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Adventure Awaits 1

A quick project and a quick post.  I’m just plum out of words today guys.  But I’ve wanted to share this project since I made it a few weeks ago!  It was for a gift exchange with a whole bunch of Aaron’s mountain biking friends, and I happened to draw this super cool lady who I knew would appreciate this!  I got the idea the day before the gift exchange so it had to be a quick turnaround.  Aaron nailed the wood I chose together for me, and in between errands and work I painted this!  I even finished the white highlighting in the car on the way to the party where we exchanged gifts!  But it turned out just how I imagined and was well received alongside a cute little planted succulent.  :)

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Sorry for the cell phone photos… but in the rush to get it done that’s all I could manage!

Adventure ALWAYS Awaits… go find some today! 

Sam

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Is it going to confuse you right off the bat if I tell you that 365 days is going to add up to one week?  And one really REALLY GIANT blanket? 

Inspired by a couple of friends, my embracing 30 project, and mom’s and my decision to do a yarn post early on this year I decided to dive into a temperature blanket.  Have you seen those?  They end up pretty cool.  People do them different ways, but the gist of it is you crochet one row per day with the color used dependent on the temperature.  

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Here are my twists:

  • I divided up my colors into pretty small 5 degree increment ranges, starting at 20&below and ending at 91&above.  I realize in doing so there may be a couple colors, especially at the lower end that don’t ever get used, but that is OK.  I wanted the option for a lot of variety.
  • My blanket is spanning my 30th year, so not 2017, but one year starting on my 30th birthday, Nov 19th 2016.  
  • My colors are dependent on the day’s High Temperature.  Also, most of my days will be marked from my home location (including the random trips down to Oly because the weather isn’t that different.) But it is marking MY 30th year and some of that is trips we take and I want my blanket to reflect that.  So for example on our day trip up to the freezing cold Hamma Hamma, I’m going to use that high temp (yay for one in the 20s!).  And in my recent trip to Austin I’ll use their high temps which will be a fun lime/coral/purple strip amidst a sea of blue greens.
  • My biggest twist is that I also wanted to mark the rain.  So on days that accumulated any rain I’m not only crocheting the color of the temp but a second strand along with it of a dark charcoal color.  

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I’m really digging the second strand, which is good since most of my rows so far contain it… it was a rainy November.  I knew I would love the weight of the second strand though because one of my favorite blankets is a thick afghan made with double strands of yarn that my Dad made for me a few years ago.  I’ll be curious to see what it starts to look like when I get into some of the stretches that haven’t rained and see the comparison.  I think it’ll be a fun visual texture.  

So far (there’s only 10-15 rows done) there’s been only three temps and I have to remind myself that there are many more months for the variety to enter the picture.  But I planned that my favorite blues and greens are those middle temps because I knew a vast majority of my blanket would end up in those color blocks.

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Did I mention how big this blanket is?  I’ll tie it all back together for you… I picked a wider stitch, so I made my blanket longer in order to make it more square in the end.  That being said, I didn’t really do the math. (oops) This blanket is going to be HUGE.  Bigger than king size blanket huge.  Aaron just laughed and made a comment about how we’ll all be able to snuggle under it.  It takes me a half hour to crochet just one row. ONE ROW=HALF AN HOUR?! That’s 180+ hours!! Which is where the week comes in… because if you do the math it’s going to take me over a week’s worth of solid hours to crochet this blanket!  HA.  Good thing I can crochet and watch tv.  ;)  

And let’s not talk about how many skeins of yarn I’m going to go through… especially the grey. <insert wide eyed emoji here>

And with that, I’m off to eat dinner with my fam and go crochet… I’ve got some catching up to do!  Excited to share more in the future with you of how this is going!

Sam

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Carmen Chameleon - 2createincolor.com_0001

If you have a certain 80’s song stuck in your head now, you’re welcome! It’s been in mine off and on while working on this oversize amigurumi chameleon.

The song actually says karma chameleon, I know ;) but I couldn’t resist naming her Carmen just to be “punny!” 

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I thought it was long past time to add another “Abbi-gurumi” to the toy basket here at Grandma’s house. A colorful one, obviously! Abbi and Ella are definitely the right ages for playing pretend with as many creatures as there are available. Won’t they be surprised to find this colorful lady waiting for them the next time they come down?

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When I went looking for crochet amigurumi patterns a few weeks ago, I didn’t limit myself to only free ones as usual. Frugal-me stepped aside. This time, I wanted one that reached out and said, “Me! Me!” regardless.

Naturally, this very bright crazy-colored creature caught my eye. Lime green — win! More fun colors — win! Complicated enough to stay interesting — definitely! And so unique.

I just had no idea she was going to be so BIG! Which means, I had no idea it would take so long for me to do!

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I found this pattern for Camelia Chameleon (renamed Carmen) through amigurumipatterns.net. This is a great site to shop for many designers’ patterns both free and premium. I’ll be looking for Janine Holmes’s patterns (Moji-Moji Design) again. I highly recommend them (no affiliation, yadda yadda …) I found this one to be extremely well written, well designed, and with great photos of all the steps along the way; it made hooking up all these pieces and parts very easy.

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My only frustration was my own problem counting stitches after not crocheting in the round in so long! At least I didn’t have to be frustrated losing stitch markers — since I began using the starting tail as my row marker, I have no worries. See how it works… 

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Once you reach the point where you would insert the crochet hook into the same spot as the yarn tail is in, you are ready to begin a new round. But before you make that first stitch of the new round, just reach inside, pull the yarn tail out of its spot, and lay it beside the stitch you just finished. Crochet right over the top of that yarn tail, enclosing it between stitches where it will stay secure until you make it all the way around again. You can see another in the photo below, where I am a few stitches into the new round.

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That head looks like a curtain rod finial before head crest, eyes, and mouth get attached! Doesn’t it? And, it’s always a surprise how much stuffing these creatures take.

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I was also slowed down a bit by the three days being substitute mom (#designatedbabysitter) to the grandgirls smack in the middle of having a cold. This required lots of naps and far less crochet time than expected! But a lot more fun :)

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What do you do when a three-year old wants really badly to help you crochet? Eventually I figured out Abbi could pull yarn out of the skein for me. I offered to teach her to crochet after she turns six. She wants “a pink one of those crochet things, grandma.” Pink crochet hook: check. 

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I did manage to get the little pieces and parts made while there. Two layers each for the head crest and spine spikes (both head crest pieces, but only one back spikes piece shown above.) The double layering gives them good dimensionality which keeps them upright on the critter.

There was a bit of sunshine to enjoy during one naptime, so I went outside on Sam’s front porch to take these photos! (Meanwhile, Sam was in Texas with friends at IF:Gathering and Magnolia Market!) 

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I made a couple minor changes to the pattern, but not because I was unhappy with it.

  • Instead of buying all seven different colors of yarn for stripes (where DID all my acrylic yarn go?) I bought three skeins total: green, purple, and a variegated for the body. I love the way they coordinate so well!
  • I skipped the white yarn called for in the eyeball, sticking with purple.
  • I always use the Magic Ring method of starting crochet rounds, especially for amigurmi, instead of the traditional method. Here is Sam’s and my favorite Magic Ring how-to.  You can really see how tight that first round is if you look back to the head/body in-progress photos.
  • Last, I added an extra round on the eyelid layer: a final round of ‘slip stitches into back loops only’ gave a smoother transition from the top layer green eyelid to the under layer purple eyeball. 

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Even though all three yarns I bought were labeled “4” bulkiness, the variegated yarn was much skinnier than the other two. I ended up with skimpier crochet fabric over the body area than I prefer. I hope the stuffing doesn’t start migrating out too badly. Lesson learned — swatch up the yarns if they are different from each other so there are no surprises like this. You can see it in all the pictures of the finished critter.

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I almost skipped the black plastic safety eyes, but after double checking photos of actual chameleons I felt they were necessary. So I had to go to the store … the next day … bringing you this post a whole extra day later. That’s how much I care that this amigurumi had the best possible eyes. Just for you … and just maybe for Abbi and Ella, too.

Also, if you looked at that link, did you have any idea there were that many different kinds of chameleons!? I may have spent some extra minutes looking at those photos being wowed.

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Also-also, have you ever noticed a chameleon’s feet before? Looking at those photos, I became so tickled by their mitten-like feet with the thumb section inward and finger section outward. Although frontward and backward pointing toes might be cuter on a toy, and not cause comment from the uninformed, those sweet little mitten-y feet won me over. Carmen Chameleon has feet that are anatomically correct.

Having pipe cleaners, aka chenille stems, inside the legs lets Carmen be a poseable chameleon. It is still necessary to use some hidden stitches to hold the knees into a bent position, though.

Trivia: Chameleons actually do have a total of five fingers on the two halves of each foot, 2 on one side and 3 on the other, but they are very short and hard to notice. Here’s a fun video where you can see the eyes, spine spikes, mitten feet and toes of someone’s pet chameleon “washing hands.” 

There are a lot of hidden stitches to hold that tail in place, too!

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When I sneak-peeked this on Instagram and Facebook a couple of weeks ago, there were guesses of chameleon and hippocampo: sea-horse! Compliments to Becca who guessed correctly. Now I am kind of itching to crochet an amigurumi sea-horse. 

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Find us on Facebook and Instagram! Extra stuff always shows up there, including a lot of food.

Keeping it colorful!

Gail

 

  • Kat - She’s darling! And I love her!02.10.2017 – 3:42pmReplyCancel

  • Diane Johnston - Gail…You do such beautiful work. This little guy…or should I say guyette as my hubby likes to say…is so adorable. I love the colors. I did get caught up watching the videos. I had no idea there were so many different chameleons.

    I, too, like to find needlework that is complicated enough to be interesting. I haven’t done crocheting for probably 40+ year. I also used to do crewel embroidery. Now, my love is counted cross-stitch. Especially the Mill Hill Buttons & Beads kits. You can see the ones I’ve done on my FB page.

    Hugs, Diane02.15.2017 – 11:19pmReplyCancel

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Today, I choose to focus on what’s wonderful in my world. Just like all of us with homes and clothes and food to eat and family and friends, I feel blessed with abundance. Over and above that, there are those little things in everyday life you seem to take for granted, and suddenly one day you realize how fabulous they are? Maybe only in a tiny way, but it all adds up. Here’s my list of things that were fabulous from this week. 

#1  My markers! Restarting my creativity is moving along, part in thanks to this Color Your Year calendar I picked up at our local Barnes and Noble. Half-off after Christmas, of course because that’s how we do it. Hubby and I both use digital calendars, he Outlook and me Google Calendar, but we like having a paper calendar hanging in the bathroom. Sounds weird, but it is helpful. (Also in the bathroom, a wall clock, sticky notes, and a pen. Essentials.) Meanwhile, back at the calendar, I’m using my art markers, and I found both my Tombow Dual Brush pens (markers) and my Memento Dual Markers make the job extra fun because they are brush markers that actually act as a brush. Both are water soluble, but the Memento dries water resistant almost instantly, and they mean resistant; I’d call it water-proof. Both are widely available; remember to support your local businesses before you click that Amazon add-to-cart button, just sayin’ :) 

#2  This gardener! She’s cheery, she’s smart, she’s cute, and she can talk as fast as I can. And as for creative… well, you have to watch a few of her videos to see the amazing things she does with plants big and small. Laura of Garden Answer is not hesitant to heft the biggest shrubs or finesse the tiniest baby succulent into stunning planting beds, containers, and other less obvious choices! I especially like some of the fairy garden creations. Plus, she does stuff like this… 

 

A photo posted by Garden Answer (@gardenanswer) on

#3  All the new stuff announced around the end and beginning of the years! Tuesday is the Housewares Design Awards, and this video of the nominated products shows some cool stuff. There is a Roomba-style automated mopper that definitely caught my attention. The awards are announced during the Las Vegas home furnishings market. You really do want to scroll to the bottom of that page and click on that “First Look” pdf. Wow!

#4  The Kitchn in my Facebook feed! I have clicked through to more articles of The Kitchn’s than any other page I follow and that’s saying something because I’ve been unfollowing things right and left for irrelevant postings. The Kitchn is on trend without being extreme, offers great ideas without being impractical, and the writers are like … real relatable people! Look — there’s a Weekend Prep for Whole30 Meals article. The Kitchn is part of the Apartment Therapy group, only it’s all kitchen

photo Gina Eykemans, What I Prep on Sunday for Whole30 Meals

#5  GREEN! Specifically, Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year, Greenery! I imagine that almost anyone would guess that I approved of this year’s choice. I mentioned my love of green in my blog bio (which needs some updating, but not the parts mentioning green, haha!) “Green is nature’s neutral” is what they state, and I totally agree. Although their color pairings don’t make a lot of sense to me, I can tell you that almost anything looks terrific with it — it’s almost the same shade as my family room. Aaah, how I love the room being this color :) Remember this? It’s a bit more lived in, with curtains and wall decor now though.

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#6  This graphic gem! If you are thinking about painting any rooms in your house, here is a special blog post from a UK store, Farthing, that I would love to visit. Until I can, I’ll content myself with looking at (dreaming about … ) their tempting vintage home decor finds … Hmm? Oh, yes, the graphic! Heaped with color psychology and guidance for matching paint color with a room’s function, it will prepare you for that trip to pick up paint chips. How about an orange exercise room? Hey, look! My green family room is right on point!

#7  Snow!!! Did you know I’m crazy for snowfall? Although I have had quite a few snow events in my area as compared to the average year, only one of them might have required snow boots. But it was rain-washed away before I needed to 1) errand, or 2) snowman. I really wanted to snowman this winter. I’m looking at these snow boots in case we have more fluffy white precipitation instead of the eternal liquid falling from the skies. Kinda spendy, but since I made my last pair last almost 20 years, I’m due. The boots come in green, but no thank you this time *shock!* I know, I know. My parka is purple, lavender, and white, and I’d likely be wearing jeans or crazy LuLaRoe leggings. White seems wisest. 

 

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#8  My breakfast! After searching for my favorite Cream of Wheat — the 10-minute cook kind ONLY please — with little success, I decided to look into whole-grain options. This is way more my vibe these days anyway. I am in love with whole grain Kamut hot cereal from Bob’s Red Mill. It is ground like the steel-cut oats you might be familiar with, so the cooked cereal is less smooth than I was looking for, but it tastes delicious. No raw whole wheat taste (yuck!) and I was able to pick it up at my local grocery store. Kamut is an ancient wheat (read about it here) and many people who have non-Celiac gluten issues can tolerate it. This morning I had it with fresh ground almond butter and Ironbark honey from Australia. Delish! 

I hope your days are full of ordinary items, sights, and activities that give you joy and make you smile. If you get to feeling stressed, remember that time spent outside amongst the plants and birds — nature — makes everything better. Well, maybe not everything, but it helps a lot — check it out!

Spread the happy! 

Gail

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This isn’t going to be the most refined post I’ve ever written, but this is me attempting to make a post even amidst a week of sick kiddos who require #alltheattention. In fact they are currently sitting in my lap. No joke. If my hair was brushed I might throw up a selfie as proof, but it’s not so you are just going to take my word for it. So while they are tucked cuddling together watching Dinosaur Train, I’m holding phone above heads and attempting to post! 

Let’s talk books. Mom and I both have goals this year to read more! I’ve definitely started out strong! Three done, two more underway. I think they all fit in Modern Mrs Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge categories we are using to expand our horizons.

A book with a reputation of being un-put-down-able: The Girl on the Train. Yes, it definitely fits that category. I had this book finished by January 3rd. I loved that it was told from three different perspectives. And I honestly have always loved stories where so many story lines weave together in unexpected ways as the book wraps up. Also, as a person who is a natural observer (yes, I love people watching) just the fact that this story stems out of an observation of people the main character doesn’t even know was an intriguing plot line. I think the hype I heard about this book was true; definitely worth the read!

A book set somewhere you’ve never been but would like to visit: The Magnolia Story.  Do you like the show Fixer Upper? If so, this book is awesome, and also a super quick read. Even better, if you like audiobooks listen to this one as it is narrated by Chip and Joanna themselves! (And yes, I am counting audiobooks as books I’ve “read” this year). I read this last weekend, as I will be traveling to Austin, Texas in a couple weeks and I’m hoping we get to take a day to visit Waco and Magnolia Market. I was seriously laughing and crying off and on all day as I listened and read. The way God worked through their lives and the faith they had is incredible. And the hilarious stories that just stem from Chip being Chip, well… you just can’t help but laugh along. 

A book about books or reading: The Well of Lost Plots. This is the third or fourth book in this “comic fantasy, alternate history mystery”series about a gal named Thursday Next. In this book she is living in the Well of Lost Plots and works for Jurisfiction which is basically the policing agency for all of literature and how it is written.  This author’s imagination is incredible. Just super super creative. I think if I tried to explain further it wouldn’t make sense (it probably already doesn’t), but I’d recommend reading anything written by Jasper Fforde!

Next up, I’ve started reading The Wonder which I got in my Book of the Month Club box. And Daring Greatly which was recommended to me.

Cheers to many more books in 2017!

Sam

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“She designed a life she loved.”

That was my only take-away from the Erin Condren planner website last fall. That saying.

Sam loved EC planners so much, long before she ordered this year’s, and had encouraged me to look into them. They are beautiful and exciting and usable. If I had ordered one, my cover would definitely have had that saying on it.

Somehow though, I knew it wasn’t THE planner for me. Maybe being so very lured by the fun colorful extras raised my suspicion. It just didn’t feel effective for me, for now. It was likely at that moment that I started to realize I didn’t really know how to navigate my way from 2016’s stuck me to “a life she loved.” 

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(Settle in. This gets long. See the post title? I promise I will make many short posts in the future, but this is my life changing, so it’s huuuuge!)

2016’s me needed help getting off the couch, help figuring out what to do first, and help figuring out just where she was headed in the future. I talked about her in last week’s post here.  I’m very glad that 2016’s me finally felt like moving forward, and I’m very glad she kept looking for a planner with the right fit. 

I had NOOOOOOO idea that I would find a planner that would revolutionize my whole future view. That is no exaggeration. And from the sound of things in the associated Facebook group, I am not the only one that was struck with that feeling, that change of view. 

I found the Rituals for Living Dreambook + Planner.

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(This is where I start hopping around from planner-infatuation, to how-to, to planner-infatuation, to my experiences with it, to planner-infatuation, to how I am finally putting my 2017 ducks in a row three weeks into the year. Maybe you caught a clue that I LOVE THIS PLANNER! Isn’t that pure white debossed cover beautiful?)

Did you notice “Dreambook” in the name of the planner? That’s where the revolution happens if you need it. This is not just a planner, or even a goal-setting coach within a planner. It is a unique planner plus a workbook that guides you through all aspects of your life to discover your core values, your purpose, and to dream up your perfect life three years (and further) into the future. For those already headed where they want to be headed, the dreambook portion would expand, update, clarify, refine that vision. 

Needless to say, 2016’s me was feeling pretty STUCK. But eventually she, I, got started on answering the Dreambook questions. Having owned my Dreambook + Planner since the first week in December and browsed through it a few times (thinking, WOW!), I wisely began the written exercises five days before Christmas. I have such good timing that way.

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After digging deep and often surprising myself in my vision/forecast/dream responses, I moved on to pages with beautiful central mandalas to use for mind mapping your 1-year, your 3-year, your 10-year, and even your Lifetime goals based on that envisioned future. Mind mapping feels so much more complete and creative than just writing out a list of goals! Having the chance to sort my thoughts into those different time frames — focusing in and out on my dream in many ways — showed me just how powerful this year’s work could be. (I admit to writing out an exhaustive list of goals extracted from my writings, plus projects and goals already on my mind, before mind mapping. You cannot take the list maker out of the engineering mind, no matter how well you help her dream.)

Suddenly I realized I simply wanted all those overdue projects done now, so I could get on with the rest of everything I had mind mapped, get on with my unburdened life! Gimme that dream future!  I was feeling pretty UNstuck! 

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The next step, of course, is taking those mind maps and breaking them down into goals and projects. (Hey, look, there’s a place in the book for a goal list! And for scheduling all of them!) Then there’s the work of breaking those goals and projects into tasks, and then scheduling those tasks onto your week’s planner pages. 

And then doing them. Ruh-roh. 

I tried. And stalled out on the doing. Second week, I tried again, stalled out again. All that in 11 days. ACK! Oh no! 2017 is trickling away! My mind wanted it all — I was trying to get all the projects started, but I could not get myself to do any of the associated work. Talk about feeling quite REstuck. 

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A timely excerpt from  the book, “The Well Life” was posted in the Facebook group by its co-author Peter Borton (Briana and Peter Borton are co-creators of the RFL Dreambook + Planner as well as that just-released book.) The article was about the expansions and contractions that happen when we make changes in our lives, how our ego is not so quick to expand sometimes, that we have contractions back to the familiar. It gave me an understanding, and a flexibility in my thinking to wait out this contraction, coax my poor little ego along, adjust and be ready for the next expansion. I wrote myself a message for the future, about expecting and allowing for these expansion and contraction woes, and included my own current thoughts that helped me adjust and understand this particular time. I hope that it helps me through the next time!

*insert cartoon panel of woman on a long shallow staircase, kindly but determinedly pulling a sad-faced, crying blob, dressed in tshirt labeled “ego” up to the step she is standing on* (I can’t cartoon or this would actually be an image.)

Needless to say, The Well Life is on my reading list this year.

It is sure to fit one of my Reading Challenge categories.  I have a project planning page made up for it!

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And then, yes, I went back to my plan and delayed starting some of those goals, staggering the start weeks; it was just too many new balls to juggle. Now, it is time for the third try! Third time’s a charm, right? Through all of this, I never once, not one little pico-second, had the thought of giving it up. An awesome change. 

:) 

Now, about the planner part! The planner of the RFL Dreambook + Planner guides you through structured weekly planning sessions. Planning with this system is more than just putting items on your to-do list! Each week’s 2-day spread has a place to write down your week’s Focus inside one of the beautiful mandalas used throughout the book. Each day’s time schedule is bookended by blocks to write in your Intent for the day at the top, and your Gratitude at the bottom. Seeing these three declarations every time you check your planner keeps you focused and motivated. It is a complete and workable planner arrangement, but of course one could always customize it. I’ve done the planning sessions twice now, and except for hardly actually doing any of the goal work, I love it. A lot!

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An unusual aspect of this planner is the concept of Ritual in daily life and how to use it. Ritual doesn’t mean any kind of religious ceremony here. The definition of ritual includes “a series of actions or type of behavior regularly and invariably followed.”

The first and most important ritual is the weekly Ritual of Planning! Also, you can ritualize small actions, big important changes or celebrations, daily routines, even a move to a different mindset. You don’t have to make any at all, but since ritualizing something is intended to make it special, important, more worthy of your honoring it, it can be very helpful. I see it as one of the key features that makes this planner different and effective. I have several now, and love it.

Most fun of all of the ritual ideas is the list of Rituals for Thriving on each and every weekly spread. Rituals for Thriving are a range of activities “to feed your body, mind, and spirit.” During your weekly planning, you’re encouraged to sprinkle choices from this list throughout your days — dancing, reading for enjoyment, socializing, and many more.

You may also choose to do that week’s Ritual for Living Challenge, a tiny gem in 1″ x 1.5″ of space on the page that will shake things up, maybe something practical, maybe enriching, maybe involving others, maybe anything!

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To help you with keep track of new rituals and your already well-established routines, there are two more blocks per day on your planner pages — kind of an a.m./p.m. arrangement — to write them into. Yay! No more routine and repetitive stuff cluttering up the to-do lists and appointment slots!

One of the rituals I made is a very brief “Changing Hats” ritual. Since I have always resisted moving from one activity to another unless it was at my own whim, this seemed a perfect chance to try the ritualizing. I have had the seed of this ritual for a few years now. You’ve maybe heard me speak of changing hats, taking off my Project Planner hat and putting on the hat of an unquestioning worker-bee as a way to compartmentalize the hard tasks.

Here’s my new, ritualized version: I close my eyes, breathe and relax, see myself deliberately taking off ball cap A, willingly setting aside A’s activities, then putting on ball cap B, assuming the mentality of a motivated accomplisher of B’s activities. The hats are embroidered with the name of the activity they represent. Breathe deeply again, open eyes, and get busy. 15 seconds, boom! Kind of dorky, but I’m ok with dorky … as long as it works. I haven’t practiced my new official Changing Hats Ritual many times yet, but I am pretty sure it is going to prove more useful and effective than the previous 2-second movie that only came to mind in cases of severe task-dread! Side note: I think I found the source of this particular Failure to Adult that I can deal with later.

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I mentioned earlier that I’m a list loving, engineering-brained, obviously word-loving dreamer and planner. I even have a dedicated composition book just for brainstorming ways to get this all working together. There were a few things in the weekly planning sessions that I personally needed to expand upon. Since two things had worked so well for me in the past, I added them in: the methods for project management and for “inbox” processing from David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” book. My “basic black” project management notebook is pictured further up; so sophisticated and professional, doncha think? Hey, function over form right now.

Do you realize how many types and sources of “inbox” information we have? Snail mail and email, of course, but what about that agreement to take the cake stands to Sam done through texting, and the promise to send Becca a website address done in Messenger? That quote I want to use someday in an art project that I copy/pasted onto a Google Keep note, or a name and phone number scribbled onto a physical sticky note? Yikes! 

I took the bones of Getting Things Done’s inbox-processing flowchart (flowchart! color me giddy!) AND the RFL Dreambook + Planner’s weekly Ritual of Planning tasks, and I created my own expanded, detail-catching, exhaustively thorough agenda: Gail’s Weekly Ritual of Planning Agenda. Ta-Daaaa!

My planning agenda undoubtedly seems way overdone, and I’ll tell you that I made it that way on purpose! My intent is to be able to use it to carry out my weekly planning even in the worst of my sleep-disturbed, fibromyalgia brain-fogged forgetfulness and slow thinking. Life with Gail means putting coping mechanisms in place before they are needed, as many as I can! 

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You’d think I was managing big business. LOL Whether I’m busy or not, the process can be used, and that’s what I want.

What are my other tools?

I use Google Calendar to keep ALL my appointments, immediately entered — I never take an appointment card. That’s also where I keep my weekly housekeeping routine, listed by day as a repeating event. Brain-fog back-up, remember!

I make notes to myself almost always digitally now. Google Keep is my newest love, thanks to my sister April. I occasionally use Evernote for quick notes, or especially for longer project ideas. I have other stuff going on in EN anyway, and my default EN Notebook is called “Idea Catcher.”

My address book is my phone’s contacts — immediately entered. Must remember to back it up more often! 

But here’s an issue with this planner — any planner. I’m not really supposed to carry a weighty purse around. No matter how awesome the bag, how convenient the stuff, it’s not a good thing for me. Taking a full tote bag to the car and back is not a problem, but heading into a store to shop, walking through a mall, and other places you actually carry a purse, I need to limit what I carry to a lightweight collection of necessities. I don’t plan on carrying my RFL DB+planner around with me, but will use my phone with Google Keep as its stand-in.

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Ah, I love Google Keep! Getting Things Done says to sort the tasks that have to wait until you can talk to a particular person, or be at a particular place, onto  specific lists called agendas. They are headed with “@person” or “@computer” etc. I keep a few basic @gendas ready to use in Google Keep, and then I make/delete others as needed.

How about a GKeep note titled @Shopping? So useful! I use my @Bob (hubby) list when I tell someone I will talk to him about something, and @Sam for blog ideas. On errand day, I will load up my @Shopping and @Errands lists with the stops I need to make and the lists of items and tasks that need to be taken care of. There’s no “Save” to hit/click with Keep, and therefore no inadvertently lost entries. There’s no paper list to lose! *win!* There’s no trusting my memory! **Double Win!** I can enter things quickly at home from my computer with full keyboard. I can cross off list items, leaving them lined through in shadow print on the note — best memory back up ever LOL Plus, who doesn’t enjoy the reward of seeing the list items getting crossed off! Once home, I can cross them off for real when reviewing the planner.

Some days, though, I like to use my sticky notes. Errand list. Shopping list. And Quick-Stickies: brief sets of simple to-dos to accomplish within the next 15-30 minutes, no thinking required. Quick to make, quick to accomplish (intentionally so,) quick gratification. My Quick Stickies help me focus on the here and now of my tasks rather than constantly seeing — rethinking — the big picture in my planner. Sometimes blinders are good. 

I really wanted this beautiful Week-at-a-Glance planner to fit in to the final process somehow. For someone like me — green! — green + pink! — patterns! — it was irresistable on discount from a closing office store. I think I will make it into a health record for the year because I can’t bear to not use it!

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I already have a Ritual for Menu Planning! Check this post out! Instead of printing recipes nowadays, I’m using my Pinterest board “It’s on the Menu Plan” to transfer pins to, or pin directly onto when the they will be used soon. My wifi-only tablet is dedicated to kitchen use. In its stand on the counter — this bamboo one from Pampered Chef rocks! — we cook right from the internet.

Let’s go way back to the beginning of this post, and my concern over being lured by the Erin Condren planner’s colorful and exciting appearance. In all these photos, have you noticed how perfectly black and white, how perfectly ready to decorate, the pages of the RFL Dreambook + Planner are? All those mandalas call out to be colored. And I need bookmarks and some index tabs for it … :)

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Once I know it won’t be procrastination, stalling, any kind of avoidance activity, you can bet that my markers and colored pencils and my washi tape — eeeep!– will meet planner pages in an explosion of COLOR! You’ll probably see some fun results through the year on our blog Facebook page

Today, Sunday the 15th of 2017, I planned out my upcoming week in my Rituals for Living Dreambook + Planner for the third time, using my own Weekly Ritual of Planning Agenda for the first time. I made myself a deal to use it 2 more times before making further changes. Less playing around with planning, more doing.

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This week, I’ll be giving my tasks and projects another run using my “Changing Hats” ritual. My focus will be mucking out my garage since the temperatures will finally be above 33F for a few days!

In case I have tempted you, you can order an undated RFL Dreambook + Planner, or just the RFL Dreambook (which includes week-planning instructions) any time of the year from thedragontree.com/lifestyle (no affiliation yadda yadda.)

Sending success vibes to all! 

Gail

 

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