Saturday, January 23, 2016

A New Motto

I have a wonderful friend here in Knoxville. Recently she said that her family has adopted the motto: One is better than Zero. That really stuck with me. Some of us (including me and my friend) have the tendency to start out a day with big plans, and when something goes wrong, we throw up our hands and say "Well, there goes the whole day!"

Then we sit on the couch and watch Netflix for the rest of the day instead of continuing on with what needs to be done. And feel guilty because we got absolutely nothing accomplished.

No more, folks. No. More.

Because I tend to remember things a little better when they make sense to me, I adapted the motto to be "One is Better Than None".

I get a point for remembering something I need to do, even if I don't get around to it. I get a point for opening the dishwasher, even if I don't load or unload it. I get a point for pulling the cleaning stuff out, even if I don't get around to actually cleaning yet. I get a point for changing the toilet paper when it runs out. I GET A POINT FOR EVERYTHING because ONE IS BETTER THAN NONE!

Since adopting this motto, I find that I get a little more done. Why? Because a lot of little ones here and there can add up to a 10 over the course of a day. Ten ones is still a ten at the end of a day. Heck, you could do twenty ones and get 20 points for the day!

Try it, you might like it. ;)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Books Read in 2015

A little later than I intended to publish this, but here it is. The book list from 2015. I feel like it's shorter than it should be, but I finished grad school this year. I also did a lot of editing for other people. A lot more got read, however it did not get tracked or recorded because it wasn't pleasure reading.

Books: 41 Pages: 12,924

  1. How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough (197)- I'm super excited/proud/happy that the first book I finished this year was a non-fiction 'educational' book. 
  2. Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire (475)- a decent book. It could have ended earlier, but wasn't to the point where it should have ended earlier. 
  3. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman (204)- The first stay up until 2am to finish book of the year. I loved it! 
  4. The First Paper Girl in Red Oak Iowa by Elizabeth Stukey French (224)- Stephen King says that you need to read so you know how much bad stuff get published. As you read, if you have the thought that you could write better, you should. This book was one of those books for me. The stories weren't very good at all, the characters were cliche and flat. And, well, I think a lot of people out there could write better than this. 
  5. Another Man's Moccasins by Craig Johnson (290)- A Walt Longmire mystery
  6. The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman (172)
  7. The Devil's Paintbox by Victoria McKernan (368)- I've read this before and knew it within the first few pages, however it had been long enough that I didn't remember much, so it was still fun to read!
  8. Fear City by F. Paul Wilson (368) Repairman Jack: the Early Years 
  9. The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman(208)
  10. Jackaroo by Cynthia Voigt (291)- This was another stay up all night book! I loved it and was super sad when I finished. Thankfully I looked up the author and found out it's part of a series!
  11. Popular by Maya Van Wegenen (259)
  12. The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson (318)
  13. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (295)- My mother put it best when she said, "I hate reading these kind of books. But everyone needs to read them." 
  14. A Palm for Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman (226)
  15. It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig (258)
  16. On Fortune's Wheel by Cynthia Voigt (276)
  17. The Art of Racing in the  Rain by Garth Stein (321)
  18. Nutureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merriman (336) 
  19. Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd (420)
  20. Junkyard Dogs by Craig Johnson (306)
  21. Everywhere that Mary Went by Lisa Scottoline (356)
  22. Back of Beyond by CJ Box (475)
  23. The Highway by CJ Box (432)
  24. The Haunted Air by F. Paul Wilson- A Repairman Jack Novel (415)
  25. Mrs. Pollifax on Safari by Dorothy Gilman (223) 
  26. Hell is Empty by Craig Johnson (309)
  27. Dog On It by Spencer Quinn (305) - My new favorite book! 
  28. My Mother the Cheerleader by (288) 
  29. Gateways by F. Paul Wilson (366) 
  30. As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson (308)
  31. Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station by Dorothy Gilman (224)
  32. The Sixth Extinction by James Rollins (608)
  33. Nightfall Gardens by Allen Houston (250)
  34. Guns Will Keep Us Together by Leslie Langtry (318)
  35. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald (241)
  36. A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (256) 
  37. The Wing's of a Falcon by Cynthia Voigt  (467)
  38. The Serpent's Tooth by Craig Johnson (335) 
  39. In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz (192) 
  40. Nowhere to Run by CJ Box (356) 
  41. Below Zero by CJ Box (388)

[For informational purposes: 2013= 64 books; 2014= 55 books, 24,439 pages] 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Finished Object Friday: Purple Honey Cowl

This is it, our first Finished Object post for the year. I have an agenda for these posts and said I would explain it on the first one for the year. My agenda with the Finished Object Friday posts is to break down the process of making a project. I will go over the pattern (if applicable), cost of materials, hours invested, and any adjustments, alterations, or notes I have on the project. Finally, I will use "the Formula" to show how costs would be calculated if the project were to be sold in a retail environment. 

I hope to help those of you out there who do crafts to be able to see that you are not alone! Other people are crafting and it takes them a lot of time and money too. Sometimes I feel like I must be the only person who is taking forever to finish something, or am the only one who has to start over for the third time, or I'm the only person in the universe who just doesn't 'get' the hype around something. 

Also, I tend to get quite a few people asking me "Can you make this?" The answer is always 'yes', but I rarely say that out loud. Folks, crafting is not cheap. And to make it worth my investment to actually make it for someone, I have to charge a certain price. And it ain't Wal-Mart prices. It's Luis Vuitton prices. 

I feel like quite a few folks out there don't appreciate the effort and time that actually goes into hand knitting a hat, or designing and sewing a jacket. That's the final purpose of these posts; to help people understand the TIME and EFFORT that goes into hand making an item. Hopefully they stop and think to themselves, "Would I work for $x an hour? No. So I won't ask my friend to make me a *whatever* for less than that." 

This one was a project that I decided to make for myself. The yarn was very generously gifted to me, and I LOVE it. After all of the hustle and bustle of getting Christmas taken care of, I like to focus a little bit on myself for the month of January and make some things for myself. This year, it started around Christmas itself (although I still have one present that needs to be finished and sent to it's home), and I finished this just in time for Tennessee to decide that it is actually winter. 

The Pattern

The Honey Cowl
Don't you love my model? I sure do! She's my great, wonderful, awesome friend from grad school, Steph. (She's wearing a Honey Cowl, just not the one this post is about.) 

This is a free pattern on Ravelry. I first found out about it from some lovely ladies that I consider my 'knitting mamas", Ann and Kaye of Mason Dixon knitting. The Honey Cowl comes up regularly on their blog. Recently one post was all about Honey Cowl hacks, which made me think to myself "Hmmm, I should make myself one of those." 

The Yarn

Heaven's Hand Silke in Plum

Retail price: $18 per skein on the Hamilton Yarns website
This is a lovely, soft and shiny yarn produced by Hamilton yarns. I've been blessed to meet the owner, Cornelia Tuttle-Hamilton, and she is a wonderful person. This is her first yarn that I have been able to use, and it took me awhile to decide on what to do with it. I felt like the cowl was a great choice for the amount of yarn I had, as well as a good fit for the yarn. Plus, I love accessories. 

The Details

Start Date: 6 December 2015
End Date: 1 January 2016
Needle Size: US 8 
Approximate Hours to Finish: 13.5 

I did not intend to change or adapt the pattern in any way when I set out to make it. The size I chose for this one was the biggest, where you cast on 220 stitches, and set out to use up as much of the yarn as possible. I used the handy tips from Kaye to help make this a successful project. I measured out the amount of yarn needed to do a long tail cast on, and came up short. I recalculated, and re- cast on and made it perfectly. However, when I did my counting row, the second row after cast on, I discovered I had only 210 stitches. No big deal, though, since the pattern repeat is only 2 stitches and 210 is still divisible by 2. 

I started out thinking I would use the stitch marker and measure out when I should start casting off. Then, as I got closer, I decided to weigh the yarn instead. I weighed what I had left in the ball, then knit 6 rows, and weighed again. I subtracted the difference, which was 9 grams. To be safe I decided on some wiggle room and knit until I had 15 grams left in the ball and did the three rows in stockinette and then cast off. I had enough yarn after casting off that I probably could have knit another pattern repeat, but it would have been yarn chicken. I wasn't in a mood for yarn chicken. 

The Formula

Base rate: Cost of Yarn + Hours to make (assuming $15 per hour labor) 

36+ 3.33 tax + (13.5* 15)= $241.83

Minimum wage rate: (TN minimum wage is $7.25)

39.33 + 97.88=  137.21

Wholesale price: 


My Personal Pricing Formula: 

Cost of materials+ Labor + 40%

39.33+ (13.5 *10)+ 40%=
$ 244.06

There you have it! The first Finished Object of the year. Hope you enjoyed it!
As always, if you have requests for projects you'd like to see me do, let me know and I will add it to the schedule! 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcome 2016!

Every year I tell myself I will blog more. This year is no different, but I really hope that when it comes to actually blogging more, I really want it to happen.

To help myself out, I've put blogging in my schedule for the week. This way there is actually time set aside for me to blog.

I will also keep up with some of the regular posts I started in 2015. The Monthly Totals will continue, because I like those ones. I like seeing the super productive months all in one spot. And the not so productive ones, well, hopefully they help you feel good about what you accomplish.

I will also continue doing the Featured Finish Object posts. Of course, I will only use personal projects for these. The first one of the year will be up soon, and I will explain a little more about what I hope to accomplish with those posts when I publish the first one for the year.

I have a lot of fun things planned for the year ahead! If you have anything you would like to hear about from my perspective, or any Pinterest pins you'd like to see someone attempt before you do them, let me know!

Have a great 2016 folks!