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  1. Do you like building, crafting, creating, or just working with your hands to accomplish something? Then you've come to the right place! Welcome to the Artificer's Crafthall, where we like-minded rebels can gather to share ideas, post projects, and receive much deserved kudos for a job well done. To join, just introduce yourself and start using the Artificer tag on your challenge thread, battle log, or anywhere else you'd like us to visit. And be sure to check out your fellow Artificer's projects and progress. Feel free to post your project updates here, in your own threads, or both.
  2. Last year I tried something new to try getting back on track and well... I haven't made any progress over the past year due to lack of consistency and no clear plan, then turned 40 last week with massive back pain due to a pulled muscle from sleeping wrong. So I'm restarting Challenges with their known schedule and keeping goals super simple to build some momentum. For this challenge: 1) Hydrate - with the cold swing, I've been letting myself get dehydrated too often and it's getting in the way of everything. I need at least 2 bottles of water a day, preferably 3. 2) PLP - nice and simple checkbox to get me moving again. I'll go with month+day reps (so starting with 1+1=2 for today) to have a built in deload come February. 3) Mando Costume - this is supposed to be my big costume for Pensacon this year, and I've got less than 2 months to finish. So hopefully I'll have lots of progress pics to post here.
  3. Happy New Year, Rebels! I will be challenging myself to give attention to the four aspects of my own activities in the same way that my story needs to have some balanced perspective of its four protagonists. Barbarian/Ekaterina: ⚡🌩🌥☀ I need to be doing my bodyweight exercises because I want to continue improving my strength before the time comes for my efforts to be rewarded with my original long-term goal of buying a bike. Ranger/Varsha: 🌳🌿🌱🍃 I need to keep a daily activity level going as well so it's not as hard to get up and do my exercises on my body weight exercise days. I know I don't want to walk, but maybe I can do more GMB movement exercises to improve my mobility. Wizard/Paige: 📚📕📖📋 I have written a book that must undergo my own scrutiny and revision before it's ready for sharing with outsiders for spotting problems I'm too close to see. I want to use the first long weekend to read it for the first time like a reader who's seen nothing but a back-cover synopsis. Fingers crossed that I'll find a lot to love about it. 🤞 Artificer/Alidavai: 🛠🔧🔨📏 I have crafts that are partly done, and I want to give them time and attention in order to make progress and potentially finish them. This includes the rainbow scarf which now has about 75-80% of a skein left to add, the next bite of my pixel quilt for which I need to prepare the four nibbles' pieces, a drawing of Ekaterina that's been waiting nearly three months for me to continue coloring it, and a Vox Machina puzzle I got for Cidran that I suggested we should do together the next time the table gets cleared. I want to pick up one of these tasks every night instead of getting stuck on my phone. I've got four emojis for each so I can attribute a rating of 0%, 50%, 100%, and 110% when I go above and beyond. (Why are the barbarian's emojis stormy weather? Because she's a storm aura barbarian! 😃) That sums up my goals for this challenge. I'm excited about this, and hope my guild choices inspire others I've seen use these five-week challenges for non-athletic goals. 😉 Thanks for your company and support in this coming year! Sincerely, Maerad
  4. As much as I like them, the timing for challenges hasn't been working for me this past year. So for my birthday, I've decided to start a battle log instead. If you've visited any of my past challenges, don't expect much to change here. My goals are all pretty ambiguous and rarely have timelines. I'm also not expecting to be any better about updating, though I will try. So happy Human Nature Day, everyone! Here's hoping this year brings out more of the good parts.
  5. If Life could quit throwing me curveballs, that would be great... I had been planning to use this challenge to start working towards specific goals again, but I no longer have the time or energy for that, so I'm just going for a hoping for a participation trophy now. So I'll be here, doing healthy-ish things, and hopefully remembering post about them. I'm only a week late starting the challenge, so we'll see how it goes.
  6. I know it's been a while since I did a challenge thread, but I haven't been on hiatus exactly. I've just been lurking while distracted by life. But after a week recovering from Dragoncon, I think I'm past due to get back to the forums. This challenge is going to be very laid back as I focus on rebuilding the habits I still haven't gotten back to. Current goals: -Do a dedicated workout 3x a week. Most of these are just going to be 30min walks to minimize barriers and excuses. -Be mindful of my eating habits. No actual diet goals, just paying attention to what I put in my body and not eating just because I'm bored. -Be more active on the forums. I'd like to get back into the community here, and maybe get some mini-challenges ready, since that was always my preferred interaction. -Start costumes for Pensacon (Feb). Plan is anthro fantasy OCs, OC Mandos, and Dr Who characters.
  7. Unless you're new to my challenges, it shouldn't be a surprise that I'm bad at them. I'm currently still working to rebuild healthy habits after failing to stay consistent last year. So I'm starting off 2022 with another reboot and try slowly incorporating healthier habits into my current lifestyle. We'll see how this goes. In the theme of slow and steady progress, I'll be taking lessons from my pet tortoise, Speedy. Eat your greens One of the easiest ways to reduce my calorie intake is to start eating more veggies. The goal for this challenge is 5 veggies a week. Remember to Move Goal is 4 "workouts" a week to start, anything from an actual workout to physically demanding housework/projects to a day of GtG counts. Sleep Not sure what my sleep cycle needs to be, but the goal is to figure something out so I can actually be rested when showing up for work in the morning. I also (hopefully) have my first convention of the year at the end of this challenge, so working to get costumes finished in time. Let's see how this goes!
  8. Between wedding prep, conventions, and honeymoon, my hiatus went a little longer than I had planned. But with a new challenging starting, it's a good time to hop back in and see if I've gotten any worse at this "healthy living" thing. So after a couple months of eating whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it, I officially broke all previous records and weighed in at my heaviest ever (180lb). After a week of being more conscious of my decisions and skipping snacks unless I was legitimately hungry, I'm down half a pound, so I don't actually need to make major changes to cut the weight. In the spirit of Small, Sustainable Changes, my goals for this challenge are just to maintain that habit and work on finding a fun fitness activity I can do a couple times a week. I'm currently eyeing HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), since I just got a custom practice sword as a prop for my wedding. I haven't had any luck finding greatsword tutorials though, and don't want to jump on a paid plan until I know it's something I'll stick with, so I may end up using the longsword from my Aragorn cosplay instead.
  9. I'm really bad at challenges right now, but I'm going to keep trying until it sticks again. This time around I'm just going to accept that it isn't my current priority, so I'll be playing fast and loose with the format just to get some momentum going. My wedding is now 45 days out, scheduled for the middle of next challenge cycle. All the big stuff is done, but we're still making decorations and finalizing plans. So that's my priority right now. My current to do list: -Finish head table backdrop -Finish reception outfit (R2-D2 vest) -Finish ringbearer outfit -Receive and detail groomsman gifts (swords) -Finish (sand/polish) resin table decorations -(If time allows) add eyeballs to giant sunflowers for aisle runners -Pre-buy drinks during normal shopping runs I'm also going to be trying to get back into good eating and exercise habits, but I'll be easing into it as energy and willpower allows. I did breakdown and redownload MyFitnessPal, so I'll be making an attempt to track my calories. I'm not really following a calorie goal yet, but I know that tracking will make me cut back anyway. I'm also back in the office full-time, which means I can get paid to workout again, and with some coordination do so on my way home. That removes a couple barriers I've been struggling with while teleworking, but I still have to actually do the thing. Pictures to come as I remember.
  10. Continuing the ongoing theme from my favorite webcomic (it ran for 20 years, the art gets better, the characters and story are good throughout) the 70 Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries. I'll be using selected Maxims to explain my goals and keep things entertaining. I don't expect to get to all of them, and may reuse some of the more applicable ones. But they all have their own wisdom. So turns out this whole "return to normal" thing everyone's trying to pull right now is Hell if you're an extreme introvert. All of my energy and willpower is getting used relearning how to deal with people on a regular basis, and I don't like it. Hopefully, some more time here will help me prioritize the things that actually help me feel better over low-energy distractions. And because it's taken me a day to get this much written, I'm going to add actual goals later. For now, I'm just going to focus on being more active on the forums.
  11. Continuing the ongoing theme from my favorite webcomic (it ran for 20 years, the art gets better, the characters and story are good throughout) the 70 Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries. I'll be using selected Maxims to explain my goals and keep things entertaining. I don't expect to get to all of them, and may reuse some of the more applicable ones. But they all have their own wisdom. Last challenge was a bit of a kick in the teeth. I picked some seemingly reasonable goals to build on the momentum I had built since the beginning of the year and everything was looking good. Then week one, life threw a couple wrenches in the plan and my mind went "oh, you thought that was momentum? Nope, that was all willpower!" I rolled back to my previous goals, but had very little extra energy for talking about it, so my challenge thread didn't see much activity. I'm hoping I have a handle on things again, and will be taking smaller steps with my goals, mostly continuing the progress I managed towards the end of last challenge. Maxim 47: Don't Expect the Enemy to Cooperate in the Creation of Your Dream Engagement. My plan last challenge did not go well. My intentions fell apart week one and it took most of the challenge to restart where I had been prior to the change. That said, I'm still seeing progress (back up to sets of 4 pullups from the 2 I started the year with). So I'm going to stick with my "randomly do something most days" plan for now. At some point, my life should get organized enough to have a dedicated workout time, but I'm not there yet and trying to force it is a proven recipe for disaster. Maxim 50: If It Only Works in Exactly the Way the Manufacturer Intended, It Is Defective. My waist cutting goal has been another point of frustration. I didn't stick with it as well as intended at the beginning of last challenge, but I was still eating better than last year. Yet somehow I was stuck at 36-1/4in for all of last month. Then I do my weigh-in this morning and I've suddenly dropped 3/4 of an inch without changing anything. I'm still behind on my overall goal (30in waist by mid-August for my wedding), but apparently none of this can be predicted, so I'm just going to keep at it and see how things go. Maxim 24: Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology Is Indistinguishable from a Big Gun. I still have a laundry list of projects to finish, but they all got sidetracked last month when my fiancee decided to sign us up for our first vendor event with less than a month notice. The only thing on my list from last challenge I finished was her storage cabinets, then the rest of the time was spent figuring out things we could make quickly to sell during a local BBQ festival. Pictures are on our FB page, if anyone's interested. But we did that last weekend, and seemed to do pretty well (covered the event fees and paid for ~1/2 of our booth supplies [tent, tables, displays, etc]) and the next one on our radar isn't until May. So I need to get back to my own projects and get some of them done before I have to start working on fair stuff again. Top priorities are: -Finish miniature painting (circle stones and lizardman tribe) -Work on my wedding outfit (shirt and tabard are done, need to start on pants) -Figure out base for the wedding bouquets (attaching a flower holder to a sonic screwdriver) -Build a storage shelf for our fair stuff (totes, tables, tent, etc) to keep it out of the way between events -Finish installing my wire rack "weapon wall" and move all of our cosplay weapons onto it And my obligatory plug for the new Artificer's Crafthall over in the adventuring parties, where you can see updates for some of my, and others, projects.
  12. Continuing the ongoing theme from my favorite webcomic (it ran for 20 years, the art gets better, the characters and story are good throughout) the 70 Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries. I'll be using selected Maxims to explain my goals and keep things entertaining. I don't expect to get to all of them, and may reuse some of the more applicable ones. But they all have their own wisdom. Maxim 63: The Brass knows how to do it by knowing Who can do it. I'm ready to try regular workouts again, and while I know I'll eventually want my own program, there's no reason to reinvent the wheel. So I'll be starting with a simplified version of the Start Bodyweight program just using the pushup, pullup, and squat progressions. My goal is to workout Tues/Thurs/Sun, so I can't use my Friday and Saturday gaming as an excuse. Maxim 7: If the Food is Good Enough the grunts will Stop Complaining about the incoming fire. I only got half of my waist loss goal last challenge (1/8" per week instead of 1/4"), so I'm going to try paying more attention to what and how much I'm eating. I'm still avoiding any kind of tracking or calorie counting, since those are NOT long-term solutions for my life. But I can start making better choices more in line with how I was eating before I gained all this weight. By the end of this challenge, I'd like to consistently be drinking 6-8 cups of water a day and eating some kind of veggie at least 5 days a week. Maxim 39: There is a Difference between "Spare" Parts and "Extra" Parts. Continuing my quest to actually finish some of my projects. My current priorities are: -Work on attic insulation (maybe, if I can find a weekend morning that's cool enough to be up there) -Finish the storage cabinets I started last challenge (waiting on good weather to poly them) -Finish the dragon egg box (still figuring out the lining) -Finish miniature painting (circle stones and lizardman tribe) -Work on my wedding outfit (tabard is done, shirt needs buttons, need to decide on pants) -Work on my dragonman (might switch to a tiefling?) knight armor (custom character that may become a Charizard in one rendition) and my Mad Max/Nintendo mashup Diddy Kong jetpack And my obligatory plug for the new Artificer's Crafthall over in the adventuring parties, where you can see updates for some of my, and others, projects.
  13. Warrior's Barracks: A warrior needs proper rest: In bed by 11pm A warrior needs to keep her barracks clean: Make bed Sunday thru Thursday A warrior needs to be physically fit & flexible: Exercise 3x per week Stretch every day A warrior keeps track of her workouts: Track dates, names of workouts done, & length of workouts Monk's Temple: A disciple spends time with God: Prayer Bible/devotional readings Sabbath readings Meditation on memory verses Room of Ritual: Habits must be tracked: Track challenge activity Journaling helps mental health: Journal every day to spot weak areas/triggers Athenaeum: Time for learning/recreation: Knitting-finish my project & start learning a new stitch Do the 21 Day Positive Mindset Challenge Play piano 5x per week for 35 minutes each time
  14. Goals: Exercise: Same as always. Languages: Finish Maître Thénardier for French, 2 days/ week for Russian. Learning Practicing: Draw something once per week. Cosplay: Finish setting up electronics on the wings, start construction. Finish the gentleman's Backlash hood, mask, and gems. Other: Make a walking playlist in iTunes - different from workout list. Learn 2 more quiet/ evening/ calm down songs. Slight tweak to the usual 4 hobby areas. I've been working on learning Maître Thénardier for over a month now, in part because it's so dense with slang, and in part because I feel badly singing full voice with kitty around. I need to get back to it, though - kitty can find another part of the house to occupy during lunch. I'm changing Learning to Practicing, because what's the point in learning something if you don't actually do it? A couple different people have mentioned they miss my little sketches, so I'm going to try to do those weekly. Cosplay is going to be the main focus here. I want to get the electronics for the Valkyrie wings done and start construction, which shouldn't (ha) be too hard to accomplish. I also want the last few bits of the gentleman's Backlash cosplay done and out of my way so I can focus on Valkyrie without distraction or clutter on my work table. Finally, I would like to get back to music more. I drifted away from music a bit when I was doing my masters (geez, 3 years ago, that's one heck of a trauma to get over) and didn't have the brain space to deal with it. I've sporadically updated my workout list with things I heard at the gym since then, but since I now have only my own music, I'm getting tired of listening to the same fairly limited playlist 6 nights a week. I'd like to get a playlist set up for just walking/ cardio, and then learn a few more songs for when I'm winding down in the evenings. I miss singing throughout the day and want to get back to it.
  15. I've decided to start off the new year with an ongoing theme from my favorite webcomic (it ran for 20 years, the art gets better, the characters and story are good throughout😞 the 70 Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries. I'll be using selected Maxims to explain my goals and keep things entertaining. I don't expect to get to all of them, and may reuse some of the more applicable ones. But they all have their own wisdom. Maxim 1: Pillage, then Burn. For my context, this means doing things in the right order, not getting bored or frustrated and skipping ahead. I'm back at the beginnings of habit building, so I need to stick to that. Do something that gets me moving and active at least once a day and watch my eating/snacking. Next steps will come later. Maxim 14: "Mad Science" means never stopping to ask "what's the Worst Thing that could happen?" For anyone new to my challenges, I always have a couple dozen projects in various stages of "I'll get back to it later" that I swap between as interest and energy allow. This goal is going to focus on actually finishing some of them, and cleaning up afterwards so I can get to other, more important ones. The specific Maxim is only peripherally related, so I'll probably keep the goal but change the Maxim in later challenges. My current priorities are: -Work on attic insulation while I'm on vacation next week and it's actually cool enough out to be in the attic (yay, Florida!) -Finish fixing the fiancee's treasure box that I broke a year ago -Finish my current woodworking projects (dragon egg box and ribbon/tulle racks) -Finish miniature painting (circle stones and lizardman tribe) -Work on my wedding outfit (finish the shirt and tabard, decide on pants) -Work on my dragonman knight armor (custom character that may become a Charizard in one rendition) and my Mad Max/Nintendo mashup Diddy Kong jetpack Maxim 70: Failure isn't an Option. It's Mandatory. The Option is whether or not to let Failure Be the Last Thing You Do. This is my favorite of the Maxims, for many reasons. In the current context, it's a reminder to keep working even when I make mistakes or things go wrong. So I need to quit kicking myself for falling off the fitness wagon, and focus on my current goal: getting into shape so I can be the best version of myself for my fiancee, and move comfortably in costume when conventions start up again. Well I think that does it for now. Obligatory plug for the new Artificer's Crafthall over in the adventuring parties. I'll post an update when I figure out what I'm forgetting.
  16. Storm Bella raged through the night. In the morning, Mr and the Enting did a boundary walk to look for fallen trees and other damage. While I cleaned up our breakfast and got a fire going in the wood stove, I considered what a strange and eventful few weeks we’ve had since we been called to Owlshire. Boiler and fuel supply problems, an historical flood, unexpected severe allergies to sections of the house, leaks in buildings, now a major wind storm... all within the already surreal year that is 2020. But the year was turning, and we’d made it through midwinter in the Forest, and there is much Keeping to do. Having received the prestigious new title Keeper of the Flame from the Home Office, I had a lot to prove—to them, to myself, and to the World Soul that reached her glowing fingers into this sacred place. — In summary: a 41 year old American emigrated to England. Mum of Enting, a 2.5 year old agent of chaos. Kitchen witch, gamer (mostly LARP, TT RPGs and board games), knitter/spinner, writer, returning smallholder. In late November 2020, my family completed a Master Quest to move from central London to our woodland dream property. Now we’re settling into our new home—dubbed Owlshire—in a beautiful part of the Forest of Dean. For this challenge, I’m focusing on a few areas I want to make progress in. Progress is measured on XP per task, but I’m also including maximums to keep balance among them so I don’t, say, just write stories the whole time instead of working on the garden or getting fit! WARNING: There will be picspam of Owlshire, surrounding areas, and Enting. Stoke the Hearth Fire 1XP per day engaged in a creative activity (probably woolly related, but may not be). This may also include events (spontaneous or planned) that similarly bring joy. Maximum per week - 5XP 2XP per day that I complete my household chore rota. No maximum. Keep 1XP per day per task related to future self-sufficiency - IE, continuing the set up the future gardens/orchard/etc., collecting or processing firewood, etc. Max per week - 10XP. Research can count, but only for 3XP per week maximum. Stay Strong 1XP each day I have PAI average above 50. No maximum. 1XP each day I walk 4+ miles according to my Fitbit. No maximum. Map the Leylines 1XP for local walks off my property, 3XP if I’m doing a new-to-me route. Max 5XP per week. If I participate in the Slow Ways launch week—no maximum for that week. Research can count (such as learning new flora and fauna in the area or looking into human history), but only up to 1XP per week. Restore 1XP per task related to restoring or preserving the outbuildings, fences, trails, and other infrastructure. Max 10XP per week. Tales of Owlshire 5XP per narrative story installment told on my thread. Max 10XP per week. Quests Bonus points received for completion of quests on my “Level Up Your Life” list. Goal: Reach 200XP to Keeper of the Flame Level 2.
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