Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Resolution - Check in

I think it's about time in the year for me to do a quick check in on where I'm at with my 2012 resolutions
And once again, I think the biggest issue has been vague resolutions that are hard to quantify. (I have got to remember to avoid this in 2013!!)
So how am I doing?


1. Make a new bed Quilt 
I've made the quilt top! I just need to get the rest of the materials to finish it. 


2. Go to Zumba once a week
I've definitely been going more often, but I can't say it's been every single week. 


3. Read more
Wow, I have really aced this resolution! I think I read around 4 books during 2011, and this year I have already finished 11. I have so many more books on my list too. I hope to finish at least 20 before the year is up! 


4. Find Balance
Super hard to quantify, but a few of the books I've read have been helpful for this. (Such as Billions and Billions by Carl Sagan, and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin)


5. Get "real" job
working on it!


6. Donate another quilt
I still need to get on this, but it will happen!


7. Go on (at least) two out of province trips
Done! I went to Mississippi (read more here), and I took a west coast trip in April/May (I wrote about Portland here, and San Francisco here). 


8. Work on being more spontaneous
I think I've been able to be more go with the flow, but again, how do I even quantify this? And doesn't the goal itself counter-act spontaneity. Who knows?!


9. Make a bigger effort with friends in different cities
I've tried! But I think I could have made this goal better by saying 'email one out-of-town friend a week' or something like that. Oh well. 


10. Journal More
I have for sure! I have also tried to do some creative writing which is tons of fun!


11. Make a series of 'art' that go together
I kind of did this without realizing. I went on a stencil art binge a month ago, and now I have a few cool pieces that flow together well. I want to try and make a set of 3 sewn wall art things that go together too.


After reading these again, I think I'm only going to check in with numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 at the end of the year. Maybe none at all. For some reason I enjoyed my 2011 resolutions a lot more (and they weren't even that different, so I don't know why). I don't think I took enough time (or thought) when I wrote these 2012 ones. Maybe I can make that a resolution for next year? Make better resolutions? Ah well. At least I tried right!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Something 30: A little Coin Purse

Can you believe It's week 30 of the year already!? WOW time flys! Also, I'll be honest, I don't have much time to write, so I'm just going to make this short and sweet!

I have made a few of these before, but I am happy to say that I feel like I'm getting better at it. I sewed a little owl coin purse for a bird themed 'craft swap' that I'm taking part in.

   
The colours of this one may be my favourite of all of the ones I've made!


To find out what the 'Something' project is all about click here
To see the first 29 'Something's' click here

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Love... Adventures in Creative Writing

I've been interested in learning how to improve/start my creative writing for a while, and this week, I desided why not give it a try. I'm mostly interested in learning how to improve my writing for this (my blog) and for my scrapbooks (when I write summaries of events next to pictures), so there is no need to worry, I wont be releasing a screen play any time soon.

I took out "Rip the Page, Adventures in Creative Writing" by Karen Benke from the Library to get started. The book is very interactive with open-ended experiments to work on and improve your creative writing skills. It's a really great book, and I've been having a lot of fun with the activities in it. (I'm pretty sure it's meant for 'youth' seeing as I had to go to the children's section of the library to find it, but I still love it!)


I really enjoyed one activity called 'An Attitude of Gratitude'. It suggests writing a poem of something you are thankful for (and gave some examples). What I came up with is sort of a hybrid poem-paragraph-list.This is straight from my journal with no edits. It's kind of odd, but I enjoy the natural and sometimes weird direction the list takes. I let my mind just try and think of every random thing I loved and appreciated no matter how silly or "not deep enough" it seemed. It was a simple and fun activity that brought be a smile during my day. I'm sharing it, in hopes that it might encourage someone else to remember all the things they love. 

Thankfulness
I often think I appreciate funny things.
But that is a gift in it self because I get to find joy in special places.
In all kinds of special places.
I'm often smiling to myself thinking how great life is.
I love...
Walking with no shoes on, especially in the sand
The stars at night
Dancing... my kind of dancing, letting my body move where ever it wants to go
Singing along to every song I hear, even if I don't know the words
Fountain pop with lots of ice
Teaching others to craft
The smell of spring and the feeling of fall
The feeling after you've been outside for a while in winter and you come inside to the warmth (it's like a hug)
Oh, and I love hugs
And holding hands
Being deep in a forest with big trees to look up at
Pictures of panda bears
The squires on my block are so sweet too
Learning something new and being open to change
Nature, all of it
Laughter.... about anything
Being silly with Anne and Julia
Working hard and achieving a goal
Reading a book for a second time, but forgetting the ending so it's still a surprise
Balling my eyes out in a movie
Feeling connected to the Universe
When I write a sentience or note and have nice hand writing for the whole thing 
Capturing a perfect moment on film
Enjoying a perfect moment without any distractions
Loving whole heartedly without fear of what could happen
This body I was given
Growing
Being loved
The colours teal and red together

There you have it. My first creative writing piece. Nothing crazy but that's the point, I think at least, of creative writing, it can be whatever you want it to be. Also, after re-reading this I realized that it makes me think of the blog 1000 awesome things. Check it out, it is almost guaranteed to make you smile!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless



To find out about the start of this series click here.
To see past wordless posts click here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Some Thoughts: New Stuff is Happening

So over here (at A Sewcial Life) I have generally shared mostly about, well, sewing (and crafting etc). And I really enjoy doing that! But, I've also been having fun writing some of the recent travel posts and reflective/thoughts on life type posts


I felt a bit odd writing the 'thoughts on life' type posts because of how different they are from the rest of the stuff that I normally write about (ie: crafts). I know the variety of topics I am now currently covering don't exactly go together, but I enjoy writing about all of it! So to make myself feel less weird about all the different and new things I feel like writing about I thought I'd just write this 'new stuff is happening' post to warn you.


I will definitely continue posting about my crafts and creations, but I expect that I will also continue writing more about both travel and life in general. I feel like 2012 is a turning into the year of "WTF is my life, and lets figure it out!" (as Amy Morby has put it) and I want to share some of that adventure.


Anyways, thanks to any of you lovely people reading! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Travelling - San Francisco

In keeping with my goal of writing about travelling more, I'm going to write a little summary of the main things I did while visiting San Francisco.

To give you an overview here are the main things I saw/did:
1. Stayed at the Green Tortoise, also know as the best hostel ever
2. Took a walking tour of the North Beach area
3. Wandered Fishermans Wharf
4. Saw Lombard Street and the Cable Cars
5. Biked across the Golden Gate bridge and saw the Palace of Fine Arts
6. Went to Alcatraz and took the audio tour

My time in San Francisco was far more relaxed and 'go with the flow' than I'm used to travelling, but as I discovered, it was a way more enjoyable way for me to travel. I had lots of ideas about what I 'should' do with my 6 days in the city, and I did most of that, but I also ended up doing a lot of wandering with new friends. I still saw lots, but most of it was just decided the night before (which probably sounds normal, but I have a bit of a hyper-organisation problem!) So keeping in mind the relaxed nature of my time in SF, here are the highlights of my time in the City by the Bay.


1. Stayed at the Green Tortoise Hostel, also know as the best hostel ever

There is no way to describe the awesomeness that is the Green Tortoise. If you read the reviews online it's almost consistently the same thing, hard to explain, but amazing. I think what I loved about it the most was how easy they make it to meet new people, which was especially important to me because I was travelling alone for the first time. They have three free dinners a week, which you can volunteer to help cook and meet people, but simply attending the dinner is a great way to meet people as well. They had an amazing common room, cheerful staff, and an event every night! They also had lots of deals with tour companies to help save their guests money. The location was great, however some people might have an issue with the neighbours. There were at least 3 strip clubs within a stones throw from the front door and many more down the street, I honestly thought this would be a problem, but it ended up being a non-issue. It actually kind of made me feel safer at night because there were bouncers and security guards around the street! Main point here: if you're going to SF stay at the Green Tortoise, and if you have time take a ride on the Green Tortoise Bus! (I'll be writing another travel post about the Bus in a week or two!)


2. Took a walking tour of the North Beach area

I took a walking tour with Discover Walks which is a newer walking tour company in SF. It was a free tour, but as with most free tours, it is expected you tip. It was a perfect little tour (90 minutes total) for the first day because it toured the area almost entirely around the Green Tortoise Hostel I was staying at. It gave me a good overview of the area around where I was, including where to get dinner or drinks along with lots of fun historical facts. The tour guide I had was fun and told us lots of funny, interesting, and sort of off beat stories and facts about the area. I would definitely recomend it as a first day activity.


3. Wandered Fishermans Wharf

It's a classic tourist activity and because of that, well, it's super touristy. The sea lions were so freaking adorable though, I'd still recommend going! Pier 39 was over the top, but walking around the whole area was actually quite nice (both the The Embarcadero and Jefferson Street were nice). You can see Alcatraz from the other piers and the ocean is beautiful. There are lots of kitschy little shops to wander through, and definitely enough to keep you busy for a few hours. If you keep walking a bit, you get to a cute little beach and park area at the end of Jefferson Street. An added bonus, if you're interested in eating some cliche American foods (which, I mean, who isn't?) there is an In-n-Out Burger on Jefferson Street as well.    


4. Saw Lombard Street and the Cable Cars

Lombard street was crazy cool, and walking up it definitely counted as my exercise for the day! I didn't actually ride any Cable Cars, but one nice driver that was parked let us take some pictures on one. Both of these things were free and fun, but neither were very time consuming. The area around Lombard street was really beautiful though (as is the entire city) so we just spent time walking around these areas.


5. Biked across the Golden Gate bridge and saw the Palace of Fine Arts

One of the things I had hopped to do before I got to SF was to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, and I am SO glad I did. We rented bikes from Dylan's Tours (with a discount because of the Hostel) and headed out to the bridge. The bike from the hostel to the bridge was a bit of trek on its own, but there was a lot to see along the way, and we even ended up making a impromptu stop at the Palace of Fine Arts. The Palace of Fine arts is a Theater, but we just explored the outdoor rotunda and surrounding area. It was a nice break mid bike ride and was a beautiful area. After the little stop, we continued on to the Bridge. As we got closer and could actually see it from a distance, it became clear how cool this Bridge actually was. I don't know if it is just because it is famous, but the closer we got the more amazed I was at how beautiful this Bridge was! Biking across was amazing (but very crowded) and provided a view of the city that was stunning. Once we got to the other side we biked into this town called Sausalito, which is amazingly beautiful and looked like it was placed on the side of the hill straight from Europe. Apparently there is a ferry you can take from here back to the other side of the bride (with bikes) and I would recommend looking into that, because biking back was super tiring. (Did I say beautiful enough in this paragraph? I can't think of another word though, this entirety of this day was beautiful)


6. Went to Alcatraz and took the audio tour

Alcatraz, the famous prison, is another super touristy thing to do in SF, but one that I really enjoyed! The island itself is now part of the National Parks, and is actually quite pretty. The audio tour of the prison is really well done and the narration is done by a former prison guard which I thought was pretty damn cool. If you do one 'touristy' thing I would suggest doing this. The views from the ferry over are an added bonus, and you get the 2nd best view of the city once you're on the island (the bridge was my number 1 favourite view).


There was lots of additional wandering, park sitting (and napping) exploring, eating, coffee drinking and general 'taking it all in' which I would also highly recommend. Only other recommendation I'll share is for the garlic lovers out there. You have to LOVE garlic, but if you do, I would suggest going to the Stinking Rose restaurant, their tag line is "we season our garlic with food".

To see my post on Portland, Oregon click here
To see all other travel related posts click here

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Something Sunday 29: Project Life!

I finally started my Project Life album! (I know I have been sharing a lot of photo projects lately, but next week will be something completely different, so I hope you can bare with me on one more photo post!)

I've seen project life all over the place, and I have been so excited to start with it. I had a few scrapbook project that I knew would take me until mid-may (this one and this one) so I decided to just wait and start mine mid-may. (The main way I have seen it used is as a weekly update album from January-December)

I got the idea for my 'title page' from Kelly Purkey's blog and I'm really happy with it! The only thing that is kind of weird is how big I am in the image compared to hers. The point of the album is about my day-to-day activities though, so I figure a big picture of me is fitting! (We'll just go with that...)


My goal is to do 2 pages (with the book open, one on the left and one on the right) for each week for the remainder of 2012. I made this last week though, and was playing catch up with some previous weeks. For the catch up weeks I wasn't in the 'take pictures of everything' mode yet, so I decided to put a few weeks into one layout (as you'll see below).


Week 21 (May 21st - May 27th)


  Week 23, 24, 25 (June 4th - June 24th) Note: I didn't do a week 22

  Week 26 (June 25th - July 2nd)

 Week 27 (July 3rd - July 8th) 

 I haven't come to a find a style I love completely yet. I'm working on it. I still see other P.L. posts and think they are so much better, but I know with time I will come into a style that I can enjoy. I will continue to post about project life, but I will try and avoid using for my 'something Sunday' too often.



To find out what the 'Something' project is all about click here
To see the first 27 'Something's' click here

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Womanifesto Challenge

I heard about this awesome idea of writing a 'womanifesto' from my biggest blog crush right now Vanagon Champion. She's got so many interesting and fun things over on her blog, but my favourite has got to be her beautiful ideas of self love that she shares. Who can't use a reminder of how to treat yourself with love every now and then? What is a Womanifesto you ask? Well the definition I'm using was posted by the Womanifesto Challenge organizer The Militant Baker also known as Jes, and I have copied and pasted it below.

*****


WO·MAN·I·FES·TO  
NOUN
 
\ˌWO-MA-NƏ-ˈFES-(ˌ)TŌ\

 A written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, and views of its female author. May include themes of empowerment, independence, self love, consciousness, affirmation, and individual acceptance; your positive beliefs about yourself. Created to give self-described definition in regards to the innate beauty inside of every woman. Yes, even you.


*****

I like this idea. I like it a lot.
I also really enjoy what Amy said in her Womanifesto introduction "2012 is the year of wtf is my life and let's figure it out." Well me too, so I thought I'd give it a go, and try and write my own!



I'm only going to share a little bit, because it really is a personal thing. I'm so impressed with all the ladies that have been able to share there 'festos, but I get a bit nervous sharing too much in blog land. Anyways, here is a bit of mine!

...
I will allow myself to be whoever I need to be at any particular moment.
I will not apologise for being too excited, too happy, too sad, too emotional. 
I will commit to helping others
I will commit to volunteering my time, money and ideas
I will commit to being grateful (even during the hard times)
I will embrace my body as it is, and appreciate it for what it can do
...

That's all I'm going to put for now, I'm still working on it to be honest. It's quite a hard thing to write. Kind of like a life mission statement. But I am enjoying the process! Thanks to Jes and Amy for the inspiration!


The Militant Baker

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless

  
To find out about the start of this series click here.
To see past wordless posts click here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Note on the Wordless Posts

So I'm not sure if it's been noticeable or not, but I've recently changed the way I do my Wednesday posts.

I've been (attempting) to put a bit more thought into the pictures I take and which ones I share on here. I have been sharing less pictures, but ones that I am more excited about. I've also been posting them in a larger size, so hopefully they are still loading okay!

They wont always be anything special, but I'm hoping that every now and then I will have something neat to share!


Just thought I should acknowledge the change of format on here. 


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Something 28: Instax Album Case

I found an awesome tutorial this week on how to make a photo album for my Instax pictures! (An Instax is a fujifilm camera that develops pictures instantly like a Polaroid) The tutorial is from Amy Morby's blog 'Vanagon Champion' and can be found here.


She suggested buying is an album meant for business cards (which should available at any office supply store) because the pictures are almost exactly the same size. The album size worked out perfectly. From there she just explains how to sew a little cover to make the dull album a bit more fun! I also added a 'title page' type thing on the first page.


It was a fun simple project, and I'm really glad I have somewhere to store all my pretty pictures! They are some of my favourite images.

To find out what the 'Something' project is all about click here
To see the first 27 'Something's' click here

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless




To find out about the start of this series click here.
To see past wordless posts click here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Something 27: West Coast Album

This week, I got around to making by album for the past trip that I went on. I decided to really cheat this time around and I only used a 4X6 album, putting most of the pictures in as is. I adding details where I thought it would be interesting, but I really didin't add too much. I tried to use more writing in the one so that I'll be able to remember what I was doing later, but I still could have used more! These are just some of the pages with some fun details. (you can click on any of the pictures to make them bigger).


To find out what the 'Something' project is all about click here
To see the first 26 'Something's' click here