Fall 2016 Capsule Wardobe (sort of)

I wrote my last blog post 9 months ago. I had to decide last month whether or not to renew my site and I couldn't bring myself to shut it down. I like writing even if no one comments and it's all about YouTube these days. I'm old, I guess. I'd rather read a post than watch a video.

Anyway, instead of trying to catch up on 9 months, I'll just jump in. For the last couple of weeks, my hobby project has been to sort out my fall "capsule" wardrobe. I can't *really* call it a capsule, because it has just over 50 pieces, and that's not exactly minimalist.  BUT, each piece is carefully chosen and most items mix and match.  

Using my Bullet Journal to plan my wardrobe - I used colored pencils to give me an overview of my clothing colors. There have been a lot of scratch-outs and shifting items to Winter since I took this photo!

Most importantly, I plan for (and shop) for the next season ahead of time, and have done a darn good job of not buying random things in between since I started this process in 2014. I can honestly say I no longer shop for clothes when I'm bored, or need a "pick me up", etc. I shop when I "need" clothing. Let's be honest here - I don't ever NEED clothing, but I do like to update my wardrobe with a few new things each season.

This year, I have done such a good job of keeping only what "sparks joy" (thanks Marie Kondo!) that I am kind of overwhelmed by everything I chose for the next 6 months.  So instead of doing a 6 month "FWinter" wardrobe, I'm trying my friend Adrianne's suggestion of keeping some items in storage and pulling them out in December.  There are a few lighter pieces that will get put away for the winter as well.

So here's what I've got:

I noticed in photos this summer that my trusty bootcut JAG jeans from 2013 were looking a little tired. I have literally worn them multiple times a week since I bought them, except in the few summer weeks when it's just too hot.  They've faded (but not in a cool way) and lost their stretch. So I needed new jeans.

For a long time I've believed there are some things I should just not wear at my size (and maybe my age, too). Skinny jeans were firmly on that list. But I realized that wearing a lot of baggy stuff makes me feel kinda...shlumpy. And reading this great piece on Into Mind got me thinking that maybe I could try it since I like the cleaner, trimmer look and had already talked myself into leggings a few years ago (another no-no in my mind).

So this Fall's wardrobe has TWO new pairs of new skinny jeans plus the straighter leg pair of jeans I bought last year. I love them, and they go great with the flowier, longer tops I already have.

In March, I accepted a new job at Microsoft that requires me to be in the office (sniffle) which means I need a wider range of presentable out-of-the-house clothes than when I worked from home. Since it's such a casual workplace (yay tech companies!) I can *choose* to dress up if I feel like it. I love having that choice, unlike when I worked in consulting and had to dress up in "business casual +" every single day. I rebelled by wearing sweatpants *a lot* to my first gig at Microsoft back in 2002.

After 2 years of being intentional about my clothing, I'm starting to get a pretty good handle on which brands I like and fit me well, and which tend to last over time. With fewer clothes, I'm wearing each thing more often. Everything I own except one or two fancy dresses is machine washable. A few things I bought in 2014 just didn't stand the test of time.  I'm pretty much done buying anything new from the "Style & Co." line at Macy's because they just don't last. 

I am really happy to see that options for sizes 14 and up have gotten a LOT better in just a few short years. I guess the fashion industry is catching up to reality, finally. I also decided I'm dressing the body I have now, not the one I wish I had, or the one I had 15 years ago (size 8! sigh.) Yes, I would like to lose 40 lbs, but I would also like to look good in the meantime. 

For the past 2 years I waited until October to pull out the new Fall wardrobe because it was still warm in Seattle. Unfortunately that's not the case this year, so on the bright side, I get to wear my new stuff right after Labor Day weekend! It feels like Back to School shopping, which, incidentally, I still need to do for my girls. That's my next Project.

I know I've disappeared for a while, but if you're out there, I'd love to know if you are doing anything wardrobe-related to prepare for the upcoming season!

My 366 Project

One of my 2016 goals is to do a photo-a-day project with my DSLR camera so I can practice my photography. I had never been interested in this kind of project - it seemed too overwhelming, especially when you consider editing and sharing the photo each day.

But the TWIP Family podcast made me reconsider. Every time I listen to an episode (usually while driving), I'm inspired to grab my camera and try out some of the things they discuss. They have a group 365 project on Flickr for 2016, so I joined.

Here are my first 3 shots for 2016:

My whole project is posted here on Flickr:

ARC's 2016 366 Photos Project

Currently: December 2015

Woohoo!  This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Super quiet at work, kids are home all day so no morning routine rush, and lots of time to complete projects big and small.


I picked up two Jojo Moyes books at the library on a whim. They have this great "new paperbacks" section up front and I've found a lot of fun reads that way. I read the very popular Me Before You and really enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of John Greene's The Fault in Our Stars, but for an older audience. The second one, One Plus One, was enjoyable but the characters were way too similar to the other book, so I didn't enjoy it as much reading it back to back. I loved that the daughter in the story was a math prodigy, though.

This month our book club is reading Graeme Simsion's excellent book The Rosie Project. It was recommended by a few friends last year and I loved it, so I suggested it for book club. I was happy to re-read it, and I read the sequel, The Rosie Effect as well. It was not quite as brilliant as the first, but I definitely liked it.


Reading fiction again. I have never been able to match the pace I had in elementary and middle school, as high school and college came with a ton of mandatory reading. In addition, my Project Management certification requires me to spend a good chunk of my reading time on business-y books to get continuing education credits.  But starting my "virtual book club" last summer has meant that I've read *at least* one fiction book a month. In addition to that, Trillian's newfound love of reading means we're at the library a few times a month and I always find something fun to read while I'm waiting for her to pick out more Rainbow Fairy books (sigh).

#dresser #furniture #diy #paint #goals

A photo posted by Anandi @ The Papercraft Lab (@anandirc) on


One of my 3 Q1 goals - painting Meridian's dresser. We bought this dresser to use as a changing table in 2009 before Trillian was born. I decided I wanted to paint it, but since we used sticky-back Velcro to attach the changing pad, I had to wait until we weren't using it for diaper changes anymore. That time came last summer (Hallelujah!) but I had to finish Trillian's dresser first. Then I lost all interest in more sanding, masking, priming, and painting.

But then TJ mentioned that he'd give me a little incentive to get this project done (and out of his garage!) We need some kind of media console cabinet/table for our living room. We have decided that we need to start buying real furniture after my IKEA debacle this summer (The Case of the Missing Mattress) and he didn't flinch when I showed him some absolutely LOVELY ones at Restoration Hardware. He said we could buy the new media console once I finished that dresser. So here we are, two days into the Second Dresser Project, and I just need to clear coat the top and spray paint the hardware.  Woot!


A guy at work told me about the podcast called This Week in Photo: Family.  It's specific to family photography and seems geared towards beginners/amateurs who want to get better at their personal photography. I love it!  It seems to be weekly and I've got lots of catching up to do! Their Q&A episode was super helpful and got me to think about tackling my fear of learning how to use a flash. So I asked for one for Xmas and TJ was kind enough to oblige.


Both of my planners are in my hot little hands, which is better than the Passion Planner debacle of 2015, where I didn't receive my pre-ordered planner until the end of January. After hearing a ton of endorsements for the Get to Work Book, and seeing its simple black and white, project-focused design, I was sold. It even has 3 checkboxes on each day for my Most Important Tasks so I don't have to stamp the boxes myself anymore!  I'm so excited about it :) That'll be my daily use planner for work and personal tasks. It also lets me plot out larger projects like the 3 scrapbook projects I have on deck for The Papercraft Lab, and this dresser-finishing project.

My second planner is the Commit30, and when I saw the 30 day check-off page for each month I knew it would be perfect for helping me track my very small fitness and health related goals for the year. Each month will be a different 30 day challenge, starting with tracking my meals daily on my phone in January so I can get an accurate picture of exactly what I'm eating. February will likely be a "walk 20+ minutes daily" challenge and I haven't thought beyond that.  We'll probably do another Whole30 at some point.


Quarterly goals for 2016. Laura Vanderkam suggested making goals quarterly as it's easier to stick to them than a New Year's Resolution which I'll forget about by April. I have 3 goals for Q1:

  • Walk 75 times for 20+ minutes a session
  • Make my 2015 holiday scrapbook by the end of January
  • Paint Meridian's dresser & get it into her room

I also did a year-end performance review following this template. At first it seemed like a lot of unnecessary work, but actually going through month by month, I found a lot of things to be proud of and a few surprising lessons:

  • I dislike group exercise classes and prefer working out alone
  • I spend way too much time on Facebook
  • Having my daily to-do list on paper in a weekly planner works amazingly well for me
  • I can be a morning person!
  • I was able to find flexible, well paying, remote, part-time work

I ended up writing about 5.5 pages for my review, and it was a really nice way to wrap up and reflect on the year, and think about how I might approach 2016 differently. I highly recommend it, especially over a nice cup of tea :)

So there it is, my last Currently post of 2015.  Happy New Year everyone!


It's the end of the year, and time to review and wrap up 2015.

My word for 2015 was COMPLETE. It was a good one. I am an enthusiastic starter of projects, but less excited about the slog through the middle. I'm also a good finisher, but I often get stuck in the middle. Especially if it involves sanding, sorting photos, or decluttering stuff I never cared about in the first place.

I finally finished painting this for T, about 18 months after we bought it.

I finally finished painting this for T, about 18 months after we bought it.

I made a list of projects I wanted to complete, and I fell far short of it. But I've learned something else over the past year since I started planning my daily and weekly tasks on paper. I *vastly* overestimate what I can get done in a period of time.

I forget that I'll have interruptions by small people or work matters. I forget that I need to eat regular meals and that I need breaks between completing detailed work tasks. I forget that my brain is mush by the time I've put the girls to bed at 7:30pm, and the only thing I'm good for at that point is surfing the web or reading.

I'm learning. I go to bed early now on a regular basis. I can't remember the last time I was up past midnight.  Or 11pm, for that matter. I spend the last 30 minutes before bed reading one of the many books I bring home from our wonderful library.

I've been waking up anywhere between 5:15am and 7:00am on most days, giving me at least 30 minutes before the girls need to be coaxed through their morning routines. My daily to do lists are shorter - no more than 5 items. If I get them all done - whee! - and I can pick a short errand or quick chore from my weekly list. But I'm focusing very hard on not overscheduling myself, either with tasks or appointments and events. This brings me peace.

I did complete several projects on that list this year:

  • My Week in the Life 2014 Album
  • My Project Life 2014 Album
  • Processing ALL of my 2014 photos including the Disney trip with 1000+ photos
  • Refinishing an old dresser I bought for T so she has a place for her clothes
  • Set up the girls' new shared bedroom
  • Kon-Mari'd the heck out of my clothes/jewelry/accessories, linens and crafty/house stuff
  • Found my forever phone
  • Sold or gave away almost all of our baby & toddler stuff
  • Planned and held a birthday party our girls loved
  • Created 3 client scrapbooks as The Papercraft Lab
  • Updated our will for the first time since 2008
  • Made 12+ scrapbook pages plus more than half of 2015's Project Life album
  • Made a stash of birthday cards at the beginning of the year
  • Made and sent all of our holiday cards

That's a lot of stuff in addition to the day to day life of work, family, and fun. I feel pretty good about that, even though I didn't check off the entire list.

Having the word COMPLETE to focus on was a good reminder, especially when I was tempted to veg out online. The lure of Facebook is less appealing to me now - I'm realizing how much less satisfied I am browsing and scrolling vs. reading something I chose specifically or working on a crafty project.

I thought I did better with visual reminders of what I haven't done, like keeping albums out on the table or that pile of paperwork visible in the overflowing inbox. But I realized this kind of "visual clutter" overwhelms me. It doesn't inspire me to get to work - it wants me to hide in another room where I don't have to look at it. So I put it all away. I made a list of what needs to be handled. Seeing clean, open spaces on my desk and tables paradoxically makes me MORE willing to buckle down and get into the guts of a project.

With this knowledge, I've picked my word for 2016. I'll still be focusing on my uncompleted projects: Project Life 2015, Day in the Life 2015, Holiday 2015 album, and another dresser, this time for M. But that's a topic for another post.

2015 Creath Family Holiday Letter

Hellooo! It's time for another installment of the yearly Creath Family holiday letter. Overall, it was a good one.

Meet Luna.

Meet Luna.

Since the last letter, we acquired a new canine family member, Luna, who's a 40 lb mutt from the Humane Society.  She's probably part American Staffordshire Terrier aka a kind of "pit bull" but she's much smaller than the average one, so we're not sure what else she is. She is a very sweet dog and has adjusted to our family nicely. She'll be 2 years old on Dec 17.



Instead of the usual monthly summary, here are some quick snippets of what we've been up to:

I started a new contract job at Microsoft in January for a team I had previously worked for as a regular employee. I increased my work hours to about 35 per week and it's all from my home office/craft room, which is pretty fantastic. The work is interesting and challenging, and two of my coworkers are friends I have known for 13 and 7 years.

Meridian started preschool in May at a new Spanish immersion school run by one of Trillian's favorite teachers. She's adjusted well and now surprises us with new Spanish words! She's becoming such an interesting little person - strong-willed but also very cuddly.

Trillian is in Kindergarten in the same class as Meridian since it's Montessori, and we're super excited that she gets to learn more Spanish! We're also excited not to have to drop off kids at two different schools every day :)

I am so excited that Trillian started reading for fun this year. Like, so engrossed that she can't hear us while she's reading. We've been borrowing Rainbow Fairy books from the library at an alarming rate, so if you've got any other beginning chapter book suggestions like those, I'm all ears!

Don't tell her but we bought her a Kindle e-reader for Christmas. Our library has an incredible selection of eBooks for kids, so we wanted her to have a device that she can read easily, rather than a backlit tablet with games and other distractions.

TJ's parents came to visit us in May, followed by my parents, who came to spend the summer at their place here.  My parents and brother came over for Thanksgiving, too.

I'm sad to report that my Paati (grandma) died in September. She was sweet, smart, and talented, and I'm lucky I got to spend so much time with her when I was a kid. I have a few of her watercolor paintings hanging in my house, including the abstract design she painted for my childhood bedroom when I complained that all she ever painted were landscapes and flowers. (Did I mention she was also really patient with me?)

We did some traveling this year- more than usual for a bunch of homebodies- TJ had a work trip to the East Coast, we went to Disneyland in June for my 40th birthday, I took a Mama-only trip to California in October, we explored Boston and Connecticut in November, and will visit TJ's parents and Granny in Tucson this month.

Last month, TJ found out his company is closing its Seattle office, and he has been "invited" to move to Connecticut. We went to check it out and liked it, but are waiting on some final details before making a decision. It's a tough one. On one hand, it would be a Great Adventure to live on the East Coast for a while. On the other hand, we have a whole life here in Seattle, and our house is perfect for us, thanks to the 2013 remodel. Also, tech jobs are easier to find in Seattle. Lots of thinking to do.

We don't lead exciting lives, but we are thankful and content.

We wish you happiness, peace, and health for the rest of this year and in the New Year 2016!