#yearofmaking #2: Week 4

Forgive my tardiness in recapping the fourth week of my 2015 year of making. Last week’s newsletter was about the treading of water I do when I’m waiting to hear about a major project (and keeping the time that project would take free from other commitments), and I’m very pleased to report that last week was my last of treading water, because this morning I got the news that the project is on. Yippee!

And that means that suddenly, my brain is clear, my thoughts are free-flowing, and I’m finally able to push through my ever-growing to-do list. Starting with showing you the fruits of my fourth week of making this year. This was the week I became totally obsessed with The 100 (watch it if you aren’t already) (seriously), and doodled obsessively, too.

Did you start a year of making on January 1st? Any themes come out of your first month? (And hey, there’s no time like the present to start. A year is 365 days even when you don’t start counting in January!)

#yearofmaking #2: Week 3

Over the course of the third week of my second year of making, my days ranged from one extreme on the make-o-metre to the other. On one day I spent a couple of hours making soap; on the next I spent a few minutes cutting that soap. One day I made cookies with my kid. The next day I spent an hour making bath fizzies with him (not pictured, but a post on that is coming) and I also spent an hour and a half making dinner (and I didn’t hate making it, and it was freaking delicious – both of which are rare for me). The deodorant was a quick thing to make, but I’m thinking about it daily as I assess how effective it is. The knitting is for a soap experiment (more on that when it comes to fruition). And yesterday’s making has no picture, for I spent the day in a pain-free haze of weird migraine aftermath, so my making yesterday consisted of acquiring some ink pads for stamping.

How’s your making going? I just re-read a great post by Austin Kleon on focusing on doing something small every day. That’s what a #yearofmaking is all about, and he says it better than anyone.

(For some worksheets and nudging along the way, the Year of Making ebook is always available. A yearlong project can start on any day at all!)

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deodorant on recipe

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#yearofmaking #2: Week 2

I’ve spent this week pretty much hibernating in a vaguely introverted stint of recuperation after a month of houseguests. I didn’t think I was making very much, given that I’ve also been working and I read an entire YA trilogy, but after collecting these photos, I see I’ve actually been making quite a lot. Below, you’ll see the first Pyrex I’ve destroyed in the making of soap, the soap that resulted after I briefly mourned the loss of the Pyrex and oils involved and poured fresh oils into a stainless-steel pot instead of glass, pancakes, the first meal resulting from my newly acquired copy of Mark Bittman’s truly enormous How to Cook Everything Fast, some crochet, and my bullet journal.

How’s your daily making going?

(Remember, it’s never the wrong date to start a year of making.)

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Bullet Journal Update, One Year In

bullet journal and fountain pen

Last January, the Bullet Journal started making the rounds on Twitter, and along with loads of other people, I thought this is amazing. I finally understood how always keeping a notebook with me – the oft-cited single-most-important thing for a writer to do – could actually be useful. And useful it has been. A year later, I’m well into my second notebook, and since my first blog post about using this system quickly became one of the most popular blog posts I’ve ever written, I thought another follow-up would be a good idea.

I’ve never been fancy about how I use my bullet journal, though I did use it as an excuse to buy a nice fountain pen. I use it mostly for daily to-do lists, and I capture things like social events and other milestones in those lists, too, since this is the only kind of diary I keep, so why not.

CLICK HERE TO GET MY FREE DAILY ART/CRAFT TRACKER!

Since I keep track of pretty much every time/date-related event in Google calendars, I don’t use the monthly spreads, but I do use two so-called collections: one for my 2015 #yearofmaking (this takes the place of the daily log worksheet in the ebook), and one for books I’ve read (even though I also keep track of this on Goodreads; for some reason, the redundancy seems to make sense).

year of making daily log

Though I did a fair bit of doodling in my first bullet journal, I’ve fallen out of the habit, preferring to doodle in sketchbooks instead. But I did finally become comfortable making random notes in my journal. For example, we’re planning a five-week camping trip for the late spring. When Greg and I started hammering out our itinerary, I made a mess of lists over a spread in my journal. It’s the kind of thing I would ordinarily use scrap paper for, but I’m really glad I didn’t, because I’ve referred back to that mess a few times already, and I’m sure I’ll need to look at it more as we start finalizing our plans. See that? What would have been treated as disposable and, eventually, missed, ended up usable because I scrawled it in my bullet journal. Immensely useful.

I also make lots of notes about soap-making and other skin-care recipes. So much so that it all became a bit unwieldy, and I decided to dedicate a separate notebook to those. Once I finalize a recipe through various iterations in my bullet journal, I transfer it to the separate notebook. This way I don’t have to sift through all the versions, even if they are marked down in the index, and if I happen to get sticky or oily stuff on the notebook, well, at least I don’t have to then go and put it in my bag after.

Someone mentioned on Twitter a while back that they’ve taken to wrapping washi tape along the edge of pages they want to mark in their bullet journal. I wish I could find who that was (speak up if you’re reading! it was fallenpeach!), because it’s such a brilliant idea. I’ve marked my year of making log in washi tape so it’s really easy to find (you can see it in the photo, above), and I’ve marked my books list with a different colour.

CLICK HERE TO GET MY FREE DAILY ART/CRAFT TRACKER!

To sum up, I’m still using this system, I’m still doing it the way that works for me (which means jettisoning quite a bit of what the original website lays out), and I’m still very pleased with it.

Over the last year, I’ve grown to trust that I always have my journal with me, and I’ve delighted in only rarely losing some or another important note I wanted to keep track of. That’s a huge change for me, and one that never stops feeling pretty spectacular.

Do you keep a bullet journal? Chime in with your own update in the comments!

 

First Day, Five Days, and Crochet

It’s 3:30pm on the first workday of 2015, and I’m already loving this year. I had a great phone meeting this morning, received an unexpected email that I’d been hoping to get for months, and saw the first go at marketing copy for a new project I’m very excited about (and the marketing copy rocks). The first workday of 2015 gets two thumbs up.

On this fifth day of my second year of making, I’ll be working on a project I had not had on my list before the start of the new year, but began almost immediately upon discovering it because it’s so well suited to my theme of the year, which is enough. I filled a basket with somewhere around 2500 yards’ worth of odd balls of yarn, which I would otherwise have tried to find a new home for as I embark upon a great craft-supply de-stash, and I’ve started an Age Before Beauty Blanket by the ever-fabulous master of gorgeous simple crochet, Pip Lincolne. It’s such a simple, yet so totally personal, project, and row upon row of double crochet is relaxing to make (admittedly, it’s not my favourite stitch, so I may switch it up with some sections of extended half-double crochet [which I would have done all along but it didn’t occur to me when I started the project]).

It’s been a while since I’ve crocheted daily, and though I’m sure other projects will soon begin to squeeze their way back into my daily making, I’m enjoying it while it lasts. In part, I’m enjoying it because I didn’t see it coming, and I’ve learned that one of the things I love most about making something every day is that unexpected projects have quite a lot of opportunity to pop up.

What are you making these days?

A quick reminder that today is the final day to buy the Year of Making ebook at the special launch price; tomorrow (January 6th) it will go up by a couple of dollars. It will remain available always, of course, because a year of making can begin on any day of the calendar year! Check out the #yearofmaking hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to see what people are making.