Sunday, January 1, 2012

Review of 2011: What Worked, What Didn't and How "We Don't Have to Live Like This!"

"When friends stop being frank and useful to each other, the whole world loses some of its radiance."
- Anatole Broyard

Linda: On NYE 2010, Michelle and I were lucky enough to be together with our men to ring in the new year with fondue, a peppermint pig, and a kitchen fire. On New Year's Day, 2011, we sat down together with our notepads and clipboards and dreamed up a wishlist of projects we were hoping to accomplish throughout the year. We even plugged in possible dates, coordinating with our Stamp Club weekends, school holidays, and summer vacation.

We were hoping that gathering together for New Years would become an annual tradition, but alas, David had to work this year. So though we rang in the new year separately, we managed to squeeze in an overnight visit in which we completed our last project of 2011 and planned our 'crafting year' of 2012.

Michelle: Our planning session was officially called, "The First Annual Shareholder's Meeting of Front Row Friends" and it took place at one of our favorite haunts, Le Pain Quotidian. Over a delicious salad and a board of fine cheeses, we made of list of all the projects we want to accomplish during 2012.
This is my list from last year. As you can see, it is nothing fancy. I like to write on grid paper and I especially enjoy crossing things off the list as they are completed. I also make little lists and notations on the side as the year progresses. Sometimes the lists remind me of supplies I need to bring to Linda's or to order from Stampin' Up.
And sometimes I just scribble to get my pen working, as you can see above.

Linda: As we created our 2012 list, we embraced being "frank and useful" friends as we carefully evaluated our projects from last year. We decided which projects we would do again, which ones to say 'adios' to, and what to change or add. In general, we were pretty pleased with having things done well ahead of time. We also really liked the 'divide and conquer' philosophy (especially for the tin o' tags and Christmas card). We also realized that our friendship allows the 'whole to be more than the sum of its parts'. I know that I wouldn't be able to accomplish all of this on my own.

Michelle: One of the benefits to having our crafting projects planned in advance is that we are well prepared when holidays come around, and we don't end up wishing for more time or fretting over small things. We are able to joyfully give handmade gifts to many of the people in our lives because we've worked in advance. My favorite thing about the list is that it means Linda and I have to schedule time together to work on our projects! And when we are together, we feel so productive because we know what we are doing and can jump right into our crafting, without spending extra time thinking, "What should we work on today?"

Linda: Another neato thing that evolved out of our friendship this summer was some accountability to tackle some nagging little tasks in each of our homes. I've long been a fan of the Flylady's philosophy of:
*maintaining your home in 15 minute increments
*DO IT NOW rather than procrastinating
*Not letting your possessions (clutter) cause you stress

In the past, Michelle has been much more organized than I am, but I'm working hard to catch up. But even Michelle loses her mojo sometimes, and this past summer we were both procrastinating on some tasks in our homes. In August, we decided over the phone to agree that we would both do some task that we had been procrastinating on, so we both made a list that looked something like this:
I used a green highlighter to cross things off my list as I did them.
Many of the jobs you will see on my list are jobs that were done so quickly, I think I truly spent more time stalling than just getting it done. I mean, how long does it really take to clean out the tupperware? I think the magic of the '15 minutes at a time' is that when you finish, you feel great about what you accomplished, and you find yourself willing to tackle another project, even if it's not on your list! We were both successful, because we reported to each other our progress though out the days, and we knew that we would be much happier teachers when school started, if our homes were in order.

Michelle: We were definitely happier going back to work because we didn't have clutter in our homes. (At least not as much as usual.) I also knew I needed my house in serious order because I was starting a Master's Degree program in September and my life was going to get insanely busy. Having a list AND the accountability to go along with it made the cleaning and organizing doable. Linda and I had a blast texting photos back and forth as we cleaned a closet or a cupboard or a drawer. The encouragement and support we offered each other with mundane tasks made the whole process seem rather fun. I guess Mary Poppins was right when she said, "In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap, the job's a game!"

Somewhere along the way, we made up our own saying to go along with getting work done. I believe it came about as we were watching a DVR'd TV show and we discovered that despite having the show recorded, we were STILL watching the commercials. As Linda fumbled with the remote control, trying to figure out how to fast forward, she exclaimed, "We don't have to live like this!" The saying stuck and now, during this Christmas vacation, we've been employing our new motto to the hilt.

Linda: Here's a look at our final project for 2011 - a calendar attached to a covered chipboard coaster!
Here are my finished calendars, wrapped and ready to give away!Our wish for you in 2012 is that you also will continue to develop friendships that inspire, support and are 'frank and useful'!

Happy New Year from Front Row Friends!


Annette Roll said...

Happy New Year.. You guys rock :)

jill_su said...

Could you please email me where you purchased the calendars? I have so many of those coasters and wanted to make them too but I need the small calendars. I want to add magnets so they can be added to the fridge. Can you please let me know?
Keep crafting!

kate wallace said...

Great reminder form Mary Poppins!