2010 RESOLUTION: OH, WHO AM I KIDDING?

I’m not going to lie. I’m lazy, and I don’t want to finish any of my projects on my list. Who am I really kidding anyway? The new year is a little over a month away, and I still have six projects to complete. Really? If I work myself into a frenzy and start stressing out, I could probably finish 2010 New Year’s resolution. And if I was really honest with myself, I would probably do a half ass job on everything to just complete the list. And I hate putting less effort when I know I can do better.

If I think about the remaining projects for a moment, I probably could complete them all. MAYBE. Project 2: patchwork quilt for my friend, “May.” The project could be complete in one day as the top is complete and I would just need to whip up a backing. Buy some batting, sew everything together, and completion! I think that could be accomplished in one day.

Thanks to a nearby Walgreens, I could probably complete Project 6: Complete wedding albums in one day as well. I just have to organize the photos and make some prints. Plus, going through my wedding day photos will probably put me in a good mood as my wedding day was a great day. And if I really had determination and motivation, I could probably complete Project 8: Make “easy” cross body purse in one day, too. Maybe. I have plenty of fabric — I just need to sit down at my sewing machine and get started.

I’m a perfectionist when it comes to writing. Some writers just write whatever is on their minds and then edit later. I write what’s on my mind, think about what I wrote, and then edit the section or paragraph (or move on to the next paragraph or section). I could probably easily crank out three chapters for Project 11: Write three new chapters in “A Thousand Yellow Daisies” and Project 12: “Lost in Beethoven,” but I think the writing could be crap. Or maybe the greatest thing ever written. Being a realist, I’m leaning toward the first option. When I’m writing, I want to do a good job. I don’t want to half ass anything.

Honestly, Project 13: Hang at least three frames in the apartment should take me about an hour with Charlie’s help. Not even an hour as I have already hung up one frame. How long would it take me to hang two more frames in the apartment? Crap. When I look at the list and when everything is said and done, I could probably complete all the projects by the end of the year. MAYBE. But I doubt it because I’m lazy.  🙂  Besides, if I didn’t complete these projects, what would I work on in 2011?

12 PROJECTS: 2 MONTHS TO GO

These are the remaining projects I need to complete before the end of the year. *sigh* What was I thinking when I created this list in the first place?

  • PROJECT 2: Patchwork quilt #2 for my friend, “May.” I was hoping to complete April’s quilt and then start on May’s. Yup, I didn’t even come close to starting May’s quilt. But right now, I have determination and will and strength and some motivation to start sewing again. I need some projects to keep me busy and off my computer. I work at a computer for eight hours of my day … the last thing I need is to come home and sit on my personal computer, playing Cafe World or reading Wikipedia.
  • PROJECT 6: Complete wedding albums. Three wedding albums hold the photos from the wedding and honeymoon. However, I also received some other wedding photos from various guests and my sisters months later after the wedding, and I have to add them to the albums. Plus, I need to finish printing the rest of the honeymoon photos and add those to the albums.
  • PROJECT 8: Make “easy” cross body purse. I think I can make an “easy” cross body purse without the use of a pattern. I will soon find out how “easy” it is, but I would like to try if I can sew something else other than pillowcases, the hem of my pants, and patchwork quilts.
  • PROJECT 11: Write three new chapters in “A Thousand Yellow Daisies.” Yes, I need to kick myself to start writing again. I told myself that I wouldn’t be one of those writers who took forever between books. Well, guess what? I’m one of those writers. I hope to change that soon.
  • PROJECT 12: Write three new chapters in “Lost in Beethoven.” A new book idea has been haunting me for days now, and I think it’s time for me to start writing.
  • PROJECT 13: Hang at least three picture frames in the apartment. Charlie and I have been in our new place for almost a year now, and we have no pictures decorating our walls. I am about to change that by finding some of my favorite frames and hanging them up somewhere in our place.

PROJECT 1: COMPLETE

 

BETHANY OCTOBER: Second quilt completed in October. A few minor mistakes made the quilt a bit smaller than originally intended. But in the end, I'm really satisfied with the way it came out. For someone who doesn't really know what she's doing, I think the quilt/blanket doesn't look that bad.

 

 

THE QUILT BACK: After looking at dozens and dozens of quilt pictures on the Internet, I decided to mix up the backing a bit. I found the maroon Oriental-style fabric at the local quilt shop and decided to mix with two other fabrics. Originally, the pink stripe in the middle was supposed to be smaller but I needed all of the material and the pink floral pattern for the backing. Thank goodness I asked for a bit more material at the store!

 

 

 

PROJECT 10: COMPLETE

The five books I read this year with a one-word recommendation:

Book #1: "Blood Game" by Iris Johansen -- terrible

Book #2: "Say Goodbye" by Lisa Gardner -- awesome

Book #3: "Still Life" by Joy Fielding -- eh

Book #4: "The Survivors Club" by Lisa Gardner -- interesting

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Book#5: "The Apprentice" by Tess Gerritsen -- average

2010 BOOK REVIEW #5: THE APPRENTICE

“The Apprentice” by Tess Gerritsen

The book cover might look familiar if you watch TV. Unbeknownst to me, I had no idea that the TNT TV series, “Rizzoli & Isles” was based on a series of books by Tess Gerritsen. After spotting the book cover at my favorite local used bookstore and reading the back summary, I decided to give the book a chance.

Detective Jane Rizzoli may look and act like a very tough, mean, and independent agent of law enforcement, but inside she’s vulnerable, scared, and tired. About a year ago, she was almost killed by a serial killer called “The Surgeon” (the first book introducing the two characters — however, I felt didn’t need to read “The Surgeon” before reading “The Apprentice). That case changed her.

Although the Surgeon is behind bars, the memories from the case still haunt Jane, especially when a series of murders look like the Surgeon’s handiwork. Jane and her colleagues start the hunt for the Surgeon’s apprentice. And Jane, who was trying so hard to move on from the past, has to confront the man who almost took her life.

Overall, I liked the book, the characters and the plot. The book primarily focuses on Jane, who is deeply flawed and scarred. Medical examiner Maura Isles made an appearance here and there, explaining medical terms and stuff. But mostly, the book focused on Jane, which is fine, but sometimes I felt too many details were given and repeated. Yes, she’s scarred. Yes, she has issues. Yes, she has to keep a tough facade because she’s a female in a man’s world.

The pace was good — although it did plod along in some areas. And the characters were well drawn and created. I didn’t care too much for all the technical terminology thrown in. Something about spotting blood in the middle of the night with some amazing gadget. The technical terms for color of fabric. The terms kind of went over my head.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. When I have time, I would like to read “The Surgeon” and the rest of the books in the series. After reading the book, I then watched the first two episodes of “Rizzoli & Isles.” The show wasn’t too bad. Not to mention, I’m a huge fan of Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

Recommendation: *** (three out of five stars)

PROJECT 7: COMPLETE

I have no idea why completing four matching pillowcases was a long project. Math was never one of my strongest subjects -- the last time I went to the fabric store, I thought I needed one more gray set. I was wrong -- I already two sets. Oh well, one can never have too many pillowcases. Not the most glamorous pillowcases in the world, but at least they somewhat match the gray bedding.

Technically, I completed the project about several months ago, but I decided to redo one of the blue pillowcases because they didn't measure up to my high standards. When I have more time and patience, I'm going to try and make some really fancy pillowcases -- using TWO different fabric patterns and a border. I'll probably save that project for next year. 🙂

2010 BOOK REVIEW #4: THE SURVIVORS CLUB

“The Survivors Club” by Lisa Gardner

Lisa Gardner really only disappointed me once with “The Neighbor.” But all the other books I’ve read by her have been good page turners. “The Survivors Club” starts out a little slow for me, but as I kept turning the page, I wanted to keep reading and not return to work. One reason why I shouldn’t read during my breaks at work. Gardner once again gives her characters depth and a fantastic background story.

Three very different women. Cool, composed Jillian. Young, vulnerable Meg. Rich, careful Carol. Three brutal crimes bring these three women together to champion for justice. Even though they’ve been raped and beaten by the same man, they don’t consider themselves victims — they’re survivors. And they also want justice for the man who violated and forever changed their lives.

Moments after the rapist is gunned down in front of the courthouse on his first day of trial, the three women become the top three suspects in his murder. Did the women really band together to bring down the enemy? If they didn’t conspire to kill him, then who had the money and motive to kill him?

Gardner starts off with a glimpse into many characters. And she doesn’t spare any details — sometimes I’m all about details and sometimes I just skip over the paragraphs. After the introduction of  the many (and secondary) characters, Gardner settles in with Jillian, Carol, Meg and the lead detective on the case. Even after the shooting in the beginning, the story is a little slow.

But once Gardner gets the ball rolling, the ball rolls in the right direction. I love a good mystery, and I found the book entertaining. Not one of my favorite books by Gardner, but it was interesting. And toward the end, it was very hard to put down when I was at work or doing laundry. A few minutes late for work? Wrinkled clothes? Who cares? I need to know what happened and why! For a good mystery, I do recommend the book.

Recommendation: *** (three out of five stars)

12 PROJECTS UPDATE

I started the 12 (technically 14) projects in mid-April, and I thought I would give a progress report about the mid-way point. Because I like to see items crossed off a “to-do” list, I’m crossing off the projects I have completed so far. Look at my progress.  🙂

  • PROJECT 1: Patchwork quilt #1 for my friend, “April.”
    STATUS: I completed the top and found backing, but I haven’t sewing the top, backing and batting yet. I blame the hot weather for taking away my desire to sew quilts.

    project 1 or 2: not yet complete

  • PROJECT 2: Patchwork quilt #2 for my friend, “May.”
    STATUS: I started the project, but I haven’t completed it (if it had been completed, I would’ve blogged about its completion by now).
  • PROJECT 3: Patchwork quilt #3 for me and Charlie.
    STATUS: Complete (sort of — I have to knot some yarn into the quilt, but other than that, it’s complete)

  • PROJECT 4: Finish crocheting Charlie’s scarf.
    STATUS: Um, I haven’t even touched the scarf. I haven’t even tried to complete it. However, I have confidence that I will complete it when winter rolls around and before the end of the year.
  • PROJECT 5: Find three wedding photos for one frame and one wedding photo for second frame.
    STATUS: Complete.
  • PROJECT 6: Complete wedding albums.
    STATUS: So not complete.
  • PROJECT 7: Sew four sets of pillowcases to match navy blue and gray bedding (two separate sets of bedding).
    STATUS: Almost complete. I sewed two pairs of simple pillowcases to match the gray bedding, and I sewed on pair of cases for the navy blue bedding. One more pair of pillowcases, and this project will be complete.

    project 9: complete

  • PROJECT 8: Make “easy” cross body purse.
    STATUS: Almost complete. I have sewed the basic part of the purse (with a pocket), but the strap has me somewhat stumped.
  • PROJECT 9: Stop being a dork and scaredy cat and make cute blouse from “easy” pattern I found at fabric store.
    STATUS: project amended a teeny tiny bit but still sewed a shirt. Complete.
  • PROJECT 10: Read five books before the end of the year.
    STATUS: Almost complete — I’ve read three out of five books.
  • PROJECT 11: Write three new chapters in “A Thousand Yellow Daisies.”
    STATUS: I think I’m saving the writing stuff until the end of the year.
  • PROJECT 12: Write three new chapters in “Lost in Beethoven.”
    STATUS: I think I’m saving the writing stuff until the end of the year.
  • PROJECT 13: Hang at least three picture frames in the apartment.
    STATUS: I’ve hung one picture on a wall.
  • PROJECT 14: Hem new pair of jeans that have been sitting in my closet for at least a month or two.
    STATUS: Complete.

When I previewed this post, I counted all of the crossed off projects, and I only counted four! What? I feel I have completed more projects than that. Then again, I have started a lot of projects and I’m close to finishing some. Hmmmmm. I’m not really impressed that I completed FOUR projects between April and now. Pooh.

GOODBYE, PROJECT RUNWAY

Two things I learned during my two-day sewing class: 1. I’m in love with sewing. 2. I don’t have any patience with sewing. Where do I even begin? One, if I’m going to be a serious (OK, a somewhat serious quilter), I need two items — a rolly scissors thingy and a flatboard thingy, where on one side I cut fabric with the rolly scissors thingy and I can’t remember what is on the other side of the flatboard thingy. See? There’s so much I need to learn!

I think I'm going to make some alterations -- am I even capable of making alteration? The alterations will either make or break my new shirt.

I have no patience with sewing clothes. I’m very proud of myself that I was able to sew a shirt together. But after trying on the shirt a second time, I decided I don’t like it as much. Maybe it’s the fabric. Maybe the style doesn’t look good on me. Maybe it doesn’t look flattering on me. I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m not really happy with my shirt. Weird, I know.

My friend, KJ, took the class with me, and her shirt turned out amazing. She looks amazing in her shirt. I’m a little jealous. At this point, I think I picked the wrong material. Or I picked the wrong body. KJ is tall and slender and could make a paper bag look fashionable. I, on the other hand, am short and round and would be laughed at if I wore a paper bag in public.

Anyway, I enjoyed the class. The instructor was nice. The other students in the class were nice. I learned a lot, but I still have no patience. Even before I was sewing or cutting the pieces of the shirt, I was IRONING everything! Pin the pattern to the material. Iron. Actually, I didn’t iron the material after pinning the pattern to it. But I did iron my shirt A LOT. The seams. The ribbon thingy. The shirt itself. I ironed A LOT.

Even though I’m proud of myself for trying something new, I don’t think I will be sewing more clothes in the near future. So, all future “Project Runway” contestants can’t stop worrying about their competition. I have no plans entering the fashion industry with my limited knowledge and skills. At least I can cross this project off my list. Yay!