Friday Reads ~ in which I am easily distracted

I have a bad habit of starting new things before I finish with the old things. This is true of knitting projects, video games, and even books. (It seems to get worse in the spring. It has always been easier to get distracted in the spring, all the way back to when I was in grade school and focusing on homework was so much less appealing than playing outside when it was nice and sunny again.) So it should come as no surprise that I have not finished any books this week, but have instead started a couple of new ones.

WHAT I’M READING:

I’m still reading NPH’s Choose Your Own Autobiography. But I am fickle, so I haven’t gotten very far yet.

I also started reading Murder Past Due by Miranda James, first of the “Cat in the Stacks” series of cozy mysteries. So far so good. I’m about half-way through and enjoying it, especially the fact that the cat in question is a Maine Coon. They’re great and super-personable cats.

I’m still working on Kat Among the Pigeons by Lizette Gifford. Still enjoying it. Still forget that I have ebooks to read, and so it still isn’t getting the attention it deserves.

AND I started listening to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. The more I look into Verne’s classic adventure novels, the more I think that I read all of ZERO of them growing up. There may have been a very abridged version of one or two of them which I read, but I’m nearly positive that I never read any of the full works before.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

It’s been a while since I’ve read one of my pending Seanan McGuire novels, so I think that’s up next (once I finish the two paper books I’ve got going). Not sure if I will go for the Incryptid or October Daye worlds, though. And I have another Great Courses lecture series (this one on the Medieval world) which I think might be my next audio book. That, or Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. Not positive, though it’s probably going to be one of those two.

For today’s give-away entry (see my post from Monday the 3rd for details) please leave a comment and let me know something you plan to do this weekend. (Or, if you prefer, let me know what you wish you were doing this weekend.) Have a great weekend!

WIP Weds ~ in which I only knit socks

So… this week I’ve been working on socks. Nothing but socks. (Technically, it’s still “sock” since I haven’t finished the first sock and have only been working on one sock project.)

This is the Hyrule sock, in the Hyrule limited edition color of the Geek-A-Long yarn from Lattes and Llamas.

Hyrule progress 4-11-2017

I’m enjoying the knit, though I didn’t pull pointy enough needles for this project and so the  k3tog take more time than they should. Still, it’s fun.

Hyrule progress 4-11-2017

I am worried about one thing, though. I worry that the pattern is causing the sock to slant on the bias too much. I’ll probably stick these on the sock blockers when I wash them to balance some of that out. I don’t expect it to be a big problem, but better to be safe.

I’ve just reached the start of the heel increases, so I’m hoping that this will be enough yarn that I don’t have to switch to a complimentary color for the top ribbing. We’ll see. (The Geek-A-Long skeins are comparatively small on purpose, so that they work well for the GAL blanket.)

Have a great rest of the week!

For today’s option to enter the journal supply give-away, leave a comment with your favorite game. (This is inspired by the fact that Hyrule is the setting for the Legend of Zelda games.) It can be a video game or board game or whatever kind of game you like best.

Misc Monday ~ in which I link to Bullet Journal sites

I haven’t talked much about Bullet Journals on here, but I have been doing a lot of looking into how other people use their BuJo (common abbreviation for Bullet Journal) in the year-plus since I started mine. Let’s look into some of those other reference sites today, shall we?

  • Bulletjournal.com ~ first we have the official site. This is the best place to begin if you are looking at whether or not a Bullet Journal is right for you. However, this is not a one-stop-shop anymore. Too many people have made Bullet Journalling their own. You can certainly use the BuJo in its original, simple form. But if this looks too austere for you, don’t worry. There are plenty of mods you can make (and plenty of examples of these mods).
  • Boho Berry ~ Kara at Boho Berry is not the first example of a more colorful, creative Bullet Journal that I found, but her journal is one of the ones that inspired me to do more with mine. The link at the top of this bullet is one of her early BuJo posts; she has more here and here.
  • Tiny Ray of Sunshine ~ Kim is another one of the bloggers whose BuJo I first saw as an example of what I could do with mine. Hers adds color to the official plan (not that the official BuJo site says you *can’t* add color) but is otherwise very minimalistic. It’s a refreshing change among some of the elaborate journals out there. (She also has more BuJo posts here.)
  • Wundertastisch ~ Sandra at Wundertastisch is a Bullet Journal blogger I found later on, but she has some good ideas that would be helpful to new BuJo-ers. She also has some free printables which may work well for you if printables are your thing. (I tried using printables, but with a very few exceptions I found that I would print something which appealed to me at the time, and then not use it.)
  • Sublime Reflection ~ I don’t remember when I found this site (and I think I found it via Pinterest, where you can get sucked into a black hole of BuJo ideas) but this particular spread was useful for me in getting my weekly layout ironed out into something I would use successfully.
  • Pretty Prints and Paper ~ I mostly visited this site when I was trying out the daily challenge prompts (handwriting, planning, etc) and didn’t visit much after I decided that the daily challenges were too much structure for me. Still, even if you don’t like the challenges, she has a lot of good examples and links.
  • Time Management Options ~ There are three sites I used primarily when I was deciding on my time management / tracking. I started using a bar with my time tracking at the top of my daily spreads, like the ones shown here (Boho Berry) and here (Passion Themed Life). Sometimes I will still go back to those bars (for one thing, because they’re easy to draw and I – for example – don’t bring my Spiraldex stamp along on vacation) but I found that I wasn’t as good about using the time tracker bar as I was about using the Spiraldex. They both use the same principle, so I have no idea why I like to use more often than the other.

So there’s a bit of linkity to help you with your BuJo set-up, if you use (or want to try) the Bullet Journal method. I love it because of how flexible the system is. (You should be able to get a hint of that from the variety in the links above, and that’s just scratching the surface on BuJo links.)

For today’s contest entry, if you have looked into the BuJo, please let me know which sites (if any) inspired your journal! If you don’t BuJo, then just any comment will be fine.

(Reminder: the give-away will be for a blank notebook, a couple of fountain pens and ink samples, and a self-inking Spiraldex stamp. I meant to have a picture for today’s blog post, but didn’t get it taken over the weekend. I’ll try to take one this week instead. Entries will be accepted for the entire month of April, with the give-away closing on Sunday, 4/30, at 8am Pacific.)

Friday Reads ~ in which nothing much happened

My motivation seems to have fled. Has anyone seen it?

Reading-wise, I haven’t gotten much done. That’s partly because I’ve been working on my magazine pile, and have been going through those and (of the magazines I kept because they look interesting) determining which ones are interesting enough that I’ll actually read them. So not much book reading. Anyway…

WHAT I READ:

I don’t think I finished anything this week. I’m close on the Higgs Boson audio book, but it’s dense and so I haven’t quite completed it yet.

WHAT I’M READING:

I am still working on the aforementioned Higgs Boson and Beyond Great Courses audio book. It’s fascinating, but I don’t know how much of it I actually get. It makes sense at the time, but I don’t think much of the information will stick. I think I’ll be listening to this one again at a later date and see if I can absorb more of it with a repeat listen.

I am also still reading Choose Your Own Autobiography by NPH. I’ve decided to read it straight through instead of doing it adventure-style and flipping through the pages as directed.

And I’m still on Kat Among the Pigeons in ebook form. I’ve made the most progress on this one this week, because it’s easier for me to read ebooks while I knit than paper books. (No pages to keep track of.)

As far as magazines go, I’m reading a Discovery magazine from… last year? (I didn’t check the date before writing this.) It’s amusing me.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT:

Next paper book will be Murder Past Due, because that’s checked out of the library at the moment. I might actually start it before I finish my current paper book so that I don’t run into trouble with the due date.

And… that’s all I’ve decided on. But I do know that this time my next audio book will be something fun. In a not-going-to-melt-your-brain kind of way. (Because learning about particle physics from an audio book is fun too, just a different kind of fun than I’m talking about right now.) Maybe more Jules Verne. Classic adventure fiction is usually a good romp.

AND NOW FOR CONTEST ENTRIES:

If you want to play along with my journal goodies give-away, just leave me a comment with what you’re currently reading, or want to read next! Details on what I’m giving away are in this past Monday’s blog post. Also, I don’t think I mentioned it yet, but I will ship anywhere, so you can live on the other side of the world and I will still ship to you (if the Random Number Generator picks you).

WIP Weds ~ in which there is good news and bad news

Let’s start with the good news: I finished the second Circle of Love lace cowl! This is the beaded one, and I knit until I ran out of beads. Fortunately, I had just enough beads to (almost) finish a round. I was missing a bead for the very last double-decrease, which was much better than trying to figure out how to deal with, say, only 3 beads remaining when I needed 9.

Circle of Love lace cowl #2

Anyway, I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and now I just need to wait until it’s cool enough again to actually wear it. A mohair cowl is not something I’m going to wear with the weather getting warm again.

Circle of Love lace cowl #2

And now for the bad news.

Remember my Hedera sock? I was enjoying it, but working on it sporadically in between projects that I’ve decided are Christmas gifts. Well, those projects have both gotten just a little too big to take places, so the Hedera sock got to come along as travel knitting. And that’s when I discovered something unhappy.

Hedera sock blues

Something has been snacking on my yarn. Or at least, that’s my assumption. I went through the project bag, and didn’t find any bugs or corpses or larvae casings. No evidence of who was snacking on my yarn. Also, the ends are generally very smooth, so it also looks like it could have been an accident with scissors. But since no one at home messes with my yarn except me, who would have been having scissor accidents with this yarn? And I wound it into a ball just before casting on, so I know that the yarn was intact when I started the sock.

The realization that my yarn was in more pieces than it was supposed to be led me to look at the sock itself. And that showed an even unhappier thing:

Hedera sock blues

There is a big hole in my sock, too. And unfortunately, this is not in the stockinette section which would be easier to fix.

I’ve thought about all of the options I have for this, but I’m leaning toward frogging the sock and re-winding the ball of yarn to try to assess the damage. I’m not happy about it, but I think I would be even less happy trying to repair the sock before it’s even finished. I think I might cast on something new in the meantime to make myself feel better. (Yarn therapy. It helps.)

For today’s give-away entry (or just to be a nice person), please leave me a comment with some happy thoughts or sock suggestions.

(Reminder: the give-away is for journal-related stuff, details in this past Monday’s post. Pictures of the items being given away should be in next Monday’s post, provided I take the pictures before then. You can enter up until 8am Pacific Time on Sunday, 4/30/17. Each blog post you comment on will get you a new entry, unless you don’t want to enter the give-away. In that case, your comments just make me feel better.)

Misc Monday ~ in which I have a giveaway

Happy Monday, and Happy April! I feel like doing a giveaway today… sound okay to you?

So, I’ve only made a little reference to it, but I’ve been using the Bullet Journal method for organizing for a little over the past year. I’ve been really enjoying it. I’ve also been using the Spiraldex time tracking system for a while, too. (I got the Spiraldex info from here, but here are some other good links about it.) After using print-outs of the Spiraldex for a while, I decided to make a stamp out of it. And then I realized that I wanted to modify the stamp I’d made, so I made a second one and now have one to give away.

I also have picked up some fountain pens that I decided to try which I decided I wasn’t going to keep for one reason or another (though both still work just fine; they’re just not for me). So in addition to the Spiraldex stamp, I’m also giving away a JinHao 250 fountain pen and a Noodler’s Ahab pen. (The JinHao just didn’t feel right in my hand, and the Noodler’s pen is plastic – which makes it a lighter weight pen than I prefer. So it’s entirely personal preference.)

I’m also running out of room in my ink sample storage, so I’ll throw in a few ink samples I’ve picked up from Goulet Pens. And, I have several blank journals (and some lined journals) which I have no current use for, so I’ll pick one of those later and add it as well.

I’m going to have this give-away run for the rest of the month, and will pick a winner on the last day of the month (which conveniently happens to be a Sunday). Entries will be open until 8am Pacific Time on Sunday, April 30th. I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner later on Sunday, and will post the winner in May 1st’s Misc Monday blog.

So, to recap: you could win a care package including a Spiraldex self-inking stamp, a JinHao 250 fountain pen, a Noodler’s Ahab fountain pen, some ink samples, and an as-yet undetermined blank journal. (It might be lined, or blank, or grid. I don’t know yet.) How to enter, you want to know? Well, give me a minute. Let’s talk about Bullet Journalling a bit first.

For the best explanation of it, check out the official website. But a quick summary of it is as follows: you use a blank journal as the base for a journal-slash-diary. (Some people modify other planners, but I don’t do it that way.) You then use whatever combination of monthly, weekly, daily, and specialty spreads you like in order to track your tasks, events, etc. People use the Bullet Journal to track all kinds of EVERYTHING, from daily to-do lists to weight loss spreads to financial savings goals to vacation planning lists. It’s truly amazing how people have adapted the Bullet Journal. I have pictures of a few of my own spreads to share, though I have hidden some of the more personal information for the purpose of sharing the pictures. You can also see areas where I have made mistakes and resorted to white-out to fix the errors.

Here’s a picture showing how I use the Spiraldex. I have a color-coding system that I use for basics (work, sleep, knitting, etc) and then I write in the day’s additional colors below the Spiraldex. (This is the newer one that I’m keeping. The one I’m giving away looks like this one, but with blank circles instead of circles with the hours filled in.) This is also an example of how I use my daily spreads. (I use monthly, weekly, and daily spreads, since the to-do list aspect is what I appreciate most about the BuJo.)

Bullet Journal

This is my monthly spread. By the end of the month I will have filled in the top section with another quote or stickers or something – whatever speaks to me at the time. (Also, the picture cut off the “April 2017” header. Oops.)

Bullet Journal

Some people do a small habit (etc) tracker. Mine is a full 2-page spread. I track EVERYTHING I CAN THINK OF – in addition to habits and medications, I have a section for weight tracking, sleep tracking, and step tracking. New this month I added a notes section, where I can write down things like headaches, cramps, or whatever else I didn’t plan for.

Bullet Journal

This photo is of my cat tracker and misc. monthly stuff. I like tracking what recipes I tried each month, as well as what knitted (or crocheted, etc) objects I finished in a month. This is also where I track my progress on my 101 in 1001 Challenge. And last, but certainly not least, this is where I keep track of my monthly books read. I used March’s here instead of April, so that you can see how I use it. I write in the title of each book as I start it, and then color it in when I finish it (or cross it off if I DNF it). And for the cat stuff, I track what I feed her, when I feed her, how much she weighs, and any other random stuff I need to track. Vet visits and hairballs are two examples of these other things.

Bullet Journal

And finally, here’s my weekly spread. This is where I’ve been tracking my meal plan, my water intake, my blog posts, and the mileage for my goal to walk from Hobbiton to Rivendell. (So I track official walks here, not whatever walking around I do at the office.)

Bullet Journal

So that’s my Bullet Journal in a nutshell! Do you use the BuJo? If so, what are your favorite spreads?

And, the part of this blog post you’ve been waiting for: how do you enter the contest? Well, leave me a comment on this post (and be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win). For today’s entry, any comment is fine! There will be additional ways to enter during the rest of the month, so stay tuned!

Edit: I forgot to mention that I will ship anywhere. If you are picked in the drawing and have a mailing address, I will send you the package of stuff!

101 in 1001 ~ update the ninth

It’s time for the 9th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

I was hoping to get in 30 minutes, 3 days a week of yoga in this month, but I’m partly too out of practice – and partly too distracted this month – and so didn’t quite manage that. I did get in several sessions this month, though, and maybe this is one of those challenge items that needs to be worked up to before I can do the entire thing well.

I am also thinking that I need to focus on the 7 hours of sleep challenge item. I feel like I have been sleep deprived for way too long. And yet, I don’t think I’m really sleep deprived. Perhaps my sleep has just been too erratic, since I go to bed at vastly different times during the week and over the weekends.We’ll see, I guess.

Anyway, enough rambling. Here’s this month’s progress:

March 2017

2 items completed this month
29 items currently in progress

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Food #38: Replace my Crock Pot and try 10 new recipes for it ~ 3/1/2017

I replaced my Crock Pot with an Instant Pot, and the IP has a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the slow cooker feature. Recipes that say to cook on “low” don’t necessarily mean “less” for the Instant Pot. I’ve found that most “low” setting Crock Pot recipes should cook on “normal” in the Instant Pot, or you end up with under-cooked vegetables. And cooking rice in a soup/stew in the Instant Pot in slow cooker mode hasn’t worked well for me at all. (Crunchy chicken & wild rice soup? No thanks!) On the other hand, I do enjoy the Instant Pot’s delayed cook settings. It’s so nice to have a timer feature on a slow cooker.

Personal #56: Go through my mug collection and only keep the ones I (we) intend to use ~ 3/18/2017

This one was relatively simple, but it required getting off my butt to actually do it. I didn’t get rid of many mugs, but I did reorganize some of them – for instance, one of the smaller mugs that I don’t use but don’t want to get rid of (it doesn’t hold enough liquid for frequent use) is now a teaspoon holder on my kitchen counter. And one of the mugs I enjoy but which doesn’t fit in my closet well because it’s an odd shape is now at work to be used there. And there are a few which don’t get used for one reason or another which are in the donation bag to get re-homed. All-in-all, a good, quick, successful project.

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And that ends the first quarter of 2017! I hope the year has been good to you so far, and continues to do so. Happy April!