Little Home, Big World

…what would Ma do?

30 Before 30: Redux June 3, 2011

Filed under: 30 before 30,Blahging — bethanyjoy @ 9:00 am
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I had great plans last summer to complete my 30 before 30 list. Then life happened. Which is fine…my motivation behind the original list was a desire to live with intent, rather than letting life sweep me along. Intentional living involves planning…but it also involves seizing the opportunities as they come, rather than being so fixated on any given goal that you miss the chances that grow out of a busy life. Here’s where the 30 before 30 list ended up:

Bethany’s (revised and altered) 30 before 30

(for the original list, click here)

  1. Go to an amusement park without the kids and ride all the big roller-coasters August 8, 2010
  2. Assemble a family tree picture wall. It didn’t happen quite as I envisioned it…but I did sort, print, and frame a bunch of family photos…and even got them up on the wall. September 2010
  3. Start jogging with my 6-year-old. He wins.
  4. Sew a slipcover for the couch.  July 2010
  5. Knit Bry a sweater. October 2010
  6. Design and publish at least two new knitting/crocheting patterns.  They aren’t online yet, but I’ve written a few for the students in my knitting class. January 2011
  7. Find super comfy jeans that fit. May 2011 (This is always worth celebrating. 😉 )
  8. Stop biting my fingernails  April 2011
  9. Write another NANOWRIMO novel.  Completed November 29, 2010! 54, 755 words. Woot-woot!
  10. Write my 3rd novel. In progress…
  11. Spend weekend stripping wallpaper, painting, and visiting with my Nana. Nov. 2010
  12. Get a book I own signed by the author  “The Gathering” signed by Kelley Armstrong, May 2011
  13. Learn how to make really.really.really.yummy custard. Mmmm. April 2011
  14. Find a new band/musical artist that I *love*. Mumford & Sons! February 2011
  15. Start writing poetry again. Ongoing!
  16. Make my own pasta. Not quite…but I’ve developed kickass bread-baking skills instead. Yum!
  17. Learn to make beaded stitch markers. Knitting bling. It’s all that. 😉
  18. Share written work with others for critique and input. Winter/Spring 2011 – This is probably the goal I’m most proud of, it required a massive amount of willpower/courage for me, but has proved incredibly helpful and encouraging.
  19. Go away with hubby for longer than 24 hours! We owe the Ultimate Uncle and Awesomest Aunt big-time. 🙂
  20. Discover new (to me) authors I enjoy: Jeanine Frost, Seanan McGuire, Lois Macmaster Bujold, Rob Thurman, Jennifer Estep, Scott Westerfield.
  21. Use the camera on my iPhone. So it’s not DSLR…but since it’s always within reach, at least I’m using it to document life on a regular basis. 🙂
  22. Grow hair out. Although, I’m not giving up on the purple yet…
  23. Find & attend a writing circle. Winter 2011
  24. Learn how to remember people’s names when I meet them. Still needs improvement, but I’m getting better. The key is to use the name at least 3 times in the initial meeting, if possible.
  25. Go downhill skiing. No…but I went zip-lining instead. Wheeeeeee!
  26. Learn to knit with beads. Lace with beads, even. Mad skillz, those… 😉
  27. Get a part-time job. This one was an unplanned goal, and has had a major impact on the changes to this list. It’s been good, though – a few hours out of the house each week is good for one’s sanity.
  28. Complete ACE English (final grade: 95%)
  29. Start teaching knitting classes. Another unexpected event! One of my favorite things now…
  30. Take bellydancing lessons. I still want to do this! Unfortunately I’ve somehow ended up taking math instead. Don’t ask me how THAT happened. *sigh*

And since this post is all about lists, here’s another:

Lessons Learned in the Last Year:

  1. Perfection is a foolish goal. Strive for excellence instead.
  2. You’re less likely to say something in anger that you’ll regret later if you sit down, lower your voice, and look the other person in the eyes during an argument.
  3. Colorful scarves and nail polish make any day better.
  4. Deep breathing is almost as good as chocolate when you’re feeling stressed. (Chocolate + breathing = even better.)
  5. Peace comes from knowing who you are, what you need, and where you want to go.

Nano-Diary: DONE! November 29, 2010

Filed under: 30 before 30,Blahging,Writing — bethanyjoy @ 8:15 pm
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I won, I won!!! (Which is just a fancy way of saying, “I finished my first draft!”)

Let me break it down for you: 56, 755 words, 22 chapters, 31 scenes.

 I used the word “The” 2, 909 times.

 Printing my rough draft will require a small tree – 250 pages, double-spaced with 1″ margins.

I only spent 14 days actively writing. 10 of those days, I wrote at least 3,000 words. My most productive day, I reached a wordcount of just over 8,000.

 In case you are wondering, I type an average 90 words-per-minute. 😉

 There are approximately 2 subplots that need better development, two scenes I plan to remove entirely, and four more I would like to add.

I have a boatload of editing to do.

And I feel abso-freaking-lutely ecstatic! There is nothing – but nothing – that feels as good as reaching a personal goal.

This is what it looks like:

P.S. This means I also get to cross another item off my 30 Before 30 list. Bonus!


#5 – Knit Bry A Sweater – Done! October 31, 2010

They are fabulous, aren’t they? From left to right we have Harry Potter, Rockstar, Fairy-Princess and Ron Weasley.

Something else that’s fabulous? I can cross off another item off my 30 Before 30 list – Bryan has a sweater! (And so does Joey. And they’re freaking HUGE sweaters; can I have brownie points for this, can I, huh, can I?!)

Lots of knitty-gritty (haha…get it? Yeah. This is why I shouldn’t be posting at 10pm) details are on my Ravelry project pages here and here.

Also…see those stupendous, authentic Quidditch brooms? We made those, too. AND the Rockstar’s guitar. AND the cool round corners on the pictures.

Yep. Am totally rockin’ the creative wave…

…and NANOWRIMO starts in 2.5 hours!

🙂 Cheers, all!


#4 – Sew A Slipcover For The Couch – DONE! July 22, 2010

I’m crossing off the first of my 30 Before 30 list! I’ll admit to being slightly fixated on this project for a couple weeks, ever since signing the lease on our new place – and realizing that the brown carpets + beige walls + my brown slipcover would be WAY too much brown. As in, a mud puddle jumped on me. 🙂 Money aside, I’m hesitant to invest in a new couch right now – with four little kids and a cat, it doesn’t seem like a smart purchase, you know? In a couple more years, yeah, but right now? Not so much.

So…the slipcover. I was down in Sarnia on the weekend with my eight-year-old to pick up his new glasses, and make use of the Sarnia Library’s reference section. We decided to check out Fabricland on the way home, and – *happy dance* – discovered they had seasonal fabrics on for up to 75% off. We scoured the home decor section, but no luck…then happened to wander over into the fashion fabrics. There I found it, a lovely linen blend, natural and neutral, a sturdy thickness but still softer and easier to work with than painter’s drop cloth (my other option), and best of all, really nice and wide – 160cm. That meant I needed to buy only 8 meters instead of 16! PLUS it was on for $4.00 a meter – normally $10 – hello, come to mama! 🙂

I started working on the cover yesterday after lunch. Thinking of you all, I took pictures every step of the way…only to realize there wasn’t a memory card in the camera. Why, yes, I am just that good. So, I have only a picture of the basted-and-pinned inside-out cover to prove I made it:

Basting made a HUGE difference for this project. La Maison Reid‘s beautiful slipcover convinced me it would be worth a try. I’m nowhere near as accomplished a seamstress, but the basting made the slipcover MUCH easier to fit and sew, and provided a great sewing line for the seams. I used pink crochet cotton, so it was quick to hand-baste, and easy to pick out. Here’s the final result:

I can pick out about dozen things that aren’t quite perfect, but I’m pretty proud of it none the less. And it fits WAY better than the storebought version we have been using, so I think it will stay in place well. And it’s washable! 🙂

Since I was on a roll – and had a meter and a half of fabric left – I recovered the cushions on my uber comfy and horribly ugly glider rocker, too:

I am pathetically pleased with the boxy corners on that cushion…

Overall, the project was pretty high up there on the challenging scale, and I must confess  I developed a deep, lasting affection for my seam-ripper…who’d have thought such a tiny little tool would grow so precious to my heart? 😉


30 Before 30 July 17, 2010

Filed under: 30 before 30,Blahging — bethanyjoy @ 9:21 am
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I’ve seen this idea floating around blogland, most recently on Making it Lovely, and did my best to ignore it. After all, I have eleven months of blissful ignoring left to me; why ruin it? Forget that; why not celebrate the start of a new decade?

As I’ve said before, I’m compulsively optimistic.

In the name of accountability, I’ll make my list public, and update you all on my progress as I go. Eleven months; thirty goals. I’ll aim to accomplish three a month.

Bethany’s 30 Before 30:

1. Go to an amusement park without the kids and ride all the big roller-coasters completed August 8, 2010

2. Assemble a family tree picture wall

3. Run in a real 5k

4. Sew a slipcover for the couch completed July 22, 2010

5. Knit Bry a sweater   completed Oct. 30, 2010

6. Design and publish at least two new knitting/crocheting patterns

7. Lose 10lbs

8. Stop biting my fingernails

9. Write another NANOWRIMO novel Completed November 29, 2010! 54, 755 words. Woot-woot!

10. Assemble a list of questions for my Grandma and Nana; document the answers

11. Get a book I own signed by the author

12. Get a tattoo

13. Find a new band/musical artist that I *love*

14. Find and watch at least the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

15. Start writing poetry again

16. Make my own pasta

17. Knit or crochet a pair of metal earrings

18. Submit three articles for publication

19. Track down and visit at least two friends with whom I have lost touch over the years

20. Visit a province other than Ontario

21. Learn how to use the DSLR on more than just the “auto” setting

22. Get a purple streak in my hair

23. Attend a session of Between the Sheets (writing critique circle)

24. Learn how to remember people’s names when I meet them

25. Go downhill skiing

26. Write a children’s book

27. Send five just-to-make-you-smile cards to people who aren’t expecting them

28. Earn my A.C.E. Certificate

29. Sew myself an apron

30. Take bellydancing lessons

Those are my goals – what are yours?


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