To put it mildly, I’m terrible at it. Absolutely, positively cannot make a plan ever.

Ok, not entirely true. I make tons of plans. It’s my follow-through that sucks big time. I usually get about halfway through whatever it is that I’ve made my detailed plan for, say “meh”, and wander off in some other direction. Seriously, I even planned out exactly how many squares I had to make each day for my 400 stitch pattern experiment around this time last year. But I didn’t manage my 60 day goal. In fact, I think I still have at least 50 to go to finish the book. I’m close, but at an average rate of one every week I’m not going to finish that one any time soon.

As someone once said, “The definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting a different result.” Yet here I am, once again making a plan for a long-term project. Only difference is, this time I really do have a deadline.

You see, I’m making a scarf for someone to give to her daughter for her birthday in October. With the ever-(un)reliable shipping times of the major delivery companies in this country, I decided that means I should probably send this off in early September for its trek halfway across the country.

From there, I came up with this:

A little calendar of sorts that tells me which days I need to knit two rows, which I need to knit one, and where I should be hitting milestones like half- and whole-repeat sections.

I’m doing fairly well, so far. I did just create this on Tuesday. But I have completed all the rows I need through Sunday and am now counting each individual row as a single row day starting from the day I need to finish. That is what the black slashes indicate. Hopefully I can keep plugging along at this pace and finish it up in mid-July on my “vacation”.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed this works as motivation. That way I might be able to do it more often.

Confession: Why I Will Never Be Able to Live Alone

My room is a wreck. If you’ve ever seen my room under normal circumstances, you are probably either thinking I’m Captain Obvious or you need to send in a rescue crew. Don’t worry, it’s not that bad. But it is in need of a good cleaning.

What? You expected pictures? Nice try, but I don’t want photographic evidence of that. Just try to imagine the mess of random instruments, art supplies, and a mix of clean and dirty laundry. Well, not really mixed laundry. The clean stuff is in the laundry bags, so the dirty stuff is on the floor.

I did at least manage to wash the pile of dishes overflowing in the sink. Because no one was going to be in the house, I just chose to rinse my dishes and leave them in the sink until I needed to wash them. Hey, at least I rinsed the dishes.

This is what happens when I’ve got the house to myself. I do clean. It’s not that I would have trash cans overflowing or have a house like one of those featured on the hoarder shows. Like I said, I rinsed the dishes pretty thoroughly before I stacked them in the sink. But when I have a lot of free time, I get into a habit of starting projects whenever the urge strikes. I just then fill my time starting everything I wanted to start for the past however-long-it-was since I had that much free time. Then I get to the end of the day and just pile the mess into a corner and tell myself I will clean that up later.

So now I have filled all corners of my room with things to be cleaned up “later”. And here I am writing this post. Because I will clean that stuff up tomorrow…

Wrapping Up 2013

It’s completely cliché, but appropriate in this case. That is because I am ending the year with a write-up of my Christmas presents. Ok, not mine (which were approximately 95% coffee-related. I don’t plan on sleeping until 2015 with my new caffeine supply.) but the ones I actually got made.

It never fails, I know Christmas happens at the end of December, yet I always seem to wait until November to start making Christmas presents. I swear one of these years I’m going to start earlier. I make no promises on which year that will be, but one of these years I’m going to do it.

Anyway, on to the presents I managed to finish in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. First up I finished a shawl for one of my grandmothers:

This is also the thing I took the most pictures of:

Thanks to the remote viewfinder app for my camera, I can be my own model:

Next up is a warm little set for a friend, a basket weave hat

and a pair of fingerless mitts.

Here’s how they look on the hand (well, one hand, anyway):

Next up is a cross-stitched iPhone cover for another friend:

Unfortunately, the edges flared out and it became kind of misshapen as you can see in the picture.

Last we have what I’m calling the “Meta Coffee Cup Cozy”

because it is a picture of a coffee mug to go around a morning coffee.

I also gave my other grandmother her half-made scarf with the needle cable still through it and capped at the ends. But I obviously had to take that one back because I am still finishing it. Not bad for starting way too close to Christmas to actually get anything done. Maybe 2014 will be the year I don’t procrastinate on Christmas gifts…

(P.S. – Click on the name of the knitted gifts to go to the Ravelry project page for more information on the item.)

The List Keeps Piling Up

I really like to keep lists for some reason. Rarely actually follow them completely, but I make a lot of them. In fact, I have a list of projects I need to post here. Obviously hasn’t motivated me to do it, because there are some things on that list I think I made last year…

That’s why I have to keep such lists, though. I would never remember what it was I planned to do by the time I actually got around to doing it. I wish I could lie and say I’m busy, but I’m just a good procrastinator. You know, my CDs really do absolutely have to be re-alphabatized every so often. Especially when I have something like folding laundry or packing to do.

All of this to say that, I really do have things I plan to share, and I will get there soon. I was going to try to have posts written to automatically pop up while I’m on vacation these next two weeks, but that might not happen. We’ll see how the next hour goes…

Delusions of Grandeur

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I am any better than anyone else. I don’t think I can do things better or faster than others. I don’t even think I have more determination or talent than others.

I just like to set incredibly lofty goals and pretend I think I can achieve them.

I never really understood the “set small, achievable goals to motivate yourself” thing. How can I motivate myself if all I have to look forward to is something I already know I can do? Over the years I have decided I need to challenge myself with my goals if I ever want to get anything done.

I’ve already mentioned what an accomplished procrastinator I am. Everyday things I know I should do get pushed to the side in favor of reading, watching TV, or just staring at the walls. (I truly did that once for about an hour; I don’t know why.) So if I ever want to get anything done I have to force myself to over-reach.

That is why, instead of just participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I am setting myself a goal of writing a 50,000 word novel-base each month for the next three months. That way I will end up with three books to be editing and rewriting rather than one. Either that or I will at least finish one book this time. (The closest I’ve ever come to reaching the 50,000 word goal was the Camp NaNoWriMo this August where I finished about 32,000 words in one month.)

I will keep a word count on my Projects page, and possibly update at the end of each Tuesday’s post how many words I have written. (I will try to remember, at least.)

Now, if you will excuse me, I am about 8 days behind schedule. That seems about normal.

What kind of goals do you set for yourself? What is the biggest goal you have ever actually accomplished?

“Later, the Perfect Time to Do Anything”

It’s my favorite quote from the old (i.e. early-90s) “Garfield and Friends” Saturday morning cartoon. My mother hates when I use that quote and always insists I should do whatever it is I am putting off right away.

I have always been a great procrastinator when it comes to things I don’t want to do, especially homework. I avoided classwork and homework from the time I was in Kindergarten. Particularly because I never felt the need to do something multiple times to prove to someone else that I knew it. (I felt the same with lectures, especially in math. I perfected sleeping with my eyes open through my high school math classes and still got near perfect scores.)

Lately, I procrastinate on things I like to do as well as things I don’t like. I have found the easiest way to procrastinate is to follow links at the bottom of web pages to read related articles. If you get a long enough chain going, you can put other things of for days at a time.

The other way I personally like to procrastinate is to do something that may be on the bottom of the to-do list. When I was still in school and approaching a deadline on a project, I often found myself cleaning my room or doing laundry (necessary, but not the most important thing to do).

If all else fails, bake brownies. Brownies are a great way to procrastinate.

How do you like to procrastinate?