Project: March Planning

Hi all you crafters, pinners, and planners!!

I’m so excited to start my March planning this week! I’m beyond ready for spring! How about you? We had a few good snow storms here in Virginia, and that was enough for me. Today it’s freezing rain and sleet outside, so I’m going to stick to inside activities for the day!

Also…I have this tiny tickle in my throat. Crossing my fingers it’s nothing because I have too much fun stuff coming up this month to be sick! So let’s talk about the plans I’ve got for the blog this month.

This month on the blog:

  • Oh Fransson Crazy 7’s quilt (Ok so her original is crazy 9’s. I needed to modify it.)
  • Super cute and quick crochet projects
  • Yoga retreat in Charlotte!
  • Other surprises!

But for today, it’s all about planning.

Recently I got a coupon for $5 off $10 at Jo-Ann’s. Whaaatt??? So off course I had to buy all the washi.

The collection is getting a little out of hand.

Oh well. There are worse vices. Also, picked up some SUPER cute new stickers from VintageGypsyRoad and LifePlannerWashiTape.

So I started planning my March month view with my new washi and some St. Patrick’s day stickers I got from the Dollar Tree.

Who wants some free printables??

A Life of Projects | Free Printable Planner Stickers

Click here for the PDF: A Life of Projects March Printable Planner Stickers

I recommend using an inkjet printer set to “best” or “photo quality”. You can get the sticker sheets I printed mine on here. If you use the stickers, please leave a comment down below! This is my first free printable, so let me know what you think! I think I sized them to fit most planners, including Erin Condren!!

Enjoy!! Happy planning!

A Life of Projects | Free Printable Planner Stickers

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Project: Organization

So we are a little over a month in to 2015. I know a lot of people have “Get organized” as a new years resolution. Was it one of yours?
For me, I usually don’t do new years resolutions. Generally, I might have some goals i want to do for the year, but I don’t write them down and commit to them with any sort of significance at the start of a new year. However I do find this time of year to be good for revamping, cleaning out, reorganizing etc.
In particular, this new year meant a new planner for me! I had heard about the Passion Planner from Domesticated Academic. It was a Kickstarter that grew to epic proportions. (Sidebar: I do know they have had issues filling orders, the strikes at the west coast ports have slowed them down, and a lot of people are unhappy. I ordered mine in November and it got here the last week of January. I can’t find much to complain about, she offered the printable for free, you can’t predict when something is going to go viral…or shipping issues. I still think it’s a great company.) Last year I didn’t use a planner much at all and relied mostly on Evernote and google calendar. (More on how I use the Evernote system can be found on my other blog, here.) I missed the physical list-making and planner. I like organizing my week and day.
I really love the Passion Planner’s features. It has several writing and goal-setting prompts. These aren’t available in the free printables as far as I can tell. At first I thought it was a little corny but then I went through the exercise and it’s really helpful for me right now, as I’m trying to finish my dissertation, find a job, graduate, and work on some personal goals. This systems helps me be able to sort through all the different projects and zero in on the specifics I need to attend to each month and each week.
But more than that, I’ve discovered the planner community. And the 10 year old kid inside me with a massive sticker collection is SUPER excited about this. In fact, that 30 year old woman went digging through every box, folder, and closet she could think of to try and FIND said sticker collection. But after roughly 8 moves in 10 years…I think it may have been a casualty somewhere along the lines. (But the back of my head SWEARS I’ve laid eyes on it in this current apartment, in a folder…). So I’ve started rebuilding the sticker collection thanks to Etsy and Instagram.
So.
Many.
Cute.
THINGS!!!
And washi tape. Ohhhh the washi.
So now on Sunday I take some time to plan out my week, then I fill in parts as I go through the rest of the week. Do I need all the stickers and washi? No. But it makes my heart happy. I actually find it fairly relaxing. It’s like painting or drawing but without all the materials and mess. It really does engage the artistic part of my brain, and I need that sometimes after hours and hours of lit review.
But mostly, taking dedicated time each Sunday to plan my week helps me to consider what’s coming up, what projects I need to focus on, weekly goals, travel, and other things.
Do you set aside time to plan each week? Are you part of the planner community?? Do you love planner stickers too?! I’m thinking about doing a free printable planner sticker sheet for March! Stay tuned!!!
Here are some of my favorite sticker sellers!:
Enjoy!
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Project Year-Long Sweater

*eye of the tiger music plays*

*Runs out of doorway, victoriously fist pumping, wearing an amazingly soft, intricately cabled, cream colored sweater*

YEEEEEESSSS!!!!!

I DID IT!!!!!!

I FINISHED MY SWEATER!!!!!!!! THE ROCKY COAST CARDIGAN IS DONE!!!!

And it only took me 361ish days!! (According to my ravelry page I started December 1, 2013…but usually a 1st of the month start date indicates I forgot when I actually started it…sooo….yeah.)

Let me back up and start at this sweater’s humble beginnings.

Technically, this journey probably began with Hannah Fettig and Alana Dakos publishing Coastal Knits. Most of you are probably aware of this book, but if you’re not then GET THEE TO CLICKING THE LINK!!! It’s probably one of my favorite pattern books of all-time. I have a rule about purchasing knitting books. I only drop cash if there are 3+ patterns in the book that I desperately want to knit. So my book collection is reasonable…and…I’ve never knit a single thing out of any of them until now. HA! Yeah…I’m special.

But Coastal Knits is amazing. I fell in love with every single pattern and bought the yarn for more than one. However I never cast anything on.

I desperately coveted the Rocky Coast sweater on the book’s cover…but immediately I said I wouldn’t ever knit that. I wasn’t a sweater knitter. I’d started a sweater…and eventually finished it 3 years later in 2013. So last year I decided I might be able to be a sweater knitter. I was flirting with the idea not that one, very basic, sweater was complete.

In October of 2013 I went on my yearly trek to the Montpelier Fiber Festival in Charlottesville VA. I went to sleep at my friend’s mom’s house the night before the festival….and had my first knitting-dream ever.

I dreamed I had knit the Rocky Coast and I had worn it in my engagement photos. (I was engaged and the photos were scheduled for a few weeks after the festival…so this dream was clearly not in the realm of knitting-reality) I woke up…and I had to knit that sweater. I bought the yarn from a festival booth that day. The most perfect cream colored worsted weight wool.

And…judging by my project page I cast on after my engagement photos….sometime in December. Now, you should know I’m a polygamous knitter. I’ve never…ever…(well since my first ever project) had less than 3 things on the needles. Right now it’s closing in on 20…*dies a little* So I started….

Progress as of December 1 2013

Progress as of December 1 2013

I dug this photo out (it’s weirdly yellow….bad lighting, sorry)…and maybe I did start on December 1st. Huh. So 361 days. Nice!

December 20, 2013

December 20, 2013

Then…it got sat down for awhile. And I got married…so that was a tiny distraction…

Around August of 2014 I decided IT MUST GET DONE BY THE FESTIVAL AT WHICH I BOUGHT THE YARN….

September 2014This is from roughly September of 2014. I got one and a half arms done by October 2014. Then…in the last week or so….I decided it MUST BE DONE BY THANKSGIVING. Night after night (Ok like 2 nights and one morning) I knit for hours. The arm maybe took 2 hours to finish, but the edging…Ohhhhh the ribbed edging. I even did knit-math. One repeat took me 22 minutes. I needed 20 repeats then a bind off row (which always takes exponentially longer than anything else ever and involves some kind of time-vortex, I’m sure.) So…yeah. That took time. And then my knitpicks had a slight malfunction

NO!!! DEAR GOD NO!!!!! WHY, GOD, WHY???!?!!!? My interchangeable needle CORD separated from the metal part!!! EVERYBODY KNIT-PANIC!!!!

Ugh. I switched to my other cord….and pressed on. To the bind-off-vortex.

BUT I DID IT!!! THANKSGIVING MORNING AROUND 10AM I FINISHED THE BIND OFF!!!!

And then of course….I have to wear it to lunch. (Please ignore the random fan and heater and dog beds in the background. We were in a smidge of a hurry)

So today, it’s blocking. My beautiful, finished, cabled, masterpiece of 361 days is DONE!!

Ahhhh. Life is good.

Former Perfectionist Tips on Rocky Coast:

  • If you have normal-human (Sorry Hannah, you’re a tiny, tiny person) arms, FIND THE ARM WIDENING INFO.
  • Learn to cable without cable needles. This is a great project to exercise that skill.
  • Write out the cable repeats on a post-it to tally your rows as you go.
  • Fall in love

What’s your longest project on the needles? Have you ever had knitting dreams?!?! Ever knit a dream-project? Anyone else in love with this pattern?? Because I’m about to make another!! Happy knitting!

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Project Fluffy: Part Two!

Well it only took me a week and a half to get back to the tulle skirt (Part 1 available here). Part of that was probably the intimidation of sewing it in my precious machine. Not gonna lie. It’s my baby. I was scared. BUT…with some research I did manage to gather some tips that made it seem less terrifying. I thought I might share these with you all.
Tulle Tips | A Life of Projects

The first thing I did was to grab my handy multitool and switch out my needle for a thinner one. (I had to google needle sizes so I knew which was the smallest. Ha!) Then I threaded my needle and brought up the lower thread. I reduced the tension down to a 3 on my machine.

Next I taped off my dogs. (Did you know that’s what those little grippy teeth things are?? I did not know that until recently. But then again, this is my first REAL sewing machine…so yeah) I taped each side, just barely and then did a piece of tape across the front two. Do this with your lower thread already coming up, so you don’t accidentally tape the hole off and then stab your needle through the tape! It’s really hard to take a picture of tape…by the way.

Then I made sure my stitch was straight and long, which is different on every machine, I know. Even if your machine doesn’t have adjustable stitch lengths, I think you’ll be fine with your regular straight stitch. Once all this was done….time to test it out!!!

From enough trial and error (and stupidity) in my short sewing history I knew I should test a swatch first. So I grabbed some scrap and just folded it over itself twice and sewed a line….

AND IT WORKED!!!

So now to sew the whole, big, fluffy, cantankerous mess. I looked over at my clothespinning and quickly realized that wasn’t going to cut it. I went through and pinned it about every 2 inches. It was NOT perfect, it was NOT in neat lines, it was NOT even and it was NOT pretty. But it worked.

I managed to sew all the way around with the thread only breaking once!! Ha. Another key tip is to not forget to move it with your HANDS. The dogs are taped off…they are still semi-functional, but where the tulle was extra thick from ruffles or folds…it did NOT move easily.

Once it was sewn the whole way around, I was honestly scared to try it on…I was worried it wouldn’t fit over my hips since I had sized most of them to my waist. So without really checking, I sewed it on to the elastic and lining piece I’d made before.

I had to go back and re-check how best to sew it on. It took some more flipping and twisting but I finally got it. Your elastic should have the lining sewn to it with the wrong sides out. I sewed my lining to the elastic about 1/4 the way up from the bottom, to help with the flipping portion later. So with your wrong sides facing out, put the tulle on in the same direction as the lining, with the lining inside the tulle. (REMEMBER TO UN-TAPE YOUR DOGS…you can leave the needle, or at least I did…) Sew the tulle on with a zig-zag stitch, stretching the elastic as you go. I followed the line sewn in the tulle, and stitched that to the line that I had used to sew the lining to the elastic.

Next, I flipped it inside out, with the lining now on the outside, with the seams on the inside. I sewed the lining down to the elastic band, sandwiching the small tulle (itchy) edge between the layers of lining and elastic, so that only the lining would be touching my skin.

Then, you flip the tulle back to the outside, and flip the BAND ONLY so that elastic faces out, and the lining is inside, with the seams facing the tulle (counter-intuitive and maybe I did it wrong, but that’s how it worked out for me).

Throw on a ribbon….red accessories for the holidays…and BAM!!!

TUTU!!!!

And you know what? It REALLY wasn’t that hard.

Former Perfectionist Tip: It doesn’t go perfectly. But it’s really not that hard. When sewing the tulle and the lining, I kind of half laid my arm and left half on the mass of fluff to control it. The tape comes off the dogs a little. No big deal. Your thread will break. No big deal. You will NOT sew in any straight line…just get over that now.

So I really love it. I’m going to make some more, for sure. And some overlays so I can have a multitude of fluffy holiday skirts.

Bonus FPT: Adult females that are roughly 5’3” can fit youth size 14/16 tights….because when 3 separate stores don’t have white tights in adult human size…you get desperate.

Enjoy!

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