Wednesday, June 30, 2010

100 Days Challenge - Making New Habits

Please Note: I started my 100 Days Challenge on May 25, 2010 but you can start any time. I hope you'll join me in working towards positive change. My original post on my 100 Days Challenge will explain what I am doing and how I chose my challenge.

Last night (Tuesday) was the end of the 35th day of my challenge. Five weeks and one thing I have learned for myself is that it DEFINITELY takes more than 21 days to develop a new habit. Out of the last 35 days, I've missed four, so I'm averaging a little more than six days out of seven, which is good. I am still struggling to make this a smooth part of my morning routine but there have been some discoveries and improvements.

I have discovered that once I get through the first step, the rest is routine. So, though I still struggle through the first step, once started I no longer struggle to complete my new morning routine. I sometimes change the sequence of my routine but I have decided to always do the same two actions first. I think I may be developing a positive trigger and I don't intend to mess with it.

I have noticed two key improvements: 1) My attitude about making changes and establishing good habits is better. I'm actually looking forward to tackling a new one -- yes, even though I'm still struggling with the first. I feel like I'm ready to take on more. Maybe I will start a new habit on day 51. 2) I'm feeling better in general. With just these few minutes in the morning (7 - 10) I have begun to feel stronger and my knee pain is minimal.

One thing that happened on one of the days I missed was that I completely forgot about the new routine. This was around day 23 or 24 and I got out of bed and went about my day. It was lunch time when I realized what had - or hadn't - happened. It took a lot not to get down on myself but I concentrated on the fact that I am making this change, I committed to it, and this one day did not change that.

My advice: If you miss a day or don't follow through on your challenge for a day, don't start over, keep going. Accept that the missed day is part of the process, not an excuse to quit.

I'd love to hear what your challenge is and how you are doing. Drop me a line.

I can do it! You can do it! We can do it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cauliflower, Zucchini, Carrots and Tomatoes with a Tex-Mex Flair

I came up with recipe last week when I realized that if I didn't use them my vegetables would spoil. I was pleasantly surprised by how tasty this combo was.

The cooking goes a lot faster than it seems from the directions and this dish is good the next day as well. It can be served as a side dish or over 1/2 cup brown rice as a main dish. The second day I took the leftovers, added low-fat grated cheese and salsa, rolled it is a whole wheat tortilla for a lunch burrito -- tasty. You can check out the complete recipe here. (Sorry, no photo.)

I hope you like it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Making Space ... Picking Patterns ... Closer to Sewing

I haven't gotten as far as I would like to on my plan to make space but I am definitely closer to my first sewing project. Though I am not finished creating a space to sew in, I did organize my patterns - a little stunned by how many I have - and fabrics and I've begun to organize my notions. AND, I have chosen my first pattern.

Simplicity 7395 - I'm going to sew the top in a bright yellow cotton stretch terry cloth I bought in high school. The pattern is from 1976. I really like the neckline but may modify the sleeves a bit. I would like to make at least one more top before making the wrap skirt.

Though I'm not ready to SWAP, I did choose two more patterns but I can not decide which to make for my second project. McCall's 6379 is a pullover blouse pattern from 1978. I like views B and D.

The other pattern I am considering is a poet's blouse by Sew & Sew 3125 from 1993.

I'd love your opinion on which one you think should be my second project. Suggestions for fabrics would be welcome as well since I will be going on my first fabric shopping trip in years for my second project.

These are baby steps but I'm feeling good. My goal is to start sewing right after the July 4th holiday. So, it's back to work on my "Making Space" for sewing plan.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Making Changes ... Making Space for Change

Frustration was the theme this week ... frustration with myself. There are so many things I would like to do and changes I would like to make and I am very aware that there is not an infinity of time. Yet, it seems that there is always a reason why I can't do this, a conflict that prevents me from doing that, a commitment that must take precedence over the plans I have made.

Alright, we all have responsibilities and commitments we must attend to but most of us can make room for other things in our lives. I refuse to let this frustration become overwhelming and to just give up. I have decided to look at my life as it is now and figure out what is really getting in the way. What have I discovered so far?

I haven't made space for the things I want to change in my life and add to my life.

When I say space, I don't just mean physical space but also space in time and mentally. For example: Sewing. I have finally made the commitment to return to sewing but have yet to begin. I have the sewing machine, patterns to choose from, fabric and notions and I have this wonderful blog community to reach out to for advice and encouragement. But, I don't have the space to sew. Rather, I have not created the space to sew.

Yes, I live in a small apartment and yes, a lot of my space does double duty. But I want to sew. And though I have decided to spend some of my free time sewing, I haven't made the time. I've just counted on the time being there. And mentally, I am continuing to find other things to do instead of sewing. I am not making the space.

Time to make space in my life for what I want in my life and, to that end, here's my plan for the week.

1) All of my sewing supplies and notions and create a storage space that is for crafting only.

2) Create a work space for my sewing - it will probably be a shared space with my business work space.

3) Practice setting up and breaking down the work space. (I know this may sound silly but for those of you who have small spaces, you know how frustrating it can be to have an hour to sew or to craft but to have to spend the first fifteen minutes setting up and the last fifteen minutes breaking down the space.)

4) Clean and oil my sewing machine.

5) Choose my pattern and fabric.

6) Schedule time to sew and sew.

My goal is to begin laying out an cutting my fabric by next Saturday. Before the end of next week I will set a specific time for this.

Thank you for reading and letting me vent.

Are you making space in your life for the things you want? Have you been frustrated like me? Do you have any good advice for making space? I would love to hear from you.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More on Slopers ... Fitted Garments ... DARTS

I am DETERMINED to sew this summer and frustrated that my work schedule is getting in the way ... but, a girl's gotta make a living.

I am consoling myself by looking through the great sewing blogs and websites when I have ten or fifteen minutes to learn and re-learn as much as I can before I begin. During today's ten minutes I found a guest posting at Sew Mama Sew by Sarai Mitnick of Collette Patterns . The topic: Darts.

Sarai gives a very simple but vauluable tutorial on darts, which can be applied to your sloper, muslin, or projects you are making or altering. The illustrations are very helpful and easy to understand.

I am so sew happy I finally entered the world of the blog. I am learning so much and I am continually inspired by these creative people who are willing to share their knowledge.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, June 7, 2010

100 Days Challenge - Creating New Habits

Please Note: I started my 100 Days Challenge on May 25, 2010 but you can start any time. I hope you'll join me in working towards positive change. My original post on my 100 Days Challenge will explain what I am doing and how I chose my challenge.

Today is day 14 of my personal challenge ... two weeks completed and I am still struggling to make this small change a habit in my life. Who knew that changing the first 10 to 15 minutes of my day could be so tough? Each morning I find myself struggling to get through my stretches and exercises even though I can feel the benefits already. My knee, which was troubling me almost daily, is beginning to feel better and stronger from the stabilizing exercises I do as part of my morning "habit."

Why is this small change such a challenge? I really looked at this for myself since what I have chosen would seem to be a much easier change than someone trying to quit smoking, follow a restrictive diet, sew every day, exercise one hour every day, etc. Am I really this weak willed? The answer I came up with is "NO!"

I am working to change a habit I've had since childhood. What? Yes, you read that correctly. Almost every morning of my life, I have gotten up at the last possible moment, whether the alarm goes off at 4:00 am or 9:00 am. No matter what time I have had to get up, I get up at the last possible moment to get ready for the day. As I have always been a night owl, even as a little girl, waking up has often been irksome to me and I do not consider myself a morning person.

In other words, I am trying to change behavior that I have practiced and reenforced for more than 25 years. When I look at it that way I realize that this IS a real challenge and that I should not condemn myself for how I am struggling with it.

It is amazing to me how I resist this challenge some mornings. I mean, this is only 10 to 15 minutes out of my day. Yet, I have found myself delaying and trying to find excuses for not doing it. I don't think this is about will power. I think this is an example of how the brain works and how it seeks to continue the activities and behaviors that have become habitual.

Stop being so hard on yourself! Be persistent! Be Positive!

(BTW - I'm talking to myself as well.)

The good news: I have only missed two days out of the fourteen, which I consider a good beginning.

I found a few articles on breaking bad habits that, I believe, offer good advice and insights:

"Breaking Bad Habits - The Habit of Negative Thinking" and "Breaking Bad Habits - 5 Simple Steps for Changing a Habit"

"Tips for Breaking Bad Habits and Developing Good Habits"

The bottom line is I just have to keep doing what I'm doing and not get frustrated. There are many habits I would like to break or change but I need to continue with this one and really make sure it is established as a habit before trying to work on the next one.

I can do it! You can do it! We can do it!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Vintage Sewing Inspiration - 1918 WWI Dress

Though I am still far away from attempting to sew a garment with one of my vintage Edwardian or WWI Patterns, I have just been incredibly inspired by Rita at the Vintage Sewing Blog.

Rita has done a wonderful job creating this 1918 New Idea Pattern:

If you are interested in this era of vintage sewing and fashion, or if you just appreciate vintage sewing projects, you should check out her "diary" on the making of this 1918 Dress. She has great photos of the process and the finished dress plus notes, which may prove helpful in your future projects.

(Note: You will also see some notes on a 1931 Dress, which you should check out if that is more your era.)

Thanks for the inspiration, Rita!

Happy Sewing!

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Month, Same Goals ... Health and Fitness

My Health and Fitness Goals for June

I did pretty well in May, but not as well as I would have liked. However, I realize, in keeping with my 100 Day Challenge, that it is important for me to continue with these goal in order to develop them into habits.

So here are my goals for June plus my notes on how I did with them in May.

1) Stay Hydrated - (8 - 12 glasses of water per day) - I did really well on this. I've been working on it for a while and I'm now at the point where I don't really need to think about getting enough water ... unless I'm really stressed.

2) Get sufficient Fiber - (25gm - 30gm per day)- I did pretty well but I could have done better.

3) Eat in Moderation - (1800 calories or less per day)- Honestly, I did not very well on this. I averaged about 2,100-2,150 calories per day. This is still about 350-400 calories per day less than my usual but I need to work on this.

4) Get Moving - (Walk at least 10 miles per week)- My knee was bothering all month, which was very discouraging. I found it hard to walk more than a mile at a time. However, I did begin working on stabilizing exercises for the muscles around my knees and it has been feeling much better.

5) CIY - Cook It Yourself - (Learn at least two healthy recipes.) - I did learn one fast, healthy and easy soup recipe.

6) Take off the Weight - (Lose 2.5 lbs per week - 10 lbs in May)- I did lose a total of 5lbs this month. Though half of my goal, it is still a loss.

It this has been a graded test, I probably would have received a C- for the month. Thank goodness there are not grades, just personal accountability.

In the past, I would have gotten down on myself for not completing the goals I set for myself 100%. Of course, this has never helped me in the past so I need to change the behavior. In looking at how I did last month, I am choosing to concentrate on the positive things I did and what I did accomplish. It is the only way to move forward.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw

I am choosing to change my mind and my life ... one step at a time.

I wish you all the best with you goals for the month ... the year ... your life.

Have a great May!

P.S. I would love to hear from you on how your are doing in your journeys to change your habits, your life ... your wardrobe. :)