January’s Projects…Month Five!

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The first semester of the School Year Challenge has come and gone and I am amazed at how much I have iccomplished*!

I’ve learned new skills, completed an amazing number of projects, and converted many ideas floating around in my head to reality.

Along with these celebrations of iccomplishments* I experienced times of stress when the expectations I placed on myself for trying to do it all (career, personal life, and the School Year Challenge) almost became too much and I wanted to quit everything, crawl under the covers, and lose myself in a romance book.

While I haven’t quit, the other things did happen a time or two. Fortunately, I always (eventually) climbed out of bed, pulled up my big-girl panties, and stepped back into my life and home of unfinished projects.

I recognize I can often times be very intense and hard on myself, so I have to make a conscious effort to not focus on what still NEEDS to be done but what I HAVE done!

At the end of December and beginning of January as I reflected on all the projects iccomplished* in the fall semester along with the self-inflicted stress to complete everything I wanted to do each month, I recognized the necessity of taking a step back and reviewing my reasons for starting a personal blog: to hold myself accountable, provide motivation to turn thinking into doing, and eventually help others do the same.

To provide a framework for achieving these goals, I created the School Year Challenge. My original thoughts behind this challenge were:

  • “…focusing on one room a month during the school year so by the last day of school almost all the rooms in our home have some change(s) that indicate progress toward a final vision. – “from the post The Beginning!
  • “Projects I want to iccomplish* during the School Year challenge are related to the overall comfort, use, and aesthetic appeal of the room.” – from the post September is Here…Month One!

This idea of transforming one room a month became a reality in September when I was able to iccomplish* many projects in the master bedroom. However, that was the only month a room was transformed.

Over the past three months, the School Year Challenge has become more about completing random projects I want to do instead of projects related to transforming a room a month.

Plus, I have come to realize I really don’t have a final vision for most of the rooms in the house. Instead, I have collected a multitude of ideas that may or may not connect in any way, shape, or form to create a comfortable, cohesive, aesthetically pleasing space I would want in my home. Right now, for me, it is too much to figure out.

In the meantime there are so many smaller, unconnected projects I have wanted to do for so long (sewing, quilting, painting, refinishing, reupholstering, etc.) I really want to work on these during the remainder of this first School Year Challenge. Even though iccomplishing* these projects won’t result in a transformed living space, they will result in me learning new skills and making small changes in my home that will result in immediate pleasure and enjoyment.


The Project Wall

January’s Project Wall has fewer projects than any other month and there is a specific reason for this…with action comes clarity!

After living through the first 4 months of the School Year Challenge, I realized many parts of my life were suffering. I became so dedicated to getting projects done I had let many things go that I enjoy doing (such as meal planning, cooking at home, and exercise) and most of the weekends were spent on the learning and doing the projects. Very little time was given for rest and relaxation.

There are many things on my radar I want to do that aren’t projects to be done but bring enjoyment to life…jeep adventures, continuing education, reading for pleasure, and spending time with family and friends to name a few.

In an effort to have a balance with my career, exercise, eating at home, iccomplishing* projects, educational opportunities, etc. I selected enough projects to do during January that will leave me with a feeling of satisfaction while still providing opportunities and time to do the other things I enjoy and want to do.


The pillows are the bonus project from December and once they are made they will look great on the recently painted Adirondack chairs!

Several years ago I made pillow covers with spring fabric and I am going to use those as the pattern. Measure, cut, and sew…should go pretty quick!

Adirondack Footstools and Table

These pieces are part of a set that compliment the Adirondack chairs that were completed in December’s projects.

The footstools are sanded and ready to be primed and painted. I just need to lightly sand the semi-glossy painted surface of the table before painting.


Hallway Table

Douglas made this table for me several years ago for my classroom. At the time I wasn’t sure if I was going to paint it or stain it so he used a wood that could be painted or stained. I never got around to doing either but staining furniture is something I want to learn how to do and I won’t need to do much prepping.


Douglas and I continue to watch what we spend and keep track of our monthly expenses so the budget for this month’s projects will be $20.00.

I have all the supplies for the pillows, footstools, and table. The only thing I will need to buy will be stain for the hallway table.

I have learned that when it comes to painting there might be an additional expense or two but I believe $20.00 will cover the cost of anything we will need in addition to the stain.

Looking at the Project Wall, I feel good about my choice of projects this month. I have started working on the pillows and once we get the Christmas decorations down and put away, I will set up a station in the living room to paint the table and footstools. By painting in the house, I won’t have to worry about temperature changes in the garage and can have control over painting and drying time.

I’m looking forward to a more balanced month…reclaiming old habits that I enjoy and maybe doing something new this month along with turning some ideas into actions!

Read the previous post in the School Year Challenge.

Read the next post in the School Year Challenge.

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