Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2014 Christmas Project Countdown Progress

Well...in true EPJ fashion, I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I actually delayed putting this post up by a little over a day because I wanted to get more projects done and make things look better. Ha. So much for that.

There have already been a few minor alterations to the plan. I always overschedule projects so that I have extra projects planned in case something does not go as expected. This year, that's paying off. I have flip flopped presents for a few people because I forgot to take one tiny, yet important bit of information into account. I also eliminated three projects already because of an unforeseen supply shortage. But never fear, that worked out to my advantage. Everyone is still getting an appropriate gift and I have three fewer presents to make. It's something.

In addition to the large amount of painting that I mentioned last time, there is apparently a very large portion of vinyl. I don't think I realized when I started how very much vinyl is playing a part this year. It's kind of been fun, really. I'm now pretty much a pro at weeding and my tweezers and I are becoming BFFs. I'm learning a few new tricks and I've found some new projects that I really love (and will be doing more of). I hate to leave you hanging on that, but I can't really say much more without totally blowing my present cover.

I took advantage of my vinyl cutter running with another project to start writing this post. It was faster than I am. So...I suppose I had better get back to it.

Current statistics :

Planned Projects : 67 (decreased from the original 70)
Completed Projects : 27
In Progress Projects (with eminent completion) : 12
Other In Progress Projects : 2

Oy. I had better step on it. The good news is that the presents that need mailing will be finished tonight and on their way tomorrow. Small victories...

I'll be back for another update on Sunday afternoon. Fingers crossed that there are a whole lot more green x's floating around that graphic by then...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2014 Christmas Project Countdown

Ho, ho, ho! It's that time of year again. Christmas project action has commenced. That means that it's time for the Christmas Present Project Countdown!

This is my 4th year of taking on the countdown. And...once again...the number has grown. I question my sanity in doing this. Last year, I undertook a total of 54 planned projects, resulting in a completion of 48 of those projects, the cancelling of 6 of them, and the alteration of 3.

For those of you who are new (or newish) to the blog, each year I make a majority of the gifts we give to friends and family members. The only people getting non-homemade projects are typically Darian and Collin (and that's simply because they're at the bottom of the list on homemade items because I can make theirs any time of the year). The projects range through all kinds of crafts. In the past, I've done projects involving: sewingphotography, knitting, glass cutting, and quilting. It's a project extravaganza. 

The countdown is all about the progress I make in tackling these projects. The items themselves aren't revealed until after Christmas in case some of the gift receivers read the blog during that time of the year. For the 2013 Christmas projects, I revealed them during this year's April's A-to-Z Challenge. That's the plan again this year.

For 2014, the deck is stacked high. There are 70 (yes, SEVENTY) projects on the list. Seriously, I must be crazy.


Each year, there is one family member who receives the "big gift". In past years, that has been my sister-in-law, my mom, my dad, and my mother-in-law. This year, there are two recipients. Why? Well...because this year Darian gets one of the big gifts. I'm hoping he likes it. I'm pretty excited for it. As for the other big present receiver, well...that will be revealed later in the month.

Project central is in high swing over here. I've been hard at it for about a week now. All of the components have been purchased. Some of them are still in transit. I should have everything I need for construction by the end of next week. I was actually hoping for one of the packages to arrive before the weekend since I have to mail presents for one brother and his wife, but I wasn't that lucky. It's slated to arrive around Wednesday, which means I can get their stuff finished by next weekend and in the mail by the 15th. That's the deadline for now.

This year, an unprecedented number of projects involve paint. I don't know how that happens, but apparently I get on a type of construction kick every year. Last year, it was sewing and ModPodge. The year before, it was knitting. This year, it's paint and a whole lot of sewing. Good thing I had my sewing machine tuned up earlier this year.

I'll be posting project progress updates weekly. This is where we are as of this morning...


A total of nine presents are fully completed. Another ten are in some stage of progress. With all this painting, there is a lot of downtime in between stages. The hope is that by the end of today, the total completed project number will rise by at least two and I'll have another seven projects started. That will mean a total of 11 completed and 15 in progress projects at the end of one week. If I keep up this rate, I just might squeak to a finish. I'll really only be saved by the fact that one type of project is a bulk construction that will result in finishing 12 projects in a couple of hours. I'm looking forward to checking those ones off the list, but I can't start them for another couple of weeks.

Now...it's time for me to get off the computer and get back to project construction!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Day Banner


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for us Americans. If you remember, earlier this year I made a goal to make new decor for each season and major holiday throughout the year. I've succeeded so far, other than not making anything specifically for summer/4th of July. I'll get that one next year.

I shared my two new fall decorations last month, but neither of them was specific to Thanksgiving. Since according to Darian, I "always make one of those", I decided that we needed a mantle banner.

This is a lazy post about it...meaning that I did not take very stellar photographs documenting the project. My apologies.

I cut out a few circles with my Pazzle and then topped them with inner circle stencils (also made with the Pazzle). I strung them up with some yarn and used a few decorative paper clips to add a little sparkle and also weight to keep the individual letters from flipping around.


I have some letter blocks partially completed in the garage that will spell out "Give Thanks" where the "Family" sign currently is, but they won't make it for this Thanksgiving. The good news is that they're double sided, so they might make it for Christmas, we'll see. The project load is getting pretty heavy over here, so I might be too tied up to get to them.


Speaking of, I'll be putting up the Christmas Project Countdown for this year sometime in the next week. I'm still finalizing some plans so that I know exactly how many items I'm undertaking. It's looking pretty frightening, but a few of the projects will require Collin's participation, so that might lighten the load a little.

For now though, we're just prepping for turkey day. We'll be spending the day with my family and the evening with his. As far as cooking goes, we're in charge of the stuffing at my family's meal. I'll be making Spicy Chorizo Stuffing with a recipe from Devin at Salt and Pepper Moms. I made it last year and it was delicious! Here's hoping it turns out as well this year.

I'm looking forward to relaxing and spending some time with my family. I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And for those of you outside of the U.S., have a fantastic Thursday!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Beat Your Best Read-a-Thon: Wrap Up


Hosted by Karsyn, Beat Your Best is a brand new read-a-thon, running Nov 15-22. ByB is a completely laid back challenge in which you choose how you will beat your own personal best when it comes to reading. This can be done in small or big ways, and is just meant to encourage you to push yourself with your reading in any way that you choose.


So...the read-a-thon ended three days ago and I'm just now getting this post finished. It's pathetic. But it gets worse. After I posted my last update, I failed to read anything more for the rest of the read-a-thon...not A. SINGLE. PAGE. It's so embarrassing. I had all day Saturday to get in those last few measly minutes and instead I just had myself a Gossip Girl marathon. (I'm totally addicted.) I should totally be ashamed. 

Needless to say, this results in me not beating my best in anything - unless you count taking my ability to avoid a book to new heights. If it helps, I've also totally slacked off on NaNoWriMo and have fallen way behind there, not writing anything for about four days. I know, awful.

I blame it on the upcoming holidays. It seems that there is a lot piling up for me here and I (per the usual) am spreading myself thin. Christmas present creation has started and promises to keep my hands full for the duration.

So even though you've already seen these stats if you read last Thursday's post, here's where I wound up for the end of the Beat Your Best Read-a-Thon.

Currently Reading :




Total Stats :

Books finished : 3

Pages read : 1323

Minutes read : 24 hours, 7 minutes




Sad. So sad. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Beat Your Best Read-a-Thon: Thursday Update


Hosted by Karsyn, Beat Your Best is a brand new read-a-thon, running Nov 15-22. ByB is a completely laid back challenge in which you choose how you will beat your own personal best when it comes to reading. This can be done in small or big ways, and is just meant to encourage you to push yourself with your reading in any way that you choose.



Hey! Guess who's failing miserably?! That's right, me!!! 

When I set up my goals for this read-a-thon, the goal was to read for at least three hours (180 minutes) each day. I figured that reading three hours a day wasn't out of my reach. After all, I stay up until after midnight each night. Surely I could find time between 9pm and midnight to read, right? Well... apparently not. I'm balancing this read-a-thon against NaNoWriMo and I'm finding myself stretched pretty thin. I overestimated my ability to commit. I also wound up going to my sister-in-law's on Tuesday night for a party she was hosting, so I didn't get home until a little after 10. That skewed things just a bit...which is why my stats for Tuesday are so terrible.


But...I'm not giving up. I'm still going to keep reading. I'm still going to keep working on getting some reading in each day.


I'm also still hot on the heels of another best: total time read during a read-a-thon. My previous best was 24 hours and 29 minutes for the Monster Pick-Your-Thon Read-a-Thon. That one was a 7-day read-a-thon. ByB is an 8 dayer. So, I'm going to aim for beating the total time as an estimate of where it would have been if Monster was an 8-dayer as well. This means I need to read for at least 28 hours over the course of the ByB.


Here's where I'm at right now...



Currently Reading :



This book is a behemoth. It's over 1,000 pages long. I'm currently a little over a fifth of the way. Each page is also teeny, tiny print, so there are a lot of words per page. It's making me look like a terribly slow reader compared to other read-a-thons when you look at the page per minute stats, but I'm still liking it anyway. I've already seen the movie though, so I know what's coming. In true fashion, I wish I had read the book first. I like being surprised (most of the time...I'm looking at you Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). 


Saturday, November 15th :


Pages read : 520


Minutes read : 7 hours, 20 minutes







Sunday, November 16th :

Pages read : 677

Minutes read : 12 hours, 0 minutes






Monday, November 17th :

Pages read : 67

Minutes read : 2 hours, 34 minutes






Tuesday, November 18th :

Pages read : 27 

Minutes read : 58 minutes






Wednesday, November 19th :

Pages read : 32

Minutes read : 1 hour, 15 minutes







Total Stats :

Books finished : 3

Pages read : 1323

Minutes read : 24 hours, 7 minutes




No "A" for effort for me today. My formatting took a wild left turn at some point, so my font is completely wonky for the second half of this post. I've looked at the coding, redone the coding, and I have no idea why. So...enjoy the font mix up today. It's driving me crazy, but I have other things to do. Times New Roman...you are on my crap list.

Happy Reading!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

24 in 48 Read-a-Thon: Wrap Up... Hours 41-48


Local Time : 10:00 p.m. MST Sunday


The last stretch turned out more eventful than I had planned. It was looking like I was going to make the 24 hour goal or miss it by just a couple of minutes, but then life happened. Between dealing with dogs, meals, and some unfortunate friend/work drama, I wound up loosing a bit of extra time. Oh...I also nodded off at some point in the afternoon and burnt about 45 minutes in an impromptu nap. Oops.

Minutes Read Hours 41-48 : 300 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading : 1190 / 1440 minutes



Pages Read Hours 41-48 : 231 pages
Total Pages Read : 1203 pages

Books Completed Hours 41-48 : 1
Total Books Finished : 3


Currently Reading : 

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale



Books Completed : 

I went on a bit of a retold fairy tale bender. It wasn't originally planned, but it worked. As an added bonus, I'm now one book away from finishing all of the ones I checked out from the library -- a full two weeks early! 


How I'm Feeling : Good. Nice and relaxed. I'm not looking forward to working tomorrow. It's been nice having a few days off to do nothing but read. I've gotten a little spoiled.

Currently cursing my laptop. The dog landed on the keyboard a couple of days ago, dislodging some letters. I found and replaced them, but the appropriately obnoxious "o" key seems to want to give me trouble today. It keeps trying to jump ship again.


Snacks Eaten : Had a bit of candy earlier in the afternoon. Hubs made grilled cheese and some tomato/poblano soup for dinner. That was spicy, but yummy.

All in all, I'm calling this a successful go of it. At nearly 20 hours, I didn't get as much reading completed as I set out do do, but it's definitely not a bad showing. I didn't participate in any of the challenges for this go round, but that worked out just fine for me as well. I was too zoned into my reading to really care. I'm glad I participated, it was a nice relaxing weekend.

24 in 48 Read-a-Thon: Hours 33-40


Local Time : 2:00 p.m. MST Sunday


Minutes Read Hours 33-40 : 280 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading : 890 / 1440 minutes



Pages Read Hours 33-40 : 292 pages
Total Pages Read : 972 pages


Books Completed Hours 33-40 : 1
Total Books Finished : 2


Currently Reading : 


Snow White & Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede



Books Completed : 

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter


4 out of 5 stars

I'm not usually one for zombies, but I had to read this one because...well...Alice. Darian read this one as well and told me he liked it, so I figured it was worth a shot. I'm glad I tried it. Despite being zombie-filled, I really liked this one. 


How I'm Feeling : I took a nice hot bath and warmed myself up (it's below zero today) and now I'm back hanging out on the bed. The dog has changed, but the view is the same as yesterday. I'm ready to do some more reading.




Snacks Eaten : I had myself some cereal earlier. Currently eating lunch of mini-tacos and pizza along with some candy. Basically, just a nice pile of junk food.


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