Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Read a Book: The Maltese Falcon on Audio {An Audio Book Review}

So, one of my goals for this year is to read 30 books. And after reading some others' reading goals, I thought I might share with you my thoughts on the stories I read. At least once a month sharing one of the books I have read and my thoughts on it (I got the idea to share from HattieLuHandmade)! The hard part was picking which book to share with you! I have enjoyed them all!

The Month of January I read:
Inside the O'briens by Lisa Genova
For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hamett

It was hard because I really want to share Inside the O'Briens with you. But I am deciding to go with The Maltese Falcon.

I have not seen the movie with Humphrey Bogart, nor had I read this prior. I bought a copy after I read Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain in college and felt that I needed to read more vintage crime novels. But, I never actually read the book.

The Story
I'm not going to give too much away about the story itself.

I wouldn't mind picking this one up again! It was captivating, the characters were fascinating especially the multi-layered Miss Wonderly. I pictured in my head Sam Spade as rough around the edges. But the time period of the 30s is fascinating, especially when dealing with the PI stories of the time. The story has everything I imagine for a 30's PI story: Deception, Murder, Mystery, Womanizing Romance that only the 30's can portray, conniving women with their just as dubious male counterpart.... No one is innocent or free from scrutiny.

The part that sticks out to me the most is the first scene between Sam Spade and Kasper Gutman. I found Gutman humorous and actaully kind of reminded me of someone I used to know (no longer associate with) with his round-about, 'I'm better than you', gentlemanly-type talk. But the line that sticks out the most is their toast, "Here's to plain talk and clear understanding". I found that line fascinating. Slightly the antithesis of the character himself, in reference to Gutman, and exactly the opposite of what transpires between the two characters immediately following.

The line got me to thinking about our relationships with those around us. Really, how often do we say things that either beat around the bush to how we really feel? Or it is something that we think the other person wants to hear? But even if we speak truthfully, the other people usually will read into thoughts or assume the worst when it was not the intention. But if we speak plainly, is there only one way but through clear understanding? Can we really get mad at others for feeling the way they feel, especially if they share those said emotions and thoughts?

The Audio
Actually, I am still stuck in this feeling that I still haven't actually 'read' the book as I listened to this one on audio. I've tried listening to books on tape before (books on cd/audiobook same thing right?). I always felt bored listening to the same voice over and over again. But this one was different, nice, in that it had a full cast to portray the characters. It kept me engaged and interested, but I still wonder how much I have missed through not actually looking at the words.

It was fascinating though. I was able to work on cleaning, housework, sewing, crocheting all while listening to this book. I listened straight through earbuds on my phone and loved it! It might have helped that is was an Audie Award winner book! It does make me want to see Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade...

Tell me
Have you read/heard/seen The Maltese Falcon? What were your thoughts?
What have you read/listened to recently? Did you enjoy it?

Do you think listening to an audio book is the same thing as reading?

Until next time...

Friday, January 22, 2016

Improv-Pieced Baby Quilt

I had a massive case of nesting the other day and accomplished a ton! Cleaning, sewing, organizing... All some much needed things to get done. Out of the sewing I had accomplished a baby quilt for the baby due any day now. Sad because Little Lady does not have one that I have made for her yet. But she does have some handmade quilts of her own from others. It lets me off the hook right? The quilt... I'm just calling it improv piecing at this point...

Improv-Pieced Baby Quilt: The Berry Bunch

I had picked up this fabric about the time that Little Lady S was born with the intention of making her a quilt. But that never happened. It was actually a cheap kit from Walmart and just wasn't in love with it as much as I had thought when I first bought it. But for baby girl K, it's perfect!

Improv-Pieced Baby Quilt: The Berry Bunch

We are using owls for her theme... well, any raptor/bird of prey really. Owls just happens to be popular. And I prefer pinks and teal and a neutral... But this works.

I just started cutting the pieces and sewing as I went. Towards the end I was second guessing my cutting choices because things started not fitting together very well... I suggest to cut all in increments and ratios of each other instead of whatever number pops into your head like I did...

Improv-Pieced Baby Quilt: The Berry Bunch

The binding is the backing wrapped around to the front, a piece of flannel that came with the kit. And I did not use any batting.

Improv-Pieced Baby Quilt: The Berry Bunch

Looking at the tiny image on the screen, I feel kind of happy how it turned out! It's just different, for me. I haven't done anything like this before. I really suggest you try it! I might want to again, but with more meaning to the size of the strips I cut from the fabric...

for fun... Baby girl due in few days! (40 weeks on the 28th!). Don't mind my wet hair. ;)

Improv-Pieced Baby Quilt: The Berry Bunch

And, the quilt with her very own Lambie (each kid has their own lambie)

Improv-Pieced Baby Quilt: The Berry Bunch

I'm excited that I had energy to do a ton of stuff! This quilt I managed to finish in two days! Yay for nesting! But now, I need to sleep for a day! LOL!

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up

My New Year Resolution is getting my life organized for living intentionally. You can read about that here! I shared my brainstorming start to setting up a planner with some resources that I was using to help me get the set up going, here. And after some searching for printable options and reviewing the cost of buying pages for my planner, I decided it would be much easier to make my own that buy. I also said, in that post, I was going to share my set up once I got it figured out. So here I am sharing my set up with you!

Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

The Binder
I am using a Compact Franklin Covey binder I had purchased from Target about 10 years ago when I went back to college. I was lucky I found it during the books/paper KonMari Purge. I found it with my day timer, which was sadly falling apart. So I purged the day timer and kept my Franklin Covey.

I still love the color of the binder. Brown and pink go so nicely together. The front has a pocket, but I haven't used that yet.

Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

The size of it works for about 2-3 months of daily sheets at a time. Other than that, it would be too full. HA!

Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

The front is supposed to be a card holder, but the glue has worn a little. It makes a great place to put my pens. I'm surprised how quickly my brain accepted the color coding per person! Plus it makes it easier to fit the highlighters in the little zip pocket I have in the back.

I love it so far. The compact sizing of it makes it hard for pages though. I could not really find any printables for the size (probably because it's just an odd sizing). 4.25x6.75 isn't an even ratio of your typical 8.5 x 11 paper size. It took multiple printings of free versions for me to decide to make my own.

The Set-Up & Organization
I have it divided into sections.

Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

In the front Is the yearly and monthly calendars. I found them for free from Scattered Squirrel. I also keep my list of birthdays and anniversaries on a sheet in the current month (I want to start sending cards).

Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

Then I have
Tasks - Weekly docket and daily pages (2-3 months at a time). I had originally tried a 2 page daily spread but it was too much. So I took from each page what I liked and put it on 1 sheet. It uses less paper that way. It took me a while to figure out printing too. I print the pages on the booklet setting and it works great for the order I want it in and printing front and back (which my printer does on it's own, it's awesome!)

Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

Weekly docket I use to fill in general to do's for the week, appointments and things I don't want to forget when doing my daily planning. So far I almost forgot an event and was able to not miss it because it was there! I was so excited!
The parts are:

  • Daily slots for events
  • To do's
  • Phone Calls/emails
  • appointments
  • Goals
  • Blog

Parts of the daily sheets:

  • timed spots for the day
  • water tracker and daily meals
  • House keeping
  • Blog/sewing
  • goals
  • family
  • to do
  • notes

Personal - I have tabs from my day timer I kept and use for this. In the front is my debt tracker. It is a goal for the year! It is top priority so goes first! I have my budget binder That houses the rest of the financial stuff. I have sections for:

Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

  • Reading - I keep track of suggested books, books chosen for book club, and the books for the BookRiot Reading challenge.
Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

  • Blog Planning - I had a separate binder for this, but didn't use it. Here I can include blog posts in the calendar and turn to this section for post planning, and I have created a sheet for tour planning, notes and brainstorming ideas (this post would have happened sooner had I not been sick all weekend)
Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

  • Menu planning - still a work in progress. I might put dinner ideas here, but I am thinking a separate binder with my cookbooks of favorite meals will help keep this planner from becoming overstuffed!
  • Party Planning - I have my printables that I am going to condense into compact sizing to use here for birthdays
  • Holiday Planning - Halloween Costume Planning, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Those go here.
  • Sewing - I have created a smaller size to my measurement tracker sheet and have that here. I am including project sheets here too from my Boys and Girls capsule planners.
Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

I'm thinking of changing/adding the Konmari Checklist somewhere in here too...

Goals - I have my Goals and resolutions in this section. I have my list of goals, and then breakdown of each goal listed in order with long term and short term deadlines. I refer to this when filling out the monthly, weekly and daily sheets that are in the front.

Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

Addresses - I have misplaced addresses, or discarded random papers (party planning) that had addresses on them and I needed them in one spot, easy enough to update when needed and accessible when planning events and get togethers; or just sending invites and cards. 

I use a photo/card holder for appointment cards and a pocket for highlighters and a pencil.

Living Intentionally: My Planner Set Up: The Berry Bunch

So Far
I love it! I have been using it for several days and it has helped so much! It fits perfectly in my Ethel! I used to carry just a clutch/handbag, but now I have reason to carry her and I have to say I feel better about my day. At home it sits open on the table and I can refer to it/check off items/adjust as needed. 
I have everything in one place and I love that. It makes things easier that way, and the color coding is awesome as I can see it from a glance. I have MOPS, Quilt Guild, the blog, appointments, everything. Seriously, so exciting. I understand why people become addicted to their planners! 

Now for the next step in my Living Intentionally goals, to just work on scheduling in those days for personal and family time. I went to book club this month and Husband said he needed to start scheduling stuff with his friends too. I told him he should! I think it might start to become easier to schedule in a set date night too... That is if we can ever get anyone to watch the kids! Ha!

I have noticed that it helps with cleaning out my purse every day too. In the KonMari book, she mentions to empty your bag at home. Granted I don't have a station to put the stuff (yet), but taking out the planner pushes me to take out everything else too.

I'm Curious
How do you organize your time, if you do? What planner do you use?
Have you thought of getting a planner, or tried it and it didn't work? 

Friday, January 8, 2016

2016 Finish Along: Quarter 1: Goals {2016 FAL Q1}

Another Year, a new start, and a new quarter for the Finish-Along!

Part of my Goals and Resolutions for this year is to work through the WIPs (Work in Progress) and UFOs (unfinished objects) to get them done, usable and no longer taking up space in the craft space. I really wanted to finish these last year in prepping for baby. But it is hard to sew when your tired! And I know this year I am going to be tired too! But, at least a few of them the tops are pretty much done! :)

And, here is my list for this quarter.

1. Labyrinth Lap Quilt... I was debating on the backing, but it works and it needs to be done.

The Berry Bunch: 2015 Finish-A-Long: Labyrinth Lap Quilt

2.  My band shirt memory quilt... I found a backing by andover fabrics! It's perfect! There is no reason for this not to get done now! Ha!

The Berry Bunch: 2015 Finish-A-Long: Band Shirt Memory Quilt

3. This is little lady's baby shower quilt. From 2013...

4. This circle quilt. It was supposed to be for a MQG fabric challenge... It has sat in my sewing bag 

The Berry Bunch: 2015 Finish-A-long: Circle Quilt

5. These are supposed to be some Peasant Tops pattern by Tie Dye Diva Patterns for little lady. I know they are now too small for her, but I could still use them for this next little one coming, even if they are a 12 month and 18 month size!! 

The Berry Bunch: 2015 Finish Along: Peasant Tops

6. This was supposed to be Little Man's Going to Grandma's/&or/Grandpa's over night bag. It is supposed to be the Dorothy Day Tripper by Swoon Sewing Patterns (affiliate links) ... 
7. If I have enough left over I also want to make a Tiny Explorer Backpack by Diedelbug Handmade for him when we go to MOPs meetings, the Zoo, and anything else that seems to fit with learning and fun. ;) Only problem is, he doesn't stay over anywhere and we no longer go to the zoo (I haven't renewed our membership). I still want to do them, and we miss the zoo.

The Berry Bunch: 2015 Finish-Along: Dinosaur Bags

I've carried over this list since 2013! Don't believe me? check it out! Finish-Along
Sad, right? I know! same things over and over. Wish me good luck! ;)

Linking up!

2016 FAL

Happy Sewing!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Living Intentionally: My Start to Getting a Planner

I have no idea how these last few months have flown by. Halloween, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years... It's all come and gone in a blink of an eye and it takes everything from me just to keep my eyes open and not fall asleep on the rocking chair in my living room. But with everything going on, the constant theme is that I am flying by the seat of my pants and end up stressed because of it. I described in my Goals and Resolution post, I needed to be more intentional with my day, with my kids, with my husband. Just intentional about living...

This last year had every intention and possibility of being great. But, my lack of organization and intentionally getting things done prevented a lot of the greatness. It was still great, don't get me wrong. This last year has been fantastic! But, there is always room for improvement. Always room to make it better! 

I decided to take the Best Year Ever mini course that was offered by Living Well Spending Less and the first day was what got me realizing that I really needed to plan: Intentionally planning for intentional living.  

Do you know how many planners, planner inserts, pages, printables, etc are out there? Tons! A little overwhelming. I am still overwhelmed. And, it probably doesn't help that I really have no idea what I need in a planner! I dug out my old FranklinCovey compact (I had discarded an old classic, shouldn't have) and am working on looking up different ways to organize the pages. I think I am going to start saving for a classic and try to get the hang with what I have now.

These so far are my favorite binders:
FranklinCovey Striped Binder

Are you like me, do you need some help too?
So far I have found these sites that seem really helpful ... From basic type to scrappy... In organizing your planner...

A Bowl Full of Lemons: My Planner Set Up

I like this printable, but I am not sure how to get it to work with my compact planner... 
I really like Polka Dot Posie's Undated Printable Planner, but she has a tutorial here The Polka Dot Posie: Printable Planner Pages
I think I might be waiting to see if A Bowl Full of Lemons comes out with a new one
I heart Planners has a huge selection and I really like the Goals printable.

There is so much to put in a planner. 
Once I get it more figured out I'll write it down to share with you what I end up doing. :)
*update* I've been working on the set up for a week now. I'll have it figured out eventually...

I want to hear from you:
How do keep your day to day intentional? 
If You use a planner, what type and what setup do you use? What resources do you use/have you used to help you set it up?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year: Resolution and Goals {Welcome 2016}

First off...

Happy New Year!!!

Last year ended. It was a whirlwind of a year. So much going on, so many new things.. And now a fresh start. A new year to make it better. To make things better, easier, more. A time to plan and prepare and become intentional about living.

I shared last years goals and how I did with meeting them (you can read about that here), and there was a lot I set out to accomplish without success. There was a lot I did accomplish that wasn't on the list, but they were surprises. And yet, with everything that happened last year I kept getting that little whisper in my ear, "you need to be intentional". I didn't understand but as the year progressed I became more aware...

Be Intentional...

Intentional about my time with my husband. We have to schedule the time to be together. We need to remember to be intentional about our love towards each other. Day to day becomes monotonous and we become jaded. We need to be intentional with our interaction with each other and the direction we wish our relationship to go (you know, into old age).

Intentional about my time with my kids. How many times have I set out to start preschool with little man only to have it thrown to the wayside? How many good intentions are cut short only because I didn't make time for it or just let it slide? I love my kids and I know they know it. But I need to be more intentional in my time I spend with them.

Intentional about my time for myself. No more feeling guilty when I ask my husband to watch the kids so I can take an evening out with the ladies. I laugh at that because that is hard not to feel. He says I shouldn't feel guilty. But, I do. I need to be more intentional with the free time I get when I do get it. Scheduling that free time into my day, my week, my months. I need to schedule that time in for Brandon too. A family I look to as a roll model in this takes every Saturday and trades. One Saturday is mom's, next is dad's, then it's the family day and starts all over the fourth Saturday. I love that idea!

This all boils down to planning. I need to be intentional in my planning. Living intentionally requires some intentional planning. A lot of intentions, a lot of being intentional, right? But it seems necessary to be successful. Successful in relationships, successful in meeting goals, successful in life.

So starts my list of goals for the year...

1. Planning. I have a planner. I intend to plan out my weeks and months. I hope that this makes things run smoother, if not easier. At least I can look to what is happening. I am not looking to throw a whole year into the planner all at once, but a few months in advance. With the baby being due in a few weeks and little man starting school, it will be more necessary to keep things straight.

2. Getting out of debt. We want a life without being strapped down by credit. No more credit card bills, no more owing money and having so much of the paycheck go towards things that we borrowed money to buy. Sad thing is? I can't even remember what those things were! Being able to set aside money for the things that are going to need to be replaced soon, like a new dinning table, washing machine, Christmas tree. We can't get those things until after that credit debt is gone. And as my son breaks another chair I can only imagine how much sooner we are going to need another table and what we can do in the mean time while we can't get one...

3. Finish the KonMari Purge. I need to establish a timeline for this one, but I am hoping to finish all of it by August. That gives me 8 months and I am already into the Kimono (miscellaneous stuff). I am thinking I might want to start over with the clothes after the baby has arrived and I have gotten closer to pre-baby body.

4. Establish my Capsule wardrobe. I took some time off the wardrobe because I was limited my clothes once I started getting bigger. I'm down to 1 skirt, 1 leggings, 2 pairs of pants that fit, 4 long sleeve shirts, 2 '3/4' sleeved shirts and 3 short sleeve. This is maternity wear, the leggings don't match a thing, one long sleeve shirt really only works under things but doesn't match with the colors in the short sleeves... My wardrobe is a mess. I may need to start figuring things out for nursing anyway! 4 more weeks!

5. Read. I have totally met a goal of 24 books this year and read 27 (Goodreads is awesome for this). I am thinking of joining the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge this year and upping my number to 30. In 2013 my goal was 20 and I read 23, so I think I can do it! :)

6. Establish a day for family and independent time, like what my friend does. It might take some husband coercion, but even if it takes most the year. I think I need the time. I haven't had a day in a long time. Rushing to the grocery store and back doesn't count.

7. Health. I need to take care of myself better... I need to drink 8 glasses of water a day, sleep 8 hours a night and not skip any meals.

8. Crafting/sewing. Finish a few more of my WIPs! More specifically those quilts taking up space in the craft room what is to be the baby's room. I need to get back into the FAL for next year. There last few quarters have been sadly lacking. You can check out my current list here. If I finish each one in a month, then I can finish by the end of May. I'm thinking more August/September though for the one where the top is started but not finished.

Let me hear from you:
What are your goals for this year?