Satisfying my obsessive compulsions through the pursuit of creativity and personal betterment

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Yesterday we got a small haul from the local Goodwill. I remember when I was too good to shop at the Goodwill. It doesn't matter that some of my fondest memories from childhood was recieving a big bag of hand-me-downs from one of Mom's friends and spending an hour sorting through clothes that were often nicer and definitely more unique than "cheap shirt and pants from Walmart".
That all changed one late winter when we lived in North Carolina. Now when we lived in Florida, Mark made a relatively decent hourly wage, then made almost double that in commissions from all the special orders he made. It was FL, it was that busy and ppl had money to spare. But the cost of living was just ridiculous. It was also smoggy, crowded, high crime rate, and we longed to be able to breathe again. So we moved to NC, with him keeping the same job and just transferring stores. When we got there, we were in for a shock: NC was much slower, and he lost almost all his commission money. But they still thought they were fancy, and the cost of living was EXACTLY the same. So now we were stuck, with ridiculously high bills, and literally half the income. We started out doing fairly well for ourselves for the first time, and left the next year with our tails between our legs running back to Oklahoma. But I digress.
I couldn't even afford to buy the kids clothes to wear that year. We made do in the winter with buying one sweatshirt and one pair of pants each, then donations from friends. In the spring I sucked it up and hit the Goodwill. Thanks to them, I clothed three kids for a season for under $30, plus buying my first Boppy pillow (same one I still have :) ).
When we moved back to OK it took me awhile to get friendly with the Goodwill again. But the past couple of years we have found some real treasures: a brand new wool coat for Mark for $8 (at least $100 new), 3 piece suits, fancy dresses, tons of stuff for pennies on the dollar. I have no problem carting my legion of kids into the Goodwill now and leaving with clothes nicer than we could usually afford. I can't get everything there: pants or clothes for kids younger than 5 are usually a lost cause. Shoes are hit and miss (mostly miss becuase I don't like getting used shoes for little feet). But we do pretty good there. Last night we ended up with 3 girls' shirts, one dress, and two adult-sized skirts that I'm going to size down for the girls. Both of these skirts are in excellent condition but are way too small for me. And both fullfill my "repurpose" goal for the month. I just need to get elastic and the girls will have two brand new skirts for about $3 each and very little work on my part. (Lilith's will be the rainbow paisley and Ivy's the white with navy flowers)
Next month's repurpose goal is going to involve a lot of using old sheets. I am going to get some new sheets for our bed, and i'm going to take all the jersey sheets and all the sheets that haave holes and are ragged, and I'm going to either repurpose them into nightgowns and sleep pants for the kids, or if they are still in relatively good shape, I'm going to try my hand at making raglan knit shirts for the boys. The pattern I'm going to get is in both the smaller and bigger sizes. It's always bothered me that I don't do near as much sewing for the boys as i do the girls, and this way I can make things that they can wear every day instead of just pajama pants. And jersey knit sheets are PERFECT for these shirts. So hopefully I will soon have a whole pile of repurposed sheets into something useful, and nice new sheets on our bed :).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Zara and Elf celebrate the Lunar Festival

Side note: I am working on some pictures and more exciting things to post: it's been a very busy birthday week for the husband and I. More soon!
EDIT: I uploaded a sketch to my deviantart. Be gentle.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Revving Up My Artsy Side

I drew a picture of a baby Night Elf. It didn't suck :). I am cautiously really excited about this. As soon as I get a little colour on it, I will scan it and share.

One of the ways I want to improve on myself this year is I really want to work on my writing and drawing. I am not the best artist, in fact usually I can't draw anything at all. But every now and then, I can turn out a good picture. I am hoping that if I just make myself sit down and work on it, I will get better at it. My mother is a really good artist: she and I have drastically different tastes (read: she made herself a huge fluffy coat out of realistic cat-print fleece. and wears it. IN PUBLIC) but I can't deny she has considerable artistic talent. She can draw, paint, design, work with colour or black and white, cartoon, etc.... I am limited to some black and white pencil drawings that I can occasionally add some coloured pencil too. And I am perfectly happy with this medium, if I can just get it to work with some reliability.

As far as writing, I consider myself a halfway decent writer. If I want to write something and make it sound a certain way, I can usually get it done. When I was in high school I had this huge notebook full of story ideas and sketches of characters that I usually never did anything with but I did have a few snippets here and there of longer pieces. One of my better pieces and ideas had a main character named Zarabethe, a name I felt I made up on my own (I've seen it other places since so it's obviously not a complete unique snowflake, but I was proud of it at the time). I like/liked the name so much I've used it as a re-occurring name throughout many projects I've done since, finally coalescing into my World of Warcraft main character, a night elf hunter. That is now the name's permanent home: as I've played the game and slowly developped storyline and personality of her, I will never be able to think of the name in any other way again. I still use it as a username or even a sort of "alter ego" (hence the title of this blog) but I will always think of my superlogical, OCPD, purple-skinned hunter with braided hair and her feline companion.

On that subject, the story I am working on right now is what you would I guess call fanfic: it's based in the WoW universe and is all about my character and the most important quest and journey of her lifetime. I'm not writing it to get published, I'm not writing it to submit to any fanfic websites, I'm just writing it for me. I don't have to please anyone or make anyone happy, and letting go of that is really helping to get me going creatively and write it the way *I* want it to turn out. This also means that I will write and re-write and re-write and re-write one little paragraph or even sentence until it is exactly perfect. This takes FOR-EV-ER. I have completed exactly two chapters in one year :). Now I am busy and I do have a few other things I do every day, but I really want to crack down and get this out of my head: this story is begging me to tell it. I also want to write it before I forget important details that are different in the game now than they used to be. As right now I'm a little stuck as far as the writing goes, I'm going to work on illustrating some scenes that are flitting around in my head, and hopefully jumpstart the writing again.

I was going to get into a little more on this subject, but Lachlan has just dumped the sock hamper all over the living room, so back to my motherly duties.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Getting My Thoughts Together

2012 feels to me like a year of starting over. Last year, with the emotional and psychological roller coaster that it was, felt like a year I just lost in my life. Like all progress in parenting, self-sufficiency, financial stability, and personal growth was suspended for months and months, until we slowly, hand over hand, crawled our way out of the abyss, sliding backwards with every other step. As I'm blinking my eyes in the light of the new year, I find I have picked up several nasty parenting habits. My OCPD is flaring up in stealthy ways I didn't realize until it had a good hold in me. While my marriage is stronger than ever before, all the other areas in my life I've lost control of, and I'm more than ready to step forward and get them back.

Although I usually don't do New Year's resolutions, this is a good year to start. I have always had problems being motivated to start, work on, and complete goals. It's like the very process of setting a goal sets me up to fail, as I run from it full speed. I don't want to do that this year. I am going to set personal, parenting, and sustainability goals and I'm not going to let myself back down from them. I've got a few lined out and going already, so I'm going to start listing them here:

1. Sew two clothing items per month. This is to replace something I would have bought. Bonus if I use fabric I already have.
2. Preserve/process one food item per month. This should be easy to achieve as usually I buy bulk meat and then prepare it for the month, but this will keep me on top of things.
3. Reuse/re-purpose one item per month. This is going to be the challenging one. I'm not that great at re-purposing items and a lot of times I'd rather buy something than fix it to make it work. This might be sewing or crafting related, or not. I'm kind of looking forward to meeting this challenge and see how creative I can get with it.

1. Get rid of one bag of THINGS from the house every week. I need to work on simplifying our stuff down so we have more room and less clutter. I can easily meet this goal if I just take time to do it. The problem will be hauling all this stuff to the Goodwill before it gets out of control.....
2. Sort through the socks and get rid of a lot of them. I have more socks in this house than even 9 people need, and I'm going to be ruthless in getting rid of old styles and anything that is worn. My original plan was to take every sock in the house, bag it up, and start over.....but the husband vetoed that idea. I'm still going to pare down as much as I can though.
3. Chores every morning before computer. This will be a hard one: I am quite fond of my morning routine of coffee and/or breakfast and facebook before I get going on the day. But as I'm giving myself a lot more chores and school now, I need to utilize every bit of time that I have. I have plenty of time to goof off online during my lunch (yes, I take a lunch break---it's my prerogative) and after the minions are in bed. Cutting out the morning computer time will be hard but necessary: after Miss Seven gets done with her morning socializing and nursing session, she takes a good nap and I need to get stuff done then.
4. Reorganize the kids' rooms and simplify their area. As of right now, an hour of playing completely covers their floor with junk and it just continues to expand until it spills into the hallway and kitchen. I need to get their area and their toys organized, cut down, and under control so they will enjoy their playtime more and picking up is not such a monumental task.
5. Utilize Mark's days off better. Keep up with daily chores so we can use those days for bigger projects instead of always playing catch up. Cook ahead, clean out big areas, have family time, and just not waste the day.
6. BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET. And as an extension of that, keep the house clean and dishes done so we are not tempted to go out (and therefore spend money) just to get away from the overwhelming-ness of it (is that a word? makes sense to me :D)

1. Less yelling. I can't stand it when I hear an argument in the other room and I'm tied down with the baby or something else, and so I yell across the house. As a result, no one listens anymore when I yell. They know I'm not coming in. I need to physically get up, even if it interrupts something I've been trying to get done for the 100th time today, and solve the problem without yelling. Most of the time, yelling will not even be necessary if I can see what's going on.
2. Listen more. Mark and I had gotten pretty good at not ignoring the kids, at stopping what we were doing and looking them in the eye when they were talking, and not banishing them to the other room. But last year there were many, many, many conversations that we needed to have without little listening ears, and we have been really horrible about being absorbed in ourselves and brushing the kids off. I hate that. They know that we do it, it affects them; and it's just us being selfish. It's going to take some work to reverse this for both of us, but it's so important for us to do so. The kids need to know how important they are to us, and showing them is the only way to do it.
3. Talk more respectfully. See number one. The kids, especially the older ones, have started being snippy, disrespectful, and rude to each other a lot lately. And I know deep down it's just a reflection of what they see amplified into the everyday.

To sum up, I really don't like the type of parent I've become in the past year. For awhile yes, I was in survival mode, but I am not anymore and it's time to step up and deserve the love that I get unconditionally from the seven little hearts in this house. More apologizing, saying yes, hugs, positive interaction, and time spent together. Less yelling, criticizing, hiding, saying no, and punishments. A family is a unit, and all portions of the unit need to work together to make a loving, successful home: the parents and the children alike. Here's hoping that we can re-assess and pull it off before it gets out of control.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

First Sewing Project of the New Year

A skirt and matching headscarf for Miss Lilith. She has gained about 4-5 inches this year in height and I've had to confiscate severa skirts that have suddenly grown way too short and give them to Ivy. So I promised her after the holidays I'd make her some. I've never been fond of this fabric and couldn't think what in the world I'd make with it, so I'm glad she picked it and loved it :). The trim is some pretty offwhite lace that my mom gave me in a bag of miscellanious trim. She wants to also get a blue, long-sleeved shirt to go with it but we haven't found one yet.