Monday, December 31, 2012

112 in 2012: Wrap-Up

Hi all!

Well, as you know, today is the last day of the year, so I thought I'd check in with my goals for 2012 one last time. This will be a lengthy post, so I don't expect you to read it all, but kudos to you if you make it through! I have some final thoughts at the end about this list and my plan for next year, if you're interested and want to skip down.

Here's a cheat sheet for you:
Normal text - didn't get started
Italics - made some progress but didn't complete
Strikethrough - failed miserably
Bold - completed

1. Pack or eat a healthy breakfast on days I have to work {don’t stop for fast food or skip it} {I'm calling this a win. I would say I did this at least 80% of the time this year, maybe more. That's a huge improvement from what I was doing in 2011.}
2. Pack or eat a healthy lunch on days I have to work {don’t stop for fast food or skip it} {Again, I'm calling this a win. I greatly improved over the year, and would say at least 80% of the time, I avoided going out for lunch.}
3. Plan dinners the night before so we can stop for necessary ingredients or take things out of the freezer to thaw {We definitely were better about this, and eating at home in general, but still have a long way to go with planning ahead on menus. I do have some ideas in place for 2013 and honestly, I think moving the location of our freezer will help...which is also in the plan for 2013}
4. Move closer to Elmwood {This didn't happen, and I would consider it one of the more significant fails of this year. I could say it's not our fault, but we made the choice to be in the situation we're in, so I'm taking ownership.}
5. Donate at least 20 boxes of things to the thrift store before moving {I didn't keep count, but between donations to the thrift store, to friends & family, and to my work, I know we got to at least 20}
6. Sort and organize all holiday decorations so they are easily accessible {This is happening this week, actually. It will be a win in very early 2013, but I can't say I'm done yet.}
7. Donate holiday decorations that won’t be used prior to the next holiday {We actually didn't decorate this year since we hoped to be moving, so I didn't get to go through everything. As I'm finding things we won't use while organizing, I'm making a pile to donate.}
8. Start a family {I consider this another major fail, but I'm more comfortable with this, believe it or not. It was a conscious choice to wait to have children until another time. I hated having to make the choice, but it was the most responsible thing to do for us.}
9. Complete 2011 Project Life Album {I fell so behind on my 2012 album that I didn't get a chance to work on previous years.}
10. Start & complete 2012 Project Life Album {I did get a good start on this, have a ton of pictures printed, and am working on it right now. I came up with a new way of organizing the album for this year that I think will work better for us, and I hope to get it finished in early 2013}
11. Complete at least one additional Project Life Album from a previous year {see above, #9}
12. Print pictures at least once a month from the previous month {This actually wasn't the best plan for me and my budget. I tried for awhile, and then quit because it wasn't working.}
13. Work with nieces on Project Life albums, including printing pictures for them monthly {It happened once this last year, because all of our schedules are so crazy. I hope to continue working with them in 2013, and I also hope they take some ownership of their albums without me watching over since we all have such busy lives!}
14. Grow my business {I'd say this was the focus for my year. Business didn't grow the way I had imagined it, but it also exceeded my expectations. I continue to have goals for business, a list of things I want to get done, and dreams for what I could accomplish, but I know this year was a win on the business front.}
15. Blog at least 3 times per week {Horrible. Just horrible.}
16. Engage in at least one activity per month to promote my business {I'm honestly not even sure what I was talking about here...if I meant shows/fairs, or some sorts of advertising thing...but as I said, 2012 was all about business for me, so I feel okay with that whole aspect of things.}
17. Take at least 1 picture per day {I figured out this doesn't really work for me. I tried some other options, and then really thought about this particular goal and what I wanted to accomplish. The idea was to get a real picture of our every day life, and I think I did much better at that - I participated in a day in the life, a week in the life, December daily and took a TON of other every day life sort of pictures. Even though I didn't meet my stated goal, I feel really good about memory keeping this year.}
18. Take pictures during important events/gatherings {I can't call this a win because I didn't do it universally - for example, I didn't even take my camera to Christmas celebrations - but, I did pretty well, especially this last fall}
19. Plan 1 date night per month with Mike {We did really well on this the first half of the year, and then it fizzled. I could blame opening Gather and having much less time, but the reason I had this goal is I wanted us to dedicate a night to each other, no matter what was going on. We didn't do that, and we need to be more committed to this in the future.}
20. Complete 1 project per month from inspiration found on Pinterest {I didn't keep track of what I did when, but I know there were far more than 12 projects completed this year}
21. Start an idea binder to keep inspiration from magazines, etc. {I'm calling this in progress because I started a notes section on my iPad for things like this}
22. Visit grandparents at least 1 time a month {Miserable fail.}
23. Plan and work on 1 craft project per month with nieces and nephews {I really wish this had happened, but it just didn't work out. The ones we did though were really fun.}
24. Take at least 1 vacation out of state {Didn't go anywhere this year. For the first time since we met in 2008}
25. Take at least 1 vacation in state {See above}
26. Visit 1 place I’ve never been before {I saw so many small towns in Nebraska this year on our adventures}
27. Pay off at least 1 credit card
28. Use at least 1 coupon with every grocery purchase {I still maintain that this is a good goal for us, but we have to figure out how to make couponing work with our schedule. I hope to do a post in 2013 on my couponing process}
29. Try one new recipe per month {Again, I didn't really keep track, but know I've tried more than 12 new recipes this year}
30. Learn to sew
31. Donate items from couponing to an organization in need
32. Take a photography class
33. Make our new house feel like our home {well, we didn't move, so...}
34. Purchase/borrow bikes and go riding on the trail this summer
35. Plan an outing/visit with friends at least once a month
36. Take pictures for my blog posts {Thank goodness for Instagram. I didn't do it with every post, but I was definitely better about it this year.}
37. Create a video to post on my blog {Project Life Blog Hop & Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint, woohoo!}
38. Send birthday cards on time to important people when we can’t celebrate in person
39. Create a stash of cards for multiple occasions to have on hand
40. Frame pictures for our home and display them {I wanted to wait til we were moved to do this, so it hasn't happened.}
41. Create a gallery wall in our new house of important/sentimental pictures {see above}
42. Work on creating Christmas decorations throughout the year {Ha!}
43. Relax and enjoy December and Christmas preparations {I can't say I was completely relaxed during December, but this was definitely one of the most enjoyable Christmas seasons I remember.}
44. Finish all holiday shopping by December 1 {Again, this is something I can own as a choice, but it's difficult when you share the cost of presents and others don't share your goals. I did have my list made in October, and some of my shopping done early}
45. Wrap and label Christmas gifts so they are under the tree by the end of the first week in December
46. Use my iPhone calendar to help keep me organized {I'm so reliant on that thing now}
47. Build a stockpile and only shop for perishable items as needed - otherwise, use the stockpile {This comes and goes, it seems}
48. Plant a garden or work with family to have a garden
49. Freeze or can fresh produce to use throughout the following year {We had so much stuff canned and frozen from previous years, we didn't end up doing any this year.}
50. Take a family picture to display in our home, including both puppies

51. Attend 1 Christmas event in the community {tree lighting, Santa visit, etc.}
52. Visit the local library
53. Become a member of Mike’s church {this is actually really sad for me}
54. Take all my nieces and nephews to the zoo for the day
55. Go to the Farmer’s Market at least once a month during June/July/August {This never worked out with our schedule}
56. Make homemade rolls for a holiday dinner {Garlic knots to go with my corned beef & cabbage on St. Patrick's day}
57. Drink at least 3 big glasses of water daily {more often than not, so I'm calling this a win}
58. Find at least 1 new blog per month to follow {No problems here, at all.}
59. Comment on at least 1 blog post per week {I did pretty well at this. I don't know if I did one per week, but it was probably close}
60. Host 1 holiday celebration at my house
61. Have a family dinner for no special reason at least every other month
62. Identify a space in our new home for books and make use of it {Again, we didn't move. I do have some plans though for when we do}
63. Visit a large flea market/antique show {Oh gravy, this was so much fun. We went to Walnut Antique Walk and JunkStock in June, and Junk Jubilee in April!}
64. File important paperwork so it’s easily accessible {Oh, boy}
65. Organize my spice cupboard so it’s not overly full and difficult to find what I’m looking for
66. Utilize my closet
67. Make a plan to complete chores/housekeeping responsibilities on a routine basis
68. Purchase a new vacuum cleaner and use it!
69. Begin filling my home with meaningful decorations that make us happy
70. Make time weekly to create for myself {rather than for customers or gifts} {I'm calling this a fail. I don't really create except for Gather or Etsy, and I see it being that way for awhile at least. The thing is, if I want to make something for me, I make at least 2 so one can be mine and one can be in Gather}
71. Attempt to make contact with the people who received organs from my mom {I'm just not ready yet. Maybe next year.}
72. Send Christmas cards
73. Carve a pumpkin
74. Attend a training/seminar to learn a new skill for work {I actually can't remember if I learned something new, specifically}
75. Take a picnic
76. Learn how to use Photoshop
77. Take flowers to the graves of loved ones who have passed away
78. Use my time wisely to eliminate stress
79. Check Etsy and local stores first for gift giving options 
80. Plan ahead for gift giving to allow time for shipping or searching for the right gift
81. Complete the Week in the Life project and get photographs into an album or Project Life layout {I bolded part of it. I took photos for the project, but they're not in my album yet}
82. Get my house into a state where I would be comfortable with people dropping in
83. Keep my new house in a state where I’m comfortable with people dropping in {Again, we didn't move...}
84. Change my mindset that people can drop in on a house that is not perfectly spotless
85. Strive to be more patient with people {I'm horrible. I have zero patience. It's probably my worst quality - and best, when something needs to get done - and something I really need to work on}
86. Get up at least 3 times per week after hitting the snooze button only once {set alarm for the time I want to get out of bed instead of 45 minutes early} {I feel physically ill if I don't hit the snooze buttons a couple of times...I tried it, I'd rather just wake up at my own pace}
87. Become more active in an attempt to be healthier {and lose weight in the process}
88. Purchase a pair of dress shoes that are cute and do not hurt my feet
89. Send at least 1 “thinking of you” card to someone for no particular reason
90. Make and display an advent calendar
91. Organize my pantry
92. Don’t give up on taking photographs daily if I happen to miss one day {I missed a couple days and came up with a solution that works for me...that's why I'm calling it a win. I didn't give up just because I missed, I revised my plan instead.}
93. Don’t complain about anything for a week {I forgot this was on here. I know it never happened}
94. Watch a movie I’ve always wanted to see but have never made time to watch
95. Make a custom recipe book {or find my favorite online recipes and pin them onto my Food board on Pinterest} {I started this on Pinterest, but didn't get them in order the way I wanted...so that's why it's still in progress}
96. Eat 3 things I’ve never tried before {I honestly can't remember if I did or not}
97. Learn to knit or crochet
98. Make Cold Cookies for Grandma {and Mike & me}
99. Make my own cleaning product rather than buying something {laundry detergent is for sale at Gather, if you're interested}
100. Go to the county fair
101. Go to Groundhog Days {We got snowed in sadly...heard it was a blast. Next year!}
102. Don’t swear for a week {I also forgot this was on here...I'm also sure it didn't happen}
103. Identify 25 things that make me happy and find a way to incorporate those things into Project Life {I may still do this as I'm wrapping up Project Life...but I didn't do it during 2012}
104. Journal in Project Life as I take pictures - complete journaling for the previous month at the start of a month
105. Visit at least 1 photo booth
106. Take vitamins daily
107. Organize the photos on my computer {i got my work computer organized, but not my home ones}
108. Clean out refrigerator weekly
109. Send thank you notes in a timely manner {I'm hit or miss. I don't like that.}
110. Donate expired coupons for military use
111. Create/purchase a family calendar to be used by both Mike & me {my iPhone calendar seems to work better than this would have...we just check in with each other about things that are going on and I keep track of it.}
112. Say no to things when I don’t have time or am feeling overwhelmed {I'm calling this in progress. When I started Gather, I readjusted my priorities, and made sure I was taking time to make my dream come true. Sometimes, that means saying no to things, even when it's something I want to do. I'm working to feel okay with that, because I'm often disappointed, and even more often, worrying that I'm disappointing someone else. I have to move past that.}

Whew. To best honest, I stopped looking at this list halfway through 2012 {when I wrote my last post about it.} I knew it was there, but I didn't prioritize some of these items like I should have. It became a really overwhelming list for me, because our lives changed so much this last year.

When I first posted this list, someone made a comment that there was so much on my list, and my response was, well, if I even get a few of them completed, then my life will be that much better. I really believed that going in, and if I'm counting correctly, I completed 28 of the items on my list. Another 19 are in progress. So, that's pretty awesome when you think about it. Some of the fails were due to outside circumstances, some were because I just decided they weren't important, and some genuinely were fails. Maybe I readjusted my priorities, maybe I just didn't have the time or money, or maybe I just plain failed. Whatever the reason, I feel like the accomplishments on this list are pretty significant.

Okay, on to 2013. No, I won't be doing a 113 in 2013. It was just too much trying to do this list in 2012, even when I was paying attention to it. And clearly it fizzled out. I obviously will have some goals for next year, and I'm brainstorming some ways to keep me on track with them. Once I'm finished with the list, I'll be sharing it here like I did this year. I'd love to see your years in review, or your goals for 2013. Leave me a comment with blog posts on these topics so I can share in your challenges as well.

I hope everyone has a safe & happy New Year's Eve, and I wish you all the best in 2013. I'm looking forward to a great year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

30 Bags in 30 Days

Hey everyone,

If you read yesterday's "right now" post, then you saw that I'm on an organizational kick. This actually started about a month ago or so, but since moving is on the horizon, it's kicked into high gear now.

In an example of perfect timing, my friend Becky blogged about her 30 Bags in 30 Day project that she undertakes every year. You can read her post here. She decided to create the Instagram tag #30bags30days for those of us participating in the project to share our pictures. {I'm @gatherboutique on Instagram if you want to follow me.}

So, yesterday, I took on my first project: organizing my one personal drawer in my office. Here's the before:

Now, I know you can't see a whole lot in here, but that's a drawer that's about 12 inches deep filled to the brim with all sorts of things. And that's exactly what I see every time I open it up, so I have to dig to find out what I'm after.

I started by cleaning everything out to see what I even had. I threw away anything that was expired {which was only a couple things}. I put a couple of things where they actually belong instead of in this drawer. This is what I ended up with after that process:

The two binders in the back of the drawer are actually work related, but I only access them every year or two. I have to keep them on hand somewhere, but I don't need to worry about how easy it is to get to them since I don't use them often.

I started putting things back in the drawer in a way that made sense and I thought I could keep organized. I used a small cardboard box from the recycling pile to help corral some smaller items, and some zipper bags for others. Here's how it ended up:

From the top left, moving clockwise, I have some extra plastic bags I keep on hand in case I need to take things home with me.

Next I have some food in larger packages. We live about an hour and a half away from work, and I tend to eat most of my meals either at work or on the way to or from work. So, I keep an extra box of cereal on hand in case I happen to forget breakfast or am running late, and some chips for the occasional snack {rather than spending too much from the vending machine.}

Then I have condiments, just in case I need them for lunches. Saves on having to pack them from home.

The drink mixes are in individual form to be used with water bottles or tumblers {I have 3 or 4 different kinds there so I don't get too bored with them.}

I have some granola and snack food on hand. Or, if I don't eat all of the food I've packed for the day and it won't go bad, I normally just stick it in my drawer to be eaten later.

I keep some cold medicine, cold-eze, and whatnot on hand. Again, it's not like I can run home over lunch and get some, and I hate spending money on something that I already have on hand. In an emergency, our company has a pharmacy on site so I can just walk down the hall to get what I need.

I keep a candy jar on my desk for the employees and vendors who come to visit me. There's a bag of extras to refill. I normally don't buy candy, but find that I get gifted bags of candy for my jar from vendors or for holidays.

And finally, my zipper bag of utensils and napkins. I bring these items from home to keep on hand so I don't have to remember to pack them with my breakfast & lunch at home.

Everything is much more accessible now, the smaller items {especially the condiments} are corralled, and it's much easier to find what I'm looking for.

I also wanted to share with you my list for this project. I can cross the first item off!

Although it's called 30 Bags in 30 Days, I sincerely doubt I will get all of this accomplished in 30 days, especially with moving and butchering and Gather and everything else we have going on. And some of these things are things that can only be done at the new house because they're already packed up from this house {for example, the craft stuff, the games, dvds, etc.}

Like I said above, I'll be taking photos with Instagram, so look for updates there. I'll probably do an update to the project when it's done to let you know what I got accomplished. I hope you'll join in with us by using the tag #30bags30days. Leave a comment here or on Instagram and let me know you're joining in. Good luck!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Right Now

Hey everyone,

First off, a belated Happy Holidays to you all! I hope no matter what holidays you celebrate at this time of year, they were wonderful and filled with lots of fun, family & friends, laughter and blessings.

I've been a horrible blogger these last few months, and I haven't talked about much of anything except Gather. While it's a huge part of our lives, it's not all we do, and I feel like I haven't talked a lot about my life outside of it lately. I wanted to do a little "right now" post with you, and hopefully before the end of the year, I'll be able to see how my 112 in 2012 went, share some year in review type stuff, and who knows what else. That only gives me 6 or so days, so we'll see, but I'm going to try!

Right now I'm loving these post-Christmas sales. I adore Christmas...it's easily my favorite holiday by leaps and bounds, and I am always looking for things to add to my holiday collections. The day after Christmas is like a holiday in itself for me...I love hunting for great clearance finds, or seeing what stores have items I've really wanted this season still in stock. After I buy them, I store them away for next year and then it's like opening presents when I decorate for the holidays!

Right now I'm starting to feel some hope about moving. If you've been reading my blog at all over the last 15 months or so, you know that Mike & I have been planning a move. We made an offer on a house that was accepted, and then we had to back out of the deal because we agreed to move to Mike's parents farm. Long story short, that process has taken longer than any of us had ever wanted. It's been a roller coaster of a year with regard to that change in our lives, but it looks like we will be making the move sometime in early 2013, and then listing our beloved house for sale. I'll talk more about that when the time comes, but I'm excited to be getting on with this new chapter in our lives and all the things that it will bring for us. I'm also thrilled to see light at the end of the tunnel with regard to living out of boxes! Our house is nowhere near packed up, but we did start packing some things that weren't critical, every day items a LONG time ago. Even though we don't use them every day, we do access them more than once every 15 months. I'm loving that I won't have to unpack and repack these items every time we want to use them!

Right now I'm trying to live in the moment and enjoy everything about this upcoming week. It's always my week to take a break, relax from the holiday craziness, not think too much about the future, and just enjoy. It's difficult for me to live in the moment...it's something I've always struggled with. I'm a planner by nature, and I look toward the future 99% of the time as a result of that. I give myself this week every year to really just spend time loving the slower pace of my life for 7 days, and not think about all the things I have to get done or want to get done in the next year.

Right now I'm on an organizational kick. Maybe it's because we're moving. Maybe it's because I see how inefficiently we're using space in our current house and I know we're going to be in a smaller house soon. Maybe it's because I'm just tired of not having a place for everything. I don't know, but I'm really glad it's happening. I decided that I'm going to organize as I pack so that when I unpack, I don't have any excuses. I've been finding tons of great inspiration through blogs, YouTube & Pinterest {which, to be honest, is all a little overwhelming}. I'm so looking forward to getting everything in order and having a system that works for us.

Right now I'm figuring out if I can catch up and finish my 2012 Project Life before the end of the year. I'm sure I can, because the system is that awesome. I just have to tell myself to do it. Maybe I'll be able to get everything done this weekend and do a video to flip through the album with you.

{Speaking of which} Right now I'm loving the idea of taking videos of things rather than trying to take pictures. I'm still not comfortable seeing myself on camera, so I don't know that I'll ever be in front of the camera, but I love watching videos on YouTube of different things and think I want to include more of that into my memory keeping, blogging, and Gather promotion.

Right now I'm so grateful for everyone in my life, both family & friends. This Christmas was honestly one of the best I remember in a long time, not because of the gifts {although, I got some cool stuff!}, but because of all the people I was able to be with. I'm so truly blessed to have such an awesome group of people around me. I'm also extremely lucky to have the community of people that I've met through this blog, Facebook, and other social media outlets. I would have never guessed how many awesome friendships I would have made in these ways, but I'm so glad for them.

I'll probably be adding my right now type posts to my Project Life album at some point, and when I eventually do go over my album with you, I'll show you how I incorporate those. I hope you're having an amazing week and I'll check in with you soon!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint is Here!!

Hey friends!

Yesterday was a great day at Gather, our first shipment of Miss Mustard Seek Milk Paint arrived!!

If you're not familiar with milk paint, check out www.missmustardseedmilkpaint.com for more information and some tutorials on how to use the product. The reason I'm interested and wanted to sell it at Gather is because I think it offers so many painting options, between the different finishes that can be achieved, the ability to mix colors, and so on.

So, I thought it would be fun for you to go through all the product I received. I took a quick video on my iPhone in the store last night, so it's not the best quality, but you'll get the idea!

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint is now available at Gather - and we also happen to be open on Saturday from 10-3! This is a great chance for you to come in and check out the paint for yourselves. It's also plenty of time for you to finish that last minute Christmas shopping if you're not done by then!

As I'm sure you can tell on the video, I'm so excited to have the opportunity to work with a great product, and I can't wait to experiment with it in the next few weeks! I have a ton of great pieces in the store that are just waiting to be painted, so I know Mike and I will be having a lot of painting parties over Christmas break.

For those of you who are new to my blog, Facebook, or Gather Boutique, we are located in Elmwood, Nebraska, which is between Lincoln and Omaha. We'd love to have you stop by and check out what we offer, from vintage finds, to gifts, to painted furniture...and now, Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint!

We've also just set our hours for the first half of 2013! For the most part, we'll be open the 2nd & 4th Saturdays of every month from 10am until 3pm. As I mentioned in the video, we want to start offering some classes in 2013 as well and those will be outside of our regular store hours. If there's a class you'd like to see us offer, please let me know by commenting on this blog post or on our Facebook page!

If you'd like to follow us on Facebook, the address is www.facebook.com/gatherboutique. I also Instagram a lot of photos and store updates, so follow me there if you're an Instagram user! My username is Gatherboutique.

Please let me know if you have any questions about Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint. I look forward to seeing you soon at Gather!