A Peek in our Window

I’ve just got in from the weekly shop for food. Well, that’s a bit of a lie, I’ve been home for awhile, but I was spending time with John. He’s not well again and he’s having to go into work, so I feel guilty. Since I can’t work (anxiety) or even claim benefits (anxiety again, whoot) it means that John is solely responsible for our income. I know that he doesn’t mind but when it comes to being ill, it makes it hard for him to take time off work since we lose a fair amount of money. But that’s not what I wanted to ramble about. I’m sure it’s not interesting to hear me worry.
I don’t really have a point to the post, though, I just wanted to have a bit of a check in now that we are almost at the end of the second week of the year. I’ve been doing rather well with goals, however, I was slightly less productive this week, causing me to feel a little low, but I didn’t let it stop me and that in itself is a victory.
How is your year so far? If you think you’re falling behind with what you have planned, take a step back and see if you are achieving other things, habits that are making a better life or little victories that will make the whole plan easier. You can do this, I believe in you!
Maxi (our bearded dragon) is doing well, yesterday he had a great day, hunting for worms and having fun evading us as we try to keep him warm. Today he’s a bit calmer but no less cute.
I’ve been doing some experimentation with cross stitch, trying to find how much thread I use per stitch and I think I finally have the number, well for 14-count aida. Each time I try something new I will note it down. It’s all for the goal of creating my own patterns and to allow me to better anticipate how much thread I’ll be using. I get a bit nervous when I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing, is that clear yet 🙂
Today, I’m going to do some world building, I’m working on it constantly but I’m putting it on the computer in order to have a better grip on my ideas and to have it more accessible when I’m writing. With each pass it changes a little but gets better.
What are you up to this weekend? Whatever it is, I hope that it is great!

Bullet Journal – The First Seven Days

The first week of the year was a pretty uneventful one, however it was productive and enjoyable. I’m waiting until we get further in the year to get too proud of my habits, but so far so good.
Now this post is specifically about my foray into bullet journaling so that is what we will talk about.

Purple hippo dingbats notebook
Dingbats purple hippo dotted notebook

I’ve been interested in the concept for over a year, but due to the limited availability of dotted notebooks near me and nervousness about trying new things, it wasn’t until the end of 2019 (seeing people set up their 2020 journals) that I decided to give it a go.
I struggled with finding the right notebook, I wanted to be able to use what pens and supplies that I had on hand, rather than having to get specialist items or deal with the pens showing through the pages. It’s fair to say that I got myself in a bit of a tizzy. With no way to test or see them before investing I was a little apprehensive. But after watching a fair few videos I settled on a Dingbats notebook, I would have liked to get one of the A4+ sizes but I wanted the purple hippo. And it is really nice to write in, and my pens only very faintly show through to the other side.

I didn’t get it until rather close to New Year’s, which resulted in a sprint to set it up, causing me some lingering pain in my wrist. But I managed to get what I wanted set up, just in time.

The cover page for 2020 and the first page in the notebook
The key for the symbols I will use throughout the bullet journal.
A log for my cross stitch and the cover page for January

I’ve been using the journal everyday so far and it’s been very helpful. I think that I still need to find the perfect way for me to write my work tasks, but for now it is going well. The habit tracker (not shown, for privacy) has been especially revealing. I enjoy having a colourful and filled in chart, which is meaning that I want to do the activity in order to have the reward of filling in the little box with a block of colour.
I would suggest giving it a go if you need a little motivation to do something everyday.

The second week of January layout. Inspired by the plant based bride (on Youtube)

So now we are on to the second week (I realise now that I forgot to photograph the first week, I must get better at that!) and I’m still excited to use the book, I want to work and I want to put in the effort to make this year a good one.

I would highly recommend giving bullet journaling a go, you don’t need anything fancy, you don’t need a dotted notebook. A pen and a standard notebook would do. I have a bad habit of thinking that I need the “perfect” equipment in order to start something. But I’m slowly learning that getting started and earning some experience will do you better than any expensive set of pens.

I think my next update will be at the end of January, but feel free to let me know if you’d like more updates.

My First Cross Stitch – A Review

I have long been searching for a crafting hobby, a hobby that creates a result that appeals to both me and my family. I like to have a reason for spending time on things, which has limited me in the past (and still), so something that has a use is preferable to me. Last year I decided to get stuck in to knitting. I loved the idea of making jumpers and other items of clothing for both me and John as we as family. But it was not to be. After making a few things, including a blanket you will get to see in one of the following pictures, I noticed that my wrist hurt quite badly. So that put a stop to my knitting dreams.

Next I took a stab at needle felting, but the fibres get everywhere, I couldn’t quite get the hang of creating the result I wanted.

So nearing the end of the year I was feeling at a loss, I love to create things and give handmade gifts but I was just struggling to figure out what I wanted. Until, while watching a TV programme I saw something that tickled my fancy, cross stitch. It was on an episode of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, a contestant was making an advent calendar made of little hoops of cute cross stitch. And that was that, it triggered something and I knew that it was something that I could get my teeth into. But first I had to test whether my wrist was up to the task and that is where this kit comes in.

John, the wonderful husband that he is, took me to Hobbycraft and let me wobble back and forth for a long time between the many kits until I settled on this little Alpaca.

The kit plus an embroidery hoop

The kit comes with the threads (aka floss), a needle, the fabric flag and the wooden rod with which to hang the finished flag, as well as a little booklet containing the pattern and some instructions. Oh, and six little orange tassels to adorn the finished item.

The beginning of the project was a little difficult. Finding the middle proved to be tricky and the chart was a little unclear for me but once I was started it went well (though, I miss calculated the middle and had to shorten the legs!).

alpaca cross stitch in progress
Working on a cross stitch alpaca

Initially I used a hoop, but found it very annoying to use my needle inside such a small diameter and the design was a pain in the arse to get on. So after a little while I went freehand.

The finished Alpaca

It took me a few days to finish the kit, and it was fun. I got a bit excited an popped on the tassels before ironing it so I couldn’t get the ring out but, to be honest, I quite like the placement of it, I might add a ring of flowers along the line at some point.

And the best bit of all was I had no pain in my wrist! Which means that I can get into cross stitch fully! Although the product of cross stitch is decorative, I love the range which can be accomplished and I have ideas for my own patterns.

Now, to the kit as something that others may want to buy, I think that it is a cute design and the idea is great. However, the quality of the kit is a little lacking, well my particular kit. The flag was glued a little sloppily and fraying at points and there was a black mark I couldn’t get off. The outer packaging was also damaged, but that could be customers rather than the kits fault.

For a first kit, I think it would be good for someone who has watched videos on cross stitch and doesn’t mind fudging the design a little if they get it a little wrong. It’s good practise.

So that is my first cross stitch and my first review. I hope that it was somewhat informative and interesting to read. Let me know if there is anything that you would like to see, or format changes etc.

Coming up in 2020 are more reviews, short stories and my adventures into bullet journaling. I’ll see you soon!

The New Year

Christmas has come and gone, the New Year is before us. This time between the holidays is often a time of contemplation, a space to re-evaluate what has worked in the past and what we would like to change for the upcoming year. And here at Steadman Society we, too, are reviewing, and change is coming!
Along with fiction, we are branching out into posts about our hobbies, for me that means cross stitch (a new interest), and journaling, for John it is Warhammer and other gaming type things.
I think it’s going to be good for me in particular, a way to write more and to explore new angles of writing in an attempt to become more comfortable.
Over the last couple of months I have found myself slipping back into bad habits when it comes to writing which are stopping me from progressing again. A couple of set backs gave me an excuse and I kept slipping. But the New Year brings a new chance, a fresh start and an opportunity to start as we mean to go on, I mean to take it and to run with it!
For the time between Christmas and the New Year I’m working on getting rid of everything that we don’t use, things that have been sitting in drawers or getting in the way that are just gathering dust. We tried to do this earlier in the year but I always end up stopping or keeping things that I shouldn’t. But this time I am determined, sticking only to art, writing and cross stitch, everything else will be relocated to someone who will use it.
2019 was the year to get our eating habits sorted and to realise where our priorities lie and 2020 is going to be the year of getting things done!

Good luck to you and I hope that you have a wonderful and safe New Years.

Festive Feeling

Lights twinkle in the dark evening, illuminating parts of the tree. Round baubles dangle, chocolates hang, tempting, and silver bells jingle and jangle.
The heating is on, keeping the cold at bay as we sit enjoying the cosy night. Music and games, crafts and films.
It’s overwhelming, the feeling of Christmas, the joy we are supposed to feel, the family we are supposed to have and the parties we should be at. The life that is plastered all over, in film, and online. Sometimes in the act of comparing we forget how wonderful our lives actually are.
Experience your life, feel your feelings and enjoy the times and things which make you happy. Easier said than done, I am aware.
The lights twinkle in the night, illuminating parts of the tree. I sigh as I look at the wonderful sight and take it in before kissing my love.
We head off to bed, the room now dark, but waiting to see us again.

The End of NaNoWriMo

It is the end of NaNoWriMo and I did it!!

In the beginning I was so far behind and it took many days of multiple thousands of words to get to the end. But I proved to myself that I could/can do it.

How did everyone get on? Did you do it?

If you have not managed to get to fifty thousand words, do not despair! Nothing is a failure, it is all a lesson.

My story needs A LOT of work, I only got the very bare bones of the novel done. But it is going to be a great process of rewriting and making a cohesive first draft. However, I’m also looking forward to taking a break and trying to get ready for Christmas and to enjoy the wintry, dark times.

I will be getting back to posting stories here, I am hoping to get a little festive story up nearer to the solstice.

Overall Nano was a positive experience and I WON! I’m thinking of using the Scrivener reward and buying it at 50% off, does anyone have any experience with the software? Is it worth it?

Any hoo, time to rest my typing fingers and my dry eyes. Have a good weekend everyone!

NaNoWriMo Week Three

I am behind (what a shock) but feeling confident in my ability to get the words done. Today I’m aiming to get to thirty thousand words. The more that I am writing the story the more ideas and scenes are coming to mind. This month is going by so quickly, we are already well into week three. The end of the month is NEXT WEEK! Sorry for the shouting, but that is still sinking into my head.

My novel is going…well. My ideas are evolving as I carry on writing, problems are occurring and I’m tackling them as I encounter the plot holes. Since I began the month without much of a plan the details of my story hadn’t been worked out too well. But the basic idea was there and so far there have been a few blocks causing more pauses than would be ideal, but all told the flow of the story is going quite smoothly. Which is why I’m feeling confident in getting to fifty thousand words.

I have been a bit ill this week, hence the late weekly update. But I think that I’m getting better. Now, I must get back!

I hope that everyone is having a good weekend.

NaNoWriMo Week Two

Week Two is over and Week Three has already begun. I’m still behind, but I’m still determined and some of the stresses that have been causing trouble for me and John are finally over. John has passed his driving test (YES!) and job frustrations should be easing up, too. So I will be able to dedicate more brain time and actual physical time to my own projects. Yesterday I had my best day of writing yet, which was five thousand words. I’m still twelve thousand behind (I have 16.6k and have yet to write today) but if I have another few days like yesterday I will catch up in no time!

How is everyone doing? I feel like I’m in a bubble, not able to see and hear what’s going on around me.

I’m hoping after Nano and Christmas time I will be able to get to being more social and learning how to interact with people. I want to start getting more involved, but at the moment I’m focusing on my own work and winning Nano!

Good Luck in Week Three

NaNoWriMo Week One

The first week of Nano is over and I’m not doing so well. I have 4065 words and at the end of the day to meet the goal I should have 13336. It is a bit terrifying to realise how quickly that I’m falling being. The gap grows wider each day as I manage fewer and fewer words.
I’m by no means giving up, I’m still aiming to win (get 50k words by 30th of Nov). All it’s going to take is a few good days. I think the problem is I’m reticent to let my imagination just go wild. I want it to be a great story straight away but it’s not going to work that way, I will need many edits and such and I know it will get better each time.
So I need to relax and write, allowing all the crazy things fall onto the page and have fun with it. So that’s what I’m going to do now, I have a couple of hours before I need to be anywhere, let’s see what I can do.
Here’s to a great week two!

The End of October

Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!
AHHHHHH!

Where did October go?? I’m absolutely not prepared for NaNo.
Despite my desire to be productive and my attempts at planning Life has had other ideas. Stress is a big stopper on my abilities to get things done, to think and this month (the last few really) has been one kick in the teeth after another.
I promise you that I did not start this website just to complain and be a downer. We started this site at a bit of a hard time for us, there are a few life changes and challenges which need to be overcome (which will hopefully be soon) in order for us to really get to grips with the creative.
For this post I wanted to get something down, to let those interested know that we’re still here and that there WILL be more and better content coming soon. I’m going to try and document my NaNo experience, let me know if there is a particular thing you would like to know, or if there is a way you would like it presented!
How are you doing? How was October and do you have plans for Halloween? I shall be settling in for some frantic noting and outlining!
Until next time!