Welcome to the Fluff! Here I blog my goals, especially my reading and studies, and my ongoing downscaling and using up of material stuff and working towards a more minimalist lifestyle.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Shopping and decluttering balance sheet 2017

This is the cut down of my joint shopping/obtaining (being given etc) and clearing out/using (up) list for the year.  Essentially, it's a balance sheet for the ins and outs over the year.  Digital things such as book, magazines and knitting patterns don't count as my purpose is not so much to control spending (although that's never a bad thing), but to cut down on physical stuff.

Some of the numbers aren't very consistent, nor are the size or scales of the items, and I even blatantly cheated when I added a whole jar of buttons my mum gave me as one item when all bought and used ones counted individually - even those that came out of the jar! I seriously couldn't face adding several dozen things in one go, but I do hold my hand up to hypocrisy on that one.


Although I'm on a long-term journey towards a minimalist lifestyle and I do like to count and inventory things, I don't believe that there's a magic number of items that one should own in order to be minimalist.  Everyone is so different and the concept has 30 different meanings for 30 individuals.  With that said, let's see how my numbers balanced up this year past.

* Physical print publications:
In: 23, including 9 kids' books I bought, breaking a 780 day book No Buy
Out: 38
Balance: -15

* Cosmetics and Perfumery
In: 2 foundations and one pack of foundation sponges
Out: 49 make up shades, 2 perfumes, 3 'tools'
Balance: -51

* Personal Care Items (other than the above)
In: 110 products.  Wow!  That really surprised me!  I added it up just now for this post and am genuinely surprised it was that many.
Out: 98
Balance: +12
I stocked up on some body lotions/butters and shower gels that were going off the market, and also some face washes that I found at Boots USA, so that accounts for the excess.  Won't need much this coming year, but it's interesting to know that I could get through about 100 products in one year!  Wow!

* Clothes, shoes & accessories
In: 32 items that can be used individually (so, a pair of socks or gloves counts as one, as does one t-shirt)  I also included the three garments I made
Out: 30
Balance: +2

* Stationery, art and paper crafts supplies
In: 8 - 4 pens, 2 rolls of tape, some tissue paper and mountboard
Out: 61.  Actually, this was stupid in a way, as airmail labels were counted individually, but the wad of scrap paper used up remained just one even when more was used up.....
Balance: -53

* Needlework supplies
In: 126, which included 31 individual buttons and one jar full, 23 sewing patterns and 40 odd threads, most of which were a gift from Kreinik metallics.
Out: 48, including 38 buttons!  A bit mad again.
Balance: +81

* Yarncraft supplies
In: 63, including 50 balls of yarn and 11 lots of tools (needles, stitch holders etc)
Out: 24 balls of yarn
Balance: +39

* Miscellaneous
In: 26, including 12 display stands for use at shows
Out: 8
Balance: +18

Grand Total:
Overall Balance, Personal Items = +33

I would have preferred the overall balance to have been lower, but there are several things that were bought last year and will be used up this, such as knitting yarn and sewing fabric, as well as planning to sell on some of the Kreinik gift threads that I wouldn't use and clear out several dozen books, both during the imminent book box cull and through studying up and then selling or donating.  So, hopefully, next year's will show a good drop in numbers.  Having said that, numbers are very hard to keep to a standard given the difference in size of various items.

Certain things that came in this year are long term keeps, such as knitting needles, sewing tools and things like that.  I won't need to buy them again unless I break or lose them, but they also won't use up.

In the coming year I expect to buy one or two books, some mascara, the usual supply of personal care products (although I have cut down on skincare products and have a fair amount of certain stuff in stock for the year already), a few yarns and pieces of fabric for future clothes projects and one or two things here and there. I'll be keeping the same list as I did last year, which you can see here, if you're very bored and want to take a look.

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2018

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Make Up Inventory and Project Pan 2017 finish, 2018 start

I've been on a strict make up No Buy for a couple of days over 3 years so far.  The last time I bought something just for the sake of it was 30 December 2014.  Since then, all I've bought have been replacement products when stuff ran out - stuff like mascara, eye primer and foundation, the kind of stuff one can get through fairly fast.

To be honest, I wasn't really that tempted to buy new products once I'd decided that I wanted only a small collection of cosmetics, although I do occasionally indulge in a little window shopping.  If you're on a No Buy and are finding it a bit challenging, or are daunted by the very idea, then perhaps this article, (which is also the featured post at the top of the blog sidebar), will help you.

I won't say that I ever had a mammoth collection of products like some of those make up YouTubers do.  I saw one that went over 2 hour-long videos (I watched only bits and pieces of it.  I mean, I do have a life...) and was stored in 3 large machine tool cabinets!  However, I have cut down vastly and am pleased with my progress on using up what remains, a photo of which can be seen here.  The stuff in the purple organiser doo-dah is almost entirely products I'm using up and my regular make up tools (i.e. all of them, 'cos I don't keep stuff I don't use - except one small travel set.)

Here's my current inventory in individual shades, not products/palettes:

* Eyeshadow shades: 32 ~ I started my inventory with 103 and a goal of around 50 after having cut down from over 720 (including 6 x 88 palettes which I could rarely use as I was allergic to them if used more than once in a while).  I'm only trying to use up one trio, but don't mind if I do or not.  I don't wear much shadow any more, but I make an effort to get back into it from time to time.

* Lipsticks: 7 ~ Quite close to my original goal of 6.  There are 4 on my use up for this year, so I hope to be reporting 4 or 5 next year this time.

* Liquid/palette lip colours: 12 ~ Only one down from last year as I've been working more on using up glosses than this category, which is my preferred product type.  7 of this lot are on this year's use up list, and the Project Pan section below.

* Lip glosses: 11, down from 18 last year, so I've used up 7 shades since then. ☺ My goal with gloss is more like 3 - just a clear, and a sparkle or two.  I'll see what I can find when need arises.  At this rate, it shouldn't be too long.  There are 7 in this year's use up.

When I first started the inventory, I had 64 lip products left (after giving away about 20, at a guess), and I now own 30.  This year I've used up 9 and given 3 away.  There are 18 on the use up, which is probably a bit optimistic, but it would be nice to get it down to about 20 over the year.  Sometimes I use the glosses instead of/along with lip balm 'around the house'.  

* Blusher: 4 ~ I am SO tired of having the same two blushers on my yearly use up!  They go down so slowly, unless you like the very visible/burnt cheek look, but I'm putting in one last year on them and out they go!

* Perfumes haven't changed much since last year beyond giving three to charity and one more on one side to sell.  Since developing menopausal allergies, I've hardly been able to use scented things, so I've had to shelve this category until hormonal crazies settle fully down.  I will get back to it though.

The rest of the stuff is at an OK level - just one bit of powder left, one all in one base and a few CC products that I stocked up on when they went off the market.  I don't use pencils, nail polish, highlighters, bronzers, concealers, contouring, brow products, false lashes and all that.

Now onto the Project Pan section.

Here's the Project Pan 2017 start photo:

And this is the same arrangement, as far as possible yesterday:

The remains of the powder is in the little pot and the rest of the stuff has been either used up or given away.  A while ago, I reconfigured the 3 Too Faced palettes into one to keep, one to give away and one to bin (given the 7 empty lip pans), and this is all I have now.  The rest have been used up, except the mascaras, which I don't have a lot of and are all about to be binned once this year's order arrives.  I decided to get a new lot each January and that should do for the year.

This coming year's Project Pan is as follows:

That red lipstick I've had since sixth form (1988/90) so no wonder the packaging looks so tatty!  Amazing that it's still usable though, but it is!  I'm wearing it as I type.  I'm wearing red tops a fair bit at the mo so as to help use up the three reds here.

Another part of the bright pink blusher obligingly broke off just before the photos were taken, so that helps a bit too! ☺

And this, (with the exception of one single eye colour that was hiding in the drawer and 2 more of the CC foundations stored away), is what remains of my collection.  Feels MUCH better than it has for years.  I'm still not quite where I want to be, but it's a vast improvement and I've discovered all sorts of combinations that I enjoyed whilst using them up.

This last photo is a re-post of the shot I took of my whole collection part way through the initial cull and just before the first inventory.  You can see how packed the drawer was and the organiser was stuffed on all sides!  If I'd used it all, it would have made sense, but as I rarely did, it was stupid.

Hmm, that being said, now I'm thinking about paints and pencils....


One thing at a time....  Actually, I just ordered a book to help me draw and paint more, so maybe I can salve my art supplies conscience a bit with that and, like using up make up, can find out more about what I like and what does (and doesn't) work for me. ☻

Books coming up later this month, which take a lot more space than lippy and a few pans of watercolour.  OK, a few dozen pans of watercolour.  And tubes.  And pencils. Ad infinitum.

2017's shopping and decluttering inventory tomorrow!

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2018

Monday, 1 January 2018

Starting off a new year with the goal list for January and aims for the whole year

Well, here we are in 2018.  A new year, a feeling of new beginnings.  Silly really, 'cos life is much the same as yesterday, except that I've stopped taking painkillers after my fall (and, yes, I agree Glenis!  Nothing broken is a big bonus.  A friend's colleague cracked a few ribs in a fall on the same day!), but it does feel fresh and new today, so I've been preparing all the end of year/start of year lists and so on to post over the next couple of days.  All in one go would be rather a marathon post!!

Here's what I've got in mind for January:

Clearing out, admin and necessary tasks:

* Complete the Go Bag project, which means just buying and packing the new bag and getting hold of a handful of other things (scissors, cash and 2 things arriving in the post in due course).
* List all sales stuff on eBay - spare threads, mags, perfume, shoes, and offer some things to friends
* Sort out some contents insurance
* Building Society standing order changes, plus close old account
* Sort through book boxes and living room shelves, (aiming to jettison 100 books) and update Book Inventory page with accurate figures
* Mending and altering tasks: M's shirt, M's vest, my skirt, my black cardigan (hole)

Reading and Study

* NRSV to at least end of Corinthians
* Finish Chinese NWT (1 John - end)
* Finish (Discovering Science - an old OU course) DS4 CD-Rom
* Finish DS5
* Finish 'Spoken Chinese 2'
* Finish reviewing 'Revise GCSE German'
* Finish 'German in Three Months'
* Vocab project: TYG, GCSEG, G3M, SC2, WTs
* Read January chapter of 'The Embroiderer's Year'
* Read 'Embroidered Flowers'


* Finish my cable knit jumper
* Work on cross stitch project aiming to finish sky/background section
* Start rose needle painting
* Re-start creative blogging

20 tasks which are, basically, finishing off the list from December with a few relevant extensions and additions.

I also want to redo my blog header photo in the same style as last year, i.e. with some of the things I hope to do/finish etc.  All helps to keep one focused. ☺

Overall aims for the year are:

* To lose a stone more of body fat. ~ I did really well last year shifting about 9-10lbs, considering how often I was ill and that I've been going through the later stages of The Change. When I started to take minimalism so very personally (!!!) I'd got to a shade under 10 stone, (9st 13 or 13½, can't recall which (139lbs)), and was feeling pretty upset about it.  I was gaining about 3lbs per year and, at that rate, by the time I was 50, I would have been clinically overweight, and clinically obese by 60.  Not an attractive prospect, so I decided to take it in hand and slim down.  My lowest weight in 2017 was 9st 3, (129lbs) on 8 December, and I weighed in at 9st 5 this morning, which I doubt was completely accurate as I seriously doubt I gained 2lbs in the last 23 days!  I haven't eaten that much chocolate!  I'm probably 9st 3½ or 4 in reality as there may very well be a bit of water weight in the equation.  I've signed up for Veganuary, although I'm already 99% vegan.  It's just eating goodies, esp. chocolates and toffees at mum's that's still dairy based and, frankly, making a promise that I will not eat any animal derived food is the only thing that seems to keep me off the sweets.  I need a little talk with myself.... Anyway, hoping to shift a further stone (14lbs/6½kg) this year and even tone up a bit too.  This should also help my overall health and strength.

* Continue with the whole use up, finish with and clear out project ~ This is a long job, but a little every day on a few different tasks helps to make up a decent amount of progress.  My cosmetic use up list for the year has been updated, (more on that one tomorrow), and the annual goals list (which I started in October last year) is also up to date.  I'm planning to clear through a good number of reading and study projects, including getting caught up on things that got missed last year owing to illness, as well as make all the clothes that I currently have fabric and yarn in stock for.

* I'd also like to enter a few shows this coming summer and win at least one more trophy.  I'm feeling more direct interest in embroidery again, so I hope to have some new projects to showcase this coming season.

* This is one I find myself not getting into of late, but I'd also like to improve my eyesight with the 'Relearning to See' programme.

So, that's it.  Time to get on, methinks! ☺☻☺

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2018

Sunday, 31 December 2017

December round up

And here are the results of the December productivity drive.  As I had an accident (a fall on black ice) on 14th and was in a lot of pain, making sitting for long a real problem, I didn't get through as much as I'd hoped, but half of the number of tasks was completed, and 9 more worked on including 3 nearing completion. Not too bad. :)

Completed:  15/30
Part done:  9/15
Un-started:  8/15

Long neglected tasks:

* Sort and complete the Go Bag   Cleared out, repacked and many new things added including a number of other things bought specially. Just need a new, larger bag and one or two more things. Very close to completion. :)
* Take charity shop stuff - textiles for ragging, perfumes etc   Done! 
* List all sales stuff on eBay - spare threads, mags, perfume, shoes, and offer some things to friends   photos taken, but still a lot to do on this one.
* Catch up kr book study   Done!
* Finish 'Teach Yourself German'  Done!
* Complete all vocab copying up (several sources)   1st and 2nd sources completed, 3rd in progress. The number of sources was to correspond with the language texts completed, so this one is well in hand and not too far behind. Should be up to date very soon. Pleased with progress as it takes a lot longer than expected...
* Finish the bottom seam on black/grey print t-shirt, which will also mean I must do some 'sewing in straight lines' practice first   no movement here owing to accident
* Start some gentle tone up exercises.   Started, (done on 5 days so far), but the accident (bruised bum and a pulled muscle) put this one back unavoidably so, I'm going to mark this Done! as I did the best I could.

Reading and Study

* NRSV to at least end of Luke  Done!
* Chinese NWT finish Hebrew scriptures and try to finish Paul's letters   Done! But continued and got to the end of Peter's letters. Should lick this one next month.
* Finish DS4   Book completed, CD-Rom yet to attempt
* Do DS5   2.05/9 chapters - really only to where I got last try. I just didn't have the time and brain for it this month
* Finish 'Spoken Chinese 2'   1/16. Not stellar, but at keast some movement made
* Select and start another Chinese textbook
* Finish reviewing 'Revise GCSE German'
* Finish 'German in Three Months'.  Didn't get to any of these three, but they should come to fruition in January or soon thereafter.
* Read December chapter of 'The Embroiderer's Year'   Done! 
* Finish 3 more chapters of 'Relearning to See'.  This clearly isn't that important to me right now as I routinely neglect it!


* Do the finishings on my marble jumper   Done!
* Knit a chunky jumper for Sir   Done! 
* Start another knit (once above complete)   Done!
* Re-start cross stitch project   Done! Didn't get a lot done, but at least got it going again and enjoyed it. Feeling much more like stitching again these days too, although knitting projects are taking precedence given current needs.
* Start an embroidery piece (rose needle painting?). Not yet.
* Find a suitable hat, scarf and gloves set knitting pattern   Done!  Downloaded some freebies from Ravelry and a library magazine.
* Re-start creative blogging. Nope.

Clearing and Cleaning

* Sort through book boxes and living room shelves. Aim to jettison 100 books.
* Update Book Inventory page with accurate figures.  This dual task was too physical for me this past few weeks. I should be up to it very soon.
* Clean oven   Done! Although it turned out that Sir did it, so slight cheat here!!!
* Clean bathroom window   Done!
* Finish up at least one more lippie   Done!

So, yup, I'm OK with progress this last month and am looking forward to getting more done soon. A new year begins in less than 3 hours!

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Friday, 1 December 2017

December aims - the last push of productivity this year!

And here we are at the last month of the year again. It's cold, the heating doesn't really warm the place up and hormones are going berserk, but there's plenty to do, so here's what I have in mind:

Get these long neglected tasks out of the way once and for all by working on at least one every day:

* Sort and complete the Go Bag
* Take charity shop stuff - textiles for ragging, perfumes, mags etc
* List all sales stuff on eBay - spare threads, mags, perfume, shoes, and offer some things to friends
* Catch up kr book study
* Finish 'Teach Yourself German'
* Complete all vocab copying up (4-6 sources)
* Finish the bottom seam on black/grey print t-shirt, which will also mean I must do some 'sewing in straight lines' practice first as I don't want to mess the shirt up!
* Start some gentle tone up exercises. How am I ever going to shape up if I never do more than wish for it??

Reading and Study

* NRSV to at least end of Luke - blasting through this one now.
* Chinese NWT finish Hebrew scriptures and try to finish Paul's letters.
* Finish (Discovering Science) DS4, including long CD Rom exercise, which may require jiggery-pokery with various computers and buying an external CD drive!
* Do DS5, which is quite short, but is physics, so harder for me and all fresh material. Up to now, it's been re-reading only.
* Finish 'Spoken Chinese 2' (vocab included above)
* Select and start another Chinese textbook
* Finish reviewing 'Revise GCSE German' (incl vocab copying)
* Finish 'German in Three Months' (vocab too)
* Read December chapter of 'The Embroiderer's Year'
* Finish 3 more chapters (they're long ones at this point) of 'Relearning to See'


* Do the finishings on my marble jumper
* Knit a chunky jumper for Sir
* Start another knit (once above complete) (black cardy re-knit?)
* Re-start cross stitch project
* Start an embroidery piece (rose needle painting?)
* Find a suitable hat, scarf and gloves set knitting pattern
* Re-start creative blogging

Clearing and Cleaning

* Sort through book boxes and living room shelves. Aim to jettison 100 books. Shoot for the stars and be happy to hit the top of the trees on this one, I think!!! If I clear out a good 60+, then that will be an excellent start.
* Update Book Inventory page with accurate figures (following on from the previous task)
* Clean oven
* Clean bathroom window
* Finish up at least one more lippie

I make that 30 entries. Ready? Set? GO!

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Thursday, 30 November 2017

November achievements

Loads of illness and lost (wasted) time this last month, but I'm quite pleased with what I did manage as summarised below:

* I don't think I lost any more weight, but I also didn't gain any. I walked when I could, did my shoulder exercise when I remembered (not much....), and had a go at some of the 'Relearning to See' movement exercises. I need to get back into all that!

* I got the fridge cleaned out, including a complete defrost (but it still freezes the contents in half the areas, so have taken to keeping veg downstairs in the porch! Landlady not interested in buying a new fridge, grrr!), finished up the 2 lotions I wanted out of the way, made serious headway on 1 more lippie (and some progress on a few others) and did all the 'document' scanning. Plenty of stuff still to do though. Anyone surprised? Not me!

The Reading a Study section went relatively well for a wonder, as this is the section I often neglect:

* Continue NRSV Bible from Ezekiel 33 (aim to Micah)   Well and truly done. Not only did I reach my goal, but actually overshot it and made it to midway through Zechariah.
* Read Chinese NWT to 2 Thessalonians   Done and overshot again - finished the next letter too.
* Make serious headway reading 'Relearning to See'   p112-130. Not too impressed with results here, but I did some of it.
* Catch up kr book study     1/14 sessions. Same comment as above.
* Vocab transfer from WTs   3.5/5, which isn't bad. I should finish this job this week. There are 45 more words to copy up.
* Finish 'Modern Chinese Beginners Course Vol 3', inc vocab    finished studying chapters, vocab to start copying up. Ack!
* Start 'Spoken Chinese 2' (aim to complete 3/4, inc vocab)   4/25.  Didn't reach my goal, but did make a start.
Finally finish 'Teach Yourself German', inc vocab   0/2.5 chapters, so no movement on this old stick in the mud!
* Finish Discovering Science Book 3  Done! 
* Restudy Discovering Science Book 4   6.5/9 sections done, which will probably be 8/9 by close of play tonight. The remaining section is a long CD Rom exercise, which doesn't work too well on my laptop, so may not be able to do it.  
* Complete EdX 'Intro to Health & Wellness' course   Done!  Passed with 100% 
* Complete to week 3 of EdX 'Macronutrients and Overnutrition' course   Done!
* Start EdX 'Chemistry of Life'   Done!  1.5/13 units completed, but may not continue very much as I need to prioritize my book based studies so as to get stuff OUT!
* Finish EdX Mandarin level 2 course   Done!  100%
* Do EdX Mandarin level 3 course   Done! 100%

* The creative list was a bit of a damp squib.  I almost finished my marble chunky pullover, and the yarn arrived for 4 more warm knits.  I didn't set a single stitch of embroidery or do any sewing. :(

Anyway, that's 14 goals from the 36 completed, 3 more almost done and 6 or so with some progress shown. That must mean 13 were untouched. I'm ok with that, all things considered.

December list coming tomorrow. :)

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Time to get back to goals!

Actually, to be 100% fair to myself, I have been still using the monthly goals page, just haven't been very successful in meeting many of them and have been lacking sufficient umph to post about them. I think I completed between 2 and 4 tasks most of the last few months. However, I'm feeling a bit more motivated now, so here are my 34 November goals:

* Keep up food plan, aiming to lose 2.5 more pounds this month
* Remedial Exercises (neck and feet) once or twice daily
* See doctor re foot problem and menopause
* Brisk walk most days
* Start gentle tone up and flexibility exercises adding a little more every few days/week
* Begin the 'Relearning to See' programme

Domestic and Downscale

* Sort and complete the Go Bag
* Take charity shop stuff - textiles for ragging, perfumes, mags etc
* List all sales stuff on eBay - spare threads, mags, perfume, shoes, and offer some things on group
* Clean oven
* Clean fridge, inc de-icing freezer box.
* Sort out the book boxes - reduce from 3 to 2 (or even 1!), list certain books on Amazon and give others away
* Make pickles
* Finish 2 more lippies
* Finish 2 body lotion/oils 
* Scan selected workbook sections etc

Reading and Study

* Continue NRSV Bible from Ezekiel 33 (aim to Micah)
* Read Chinese NWT to 2 Thessalonians
* Make serious headway reading 'Relearning to See'
* Catch up kr book study     
* Vocab transfer from WTs   
* Finish 'Modern Chinese Beginners Course Vol 3', inc vocab    
* Start 'Spoken Chinese 2', aim to complete 3/4, inc vocab
* Finish 'Teach Yourself German', inc vocab
* Finish Discovering Science Book 3    
* Complete EdX 'Intro to Health & Wellness' course
* Complete week 3 of EdX 'Macronutrients and Overnutrition' course 
* Start EdX 'Chemistry of Life' course


* Get restarted on 'Paradise Island' cross stitch
* Make 7 lavender pillows
* Knit my chunky jumper
* Start Sir's chunky jumper
* Practice sewing straight on the machine
* Finish black/rose print t-shirt

Updates appear most days on the Current Month page, as linked to above, if anyone's at all interested!!

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

July into August

Greetings!  It's the first day of the new month and time for an update on goal work.

For July I set 30 individual tasks to do.  I completed 11 of them, worked on 10 more and left 9 untouched.  There's something quite well flowing about those numbers, isn't there?  My desire for balance likes that, LOL!

Here's a summary:

* Remedial Exercises once or twice daily, including at least one wobble board session per day   restarted on 7th and managed to do them for a few days, but I had another illness and was mad busy/tired, so it didn't go too well in the end.  I did something though, so that's better than a slap 'round the face with a wet haddock!
* Keep up food plan, aiming to lose between two and five more pounds this month   I kept more or less to my diet, but not well enough to lose any more weight.  I don't think I've regained any yet, but it's hard to tell at the moment with hormonals.  I'll be in a better position to tell where I am with this after the next period - whenever that might be...  I am sick of feeling gnawingly hungry though! =(  It's so much easier when I'm up to exercising as I can eat more and, for some mad reason, feel less empty!
* Start gentle tone up and flexibility exercises adding a little more every few days/week  Nah, didn't get to this

Domestic and Downscale
* Finish the Go Bag!  What a surprise, I didn't get to it - again!  Really must deal with this during the next month.  So much is actually already done and in a bag (first aid kit, self-heating meals and a few other emergency supplies as well as 2x 5litre bottles of water near the door to grab on the way out and a large folded shopping bag ready to load food from the storage area down there into, and important docs scanned and on 2 lots of cloud storage), but I need to check it all through and plug any gaps.
* Finalise make-up clear-out and give away 'cast offs'   Done!
* Take 15 books to the university book give-away areas   I listed 3 or 4 books on Amazon marketplace and selected about 20 more ready to be taken to the Uni and/or a charity shop (also 18 stitching magazines and 5 more patterns for either donation or e-bay listing).  They just need taking.
* Trip to the tip to deal with junk downstairs   Done!  I sorted it all out and Sir took it. ☺
* Sort out all textiles to go and take them to the charity shop for ragging/Oxfam warehouse   Ready to go, just need taking.

Stuff to buy:
* Buy new bath towel set   Done!
* Digital camera (S)   Done!
* 'Herbal HRT'   Done!
* Display stands (S)   Done!
Unsurprisingly, I managed to do all the buying tasks ok! ☺

Reading and Study
* NRSV Bible Isaiah 30 - end of Jeremiah  Isaiah - Jeremiah 19  had a couple of good runs, then lots of total neglect of this one!
* Complete 10 chapters of 'Relearning to See'   3.5/10
* Catch up kr book study from whilst I've been ill    0.4/2 chapters
* Vocab transfer from WTs   Still not touched, but more added to the pile of mags
* Finish 'Modern Chinese Beginners Course Vol 3'   7/15 chapters - managed half a chapter of this several mornings whilst drinking my breakfast smoothie.  That really helped both to get more of this done and also to stop me wasting time on my tablet first thing, which often eats up a lot more time than I realise at the time.
* Finish Discovering Science Book 3    2/9 chapters.  I got a bit back into it, then it fell by the wayside again, but I really want to finish this course ASAP as I want to sell it on and also get rid of the technology I need to complete it - i.e. video player, old laptop etc.  Same goes for another OU course, actually.  I need to get my finger out.  Maybe autumn will be better once Show season is over for the year??

* Get to at least 85% on 'Paradise Island' cross stitch   Still untouched
* Rose needle painting and mount in card  (S)  Nope, not yet
* Finish black/rose print t-shirt (first practice sewing straight)   Not got to this yet, either, although I did have to make something up on the machine (see below), and so I suppose there was some sewing straight practice there.  It's hard! :(
* Finish my black chunky cardy   Again, not done.  Hope to finish these last two during August
* Revamp beaded hardanger cushion   Done!  This included remaking up the whole thing on the machine.
* Revamp miniature silk wedding cushion   Done!  I actually just pressed it properly in the end.
* Start on bag making tasks (Sat-Nav pouch, hard drive pouch, backpack, knitting bag, manicure pouch)   Didn't get to these either.  Part of the problem is a lack of deadline for them.
* Make kids' picture books out of magazine picture collection   Ditto
* Mounting C&G samples for show(s)  Done!
* Retouch 'Bluetits and Seedheads' XS and get it framed  (S)  Done!
* Blogging catch up - 'Welcome' post for Pintangle visitors, blog the violet thread painting, the green/cream baby cardy and the anniversary card, plus Show prep stuff.   Welcome post done, but nothing more since.  I've totally gone off the boil when it comes to embroidery blogging.  I only just remembered, as I'm typing this, that I didn't mark my blog-o-versary back in late June either!  That makes 2½ years now that I've been lax with blogging.  I think the bottom line is that I'm just not that bothered about it any more.  I keep thinking of posting schedule ideas and so on, but it's really not happening and I know that, although I don't want to delete it or 'close' it as such, deep down I'm just no longer interested in building it up and maintaining it.  I'll just post here and there if and when I want to.
* Enter and attend Bingley and Ryedale Shows (S)   Done! Won 12 prizes (=£45!) and 1 trophy. :)

So, that was July.


Well, apart from reprising all the formerly neglected task, I've signed up for a watercolour challenge, so that should be fun to complete.  I also have one more Show this month in a couple of weeks' time.  Not sure how much I'll enter as I don't have many new pieces and it's one that requires 'new and unwashed' items.  I'll give the manager a call and check if there's a time limit in mind for 'new' and see what I have that might fit the bill.

Now to sort out the full list in the usual place.  Just gimme a few mins to type it up......

Minimalism update post coming up soon too!

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017

Saturday, 1 July 2017

From June to July

Another very not stellar month, but now I know why:

I have a Vitamin D deficiency.  Apparently, it's very common, especially at higher latitudes when the sun isn't often high enough to produce UVB rays (or even out at all!).  According to my blood test results info, one should have over 75 nmol/L of 'base' Vitamin D (actually a pre-hormone), and I had only 26.  So, I've got some huge dose tablets from the doc to take each week and I bought a spray for the intervening days so I can get levels back up more quickly and steadily, and then keep them there long-term.  I've been getting as much sun on my skin as I can, but the sun isn't a frequent visitor to my area, so that option is quite limited.  I've started hinting about winter sun holidays too!!!

So, that's why I've been a tad on the unwell side lately.  Vitamin D affects so very many processes and I read that there are Vitamin D receptors all over the body.  I never realized it was so important and, frankly, would never have thought of it myself, so I'm grateful for a doctor who was on the ball enough to think of it.

Anyway, I've done a bit of goal-work over the past month and here's a summary based on last month's goals list, including some starting points for July's list (full list in the usual place):

- I mostly stuck to my low oil diet etc and don't seem to have re-gained any of the 7 or 8 pounds I'd lost from mid March to mid May, so that's been a comfort.
- Over the last week or so I've been able to get out walking most days again, so exercise has re-begun.
- I also fished out my wobble board and have begun posture toning with that as well as doing a few shoulder remedial exercises when in pain.   
* I need to get all the above back on a regular basis and hope to lose 2-5lbs more this month.

Domestic etc
- I haven't finished the Go Bag, but I have started work on it in that I bought one or two supplies to go in it and also thought carefully about the most likely hazards we might encounter.  Fire is the most likely, I would say.  Most of the city would need to be completely submerged before we had any flood risk where we live and, apart from freak winter cold snaps and wind storms, that's it for any natural disaster risk.  We're also out in a leafy suburb - a low risk for terrorist attack.  But I really do need to get this task completed.
- I cleaned the bathroom window at last.
- I pretty much decided which cosmetic products to give away and have just held onto them as I'm trying to match up a couple of eye-shadow shades in a palette (might de-pot those 2 in the end).
- Books to give away and other stuff is mostly ready, just needs taking.
* We still need to make a 'Tip trip' and clear out the clutter downstairs
* I also still need to buy the bathroom towel set.  I've found one I like the look of, it's just a question of getting it.

Reading and Study
- I read the NRSV through to Isaiah 29, so not as much as I'd hoped, but at least I closed the gap and made some progress with it.
* Read to the end of Jeremiah this month
- I only did a bit of 'Relearning to See', but it was interesting and * I want to crack on with it.
- Made very little progress with any catching up, but I did move on a couple of chapters in both my science and Chinese textbooks, so that was a bonus.

- I finished the green and cream baby cardy, complete with pretty stitchery.
- I started the pink and white one, but am having to re-think this one as the yarn is using up way too quickly and, as it was meant to help me use up odds and ends, I'm not thrilled with the idea of having to buy another ball.  Might change to another pattern that better lends itself to two colour work.  It being a bamboo and cotton mix yarn adds to the problem as it'll be very much a summer garment, so I'm going to have think about making a larger size, ready for next summer.
- I made a blackwork type card for Sir for our anniversary and plan to put that in a Show or two this summer.
- Finished the button band on my black cardy, but was really focusing on baby knits as they really do have a shelf life.  I hope not to grow any more, but would be concerned if the infants didn't!
- I did both of the blog interviews and one of the 'welcome' posts for the article that went live earlier this week on the Kreinik Threads blog.
* The Pintangle TAST interview is due to be published on 13th of this month, so I'll be getting that 'welcome from xx' post done soon.  Maybe even this weekend.
* Actually, I have a lot of blogging to get caught up on, so that's something I can aim for this month.

So, I think I completed five of the June goals and worked on 11 more.  Considering the rather unfavourable circumstances, I don't think that's too bad. ☺

I'm now going to sort out the July list in full.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Changeover from May to June

Well, May was a bit of a damp squib!  Hardly surprising seeing that I was either ill, had one of my headaches/light headedness or was horribly tired (i.e. could do very little) for almost, if not every single day of the month!  June has also started off on a low note, but where there's life there's always hope, so I'm setting out the plans for the month as usual. ☺

First of all the results of the 20 goals set in May. I met five of them and worked on six more - two quite close to completion, so at least something was accomplished.

During May I:

* renewed my passport and was very pleasantly surprised at how quickly I got it back - only 8 days from sending off the application to what I think was their own courier delivery of the new one.
* decided not to read any more of a book I'd been neglecting and crossed that off.  Obviously I wasn't that interested if I hadn't been reading it, so onto the give-away shelf it went!
* studied half a chapter of my science book.  I probably would have read more, but I got to a TV/video sequence and that broke it up as I need to get the telly out for that. (Yes, seriously!)
* knit the baby hat to match the cream matinee coat I'd done before, which was on my list for the month, plus knit one complete cardy and one almost complete that weren't on the list (although one was on my 2017 goals list).
* embroidered a hardanger sympathy card.
* completed knitting all the main pieces of my black chunky cardy and began on the first button band.
* made a two-tone t-shirt at a 'sewing with knit fabrics' workshop on 10th.  Just need to stitch the bottom hem in place, but first urgently need to practice sewing in a straight line!!!
* read the intro and first chapter of 'Relearning to See', which was quite exciting.  Looking forward to getting on with that, although I've noticed I read less these days in favours of watching TV on my tablet computer.... Not good!
* did some of the NRSV Bible reading: Ps 119-Prov 6, Song 1 - Isaiah 6.
* continued with my lard reduction plan as far as I could given the circumstances.  I couldn't exercise much, or even do my remedials very often, but I did stick to the food part of it.  I haven't weighed myself for a while owing to hormonal crazies, including water weight fluctuations as it's just not 'steady' at the moment.  I decided to dispense with 'weights and measures' until things have settled again.  It seems menopause is also at least partly responsible for infections and slow recovery as it can knock your immune system halfway across town and make you crashingly tired.  It'll pass in time. ☺
* finished up a lip gloss quad I'd been working through for a while (from my use up list)

Here's what I'd like to do in June, several of which are quick-ish one-offs and finish-ups:

* Remedial Exercises once or twice daily (when not ill!!)
* Keep up food plan (maybe even get down to 9st this month if hormonals settle and I can get a reliable set of measurements)
* Start tone up and flexibility exercises adding a little more every few days/week

Domestic etc
* Finish the Go Bag! Sir said he'd be doing this with me last week, but it didn't happen....
* Clean bathroom window
* Finalise make-up clear-out and give away 'cast offs'
* Take 15 books to the university book give-away areas (probably need a couple of trips for this one - weight!)
* Trip to the tip to deal with junk downstairs (need to organise this with Sir)
* Sort out all textiles to go and take them to the charity shop for ragging/Oxfam warehouse
* Buy new, navy blue towel set

Reading and Study
* NRSV Bible Proverbs 11 - 31 and Isaiah 7 - 66
* Read 10 chapters of 'Relearning to See'
* Catch up kr book study from whilst I've been ill
* Catch up some of the WT articles
* Vocab transfer from Chinese WTs
* Do some language and science study

* Get to at least 85% on 'Paradise Island' cross stitch
* Do some other embroidery (prob. meadow scene and/or rose NP)
* Finish black/rose print t-shirt
* Finish my black chunky cardy
* Finish green/cream baby cardy
* Knit pink/white baby cardy
* Start on bag making tasks (Sat-Nav pouch, hard drive pouch, backpack, knitting bag, manicure pouch)
* Make kids' picture books out of magazine picture collection
* Deal with overdue blog interview questionnaires and prepare a welcome post for any extra traffic their publishing might create.  (Oh, and yes, I changed this blog name back to the original.  The other two I tried just didn't feel right.)

The Bingley Show is 22 July, so I'm going to need to get some entries sorted out for that too.  Some of these might make it into the pile, we'll see how they turn out and what else I have on hand.

Let's get cracking! ☺

Text and images © Elizabeth Braun 2017