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!

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