This year, I started with the idea of completing a self-imposed Book Challenge of reading 26 books in 2010—one book every two weeks. I wanted to read a book written by authors with last names from every letter of the alphabet, A – Z. It didn’t happen. I got as far as “I”, got distracted with other books, projects, and life moments and abandoned it. This year, I probably read about 13 books total—half of my original goal. Not bad, and it was an interesting way to keep me focused on reading which I love to do.
For next year, I’ve been going back and forth on what I want to do with my spare time and what kind of goals I can set to make sure I’m getting the most of the spare time I chance upon. Crafting and Reading are my two favorite hobbies. I’ve never been much of a TV person and I recently cancelled my cable, internet, Netflix, and Zune Pass accounts in the name of slaughtering debt (monthly savings: $99.61). So, my spare time shouldn’t find many leeches in my house outside of Single Motherhood.
I know the timing of setting up these goals might make them seem like New Year’s Resolutions but those tend to have such a high rate of failure I don’t like identifying them that way. They’re just micro-goals so that I have things to look on as I progress through a year. Since next year is 2011, I figure why not 11 craft projects and 11 books? I want to do things that make me feel good, one way or another. Craft projects give me a real sense of accomplishment, wonder, and pride. Books give me knowledge which is just invaluable and something I completely relish. I’m actually pretty confident meeting these two goals won’t be difficult. I’ve read 13 books this year after all, even after abandoning the project. And the craft projects shouldn’t be difficult to do either. Ravelry tells me I’ve actually completed 13 craft projects and I’m still working on more for Christmas. Granted, these are mostly small ones. Funny, I just realized I’ve completed 26 between the two things.
As the year progresses, I’m sure I’ll tweak my list of planned projects and books but there are things I know I’d like to read or make soon. For books, my list is pretty general because I’ve learned specifying too much is difficult to work with the library. I know I want to read another novel by Larsson. I’d also like to read a couple of crochet technique books because I am really interested in creating my own designs or at the very least, tweaking other designs. I want to really understand the crocheting process. That was something I felt was way too advanced for me when knitting was concerned. But with crochet, I feel much more comfortable and confident, just lacking knowledge. So, I’m looking at things like The Crochet Answer Book and Creating Crochet Fabric: Experimenting with Hook, Yarn & Stitch (not at my library, bah humbug). I’m also very interested in reading more personal finance books after the eye-opening experience I had with Ramsey. I’d like to read Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence as that seems to be tied with Ramsey as far as recommendations for people determined to get their financial life under control. Other titles that have me intrigued are the The Complete Tightwad Gazette because I’m curious about other ways I can cut down and even though I don’t consider myself a tightwad and tend to scrunch my nose at the prospect of tightwad behavior, I’m also curious about getting creative with saving money. I’d also like to dive into Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them: Lessons from the Life-Changing Science of Behavioral Economics as I love to read about why we do what we do. I know that part of my financial illnesses rest in financial behavioral problems so this speaks to me personally I think.
Of course, my crafting brain is currently dominated by crocheting. I know that I would like to make my mother a top and am actually considering presenting her with a gift certificate for a crocheted item for either her birthday or Christmas present. I must complete the Monster Cape very soon. I would also like to complete the Super Mario blanket. When it comes to things I’d like to make, the list is pretty long. I’d like a pair of fingerless gloves to use at the office. I’d like to make my children toys. I’d like to make myself an afghan. I’d like to make my grandmother a shawl and my other grandmother a blanket. I’d like to experiment with crocheted jewelry. I’d like to make my youngest a blanket as he’s quite Linus-like. I’d like to finish those legwarmers I’d started for a dancer I know. In other words, coming up with 11 projects is not the problem, it’s just actually doing them. And also, it’s the type of projects that I want to do that make it really interesting and is what is really pushing me to set this goal before the year starts. As much as I love the satisfaction that comes with finishing something quickly, I’m also finding a lot of interest in challenging or long-term crochet projects too. For instance, I never thought I’d feel compelled to make myself an afghan until I began reading the Attic blog. Now, I often find myself in my house wanting to wrap myself in a cozy colorful blanket while we watch Nightmare Before Christmas for the twentieth time. So, I’d just like to have more variety in that aspect next year. This year, while I did do a throw for my grandmother, it was a quick one. The biggest project I took on this year was that extremely tedious cape and it got derailed by Christmas. If I can maybe make four large ones next year out of the 11, that’d be nice. So that’s where I’m heading next year– what about you?