Friday, October 4, 2019

Another two weeks gone!


I can't believe how fast the last two weeks have flown! They have been a bit rough and emotional for me. I find myself crying at all of the sad things ... tv shows, Facebook videos, Netflix movies, etc. I'm not sure of the reason, but I just go with it because, obviously, it won't do me any good to hold these sad feelings in! The temperatures are still way too hot and we are setting records here in my neck of the woods, but cooler temps are just around the corner next week ... thank goodness! I always feel better once cooler weather arrives. I love to "hunker down" on a cool, rainy day in my cozy home.

I'm participating in Organized October on Instagram and have set aside 5 projects to try to complete this month. Most require just a few days of dedicated time to finish, so I am hopeful that I will make it through my list. My husband has to work this weekend, so I am going to use that time alone to catch up on my Wrapped in Jamie squares 3 & 4 because #5 comes out soon and I don't want to be that far behind!

I've been working on switching over to a vegan eating plan using a bunch of new cookbooks to help me make a menu. I am going to adopt a 90/10 plan where 10% of the time is the grace I am giving myself for eating out with friends or cooking a meal to eat with my dad. I don't live in an area where alternative eating is readily accepted, so eating out isn't going to be easy. However, we did eat at Longhorn Steakhouse last night and I got a yummy salad and a baked sweet potato side that fit into my plan! I will figure things out. My husband is going to try to jump on this vegan wagon with me. I know it will be harder for him as he loves meat, but he wants to see if he can do it. We will learn so much, I'm sure! I am already less bloated and my cravings for sugary foods is waning ... yea!


Since my husband is working this weekend, I think I'm going to take a little time to treat myself to a movie that only I want to see ... and I want to watch it on the big screen! I loved the Downton Abbey series and the movie will be a nice break in my day of crochet!

I guess that is all for my update. I am planning on updating every Friday ... hopefully, the weeks won't get away from me like they did this time! Until next time, I hope your days are full of whatever makes you happy!

Kris

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Woot ... finally FALL!!


I can't believe that my favorite season has finally started! Leaves and acorns have been falling from the trees for about a month now, but this will increase in earnest over the next month. I love walking through the park while the leaves are falling and I definitely love the nip in the air that is beginning to show up a few mornings a week! I'll be spending a little time today dressing up our home in its fall finest!

Last week wasn't a great one. I fell forward while running on a trail and messed up my right hand, dislocating the first joint of the middle finger and abrading the palm of same hand. It's messed with my crochet time and I don't like that at all - LOL! I decided last minute to crochet a wedding gift for a friend's daughter and so am working as fast as I can to get it done so I can give it to her before her October 5th wedding. Of course, this also means that I have had to put aside other projects which I had planned. Oh well, it's all good as I will just catch up on those projects once this blanket is complete. I did manage to make the 2nd square for my Wrapped in Jamie blanket last week before I fell. Can you see the snakes?


I'm changing the way I structure my day. I am not getting things done the way I should and I'm not paying attention to my health either. So, I am allotting my morning time to house cleaning, exercise, errands, and other hobbies. ONLY after lunch, can I sit down to crochet. I am a research paper away from becoming a certified aromatherapist. However, it has been YEARS since I began my studies, so I am going to go back and review all of that information before I start my paper. But I want to finish these studies in 2020, so will start reviewing now.

I am a huge proponent of low-carb eating, including keto (see all of my favorite books here). I have lost weight and changed my lab values through ketogenic eating. However, I fell off the bandwagon about 10 months ago and have gained about 5 lbs back. It's not a lot, but it is the upper limit of where I want to be as I'm already "overweight" according to all of the charts. My GP says I'm ok as long as my lab values are good, but some of them weren't in range last time. I've been looking into a whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) way of eating and am very intrigued. I really missed fruits and veggies on the low-carb diet. So, I am looking to combine lower carb with WFPB adding in salmon and eggs for extra protein. I think I have it figured out and will be using this printable food diary to help me keep track of what I am eating. I am going to pretty much eat the same thing daily for breakfast and lunch to keep things easy at first. I hope I can find that fine line between low-carb and WFPB that keeps weight off and nutrition levels high.

Image result for whole food plant based low carb

My crochet plans for this week include finishing the wedding gift blanket, completing square #3 in the Wrapped in Jamie CAL and starting the sweater I am testing for a designer. I am also going to set up a cleaning routine and work on my food diary, fine tuning what I am eating and get back to the gym two days this week. I can't lift weights with my injured finger, but I can get in some treadmill time! I also hope to share a list of books that are good for eating WFPB in case anyone else is interested in that way of eating.

Enjoy the first full week of fall (or spring if you are on the other side of the world!) ... the change of seasons is a great time to make some positive changes in your life, so give it some thought this week!

.... Kris

Friday, September 13, 2019

Lots of crochet this week

I started the week by organizing my yarn and labeling the shelves. You can see those pictures of my craft room here.

I've started a lot of projects in the past few weeks, mostly blankets. We just don't have a lot in our home as I give most of the ones I make away as gifts! So, I'm participating in several crochet-a-longs to help me stay motivated to get some blankets complete before the cooler weather moves in.

I finished my first Wrapped In Jamie block, but made up my own border because the designer's border was just a bit more complicated than I have time for.


I am making four seasonal blankets for our living room. Each one is in a palette reminding me of the seasons. I am using Vibrant Vintage patterns from Cypress Textiles for my summer blanket. So far, I have 1/4 of the blanket complete, one square in each color I'm choosing to use. I just need to make 3 more in each color. I will join/border in cream.


I'm using patterns from books I have here in my home to make up a fall blanket in the colors below. Adding in a bit of Halloween colors to make it a bit more vibrant! This blanket will be a bit of a stashbuster as I will not have the same number of squares in each color. I'm starting with those in the picture and will add more in as needed to make the required amount of squares needed. I will use the dark brown for the join/border as I believe it will make the colors POP!


I'm going to use the Nature's Walk CAL patterns to create a spring blanket using Stylecraft Bambino and Bellissima yarns. The palette is pink and purple flowers, green leaves and grass, plus a beautiful blue sky full of clouds. A nice yellow sunshine border and join will set the colors off nicely, I think!


I will also be joining in the Mediterranean Summer CAL ... I have chosen wintery colors for it, so it may suit as a winter-themed blanket. I will decide once it is finished!

It may seem too much to have several projects going at once, but I get bored easily so this way I can go back and forth between several projects and not get bored. I'm not too worried about when I need to get the blankets completed ... it will all happen eventually!

Friday, September 6, 2019

It's Friday!

I spent the day planning my colors for the Mediterranean Summer CAL by Deramores. I ended up combining the Aegean and Storm colorways into something I am calling Sea & Sand. I wanted my blanket to be a bit more on the soothing side, so no bright colors in it! I love the Tuscan colorway with all of it's gorgeous purples and it has given me an idea for a summer-themed blanket that I will make sometime next year. By the end of this year, I will have a blanket for 3/4 seasons and I am happy about that as I only have two blankets made for us to use!

It's been a rough week in that I've had headaches daily. I'm not quite sure why. I just saw the chiropractor and even indulged in a massage the same day. It's annoying to have so many headaches that even ibuprofen isn't helping. I'm trying to eat better so don't think it's food related. Oh well, hopefully things will get better.

I'm making plans to make some sweaters for myself this winter. I post almost daily on Instagram, so you can follow my current crochet projects there easily if you are on Instagram. Just click on the link in the top right corner to take you there. I'm taking a break from testing patterns so that I can focus on crocheting whatever I want when I want! Testing is fun and I have learned a LOT this year. I'm really only wanting to test clothing patterns at this point.

I'm having a hard time getting motivated to exercise. Bleh. It just isn't fun for me and takes a lot of my energy to get it done leaving me feeling fatigued the rest of the day. Hopefully, I can work this out over the winter. I love the cooler weather and usually have more energy during those months. The weather is going to get pretty warm next week, so that isn't going to help.

Guess that is all for this week. Looking forward to some lazy weekend days with my husband!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Beautiful (and maybe FREE!) Beanie Patterns on Ravelry

I've never made a beanie, but these patterns make me want to make a bunch for the cooler weather!

Cherub Wing Beanie



Woven Hearts Beanie



6DKB Popsicle Effect Hat



Trident Puff Beanie



Fireside Beanie



Hello Pam Beanie



Falling Leaves Beanie





Hobbies should be FUN!

I am joining in several crochet-alongs this month because I find that I get more projects finished when I follow along. Some times, I like to start a CAL later after a few weeks have gone by because I need some color inspiration from others and waiting means I have a chance to look at all of the gorgeous pictures shared online on social media.

However, one thing I am noticing recently is that people are posting that they "can't do it" or that they don't know what colors to choose or they can't afford the yarn the designer has picked out for a project, etc. ... people seem sooooo stressed out by something that should be fun! Hobbies are meant to be enjoyed - they are usually something that we CHOOSE to do because we like it.

Crochet shouldn't be stressful!!

I am not after perfection in my finished projects. I have mistakes in EVERY SINGLE item I make - a missed stitch here which I make up somewhere else, wrong count on a row which I fix on a following row and so on. Rarely do I frog (rip out) the error ... I just keep going and fix it down the road. Crochet is very forgiving that way - LOL!

I have learned so much this year by trying patterns that seemed difficult ... many of them weren't as hard as they looked! I no longer care if I have a ton of ends to weave in because I've chosen a particular pattern to make. It's just a part of the design process. I also don't worry about making a mistake. I either fix it or I frog it. I recently started a scarf and I'm about 1/5 of the way into it, but I have realized that it is too narrow. I am going to frog it and start over ... I will only have lost a few nights of crochet - no biggie! - it will look better once I make the changes and I'll be happier with the final result.

I will keep trying new techniques and projects in crochet because I want to GROW in my knowledge of my favorite hobby. I don't want to be limited by what I THINK I can do ... I know that I can do anything if I just keep trying. If a project isn't fun, I frog it and start something else. Who wants to spend weeks making something when they aren't enjoying the process? That doesn't sound like a fun hobby to me!

I hope that hobbyists will figure out what makes them happy with their hobby and pursue those adventures. However, I also hope that people will continue to push themselves just a little bit to learn something new in their chosen hobby because it can open up so many new projects for them if they just try something to see if they like it. Often getting through daily life is stressful enough ... we don't need to be adding more stress to our lives in our free time!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Goals for September

For me, Sunday is usually a day of planning for the week ahead. My husband bicycles on Sundays, either alone or with a friend. While he is gone, I usually straighten up the house, wash sheets and towels and work on my planner. Whatever time I have left before he gets home is focused on crochet, of course.

Today was a different day. I had an ocular migraine pretty early in the morning. For me, this involves a lot of shimmering and zigzag patterns with my vision. It only lasted about 20 minutes, but made me nauseous and I finished with a headache. So, I'm just taking it easy watching Diagnosis on Netflix and waiting to feel good enough to pop in the shower. I decided to take this time to work on my goals for September and here they are:

1. I saw a post for "sugar-free September" online this week and I'm going to participate in this. For me, that means no added sugars for the next 30 days ... no candy, cake, etc. If I can do this for a month, I can usually get over my craving for sugar.

2. I'm going to participate in multiple CALs that start this month because I need to get some blankets made for some upcoming weddings and I want to make a couple for our own home! I've only made 3 blankets for us in the last almost 3 years, so it's time to give us for cool weather snuggling. I have also pulled out 4 unfinished projects and will try to work on one weekly to finish some things up.

3. We are working on getting our finances in order. Now that we are 50, we can put additional money in our 401k and we also want to start up our Roth IRAs. We are very focused on making sure we have enough money saved for retirement.

4. I need to get back to a regular cleaning schedule. Usually, I tackle one chore daily and it works out well. I've gotten off track this summer, but will pick it back up this week.

5. Finally, I plan to get back on a regular schedule at Planet Fitness and lift weights 2-3 days weekly. Usually, I go on Sundays while Jim bikes, but I'm skipping today due to the migraine.

I know these are some good things to focus on this month ... here's to working on the plan I have set for myself in September.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Wrapped In Jamie CAL

I am definitely going to participate in this CAL! The designer has really gone above and beyond providing lots of LOTS of resources for us. I can't believe this CAL is free!

I love that this it is a long-term project and so I can definitely fit it into my crochet schedule. Second, I LOVE the Outlander series and the story of Jamie and Claire, so I think that having this blanket in my home will be a great reminder of how love endures all.

I have chosen my colors based on the colors chosen by the designer. The large blanket contains 20 squares plus the large Claire square and I have chosen my colors using my stash of Caron Simply Soft based on her palette here and her colorways chosen here.


I will make this layout for my blanket, so will use the white for the Claire Square, and the Bone color will be my border for all of my squares. The 20 squares will come from the other colors. My triangles will be made from 14 of the colors and I will decide on those colors once I have my layout decided. My border will be in the Bone color.


I cannot wait to see the end result ... it is going to be beautiful!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Some updates - CALs, yarn, discounts and FREE patterns

I've finished updating the CAL listing in the left sidebar. Several of them now have dates and I've added a couple. I'm still trying to decide which ones I want to participate in, but my interest is denotated by a ** in front of the CAL listing.

- Red Heart yarns can now be found at Yarnspirations.com. I have also noticed that there are several new Red Heart and Lion Brand yarns now available at Hobby Lobby, so check out your local store!

Deramores is having a 15% off sale on most yarns. I have purchased from them multiple times and recommend them.

- Wool Warehouse is having a Birthday giveaway. To celebrate, they are giving away a £50 gift voucher, to one lucky customer, every day for the next 7 days! For a chance to win, all you need to do is place an order over £25 on their website between Midnight 00:00 (BST) on 29th August 2019 and 23:59 (BST) on 5th September 2019. Each day, an order will be selected at random and a golden envelope containing a £50 gift voucher will be posted out with that order! This giveaway is open to everyone worldwide.

Would you like to get discounts on paid patterns or even FREE patterns? I have found that the easiest way to do this is to sign up for newsletters from your favorite designers! ... find them on Instagram and check their profile for links to their newsletter sign-ups or check out their blogs for sign-up information. I have saved a TON of money by doing this!

New patterns that I purchased today (both with a discount, too!)

Southern Pullover - discount posted on her IG post

Metropolis Cardigan - discounted through 9/3

New FREE patterns:

Idlewood dress (CAL starts 9/13)

Briar Pocket Cardigan

Honeycomb Cowl (free on blog)

Ocean Breeze Cover-up (I received a code in my email to get this for FREE!)

Stained Glass Slouch Beanie

That is all I had on my mind to share today ... I'm fighting the urge to buy all the new pretty yarn I keep finding. I already have an entire bedroom full of yarn, but we always want more, don't we!? LOL!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

New patterns on Ravelry

Here are my favorite FREE patterns on Ravelry so far this week!

Twinkle Little Stars pillow


Dream Weaver blanket



Happily Ever After Shawl (tapestry crochet)


The "1, 2, 3, 4" Blanket (mosaic crochet)









New additions

I've been working on adding links that I want to have available to me quickly. In the left hand column, I have added several lists that I thought might also be helpful to my fellow online crochet sisters! I've participated in several CALs this year and it has helped me get some projects done that I wouldn't have started otherwise. I do hope to join in several of the CALs I have shared here ... some of the projects are beautiful!

Like most crafters, I have my list of favorite designers. I have multiple patterns from these artists and am always watching for their next creation to be released, so I decided to list them here for easy reference! I have also added a list of unfinished projects (WIPS) that I will finish by the end of the year. I always like to start the year without anything left undone. This week, I am finishing up a test project and then I'll get to tackling this list as well as participating in several of the CALs.

Finally, I check out all of the new patterns added to Ravelry daily and so I am thinking of posting several lists weekly of gorgeous FREE patterns that others might be interested in. These will include blankets, squares, tops and shawls/scarves/wraps as well as some home decor items. I know there are lots of other crochet items (amigurumi, children's items, kitchen projects, etc.) listed daily, but I can't look at all of them and so will focus on sharing items that I would consider making myself.

I do hope that you will find these lists and shared info helpful!

Monday, August 26, 2019

I'm back!

I can't believe it has been almost 18 months since I've last blogged. I'm still at home enjoying my "retirement" and crocheting as much as I can. I've decided to pick this blog back up as a way for me to record lots of crochet links, keep up with CALs and share information when I adapt a pattern to suit me better. This blog will be a bit like a journal of what is going on in my life. I turned 50 in January and it's been a bit of a rough year as I've come to grips with getting older and what that has meant for my health and psyche. I know most blogs are picture heavy because it is a way to grab people's attention, but I am not going to make myself adhere to this requirement. I will add pictures when necessary and helpful to the post, but some days, my post may contain only thoughts and links! I need to keep this fun for me and not worry about all of the rules for a successful blog. Since I am not following the desire of many bloggers to turn this into an income-producing blog, I am going to do my own thing!

I do hope that my crochet friends will find helpful information here as that will probably be my main focus on many days. So, here we go! Welcome - I hope you find something useful here!