December Thus Far 10/12/2016

Hi!

It’s been a while so I thought it was time to chat…

It’s been about six weeks since I started my depression medication and four weeks at this dosage. I’ve noticed a definite improvement in my mood. I also realized part of the reason for my infrequent posting is a fear of not having a polished, perfect post. So, I made a conscious decision to not aim for polished perfect posts but to simply post and more frequently. Then I decided I should add more about books since I’m an avid reader but haven’t been reading much and posting about books might make me read more.

Yes, this is partly a business blog but it’s also about living a creative life with chronic illnesses. My living a creative life with chronic illnesses-and that includes reading. I signed up on LibraryThing and NetGalley as a book reviewer and selected a lot of available books on both sites. I expected that as a blogger with what is now a small audience that I would only be granted a few books from each site. Instead I’ve been approved for over a hundred books!!! Expect lots of book reviews in the future!!!

Last week my sister and my five year old nephew moved in. We’re all settling into the routines and practices of each other. I don’t think my nephew quite understands that he’s living at Grandma and Auntie’s house now. He kept asking to go home the first couple of nights. He thought he was just sleeping over.

My almost four year old great-nephew is sleeping over tonight. Tomorrow we’re decorating the Christmas tree and going to the Christmas parade. Both boys will enjoy that. The parade starts just down the street from our house. If it wasn’t so cold we would walk down but it’s an evening parade and it’s -26’C as I write this. If it’s that cold tomorrow we may drive down and wait in the car until it starts. We will see.

Weekly Review & Plan Creation

First up, I apologize for the lack of post on Friday. I was ill and spent most of the last two days in bed. Nonetheless, I had a great Christmas with my family here in town. I’d forgotten how noisy it gets when you put ten people including excited children together for a few hours.

Here’s last week’s plan:

Last Week's Plan
Last Week’s Plan

I accomplished quite a bit. I never get everything off my list. The harder I try the less I seem to accomplish. It’s something I am working on. I need to up my productivity or reduce time sucks or nothing will get done once I return to full time work next week. One of my current time sucks is trying to understand the EU’s Jan 1 VAT changes and how that affects my business and my book plans.

Here is this week’s plan:

Dec 28 to Jan 2
Dec 28 to Jan 2

It’s not as bad as it looks! Four of the Urgent/Important tasks are quick things. Ravelry has teamed up with LoveKnitting. LoveKnitting will sell our patterns and deal with all the VAT collections and remittances for sales to EU residents. But my four patterns all have evolving formats. I prefer my last format and want to re-format my earlier patterns before uploading them to LoveKnitting. I want a consistant format. The re-formatting shouldn’t take long as it’s mainly cutting and pasting.

I am helping Mum babysit my three year old nephew for a few days this week. He received a tablet for Christmas from Mum (it’s a cheap older model). If he brings it with him I should be able to get lots done with him sitting beside me with his own tablet instead of begging to use my iPad.

I can’t remember if I mentioned last week that I started physiotherapy. I did and have two appointments this week. I think I feel a difference already from doing the stretches she gave me. I’m hopeful!

November Means

November is here. It seems too early somehow. Yet tonight the clocks fall back an hour!

November 1 means it’s time for month end assessments for Bridgwater Crafts, the business. It feels like little was accomplished in October since I was off sick from my day job the whole month. I’m still off sick and now on stronger medication so even less is getting done as I’m sleepy from the meds. It feels like I’m up two hours then asleep four hours. But I’m trying to cram as much in my brain as I can in those two hours. Tara, wonderful mentor that she is, has a workbook for monthly assessments. I’ve downloaded the workbook and will complete it tomorrow.

November 1 means Day 1 of NaBloPoMo. The National Blog Post Monthly event is run by www.BlogHer.com. I’m also involved in a Ravelry group, Blogging, that is taking part in the event. Hopefully the habit of daily posting will be so ingrained come December that reducing to four or five will feed extremely odd.

November 1 means no family birthdays until next month.

November 1 means that snow is going to stick around and start accumulating.

November 1 means Christmas Day is very close! It’s time to ramp up the gift making and gift buying.

If you’re stuck for what to make and you knit or crochet, don’t forget I’ve got four patterns that can help you with that! Just click that Ravelry Designer button in the sidebar-it’ll take you to my design store.

Countdown to the Holidays

It’s the 26th of October. Do you know what that means?

It’s less than two months until Christmas!!!

Have you started gift planning? Shopping? Making?

I have started planning, shopping and making. Every year I try to make and buy something for everyone in my immediate family and incorporate something made into my work gift exchange. So a few weeks ago I made myself a checklist in Evernote while getting to know the program. It basically looks like this:

  • Mum
  • Sister
  • Nephew 1
  • Niece 1
  • Niece 2
  • Nephew 2
  • Great-Nephew
  • Brother
  • Sister-in-Law
  • Work

But with checkboxes and sub-headings for made and bought.

Nephew 2’s gift is made and a book bought. I may still get a little something extra. I have started knitting great-nephew’s gift. The ladies, including Niece 1 (who moved into her first apartment last week) are getting a set of cloths. They will each get one from each of my patterns, including the one currently in production and the one in testing now. So will my work exchange recipient. I have two of those twenty cloths finished. Nephew 1 will probably get a hat. Brother will get a hat and maybe two cloths. He always says “What about me? I do dishes too!” when his girl-friend exclaims over her pink dishcloths. It’s her favourite colour. So I may make a few in “male” colours for him this year. I’m not sure yet for Niece 2. I know I’m buying her knitting supplies since she’s restarted knitting but I haven’t decided what I’m making her yet.

i still have a lot to do in the next two months!!!

A little review for you…

Yesterday my mother, niece, great-nephew and I went shopping a few towns over. While there I picked up a few knitting magazines. I’ll review those at a later time. But today I thought I’d start with the freebies included with one of those magazines, Knit Today.

Knit Today extras
Knit Today extras

Included were a mini pattern booklet, a row counter and a knitting gauge. The row counter will come in handy. And the knitting gauge is cute. I always need more of those and this one fits inside my smallest notions bag. The booklet includes four cushion patterns, two crocheted and two knit. I’m glad to see both represented. I’m not sure I’ll knit or crochet the patterns though. With two cats and a dog I don’t think a beaded cushion is practical for my home. But I do like its look. I do like the colourwork pattern-I’m just not ready for that much colourwork yet. But this bit from the editor, Rosee Woodland, in her editor’s letter stuck me:

Nothing makes a house a home like something handmade…

While it’s often not the sentiment of today’s interior decorators, it is something I believe. It’s reminded me I need to make more than dish and wash cloths for my patterns and my home. And that I need to finish that afghan I started crocheting a few years ago for myself and the one for my brother and sister-in-law. And our two littlest ones haven’t had Auntie-crocheted afghans yet. So it looks like I’ll be working on a lot of afghans next year. I’m not attempting any until Christmas gifts are done.

I Can’t Believe It’s August! Already!

August is a big birthday month for my family. My sister and her eldest daughter share the 11th. I’m the next week and my eldest nephew is a week after me. Which means lots of family dinners and cake this month. And birthday gifts to figure out…

I think my sister is getting some of the dishcloths I made as samples while testing the Alys and Anya patterns. It’s been a while since I made her some. She loves handmade dishcloths almost as much as I do. But she doesn’t knit or crochet.

My niece is going to get a sample from the design I’m working on now. I’ve already started sample 2 in a yarn she had chosen for socks. It won’t take much and I’ll still have plenty for a Christmas gift of socks. It will work out to a small gift though so I may need to find something else too.

I have no ideas for my nephew yet. I’ll figure something out later.

I love gifting handmade items. It’s extra special now as they’re my own designs too. I hope most of my birthday and Christmas gifts this year will be made from my designs.