Monday, January 30, 2023

Garden 2023


On Saturday I got an email from Costco advertising raised-beds for gardening square foot style.  I have tried this method several times with varying success.  But these containers were the legitimate size recommended in the official SFG guide, so I was feeling optimistic that somehow having these particular containers will lead to a greater chance of success.  Plus, they were relatively inexpensive compared to the ways I'd come up with before.  So, I confirmed with Dan that I was gonna be able to use them in our yard this summer and ordered them.  Costco shipped them for free on Sunday, and they should be here soon.  

Next, I tried to come up with a list of vegetables I wanted to grow.  My number one reason for gardening is honestly the tomatoes.  I LOVE tomatoes fresh from the garden.  In the past I've had problems with growing them.  One year they were exceptional and the next few years I got stuck with blight and blossom end rot, so I sorta gave up.  The last time I bought a patio variety in a pot which tipped over in the wind, landed on the recently-weed-killer-sprayed lawn, and promptly withered up and died.  That was about 3 years ago and the last time I planted a thing.  

The list of fruits, vegetables and herbs I decided on:

  • Sugar Baby Watermelon
  • Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach
  • Waltham Butternut Squash
  • Cherry Belle Radish
  • EZ Grow Monster Pumpkin
  • California Wonder Pepper
  • Sugar Snap Pea
  • Salad Bowl Lettuce
  • Bibb Lettuce
  • Black Beauty Eggplant
  • Spacemaster Bush Cucumber
  • Tendersweet Carrot
  • Garden Contender Bush Beans
  • Buttercrunch Lettuce
  • Thyme
  • Italian Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Bouquet Dill
  • Genovese Basil
  • Mortgage Lifter Tomato
  • Roma VF Tomato
  • Sweetie Tomato
  • Early Girl Hybrid Tomato
The first 2 sites I tried to order from were too expensive for the tiny amount of seed I actually need for a 32 square foot garden space.   I do not need 1300 lettuce seeds!  So I chose Ferry-Morris, who I've used in the past.  Their prices were much more affordable than Burpee or Harris Seed Company.  I used a coupon and hopefully the seeds will be freshest coming straight from the supplier instead of a big box store that carries them like Walmart.  

The spreaders are going in my old planters so they don't take over the whole garden.  The herbs, tomatoes,  peppers and some lettuce will go in one of the square foot boxes, and everything else will go in the second square foot box.  I need to get tomato cages and a trellis for the peas.  The beans and cucumbers are supposedly bush style so I'm hoping they won't need support... I need to look into that more at some point.  

I bought seed starting kits to get the plants growing in February.  I want them to be ready to plant when the frost is done at the end of May.  According to the USDA Plant Hardiness Map, we are a zone 6 area.  I don't know how smart it is to grow the plants so long before transplanting them outside, but I think it's necessary to start them early and have them large enough that when I put them into the outdoor garden, I can tell which are the plants and what is a potential weed sprouting up.  Aside from the lettuce, herbs, and root plants, I'm starting them early.  

In May I'll go to the garden store and buy the vermiculite, compost and peat that I'll blend into the growing matter.  It's my favorite but most exhausting part of the entire process, mixing the soil substitute.  But I like the fact that there are no weeds or grass when I start.  As long as Dan doesn't blow the grass into the boxes while cutting the lawn like he & my dad have done with the old gardens, we should be good.  Miracle-Gro makes raised-bed soil, but it would cost me over $200 for just the 2 beds.  More if I want to fill the old planters for the spreading plants (mint, squash, pumpkins & watermelon.)  We'll have to see how my local garden store and the big box home improvement stores compare between making it myself and buying it premade.  

The only other potential problem I'm just now thinking about is Fred.  Fred is the wild bunny that lives in our yard.  We might need to get some chicken wire to put around the beds, which is an expense I hadn't thought of.  I don't mind him chillin' in our yard, but I'm not trying to feed him a buffet either.  Luckily we live in a populated enough area that deer aren't an issue like at my old house.  

Do I really need another "hobby"?  No.  But this is something physical and outdoors, which is good for me and for Jo.  And it will give us some veggies that are otherwise lacking from our diet.  This year, the garden will be expensive, but all in all, worth it.  Like my knitting and crocheting, it serves a dual purpose.  It's something wholesome to do with my hands and helps my mental health, but it also creates something useful at the same time.  Subsequent years will be less expensive, but just as rewarding. I'm ready for it. 

Do you garden?  I'd love to hear your plans for the upcoming year if you do!  Leave me a comment. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Closet Accomplished!

So, Wednesday evening I got the closet finished.  I bought a 3 drawer cart to put on the one side of the closet under the few hanging clothes that are left (hoodies, dresses and jackets).  I stacked the 2 older carts on top of each other on the other side of the closet. In the new cart I am storing the pants and shirts that I couldn't fit in the first cart.  I've decided to return the organizers because they're so inefficient.  If I had regular bedroom furniture with deeper dresser drawers I can see how they would be beneficial, but for my low-budget closet they're just not gonna cut it.  Now, all my clothes are put away, my laundry is caught up, and I can freely open & close the closet's sliding doors without having to move piles out of the way.   The only clothing not in the closet are my uniform scrubs which hang on an over-the-door hanging bar on my linen closet in the hallway, and my PJs which I just throw in a storage cube under the bed.  I'm satisfied with how it's all come out in the end.  

I wish organizing other areas of the house were as easy.  I just have so much stuff, and it's spread out all over the house.  I think I need to focus on one particular thing at a time, a-la-Marie-Kondo, instead of focusing on organizing an area.  For instance, I have a gazillion writing utensils.  It would probably take me all day to find them all, bring them to one spot, organize them, and put them away neatly.  The same with notebooks, yarn, vinyl, diamond dots, sewing supplies, beauty supplies... I have quite a few hobbies. 

 I did break the low-buy to get the 3 drawer cart and a couple covered bins to put my sewing accessories in.  I "found" some bins I bought a year or two ago downstairs in the sewing area that will help corral my pens I think.  

The next 2 Saturdays I will be busy skiing and then coming home and relaxing (because getting up early after a late night at work, then skiing for a few hours is exhausting for a nearly-46 year old).  That leaves me 2 Wednesdays off work to get something accomplished, and then the whole following week I'm on vacation for my birthday.  I would like to have most of the organization done by the half way point of my week off so that I can relax and enjoy my time & space on my staycation.  By most, I mean my bedroom and office will be able to be walked through without climbing over piles of "stuff."  I'm not asking for them to be completely clutter free, I would just like to be able to walk freely without knocking over or stepping on stuff.  

I'm gonna go brainstorm a path forward in my sketchbook journal's Brain-dump section. I feel like writing things down and setting goals is really helping me this time around.  In the past, making a list or setting a goal was counter productive because then I became "demand resistant" where I refused to do the tasks because I knew I needed to do the tasks.  It makes no sense, but that's how I've been for a good 10 years.  It was like I would use up all my "go" energy making a plan, then decided not to do any of the work.  I'm not sure what's different this time around.  Probably that I'm doing it publicly and feel like I'm accountable to anyone who stumbles upon this page.  Whatever it is, I'm glad it's working and hope it holds up thru February so I can celebrate having an organized bedroom, office & sewing area in the near future. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Declutter progress... or not!

 So far today, I've worked in 3 rooms of my house and feel like I've made an even bigger mess of things.  My organizing grid units arrived from Amazon, and let me tell you, I will be reading reviews of anything I buy going forward, because the warnings were there if I had looked.  The organizers are super small.  My jeans are a US size 4 from Old Navy and they take up the equivalent of 2 slots.  They work ok for leggings and size Medium t-shirts, but anything thicker than that and you're gonna be disappointed.  I ended up taking the jeans out and putting them in my drawer without the organizer.  I got rid of several pairs of pants that were too big and some ciel blue scrubs I wore 3 years ago when I first started in the pharmacy and that was the color we wore.  We've changed colors twice since then and I've lost weight, so they weren't the right color or size, so I let them go.  I got rid of bras I haven't worn in years, pantyhose and tights from god-knows-when, and shape wear from when I cared about my midriff showing.  When I opened the drawers in the closet that I hadn't used in a good 5-8 years, I found pjs that were too big, so those went as well.  I found dressy shorts that still had the tags on them from so long ago I don't remember buying them.    I have a feeling they were too small at the time, hence the tags, but I tried them on and they fit me now, so I'm keeping them for the time being.  There are a couple events I go to in the summer where I imagine they are appropriate attire.  If I don't wear them this summer, I'll retire them to Goodwill. I have a pile more shirts to fold, and I'm waiting for a couple more loads of laundry to be dried so that I can put those items away as well.  By tonight my clothing should be under control.  

While I am waiting for the laundry to run it's cycle, I decided to stick a few more hooks on my sewing area wall to hang the new thread rack I bought and hang my quilt rulers along with my scissors, pinking sheers, and rotary cutters. I got rid of the thread boxes that were buried on my sewing table since they were ineffective.  Now I can see everything and know that I don't need to buy thread for anything for quite a long time.  I went thru the table and threw out random receipts, unnecessary packaging from different products I've opened & used, and other junk that didn't belong there.  I even found a stamped letter to a friend from I have no idea when.  I'm torn between mailing it and opening it to see what I had to say that day.  

Another Amazon purchase was smaller 5x8" bags for my sock yarn collection.  I might have underestimated how much space 100 grams of sock yarn takes up, because depending on how it's skeined or balled, some won't fit in those bags.  But I do like that they're smaller and for the ones that fit, they look better to display the yarn.  I will keep using the other ones (10x12") as potential project bags if I need to, and for yarn once it's in 2 sock cakes which take up more space.  I need to take down all the yarn, re-bag what can be, and then organize and re-hang them on the hooks in the office/craft room.  That will probably wait until next week so I can focus and spread that stuff out.  

I need to go to the library and pick up Marie Kondo's books that I reserved.  I'm hoping to get more inspiration or ideas.  I was hoping the Home Edit books would get there today, but so far I haven't been notified.  We are supposed to get a bunch of snow today.  I wish I had a job where I got to stay home if the weather was bad.  Unfortunately, drug stores and pharmacies don't close no matter what.  Even when we lost power for hours a few weeks ago they wouldn't let us go home.  Today is my day off, so I just have a doctor appointment to get to, but tomorrow it's back to the grindstone.  At least the snow will be good for skiing this Saturday.  Jo has her second lesson scheduled and I'm hoping that I at least get up the mountain a few times this week.  Last week I just stayed on the bunny hill the whole time. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Sparking Joy

 So, one of my goals for 2023 is to get my physical environment under control.  As a legitimate hoarder, this is something that has been a lifelong failure for me so far.  I get the idea to straighten up, I get inspired, I go hog wild buying things I think will help me to get organized, and then they sit in a corner waiting to be used as more and more piles form, tip over and grow again.  On Saturday night at about 1am, I was window shopping Amazon and broke my no-buy for the second time.  I started looking for a pegboard system to hang all my sewing notions on the wall by my sewing machine.  I have multiple rotary cutters, scissors and pinking shears.  I also have a lot of quilting rulers that could be hung.  I didn't find a suitable pegboard system that was affordable, so I settled on clear adhesive hooks that I can stick to the wall and get my tools off my sewing and cutting tables.  That mission at least will be accomplished. 

And while I was on Amazon, I came across organizers for clothes that can be used to hold clothes folded the KonMari way.  Now, I typically fold my shirts using a Flip-Folder I bought after seeing Sheldon using one on Big Bang Theory years ago, then stack them in my cubes.   I say typically, but I haven't done that in a year.  Lately, I either hang tshirts that are presentable to wear outside the house, or just throw the sleeping tshirts in a bin under the bed.  But my closet is overflowing, so it's time to come up with a better plan.  I've read 2 of Marie Kondo's books in the past, but never really tried to implement her strategies because of her method of making a bigger mess before you start cleaning up.  The idea of dumping all my clothes in a big pile in order to neaten my closet just doesn't interest me.  But I'm willing to give it a try, because nothing else has worked.  I bought this set of clothing organizers on Amazon, along with 3 more organizers for the shirts/pants, 2 more for bras, and 3 larger organizers for socks.  These are for me & Jo to share.  So, I have potentially 36 slots for larger items like shirts and pants for each of us.  My work scrubs will continue to be hung up because they don't take up much space and I have to hang them to steam the wrinkles out anyway.  Currently my closet has a double hanging rod on one side and an unused plastic drawer cart under the top rod on the other side.  The second drawer cart is down in the sewing area where it's not being used, so I might bring it back up if I can get all my hanging clothes down to one side of the top rod only.  

Most of the organizers will arrive Monday, so hopefully Tuesday & Wednesday we can go through all our clothes, purge what we don't want/need/love, and get the remainder folded up and into the organizers.  I'm looking forward to the challenge to finally get my wardrobe under control, like it hasn't been since I purged all my 3X clothes 8 years ago.  I also need to get one of my yarn totes emptied by consolidating the contents so that I have a place to store my size 6 jeans that are currently too big but that fit perfectly if I gain weight down the road, and my wedding dress that is still hanging up in my hallway after 18 months.   It will also be nice to see all my hand knit socks neatly matched & folded next to each other.  And my hand knit sweaters will also have a home in my wardrobe.   

Monday, January 23, 2023

My Planner Routine

 Today I thought I would share my planner routine.  It's quite an ordeal for me to keep up with all of them, but I also enjoy it.  And so far, I've kept up with all 7 of them.  Worst case scenario is that yesterday I got home from dinner and was too tired to rehash my day, so I updated them this morning.  The memories are still fresh, with the exception of what I ate yesterday, which isn't of vital importance in the grand scheme of things.  

Why do I have 7 planners, you ask?  Because I love writing, I love notebooks, and I couldn't narrow it down to fewer, quite frankly.  

Last year I used a Hobonichi Weeks as my daily carry and love the size and shape of it for keeping in my purse and writing out my work schedule and appointments, which I'm doing again this year.  At the end of the day, I record how my day at work went and any other important bullet points like important things that happened.  It has some blank space in the back for me to record other things like tv shows I watch, knitting patterns I'm trying to keep track of, etc.  This year I went with the regular version instead of the Mega since last year I didn't use much of the back space.  

Also living in my purse is my Hobonichi A6 Notebook which I use as my social media planner.  I jot down notes for posts I want to make, I drafted a schedule of ideas for the month ahead, and generally brainstorm for my blog, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Youtube.  I keep this with me so that I can potentially work on it when I'm on lunch break at work, although I tend to scroll social media instead of working on my content. 

When I get home at night, or before I go to sleep, I sit down and write in the other 5 journals/planners that live in a bin next to my bed.  

  1. In my 8-in-1 sketchbook journal, I record my mood for the day, note anything that I talked to my kids about, track any spending, note any learning or crafting progress, write anything notable about my social media accounts, and record a bit of gratitude.  This one isn't something I spend a lot of time on.  I have a brain dump section if there's something I'm trying to puzzle my way through.  But for the most part, it's just relevant bullet points in each section that's applicable to that particular day.  
  2. In my Hobonichi Techo A6 (English version) I do longhand journaling about everything that happened that day.  The A6 size is perfect to record a couple paragraphs and summarize my day so that in the future I will be able to get a good view of my life's day to day happenings.  I hope to build a library of these so that I can look back on them in my old age. 
  3. The Aura Estelle Hourly A5 planner is where I record my work hours and everything else I do throughout the day to kind of know how I'm spending my time.  It's messy and quick.  I miss the Erin Condren Daily Duo for the hourly record aspect of what I accomplish in a day, but I don't need a whole page per day to record that stuff either.  I like having the week at a glance with my work hours blocked off so I can visually see how my week is shaping up.  I tend to get more done on days that I go into work late because I can get stuff done in the morning before work.  Most nights that I get home earlier in the day and just veg because I'm worn out.  
  4. Erin Condren Habit Tracker notebook - I got this one a year or two ago and never used it.  I make a weekly list of tasks I should be working on for that week.  I write the days across the top and just X off the tasks that I actually accomplish each day.  This is a newer idea for me, and I'm not sure how it's working as this is only the second week, but at least I get a daily reminder when I check in that I'm supposed to be working on stuff this week that I might otherwise forget about, like scheduling appointments or reorganizing my yarn stash. 
  5. And, finally, my Bullet Journal 2.0.  This notebook I pre-formatted for my year ahead with the pages already labeled with each week, my monthly goals pages, and my budget and spending trackers.  In the front is my no-spend tracker, my gratitude tracker, and all my goals for the year from my Makse Life-derived goal planning.  Each night I record my spending, the thing I'm grateful for that day, and then turn to the weekly view and record some bullet points of the day and cross off any task bullets I completed and sometimes record some bullets for tomorrow that need to get done. I'm not really a bullet journal follower - I found the video about how to bullet journal when Ryder Carroll put out his first video on it many years ago.  I like the original iteration of it where there was no preplanning, you just grew the notebook as you went.  It was a Moleskine and a pen.  I could handle that.  Then people like Kara from Boho Berry came along and made spreads and trackers and banners and beautified the whole thing and I just couldn't keep up with that aesthetic. I like to be able to plan ahead, so I pre-dated the notebook.  It will also keep me accountable since each page has its purpose and I don't want to waste them.  I don't pre-layout the weekly view though.  Some weeks I separate into 8 equal areas, sometimes I bullet each day's information free-form and use as many or few lines as needed for each day.   This week I set up a To Do list at the top to cover things I must accomplish this week.  I think I will eventually discover a layout that works well and stick with it, but right now I'm just experimenting.  
So, that about sums up how I use and keep track of my 7 planners.  Do you use a paper planner?  Do you have more than 1?  I'd love to hear your experience!

Friday, January 20, 2023

Flannel, Flannel, Everywhere!

 This past Christmas I decided I was going to make bowl cozies for everyone for Christmas.  I bought the materials.  I bought templates, then I stalled.  I ended up coming across a TikToker who used a simpler formula to make her bowl cozies without a template, and I decided to run with her pattern.  I made them for my nail tech, my secret Santa match, and everyone in my family.  My aunt & uncle liked them so much they asked for me to make them a few more, which I need to get to.  I thought I was going to do them on Wednesday before my plans got all messed up by a cancelled appointment first thing in the morning that threw off my whole mojo for the day.  Hopefully I can do them tomorrow after we get home and (probably) take a nap after skiing for the first time of the season.  I also promised a co-worker I would make her some, but I need to use the templates because her dishes are huge.  I have time before I will feel guilty for not having hers done though. At some point I need to make some for my own home.  

After I sew the bowl cozies I want to move on to sewing a BUNCH of pj pants for my family.  My home is cold & drafty in the winter, at least on the first floor.  I spend all my time in bed in the winter, where it's comfortable physically and temperature-wise.  Since one of my goals is to spend more time out of the bedroom, I need some cozy flannel pj pants to put on so I can spend time downstairs.  At the beginning of the pandemic when I got into sewing, I bought a LOT of flannel material.  Joann's gives a discount if you purchase a whole bolt and I couldn't pass on a discount, so I loaded up on about a dozen bolts of flannel.  I even have some more masculine prints for Dan.  I repurchased patterns for pj pants for him because I somehow lost the pattern I used to make his last 2 pairs. I bought more elastic for the waistbands.  And then the desire to sew pj pants left me.  The need to sew the pants is two-fold.  I need to minimize my fabric stash so my previously-called-living-room doesn't look like a complete disaster.  I have my husband's grandmother's hope chest full of flannel bolts so that it doesn't close, piles of fabric scraps from my various prior projects that I'm not sure what to do with them, batting for the quilts I planned to make but never sandwiched together.  It's a disaster, that's the only word I can find to describe it.  A cyclone would be jealous of the destruction that a Shannon can inflict. I need a few hours to take measurements, decide on a size for each of us, and cut out the patterns. I need a couple days with a clear floor to lay out the fabric and patterns to cut the material.  Then a few more days to do the sewing.  I might even attempt to use my serger for the first time since last May's disastrous class.  My goal is to make Dan 2 more pairs and me & Jo 3 or 4 pairs each since I have so many feminine print fabrics.  I figure if I make 10 pairs of pants, I will be able to fit the remaining flannel into the chest and close it.  And that's my goal at this point.  

In crochet news, I'm struggling to find a spiral pattern to use to fulfill my lesson 4 requirement on the CYC Crochet Instructor Program.  I'm thinking about making a hat, since that's the only thing that comes to mind besides amigurumi patterns, but I don't think of those as "beginner" patterns, although some beginners in the group I'm in on Facebook seem to be learning to crochet them right at the beginning.  I definitely didn't begin that way.  I started out making things flat and in the round using joined rounds, not spiral.

Today is Friday, and I have to go to work now until 9:30 pm.  Tomorrow we ski. Sunday I work.  I can't wait until my birthday in mid-February, when I took a week off work.  There is so much I want to work on at home, and this whole working thing is ruining my plans.  LOL.  I hope everyone has a good weekend!  What's on your agenda?   

Monday, January 16, 2023

January Mid-Month Check-in

 Welcome to the second half of January!  How are your resolutions for 2023 holding up?  I'm relatively happy with how the year is progressing, although I could be doing better.  But one of my goals is to give myself grace so that I don't give up in favor of perfection.  

  • Personal:  Take time daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly to focus on goals and progress.  Take time to do hobbies that interest me. Give myself grace for my limitations. I haven't been doing as much with my hobbies in the past week because I've been too fidgety. I did wash and set my first bobbins of Fairy Tale yarn, which I think I will knit into a beanie.  I got back to spinning on my EEW Nano last night and I forgot how soothing working with fiber and my hands is.  My 2 pairs of socks have been languishing.
  • Fun & Recreation: Make an effort to meet new people and spend time outside my home.  Find more ways to have fun that don't involve shopping.  Haven't worked on this yet. 
  • Work & Learning:  Get to Senior Tech at work by the midpoint of the year.  Learn how to make videos for TikTok and YouTube. I learned how to post to TikTok after some research.  Still need to review with my boss how I get the promotion. 
  • Family & Relationships:  Spend more time with my family... really Connect not just being in the same space at the same time.  Try to find a sense of Community in my local area.  Really haven't worked on this yet.  Still in the same space & time phase.  We did have a game night last week which was fun.
  • Health & Wellness:  Follow up with doctors to get my health back on track.  Drink more water or sugar free tea.  Eat healthier.  Exercise 1-2 times a week. Went to the doctor last week and went for my bloodwork this weekend to confirm my levels are good still.  I have to schedule 2 more appointments for a mammogram and sleep study.  Been bringing lunch or coming home and eating leftovers instead of eating out every day.
  • Spiritual & Personal Growth:  Spend time each day on Gratitude.  Find some spiritual practice that I can devote time to regularly.  I've been logging my gratitude every day, but haven't looked into anything spiritual yet.
  • Financial:  Set up a budget.  Start saving $25 per paycheck.  Do a No-buy/low buy year. Set up an auto transfer to my savings account.  No-Buy on craft supplies is holding up but I did have a slip up one day where I spent a little more than I should at the Dollar Tree buying bins to organize papers.  
  • Physical Environment: Clean up the living areas so we can have company.  Spend time outside the bedroom to recharge.   Cleared off 75% of the dining room table to play a game and took down the Christmas tree, but other than that I haven't really worked on cleaning the living areas.  I did bag up and hang all my fine & superfine yarns on the wall in my office/craft room.  
I think the goals for the next 2 weeks will be to work on the office/craft room and get my craft supplies out of the dining room, make those phone calls to schedule those doctor appointments, work on my Craft Yarn Council Instructor Certification Program samples, and spin the rest of my Persian Pink batt on my Nano.  And of course continue my gratitude logging and no-buy.  

How are you doing so far?  What short or long term goals are you working on? Do you ever feel like you have to push yourself to work on crafting, or do you always work on it willingly?  Leave me a comment!  I love reading them!

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Project: Declutter Update

 I've decided to hang all the yarn bags on Command adhesive hooks on the wall behind the door in the office.  It didn't come together the way I imagined it would, however.  I think the bags I purchased are just too big.  I am tempted to buy smaller ones, but the no-buy guilt kicked in before I checked out my Amazon cart. I got all the newer yarn that was out in the open hung, then I went searching thru the bins in the sunroom to find the rest of my fine weight yarn and got that bagged & hung as well.  I think I'm at about 90-100 skeins of sock & lace weight.  I've been kind of stalled on my sock projects for the past week with so much other stuff on my mind.  Wednesday was an errand day instead of my stay at home and relax day with the occasional appointment mid-day.  I brought my knitting with me to my mom's house but forgot to bring it with me to the mechanics shop while I waited.  I've been coming home exhausted from work and just sit and stare into space or scroll my social media accounts until I pass out.  Last night we decided to grab Chipotle and have family game night.  I cleared off 75% of the dining room table to make way for that.  My husband, daughter and I played Fire Tower for about an hour and then I spent time updating all my journals.  I decided to write to my penpals and had to dig thru the pile in my bedroom to find my postage stamp binder with address labels and stamps so I could seal them up.  I found stuff I had forgotten I owned, like an Erin Condren Habit Tracker notebook I bought a year or two ago.  I used it for less than 1 week.  I added it to the planner stack.  I listened to War and Peace for a couple hours.  Thandiwe Newton does a great job with narration, but sometimes I just zone out.  I try to catch myself and turn it off when that happens so that I actually hear the whole story.  I debated purchasing Spare by Prince Harry on Audible, but I think I'll wait until I'm done with War and Peace.  Still about 54 hours to go on that.  

Since it's Saturday, my day off (hooray!), I haven't been able to sleep (boo!).  Yesterday I accidentally took my night time pills in the morning and realized a few minutes later when I became very drowsy that I'd taken my med that helps me fall & stay asleep.  Since I took it in the morning, I didn't want to take it again at night and tried to sleep on my own.  I was up every 90 minutes or so all night.  Very frustrating.  And not good for the bags under my eyes either.  Sometime this morning I need to go to the blood lab and have some 21 tests run before my follow up appointment with the bariatric department on Tuesday afternoon.  I haven't been there since about 3 years post-op because I thought, Hey, I'm skinny, I'm a success, what do I need them for anymore?   Well, apparently eating McDonalds and little else for the past 6 years leads to malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies.  I'm hoping my iron is stable so I don't need more infusions, because those were quite expensive out of pocket.  I've been taking multivitamins and some other supplements which I hope are enough.  

After the lab, I have to stop next door to the YMCA and have Jo re-join.  Somehow her membership lapsed a year ago and we've been scanning her in and she's never been confronted that her membership wasn't valid.  For an entire year, almost every Friday evening, Dan & Jo go to the Y and scan their barcodes and they let them both in.  Finally, a more experienced employee was working the check-in, and she stopped them in December.  So I have to get that set back up so she can walk the indoor track like she prefers, of course on the opposite side of the city.  We have a local Y within 3 miles she refuses to go to. 

We will probably get lunch after that and then come home and I can get to decluttering.  I need to work on the bedroom and the office today.  And do laundry.  I have a horrible habit of doing a load of "work clothes, underwear & pjs" frequently, but leaving my non-work clothes I wear on Wednesdays and Saturdays in a pile in front of my closet.  I'm sick of walking around it.  I hate doing laundry because I don't like going in my basement, so I usually get Dan or Jo to run it for me.  Yes, I am spoiled that way.  

Tomorrow I work early (8-4:30pm) with some of my favorite co-workers, then I don't have to be back to work until 2pm on Monday afternoon and even later (4pm) on Tuesday afternoon.  So I need to sit down and schedule myself time to get some tasks done instead of sitting in bed, scrolling TikTok, watching Youtube, and window-shopping Amazon for 8 hours.  Lol.  There was a time that I slept right up until I had to get in the shower and leave for work.  Now that I have the right medication to help me sleep and keep me focused, I feel like I can actually accomplish things with my days.  Cleaning still doesn't happen automatically, but if I make myself a list I usually accomplish quite a bit. 

How about you?  Do you have issues keeping everything in your house orderly?  Do you listen to audio books while crafting?  I'd love to hear!  Leave me a comment!

Monday, January 9, 2023

Project: Declutter

 In keeping with my goal for this year to improve my physical environment, I put on the schedule to post about decluttering today.  When I saw this topic on my calendar, I was filled with dread.  I hate decluttering.  I am a hoarder.  I have ADHD.  My executive dysfunction is in peak display all over my home.  However, I know that I must work on it if I ever hope to have a better life.  

Why do I hate decluttering?  Because people tend to equate "declutter" with discarding.  And, I hate to throw things out.   Not trash - I'm not that kind of hoarder.  But "Stuff" is triggering.  I buy things for a reason.  I spend my hard-earned money to purchase things I like and want.  The idea of throwing them out (or donating, or selling, or recycling) freezes me where I stand.  I can't do it.  And usually there's no reason to.  But I have legitimately outgrown my office/craft room.  So it's time to get rid of some stuff.  The question is, what do I let go of?  

My current goal (according to my husband) is to clear the dining room of my Cricut, Silhouette Cameo, printer, and laminator.  I brought my cameo downstairs to make some planner stickers in November or December.  Then I bought a new printer since my "sticker printer" I bought a year ago was a piece of trash that kept disconnecting from wifi and printed poorly.  (Did I get rid of the problematic printer?  Of course not.  It's still taking up half my desk in the office.)  Then, I watched a video on how to make floating tabs for my planner and dug out my laminator from the office and brought that to the dining room as well.  I had a lot of stuff down there, so I bought another 3-tier rolling cart to keep my supplies and unused equipment on.  I was inspired by all the videos and Black Friday sales on Cricut, so I bit the bullet and bought an Explore Air 2.  So I added that to the dining room table. In order to use it, I had to move my Cameo from the table to the bench seat, of course.  Along with the Cricut, I bought more supplies which came in a sizable box.  The box went on the cart, but I honestly don't even know if the machine would fit there when not in use because I haven't tried putting it away.  I have a mountain of half used vinyl rolls from Hobby Lobby from making my mom & I different things with Iron-on in December.  Some are on the cart, some are scattered on the table.  It's a complete disaster down there.  

Why don't I just clean it up?  Because that stuff belongs in my office, which is currently overrun with bushels of miscellaneous other crap.  Most recently, I decided to bag each skein of sock yarn or skeins of lace weight for shawls into individual clear plastic drawstring project bags.  I bought 100, I've used probably 60 so far, and I'm nowhere near done with it.  I haven't figured out how to store or display them yet.  I would like to maybe hang them in my office as inspiration to finish a project so that I can choose another skein for the next pair of socks or shawl.  So they are all over the office.  I had half of them in a basket, but it was teetering on top of a pile and crashed over sometime in the past couple days.  

The closest I've gotten to decluttering in there was throwing out a few mostly-done sweaters that I had no idea of what pattern they were.  I got rid of some yarn I knew without-a-doubt I wouldn't use (Pomp-a-Doodle was such a bad idea).  I threw out a knitting loom that had pegs broken off of and that I'd already purchased a replacement for.  (The replacement is in it's box in the living room where I dropped it when I walked in from the store with it back in August or September.  I HAD to have it right away, then lost all desire to use it.) Again, trash isn't a problem - I will throw that out without issue.  Or if I know I'm not going to deal with it like those sweaters.  All that work down the drain, but I knew I wasn't going to invest the time to figure out how to finish them.  But when it comes to organizing what's left, I get overwhelmed.  I think that the right bins or boxes or jars or shelves are going to make a difference, so I decorated the room with a ton of cube shelving and closed cabinets with shelves on top.  And inside some of them there are organized bins or jars or other organizing tools that are in use.  But a majority of the cubes are empty and 2 of the cabinets I think are empty or have unnecessary stuff in them that I should probably go thru and discard.  

So this week's goal is to get to decluttering the office so that I can put together my new yoga ball chair and fit it at my desk, and empty out the cabinets so that I can make use of them to store the stuff I actually use.  The January goal is to get the dining room table cleared off and all my vinyl crafting stuff back into the office. Wish me luck! 

Friday, January 6, 2023

January WIPs

 For January 2023, I'm working on the following projects:

    WYS rainbow striped vanilla socks, cuff down, Two-at-a-time on 1 circular, Magic Loop style.  This is at the knit forever stage, so I can take it with me when we're running errands in the car on the weekend or when we go out to dinner. 

    Stroll Tweed royal blue tweed vanilla socks, cuff down, Two-at-a-time on 1 circular, Magic Loop style. I've shaped the heel and now I'm at the gusset decreases that require some concentration, so I can only work on this when I feel like paying attention. 

    Worsted Boxy by Joji Locatelli in Manos del Uruguay Rios Aquamarine.  I've just gotten thru the body to the underarm where I split the front & back and am just working the shaping for one side.  Again, it requires some concentration and I'm not really in the mood for it, so it's been languishing in my tote bag. 

    Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructors Program for Crochet.  I'm stuck on a sample of popcorn stitch that no matter how many times I try to work it out, my stitch count never seems to be right.  But I will keep working on it until I get it finished. 

I'm also making plenty of shirts and car decals on my Cricut.  I'm on chapter 20 of War and Peace.  And I have about 8 more bowl cozies to sew for 2 people who requested them.  

What are you working on this month? 

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

No-Buy/Low-Buy 2023

So, as I've mentioned, I'm doing a No-Buy/Low-Buy year in 2023.  Why?  Because my finances need CPR, I have too much STUFF, I've literally outgrown my craft room, and I need a reset in my life choices.  Enter No-Buy.  I first learned of this concept from a YouTuber Cinzia DuBois in her channel Lady of the Library a few years ago.  In the past I had tried things like "yarn diets" that were popular in the early 2000's in the crafting community, but Cinzia was taking this to a "whole life" level of no buying.  And this year it seemed most appropriate since I've gotten careless with my spending as of late. And again, I have so much stuff and not enough time to use it, so it seemed like a great time to give this a try.  Should be easy, right?  Famous last words, especially for a hoarder with OCD, who spends money to soothe oneself.  

The No-Buy Rules:
• No Yarn
• No Fiber
• No Fabric
• No Stationery
• No Eating Out Alone
• No Clothing (except blank shirts/pants to use Vinyl on)
• No Makeup

The Low-Buy Rules:
• I can purchase replacement items of things I have completely used up, if they are necessary.  

The Permissible List:
• Patterns for yarn/fabric I already own
• Eating Out with Friends or Family
• Medical Expenses
• Subscriptions with no physical products
• Groceries
• Manicure every 3 weeks 
• Anything I want with birthday money or gift cards I might receive.

I'm logging this in at least 2 places in my planner stack to make sure I stay accountable to the challenge thru the entire year.  In addition to following these rules, I also want to save at least $25 per pay period.  It's not much, but it's more than I have been saving, and I need to start somewhere.   

Now, even though Cinzia warned against it, I couldn't resist buying a few things in the last week of last year in preparation to go cold-turkey on the crafting purchases especially.  I definitely have more sock yarn than I will be able to knit thru in a year now.  And I stocked up on some good quality vinyl and iron-on for future Cricut/Silhouette projects. 

 Have you ever attempted to limit yourself from purchasing a specific classification of products or everything in general?  I'd love to hear your stories in the comments! 

Monday, January 2, 2023

2023 Goals and Planner Stack!

 My Word of the Year for 2023 is "Resourceful" and that's because I've decided to get my finances in order this year.  Top priority is sticking to a no-buy/low-buy year.  No buying craft or stationery products, clothes (except blanks to make t-shirts and jogging pants with iron-on vinyl), makeup, or eating out by myself.  I am allowed to buy patterns for yarn or materials I already own, maintain subscriptions for services that don't include physical products, groceries, meals out with family or friends, and my manicures (every 3 weeks).  The low-buy is mainly that I can replace things I use up once they are gone, not just because it's on sale.  I already had to stop myself from stocking up on Bath & Body Works Vanilla Bean Noel lotion today because I have a tube of body cream I haven't even opened yet.  Use it up, Wear it out, Make Do, or Do Without.  

I used the MakseLife worksheets to figure out my other goals for this year.  I strongly recommend checking out their website for the free printables if you have a planner already or can't afford the hefty price tag for one of their planners.  It breaks your life down into 8 categories and you rate where you are now and where you want to be by the end of the year.  Here are mine:

  • Personal:  Take time daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly to focus on goals and progress.  Take time to do hobbies that interest me. Give myself grace for my limitations.
  • Fun & Recreation: Make an effort to meet new people and spend time outside my home.  Find more ways to have fun that don't involve shopping.
  • Work & Learning:  Get to Senior Tech at work by the midpoint of the year.  Learn how to make videos for TikTok and YouTube. 
  • Family & Relationships:  Spend more time with my family... really Connect not just being in the same space at the same time.  Try to find a sense of Community in my local area.
  • Health & Wellness:  Follow up with doctors to get my health back on track.  Drink more water or sugar free tea.  Eat healthier.  Exercise 1-2 times a week. 
  • Spiritual & Personal Growth:  Spend time each day on Gratitude.  Find some spiritual practice that I can devote time to regularly. 
  • Financial:  Set up a budget.  Start saving $25 per paycheck.  Do a No-buy/low buy year. 
  • Physical Environment: Clean up the living areas so we can have company.  Spend time outside the bedroom to recharge.  
Some of these goals may seem easy but they are things I've been struggling with for years, so I have them written down and public so that everyone can keep me accountable.  Don't be afraid to call me out.  I need the guilt trips sometimes.  That's how I was raised in the 80's and 90's by my Italian mother.  

Sunday, January 1, 2023

2023 is a New Beginning!

Welcome!  It's 2023 and I've decided to give my blog another go and social media some attention.  Towards the end of 2022 I found that I really like interacting with the social media communities surrounding crafters and people dealing with mental health issues and neurodiversity.  I started watching TikTok and found a great YouTuber with a Facebook Group that I joined and enjoy.  So that got me thinking that I used to be online and interacting with a lot of great crafters and other folks in the 90's and early 2000's, and I miss it.  So, for those of you who are new here, an introduction:

My name is Shannon and I am 45 years old (for 6 more weeks, at least), and live in Rochester, NY.   I am the mother of 2 grown daughters, Jo is 20 and Autistic and lives with me, and CJ who is 18 and lives with her father in SC and is going to college there.  I finally married my husband, Dan, in 2021 after being together 7 years.  I work full time as a Certified Pharmacy Technician, having started in January 2020, just before the Coronavirus Pandemic hit.  

In addition to suffering my entire life from depression, I also have anxiety, OCD and ADHD.  I suffer from PTSD when it comes to telephones after my 15 years working in a call center.   I am a hoarder due to my OCD.  My executive functioning is way behind.  I have auditory processing delays.  I wasn't diagnosed as having ADHD until I was 29 years old.  I discovered the term "auditory processing delay" when my Autistic daughter was diagnosed with it when I was about 28 and was so relieved to have someone finally explain why I'd always said I had a hearing problem but kept passing hearing tests.  I'm just a bag of neurodivergent traits.  In the past year I seem to have finally gotten on the right combination of medication to be happier & more content with my life.  The rest is the hard work I have to do myself, like decluttering my hoard and following thru on my projects.  That's where ya'll come in.  I need accountability partners and my audience will become critical to my progress.  

Now, you probably aren't here to read about my mental health issues, so on to the good stuff.  I am a yarn and fiber hoarder, and a hobby addict.  The biggest things I tend to buy are yarn and knit/crochet tools.  But in the past year I got back into spinning fiber into yarn.   Last November I upgraded some parts on my Babe Production Spinning Wheel ( and splurged on a TON of fiber that I did not spin yet. Like I'm known to do, I get burned out after my exuberance wears off.  So, a huge basket with pounds and pounds of fiber has been sitting in my living room waiting to be spun for over a year now.  I got an e-spinner for Christmas this year from my husband. It's an Electric Eel Wheel Nano 2.0 from  So far I've spun up some of my merino/stellina blend that I bought last year and it's gorgeous.  This weekend I will ply it into some yarn that I have no plans for as of yet.  

Now a little background on my yarn crafts...  in 1999 I decided that I wanted to crochet and knit.  I had only ever learned how to chain with a crochet hook when I was little and my mom let me play around with a hook and some spare yarn.  She's not a crocheter... she had started blankets for me & my brother when we were little and she never finished them.  She couldn't tell me how to do any stitches.  So I got a book from a big box store and some yarn and hooks and I taught myself crochet.  But I really wanted to do the two-handed knitting thing really badly.  So, again, I bought a booklet from Walmart and some needles, sat on my bed and tried to cast on ... for HOURS!  Literally hours I spent trying to figure out how to cast on. There was no YouTube back then.  Most people didn't have digital cameras, so websites about knitting tended to be just plain text, and newsgroups were where you found your knitting community.  But eventually I figured it out.  I started knitting and had to pay such close attention to what I was doing that I realized it was helping with the massive tension headaches I was suffering from.  So I kept going.  Nevermind that my "purl" stitches were actually "knit thru the back loop" for a while, I kept trying and learning.  On my own.  In 2002, when my first daughter was born, I decided I wanted to learn to knit socks.  While I'd been pregnant for her, I began hoarding yarn... I bought an overflowing cart full of yarn to make everyone I knew a crocheted throw for Christmas.  Although I did eventually finish crocheting 8 of them, I think that left me with yarn for about 6 more in my stash.  When I got into sock knitting, I started hoarding sock yarn from Lorna's Laces.  That first pair of socks took me 9 months to knit and were really too small.  I'm not sure what happened to them.  Sassy Stripe yarn - pink and orange striped.  I also went thru several sets of size 1 Brittany wooden needles because my hands were hot & sweaty and I knit with a death grip on them, so they were all bent and flexible from the abuse after a short time.  At this time, I had a blog, a digital camera, and a good relationship with several newsgroups online.  I was knitting and sharing my progress, learning from the community and improving my skills.  Then, in 2003, my co-worker unintentionally outed me at work with my blog and my frustration with my coworkers and I lost my job over it.  I had to delete my blog.  I spiraled into a depression and was pregnant with my 2nd daughter at the time.  I knit my first attempt at 2-handed color work with a sweater pattern by Philosopher's Wool  and made sweaters with my Ultimate Sweater Machine. And of course, I kept buying yarn.  I kept starting projects but rarely finished them.  That sweater from Philosopher's Wool is still unfinished somewhere in my parents' basement.  In 2004 I got a job in a call center and had money flowing again, so more yarn.  I tried repeatedly to put myself on yarn diets, as was the rage on the blog circuits of yarn people.  I decided that I could buy books and tools but no more yarn.  So, in came the knit and crochet books.  So, yeah, I have quite a library of my own now.  A couple years later, I got divorced and the depression took over again.  From 2006-2013 I was morbidly depressed.  In October 2013, I had gastric bypass surgery.  I lost over 100 pounds in 9 months and was re-introduced to Dan, who I went to high school with, at our 19 year reunion in 2014.  On our first date, where we were meeting at a bar/restaurant for "drinks," I brought my knitting in case I actually had alcohol and needed to wait before driving home.  LOL.  Luckily, neither of us are drinkers and we spent 5 hours chatting and no alcohol was consumed.  Exactly 7 years from that first date we were married (finally).   In between, I had moved into his house and when his brother moved out, I turned his old room into a yarn room.  Not to be confused with my Happy Place room, which is where I have my desk and all my Silhouette and planner and office supplies. No, the big yarn room is where I was originally taping my podcasts.  I made a whopping 3 episodes before my older daughter moved back in with me.   Then the yarn room became Jo's room, and that's where my podcasts died.  

Anyway, here I am, knitting socks and sweaters and crocheting afghans and spinning wool. I'm in the midst of trying to become Craft Yarn Council certified as an instructor in Crochet.  Relaunching my blog and adding social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok).  Embarking on a crafting No-Buy year.  And, hopefully, making some friends along the way.  

If you found me, I would really appreciate it if you'd leave a comment with what crafts you're into and where you're from.  And please follow me on my other socials - myshannanigansdotcom on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook & Youtube and my_shannanigans on Twitter.