2016 Goals – The Year of Calibrate

A new year means it is time for new goals and resolutions!  I always spend the last week of December reflecting on what went well in the past year and what I want to work on for the upcoming year.  This blog has really helped me keep track of my crafting goals and the progress I have made.  Often I find myself scrolling through old posts saying, “Oh I forgot about that project!”  So I am grateful for the reminders.

This is also my sixth year choosing “one little word.”  Past words include:  Nourish (2015), Flow (2014), Acceptance (2013), Mindful (2012), and Relax (2011).  2016 will be the year of calibrate for me!  Calibrate is defined as, “to determine, check, or rectify the graduation of (any instrument giving quantitative measurements),” and to plan or devise (something) carefully so as to have a precise use, application, appeal, etc.”  This year I want to calibrate my crafting/homesteading, considering carefully and thoughtfully why I am working on each project.  I have a big goal to “not purchase anything” in 2016 (see below), and so calibrating what I currently do have and use is important for this year.  Calibrating also makes me consider giving up certain tools or crafting methods that do not bring me joy.  I look forward to further considering how this word will impact the year!

2016 Goals:

  • Use what I have (or for the negative version) – do not purchase any new crafting supplies this year.

It sounds crazy and ambitious, I know.  But I have been working up to this one.  Usually something like a big event or big move limits my purchases, but I do not have that this year.  I do have too much stuff though, that is clear.  I have so many projects I could do each year that do not get done because something new grabs my attention.

Rules for this goal – I can purchase something IF it completes a current project.  So, if I piece together a quilt top and I have no suitable backing fabric, I can purchase the backing fabric.  Or if I run out of thread, I can purchase thread.  But I cannot wander up and down the aisle of Joann’s throwing extra things in my cart.  Or shop online and add a kit because it will get me free shipping.  Or buy a new book for inspiration.  Absolutely not.  The one exception for buying something brand new will be when we travel to Peru in March.  That is a once in a lifetime type of deal – if I want yarn or fabric from Peru while we are there, I will get it!

My friend Janelle said (something like), “But this doesn’t have include tools, does it?”  Yes, yes it does.  I already have a lot of great tools that need to be used.  New tools are usually what gets me into a crafting purchase rabbit hole.   Which also means no requests for gifts that require purchases.  A dear friend wants a hat in neon green?  It has to wait until 2017.  Or I can make you a lovely hat out of any shade of purple (seriously, I have so much purple).  So there it is – no new crafting supplies this year.

  • Keep track of my fiber, fabric, and yarn stashes.

I complete this goal every year – tracking is easy after years of practice.  It is staying ahead of my stashes, or using more than I brought in, that I struggled with in 2015.  Hence the first goal!

  • Finish my wedding quilt before our two year anniversary.

This goal by itself helps explain part of my first goal!  How have I put other quilts and sewing projects in front of this project?  Gifts for kids is the main reason.  But not this year.  This year I piece together this wall-hanging quilt and hang it in our hallway so we can enjoy it.

  • Finish my t-shirt quilt.

For the record, this was also a goal I made in 2013.  Yes, 2013.  Another project that is for me that I keep putting off.  All of the t-shirts are cut.  I “just” need to finish interfacing to get to the fun part of organizing the blocks and actually piecing it together!

  • Can three new recipes this year.

I have been canning fruits and vegetables for the past two years now and have made apple pie filling, cherry syrup, cranberry conserves, salsa, blueberry pie filling, and dilly beans.  This year I want to try three new recipes, which could be fruits or vegetables.  I have plenty of books on my shelf to choose three recipes from.

  • Cook freezer meals at least once a month.

I love pulling a freezer meal out on a busy weeknight and enjoying the home cooked meal.  It gives me more time for crafting!  So I want to commit to doing a set of these at least once a month – whether it is just a couple meals or larger groupings.

  • Schedule time for crafting.

This sounds like a vague goal, but I know what I have in mind.  I am going back to a paper planner for 2016 instead of solely relying on my Google Calendars.  I chose a Planner Pad because of their three tier system.  I can create my list of to dos at the top, turn them into daily activities, and then schedule the time below.  I am currently completing my first week with the planner and I love it so far.  Instead of just having a long list of to-dos, I was able to schedule them into the day.  I LOVE checklists, crossing things out, gold stars, etc, so this works for me.  Scheduling the actual time to work on a project that is in the back of my mind will really help me balance out my goals for this year.

That is the list for 2016!  I did not make any specific gardening goals this year.  I know it will be a busy spring as I train for my first half marathon and travel internationally for the first time.  Somehow I am sure I will fill my summer up quickly.  I am looking forward to a wonderful 2016 filled with lots of crafting and homesteading with calibration!  Come back to the blog to stay updated!

2015 Goals in Review

It is that time of year – time to reflect on the goals I made for myself for 2015 and how they worked out.  2015 was the year of “Nourish.”  Google defines nourish one way as, “provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.”  While I intended this word for my crafting, it is funny how important this word became in August when I decided to pursue a new hobby of becoming a Pampered Chef consultant.  Talk about a direct application of nourishment!  I kind of spontaneously decided I wanted to become a consultant after attending a friend’s party – and then I got hooked.  Cooking and hosting shows became a big part of my free time this fall, which limited my other crafting time, but was a lot of fun.  And like I said at the beginning of the year, it was not a big year of excitement – just nourishment.

2015 Goals (Recap):

  • Keep track of my fiber, fabric, and yarn stashes.

This goal is easy now that I have been doing it for four years.  Keeping track is easy now – using more than I buy…well, that’s the difficult part.  I will be posting my stash report update in the next couple of days.  Until them, I am scurrying around finishing projects!  Glad this goal has become automatic at least in the tracking part of it.

  • Reduce the time spent on the computer each evening and over the weekend.

My goal for this started out with the StayFocusd add-on for Google Chrome.  That worked like a charm this year.  Little did I realize how big of a deal this goal would become when I decided to switch from my smartphone back to a flip phone in March.  I was just finally fed up with paying more attention my phone and scrolling through things rather than actually paying attention what is happening around me and having more time for crafting.  What a game changer!  I did buy a Kindle Fire to help with the transition (wi-fi only).  But this year, there were whole weeks where I would not be engaged online.  There was still plenty of time spent online, but I am really happy with my decision to switch back to a simple phone.  I sort of miss the Glide app for videos, Instagram, posting more on Twitter, and having more access to photos easily.  But overall, it is a big win.  I imagine some day I will return to the smartphone world, but not for now!

  • Commit to watching my online crafting classes (Creativebug, Craftsy, OnlineCardClasses).

I knocked this goal out of the park – I made myself a spreadsheet and committed to watching my purchased videos in the first part of the year.  I learned a lot about art journaling and weaving in particular.  I am glad I watched my videos and I have not really had the urge to buy more at this time, but I am sure I will return to them in the future.

  • Weave six projects from the yarn stash.

Now here is a goal that did not make as much progress as I had hoped.  I did make 4 projects in the early part of the year on my Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom.  Then I got the great idea to buy a bigger floor loom (Craigslist deal).  And the transition was rough to say the least.  I still have not completed the first project on that new loom.  And I let my mother-in-law borrow the Cricket (which she has used happily for projects).  So weaving made very little progress this year.  You can imagine this is going to be a big goal for 2016!

  • Shift my scrapbooking to focus on themes and non-chronological memories.

At the beginning of the year, I asked, “what if this year I focus on a non-chronological scrapbook?  Just documenting what I want – when I want to.”  This has been a good goal for me and I have followed it loosely.  However, I would say the biggest struggle would still be actually documenting.  To be able to follow the non-chronological method, I still need to keep up with it more regularly than I have this year.  And when I do not print photos consistently, that also has limited me.  I still love this idea and will continue to do it with some realigning in 2016.

  • Start a real garden out in the yard this year.

Another year in our house and this goal still did not happen.  Just a few containers.  It is probably good it did not work out since I ended up traveling more weeks this past summer than I ever have, but I still could have planted something.  Not working on this goal makes me think, “Do I really want to garden or do I just think I should garden?”  More on that in 2016.

  • Can vegetables for the first time.

I did complete this 2015 goal!  I canned dilly beans and salsa for my vegetables this year.  I also made cranberry conserves and blueberry pie filling, which was fun.  Vegetables really are not that hard, as I predicted, it just seems to take an entire afternoon.

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  • Create the wall of shawls.

 

Here is another goal I completed for 2015!  I posted about it here in May.  I love my wall of shawls.  I have two walls now actually.  Has this made me wear my shawls more often, like I intended to with this project?  Not really.  But that is mostly because I have realized I need more solid colored tops if I want to wear my shawls more often.  I need to work on that.  At this point, I probably do a have a shawl at least in every color!

 

Well that wraps up the recap of my 2015 goals, the year of nourish.  I am clearly an Upholder with all of these goal accomplishments.  If you have not read or listened to Gretchen Rubin’s books, I highly recommend them.  So happy to have a successful year ending and I am busy reflecting on how to make 2016 even better (and yes, finishing up crafting projects this week!).  I hope your 2015 was a wonderful year as well!

Third Quarter 2015 Stash Report

It has been an unusually busy quarter for me, but I did manage to get some crafting done!  Here are my reports for the third quarter.  Clearly I have my work cut out for me these last three months of 2015!

Fabric Update:

Used Year to Date: 0 yards

Added Year to Date:  13 yards

Destashed Year to Date:  -13 yards

Fiber Update:

Ounces Spun Year to Date:  12 ounces

Purchased Year to Date:  60 ounces

Traded/Destashed Year to Date:  46 ounces

Yards Spun Year to Date:  594 yards

Net Destashed for 2015:  -2 ounces

Quaintly baby sweater for our future niece!

Yarn Update:

Knit Year to Date:  4,604 yards

Woven Year to Date:  1,369 yards

Traded/Sold/Gave Away Year to Date:  2,745 yards

Purchased Year to Date: 10,998 yards

Acquired for Free to Date:  150 yards

Net Destashed for 2015:   -2,430 yards

The last quarter is always my favorite time of year!

2015 Second Quarter Stash Report

Here we are at the halfway point of the year already!  June went by in the blink of an eye for me because I spent most of it traveling.  Halfway through the year and halfway through the summer (for school).  This quarter I had a lot of crafting adventures – a friend’s bridal shower, Maryland Sheep and Wool (MDSW) Festival, Great Lakes Fiber Festival, handling alpaca at the local farm, seeing the Mount Vernon sheep in person, AND the ultimate – my first visit to WEBS, the biggest yarn shop in the United States!  I was so happy to squish all the yarns in person.  I also went in with a plan in mind – find DK yarn for the new Paula Emons-Fuessle pattern.  So I did just that, finding a Rowan DK closeout for $20.  Just $20 in yarn from WEBS?!  I know!  It’s like the first time I went to MDSW…a lot of self-restraint.  I still have a lot of work to do the rest of the year to stay ahead!  Here is the official stash report.

Fabric Update: (Really?  I still haven’t sewn anything this year?  Wow!)

Used Year to Date: 0 yards

Added Year to Date:  3.5 yards

Destashed Year to Date:  -3.5 yards

Fiber Update(I made some progress here!)

Ounces Spun Year to Date:  12 ounces

Purchased Year to Date:  38 ounces

Traded/Destashed Year to Date:  46 ounces

Yards Spun Year to Date:  594 yards

Net Destashed for 2015:  20 ounces

Follow Your Arrow KAL 2015

Yarn Update: (I could go the rest of the year without buying yarn…don’t I always say that?)

Knit Year to Date:  4,354 yards

Woven Year to Date:  1,369 yards

Traded/Sold/Gave Away Year to Date:  745 yards

Purchased Year to Date: 6,198 yards

Acquired for Free to Date:  150 yards

Net Destashed for 2015:   120 yards

Hope your first half of 2015 was as wonderful as mine!

2015 Goals – The Year of Nourish

A new year and new goals!  I am so looking forward to my crafting adventures in 2015.  I have had a few days to think about my 2014 Recap and I am ready to write down my goals for this year.  First, this is my fifth year of choosing a “one little word,” inspired by Ali Edwards.  Past words include:  Flow (2014), Acceptance (2013), Mindful (2012), and Relax (2011).  This year will be Nourish.  Google defines nourish one way as, “provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.”  That is exactly how I feel about my crafting goals this year.  I want to continue to nourish my hobbies and the time I spend on them.  Not every goal will be about growing the craft, but keeping it in good condition and keeping my current goals active.  It is not a year of big excitement – it is a year of nourishment.

2015 Goals:

  • Keep track of my fiber, fabric, and yarn stashes.

An important goal to me every year as I try to use more of what I already own.  Last year was a struggle in each of these areas, but I am looking forward to a fresh start this year!  It is too easy to buy more, especially when it takes so much time to use it.  My next goal should help with the reduction of the stashes this year as well.

  • Reduce the time spent on the computer each evening and over the weekend.

Part of the lack of crafting during the school year I know comes from sitting on the computer.  I love to read blogs and scroll through my Twitter and Instagram feeds.  I get distracted by something new on some crafty blog and then I must own it!  Which of course, reduces the time I am spending on crafts I already own.  So I have downloaded the StayFocusd add-on for Google Chrome.  My blocked sites include social media, Feedly (my reader for blogs), and Ravelry.  Once that little timer is up each evening, I am ready to enjoy my evening with crafting or anything else.

  • Commit to watching my online crafting classes (Creativebug, Craftsy, OnlineCardClasses).

Now this goal may seem to contradict the above goal.  However, it does not to me.  What do I do when I am cruising the internet?  Buy online classes.  Or hoard crafting books.  Both related.  This year I want to make myself a schedule of watching more of these classes I have already purchased.  Following a schedule is how I work best, so I plan to do something like, “watch three lessons this week” and have a little checklist.

  • Weave six projects from the yarn stash.

One commitment I want to make in my fiber related crafting world is to weave six projects.  I purchased a 15″ Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom in 2014 and have made 4 scarves on it so far.  This year I would like to make sure I keep up the weaving with at least six projects, using the yarn stash (oh how easy it is to tell myself I need more yarn after weaving a project!).  I would like to make some projects without fringe (back to the Craftsy class I already own).  And a sock yarn scarf is also on my mind for this year.

  • Shift my scrapbooking to focus on themes and non-chronological memories.

I have been scrapbooking each year of my life consistently since 2003.  I have a wall full of albums that generally mark August – July of each year.  I also have vacation albums, “daily” documentation albums, albums that were gifts, and digital albums.  I love all of these albums and am so happy I took the time over the years to document my life.  However, most of the pages I create are chronological event style.  Here we did this, then we did that.  This past year I have been pulled more towards documenting thoughts and feelings rather than events.  Rather than, “here is when my nephew was born” and leaving it at that, what if I also write down, “here are the emotions I felt the day you were born.”  And that kind of style takes in the moment writing.  It is not as genuine for me to write those kind of notes three months after the fact.  Instead, I want to use my Project Life cards and my new Story Kits to document my life.  What if this year I focus on a non-chronological scrapbook?  Just documenting what I want – when I want to.  It is a shift and I am excited to see where it leads!

  • Start a real garden out in the yard this year.

Now that we are more settled in our house, I would like to plan and plant an outdoor garden this year.  Last year I planted some containers, but this year I want to make the space for the garden.  I need to plan sooner rather than later, because prime planting time is always the busiest time of the year for me at school.  But I learned from my past garden at the old house and am looking forward to a fresh start.  Talk about alignment with the word of the year!

  • Can vegetables for the first time.

Last year I started canning for the first time – cherries and apple pie filling.  This year I want to venture into vegetables.  Not from my own garden probably, but definitely local produce.  Again, this is tricky because another busy time of the year is when all the vegetables are ready for harvest.  I am looking forward to trying something that does not involve a sticky mess though!

  • Create the wall of shawls.

This sounds like a funny one, but any knitter will understand.  I have all of these shawls I have made over the years and they live in a plastic bin that I rarely open.  Why?!  They should be on a wall, displayed for everyone to see!  The wall of shawls!  To make this happen we need to paint the master bedroom and decorate the rest of the room.

So those are my crafting goals for 2015!  I am also looking forward to continuing to spin and make cards (those crafts do not need goals this year).  I also have personal goals of continuing to run and practice my meditation.  I will be helping a friend plan her wedding this year as a bridesmaid.  I look forward to watching all the children in my life continue to grow.  And just being!  Nourishing the life I am so blessed to live!  Hope you are ready for an excellent 2015 yourself.

First Quarter Report 2014

Wow, the first quarter of 2014 is already over!  I must really be in the flow.  It has been a productive quarter, especially with the amount of snow days we had at school.  I have had a good balance of projects for me and projects as gifts.  And all of the wedding invitations are officially out and in the mail, which was a big accomplishment.  This next quarter includes the wedding, so there will be a lot of crafting in the months of May and June.  Here is my recap of stash reports!

Summer Table Runner for a Friend

Fabric Update:

Used Year to Date: 16 yards

Added Year to Date:  6 yards

Destashed Year to Date:  10 yards (an epic quilt post is coming soon!)

Honey Cowl

Yarn Update:

Knit Year to Date:  1,855 yards

Traded/Sold/Gave Away Year to Date:  993 yards (all to my sister for projects she made me)

Purchased Year to Date: 1,444 yards (all for gifts)

Acquired for Free to Date:  745 yards

Net Destashed for 2013:  659 yards (better do some more knitting!)

Green Corriedale Handspun

Fiber Update:

Ounces Spun Year to Date:  9 ounces

Purchased Year to Date:  4 ounces (joined the Into the Whirled fiber club)

Yards Spun Year to Date:  284 yards

Net Destashed for 2013:  5 ounces

2014 – The Year of Flow

At other points during the year I wonder why we put such an emphasis on January 1st.  But then it rolls around, after the holiday madness and before the long stretch of winter that is left.  And it feels like a fresh start!  A time to make new goals!  I am very excited for 2014.  It is the year I am getting married!  The year of settling in to our new life that we created in 2013!  And so this year’s “one little word” will be flow.  Last year’s word was acceptance and this year’s word just seems to fit right after that.  I have accepted who I am as a crafter and now it is time to go with the flow.  Flow is also one of my favorite psychology concepts by  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  From the book, “During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life.”  I plan to craft this year with flow.  If I am not experiencing deep enjoyment or involvement, I will not do it.  And so my goals for the year center around the concept of flow:

  • Enjoy the crafting for my wedding.

We are getting married in June and all of the major details are planned.  But I could just see myself going overboard on little things.  Which I refuse to do.  I will not be crafting at 3am just to get something done!  It can be skipped.  I have been in enough weddings to know the details are not the important part.  And I have seen exhausted brides because they spent too much time working on things the week before.  That is not happening here!  I am going to enjoy the crafting or not do it.  Part of my strategy is to space out some of the projects I do have in mind.

  • Keep track of my three stashes again – fiber, yarn, and fabric.

This goal has really worked out well for me over the past couple years.  I always try to produce more than I bring in and keeping that in mind has really kept me in line on purchases.  Maybe this year I can even wait until Maryland Sheep and Wool before I buy any fiber or yarn (beginning of May – probably too ambitious).  But realistically, I could try to contain all of my full skeins of yarn and fiber in the 45 gallon tub that is already full.  Knitting even one sweater might make this happen!  It’s a thought.  The quilts I want to finish this year should also put a dent in the fabric stash.

  • Start and/or finish at least five projects for myself.

Sometimes I get caught up in the projects I make for friends and family. I really love making gifts, but I also want to stay in the flow by making myself a few things.  I should finish the t-shirt quilt I started.  I need to finish the Charlotte’s Web Shawl that I am about halfway through (but put aside for gift knitting).  I could knit a sweater for myself out of my handspun yarn.  There are a lot of possibilities!

  • Start an outdoor garden at this house.

At the old house, I learned how to garden by starting a square foot garden that was 4′ by 8′ and mainly in the shade.  Now I have the opportunity to have as big of a garden as I want in full sun.  What an opportunity!  I know it is going to be a busy spring, but even one tomato plant would be progress.  Looking forward to it.

  • Paint the rest of the house and put curtains up in every room.

We have made some progress on this front, but my living room still has the 1995 curtains that came with the house.  And we still need to paint the bedrooms.  We have a lot of home renovations in mind, but the decorating touches would be a good goal for the year.  I would really like to attend some auctions and garage sales this summer to look for new furniture as well.

 

Five goals for the year is pretty reasonable for keeping in the flow.  There are lots of possibilities for new projects and personal enjoyment.  I look forward to crafting in 2014 and I hope you will join me on the journey!