I am a Survivor of Horrible Planners


Shocker Alert: I can be pretty picky……

Overall, I usually am not. I am pretty mellow and go with the flow 9 times of 10.

There are, however, some things that when I like it.. I LOVE IT.. and there is nothing that will ever get me to budge on..

Such as:

My choice in writing utensils. They must be Pentel’s .07 mechanical pencils and Sharpie’s Liquid Highlighters. They are the only things I will work with during the school season.


Ironically… I don’t really have a preference for what pens I use….

My stitch tools: I prefer the DMC marbleized scissors. The ones in the middle I received as a gift, and use them on the rare occasion, but my heart is set on the comfort of what I know.



Finding what you like takes some trial and error. You buy something, see if it works and if it does great! Somethings never fit and you’re stuck enduring it, yearning for an item that suits you but most likely doesn’t exist….

My item that doesn’t exist… is a planner. I’m a college student with numerous responsibilities that include keeping children active and alive and  a husband whose schedules is as fickle as the weather. Plus, if I’m being honest, I’m pretty forgetful.

I need to write things down in a specific way so that everything can get done efficiently!

I have tried various organizers in the past. To no avail. There’s not enough space.. too much space. It’s not laid out in a way that makes sense to my brain…I seriously don’t get why you need a monthly calendar AND a weekly. I also don’t understand why it bothers me so much.. but it does…all the little organizational fails in all the planners I’ve purchased over the years has turned me into a bitter planner hater.

2016 is upon us, and with another impending crazy year for this Ninja family, it was time to get a new planner. I searched.. hunted online.. even looked up templates on word to see about just adding new pages into the organizer I already had. It was a depressing journey..

Finally, I purchased a $5  organizer that I assumed I could tolerate the most.

I spent a coffee session filling it with the important dates of 2016. Mostly days the kids have off from school and birthdays of the peeps I love. Looking at the pages made me feel sad, the whole thing was bland. I grabbed my lovely 10 pack of Sharpie highlighters to jazz the first week up a bit… and the paper was so thin the color bled onto the next page..


Let’s be for real here.. the organizer was $5..It’s not like it was the top of the line..

But not being able to use highlighters, which is how I keep track of all my classes, is a major deal breaker. Color coding keeps me sane and not feel overwhelmed! Just ask my former students that I would teach how to annotate readings!

Screw that. I am sick and tired of being the victim of organizer companies that have no idea of the life I lead in order to create a decent planner to match it. No more!

This is my official declaration that I am a survivor of horrible planners and I will not endure another year of mediocre organization!

Faithie’s 2016 planner

I used Illustrator to format everything to my liking. I have an area to make weekly and daily goals. An area for school AND have a weekly quote to keep me inspired and going strong. It’s also interactive, thanks to free coloring pages on the web. I can also jot notes down and keep myself updated on our finances.

After I designed them I printed them out, backed them on cardstock, added some holes and inserted them into last year’s organizer.


Each week has a different theme to keep things fresh:

We are two weeks into 2016 and my planner is everything I could hope for❤

The moral of the lesson is: Never Settle.

If you know what you like and you don’t see it out in the world.. create it!





It’s Time to be a Finisher

Abandoned Projects

When I was little, I used to be a daddy’s little girl. So much so, that I don’t really have any memories of my mother before he left us at the age of 7 other than when I would wake her up to assault my hair into a pony tail for school.

So naturally, when he deployed and never came back, I took it very hard.

To help me cope my mother taught me how to cross stitch. I never really finished a project until I was around 9. I was more of a serial starter. I would start, make a mistake, and get so frustrated I’d throw the piece never to be seen again within my terror of a room. Then I’d just start the same project over and over again.


My problem now is that I have spent 24 years developing as a stitcher. I cannot stand to go one day without getting to sit down and stitch. It doesn’t even really matter what I stitch, just so that I do. And the result of that is that I have a ton of finished pieces laying in a completion pile with nowhere to go.


There’s more not even featured in this photo. I guess I have the same habit of tossing the pieces as I did when I was 7, I just wait until they are complete…

This is no way for the pieces I’ve worked on to live. They deserve to be displayed more than in a photo on my blog/facebook. I will not stand for it anymore! As such, I plan on spending the year making sure that all my completed pieces get the respect they deserve and are finished properly.

So far I’m off to a great start:

Anyone have any unique finishing ideas to share?



Time to Catch Up

Last semester was a whirlwind of chaos. I usually live in a world of busy, but this time I was barely swimming with my head over the water… With that said, there have been a lot of changes in this Ninja household, which was completely undocumented.

Hubby made first class!!! He is continuing on his career without getting the boot of out  of the Navy. Not only that, but it came with quite a comfortable pay raise. Our              livelihood was saved!! But it also meant that he is now stationed somewhere else… Boo…. The kids and I are staying here until since it should be less than a year. It seemed the logical thing to as we do own a house, I am graduating in May, the kids have school, and my mom who lives with is in poor health. Despite all the reasons to stay, I secretly wished we could have packed up and went with him. It’s hard to transition from deployment to an additional year apart.

My mom ended up having breast cancer that required some extensive surgery and radiation. My mom is a hard lady to keep down though. She was back at work a few days after surgery to remove the lump and even went to work on her last day of radiation. O.O

I am now Vice President of my college’s student government council. I have loved every minute of it. I worked relentlessly to campaign for gender neutral bathrooms…and won… I am also now championing having security procedures that better assist the students. These all deserve their own posts, however. It has been extremely gratifying to feel as if I am helping my campus and promoting a more inclusive environment.

Now with some of the not so pleasant changes:

This was my last semester tutoring. That breaks my heart but also makes me able to breathe a sigh of relief. I learned as much from the peers I tutored as they did from me. They shared their struggles and their triumphs with me, not only within the education spectrum but their day to do day. On the flip side, that can be emotionally tolling and I did not have enough time or support at home to get to take care of myself or my studies as much as I should have. I have to add an extra class to my agenda this semester AND do community service to receive credit for my certificate. Something had to go…

I am up for my second degree black belt at the dojo. But due to a combination of no time and my spirit being broken with Krav being moved to another location. I don’t have the energy to give my time to the dojo as much as is deserved. Plus, I am determined to keep my weekends flexible so that we can visit with the hubby when it’s possible. The other two in my testing cycle are going up and I am so proud of them for them taking that step, but it’s also killing me inside to know I’m being left in the dust. I could always go up next year, and earn my second degree when my son earns his in karate. That seems like it would be good consolation prize.

I still don’t know what to do with my life… And there was added pressure to find out since I will be graduating in May with an Associates in General Studies and a certificate in Women Studies. My husband and I agreed to stay on at the community college and get another certificate until I can figure out exactly what I want to do.

Now that we’ve caught up, it’s time to get back to our regularly scheduled posting😉

Waiting on a thread….

When I was 19, I learned to be super cool and no longer rely on A.C. Moore for kits that it felt like everyone else was doing. Anyone could walk into the craft store and get those kits. And with seven on the rack, at least 7 people in my area were bound to eventually attempt those projects.

How unoriginal!

I found websites online and was able to broaden myself further than Dimensions (not that I still don’t stitch up a design of theirs now and again… they are still by far my favorite design company)11012648_10152987847576570_8924688923822513530_n

Kits were super lame, what with them coming with everything you need to start RIGHT AWAY. Fabric, threads, chart, and needle.. Who wants the hassle of that?!

But ready made kit or chart and floss purchased separately, there comes a time when you might not have enough to get the project done. And the bigger the chart, the more often this happens. For stitchers like myself who never seem to plan ahead the right amount of floss, this can be torture.


I have a refined system developed over my 20+ years as a stitcher. One that has served me well to the point where I make very little mistakes. When colors run out, I have to adjust until I can get that color replaced. If the color was a major color, I’m left feeling like I’m playing battle ship with the thread. Random colors need like one freaking stick in a two inch radius and without those major colors leading the way, who knows if that little random stitch is where it needs to be. (other than with obessive counting that is…)


Every time I run out of thread, the empty holes mock me. My eyes always keep going back to the same areas I need that color, and then it ends up just haunting me that I can’t do those damn stitches. Even if it the color running out is that random one stitcher, that one little hole in another wise complete area, keeps staring at me.

Especially if they are the last five to finish an entire project………..

The only solution is, of course, to get more thread. One of the perks of buying the chart instead of a kit means that they usually provide you with the exact color number associated with the thread and you can go to the store and life is good!

After my design liberation, A.C Moore became nothing but a thread stop, maybe fabric, before I’d start a project. But through the years, you can see that cross-stitching is a dying art.  What used to take up two aisles back when the store first opened when I was 14 has dwindled down to an often badly stocked set of DMC threads. (I waited three months for them to put out a common color {318}) After awhile, I had to break up with A.C. Moore for all my stitchy needs.

I’m reduced to ordering online, which as a perk, has more threads I can work with..

Like B12032 which makes a project sparkle like a vampire from twilight.

V1130 This shiny piece of goodness is SILK. I like to be fancy in my stitching from time to time😉

The downside is that you have to wait what feels like FOREVER for it to come…………

My Gardening Confession

IMG_20150613_160455084On facebook I have the best garden ever.

Mid May to early June, I went through a phase where if we went somewhere that had flowers, we’d pick some and plant them in the garden. I’d post updates to my facebook and eventually everyone, including my husband, assumed that I have this really diverse and flourishing garden.

Then the lillies bloomed!With over 192 bulbs, my garden truly was a sight!


“I can’t wait to see the garden you’ve been working hard on” ~ Mr. A

IMG_20150626_123254390 I get really passionate about gardening when spring hits. I sketch up ideas in my head of all the pretty flowers and how one day I’ll find a photographer from HGTV at my doorstep who wants to photo my award winning lillies.

After awhile though, weeding, watering, and lily beetle hunting becomes easier to push off and ignore. I have more important things to do like go to the beach and sleep in! I think my desire to garden is more like a spring time sickness where I spend lots of money on things I don’t expect to keep alive.



Every so often though, like when it has just rained and the flowers are all dewwy and bright, I grab my camera and post on facebook a photo of my garden. And I get an influx of comments about how beautiful my garden is. And for awhile, I think that maybe I am not that bad at gardening after all.

The only difference between my gardening skills from last year to this year is that I know a lot more about digital photography. I learned all about angles and cropping photos so you can accentuate the good in a shot and hide the not so good. I also really haven’t invited anyone over, so…… no witnesses….


It’s time to be honest though, I have a yellow thumb at best with green thumb ambitions.

I don’t have the gardening stamina to truly be a great gardener.

Most of what survives and thrives in this garden was planted by the previous owner.


Here is a front shot of my garden this morning:



It is not the perfect garden that everyone on my facebook thread assumes it to be. It’s not overflowing with fauna, in fact there is more empty spacing than flowers.

Isn’t that just like social media, though? I decide what the world sees and for the most part most people assume it’s the truth. I can spin the perfect life for myself, but that extends only to the digital world and maybe in chance encounters in the public.

Come home with me and you’ll see that not everything is perfect. And that’s ok, because despite all the gaping holes where things died in my garden, I always learn more each year.

FIMG_1122or the moments I capture, my garden becomes the most beautiful garden in the world to me. And since I am the one that looks at it everyday, I am the only one that matters.

Sometimes, when your life feels like a sparce garden, it’s necessary to stop and capture the beautiful moments. They may feel far and few inbetween, but they can be found. It’s just a matter of learning how to look at things from a new angle and crop to accentuate the good and get rid of the not so good😉



Here’s to all the beautiful flowers I bought that did not survive Faithie’s lack of a green thumb:

11188217_10152770586301570_3886432072766022239_n (my kids claim that a rabbit ate these)







DSC08524 (these are perrenials, so they might appear again… )


Stitchy Friends

In 2009 my husband j406590_244990595570960_730615593_noined a forum that talked exclusively about film jackets. Mainly it was a bunch of grown men with a lot of disposable income attempting to make themselves the very embodinment of their dream movie characters.

It was a great because how many people do you walk down the street that you can instantly identify as having the same hobby as you do?

No one I know in the real world shares my passion. Sure, some have tried, but it never seems to stick even with the person who taught me, my mother. I’ve been a lone stitchy wolf for years.

So I ventured off in search of a forum that I too could find my own. And I found a great one right here. I found numerous people who were as passionate about stitching as I was. I was such a niave little stitcher before them. I had no idea what HAED stood for, the pros and cons to parking, and oh boy the heated division between those who use bobbins and other nonconventional methods like stitchbows. My stashy budget overflowed with new threads and fabrics and cross stitch magazines.. Those were some good times! Eventually I racked up over 10,000 posts, most of which were most filled with “Great job! Congrats on the progress!” It was such a beautifully warm community that I was within.

The forum moderator sent me a gift of goodies when I reached that 10,000 milestone. (Which only 11 members  out of hundreds have achieved so far). In it was a cute little design.

I finally stitched it uIMG_20150725_090243087editp a few days ago:

I am really not active anymore on the forum, what with school and the chaos. I am not really on the computer much these days with a whole lot of free time. Despite the inactivity, I will always love that forum and the great people that embraced me as one of their own.


On the flip side, after searching years for a stitchy companion to share my passion in person.. I finally found one!