This week both Jeff and I were still getting over terrible colds, which meant a lot of catch up time for me with my client work. My main client is contracted for 40 hours a week, so this is a full time job and when I’m out a few days one week, that equals all those hours are made up the next week! I love working from home and the work that I do with this client (marketing support for author book launches), but there are some weeks I find myself missing the corporate world — or, rather, 21 days a year of PTO + 11 holidays. 
Not enough to go back, though.

However, I managed to swipe some time to work on personal projects. I’m working on a novel — witchy, supernatural, down home, cozy mystery style — and after fits and starts over the last year, and way too much time spent reading about outlining and articles about how other people organize Scrivener, I got down to writing and have 5500 words over the last few days. 

I’ve also been working on a Spring Wardrobe Capsule, a super fun project of 16 mix-n-match items, 10 of which will be sewn from scratch. I finished the first outfit over the weekend and it’s super nice to get back in the sewing room. A few weeks ago I committed to sewing down the giant fabric stash, although the first few ‘makes’ after deciding the fabric needed to sewn up were upcycles that didn’t use any fabric from my stash. I’ve rectified that with this week’s makes — two of my three finished projects were made entirely from stash fabric, so the tally is: five yards down, 395 yards to go.

With the three new makes, I now have a ton of finished projects that need photo shoots. Two cool makes that will go into our online shop for sale (a cute linen dress and awesome denim duster upcycle), the three capsule pieces I finished this week and a super cool slip dress I fashioned from a sheet with matching frock upcycle I finished a few weeks ago. I’ve fallen out of the blogging practice and don’t love to be in pictures these days!

It’s been strange weather and I’m remembering why I didn’t like northern Minnesota when growing up. We went from tons of snow, to thunderstorms, to a grey, still very snowy, messy, muddy ick. Then a few days ago it got cold again and we’ve gotten a dusting of snow to at least brighten things up. I’m aching for spring, my friends in Virginia are posting pictures of crocuses and daffodils and sitting outside. It’s this time of year where the weather between Minnesota and the rest of the country becomes so apparent. They are all kicking off an early spring and we’re in the throes of a cold, dead winter. At least, the herbs we planted at Imbolc poked their heads out of the dirt this week. Jeff and I are hovering over them, likely overwatering (since we both water and both don’t tell each other). It’s nice to see something growing. We also found some potted rosemary and mint at the grocery, so we’ve pots of that in the kitchen windowsill too. It makes me happy.

Likely due to the weather, we haven’t had any bed and breakfast guests for a few weeks. Earlier this month we were full with snowmobiliers and young couples on dog sled getaway weekends. With the great melt-off I’m sure the winter recreation is in a lull. We were told that April tends to be a dead month, too cold to be outside for spring/summer things, to messy and thawed for winter. I’m concerned that this might start early for us this year. 

Plans for next week

Writing

Next week I plan to continue with the writing momentum. I have a sketchy outline in my head of what’s going to happen in the novel, but with this being my first real work, I think I’ll be scrapping most of the first draft in the editing. Not that it’s not good, just that I’m figuring out what I’m doing as I go along. In order to break free of the analysis paralysis (or planning and technology paralysis), I want to get the raw words on the page that I can rework. I’ve been averaging 1,500-2,000 words a day. 

The B&B

I also am working on a project for the B&B, a vacation guide to offer to subscribers to our newsletter and/or folks interested in coming to visit. I’m partially done and excited to finish — it’s fun to pull together!

Making

We’ll be doing the photoshoots for the finished garments and even though I have nine more makes to do to finish my spring capsule, I also have two cashmere sweaters in colors I love that I never wear because the style is unflattering. They’re burning a proverbial hole in my sewing machine, although I’m also excited to work on a black and white toile frock for the capsule… so we’ll see!

Cool Finds and Finished Books

Finds

For the techies, I downloaded Setapp this week, which is awesome! It’s a subscription based app for the Mac that gives you access to a ton of other apps. Some of the apps are kind of expensive on their own, so if you use them, the monthly subscription fee of $9 is pretty reasonable. There’s a 30 day trial, too, so it’s a good way to test drive a bunch of apps for free. Here are my favorites:

  • HazeOver — this allows you to ‘dim’ all the windows on your desktop except the one you’re working on. As a newer Mac user, I’m still not accustomed to the way the windows pile up and I find it distracting. Bonus – you can set the color of your ‘dim’… mine’s pink!
  • Alternote — this is a Mac based ‘client’ for Evernote and it’s strangely, amazingly, awesome! It almost seems un-needed, since you could just as easily open the Evernote app, but it’s much nicer, visually. The real bonus, though, is that it keeps all the tags open on the left sidebar, so if you like using tags (I do) you can SEE which ones you already have and drag a note onto the tag folder to add the tag to the note. In the Evernote app, the tags are all by themselves, and I always forget exactly how I phrased things. I.E. I have a bunch of things tagged ‘resources’ and a bunch tagged ‘resource’.
  • Be Focused — this is a Pomodoro timer that I really love! I already had the free version (with ads) but Setapp includes the non-ad premium version. Love it!!

I finished a couple of books this week….

End of Days – J.F. Penn – Joanna Penn is one of my favorite podcasters, she hosts a weekly podcast on the business of writing. She also writes fiction novels that are super fun. This book is from her religious history Indiana Jones meets Dan Brown ARKANE series. I really love this series, since I’m a junkie for church history and paranormal. This one features snake handlers in Appalachia, so, score. It was a fun, quick read with good villians and interesting tidbits. My only complaint is that it seemed a little short, and the ending, though good (and fun) seemed to happen ‘too fast’. I’m slowly making my way through the rest of her books! 

Malediction – Erzabet Bishop – I actually paid for this one. There was something about the witchy sounding description that made me shell out $.99. I didn’t realize that (A) it’s a novella, not a novel. Most mystery/thrillers take me between two and three hours to read, this took me 45 minutes. So bummer (B) it’s a super sexy novella. I downloaded it because it had a nice witchy vibe, but turns out it also had a lot of super steamy werewolf witchy fornication. Which, fine. I’m not prude, I just don’t usually read super erotic books and tend to page through those parts, I find them sort of boring and unecessary! That said, it was a fun little story and I like it enough that I’m considering getting the other novellas/novels in the series. I like the urban fantasy style with witches, werewolves, pixies and the like. This fit the bill.

 

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