Thursday, January 18, 2018

Another Bullet Journal Convert

In the past, I had tried to be a journaler, which I abandoned when I went through a dry spell, got too busy or bored myself with 'more of the same' entries when I made myself write every day.  I had a foray into being a Highly Effective Person complete with the planner than weighed more than a newborn, filled with preprinted pages that were largely not right for my life/career at the time.  I had had a Blackberry (which the IT guy said would interface with my school Outlook when show choir ruled my life) but when Outlook wouldn't sync (because we didn't have the license to do that, apparently - discovered AFTER I bought the Blackberry), I still ended up entering everything in 2 places anyway...  Nothing was a great fit for me (if any of these work for you, huzzah!!). 

Eventually, I was using Google calendar. The hubs & I have ours set so we can both see what the other is up to, appointment-wise.  We don't put work details in there every day: my day is pretty standard and his is too unpredictable, so neither would be a good use of time. Google calendar is great, but it's simply that:  A calendar.  I wasn't tracking any kind of productivity, beyond Post-it to do lists that got thrown out when finished.  And I wasn't doing any kind of reflection writing anymore.

I had started keeping some lists, goals, etc. in separate notebooks based on subject.  That kind of worked, but I often found that I was always needing something in a different notebook (and never the one(s) I had with me, naturally).  Soon, I was drowning in little notebooks that were maybe 15-20% used and I just wasn't keeping up with them anymore either. But I needed to be doing SOMETHING to keep things on track.  Brain fog makes all the days/hours/thoughts run together to the point I know I thought about doing something... but did I actually do it?  Did I talk to the hubs about doing it? Did I actually talk to the hubs about doing it, or just think I should talk to the hubs?  and on and on...  The brain fog is the worst.  And the more you have running around in your brain, the worse it gets.  Somehow, you gotta get that stuff out and the most effective way I've found is to write it down.

Enter the bullet journal.  I had heard a few podcasters talking about them and initially, I was skeptical.  These women talked about their bullet journals (some call them 'bujo's for short) with the same gusto and enthusiasm as the Covey devotees had 15 years ago and the Crackberry addicts 10 years ago.  I knew that I needed to get back into some kind of practice, to feel more organized and less like I was forgetting everything all the time.  And hearing most of my English/composition teaching former colleagues' words in my ears, I knew something written was where it's at.  (P.S. Those English teachers were right, science says. Also, here.)

If you do a Google search, you'll find ALL KINDS of things about bullet journals: articles, links, shopping suggestions for pricey European brand notebooks, calligraphy pens, stencils, rulers, art pens, markers, stamps, tape (WASHI TAPE ALL THE THINGS, Y'ALL!!), covers, custom printed layouts,.... I could go on all day.

If you go to Pinterest, it's even worse!! From the undoubtedly beautiful and aesthetically pleasing images there, one might think they needed to learn 12 types of hand lettering, be an artist, have a full compliment of art supplies and maybe a minor in graphic design to do this bullet journal thing.  Also, you quickly think you need to track EVERYTHING in your life.  There are literally spreads online for any topic you could possibly want to track.

And Instagram.  Some of the kids on IG are not only making beautiful spreads in their journals, but also nailing the #bujolifestyle to the hilt. Intimidating, but you can see that this is a thing that has caught on and hooked people!
(I recommend looking at all these links LATER - or now, if you wanna be inundated with feelings of artistic inadequacy. haha)

Let me be clear:  That is all well and good.  The people who make every page into a masterpiece are just fine.  I love to look at them sometimes and relish in how gorgeous they all are.  The people who are using this practice as 'me time' or self-care: rock on with your talented selves!  But none of that is required to have and use a bullet journal.

After struggling with the nagging feeling that I knew how this would go, again, or that I didn't want another expensive hobby, I decided to go to the source and see what the hype was about.   This is what you see:

looks around, mumbles to self, 'I have a notebook and a pen...' 

After a quick scan of their site, I decided to take a few minutes and watch their video on YouTube.  If you're interested, you should, too.  I'll be right here when you get back.

Then I found 2 articles that solidified that this was worth a shot: this one from Buzzfeed and this one from Lifehacker. I looked at those and thought, I already have the bare minimum to get started - may as well.  I grabbed the most recent of my partially-full notebooks (which I had been keeping notes from my nutritional therapist coaching calls and my therapy sessions), grabbed that roll of washi tape, marked off a new section of the notebook and dove in.

After several months of my style of bullet journaling consistently, I can say that this is scratching my itch and making me feel more together!  More on what I do coming soon!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Donita2018 - Sustain

My word for 2018 is 'sustain'.  If you're thinking that 'sustain' and 'maintain' are very similar words, you'd be right.  I like the direction we've both been moving and the direction things have taken for us (it's not without setbacks or disappointments, but you'll have that...).  When I was looking for verbs that I could focus on, I wanted something similar to 'maintain' but deeper.  This is what I found.

Sustain, verb
  1. to strengthen or support physically or mentally
  2. to cause to continue or be prolonged for an extended period or without interruption
  3. to bear (weight) without breaking or falling
  4. to uphold, affirm or confirm the justice or validity of
  5. to give support or relief to; to supply with sustenance: nourish; keep up
  6. to uphold as valid, just or correct
Sustaining is exactly what I need to do.  And so I hope to just that.

After years of chaos, unhealthy situations, and constant stress, my soul is still so hungry for sustenance.  Every time that I feel like I'm almost back to where I was made to be, it seems another layer is rolled back and I have more to unpack and heal.  It's a process and it takes time, energy, resources and intention to sustain this progress and continue working toward the me I was created to be.

I hope to read new books, both fiction and non-fiction.
I hope to see new movies & TV shows and not just rely on re-watching things that I'm comfortable with (but don't think this means I won't binge The Office or Dawson's Creek again - because that is ALWAYS an option).
I hope to continue to grow my yoga practice.
I hope to find new ways to bond with Karma since it's just us two most afternoons now.
I hope to continue journaling and using my version of the bullet journal system.
I hope to continue to be a maker.

My making goals this year are simple:

  • 20K yards in FOs again
  • Knit/weave/spin from :
    • stash
    • library
    • queue
    • handspun
  • Spin for large projects (fleeces!)
  • Continue to sew
  • Finish a blanket (or 2)

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Donita2017 Reflection

My theme for 2017 was to "Maintain My Groovy Self".  Maintaining what we've been working towards the last few years proved more challenging than we anticipated when I chose this focus.  But I'm so glad that we did.  Because we didn't have crazy ambitious goals and timelines in our minds, we were better able to respond and adjust when stuff went sideways.  There were financial set-backs, we lost my Ellie dog, personal set-backs, more unexpected home-related issues... But we're okay and we are managing all of it as well as I think we can.  You know, as well as we can without winning the lottery, obviously.

As for my hope of ending 2017 healthier and happier, I think I can say that happened.  Not as healthy as I would have hoped, but certainly still moving in the right direction, even if it feels like a snail's pace sometimes.  As for happier, I think I am moving in that direction as well.  <schmoop> And the hubs and I continue to grow together and love each other more through each trial. </schmoop>

A big part of my personal wellness and happiness is creating, so let's talk about that!

Crafting goals for this year were:

  • Spin for more large projects
    Enjoy the fleeces currently insulating the guest room closet!
  • Sew
    Enjoy the fabric stash and machine!
  • Knit more sweaters & socks
    Wearing these on the daily makes me happy & keeps me warm.  And I have plenty of yarn to do both in my house right now!
  • Knit an afghan or 2
    We love piling under all the blankets and the love will be only increased by handknit blankets!
  • Learn brioche knitting
  • Knit from:
  • 20K in finished projects again!

How did I stack up?

Spinning:  I spun for 2 sweaters this year!  Woohoo!
I have started sampling for my first fleece from the closet, but there are some challenges.  More on that later.

Sewing: I sewed 5 dresses, 2 pair of leggings and a tunic.

Knitting: I knit 4 adult sweaters, 5 baby sweaters, 2 summer tops, 9 pairs of socks and 19 accessories (mainly hats & cowls).

Afghans: I started one... but didn't get very far.  Plans for more to come!

Learn brioche: Nope.  But I did learn to weave!!

Weaving: 5 towels, 4 placemats, 2 table runner type things, and 4 scarves.  It's addicting!  Thanks for being my hook-up, Purling Dervish!

Knit from stash: 27 projects from stash!
Knit from queue: 11 projects from queue!
Knit from handspun: only 2 projects from handspun - but one was a sweater! And I have two more handspun sweaters on the needles.

Knitted & woven FOs can be seen on Ravelry hereHandspun can be seen on Ravelry here.


Knitting - 16,800
Spinning - 7,054
Weaving - 2,314

That comes to a grand total of 26,168 yards!  That's more than I expected to accomplish - and really good, considering I ended the year with another sweater about 98% done!

I'd call my goals met and my crafting year...