October (a little late).

October was a mixed bag. I managed to do a lot of things I meant to do, but I also got utterly sidetracked dealing with “drama-behind-the-drama” on this year’s holiday show. I haven’t been involved in anything this stressful in ages. If we’re not mincing words here, it has been dreadful. I thought I was overwhelmed in September, but October was worse. I let several things slide as a result.

Goals for 2019 – October Progress

Send one real letter a month.
I sent out about 20 Halloween cards, complete with a “holiday newsletter” style note. I think that counts as a success!

Sew at least one garment a month.
I didn’t even get anything cut out in October, let alone sewn.

Send newsletter at least once a month.
I sent out an abbreviated version, but it still counts.

Make one apartment improvement a month.
Nothing in October.

Go on one outing with Lennox a month.
We were both too busy — we barely even ran errands together last month.

Read one physical book I already own a month.
Nope. I did read several Kindle titles purchased in previous months, though, so that’s a sort of progress.

Track spending on books, clothing, and sewing.
I spent $68.75 on sewing, $114.33 on clothing, and $18.33 on books (holy cow, a book record). Not bad at all! I had hoped to buy only a custom cardigan from eShakti in October — and that was the bulk of my clothing spending — but my favorite shoes completely broke mid-month and I got a replacement pair from eBay.

Track daily writing habit.
I wrote some but didn’t track it. I’m currently failing pretty spectacularly at Nanowrimo, so I bet I won’t have much more to report on this next month, either.

Post weekly IG photo.
I posted two photos in October, but they were both on Halloween.

Run robot sweeper, vacuum bedroom, tidy, and clean bathroom weekly.
I cleaned one week, and the cleaner came on another. I’m okay with that for right now. The apartment is clean enough, and I need to rest more than I need it to be spotless.

Longer-Term Goals

Reduce fabric stockpile to less than 100 yards (plus scraps) by the end of 2019.
I’m currently at 126 yards; I bought some stretch twill for another pair of trousers. I’m calling it: This one is definitely not going to happen.

Find a way to keep performing.
In the grand tradition of “be careful what you wish for,” I’m currently in the middle of rehearsals and am spending a lot of time questioning my choices. I enjoy directing and teaching the kids, but it has taken my stress level through the roof. We lost half of our children’s chorus in mid-October (due to attendance issues, not any action of mine, thank goodness). This left me scrambling to find replacements — and then scurrying to catch them up when I finally did. All of that has given me far less time to focus on my own performance, and that furthers my anxiety. Performing with this group last year was a really positive experience — which is why I auditioned again — but it has been fraught with difficulty this time around.

Combine websites, transfer blog, forward other domains, purchase an SSL certificate.
All of this in on hold until 2020; I don’t have time right now to deal with any of it.

My October Frugal List

My spending wasn’t terrible last month, and I caught up two clients and billed them — though neither has paid yet. Always pay your freelancers, people!

In October, I:

  • Downloaded a free Amazon First Reads title and three Audible Originals (there was a bonus title this time).
  • Downloaded a free stock photo from Can Stock Photos and three free graphics sets from Creative Market.
  • Sold a top and a skirt on eBay. It wasn’t huge money, but it was better than nothing — and more than I would get at a garage sale.
  • Took advantage of an offer for a reduced-price streaming rental to watch “Annabelle Comes Home” for $1.61. The spooky season is my favorite season, after all!
  • Got a free box of tea with a planned tea purchase. I was hoping to hold out for a free shipping offer, but I’ll be happy to drink some free tea instead.
  • Lennox got a free Dominos pizza from points accumulated from ordering online.
  • Used $4.65 in eBay bucks towards a replacement for my favorite shoes. The soles cracked all the way through! I paid $32 for $120 shoes (including shipping) that look as though they were never worn. I get almost all of my good shoes from eBay — and very rarely pay more than $40 for brands like Dansko, Keen, and Clarks. (I have terrible feet — can you tell from that list?)
  • Received a $15 credit from Instacart for a terrible delivery experience. I don’t complain unless something is completely beyond the pale in these situations, as their delivery people are almost certainly underpaid, but it was a situation that needed to be addressed if it wasn’t to be repeated.
  • Read nine ebooks and four physical books from the library, as well as two free Kindle titles, and an Amazon First Reads title.

Not too shabby! November already seems calmer than last month, so let’s hope that lasts.

September was a little better.

September definitely went better than August. I decided to have a personal austerity month and was mostly successful in reining in my spending (more on that below). I’ve been wading through some pretty extreme feelings of overwhelm lately, so I’m pleased with the progress I made — because I did make some.

Goals for 2019 – September Progress

Send one real letter a month.
I didn’t manage to send anything this time.

Sew at least one garment a month.
I made another pair of Burda 6952 trousers — in cranberry stretch cotton sateen — and a Lawley skirt in grey chambray. I’m wearing both regularly; it’s nice to make some well-fitting basics.

Send newsletter at least once a month.
I’m working on a draft right now but didn’t send one out last month.

Make one apartment improvement a month.
I don’t think I did anything in this category last month. Or if I did, I didn’t write it down! Whoops.

Go on one outing with Lennox a month.
We went to see the “Icons of Fashion” exhibit at the MFAH (loved it) and went to a taping of the NPR game show “Ask Me Another,” which featured Kristin Chenowith. That was super fun!

Read one physical book I already own a month.
None in September.

Track spending on books, clothing, and sewing.
I spent an unprecedented $29.09 on books, $37.99 on sewing, and $169.98 on clothing and accessories. I did spend a little more on clothes than I’d intended, but most of that was second hand: 2 pairs of leggings (new with tags), unworn Allbirds sneakers, character shoes, and a lightweight cardigan from eBay, a vintage scarf from Etsy, and an ASOS dress from a seller on Sell Trade Plus on Instagram. I did buy a knit top from Target’s XXO collection (damn that FOMO) and a set of Edgar Allan Poe enamel pins on a whim, as well as some tights from Torrid, though that was a planned purchase and I used a coupon. Still, September’s spending was far better than it has been for several months!

Track daily writing habit.
I didn’t track my writing last month, and although I did write some, it was sporadic at best.

Post weekly IG photo.
I only posted a single photo in September. I’ve been so overwhelmed that I’m surprised I managed that.

Run robot sweeper, vacuum bedroom, tidy, and clean bathroom weekly.
I did this one week and had the cleaning service in one week. Again, I felt like this was still a success considering my state of overwhelm.

Longer-Term Goals

Reduce fabric stockpile to less than 100 yards (plus scraps) by the end of 2019.
I’m beginning to think I won’t quite make this goal by the end of the year; I’m currently at 123 yards. I bought fabric for a cardigan and a couple of pieces of inexpensive knit fabric to use for muslins, so even though I’ve used some other fabric, the stockpile still grew.

Finish Baktus scarf.
I’m taking this off the list next time, as I have absolutely no motivation to finish this. I’m done with knitting, you guys! It’s a freeing feeling.

Find a way to keep performing.
Rehearsals for the holiday show began, and I was asked to take over as director of the children’s chorus in addition to my role in the play. I agreed, and although I don’t regret it, I have not yet adjusted to the increased demands on my time. I’m doing my best to juggle everything, but I’m not really getting enough rest and will likely have to let some other things slide until after the production closes. I’m enjoying it, though. I have only taught private, one-on-one voice lessons for many years, so it has been a real challenge to take on even a small group of kids again.

Combine websites, transfer blog, forward other domains, purchase an SSL certificate.
I didn’t even think about any of this in September, to be honest.

My September Frugal List

My personal austerity month was a success, at least in the way that it helped me to focus on my spending behavior again.

In September, I:

  • Picked up a free Kind bar and a free Greek yogurt cup with coupons on my Kroger card.
  • Downloaded several free graphics from Creative Market, including an oversized wall calendar template for 2020.
  • Didn’t buy a newly released sewing pattern, even though it was on sale and I really, really wanted it. I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any sewing patterns in September, and I stuck to it.
  • Downloaded two Audible Originals and two Amazon First Reads.
  • Put a book on hold at the library, which isn’t remarkable in any way, except that I was prompted to do so when I saw the ebook on sale at a price point I would typically buy.
  • Made $19 selling sewing and knitting books at Half Price Books.
  • Had three free drinks on my Starbucks card. I didn’t realize that my points had piled up like that!
  • Made a skirt with a free sewing pattern and fabric/notions I already had on hand.
  • Made about $18 selling a pair of unworn shoes on eBay. (Now that I know how simple they’ve made it to list items for sale, I’m likely to sell again in the future. I listed several things and re-listed the ones that didn’t sell the first time.)
  • Used a $10 off coupon to buy a pair of tights for $3 and change.
  • Read five ebooks and two physical books from the library, and one Kindle book included in the Prime Reading program. I’ve been so busy that my reading has slowed way down; I only read 22 books total last month.

I’m pledging to buy only a single item of clothing in October — a custom sweater from eShakti — and I will try to match my spending on both books and sewing to September’s totals. I also plan to catch up and bill two of my private clients. Aside from that, I plan to prioritize rest!

August, or they say failure is how we learn.

It will be easier to say what I actually accomplished in August than to list my lengthy failures. I sent my newsletter once, went to see “Design for Living” at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston with Lennox, finally got management to fix the floor in our apartment, and got my fabric stockpile down to 114 yards — though that involved cutting out a few things that I haven’t yet sewn. And that was it. I spent way too much money, didn’t track anything (except my reading, which is a long-standing habit), and made virtually no progress on any other front.

I’m hoping to be back on track in September. I’ve declared a personal Austerity Month where I’m not only temporarily lowering my spending, but also planning to sell a few things, as I want to build my personal savings back up. I wanted to take voice lessons again this fall, but I’d let the balance drop so low that I couldn’t justify the expense. I’m also hoping to sew a couple of the things I already have cut out, but other than that I just want to do better this month. It shouldn’t take much effort to pull that off!

At the Warehouse of Madness.

Sarah, the new IKEA catalog is waiting for you.

The new IKEA catalog is waiting, just beyond your line of sight — hovering beyond the pleasures and pursuits of this world, somewhere else, somewhere bathed in Stygian darkness, somewhere beyond. Sarah, the new IKEA catalog is waiting. It is waiting for you to speak the forbidden words within its glossy pages, those unholy words, indecipherable except in their cosmic, Scandanavian horror. The new IKEA catalog is waiting for you to unleash the chthonic beasts hidden within the cheerful depths of its Småland ball pit. Give your children to the pit. Give them willingly, and perhaps you will be spared. The new IKEA catalog makes no promises.

The new IKEA catalog is waiting — and watching. You must traverse the ceremonial maze, you must gaze into the empty, haggard eyes of your fellow travelers and the acolytes who assist them, robed in the colors of cosmic rays and acidic, poisoned waters. Their rictus smiles and jittery digits serve as signposts along the path. You must trudge along at the pace of the slowest, the ones surely to be culled first, and you must not allow the decadent temptations glimmering beyond the safety of the twisting path to dazzle you with the effulgence of their clean lines and minimal padding.

You will not reach the center of the maze, for its non-Euclidean confines have no true center, but you may reach a place of respite where you will find malign offerings to tempt the weary pilgrim. Alongside gelatinous mounds of unknown and unknowable berries, balls of ground and roasted flesh sit and wait for consumption. Turn aside, traveler. These unwholesome delights are not what you seek. You must go on, for the new IKEA catalog is waiting.

Down now, down the treacherous stairs that twist in the middle and spill you into the next phase of the labyrinth. More goods gleam and seduce and dazzle in your peripheral vision. Fluorescent tubes cast a sickly glow along the path, their collective hum a rasping prayer to gods you can never know. You continue. Your new catalog is waiting.

Abruptly, the path ends. You pass from the ghastly iridescence of noisome candles and sickly plants into a darker place. The odor of unstable mock-planks of shredded wood assaults you and a mechanical whine startles you into motion. It is within these depths that the new IKEA catalog awaits.

Despite the fatigue and distress, you must push on.

Loathsome and hideous, stacked boxes reach into the heights where once you saw blue skies. It is possible that they still exist out there, somewhere within the cosmos, but you despair at ever seeing them again. The new IKEA catalog waits for you, and time grows short.

Near the last hurdle is an unspeakable room where the dregs collect, the broken and soiled cast-offs which dwell in bins and stacks and sometimes overflow into each other, the larger pieces leaning against one another as though in a drunken stupor, the smaller shivering together at the bottoms of fetid heaps. Some pilgrims dare to enter this place, but upon exit, one can see that they have altered in some fundamental way and only gibbering madness remains where once there was equilibrium.

Now the pilgrims who wandered from the path pay. They queue for the pleasure of but a few chosen acolytes, those trusted to count the signed chits and rare coins the pilgrims leave in exchange for the eldritch objects that will now grace their dank and accursed homes.

But where is the new IKEA catalog, that tome for which you have sweated and persevered amongst conditions beyond comprehension? It was to divulge all of its most hideous secrets, all of the forbidden decor-based knowledge you craved.

In desperation, you accost an acolyte. “Where are the catalogs?” you cry.

“They are no more, shunned mortal,” the acolyte intones gravely. “We expect additional volumes in a week or so.”

Empty-handed and bereft, sanity departed, you fall to your knees, keening.

Sarah, the new IKEA catalog is waiting — as are you.

July involved cheese and caves.

I wanted to name this entry “Get out of my dreams! Get into my cave! (Beep, beep, yeah!)” But I didn’t. I’m sure that Billy Ocean fans everywhere were relieved.

We visited my family in July, so with airfare and car rental, it wasn’t an extremely frugal month. We did a couple of tourist things while we were there, namely visit Osceola Cheese and Fantastic Caverns — a cave so well-marketed that on the drive from Kansas City to my Dad’s house you see something like eleventy billion billboards for it over those 100 miles. The ads are not especially persuasive, but the cave itself is, as its name implies, fantastic!

I really love caves.

Goals for 2019 – July Progress

Send one real letter a month.
I sent two postcards and a letter, so it was a pretty good month for mail.

Sew at least one garment a month.
I sewed a Concord tee and made a muslin for a tank top. The t-shirt is in regular rotation, but the muslin wasn’t wearable.

Send newsletter at least once a month.
Not this month. I’m going to blame vacation instead of procrastination, just for variety.

Make one apartment improvement a month.
I found a new cleaning service. They did a great job and hopefully will continue to do so going forward.

Go on one outing with Lennox a month.
We toured a cave (I may have mentioned that) and went to two museums in Kansas City.

Read one physical book I already own a month.
I took paperbacks on my vacation to save my phone battery, so I finished two in July: Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas and Say No to the Duke by Eloisa James, both pretty standard historical romances.

Track spending on books, clothing, and sewing.
I did spend less in July than in June, thankfully. I spent $65.13 on books, $63.93 on sewing, and $109.59 on clothing.

Track daily writing habit.
I didn’t manage to keep track in July, but I did make my Camp Nanowrimo goal, which was time-based rather than word-based. I’d estimate that I wrote on more than half of my non-vacation days.

Post weekly IG photo.
I posted three out of four weeks.

Run robot sweeper, vacuum bedroom, tidy, and clean bathroom weekly.
I did this twice and had the cleaning service come in on another week. Not too bad! I only skipped the week we were away from home.

Longer Term Goals

Reduce fabric stockpile to less than 100 yards (plus scraps) by the end of 2019.
The tee I sewed in July was cut out in June, and the muslin was made from scraps, so that didn’t change the number here. However, I didn’t buy any fabric in July, so the stockpile held steady at 117 yards.

Finish Baktus scarf. 
I did work on this a bit on the trip but barely made any progress. I bet my neck is cold again next winter! Whoops.

Find a way to keep performing.
I did make it into the holiday show again this year, so I will be rehearsing weekly starting in September.

Combine websites, transfer blog, forward other domains, purchase an SSL certificate.
I transferred all of my domains to my new web host (just as registrar), but that’s still something.

My Really Short July Frugal List

My four-year-old phone died the first day we were in Missouri, which necessitated a 1 1/2 hour drive to a larger town to replace it. I knew I would have to replace it eventually, but I didn’t expect to do it with such time pressure and no research. I like the new phone well enough, but it sure was a spendy thing to do on vacation.

In July, I:

  • Redeemed a $10 loyalty app reward at Smashburger. The app is just a new-fangled customer punch card, when you think about it — although the bloop when the register scans your phone isn’t quite as satisfying as the old fashioned clunk of a hole punch, in my opinion.
  • Downloaded a free Prime First Reads book, and two Audible Originals.
  • Visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, which does not charge for general admission. I didn’t know that and I’ve been there many, many times over the years. Maybe it was a new thing? I don’t know. But I spent a lot in the gift shop, so it probably worked out for them in the end.
  • Read one physical book and three ebooks from the library, and one title through Prime Reading. Although I mostly read Kindle books in July, many of them were purchased in previous months — so I made a little dent in my electronic backlog, too.

I hope to get some sewing done in August and to make some progress on one of my older writing projects. I also need to catch up on some client work, but that’s on the client as he neglected to send most of his 2019 back up until halfway through the year. Ah, well — they’re billable hours.

Moon, Spoon, June.

I realized after I had taken this photo (to brag to my Mom about how good our picnic was) that I had purchased these plaid napkins for a different picnic in the same park over 20 years ago! Those are some pretty great napkins, to be in use for decades.

Goals for 2019 – June Progress

Send one real letter a month.
I didn’t manage to send any mail at all this month.

Sew at least one garment a month.
I finished sewing the grey trousers that I cut out in May (though they didn’t fit as well as the previous pair, dang it) and I made an experimental knit dress using the Seamwork Astoria top as the bodice. I like how it came out, but I haven’t gotten pictures of it yet.

Send newsletter at least once a month.
I finally sent one! It was terrible. But I did it!

Make one apartment improvement a month.
I meant to replace our pillows but forgot all about it. I did purchase new insulated water bottles for both Lennox and myself, which is maybe not a household improvement in the technical sense, but they will reduce our plastic waste. So maybe it counts?

Go on one outing with Lennox a month.
We went to see “Booksmart,” which I loved, and went to a free Houston Symphony performance at Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park. (That’s where the picture came from; more below.)

Read one physical book I already own a month.
I could swear I read more than one paperback last month, but the only one on my list was Keep Going by Austin Kleon — which I highly recommend. I feel about his books the way a lot of people feel about The Artist’s Way, which I don’t connect with at all. Keep Going gives a useful set of creative support tools to both writers and artists (and other creative sorts) trying to, well, keep going during trying times. Like these. I do recommend this book in particular, but all of his books are helpful.

Track spending on books, clothing, and sewing.
I spent $224.56 on clothing and accessories last month. That was a bit of a shock when I added it up! I spent a far more reasonable $78.15 on sewing patterns and fabric, and $70.23 on books. I need to reduce both the clothing and the sewing spending, though, as I have started to pay for yoga classes — and I lost a side client, so my income is a little reduced right now. I’ll do better in July.

Track daily writing habit.
I wrote 11 days in June, all in the second half when I was getting prepared for Camp Nanowrimo. I’m working on a fanfic project, but hey! That still counts.

Post weekly IG photo.
I think I only posted two photos in June, but I was a little burned out after May.

Run robot sweeper, vacuum bedroom, tidy, and clean bathroom weekly.
I only managed to do this once in June again. Why do I confess these things online? Our home isn’t too gross, I swear. I’m actually very tidy — it’s just that things get dusty and need to be swept. I’m waiting to hear back from a different cleaning service now, though.

Longer Term Goals

Reduce fabric stockpile to less than 100 yards (plus scraps) by the end of 2019.
I cut a few things out and donated a lot of yardage in June. I’m determined to buy less fabric in the future — but better quality when I do. I’ve had too many garment failures recently due to cheap fabric. I made a t-shirt in May in a rayon knit from JoAnn Fabrics, and after only two washes it looks pilled and terrible. I ended June with 117 yards in storage — a vast improvement over 149 in May!

Finish Baktus scarf. 
I don’t think I touched this in June, but I’m taking it with me to Missouri later this week, so I should get a bit knitted on the plane if nothing else.

Find a way to keep performing.
I had my audition in June, but haven’t heard back whether I got in or not. It took them five weeks to let me know last year (this organization’s gears grind very slowly), so I should find out sometime this month.

Combine websites, transfer blog, forward other domains, purchase an SSL certificate.
I admit that I’m still procrastinating here.

My Short June Frugal List

Short and standard this time. In June, I:

  • Paid for my monthly Seamwork subscription and all of my Patreon pledges using what I earned taking surveys.
  • Took a pass on all of the Prime First Reads selections this month, but downloaded two Audible Originals for free.
  • Stocked up on underwear from Lane Bryant during a brief sale. Although I feel that Lane Bryant’s quality has slipped on underwear, they have the ones I prefer. I’m glad I waited for a reasonable sale price, though.
  • Had a free Doritos Taco Loco at Taco Bell because the Golden State Warriors did an impressive basketball thing. I don’t turn down free tacos even when I don’t understand WHY we get them.
  • Went to see the Houston Symphony for free in the park. We took a picnic dinner and met a highly rated dog named Shrimp from the next blanket over. The weather even cooperated; it cooled down nicely after dark. I enjoyed the music, too — it was a program of Sibelius and Rachmaninoff.
  • Downloaded two free graphics sets from Creative Market to make ridiculous graphics for my website and newsletter. (I passed on the hand-drawn llamas, though. Are you disappointed or relieved?)
  • Read three physical books and three ebooks from the library — far less than usual. I mostly read Kindle books last month, though the majority of them were purchased in previous months. I made a good dent in my electronic backlog, though, and will hopefully make a little dent in my physical book backlog while traveling in July.

As I mentioned above, I need to both cut my spending and replace the client I lost (or at least the income, even if from a different skill set). I probably won’t make much progress on the income front until August, but I will keep an eye out for opportunities in the meantime.

April and May update.

It was about May 10th before I realized I had never posted April’s update, so I figured I would post both months at once. And then I almost forgot again! Oops.

Goals for 2019 – April Progress

Send one real letter a month.
I sent at least one postcard, but I think that I sent two and forgot to write the other one down.

Sew at least one garment a month.
I made a last-minute Twin Peaks/Black Lodge costume for a party that consisted of a long, sleeveless mini-dress in a chevron print and a red stretch velvet waterfall cardigan, and also cut out several other garments.

Send newsletter at least once a month.
I didn’t manage it AGAIN this month. Maybe I need to rethink this goal.

Make one apartment improvement a month.
I had a cleaning service come in and do a deep clean in April, which I do once or twice a year. It was nice to have a detailed cleaning, but it didn’t make up for the disappointment of March’s no-show.

Go on one outing with Lennox a month.
We went to the costume party I previously mentioned. No one knew what my costume was, even with hints — and I thought it was really obvious, especially once I said I was a place and/or metaphysical construct.

Read one physical book I already own a month.
I read Born to Be Wilde by Eloisa James. It was okay. It had a slow beginning, and I didn’t really like the hero or heroine very much. Just a “meh” romance. Ah, well! They can’t all be winners, I suppose.

Track spending on books, clothing, and sewing.
I did well on books in April! I spent only $50.92 out of my allotted $60.00. (Don’t worry — I blew all of that surplus and then some in May.) I only had $25.03 budgeted for fabric and patterns because of overspending in March, but I went over AGAIN due to a last-minute fabric purchase for that costume. I ended up spending $41.19 on sewing in April, but that’s going to look like incredible restraint when we get to May’s numbers. I also spent $91.48 on clothing and accessories, which was fine.

Track daily writing habit.
I had some real trouble sustaining any progress with my writing in April, despite participating in Camp Nanowrimo. I decided mid-month that I had chosen the wrong project, so I changed both my project and my goal — and although I missed my target by just about 1000 words, I did some good writing on a non-fiction project that I hope to use here on the blog one day. I ended up writing 17/30 days, which may be the best I’ve done yet in 2019.

Post weekly IG photo.
I only posted 2 out of 4 weeks in April, but as this is the most minor of all of my goals, I’m not too worried about it.

Run robot sweeper, vacuum bedroom, tidy, and clean bathroom weekly.
I managed 2 out of 4 weeks again this month and had a cleaning service do a deep clean, as I mentioned above.

Goals for 2019 – May Progress

Send one real letter a month.
I sent a single postcard and have a stack ready to post in June. I have a couple of cards I mean to put in the mail, too — but the allure of the postcard is just too great at times.

Sew at least one garment a month.
It was Me Made May, so I, of course, sewed a LOT. I sewed a simple print-blocked rayon top, three dresses, and a t-shirt. I still have another pair of trousers and a top cut out to sew later, too. It really felt great to sew so much! I hit a pure flow state a couple of times. I also really needed some new summer clothes. I feel like giving myself a high five, Liz Lemon style!

Send newsletter at least once a month.
I wonder if it’s my perfectionism that’s holding me back here. I mean — sincerely — to send this every month, and often have an idea what I want to write in it, too. I just… don’t DO it. I’ll ponder this and hopefully make some progress in June.

Make one apartment improvement a month.
I was so focused on my sewing that I took a break on this.

Go on one outing with Lennox a month.
We went to the MFAH to see the Van Gogh exhibit, which was a bit of a disappointment due to overcrowding, and we also went to see “John Wick 3,” which was not disappointing at all!

Read one physical book I already own a month.
I read His Captive Lady by Anne Gracie, and I straight up hated it. A lot. I hated it a lot. Not even sure why I finished it, except that I generally like this author and I kept thinking that it would stop being awful. It didn’t. Do not recommend! I also read When a Duchess Says I Do by Grace Burrowes, which I accidentally pre-ordered in paperback instead of as an ebook. It was pretty typical Grace Burrowes fare, but I really enjoyed it.

Track spending on books, clothing, and sewing.
Okay, confession time. May was a veritable orgy of spending in the sewing category. This wasn’t unexpected, but it was an eye-opening number (mostly because I never tracked how much I spent on sewing patterns before this year, just on fabric). I spent $285.16 on fabric and patterns in May. That’s completely bananapants, even for me. I don’t know if I was reeling with FOMO or what. I do know that I’ve decided to up the quality on my fabric purchases, so that was part of the much higher number. But that wasn’t all of it. I need to re-think the budget numbers here, and not just because I spent so much during this one month. I didn’t have sufficient data regarding pattern and notions purchases to assign a realistic budget number. I don’t think I will track this category against a specific budget target for the rest of the year, just to accumulate data. (I can do this because I don’t spend money I don’t have. If I go over in spending on any category, I just put less into my personal savings at the end of that month. This doesn’t count against any household category; it is part of my personal spending budget. Basically: I just spent most of my “fun” money on sewing and books this month instead of saving it.) I went a little over on books and spent $83.86 (out of $70.00 — the usual $60.00 plus the extra $10.00 from April) — but spent only $25.04 on clothing and accessories.

Track daily writing habit.
I took May off to concentrate on my sewing and now have a couple of new story ideas I’d like to explore.

Post weekly IG photo.
I posted outfit photos every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday (as I had pledged to do for Me Made May), plus a couple of other pictures. So that was a big yes!

Run robot sweeper, vacuum bedroom, tidy, and clean bathroom weekly.
I only managed to do this once in May, but you know what they say: “Sew, don’t clean.”

Longer Term Goals

Reduce fabric stockpile to less than 100 yards (plus scraps) by the end of 2019.
Considering how much I spent on sewing in May, it will not shock anyone to learn that my stockpile swelled to a truly unreasonable figure in May. I ended the month with 149 yards! Oof. As I’ve decided to purchase better quality fabric when possible going forward, I’m going to sort through my fabric again in June and pull a minimum of 10 yards to donate.

Finish cross stitch and frame it.
I framed this in early May, so it’s done now — and off the list.

Finish Baktus scarf. 
I knitted a few rows here and there, but I’m not really making much progress on it right now. I’ll be sure to take this with me when we go visit my family in Missouri later this summer, as I tend to get a good bit of knitting done when we travel. It’s a lot easier to pack a simple knitting project than it is to lug a sewing machine everywhere you go!

Find a way to keep performing.
Not yet, but I have an audition in June. Fingers crossed I can shake the last remnants of this head cold, so I can do justice to the Handel piece I’ve chosen. Send your good vibes my way!

Combine websites, transfer blog, forward other domains, purchase an SSL certificate.
No further progress yet. I’ve been procrastinating a bit here. I admit it.

My Combined April and May Frugal List

I have a pretty short combined list this time. In April and May, I:

  • Downloaded two Prime First Read titles and four Audible Originals for free.
  • Used a $5 off birthday coupon at Jason’s Deli — on the last day it was valid. It was nice to sneak one final birthday hurrah into April.
  • Downloaded several free sewing patterns — thanks to the monster list of freebies on Broad in the Seams, all of which go at least to a modest plus size. Jess’s work compiling this list is an invaluable resource for the plus size sewing community! Now I need to find the energy to sew up some of these great patterns.
  • Redeemed $4.22 in eBay Bucks on a shoe purchase.
  • Purchased a paperback in perfect condition for 50 cents at the library and used it as a gift.
  • Downloaded a free Kindle book on Amazon for World Book Day. That’s a holiday I can get behind!
  • Redeemed $5 in rewards at Walgreens. Most of my Walgreens rewards are earned through my FitBit steps — I wear the FitBit every day, so why not use this benefit? That’s pretty much free money.
  • Made a rayon shirt for summer using $7 worth of remnants and a t-shirt using $8 worth of remnants from the bins at JoAnn Fabrics. All other notions, including thread, were leftover from other projects — and both were made from patterns that I’d used for multiple garments. That’s as cheap as fast fashion (if you discount the cost of my labor), definitely more my unique style, and better made, too.
  • Had a free drink on my Starbucks card.
  • Read 9 physical books and 15 ebooks from the library. I also read a free Prime Reading title.

Here’s to a productive June!

It’s that time again.

Logo for Me Made May 2019.

I’ll be participating in Me Made May again this year. I’ve pledged to wear self-made items on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays (as usual), though I may also throw in a few Fridays or Sundays this year. Although I know it’s not specifically a photo challenge, I’m going to try to post pictures on Instagram because I enjoy it — and May is the only month I consistently get photos of the new things I’ve sewn over the past year.

I also plan to finish sewing a few things I already have cut out, muslin two bodices I’ve been procrastinating on, and refashion two self-made pieces that don’t work as-is. I figure all of that will give me a pretty busy month! I may make a post or two here, but that is only a possibility.