Dec 30, 2010

2011 Knitting Goals

A few days ago, I shared my desire to make 2011 the year of the vest. I’m super excited about that goal, and all the fun knitting it will bring for me.

Thanks in part to setting that goal, I’ve been doing some evaluating of my knitting over the last year, and it's because of this evaluation I’ve set my sites in two directions for 2011.

1. Track everything I knit.

It would be most helpful if I had some way to judge my knitting over 2010 – total number of knits completed, number of knits made for charity, etc – but I don’t seem to have tracked my knits very well. I posted photos of most knits to Flickr and kept track of a fair number on Ravelry, but was not consistent enough to feel confident in the numbers I’d come up with.

For 2011 I’ll be doing this here on the blog, utilizing the photo album feature. I've added a link to the sidebar so that anyone at any time can click over and see what I’ve knit.

2. Knit 150 items for charity.

Thanks to not having documented every knit I made last year, I have no idea how many items I truly donated!
I do know I knit one hundred hats for charity over one year’s time, along with 32 other hats. I worked up around 50 squares, and managed to knit tons of holiday gifts for friends and family. If I had to estimate, I’d say I worked my way through just less than 200 items in 2010.

With that in mind, I've decided to set a goal of knitting a total of 150 items for charity. That surpasses my 132 hats from last year by a bit, but I think it's do-able.

In the mix will be at least 52 vests, but I’m also hoping to whip up a bunch of slippers and mittens to send along each time I mail out a package. I'll be packing these knits into paper boxes {sourced from work!}, and dividing the shipments between Nest: Maine and Wool Aid..

I already know which patterns I'll be using for these items, so I'm ready to get knitting as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Saturday!

A lofty goal for sure, but if I knit three items a week for charity, I’ll end up above my goal!



Two little goals, but they add up to a year packed full with knitting. I’m excited to watch myself work through each of my charity projects this year, and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to meet my goals easily!

2011 Knitting Goals

A few days ago, I shared my desire to make 2011 the year of the vest. I’m super excited about that goal, and all the fun knitting it will bring for me.

Thanks in part to setting that goal, I’ve been doing some evaluating of my knitting over the last year, and it's because of this evaluation I’ve set my sites in two directions for 2011.

1. Track everything I knit.

It would be most helpful if I had some way to judge my knitting over 2010 – total number of knits completed, number of knits made for charity, etc – but I don’t seem to have tracked my knits very well. I posted photos of most knits to Flickr and kept track of a fair number on Ravelry, but was not consistent enough to feel confident in the numbers I’d come up with.

For 2011 I’ll be doing this here on the blog, utilizing the photo album feature. I've added a link to the sidebar so that anyone at any time can click over and see what I’ve knit.

2. Knit 150 items for charity.

Thanks to not having documented every knit I made last year, I have no idea how many items I truly donated!
I do know I knit one hundred hats for charity over one year’s time, along with 32 other hats. I worked up around 50 squares, and managed to knit tons of holiday gifts for friends and family. If I had to estimate, I’d say I worked my way through just less than 200 items in 2010.

With that in mind, I've decided to set a goal of knitting a total of 150 items for charity. That surpasses my 132 hats from last year by a bit, but I think it's do-able.

In the mix will be at least 52 vests, but I’m also hoping to whip up a bunch of slippers and mittens to send along each time I mail out a package. I'll be packing these knits into paper boxes {sourced from work!}, and dividing the shipments between Nest: Maine and Wool Aid..

I already know which patterns I'll be using for these items, so I'm ready to get knitting as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Saturday!

A lofty goal for sure, but if I knit three items a week for charity, I’ll end up above my goal!



Two little goals, but they add up to a year packed full with knitting. I’m excited to watch myself work through each of my charity projects this year, and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to meet my goals easily!

Dec 27, 2010

2011: The Year Of The Vest

Vests
Some of you have been following my knitting long enough to remember my knitting One Hundred Hats for charity. I donated all the hats to Nest: Maine, a group that focuses on bringing handmade items to those living in rural areas of Maine in need of some extra warmth during the cold winter days and nights.

I loved everything about the experience of knitting towards a goal like that, and have missed it in the months I’ve been without it. In fact, I've noticed a distinct lack of knitting focus in general when I don't have a goal like this! To appease myself, I tried knitting a large number of squares to donate to charity, but have found there is something lacking – apparently I like to make garments more than I’d thought!

As I think about my knitting focus, I realize more and more I want to be single-minded in my knitting - back on track with my unreasonable goal of knitting 10,000 items to donate to charity in my lifetime, done with all the extras that I've gotten caught up in, and moving my life more and more towards one that is shaped around my passion.

If my passion is knitting for charity, then all other knitting goals and ideals must take a back-seat to this goal, and I must figure out solid ways to help me reach and surpass ever-growing goals.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to do another big project - I’m making 2011 the Year Of The Vest!

My plan is to alternate between a few vest patterns featured on Ravelry and one I'll be writing myself – I’ll be kicking it off with the Spring Shirt {which is super simple and a great way to ease into the project}, then moving on to the Plain Vest from Pickles, moving into the fall and In Vest for Peace, and then finishing out the year with my Nest Vest {I'm working out the details of this pattern as we speak, and will share it when it's ready}.

My personal goal is to knit one vest a week, in varying sizes and colors, and then donate all I’ve got in batches between Nest: Maine and Wool Aid. As I fill up a large paper box {sourced from work!}, I'll be sending them on!

I’d like to knit at least 52 - one for each week. If I can knit more than one vest each week, that's awesome, but my goal is at least one a week.

How You Can Get Involved:

You Can Knit Along With Me! I’d love to turn this into a knit-along for those who want to join in! I’ll be tracking my vests by knitting each pattern for thirteen weeks before switching to a new one, and my goal is to knit at least one vest each week.

If you’d like to knit along with me, just follow the 2011 Vests thread here on the blog. Throughout the year I’ll be sharing more about the patterns I’m using, my tips and tricks for making these vests work up easier and faster for you, and information about the different charities you can donate your finished vests to.

I’ll even hopefully be able to offer up prizes throughout the year-long knit-along – I haven’t worked that out yet fully, but wouldn’t it be fun?!

You Can Donate Yarn. If you’re not interested in knitting vests all year, or have your own big projects you’re involved in, you can still be part of the fun. Just like with the One Hundred Hats project, I’ll be accepting a few wool donations to help sustain the project. I’ve got some wool already in my stash, but I know it won’t be enough to knit up 52 vests. And as Nest: Maine likes their items to be made from animal fiber, purchasing all that yarn could start to get expensive.

If you’d like to help out in this way, shoot me an e-mail {rmcdevine at gmail dot com} before boxing up your wool stash! I’ll have a few parameters that will need to be followed {yarn weight, fiber content, yardage, squishiness} and I’d hate for you to send me out a bunch of yarn that I won’t end up being able to use.

Knit Something And Donate It. I know not every knitter likes to knit the same items – it’s a big part of what makes the global knitting community so great. We all have our favorite fibers, patterns, and charities to donate to – so let’s take advantage of that in 2011.

If you love the idea of knitting for charity, but don’t want to knit a vest, knit something else and donate it to Nest: Maine. If you love the idea of knitting vests, but always donate somewhere else, knit up a vest and donate it wherever you like! My goal is to get us all knitting, and to hopefully give away some prizes while I work up at least a vest a week for Nest: Maine.

Spread The Word. For those of you who aren’t knitters, you can help this little project out by spreading the word. Tell your friends and family, talk about it on your blogs, and let every knitter you know in on the fun. In 2010, Nest: Maine collected just over 250 items for distribution – mostly hats {in no small part my fault there}. I’d like to bombard them with wooly goodness in the form of vests of all sizes this year, and will need your help to do it.

My goal is to not only donate my 52 vests, but to get 200 other vests and sweaters donated – that’s right, I’d like to see us reach their collection number from 2010 in vests alone! To do so, I’ll need all the help I can get spreading the word! 



Today is December 27th. I’ll begin knitting officially on January 1st, although I may knock out a vest before then if I can manage it! If you’re considering participating in this knit-along, take the next few days to figure out how many vests you’ll challenge yourself to knit, how you can knit from your stash for this project, and how to best reach your goals.

We’ll be kicking off the year-long knit-along on January 3rd with a full month of festivities: a link to the first pattern, some yarn suggestions, a bit more on Nest: Maine, and a deadline for the first prizes! Until then, let’s get ready to knit!

2011: The Year Of The Vest

Vests
Some of you have been following my knitting long enough to remember my knitting One Hundred Hats for charity. I donated all the hats to Nest: Maine, a group that focuses on bringing handmade items to those living in rural areas of Maine in need of some extra warmth during the cold winter days and nights.

I loved everything about the experience of knitting towards a goal like that, and have missed it in the months I’ve been without it. In fact, I've noticed a distinct lack of knitting focus in general when I don't have a goal like this! To appease myself, I tried knitting a large number of squares to donate to charity, but have found there is something lacking – apparently I like to make garments more than I’d thought!

As I think about my knitting focus, I realize more and more I want to be single-minded in my knitting - back on track with my unreasonable goal of knitting 10,000 items to donate to charity in my lifetime, done with all the extras that I've gotten caught up in, and moving my life more and more towards one that is shaped around my passion.

If my passion is knitting for charity, then all other knitting goals and ideals must take a back-seat to this goal, and I must figure out solid ways to help me reach and surpass ever-growing goals.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to do another big project - I’m making 2011 the Year Of The Vest!

My plan is to alternate between a few vest patterns featured on Ravelry and one I'll be writing myself – I’ll be kicking it off with the Spring Shirt {which is super simple and a great way to ease into the project}, then moving on to the Plain Vest from Pickles, moving into the fall and In Vest for Peace, and then finishing out the year with my Nest Vest {I'm working out the details of this pattern as we speak, and will share it when it's ready}.

My personal goal is to knit one vest a week, in varying sizes and colors, and then donate all I’ve got in batches between Nest: Maine and Wool Aid. As I fill up a large paper box {sourced from work!}, I'll be sending them on!

I’d like to knit at least 52 - one for each week. If I can knit more than one vest each week, that's awesome, but my goal is at least one a week.

How You Can Get Involved:

You Can Knit Along With Me! I’d love to turn this into a knit-along for those who want to join in! I’ll be tracking my vests by knitting each pattern for thirteen weeks before switching to a new one, and my goal is to knit at least one vest each week.

If you’d like to knit along with me, just follow the 2011 Vests thread here on the blog. Throughout the year I’ll be sharing more about the patterns I’m using, my tips and tricks for making these vests work up easier and faster for you, and information about the different charities you can donate your finished vests to.

I’ll even hopefully be able to offer up prizes throughout the year-long knit-along – I haven’t worked that out yet fully, but wouldn’t it be fun?!

You Can Donate Yarn. If you’re not interested in knitting vests all year, or have your own big projects you’re involved in, you can still be part of the fun. Just like with the One Hundred Hats project, I’ll be accepting a few wool donations to help sustain the project. I’ve got some wool already in my stash, but I know it won’t be enough to knit up 52 vests. And as Nest: Maine likes their items to be made from animal fiber, purchasing all that yarn could start to get expensive.

If you’d like to help out in this way, shoot me an e-mail {rmcdevine at gmail dot com} before boxing up your wool stash! I’ll have a few parameters that will need to be followed {yarn weight, fiber content, yardage, squishiness} and I’d hate for you to send me out a bunch of yarn that I won’t end up being able to use.

Knit Something And Donate It. I know not every knitter likes to knit the same items – it’s a big part of what makes the global knitting community so great. We all have our favorite fibers, patterns, and charities to donate to – so let’s take advantage of that in 2011.

If you love the idea of knitting for charity, but don’t want to knit a vest, knit something else and donate it to Nest: Maine. If you love the idea of knitting vests, but always donate somewhere else, knit up a vest and donate it wherever you like! My goal is to get us all knitting, and to hopefully give away some prizes while I work up at least a vest a week for Nest: Maine.

Spread The Word. For those of you who aren’t knitters, you can help this little project out by spreading the word. Tell your friends and family, talk about it on your blogs, and let every knitter you know in on the fun. In 2010, Nest: Maine collected just over 250 items for distribution – mostly hats {in no small part my fault there}. I’d like to bombard them with wooly goodness in the form of vests of all sizes this year, and will need your help to do it.

My goal is to not only donate my 52 vests, but to get 200 other vests and sweaters donated – that’s right, I’d like to see us reach their collection number from 2010 in vests alone! To do so, I’ll need all the help I can get spreading the word! 



Today is December 27th. I’ll begin knitting officially on January 1st, although I may knock out a vest before then if I can manage it! If you’re considering participating in this knit-along, take the next few days to figure out how many vests you’ll challenge yourself to knit, how you can knit from your stash for this project, and how to best reach your goals.

We’ll be kicking off the year-long knit-along on January 3rd with a full month of festivities: a link to the first pattern, some yarn suggestions, a bit more on Nest: Maine, and a deadline for the first prizes! Until then, let’s get ready to knit!

Dec 17, 2010

20 Things To Do Before The First


  1. Return all unwanted/unneeded holiday gifts.

  2. Drink hot chocolate by a fire – real or not.

  3. Walk around your neighborhood to see all the holiday lights.

  4. Donate all unused holiday decorations rather than put them back into storage.

  5. Turn used wrapping paper into paper snowflakes to hang from your windows all winter long!

  6. Rock out to your holiday music playlist until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.

  7. Donate as much $$$ as you can afford to the charity of your choice.

  8. Pick up the clearance candy canes at your grocery store a few days after Christmas and use them to make peppermint brownies.

  9. Bang pots and pans at midnight to ring in 2011.

  10. Make snow angels and snowmen if you’re lucky enough to have enough snow!

  11. Take photos. Use the camera on your phone if you have to.

  12. Leave baked goods on the doorstep of your next door neighbors. Ding Dong Ditch in the best possible way!

  13. Ladies, clean out all that old makeup from your bag – if you can’t remember when you purchased it, or when you wore it last, toss it!

  14. Bloggers, schedule a few posts for the days between Christmas and New Year’s Day so you don’t have to turn your computer on.

  15. Call your family members who you don’t get to see very often.

  16. Rock a sparkly pair of tights, socks, or shirt.

  17. Draw in the sky with sparklers.

  18. Dress your pets up in reindeer antlers – and ignore your husband when he tells you “cats don’t wear clothes!”

  19. Kiss all your friends on the cheek at midnight. Bonus points if you’re wearing bright red lipstick and they all have marks on their cheeks!

  20. Drop a bag of fresh fruits and veggies off at your local homeless shelter and/or food bank.

Dec 13, 2010

Are You Selling Passion, Selling E-Books Or Selling Yourself Short?

This past year everyone seemed to be writing about how to leave your day job, how to earn money online by writing e-books and such. Each month I noticed a new e-book hitting the internet market, promising to help us pare down our stuff, save enough to quit our day jobs, figure out what our truest passions are, and help us learn how to monetize.

As I enter 2011, here’s my question: When will we move past earning a living telling others how to earn a living, and start earning our living by sharing our passions with others?

I’m not the first person to ask this question, but I’ve got to wonder – there’s got to be more to this whole idea of doing what we love and not being slaves to the machine that’s around to suck our souls than writing about and selling e-books about how to leave your jobs to follow your passion.

Sure, there’s folks out there whose passion IS to help others find their passion. These folks get off on helping others reach their “aha moment”, and so they hop online and write blog posts and Twitter notes and e-books about how this works.

But I’m betting that these folks aren’t in the majority. I know I’m not one of those folks. My passion is not to help you find your passion – it’s to knit stuff for others, and to change the world, one hand-knit at a time. My bliss is found with two sticks and some string, not in writing e-books about how you can find your bliss.

And I don’t think I’m alone here.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love that there’s so many humans searching for a way to do it differently that dozens of folks out there around the internet are able to earn a living by helping people find their passions – we need those e-books to be written, and we need more and more humans to figure out what their passion is.

But what I love more are folks that are sharing their passion with others online, and have figured out a way to earn a living while doing so. Women and men who do what they love, and the money follows – not that it drops out of the sky to them, but these folks have figured out how to monetize their passion in a way that doesn’t suck their souls dry.

Want some examples? Here’s my not-so-short list:


I’ve noticed a pattern in my own life, and I’m betting there’s thousands of people like me out there doing the same thing – whenever a new e-book comes out, or a new blog hits the scene talking about how to live your passion, monetize it, support yourself with it, I buy in. I subscribe to the blog, I pick up the e-books, and I devour the information. I plot and I plan, dreaming what my life will be like when I finally reach escape velocity. I slowly pare down a few more of my belongings, spend a little less money on meaningless crap, and then go back to my life as I know it – day job, groceries, knitting when I can find the time.

If you’re nodding your head along with me, maybe it’s because you don’t really HATE your job, or you don’t know how to monetize your particular passion. Maybe it’s because you’re filled with the same fears I am, or because your passions aren’t anywhere close to the passions of the folks whose e-books you’ve read.

When we as a collective group – what group, I’m not sure yet; Minimalists? Adventurers? Entrepreneurs? – going to decide that there are ample resources on finding your passion? When are we going to see that there are tons of people who are already doing that right?

What we need now is some practical advice, digging into the heart of it all.

What does it take to turn your passion for music into a thriving online music career? What does it take to turn your love of hand-knits into an online shop that sends your lovingly created items out all over the globe to folks who don’t want to buy stuff that’s been mass-produced? What does it take to turn a passion for sharing family stories into a way to help others share their stories better through scrapbooking? How do you turn a love of yoga into a sustainable yoga-mat-making business?

I don’t buy into the excuse that every online business will be different, so there’s no way to give concrete steps to anyone unless you’re doing so on a one-on-one {read: expensive} consulting session that will be tailored to you and you alone.

BULLSHIT.

While every business may be different, there are steps that look the same once you dig into specific genres. Setting up a yoga studio in Omaha will have many of the same steps that setting one up in New York will have. Running an online knitting business for me will look similar to how someone in Germany does it.

Maybe we don’t need to pay thousands to have someone tailor a consulting session to us – maybe instead we need to loosen the death-grip we’ve got on our knowledge and start sharing it a bit more freely. Those five things you figured out that your business needed? Share them with someone else who wants to start a similar business.

And maybe this makes me a big ole Socialist hippie, but I think that it’s counter-productive to teach people how to find their passions and then not help them figure out what to do once they’ve found them. Maybe it’s not in the spirit of competition or Capitalism or whatever to think that the more we give away, the better it actually ends up for all of us.

And yes, I know you give away 90% of your content for free or blah, blah, blah. Give more. Do more. Be more. Share the practical stuff, not just the esoteric bullshit “top tips for finding your passion” blog posts that we all write – I know I’ve done it plenty.



This then is my call to arms. Let’s stop talking about how to find our passions, and let’s start sharing how to take those next steps, for those who want to take them.

Maybe you need to stop writing that e-book about finding your passion, and instead write an e-book – or a series of posts, or some video tutorials – sharing the top five tips to living based on your particular passion. Maybe you give it away. Maybe you charge for your e-book or a month-long course, or something else I’m not thinking of, but make it accessible to all, available for anyone who wants to dig in a bit deeper.

{I’m not against earning a living off your knowledge, after all.}

What will you commit to? Can you share practical advice on how to start a yoga studio by taking on a few clients in your home? Can you share your intimate knowledge of the food-cart business and how to sell your world-famous tacos in the business district? There’s a community of folks out there, filled up on passion and ready to learn how to turn it into a new lifestyle!

My commitment? To share as freely and openly as I can the process of setting up my little Minimalist Knitting business.

Dec 10, 2010

Stuff I Love: My Tumblr Feed

After sorting through approximately eleventy-billion items starred in my Google Reader last year, I swore I'd never let it get that bad again. I have a nasty habit you see, of starring things I know I want to share with you all, and then forgetting completely about it until I've got starred items dating back three months.

And who wants to get a "guess what I found!" post about something that's three months old?

So I've come up with a solution that I think will help me keep more up to date on sharing the fun stuff I'm finding without innundating you with thousands of links each week - I'm adding things to my Tumblr feed again!
Paint-net
Such a simple action, and yet I'm in the throes of a frien-assance with Tumbler of the best kind! I clear-cut through my starred items and shared almost all of them - you'll notice the plethora of items from late November/early December suddenly cropping up?!

Now, if you want to know what I'm loving you can simply click the Stuff I Love button under the blog header, and it'll take you directly to my Tumblr account, where you'll find not just items I'm reading through Google Reader, but also fun blog posts I discover as you all comment here, things I like that have been linked to on Twitter, fun photos from Flickr, and so much more!

I add stuff there almost daily, so swing on by and check out some of the Stuff I Love!

Dec 8, 2010

simple Christmas trees

Taking a moment to welcome readers from Be More With Less to the blog - enjoy your time here, feel free to poke around, and have some fun! I've got a guest post over at Courtney's blog today, sharing my top three steps to a simplified holiday, so if you've never visited her blog, today's a good day to head over!

Now, on ot the trees!


Trees step 4
For our foyer, I wanted some super simple trees to stand up next to our "keys bowl". I knew I wanted something that would use up some of my large yarn collection, but also knew I didn't want to knit up or crochet trees.

I decided to pick up some foam trees on sale from Hobby Lobby, and simply wrap them in yarn ... here's how I did it:

Trees step 1
Step One: Lay out newspaper. This is seriously key, because I'm a super slob with glue and knew I'd get it all over our table otherwise!

Trees step 2
Step Two: Cut your yarn into 3" sections, and glue to the top of the foam tree. I didn't want to leave the foam sitting out on the trees, and so I did this to cover the top. It looks messy now, but it'll get smoothed out in just a minute.

Trees step 3
Step Three: Wrap your yarn around the tree. You can see how I made lines of glue down the sides of the cone - I simply carried those all the way down, and wrapped the yarn clockwise around the cone until the bottom.

I followed these three steps three more times - once more with white yarn and then twice with red - so that I'd have a tiny forest of trees on our foyer dresser {seen above}. The whole process took just under an hour, including picture taking, and I love the results!

Dec 7, 2010

Stash Blanket How-To

Welcome to those of you visiting from Marta's wonderful blog this morning! I'm so excited that my Stash Blanket has been featured as part of her how-to series today!

For those of you visiting for the first time, here's a few links to help you dig into my blog a little deeper:

** You can learn more about me and why I write here via the About Page.

** Download my free Minimalist Knitter's Handbook for a primer on the minimalist movement, and how it relates to knitting.

** Check out my Simple Knits category for tons of great - and fast - knits to whip up in no time!

** I've made it my mission to have a Handmade Holiday, and am documenting the process.
Again, welcome to new readers!!!

Dec 6, 2010

Simple Knits: December 6 - 12

Despite the single digit on the calendar, we are in the last stages of holiday knitting to be sure. In just a few short weeks all the presents will have been handed out, the frenzied high of crafting into the wee hours will have worn off into a headache, and you'll be wishing you spent more time sleeping and drinking hot chocolate and less time slaving away.

With that in mind, here's seven simple projects that can be given as gifts, but take less than three hours to make each - simple, done, perfect!

CalorimetryBEAUTY 

December 6: Calorimetry, from Knitty {pictured above}. The perfect way to keep your ears warm during the coldest parts of the year, and still keep your hair in a ponytail!

December 7: Felicity. {free Ravelry download} The perfect hat to whip up in a jiffy, it can be made for any lady you know!

December 8: Toast or Toasties. These fingerless mitts can be made with or without a thumb hole, and are the perfect quick knit to whip up as a hostess gift or for friends and family.

December 9: Perfect Baby Booties. Perfect indeed, these whip up super fast and are great for all the new babes and expectant mothers on your list!

December 10: Wham, Bam, Thank You Lamb! Neckwarmer. {free Ravelry download} Cowls and scarves are some of the best ways to keep warm this winter, and this thick and quick cowl does just that!

December 11: Reading Mitts. Don't let the patterning fool you, these will work up fast and easy, even for a beginner!

December 12: Dolores Park Cowl. I love that, depending on the color, this could quite literally be made for everyone on your list, man or woman!

Dec 3, 2010

Friday Favorites

Because I tend to end my weeks with a stack of links in my feed reader I couldn't figure out how to share ...

Because I love letting you all in on the fun stuff I'm finding around the internet ...

Because I've decided to end my week with fireworks ...

Friday favorites

* Ten Gifts That Give Back from Promise ... love her blog, and love the list! I'm thinking of getting myself at least a few of these!

* Gorgeous pom tutorial. I'd love to hang these in every room in the house!

* How to achieve complete autonomy.

* Dollar downloads, holiday style, from Marta.

* Nine amazing foodie gifts you can make in your kitchen. Even I could make most of these!

* On keeping a book journal. {PS - you can find my online version here.}

* Who doesn't need the new Blog Love e-course from Elsie?!

* I love Lisa's style in this post - I'd love to dress like this every day!

Dec 2, 2010

The Pros and cons of My Project 333

As December winds down, Project 333 comes to a close. Seeing as I didn’t update in November, I wanted to be sure to check in and share my thoughts on the three month process – what I’ve learned, my thoughts going forward and such.

P333final
The first lesson I learned was in what I truly did and did not wear. While I don’t think I can pare down my year-round wardrobe to 33 items – or even 40 – I know that I have far more clothing than I actually wear. Even among the items I put on my original Project 333 list, only around half saw regular wear.

I’m definitely a staples kind of girl – tank tops and tights for layers, dresses for everyday, a cardigan to keep me warm, and my boots and I’m ready to go 9 days out of 10. While I could stand to have a few more tank tops and tights than this project afforded me, I quickly grew comfortable with the quick dressing time each morning, and cannot imagine going back.

Confession: I did not put the rest of my clothes away for three months once I picked out my 33 items. I left them sitting out in the closet and the drawers – and while I did not dip in, I notice that I still had a momentary panic each day when I went to decide what to wear.

My first order of business for 2011 is definitely to bag up much of what is in those drawers and the closet to donate. Now that I know what I actually wear each day, and can better estimate what I’ll need in the warmer months of the year, I know which clothes I don’t wear and thus no longer need to hold onto.

I’m glad I left all my clothes out like that –it was a constant reminder of just how much I owned versus how much I was actually using on a daily basis, almost a meditation on the perils of excess! Now that I know for a fact I can live day-to-day with less, I’m going to quickly pare down to what I know I need.

Going Forward:

The hope with a challenge like this may have been to learn to live with owning only 33 items of clothing, but I know now I’ll need a bit more than that to be most comfortable with my wardrobe. However, this does not mean a closet full of clothes – instead, it means owning multiples of some of the staples, and letting go of those items I thought I wore but learned I didn’t. Practically, this looks like:
  • Picking up a few extra pairs of footless black tights – I wore mine almost every day

  • Making sure I have enough black tank tops to wear one every day for a week. It got old having to wash my two black tank tops several times a week, and now I know for sure I do everything but shower in them!

  • Letting go of most of the print-based tees I own. I included only one in my original 33 items, which I wear constantly, but every other shirt has languished unwanted. Now that I’m wearing dresses almost every day, I can’t see needing most of them any longer.

  • At some point I’ll knit myself another cardigan to wear – the one I’ve got right now gets worn every day. While I don’t mind wearing the same outer layering piece every day, owning another would mean this one would last markedly longer.

  • I’d like to own another few dresses, just so I have more than four to rotate between. Practically however, I’m not sure I need more, so I’m going to be super choosy when it comes to new ones.

  • I missed wearing my pullover sweaters. While I had two pairs of jeans on my 33 list, I wore dresses every day, and my pullovers languished unworn. I think that simply adding a black skirt to my wardrobe will instantly make those sweaters wearable in these coldest months of the year.

  • Jeans are for suckers. I wore my skinny jeans once every two weeks or so {when we’d go out to watch Husker games, and I wanted to wear my Husker shirt}, but I had no need for two pairs on my list. Skirts are seriously more comfortable, and I’m going to plan my wardrobe accordingly going forward.

Those of you that participated in Project 333, what are some things you took away from the experience? What are some of the changes you’ll be making to your wardrobe going forward? Are you planning on participating in another three months sometime down the line?

As I continue to pare down and simplify my wardrobe – moving ever closer to a uniform of sorts I think – I’m interested to know how you all feel about this type of project. I’d love to hear about other minimalist wardrobes, what staples you couldn’t live without, and how many items of clothing you think you could live with if asked to pare down to the bare minimum.

The Pros and cons of My Project 333

As December winds down, Project 333 comes to a close. Seeing as I didn’t update in November, I wanted to be sure to check in and share my thoughts on the three month process – what I’ve learned, my thoughts going forward and such.

P333final
The first lesson I learned was in what I truly did and did not wear. While I don’t think I can pare down my year-round wardrobe to 33 items – or even 40 – I know that I have far more clothing than I actually wear. Even among the items I put on my original Project 333 list, only around half saw regular wear.

I’m definitely a staples kind of girl – tank tops and tights for layers, dresses for everyday, a cardigan to keep me warm, and my boots and I’m ready to go 9 days out of 10. While I could stand to have a few more tank tops and tights than this project afforded me, I quickly grew comfortable with the quick dressing time each morning, and cannot imagine going back.

Confession: I did not put the rest of my clothes away for three months once I picked out my 33 items. I left them sitting out in the closet and the drawers – and while I did not dip in, I notice that I still had a momentary panic each day when I went to decide what to wear.

My first order of business for 2011 is definitely to bag up much of what is in those drawers and the closet to donate. Now that I know what I actually wear each day, and can better estimate what I’ll need in the warmer months of the year, I know which clothes I don’t wear and thus no longer need to hold onto.

I’m glad I left all my clothes out like that –it was a constant reminder of just how much I owned versus how much I was actually using on a daily basis, almost a meditation on the perils of excess! Now that I know for a fact I can live day-to-day with less, I’m going to quickly pare down to what I know I need.

Going Forward:

The hope with a challenge like this may have been to learn to live with owning only 33 items of clothing, but I know now I’ll need a bit more than that to be most comfortable with my wardrobe. However, this does not mean a closet full of clothes – instead, it means owning multiples of some of the staples, and letting go of those items I thought I wore but learned I didn’t. Practically, this looks like:
  • Picking up a few extra pairs of footless black tights – I wore mine almost every day

  • Making sure I have enough black tank tops to wear one every day for a week. It got old having to wash my two black tank tops several times a week, and now I know for sure I do everything but shower in them!

  • Letting go of most of the print-based tees I own. I included only one in my original 33 items, which I wear constantly, but every other shirt has languished unwanted. Now that I’m wearing dresses almost every day, I can’t see needing most of them any longer.

  • At some point I’ll knit myself another cardigan to wear – the one I’ve got right now gets worn every day. While I don’t mind wearing the same outer layering piece every day, owning another would mean this one would last markedly longer.

  • I’d like to own another few dresses, just so I have more than four to rotate between. Practically however, I’m not sure I need more, so I’m going to be super choosy when it comes to new ones.

  • I missed wearing my pullover sweaters. While I had two pairs of jeans on my 33 list, I wore dresses every day, and my pullovers languished unworn. I think that simply adding a black skirt to my wardrobe will instantly make those sweaters wearable in these coldest months of the year.

  • Jeans are for suckers. I wore my skinny jeans once every two weeks or so {when we’d go out to watch Husker games, and I wanted to wear my Husker shirt}, but I had no need for two pairs on my list. Skirts are seriously more comfortable, and I’m going to plan my wardrobe accordingly going forward.

Those of you that participated in Project 333, what are some things you took away from the experience? What are some of the changes you’ll be making to your wardrobe going forward? Are you planning on participating in another three months sometime down the line?

As I continue to pare down and simplify my wardrobe – moving ever closer to a uniform of sorts I think – I’m interested to know how you all feel about this type of project. I’d love to hear about other minimalist wardrobes, what staples you couldn’t live without, and how many items of clothing you think you could live with if asked to pare down to the bare minimum.

Welcome to December Sponsors!

It's December already, and with the new month comes a few new sponsors to the blog! I've gotten good feedback from people - you guys are showing the love, which is a great thing - it means I'm thinking of keeping it going into the new year, and opening up sponsorship spots to everyone!

For now, let's show some love to the folks who are helping me test this stuff out for another month ...



Lgs 
Little Gray Suitcase has been rocking out vintage clothing for a few months now, and every time I head to Liz's online shop, I see something else I want to snag! 

Her eye for gorgeous vintage wearables is something to be envied - I have trouble picking out clothing at the mall, and Liz manages to not only find great vintage wares, but offers them up at a steal!

Now that winter is upon us, Liz has been out shopping around for some fun new winter finds - I can't wait to see what she curates!



Jane How much do I love Jane Richmond? Well .... those of you who have been around for some time know I used as many of her patterns as I could for the One Hundred Hats project, and that I continue to knit them up on a regular basis for friends and family.

Jane's design sensibility when it comes to knitting patterns is something to behold - she's able to take a gorgeous piece and whittle it down to simple and easy-to-follow instructions so even those of us who tend to -ahem- take liberties with patterns can't screw it up too bad!

I'm excited to finally be able to give back a little to this lady who has brought so many great patterns to life! {p.s. - Jane, if you're listening, can you make the Oatmeal pattern into a cardi?}

Raam Actual Web Space is the brain child of my friend Raam

After spending several months living with less than 50 things while traveling the world, Raam is now plotting how to change the world while giving back as much as possible!

I'm excited that he's also hosting web space now as well - the rates are comparable with places like Dreamhost and Go Daddy, and i'm betting you'll get some superstar customer service to boot!


Alibutton
In keeping with the idea of rocking out your blog thanks to some great individuals, Handmade Themes is bringing an awesome discount your way this month!

My friend Ali is offering up super discounted blog makeovers for Wordpress blogs in need of some tweaks and clean-up - you'll get a 1/2 hour consultation along with an overhaul of your blog for a super discounted price!
Need more than a clean-up? Ali also offers up services to help build you a better blog from the ground-up!

NK Stocking kits 
I've worked on and off with Naughty Knitterz for a few years now, and love that they're offering up some amazing Stocking Kits for the holidays!

For under $25 you get not just a pattern, but all the yarn you'll need to make one of three gorgeous knitted stockings - and who doesn't love a hand-knit stocking around the holiday season?

Elise I've read Elise's blog for several years now - I think she'd just moved to the East Coast to be with her love Paul when I discovered her. Now she's a married lady living on the West Coast and crafting amazing things out of paper and photos!

I'm super excited to be sharing a link to her holiday books with you - these books are the perfect way to preserve your holiday memories, and each is handmade! Perfect for the photos you take, jotting down daily thoughts on the season, or using for a December Daily album!



Thanks so much to each of you for letting me share your stuffs in this space - direct links to these lovely folks will be up in the farthest right sidebar for the rest of the month! And as an added bonus, some of these sponsors will be offering up giveaways throughout the month - be on the lookout!

If you like the idea of this - sharing small businesses and crafty-minded folks in an ad-like way - you can learn more about sponsoring the blog, and might consider joining the party in January! There are a few different ad sizes, all at incredibly reasonable rates, and all come with giveaway opportunities!

For now, give these folks some web-love: swing on by their blogs and shops and tell them how you found them, and if you like what they're offering up!