I’ve always been a list-y person. I make lists for everything, but I especially like making lists and setting goals for how I can better myself as a person. Things I want to do, habits I want make a higher priority in my daily life, self-improvement, etc. Several years ago, I did a 20 Before Twenty challenge and I really enjoyed the process. Then right after graduating college, I started another challenge, called the Real Life list. That challenge really had no deadline, so I thought it would be easier to access and update as a page like this. So feel free to follow along as I fulfill dreams! (Make your own list too!)
- Try to read at least one book a month (of MY choosing!)
and make more time to read the magazines I subscribe to. (I quit subscribing to magazines because I never made the time to read them.) So far I’ve read Maine, Anne of Green Gables, The Violets of March, The Nesting Place, Almost Amish: One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life, The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, Designing Patterns: For Decoration, Fashion, and Graphics, The Secret Keeper, Mastering the Art of Fabric Printing and Design, Learn to Make A Quilt From Start to Finish, How to Catch A Frog, The Forgotten Garden, A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Make It Happen, Steal Like an Artist, and the 12 books in the Alias Prequel Series (that I bought back in 2003 when I was obsessed with the show!). I’m currently reading: Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community, Creative Girl:The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career, A Field Guide to Fabric Design, Gift From the Sea, and John Robshaw Prints: Textiles, Block Printing, Global Inspiration, and Interiors. Also on my list: The Little Way of Ruthie Leming and the rest of the Anne of Green Gables Books. Have any good recommendations for me?
- Read my grandpa’s books. I’ve read most of the stories in both of his books, and went around with him reading them at book signings when his first book first came out, but I’ve never taken the time to sit down and read them cover to cover (his second one just came out!). You can find them here and here. UPDATE: I read the first one aloud to Drew on various road trips we took.
- Spend time reading through the cookbooks I have
and try more recipes outside my typical taste. UPDATE: I haven’t really made a lot of time to read through the cookbooks we own (Googling, Blogs, and Pinterest are so much easier!), but I do feel like we’ve expanded our cooking repertoire. We used to do a lot of “country cooking” (I made mashed potatoes all the time!) and other foods I’d grown up eating. We still make those occasionally, but we make a lot of other things too: Mojo Pork and Black Beans, Beef and Rice Salad Bowls, we make homemade Pork Belly Vermicelli bowls, Grits and Grillades (local Louisiana cuisine), Tortilla Soup, and we’ve tried a bit to make some homemade Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food as well (gyros and homemade tzatziki). I hope we always continue to try foods outside our typical tastes.
- Make time for more picnics in the park, play frisbee, relax.
Journal/write/blog more. Start keeping a poetry image notebook again and try writing more poetry. (UPDATE: On a women’s conference in Jan 2014, I started a Gratitude Journal that I’ve been keeping up with since then. Also as of mid 2014, I’ve gotten into a routine of blogging 4-5 times a month which works well for me. In 2015, I started a version of the “Morning Pages” phenomenon where when I get stressed or overwhelmed, I write it all out to get it out of my head.) Develop a consistent/better exercise routine. I usually take Pilates classes and Drew and I will randomly take long walks around the neighborhood, but I would like to take more walks, take a yoga class, go on evening bike rides, morning jogs, work out at the gym.UPDATE: Gym memberships just aren’t in our budget right now. But in June 2015 I signed up for a month of yoga classes! Also, I tried the whole “morning jogs” thing, and as nice as it sounds, I’m just not enough of a morning person to have a desire to get out of bed earlier than I have to to exercise (and Drew gets up at a different time than I do, and I’m always nervous to run around outside by myself in New Orleans). I would love to go on evening bike rides, but Drew’s bike got stolen a while ago, so we have to buy him another one before we do this (and since we hardly ever used them, I’m hesitant to buy another). July 2015 – We became members of the JCC! Now we can swim, exercise, do yoga/Pilates, visit the whirlpool/sauna/steam room — it’s great! I’m not sure how “consistent” our exercise routine is, even now, but I feel a lot better by doing some stretches every morning, visiting the gym a couple times a week (usually taking Pilates/yoga classes), and taking walks around the neighborhood when we can. May 2016 – Drew bought a new bike and we’ve been going on bike rides together! Become a better gardener.(This requires having a real yard…but, our rose bushes that we planted a few years ago in front of our apartment are now taller than me!) Get better at gluten-free baking.(See Artisan Gluten-free Bread, All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix, GF crackers, GF shortcrust, GF Blackberry and Sawdust pies, GF Biscuits and Gravy, and GF Cornbread Muffins)
Plan a vacation that doesn’t fall on a typical school break.Is that even possible? I originally had in mind to go on a nice fall vacation sometime. But then I realized that Drew works in a school and Fall is my busiest season at work! So for us, it is the worst time to go on vacation! Our California road trip we took in April is probably the closest thing to a non-school-break-vacation as it is going to get for us right now.
- Plan more small weekend trips! There are many places in Louisiana and the surrounding areas that I’d like to explore. (Monroe, Shreveport, etc.) — We have visited Ocean Springs, MS, multiple trips to Gulf Shores, Alabama, several trips to Houston, TX, and Avery Island, LA.
Plan a trip to Texas! (Other than a quick stopover on a flight to Cali, I’ve never been to Texas and it is super close to Louisiana!)Checkmark! Drew and I went on a quick weekend trip to Houston last January! We even stopped at IKEA to get a few things to build our 12 ft long office desk! Then we went again to go to Quilt Market! And again, when we went on a trip to Austin, TX. Plan a trip back to Europe (hopefully sometime in the next few years). I want to visit Kristine in Denmark and Jacky in Germany/Switzerland, would also love to go to Italy, Greece, Ireland/Scotland (where my Wallace ancestors came from forever ago), and a million other places. Drew wants to check out the craft beer selections in Belgium.— APRIL 2016 – It was amazing!!
Work on creating repeatable patterns in Illustrator and start a surface-pattern design collection.DONE!! Bonnie Christine’s Design Surface Patterns from Scratch Course on CreativeLive was awesome (she also has some shorter ones on Skillshare), as was the weekend I spent in NYC at a Fabric Design Workshop. I’m still working on developing a greater portfolio of collections, but I have a mini portfolio of designs done so far and I’ve printed several of my own designs on fabric on Spoonflower!
calligraphy andletterpress classes. (I joined the New Orleans Lettering Arts Association in Fall 2014 and I took Melissa Esplin’s I Still Love Calligraphy Course in Spring 2015.) Sign up for a ceramics class. (One that Drew and I take together?)DONE! Read about the ceramics class I took with my friend, Christina, at a local studio, here. Loved learning wheel throwing! Overall in 2015, I ended up visiting my local studio for ceramics classes weekly for almost half the year! Get better at working with my Wacom tablet.DONE! I’m sure I could still improve my skills, but I use it all the time for hand lettering, illustrating, and pattern work!
- Spend more time watercolor painting. A series of sketches, plein air paintings, landscapes, etc. (Watercolor was my first love!) — while not quite watercolor, I have gotten into the habit of sketching/painting in India ink to turn into patterns.
Design stationary for myself.Not sure I really need this? Explore more fabric paintings.(You can see a few fabric paintings that I did for Christmas gifts, here, and I stretched another whole stack, turned them into paintings, and displayed them at my RAW artist show.) Make a quilt!DONE! In July 2015 I went to this Cotton and Steel Patchwork Weekend Workshop at Craft South in Nashville and started what became my first real quilt! You can see it finished, here. (I’d done one patchwork top before that I stretched like a canvas and painted on in college). Then I pieced, quilted, and bound my value quilt! LOVE quilting so far and already planning other designs! Update P.S. Designs’ Portfolio.(Did this somewhat, but lately I’ve stepped away from P.S. Designs to focus on other creative interests.) Create a more consistent brand for myself (across all media).(Done! Check out my updated art portfolio site and updated blog design.) Open an Etsy shop?(Not sure I still want to do this one…) Spend more time crocheting and working on projects that I enjoy.(Check! In 2014 alone, I made two crocheted baby blankets for family, crocheted three scarves, worked on another baby blanket, make crochet snowflakes for our Christmas tree, and started a crocheted afghan for our living room.)
Make time for more DIY/home projects.(fabric roman shades for the kitchen, refinish Drew’s dresser(see it here), paint/stain Drew’s desk(we got rid of it when we built our 12 ft long double desk), makeover the white cabinet in the foyer, hang more art in the hallway, paint some walls?, etc.) See our office makeover, how we built our 12 ft long double desk, the rooms we painted, our living room gallery wall, Drew’s dresser makeover, and our foyer shelving for a few of our recent house projects. I feel like we can always spend a little more time doing DIY projects, but we’ve about gotten to the point that there isn’t much left for us to do in our apartment, minus completely renovating the kitchen (which we likely won’t do since its a rental!). I’ve got a few more furniture pieces to find/upgrade, but other than that I’m happy with our little house! See it here. Make a welcoming entryway area in our foyer. (mirror on wall, bench seat, baskets for shoes, coat hooks, art, etc.)DONE! August 2015, check it out here. Visit more flea markets and estate sales! Can’t beat great vintage finds!(We’ve been working on it!) Frame and hang more of my own artwork.(You can see this in our Foyer/Living Room here and here) Make our house feel more cozy and more “us.” Hang more photographs.(We made great strides in 2014 on this! See our office makeover, how we built our 12 ft long double desk, the rooms we painted, and our living room gallery wall.)
Goals for Drew and I:
- Work on keeping our marriage healthy.
More date nights(We’ve been making time for this almost every week!), time with each other away from the computer, etc. Work with gazelle-like intensity on our debt pay off (Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover). Our goal is to have all car/student loan debt paid off as soon as possible, in the next 2-3 years.(UPDATE: As of January 2014 Drew’s Car is paid off! As of October 2014 Student Loans in Drew’s name are paid off! As of April 2016 we are DEBT FREE!!!)
- Eventually, buy and start remodeling a house.
- Start a family!
(Our goal is to get our debt paid off first!)— In October of 2014 we got a kitty named Violet!
P.S. Here are my specific goals for 2017!
“The grass is green where you water it.”