Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Friend, the Deadline

For me, often a project without a deadline is dead in the water. When I’m designing for myself (for fun), I have to create reasonable deadlines or projects will just drag on with no end in sight. I’ll admit there have been many projects that I’ve started only to forget about them later, because I didn’t feel a strong need to finish them anytime soon (and thus, they were never finished). [Sigh.]

So I will often try to impose deadlines on projects because they help me to stay focused. Deadlines just give me that little extra bit of motivation to get started and continually work on projects. I need that because it’s so easy to be lazy. It’s easy to think that you can do it anytime you want—tomorrow or the day after that or next week or next month. That much freedom is too much; I need to give myself constraints otherwise nothing will ever get done. I need to force my own hand.

While I may not meet all my deadlines, at least I’m making an effort to meet them. And usually with my self-imposed deadlines, I create deadlines that are on the tighter side so I have some extra leeway to push them back if need be. Deadlines are great because they help to create pressure, which I find necessary to help me get things done.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Earring Pendant

Sometimes you just lose an earring; you come home and realize that at some point during the day, you lost it and have no clue of where it could be. You may try to check your home or car or office, but usually, it’s just a lost cause…it’s gone forever. When this happens, I always keep the lone earring I have left in the hopes that I can reuse it in some way.

A lone earring makes for a good charm or pendant for a necklace. My earrings tend to have hooks (rather than studs), so it’s pretty easy to disconnect the dangling part of the earring from the hook. And then I just reattach it to a chain and have a new piece of jewelry to wear.

In this necklace, the long metal rectangle piece used to be part of a set of earrings I had. I made a simple necklace using that earring piece as the main pendant that hangs from a bead, and decided to add a bit more visual interest by using two chains on either side of the pendant. I was glad I could find a way to use this lone earring in a new necklace that I like quite a bit.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

To Say or Not to Say

The first time someone does something that irritates me, I have that moment of disbelief where I wonder: “What the hell are you thinking? Why would you do that? Why would you say that?” Which is then followed by the hopeful denial of “This isn’t going to become a thing, is it? Please tell me this is a fluke.” And then later, horror sets in as I realize that this thing isn’t going away; despite my dismayed expression and lack of enthusiasm, this person thinks that I’m on board with this thing that I abhor. So then it comes the inevitable decision of either ignoring the thing that bugs me (which I’ve already tried to let slide but for whatever reason just can’t), or telling the person to please stop.

Whether you say something or not often depends on the situation, relationship to the person and the temperament of the person themselves (as some people are more capable of taking constructive criticism and changing than others). Assuming that the person can take a dose of honesty, then being direct about the thing that is annoying you is the best course of action—especially in the long run. Because every time you’re with that person, you don’t want to be anxiously waiting for the thing to happen and then be secretly seething on the inside once it does happen. And then you don’t want that internal seething to build up and boil over one day when you just snap at the person who didn’t even realize was pissing you off.

So really, I’m doing us all a favor by speaking up. Being (politely) direct is the least painful way to deal with a situation that isn’t working. It may cause some initial discomfort at the actual “Please stop doing this” conversation, but it’s way better than being passive aggressive and just expecting change to magically happen by giving nonverbal cues that go unnoticed…that’ll just create some prolonged misery. People aren’t mind readers, so telling people what’s on your mind is necessary at times.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gateway Garments

People are generally fairly consistent with their clothing preferences. When I’m shopping for clothes, I’m naturally drawn towards certain styles and colors (that are often not unlike the items I already own). It doesn’t happen consciously; in fact sometimes I’ll want to get something different so I’ll have some variation in my closet (only that usually doesn’t end up happening). [Pause.] It’s just that I already know what I like and tend to make a beeline to those items.

Sometimes my eyes will come across something that while I like in theory, I can already sense won’t suit me. There are some styles and trends that I think are cute (like a striped T-shirt or polka dot dress) but then I’ll try them on only to be somewhat dismayed; I may like it…but just not on me. [Sigh.] I’ve been quite consistent in my buying habits up until the other weekend, when I suddenly bought three items that I never thought I would.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Comfort Movie

Some people only want to watch a movie once; they don’t feel the need to re-watch a movie since they already know what happens. And if it’s no longer surprising to watch, then what’s the point? While I can logically understand that perspective, I am not one of those people. There are times when I just want to watch something that I know I like. There are some movies that are like comfort food—you know what to expect and it makes you feel warm and cozy inside as you experience them.

My comfort movies are all uppers, whether it’s action or comedy or animation or musicals, they’re the movies I’ll just end up watching as I stumble upon them while I’m flipping through the TV channels. They’re also the movies I’ll watch when there’s nothing good on TV or if I want something on in the background as I’m working on something else. And they’re my go-to movies to watch if I’m in a foul mood because I know I can’t watch them without feeling better about myself or about the world around me. 

Just as some comfort foods have more substance than others, my comfort movies fall in a range of quality (and some are definitely more high-end than others). Some comfort movies I love because of nostalgic reasons, while others because I genuinely love the plot and characters, but for whatever reason, I can watch those movies again and again and again and never tire of them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Extra Dart Fix

Since my proportions don’t match exactly to those of the sewing pattern sizes, I tried to tweak this dress pattern to fit me…but I don’t think I did it the right way. [Sigh.] Originally, the neckline was like a V that got cut in half horizontally (so it had a flat bottom). But once my side seams were sewn and the zipper was sewn in, I tried on this dress and saw that there was too much room in the bust area. I didn’t want to undo everything that I had already done, so to fix this problem I decided to put a dart down the front that would create a V-neckline.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

DIY: Used Gift Card Picture Magnet

Some people use their refrigerator as a showcase for pictures, using magnets to attach their images; this has a very temporary feel to it, as though a picture can be swapped out for another at any time. However, there may be pictures that you always want up, so I thought I could make a picture magnet. Yet, photos (or other images like greeting cards) aren’t very stiff by themselves, so to help create a sturdy backing, I decided to use a used gift card as the base for a picture magnet.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How-To Fill Two Minutes

Like most people, I find TV commercials an unhappy interruption during my TV program. It’s rare to find a TV commercial that I will watch of my own free will. [If it’s an amusing one, I may actually pay attention…but how often does that happen? (Pause.) Practically never.] No, most commercials are dull or stupid or repeated so many times that you can’t bare to watch it one more time.

To me, commercial time means that I have a couple of minutes to get a drink or I might check to see what other shows are on. But most often I’ll just mute the TV until my program comes back on. Silence is sweet when the alternative is hearing about “consulting your doctor about the side affects of this drug” or something equally riveting.

If it’s one of the few TV shows that I actually watch (rather than half-watch while I’m doing something else, like cooking, knitting, drawing, crafting, etc.), then I generally have a book nearby to read during commercial breaks. Because if I’m watching a TV show in its actual time slot (that lasts an hour), then a good quarter of that time is filled with commercials. That means I have at least fifteen minutes to kill, and reading a book is an easy way to fill a couple of minutes until my show comes back on.

I’m sure advertisers hate people like me, who try to avoid their very expensive commercials. [Pause.] My response is: make it better. If it’s not interesting, then I’ll just find some other way to amuse myself to avoid the white noise that is most commercials.