Tag Archive for projects

Our 2015 Calendar Project Success

The Family Calendar for 2015 has been polished, published and placed in the hands of all of the family members near and far.  This project turned out to be way more stressful for me than I realized it would be.  Setting deadlines for submissions and my Mom helping with getting the month’s assigned to each particular submitter.  Then the calendar pages with all the family members birthdays had to be edited and updated.  This was quite an adventure to say the least!  This is one of those projects that my Mom (or my parents) just always made happen every year, and it never seemed like a big deal, but it most certainly is.

One of my goals for each picture page of the calendar was to peruse the months and check to see that there were no duplicate pictures.  I looked intently at all of the picture months 10 or 50 times.  In the end and after all was said and done there was only one duplicate.  In my editorial opinion I consider that a great feat, and would take on the task again in a heartbeat.

This calendar brings back such great memories.  When all of the kids were younger, and my Mom was doing the calendar all on her own, they would each count how many times their picture appeared in the calendar.  Then they would make a contest out of who was in the calendar the most.  That in turn put extra pressure on Grandma to try and get a good balance of pictures for each grandchild.  Our Family Calendar is almost a 20 year family tradition, and I love traditions.  You can read all about the history of our family calendar here.

Nowadays, quite a few of the kids are contributors to the calendar, and it has made the project quite an annual event.  Not to mention the fact that  when we are taking pictures at family gatherings during the year someone will inevitably exclaim, “That’s a calendar shot!” This is one of those timeless family traditions that I hope will be passed from one generation to the next for many years to come.

Without further ado, these are the pictures pages gracing the 12 months of 2015.  Enjoy!

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11 Things I was Reminded of During our Home Improvement Week

If you are a follower of my stories you know that Travel Man and are near the end of a project remodeling the entryway of our home.  After a few marathon work sessions last week it reminded me that we almost always have a great time together with our projects,  and here’s a few reasons why we do: 

1. Projects with my Travel Man are fun.

2. We work well together.

3. It is important that I pay attention and know when to leave Travel Man alone to let him think and work.  It can be all fun and laughter.

4. Working a project and meeting our deadline is like a well orchestrated dance.

5. I’m a great “sous” carpenter- clean up is my specialty.

6. Planning is everything.

7. Changing the plan when you are actually in the middle of the project can be important.  Be flexible.

8. It’s ok with me if Travel Man doesn’t like to paint, because I love to paint!

9. Finishing all of the detail work gives you the greatest sense of accomplishment.

10. The detail work is what makes your project spectacular.  This one is still in the works as I am typing this post.

11.  I need more exercise, I am seriously out of shape.

As our entryway project comes to a successful close I have to give a big shout out to my wonderful husband.  He worked by hard to get a lot of work done in a short period of time.  And of course, this week he is back on the road.  That’s our life, planning and executing, and trying to get things done on short notice.   I will have pictures a little later this week, remember patience is a virtue my friends.

I think I’m a List-a-holic!!

How do you keep track of your to-do’s?  Are you using Outlook, Evernote, an old-fashioned tablet and a pen?  I have what I will loosely call a passion for making lists.  Sitting down with a cup o’ coffee in the morning and putting together my list for the day or the week, just gets my day and week going on the right foot.

I like to keep myself fairly organized, and feel like I am accomplishing things each and every day.  I have lists for groceries, sewing projects, household projects, gifts ideas, recipe ideas, etc, etc.

I am always trying new and improved ways to organize my lists, with the hopes that the things on the lists will get done just that much sooner.  Ha!  As we all know the only thing that helps move  your lists along, or get things checked off of your list is just by digging in and “doing”.

My lists were bugging me recently, because a few assorted tasks were sitting on the list idly and not getting done.   So,  I decided to keep track of my time for a few days to see where I was wasting time, or not making an efficient use of my time.  This is kind of like writing down what you eat every day to keep track of your calories.  As soon as I started keeping track, in writing, each day of what I was doing I started getting more things done.  More productive time spent on things I wanted to accomplish each day.  My to do lists started getting the items on them checked off in a more timely manner than normal.  Boom!  This principle also applies to stalking your calories each day.  When you write down what you are eating, Boom!  You stop snacking so much because you don’t want to write it down on the list and add it to your calories!

My favorite list / project tool right now is using Evernote.  Evernote can be used for project list or shopping lists and if you have a smart phone you can sync your lists with your smart phone to your pc.  In Evernote you create a notebook for your “project”, and then within each notebook you can create a list of to-do’s, and the notebooks can be shared.  I find this to be a great way to keep track of ongoing projects, that are longer term items.

For my daily lists,  I am finding that the old-fashioned paper and pen method is working   best for the moment.  Just taking a few minutes in the morning to write down what I want to accomplish each day helps me to get on track first thing in the morning.   There is some kind of sense of accomplishment for me to check things off the list!  Oh and I use a red pen for this part!  A good way to feel good about getting things done.

How do you keep yourself organized?  What’s your favorite way to make a list for the day?  Do you work a list each day or week?  Do lists make you cringe?

I’d love to hear from you about how you keep track of your to-do’s.  Leave me a comment!  Happy listing everyone.

How do we get our home projects (ala DIY) completed?

 With Travel Man’s unpredictable schedule at work it is sometimes difficult to get our DIY (do it yourself) projects completed in a timely manner.  Now you may be asking yourselves how do you ever get things done around the house?  There must be a long “honey-do” list for Travel Man!  We try really hard to keep the “honey do’s” to a minimum, but when there’s a project to complete that requires Travel Man’s experience and muscle here’s what we do.

Our latest endeavor is to get our entryway flooring replaced.  Now, the first phase of this project is a story all on its own.  You know how you get a plan together for demolition, begin to execute that plan, and then realize you need a plan B?  Well that’s what happened on this project.

With my Domestic Goddess status in full swing,  I told Travel Man I had plenty of time to try to take out the tile.  The key word here was “try”.  I had a big chisel, hammer, and a multi-function, variable speed tool to begin my project.  I was using the multi-function tool to get the grout out-of-the-way, and then the chisel and hammer to get up and under the tile to get it removed.  Seemed like a fairly simple task.  I can do this, is what I told myself.  Well,  after the demo of the first two tiles, I was done.  This was a project that was going to kick me in the bootie, and I had to ask Travel Man, “What’s plan B?”  I much prefer sticking to the painting and decorating.

Plan B was to purchase a hammer drill, and get under the tile to bust it out of there. There was so much mastic under the tile, it was like the previous tile master in this house used all the mastic he could muster for this project.  So, the demolition for this project now falls in Travel Man’s lap.  Remember I was on jury duty for most of the month of March, so when Travel Man had a few days off he was working on the  tile removal.  This was a very, very labor intensive undertaking.  It also created more dust in the house than I have seen in a long, long time.  Dust here, dust there, dust everywhere!

Here’s a few pics of the project so far, and my dusty hubby from the process!!  It was quite an undertaking, and took about 3 half days of removing the tile and then I volunteered to get all of the old grout/mastic dollops off of the floor.  Now we have a nice smooth concrete pad that we are looking at putting some laminate flooring down on.  That’s our next phase,  flooring purchase and installation.  So once we ( or should I say I) decide on the flooring,  we will wait for a weekend when travel man is home to get it installed.

In the meantime I will be painting the entryway, and hopefully trying out some wall texturing.  More on that project later this month.

If you have a DIY project to complete how do you find the time to work on it from start to finish?  It’s not like the TV shows where rooms are complete in half an hour.  It takes much, much longer…and in our case requires a lot of advanced planning.   Happy DIY-ing everyone!

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