Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Rut With A View?

I am in a rut again.
I've gained back 5 lbs so far of what I lost while I was taking the Rx for appetite suppression.
Mainly I've fallen back into old habits. It isn't even about the Rx. The Rx did it's job and then some. By taking that every morning it was a visual/visible reminder of my goal.


I tell myself time and again that I'm not going to eat this, or not going to eat that, and I feel like I do well by not going to the cafeteria every break like I used to, but I'm still moving backwards. And the more I move backwards, the more my subconscious reminds me that it's just so much easier not to try at all.

And the more I want to listen.
But then I hate myself (okay not hate, strongly dislike) for thinking that way.


I feel like visual motivators are my thing. Not just the motivational memes you can find on google or anywhere else, but things realistic to me.
In the room with the treadmill for example, I want to post my last A1C number to remind myself not to slip back into being diabetic.
Or a picture of a baby or something because that's a goal too, and one that has a very finite time limit on it.


I haven't been able to come up with anything I can post anywhere at work where everyone else won't see it. It's not so much that I care if people see it, I just don't want questions. "What's 384 mean?" (My highest weight) or "What's the picture fo the baby for? I didn't know you had a kid" (Sigh. I don't.)

I've had many questions about my "Be Present" and "Slow Down" sticky notes and those are tiny and barely noticeable. So yeah... If anyone has a legit idea on something visual I can post at work that isn't overtly obvious I am open to ideas.
Maybe I can stick something next to my credit card, so I see it when I pull it out, but not everyone in the world sees it maybe?


Anyway, back to the rut and self-pity for a minute.

I decided to go back to counting my calories and measuring what I eat, because I can't trust myself not to backslide apparently. It is kind of a pain in the butt to have to measure everything and read every label every time I reach for a cracker, but it's NECESSARY.
Life is hard. It shouldn't be, and it doesn't always have to be, but it is anyway, isn't it?


I feel like I can get to a point eventually where I don't need to do this, but apparently now is not that point. I let the 40lb loss make me feel entirely too good about my capabilities at responsible eating.

Also, time for a serious talk with the Husband (who is entirely supportive) about getting some more of the junk food out of the house. I don't eat it much, BUT, when I do, I go whole hog so to speak. Things like "I just want to stick my whole face in it" come out of my mouth. I don't do that, but...I say it, and I think it.


But if I tell him we have to stop buying so much of it he'll be okay with it. There are some things he likes that I don't ever eat and so we can have that if he wants it because I'll leave it alone.


Picture a woman (A customer of size if you will *eye roll at the airlines for that one*) standing in a dark room alone. Under a spot light of judgement and shame. The room is very small. 7x7 or so. there is just enough room for her to turn around and see that there is No. Way. Out. Of. This.
That's me, when I let my subconscious talk. It's like I'm my own little Smeagol/Golem (I'm listening to the LOTR trilogy on Audiobook right now) and I just keep having this "I can handle it / no you cant, you're stupid" sort of conversation with myself.


Okay, enough self-pity. Every minute is a chance to begin anew. (Enter your own witty and motivational sentiment here if you don't like that one).


I'm going to start climbing out of this rut...again...after I get my face out of the ice cream container. (j/k I'm not stuffing my face into an ice cream least...not while I'm at work)

Breathe in.
Breath out.
Stay Shiny.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My First (Volunteer) Crafty Teaching, Guild, NaNo

My cousin decided that she wants to learn how to crochet. Her schedule and current situation (living 45 min from town), prohibit her from being able to pay to go to a class at a specific time of day each week. 
Soooo, guess who volunteered to teach her. This girl.

For starters I have been wanting to teach crochet and other crafty good times, but have been shy about it. I have been training people at work however, since March of this year so I have gotten over much of the shyness.

Secondly, I need the experience before I go advertising myself all over hell and asking for students.
Thirdly, I like a good challenge:
Since she is 45 min away and has a crazy work schedule, I may have to learn how to use some video editing software and make some youtube tutorials.

I have been wanting to do some other artsy stuff on youtube anyway, so this might be a good intro to that.

- - -

My guild had officer elections on November 13. I went from being Secretary to being Vice President. Woot. I and one of the co-Presidents have been splitting some of the VP jobs because we didn't have a VP for a year or so. So basically I'm dropping the Secretary duties and keeping the VP stuff so it shouldn't be very overwhelming.

- - -

NaNo is going okay. I'm a few thousand words behind, but shouldn't have too much trouble catching up if I focus a bit harder. Which is easier said than done lol. Considering how busy I have made myself this month. 

I started a huge knitting project (A coat!) and that on top of overtime at work (8hrs a week plus Saturdays) and NaNo (1667 words a day plus Saturdays ;-) ) and I'm pretty damn busy.

On the up side I am learning to manage my time better.

Have a great night, everyone!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

NaNoWriMo, Spark People, Crafty Good Times

Good morning all.

It's been a while since I posted, I know. I got excited about being back on Spark People and thought it would be a breeze to keep up with the extra blog and just copy/paste everything between all my sites. But it's not. Heh. Each time I copy and paste I have to reformat some of the text and images, plus I have stopped using the site every single day like I used to. Too many things get in the way, so I have been doing more offline on my own. 

So you will be seeing less Spark People related posts and hopefully more crafty related posts since this is after all, a crafty blog.

National Novel Writing Month is upon us again and I am participating, of course. I managed to get my first day's word count done and then some. I like to keep ahead a little bit. This year's story is going to be Part 2 of the one I wrote for NaNo 2012, and will hopefully be the conclusion of that story. I don't think I've ever completed a book during NaNo. I most always get my 50k words in, but the story is generally not finished at that point. 

So, On to the Crafty Post.

I have been working on a new pattern. I am in the swatch stage at the moment to see how the colors I picked work together, and if the pattern can be seen clearly when knitted as I've written it. It's going to be a little bit different than my previous patterns in that this one will be a color chart. No symbols to read, just a grid with color-coding on it. 

I recently made a handbag using a pattern written in this way and it was very easy to follow. It will all be knit/purl (Stockinette), and the knitter should be comfortable with stranded color work (Fair Isle Style). 

Once I have finished the swatch, I will make a prototype  and post pictures along with the full pattern both here and on Ravelry.

In other crafty news I have taken on the sizable project of making a "Neck Down Long Cardigan" by Knitting Pure & Simple. This is partly for me and partly for my November Stash Bust Challenge on Spark People. I have never made a garment other than a tank top I tried once. And this is certainly much much larger than a tank top!  

Currently I have 34 rows, and since it's a top down, I'm still on the hood section of the pattern. I need the finished product to be about 4 inches bigger than what the pattern sizing calls for, and I am making it shorter than what the pattern calls for. I have started with 1700(est) yards of yarn, and am hoping that will be sufficient.

Neck Down Long Cardigan on Knitting Pure & Simple
And for those of you on Ravelry: Cardigan Project Page on Ravelry

I am alternating colors every two rows to give it a more striped and variegated effect overall .So far I like the way it's coming out.

Another project I finished recently was a Fair Isle Style handbag and a pattern called "Nordstrom Crocheted Hobo Bag". Both just need their linings sewn in and straps attached at this point. Pictures of finished projects will be forth coming within the week! 

So, I should get back to writing since this blog post doesn't count towards my 50k words for the month, and my characters are calling me...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I Was So Focused On The Weekly Numbers---

...that I just this morning realized that I am only 2.5 pounds away from hitting the 70lbs lost mark!!!

Sometimes I get wrapped up in "Did I lose this week or not?" and "How are all the ways I messed up today?", and I forget about the big picture.

  • Like dropping 6 jeans sizes (I was a 32 when I was 384 lbs, now I'm a 26).
  • Like barely being able to finish 1 taco at Rudy's (I used to be able to polish off TWO (huge) tacos AND three sodas)
  • Like being able to play tennis for an hour and a half at a time (instead of the 20 minutes I barely made it through before).
  • Like not complaining about walking all over a large department store such as Target or walking up the hill at one of the places we visit. (I used to refuse to get out of the car if I thought I'd be doing 'too much walking'.)

All these milestones that took place over the last couple of years, and most recently over the last 6 months...and some days I'm more concerned about where that one pound increase came from on the scale.

Time for some perspective. emoticon


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Project 2, Mpls, Coffee, and Clutter

I finished the shrug I started for the September Stashbuster project. I used EuroBaby Maypole in colorway 18.
Knit Shrug.
I love the softness of the yarn and I love the colors. I do not love weaving in the ends or joining with this yarn. It is SO slippery and chunky that it doesn't stay put. I used a different yarn to seam the sides up, and weaving in the ends was miserable work.

I have no idea how other people do this with such slippery yarn. Oh well, the project is finished and I used all the yarn and then some called for in the pattern, so I "achievement unlocked".

In other news, Owen and I went to Minneapolis last week to see Paul Weller play at the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown. The website for Dinkytown sort of sells it as a shopping district type area, but we discovered it is 98% restaurants and bars, and everything else there caters mainly to the students from the university as it is in that district. So we didn't do any shopping to speak of, and decided against looking for the yarn shop I found online. We are going to plan another trip up there and do a regular shopping day like we normally do.

The whole point of this trip was the concert, so nothing was lost really. And on the bright side, we did get to eat at a local place, rather than a mass franchise. At least I don't think it's a mass franchise lol. Didn't seem like one. Burrio Loco Seems Legit, Right? I had the wet burrito which was basically a burrito (a la pancheros or qdoba) and then smothered in delicious enchilada sauce and some cheese. Magnifique.

The hotel room was nice also. A bit swanky with a large bed, a huge desk and a sitting area, plus a full kitchenette. We didn't get to take advantage of the kitchenette since we were only there the one night. The most awesomest thing though at the hotel was the posh coffee machine in the lobby! It was FREEEEE for guests.
As Samuel L Jackson says in Pulp Fiction "This is some serious gourmet shit." Yeah it was that good.

This week's focus has been on uncluttering the house, bit by bit. I rearranged my magazine shelf and finally got around to buying a portable file box for all of our important papers like home owner's insurance...and mortgage documents...stuff that responsible adults should probably know the location of...

We also rearranged the kitchen so that it feels more open and less messy. The microwave has a new home and the island where we attempt to do food prep is finally free. The next item on my list is my office. I have boxes that haven't been touched since we moved in last year, so it's about time I do something with those.

Crafty-wise there isn't a ton to report. I will post some pictures of the shrug soon. I am sort of brainstorming ideas for my next project.  I am making a Trillian scarf using Madeline Tosh Sock yarn in Forestry colorway. I love their colors; they have texture and depth to them that is just unbelievable.
Link to the Project on Ravelry. It's a nice, repetitive pattern that I can do without a ton of thinking while I watch my tv shows or listen to music, etc.

For crochet, I found a book called Crochet One-Skein Wonders 101 Projects from Crocheters around the World. I am thinking about making the Quinby, the Montana, or the Peacock hats. Can't decide which one. I made the felted clutch but felted too much and now it's just a tiny, dense mess. Sigh. Thankfully I didn't pay much for the yarn.

The Montana Hat on someone's Ravelry Page
The Peacock hat from another Rav Page
Quinby Watchcap

So we'll see what inspires me, I guess.  Winter is coming, so I'll probably throw in some fingerless gloves for good measure.

And now, off to bed.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September Stashbuster Project 1 Complete

Closing out the first week back on SparkPeople; I weighed in this morning and discovered that I am exactly where I was on 9/1 when I went to the doctor. I'm not bummed, since it technically hasn't been a full week since my last weigh in, but I went ahead and did it anyway. My actual weekly weigh in is Monday mornings.

I decided, since I haven't been able to get out and play tennis and the treadmill didn't seem fun, that I would look at some spark videos instead. I found three that use the resistance band and are considered low impact and good for beginner level. So I did all of those, plus 5 minutes of stretching for flexibility.

I ended up with 38 minutes on my fitness tracker. It didn't feel like 38 minutes. The first videos were only 5 and 8 minutes long. The third one was closer to 20, but worked upper, core, and lower body.

I wish SP had some kind of favorites system so I could save videos on a list somewhere. I used my browser's book marking feature in stead, however which will work just as well.

It has been educational coming back. The site has had many improvements since I was here last, and I'm feeling a level of commitment I haven't felt before, between what I'm doing on my own and what I can supplement from the site.

In other news, I got my first of two projects done for the September Stashbuster Challenge finished.

I have some yarn left over from it, so in order to be really correct I will need to find some small thing to do with the left over yarn. Shouldn't be too hard though.

I'm planning to start my second project either tonight or tomorrow depending on how I feel.

Overall I feel really good about what I've done this week. I even picked up some more Greek yogurt to put into my morning shakes. From the produce section I got some apples called Ginger Gold and something called Cotton Candy Grapes. So without even really trying or thinking about it, I'm trying more new things.

Weigh Ins, First Week, Castle, and Cats

(Cross Posted 9/5/2014)
My first week back on Spark People is coming to a close. I'm weighing in tomorrow to see how I did. Overall I feel like I did well; I drank loads of water, tracked my calories, etc. I didn't get quite as much exercise as I would have liked, but Overtime at work and weather unfortunately played against me. 

I'm bought a Spark People workout DVD "Total Body Sculpting", that I want to try out.
I also plan to try a couple of the 10 minute resistance band workouts in the video section of the site.

 I'm making my way through my Castle DVDs in anticipation of the 6th season coming out on DVD soon. "Fool Me Once" from Season 2 is ending momentarily and then it will be off to bed for me. I have more overtime tomorrow morning. Thankfully not a full day, just a few hours.

I heart the Firefly references in this show, of course. Especially the "comic con" style episode. 
In one of my previous blogs from 9/1/2014 I talked about some behavior issues with my cats, and mentioned that I was going to get them some toys to see if the interaction helped at all. I got some catnip, a cardboard scratching thing (into which I stuffed some catnip), and some catnip filled toy mice. Oh yes, and the obligatory laser pointer.

I had an empty wrapping paper tube on hand, and some heavy duty yarn, so I attached the yarn to the tube and tied a mouse to that. They were fairly enthusiastic about them at first. Not quite so much now, but that could be because they are in their "down time" phase of the day. I should try and observe them more to see when their more active phases occur.

Over all I have been bugged a little less for attention by Avalon, and Osiris is slightly less of an A-hole. So all in all it was worth the money spent. I also alternate which toys I use on which days, because I don't want them to get tired of something. I don't know if cats/pets can get tired of things, or if that's something humans impose on them incorrectly, but what the heck. Nothing to lose.
 After work tomorrow I will try and engage their interest again and see if they are more playful earlier in the day. I don't know anybody else who has cats (which is odd, because I think us Cat People tend to gravitate towards one another). So I can't really ask anyone else. 
My inlaws have a cat, BUT, that cat is basically a lump. She's kind of like a living teddy bear thing. She doesn't play, just lays there and lets you squish on her for hugs and such. Or she pretends to be a road block and refuses to move out of the way. lol.

Anywho, enough rambling out of me for one night. I will probably have a short post tomorrow (Saturday) after I weigh-in. It will either be joyous and ecstatic or annoyed and sadfaced.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Tennis, Plateaus Broken, Cats & Craftacularness

We are watching the live stream at USOPEN.ORG. Tsonga and Murray are duking it out on the court.  Murray leads in the 1st set 3 to 2, but Tsonga is serving and if he holds, there will be a tie.

Some good tennis happened earlier between Djokovic and Kohlschreiber played before this match and it was pretty competitive. I always like watching Djokovic play.

 I weighed in this morning. After a three week plateau, which I didn't think would break, it finally broke! I'm down 4 pounds.  This makes me very happy, as I have a follow up with my doctor on Wednesday morning, and I was feeling a bit discouraged to think that I would be going in there with zero loss for the entire month. But, I know that plateaus are common, so I tried not to let it get to me too much, and hopefully it won't happen again for a long long time.

This week, I plan to kick it up a notch (bam), and get on the treadmill more than I have been. I am also going to buy a single serving blender so I can go back to making my shakes/smoothies, because those helped me cram alot of my fruit servings into my day. Little tweaks here and there keep me on track and get me back on the path.  

I checked out some of the articles on the Spark People site this morning also. I had NO idea there was such an extensive treasure trove of things to read about! I even found articles about pets which makes me happy, since I have 2 cats.

One (Osiris) is a bit of an a-hole; kind of aggressive, not overly friendly all the time. He tends to be nicer to guests though, so at least there's that. He has a bit of a deformity near his tail so anytime someone pets him anywhere near his back end he gets a bit rawr.
The other cat, Avalon, is a needy, needy, little thing. You would think nobody EVER pets her highness, or gives her any attention whatsoever.

Cats & Exercise
Indoor pets require engaging activities, which I knew, but didn't realize the full importance of the fact. I have some cat toys I use occasionally, but it's mainly when I have time, which I would say isn't often. But if I'm looking at all the things I spend my time on, I do, in fact, have plenty of time to set aside to play with them. So that's one of my goals now.

I'm going to invest in a couple of things like a laser pointer and a couple of things I can make a DIY cat toy with. Hopefully it will lessen her neediness and his aggressiveness.  We shall see!

Today is the first day of the September Stashbuster Challenge. I have two projects I am trying to complete this month (which I mentioned in the previous post here). Neither one should take a super long time to make, but for me, the objects of the exercise are

1. Use some of the mass quantities of yarn I own
2. Force myself to make time to just sit and focus and be in the present (mindfulness is one of my overall life goals). 


Stay Shiny and Keep Flying!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hiatus: Over. September Challenges, Stashbusting, and Weight Loss

Good afternoon everyone!

It's been a little while since I last posted :-\  I am terribly lax, I apologize. 
I've been working on some personal goals, and haven't had much time for designing or being crafty.

I re-joined which is an online weight loss/healthy living support network. I was there a few years ago, and decided to go back. I like the social aspect of it; lots of message boards, teams, and things to challenge myself and keep me motivated.

One of the teams I joined is a crafty team called United Stitches, and they are doing a September Stashbuster Challenge. The object is to see how many yards of our stashes we can get through over the 30 day period. I picked two projects to work on this month and set up Ravelry pages for them so I can keep track of the progress.

GoT-Inspired Dragon Egg Wristlet
I guestimated based on the pattern page that I will use about 200 yards of yarn for this one. 
I chose a Madeline Tosh Vintage Worsted in Ember and Blue Hosta

The First Egg I Made in Brown and Green

Open Work Knit Shrug
I'm going to start with the amount of yarn used in the pattern (320 yds), but may use another 80 yards if the original size doesn't fit properly.

(This is a picture from the pattern's site. I haven't made this one before)

So my yardage total is 520 minimum.

In other knitting/crochet news, not related to the stash bust challenge,

I am also taking a shot at my first knitting Fair Isle-Style piece (stranded color work). I have never knit in this manner before, but it doesn't look like it will be too difficult, since I asked someone how to read the chart. I've never had to read a chart before, so I'll be learning something new!

The pattern is called Knitted Sea Waves, and I found this pic on the Joann's Fabric site. It was a knitting class I was going to take. Since I already paid and bought the stuff for it, they gave me the pattern even though the class was canceled. Nice of them :-) 

I may attempt to design something in this style in the future. The concept is basic: graph paper and color coding instead of symbols. I'll have to play around with it a bit though. Bust out my colored pencils and stuff lol.

So, I have my needles ready and just need to get my yarn wound off the skein and into a ball, and I will be ready to start the needles clicking and clacking tomorrow when the stash bust challenge begins.

Stay shiny and keep crafting!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy New Year!


 DID YOU SEE THE SHERLOCK PREMIER?!?!?! I had nearly forgotten it was airing in the US last night. I was squeeeee beyond belief. So many theories about how he did it; and he's not telling which is correct.  I can't wait to see where the storyline goes.

In other news...

We are 20 days into the new year, and I hope that 2014 has been treating you all well thus far.

I have been lax in making any blog posts, and you have my apologies for that. (My apple-ogies as Hugh Laurie would say in Blackadder.)

After the Glacial Melt Scarf, I took a break from pattern designing to do some knitting and crocheting of other people's patterns for a change. After doing several beginner-level patterns I want to try and expand to something a little more complex than one stitch. It's a learning process to be sure!  

In fact, I purchased a book from my local used book store (Half-Price Books for those of you in the Cedar Rapids area) called Crochet Master Class. It contains a plethora of crochet techniques. I tried the Double Ended Crochet, using a Tunisian/Afghan hook and it came out quite nice.  I just made a very small swatch of about 8 or 9 rows using some light purple baby yarn and some Tatamy Tweed. 

Basically, double-ended crochet creates a reversible fabric rather than the one-sided fabric that Tunisian crochet usually makes. With a double-ended hook you can also to Tunisian In the Round, which I hope to explore at some point in the future as well. 

I am considering making some tutorials at some point, but they will probably only be for patterns I design. There are so many tutorials out there already for basic crochet stitches that I think mine would just be lost in the crowd. However, when I design a pattern that is a little more complex than my past patterns, I will try to include text tutorials for the stitches I use.  

Let's see, what have I been working on lately...In my downtime I made the Autumn Splendor Wrap by Darlissa Riggs. It is in the bin of Things That Need Blocking at the moment, waiting on me to purchase a blocking board. I created mine with JoJoLand Tonic in colorway 252AW (light green).

I also made my first ripple blanket! I am very proud of that one. I always thought they looked so complicated, it took me forever to get around to trying it. But it's really so easy. I am thinking about making another one.  I used the Swatch Guide pattern from a small book called Learn to Crochet Ripple Afghans. I believe I purchased it in the yarn section at Wal-Mart. I created it from 3 colors of Caron Simply Soft: Dark Country Blue, Light Country Blue, and Ocean.

I made my first cowl also! It's been a month of firsts. Frosty Night Cowl by Deborah E. Burger. This is not only my first real cowl, but also my first Mobius. It was difficult to get started, for me, because I was unfamiliar with the concept of stitching around both sides of the foundation in a figure 8 pattern. But I am glad I persisted, because it came out really nice in the Ella Rae Lace Merino Worsted, Colorway number 4.

And for my fellow fans of the Hitchhiker series, there is an e-book of 4 knitting patterns available, written by Martina Behm. Hitchhiker: A Trilogy of Four Patterns.
Worth every penny :-)  I made the Hitchhiker pattern from Zitron Trekking XXL, Colorway 463 (orange). It's a very fiery yarn. Hitchhiker  . 

In other news, I have been fairly productive in my writing endeavors. I am 8 chapters into a nifty tale about a woman who finds a time capsule in her back yard. I am also planning to submit a portion of my YA Romance manuscript in the hopes that they will find it worthy enough to warrant a publishing contract.  So I have been keeping fairly busy.

To Do List: Buy a stitch dictionary. Upload pictures of finished projects.