Thursday, 1 December 2016

Planner sticker freebie!

In the last six months or so I've been totally getting into using planner stickers, mostly sourced from freebies available on Pinterest, but now I've started making my own.

I've got a couple of potential freebies in the works, but this one is time sensitive, so I'm posting it today.

I do a daily, physical Project Life album in December - this will be my fourth year! To help me always have something to document, I tend to choose a set of prompts, and this year, because I'm using my planner way more often to keep me on track with the day, I thought I'd do a set of planner stickers with my prompts.  (The prompts, with one exception, come from Felicity Jane's prompts for last year.


The second photo is the stickers "in use", along with the first ever set of stickers I made for myself, from Dreamn4ever Designs' "Summer Love" kit.  I'm not entirely happy with a couple of things, but, trial and error, right?

The "Prompts" set has two designs - one with the day number for each prompt, the other without. I've also done a set of stickers without the prompts, in case that's something you'd like. You could also use them for other projects this festive season - use the first 25 in an Advent calendar, or 30 if you're doing 30 Lists December.

To download these freebies, follow these links:

These are only available in .pdf.  Next on my list to learn is how to set cut lines so that I can provide cut files for Silhouette Studio.

If you want to share these freebies with others, please link to this page rather than directly to the files. Thank you!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Adventures of a housewife

So - just over a month ago I was made redundant. For the moment, therefore, I am an aspiring writer
and actual housewife.

I've been trying hard to come up with a cleaning schedule that doesn't take too much time out of my day (I really do want to be focusing on my writing, and on some goal setting and other self-care type things) and nothing has been sticking so far.

But for ages I've loved the Spotless books by Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming.  I have the books in my reference library and pull them out any time I spill anything. (With our two gorgeous cats I am looking forward to getting my hands on Spotless Pets, believe me!)  And their book Speedcleaning is exactly what I needed right now.

Over the weekend I've been reading the book cover to cover: sorted out what the best order for the rooms during the week was (my main thing was putting the kitchen on the day before the bins are collected: important for cleaning out the fridge!) and put together my cleaning kit and clutter basket (see photo).  I also put the tasks into my Home Routines app which - when I use it properly - is really useful for me.

Today was my first proper day of using the Speed Cleaning schedule. What I have to keep reminding myself is that I'm starting from messy: the whole house is not going to be perfect and sparkling after one day.  In fact, I probably shouldn't expect a perfectly clean house after one whole week.  The daily tasks are also taking longer than I'd like today, but again, that's because I'm not starting from tidy.  I need to not be too hard on myself, and celebrate the achievements I've made not what I haven't got done.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

A photo I wanted to share

Made the chocolate shortbread from @alicearndell's 'Bake Me Home' for Fathers Day afternoon tea, but my parents arrived before it was quite cool. Still delicious, though. #bakingadventures #chezstutters

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Pokewalk report - 5 August

Actual, actual sun!

I headed down to Sumsion Gardens today (rumoured to be the best place in town for hunting Pokemon).  This is somewhere I remembered from my childhood, but it's been developed beyond recognition since my childhood and is now a really lovely place (even if it does have a random waterspout that is trying to be Canberra.)

My Fitbit recorded 37 active minutes, during which I did two circuits of the lake, caught my first ever Drantini, Horsea, Magikarp, and Psyduck, and hatched an Oddish.  Also caught a few Rattata, Pidgey, Venonat, and Slowpoke.

Well worth the effort.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Pokewalk report - 29 July 16

The sun was shining (at least, more than it has been recently) and my "nearby" box was showing some interesting silhouettes.  Also, it was Friday, which is my non-work day and a day on which I always intend to get exercise and yet, never seem to. And so, at about 11.35 I ventured out on my first "real", Pokemon-hunting walk.

I realised fairly quickly that I'm not comfortable specifically hunting Pokemon.  I very quickly decided on a route that would take me past a couple of local poke stops, and decided that if Pokemon popped up I would catch them (or try to) but I wouldn't use Pokevision to find out what was nearby, or worry myself about why little green explosions near me weren't turning into Pokemon to catch.

The result of this walk was:

Five entirely new Pokemon caught: Clefairy, Geodude, Hitmonlee, Staryu, and Bulbasaur (who is possibly the cutest EVAR!)

2 each of Duduo, Rattata and Pidgey
1 each of Golbat, Poliwag, Spearow, Caterpie, Bellsprout, and Zubat

1 rascally Poliwag ran away, and
2 eggs hatched.  One was 300m off hatching when I began, but I put another in the incubator when that one hatched, and that second (2km) egg hatched just as I got home.

ALSO: I've registered 41 "active minutes" on my Fitbit, and am almost at 5k steps for the day when I often don't get above 2k on a Friday.

You know what?  I'm proud of myself.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

A photo I wanted to share

The beginning of tomorrow's layout: need to work on lining up that stamp, huh? Stamp is from my fave @kellie.stamps, stickers from the BRIGHT DAYS collection by @myplannerenvy. (Also testing whether my ITTT cross-posting rule is still in effect.) #bulletjournal #planneraddict #chezstutters

I got caught by the planner craze...

For a while now (two years, off and on, I believe?) I've been using the "bullet journal" method - or at least my version of it - for a work planner and a personal planner.

I'd really dropped off the personal planner side of things until about three weeks ago - 23rd May to be exact - when I started a) making a conscious effort to use the thing regularly and b) started decorating it with washi tape and scrapbooking embellishments and bad ink line drawings.

And then I went on Pinterest (always a bad idea) and started to look at planner stickers.  And I fell down the rabbit hole.

Now I have favourite Etsy stories and a folder full of free printables and a Pinterest board with even more, and just bought a box full of A4 page sticker sheets from Officeworks to print them on.  I'm trying to narrow down just a few pages of stickers to take with me on holiday/wedding in NZ.

Some recent layouts:

Stickers in the above layouts come from,, and

Friday, 5 February 2016

Thinking about my wardrobe - part 1

I'm back into the wardrobe blogs again - although I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or not (body image issues) - because I have little to no confidence about my ability to choose clothing that looks good on me rather than just on the hanger.  But, I found a really good list of questions/considerations on Debbie Roes' site that I thought I might work through as I get back to being more serious and deliberate about my wardrobe.

Desired frequency of wear
Reading Debbie Roes "Recovering Shopaholic" blog has been a real eye-opener for me.  Last week, in looking at my P333 for February, I cleared out a whole bunch of clothes that no longer fits me.  The things that are still in good condition and are headed for my church's Community Shop include items that are more than ten and in some cases more than twenty years old (the blouse I bought for my confirmation in 1994, for example).  And the fact that they were in good condition is not because they didn't get worn.  I've never had a big wardrobe, and what I own generally gets worn a lot - unless I no longer fit into it, which is a big problem when you think of clothes I bought at age 15 compared to now.  But on Debbie's site she and her commenters are talking about things they buy and return; items from consignment shops (do we even have those in Australia?); and items that are OMG so out of date!  I am SO not trend conscious (see twenty year old blouse mentioned above.)  If I could still fit in some of those ten year old skirts you can bet I would still be wearing them.  Sadly they're all size 10 and 12, and I, unfortunately, am not.

But where I was going with this was the frequency of wear question.  In the post linked above, Debbie is writing about finding your individual "perfect" wardrobe size, and she talks about thinking in terms of eight wears per year for her items.  That number left me flabbergasted.  Only eight?  Perhaps after a few months of wardrobe tracking (something I'm starting now via the Stylebook app) I'll be less surprised by that number, but even the aforementioned 20 year old blouse probably had at least ten outings per year, and likely more than that, especially while I was working as a lawyer and was a lot dressier than I am now.

One of the items in my P333 wardrobe for February is an off-white top that I bought for my Masters degree graduation and haven't worn since.  I refer to it as my "duck tail" blouse, as it has a layered back to it that reminds me of Katniss' statement about her little sister Prim's blouse coming untucked in "The Hunger Games".  I feel like the duck tail makes my backside look big, and that means I have avoided wearing it.  But it's a good piece, climate wise, for February, and I need to try wearing it before I give up on it as a bad purchase (I love it from the front.  It's the back I don't like.)

Climate needs
The good thing is, I don't live in Melbourne, land of five seasons in one day.  That doesn't mean we don't have climate variation, though.  And as I've said before, I plan on offsetting the standard P333 calendar to group the months together in a way that I think goes better with the changes in climate where I live.  I'm actually very jealous as I read through Debbie's blog, with her reminders that San Diego really only has two seasons.  We definitely have at least four, with summer temperatures going up to 40 degrees (Celcius, obviously) at times, while in winter the top temperature can be around 10 degrees.  Obviously not as extreme as somewhere like Minnesota, but on the other hand, buildings are heated way, way better in Minnesota, and Canada, and even the UK, than here in Australia.  Because it's always hot here, don't you know.

It does mean I only really need one dress coat, and one more casual.  My casual coat is twenty years old this year - it's my year 12 class jacket, made from pure wool, great for the local climate in winter, and still going strong.  (I'm sorry, but I flip at the sheer number of coats and jackets that Debbie has for her "mild San Diego climate".  But then, I'm just not a fashionista.

Lifestyle needs
This is, in some ways, the big one for me.  I used to be dressier.  (I used to be a lawyer!) Now I wear a uniform four days a week at work, and my partner's aesthetic is much more casual, and that has influenced me, too.  But I'm also realising that if I ever left my current job and went back to needing to dress for an office of any sort, I'd have to do a sudden and significant shopping trip just to have enough clothes to wear.  I also had a period of time about a year ago when I realised I had only two tops and one skirt suitable for church, and was swapping the tops week by week with the same skirt.

I don't want to have a large wardrobe, but I do want to have a functional one.   

Friday, 29 January 2016

Project 333 - February 2016

So I spent some time on my wardrobe today: not all the time I need to spend, but a decent amount.  I didn't get anywhere near looking at the various things that are boxed up, but given how long those boxes have in general been packed up (since before we moved into this house) those items will no longer fit and will basically go straight out, either into the bin or to my church's Community Shop.  I already have two boxes ready to go, including about six winter skirts and three blouses that I cleaned out of my closet today (all two to three sizes too small), as well as throwing out 4 discoloured white blouses, one handmade skirt that has served me very well for over ten years, a denim jacket that was discoloured at the neck - and thus isn't worth sending to the shop - and a stained longline cardigan that I do not want to get rid of but have to.

I also made some progress on putting together my February Project 333 capsule.  As I mentioned in my previous post, this capsule is just for the one month, to get me back into the cycle that I feel works best with the climate where I am.  Some of my considerations for my February capsule include a weekend in Sydney to attend a concert at the Theatre Royal; the general climate for February (hot, generally with highs above 30); and the fact that my capsules don't actually cover my work clothing, which is a uniform.

As for my actual Project 333 - currently my plan is as follows:

  • one white denim jacket
  • two dresses (one sleeveless maxi, one skater)
  • four tops
  • one cardigan, one long sleeved blouse to be worn as a "topper"
  • three skirts
  • three pairs of 3/4 pants
  • (current total: 15 pieces)

Things of note: I find it really difficult to photograph my clothes, so I try to pic up photos from the internet, preferably from whatever store I've bought it from, but when I'm trying to get photos of older items (or I forgot to find the photo when I bought the item) I just go for vague approximations.

Clearly there is no defined colour palette, which is related to another problem I've discovered: I have far more bottoms than tops.  Which is totally not a balanced wardrobe!  So, there may be some top-shopping in my near future.  I would love to find a more palette-appropriate top that I could swap in for the coral, which really doesn't suit my other colours for this season.  

I honestly don't know whether I should add one pair of long pants in case of unseasonably cold weather, but with a pair of 3/4 length jeans in the mix I think I ought to be fine, especially as February is often the hottest month of the year.

Except for the dearth of tops - and needing to make a decision as to whether I add two or three t-shirts for out-of-the-house wear - I think this may be the clothing part of the capsule.  Which is not bad at all (but this is, again, only for a month.  Three months provides a greater challenge due to climate variations).  I'm hoping I can choose four pairs of shoes, and then toss in accessories.  The current numbers would leave me with space for about seven accessories, which for me would be a LOT.  (That said: two bracelets, one necklace, leaves only four pairs of earrings which - not actually a lot.  But then, I've never really had any intention of including accessories (or shoes) in my P333 capsules.

There's still two days left in this month, so I hope I'll be back on Sunday with the final word on my February collection.

Butter bean salad-in-a-jar

This week has been a struggle, healthy eating-wise. Monday and Wednesday I didn't get around to making salads (Tuesday was a public holiday) but for the first day back at school with students, I managed to do salad for both M and I.  I'll do another two for Friday, which will make choosing what to eat for lunch easy for me, as I'll be having my day at home.

Friday's salad, which is not quite the same.
So, today's salad was:

Dressing: half a clove of crushed garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a little chopped fresh dill.

Hardy vegetables: carrots, the surviving snow peas from a couple weeks' ago.

Less-hardy vegetables: M had fresh tomato from the garden in hers.

Protein: butter beans and salmon furikake.

And then lettuce.

Things I have learned: 
  • butter beans are not cannellini beans, but I still like them.  
  • I think I overdid the salmon in my salad (hopefully I didn't in M's).  The salmon furikake is very rich.  Also, I want to have some left over for either salads or onigiri for next week.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

(Hopefully) coming soon: more Project 333

If I ever actually wrote all the posts I promised for this blog, it would be a very different blog!

I've been wanting to get back into Project 333 for a while now, but I've never been organized at quite the right time.  As I may have written here before, the Jan-Mar/Apr-Jun/Jul-Sep/Oct-Dec breakdown simply doesn't work for seasons where I live.  It seems to me to make more sense for the breakdown to be Mar-May/Jun-Aug/Sep-Nov/Dec-Feb.  But I'm also in a headspace right now to get back into Project333, and I don't want to hang around until March before I start, as I'm certain I'll lose that momentum.

So on Friday I'm going to be putting together my February-only Project 333 wardrobe - and entering items into Stylebook if they aren't already there.  Part of my Project 333 is going to be tracking what I wear (OTHER than my work uniform, which I wear four days a week, and is very boring and I'm so very over it), because I do want to smarten up my wardrobe.  I said this about six months ago, and it's still the case.  Particularly as it's been warmer these last few months, I've fallen back into jeans and t-shirt, especially baggy t-shirts, because I'm having body image issues.

So - hopefully I'll be back again on Friday or Saturday with a report on my chosen wardrobe for the month of February.

Friday, 22 January 2016

A health and fitness post...

Sadly, I'm doing one of those standard bride-to-be type things: trying to lose weight.  However, I'm also just plain trying to improve my health, whether that results in weight loss or not.  I know I need to eat more healthily: one of my major goals is to work towards actually achieving the five servings of vegetables and two fruit that is the recommended daily amount - and believe me, given my general aversion to fruit, this is going to take some work on my part.  And five servings of vegetables is a LOT.

Then there's drinking enough water and getting enough steps... and then enough cardio on top of that.

I'm working on choosing one aspect each week and focusing on getting that up to scratch, then the next the next week, etc.  Sometimes I feel like I'm moving far too slowly by doing this, but it's better to move slowly than to rush through and then give up because it's all too hard.

Something that I'm finding surprisingly helpful is the Nudge app.  I downloaded it on the 4th of January to help me keep track of my daily servings of fruit and vegetables, but it does so much more than that and I really appreciate the extra bells and whistles: I can also keep track of water consumption, it's connected to my Fitbit account to bring in the number of steps I've taken, and I can track additional activity as well (although I also do that in My Fitness Pal which links with Fitbit for non-step activity: once I get back into a few other regular activities like swimming and yoga, I'll see about tracking them there. Via Apple Health it picks up my sleep data from Sleep Cycle, and takes all this data together to create a "nudge factor" based on the last 30 days.  Obviously I haven't yet been using the app for 30 days yet, so I'm not yet at an accurate picture of what it says my health is (I know my health isn't great, but I hope there's not quite so much red compared to yellow and green once there's a full 30 days of data to work from.  On the other hand, because of the law of averages, at the moment my Nudge Factor keeps going up each day, whereas it will no doubt plateau once there are no more "0" data days.

This is probably the most successful 'gamification' of health that I've come across, moreso than Health Month, which I used for a couple of years, but was much higher maintenance than Nudge.  I say this a lot but I really do intend to come back with an update on how its all going in about a month's time.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

This week's salad-in-a-jar

M is on school holidays, so at the moment I only have to do lunches for my four days a week at work.  It's summer, and combining that with wanting to increase my servings of vegetables to something near to the five-a-day one is "supposed" to eat, I'm all about salad.  Once M is back at work I might switch out week by week with bentos, but I really do love doing a little bit of work on Sunday night and having lunch for four days ready to go.

The thing with mason jar salads is that if you get the layers right, there's little to no danger of soggy lettuce (hence making them on Sunday for the rest of the week. 

You start with your dressing: this week I went with sesame oil, garlic, chopped shallots, and a dash of white vinegar.

Add "hardy" vegetables; carrots, green beans, the vegetables that won't soak up the dressing too easily.

Then the less-hardy vegetables; for me this was capsicum and the left over summer squash salad (patty pan squash, zucchini and chopped up potato) that we'd had for dinner.  I was going to add snow peas, but decided that my little 360ml jar was looking full enough already.

Next is protein.  Last week I had chick peas - this week it was an Asian-style poached chicken, poached in water with mirin, soy sauce and sliced garlic.  I topped that with salmon flakes made using Makiko Itoh's recipe (this is one of my favourite things to do with leftover salmon.  In fact, I generally take off a chunk intentionally once I've cooked salmon, before serving.)

Then, fill the rest of the jar with lettuce, and you're good to go.

By my calculations, this counts as 2.5 to 3 servings of vegetables, and gives me a delicious, carb-free lunch that was relatively easy to make and used up leftovers!