy Tiger Sailor Top class next month.  Yay!!

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In project news, I’ve been going back and forth between the Scheepjes Hygge CAL and my Little Box of Crochet mug cozy project.  I really have been loving the CAL, but I’ve hit a bit of a snag.

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These bobbles are supposed to “pop”…but as you can see, my bobbles are not popping.  I’ve watched the video tutorials and followed the pattern but I can’t get my bobbles to pop! So frustrating!  I was feeling pretty bummed about it until I went on Instagram and discovered that apparently there’s an entire hashtag dedicated to #bobblegate for the poor souls experiencing the same bobble issues that I am.  The CAL Facebook group has a pattern hack to make the bobbles pop, so I’ll have to frog this and try that hack instead.  I’m way too tired to do that tonight, so instead I worked on this:

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This is the second mug cozy from Little Box of Crochet’s February box…I think this color palette is my favorite of the two!  Hopefully this will be a quick project.

Alrighty!  I’m going to watch John Oliver and wind down with some projects.  I hope you all have a great week!

Rapid Fire Picture Post Time

Hey guys! I hope all is well.  Things are good here, studying has taken over my life, etc etc.

PICTURE TIME.

So I’ve been able to work on my Little Box of Crochet March project…I have one mug cozy completed. I just have to block it, which I’ve been too lazy to do.  Blocking and gauge swatches – who has time for that? (I know, I know, these are important elements, just let me ask my rhetorical questions.)

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I’m now working on the second cozy, which has pretty flowers:

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I’ve also been working on my embroidery project from Studio MME:

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But most importantly, I can confirm that, yes, I did order the Scheepjes Hygge CAL kit in Jewel because it arrived today! Look, look, look:

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Squeeeeee!

Ok, I’m going to unwind by working on my projects!  I hope you had a great Monday. Let me know what you’ve been working on!

Pretty Things

Good morning friends!

I can hardly believe it is already Wednesday, which means my test is a little over three weeks away.

::hyperventilates into paper bag::

Apollo has been a dependable study buddy, but as you can see, he’s getting a little tired of it.

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As promised, here are some beautiful things I’ve been working on lately or that have been inspiring me.

I received my package from Hawthorn Handmade this week!  This packaging is so lovely!

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I bought this cute set of cacti and succulent journals this weekend at Book People:

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I’ve been working on this pretty floral theme from Studio MME’s Super Stitchers’ Club:

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And also on last month’s Little Box of Crochet…it was designed by Attic24, which means lots of beautiful colors!

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Those colors are so scrumptious!

Speaking of scrumptious, I may or may not have used pay day as an opportunity to purchase the Scheepjes CAL Hygge kit.

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ALLEGEDLY.  ALLEGEDLY I purchased this kit in the Jewel colorway because I’ve been eyeing it for months and I probably won’t finish it until December but. BUT.  All this studying has put me in treat myself mode.

Okay, I need to work! Have a great day!

Little Box of Crochet – Peacock Pincushion

Good morning everyone!  Hope you’re having a relaxing Saturday so far.  It’s a pretty cozy morning; I’ve got a cup of coffee next to me, my planner open, and Fiancé and Apollo are snoozing next to me on the couch.  I’m going to watch a little TV and work on a project before diving back into studying.

I’m all finished with the Little Box of Crochet Peacock Pincushion and fob!  This is the July 2016 box but when I received it, I was very intimidated by the project.  I’m glad I finally decided to do it, as it’s a pretty approachable project for beginners.

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With this box you get lovely pins, a stitch marker, stickers for labeling your boxes should you decide to reuse them, and 5 balls of Scheepje Catona yarns.  I have already squee’d in a previous post over this yarn, and I am continuing to squee here.  It is such a treat to be able to work with Scheepje yarn since I can’t find that brand here in the States.  This yarn was so yummy and was a breeze to work with.  Amanda Bloom notes in her booklet that she couldn’t bear to break down the balls so she blew the month’s budget by keeping all the balls intact -Amanda, I’m so glad you did!  You should have extra yarn when you finish this project; I haven’t decided what to do with mine yet!

The pincushion and fob worked up pretty quickly and I actually didn’t lose any stitches while working in the round.  I had the most difficulty with the peacock feathers – and even those weren’t “hard,” I just was unsure of what to do with one step in the pattern.  This is probably more of my inexperience than any issue with the pattern.  Other than those minor issues, the pattern was pretty easy to follow and there are lots of pictures to guide you.

What do you think?

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I’m quite pleased with how this project has turned out. Hope you all have a lovely weekend!