Monochromatic

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Pulmu Pencil Skirt, Saunio Cardigan and Birgitte Tee

We’re slowly winding down on summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, not something I’m relishing.  I really miss those long southern summers and quick winters that were over just as soon as you were getting used to having to wear a jersey every day.  Of course, the end of July appearing doesn’t mean I am ready to show you the last of what I made in the month, I’ve barely scratched the surface, and still not finished what I got up to in June!

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But for today, I have an outfit I made for The Monthly Stitch, for Independent Pattern Month.  It’s the last week of the fling and the challenge was to sew an outfit of at least two items.  I’d already decided most definitely on one item, but it took a while to finalise the rest of the outfit.

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I started with the Named Clothing Pulmu Pencil Skirt.  In denim.  I know, the pattern clearly states a lightweight fabric, but I rather fancied the idea of making it in something sturdy.  I cut the 46 and after toiling it took in the side seams to remove the ease.  I wanted to use a denim with 2% stretch and wanted a fit a little more like a pair of jeans.  I also had to shorten it overall by 8cm.  I took out 2 between the waistline and hip, 3 between the hip and the knee and another 3 between the knee and the hem.

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Linen facings and zip guard on the Pulmu Skirt

In order to have a softer feel around the waist, the facings were cut from linen fabric from the scrap-box.  A zip guard was cut from the same fabric and it looks good with the dark denim of the skirt.  A decision was taken not to line the skirt.  I used the overlocker to neaten all the raw edges and I toyed with the idea of binding the hem and the allowances of the vent edges.  In the end I didn’t do it because it would mean using a third fabric and I didn’t like that idea.  The hems are mitered with an uneven mitre to avoid any edges showing.  They worked out really well.  I like the skirt, it’s the first one to live in my wardrobe for about 10 years!

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I decided against a woven for the top, going instead for a softer look with viscose jersey.  I had some lovely soft grey viscose jersey left over from a project completed earlier in the year and decided to make the Birgitte Basic Tee from Maria Denmark.  I can always do with more tee shirts!  Going with the v-neck, short sleeve version, I thought I’d need to do something a little “more” with it.  The morning I cut the tee out I’d needed to look out some sequin ribbons for a friend and I found a scrap of gold sequined fabric salvaged from a dress made ages ago.  I thought “I wonder if this is useful, what would it look like on the grey?”  and then, “ooo, I can put it on the shoulder!”  I picked the left shoulder because if any bags are going to be carried, they go on the right.

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Birgitte tee with sparkly shoulder

The Birgitte Tee is very quick and easy to make, so it was only a couple hours work.  I slightly stretched the jersey when I laid the sequined fabric on top so that it wouldn’t be pulling against the sequins once made up and being worn.  Then I pinned the scrap in place and tacked within the seam allowance.  I removed the larger sequins from the seam allowance and got sewing.  I quite like the finished result, understated and simple, but with a bit of bling/sparkle.

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To round off the outfit I actually bought a piece of fabric!  Clothspot have this gorgeous black and silver striped ponte for a pretty good price.  I had the Saunio Cardigan from Named Clothing in mind.  Originally I wanted to make it in a woven – I have a piece of black and cream silk that would look fabulous in the Saunio’s shape, but there wasn’t nearly enough of the fabric to make it work.  The pattern is so quick to make!  Even with making sure I had pins in every second stripe, it took a couple of hours in an afternoon to complete.

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Love it when the stripes play nicely and line up on the side seam!

I widened the sleeve because I have “sturdy” arms(!) and knew, from the measurements, that this ponte would never have enough stretch to make the sleeves comfortable.  I love the finished length of the sleeves, I usually push all my sleeves up, but these finish at the perfect spot!  This is a great addition to my wardrobe, the colours go perfectly with everything else and I love the boxy shape and cropped length.  I’m going to wear it loads with my Birkin jeans!

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Ta-da! All done for another year!

So there you have it, my outfit for the Indie Royalty category.  I will try to catch up on the remains of June’s makes and the July stuff that didn’t fall into the Indie Month categories as soon as possible.  I seem to really have got cracking with the sewing since getting my own sewing room, but the stash isn’t going down quite as quickly as I’d hoped.  Best I get a move on then, Mr Not Compulsive has been dropping hints about never getting anything made for him and I have a good stash of Paul Smith shirtings!

Lounging Pajamas

Because these are no ordinary pjs!  I’ve finally upgraded my sleepwear collection this year, and these are the business.  I chose a couple of Mrs Depew pajama patterns earlier this year, determined that in my 40s I deserved better sleepwear than baggy tees and a couple of self drafted pants.  Last year I made a Kimono Robe, this year I’ve upped my game.

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Mrs Depew 1920s Pajama set 3068

The advent of Independent Pattern Month on The Monthly Stitch galvanised me to finally get cracking on these.   I thought the “New to Me” category would be perfect encouragement!  The pattern is Mrs Depew 3068, a reproduction of a 1920s pattern for a robe, top with either long or short sleeves and ankle length or knee length pants.  It’s one of those patterns you can see made up in fancy silk, trimmed with velvet and worn on the silver screen by a gorgeous platinum blonde.  I’m neither!

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I’d seen an interesting viscose jersey print on Croft Mill Fabric’s site, black with beige, but not all over (no longer in stock, unfortunately).  It looked abstract and I liked it for the pajama top.  The pattern isn’t drafted for stretch fabrics, but as I’m technically a size up from the largest size of the pattern, I figured stretch would be just fine!!  As it turns out, I think it would have worked just fine in a woven.  For the pants and robe I chose a beige viscose, also from Croft Mill.  There was black viscose in the stash that would be used for the bands on the pants and the robe.

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The pants were so quick and easy to make!  They consist of just two pieces, a leg and a band.  Couldn’t be easier.  I’m just not sure where those 20s ladies wore their pj pants, up under their boobs so the crotch depth worked, or with the MC Hammer look…  The crotch depth is – well, let’s just say they look like a baby elephant could fit in! 😀  For the sake of accuracy I’m photographing them as they are, but I feel they’ll have to be altered pretty soon.  I used the overlocker instead of French seams, you only have 1cm seam allowance (3/8 inches).  Although French seams are certainly do-able with just 1cm, I opted for speed!

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1920s Pj construction instructions

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The top was quick too, instructions for making are brief – think Burda on a major diet!  But there is a diagram to go with the minimal instructions and it’s numbered with corresponding notches on the pattern pieces, so it’s not all that tricky.  I left off the band at the bottom, the top was going to be long enough on me without it.  The neck band was interfaced with some of Gill Arnold’s knit interfacing to give it a bit of body and stability, as were the cuffs.  I decided to make the long sleeved version to go with the long pants as I’m intending these to be worn in the winter.  There is a small section of shirring at the shoulder instead of any darts.

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Mrs Depew 3068 Details

On to the robe.  Again, only three main pieces – front, back, and sleeves (in two lengths).  The borders were cut in the black viscose and seamed together in one long length before attaching them to the robe.  It pays to stitch a guideline on the inside to iron under the raw edge so that topstitching from the right side catches all the insides nice and neatly.  Also, although the instructions say nothing (naturally) don’t stitch the mitred corners from the edge of the fabric, start 1cm in so you can turn the corner properly!  The sleeve cuffs are double folded rectangles inserted into the armhole.

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I really like this pajama set and will happily make another!  The viscose feels lovely and luxurious, and I’m sure it will feel cool even in the late summer.  I just don’t want to think of what it will look like after one sleep!   It’ll be like napping in linen… And I’m definitely going to alter that crotch depth issue with the pants.  *edit*  I’m not changing the crotch length any more, they’re so damn comfy to sleep in!!!

 

**UPDATE**

My fabulous pajamas have been shortlisted in the “New to Me” category of IPM2017 on The Monthly Stitch!  Woohoo!! 🙂  To vote for me (if you’d like) – and two other brilliant projects, follow this link.

 

Butter Mellow, Sunflower Yellow

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It’s Independent Pattern Month again!  I have given the whole thing a miss for a couple of years, but decided I’d like to enter again this year.  The fact that IPM2017 is in July instead of June really helped!  The first week’s category is dresses, and I had just the one!  Usually I’d make something for the girls, but neither of them are around at the moment, making fitting and photos a trifle tricky.  I could have chosen my good friend who has had me-mades in the past, but she really doesn’t like being photographed and I didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable, just to get a free dress!!  So I asked another friend if she’d be interested – the answer! “Oh God, yeah!!”

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I wanted to make the Itch to Stitch Anza Dress, which I had a pretty good feeling she’d like, and I was right!  We chatted fabric choices while I took her measurements and then I went home to trawl the interwebs to find what she wanted.  I sent a few links with something along the lines of what we’d discussed, and then threw in a curveball, a graduated, ombre viscose with geometric pattern – the reply was instant! “That one!”

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Based on her measurements I traced the size 2 with D cup, grading out to the 4 at the waist, moving on t the 6 over the hip.  I’d printed off the A0 version of the PDF, it’s so well laid out!  There aren’t any pattern pieces overlapping onto different sheets and minimal wasted space.  The PDF is layered so you could just print the size(s) you needed.  Using an old sheet for the toile, it went together really well.

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The Anza Dress toile in a fetching pink sheeting

 

I followed all the instructions and used all the pieces, checking the pattern instructions as well as the fit this time round.  I’ve never used an Itch to Stitch pattern before, and now I’m quite tempted to try another.  The instructions are spot on, enough info if you need it, and clear enough to skim through and move on.  The toile fitted just fine, I like patterns with cup sizes, no need for FBA!  The dress is described as knee length – my friend is on the petite side but liked the hem length as it was, below the knee.  So I didn’t shorten the skirt part and thankfully there were no other adjustments required.

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The fabric is a viscose from Fabric Godmother, that is more like a voile, it’s a very lightweight viscose!  I had already decided when I saw it online that it had to be cut with the gold at the hem, graduating white through grey and into the solid black for the bodice.  The overlocker came in very handy for the construction, as did my daylight lamp…  Sewing black on black is a killer on the eyes as you get (a little) older!  The fabric was more challenging to work with than the old sheet had been!  Perseverance and patience were the name of the game, neither qualities I have in abundance.

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Ombre Border Print Viscose from Fabric Godmother
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Anza Dress, pocket and hem details
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Bodice details & vintage buttons

The dress itself took me two days to make, that’s including resetting the pockets about 4 times, and eventually recutting one front because I’d stuck the seam ripper through the fabric while taking off the pocket – again!!!  It was so wiggly!  Anyway, it’s all worked out fine in the end and I’m really chuffed with it!  My friend bought the fabric, the elastic and black bias binding I used for the drawstring came from the stash, as did the vintage faceted buttons.  They’d been sent to me by another friend who lives in the States.

 

 

We took the photos after work, (she’s a florist) and she’s informed me she’s not taking it off.  Her partner will have to take her out tonight, she has a lovely new dress to wear!  I think I might like to make another in linen, or a nice cotton, but I will steer clear of  viscose voile for this pattern, and never make one in silk…

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UPDATE!!

My dress has been shortlisted on The Monthly Stitch in the top 14 dresses, so the voting starts now!  Follow this link to cast your vote, and see who else is in the running with more fabulous dresses!

EXTRA UPDATE

Thanks to everyone who voted for my friend’s lovely new dress, I was one of the 8 winners of the dresses category and will be donating my prize of 3 Victory Patterns to the Makers for Grenfell fundraiser, run by Portia Lawrie.

 

Hook, Line & Sinker

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Burdastyle culottes 104 2/2017

I’ve really fallen for this pattern.  It’s been made in three different fabrics so far and I love each & every (very different) one.  The pattern is  culottes 104 from the February 2017 Burdastyle magazine.  Made late last month for Daughter No2 to take on her holiday to Madeira, she chose a linen viscose blend new to the stash bought from Fabric Godmother earlier in the year.  It was advertised as khaki, but was far more brown when it arrived, so I didn’t want it for me.  However, Daughter No2 was happy with it.

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The innards are all overlocked, but I used the sewing manchine for the construction.  Unlike the two versions made for Daughter No1, this one has the original front fly zip, belt loops and long tie belt.  All the elements work on this one.  All I eliminated was the back flap that hints at a pocket there, but has none.  I might add an actual pocket to another version as it’s usually handy to have a back pocket for your phone.

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The construction was pretty straight forward, the facings and fly zip guard construction is the same as another pair of Burda trousers I’ve made hundreds of times so the instructions didn’t phase me as they seem to have done for some other makers of this pattern.  I made the 36, but ended up taking the waist in so much it probably ended up being a 32!  I graded out to the 38 over the hip and then back to the 36.  The crotch depth was lengthened by 1cm.  Daughter No2 is pretty tall and the finished length was perfect.

island 1 She’s having a fabulous holiday exploring Madeira and eating her way around the island!  She is definitely entering the right profession, food is central to her day!  I am going to have to put Madeira on my list of places to visit, her photos have made me very keen to do my own exploring.

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Front details.

In addition to the culottes, I rescued a left over piece of green linen from the scrap box and made the shorts version as well.  There was enough on one piece for the front and back, and thankfully I found another piece for the pockets, facings and turn-ups (they aren’t supposed to be separate but I had no choice…).

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Green linen culotte shorts

It was only when the shorts were 99% finished that I realised that it wasn’t a trick of the light, or my tired eyes that made it look like there were two shades of green on the shorts.  OOPS!!  The other piece of green linen wasn’t the same!  Oh dear, I hope it looks like it was supposed to be like this, a design feature!!  The perils of using scraps I guess!  I’m very slowly working on reducing the stash of fabrics, both whole pieces and those pesky scraps and left-overs.

 

Making Me-Made-May Relevant

Sounds like a tongue twister, doesn’t it?  When I decided I’d do #mmmay17 I didn’t just want to do my usual, “wear as much made by me clothing as possible”.  Because there’s not very much in my wardrobe (excluding undergarments) that I haven’t made.  I needed to step it up, make it a worthwhile challenge for me.

So while I will wear as much clothing made by me as possible during the month, the decision was made to identify gaps (excluding undergarments!) and to try to fill them using stashed fabric, scraps and left overs, and my re-make/re-cut bag.  The first item identified was a nice pair of pjs.  Mine are a bit mix and match, not exactly what I’d call “nice” pyjamas.

I dug out the Carolyn Pajama pattern by Closet Case Files and then went diving into the stash boxes.  Out came a bright and rather mad handbag print poplin that I’d bought years ago to use as lining in handmade totes and small handbags.  There was enough left to make the short sleeved top.  To top off the slightly mad look (well, mad for me – it’s bright!!) a metre of pink chambray joined the bag print to make the shorts.

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I didn’t toile…  I’d cut the Morgan Boyfriend jeans a couple of weeks before to the 18, but in the toiling process realised they were far too big, I did not need to size up.  So this time I just went straight to the 16, did a small FBA on the top and went for it!  It all fits really well, by some miracle!

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Carolyn pajamas, top is handbag print cotton poplin, shorts pink cotton chambray

I didn’t do any piping, contrast stitching, ribbons etc.  There really didn’t seem to be any need.  The instructions are clear and pretty straight forward, the top went together in an afternoon, and the shorts followed quickly the next morning.  I need to get used to sleeping in a top with a collar, but otherwise I’m really happy with the result.  I did go digging again to see if there was anything else I could use – to make another pair!  We’ll see, there may be another pair with longer trousers in the pipeline.

I also decided I needed another short sleeved tee, with a scoop, rather than v-neck.  I emptied my jersey fabric box which is was pretty much full of small pieces, left-overs from previous projects.  I tried to find fabrics of similar weight and colours that went together well and came up with this.  I used the Birgitte tee that I’d changed a couple of years ago to allow for a contrast yoke, cutting the yokes and neckband in the ivory and the remainder of the pattern in the silver grey marl.

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Short sleeve Birgitte Tee with contrast yoke

It’s a success.  Really comfy to wear and the neckline doesn’t gape when I lean over or bend down – which I do a lot of on the allotment!  The neckline has been raised by 3cm to get this right.  I really need some clothes to garden in, some thing comfy and breathable and that doesn’t let people look down my top….  And pockets – lots of pockets!  That’s my next identified gap.  Gardening clothes.

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I know lots of people just use something old from the cupboard, but even though I may have made some of my clothes a while ago – I don’t regard them as being good for gardening in!  They’re still nice!  I might reach into my re-cut bag for this part, depending on whether or not the pattern pieces of what I choose fit on/in!

 

Silver Dream

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Burdastyle trousers and silk top

It’s good to be pushed out of your comfort zone sometimes.  I joined in with a Facebook Group sew-along that started in January where the challenge was to make 8 items using patterns already in your stash.  The idea, to look again at what you had bought and never got round to using.  Those poor patterns you buy on impulse because you like the cover, or you’ve seen someone online make it and you liked it but for some reason you just haven’t committed.

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It all came to an end at the end of April, and my 8th submitted item was these trousers.  The pattern is Burda 6689, I think I bought it about 3 years ago, intending to make Daughter No 1 a pair.  Needless to say we never got round to it, so it was the perfect pattern to finish off my collection of tops.  The fabric is from Fabric Godmother.  Thank goodness there wasn’t a stipulation that the fabric all had to come from the stash too, because I’d have lucked out here!!  Although, this is the only new piece I bought to complete the challenge.

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Gratuitous bum shot, you can still see the pockets through the fabric…

I initially toiled the 46, then realised, as usual, that it was too big.  After making the 44 the crotch depth had to be reduced by 1cm, crotch curves had to change (come closer to the body) and the back crotch scooped out a little more.  The crotch length in the back was decreased, bringing the waistband down about 1.5cm.  The inseams were taken in on the back only.  That seemed to work, the toile hung straight and there were minimal drag lines.  There was a hope that the final fabric, having more body than the toile fabric, would hang well and all would be good!

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The fabric itself is yummy, quite soft and subtle with a decent stretch.  However, I think it’s one of those fabrics that will lose colour on folded edges so although I ironed the front crease in well for the photos and first wear, I will not continue to do so.  I think I will end up with a nice pale line down the front of my pants.  I used a piece of left over Liberty city poplin for the pocket linings and inner waistband.  This stops the waistband stretching out of shape with wear.

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I love the back pockets, initially I wasn’t going to do them, but I’m glad I did.  I took my time over them, with the stretch fabric I didn’t want things going awry.  I basted and whipstitched and did all those things you’re supposed to do with proper pockets, rather than just whip my way though!  All the insides are overlocked, I could have French seamed the pockets but was worried about seeing the lines through the outer fabric.

 

(Click on the thumbnails to see full size images)

The finished trousers are pretty good.  I think I still need to work on the crotch depth/length though.  Might just be the fabric, during the day they definitely get baggier and looser around the bum area and I end up pulling the waistband up more.  The front still needs work too, that’s a job for the next pair.  Once I put them on I wasn’t so sure about the length!  I’ve been wearing floor skimming Birkin Flares all winter so these tapered pants floating high above my ankles feel a little funny.  So I unfolded the 3cm hem and dug out some wide bias tape.  I’ve attached the tape with a 5mm seam and used that for the hem.  So these pants are 2.5cm longer than they should be, I never thought I’d be lengthening a pair of Burda trousers for me!!!

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I love the colour of these pants, they go with just about everything in my wardrobe and can switch between casual and smart with ease.  If I don’t come up with anything else, I might even wear them to a wedding we have to go to in July.  I quite liked using only patterns from the stash, not including the Burda magazines, I didn’t think I had all that many – turns out there are plenty, and still some I haven’t used (let alone printed off or downloaded…..).  No more waste!!

For Me-Made-May this year I’ve decided to identify gaps in my handmade wardrobe and to finish them within the month, as well as to use more from my re-make/re-cut bag.  So we’ll see what I come up with!

 

 

On My Sewing Table 

Or, sewing plans interrupted and replaced with new, more exciting plans! At the beginning of March I made a list of the project I wanted to get through this month, using my free calendar/planner. Of the 7 planned projects I’ve done 2 & 2 are half way. But I’m not excited by them, they are just jobs to do. So I’ve got a new list!

Item one, the one that’s actually cut and in progress. I’ve wanted to make this top for a while and this weekend realised I already had the perfect fabric! The pattern is 105 from Burda magazine 2/2016. The fabric is silk satin and I’ve never seen anything quite like it before or since !

Item two is another top, this one from the original list, one of the half done projects because it’s been toiled and is ready to go. It’s Lekala 4286 & will  be made in a 70s polyester floral print with the biggest, brightest print  ever!

Item three is another Burda top, a pattern I’ve used before and really like. The fabric is cotton voile from Fabric Godmother about two years ago. Pattern is #138 8/2011.

Items four, five and six are culottes #104 2/2017! Following the success of the previous pair I found two pieces of fabric for daughter no1 and one for me!😇

Item seven uses this beautiful blue viscose I bought in Derby I think five years or so ago, time flies!! I’m making another Burda pattern, top #115B 8/2015, which is another that’s been on my list for a while.

And last, but by no means least, item eight is another top, another Burda pattern. This time it’s #103 from 2/2016, using a really pretty  bit of white broiderie anglaise that’s got a silver finish and grey jersey from the Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham.
So, enough to keep me busy for the next  ten  days?? 😉 Do you throw out your plans when things don’t really excite you enough to provide motivation to get them done? Or are you a good planner?