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Episode 30: Garden update and Space Cadet mini skeins baby sweater


Virtual Design board – My Virtual Quilt


Space Cadet Creations Mini Skeins Club


Check out my Instagram for photos of the jumper project!


Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

Facebook: Quilt Block N Swap

Instagram: girliejonesadventures

www.champagneandsocks.com






Episode 29: Farmer’s Wife Quilt

Episode 29: Farmer’s Wife Quilt


(and singing from the toddler in the background)


More talk of the Farmer’s Wife.

And Quilt As You Go


Check out my Instagram for photos of this unfolding project!


Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

Facebook: Quilt Block N Swap

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www.champagneandsocks.com






Episode 28: A Meandering Walk Through my Stash


Mentioned in this episode:


Quilting Lessons: Notes from the Scrap Bag of a Writer and Quilter by Janet Catherine Berlo



Brenda Dayne:  Cast On


Sock Clubs:

Rocking Sock Club by Blue Moon Fiber Arts

Cookie A Sock Club


Join my craft circle:

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Ravelry: girliejones

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

Facebook: Quilt Block N Swap

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www.champagneandsocks.com


 


 






Episode 27: I’m Back!

Episode 27: I’m Back!


I’m back after illness and a serious case of podcast block.


Some things I mentioned this episode:


Dear Jane Quilt – and my Dear Jane Pinterest board


Farmer’s Wife Quilt


My Mug Rug Pinterest board


Closed Facebook group – Quilt Block N Swap


My Instagram: girliejonesadventures


Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones and Champagne and Socks Craft Circle Group

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com

Facebook: Quilt Block N’ Swap






Jun. 27th, 2015

Episode 27: I’m Back!


I’m back after illness and a serious case of podcast block.


Some things I mentioned this episode:


Dear Jane Quilt – and my Dear Jane Pinterest board


Farmer’s Wife Quilt


My Mug Rug Pinterest board


Closed Facebook group – Quilt Block N Swap


My Instagram: girliejonesadventures


Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones and Champagne and Socks Craft Circle Group

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com

Facebook: Quilt Block N’ Swap






Netflix highlights June 21

What’s that? An actual, written blog post that’s not show notes for a podcast? I guess it had to happen eventually.


I always feel terrible when I sit down to write my Culture Consumed for Galactic Suburbia because I inevitably find out that most of what I’ve been consuming is non-genre and I have nothing to say. Yet, I’m consuming culture like it’s going out of fashion!


Australia got Netflix in March. And the first thing I did was gobble down the final season of How I Met Your Mother in case the whole Netflix thing was a joke and they were going to whisk it away from me. Then I sat through the entire series of Lost, so I could see if I hated the ending. And since then, I’ve been dipping my toe in and out of various genre pools. I figured now and again, I’d write some quick summaries.


Highly recommended: Grace and Frankie. (Netflix Original)

First up, I shouldn’t need to say anything other than Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. I’m so there and you should be too. But then bonus for Martin Sheen and Sam Waterstone. Sol (Waterstone) and Robert (Sheen) take their wives, Frankie (Tomlin) and Grace (Fonda) out for dinner to finally tell them they are gay and have been lovers for 20 years and now, since they can, they want to get married (and thus divorced). It’s, I guess, a sitcom, or a dramedy maybe? It’s funny. It’s brilliantly acted. It’s refreshing. It’s not often that older women are allowed their own show, and to be older on it. It enables all kinds of usually taboo topics to be addressed – sex post menopause, sex post marriage, issues relating to long term marriages. Plus Sheen and Waterstone offer another version of gay men to the small screen, one that is also not the norm – older men in a long term committed relationship. The two couples’ children are also interesting and funny. I’m so sad that there is currently only one season (Season 2 is scheduled for 2016) because I’ve already watched it all and I want more.


This weekend, I mainlined some Docos:


The Queen of Versailles

Real Housewives meets the GFC. This starts out as a doco following David and Jackie Siegel (owners of Westgate resorts) who are building the biggest house in the USA – it has 30 bathrooms, which apparently she needs (is it wrong that I was wondering what kind of cleaning schedule that would need, you could use one bathroom a day for a month?). It was modelled on … you guess it! Versailles. And at the height of the book, Siegel is totally really wealthy and can “afford” this ridiculous property. You get a brief intro to the family in a very Real Housewives style and then the GFC hits and it all goes to hell. Honestly, this was like watching a train wreck – the doco loses momentum and point, it is almost never about the house they are building and more about how people who have more money than they can fathom don’t know what to do when the money – or line of credit- is no longer there. Despite having an engineering degree, Jackie seems completely incapable of understanding that they have no money left. I kept watching to see if they ever managed to dig themselves out of the hole – they didn’t at the time of the end of the film – or manage to keep the house (couldn’t tell since it finishes with them in some kind of over the top house). The only point of real interest in the whole hour and a half was half a conversation they caught on camera between David and some friends where he talks about how he managed to remortgage his 11.3 million dollar loan by acting as a third party for refinancing and got it back for 3 million dollars loan. “It makes you wonder who’s making these decisions” he tells his friend. It made it clear to me a lot of the problems of US banking at the time.

Verdict: I watched this so you don’t have to.




Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead


I remember when Joe Cross was doing promo for this doco in Australia and guesting all over the place with his juice only diet. I thought it was all a bit extreme at the time but was still interested in seeing how this doco played out. Cross is pretty fat, and sick with an autoimmune disease that has skin complications. He’s on a lot of drugs for his illness. And he doesn’t want to be anymore so he decides to do a detox and then only eat fruit and veggies for 60 days. He juices them so as to be able to physically consume the quantity needed for both I’m guessing caloric intake as well as recommended daily intake of micronutrients (which is a word used a lot in this film). He goes to the US to do his diet cause flaunting US food in your face when you’re trying to quit eating is the funnest. Whilst there, he finds a fellow sufferer of his illness, in a similar, if not more dire, state and he joins him on this journey.


Elements of this film are uncomfortable to watch as he travels across America scolding people for not eating enough vegetables, basically. And blaming them for being fat. I found that aspect quite unnecessary – noone is going to change the way they are just because you find them/yourself disgusting.


But Cross does drop a lot of weight, and quite quickly. As does his fellow journeyman. They inspire others to juice. And they claim to have more energy and zest for life. It was thought provoking enough that it got me thinking that I might pull out my juicer this week just to actually add some more micronutrients to my diet – but that’s all.

Verdict: Enjoyable if you like watching obese people drop weight (that’s totally a genre)


Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

I’ve been meaning to watch this ever since Rivers passed away. Yesterday, I finally felt ready to and as I watched her, I realised how much I still really miss her. I don’t necessarily get all of her sense of humour but I love her for her ballsy take on of the comedy genre and paving the way for female comics. She said a lot of things that were taboo for women to discuss. And she was somethin, that’s for sure. This doco follows a year in her life and you see how hard she worked and how hard she worked at being able to keep working. Rivers is a great contrast to the Real Housewives style of fame in that her work ethic is outstanding and watching her, you understand how she built herself into a business. I’m fascinated by the reality TV stars in that really stupid people can get really rich by marrying the right people and getting good divorce lawyers (but they don’t always manage to stay rich). By contrast, I love finding celebrities who are rich and successful for who they are – and interestingly, a few of them I have found through Celebrity Apprentice, Rivers being one of them.

Verdict: If you love Rivers, this is a must view.





Champagne and Socks Episode 26

Champagne and Socks Episode 26: Packing dilemmas


The crowdfunding project I refer to is – Defying Doomsday.


What did I say I would pack?


– fingerless gloves project


– hot air balloon quilt project


– Twelfth Planet Press scarf


– Rainbow bear blanket


Deadlines tea cosy (for The Blackmail Blend prelaunch):





Bit wonky but logo on tea cosy


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on




 





Current WIPs in focus


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on





Join my craft circle:

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Ravelry: girliejones and Champagne and Socks Craft Circle Group

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com







Champagne and Socks Episode 24

Episode 24: Wait, more stash acquisition?


Biggan Design


 





White for blanket borders. And Deadlines logo colours for a tea cosy?


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on




Space Cadet  





Mini skein club from Space Cadet


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on




 





One of a kinds from Space Cadet


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on





Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones and Champagne and Socks Craft Circle Group

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com





Champagne and Socks Episode 22

Episode 22: The Tulip Bulb Experiment Pt 2

The tulip bulbs “planted”


Tulip bulb experiment

Time lapse – top photo taken about 2 hours before the second


2-3 hours difference in photos

Update of the Starfish bulb


Bulb experiment

Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones and Champagne and Socks Craft Circle Group

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com

Listen to Episode 22 here


Champagne and Socks Episode 21

Episode 21: Bear’s Rainbow Blanket Update, Yarn Shopping Live and Tea Cosies


Biggan Design


Bear’s Rainbow Blanket


 


Current status. Running out of white

Current status. Running out of white


 


Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones and Champagne and Socks Craft Circle Group

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com




Listen to the podcast here


Galactic Suburbia Ep 119

I’m always forgetting to post the show notes to the latest episode of Galactic Suburbia here. I vow to do better!


Episode 119: 29 April 2015


In which there are fast cars, ancillary swords, Vote! Helsinki! t-shirts, feminist serial killer narratives and answer the all important question: was watching all of Lost worth it, Alisa?


Defying Doomsday funded!


Tiptree Award Philip K Dick:


Alex’s plan for Hugo reading.


Upcoming episode: being ok with being feminist. Request for links! Send us vids, articles, book titles etc. to recommend to teens.


Vote for Helsinki for Worldcon 2017!


What Culture Have we Consumed?


Tansy: Avengers: Age of Ultron, DC: Convergence, The Fall (Netflix Original)


Alisa: Reign, Lost


Alex: Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie; Incandescence, Greg Egan; Book of Strange New Things, Michael Faber; Fast&Furious 7; Avengers: Age of Ultron


Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!





Episode 20: Rainy days, barking dogs and native wisteria



Already nearly at the top

Already nearly at the top


New bamboo for wisteria

New bamboo for wisteria







Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones Group: Champagne and Socks Craft Circle

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www.champagneandsocks.com


Champagne and Socks Episode 19

Episode 19: Lace, knitting needle legacies and Bear’s Rainbow blanket


Bear’s Rainbow blanket from Purl Soho


Bear Rainbow project squares

Bear Rainbow project squares

Bear Rainbow project squares

Bear Rainbow project squares

Bear Rainbow project squares

Bear Rainbow project squares

Bear Rainbow project squares

Bear Rainbow project squares

Bear Rainbow project squares

Bear Rainbow project squares

Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones and Champagne and Socks Craft Circle Group

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com



Episode 18: Pots and Pops of Colour

Episode 18: Pots and Pops of Colour

Tidied up garden bed













 







Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones and Champagne and Socks Craft Circle Group

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com






Episode 14: Garden parties and updates

Episode 14: Garden parties and updates


Been off at science fiction conventions so just a quick update on a rainy day.


 






 






Episode 13: Castitonitis, Baby Sweater, Mini Skeins are go!


Loop – 15 Camden Passage, Islington

(The coffee shop I mention is – The Coffeeworks Project and was my best cup of coffee in London – 96-98 Islington High Street)


Fisherman’s Pullover from 60 Quick Baby Knits – I’m using Cascade 220 Superwash


Space Cadet Creations Mini Skeins Club


Space Cadet Creations Mini Skeins Pinterest



Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones, Champagne and Socks Group

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www.champagneandsocks.com




 







Feedback Friday March 20

Feedback Friday March 20


Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones, Champagne and Socks Group

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com






Episode 6: And there was lawn

Episode 6: And there was lawn


 





 






Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones and Champagne and Socks Group

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com


 






Feedback Friday for February 27

Feedback Friday episode:


Champagne and Socks Group on Ravelry


Building Blocks Project


Heidi’s Currently Creating


Space Cadet Creations – sign up for the newsletter on the front page (lower right hand corner)


Yarnbox


JAM – Just Add Moonshine – justaddmoonshine@gmail.com and @justaddmoon on Twitter


Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones and Champagne and Socks Group

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com


 


 






Episode 4: Up the Garden Path

Episode 4: Up the Garden Path


No lawn installation but a completed garden path!


 










 


Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones and the Group: Champagne and Socks

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com


 


 






Feedback Friday Episode


Thank you for your emails, comments, Tweets and pics.


I mention Elizabeth Gilbert appearing at the Perth Writer’s Festival. You can view her TED talks here:




Join my craft circle:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com






Episode 2: Introducing Project Cobra

Episode 2: Introducing Project Cobra – defeating the barren wasteland of sadness and despair


My garden plan by Landescapes


Before:

photo


photo(5)


New Patio


photo(6)


 


Getting Underway


 


 


photo(7)


 


Leftover bricks


photo 1


 


Path!


photo 2


photo 3



Champagne and Socks Podcast is a twice weekly podcast of all things craft – dropping Tuesdays and Thursdays. Join the craft circle and tell us what you’re working on this week.

Email me at champagneandsocks@gmail.com or find me on Twitter as @champagnesocks and find me on Ravelry as girliejones.


Finally, photos and links for this episode can be found in the shownotes at champagneandsocks.com





Episode 2: Introducing Project Cobra

Episode 2: Introducing Project Cobra – defeating the barren wasteland of sadness and despair


My garden plan by Landescapes


Before

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7248049376681853


Getting Under way


7248049376681968


New patio


7248049376681854


Leftover bricks


7248049376681872


Path!


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Download this episode (right click and save)





Episode 1: The Solstice Quilt, Part 1


The Solstice Quilt, Part 1


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Jinny Beyer’s Solstice Quilt Kit

Subscribe to her newsletter here – she often has sales, subscriber only offers and free patterns.

Jinny Beyer’s Block of the Month has moved to Craftsy in 2015.


You can view my finished blocks of the quilt on my Pinterest page.

Here’s the Beyer video of how to cut the mitre border strips without using maths!


And here is how I accidentally cut the outer border strip – yes, I was being careless and was cutting a fabric without completely unfolded it first.


596d307401c9c93d8ab4274fa3eb005a.jpg


Champagne and Socks Podcast is a twice weekly podcast of all things craft – dropping Tuesdays and Thursdays. Join the craft circle and tell us what you’re working on this week.

Email me at champagneandsocks@gmail.com or find me on Twitter as @champagnesocks and find me on Ravelry as girliejones.


Finally, photos and links for this episode can be found in the shownotes at champagneandsocks.com





Episode 0: Introduction

The Champagne and Socks Podcast is live.


Episode 0: Introduction


In which I introduce myself and the podcast. Champagne and Socks will be a twice-weekly podcast of approx 5 minute episodes about all things craft.


Find more information on my other projects here:


Galactic Suburbia

Twelfth Planet Press


Join my craft circle and send me feedback for Feedback Friday extra episodes:

Email: champagneandsocks@gmail.com

Ravelry: girliejones

Twitter: @champagnesocks or @krasnostein

www.champagneandsocks.com






Finished objects: Mug Hugs!

One of the first projects I had to finish off when I started working though my knitting WIPs were these mug hugs. I’d had the idea to make them for the end of year Galactic Suburbia Papyrus readers soon after we started our Patreon.


photo 1 photo 2


Listeners to Galactic Suburbia Podcast can support us through our Patreon page which we started late in 2014. The podcast is free to download for everyone but those who choose to can nominate a per podcast amount they’d like to contribute through Patreon. Basically offering a tip jar for those who wish we had one. We have several levels of perks and all the contributions go towards covering our running costs. We have some milestones which would enable us to grow the podcast (making regular spoilerific episodes a thing, voting on what those episodes will be about, maybe one day doing more live recordings) and the top level supporters get an actual paper fanzine – Galactic Suburbia Papyrus – in which we each write stuff and publish irregularly.


I knew I wanted to include something handmade for our end of year/new year packet. Just to show how much I appreciate the support for what we do. It blows my mind that people are willing to pay for each podcast – thank you to all our amazing patrons, at every level!


I made two separate patterns of mug hugs. And used very cherished leftovers from (mostly) my mini skeins I’ve been collecting all year. I didn’t really know what to do with the extra length after crocheting one granny square out of each mini skein but the yarn is too lovely to not save for something special. And I worked out, by the end of knitting these, how much fun it is to make a completely new colour way by mixing a bunch of colours. The ones with buttons ended up being knit double stranded with three stripes (of the double strands) at a time til I ran out of yarn and then subbed in a new double strand. That made the edges a bit rough, so I knit I-cord edging (I free formed that myself). And the buttons are from my precious button stash. The other three mug hugs were knit in the round. The patterns are in my Ravelry if you’re after those. I modified the striped ones knit in the round for the yarn I was using.


When I started, I only had to make 5 but by the time the end of the year came round that ballooned out to a wow of 8! And I’d like to think that they might be wrapped and keeping warm a nice cuppa, sitting next to some GS inspired cake, out there in the galactic suburbs during 2015.

Alex puts together the mail outs and she used her discretion for the colours and owners. It was lovely to see the pics on Instagram and Twitter this week as they finally got to where they were going.


 






Homemade flat white latte dot art


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on




Today’s drink: Latte dot art!

Today’s total word count: 1068

Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 25 579

Progress on: Year’s Best YA 2013, Garden Project (Operation Cobra) has commenced!!! backyard has been stripped off weed grass and is prepped for patio construction next week, bathroom cabinet culled and organised, pantry culled and tidied, handbag cleaned out. Baby meals and snacks cooked and baked and frozen in the oven.


Related blog posts:


Craft Space Organised

First Finished Object

Finished Object Scarf Gift

Finished Object Hoek Shawl





Finished Object: Hoek Shawl

Here is a recently finished object. It wasn’t the next thing finished in order for my Resolutions list because the next one cannot be spoken about yet!






Finished Hoek shawl


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on





 


The Hoek Shawl. Sigh. The Hoek Shawl. This is actually my second knitted Hoek Shawl – pattern by Stephen West. The pattern is a lovely one, complicated enough to keep you interested but straightforward enough so that you can relax and do something else at the same time. I actually cast on two at once, one for me using All for the Love of Yarn Luminosity in Fingering which came in a KnitCrate last year, and one for my sister in law in 4 colours of Blue Moon Fibre Arts sock yarn from a Winter Wonder grab bag I grabbed in Plum during some random sale.


Different yarns, different stickiness. The BMFA knitted up a dream and was a very quick knit. The All for Love Yarn was slippery on my wooden needles which made knitting fast a problem – every now and then I’d push the stitches up the needle and they’d slide off the end. Sometimes I could pick them up. Sometimes not. I ended up ripping or carefully tinking back several times before I ended up having to start over again because I lost my place or stitch count. I finished the second Hoek easily and sent it off to my SIL for her birthday. And then I just couldn’t face fighting with the slippery All for Love Yarn so it sat, WIP ing, in my stash for a while.


And then I was looking for something completely selfish to knit at Christmas. I’d been working to finish off all kinds of commitments and things in time for Christmas and wanted to spend Christmas Eve on the couch, with a nice hot chocolate, something nice on the TV and just knit quietly on something for me. And when Christmas Eve came around, I pulled out a project and it was a scarf! After I’d just finished that black scarf. And I thought, “Come on! MORE plain knitting? Hell no!” and pulled out the lace knitting to be a bit more complicated for a cozy night in. And then I just knit on it til it was done. And it took maybe a fortnight of solid knitting and it was done.






Shawl pics


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on





 


If I were to ever run into this problem again, I would switch to a different kind of needle that would play more nicely with the yarn (though you’d have to think wood would be the best option, which was what I was using).


I hate the colour. But after fighting so hard with this yarn, and the pattern, I feel like I conquered and tamed this beast of a project and I intend to wear it on my back as though I hunted and slayed the dragon. I’d mount its head on my wall if I could.


Here are some pics of it, anyhow.









Date night with my new wine delivery


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on







Today’s drink: Pinot Grigio – Boy Meets Girl

Today’s total word count: 3115

Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 25 511

Progress on: Garden project, shawl knitting, Phd writing, Phd data collation, work planning, email organisation, reading.


Related posts:


Craft Space Organised

First Finished Object

Finished Object Scarf Gift





Finished Object: Scarf Gift

photo 2


 


When we were in Sydney last June, I spotted a ball of yarn in Morris & Sons that I thought looked exactly like my brother-in-law and grabbed it to make him a scarf for Christmas. See that? That’s a 6 month lead time. Guess when I cast on for it? I really need to get better at pacing gift knitting.


I cast on at the beginning of December and managed to finish it a day or two in time for Christmas lunch. It’s a Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball – this yarn is so interesting. It’s balled in a way that you can see when the next colour change is coming. And none of the patterns were repeated so you didn’t quite know how it was going to knit up. It made for an interesting knit. This is a sock yarn and I knit it on 3.5mm needles. And my BIL was pleased with it, even if it came a year after he was in Paris (this would totally suit him in Paris).


I had a lot of fun taking pictures of this finished project – how do you make a scarf look interesting? I’m subscribed to a bunch of knitting/yarn related newsletters a) because, hello! and b) I think there are some really creatively presented newsletters and I’m always keen to learn stuff about marketing and promotion. One that I’m finding especially interesting is Space Cadet Creations – her yarn is just gorgeous. She has a very active and appealling Pinterest page where she pairs up patterns with her yarn. Additionally, she’s been doing a series of articles in her newsletter about how to take better photos for your Ravelry projects page. I’ve been trying out some of her ideas … :)


 


photo 3


Today’s drink: Mango and chilli black tea from Pine Tea and Coffee by way of Monstrositea (pic here)


Today’s total word count: 346


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 18 520


Progress on: Completed and passed mandatory uni online course by deadline, cast on Catkin, blocked finished shawl. Read Sex Criminals Vol 1


 


Yarn Stash Reduction related posts:


Craft Space Organised

First Finished Object





Adventures in Caffeine





Today's coffee cup from Five Senses


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on





In a very odd turn of events, I gave up instant coffee in December. It wasn’t really planned in advance. I think I might have thought about it fleetingly when I ran out of instant coffee the jar before and replaced it but this time round, I didn’t mention to C when the jar was close to empty (he does the grocery shopping) and I just put it in the bin when it was.


I made the decision to only drink fresh espressos because I’d noticed on days where I made espresso coffee at home, I enjoyed the cup more and I drank less coffee in the day overall. And I slept better at night.


Not an overly earth shattering discovery. One year after World Fantasy Convention (was it Ohio?), I gave up coffee for a year – Crohn’s flare up while away meant I drank none in the US so I came home detoxxed – and it was probably one of the most energising years in recent history for me. I felt great, I slept great and I woke up refreshed. I felt like a freaking Special K ad.

So, I know that caffeine doesn’t give you energy. It’s like any drug. You need to come back to it to make you feel half as good as you do without it but twice as bad as you would detoxxed from it.


But I *like* coffee. I love it. And I enjoy really good cups of coffee. In the last year, I’ve found that I’d rather come home and drink one of my own cups made from good beans and in the way I know I like it, than pay $4 for a dreadful one in a not great cafe somewhere. I’m coffee snubbing it up by buying better and better beans, upgraded my grinder, learning better techniques to draw the shot and heat the milk. And finding I can stand mediocre cups less and less. Life’s too short for bad coffee. Especially if I’m trying to stick to two cups a day.


Since I’m at home most days, I found myself mainlining instant coffee and not even noticing it. With a newborn, I was constantly making cups but not getting to finish them and I got used to just making new cups and having no idea how many I was drinking in a day. As I got to finish my hot cups more often, I just kept making cups, now in the habit, and when bored and so on. And I’d be wide awake til 2am and later every night. And feeling brain foggy for most of it.


Instant coffee is not a great thing to drink with Crohn’s disease. And it’s also not the best beverage in the world. I can’t say I even really notice it now it’s gone. I’m going to bed earlier at night and hopefully getting better sleep. And most importantly, I’m enjoying the cups of coffee that I am drinking in the day – only 2 (double shots) a day. And when I’m bored, I’m drinking the odd cup of tea. Which should help me to reduce my very large tea stash!


 


Today’s drink: Single Origin by Five Senses (pic above)


Today’s total word count: 580


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 18 174


Progress on: Took half of the uni online course I have to finish by 31st, completed Day 2 of the 20 Days to Organise your House.





First Finished Object!

I’m going to track all the things I complete this year (did you notice yet that I’m cheating and making 2015 13 months?) for easy reference. It’ll serve as a contradiction to the “I never get anything done/finished” mantra. Feeling productive, and being productive, it seems, are two different things.


Here is the very first finished knitted object – Izzie Cloche hat in Zen Gardens Serenity which was the first project for my KnitCrate subscription.


cloche


KnitCrate is a very cool knitting/crochet subscription service. You can sign up for about 6 or 7 different options. They used to have a baby crate when I signed up so I initially subscribed to the indie crate with add ons of the baby crate and the mini skeins (add ons allowed you to get the yarn and pattern for a second or third crate for a lower additional cost to your main subscription). Earlier this year they dropped the baby crate and I moved to an int/advanced crate but I hear they’ve since dropped the option of add ons (except maybe sock and mini skein). As well as the yarn and pattern, you also get a cool knitting extra (like a stitch counter or needles holder) and a sweets extra (cool things like hot chocolate or biscuits etc).


My deal with myself was that KnitCrate was not going to be a stashing exercise. I had to knit the projects as they came in and in that way, I would be knitting along with Deb, whom I’d coordinated to subscribe on the same bimonthly schedule.


I knitted this cloche at the same time as Deb and um, I totally just never actually sewed the button on so it could be considered “finished”, and, you know, worn. I’m not a hat person so after this photo, it went on the hat rack but hey, I might get to a World Fantasy Con again and need a hat. If you care about pattern details, I’m attempting to be better at keeping my Ravelry projects current – come find me there as “girliejones”.


It was a quick and easy knit. And I like the yarn and the finished project. I think I ended up with close to one full ball of yarn leftover that did get added to my stash.


And that’s one knitting WIP done and finished. May the tally roll.


Related posts: Craft Space Organised


Today’s drink: Santo Antonio Estates – Brazil by Five Senses


Today’s total word count: 0


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 17 594


Progress on: Completed knitting of Hoek Shawl, Entourage S5





Craft Space Organised!





Open doors


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on






In a nice case of multitasking I finally got round to organising my craft space.


In order to be able to do an inventory of what projects I have in progress (aka WIPs) and what projects I would like to get to or am excited about starting or having invested money in and completely forgotten about, I had to pull everything out and look at it.


GTD requires you to figure out the next action for every project you have on your radar. Without a next action you can’t actually progress something. And most of the time, when you don’t have a next action, it’s because you need to do some thinking around it, or some emotional development in relation to it. If you don’t have a next action and you aren’t planning on figuring out one, that project should not really be on your current projects list – you aren’t working on it, and you’re overloading your lists by having it there.


Getting reinvigorated with my GTD systems from the ground up, I decided to start with my craft projects (at some point I’ll move onto scarier things like thesis, and publishing). I started a new section in Omnifocus that is my current working space (at some point I’ll deal with all the other abandoned bits in that program) and I took inventory of everything in my craft life. I pulled out everything in my craft room, I fossicked for all the other stashed WIPs all round the house. Everything was accounted for and logged. And everything got a next action. If I didn’t want a next action for the project, I queried if I was really wanting to finish it. Sometimes the next action was – toss out, frog or unpick, – and those ones I did on the spot. A bunch of knitting projects that were stalled cause I hated how they were going got unpicked, the yarn restashed. Every other project got it’s own project bag and prepped to be grabbed to be worked on next.


And then I prioritised all my WIPs into what I will currently work on, what I will work on next (in an On Hold folder) and then Someday Maybe has projects I would like to start or would like to do. And the idea is, things On Hold get to be brought into WIPs one at a time as I finish one of the current active projects. Some of the current projects just needed buttons sewn on or ends finished up. Those went to the top of the pile and I already have some finished objects to blog about later. Here’s a screenshot of what the projects look like in Omnifocus:


Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 8.13.34 PM


A couple of shots of what some of these folders break down into:


Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 8.14.31 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 8.15.13 PM


Everything is dated 2014 for when it entered the system. New things that come in will get dated 2015 so that I can assess progress at the end of the year, assuming their is a constant number of projects but some turnover.


I really really enjoyed the process of GTDing the WIPs (ooh look at all those fancy abbreviations!). It helped me to see that putting something in On Hold is about being honest with myself about what I can realistically work on at the same time and what is splintering my attention too much. And that putting something On Hold til I have space is not forgetting about it, or not being committed to it, it’s time management. And I get to be excited about having space/time freed up by finishing something to grab a project from On Hold to work on. That excitement turns into a positive energy injection into finishing things that have become boring or tedious. I’m hoping this will help me when I face my scary study and work projects and next actions.


For my sewing projects, I located a bunch that just require me to buy batting so that I can baste and quilt the quilts. And a few that haven’t worked that I need to admit and just unpick. I also found that a few project kits I’d bought and put away as being too complicated for my skill level are now not so. I queued up a few and did things like cut templates and cut out all the pieces and pinned ready for sewing etc. And I located supplies that needed to be bought before I could proceed. And then I reorganised all my fun fat quarters and other fabric stash and put away all the rest of my supplies into a space that has already been proven to be much more fun to approach and work out of. It replaces a space that always required sorting through mess to find things, so progress was put off when locating the next supply was needed. The space was stressful because approaching it always called out it needed to be tidied or decisions made on abandoned things. I now have a craft cupboard that looks like this:






Top shelves – fat quarters on shelf 1 and WIPs on shelf 2


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on





On the top shelf, my most prized part of my fabric stash. I stood and ironed all my fat quarters, and other pieces, and then made mini bolts to wrap them (see tutorial here). So much nicer to look at and also to take out and then put back on the shelf. The second shelf has quilt WIPs. Those on the left are finished tops with their paired backing just waiting for batting etc. (Underneath them is another Jinny Beyer kit project waiting to be started.) The middle has current piecing quilt WIPs. And the jars are my sorted scraps.






Shelves 3 and 4


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on





More jars of my scraps sorted by colour. Ages ago I bought some books on scrap projects and sorted all my piles (bags) of random scraps from other projects in preparation for some scrap quilts I want to make (like Sunday Morning Quilts). I’ve since realised these scraps are likely best for string scrap quilts and the fabric that is the rest of my stash (which is elsewhere to this cupboard) might actually be considered scrap. Knitting supplies to the right on that shelf. And below more quilt WIPs, jars of scrap fabric, and supplies in the boxes.


Not shown is the bottom shelf which has a basket with a whole bunch of knitting WIPs in bags ready to go.


This means that now my craft space is a place I can work out of rather than avoid. C is always annoyed because I leave craft all over the place and it’s usually because I’ve got nowhere to base myself for crafting. I also leave everything out in order, as I was working on it, to be able to pick it up and work on it again later. That is turning out to be a fallacy. I’ve discovered that packing away my current project at the end of the day doesn’t mean I will forget I was working on it the next day. It does though mean that my living spaces are clear and uplifting, and that all the things I need are always back where I expect them when I go looking for them. And if the “away” place is organised, I can actually work out of that organised storage space rather than co opt another one. So I can put the next stage of say a quilting project (the next pieces after the ones I am piecing) away and then go and get them when I’m up to them. It’s life changing! So much so that this one small act has flowed over for me to the rest of my life where I’m trying to put things back where they belong as soon as I’m done with them. Turns out maintenance is much easier than tidying up from first principles. (Honestly, I used to be a very neat and organised person. I think you never notice the habits of that kind of a life til you end up in the other extreme and have no idea how to get back.)


Today’s drink: La Pastora, Natural Catuai by Five Senses


Today’s total word count: 1596


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 17 594


Progress on: More end of the year relaxing and knitting. Writing.





Craft Space Organised!





Open doors


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on






In a nice case of multitasking I finally got round to organising my craft space.


In order to be able to do an inventory of what projects I have in progress (aka WIPs) and what projects I would like to get to or am excited about starting or having invested money in and completely forgotten about, I had to pull everything out and look at it.


GTD requires you to figure out the next action for every project you have on your radar. Without a next action you can’t actually progress something. And most of the time, when you don’t have a next action, it’s because you need to do some thinking around it, or some emotional development in relation to it. If you don’t have a next action and you aren’t planning on figuring out one, that project should not really be on your current projects list – you aren’t working on it, and you’re overloading your lists by having it there.


Getting reinvigorated with my GTD systems from the ground up, I decided to start with my craft projects (at some point I’ll move onto scarier things like thesis, and publishing). I started a new section in Omnifocus that is my current working space (at some point I’ll deal with all the other abandoned bits in that program) and I took inventory of everything in my craft life. I pulled out everything in my craft room, I fossicked for all the other stashed WIPs all round the house. Everything was accounted for and logged. And everything got a next action. If I didn’t want a next action for the project, I queried if I was really wanting to finish it. Sometimes the next action was – toss out, frog or unpick, – and those ones I did on the spot. A bunch of knitting projects that were stalled cause I hated how they were going got unpicked, the yarn restashed. Every other project got it’s own project bag and prepped to be grabbed to be worked on next.


And then I prioritised all my WIPs into what I will currently work on, what I will work on next (in an On Hold folder) and then Someday Maybe has projects I would like to start or would like to do. And the idea is, things On Hold get to be brought into WIPs one at a time as I finish one of the current active projects. Some of the current projects just needed buttons sewn on or ends finished up. Those went to the top of the pile and I already have some finished objects to blog about later. Here’s a screenshot of what the projects look like in Omnifocus:


Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 8.13.34 PM


A couple of shots of what some of these folders break down into:


Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 8.14.31 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-27 at 8.15.13 PM


Everything is dated 2014 for when it entered the system. New things that come in will get dated 2015 so that I can assess progress at the end of the year, assuming their is a constant number of projects but some turnover.


I really really enjoyed the process of GTDing the WIPs (ooh look at all those fancy abbreviations!). It helped me to see that putting something in On Hold is about being honest with myself about what I can realistically work on at the same time and what is splintering my attention too much. And that putting something On Hold til I have space is not forgetting about it, or not being committed to it, it’s time management. And I get to be excited about having space/time freed up by finishing something to grab a project from On Hold to work on. That excitement turns into a positive energy injection into finishing things that have become boring or tedious. I’m hoping this will help me when I face my scary study and work projects and next actions.


For my sewing projects, I located a bunch that just require me to buy batting so that I can baste and quilt the quilts. And a few that haven’t worked that I need to admit and just unpick. I also found that a few project kits I’d bought and put away as being too complicated for my skill level are now not so. I queued up a few and did things like cut templates and cut out all the pieces and pinned ready for sewing etc. And I located supplies that needed to be bought before I could proceed. And then I reorganised all my fun fat quarters and other fabric stash and put away all the rest of my supplies into a space that has already been proven to be much more fun to approach and work out of. It replaces a space that always required sorting through mess to find things, so progress was put off when locating the next supply was needed. The space was stressful because approaching it always called out it needed to be tidied or decisions made on abandoned things. I now have a craft cupboard that looks like this:






Top shelves – fat quarters on shelf 1 and WIPs on shelf 2


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on





On the top shelf, my most prized part of my fabric stash. I stood and ironed all my fat quarters, and other pieces, and then made mini bolts to wrap them. So much nicer to look at and also to take out and then put back on the shelf. The second shelf has quilt WIPs. Those on the left are finished tops with their paired backing just waiting for batting etc. (Underneath them is another Jinny Beyer kit project waiting to be started.) The middle has current piecing quilt WIPs. And the jars are my sorted scraps.






Shelves 3 and 4


A photo posted by Alisa (@girliejonesadventures) on





More jars of my scraps sorted by colour. Ages ago I bought some books on scrap projects and sorted all my piles (bags) of random scraps from other projects in preparation for some scrap quilts I want to make. I’ve since realised these scraps are likely best for string scrap quilts and the fabric that is the rest of my stash (which is elsewhere to this cupboard) might actually be considered scrap. Knitting supplies to the right on that shelf. And below more quilt WIPs, jars of scrap fabric, and supplies in the boxes.


Not shown is the bottom shelf which has a basket with a whole bunch of knitting WIPs in bags ready to go.


This means that now my craft space is a place I can work out of rather than avoid. C is always annoyed because I leave craft all over the place and it’s usually because I’ve got nowhere to base myself for crafting. I also think that yo unwed everything out in order to be able to pick it up and work on it again later. That is turning out to be a fallacy. I’ve discovered that packing up all your things at the end of the day doesn’t mean you will forget you were working on it the next day. It does though mean that your living spaces are clear and uplifting, and that all the things you need are always back where you expect them when you go looking for them. And if the “away” place is organised, you can actually work out of that space rather than co opt another one. So I can put the next stage of say a quilting project (the next pieces after the ones I am piecing) away and then go and get them when I’m up to them. It’s life changing! So much so that this one small act has flown over for me to the rest of my life where I’m trying to put things back where they belong as soon as I’m done with them. Turns out maintenance is much easier than tidying up from first principles. (Honestly, I used to be a very neat and organised person. I think you never notice the habits of that kind of a life til you end up in the other extreme and have no idea how to get back.)


Today’s drink: La Pastora, Natural Catuai by Five Senses


Today’s total word count: 1596


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 17 594


Progress on: More end of the year relaxing and knitting. Writing.





The List 2015

Posting around here has stalled because of a particular post I’m writing. If you can’t go through, go around, yeah? So instead, here is the list of 2013 Resolutions that I’m going to be working off in 2015 (and 2015 started Dec 2014…)


Here’s the list I wrote in 2013:



  1. Learn to focus on the positive not the negative

  2. Lose 5-8kg

  3. Develop daily regimen

  4. Commence PhD

  5. Be regimented/routine for studying from home

  6. Get back into running

  7. Publish at least 3 12Ps

  8. Publish 2 novels and anthology

  9. Apply for every arts grant eligible for

  10. Do TSW Arts Project

  11. Grow TPP 20% on 2012

  12. Win at LSS 2013

  13. Read 20 books for fun

  14. Blog every day

  15. Get house to enjoyable living state

  16. Start greening backyard

  17. Cook more

  18. Reduce yarn stash

    1. Create my own sock of the month club

    2. Challenge myself as a knitter

    3. Knit a new jumper



  19. Reduce fabric stash

  20. Learn to use a sewing machine

  21. Reduce TBR queue

  22. Spend more time with those I love

  23. Get GTD to cruise control


 


I’m going to put 20 on hold to a Someday Maybe list.


Number 10 we did in 2013. And 7 and 8 I think we’ve kinda done in the last 2 years – I have the final Twelve Planet to deliver in 2015 and the bonus Thirteenth.


I’m actually kinda done with number 9. I’ve applied for a bunch of grants and I’m at a point where I believe that arts grants panels don’t want to fund SF/crime and I don’t think applications are a good use of my time, to be honest. I learned a lot in the process – we got incorporated and got our accounts audited. I have an accountant now who does our books and taxes each fin year. And we have budgets and marketing plans now for new books. But justifying why TPP is a press worthy of investing in? And writing 10 page reports on this and being told in the feedback at the end of the round that we needed to further justify that we are a press publishing titles of “literary worth” (direct quote)? It’s soul destroying.


2013 we did in fact grow sales by 20% – 28.12% actually. (Most of that came from ebooks – because backers of Kaleidoscope mostly backed at the ebook level, which was our strategy for that project. Larger print sales for Kaleidoscope came into the following year’s figures where print books sales outstripped ebooks, back to where our normal figures are.). The last several years our sales have grown around the 20-30% mark so setting that as a goal for 2015 seems quite reasonable.


So here’s how my to do list looks for 2015 aka New Years Resolutions.



  1. Focus on the positive not the negative

  2. Lose 5 kg

  3. Develop daily regimen

  4. Progress PhD

  5. Develop a weekly work/study routine

  6. Get back into running

  7. Practice yoga daily

  8. Deliver the final Twelve Planets! Woot!

  9. Deliver 2015 publishing schedule and develop 2016 schedule

  10. Run a successful crowdfunding campaign


  11. Grow TPP 20% on 2014

  12. Win at LSS 2015

  13. Blog every day

  14. Get house to enjoyable living state

  15. Complete backyard project

  16. Cook more

  17. Reduce yarn stash

    1. Create my own sock of the month club

    2. Challenge myself as a knitter

    3. Knit a new jumper



  18. Reduce fabric stash

  19. Reduce TBR queue

  20. Spend more time with those I love

  21. Get GTD to cruise control

  22. Reduce my tea stash!


These aren’t really auditable. How will I know if I’ve met them or not? Some I’ve rolled into each other and I’ve already started. With mt TBR queue, I have taken pics of the first wave (aka the post Wall of Shame Part 1) and am working on reading through all my nongenre books in the TBR first. This way I am demarcating work and leisure time. Once upon a time I used to read SF novels for fun. I want to get back to that place. So far, I’m back to reading a novel a week and I’m pretty happy with that. If I read 50 books in the next year I would be pleased with that. I’m also hoping I will knock out books I’m not enjoying so that I weed out the queue as well as work through it.


I’ve set up a section in OmniFocus for my sewing and my knitting projects. I might be more nerdy about the GTD side of that elsewhere but here I’ll say that I’m tracking what I actually finish and I’m only allowing a certain number of project to be “active” and worked on at anyone time. I’m also trying to finish off WIPs before starting new ones. If I can keep control of buying new yarn and fabrics in the year ahead and continue to stay the course on WIPs, I should meet the reduce stash goals, which will also meet the unstated “finish things I’ve started” one. I’ll post finished pieces as I go and do some kind of reconciling post at the end of 2015. Same goes for the house and the garden projects. These as well as a couple of others, fold into 20, Get GTD to cruise control. And some others require buy in from both me and C – eg the lose weight goal, we already follow the 12WBT program but I need to buy in properly to eating the meals each day. And the running goal will fold into that and the 12wbt whilst also picking up something I genuinely love at the same time.


The goals above are some of the things I want to do and are an attempt to capture something to tick off for a feeling or direction about the kind of life I want to live. They aren’t all, I guess, is what I mean. And they don’t fully capture it either. For example, reducing my stash is really about feeling like I am an active crafter who crafts with purpose and finishes projects. Reducing my TBR is about saying I’m not a book collector but a reader and finding a way to bring being a reader back into my daily life practice.


I’m going to think about what these goals really represent and what they should have been written as over the year and tinker with them for 2016. But they will do, for now.


hoek and coffee

Today’s drink: La Pastora, Natural Catuai by Five Senses


Today’s total word count: 1599


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 15 998


Progress on: Relaxing end of year down time (knitting Hoek shawl and watching Entourage Box Set)





The List 2015

Posting around here has stalled because of a particular post I’m writing. If you can’t go through, go around, yeah? So instead, here is the list of 2013 Resolutions that I’m going to be working off in 2015 (and 2015 started Dec 2014…)


Here’s the list I wrote in 2013:



  1. Learn to focus on the positive not the negative

  2. Lose 5-8kg

  3. Develop daily regimen

  4. Commence PhD

  5. Be regimented/routine for studying from home

  6. Get back into running

  7. Publish at least 3 12Ps

  8. Publish 2 novels and anthology

  9. Apply for every arts grant eligible for

  10. Do TSW Arts Project

  11. Grow TPP 20% on 2012

  12. Win at LSS 2013

  13. Read 20 books for fun

  14. Blog every day

  15. Get house to enjoyable living state

  16. Start greening backyard

  17. Cook more

  18. Reduce yarn stash

    1. Create my own sock of the month club

    2. Challenge myself as a knitter

    3. Knit a new jumper



  19. Reduce fabric stash

  20. Learn to use a sewing machine

  21. Reduce TBR queue

  22. Spend more time with those I love

  23. Get GTD to cruise control


 


I’m going to put 20 on hold to a Someday Maybe list.


Number 10 we did in 2013. And 7 and 8 I think we’ve kinda done in the last 2 years – I have the final Twelve Planet to deliver in 2015 and the bonus Thirteenth.


I’m actually kinda done with number 9. I’ve applied for a bunch of grants and I’m at a point where I believe that arts grants panels don’t want to fund SF/crime and I don’t think applications are a good use of my time, to be honest. I learned a lot in the process – we got incorporated and got our accounts audited. I have an accountant now who does our books and taxes each fin year. And we have budgets and marketing plans now for new books. But justifying why TPP is a press worthy of investing in? And writing 10 page reports on this and being told in the feedback at the end of the round that we needed to further justify that we are a press publishing titles of “literary worth” (direct quote)? It’s soul destroying.


2013 we did in fact grow sales by 20% – 28.12% actually. (Most of that came from ebooks – because backers of Kaleidoscope mostly backed at the ebook level, which was our strategy for that project. Larger print sales for Kaleidoscope came into the following year’s figures where print books sales outstripped ebooks, back to where our normal figures are.). The last several years our sales have grown around the 20-30% mark so setting that as a goal for 2015 seems quite reasonable.


So here’s how my to do list looks for 2015 aka New Years Resolutions.



  1. Focus on the positive not the negative

  2. Lose 5 kg

  3. Develop daily regimen

  4. Progress PhD

  5. Develop a weekly work/study routine

  6. Get back into running

  7. Practice yoga daily

  8. Deliver the final Twelve Planets! Woot!

  9. Deliver 2015 publishing schedule and develop 2016 schedule

  10. Run a successful crowdfunding campaign


  11. Grow TPP 20% on 2014

  12. Win at LSS 2015

  13. Blog every day

  14. Get house to enjoyable living state

  15. Complete backyard project

  16. Cook more

  17. Reduce yarn stash

    1. Create my own sock of the month club

    2. Challenge myself as a knitter

    3. Knit a new jumper



  18. Reduce fabric stash

  19. Reduce TBR queue

  20. Spend more time with those I love

  21. Get GTD to cruise control

  22. Reduce my tea stash!


These aren’t really auditable. How will I know if I’ve met them or not? Some I’ve rolled into each other and I’ve already started. With mt TBR queue, I have taken pics of the first wave (aka the post Wall of Shame Part 1) and am working on reading through all my nongenre books in the TBR first. This way I am demarcating work and leisure time. Once upon a time I used to read SF novels for fun. I want to get back to that place. So far, I’m back to reading a novel a week and I’m pretty happy with that. If I read 50 books in the next year I would be pleased with that. I’m also hoping I will knock out books I’m not enjoying so that I weed out the queue as well as work through it.


I’ve set up a section in OmniFocus for my sewing and my knitting projects. I might be more nerdy about the GTD side of that elsewhere but here I’ll say that I’m tracking what I actually finish and I’m only allowing a certain number of project to be “active” and worked on at anyone time. I’m also trying to finish off WIPs before starting new ones. If I can keep control of buying new yarn and fabrics in the year ahead and continue to stay the course on WIPs, I should meet the reduce stash goals, which will also meet the unstated “finish things I’ve started” one. I’ll post finished pieces as I go and do some kind of reconciling post at the end of 2015. Same goes for the house and the garden projects. These as well as a couple of others, fold into 20, Get GTD to cruise control. And some others require buy in from both me and C – eg the lose weight goal, we already follow the 12WBT program but I need to buy in properly to eating the meals each day. And the running goal will fold into that and the 12wbt whilst also picking up something I genuinely love at the same time.


The goals above are some of the things I want to do and are an attempt to capture something to tick off for a feeling or direction about the kind of life I want to live. They aren’t all, I guess, is what I mean. And they don’t fully capture it either. For example, reducing my stash is really about feeling like I am an active crafter who crafts with purpose and finishes projects. Reducing my TBR is about saying I’m not a book collector but a reader and finding a way to bring being a reader back into my daily life practice.


I’m going to think about what these goals really represent and what they should have been written as over the year and tinker with them for 2016. But they will do, for now.


hoek and coffee

Today’s drink: La Pastora, Natural Catuai by Five Senses


   Today’s total word count: 1599


   Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 15 998


   Progress on: Relaxing end of year down time (knitting Hoek shawl and watching Entourage Box Set)





On changing one big thing

A few Saturdays ago now (how does time do that? Seriously, I blink and suddenly it’s December and my baby is kinda walking), I spent a night alone in a hotel. To relax. And spend time aloooone. It was very surreal – I had lunch in the city with friends and we tried out a new high tea place. It was fine. The highlight was catching up with them for two+ hours and hearing how everyone was doing. And getting lots of tips and recs for things! After tea, I headed off to my hotel to hang out by myself. It was odd. I popped out once to grab coffee and a muffin (Perth CBD is not really awesome if you want coffee at 3.15 FYI) and a second time to grab dinner (9Marys – the eggplant curry was delish). But otherwise, I holed up in my room.


It was the very first night I’ve spent apart from the baby. Ever. I packed five different craft projects. And downloaded latest episodes of several of my favourite podcasts. I made sure I had work and reading on my laptop. I settled in for Me Time. And I had a really great time. It’s been ages since I could catch up on podcasts and I finally got to listen to the final episode of my all time favourite Cast On by Brenda Dayne. It’s a knitting podcast and my example of one of the best ways to priduce a single host podcast. It’s been nine years now, and Brenda feels her project is complete and it’s time to move on to others. It was a really sad podcast for me, what will I do without the dulcet tones of Brenda Dayne to soothe in my hardest of days? I’ve listened to her to quell panic attacks in LAX and on public transport during my hardest of anxiety days back in the very dark early 2000s. She’s made hours and hours of my long commutes not only bearable, but fun. I’ve listened to her regale Today’s Sweater and traditional dyeing and spinning methods in Wales and her gardening escapades. Who will tell me now that if it’s cold, I should put on a sweater, that’s what their for??? I admit I shed a tear or two. I shall miss her dearly. I spent the hour or so sewing on a new project I dug out during my craft room clear out and declutter. More on that hopefully soon!


After the final ever episode of Cast On. I listened to the first, or close to first, episode of new podcast I found on GTD – GTD Virtual Study Group. I’ve listened to probably all or at least most of the podcasts available on David Allen’s website (and have a membership to Connect because I am deeply deeply embedded within the cult) and I just wanted something new/more. This podcast is a recorded group phone call and it looks like different members take turns presenting the session. The first episode of is titled “Tackling Immunity to Change” and I liked the sound of it because maybe that’s what my problem is in not getting any of my 2013 To Do List done. Well, maybe that’s what part of the problem is? Obviously the other part was that they weren’t written as achievable goals that lent themselves to easily broken down parts for action.


This episode drew on two books that basically address why you have a stumbling block to achieving change. the presenter asked you to pick just one Big Thing you want to work on about yourself. Then she talked you through the process of breaking down why it is that you aren’t whatever the opposite is – so, say you picked “Be a better listener”, then why aren’t you a good listener? I picked wanting to be better at GTD, or having GTD at cruise control, mostly because, well, why am I listening to this podcast otherwise?


The process involved soul searching to figure out what it was that you most fear about doing the thing that you are resisting (ie want to change) and what would be the Dire Consequence if that thing you feared happened. This was such an interesting process. As I worked through it, I uncovered that I think my worst fear is of missing an idea. Or missing a great idea. So in the case of my GTD practice, for “stuff” that is yet unprocessed – undealt with emails, items in my in tray, jobs left to start, even – there is still the possibility of my not missing a hidden idea. Once I’ve done the capturing process I could have missed something and lost it forever. That is my fear. And I guess extrapolating from that, doing something, or choosing a path, automatically cancels out the other option/s. And what if they were better/right/correct? Drilling down into that to find the Dire Consequence, I think, that’s missing or wasting an opportunity, or a chance to do something or making an irretrievable mistake. Or that the idea will be too hard for me to nut out how to solve/execute it.


What you then were required to do is to point out to yourself, in your daily life going forward, every time this Dire Consequence is proved false, that it’s a false consequence. So, for example, if your fear is that asking for help will make you look weak or stupid, notice how many times after you ask for help, people are willing or actually want to help you and how they don’t think you are stupid. In my case, I began to process my “stuff” and as I moved further through my in tray, I discovered that actually I come up with the same idea several times. I’ll leave myself the same idea on different pieces of paper or I’ll write very similar notes/conclusions about thoughts (I’ll wrote the exact same Resolutions To Do List two years apart). That actually, I step through the same thought process more than one time. Meaning, it’s ok if I miss an idea. I’ll probably catch it the next time through i.e. FILE that piece of paper as reference, trust I captured all I needed to from it for my Actions To Do List and MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE. The standing paralysed by fear of missing anything is self fulfilling. If I don’t do anything about something, I will definitely miss/waste the opportunity. Something only done 80% as well as I think I can do it is better than not at all (and still an A+). And funnily enough, I often say that sometimes there is no right or wrong decision or choice, you just choose one and move forward. My own rhetoric proves the false consequence.


It was a very interesting hour, in any case. I’m still not at GTD cruise control and in fact all my lists I was making at the time are currently sitting in my in tray waiting for processing. But this idea of missing/wasting has been an interesting one to dissect. I think it’s why I read so slowly so I’ve been challenging myself to let go the idea that I need to memorise books as I read them. That it’s okay if I miss some vague description or a bit of the subplot or whatever. And I’ve been trying to put things away after I finish working with them for the day – be that PhD materials or craft supplies – because I don’t need to leave things out to remind myself I am working on them. The False Dire Consequence is that I will forget what I was working on and never come back and finish it. But actually, an ordered life where everything is where you need to find it when you go looking makes for a much happier and productive life. Who knew??


I think the same reason is why I fear the weekly review. That doing a review of all my projects and what I need to do next on them draws a line under them and I might miss things. Or it requires you to trawl through reference material for projects and with the fear of missing something I think this means doing it from first principles every week. Or if I don’t do it this thoroughly every time, that I might be missing ideas. Or that these will be the only ideas I ever have. Well, that and that it would take all day because I have so many projects going that I like to believe I am currently working on. I’ll work on that later.


Not long after doing this podcast workshop, I was in my counselling session and we were talking through why I try to do so many things. I had also recently listened to another episode of the same podcast where Leo Babauta (The Zen Habits guy) had been talking about how you should just pick the 5 things most important to you in life and work on those and anything that didn’t make that list you should quietly ease out of your life because they aren’t a priority. This gave me quite a panic because my list is probably 50 things and they are all a priority! So my counsellor was all “let’s unpack that” and we discussed why I feel such an urgency to do so many things. And really all I could keep coming back to is that I don’t/can’t waste time and I have a fear of wasting time and I have so much that I want to get done.


I think in part, a characteristic I have long worked on is “to strive to be better” but the thing about striving for something is that you never get there – which makes sense when you want to be sure you push yourself to achieve beyond what you believe you can do or to contribute to improve, be better, be more than. All good things. But the problem is, that means you never achieve, or you never feel happy when you achieve. And it falls into the “you can never be too rich or too thin” etc. Can you ever be happy? Can you ever feel that you deserve to enjoy your wins?


All open ended thoughts because I didn’t come to any real conclusions in that session other than maybe I am in a bit of an existential crisis of sorts. Questioning what my personal meaning of life is. But at least the conclusions I have taken away so far are not to be afraid of missing ideas. I have plenty and sometimes the same ones over and over :) It’s okay to let them go. And that’s something. I guess?


firstcoffeeToday’s drink: San Guillermo Costa Rica by Five Senses


Today’s total word count: 2184


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 13 387


Progress on: writing, running, knitting projects





Fun stuff!

Here are a couple of great vids I’ve enjoyed this week:


I met Books and Pieces at Loncon and she’s as lovely and funny in real person as she is in her Youtube vids. Here she talks about her November reads and her December TBR and she is hilarious. Also I like to note that Kaleidoscope is sitting rather closely nuzzled to Ancillary Sword there.


 


Hey! Felicia Day has an anounccccceeemennnnt:


 



 


I quite enjoyed a short vid of this interview of Oprah Winfrey at Stanford that I came across so I watched the whole hour. It’s not new material if you’ve watched a lot of recent Winfrey production but I still like to hear a lot of her thoughts over and over.


 


And hey! Did you hear that we released a new book title at Twelfth Planet Press yesterday? You didn’t?! Well! Let me tell you! The eleventh volume of the Twelve Planets (you see how close were are now? Do you see it??? Sooooo clooooose) The Female Factory by Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter arrived in print form at my house yesterday:


photo(215)


Every every every time I open a box of a new title, Amanda blows me away by how much prettier her book covers are in person than the images I’ve been peering over on screen, and I always love those to start with. We did it! We made another book in 2014! (Yes, my husband made me award myself a gold star for that.) And this one is fab! We’re offering the ebook add on for every print book purchase in December 2014. And thanks to Charles Tan, we were able to publish the ebook on the same day as the print for this one! So everyone who had already preordered the book (should have) got the ebook emailed to them last night. (Email me if you didn’t get yours. For those who had prepaid for the ebook as well, we’re offering any other ebook in our catalogue in exchange – email me if you didn’t get the email to organise that!) It’s a book bonanza!! Wheee!!!

tea


Today’s drink: Chuang Hong “river red” Black Tea from Monstrositea


Today’s total word count: 758


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 11 203


Progress on:  Bit of intray management, writing and prep for some upcoming blog posts, finished my knitting stash audit for To Do List 2015 Project





False Start but Strong Finish

I have a bunch of half written posts here which is leading to a lot of posting procrastination. I’ll just pop those over to the side though. It’s 10pm and I’m being a bit naughty. I’m hanging on the couch. The house is asleep. I’m watching terrible television and crafting guiltfree.


I had a mixed bag of a day. Today was supposed to be step 1, first day of getting my garden project underway. The bobcat was to arrive and dig out the top layer of sand/couch in my backyard and take it all away so I could start from scratch etc. And then a landscaper was possibly dropping in to give me a quote on some planned works. Well, the bobcat and two big trucks did arrive. And after a short briefing, they set off to work, pulling off my side gate for access before deciding to check the tip fees for my waste. Yes well. I’m very grateful that they did since apparently the disposal of the mixed waste of sand and grass is a heinous crime the punishment of which is exorbitant tip fees. Like almost my whole project budget. So. My backyard did not have the ground works break. And I did not spend the day project managing (I wanted them to dig in soil improver and clay, build a mound for part of the interest features we are creating, and take out some trees and my hills hoist washing line). Meanwhile, I’d not managed to coordinate my enormous volume of mulch to be delivered in time anyway.


I decided instead to go to mummy’s group. Which was a nice place to hang, especially with a bit of a ratty and bored almost-toddler. My crew do make me laugh. But I would have baked J a birthday cake if I’d known I would have been going. Or a batch of brownies – we’re doing an experiment to see how many weeks in a row I can bring the brownies before they get tired of them. (No signs yet.)


I’m pretty keen to get this project started though. I can not stand my barren wasteland backyard anymore. It’s glaring and sandy and sunny with no shade or any nice places to just sit and hang. No space for babies to go out and play. Not really anything interesting for the dogs. And I really wanted to have this done for the summer break – with C home on leave, I thought it would be a nice space to have to relax. Not gonna happen so I have to suck it up for now.


The landscaper guy didn’t turn up today either. Maybe tomorrow.


But! All was not lost! When I got home from mummy’s group, I did a double take when I realised the boxes piled at my front door were in fact The Female Factory! The printer had said delivery by Dec 12 but I was a bit skeptical, I admit. But there they were! We published a book! And they are beautiful, always prettier than the jpg file, I find. So that was exciting! And just as I was rolling out all the ebook preorders today as well. So at least I know that tomorrow I’m doing envelope addressing! We made another book this year! Yay! I get a gold star!


And now? I dunno. Now I think I’m just admitting today was a bit subpar and I’m gonna catch up on some TV and just let it go.


 



Today’s drink: New coffee beans because I already drank the ones that came last week – pic here


Today’s total word count: 565


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 10 445


Progress on:  Finished second knitting project for the year (2015 To Do List), Published The Female Factory (print and ebook), started on Garden Project 2015 (I guess)



 





Galactic Suburbia Ep112

Shownotes


In which we help you with your (possibly last minute) Christmas shopping with a ton of our favourite recommendations from the year, plus culture consumed.


Don’t forget to send us your recommendations for the GS Award: for activism and/or communication that advances the feminist conversation in the field of speculative fiction


Christmas gift suggestions!!




  Alex: Orphan Black. Abhorsen trilogy (plus prequel), Garth Nix. Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Angela Slatter. Hav, Jan Morris. Rupetta, Nike Sulway.

  Tansy: Ms Marvel Vol 1: No Normal, G.Willow Wilson; Teen Titans Go; Dimetrodon, The Doubleclicks; The Musketeers (BBC 2014); Sex Criminals, Matt Fraction





  What Culture Have we Consumed?

  Alisa: Scrivener; Monstrous Affections edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant; Champagne and Socks (Alisa’s personal blog)

  Alex: The Slow Regard of Silent Things, Patrick Rothfuss; Troll: A Love Story, Joanne Sinisalo; Uncanny #1; finished Project Bond.

  Tansy: Young Avengers 2: Family Matters; Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways; Young Avengers Presents, The West Wing, Chicks Dig Gaming, Jennifer Brozek & Robert Smith?


 Have a great summer… even if it’s winter where you live.


 Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!



Today’s drink: Ice cold water with a splash of lime – pic here


Today’s total word count: 1510


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 9860


Progress on:  Craft room; finished a knitted hat; baby taking more first steps; decluttered front room; Week 2, Day 1 of C25K






The Female Factory on Tor.com

Thursday, Tor.com featured an excerpt from Lisa Hannett and Angela Slatter’s story “Vox” from their forthcoming collection The Female Factory. You can read the teaser here.


I’m getting pretty excited to see this volume of The Twelve Planets in print. I’ve signed off on the printer’s proofs and am expecting the books to arrive next week some time. I’m sure it will be Wednesday as that is the least convenient day for me to be getting a delivery. We’ve got a few more things happening head of the release date. Can’t wait to share!


 


—–


 


 


I got lost in what words I’d written when this week and couldn’t do my tallies. This one is just the tallies to this morning (aka up til yesterday) so that I can keep track and moving forward.



Today’s drink: New coffee blend – Rose Street


Today’s total word count: 5042


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 8350


Progress on: Baked breakfast muffins for next week and a zucchini slice for the baby; almost completed the craft WIP audit for 2015; soil improver delivered (Garden Project).


 


 





Grey skies

Rough counselling session yesterday. Rough in the sense that there were more questions than answers, more work to be done. Maybe that’s not so different to usual but it’s the first time in a very long  while (maybe since I first started seeing her) that my next appointment is in two weeks and not a month. And worse, it’s possible what I’m having is an existential crisis – what is the point of life? Etc. And I’m guessing that’s not a quick fix.


I have no idea why this post is so hard to write. I’ve been working on it all week. Balance is a weird thing. Or maybe it’s not weird at all. Maybe it’s a completely fictional concept. Something to strive for but to be okay about never actually getting. That’s what Elizabeth Gilbert thinks – that it’s just another bullshit way to make women feel bad about themselves – and I kinda think she’s onto something with that. That’d be because I’ve been feeling bad about myself lately. I spent all last week down, and pretty frustrated, at me, at things, at the lack of time in a week. People say “but hey you had a BABY last year” and that’s true, I did. And they say “don’t worry [about your laundry, the state of your house, what you eat, what you look like etc etc]” but they don’t really mean that, do they? They still judge you, your house, why you haven’t done whatever it is they think is the thing you should have already done by now.


I’ve been frustrated. Frustrated that I don’t have enough time and that I won’t ave enough time in the year to come to get everything I want to get done done. Sure the obvious response to that is “move your deadlines” but the problem is that I don’t want to. I also don’t want to deprioritise anything. Frustrated that my brain feels like it doesn’t work the way it used to.


I work after the baby goes to sleep for the night. If she goes down at 6pm, I can get maybe 6 hours straight of working done. I have Skype meetings with coeditors in this time. I do my work and my research. And really, 6 hours is a pretty good chunk of time. Sure I might be trying to squeeze some me time in then too but what am I? Greedy? The problem is that I still have a pretty severe case of baby brain. I still have gaps in my vocabulary and my brain still doesn’t work as sharply. It *feels* like it doesn’t work as fast, but maybe that’s just that I have less actual time in the day and I’m still expecting the same output (or the same output plus 20%). But last week. Oh last week. Everything I touched after 9.30pm, I broke. And I mean really broke. I ended up screwing a book up so badly it had to be remade 3 times. I had tided my craft cupboard into one worthy of a pic on any self-respecting Pinterest board and in one rash decision to resize the shelving spaces, the entire contents ended up in a Hoarders Buried Alive mountain on the floor in front of it due to a horrible miscalculation of structural integrity. There might have been tears.


Meh. Things got dire. I’m pretty down on my myself, on everything I’m trying to get done, on all the things on my to do list that even a year won’t be enough time to do. On all the things I’m not getting done. On the state of my house, my studies, my press, my unfinished craft. You name it, I suck at it. And how. My lovely husband booked me a night away in a hotel. I suspect I was getting a tad stressful to be around. It was a nice moment to try and short circuit my downwards spiral.


I’m not in a great headspace. And I can see where this all leads and I can tell you that I ain’t sliding back into the abyss. I’ve got me a pretty overstuffed bag of tricks here to fight back with. The abyss might be waving at me but I’m flipping it the bird. Last week I skipped all social activities and that was bullshit. This week I’ve done better at that and gone to mothers’ group and hung out with people who get a lot of this.


On Monday, I woke up and decided to start running again. It’s so weird how you can just not feel like doing something like running for two years and then suddenly change your mind. I’ve been trying to do (any) one of the 12WBT workouts for weeks now and just can’t find myself enthused. Michelle Bridges even has a learn to run program but I’ve never had much success following it. I decided to return to the Couch to 5k program because I’ve done it before and kinda loved it. Plus I already had the app on my phone. And OMG it felt great. I live about 1km from the ocean so I had this delicious breeze which just smelt and tasted revitalising. My tunes (I went for the Pitch Perfect soundtrack) reminded me how much I love music. And as I threw myself into that first run, which wasn’t too bad at all, I remembered that this is exactly the way to fend off frustration and depression.


I’ve made some progress this week. I finally managed to get my grand garden project off the ground. I’ve taken my before photos and today the first delivery of soil improver has been dumped on my front lawn ready for next week. Step 1 will happen and from there, step 2, hopefully, to get some lawn in. I’ve nearly finished organising my craft cupboard and started work on my 2015 to do list (as in how to tackle some of it). I started running. I’ve cut down on the coffee I’ve been drinking and increased drinking water. I sent a book to Print. I’ve worked on ebooks and other books in progress. I had a great meeting with my Phd Supe. I’ve taken some podcast workshops and set other things up. Progress has happened. I’m still not in a great headspace but I can see a way forward, at least. I’m not going down without a fight.





New book title

Last night saw the publication of our fifth title for the year, and the first of our new Classics Reprint line – an ebook reprint of Rosaleen Love’s The Total Devotion Machine and Other Stories. A collection that was published by the Women’s Press in 1989. I’ve been coming across Love’s work as I do data entry into my database for my PhD research into the overview picture of Australian small press over time. The very early anthologies (in the 70s and 80s) didn’t really include very many women within them but Rosaleen Love was a name that often appeared. I’ve also heard a lot of people mention her as one of the greats in our field and I was there – I think it was Natcon in Adelaide? – when she was awarded the Chandler award for her lifetime achievement in Australian science fiction. Having worked with her on her volume for the Twelve Planets, Secret Lives of Books – which is just so witty, and sharp and feminist – I just had to get my hands on more of her fiction. I was lucky enough to snag a paperback copy of The Total Devotion Machine and Other Stories via Phill Berrie’s ebay store but I haven’t managed to get a copy of Evolution Annie yet.


ReprintCovers-TDM


It just seemed like Love’s work should be more widely and readily available. I approached her about doing an ebook version of them and she was happy to hand the task over. She’d been looking into it herself but only had hard copies of her work. And the job seemed insurmountable. Not so for us because of lovely people who help out at Twelfth Planet Press. David McDonald kindly scanned her books and then Elizabeth Disney took a fine tooth comb through the converted files – no easy task, there was lots of garble (if you’re looking for a proofer, she is without a doubt outstanding, and for hire! ) to come up with cleaner manuscripts which Rosaleen then went through to do a final proof. Rosaleen also wrote a new introduction for The Total Devotion Machine and Other Stories which is really cool, I think, to be able to come back to a work 25 years later and add new perspective.


I’m so glad I got to work on this book – I did the final final line edits and got to enjoy these stories from the ground. She’s just such a strong and unique science fiction voice in the Australian field. I’m also so happy she agreed to write new stories for the Twelve Planets. We’re still working through a similar process for her second collection Evolution Annie. And when we’ve got that out, we’re teaming up with Aqueduct Press who have Love’s third collection, The Traveling Tide, in print, to offer the ultimate Rosaleen Love bundle of all four of her collections in ebook. (Early adoptions can get an upgrade to the bundle once it’s out.)


If I had to pick a favourite story in The Total Devotion Machine and Other Stories, and it would be very hard, I think it might be  “The Tea Room Tapes” which opens:


In every department up and down the country there is a crisis. It’s a scandal, and the cover-up is even worse. People don’t want it known, their inability to run a tea club. Or else others might start to wonder at their ability to run the country.


It all started the day the tea lady didn’t turn up with the morning tea. There have been some cutbacks, amalgamations and rationalisations round here lately. Or redundancies, sackings, lay-offs and push-outs. But when the tea lady goes, that’s serious. Any one of us could be next.


No tea! No biscuits! Farewell to morning coffee! No warmth, no comfort! End of civilisation as we know it!


‘No work!’ said the juniors, mutinous.


‘No pay,’ said Mr Humphries, the boss.


‘Oh, all right,’ said the juniors, easily browbeaten, returning empty and forlorn to their keyboards.


The next stage was the


MEMO: Meeting.


SUBJECT: Tea crisis.


ATTENDANCE: One, the secretary Cathy, and she said she was only there to take the minutes. No one else came. They knew they’d be dobbed in to organise a roster, so they all stayed away. With the very best excuses.


So, there’s nothing else for it but


ACTION: Ask Cathy to bring in milk each day on her way to work.


RESPONSE: No dice.


Dear Mr Blazer,


Re Terms and Conditions of Employment of Secretaries: Secretaries are no longer the lackeys of the bosses. They cannot and will not pop down to the corner shop on the whim of the management. Gee, Mr Blazer, sorry about this, but the boys in the union won’t let me.


From


Cathy


SOLUTION: BYO milk.


CONSEQUENCE: Rampant individualism on milk front.


Four weeks later, forty quarter-litre cardboard milk cartons in the fridge, with green furry things sprouting from them and a smell that underlines what’s rotten in yet another failure of departmental collective action.


Fridge a symbol of general decline of department under regime of cutbacks, lay-offs, sackings and redundancies. Entire department is composed of slime moulds and green furry things sprouting dusty antennae in vain attempt to keep ear well to ground whence rumours of cutbacks, lay-offs etc., spring.


 


Or maybe, “The Children Don’t Leave Home Any More”


The children don’t leave home any more. They stay on and expect to be loved, once they are well into the age of reason. They may make various attempts at escape, smiling and waving with joy the first time they take off, butterflies from the cocoon. Six months later back they come, bringing their live-in lovers and their dogs.


I wake in the morning and I find strange bodies on the floor of my house, people I have yet to meet over morning coffee. They lie curled up in sleeping bags or on the couch, back to the womb, my womb, though I cannot recollect I ever gave them birth. They are warm and comfortable, and sheltered, and my children’s friends.


I have friends, too, and my friend Jean thinks it is ridiculous. She tells me I am a doormat, a convenience and a dill. She never had children of her own, she says, because she saw what a trial they were to other people.


‘I rather like it,’ I tell her.


‘In my day, Marion,’ she replied, ‘if you wanted sex, you had to leave home for it, and that was that.’


‘Ah, the good old days!’


‘Next it’ll be grandchildren, and you’ll find yourself running a crèche.’


She may be right.


Or maybe  “Bat Mania”


Here are some of the characteristics of the old bat:


1   She must be female.


2   She must have lost her looks, even if she’s the last person to know.


3   She must still regard herself as a person with rights, as someone whose voice should be heard, whose part should be understood, whose virtues should be appreciated, whose merit should be noted.


4   She doesn’t know the time is past for such demands.


5   She doesn’t know she must sit still and not be any bother to anyone, or else they will scheme to get rid of her and replace her by a dolly bird of nineteen plus, but not too much past that magic age of shimmering tights and playful demeanour.


Or the stories that are very science based – I have such a similar background to Love with my science studies and I just love her stories set on or about the ocean. I’m such a fangirl of her work I may very well chase down her nonfiction books on reefscapes because I’m interested in that too!


In any case, I’m delighted to have been able to republish The Total Devotion Machine and Other Stories and I really hope other people enjoy it too. And I am so grateful to the help (and patience) of Amanda, Charles, David and Elizabeth who worked hard to bring this book to being too.


 


Today’s drink: Afternoon Tea from Monstrositea – pic here


Today’s total word count: 435


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 3308


Progress on: Published The Total Devotion Machine and Other Stories, further progress on organisation of the spare room, took baby to gymbaroo.


 





Where to start?

I don’t even know if there’s any point taking the mind map I did of goals I’d like to focus on for 2015 and turning it into a list. I think it might just be quicker to work off the 2013 one. Of the 25 items on that list, I can tick off “Commence PhD” but I guess trade it for something PhD related. I can cross off the “Through Splintered Walls Art Project” cause we did that one – thanks to Lee Battersby. A couple of others could be rolled into themselves and I might leave learning how to use a sewing machine for another year. But you know, that takes the 2013 list down to like 20.


I could sit here and feel crappy about myself or I could crack on. I’m of course going for the third option which is a feeling crappy about myself/cracking on combo. Looking at my to do list, with 2 more years of striving to practice GTD under my belt, I realise these are not goals. They’re *at best* vision statements. Maybe. They’re feelings in the direction of wanting to have achieved something with no real way of either doing or auditing the done. No wonder almost none of them got done. I’ve decided to spend the last month of the year (what? we’re not in December yet? Are you sure?) preparing to be able to be awesome in 2015 aka set myself up for success.


I picked one item on the list at random and am in the process of defining the “what” in order to be able to start some SMART goals and figure out the “how” or the “what next”? And then I’ll work through the rest one at a time. This’ll be fun, no?


First up, this great goal: “Reduce fabric stash”. I’m rewriting it to be “Finish quilting WIPs” and am also going to allow the starting of new projects as per below. So, first focus is to finish things that are started but also to work on projects I’ve been meaning to do. I like starting things, I like the thrill of the New Project. As it happens, I also like finishing things. So in theory, a nice balance between the two should be great. I’ve actually only ever finished one quilting project. I was thinking to myself the other day that it might be enthusing to have other projects I’ve finished about the house and in use to encourage me to push past the less fun jobs to finish projects?


The obvious question was, “What are my WIPs?” The answer to this question nicely dovetails into another MUCH BIGGER task elsewhere on this 2015 list and involved sorting out my craft room cupboard(s). This meant I had to be able to get into the damn room in the first place so some tidying up did happen there. And now I am in the process of pulling everything else, cataloguing/itemising it and defining it. Is it reference material? Tools? On a Someday Maybe list? My cross stitch WIPs got catalogued and put away. They aren’t a 2015 to do. Some nice clear borders have been erected. And in a post to come, I’ll have a lovely photo of my newly organised craft cupboard (it’s still in progress and I have to do my Knitting WIPs list first).


But here is the Quilting WIPs list, in three photos. I pulled out everything and stacked related things on my dining table. This was an interesting process in itself. I found myself thinking, “Wow, this isn’t as many projects as I thought.” So that was one obstacle overcome. And then I realised that that was a double edged obstacle – I thought it was more, so hadn’t tackled it, when I realised it was less, I worried what I would do if I finished all of these. Yes, I worry about being finished with things and having nothing to do. Seriously. I’ve even slowed down on the Solstice quilt because I can’t imagine what I will do when I’m not working on it anymore. So many years in therapy, so many more to go.


Here’s the final list:


Presentation1


 


That gives me at least a starting point to audit back to at the end of the year. I’m already further ahead than in 2012! At least now I’ll know if the number of to do items doesn’t change but the actual to do items does. And facing up to what this list actually looks like, not a small task, I’ve realised fabrics I like but currently have no plans for should not be considered, nor listed as, “projects”. And thanks to Anna, I now have an “Orphans” box so the hexagons in the lower right hand corner went there instead of as a “I should do something with these WIP”.


I also found large pieces of fabric that I’d bought during sales. These got assigned to completed quilt tops, which got sized and I now have a Next Action list for Spotlight/Textile Traders to buy wadding. I was also a bit surprised to find the Friendship quilt, the Monochrome and the Charm quilt tops were all smaller than I’d remembered. Quilting them might not be quite as scary as I’d imagined.


My current tasks for this now are:



  • creating a fabric stash filing system to separate actual projects from vague ideas and inspirations

  • shopping trip for supplies

  • sort out Next Actions for remaining projects (I could just leave them all on a Projects list and come back and pick one out one by one but I have a feeling knowing what the next action is on each before I file them away will mean a greater chance I come back and pick up the next project. Figuring out where you were up to or knowing there was a problem and you abandoned instead of solved are big obstacles to finishing)

  • finish organising the craft cupboard


 


Today’s drink: Austral Tea from Monstrositea – pic here


Today’s total word count: 772


Year Total running word tally from (Nov 24): 1360


Progress on: 2015 Quilting goals.


 


 


 


 





2015 Planning and panic meltdown freakout





As the year winds down, I ramp up. I like to approach the new year the same way as a holiday – clear all the decks so that it’s all fresh in the new year. There’s nothing worse than coming home after a really lovely and relaxing holiday to house a full of chores not yet done and mess. So in the lead up to a holiday, or any trip really,  I work pretty focused to cross off more things on my lists than I normally would if it was just a regular week or month. I like to leave the place with clean spaces and done to do lists. And I’m like that with the end of the year. By about November I’m kinda done with the year but I don’t want to take any of unfinished stuff into January with me. I want to start the new year afresh and clear of backlog. Or that’s the dream, anyhow.


This year I’m particularly drowning in backlog. I’m still publishing books, which I HATE. I really like to have all my books out by now. I had a baby and things got slowed down a bit this year. But I don’t want to take 2014 things with me into 2015 so I’ve been working hard to draw lines under tasks and cross things off my lists. I’ve been working hard this month (and I’m not done but…)


Now, I’m starting to get my head into the planning-for-the-next-year stage. December for me is the silly season in that that’s what’s swirling around me. It never really feels like I’m in it, so I get to take a little time out from the world – because I’m not invested in the goings on. December, for me, is all about the conclusion of the year. I like to spend my time trying out the limited edition Lindt balls (sea salt, and cappuccino ones this year!) and taking stock of what I accomplished in the past year, and think about what I want to accomplish in the coming year and write my list of resolutions.


In my tidying up – I’m determined to finish 2014 with my GTD systems at cruise control and that means empty in trays, zero inbox, clutter gone, and lists in action – I found my resolutions list for 2013. I must have written it in Paris. I remember writing one there. It also looks exactly like the one I spent yesterday crafting for 2015. Which means 1 of 2 things, either I’m crap at doing things or I never intend/ed to do these things at all. (And yes there is a third option, the list is too long for one year.)


Either way, I’m currently freaking out because – because I need to find about 50 more hours in my week, I’m not ok with admitting that’s impossible and I still WANT to do all those things on the list. C says I need to admit that I can’t do all those things because otherwise I will never be happy. But what if I can’t ever be happy because I do want to do all those things (and can’t)?


Today, I think it’s something worse than that. I think I have a short attention span and I forget that I wanted to do something. I’m pretty sure I forgot that I was doing NaNoWriMo for most of last week and either didn’t write words or just forgot to track those I did. I’ll be honest, I’ve often declared a new project or regimen here on this blog (or in previous incarnations) and then just wandered off, completely having forgotten. I always thing those “post a photo every day for X days” or “posts of daily gratitude”  look like great projects but I’m pretty sure I would forget I was doing it. Or maybe not forget it’s just that I have about 26 (not exaggerating, they’re on a list on my fridge) of things I want to do every day. And it’s really hard to regularly do that many things. Sure, I could not do that many and just commit to one or two but that’s not really the theme of this post. Or how I roll. I want do All. The Things.


Back to my freak out.


I feel like I need to have a plan if I really do mean to do all these things on my 2015 resolutions list. Or else, admit that I don’t mean to do them at all. But plans are scary to draw up because they make you realize the reality of how little (free) time there is in a day and what is physically (im)possible to do. I don’t want to really craft a year long plan because I truly believe I will either a) not follow it or b) not actually be able to do more than 1 or 2 things on my wish list if I follow SMART goals.


But that can’t be true, can it?


Meanwhile I’ve spent the last two days flopping about realizing I suck because I never actually DO or FINISH anything. Does anyone else suffer from that kind of panic? I’m mad at myself about that and not sticking to the commitments I make with myself. And I actually don’t want to find the exact same to do list as resolutions for 2016 at the bottom of my inbox. So in true Piscean style, I’m going to both beat myself up for sucking for not finishing anything and also devise a plan, or a series of plans, for 2015 to turn this around. I’m going to track some of those as per below – I need to destash my tea collection, I’ve got a word count goal to come and I want to have something positive to say that shows I’m moving forward every day.


 


Today’s drink (photo above): ice cold water with a splash of lime (delish)


Today’s total word count: 588


Progress on: Sorting, organising and rationalising my fabric cupboard and my 2015 Quilting goals.





Galactic Suburbia 111

Shownotes


In which we try to fix the world and don’t even fix ourselves, but progress is being made (we hope). You can get us from iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.


On the World Fantasy Awards


A couple of links to the big recent internet discussion we didn’t want to try to explain via podcast:

Laura J Mixon

Tessa of Silence Without


What we talk about instead: general issues arising from recent controversies & discussions


Industry bullying & threatening – why people who threaten to blacklist you probably can’t.

On Being Complicit

On Back Channels & the Broken Step

Do We Do Enough & What Else Can Be Done?


What Culture Have we Consumed?

Tansy: Sleepy Hollow #1 (Noelle Stevenson), Gotham Academy #1, Batgirl 35, Young Avengers: Sidekicks

Alex: Interstellar; Haven season 3; the Great Rosetta and Philae saga.

Alisa: We’re not even going to tell you, you have to listen. But it is pretty out there.


Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/galacticsuburbia) and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!





Writing Cover Letters is Not So Scary

This post is adapted from a series of tweets I wrote today whilst sorting through my submissions email back log.


Cover letters for fiction submissions are not hard. They really aren’t. Editors, or whomever is sorting through the submissions mail, just want to get all the information about your submission as quickly as possible to discern whether or not it conforms to the guidelines and, if it does conform, how it fits into the stack. If it doesn’t, yay they can send out an instant rejection. Submissions calls get lots of responses. And these days, fast turnarounds are expected. (Note: I am wayyyy behind on my responses right now. Life. It gets in the way.) A well written cover letter will give your submission a professional feel and make the editor’s job of sorting through the mail easy. And it’s really really not that hard to write.


1. Unless you know that the system is automated, *always* include a cover letter. It’s a real person opening the email, don’t be rude. And by “cover letter”, I mean write in the body of the email. Even if for some reason the submission call asks you to attach a cover letter along with your submission, *write* in the email. You can even simply write “Dear X, Please find attached … yours Your Name.”


2. Address the cover letter to the person you think will be reading the email i.e. the editor. Name them if you know their name. Otherwise, address it to “The editor(s)”. Noone gets annoyed being correctly referred to as the editor of their book.

“Dear Sir/Madam” and “To Whom it May Concern” are also perfectly fine.


3. Never ever ever assume that the press, the editor or the reader owes you something. They don’t.


4. Usually all the information that you need to include in your letter will be specifically listed or at least implied in the submissions call. Make sure you include your name and how the editor can get in contact with you even though you’ve emailed therefore they have your address, your submission and email might get separated. For good measure, include your contact details at the top of your manuscript document.


5. Give a couple of examples of your previous work to show that you have some writing and publishing experience, even if it’s a competition you placed in or a local market that you don’t think anyone will have heard of. If this is your first submission, or you are yet to be published, that’s okay too. It’s even fine to say so. Everyone starts somewhere.


6. Give the details of the work you are submitting – the title, the word count, the genre and a short paragraph synopsis.


7. Attach your manuscript to the email. It’s helpful to title your document in a way that easily identifies it. The reader/editor might read their submissions from their inbox or they might collate all the submissions elsewhere to be read. Make sure your details are attached to the document by naming it the story title and/or your name. And always always always save the document in the format requested in the guidelines. If there is no guideline, I would opt for .rtf in the first instance and then Word otherwise. Don’t save it as a PDF unless requested. If your work is accepted, the editor will want to be able to work directly with the file.


8. Get outta there.


You’re done.


Now I hear you quietly sobbing about the one paragraph synopsis but it’s okay. I bet you know what your story is about, right? So … it’s an orphan who goes on a dirt bike road trip and discovered he has  magical power and becomes a king. A lot like [this book by this well known author in your genre]. Or, it’s a work that explores what it’s like to be a woman on a desert island with trees that only bear desserts. You get the idea. No one expects you to include all the nuances of your story in that paragraph. We just want to know where to file it-  SF, zombies, epic fantasy etc.


And that’s it! Easy.


 


 





Galactic Suburbia Ep 110

In which culture, we consume it. Over at iTunes or at Galactic Suburbia.


What Culture Have we Consumed?



Alisa: Landline by Rainbow Rowell; Coode St Podcast Ep 207: Kameron Hurley; The Wheeler Centre: Books, Writing, Ideas Podcast – Quarterly Essay: On Women Freedom and Misogyny : Anna Goldsworthy; … AND PHd Check in!

Tansy: Rachel & Miles X-plain the X-Men, Battle Scars, Uncanny, Cranky Ladies, Nanowrimo

Alex: Haven seasons 1 and 2; Upgraded, ed Neil Clarke (NB available from Fishpond, for Austraian listeners!); Journeys, Jan Morris; The Book of Life, Deborah Harkness


Orphan Black cat cosplay

Anthony Mackie shouts out to little Falcons & Falconettes.

Sean Pertwee cosplays his Dad for Halloween.


Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/galacticsuburbia) and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!


 





Drowned Vanilla Book Launch – Hobart

Sadly I can’t make it, but if you’re in Hobart tomorrow:


DrownedVanillaWHERE: Hobart Bookshop, Salamanca Place, Hobart Tasmania.

WHEN: 5:30-7pm, Thursday 20 November


Kate Gordon, author of Thyla and Writing Clementine, will be launching Drowned Vanilla by Livia Day at the Hobart Bookshop. Please come and join us! There will be wine, and books, and THIS BOOK IN PARTICULAR WHICH FEATURES MURDER AND ICE CREAM.


We’d love to see you there. No RSVP required, just bring yourselves


For more info, check out Tansy’s/Livia’s blog.





Years Best YA Speculative Fiction 2013

We’re delighted to announce today, the table of contents for the first volume of our new series, The Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction – to be edited by Julia Rios and myself.


Fans of Kaleidoscope will find more tales of wonder, adventure, diversity, and variety in this collection devoted to stories with teen protagonists. This volume will be released later this year (not that many days left in this year!) and preorders will open as soon as we set the RRP.


Table of Contents



Selkie Stories Are For Losers  –  Sofia Samatar

By Bone-Light  –  Juliet Marillier

The Myriad Dangers  –  Lavie Tidhar

Carpet  –  Nnedi Okorafor

I Gave You My Love by the Light of the Moon  –  Sarah Rees Brennan

57 Reasons for the Slate Quarry Suicides  –  Sam J. Miller

The Minotaur Girls  –  Tansy Rayner Roberts

Not With You, But With You  –  Miri Kim

Ghost Town  –  Malinda Lo

December  –  Neil Gaiman

An Echo in the Shell  –  Beth Cato

Dan’s Dreams  –  Eliza Victoria

As Large As Alone  –  Alena McNamara

Random Play All and the League of Awesome  –  Shane Halbach

Mah Song  –  Joanne Anderton

What We Ourselves Are Not  –  Leah Cypess

The City of Chrysanthemum  –  Ken Liu

Megumi’s Quest  –  Joyce Chng

Persimmon, Teeth, and Boys  –  Steve Berman

Flight  –  Angela Slatter

We Have Always Lived on Mars  –  Cecil Castellucci


 


 





Galactic Suburbia Episode 109

22 October 2014


Show Notes


 http://galactisuburbia.podbean.com/e/episode-109-22-october-2014/


In which we solemnly swear we will repeat the title of our culture consumed after discussing it. Pinkie promise. 




Update on Gamergate with particular focus on Brianna Wu AKA @spacekatgal


(This episode was recorded before the Felicia Day incident)



Alisa’s con report – Conflux

Tansy’s con report – CrimesceneWAStrange Horizons fundraising


 We read and appreciate all your Twitter comments and emails, even if we don’t reply. We love your feedback!

It’s time to start thinking about the GS Award, yes already, WTF 2014 why are you moving so fast?


What Culture Have we Consumed?

 

Alisa: Landline, Rainbow Rowell (NB since recording, Alisa actually finished this book YES SHE DID); Night Terrace S1 1- 5

Alex: Sarkeesian’s XOXO talk; Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen); Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond; Indistinguishable from Magic, Catherynne Valente; Bitterwood Bible and other Recountings, Angela Slatter; The Dish.

Tansy: Unmade, Sarah Rees Brennan; Night Terrace S1, Agents of SHIELD S1, The Flash S1 Ep 1-2


Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon (http://www.patreon.com/galacticsuburbia) and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!




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