Category Archives: Not Knitting

Interesting Ravelry Feature

Hello, friends.

Today’s post will mainly be of interest to those of us who use Ravelry on a regular basis. If you’re not familiar with it, Ravelry is a website and database for knitters, crocheters, spinners, and weavers. You can keep track of your in-process and finished projects; yarn, fiber and needle/hook stash; and library of knitting books and patterns. You can also queue patterns to work on next (and after that and after that…); add patterns, projects, yarns, designers, etc. to your favorites; add fiber friends and see what they’re working on; and chat with other fiber crafters all over the world.

I love a good RSS feed and Ravelry has had the RSS feed icon on a few pages for a while. I recently discovered it on my friends page.

Ravelry Friends Page

When you click on the orange icon, you get a menu of options.

Ravelry Friends RSS Options

I chose to subscribe to all my friends activities. (The steps for subscribing to the feed will depend on what you use to read RSS feeds. I just copied the link to my friend activity and subscribed within my reader.) This means whenever someone in my Ravelry friends list does an activity, such as comment on or favorite a pattern or project, add a pattern to their queue, add pictures to a project or magic link something in a forum post, I get a notification in my RSS feed.

Let’s say you only wanted to get notifications when someone adds pictures to a project or adds a pattern to their queue. You would make the selections in the Activity Types dropdown. Then to get the RSS feed for that option, you would click the orange RSS button and choose friend activity (current filter).

Ravelry Friends Filter Selections

I love to keep up with what my friends are doing on Ravelry. It’s such an inspiration to see someone else’s color choices, pattern preferences, and project modifications. I always find lots of new ideas when I’m looking through my friends’ activity, but I often forget to go browse this section when I have a few moments of free time. By having it automatically download in my RSS Reader, I never miss out on what my Ravelry friends are doing. I have also been commenting on my friends’ projects more often, too. When I see something that is really grand, I make sure to let them know!

By the way, if you’re on Ravelry and we’re not friends yet, go ahead and add me!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Not Knitting

Robot Fever

Since we just had a last first birthday, we just had a last first birthday party. Since it is the last one, I wanted to make it good. It wasn’t a big party, just our family and close friends, but of course I had fun with it anyway.

The theme was Robots!

I must say a huge thank you to Pinterest for all  my ideas. I did this party pretty easily and cheaply, and still made it adorable. I recycled a bunch of stuff to made cardboard robots and the supplies I did buy were inexpensive. I got a lot of practice with spray paint and a hot glue gun!

One thing I splurged on, though, was a set of printables from SimoneMadeIt. I felt the price was reasonable, considering the absolutely adorable robots. I didn’t have to design it, I just had to put my text on it and print it out. She has tons of other cute ideas for party printables, too. I will be keeping her website on hand for the future.

robot parade

Robots ready for the invasion!

First, when our guests came in, there was the GreeterBot. He stood next to the front door and showed everyone the way in. He would have been holding balloons, but it was a very windy day and he was quite unstable already. I didn’t want him to fly away!

Our guests were welcomed to wear some robot antennae from the idea below. I hot glued the silver sparkly pipe cleaners to the headbands, and I folded half of them ahead of the party. I invited our guests to fold their own, and some were very creative!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good pictures of our guests’ antennae, but they were a hit. Lollypop sure enjoyed wearing them. And a week later, both boys are still playing with the leftovers.

We had a fun banner hanging over the table.

robot birthday banner

Click to see the image larger

Big brother even drew a robot for his little brother to hang with the decorations.

robot party big brother

Big Brother’s Robot. This is SO going into Lollypop’s baby book!

We even had robot themed food. Since it was an afternoon party, we had only light snacks:

Nuts and Bolts – Homemade Chex Mix
A Robot utensil holder
Anti-Freeze – Juice Boxes
The whole spread
Cyborg Cakes – mini brownies
Microchips – Crackers
Treat Bags for all the guests, which included a kazoo, a glow stick, Robot Energy Cells (Hershey bars) and a lollypop (of course!)

These are not pictured, but we also had Mega Bytes – hummus with pita bread and naan, Robot Oil (for robot adults) – Decaf Coffee, and of course we clearly marked the disposal unit (the trashcan)

Lollypop was spoiled with gifts from all our friends and family. I mentioned to several people who asked for ideas that he had a really pitiful amount of stuffed animals (three, to be exact) compared to his brother who had tons. So among the clothes, books and other toys, he got stuffed animals galore. Mimi got him his first teddy bear, he got a three-toed sloth (Awesome!), a lion, a tiger, and three dinosaurs. Well, and this wouldn’t be a knitting blog if I didn’t tell you about my stuffed gift to him. You guessed it, a stuffed robot!

remy robot

I think I really like making stuffed toys. The pattern is Remy Robot by Rae Blackledge. I used leftover Knit Picks Brava yarn from my stash. He’s cute and was a lot of fun to make, even though I put him together completely different than the pattern specified, and his left foot/leg is on backwards. (I can fix that later.)

We all had a really good time visiting with friends and Lollypop thoroughly enjoyed all the attention.

Our first year with two kiddos is in the books, and I am looking forward to the rest.

4 Comments

Filed under Family, Knitting, Not Knitting

One

So, around this time last year, there was a little baby born.

Baby Lollypop

He had a rough start, with feeding and allergy issues, but we’ve found workarounds for those issues and he’s thriving.

His birthday, this past Sunday, came and went without too much fanfare. We had plans to visit family and we took some brownies to celebrate with, but the real party is next week.Baby Rawr Hat

I’ve so enjoyed watching him grow up this last year, but it does come with a touch of sadness. He’s our last baby, so his life will be the last of the firsts. This is the last first birthday. He’s had the last first tooth, the last first step, and so on. There aren’t as many photos of his every milestone, like there was with Jellybean, but so it goes with second babies.

lollypop in leaves

First time discovering leaves aren’t very tasty.

He’s at a stage right now where he’s into everything, learning and exploring, and while it is absolutely exhausting, it is so much fun to watch. He can say “Uh Oh”, “Ow”, and just recently learned “No.”

He has a word for “this” and “Daisy” and he makes his barking sound when we get home and get out of the car, as he’s looking around for Daisy. When he gets done eating, he calls for her to come clean up the food on the floor, too!

He adores his big brother and they play together more and more frequently these days.

Lollypop and Jellybean

One day, we’ll have coordinating furniture that isn’t cat-clawed. Maybe in about 20 years.

He loves his mama, almost to the point of being clingy, but can’t quite resist a little adventure. He’s timid around strangers, much more so than his brother was at this age. I’m ok with that.

He’s a happy child, but not without his little moments, of course. He’s fun, funny, smart and mischievous. He’s my baby boy.

Mama and Lollypop

Working at the garden. (if you can count eating dirt as working!)

Happy birthday, Lollypop.

3 Comments

Filed under Family, Not Knitting

Planner Crazy

So here’s a little update on my journey to get myself organized.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I was feeling overwhelmed with everything that needed doing. I spent some time to get myself organized. I’m so glad I did because it’s working.

I spent several evenings searching for printable pages for a planner. I found some that I thought would work for me from Scattered Squirrel. I wanted a full-page planner because I can read my writing better when I don’t have to write tiny. I bought a 1/2″ binder to put my planner in as well as some pocket dividers and tabbed dividers.

Most of the printables I found weren’t really right for me. I don’t have that many appointments on a daily basis, even when things are busy at work. At most, I have three places to be at any certain time, and most days I have zero appointments. Having half the page taken up with appointment schedules was a waste for me. What I really needed was a prioritized to-do list.

I considered doing a weekly list, because most of the things I need to do aren’t critically time-sensitive, but I went with a daily format to keep myself focused. I’ve been using the Daily To-Do and Monthly pages quite successfully so far. They’re bright and colorful, if you choose to print them in color, but the Cobalt color prints well in black & white. I like the “Top Three” idea for things that MUST get done that day/month. I don’t always have three things that are super duper important, but that helps me keep focused. I use the “Daily Focus” block to write what we’re having for dinner that night, and that helps me with the meal planning. (I do think it’s hilarious that dinner is my daily focus.)

Planner Daily Page

Daily To Do Page

For the weekends, I’ve enjoyed using the Sunday Checklist from Emily Lea. I love the style of these printables; they’re so simple and clean. I also used the Brain Dump Checklist for just listing things as I think of them, the Month of Gratitude for a positivity journal, Party Planning Page to plan birthday parties and the Blog Planner to help me organize my ideas for this blog. I’ve found the Meeting Notes page to be super helpful in meetings at work.

On the monthly pages, I’m keeping up with birthdays, large tasks, meetings and Dr. appointments. I punch the right hand side of the daily pages so they can lay flat next to the monthly page and I can quickly see big projects and daily tasks to work on.

For overall planning, I’ve made a weekly Master To-Do list. There are things I need to do each week, some that I want to do every other week and some that I need to do monthly. This page helps me keep up with things I need to do and remember to put them on my daily pages.

Master ToDo List

Master ToDo List

I printed out a week at a time on Sunday evening and got myself ready for the coming week. Using those pages still tends to leave a lot of wasted space for me. I don’t make a lot of calls, I don’t usually have 24 things to get done in a day and if I have something to do on a different day, I write it on that day’s sheet. Most of the right hand side of those daily sheets go unused on a regular basis. I tried playing around with a format that would have two days to a page, but have each day in a separate column so it could be folded in the binder, but that didn’t really work well for me, either. (And its time consuming to customize all these planner pages.)

I started finding more and more posts about Bullet Journals. There’s tons of information on pinterest about it. I saw some ideas and thought it might be a useful addition to my planner.

I bought a notebook. At first, it was really just a book of lists. My lists get indexed on the front pages and categorized using washi tape. The washi tape is really fun and brings some color to the pages. I’ve printed out different little coloring pages to tape into my journal for when I need a break from all the craziness.

Then I decided to try out a daily planner format in my journal for a week. With a bullet journal, you hand-draw your “spreads” as you need them. Some of them can be pretty elaborate, and I think it would be very easy to spend so much time drawing the layout that you don’t have time (or inclination) to actually do the planning. My daily spread is pretty simple.

bullet journal daily and weekend planner pages

Daily and Weekend Planner pages in my bullet journal

 

I have a place for the dinner plan, my top three for the day and two columns of task lists for home and work. This format is actually working *really* well for me. Since I did the daily spreads for one week, I found I was using my bullet journal every day while my planner notebook sat untouched in my laptop bag. I went ahead and made my daily spreads for the entire month of March. I even rewrote my Monthly Master Todo List and my important dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) in my little journal.

It was at about this point in the process that I found this blog post. It was an eye opener. Suddenly, not being able to draw elaborate spreads every week was ok. The bullet journal is intended to be a minimalist system. Use the parts of it that you need, don’t worry about the other parts, and don’t make it harder than it needs to be. If you find yourself having to search for ideas to fill up your bullet journal, you’re probably overthinking it.

I do like a few ideas I’ve seen around, though. Such as this Recipe Bank and Master Grocery List. Many times, as we’re planning meals for the week, my husband and I look at each other and ask, “What do we eat?” Thanks to the three- four-year-old getting picky, and us not wanting to make two meals every night, we try to plan for things he will eat and that’s limited our choices and put us into a bit of a rut. Having the recipe bank would put all our favorite meals in front of me and have ideas for new things to try.

It’s taken some time for me to get my planning and organizing right, and I am still tweaking things as I go along. I like the idea of using a three-ring binder because I know I’ll want to move things around and I can use full-size pages without fussing with cutting special sizes. The binder is large, though, so I can’t carry it in my purse and it’s stiff, so it takes up more space than I really want it to in my laptop bag. I also had a separate binder at home for household stuff, such as home improvement project plans, our address book, insurance information, etc. Yes, I had a separate binder for this so I wouldn’t have all that stuff taking up space in my 1/2″ binder. Crazy!

I like the bullet journal idea because I can use a smaller notebook that will fit in my purse and the notebook I have is flexible so it seems to fit better. I am using a 5 x 8.5 inch journal right now, so that may not be ideal for some purses, but the purse I’m currently carrying is ridiculously huge (and I love it!) I have everything I need in my bullet journal. For example, when Jellybean and I started seeds for the garden, I wrote the list of planted in my journal. While shopping at a garden center, I saw marjoram plants, but couldn’t remember if I had planted marjoram seeds. I pulled out my bujo, flipped to the appropriate page and had hard evidence that I had NOT planted marjoram seeds and could go ahead and buy the plant. That moment really cemented it for me.

Anyway, I seem to have gone off the deep end a little bit with the planning. It does take some time to get things organized and if you’re starting from scratch, that process can seem overwhelming. I do admire the people who can keep up with things they need to do and not get bogged down with needing to plan everything (ahem, I’m looking at you, dear husband.) I am just not able to keep everything in my head and when I get inspired with new ideas, I’ve found that they (and everything else) are quickly lost if I don’t put them somewhere. Plus, there are things that just have to get done. Somebody’s got to remember to scrub a toilet every now and then and if I have it written in a schedule, it’s more likely to get done. I get more satisfaction by checking that item off my list than I feel dread about doing the job.

Now that I’ve settled on the bujo, I can do my planning in a few minutes each week. I am keeping up with the household tasks, while still working full time. I know that if I look at my day and just can’t get everything done, I know which tasks are critical, which I need to ask for help with and which can be put off to another day. I’m still very busy, but now I also feel productive, which makes the busy-ness not so bad.

And on that note, I should really go scrub a toilet. Have a great week, my friends!

3 Comments

Filed under Not Knitting