Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Munchies with a yummy cake

   Anyone who knows me well, knows I LOVE to bake.  When the kids were really little (before they spent their days at school), I’d bake with them at least once a week, and even now I often bake muffins for their breakfast during the week or cookies for them to have as snacks.  So…I thought I’d start a regular feature here called Monday Munchies.  On Mondays I’ll post about something I’ve made (with or without the kids) and give you the recipe or a link to where you can find it. 
  A week or so ago my sister had some bananas that needed to quickly become banana bread and she gave them to me because I have a killer banana bread recipe, but at the time I was craving chocolate.  So, instead the bananas became Farmgirl's Mexican Monkey Cake.  This recipe is so easy and so good!  To be honest, I didn’t even mash up the bananas ahead of time, but just peeled them and threw them in the mixer and let the beaters work some magic.  Susan over at Farmgirlfare has great recipes in all categories and I have a BUNCH saved that I've tried or want to try.  She also give funny stories and/or helpful tips with most recipes which makes it more interesting than just a plain recipe list.
Not sure why the photo looks fuzzy, it didn't when editing...

  So, while I usually use my “overripe” (read really brown and not good for anything but baking or compost) bananas for a delicious banana bread that I will share in the future, when you need that chocolate fix…this’ll definitely fix you up!
  I substituted pecans for walnuts and half of the flour with whole wheat flour.  I do that a lot, because it doesn’t change the texture too much and I feel like at least it’s better than nothing as far as providing my family or goodie recipients with healthy foods....don't feel bad about all those chocolate chips, there's whole wheat flour in here!  ;)
  So, here’s the recipe.  Like I said…it’s easy, good and looks more difficult than it is, which is always nice for the cook!

Farmgirl's Mexican Monkey Cake (from Farmgirlfare.com)
Makes One 8-Inch Square Cake

1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick/4 ounces) butter, softened (or 1/2 cup trans-fat free margarine, such as Earth Balance)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1-1/4 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (they cannot be too ripe)
2 Tablespoons yogurt or sour cream
1 Tablespoon milk
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees (325 if using a glass pan such as Pyrex). Grease an 8"x8"x2" baking pan. In a small bowl, combine chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts (if desired), and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and egg with an electric mixer until fluffy (I use a hand held mixer). Add bananas, yogurt, and milk, and mix well. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt just until blended.

Spread slightly more than half of the batter in the pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon streusel. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the streusel and then top with the rest of the streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Image from www.farmgirlfare.com  Now doesn't that look delicious??

Monday, January 24, 2011

Slow-going

Remember how I mentioned in the last posts that I was busy cleaning and clearing and getting rid of the clutter.  I am, by nature, a packrat as I've mentioned before.  I hate to throw anything away that I might someday have a need for.  But then, after awhile, I realize that all of the clutter...stacks of magazines, books, papers, ideas are actually bringing me down instead of inspiring me.  I get so bogged down in what I could be doing that I tend not to do anything at all.  Blogs do this to me too, sometimes.  Does anyone else have this problem?

  Once I got my sewing room done, I spent all of last week cleaning my house from top to bottom.  I agreed to host a jewelry party here and it was that little push I needed to do all of the chores I often put off.  I actually changed out the pictures on my photo wall.  I dusted all the knick knacks and picture frames.  I scrubbed the floors and really wiped down all of the tables.  And, as I said before, I feel refreshed.  I am going to do my best to keep this up with a quick clean-up each night before the kids go to bed.  I'm going to make an effort to show my husband that I know it's important to him that the house be neat and that I value him enough to keep it neat.  I'm working on it, anyway...

  But, that doesn't mean I haven't done anything creative.  I've got my scraps (or at least phase 1) cut for the postage stamp quilt-along and am ready to begin sewing them together.  Rachel used 2 jelly rolls which makes this quilt immensely more simple than my "Oh, I'll just use scraps and then I'll be killing 2 birds with one stone!"  What was I thinking??  But, I've got them cut (some are 2 1/2 inch squares, some are 2 1/2 inch strips) and I'm ready to begin making the beginnings of blocks.  She's already got blocks pieced and beginning rows this week I think, but I'll catch up.  That's what I'm doing when I finish this post until it's time to pick up the kiddos.
  This weekend (well, really yesterday), I started a new sweater.  I know I mentioned my obsession with yarn and knitting, and my lack of knitting skills or finished projects.  Seriously, you saw the afro hat I made for Oren, right?  But I didn't let that deter me from starting a sweater.  Jules, if you're reading this, do you remember this sweater?  Well, I ordered it over the summer and decided to knit it up in some red homespun.  I've had red on the brain lately and while thinking of projects I could make in red, this one jumped out at me.  And y'all know I love me some homespun...
    So, it's my first big project (bigger than a hat, scarf or mittens) and it's my first time using circular needles.  They were an adjustment, but I've got the hang of it now.  I actually started Saturday night, but realized an inch or so in that I'd done my kfb increases wrong (that's knit into the front and back of a stitch for the non-knitters) and ripped it all out.  They're still not perfect, but after a few rows I got it down.  This pattern is a little vague for the novice knitter, but I'm sticking with it.  I usually give up and rip pieces out  when I am unsure, but I decided even if this is awful and I never end up wearing it, it will be progress toward becoming a knitter.  It will be a learning experience in a new skill.  So...here's to a warm, red sweater to brighten these awfully cold and dreary days!
  So, I wish I had more to show because it would mean that I had been sewing and creating.  But, I'm going to give myself credit for creating a cleaner, neater, more refreshing home for those I love most!  I'll be back soon with crafty progress, I promise!  And pictures, too!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I LOVE long weekends!

I am pleasantly surprised at how quickly everything was asked for after my last post.  I'm headed to the post office Wednesday morning to mail off all of the goodies and will be glad to see them headed to their new homes.  Now I'm off to make new scraps and find new ways to use what I have. 

  So this is what I've been up to during the long weekend.  Monday was cold, rainy, and an inside-kind-of-day, so we had plenty of time to craft and play.  I saw the idea for little love pots on Heather's blog and knew I HAD to make them.  They're simple, easy to craft, and a cute mantel addition for a Valentine's Day display.  I, of course, used the supplies I had on hand, switching out the spray paint for craft paint and the stickers for letters I cut on the silhouette and ran through the xyron machine.  I also used red tulle for the red pots and the leg of a pair of pink pantyhose (leftover from a project like 3 years ago...I told you I was a packrat) for the pink pots.  I've had a bunch of my cobalt and milk glass along the mantel, but I am making the switch to Valentine's Day this week. 

These are sitting on my TV for now until I decide on the mantel decorations...
   On Monday, we got out Emma's science kit that she got for Christmas (her goal is to be either a rock star or a scientist when she grows up...) and played with color.  It's really too basic for her, talking about combining primary colors to make secondary colors, but because it involved dying wather and using it in "test tubes" she was totally into it.  We then added these little "polymer something-or-others" to the colors we made and they are slowly growing into crystals.  They looked like jello forming yesterday and now we are anxiously waiting for the water to fully evaporate to let them harden up.  My hope is that they'll be strong enough that we can string them for a bracelet when they're done, but that remains to be seen.  Emma and Oren are mesmerized by it all one way or the other.

Even I enjoyed checking on the crystals to watch their growth.  This was about 3 hours after we dropped the polymer thingies in.  They look about the same this morning, but with less water.  I told Em it was another experiment to see how long it took to dry out.  She said she just wanted them hardened now!
  But seeing that cup of red water on the counter made me impulsively decide to get out the gajillion coffee filters we have (neither of us drink coffee, but we keep them for company) and let the kids use the red water and pipettes to dye a bunch of the filters.  Then we'll mix them in with white ones to make a coffee filter wreath (if you haven't seen these, look here, here or here for a start...)  They thought it was brilliant and I thought it a great way to continue the science experiment into a crafty project.  Apparantly, Emma sees the world for a science experiment and I see it for one big crafty adventure.  We are so alike in some ways, and so different in others...


This morning we're off of school for a teacher workday (don't miss that part of teaching), so we're going to run some errands and then finish up our wreath before we get the rest of the Valentine's decor out.  Oren couldn't care less, but Emma LOVES Valentine's Day and everything that goes along with it. 

Hope everyone is staying warm and dry.  It's so foggy outside right now that the kids thought it was pouring rain outside.  Shopping should be fun this morning.  Especially since the mall is a 45 minute drive from here.  Oh well, it'll make coming home seem that much better when we're done!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Gently-used Giveaway!!!

**Edited to add--Giveaway Closed!  Thanks to everyone who wanted stuff.  Go, create and then show me what you made!!  I might be jealous I gave it away!**

Don’t you love it when you see someone describe something as gently-used.  It always makes me laugh.  Like, “I knew all along I was going to want to get rid of this, so I only used it gently.  I never even thought of using it roughly!”  I’m not sure much at my house would ever be resold or given away as something gently used…  So, instead of saying I used it gently, I'll call this a hardly-used giveaway instead.  ;)

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m cleaning and reorganizing my sewing/craft room and I have a TON of stuff I'd like to give to other crafty people so that it will be used instead of taking up space here.  I figure, its better that someone use it, and then I’ve got room to get NEW stuff! 

I decided to categorize the stuff and “donate” it that way since I don’t know if anyone will even really want any of this.  I don’t have that many readers and it might be those that do really don’t want these things.  So, I’ve come up with 6 categories: fabrics (in various sizes and colors), ribbons (extremely various sizes and colors), quilting magazines and books, general crafting magazines and books, scrapbooking embellishments (mostly stickers but other things too), and scrapbooking papers (in all colors).

I’ll put the stuff up here with a short description and picture and if you want any/all of it, just let me know.  I’ll do it first come-first served and if no one has claimed an item by next week, it goes somewhere else to live…via craigslist, freecycle, the landfill…I’m a packrat by nature, so once I’ve decided to purge myself of something, it has to leave or else I’ll get sucked in to keeping it again.

I hope there are things listed here that you really can use.  I didn’t measure any of the fabric or ribbon pieces, but I did throw out anything that I thought was really too small to use for anything. 
The fabrics range from a large scrap to about yard I would guess.  The fabrics on the far left (light green and pink with dancers) are flannel, but everything else is cotton.  There are different weights and qualities here.  Some of these fabrics were given to me by people who said “Oh, you sew…I’ve got a bag of stuff I’ll bring to you!” Some are fabrics I bought early on that I have changed my mind on, and some are just fabrics I know I’ll not use for a long time, if ever, and rather than take up space here, I’m sharing.  I don’t have a big collection of designer fabrics just yet because I’m cheap I am thrifty and usually use designer fabrics for a specific project and move on.  Give me awhile longer to quilt and I’m sure I’ll have some of that to give away too!
There are 37 different prints in varying size, color and weight.
The ribbons are all different lengths from a few inches to a spool-full.  These are varying widths and textures as well.  I LOVE ribbon and hate to let go of any that comes tied on a package, wrapped around something, or in a cute display at the store.  I guess it’s like fabric, but so much smaller and seemingly cheaper I have a harder time saying no.  But…I will never use all of the ribbons I have on hand, so I dutifully parted with some, although my ribbon jars are still very full.  It’s a sickness that I have to step away from a little at a time.

There are a BUNCH of different lengths, widths, colors and materials here!
The quilting magazines and books are some that I have accumulated over the last few years.  There are no projects in these that called out to me “Make me!  Make me!!!” overly loudly, so I’m passing these on before I find a project in them that I do need to add to my never-ending “Things to make” list.

5 Magazines, 2 soft-cover booklets, 1 soft-cover book and 1 hard back.  All in great shape.  (Most only thumbed through!)
The crafty magazines are mostly from the Creative Home Arts club that I joined in hopes they’d give me some great (and expensive) crafty materials to try out for free and give my opinion on.  No such luck, yet.  The magazines are full of projects, just not many that appeal to me right now, so again…they need to leave before I change my mind!

15 Creative Home Arts magazines, 1 Do-it-Yourself Magazine from BHG and one Holiday Crafts mag.
The scrapbooking supplies, both paper and stickers are accumulated from here and there and are some gifts, some impulse buys and some things I’ve just grown tired of and want to pass on so I don’t feel guilt at not using them.  Some of the sticker sheets are new or like new and some have missing letters or designs, but all have most if not all of the letters and are in good shape.  The papers are all the thinner accent paper weight and not heavy card stock, and are all full sheets--most are 12x12 but some are 8 1/2 x 11. 
Letter and Embellishment stickers, rub-ons, colored staples, vellum & metal tags, chipboard embellishments, colored star brads, etc.

A Scrap-though the Year kit including papers, stickers and embellishments, a travel scrap pad with some papers and paper-piecing embellishments and too many papers to count.  There is a TON here! 
I love to share and have ideas on doing something like a swap meet in the future where we can link up with things we’d like to share or trade with other crafters, but that will require some further thinking and a larger reader base so it’s worthwhile for all of us involved…

Okay, well…as I said before, I would love for these items to be used by other crafty people out there and am willing to box it all up and ship it to you for free.  You just need to let me know what you’d like and an address.  To make it easier for me, I only ask that you take an entire category or at least half of it so I’m not spending my days and dollars at the post office making a bunch of tiny mailings.  For example, I can understand not wanting all of the fabrics or magazines, but please don’t ask for one specific piece, ask for at least half of what is there.  I’ll allow you to be choosy, so long as you’re nice enough to take a big chunk of it off my hands!  ;) 

So, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that there of some of you out there wanting to take my gently-used items and create with them.  That’s part of what I love about this creative blogging community…the sharing of ideas and materials that keeps us all inspired.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Aaahhhh...Cleaning and Sharing feels so good

After I finished up the tooth pillows the other day, the need to straighten and purge my craft room came over me.  Well, in all honestly, it always does this time of year and I've already done the kids' rooms.  The holidays are so busy and fun and indulgent that the cold month of January when all the trees are bare and the flower beds are empty seems like such a good time to pare down and rid myself of all that clutter that I think I need but realize is just weighing me down.  Does anyone else ever feel that way?

With the kids, I make them look at every item they own, clothing, toys, books, etc and decide if they want to keep it or give it away.  We talk about sharing with others and how blessed we are while we do it.  I am always amazed at how giving and kind my children are when it comes to helping out other kids.  And if my kids can be so giving, why shouldn't I be as well?

So I'm sorting and purging and ready to pass on the goodies I would like to share.  I'll be back in a day or so with a grab bag and I mean a FULL one of all kinds of goodies I'd like to share with one (or some) of you.  They say that one crafter's trash is another's treasure, after all.  And I promise, none of mine is trash, just goodies I've decided to pass on.  There'll be ribbons, scrapbook paper and embellishments, quilting magazines and books, fabric and whatever else jumps out at me. 

Wish me luck as I finish up sorting, remembering what I've got, and deciding what I'm ready to let go of!  And I'm hoping that my creativity will thrive in a cleaner, more organized environment because I've got all kinds of ideas floating around in my head just waiting to take shape!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bring it on, Tooth Fairy!

Emma and all of her little friends are at the tooth fairy stage of life.  Em was desperate to lose a tooth since she felt like she was going to be the last one of her friends to lose one.  Her birthday is in June, so she’s already one of the last ones in her class to have a birthday and she felt like she’d be last to lose teeth too.  But, she actually lost 2 this fall, and was not the last of her friends to do so.  The night she lost it, I whipped up a little tooth pillow for her to keep it in until the tooth fairy could come and trade it for a little moolah!
  It was a very rough, rough draft. Basically, I just wanted to have something for her to use with the idea that I’d make a better one down the road.  One of her friends since birth (there were about 8 of us that all had babies that summer) just lost her first one last night, and I'd promised to make her one for when that first one popped out.  So…I got behind and made it today instead.  It’ll sure be ready for that second tooth, though!
  I made a little tutorial of my efforts in case anyone was interested…you can’t get much eaiser than this and it is very easy to personalize!  I have never given sewing instructions to someone before, so if something isn't clear, let me know...

TUTORIAL STEPS:
1.      Grab a tooth template to use.  I got mine from the web (search tooth clip art) but you could just draw one if you’re talented like that.  I am not—my talents lie in other areas…or so I tell myself!

2.      When I made Emma’s orginal one, I used a sheer fabric I’ve had for a long time (a failed attempt at Tinkerbell wings for Halloween one year), so I cut out 2 tooth shapes in the sheer fabric and 2 teeth in some muslin I had laying around.  Let me just tell you what a pain slippery sheer fabric is when you are making something as small as a tooth!  So, for this one, I attempted that method and then got frustrated with the sheer and switched to a plain white.  So, some of the pictures will be different as I forgot to take pictures for each step the second time around.  I embroidered the girls' names onto the white before I cut it out.  I only cut the 2 teeth shape this time since I didn’t need the muslin.  You could go wild here and make your tooth in any fabric you choose, who said it had to be white??  Although, I’d probably avoid yellow, and maybe a black polka dot, but that’s just me…

3.      I cut out a pocket shape from cute fabrics I thought the girls would like and simply folded in the edges all the way around and hemmed the top edge.  I didn't measure here, I just guessed on the size.  Just cut a rectangle smaller than the space it needs to fit in and then fold the edges in.  Then I pinned the pocket to the tooth with her name on it and sewed around the sides and bottom of the pocket to attach it to the tooth.

4.      Now, put the two teeth together, right sides facing, and then I put two layers of some old polyester batting I had behind the teeth.  You should pin all of this together but I hate to pin. I like to live in the moment and go for it...could be why the sheer didn't work out!  As you can see, I didn’t worry about cutting the batting out, because I’m going to trim all the edges after sewing anyway.  You don’t need two layers of batting, I just wanted it to be a little thicker then I thought one layer would give…again, do what works for you!  You could actually stuff it like a pillow with fiberfill, old scraps, etc.  It’s a tooth fairy pillow, not an heirloom gown, so get creative and break all the rules!

5.      Sew around the edges of the tooth, leaving a space open along the top that will allow you to turn this right side out.  I left about 2-3 inches open.  I then used my trusty pinking sheers to cut along the seam line and trim off all that extra batting.  Using pinking shears will also allow your fabric to turn better in the curves, but if you don’t have them, you can just clip near the seamline all along the curved edges.  I always iron at this point because I’ve found that pressing your seams will not only make your  finished project look better, but will help with turning it right-side-out.  Learning the hard way seems to be the way that works best for me…call me hard headed!

6.      Turn your little toothy right side out and admire your handiwork, because we’re almost done!  Now, you can press again to get those seams all straight and press in the open edges so they match for easier finishing.  I decided to make my pillows have a loop so that you can hang it on a bedpost or night-table drawer.  It makes it easier for the tooth fairy to drop in the money without waking up your sweet child!  ;)  So, I just added a strap of leftover fabric.

7.      To make this strap, cut out a strip of fabric long enough to fit around your bed post/drawer handle by about 2 inches.  I made a binding stip by folding it in half, wrong sides together and pressing,  Then I opened it up and folded both raw edges to that middle crease, pressed them and then folded it back in half enclosing the raw edges.  Then I just sewed along the open edge to seam it shut.  No pics of this...sorry.

8.      Now, just tuck the ends of your strap into your opening and pin it closed.  You have two choices here—you can whipstitch this opening shut and you are done and ready to hang it, or you can topstitch around the entire tooth, which will close up your opening and provide an extra detail around the tooth.  I chose to topstitch because my hand stitching is nothing to brag about!! 

See, easy-peasy and so sweet!  There are lots of things you can do to make this personalized.  You can hand embroider your child’s name if you don't have a machine or add a toothy grin.  You can use all different fabrics or keep it simple.  You can choose to stuff it instead of using batting.  You can leave off the strap and make it just the tooth.  All that matters is the tooth shape and the love you put into it.  So, go on, make a little one’s day and give them a special pillow just for them and the tooth fairy!  And let me know if you do!

I will be trimming some threads, I see before I give these to the girls.  Just one more reason I need a magic sewing elf to come and live in my sewing room!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Accomplishing a little

And here we are on January 6, 2011 and I already have some accomplishments.  It’s not much, but it’s a step in the right direction!

   1.  Knit hat for Oren.  I only promised it a year ago when I started knitting Emma a scarf and mittens.  It’s not great and Chris will probably never want him to wear it out of the house, but it is done and that is the main thing.  It’s just a simple garter-knit rectangle about 8 inches long and then I just pulled a blunt needle through all of the top stitches to make it come together and seamed the back together.  I know there must be a better way to do this, because it left a small hole at the top of my hat, but at 10:30 at night I wasn’t too worried about it.  Instead I made a little pompom (to add to Chris’ dislike of this hat on his son…) and attached it to the top to cover the hole and give it some cuteness.  Boys can be cute right?  The weather was so bad yesterday, I’m talking storms and rain off and on for 12 hours, so I took this inside, but here is a picture of him wearing it.  It kinda looks like he's got a really bad blue afro.  Hmmm...I think this is definitely a don't-wear-out-of-the-house hat!  Oh well.  I'll just make him another one from an actual pattern!

2.  Cooper's Quilt.  I finished up the quilt for my cousin’s newest little one, Cooper.  This was the final project on my old machine before it met its doom.  Sad.  Anyway, I finished it up yesterday.  I did wait till this morning to take pictures of it.  My cousin is planning on using it for a wall-hanging so I did minimal quilting on it.  I only quilted down each star and circle and left them raw-edge appliqué because I really like that fuzzy feel for a baby’s quilt.  This small amount of quilting is strange for me, but I didn’t have just the right brown color for intense border quilting and I wasn’t sure how stipple quilting in just the 4-patches would look.  I got the design from Mrs. Bonnie Olaveson’s book Lots of Dots (available here) and changed it to meet my color, embroidery, and lack of love for prairie points needs.  I highly recommend this book—very cute ideas.  I’m running it through the wash now for that (hopefully) crinkly look and frayed edges.  I’ll take some pictures of it after that and add them before I send it off.

The embroidery in the center square has his name and birthdate on it.

So, now I’m on to finishing up my muslin for the Mad Men Sew-Along, which I see I’m not the only participant falling behind, and then I’ve got some other UFOs I’d like to finish up before I begin some new projects!  Like…the postage stamp quilt along over at Rachel’s blog.  I went over to check out the winners for the Ho-Ho-Ho contest (sadly, not me) and saw this.  I’m hooked.  I was actually cutting pieces for a different scrap quilt and although she’s recommending a jelly roll, I’m going out on a limb here and gonna do it my way.  Wish me luck as that is a lot of little pieces.  Here’s hoping she’s got some tips to make it go quicker!
postage stamp quilt along button.

 So there is progress toward my goal of accomplishing more this year.  I've been knitting (or hand-sewing on binding each night while I watch TV with Chris) and I feel better already about what I can do this year.  Onward!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What will 2011 bring?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

You know how some people are list people and some aren’t?  Some people have a detailed calendar they keep with them at all times and others need repeated reminders about upcoming events?  Some people are rigid Type As and others are the polar opposite?

Well, I think I’m somewhere in the middle…call me a Type B+.  I have a calendar, but I never write anything on it.  I bought a purse-sized one to keep everything straight last year, and even wrote stuff in it, but never checked it.  I always make a list when I’m packing to go somewhere, but never for the grocery store.  I do better when I break down goals and keep written track of them, but I don’t feel compelled to do so.  I love how nice my house looks clean, but I usually don’t notice the mess until its falling in around me.

I’m not sure what that says about me as a person, but at least I’ve come to grips with who I am.

This year, when I was thinking of goals for 2011, I decided on a few basic ideas that I think will make me a happier, healthier person. 
  1. I want to be more “in the moment.”  I want whoever I’m with to feel that I really care about them & what they have to say…whether it’s my family, friends, or the lady checking out my groceries at Walmart.  I want to stop thinking about the 50 things I want to get done or trying to check my email while Oren is telling me some 10-minute-long story about something that I got confused on 2 minutes in and he’s still just a-talking.  I want Emma to know that I value her opinion even if it’s something I don’t see the point in or understand why she’s so determined about it.  I want Chris to know that I love everything about him and am so happy to be his partner in life.  I want my friends to know that I value their friendship and their role in my life.  I want my family to know that they are so important to me and so much more important than the mundane everyday tasks that life throws our way.  This will not be easy for me, but it’s who I’d like to be.
  2. I want to be healthier.  I try not to make staunch "I'm going to lose 15 pounds by doing this, this, and this." resolutions because it's too easy for me to backslide and then give up on them.   But this year, I want to try harder to make healthy choices for me and for my family.  Losing 15 pounds would be great, but I’d rather that be a side effect of smarter food choices and remembering what exercise is (hello dusty Yoga DVDs) than a directive I’ve made on myself.  I LOVE to eat, so restricting myself from the beginning doesn’t work for me.  I have to find new ways to enjoy food in healthy portions so that the occasional dessert doesn’t do me in.  I do want to make exercise a more permanent part of my life.  I used to be dedicated to exercising, but then I slowly missed a day, then two, and now I’m not sure I could run to the end of our driveway (it is really long, in my defense) without passing out.
  3. My crafty goal is to "Admire less, Accomplish more."  I think so often I read blogs and admire others work and then have nothing to show of my own.  I spend so much time thinking of ideas and admiring people's that I don't do enough of my own.  I want to change that this year.  I want to be able to make a mosaic at the end of the year of things I've made that I'm really proud of.  I also want to get things made to actually put in my etsy shop.  It's sitting there so sad and lonely right now...

And this is where my B+ personality comes in.  I think all of my goals are fairly laid back and easy to work with.  But the only way I know I’ll follow them is to make a chart.  In the past, I've had luck accomplishing things when I’ve made a calendar with clear goals on it and made myself keep track of my progress.  For instance, I’ve made fitness calendars with my beginning weight and measurements on it along with my goals for the month.  Each day I kept track of my exercise and water consumption.  At months’ end, I’d weigh and measure again to compare my progress.  The only pressure on me was my will to see progress and that was enough to make me keep up with it.  Seeing a week empty of exercise felt worse than not losing that pound or inch.

So, as you can see, I’m a little contradictory and maybe confusing, but it makes sense to me.  I'm off to create some calendars and finish up a few projects so I can start 2011 with some things to show off around here. 

What are your goals in the upcoming year?