An Update: Caverning, Adulting, and Some Crafting

Hello everyone!

I’m still struggling with finding a good update schedule for this little blog as I delve deeper into test mode (now less than two months away, gulp).  After doing yoga this morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee and here I am.  If there’s anything I’ve learned in my life, it’s that progress and improvement happens slowly.  I’m not going to build an amazing blog overnight, just as I am not going to become a super strong runner or indispensable employee in just a couple of days.

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past week:

  1.  CAVERNS

This weekend, Fiancé and several of our friends visited the Natural Bridge Caverns in New Braunfels.  It’s one of those things I’ve wanted to do for so long but had never set aside some time to do.  It was so awesome!  We took the Hidden Passages tour and went 180 feet underground to explore the caverns.  We got to sit in total darkness for several minutes, which was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.  I couldn’t even see my hand when I held it out in front of me.

Confession time – the more our guide told us not to touch the cavern walls and stalagmites,  THE MORE I WANTED TO (but didn’t.  Because I respect nature, etc. Also I did not want a 3rd degree felony on my record).

2.  Books (for fun)

I took a break from studying and blazed through this book over the weekend: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.

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It was okay.  It was pretty predictable, and wasn’t as scary as Reese Witherspoon’s cover quote promised (actually, it wasn’t scary at all).  In terms of atmospheric thrillers, it doesn’t even come close to someone like Tana French.  But it was a fun, quick read, and something to add to my Goodreads tally, which has been sorely neglected for the most part.

3.  Adulting (the Front Yard Edition)

Confession time # 2 – I am a terrible gardener.  TERRIBLE.  My gardening methods are like so:  purchase 15 plants from Home Depot, come home, stare at the plants, think, “Man, that’s gonna be a lot of work,” leave the plants in their containers for two weeks, finally plant them out of guilt, and then let the garden become its own version of Lord of the Flies.

This time I was determined not to let the plants die, and to not overwhelm ourselves with gardening for more than 20 minutes.  Our front yard needed some TLC, so I decided that we would only buy 3-4 plants max.

Voilaaaaa!

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Yayyy! So pretty!

Please don’t die, plants!

4.  Crafting

I’ve been in a major crochet mood lately, digging out a blanket that I had started during the spring during the first exam attempt.

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The colors I selected are very cozy, and as the weather gets (slightly) cooler here in Texas, I am feeling more inspired to dig out the long-term projects again.

I’m also catching up with a Little Box of Crochet project from last fall.  I am making a wreath.  Here’s the beginning of a leaf:

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I hope wherever you are, you are keeping cozy!  Talk to you soon!

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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.

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!

First Day of Spring! Inspirations

Spring is finally here! Although it’s been feeling like spring since February?  But that’s Texas weather for you.  Today I was planting flowers I’d purchased three weeks ago tending to my garden and noticed a lovely Texas bluebonnet blooming.

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I have a brown thumb, so I wanted to capture this moment before it dies next week.  ::insert inspirational thoughts about flowers and spring here::

This weekend was pretty great.  My friends and I decided to check out SXSW on Saturday. I don’t go to SXSW every year, but when I do, it’s always fantastic.  I think my fondest SXSW was in 2011, when Brother and I attended the Foo Fighters documentary premiere Back and Forth, and Dave Grohl was RIGHT ACROSS THE THEATER eating POPCORN and it was CRAZINESS.  That was also the year we waited in line for five hours to get into the MTV Woodie Awards just so we could watch the Foo Fighters perform one song.*

This year my friends and I took a more chill approach to SXSW, but we still had a blast.  They are all artistic people and I feel more inspired to create just being around them.  We also caught some really good shows.  I’d been feeling burned out on shows lately but Saturday refreshed my palate, I think.  My friend and I caught this one band called Happy Meals, and it was such a fun set.  But I’m hesitant to look them up now because I’m afraid they won’t sound as amazing when I’m sober.

Now that it’s spring and I’m wrapping up my pincushion project (the review will be ready this week!), I’m already eyeing more projects to add to my queue.  After my test is done, of course.**

PICTURE TIME.

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Wool and the Gang Dylan Tank

Wool and the Gang has all these awesome free patterns, and I’m eyeing this one for spring.  REAL TALK – I would nix the fringe though.

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Two of Wands, Movie Night Cocoon Cardi

I love this cardi by Two of Wands.  It would be a perfect transitional piece for the approximately two cooler days I can expect this spring.

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Lion Brand Afternoon Breeze Shawl

Ditto on this shawl.  It’s so cute! I can wear it to work so I won’t freeze to death in my cube.

Finally, I want to make this:

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Fancy Tiger Crafts Sailor Top

I wish I had known about Fancy Tiger Crafts when I visited Denver two years ago, because I would have been ALL UP IN THAT.  I really have been wanting to go back to Denver because Rocky Mountains, the crepes place, Garden of the Gods, it’s amazing, etc etc etc, so this is just another reason to visit, right? Anyway, I got a little sidetracked…this top is really cute and versatile, and it’s supposed to be beginner friendly.  I really want to make it.  And also move to Denver.

I need to be responsible so I should probably sleep. Good night!

*I’m very done with waiting in line for hours and hating my life, but I’m really glad I did it then and have those memories.

** I splurged on a review course so my attitude has gone from “I’m going to fail” to “I might pass, maybe!”

This Post is Brought to You By Caffeine and Lots of Pictures

Today’s post is brought to you by the copious amounts of caffeine I will be consuming to get through today.  My body just could not get to sleep before midnight, but at 5:30 this morning it was like, “I FEEL ALIVE. LET’S GET UP!”

I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation lately and goal-setting.  I’ve set some ambitious goals for myself lately, whereas a couple of years ago I may not have had the motivation (nor courage) to set them.  It’s one thing to dream big – it is another to have the persistence and discipline to achieve your dreams.  And having persistence and discipline is the toughest part of the journey, I think. We all like the reward of doing something big and bold – but the persistence and discipline portion is often tedious, tiresome work.

What I’m saying is, I wish I could be lazy and pass my test without studying for it, but alas, I was not blessed with a photographic memory for material I learned over a decade ago.  For the next five weeks my posts are probably going to be picture-heavy as I enter into crunch mode for my test.  I just need to think positive happy thoughts like, “YOU’RE SO SMART JENNY! BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF YOUR DREAMS!” and not, “You’re gonna fail,” which I currently have on a loop in my mind.  (Said in the voice of Kristen Wiig from Walk Hard, of course.)

YAY PICTURE TIME!

First off, I received my Wool and the Gang package in the mail yesterday.  Wow, that was fast.

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I said in the last post that I was geeking out over using Scheepjes yarn…I do that too with Wool and the Gang.  I really want to try their Crazy Sexy Wool but that’s probably going to be too warm to work with for the next ten months.

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It is so squishy!!!!!

I’ve also been making progress with my Little Box of Crochet project…but not as much, since I’m studying in the evenings and don’t start my crafting until the Daily Show.  I promise not to be posting incremental pictures of the same project for the next five weeks.

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More pictures, you say? SURE!

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I am really loving the way this is working up! And the colors are just gorgeous.

Finally, I received my ipsy bag in the mail yesterday…I really am loving the color palette from this month’s bag.IMG_0303.JPG

The earrings didn’t come with the bag…I just thought they would be a pretty addition to this soft spring palette! I wish I could make a dress out of this print:

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And of course, this is such a cute little card.

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Now that we’re full of positive and happy vibes, I’ve got to go wake Fiancé up.  My car decided to overheat yesterday so he’s got to drive me to work. Have a great day, everyone!

GUYS I RAN OUT OF YARN

The other day I was thinking that I hadn’t posted my February makes.  I looked through my pictures and…realized I had only completed these:

Now to be fair, I had been in the field for two weeks last month…but still! This is hardly anything.  It was a good reminder to me that staying focused on projects is important.  It’s completely normal to feel burned out by a project – and when that happens, I think it’s necessary to move on to a little side project to take a mental break.  But my problem last month was trying to start too many new projects at once.  It doesn’t give me the chance to sit down and focus on completing a project.

I have a frustrating update to my Calvin Top project. I focused on this project ALL WEEK and didn’t work on any other projects.  I am so close to being finished with the second body piece! But, as I feared, I ran out of yarn.  Hence the overly dramatic post title.

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I actually did the tension swatch prior to starting the project, and remember thinking that my stitches were too dense. But I decided to plow ahead with the project anyway.  Lesson learned!  I ordered another skein from Wool and the Gang.  And since it is pay day, I ordered this project too:

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Brooding model not included.

I’ve been interested in making and wearing my own clothes lately, and this seems like a fun project to try my hand with.  It says EASY and it looks like it’s all just stockinette stitch?  Which I can do.  Knit, purl, knit, purl. I got this.  But the Calvin Top was supposed to be easy too, and I suppose it was, but it’s still going to look like a circus tent when I’m done with it.  In my humble opinion.

I also ordered this from Sublime Stitching because pay day, I have no children so my disposable income is all mine, life is short, etc etc.

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The saying on the pillow is “Vita Brevis Est” which translates to “Life is brief.” It’s so morbid. I love it.

What else is going on?  I’m keeping busy at work, which makes me happy.  Consulting is so stressful when there aren’t any projects to work on. I have a lot of projects right now so I feel like I have a purpose yay.  OR SOMETHING.  I had a very quick trip to Houston this week to sample one well, which was fun. I wish all my sites just required sampling one well.  My test is in six weeks and I’m freaking out.

I also enrolled in a garment making class. I mentioned I’m interested in making my own clothes, but it’s been hard to find the motivation to teach myself.  Fiancé has band practice on Saturdays so I thought it would be good to find a class during that time.  Every once in awhile I need to get myself out of my default reclusive loner introvert mode and actually socialize with people.  And learn to make something. I am taking a class in April where we are learning how to make Grainline Studio Willow tanks!

I’ve been following Grainline Studio for while on Instagram, so I’m excited to try my hand at sewing one of their patterns! Again, it’s supposed to be a beginner’s level class, but we’ll see.

Okay. I need to go be a productive member of society and show up to work and stuff. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  If you are stitching up something crafty this weekend, I’d love to hear about it!