Blow Off Steam While Studying for the CPA Exam

CPA exam study processIt might sound strange, but I used be work in public accounting as an auditor for a small firm in my local area. I went to college and studied accounting and later went on to get my CPA license and practice as a certified public accountant. Today I am retired, but I still remember what it was like studying for the CPA exam and how much efforts I had to put into my routine everyday in order to prepare the test.

I’m here to tell you that anything is possible. I didn’t think I was going to pass the CPA exam, nor did I think it was possible that I would pass all four sections of it the first time I took them all. Back in my day, it was pretty uncommon for woman to even go into public accounting let along become certified. Today it’s pretty commonplace. So don’t give up on your dreams whatever they may be. If you want to quilt or knit a specific pattern, go ahead and try it out. If you fail, you will be able to learn from your mistakes and do a better job next time.

I remember when I was first studying for the exam. I thought I would never be able to pass any of the sections. My basic study session went like this. First, I would go through my cpa review course material and do some practice problems. There were many different ones to choice from, but I decided to go with CPAexcel by Wiley. After I finished the practice problems, I would need a break. That’s when I took up the amazing hobby of knitting. I could knit a scarf or something and still think about the things I just learned in my review course. It still felt like a break though, because I wasn’t actively studying at the moment. Now that I look back on it, that’s when I first was exposed to a lot of different crafts like quilting and knitting. What great memories.

Studying for the CPA Exam really helped me in all areas of my life. It gave me discipline that I use even to this day. I just remember when I get frustrated with something that I can overcome it. It’s no more difficult than studying for the exam was for me.

So if you are second guessing your knitting or quilting abilities, just remember my story. I never gave up during my CPA exam process and you shouldn’t give up on what you want to do.

On a side note, if anyone is free this Friday to do a knitting party, I would love to host one. Please call me or email me if you need directions to my house. I’ll be showing off my new projects and even introducing you to some new processes that I’ve been working on.

Why I Started Quilting

quilt2As I’ve said elsewhere on the blog, I have been quilting for a long time. Over 40 years as a matter of fact. It sure is strange to think that it has been that long since I first began.

My grandmother always used to quilt. Quilting and knitting. Those were her two favorite hobbies. Even thought she would eventually teach me how to do both, it was her quilting that always captivated me. The detail of the designs that she worked into each piece of fabric was just amazing. And she never used a sewing machine. Everything was to be hand-stitched. That was the only way that you can be sure of its quality. She was such an incredible woman, and her quilts were nothing short of pieces of art. She could have had an entire exhibit dedicated to her quilts alone.

So as I grew up watching her create this majestic artwork day in and day out, I eventually got a bit curious. I started asking questions about it, asking why she was doing this or that. Grandma even started asking me for my opinion on some of her designs. This obviously furthered my interest and she eventually showed me exactly how she was doing it. She taught me the basics and bought me a beginner’s kit, so I could start some projects of my own.

My mom never had much interest in quilting. She doesn’t have the patience for it—she even admits it! Quilting is a slow, calm activity. Now that I am older I quilt to relax myself. It is a way that I can leave all the troubles of the world behind me and focus on the project that I’m working on. There is a very soothing element to it. This wasn’t what attracted me to it when I was younger, however.

As I said above the creative element greatly attracted me. My grandmother used her fabric as if it were a canvas and he thread as the brush. I was mesmerized by her work and all of the creative enzymes in my body wanted to make something just half as good as her work. It’s interesting to me that I first became interested in quilting because I saw it as a new frontier that I could explore and I could use it to express my inner creativity. Now I use it to silence the ever-buzzing world around me and focus on my inner thoughts.

I supposed these aren’t too different, however, and maybe one leads to another. Maybe in order to completely focus on your creative thoughts you need to silence the world around you. Either way, Grandma always did a pretty good job of both, and she sure did do a good job teaching me her ways. There are tricks that she told me almost 40 years ago now that many of my quilting friends have never even thought to do. She was a great inspiration to me, and I thank her every day for the knowledge that she gave me.

After all, where on Earth would I be today without quilting?

Toilet Paper Rolls and Other Unusual Crafts

Just about anything can become an arts and crafts project if you look at it with the right lens. How many of us would think to use something like an old toilet paper roll to make a craft out of? But it works either way, and it is a blast making some of these things—especially if you have kids. They have so much fun creating these custom little art projects and it is great as a parent watching your children be creative and imaginative in the process.

Today I want to go over a few ideas for toilet paper rolls crafts and list a few other things you can do with common household items.

Toilet Paper Rolls

Toilet paper rolls surprisingly enough lend themselves very well to making crafts. They work great for many different holiday and seasonal craft themes.

easter-bunniesConsider an Easter theme. You can easily make bunny rabbit out of the rolls by getting some paint, construction paper, and a few sets of googly eyes.

batAnother good holiday themed idea is Halloween. You’ll need the same supplies as you did for the Easter rabbits, but you can make toilet paper roll bats and pumpkins.

santa-rollBut probably my favorite use of the toilet paper roll is during Christmas to make miniature Santa Clauses. Take a look at how adorable this little thing is. For this you’ll need paint, construction paper, googly eyes, and some cotton balls. You’ll also want to get some Elmer’s glue to glue all of the items together.

Decorating Egg Shells

While we are on the subject of holidays and Christmas specifically, something that I used to do with my grandmother was to decorate eggshells. We would always take an eggshell, decorate it with beads, glitter, and paint and then we would make it into a Christmas ornament to hang on the tree.

Now obviously you will need to take out the yolk and egg white before doing this, otherwise you’ll have some rotten eggs hanging from your tree! What you need to do is poke a tiny, pin-sized hole in the egg at the top and bottom. This can be done with a safety pin or if you have any sewing needles, those will work too. You want to make sure the hole is very small because you don’t want it to be very noticeable.

The next thing that you will need to do is blow out all of the yolk and egg white. This is the tough part because the holes are so small that it really takes a lot of wind power to force all of the insides of the egg out. You want to be careful while you’re doing this too because you don’t want to clutch the egg to firmly and crack it because then your whole project will be ruined. After you have all of the insides blown up, you will want to rinse it out and let the shell dry for 3-4 hours. After that you can have at it. You can paint the egg, glue hands and eyes to it to make it a monster. The entire process is a great time.