The Evolution of a Blog Post

Today we are going to discuss how three seemingly unrelated items influence the progression of a blog post from a simple discussion about keys, to another exploration of my bad habits: procrastination, laziness, messiness.

The three items:

1. A set of keys

2. A collection of lovely purses

3. Food that is, um, well past its prime

The progression:

I often write blog posts about random, everyday things and I use my experiences and surroundings as inspiration. Example: The Would You Like Your Receipt? post.

My keys were the initial inspiration for this post. See how many there are:

DSC06864

Now, it’s not an exorbitant amount of keys; however, the ratio of used keys to unused keys is a problem. There are a total of eleven keys. Five of them I use all the time. Two belong to doors I should no longer be opening, and four are mystery keys.

DSC06863

This one belongs to my husband’s old condo.

DSC06862

This one belongs to my mom’s old Subaru.

I was thinking I should get rid of the keys I don’t need, so that I don’t have to try to squish so many keys into my smallish purse. My blog post was going to be about why I hold on to all these unnecessary keys.

Here is where we have our first divergence: now I began to think about my purse.

Perhaps my purse was the problem and I should blog about that? I have a lovely collection of purses that I never use. When I was younger, I used to change my purse all the time, usually to match my outfit. Now it’s always the black one. Have I gotten so lazy that I can’t move my wallet from one purse to another?

DSC06853

The only purse I seem to carry now.

I gathered my purses to take the picture below and pondered the red one in the back. Now, that’s a much bigger purse. I could keep all my extraneous keys and have room more. Why get rid of keys, when I can make room for more?

DSC06855

Now, to the next divergence: I started looking through the purse for clues as to when it was last used and found something startling – food that was well past its prime. And so now my blog post is about what happens to food when left in a purse too long.

DSC06857

Very stale pumpkin bread, a bag of almonds and walnuts, and two unidentifiable pieces of fruit.

I really can’t say how long it has been since I used this purse, but judging from the fruit it’s been more than a couple of days. The pumpkin bread is homemade, dating back to fall 2012.

DSC06859

After close inspection, this was identified as an apple. The sticker tells me it was a honey crisp apple. If you look closely, you can see the tip of the stem in the top right corner.

DSC06860

I wanted to call this a strawberry, based on its size. However, strawberries usually don’t come with a sticker on them. And I would never just carry a loose strawberry in my purse. That would be gross. So, I’m pretty sure this is another petrified, rotten, moldy apple.

So, similar to many of my other posts, this post has dissolved into another example of my lack of organization, cleanliness and motivation.  Anyone want some almonds?

 

Advertisements

Disorganization: The result of hoarding, procrastination and simple laziness

This is a warning to all Type A personalities, neat freaks and the uber-organized. What you are about to see might cause heartburn, increased blood pressure or the irresistible urge to whip out your label maker.

My very talented husband recently built mismatched (but still matching) nightstands for our bedroom. See:

handmade circular nightstand by Logan Windram

Here is my husband’s new nightstand.

White handmade nightstand by Logan Windram

And here is mine. Notice the nice big drawers for storing things.

This immediately creates two conflicting emotions:

Excitement – Hey, I just got a brand new, handmade, nightstand to replace the bulky, cheap, mass-produced one that I had for years. Yay me!

Dread – Hey, I just got a brand new, handmade nightstand that now needs to be filled with the contents of my former bulky, cheap, mass-produced nightstand.

This is a problem because:

1. I’m a procrastinator (you all know that). Why do today, what can be done tomorrow?

2. I’m a bit of a hoarder. Hey, I might need that Betamax VCR one day!

3. I don’t use traditional techniques like filing, sorting or categorizing to organize my things. I like to haphazardly stuff objects here and there. Secretly, I think this boils down to laziness.

I’ve included a few pictures so you can understand the full extent of the problem:

So, here is one of the drawers from my old nightstand. Note the complete lack of order. You might also note that I collect boxes of various heartburn medications.

Inside unorganized nightstand drawer

Here is a close up of the ooey-gooey inside. See how some of the items are stained red. That’s because I spilled NyQuil in the drawer a couple of years ago and then just let it dry. You’ll also note that I have decided I must keep a single pink balloon, tire levers for a bike and post-it notes in the nightstand–should I ever need to inflate a balloon, flag something or … I’m not really sure what the tire lever does… in the middle of the night.

Close up of old nightstand drawer

And the problem is not just with the nightstand drawers. It has infected the whole house:

First, the living room end table drawer. Contents include: various chargers, cat toys, a remote control, a piece of copper pipe and travel brochures from a trip we took over a year ago.

DSC05874

Next, our wine rack drawers. This one has cat nail clippers, napkin rings, wine charms (hey, those actually make sense here), toothpaste and expired (I think) gift cards.

DSC05875

The second wine rack drawer has a watch I haven’t worn in over seven years, batteries, some screws, and a random key. And by the way, the mint boxes are empty.

DSC05876

And lastly, our linen closet. (Yes, that’s our coffee maker on the top shelf. Don’t you keep your coffee maker in the linen closet?) I won’t even go into detail here. We’ll just call it a disaster and leave it at that.

DSC05877

Often this method of storing things works just fine: Of course I know where the ballet tickets are. They’re in the wine rack with the empty box of mints, next to the cat’s old rabies tags.

But then sometimes this happens: Where is my new credit card? I know I left it in this pile of address labels, paper Christmas ornaments and old flight itineraries.  Proceed to tear house apart and accuse spouse of throwing it away. Find it two years later under the sofa cushion.

Now, I will say there is one drawer in our house that is always meticulously organized. And, no, it’s not my husband’s nightstand drawer. Although, that one is pretty organized too… It’s our spice drawer.

DSC05882

Logan added this awesome spice drawer to one of our cupboards a couple of years ago.

DSC05884

See how all the jars are neatly in place and all the spices are labeled. They’re even alphabetized!

And in case you’re wondering, I started this project a week ago. The contents of one drawer has been emptied, organized and neatly placed in the new drawer. The other one is still sitting on the living room floor.

I was going to write this post a week ago, but…

You’re given a month’s notice of the impending deadline. A week goes by, then two. Soon, the day arrives. It’s time for your four-hour presentation. Or your in-laws are about to knock on your front door. Or it’s your uncle’s pet iguana’s birthday.

iguana

Igor at his birthday party.
(Image courtesy Patrick Buechner via Flickr)

But you’ve only rehearsed half your presentation,  you haven’t made the guest room bed and you have no present for Igor, the Iguana. Not even a card. You scramble to throw something together. Perhaps a handmade card, with a narwhal on it. Not your proudest moment, but for some of us it happens all too often.

norwal card

Image courtesy Laine Trees via Flickr.

Procrastination. We’re all guilty. I’m procrastinating right now. There are a few things I should be doing instead of writing this post: bathing my cats (Ha! Have you ever seen a wet cat??), researching the origins of the Snuggie, or actually working on my novel.

black wet cat

Image courtesy WATERBOYsh via Flickr.

gray wet cat

Image courtesy Julie Manzerova via Flickr.

annoyed wet cat

Image courtesy Belal Khan via Flickr.

happy wet cat

Weird–this cat actually looks happy.
(Image courtesy Felicity Rainnie via Flickr)

And the farther away the deadline, the more you procrastinate. Well, you tell yourself, you have days, weeks, or months to complete the task. Why worry about it now? There are so many cute cat pictures on Pinterest that need pinning. Then, depending on the size and scope of the project, panic sets in as the deadline approaches. Instead of working on the project little by little, you slam it all out in one caffeine fueled frenzy.

Unfortunately, this process works well for me. I become focused and feverish. And I always get the job done. Except when it comes to my book.

It’s funny. The thing that is most important to me, is the thing I procrastinate finishing the most. Maybe I think I don’t have enough time to dedicate to the project, or I tell myself that I should just get these two things done first, then I’ll edit. I want an uninterrupted block of time to work, and by the time I get those two other tasks done it’s time to watch Sleepy Hollow, and I can’t miss an episode of Sleepy Hollow.

sleepy hollow

Image courtesy Loren Javier via Flickr.

The real problem, though, is that I don’t have a deadline. There is no due date for my project and all these other tasks are time sensitive. The presentation is already scheduled, the in-laws have purchased their plane tickets, and Igor was born on November 28th.

So, I’ve decided to give myself a deadline: December 31st. I will have my entire manuscript edited and in the hands of my beta readers by the end of the year.

deadline

Image courtesy Kalexander2010 via flickr.

I’ll keep you posted throughout the month on my progress. My hope is that it will keep me motivated. Knowing that I will have to announce my progress to the world, or my lovely little group of followers, should be the push I need to disable my Netflix account and edit.

18 steps to making a mini top hat (in the real world)

1. Procrastinate the making of your Halloween costume. You have plenty of time to put something together and your favorite TV show is on tonight. But you’ll definitely start working on it tomorrow. You promise yourself.

2. Initiate panic sequence the day of your Halloween party. You’ve dug through your closet and were able to throw a  costume together, but realize you need a cute mini top hat to top off the outfit.

3.  Hoard multiple empty cereal boxes in your basement. If you’ve actually done this, you were either featured on Hoarders or you were using them to make mini top hats and then decided you would make loads of them to sell. Later you did the math and realized you would have to make one an hour to be profitable. Sadly you were averaging one a weekend.

Cereal boxes for top hats

At least it’s not Lucky Charms..

4. Stockpile yards and scraps of tulle and fabric, along with baubles, buttons, and faux flowers because if there is a zombie apocalypse you know you’ll be able to sell them for a huge mark up.

Tulle and fabric

One day this will be organized. Likely after I fold the laundry and finish my novel…

(If you realize you weren’t proactive enough to have completed steps three and four, your hat making experience will require a trip to the grocery store and/or the craft store. This will add to the stress created by steps number one and two.)

5. Rummage through your supplies to find a color combo that works. It’s best if the materials are spread all over the floor so your cats can roll on, bite and bat all your precious materials. It will also annoy your husband.

6. Use the power of suggestion so that your husband decides he should go to the coffee shop and bring back your favorite beverage.

7. Pick suitable background noise. Music is okay. But I find a showing of The Hunger Games or Vampire Diaries works best. A word of caution though, the background noise should not compete for your full attention. This could lead to hours of watching and no crafting. I’ve seen it happen before. It’s not pretty.

8.  Begin construction. Because you’ve waited until the last minute, there is no time for patterns or measurements. You just use objects around the house that “look” like they’re the right size.

Tracing cup for top hat

I used a water glass to trace the top of the hat.

Fringes for top hat

I follow my traced line when cutting out the top, but actually cut a centimeter or two outside of the line. Then I make these little cuts to create a fringe. Then I fold them in so they can be tucked into the body of the hat.

Tracing bowl for bottom of hat

Then I use a bowl to trace the base of the hat and cut along the traced line.

The strip of cardboard (see below) that makes up the body of the hat will have to be cut a little longer than the circumference of the top of the hat, after the fringes have been folded in.

photo 1-2

This will make it so that the body of the hat ends up being the same width as the top of the hat, but will allow some overlap to glue the ends of the body together. The width (or short part) of your body piece will determine how tall the hat is.

cardboard mini top hat

To make it easier to form the body of the hat I sprinkle it with water and then rub it in a bit. You can now form it into a  tube and glue the ends together. If you want your hat to narrow at the base of the body it will have to be cut into an arc to allow for this. It is a pain but I just keep eyeballing it and trimming it until it is right.

For the base of the hat, you will cut a round hole in the middle of the base that is a little smaller than the circumference of the body. I center the glued body in the middle of the base piece and trace around it. Then when cutting, I follow the line, but cut about a centimeter or two on the inside of the line. Then I cut the little fringes to the traced line (as done with the top of the hat above) and fold the fringes in, so that they can be tucked into the body of the hat (see below).

photo 1-1

The outer line here is where I traced the body, and the inner line is where I would cut to leave myself space to make the fringes.

9. Pause to reheat coffee and discuss how unrealistic a certain vampire character is.

10. I forgot to tell you your husband is also working on a hat. His is a store bought top hat that he is embellishing. After about 20 minutes of work he shows you what he has done. Be careful here. If you are not sensitive in your critique you will end up working on two hats.

11. Begin working on husband’s hat. He has become frustrated, whiny and defeated. But first, pause to go to the bathroom.

12. Once you’ve finished with your husband’s hat, listen to him gloat about how he knew if he whined enough you would just do it for him.

13. Realize that a couple of your cardboard pieces are cut too big, or perhaps the others are too small. Since you can’t make the smaller ones bigger, you trim the larger ones trying not to make things worse. You likely make things worse and now your hat is about half the size you originally planned. Pause to go the bathroom again.

Cardboard mini top hat

You will then insert the fringes of the base into the body of the hat and glue them in place.

cereal box mini top hat

And insert the fringes of the of the top into the body and glue in place. Of course my top was a little big so I had to jam it in there.

Fabric over mini top hat

Then I cut fabric to size (I just eyeballed it). You could have traced the fabric earlier using your cut box pieces, but I like to do things the hard way.

14. Add the finishing touches and repeatedly tell yourself that no one is going to look that closely at it anyway. Curse the earlier cup of coffee because you have to pee again.

Trim around mini top hat

You’ll want to add trim around the top, the base and brim.

15. Attempt to remove the glue strands that are now on the couch, coffee table, cat, your hair and of course clinging to all parts of your hat.

16. Revel in your masterpiece and then realize you’ve been crafting almost all day. You will surely be at least an hour late to the party. Thumb through a magazine and surf the internet for a few minutes.

17. Scramble to get ready and then head to the party. About 10 minutes into the drive you’ll realize the hat is still sitting on your dining room table. Turn back and arrive at the party 45 minutes late.

18. Revel in the fact that you are only 45 minutes late. And you have an amazing top hat! And there you go. I hope you enjoyed my mini top hat tutorial. With the proper amount of hoarding, procrastination, spousal manipulation and caffeine you too can have a top hat just like this!

Red and black mini top hat

And then embellish and attach to a headband or alligator clips. I have no idea how most people attach the hat to the headband, I just glue gun the heck out of it 🙂