Category Archives: health

Catching up

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Catching up

Hello bloggy friends

I hope you had a wonderful week and that your weekend will be full of fun things. I have a few things to show you because it’s been over a week since my last post.

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The crazy C2C laptop bag is all done, buttons ‘n all.

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My fall wreath is adorning my kitchen wall, completed with pumpkins, sunflower and various leaves. Four of the leaves were made with random patterns available on Ravelry, though I didn’t note down which ones, and the rest I just made up as I went along.

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I had a nice surprise in the yarn aisle at Wal-mart t’other day. I don’t often see much worth buying there, but they actually had a bunch of cakes of Bernat Pop! in various colourways. This time, I narrowed down the colours and bought two of each, thinking it might be good if I wanted to make a pair of something.

These are Foggy Notion, Birch Bark and Blue, and Full Spectrum, going from left to right. One of the Foggy Notions has already been converted into an infinity scarf using this pattern. An easy two row pattern, it used one whole cake of the Pop!

It’s not the softest acrylic out there so I intend to give this a machine wash and dry before giving it away.

I have been a good girl, going to the gym regularly since I joined at the beginning of September. On my days off, my plan is to go and work out with the treadmill/weights, and also to attend yoga and Zumba classes when I can. I have yet to try a Spin class. There is one tomorrow morning at 7, before the yoga. Not sure if I will do that one or not, yet, as I have to work afterwards. If Tai Chi Man is up for it, I will do it!

I spent a pleasant afternoon at my friend’s today, catching up on the last three episodes of Outlander. Awesome!

Happy crafting!

 

 

Scrappy fun

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I followed through on that idea I mentioned in my last post about using up some stash to make cat mats.

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Five strands of random acrylic plus a 19mm hook makes for fast finishes. Once I’d made five, I thought I’d make a nicer version for myself. The floor in my cold room (an unheated cupboard in my basement where we keep our food stores) is freezing in the winter so to save our feet I thought we needed a rug. So I made one.

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I rather like the way the colours worked in this one, except maybe for the yellow at the beginning. Still, it feels good to use up random balls and odds and ends of yarn and edit my Ravelry stash to show “all used up.”

Zumba on Sunday morning was as fun as I remember it. Shame I don’t have every Sunday off (working all this weekend) but I will go when I can.

No inspiration for the Lion Brand Mandala yet, but I am keeping my antennae up for mentions of likely patterns online.

Pizza time! Off to eat.

 

Better photo and another FO

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Edited to add: I just spent all of five minutes adding all my free pattern links back in the sidebar. They were all still there, in the background. If I’d realised how quick and easy it would be, I would have done it 9 months ago when I changed the theme! Doh!

 

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Daytime shot of the Polaris scarf, taken outside this morning. We have another day of orange sun, the sky being totally obscured by smoke again.

And I finished off this coaster, which is about 5 inches in diameter. I felt like my experiment was a success and I’m itching to move on to something new.

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If you look carefully, you can see a little bit of the Phil Techno rubber yarn peeking out at the bottom of the photo. I didn’t want to trim it too close. The yarn is Red Heart with Love, and I think the colourway is Boysenberry.

Yay for finishing things!

So my day looks like this…keep nagging young men to get up and get ready for the bus, drop them at bus stop, go to gym (which I joined on Tuesday and I am all gung ho for getting fit again), come home, shower and change, vacuum the house, and make dinner. Sounds like a plan!

And tonight I can pull out a cake of Lion Brand Mandala (totally non-fattening) and crochet on the couch, guilt-free!

 

 

FO: Classique Cotton bag, and other stuff

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I had a little play with some of my Stylecraft Classique Cotton colours. I thought this would make a nice bag – sometimes you just need room for a phone and a key, and maybe a driver’s licence and a credit card.

I used the plum colour to seam it and I’m not 100% happy with how it looks, so rather than go with my original plan, which was to give it to a co-worker, I may just keep it for myself.

See that magazine there? It’s not often that I find a magazine worth buying, but I happened to be in London Drugs today and as usual I browsed through the available knitting magazines (there weren’t any crochet ones). Vogue Knitting has had some, shall we say, Interesting designs in the past that maybe a stick-thin model can get away with but on me, an average height, average weight, rather plain middle-aged girl, they would have looked just plain dumb! However I saw interesting articles, Canadian content and patterns I would actually knit, including a Cowichan-style sweater. Even though I don’t knit with wool, being vegan, I have long wished to make such a garment. I’m sure the knitting police won’t arrest me for using acrylic!!!

I actually bought two magazines.

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Whilst I already have adopted the whole-food, plant-based lifestyle and am now pretty adept at cooking vegan meals without oil, I do like to experiment with new recipes. Not only that, but I am currently preparing an educational presentation on the diet which needs to be ready by  next weekend for its first airing, and having this magazine to hand will, I think, be useful.

If you haven’t yet watched the Forks Over Knives documentary or checked out their website, I heartily recommend them.

I will shortly be retiring to bed with my new magazines, and the only reason I can get away with that tonight is that Tai Chi Man is working out of town so is not here to object to me reading in bed. He always goes to bed earlier than I do, because he works full-time and wakes early and is pretty knackered by about 10pm. Whereas I tend to stay up late (Netflix has a lot to answer for) and get up later in the morning.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Happy crafting!

New venture

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I do apologise if this blog gets a little quieter in future. However I have been working on setting up a brand new website/blog all about the benefits of a Whole Food Plant Based diet.

Having been vegan for thirty years, and getting more and more interested and informed on the plethora of scientific evidence that this is the way of the future, I wanted to start putting my money where my mouth was, as it were. Actually, I have, for now, set up a free WordPress blog, so no financial investment at this time. However since graduating from the Centre for Nutrition Studies Plant-based nutrition course at eCornell, and even before that, I have wanted to do something concrete to help get the word out.

I know there are many resources out there, but each website, book or documentary adds a little more to the mix, and different approaches appeal to different people. Even if only a handful of people get the message via my new blog, and it makes a difference in their lives, then it is worth doing.

The yarn has been lying dormant for a couple of days while I played with Squarespace (professional but even though it is supposedly user-friendly I found it frustrating to set up), considered my options (do I want to commit to a monthly fee for a site which won’t be generating income, at least initially), investigated the WordPress options (from free up to $30 a month, depending) and just dived in to a regular basic blog because I just wanted to get started already!

Setting up the blog took a bit of time, getting the first two posts published, creating a new Facebook page, opening up a new Twitter account, and I needed to get out for a walk in the evening to burn off some of the tension of all that laptop time.

I’d love it if you were to check out my new website, Grains, Greens, Berries & Beans. Long name but I like the alliteration and the other options I considered were already taken. My youngest son helped with the logo that appears on my Facebook and Twitter profiles. I gave him my idea on paper and he translated it into digital!

I have so much information to share that it will take a long time to publish just what I already have planned, and of course new things are appearing on the web all the time. I hope to create a comprehensive resource for all things related to the Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle. I’m excited to get on with it.

Thanks for visiting.

 

WIP: Gypsy Flower Square sweater

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Good morning, peeps! It’s such a beautiful day here. We’ve had lots of sun and blue sky this week. A few clouds threatened yesterday and even dropped about ten tiny snowflakes on me when I was walking for an hour, but it didn’t amount to anything.

Now that we have the new windows and doors, the house is so much brighter. No UV film to block out the much-desired winter sun. The extra window in the kitchen door is my favourite thing of the whole job – what was a dark corner is now filled with light. What a difference!

I took another photo of me with the new haircut that came out better. I sent it to my mum, but I will also share it here. I love the hair, but my face is definitely suffering the effects of my 54 year old hormones. It is reddened, partly spotty and partly flaky. Gah!

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You may have seen the first part of the Gypsy Flower Square in my last post. I reached the end of the instructions for the square…

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I absolutely love the stitch pattern in the last two rounds, especially as they are in my favourite colour.

After that, I had to decide what to do to make it bigger. This is what I did…

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Some V stitches, some puff stitches. I’ve now used all the colours in the pack except for the petrol. I need to save that for the edges as I would hate to run out of it when doing the neckline, etc. Rather than make another square like this, I think I will probably do the back in stripes, as well as the sleeves. That way I can use up the colours more evenly.

Stylecraft Special DK held double and crocheted with a 6mm hook is so nice and squishy. Of course, one could use chunky yarn to start with, but the DK comes in 82 colours and the Aran and Chunky weights only in, what, 30?

Well, the square still isn’t big enough, so I will have to be creative and continue on until it’s at least 22 inches across. Gotta have some positive ease, especially in a bulky sweater. I really hope this will look great with jeans this spring!

I spent an intense couple of hours yesterday, starting to type up my thoughts relating to a new venture. Since I acquired my Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate, my plans are to set up a new website/blog helping people who want to transition to a healthier lifestyle. It will need to be written, rewritten, and tested (just like a crochet pattern!) before releasing it to the general public. I am excited about it!

Have an awesome day!

 

Back to crochet

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We had a slight digression there, while I reblogged Boats of Oats’ vegan posts, and even had a bit of a crochet hiatus. I think there was a three-day chunk of time when I didn’t pick up a hook! Incredible!!

However, we are now back to your regular scheduled programming, and here is the pile of little hats. All twenty of them.

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I used some yarns that were languishing in the craft room, miscellaneous ones that weren’t bringing me joy. (Maybe it’s time to clear out à la Marie Kondo?) Various yarns, various hook sizes, various methods. It was fun while it lasted, but it’s nearing the time when my friend needs them so she can pass them on to her friend with the Swaziland connections.

And now to move on…

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This bag full of beach-inspired colours is the Coast Colour Pack, originally put together by Lucy of Attic24. (That link will take you to her home page – there is a link to her ‘store’ at Wool Warehouse, and also in the right sidebar if you scroll down you will find a link to her Ripple blanket [Coast].)

Fifteen skeins of Stylecraft Special DK, which I bought probably a couple of years ago now with no specific plans in mind. But I’m a bit blanketed out, if you know what I mean, and I really want to crochet myself a sweater. I’ve never done that before. There has been quite a bit of mulling, agonising, swatching and pattern-browsing, trying to find that perfect design that will work with multiple colours without me looking like a circus clown. (Oh, wait, I already made the granny square coat, so what am I worrying about?!)

I did find a lovely design at DROPS, though their patterns can be quite challenging to follow, or so I’ve heard. However I am stealing their construction idea. Make two large squares for front and back, add bits at the top for shoulder shaping, and add sleeves. With that in mind, I found this – the Big Gypsy Flower Square – which has been in my Ravelry queue for some time. I love the look of this square and decided to use it as the centre of my sweater front/back. Using doubled yarn and a 6mm hook, because I’m impatient and don’t want to fiddle with one strand and a skinny hook, I made this progress last night…

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It’s pretty, huh? Round 5 caused me grief, as I think the designer may have added an extra stitch in when typing up the instructions. I wasn’t getting the right stitch count and my corners were ending up in the wrong place, so I ended up removing one of the scs from the middle of the straight edges.

That last (sixth) round is khaki green, though it looks browner in the photo.

Anyway, there will be 14 rounds total, but I think I’m going to have to do a lot of extra rounds to achieve a sweater width, but this is a ‘design-it-on-the-hook’ sort of sweater and we shall see.

In other news, I had a haircut this week and I bit the bullet and went with an idea that’s been in my head for ages – an asymmetric style that scared me a little but I did it anyway. Hair grows, right?! I gave the hairstylist free rein, after a brief explanation, and I love it. It’s not a drastic difference – my hair is really curly when short, and so now the left side comes to just below my ear and the right is at chin level. No, I don’t have a good photo.

I also treated myself to a Fitbit Flex 2, which is one of the less expensive gadgets that one can wear on the wrist to track activity. It is waterproof, so you can actually swim in it. Time will tell if I actually pay attention and up my step count. I’m not sure how accurate it is – the first night, it got my sleep time right, but the second two it was way off. But anything that gets me more aware of my sedentary habits and getting more exercise has to be good. I’m thinking of bringing the small rebounder upstairs and getting more steps in that way. Plus the weather is getting milder and walking when there’s less ice on the ground is more enjoyable!

Better run – Tai Chi Man and I are planning to go out this morning and I’m still in my PJs. Enjoy your Sunday. 🙂

 

 

WIP: Peacock Tail Bag CAL

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Almost there!

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The bag’s front and back are now joined and the top band is finished. The bag is now blocking, hence the pins and wet spots where my iron dripped while steaming it.

I have two small crochet tabs to make for the D rings and I still don’t have a handle, but I did find some batik fabric in my modest stash which will be perfect for lining.

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It’s been a busy few days with work and errands. Yesterday in particular the store was really buzzing as we had one of our “ultimate sales” which continues throughout the weekend. I am grateful not to be working today – instead I am going to an intro session for piano lessons and this evening a potluck with dear friends.

For about the last month I’ve been feeling like an old crock as I have had a few aches and pains in my back, shoulders, neck and left hip. It has disturbed my sleep, stiffened me up so I have to roll out of bed slowly in the mornings, made me limp when I get up off the couch. I think it might be due to my overly enthusiastic efforts at getting back into weight training – I really wanted to feel fit and strong but it backfired and left me whinging and wincing like an old curmudgeon.

I’ve been to the chiropractor twice this week (she found a lot out of alignment) and had a massage last weekend. This week I have more therapeutic appointments to make because I really don’t like it when my body is not flexible and pain-free.

Anyway, enough of my whining. Things to do, people to see. Better get on with it. Have a wonderful weekend, peeps!

 

 

 

Toast!

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It’s the weekend, and the day that I decided that four weeks of raw detox was quite enough. If Tai Chi Man hadn’t been stern with me last night, I would probably have had toast after coming home from work at 9.15, but I had a banana instead. This morning, however, I broke out the bread, home-made ‘butter’ and organic strawberry jam and had two pieces of toast for the first time in a month. So good!

I also had a sandwich for lunch, filled with avocado, tomato, cucumber and lettuce. Mmmm! Now I just have to be self-disciplined and not pig out, because I’m feeling a little leaner and I like it.

I’m supposed to be at work today, but the store was so quiet that I was asked if I’d like to go home early. So I did. Yay for extra crocheting time. I don’t yet have a photo of my latest project. As I mentioned in my last post, I did do a small practice of Extended Tunisian Simple Stitch but I didn’t particularly enjoy it. It doesn’t have the same flow as Tss. So I ripped it out and have now started a Baktus-like triangular scarf. If you haven’t heard of the Baktus, it’s an easy scarf where you weigh your yarn at the beginning, knit or crochet, increasing on one side, until half the yarn is used up, then decrease on that side until your yarn is gone.

I’m using Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable in Dragonfly, which is a combination of purples and greens, and a 6mm hook. I’ll get a photo when I have more done.

I still need to decide on my travel crochet project for my big holiday in June. I have to travel light so can’t fill a whole suitcase with yarn (which obviously I’d like to do).

Any suggestions?

Bag WIP

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What gorgeous weather we are having this week! I’m not sure how warm it got, officially, but it’s been in the twenties Celsius, which is 70s Fahrenheit.

Yesterday, after a visit with a friend, I had a bit of time to spare before going to work at 4pm. I wanted to get some exercise in, but also some sunshine, so I multi-tasked by putting on my swimsuit and taking my yoga mat out to the deck along with my resistance bands. Hopefully I didn’t scare any of the neighbours with my flab and downward facing dog! It was hot, as the back deck faces south, and I probably was out there for less than half an hour.

My shift at the store was 4-9pm, and it was really quiet. I wore my favourite turquoise maxi skirt which meant I had to break out the summer shoes…except I should have worn some knee high stockings with them, because in a very short time I had nasty blisters and it was really painful to walk.

This morning was all about errands and this afternoon another frying (sunbathing) session.  Dinner was a rather tasty purple yam/eggplant/broccoli curry, which sounds like an odd combination but it worked well.  And finally a walk with Tai Chi Man to round off all the things on my mental To Do list.

So, to the bag (finally, you say)! I found a fabric remnant at work last night, 0.3 of a metre for $1.35, which has the perfect colours for lining the Autumn bag. I have sewn the lining and pinned it in around the top of the crocheted bag, and started making a strap with Tunisian Simple Stitch (Tss). This is the only Tunisian crochet that I know how to do! One of the things I like about it is that there’s no turning the work every row, which is good when the rows are only 8 stitches long.

Do you join in on CALs or KALs (Crochet- or Knit-alongs)? I have mixed feelings about them. I see some wonderful designs but start to wonder whether I’ll stick with them for the duration. There’s the Frida’s flowers blanket, the Last Dance on the Beach one, the Everything is Cool and Groovyghan one. If you want to know more about these, check out the Colourful CALs/KALs group on Ravelry, as they are talking about these three and many others. The Groovyghan one is most appealing to me right now, as I love granny squares, but it started back in January and runs until September. I could catch up, I’m sure, I just need to make a decision (that’s the hard part).

Ah well, back to the hooking. Ttfn

(edited to add link to Ravelry group)