The Tonic of Self-Care

We live in a success-driven society, and I find myself falling right in line with its expectations.  I work hard at my job; I exercise; I try to cook healthy dinners at night with my husband (I don’t like cooking, but my craving for home-cooked meals wins); I have a multitude of crafty projects I want to complete at all times; and I want to PASS MY TEST DAMN IT.  Usually I can stick to my routine without a problem, but every several months, my body protests. I used to ignore signs of burnout until it was too late, but  I’ve learned to read these signs more carefully than I used to.  When I start dreading my morning workouts and make simple but careless mistakes at work, I know it’s time for a physical and mental recharge.

It happened to me this week – I was doing ALL the things until I noticed I was feeling listless in the mornings.  I wasn’t focused at work. So I took it easy – I skipped my morning workout on Thursday and did very easy, restorative yoga Friday morning.  I went on a leisurely run Thursday evening, not worrying about pace or distance.  I felt really good at the end of it.  And instead of studying at night, I curled up on the couch with Husband to watch Parks and Rec and work on this baby blanket:

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I’ve been a little extra on social media about reminding everyone that this baby blanket is NOT FOR ME.  I only say this because Husband and I were married for two hours before well-meaning friends were asking us about our future children at our wedding.  I mean – I definitely want kids, but one major life change at a time, please.

This baby blanket is for some friends of ours who are currently expecting.  We got the little shark toy from a cute shop we visited in Maui.  I can’t wait to send them this package! I just need to wash the blanket first (since Apollo decided this blanket was his), and block it.  I used Loops & Threads “Snuggly Wuggly Big!” yarn for this blanket, in the colorway “Petal Dots.” I used the Sonoma Baby Afghan pattern that came with the yarn.  This pattern took exactly a month to complete!

Several days of self-care was just the tonic I needed. I feel recharged and ready to tackle my to-do list.

 

 

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A Handmade Wedding

Good evening everyone!  It’s a beautiful, sunny Saturday here in Texas, and I wanted to spend a little time catching up with you guys.  I’ve already been married a month now, which is a little surreal – we spent so much time and effort planning for this wedding, and it was over in an instant.  I’m still digesting and savoring the memories of my wedding and our honeymoon, and I wanted to share some photos with you.

While some elements of my wedding were handmade, we hired vendors for the really important stuff, like photography, food, and florals.  Other elements were DIY though – we used Spotify playlists in lieu of a DJ (no regrets! so much cheaper!) and went with an app called WeddingMix for our videographer (again – much cheaper than an actual videographer).  My mother-in-law also recorded our entire ceremony, which is wonderful.  But for other aspects of our wedding, it was important for my husband and me to incorporate handmade elements that reflected our personalities.

I decided that my contribution would be embroidered and cross-stitched designs to hang behind our sweetheart table.  Our venue had a tin wall that was the perfect spot to showcase the finished pieces.  I’d been working on this installation pretty steadily since January.  While I didn’t get to finish ALL the pieces I wanted, I was able to get a decent-sized collection for the wall.  All photos below are from our photographer, You Are My True.

Besides the embroidered and cross-stitched pieces, I painted some wood panels purchased from Joann (which I mention in this post).  Someone decided to use them for the sweetheart table and groom’s cake, which was a brilliant idea.

For the photos above, I’ve captioned each artist’s name and Instagram handle (with the exception of kits purchased from Dimensions or Bucilla).  I don’t have a close-up of the second embroidered “Love” piece (which you can see in the first photo, hanging right above the banner), but this design was by Brynn & Co (@brynnandcoshop). It was a kit that I got from Mollie Makes.

Some of these pieces were WIPs that I had long neglected, like the embroidered birds or the cross-stitched “Love” piece (in the first photo, it is hanging above the banner and is the first piece from your left).  That piece is unfinished, which is unfortunate since it’s a beautiful design. But I’m attached to the half-finished look (and also too lazy at this point to finish it).

Getting all these pieces together was a little stressful, but I’m so glad that I did – it was so worth the extra effort. I was happy with how they looked on the tin wall and that I could bring a handmade element to my wedding. My amazing bridesmaids did a wonderful job of arranging them.

And after all the planning and effort (and money, cough cough), I have to say our little wedding was perfection.

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Credit: You Are My True 

Wedding Procrastination Part 2: Craft Mania

I know it’s only Monday, but is it Friday yet?  Most of my mental energy has been occupied by work and wedding planning.  But I’ve had some time to sneak in some crafting.  As usual, there is not any real kind of logic to what I’m doing and why.  And of course, right when I sit down with the intent of doing wedding crafting, I’ll pick a completely unrelated project to work on instead, because procrastination, I never learn, etc.

Let’s throw some pictures up in here.

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Fiancé and I went to JoAnn on Friday night, because – I’m just gonna say it -we are getting overly ambitious with our plans for our wedding favors.  I mean, I LOVE our ideas, don’t get me wrong, but I’m pretty sure what will end up happening is (A) we will make a couple of prototypes of said item(s), realize how much work it will be, and will be paralyzed by the sheer amount of work ahead of us, and, (B) two weeks before the wedding, we’ll be like FUCK IT and throw jellybeans into mason jars or something.

Anyhoo, JoAnn had all these cute little wooden charms, so I threw a bunch of them into my shopping basket.  Like, there’s no coherent plan on what I’m going to do with these things other than paint them?  Maybe I can elegantly toss them at random friends as I walk down the aisle? I don’t really know.

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Sooo at some point this summer (spring? I don’t even know anymore), I took a Sailor Top class.  I didn’t finish the top while in class, but I had TWO MORE THINGS left to do before finishing – “stitching in the ditch” for the collar, and then the bottom hemline. That’s it.  That’s all I had to do, guys.  Yet this top has sat in my basket for at least six months before I finally dug it out and finished it.  While I’m glad it’s done, the stitches aren’t the greatest in the world. I’m just saying. Your six-year-old can probably do a straighter hemline than I did with this top.  But whatever, I was tired of it sitting in the workbasket, so it’s done.  I’ll make a post when I look blog worthy, aka not right now.  (Currently I’m wearing pajama pants with foxes on them and a Mickey and Minnie Mouse hoodie.  It’s a super sexy combo, you guys).

Ok, what’s next?

Blanket progress! I actually haven’t worked on this in a couple of weeks.

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This next project I started during the weekend, because WHY NOT:

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You eagle-eyed knitters can probably already spot my wonky slip stitches.  (Actually – the mistake is so glaring that probably anyone can see it.  IT STARES INTO MY SOUL).  But I’m too lazy to fix it. I honestly haven’t properly learned how to fix a wonky stitch, so it’s just going to be like that forever, you guys.  “Only you can see it,” my fiancé kindly told me as I showed him my progress and whined about my various mistakes.  So yes, I suppose only I will notice once it’s finished…but I WILL ALWAYS KNOW.  Yet my laziness overtakes my will for perfection. Sooooo ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Well, I guess it’s time for me to go- OH YEAH.  This project is legitimately wedding-related.

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I didn’t learn how to do French knots until 2015 or 2016, so I tend to get all FRENCH KNOT ALL THE THINGS.  I’m actually not liking how many French knots I added to this piece.  It’s kind of reminding me of this?

 

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Source: NPR

Now that I’ve given everyone nightmares, I’ll take this as my cue to exit. NIGHTY NIGHT.

Wedding Procrastination

I’m not going to lie – my default mode is being a procrastinator.  It’s hard to feel motivated for something when it seems so far away, right?  It’s why I waited 5 weeks before my test the first time around to study.

I’ve gotten better over the years, though.  You get burned enough to learn that maybe waiting until the last minute for EVERYTHING isn’t such a great idea.  Especially at work – you very quickly learn that rarely does a deliverable rely on one person.  If you wait until the last minute to complete a product, then you have to cross your fingers that the reviewers, the GIS person, and secretary can just drop whatever they are doing to help you.  Procrastinating at work is a great way to make enemies and have people hate you, so I prioritize my deadlines as much as possible.

For wedding planning, we were good about tackling the big items early.  Several weeks after we were engaged, we were looking at venues, and selected one by early February of last year.  (Though it was all for naught, since we lost our venue in December and had to scramble to find another. Ha! Ha! )  We lined up the caterer, day-of-coordinator, and photographer early.

Then summer and fall happened – traveling to Italy, studying for my exam, prioritizing work projects meant that wedding planning fell on the bottom of my priorities list.  In September, I was gripped by a sudden fear that I NEED TO BUY MY DRESS NOW, so I hurriedly made an appointment at David’s Bridal and purchased one.  And then I didn’t worry about how I was going to look until the beginning of this year.  OH GOD I NEED TO SCHEDULE A HAIR AND MAKEUP TRIAL.  AND A DRESS FITTING. AND I NEED SHOES.  AND A VEIL.

I scheduled my fitting the week before my hair and makeup trial (which was today).  While we were shopping, we found a pretty veil.  I was on the fence about getting a veil, but gave in and bought one.  (Once upon a time I thought I would make my own veil. Hahahahahaha.)  My mom and I went back and forth about getting a tiara (I was very firmly in the “not wearing a tiara ever” camp), but I found a pretty head piece that would accentuate my dress but wouldn’t give off Princess Diana vibes.  I also purchased an accessory for my dress that I don’t want to give away here in case my fiancé reads this, EVEN THOUGH I ALREADY DID ACCIDENTALLY OOPS.

After I frenetically found all the accessories I wanted, the seamstress showed me the tally for the alternations.  Now, I had purchased a cheaper dress well below my already modest budget.  But the alterations COST AS MUCH AS MY DRESS.  I started entering panic mode.  Since I wanted to have the veil and headpiece ready for my makeup trial, I resigned myself to dropping a bit of money on everything.

When I went to the cash register, I asked the cashier if I could do a layaway plan.  Nope, everything had to be paid for up front.  Of course it did.  When she chirpily read out the total, I sadly grabbed my debit card and mentally thanked the universe that I’d gotten paid the day before.  And to reward me for dropping a small fortune on accessories I would wear for five hours of my life, David’s Bridal decided to reward me with THREE FREE PRINTS TO SHUTTERFLY, YOU GUYS!

I was mad when I returned home, especially when I started pinning looks for brides with headpieces and veils, and saw veils I could have purchased at half the cost of the one I’d purchased at David’s Bridal.  If only I had taken more time to find a veil (or make one).

I was angry about it for three or four days before placating myself – the accessory plus the dress equals the modest budget I’d originally had in mind for a dress. The veil, alterations, and shoes would have been purchased regardless of the dress, so if I’d picked a more expensive dress, then that would have been even MORE money spent.

Or, Fiancé and I could have gone to the courthouse and I could have worn some jeans and a top from Target and spent $0, I’M KIDDING but kind of not really.

And yet the procrastination continues, because instead of taking the time to make wedding-related decorations, I am NOT doing those things and crafting things completely unrelated to the wedding.

Sigh.

Less than two and a half months to go, guys.  I have a feeling there will be more of these posts.

Welcome, 2018 or: Waiting to Get January Over With

Every time a new year begins, I feel conflicted.

-Cautiously optimistic about the year ahead and what I can potentially experience or accomplish

with a piling heap of

-Wanting to accomplish ALL THE THINGS

with a dash of

-Morbid fear about what kind of sadness the new year will bring

with an extra side of

DAMN IT, I HATE JANUARY.

I do. I really do guys. I try really hard to be an optimistic person and I feel like I am much better at it than I was in my trainwreck 20s.  But. BUT.  I don’t like January and January clearly doesn’t like me.  Just about every year I stumble out of January feeling chastened and humbled.  This year was no exception, and started off with a thud as I returned to work after a short vacation and felt like a ton of bricks had hit my desk in my absence.

But I have a cuddly dog to snuggle with, lots of hot chocolate to keep me warm, and my Spotify Top Songs of 2017 playlist to keep me occupied as I work (clearly I listened to a lot of Alice in Chains last year).  I have some anniversaries to look forward to in January – six years with my love, and ten years living here in Austin and working at my firm.  (Ten years?  TEN YEARS?)  And we have a wedding to finish planning that is in three months and holy crap there’s still so much to do LET’S NOT TALK ABOUT WEDDING PLANNING IN THIS POST, OKAY?

Okay.

I also have a lot of craft projects to keep me occupied in the evenings since I can’t bring myself to open a book and study just yet.

I am working on little bits here and there for the wedding that I will consolidate in one post after I have some, you know, actual progress.  I’ve finished the November Little Box of Crochet project that I guess I will post….soon? Even though it was a Christmas box?  Whatever.

And this!

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It’s a blanket!  It’s a project for someone special.  I am hoping to finish it this month while it’s still cold and before wedding planning takes up all my free time.

As for my resolutions this year, they’re pretty vague and simple.  And, with the exception of the third, should be pretty easy to achieve.

  1. Get married
  2. Be crafty
  3. Get licensed already, for the love of god

Time for me to get some hot cocoa and ~hygge~ (It’s not a verb, is it).

 

A Chronicle of My Jerkface Dog

My dog Apollo is one of my favorite creatures in this universe.  The way he snuggles up to me on the couch after a long day or leaps with joy when I return home makes me think the feeling is mutual.  I adore my little dog, and I spend a lot of time worrying about his well-being.  I imagine this is, in a very small way, what a parent feels like.

So I love my dog.

We got that part out of the way.

But you guys…can I tell you secret?

HE IS A MASSIVE JERK.

It’s not so bad now that he’s a little older.  Apollo is five and a half now, and he’s much calmer now.  But when he was a puppy, oh god.  I still remember the second day after we’d gotten him.  I was sitting on my carpet in tears, staring at this adorable but totally destructive little puppy, thinking, “What have we done?  I HAD A GOOD LIFE.”  In his heyday, Apollo chewed up, among other things, my carpet, the bottom of my blinds, two laptop chargers, and shoes.  And since he’s a dachshund, he’s incredibly stubborn and, admittedly, not very well-trained.

Like I said, he’s a massive jerk.  I don’t remember when the switch happened – when he stopped being utterly exhausting to a pet that brings me a lot of joy, but it happened and here we are now.  He’s cuddling next to me as I type this.

But the jerk gene is strong in this pup and he wills it as he chooses.  When Apollo was a baby, his insatiable appetite to destroy everything in my apartment was really a function of his curiosity.  Now that he’s older, he only steals or chews things when he wants our attention.

Relevant example – I was cooking dinner yesterday.  Fiancé was traveling home after being gone for several days, and I was very excited to see him.  I’d left a knitting project on the couch so I could preheat the oven for the chicken wings I was making.  You guys are probably all, “Why did you leave your knitting project on the couch after talking about what a jerk your dog is?” I KNOW, GUYS.  But I’d already taken him for a walk and thought that I’d expended any energy he had.  Wrong.  I heard this unusual crunching sound and rushed out of the kitchen to check on Apollo.

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This is not the first pair of knitting needles he has munched on. (I should have known better, etc etc I GET IT).  Thankfully, he did not ingest the bit that he’d torn off.  I was very upset since I don’t have extra needles in this size, and I wanted to continue being a loner introvert and not have to, you know, drive to a store and deal with people.

I found a pencil sharpener from my cosmetics kit and was able to file the needle down fairly well.  It’s been a bit of a struggle to continue using this particular needle, but it’s getting the job done without too much damage to the project I’m knitting.

Apollo’s reign of terror and bid for attention did not stop there. Fiancé surprised me with an adorable teddy bear when he came home.  I placed the bear on my coffee table and was attempting to take a picture of it when my dog snatched the bear and ran off with it.

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I laughed so hard when I saw this picture.  It is probably one of my favorite pictures of Apollo. This perfectly captures his endearing jerkface qualities.

And then, by the end of the night, he crashed hard.

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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!