Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tips for Increasing Productivity in Your Home

A few days ago, I posted a question on my Facebook page. It said, "I've been pondering the concept of PRODUCTIVITY and I'm going to be doing a blog post about it. Does anyone have any thoughts on how to increase productivity in the home? One of the virtues of the Proverbs 31 woman was that she was extremely productive and did 'not eat the bread of idleness'. What are some practical ways you kick laziness in the proverbial pants?"
I got some incredible answers! The overwhelming response seems to be that lists are the best way to go. It helps you set a goal and keep a clear focus in mind so you don't get distracted. So...

Tip #1: Make and Keep Lists

Dawn L. said, "For me, I have to have a running to do list. I tend to start to do something and then get sidetracked with something else. If I have a list, then I can finish the first task before going on to another one."

Ella C. said, "If you make a list you can see what's going to take longest, what's most important, what can be done first and what you can start and get going while you move on to something else. For instance, putting in a load of laundry, then putting dinner in the crock pot or in the oven to roast, then loading the dishwasher and starting it. All those things are going and don't need your attention, so you can then focus on the next most important thing. Whatever you don't get done today should go on the top of tomorrow's list."

This is a great point! If we're to find ways to be the most productive we can, so as to bring the most glory to God with the time that we are given, this is a great place to start! Make a binder that's dedicated exclusively to lists. Categorize, if you feel so inclined, and make tabs for "Daily", "Weekly", "Monthly", "Sewing", "Grocery", "Music", etc. Whatever your days and weeks are filled with, there's a list for every task and jurisdiction! If you don't get it done today, get it done tomorrow and don't allow yourself to be distracted.
My mom suggests adding to your list things you accomplished that weren't originally written down so you can see on paper that you really are getting things done!

Tip #2: Find Ways to Motivate Yourself

Personally, I am not incredibly self-motivated. I get distracted easily and if the task at hand doesn't suit my fancy, I tend to avoid it. In fact, I procrastinated on this post for almost a week! But, when I am motivated, I'm a powerhouse who gets everything done down to the polishing and waxing! Find your weak spots and counter-attack with a motivator. For example, if you (like me) have a tough time getting out of bed in the morning, do something to entice yourself out; prepare the teapot the night before and turn it on once you're awake or keep a robe by your bed that you can wrap up in it once you're on your feet. Set a spot at the table with your Bible and notebook so you can drink your tea while you're filled with the Word before others are awake! If you clean the kitchen best if there's some upbeat music on, bring the iPod in! 
Or, if you have enjoyable, relaxing things on your list like reading, sewing or writing, don't allow yourself the pleasure until your less savory tasks are completed :) I'm sure there are so many more ways and only you know how you tick, so once you identify where you tend to stumble most, find a way to turn it into an advantage!

Tip #3: Don't Forget the Big Picture!!! 

Felicia B. said, "Agree with all of the above [suggestions for list-making] so I will not repeat. Just want to add that on that list you make sure there is time with kids, spouse, friends and most important God. Which is not typically something you check off but something you learn to weave into all the daily demands. Try not to get too much self-worth out of earthly accomplishments and forget about the eternal ones..." 

Kerri B. said, "I am a big list maker, too. I really try to remember why I'm doing what I'm doing. I'm serving God by doing what He's called me to do. Right now, that's being a full-time wife and mom. So, every load of laundry, every meal, every lesson taught and every toilet scrubbed is serving Him through serving my family. This way of thinking helps me stay focused and just makes doing all these (some unpleasant) things easier. When I'm joyful, I'm more productive. A nice chocolate stash helps, too ;)"

I am so blessed to be surrounded by such wise and godly women! All of these ladies are my friends and I learn so much from them! As we strive to fulfill our calling as God-honoring, faithful daughters, mothers and wives at home, it's imperative that we don't forget the "Big Picture". There will be days where EVERYTHING on our list gets done and days where NOTHING gets done. We can't weep over the little things that get left behind in favor of family. We can't forget that little brothers are more important than clean dishes, Bible time is more important than a sewing project and hugs and cuddles are much more important than vacuuming! So, when we make our lists and motivate ourselves and try to get things done, we can't leave out the most important things. The things that matter. The things that last. 

 ...She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens...

 She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle...

 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness...

 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
 Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 27, 30 NASB  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

HSF 2014 Challenge #1: Make-Do and Mend-1920s-40s Evening Coat

I can't believe it! I had this entry done A WEEK AGO and I totally forgot to take pictures of it yesterday! Thus, here is my *slightly* late project for the HSF. It's a 1930s green cotton-velveteen coat with brown faux fur collar and cuffs and black velveteen trim!

 But, before I continue, here are the actual 1930s evening coats that gave be the inspiration (and credibility) for this project. I was also greatly inspired by the gorgeous fur-trimmed coats that Helena Bonham-Carter wore as the Queen from "The King's Speech". In fact, as soon as I was finished, I tried the coat on and I called out in the basement to "Dr. Logue." I said, in the most royally British voice I could muster, "And what if my husband were the Duke of York?"

This was a self-drafted pattern and I really took my time on it. I even took the time to copy all the pieces I cut of the fashion material onto some useless fabric so I could recreate it! The coat fits in the challenge because I had to "Make-Do" with it. All the materials were from the stash and-don't tell anyone-the green velveteen was actually a set of curtains not long ago. I also really like it because it's a multi-decade wardrobe item! It's completely acceptable from the 1920s through the 1940s! We couldn't get a full shot (space was a bit cramped), but I'll tell you that the coat extends down to mid-calf length. I could have just buttoned it closed like the ones above, except...I didn't want to look like a hippopotamus that ran through Gramma's clothesline. Thus, the waist had to be cinched!

Fur close up. Don't get dizzy!

The simple elegance of a pearl necklace adds finesse, I think. Thanks, Mamma!

My vintage clutch!

Sorry I didn't use a lint-brush on the trim before it was photographed :P

Just the Facts, Jack! (I couldn't resist)

The Challenge: #1-Make-Do and Mend
Fabric: 4 Yards Cotton-Velveteen, 1 Yard Black Velveteen, 1 Yard Faux Fur
Pattern: Self-Drafted
Year: 1925-1943-ish
Notions: Thread!
How historically accurate is it?: Very!
Hours to complete: 8ish
First worn: Around the house mostly. It makes an excellent robe for the cold Winter mornings!
Total cost: $0.00!!! Hooray for stash fabric (I think my dad is cheering, too ;)