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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Three Things for 2017

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a relaxing Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus/whatever you celebrate.

I’ve been having a pretty relaxing mini-vacation.  Boyfriend and I traveled home to see our families (we’re from the same hometown, which is pretty convenient).  I’ve been relaxing with family and friends, crafting, gorging on food my mom has been making, running with my dad, and taking lots of naps.

My mom and I made struffoli together, which is an Italian holiday tradition.  It’s been at least several years since I helped make it, so I had a lot of fun helping this year.

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It was pre-tty yummy.

And for Christmas, Boyfriend’s Mom made me a set of owl coasters since she knows I love owls.  I think they are really pretty!  Thank you, Boyfriend’s Mom!

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Now that it’s the last week of the year, I’ve been thinking about 2017 and what resolutions I want to make.  It’s always exciting to make a fresh start.  While I don’t have a list of resolutions complete just yet, I AM excited about the following little treats.

Flow Diary 2017
I discovered Flow back in 2013 and it’s one of my favorite indulgences.  It’s a quarterly magazine packed with tips on mindfulness, creativity, and embracing life’s imperfections.  Each issue is comes with little paper goodies as well.  I really attribute this magazine to helping me find a happier and more mindful path in my life.  They also have special issues, such as mindfulness workbooks, coloring books, and sketchbooks.

One of their specials is a diary for 2017.  Besides the conventional planner pages, it’s filled with prompts for each week (example – “What did you daydream about?”), notes, poems, stickers, and postcards.  The diary is designed by Lotta Jansdotter, and it’s a gorgeous little book. I’m so excited about filling in its pages.

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Free Youtube Yoga Programs

I started doing yoga this year and it’s really been amazing.  I’ve been taking a little break the past several weeks to tend to stupid little injuries and to recover from a six-month daily streak that I got a little burned out from.  I’m really pumped to return to yoga during the new year with two of my favorite Youtube yogis – Yoga With Adriene and Lesley Fightmaster.  Yoga With Adriene is doing a 31-day series called “Yoga Revolution” and Lesley Fightmaster’s 30-day program is called “Hatha Yoga Happiness.”  I don’t know which I’ll do first!

Beautiful Embroidery Books

I love embroidery but I really want to step my skills.  I found this book at the Half Price Books sale today.

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It’s called Painting With a Needle – Learning the Art of Silk Embroidery with Young Yang Chung. The projects are way above my skill level, but they are so beautiful and definitely something I’d like to try!

What treats are you looking forward to trying in 2017?

 

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Crafty Christmas – Part One (Books)

Say what you will about procrastination and how it’s something that we all need to ~rise above~, but it can be a really effective motivating tool.  I mean, what? I never procrastinate, coworkers who accidentally stumbled across my blog.  But let’s be realistic here.  If your week is anything like mine, you are struggling to get four different deliverables out the door before Christmas, and then one of your clients is like, “Hey, how’s it going? Sooooo even though I’ve been seeing some version of this deliverable since SUMMER, I’m going to wait a week and a half until this report is due to make MASSIVE CHANGES because YAYYYY.  MERRY CHRISTMAS.”  And you are staying at work late and Christmas shopping has slid very far down your list of your priorities.

Or due to your job/election/XBox/dachshund farm responsibilities, Christmas just snuck up on you. Your girlfriend asks you when you’re doing your gift exchange and your mind is going, “Wait, when is Christmas? It’s-it’s in a couple of weeks right OH MY GOD IT’S SUNDAY.”

Assuming that the mother/father/girlfriend/boyfriend/friend/coworker that you are scrambling to get a gift for is crafty, I’ve got just the solution for you.  In this two-part series, I’ll help you get a gift pulled together in no time.

Let’s start with books.  Books are a perfect gift if selected with care, and assuming you live within a ten-mile radius of a bookstore, easy to purchase.  There are so many beautifully designed craft books out there.  Which do you choose?  Where do you start?  I’ll help you find one that’s just right. I own each of these books I’m about to recommend and love them. I’ll also tell you of my progress for each, because if your relative or friend is anything like me, they’ll wait three years to actually start a project in one of them.

Sewing

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This book is gorgeous.  Lotta Jansdotter takes you through her design inspirations, which often come from her travels.  Her inspirations are separated by season and each season features some beautiful projects to complete, like pretty tunics and scarves.

Jenny’s progress – I’ve read it.  It’s sitting on my coffee table, so that’s a start.  No actual projects completed.

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I bought Sanae Ishida’s book when I was on vacation in Arizona earlier this year.  I was having  a rough time in my personal life, so her book – about how she turned to sewing after a tumultuous experience at a start-up – really resonated with me.  The book is separated by seasons, and each season starts with a personal essay of Ishida’s progress in renewing her life and spirit.  She then offers simple, beautifully photographed projects to complete. Sample projects include yoga pants and an origami pillow.

Jenny’s progress – I bought fabric to make the yoga pants.  Four months ago.

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Tilly Walnes presents simple sewing projects that increase by difficulty.  Each project teaches you a different skill and she provides very crisp and easy to follow instructions for the projects.  Projects include the skirt shown on the cover, comfy pajama pants, and pretty dresses.

Jenny’s progress – I’ve bought fabric for the pants and copied the patterns for the pajama pants.  Four months ago.

Crochet

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What really drew me to this book was the fresh, contemporary projects presented within it.  I probably speak for a lot of new crocheters that I get really bored of all the basic projects presented to learn a stitch.  You can only make so many washcloths.  Marion Madel presents scarves and hats for the beginner, all without making the effort too challenging or overwhelming.

Jenny’s progress – I haven’t made a project from this book in awhile, but I did make a scarf and attempt some of the smaller-scale projects, like the little pouches and cloche hat (which did not turn out well. Haha).

Knitting

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If you’re anything like me, knitting is just a different LANGUAGE.  I grew up learning basic crochet stitches, but I only started knitting this year.  While I enjoy it, some of the concepts are challenging.  I bought this book to help me wade through some of the more head-scratching stitches.  It presents easy-to-follow guides on stitches that so far has been helpful to me.

For Future Crafty Entrepreneurs 

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I’m reading this book now and I LOVE IT.  It’s chock full of advice from intelligent, badass women who are artists, entrepreneurs, and artists.  It’s been my go-to lately for inspiration.

I can go on and on, but these books are really my favorites and I think it’s a good starting point for your shopping endeavors.  Let’s meet back on Friday, and I’ll help you pull together some last-minute crafty kits for your loved one. I’ve just got to go to work now.  Oh, and I still need to get a Christmas gift for Boyfriend too.  🙂