A year to find my style again: Renewed clothes

Just because I have not been blogging much about this 2019 goal, that does not mean I have not made progress. Truth to be told I have not been blogging much in general this year, but I detoxed my wardrobe quite a few times in preparation to finding my style and I am very close to completing my goal. I did not have much time to make any clothes however as planned, but I will get into that once our cafe project is under control.

Today I am going to share what I do with clothes that I love, but which either don’t look right or they look too boring. If it is only small fix I don’t rush to throw it away.

By quick fix, I mean like shortening the length or inserting extra pockets for practicality. I will however show you how I do shorten my clothes. I had quite a few tops and dresses that were too long for my liking.

I simply used iron-on adhesive tape to do the hems. Was super quick! However I must warn you! The hems done this way are slightly heavier and not good with clothes that are constantly getting washed. I mean everything needs to be washed sometimes. But I think this method of hemming suits best something like formalwear (where you don’t want to see stitched hem) or coats (that does not get washed that often).

If you still want to try using iron-on adhesive tape then please be aware that I used HeatnBond one. I cut each garment to the length I wanted (plus 3cm extra for the hem folding). Then I simply folded hem once, iron press, folded second time, inserted the tape, and final iron press.

If you are more interested in doing hems the traditional way. By all means, Google it! There are lots of tutorials out there.

Now a little bit about what I do with clothes that need a bit of spicing up ;-). I often use either some sort of embellishment or embroidery. In the past I blogged about how I inserted lace into a neckline and recently I did embroidery on this t-shirt that had a pocket.

To do this embroidery I positioned the pocket in the embroidery hook and then sketched a design on it using pencil. You can use any sort of pencil, but don’t use anything inky or a biro as you may not be able to wash it out. To get you started on embroidery here are a few of my favourite stitches styles I learned over the years.

Hope you found this inspiring!

Rasa xoxo

How I stay focused through the year

I often get asked how I am getting on with our current cafe project. “You must be very busy!” they add. I then simply answer that I am just getting on with it. People seem to expect me to be stressed and panicked. But the truth is that I don’t believe panicking is useful or a sign of productiveness (Joni would agree with me on this). I learned to manage my life a different way.

Now if you met any of my old friends they would tell that I never been an organised person. I actually struggle to manage my constantly wandering mind! But in return I have been very passionate about goals and productivity. Over time I learned how to be focused. I tried many methods: I tried filofax, google calendar, and wall calendar. You name it, I tried it! But I came to a conclusion, strict routines never work and tight schedule is a recipe for a disaster.

What really works is writing things down! I am currently reading “Big Dreams Daily Joys” by Elise Blaha Cripe and the way she describes the benefits of writing things down, could not be better said. Elise in her book explains how writing down to do list temporarily clears your mind from thinking about uncompleted tasks. Tasks that are written down are more visual, it creates a bigger picture and makes it easier to see when and how they are going to be completed (basically stops the chaos in your head). Lists also make it easier to collaborate as you can have a shared record of what has been done and what is left to do. Finally, lists saves time! When you find some time you can quickly refer to your to do list and jump to the task without much thinking about what needs to be done to begin with. Another good book on this topic is “The checklist manifesto” by Atul Gawande.

Now about organisational tools. Different types of tools fit different types of people of course. Some people use apps, some love bullet journaling (I tried that!) and then there are some that use wall planners (that is me!). It took me a while to realise, but once I did I started creating wall planners myself. Why? That’s because I could not find a wall planner that fitted my organisational process (in fact there is not much choice out there at all). I will explain later my pros and cons for using a wall planner, but if you are interested to get one for yourself that really works for me then visit our etsy shop.

Now pros and cons. Like everything else in life, wall planners have some good points and bad points. Which is why it is best to weigh both and see what fits best for you as a person.

PROS

  • It is visual. You can see it all out there on a large layout all at the same time. It’s always visible (which is why I keep mine on our fridge), therefore it keeps you focused most of the time. This pro is good for people who work at one location most of the time (like me).
  • It’s not a distraction! Unlike technology tools on your phone or laptop, wall planners do not overload you with notifications and e-mails.
  • It’s good for teams (or families). Since wall planners are visible to everyone, they can simply contribute to your planning or even get few tasks done as well. I find it helpful when Joni records evening events on the planner so I know when I can’t go out and need to stay at home to look after our kids.
  • It won’t let you down. Nope, wall planners are not powered on batteries therefore it won’t die on you when you need to check what time is your meeting. Also it will definitely not get lost. It’s always there on the wall when you need it :-).
  • it is decorative! A very important pro for me, I love how it looks when it is hung on the wall!

CONS

  • It does not travel with you. Yes, I get it. This must be annoying to anyone who travels a lot for work. But I don’t, so it’s ok! I occasionally get asked on my availability, but then I simply reply “let me check my diary and I will let you know”. Also when I travel I record tasks and events that come up (on my phone, I use a notes app). When I am back, I simply go through the list and transfer everything on my wall planner.
  • It won’t be automatic. When you get an event confirmation by e-mail it won’t be able to transfer the date onto my wall planner
  • It won’t call/notify you. Wall planner just don’t have that ability to call you or play a ringtone when you are about to reach a deadline.

So how does my planning process work you may ask. It simply starts with writing down some goals at the beginning of each year (will write a post about this later). These are not wishy washy new years resolutions. These are realistic goals backed up by tasks. These tasks (not very strict at this stage) get transferred onto our monthly planner together with some events as well (if you have any planned).

Eventually after the year starts I start planning more detailed tasks one week ahead. This is where our weekly planner comes in useful! While still keeping an eye on the bigger picture (goals) you can clearly how things plan out through out the week. I just love to take some time on Sundays to plan the week ahead and I tend to create meal list on Mondays since this is when I find its best to do shopping (our local supermarket is almost empty on Monday evenings!)

Finally I have some tricks up my sleeve for success (Ha! You did not see that coming!)

  • Don’t overcrowd your planner with too many tasks! These have to be all realistically timed. All the events and other external factors need to be considered as well. Nothing is more off putting when uncompleted tasks by the end of the day!
  • Don’t let the unexpected to throw you out of balance. Because sh** happens! If the task is not completed by the end of the day simply move it forward or cancel it all together (if it is no longer relevant of course). Don’t feel guilty, just move on! It is better to address the task (cancel or reschedule) then get panicked over uncompleted tasks.
  • Give yourself some rest! If you are feeling tired, clearly you are not going to be your most productive self. Therefore it’s ok to move some tasks to the next day and it’s ok to cancel some. Just take a bath or whatever else you like to do to relax and when tomorrow come it will be much a better day.

Most importantly have fun with planning and share this with someone else who you think needs to hear this. Here are the wall planners again if you are like me and enjoy jotting down the tasks on the wall ;-).

Rasa xoxo

Our big news!

Cafe Family pic

Well well well, this has probably been our best kept secret (ok, longest kept secret) for over a year and a half! And the secret was (some of you may have guessed it, or may have been told) that we are opening a cafe here in Shortstown where we live! I am also back to blogging (sort of) as I promised myself back in March that I will have a break from it while I prepare for this venture. I think it’s like having a new baby, nothing can really prepare you for this. As I collected the keys yesterday, I am still overwhelmed with the things we need to get done even before starting the fit out works. There is a lot that needs doing. We are taking this property on as a completely bare shell as you can see from the pictures below. No windows, floor, plumbing, or electrical wiring. Eeek, but I think it will be worth it in the end!

Now for those who are reading this blog for the first time here is where you can read more about us (I updated our About us page just for you). Hope you will find it interesting ;-).

Current state of cafe space
Current state of cafe space

Our plans as you can see here are basic, there is still many things to refine, like what food to serve, what hours to open, how many staff to employ and so much more. I expect I will do quite a few surveys involving those living locally very soon. Fun stuff is coming up ;-). Obviously if you have any suggestions already then please give us a shout!

Proposed cafe exterior
Proposed cafe plan

You may have plenty of questions right now, please do not hesitate to ask! For now I will answer the questions that people (who I told about the cafe already) tend to ask most.

  1. When are you planning to open? Oh yeah! this is like the most important information I may have missed here. We are hoping to open sometime in January 2020.
  2. What type of food will you serve? I have not figured this out yet, but I will be posting surveys to find out what the Shortstown likes to eat.(Shortbread?)
  3. Shortstown has a lot of parents with little children, will it be kid friendly? Yes! We have young kids as well and I completely understand how hard is to have lunch with kids. We are planning on a separate area (on the upper side of the kitchen and toilet if you are looking at the floor plan above) which is going to be a kids corner with kid friendly seating.
  4. What are the opening hours going to be? Still don’t know, will have to see what Shortstown needs. For now I am thinking to start with 8:30am-4:30pm. What do you think?
  5. Are you still planning to continue with blogging? I think yes, but can’t promise. I imagine I will be pre occupied by cafe stuff, but for now I have few posts ideas and pictures that I would love to let out. So let’s see.
Original cafe goals for this year

Hope you are as excited as we are 🙂
Rasa xoxo

My 2019 goals

My 2019 goalsI usually set my new year goals on New Years eve (or even before), but this time I waited… I was worried, because I was still not sure if the new venture is going to work out. What if it did not and then I would need to cross that goal off? I realised the unexpected often happens and even when you think all the goals you set are achievable, sometimes things just don’t work out in the end. I realised the simple truth that goals are there to guide you and keep you focused, not some commandments set in stone. So have you set your goals yet? I hope you are finding your 2019 planner very useful!
I have five goals this year, just like last year! However I can only share three of my goals. My first goal is to do with my new venture; I have been planning all last year, but can’t share it due to the fact it’s not signed off. My fifth goal is too personal to share. Here are the three goals I am sharing:
1. Upgrade Friendly Nettle website goal was on my mind for five years. In fact I just copied this over from last year’s bullet journal! Hopefully this is the year I achieve this.
2. Keep on gardening my goal is a follow up from my last years “Create child friendly garden” goal. I enjoyed gardening in the summer so much that I decided to keep on doing it this year!
3. Find a new personal style this goal is a totally new goal in my books. It’s born due to huge changes in my life (kids and loosing some weight) where my style just did not follow. This is why I thought I need to find a new one ;-).My 2019 goalsHope I am not too late to say Happy New Year again!!!
Rasa xoxo

2019 planner + giveaway

Free printable 2019 plannerAfter trying out bullet journaling I had and idea… to use this organisational system to create my own wall planner. And here it is!! Tam tam taram tam (intro music sounding)!! Hope you like it and I am looking forward to your feedback. But more about it later. Let me go through this wall planner so you can have a better understanding of it.
Like every year, I create my own planner that fits my needs, then following year I review it and make even better for the next year. Therefore 2019 planner does have a lot in common with the 2018 planner. The major difference is the fact that is organised like a book. And like any other book this planner starts with the index. Index page is is a very good page to come back to when you make different notes through the year and want to find it again later. I will show you how this works in just a moment.Free printable 2019 plannerBut first I would like to talk about sweet nothings about the Year Goals page. This is my favourite part of the whole calendar! Identifying annual goals really helps me to achieve big dreams and stay on track with my bigger plans. I urge you my friends to set your dreams/goals on paper and review your set out tasks once in the while through the year. Tip: Don’t overdo with too many goals, you want to set achievable goals! Free printable 2019 plannerMonthly Log page is essentially an overview of the whole year. Did someone send you “save the date” card for their Wedding? Well this is where you can record. It’s so much easer to see the date in a bigger picture then scrolling through the whole calendar. I also like to put monthly tasks into one place and then distribute them weekly onto my Weekly Planner.Free printable 2019 plannerNow about the Week page. This is the main area where you will be actioning most of the tasks. This is where you set the timeline for every task.  Failed to complete the task on the set week? Not to worry! With symbol system this planner can be flexible and forgiving as much as you want.
Let me introduce you to the bullet planning symbols. Events are marked with “” and located on the left of the Week page while tasks are located on the right and marked with “.“. When I complete the task I mark it with “X“. At the end of the week I review my uncompleted tasks and mark it with “>” if moving tasks to the next week, “<“if moving the task back to Monthly Log and I cross the task off completely if I decide the task is no longer relevant or needed.
Meals and Shopping List worked well past few years so I am leaving this tool here unchanged. First timers, check this out!Free printable 2019 planner Finally if you have any notes, like recipes, party plans etc etc, all of this can be stored on the Notes page that is located after each Week page. These then can be recorded onto the Index page.Free printable 2019 plannerWhen you need to find a particular note (that you hopefully recorded) then all you need to do is look up on Index page. Amazing, right? You won’t need to search for it through the whole planner again.Free printable 2019 plannerHopefully I got you inspired to be more organised/productive/and more for the next year? Then go get your printable planner here. I would recommend to get it printed by the printers as there are lots of pages and it is in A3 format.
Now if you like, I am giving away three planners to three lucky winners. All I need in return is your feedback. Be quick as there are a lot of interest already! Just send me a quick shout to rasa@friendlynettle.com
Rasa xoxo

My review of bullet journaling

my review on bullet journalingAt the beginning of this year I tried bullet journalling, so how did I get on? Well… my opinion about it has not changed much. I think this system is best suited for a single person who loooooves stationary. However the system itself is cool and it can maybe be applied to a wall organiser. Or at least this is what I am hoping to do.
First I will start with positives of bullet journalling (need to be positive!).
1. I loved how this diary is like a book. It almost feels like writing a book! You know how they say that everyone has a book in them?  Well, here is your chance to sort of practice and write it. It has page numbers, an index page, and more. my review on bullet journaling 2. The BUJO system itself is very practical. It’s all about tracking your tasks, organising them in advance and moving them around to different time slots. The “future log” creates an area where you can store events and tasks that needs to be done sometime in the future. The symbols lets you identify if the task is completed, moved or canceled. If only I could somehow translate this system into the wall diary/organiser…. hmm.my review on bullet journaling 3. My favourite part however is my new years goals pages. Although I feel I am slightly behind I feel splitting goals into tasks helped me to see the progress which itself is very uplifting. I know I know, if I do maths here I probably have almost half of the tasks completed, but only one third of the year left. So I am guessing I wont be able to complete all the tasks by the end of the year. But its ok, I can always review these tasks and forward some to the new year ;-).my review on bullet journaling 4. Additionally to all the fab parts of bullet journalling, I can store project patterns,my review on bullet journalingdetailed event hosting plan with drawings and recipes,my review on bullet journaling my cycle charts (embarrassed to say) and many more. Basically whatever floats your boat ;-). my review on bullet journalingWhen it comes to negative points of using BUJO is that it is not easy to access for whole family. Yes bullet journal is perfect for storing personal stuff like charts etc, but other then that when it comes to family planning this needs to somehow to transfer to a wall organiser.
And btw, I mentioned before that I was very excited to use my fountain pen with this journaling business. However this proved unpractical as I often had to wait till my writing dries before going onto next page. Also I made so many mistakes that by now I am not too bothered about my handwriting in this journal.
That is it for now, hope you found my review useful
Rasa xoxo

Why I'm putting my phone down for 28 days

 So here is a good idea, how about we ditch our smartphones for a month?! This is what I thought when somebody I follow on Instagram claimed they did it last year. Back then I thought it’s not a good timing to do it, but I was definitely interested in the freedom (I presumed) I would get. So I decided February is best and not only because it is shortest of all months. It’s because February is least eventful I suppose (minus Tomas birthday and Valentine’s Day)! And now I am getting really excited about this idea!!! And here are few good reasons why:
1. Need some time off. Can you imagine how much time I will save if I stop using my phone? Loads! I must admit I am practically living on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and often flashing notification really distract me from doing the really important stuff. I can’t highlight enough how much time is wasted on media and because I will be stopping the use of media I decided not to blog for a month too. Because let’s admit it, it’s ok to take a break sometimes and get the other stuff done that never really gets done. Why? Because I am doing day to day jobs while still going through Instagram feed and while putting kids to sleep (please don’t judge).
2. Refocus! I am hoping while I am not constantly plugged into media, I may be able to start realising what is more important in my life. Because of screen I have been ignoring my kids sometimes. Sometimes I am so deep into reading an article that I don’t see my own child trying to get my attention. Hopefully I will get inspired not by Pinterest pictures but by images I see outside my phone screen.
3. I need to rest my eyes for a bit. Because let’s be honest, my eyesight is not getting any better. Not that they are getting worst either. What I really mean, I just need rest, a true rest.Be still and know that I'm with you Ok, those were my reasons and here are my terms. How else would you know if I am not cheating!
I am actually going to read my texts and answer the phone calls! I am only ditching my smart phone and instead I am going to use one of those basic phones. We got one spare in case one of our phones breaks, so it will be easy to switch.
I will read e-mails once in the while on my laptop. And I might need to switch back to my smart phone when I need directions. I will try memorise google maps as much as I can or print out directions like in good old days.
And that’s it, hope I remembered to mention everything in here.Focus quote Do you want to join me? It’s not too late and it does not have to be in February (you can pick a month most convenient to you)! Hope I inspired you 😉
Rasa xoxo

How I started bullet journal + my New Year goals

How I started bullet journal So here we are, I am starting my very first bullet journal!! As excited as I am you should really know that it took me over a year to actually try out this organisational system. Initially I noticed my friend Jacolien journaling on the Instagram (@made2celebrate) and then I read somewhere that this system lets you do more with less??? This could not fit in my head, how pretty page layouts with beautiful fonts would save me time and make me more organised? This is when my friend Jacolien explained that these layouts are completely optional and bullet journal can be whatever you make of it! So I decided to go with the original Ryder Carroll style (who by the way created this system after all) which is very simplistic indeed. May upgrade it later if my handwriting improves in any way. I will let you know how I got on, but for now here are my goals for this year that is already included in my bullet journal.
I may not set many goals last year, I am expecting quite a lot this year. My bullet journal is pretty full for the next six months which has not happen for few years. For each goal I listed tasks to help me to achieve it, some tasks have the deadline and some have been scheduled into calendar already.
1.Upgrade Friendly Nettle website goal was on my mind for four years. I think this year will be the year when I finally do it. I I will begin in February as this is when I am thinking to take a break from blogging for a month and from then on I will schedule once a week appointment with the website. Hopefully this will do.
2.Get arty, because I forgot how to paint or draw. This is why I decided this year to replace reading books to watercolour painting (the media I like the best). Like with books I will review my artwork here on the blog.
3.Reach healthy BMI as I am seriously overweight. I reached my biggest I have ever beed and I am feeling this is effecting my health too. Luckily loosing weight is not time consuming. All I need to do is reduce my meal portions, don’t stress eat and fast once a month. I think this should do the trick.
4.Make our house beautiful, because we still doing it up. Hopefully this year the cosmetics and decorations are going to be done. I am not actually thinking it’s possible to finish all the house DIY completely.  I have already set up some deadlines for some tasks, although this goal I am feeling least confident about sadly.
5.Create child friendly garden has been my dream for a while. I need to be confident that kids can play safety outside as well as growing a small patch of veg on the side. I am thinking to start in March once the preps for Tomas dedication/birthday party prep is over.How I started bullet journal So how did I got on with bullet journaling so far? I think quite ok, I understood the system after reading about it on few blogs, but the video that explain it best is on bullet journal website. There are few pros and cons that I can see so far. But what does’t have pros and cons? So far I love that this system requires you to (1) handwrite (kind of con as well), you got to have a love for stationary! I even bought myself a fountain pen that I get so much pleasure out. The bullet journal itself is (2) very easy to set up, all you need is index, future log and a monthly log. From that on you just can start scribbling simple notes that are either to-do lists or ideas. As long as all those notes are attached to the right symbol you are set to go. Besides, you can (3) customise it as much as you like! I started using my BUJO (short for bullet journal) for personal stuff such as tracking my weight loss and recording my body temperature for NFP. So these are my positives.
Things that I am still trying to work out is (1) how to organise events between our family planner and my personal journal. I end up writing the same event twice, to the journal and then to our planner, this is often confusing and sometimes I wish all those notes synchronised somehow! The other issue I have so far is that (2) the bullet journaling is not for perfectionist (at least at the beginning). I already made many mistakes that can’t be erased. I guess I just have to look at it as a journey on improving my hand writing.How I started bullet journalHope you started 2018 well!
Rasa xoxo

My sugar free diet: update

Evil cookies!!Since my sugar free diet is officially over (thanks to evil cookies above), I thought I will give you some feedback. Some of you may know I removed sugar from my diet in March and April which was the longest I survived without eating something sweet. So I am really pleased with that at the least :-).
In the beginning I avoided foods that have added sugar, but I soon realised there were sooo many alternatives available that are almost as good as a chocolate cake! I guess you don’t realise that because there are not many cakes like that available ready made. This is why I went mad over pinning hundreds of recipes on Pinterest that are raw and sugar free. I tried few of them myself ;-).
Here came the April and I decided to make it a bit strict. I chose to avoid all types of sugar which if you have any idea is very very hard to do. Sugar (even natural sugar) is everywhere. Fruits are the more obvious, but little did you know even milk contains small amounts of sugar. So I really had to restrain myself. I think what really helped is munching on nuts (which has small amounts of sugar as well in case you wondering). I think I ate so many that I was wondering is I am going to experience some sort of side effects. Thankfully nothing happened and I did not develop any nut allergies (feel sorry for all of those who suffers from it!).
Anyhow, so what are my overall feelings about sugar free diet? I I think it’s great if you can stick to it! Personally I think it is simple diet, no special meal planing, all you need to do is don’t add sugar to your food or check your food labels. After all if it taste sweet then probably it has high contents of sugar.
Did I loose any weight? Yes, although not much. I lost about 5kg through two months period which is little to compare how much I usually loose on any other diet. I guess I can blame my very slow metabolism after having a baby!
Did I feel more energetic? A lot of people shared with me that they feel so much more energetic after quitting sugar. Well, this did not work out for me. I felt the opposite, very very sluggish in fact. I wonder why? Maybe the hormones (after having the baby) or maybe that was a “cold turkey” I was experiencing.
Am I less of sugar addict? I think yes! I find it much easer to survive a day without a cake. Although I don’t say no if the cake presents itself. I also realised that I don’t have to eat the cake if its not my type of cake. I remember I used to eat a cake just because I can and because it is sweet (bye bye boring sponge cakes!). I find myself asking, do I really want this cupcake with icing? The other day I learned to make icing rose decoration for a cupcake, I was super pleased I gave it to Joni instead as I realised I would not enjoy it that much other than sugar satisfaction. Almonds are great when on sugar free dietHope you found my story inspiring 😉
Rasa xoxo

Sugar free April

Sugar free banana pancakesSo here is, the end of sugar free (almost) March! It was a great success even though I indulged in lots of sugar during Easter. Could anyone resist all that chocolate going around? I think it was a good learning curve and I am up for another month of trying out this “sugar-free” diet, detox, quitting or what ever else you want to call it!
So here how it went… In the very beginning I was expecting cold turkey sort of stage. But no such thing happened, instead I got little bit of cold. Not sure if it was how my body was coping or just coincidence :-D. I mean, don’t get me wrong it was very hard to fight the temptation, but eventually I found the other foods to sweeten my life! Grapes are good for example and bananas of course. I tried making banana 2 ingredient pancakes that you see all over Pinterest (the other ingredient is egg), but I found it not very pancakey, instead it felt like sweet soufflé. At the end I added third ingredient which is flour, which made everything soooo much better. It would of course work with any other type of flour or oatmeal if you prefer.sweetened porridge with oats Then I discovered I could make sweet treats that are sugar free! I even created a board on Pinterest dedicated to raw treats, that are of course sugar free. My favourite are these chocolate energy bars that I made in different variations. Yum! Although I did feel sick few times after consuming too many…Sugar free chocolate energy bar Next, I realised I could introduce chocolate into my breakfast. This was getting suspiciously naughty! I was adding cocoa powder into my oats and sweeting it with dates. I felt like eating a cake for breakfast!Sugar free chocolate aots Few weeks ago I mentioned that I was quitting sugar to my sister. It turned out she was quitting it too!! We must be synchronised ;-). She did questioned my sugar substitutions as I was sipping on wine. Turns out that fruit contain sugar! I mean it’s natural, but still sugar!
During Easter I fell back even further… I got tempted by chocolate :(. At least I wasn’t alone. Nicola said she was having sugar days as well. Once it was over I was actually glad to resume as it made me pretty sick. So I guess it’s good, I can see sugar free March was working for me 😉Oops!So what is my goal for April? Well, cut out all types of sugar. That includes fruits and wine! Eeeeek! Wish me luck! Will let you know next month how it went :-).
Rasa xoxo