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Some 2020 Accomplishments

The other day I was thinking about 2020, and instead of dredging up all the awful from the year, I wanted to think about good things that happened, or things I’m proud of. Because even in rough, uncertain, and chaotic times, good things can happen too, and I wanted to remember my personal achievements.

  • I started submitting stories again. Well, ok. . . just one story, and it has only gone out a couple times, but considering I haven’t submitted anything for years, this was a significant step for me. I have a second that will join it soon, and I have plans for more.
  • I had several good writing streaks. There was also time when I didn’t write. When I just wasn’t up for it. But I wrote more than I had in awhile, and when I wrote, I enjoyed it. So I believe the rests were necessary.
  • We started a family D & D game. This is something we’ve wanted to do for awhile, but none of us knew how to play, and were intimated at trying to start on our own. But there was a pandemic, so we couldn’t turn to strangers to learn. So we decided not to care if we were doing it ‘right’. We would just do it. Family fun is being had. I’m pretty sure we’re goofing a lot of rules up, but there is great serenity in not caring.
  • I have cleaned up and reclaimed my garden. This has brought me much more joy than I anticipated it would. Now i want to grow all the things, and somehow I keep finding space, but am bracing myself for when I can’t cram any more in. Not there yet though, so I keep calling the local nursery and checking if they have grapes in yet.

There might be more, but those are things that come to mind, and those are enough to make me happy and proud. I’m going to throw in a homeschooling tip here that I feel is connected. Starting in Kindergarten, I helped my girls make a scrapbook each year of things they had done. Family things, school things, personal things. Field trips, recitals, scout and club gatherings, birthday parties, artwork, etc. There is always a time when we felt we didn’t do enough. That we had used our time poorly, or goofed off too much. Then we would have the scrapbook. Looking through it always made them proud. Look at all they had done this year! Wasn’t it great? Remember that hike? Look how much my handwriting improved since September!

While caught up in the grind of life it’s so easy to forget how much you really do. The good things. I think it’s worth taking the time to remember them.

crafty things · crochet

Bonus Christmas 2020 Amigurumi – this Pitbull Turned Out Better!

One of the doctors I work with had a beloved pitty named Panda who recently passed away. I decided to make a little doll for her as a gift, but I had a lot of other tings going on, so it was taking a long time. Then she announced she would be leaving our hospital at the end of 2020 to work at a specialist practice. So on top of finishing the three pokemon I was making for the kids, I needed to finish Panda ASAP. Luckily, I had an extra week after Christmas to get him completed, and had him ready to give to her on her last day with us.

This one turned out better than my previous attempt at making a Pitbull amigurumi and I figured out why. When I made that first one, I was on the wrong page for the type of muzzle I thought I was making. That’s it. I was using the wrong pattern. I love the AmiguruMe Pets book, and that’s what I used. It has patterns for various head sizes and shapes, different bodies, legs, tails, ears, etc. so you can make any breed you want. I just turned to the wrong muzzle page and didn’t notice. This one used the appropriate face pattern for a pitty. Much better.

crafty things · crochet

Christmas 2020 Amigurumi #3: Umbreon

Last but not least, is Umbreon. This was for my youngest kiddo. I liked (and they did too) that I gave them Umbreon and Espeon together. The kiddo added the bow, and I didn’t want to take it off since she was loaning it back to me for the photo.

While I love the way it turned out, and I think it looks really great, making this one has made me vow that I’m not making anything out of black yarn again for a very long time. If ever. It is so hard to see the stitches. The lighting in my room is not ideal, and I was trying to make it in secret, so nights would have worked out better. Except it was hopeless to see well enough at night. This was made in many sessions on my lunch break at work, sitting in my car.

As with the other two Eeveelutions, the pattern is from Shea Crochet.

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Christmas Amigurumi 2020 #1

I decided to go back to the traditional route for my Christmas amigurumi this year. The first several years I made these, they were always Pokemon. For Mother’s Day, my sister got me several eeveelution patterns from Shea crochet. Maybe it was the Mother’s Day before last. Honestly, time has become meaningless, hasn’t it?

Anyway, I had been wanting to make them, and now was the perfect opportunity. They all turned out more time consuming and more complex than I had anticipated, or really had time for, but once I get an idea, I have trouble letting it go. So I plowed forward.

For my niece, I made Vaporeon. It was the easiest just because I didn’t have to hide it from my kids, and could work on it openly. It took me a little while to get the eyes and mouth to look the way I wanted. The face is so important to the finial doll. I also feel the side fins on her head are not as tilted up as they should be. It isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with the end result and she got a big hug when she was unwrapped (that I got to watch over Zoom. Thanks pandemic.)

books · writing

Giving Up and Continuing On

I’m sort of giving up on NaNoWriMo this year. I started off behind and stayed there. For awhile I was only a little behind, enough that if I really put in some extra work I could catch up. So I tried to do that. But Last week I started to not feel well, and to sleep poorly. I was having stress about how I would have time to get my extra words in and all the other things I need to be doing. My house was disgusting (even worse than normal).

So I’m no longer going to try to catch up. Now I am making it my goal to continue to write every day until the end. And the past three days have felt much better. I’m getting my life obligations mostly dealt with and I’m making good progress on the novel (but in a 500-1000 word a day pace instead of a 2500 word a day pace I would need to catch up.)

I have won NaNoWriMo once so I know the level of work it takes, and I know I can do it, but I’ve decided the cost is not one I can afford this year. As usual, I’m very happy I signed up and tried, and I’m going to continue working. I’ve gotten far enough in to better understand my characters, and I’m getting to the more fun parts of the story (the first 5000- 8000 will probably get cut). In fact, I might make it my goal to continue the daily writing at whatever word count I can handle each day until the first draft is completed instead of just through November. The NaNo website stat page tells me at this pace I will finish 50,000 words on Dec 18th, but I’m sure I’ll need many more words than that to finish.

So I will still log on for some sprints, still love the community and the goals, but I’m adjusting for my health. I’m grateful that it got me started on a book that I’d kept putting off beginning work on though. That’s worth it.

crochet

The Child (Baby Yoda) Amigurumi

I think it turned out pretty adorable. I used this pattern from Danielle Holke at Knit Hacker (there is a link to their Raverly to get the actual pattern.) It made up very quick. My little Yoda arms look different, maybe a little bigger than the pattern to me and that makes the scarf part sit a little differently too. Perhaps I overstuffed. I tend to stuff very firm, and that isn’t always the best choice.

I will now be embarking on my Christamas Amigurumi Projects. I keep coming up with new ideas, and I still have another co-worker that I’m trying to make a amigurumi version of their dog for them, so I’m beginning to worry about running out of time. With the big time commitment that is NaNoWriMo, the overwhelm is starting, when really, all of this is supposed to be fun.

I’m good at that- taking relaxing hobbies and making them stressful. But I have 5 1/2 weeks until Christmas, so I will do some thinking and decide what I can handle and go from there. For now, I’m off to get me NaNo word count in for today!

books · writing

Happy NaNoWriMo 2020


It’s the first day of NaNoWriMo, so naturally, I’m procrastinating by writing a blog post and looking for a fun word progress widget since the official NaNoWriMo website doesn’t have them anymore. I finished up my short outline last night. Just the 7 point plan style, and the last couple points are sort of ‘I don’t know how they get to this point, but here’s what I’d like to happen here’. It will be interesting to play and figure out how to get there along the way.

I don’t try to stay up and start writing at midnight anymore. Not after a full workday. I just don’t have it in me. So I’m starting today.

 

 

13295 / 50000 words. 1% done!

I found this widget here, then I got to do some googling to learn how to get a html code to work on my WordPress blog. Something I guess I hadn’t done before now because I couldn’t get it to work at first. I like learning new things, but time to stop procrastinating and start drafting!

P.S. I’m karabu over at NaNoWriMo.org if anyone is looking for a writing buddy.

crafty things · crochet

What was supposed to be a Pitbull amigurumi

I tried to make an amigurumi version of my co-workers dog. A sweet little Pitbull. While I think the dog I created is cute, I am very disappointed in it because it looks nothing like her. I wasn’t happy with the yarn I had. Everything was too brown or too grey, and she is somewhere in the middle. I just couldn’t find anything that was right. Next, her nose is way too long. it doesn’t look like a pitty at all. My next project was going to be another pitbull, so I decided I would have to change that from the pattern I was using (from AmiguruME pets – a wonderful book) and stop sooner to shorten it. As I was looking up the right parts to use to start over, I realized I think I used to completely wrong recommended nose pattern for a pitbull. I don’t know how I did it, but once I started on the wrong nose, I just finished that pattern and never noticed I was on the wrong page, maybe? Gah!

My co-worker said they loved it, but of course they would say that. They are a kind person, but I wish it had turned out to do the real life doggie justice a little better.

AmiguruME Pets: Make Cute Crochet Animals
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Relaxing with Romance

My roommate my freshman year of college was a huge fan of romance novels. I was (and am) a Sci-Fi and fantasy fan and had never ready any romance before. She was thrilled to have someone to introduce to the genre, and she gave me book after book. College, being what it was, I didn’t have much time for ‘fun’ reading, so I would save these books for after finials. I learned that romance novels were the perfect relaxation read after the stress of final exams. The stakes are generally low, and genre convention requires a happy ending, so the stress of reading was practically zero for me.

Since she only gave me books she was done with, and had enjoyed, my introduction to romance reading was a lot of really good books. She got me hooked on Outlander, for example, back when there were only two books in the series. Only years later, when I had to find my own romance novels did I stumble into the sorts of books that have given the genre a less positive reputation. Because even after I had long moved on to other housing situations, I kept my new habit of reading romance after finals to unwind, and destress. (Thanks Heather!) But I had to start paying attention to authors and publication lines because a story about a captive that fell in love with her rapist was defiantly not remotely relaxing. It was enraging. Yet those books were mixed in there, so I had to learn to be selective on my own.

After college, I returned to my science fiction because I had more time and mental and emotional energy for different stories again. I wish I could remember what I’d learned in that process of selecting romance novels now though. Because since Covid and shelter-in-place times, I have rediscovered the value or romance. I was having major sleeping problems. Anyone who has had sleeping problems knows that bad sleep just leads on to other life problems. One night I decided to read a romance that I’d picked up for free and had sitting on my kindle. I think it was The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan. It shut my brain up and let me drift off to sleep much more peacefully. I’ve since bough the rest of the series, and gradually worked through them at bedtime. There is enough plot to be interesting but not so much that I’m confused if I fall asleep in the middle of a chapter and have to figure out the next night what was happening when I drifted off. It’s perfect. But I guess I’m afraid for my new sleep routine when I run out of Courtney Milan books. Luckily we now have the internet to point me toward novels that will fill the role I need of them. My daytime books can be as intense as I want, but my bedtime books over the past few months have become something I guard, and am careful and very selective of.

Still, if you have a favorite romance book or author, please share it with me. I’ve moved on to fantasy comedy (Diskworld) for my bedtime reading, but I am having a little more trouble following the plot while sleepy. I plan to return to a romance read next again. More importantly though, one can never have too many stress reducing book recommendations to work through.