Dishcloth: Strawberry

There’s a new knitted dishcloth book in town!

That’s right! We’ve left behind the crosstitch-pattern method of knitted dishcloths and have moved on to learning new “16 new stitches as you knit cheery dishcloths” which is the subtitle of the book.

This pattern happened to be knit 4 pearl 4, which is not very different from the pattern for the baby blankets I used to knit, before I discovered the receiving blanket.

Also, this book names their patterns after specific yarn recommendations. I’m following my own yarn path, so the names might not always match the completed project.

This was a nice start. I’m looking forward to more difficult stitches.

The 60/30 Rule Report 10/14

Hoo boy, it was a busy week. I had activities on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, plus things on both Saturday and Sunday. Plus, the movie A Star is Born  has been out for two weeks and I’ve still not seen it.

All that is to say, I did not make my goal. I’m okay with it, though. I could have cranked out two more hours, but I did not. I chose to rest. Because I need to rest as a part of this project.

I may or may not make up the time in future weeks.

As for work done, the five hours I did were pretty frustrating. Though I’ve been using WordPress for several years now, it’s a learning curve. Plus, I have a new theme and have to figure out how it works. I feel like I’m only 30% good at what I’m doing and that’s a pretty uncomfortable space to be in.

All of my work this week was on the Three Sentence Movie Review (3SMR) site. I’m going to get that up and running and then focus my attention on Female Financial Independence (FFI)

I did use GIMP (an open-source Photoshop-type program) to design a favicon. I’ve learned that “favicon” is the official name those squares that go in the browser tab, next to the name of the website. I used to call them “those square things that go in the browser tab” I also set up a Three Sentence Movie Review profile in Gravitar, which is the universal icon that comes with me whenever I comment on something.

I also made the pages AGAIN in 3SMR. And I have a lot of pages. I’ve now twice made the same mistake, but I’ve learned. The 50 Essential Things post I’ve been using to get the website up and running tells you to create pages. But then, when I download a template, it erases all the pages. For FFI, I’ll know to download the template and only after that run through the 50 essential things list.

For my second work session, I made categories, which right now are the same as the pages. The categories will help with sorting. My plan is to have a main blog page, but to set up the home page so people can quickly navigate to buckets. The link to Genre will then flip to a page with all my genre categories (Action, Adventure, Crime, Comedy, etc.) From there, a person can click on a genre, like Action,  which will take them to a page where all my action movie reviews will be listed. There will also be buckets for “Liked,” which is subdivided into Good and Recommended, Not My Cup of Tea, movies by women–subdivided into directors and writers–and of course, the CT Film Festival. I should probably have one for lists, too. Top Movies, fun lists I make, etc.

I also downloaded three icons from Flat Icon, and made buttons on the front page that connect people to the Genre page, the Women page and the CT Film Festival page.  Those pages exist right now, but they have nothing on them.

I also found this great resource (https://www.colorhexa.com/e86b24) for the color I randomly picked when I made my front page image. It shows other colors that work with that color and all their numbers.  Good old #e86b24. Such a lovely orange.

Next week, I’ll keep chipping away at the front page.

The 60/30 Rule Report 10/7

Week one went great! Because week one always goes great. I love starting things. It’s why I enjoy Mondays.

The start of this project also coincided with a work drought. No matter how hard I try to find an office work job that will keep me busy–or even just steady–for all 8 hours, I have not been successful.  In this job, sometimes projects push and then there is nothing to do.

After decades of being frustrated by this, I have rebranded that time as “paid blogging time.” This makes me feel much better.  And so four hours of my “after work” work was done at work this week.

I finished going through all of the steps in ESI Money’s “Five Steps to Creating a Winning 25K Blog” It’s a five-part series and was quite thorough. Having just completed a business plan for my copyediting business, this felt similar. Plus, I learned a bunch of website things I didn’t know, even after having this blog for more than 10 years.

I also worked through 50 Essential Setting after Installing WordPress for Three Sentence Movie Reviews. I did that with my copyediting website and found it helpful.

I did the exercises in the “Start your 25K blog” series for both websites, but now I will focus on Three Sentence Movie Reviews.  Next week I will download a theme and get going on getting it to look like I want. This tends to be challenging as I am only 20% WordPress confident. (Yes, even after all of these years.)

Side yard finished! (again)

When we finished the side yard last fall, things weren’t 100% good. There was a section from the fence to the midpoint where the pavers were too far apart. You can see pictures here.

I’m happy to say we’ve fixed this problem by removing the stones, re-leveling the sand and making the stones be closer together.  Now I don’t have to mind the gap when I’m walking on the path.

Here’s the section we changed. You can see how we used leftover flagstone to fill the part nearest the house. And you can also see where we stopped for the day. When we picked up the project again, we forgot that flagstone was going closest to the house. 

I didn’t notice for a week, and then lacked the enthusiasm to change anything. There are always that don’t match with homespun projects. At least the ones I do.

Closer to the fence we also used flagstone to fill in a gap. 

In our work we found 16 walnuts buried by squirrels. Many of them were buried in the two wheelbarrows of sand that sat in the yard over a two week period.

In the interest of fairness to the squirrels, I set all the walnuts we found on the back porch so they could find and bury them all over again.

October and November project: the 60/30 Rule.

It’s time for a new project!

Earlier this year the article-suggesting service on the web browser I use at work suggested an article titled “7 things I do outside work that double my productivity.” While mostly a productive person outside work, I’m always looking to be better (while also having downtime) and so I clicked.

His first point (Tell yourself, “I’m not tired”) was easy enough to implement at once. But the idea I liked the best was within item three: plan your outside-work hours.  Among the tips in that section was a mention of the 60/30 Rule, which seems to have been invented by Thomas Oppong.

The idea is to spend 60 minutes for each of the next 30 days to accomplish something meaningful.

One of my goals this year is “find side hustles*” and as such, I’ve been meaning to launch two websites: Three Sentence Movie Reviews, which will consist of all the movie reviews from my site on their own site. I also want to launch a blog that deals with saving money and working toward financial freedom from a female perspective and also the perspective of someone who does not make $80K+ per year.

*the things you do on top of your 40-hour job to earn extra money. They used to be called “odd jobs” but someone has rebranded them and the term has taken over.

When I read the article I knew I had my copyediting class taking up my extra time for 10 weeks starting June 25. I figured I would take September off to catch up or recharge and then do this 60/30 thing starting in October. And since I wanted to launch two websites, I might as well extend the time to two months.

So that’s what I’m going to do.  Beginning Monday, October 1, I will spend 60 minutes per day getting these sites up and running.

Of course, I actually won’t be spending 60 minutes every day. I know already that this wouldn’t work. Wednesday night is square dancing and is already full. And I know that I hate to do work on Friday nights.  

My goal will be to spend seven hours per week, ideally in 1+-hour chunks working on this project. I’m thinking it’s going to break down like this:

Monday, 2 hours, Tuesday 1.5 hours, Thursday 1.5 hours, Saturday or Sunday, two hours.

The only thing I care about is hitting the minimum on a weekly basis. If I can get more done, that’s great, but not the point.

By the end of November, I hope to have two fully functioning sites up and running. If I don’t meet that goal, I bet I will be tons closer than I am right now.

I’ll update weekly. Wish me luck.

Backyard project finished!

I’m happy to say that we are finally done with this backyard rehab project!

We are not yet done putting the sand away; when we are, this wheelbarrow will go away.

This project was paused for a while because filling the spaces between the stepping stones with sand wasn’t working. In some places the spaces were to big which made it unsteady to put one’s foot because the sand would shift. Finding bits of rock to put in the spaces was exhausting and was taking forever.

It turned out what we needed were pebbles to fill in the spaces.  And putting pebbles in the spaces was done in one two-hour work session.

We will need to plant things around the edges in the spring, and I have to figure out what those things will be, but the labor of placing stone has ended for now.

We will, however, continue to work for just a little longer. The spaces between the pavers from the fence are too big, so we need to pop those out and put them closer together. We can use the leftover stone as fill.

It’s good to have this project finished.

Dishcloth book finished!

I finished the knitting part of this dishcloth and then set it aside to do the weaving in of the ends later. In the intervening weeks I forgot that THIS WAS THE LAST DISHCLOTH IN THE BOOK!  All hail “Annie’s Choice,” which is the name of this pattern.

I used the yarn I got at SCRAP which cost me less than $2 and made multiple full-sized dishcloths. The regular skeins I’ve been using previously I can get two dishcloths, but only by shorting the boarder. This yarn is, however, acrylic and might not be as good for a dishcloth as cotton yarn would.

And here’s a nice photo of all the knitted dishcloths I had on hand. I’ve given many of them away.  I liked this book. It was fun to follow the instructions and have patterns emerge. It was very much like counted cross stitch.  I’m looking forward to my next book which will help me learn many different knitting stitches.