Monday, April 30, 2012

Spice Kitten

Well I completely fell off the wagon. I made it half way through Knit And Crochet Blog Week and Fell off on Day 5. I didn't realize how long I would be working on each post! Friday night after a long day of work, grocery shopping and getting ready for a weekend of planting trees at my brothers house, I decided enough was enough. I looked at my hubby and said "Well, I can either blog about life or I can live life - but I can't do both!"

Here is a picture of my cat Izzi. I brought home this awesome spice organizer and set the box on my floor so my cat could have it. She LOVED jumping in to a box. As you can see - she is using her laser beam setting to locate any stray spices and DESTROY them as she hates a disorganized house as well. I am still plugging away at my house - bit by bit. Little improvements here and there.

Well - today is the last day of April and I am going to celebrate by cranking up my grill with some veggie kabobs I have marinading in the fridge. Seems like a nice way to say farewell to April.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knitting in all seasons (3KCBWDAY4)

For Knitting and Crochet Blog Week the question of the day was:
How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?

I live in the Minnesota here in the United States. This past winter was really (unusually) warm, but the winter before we had eight months with snow on the ground. I spent a lot of time driving (and living) in this mess. So I guess it's not surprising that I knit A LOT of hats and winter wear.
Not just for me either. I have knit a few sweaters for my dog Emma. I have knit some goodies for my hubby and family. And I try to give a bunch to charity. There are lots of organizations and shelters that distribute goods to the homeless or needy in the winter. And many of our yarn shops will do hat, scarf and mitten drives in the winter. Love that.
I wear many of my hats and scarves and enjoy picking out my knit "look" for the day. I also find that my unfortunate habit of buying one or two skeins of yarn (rather than a sweater amount) lends itself to hat and mitten knitting. Really - there are only so many things you can do with 100 yards of yarn.
Looking through my Ravelry page with an eye toward seasons - I realize I have many pictures with thick wool hats or scarves being proudly modeled in the dead of summer. I love these pictures. Lots of bright happy flowers with my thick woolen creations. Something warm to hold on to when winter comes and there is so little warmth and light.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero (3KCBWDAY3)

I thought I would feature one designer here today that I really enjoy. Martina Behm (Maltina on Ravelry) is probably best known for her pattern Hitchhiker. (The pattern has been in my queue on Ravelry for a very long time!) But she has a bunch of wonderful patterns and one of my favorites is a free pattern on Ravelry called 22.5 Degrees. It's one of my go-to patterns and I am currently on my Fourth incarnation of it. Below are pictures of the two I made to completion (one went the way of the frog pond - and the Fourth is still on the needles.)

This first one I named Love Carnival and it is made from one skein of Rowan Colourscape Chunky in the color "Carnival". It is thick and warm and I just love the colors! This knit up quickly on size 11 needles and I loved it so much that I quickly cast on another one in the same brand of yarn but larger and a different colorway.

And that would be this guy -  made from 1.75 skeins of Rowan Colourscape Chunky and this one I called 2 Cherries Shawl as the it is made from 2 skeins of the colorway Cherry. (I am Soooo imaginative with the names!) Again on Size 11 needles and another fast knit.

The pattern calls for sock yarn but it's very adaptable to any yarn. It's really simple and I cast on my most recent version in Noro Silk Garden Lite for a car trip. (It's a wonderful travel pattern.) I have gotten a lot of wear out of both of these and suspect I will make oodles more.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Public Service Announcement (3KCWDAY2)

I thought today would be a good day to talk about the dangers of knitting and crocheting. I am not talking about what happens when you go for that second glass of wine while knitting a lace shawl. And I am not talking about the dangers of losing a needle in the couch and then finding it when you sit on it. (I seriously have a friend who had to PULL a needle out of her leg. NOT. JOKING.) And I am not talking about the economic impact on you and the people around you. (Do you know how long a person can knit one ball of sock yarn? Verses... say.. going to a movie? Sock yarn wins thank you very much!)

Nope. Today I want to talk about SABLE: Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. Now I am personally PRO-Sable. I think ...nay... I KNOW the person with the most yarn wins. The problem that comes with massive yarn acquisition is where do you put the yarn? We would all love to have our yarn contained and categorized like we had our own little yarn shop, but the reality is yarn gets away from us.

It starts our rather innocently. You think - nobody will notice these two little skeins of yarn here on the DVD cabinet. They kind of blend in with all the bold colors of the DVD cases and the yarn is so PRETTY!

Pretty soon you convince yourself that you can put yarn on display in the china cabinet as long as you only use yarn that matches the dishes. It's artistic! It's a creative display! Maybe even all your yarn friends will think this is really clever and will do it too! (You already know all your non-knitting/hooker friends will just roll there eyes at you on this one - they just don't get it.) You could be a trend setter like that Hildi chick who glued Straw to people's walls on Trading Spaces! Although, thinking back, people pretty much broke out in tears when they found out Hildi was going to be "designing" in their home. But hey - it's looking good. You have fun kind of arranging it all "ironic" and fun. Bonus that your husband doesn't notice it for months and maybe never would have if your knitting friend didn't suggest in front of him that you knit mittens out of the yarn in the China cabinet.

And then we have the closets. They start getting a little... uncomfortable. You start off being all "I am organized and I have my yarn in bins and totes!"  But then there was the time you barely beat your husband home from a little yarn spree and you had to kind of ditch the yarn in your closet. And then you realized you had a lot of stray balls of half used acrylic so you needed to put those in another bag and they wouldn't fit in a tote so they kind of have to sit on the floor. And there are the projects you have organized and all ready to go - but you have to finish some of your other WIPS first, so you stuff them in the closet until you are ready for them.  My point is that closets like this just sort of happen. You are fine until you can't close the door as far as I am concerned.

Now this one is a little iffy. I think if you are a single person you could probably get away with Medicine Cabinet Stashing. Watch out for that toothpaste though. I hate to think what the Whitening Toothpaste would do to that rich red Cascade yarn.

And my final shot - Which I think is quite clever and daring, is Fridge Stashing. Now, if you have a mate who doesn't eat lettuce I think you could totally get away with this. This Cascade Yarn Eco + looks so much like lettuce it's crazy! Make sure to clean the drawer out first of course. And if you want to be really sneaky about it you could ball some of that red cascade up and it would look like tomatoes.

Of course some of us are loud and proud of are yarn stash. There is no sneaking around or hiding our insane fiber addiction. But I can remember when I just started out collecting my stash. It multiplies faster than bunnies on Viagra and you just have no idea it's going to happen that fast! So take these as suggestions. If nothing else - it will desensitize the people around you to the yarn and pretty soon they will just expect to open their sweater drawer and find it half full of Malabrigo.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Color me anything! (3KCBWDAY1)

Today is the kick off of the Third Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week and this will be my first year participating! What that means is that for the next 7 days I will be posting on a set topic that is posted over on Eskimimi's wonderful blog.

Today's Topic:

Colour LoversColour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects - do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour.

I found this topic overwhelming. My head swam with ideas. Should I look at my stash? Should I look at the last 6 balls of yarn I purchased in a yarn store and talk about why I was drawn to them? And then it came to me. I would look at my hat collection!

So I took my hat bin out to the deck and dumped it out and started to look at the hats that I had made (and I recently weeded this out of things I don't wear/like so this is the keeper pile!) and started to really look at what I have going on here. My first thought was "I am not afraid of color!" which I already knew so that wasn't all that revelatory. Then I started to separate a little to see what I saw.

The above two hats were made out of Knit Picks Bare yarn that I hand dyed and then knit up. Similar color range - different styles. I had more hats in this pile at one time - but for one reason or another they ended up felted into bowls. (I do that with wool hats that don't make the cut. I have wool bowls all over the place!)

And then I separated all the hats that I combined two or more colors of yarn:
  • The skully hat has glow in the dark yarn and I really wanted an authentic pirate feel - so the colors kind of picked themselves on that one.
  • The hat next to it I made with Lime as the body and forest green as the ribbing. I had this exact hat in the reverse as well - but I think I made it a size too small and it is now a felted bowl. (I told you I do that a lot!) And this was a stash busting decision.
  • The two striped hats in the center are both stash busters as well and I knit both of them largely while away from home. I needed something really simple (which is why I knit so many hats!) that I didn't have to pay much attention to. I was able to knit and talk at a graduation party and the stripes kept me interested enough to not feel like the hat was a burden to knit.
  • The orange/green/brown hat is from yarn my co-worker brought me from Scotland. It was one of my earliest color works and I still love this hat. It turned out perfect!
  • And the last hat was me just loving the colors together and loving the squish of the Debbie Bliss Como yarn. Wonderful warm squish hat.

On to self striping yarn. Love it! Love the color combinations. Love the boldness. The hat above is knit with Adriafil Knitcol and the hat below is Online Linie 231. I love both of the yarns so much. (Although the Linie gets worn less as I decided to give it ear flaps and it turns out I am just not much for the ear flaps. Live and learn!)

Both of these hats were just such fun to knit as the yarn was changing constantly and I would just knit and knit wanting to see what was around the next corner.

And then you find a pattern you love that helps you REALLY bust through all those single skeins of almost no yardage yarn that you HAD to buy and had no idea what to do with them. The yarns are: Colinette Point 5 (Which is 54 yards a skein), Malabrigo Yarn Aquarella (65 yards) or Malabrigo Gruesa (65 yards). INSTANT gratification projects! And this is actually two different hat patterns. One is the Handspun Beanie by Woolie Wormhead on Ravelry and is currently unavailable while it is being tweaked. The other is The Easy Malabrigo Hat and is available for free on Ravelry. Both wonderful patterns and I admit to running to my local yarn store and buying MORE of these yarns so I could make the hats again and again.

I told myself I might gift some of these hats - but I was a big liar and had to keep them all for my greedy self. I am keeping the patterns handy though for emergency gift knitting.

Sometimes the fiber content will influence my love of the color. Alpaca - I love you so much! When a yarn appeals to your eyes and then you touch it and your hands sink into a cloud of love, you pretty much HAVE to purchase it. This hat looks really busy - but it's heaven when worn and I love it. There is nothing bad about Misti Alpaca yarn. Yes it stretches. Yeah - it's a bit spendy. But it's so warm! And knitting with it is just a pleasure. Nothing makes me happier that I am one of those slow pokes who throws her yarn when I knit quite like Misti. Fabulous!

This is Reynold's Blizzard. Sadly this yarn is now discontinued - but it's another one of those where you think of jumping onto a giant marshmallow. How can that now be awesome to knit with?!?! And for some reason I needed this bold bold pink color. I am not sure why I would look at all the yarn and say - The Pink! The color is a little overwhelming. But I had to have it.

And more Alpaca. I lean toward the blues with Alpaca (with one pink exception...). Not sure if it's how the fiber takes the dye that makes me need to own it? But when I think Alpaca - I GENERALLY think the blue family.

So my study of my hat collection was fun. I don't think it revealed a whole lot - other than that there are a lot of factors that go into the decision I make when I decide to knit something. If I am stash busting, I will compromise my color desire for a project in order to walk the path of the righteous stash buster. If I am specifically purchasing a yarn to make "Project ____" I will look at the yarn options and the finished objects on Ravelry and decide based on what I see and what color makes me REALLY want to knit it.

I love the look of a solid color but hate to knit it. (Yawn.)

I love to knit wild colors and get excited by unusual combinations. The finished object doesn't always live up to my expectations though. Like my cowl I call my "Clown Vomit Cowl". I kinda have to be in the right frame of mind to pull that one off. (read: Drunk.)

 As I put my hats away I looked down and thought how pretty my sock color was against the wood with my beat up jeans. Color inspiration is just everywhere.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Morning Health Check in

Good morning! I am getting back into the routine of doing a Saturday morning reflection and goal setting for my health. I weigh in on my Weight Watchers online every Saturday morning, so this is always a good time to reflect on what is going on with me.

This morning I had a slight increase in my weight with the weight-in again. I decided to pull up my statistics on Weight Watchers to see where I was with my Weight on January first compared to now. I am two pounds lighter today then I was on January 1st. I really have been bouncing up and down in the same five pound spot for the last 5 months. It was good to see. I can't really fool myself when I see the chart right in front of me. I have been working out a lot and I am seeing changes in my size and shape, but the weight loss has really dried up in the last five months.

So I am back to tracking my food and measuring it out accurately. I am going to spend some time looking at the recipes on WW online to try and find something exciting. I got out of the pattern of trying a recipe every week and have been way to dependent on sandwiches and box meals. This week I will get back in the rhythm of tracking my food. I feel like that is where I am going astray since I have never stopped working out and pushing myself that way. The good news is that I held a pretty good maintenance schedule over the last five months - so I know when I get my weight to a level where I am comfortable I can hold myself there with comfort. BUT I am not in maintenance mode yet - I still need to get my weight down.

The level of joint pain I have now compared to last summer is so much less with the weight loss I have already achieved. As I march proudly into my 40's I really want to get as much of my bulk off as I can so I don't spend my 60's and 70's having knee surgery and unable to garden or ride a bike. I am proud of what I have achieved but I still have distance to cover. I still have swollen knees that ache and I get excited thinking about what my energy level and my ache level will be like when I drop xx amount of more weight.

And no - I don't have an end number in my mind. I have an area I would like to get toward - but I want to see how I feel when I get to certain levels of health. I know for my height I need to get my weight down AT LEAST another 20 pounds to enter the "normal" range on the BMI scale, so
that is where my path is taking me right now. I would also love it if my Wii Fit didn't say "That's Overweight" after every weight in. (After years of it telling me "That's Obese" it doesn't seem as bad, but still - I want it to say something nice!)

So that's where I am at!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Health, Weight Loss and Feeling good

I haven't talked a whole lot about my health and weight loss lately. I am still trucking along!

Here is a picture of me on Easter a couple weeks back. I am feeling really good and loving all the new clothes I have been having to buy in smaller sizes. (I loved writing that!) There are so many things that I am loving about getting my weight managed, making healthy eating a way of life, and making exercise a part of my life. Things you don't think about or just take for granted.

I have been somewhat stagnant in my weight loss and am still hovering in that ALMOST to 50 pounds mark. I haven't crossed that threshold yet, but I will get there and beyond. Even though the numbers aren't moving much on the scale, I am still shrinking physically. I admit, it's frustrating to weight in week after week and to bounce up and down over the same 5 pounds, but I am still moving in the right direction, and I know plateau happens!

I have been working out with the newest version of Zumba for the Wii. I love it! It's really different in it's graphics, music and exercise then the last one so it was a bit of a shock, but I have to say I find this one far superior to the first at this point.  I am sweating, panting and soar from the exercise - and I LOVE IT!

I still have hopes that I will fall back in love with bike riding, but so far the 20 mile trail ride a few weeks ago is all I have under my belt. Since then I have just been the Zumba Queen.

I am still doing Weight Watchers online, but I have not been tracking my food. It's not shocking that my weight has not progressed much right around the time I lost my will to track my food. I know I need to buckle down on that, I just can't seem to get there on that one for some reason. Something to think about.

Saturday is my weight in day for Weight Watchers, and I used to blog about my weekly journey every Saturday. I would like to get back in the habit of doing that. I think I have been letting myself off the hook with accountability by moving away from that and away from tracking my food. It's too easy to gobble Skinny Cow treats when you don't have to put it on your daily points tracker!

SO....Back to blogging about my health journey every Saturday and back to tracking my food. (See what happens? You put it in writing and YOU HAVE TO DO IT!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

KAL is over...sort of?

Well, the KAL I am part of is officially over. I think a little crack was smoked when the time line was decided. Seriously - I think only a couple people finished on time AND people started early! I spent all of last Sunday knitting (seriously - that is all I did! I took a break and showered and put on fresh lounge clothes and ate - otherwise Knit Knit Knit!) and I only JUST got to the end of the first of four skeins! Oy.

So here is what my shawl looks like with one skein of yarn. I love the color and it's pretty, but man. Kind of boring. I am hoping to get another inch on it tonight when I am being lazy in front of the TV.

I forgot to mention that on our Anniversary (04/05/1997!) Tom and I went out for a fancy dinner and then we went and saw The Hunger Games! It is the first movie we have been to in YEARS. And it was really fun! I told him we have to get gussied up and go out for a nice dinner and a movie more often. Every couple of years is just not enough! (I think the last movie we saw was Indiana Jones and the depressing Adventure of the Crystal LaBeouf.)

The movie was really good - although I wasn't prepared for the Shaky Blair Witch filming. Ugh. Hate that.

What's the last movie YOU saw in a theater and did you have a good time?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hooking is hard

On my vacation I very quickly whipped out a scarf in my bizarre crochet I do. This is hooked in Bernat Mosaic and I had no idea it was thick and thin yarn when I bought it. The end result is a kind of odd scarf. I made this with the intent of giving it to my co-worker for her Birthday. I still intent to do that - but I am a little unsure feeling about it since it goes thick and thin in the width. Hmmmm. Not sure what to think. Is it "artistic" or just plain weird? Does asking that question answer it for me?

Last night I re-cast on for my KAL shawl and made a little progress. I am pretty happy with how it's going and had the brain cells to quit when I caught myself trying to add random YO's to the pattern.

It is SUPER gorgeous today and I have been inside almost all day doing workout and cleaning. I MUST GO OUTSIDE! Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Oops! I did it again!

There is a hole in my shawl that does not belong. DOH! I let it sit for awhile to decide what I was going to do and ended up deciding that I would pull the needle out and tearing out the four or so rows to get past the hole, then put the stitches back on the needle and keep going.

So I carefully tore back four rows and then I tried to get the stitches back on the needle. I did not manage sadly. I ended up tearing the hole thing out!

Sad looking isn't it? I started over but I just didn't have the heart to do much work on it last night after a swim in the FROG pond. Hopefully I will catch up to the rest of the group this weekend. (Not likely - but hey - everyone at their own pace, right?)

And how is your knitting/hooking going? Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Because my co-worker said so

I had a co-worker call me this and it made me LAUGH! She then went on to say I needed this on a T-shirt so......

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

KAL progress, Fugly Blanket update

So I started a KAL yesterday and I am loving it so far. It's a very basic shawl pattern that will end with an edging I have never attempted before and I am a little nervous about. Vickie Howell is leading us in her usual wonderful fashion though, so I am fairly confident I will get er done. I didn't get lots of time to work on it on Day 1, but here is my first days work.

The flash on my camera bleached the color out of the yarn, but you can see it's taking shape. Love working with this yarn and love the color so much! I took it with me to work today and knit on my lunch hour. Would have loved to just knit the day away.

And here is my Fugly Blanket. I am almost out of scraps and will soon have to dig into my stash of cotton yarn and start working whole skeins. Maybe I will make myself take only balls with labels torn off so I can have a really clean stash bin. I have this laying across my Queen sized bed and it covers most of the width of the bed and about two fifths the length. Not sure if I am going for a square or a rectangle. Guess I will know when I get there.

Because I am working on this KAL shawl I will have to put my crochet hook down for the next week until the KAL if finished. It saddens me but conversely I think my wrists can use the break.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Another KAL for me

I have decided to join another KAL and it is once again with Vickie Howell and This time I will be using Magenta(ish) in her Sheep(ish) brand yarn and the project is a simple knit shawlette.

The Ravelry group for this can be found here.
The pattern is in the Spring/Summer 2012 Knit Simple Magazine.

The KAL runs from April 10 (today!) through April 16th. I am betting I need more than a week to knit this up!

I can't wait to start!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Vacation Hang-over

As is so often the case, I did not get NEARLY enough done on my week off. I could make a list of things I had wanted to get done and didn't - but that seems kind of like kicking myself. I mean really - I did have to go back to work today and face "Monday after a vacation" which is just a bummer.

So I thought I would take a few posts to "catch-up" what I have been up to the last week.

My first biggy was going to the Salon for a trim and my first professional hair-color! After 25-30 years of abusing my hair with Sun in, Peroxide, food coloring (don
t ask!) and every brand of boxed hair color I could get my hands on, I decided I wanted to start getting my hair done professionally. My thoughts behind this were partly that as I get more and more grey in my hair, I find I either have to color A LOT more (which I never do) or I get the skunk line in the middle of my head. The bugger is that it doesn't look bad to me, and then someone will take a picture with a harsh flash and I will suddenly realize how bad my hair looks! So I talked to my hair person and we decided to go for a Full Foil on my first time out and then we will do partial touch ups for the next couple times (faster and cheaper).

You KNOW I had to take a phone pic of myself with my head all foiled out! As you can see - there is still a lot of hair not in the foil - so I am using less dye on my head and will have some natural grow out in there.

And here is me all gussied up AND WITH BANGS! That's right! Not only did I get my hair did, I got me some snazzy Spring bangs! I have to say I feel cute and super Spring fresh. Very happy with the new look and so pleased that I spent the money on myself! I have gotten a lot of positive comments about my new look - which helps too.

I spent many years being defined by my obesity and trying to NOT attract attention, so this is a big brave new world for me. I am proud of all the hard work I have been doing on making myself stronger and healthier, so I feel I was do a little make over.

I had also hoped to get to my nails this week - but I pretty much just filed them down and gave them a clear coat. One of these nights after work I will have to give my fingers and toes some bold happy spring color. Sandal weather is pretty much here!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A "Quick" Eyeglass Case

I admit - I am terrible with my sunglasses. I pretty much abuse them. I throw them in my purse with no protection and allow my keys and miscellaneous flotsam to drift around them. Shockingly I recently discovered all my sunglasses look REALLY bad. (I wonder why?!?!) So I had to get a new pair. And since I didn't want my new sunglasses to look like my old ones, I decided to whip out a really quick sunglass case to carry them in my purse.

I don't have a picture of me crocheting the case, but I pretty much just chained until the length felt right and then made a large rectangle. For the length I just crocheted until the case held my glasses and had plenty left over for a long flap to cover the front of the case. This will make sense if you look down a couple pictures, but I pretty much folded it in thirds and crocheted the first and second third together to make a pouch - and the third fold was the flap. I made this in Lion Brand Cotton and crocheted it with 5.00 (H) hook.

After I had my case all together I decided to go one step further and line the case to protect my new glasses even more. I had some scraps of flannel in my fabric bins, so I just grabbed a chunk of flannel and did a really quick sloppy stitch job on my machine.

Here is a picture of the Flannel pocket inside out . I did a little top seam on each top and then did a side seam on each side. I had washed and ironed this a long time ago - which is part of why I chose to use this scrap. And since the outside of the case is cotton - this is in theory machine washable and dryable if I ever spill on it.

I flipped my crochet case inside out and then flipped my flannel liner right side out. I inserted my crocheted case inside my flannel liner and did a simple hand stitching around the edge of the liner to attach it to the case. I used a thick nylon thread and held it double to get a really strong attachment. After the liner was sewed in, I simply flipped it around and then sewed a little button on. The crochet is open enough that I don't have to worry about a button hole. And the liner protects the glasses from the scratching of the button.

And Ta Da! Finished eyeglass case!

The case is slightly larger than  my glasses - so I think it will adapt well to different glasses. The Black cotton should keep pen marks and finger smudge appearance to a minimum. And the flannel liner will probably rub my glasses clean for me as I carry them around.

Here is a picture of my glasses in the case. As you can see the button is at the limit. I should have put the glasses in the bag and then decided where to sew on the button, but it still works.

I really was just going to "quick whip out" a glass case and was not trying to create a masterpiece or anything. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed by projects and it will prevent me from doing things sometimes, so I really went into this with a light heart and little planning. I am pleased with the results!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Vacation! WOOT WOOT!

Emma and Izzi relax on their pet bed.

I typically take three weeks off a year. The first week in April for my Anniversary, a week in August for my husbands Birthday, and a week in November for my birthday. Which means I AM ON VACATION! Heck yeah! Sadly my hubby cannot join me on vacation - since he does not get paid time off in his job, but that doesn't mean we aren't going to have some fun this week.

I injured my wrist a bit from all the work I was doing on my "Fugly Blanket" (Apparently I cannot crochet for hours a day every day for weeks on end and not have my wrist protest! Lesson learned!) So I have not worked on any knitting or crochet for a few days now. It was really depressing as I really wanted to crank out more yards of scrap on my blanket! But I have been keeping myself busy enough that I haven't had time to be too sad.

Saturday after weight-in and work outs, we drove down to an outlet mall in Southern Minnesota and did a little shopping. I had a sales lady be so aggressive with me at one of the stores that I put my credit card back in my purse and walked away from my shirt (a shirt that I had taken the time to try on and make sure I really wanted) and left the store without purchasing it. I don't know why people have to be SO aggressive with the sales promotions, suggestive selling, etc.... It was insane.

The rest of our shopping there was pretty uneventful. We talked to a woman in one shop about knitting which was fun. And I purchased a little summer dress and a really cute vest at a store that I thought was way to young for me to shop at until I shopped at it. (Apparently dropping out of plus sized opens a lot of shopping doors!) And then we stopped at Bath & Bodyworks and got some shower gel and hand soap.

We also ran to Cabella's to look at their shoe selection for men. No purchases there. I had a few choice words to say about the Mini-donuts being sold at the entrance of the shop though. The smell was INSANE and I WANTED them. But I held strong and did not cave in. Go me! Go will power! I haven't talked a whole lot about my weight loss in here lately - but I am on the cusp of a 50 pound loss. I have been slowly slowly losing this weight and I feel like I really need to step it up. I am still overweight and still have too much weight on my joints. And the stronger and healthier I get the more I want to do and the better I feel - physically and mentally. The extra weight I carried for so long was really being carried in my heart and soul as well as my body. So I am feeling the weight coming off in every sense of the word!

To that end we went for a bike ride yesterday. I have a really nice bike that my hubby purchased for me when I graduated college. I have barely ridden it in the years I have owned it and have been a little fearful of it in honesty. I road bike A LOT in the first 20 years of my life. I would bike out to see my boyfriend when I was a teenager and he lived 15 miles away and over a lot of country roads. I didn't get my license to drive until I was 18, so I had to bike to get around. Anyway, yesterday we took out bikes out to a really nice bike trail in Cannon Falls, MN. It is a railroad track that they paved and it's a really smooth and easy ride, and it was a wonderful reintroduction into riding my bike. It was so easy in fact, that we put on 20 MILES! We road 10 miles down to the station in Welch, and then road into town and stopped at the ice cream shop and we split a Strawberry Smoothie. Which tasted like heaven! We sat out on the steps and watched the world go by while we took turns eating the smoothie. It was wonderful. Then back on the bikes and 10 miles back to Canon Falls where we parked our car. It was just the most perfect day. :)

We were both pretty quiet on the ride back home as we were both pretty tired. Today I am feeling it. My butt hurts and I feel a little wind and sun burn (because of course we never thought of sun screen!) and all my muscles have that lovely ache in them that speaks toward some really good use.

And now it's Monday morning and I am NOT at work and life is so very very good! YAY VACATION!

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