Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Making "ART" (not really)

I am a pretty big fan of the site Pinterest and I find lots of crafty projects on the site that I HAVE to make. Below is my first attempt at one of these crafts. Printing a photo onto tissue paper and mod podge it to canvas. Very cool. I followed the directions from the blog "Little Bit Funky" which were wonderful. I found the comments from the other users very helpful as well. My project ventured into the dark room of pipe cleaner abominations (When crafting goes bad!) but I still see the potential in this project. So here was my process.

 I took a piece of plain white tissue paper and cut it to 8 x 11.5 (or standard letter size) since that was around what my canvas measured. (Ok - my canvas wasn't even close to this size....Ooops #1).

After cutting the paper I ironed it out as flat as it would go. Then I had to re cut it as the crease marks puffed it out and I had cut it a little wonky. Then I ironed it again. Better!

Next I found the picture I wanted to use and tried to feed the tissue through the printer. The picture above shows what I was able to pull back out of my printer. Hmmmm. This is not good. So I read what other people had done and someone mentions that they taped there tissue to a piece of card stock. "I can do that!" I thought. So I did. I went and re cut and re ironed some tissue and then headed back to the printer. And it tried to rip the tissue off the card stock. So I really had to jam the card stock/taped/tissue into my printer and eventually I got it to work! Wahoo!

So here is a picture of my tissue picture taped to a piece of card stock. I re cut the edges to remove the tape and the white that peaked through.

Next, I took a foam brush and smeared a thin coat of mod podge on my canvas board. When I had it covered in the glue, I centered my picture and slowly started to smooth the tissue out on the canvas board, working out as many bubbles and wrinkles as I could. (This sucked. My fingers picked up ink and the ink started to smear a bit...)

 Once I was satisfied I couldn't get it much better, (and thought my efforts were causing more damage than good...) I started gently smoothing a layer of mod podge over the top of the whole thing. You can't see it on this shot, but the ink smeared pretty badly from this and I ended up causing more wrinkles. I started to get that "Oh crap!" feeling again.

Not long after that I completely jumped the shark and "hid" the ink smears with green paint on the edges thinking it would "sort of blend" with the grass. Yeah...... You will notice I could not be bothered to wait for the glue to actually dry before I went bonkers with the paint? Yeah.


I think this craft has a lot of potential. But probably I should try it again when I am well rested, when I have all the proper tools, when I am capable of telling what size my canvas is.

This is seriously a case of crafting gone wrong.

I will let it dry in the basement and take another look at it tomorrow. Perhaps a frame can cover the damage I inflicted with the paint? We shall see.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Friday Mittens

YAY for Finished Objects! I finished the thumb on my mitten last night and wove in all the ends on my second mitten and Walla! They are done!

This is a free pattern on Ravelry called Wool-Ease Mittens by Stephanie Taylor and this is the second set I have made. LOVE THEM! It took less than one skein of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick and Quick yarn and they are so thick and so warm! I am just geeked out to have my own pair.

The first pair I made I gave to my niece for a Christmas gift and they were wonderful and I kind of had a hard time giving them up. :) You know how that goes. So since I had a lot of this yarn left over from my Capucine Hat I decided that I would go whole hog and make matching mittens. 

I did a few mods on the pattern to make them a little shorter and they are pretty close to perfect. They look a little big laying flat with my hand on them - but when I put them on they are pretty ideal.

They go up my arm far enough that when I go to scrape my car after work I know I won't end up with a frozen wrist. I could probably make a pair with crazy long arm length and go gauntlet on them if I had the desire - but for now I am just tickled pink with my Black Friday Mittens!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fa la la la la.... la

We started a little decorating around the house for the holidays. It feels too soon, but in my family we start decorating the day after Thanksgiving, and this year we did just that!

We purchased a wreath from a boyscout who knocked on our door. He delivered it last week and we actually put it up this year! Sadly the wreath we bought last year went into our front closet and lived on a shelf in the plastic bag until Spring when it went in the fire pit. We sort of forgot it was there.... Sad sad sad....

This year, as we cleaned out the basement, we came across the little three foot fake trees we purchased a couple years back to gussy up our wine barrels in front of the house. Yay for us! We actually put them up this year! They look super cute too! There is one on either side of our front door and they are just happy little trees.

Maybe.... Just maybe... I won't be a mega Grinch this year! (Will stock up on booze just in case though.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Morning: Weight in - Check in

It's been a busy busy week around here! This week was filled with: Insomnia, projects galore, work (but not much of that...), Thanksgiving Holiday, and (joy of joys) my period.

So after last weeks OUTSTANDING weight loss I was a little concerned about this week. I knew I was due for my period. I knew it was Thanksgiving and that it would be really hard to face that meal. I haven't had to handle too many celebrations since going on Weight Watchers and I admit - I was scared! I heard statistics all week about how that average American eats 4500 calories on Thanksgiving day. And I love our Thanksgiving meals. Turkey, Mashed potato's with thick brown gravy. Rolls. Cranberries. Stuffing. Green bean casserole. Pumpkin pie..... The list goes on and on! So I was trying to gird my loins for going into celebration mode. My motto was: "Eat with intent. Enjoy what you eat." Oh - and the period hit the night before Thanksgiving, so I went into the day with cramps, feeling fat, and wanting to eat the house down. (Yeah - thanks for THAT body!)

So on Thanksgiving day I ate my normal breakfast and then went to my parents for Brunch. My mom really tried to cut back on the amount of food and tried to go leaner on things which was really nice. I ate a little bit of everything I wanted. The taste of these foods was just amazing and so rich. I wanted to gobble it up just because it smelled and tasted so good! I ate a minimum of snacks and then when we sat for dinner I had a small serving of everything I HAD to have. I was shocked at how full I got so fast and I actually never made it to eating my Turkey! I had to stop before I got to it and ended up taking it home in a doggy bag. So I was really pleased with how I handled myself and now I feel just a little more confident about handling food situations like this in the future. (Which is good because we are in full holiday mode!)

So this morning was weight in and I was trying to be prepared for what could be a bummer with the factors working against me. (Period, Thanksgiving eating, insomnia at the beginning of the week, and a really good loss the week before.) I did my usual pep talk (You are on the right path, have faith in the process, one week is not the whole picture of your journey......) and then did my weight in. Yay! I LOST weight this week! I did a snoopy dance and celebrated losing my 1.1 lbs! YAY! Every success just strengthens my faith in myself and my belief that I can really get myself to a healthy weight and feel healthy. It's just such a wonderful thing to feel in control of your body and to know you can handle situations that come up. Crazy to be 40 years old and just getting my feet under my body in this area, but I am happy to FINALLY be getting there.

So I had insomnia this week which generally means less knitting. I had to rip out a few things I attempted because I just can't focus when I am exhausted and I make mistakes. But I did make a little headway on two projects.

I started the Pocketbook Slipper pattern that had been in my Que on Ravelry forever. I wanted something very simple that I could work on over Thanksgiving and it is a very simple pattern. I am anxious to get the other one done and to seem them up so they are done. I think they will be perfect for taking with when I go to friends/family homes this winter. You can't really tromp around in snow covered boots at other people's houses so having a little pair of throw on slippers that I can just have in my purse is pretty ideal. I chose a lighter color so that dog and cat hair doesn't show us badly. (I have learned that lesson well in my own home!) The yarn is a stash bust, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the color Green Tea Heather. The first one weighted in at 25 grams - and the skein is 50 grams, so I might just make it in 1 skein. (I have a second one standing by just in case.) I love the construction of these and think they would make great X-mas gifts too. (Free pattern on Ravelry!)

My other project I made progress on this week was a pair of gloves to go with my
Hood and Shoulders above the Rest hat I made a couple weeks ago. I had most of one skein of yarn left over from the hat, so I thought a nice set of mittens to go with it would be wonderful. (My hands are already cracking and bleeding this winter and we have only had one snow so far!) I have a pattern I really like for using the Lion Brand Thick & Quick yarn, the Wool-Ease Mitten pattern by Stephanie Taylor on Ravelry. (Also a free pattern.) I need to weave in the ends on mitten 1 (Pictured above - inside out so I can just grab a needle and get to it!) and then move on to mitten 2. It makes me twitch to be EXACTLY half done on two projects. I do not want to come down with half-done idis!

The other project we have been working on this week was to get my basement craft/treadmill room updated a little. I did not take a before picture (Argh!) but what I wanted was more storage and a place to have my sewing machine out and ready to use at all times. Previously I would take my sewing machine upstairs and set it up in my dining room everytime I needed to make something. This resulted in me sewing almost never because it was a giant pain in the toosh to set up! So now I have two new bookcases on either side of the tv that are housing craft books, which really opened the space up a lot. I am so happy to be able to see all my craft books! They were stacked previously in a way that I could not see what I had - so I am very excited to see all my books! The Tv is set up better for tread milling. AND I have the ability to listen to my Ipod as well! It's very exciting!

I am still organizing and tweaking the space. I want a rolling chair for my sewing table and I still have stacks of stuff laying all over. My Yarn Balling station fit perfectly next to my sewing table and that made me really happy. I used to keep my swift and baller in a drawer and then set it up every time I needed to ball my yarn up. It's awesome to just have stuff in the ready position!

I am pretty excited to treadmill this morning in my new and improved space!

Have a wonderful weekend all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sparkle & Shine Holiday Scarf

I fell in love with Martha Stewart's Glitter Eyelash Yarn when I was at Michael's Craft store about two weeks ago. I picked up 6 skeins of it (There is only 39 yards on a skein  - so it's not THAT much!) and then tried to think up a pattern for a scarf or cowl to go with my velvety winter dress coat. After a few swatches and finding a yarn to work with it (I loath knitting with just an eyelash yarn - Must always combine another yarn with it!) I had a simple pattern for a scarf with pointy ends.

I pulled out my tri-pod and hit the self timer button on my camera to take pictures, so I look a little "Is it working" in every picture I snapped. Plus I was running back to my spot and hoping I was in frame, on a snowy deck, in heals.... Yeah. But I got the pictures! In this one I wrapped the scarf around and around to make it look like a cowl. The end untucked when I ran for my spot.

In this one I have the scarf wrapped around my neck twice. I like this look and it looks really cute looped twice and then loosely tying the ends. (No photo of that!)

This is looped once and the ends loose. You can see the tapered ends in this shot a little better.

And an almost full length shot to show how long I knit this guy. It only took about three hours of slow knitting to get this done on my Size 19 needles. It went super fast and I love the Sheep(ish) yarn in Gun Metal (ish) held together with the silver eyelash. It worked perfectly!

This is the first picture I took - I am trying to figure out if I am in frame and if the timer is still on and did I shut off the flash??? I cropped the picture and turned it into a Black and white. Cuz it's fun to do.

Final shot of the scarf without a person. You can see the Sheep(ish) yarn in this shot a little better. 

I have more specific pattern notes up on my Ravelry page for this scarf. Am hoping to add it as a PDF file to my blog one day, but I need to figure out how to do that.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hood and Shoulders Above the Rest

Yesterday when I came upstairs after my tread milling, I noticed it was starting to snow. At first it was just a cold freezing rain sort of mess, but it quickly changed to giant fluffy flakes. This is a terrible picture of the bird feeder outside our front window. We have several large pine trees and the Cardinals seem to know when it snows and they will appear magical frolicking in the snow.

After Tom got back from his workout I asked if we could do a Photoshoot outside with my new hat that I named "Hood and Shoulders above the Rest". The pattern is a free pattern on Ravelry called Capucine and I really love it! It's fast, simple, and a great stash buster for some bulky yarn in one's stash. (Although I HAD to have this in black to go with my new Red Coat, so I had to go to JoAnns and buy this special. Go figure.)

It was still snowing and starting to get a little dark out by the time we wandered out to take pictures. I left off the tassels that are used in the pattern and just wear it as it was knit. The ribbed section is flipped over and it frames my head (and my 80's cowgirl hair I was rocking yesterday) quite well. When It is really cold I can pin the "Wings" together under my chin for more warmth and stay-put power.

You can see the flipped brim a little more here. (It was snowing pretty good!) I think because I used such bulky yarn it was actually about 1 inch longer than it was supposed to be. None of the other patterns had a flipped brim and a lot of people using this yarn cast on less stitches and knit to a certain length rather than following a pattern exactly. I am happy with my results regardless.

This shot shows (if you can see around the snow) the bonnet quality this hat has. It would make an excellent hood on a sweater vest!

And here is how it looks in back. I love the stitch definition with this yarn. If you look in the background of the picture you can see Emma running in the snow. The first snow of the season is always so exciting for Miss Emma!

Am very pleased with and would (and intend to) make more of these!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Morning Weight In

Well - I was chewing my nails all week, but I ended up having a really great weight in! Down 4.2 lbs this week! (Take THAT weight gain from last week!) So I am now a total of 36 lbs lighter than my heaviest weight and since I joined Weight Watchers I am down almost 21 lbs. Very nice!

I spent much of this week thinking about the weight gain last weekend and telling myself things like "You are on the right path!" and "Trust the process!" but it was really hard to beat down the Stinkin' Thinkin' that ran more along the lines of "You knew it was too good to last - and now you will slowly fail!" Or "Did you really think you could lose weight AND eat Skinny Cow ice cream and drink wine? You aren't suffering enough to be thin!" Yeah. My inner voice is a REAL beyotch. So I was really trying to stay religious on my point system this week and really trying to focus on positive change.

I know I will have set backs. That is life ya know? I think it's all about how you deal with them.

 So after weight in this morning I let Emma out (again) and saw a lovely sunrise again. Nice to keep having happy Saturday sunrises that make you feel all inspired and junk. Notice our AWESOME Mayfly sculpture. It moved to the back deck for the time being. Makes me smile every time I see it.

Emma looked at me like I was nuts for poking my head out in my jammies. I could almost hear her say......"Good God Human! At least brush your hair or throw on a bra before you poke your head out!" Heh. I am sure my neighbors find my camera activity just charming. Yeah. Right.

A mere six hours later this is the mess happening outside. The birds don't seem to mind it though. It's the humans who are collectively groaning at this. We had 8 months of snow last winter. Eight. Months. Just revolting. So I am pretty sure everyone in the Twin Cities area is sighing right now and looking for their scrapers. GROSS!

You can see the back deck is already completely covered. Guess I better turn on the weather channel and see how much of this stuff we are actually going to get.

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Off to the Yarn Store!

So my need to make the Ovate Wrap created a needle need. The needles on this pattern are HUGE Size 19 Circulars. I ended up getting 40 inch length because I hope to use these again for stash busting afghans? Fantasies float through my head..... I also needed a size P crochet hook! Dang! That is a big hook! :) A few other items followed me home as well....

I picked up these 4 pins at the register. Bad photo.
Pin1: Sheep with a ball of yarn hanging off of him.
Pin 2: "I ate your grandma's knitting for lunch. (& it was crunchy)"
Pin 3: Lime Green with Skeleton holding ball of yarn
Pin 4: "Idle Yarn is the CATS play thing." [So. True!]

The yarn, Artful Yarns Old Western, was on discount for $6.00 a ball. I thought it would make nice mittens or hats. I see there are not many projects of this yarn on Ravelry and it's labeled discontinued. Still - It feels nice and I have never worked with Artful Yarns so I am happy!

My Three Needles. The HiyaHiya is a 24" size 6 that I needed to make the Citron eventually. I like HiyaHiya needles. They are way more affordable than the Addi Turbo's and they have nice flex in their cord. Paying for Addi's always kills me - but I know they will stick around for many many years, so I try and think of it as an investment. :)

I took this shot for a size gauge. The needle is longer than my finger and as round as a finger. HUGE! A fast knit indeed! I bet I could quickly knit a car cozy with these.....

Emma gave me the "Why are you bringing more yarn in this house?!?!" look while I unpacked and photographed my haul. I think she would have forgiven me had I given HER one of the balls of yarn to destroy, but that never happens (on purpose). Izzi our devil cat was sneaking up on Emma as I took this picture. She likes to attack and run. Charming little thing.

And that was my haul from the Yarn Store. This time I went to 3 Kittens Needle Arts and the entire haul was under $50.00. I had a 25% off one item coupon (for the huge addi) and a $50.00 Gift certificate from my mother-in-law for my Birthday, so it ended up a free trip! Sweeeeeet!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Obsessed. I am Obsessed. What is the object of my preoccupation? Malabrigo. It's true. I heart Malabrigo Yarn. My latest passion is the thick and luscious yarn called Rasta. It's amazing. So soft and thick!

I have made a cowl and 2 scarves from Rasta so far. It's just a joy to work with. There is something about the yarn, running through your hands, the movement of every stitch is just pleasure. Every aspect of this yarn is just a pleasure. The cowl above is just awesome. It knit fast and it is one of those projects that you are really pleased with and very proud of.

My first rasta project and it completely hooked me. This yarn reminded me of rainy days and rock formations. I finished the project and just wanted more more more. So soft. So squishy. Num num num.

First verse same as the first.... Made the same scarf in a different colorway. Ohhhhhh Yeah.

The pattern for the scarf can be found on Sage Yarn Blog.

So this past Valentine's Day my love brought me Rasta instead of flowers or chocolate. My man knows how to win my heart! So I have been looking for patterns for Rasta and finally decided I wanted to "spend" my Rasta stash on Ovate - a shawlette pattern for either one or two skeins of Rasta. I purchased the pattern this morning and CANNOT wait to jump in!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Oh Monday!

Emma wonders why I hate Mondays. They are just fine for her!

I was getting set to sit down after a long strange day to write up a blog post when my Hubby announced he was making a bon-fire to burn a bunch of our old tax records up. I looked outside and saw two lawn chairs by the fire, and that was all the inspiration I needed to abandon a night in front of the computer searching for cute Fun Fur Cowls' to knit (don't judge) and instead spend my night in front of a bonfire with a glass of ice cold Riesling in my hands.

Nice end to a tough Monday!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Snippets 11/13/2011

Normally I don't include words with my Sunday snippets - but I struggled with pictures today. Dishes, laundry, shopping and paying bills are just not that photogenic!

Dark and gloomy day filled with running in the car, cooking and cleaning.....

Great recipe for Easy Cheesy Chicken Cups. Used up most of my left over chicken.

I created a light version of the egg sandwich from my childhood. YUM! (Reduced fat provolone and Ketchup are under the egg!)

The much talked about chicken with butter and spices under the skin and in the cavity, and olive oil, salt & pepper on the outside. It seems so small when I am more accustomed to 18 lb turkeys!

The chicken fully cooked! It was REALLY good. Very pleased with myself! :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Morning Weight in - OH NO'S!

Well - I knew it was going to happen eventually. I weighed in this morning and I showed a gain of 1.5 lbs. OUCH! I am trying to not focus on it - to go steady on and to believe in myself. Fluctuations ARE normal. These things happen. Blah blah blah. It sucks. Weight gain sucks. There I said it! I am trying not to focus on this - but I want to think about why I gained this week and correct the behavior so I don't see a repeat next week. I think the culprits are:

1) Birthday Entitlement. "It's my Birthday so I get to eat....." Dangerous thinking that. Why does an event entitle you to abandon your goals? I think I need to find a better way to handle special occasions. Especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up in the next few weeks. The focus will be on food and celebrations for the next couple of weeks and I need to handle this well or I will be on a painful roller coaster.

2) Too much drinking! This goes with the celebrations - but I had a hungry week because I was drinking too many of my calories. I stayed in my points for my Weight Watchers goals - but I didn't spend them well and ended up eating more than I normally would because of the wine and Salty Dog splurging. Alcohol doesn't do much for a diet. I need to watch this.

3) I hardly drank any water this week! I was on a good stretch of water drinking for weeks and lately it's slacking off. I think the colder temperatures make cold water less enjoyable - so I need to think about sipping Hot water instead.

4) Stress. I am stressed about work and family situations, which leads to "Stinking Thinking" and makes my sleep issues worst. My sleep issues are getting worse lately and I really need to make sleep a more important part of my life.

So this next week I am going to try and get more sleep. Try and drink more water. Keep exercising. And try and focus on my food. I saw a clip on The Biggest Loser where they talked about how important it is to sit and eat at a table with no television and no distractions so you are very aware of the food you consume. I am SOOOOO bad at this. I rarely eat at a table and always have TV, a book or a computer in front of me when I eat. Something for me to think about going forward. Focus is important!

Today I am going to roast my first chicken. I think it's kind of funny that I am 40 years old and I have no clue how to roast a chicken! I spent some time watching uTube Videos on how to do it and I think I get it. The one by Fine Cooking looked very simple and was easy to follow. This chicken is some of the meat we got when we were on vacation and we went to Ferndale Market in Canon Falls, MN. I am excited to have found a source of meats that is local and from farmers who are trying to raise there animals as naturally as possible. my next step after that will be determining Weight Watchers values on Roasted chicken. Hmmmmm. I might need to use my scale for something other than yarn!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day off ... sort of

Today I used a Holiday and had the day off from work. So of course I ran around like an insane chicken pecking at every rock possible.

I am tired!

At 8:30 this morning I was at the clinic getting my last Hepatitis B vaccine and a Flu shot. The regular shot lady was in and BOY is she better than the evil woman who filled in for her last time. HUGE difference in the pain factor between Awesome Pam and Evil Substitute lady.

Next - Off to Target for an hour of shopping. I have lost enough weight to be able to shop the clearance racks again and actually FIND items in my size that aren't awful! Wahoo! It's been awhile since I have been able to do that. I scored a tee shirt (that I intend to use to replace a sleep shirt I shrank out of), a long sleeve tee (that is so low cut when I tried it on that I can probably only ever wear under another shirt) and a hooded Sweatshirt for $21.00! Go Team Jen!

I also scored this lovely item. Our Bananas have been just laying on the counter, and our apples were in a bowl of their own. Now we can have the fruit all in one neat spot! I am WAY to excited about this and I know it. But, to be fair, we live in a little rambler and counter space is PRETTY limited, so getting things organized just feels good!

After Target I got a Starbucks coffee and then headed to JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts to pick up two skeins of Lion Brand Thick & Quick to make the Capucine Hat . I love Ravelry user SUS' version called Nice & Spice in particular, so I was compulsed and HAD to get some Thick and Quick to knit this asap. While there I also scored the Vogue Knitting with Martha on the cover and two more skeins of Sheep(ish). (Stash levels reaching critical! Must. Knit. Faster!)

After that it was a quick stop at the cash machine and then on to get my hair cut. Same style as last time, just a trim. While waiting I was crocheting another wash cloth and the lady next to me started chatting away to me about knitting and crochet. We had a nice little chat. :) I love how people open up to you and seem fascinated by knitting (or crocheting!) in public. I think I might make crochet my go - to for appointment waiting as it's so nice to shove it back into my purse when my name is called and not fear full destruction.

After my haircut I hit the grocery store (forgetting several items of course) and then home in time for lunch!

I took a break after lunch and watched an episode of The Biggest Loser and finished a knitting project. (Details to come!) And started a spontaneous new project too! (Details on that to come as well.) Then cleaning and organizing projects kept me busy the rest of the day.

Did I mention I am tired?!?! Really nice day though. I feel all accomplished. :)

Now it's time to put some laundry away, have a nice dinner and then PJ's and some TV knitting.

YAY for Friday! Double YAY for Friday's off!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And one more thing....

I mentioned yesterday all the yarn goodies we purchased at the UMA Fall Fiber festival, but I neglected to mention one other little purchase that has been kind of fun. We picked up two felted balls for our cat Izzi. Well guess who keeps running off with them?

Yup. Miss Emma has claimed the cat toys for herself. The cat finds them interesting as well, but the dog has pretty much laid claim to them. Funny. Maybe I will have to bring a new cardboard box home for the cat. She loves it when there is a new box she can bite and jump into. Always cracks me up!
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