Half Way There

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It's the 15th which means we're half way through November and half way through National Novel Writing Month.  I do feel like I'm cheating since I'm not writing a novel, but I've never written as consistently as I have these past 15 days.  I've only missed one day of writing and I made sure to make up for it the next day.

My script was about two-thirds done before I started this last push, but I am now only 3 pages away from my goal.  I think I'll continue with my at-least-one-page-a-day plan until the end of the month though.  I know I'll cut a lot of the stuff I've written recently so I'd rather bulk it up a little more to make the editing a little less painful.

Now that the end is so clearly in sight I'm getting really excited about the editing phase.  I've been working on this story for so many years that I never really thought I'd get to the editing phase.  I still don't have many expectations for it, but getting it to the point where I feel it is done will be almost unbelievable.

This project has also motivated me to start my next one.  This will require a lot more work and research but I can't wait to get started on that one.

$60,000 in Debt: Month 18

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Another loan bites the dust!

I paid of my next oldest student loan.  This one was from my Sophomore year of college.  This brought me down to only two more undergrad loans and, though it's kind of hard to see here, my interest accruing loans are now under $30k.  That doesn't mean much but I do love those little milestones.

This month I decided to break down my interest accruing loans.  I mainly did this so I could do some math easier but I thought it looked nice all broken down like this.  Doing it this way let me better see what I WOULD have been paying if I weren't trying extra hard to get rid of these loans.

The two that I've already paid off don't look like much.  But, if I had let these two small loans live out their full lives, I would have paid around $2500 in interest.  That's $2500 on top of what I was already working to pay off.  Because I paid one off in 2014 and one off this year, I paid just around $1000 in interest.  It still is annoying that I've paid even that much, but this still a savings of around $1500. And that is just on those two loans.  The others haven't been paid off yet, but they will all be paid off well before the expected end date.  If I didn't do that, I could expect to add another $16,000 to my total in interest.

Because of paying off these two loans, I've also brought my monthly payments down from $597 to $515.  That's $82 a month I can put towards something else (though it is most likely just going towards a different loan now!)

In other news, the house fund is going to be my focus again for the next couple of months (we may be leaning back towards buying versus renting).

Lastly, I said last month that I upped my 401k to 8%.  Well, I got a little bit more of a pay raise with this new position than I was expecting so I just bit the bullet and bumped it up to 10%.  I'm hoping since it will coincided with a loan being paid off I won't notice too much of a difference. I've been doing more reading about early retirement and even though I'm only 28 I already feel like that would be the greatest thing ever!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I'm finally participating in NaNoWriMo this month!  I think about it every year but never fully commit and then before I know it the month is over.  The goal of NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. 

I guess I'm not really participating, because I am not writing a novel.  But I am going to take advantage of the excitement and motivation of this month to FINALLY finish my script.  I have been working on this script for probably close to 8 years now and the only thing stopping me from finishing is my own laziness. 

A full length children's movie script is generally about 90 pages and prior to this month I was at about 50.  If I just sat down and wrote 1-2 page a day I would be done by the end of November.

It's only been 4 days, but I stuck to my goal and I've actually gone a little beyond.  I've managed 8 pages of new writing since November 1st.

Even better?  I've played with the formatting of the script (there are lots of tabbing and indentation rules in script writing that I was not following) and my script went from 54 pages to 70.  I'm even closer to my goal than I realized!

The best part of this month is that its just about throwing words down on paper.  I'm not worried about editing or flow or anything else that I'll have to take care of later.  For now its just imagining scenes and getting them down on paper.

I wouldn't even care if not a single soul ever read this script.  The satisfaction of just having it completed would be amazing.

Halloween Costume Making

Monday, November 2, 2015

For the first time in about four years I actually had a Halloween party to attend this year.  It was also my first time doing Halloween as part of a couple, so I wanted to make sure I did it right.

We decided to go as Jaime and Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones. Yes, it's sick (for anyone who doesn't watch the show let's just say that they are brother and sister... but also more than that), but it was funny for us since we've been told we look like siblings on multiple occasions.  It also gave me a great opportunity to make our costumes from scratch.

Growing up my mother always hand made my costumes.  They almost always came out great, though I vividly remember being about 4 years old and getting upset because the butterfly fell of the tail of my Bambi costume and everyone thought I was a chipmunk.

I started sewing lessons in 4th grade and made a few of my own costumes in high school, but it's been about 15 years since I really took my sewing machine out and made anything.   

I started with McCall's M6940 pattern.  I was going back and forth between a couple, but this one seemed the easiest considering how long I've been out of the sewing game.
It was kind of like relearning a foreign language that you once knew pretty well, but were never fluent in. All of the numbers and sizes and fabrics were pretty daunting at times, but I'm a huge dork and find numbers and word problems fun.
I chose a burgundy and shimmery gold color for my dress.  It was only after cutting everything and starting to sew things together that I realized I was pretty much making and Ironman dress.
There were some growing pains in the beginning but I was shocked at how quickly things came back to me.  When I had decided to start the project my mom looked at me a little dubiously.  We both had memories of me in high school ready to rip my hair out in frustration at my sewing.  It took me a while to realize why it felt so different this time around but there were two huge things working in my favor.

1. I was no longer in high school (no more school all day, sports all afternoon, homework all night and THEN trying to squeeze in time on a project).


2. The internet! YouTube was a lifesaver.  I'm glad I lived in a time before instant access to the internet because it really makes me appreciate it today.

My dress came together surprisingly easy.  I did spend many hours on it but it was so rewarding that the time I spent didn't feel like a waste.

Josh's costume was almost entirely from the Salvation Army.

I got an extra large women's leather jacket for $13, Brown pants for $3, and belt for $1.

 I cut all of the buttons off the jacket, cut off the lapels, and sewed on some buckles.

For a tunic I took one of his old Army shirts that my dog chewed a hole through almost two years ago and cut the collar off and ripped the seams out of the sleeves and bottom hem. I then cut a v-neck, added some eyelets, and then tied it up with some cord.

The final (and possibly most iconic) part of Josh's costume was his hand.  For anyone who doesn't watch the show, his hand is cut off at one point and he gets a gold prosthetic.   I saved this for last because I really had no clue how I should do it.

I ended up papier-mâché-ing a winter glove.  While it didn't come out perfect, I was pretty surprised with how well it worked.  I then coated it all with gold acrylic paint. 

My sister's girlfriend is a hair dresser and just so happened to have the day off of work on Friday so she was able to my hair Cersei style.
Here's what we were going for versus the final product.
 Source1 Source2

The costumes were a hit, but more importantly they reminded me how much I love to make things. Now that I've got a sewing station set up in my room I'm very motivated to keep this going.  I'm just working on what I want to make next, but I've already got several ideas lined up.