New endeavors

Well, it's been a few weeks since I last posted. Ooopsie. I didn't mean to wait that long. But, it's been a busy few weeks. We finally started working on the house again. The first room we tackled was the library. It's the room that is open to the foyer below. We moved our office out of the front room, into the fireplace room, which was the living room. This makes for a quieter library area. We finished painting and then yesterday we hung the pictures. IMG_0456 IMG_0455 We love how it turned out. It's very tranquil in there. We still need to finish bringing in some books, but otherwise it is how we want it. I have also started working on inventory for an Etsy shop. I have been making chain mail bracelets. Here are the two samples I made that I'll be keeping. Untitled I have a copper bracelet done in a different weave that is sitting there in my little drawer I have for inventory. The goal is to get a bunch of stuff ready and then list it all. That will also mean making some more stitch markers. I have a bunch of charms that I purchased that will be making into stitch markers, and possibly necklaces. Today I released my first sock pattern for test knitting. They are called Winter Jonas Socks. I came up with the idea during the storm this past winter. All I was doing was sitting inside knitting and occasionally snow blowing, so I had lots of time to come up with ideas. I already have my second pattern planned out. Untitled Now we are moving on to other rooms in the house. We are trying to get things decluttered and rearranged and made useful. Next up is the guest room, because we bought a bed frame for in there that is still sitting in the entry way. We've had it for a couple months now. Slowly, but surely I will get from room to room. 🙂 Thankfully the guest room just needs the bed frame, bedding and a mirror set hung.

November already?!

The last couple months have just flown by. We've been both busy and sick. Let's start with September. We spent that month getting ready for a vacation. Yes, you read that right. A vacation. We went on a cruise! Now, it wasn't all about fun and games (but most of it really was). It was actually a writing retreat with the authors from our favorite writing podcast, Writing Excuses. We really had a fantastic time, but our brains were fried by the time we were home. There was so much great information. It was also nice to be around a group of people that understood other introverts. It was interesting to see so many people come together, and then people just come and go as they became too overwhelmed with the number of people there. And it was totally accepted. One just had to said, Sorry, but I need to go, or whatever and people understood. There were about 4 days of excursions as we were at shore. Since I'm still not feeling 100%, we made the choice to not do any. We pretty much just stayed on the ship. This had the nice added benefit of giving us time to rest and be able to keep up with the group, as well as being able to get the hot tub pretty much to ourselves. There was usually about 15 people in there, but during the excursion afternoons there was maybe 1 or 2 people. We spent lots of time in there and just refreshed our muscles. It was great. Here are some of the pictures of where we were docked. A beautiful day at sea: thumb_IMG_0761_1024 Haiti: thumb_IMG_0787_1024 thumb_IMG_0852_1024 Jamaica: thumb_IMG_0884_1024 thumb_IMG_0893_1024 Mexico: thumb_IMG_0979_1024 Yes, the water actually is this blue: thumb_IMG_1009_1024 The water colors were unbelievable. Some areas were that deep gorgeous blue, and others were a gorgeous green color. You see pictures of these places and thing that the colors must have been faked. And they really weren't. I actually had to amplify the colors as I edited the photos, because my raw pictures weren't able to pick up the natural colors. It really was amazing. We are planning on doing the writing cruise again. Next year is to a different location, so that will be exciting. I'm also hoping that I'll be up to doing more excursions next year. I really want to go snorkeling, but that will mean I would have to do swimming lessons before I can do that. Swimming is slightly required. 🙂 Now that we are back on dry land, we have been trying to get things organized within our life. We have been spending so much time just going from thing to thing that we really just haven't taken the time to let ourselves breathe. And it wasn't like it was big things, either. We just hadn't adjusted from being in emergency mode. We didn't realize how long it would take us to just let all that go. We've had to give ourselves permission to let ourselves get into and enjoy those things we want to do. For Joe that meant writing. Part of the reason for the cruise was to take away the painful memories that were associated with it, and replace it with positive ones. He had really stepped away from writing when we moved down here, and then the day he started to write again, and had gone upstairs to his office to really focus and dive in, was the day his mom passed away. It was the same day that I was going to get the craft room ready to start working on designs. I had the room half torn apart when the phone call came in. It took me until the summer to get down there to finish at least what I had started. It still sits empty. That's unfortunately because the washer flooded the laundry room, which poured into my craft room. We need to get the ceiling pulled down and one wall and get it fixed before I can go in there. So, most of my craft stuff is sitting in Joe's workshop. Good thing it's a big basement. At this stage, we are trying to get into things we enjoy. Now that it's November, that means it's time for NaNoWriMo (write 50,000 words in November). That has Joe back at it. I was fine for the first part of the month, then I got sick. I'm now fighting tonsillitis. Wee! Thankfully my dental work was completed yesterday, so I am able to get rehydrated and eat properly for the first time in a month. I'll be getting braces, probably in January. That will help with the dental care issues I'm having. Joe is also waiting for physio to start on December 9. It's a heck of a wait for this one. But, the guy he wants to see is the only one close to us that does the dry needling technique. Joe found out a couple weeks ago when he had a bad flare of his neck that the reason for it wasn't arthritis (although it's looking a bit rough in there), but was actually because he has no curve in his neck. Likely due to his military school time. It's from standing at attention. The neck is placed at an angle that is not normal, and over time you just get used to that, and it decreases the curve. Now he has none. And he has his 5th and 6th vertebrae trying to snuggle up, so there is very little gap there. Physio will start by helping the muscles relax. Because with all this, the muscles went nuts and are now actually pulling his spine to one side. But, get the muscles to relax and you can work on getting the spine aligned. But, you can't do one without the other. He has some things he can do to relax the muscles and keep the severe spasm from starting again, and he has muscle relaxers. Come December he'll start to feel much better. He has been adjusting his desks to move the computer screens higher to keep his head at a proper angle. Other than that, we're working towards Christmas. Then after that, I'll be getting a pattern out to test knitters. I just have to finish the pattern. Slowly, but surely, we'll get things on track to where we need them to be.

Kitchen Renovation

We are so close to being finished our kitchen renovation. The main part is 99% done. We just need some caulking around the counter top/tile, and the inspections need to be finished. The baking station just needs some moldings, the double ovens connected, and the double oven doors put on. We are thrilled with how it has turned out. The changes have meant a good amount of extra space, and a much brighter space. Before: Untitled After: IMG_0647 The desk area we used to have has been torn out to make space for a baking station. The baking station is cabinets and a double wall oven. Before: image After: image We had a little fun with the tiled backsplash. The kitchen and living room are one large room, so we are carrying the paint scheme throughout. We decided to go with a Maritime theme, and have a bunch of different things from Nova Scotia and things that are very beachy. So, we decided to go with just a bit of the beach rock to make sure it wasn't too overbearing. We also chose a shiny sealer to give it the wet look, and to bring out all the colors and details in the rocks. IMG_0648 IMG_0649 We are really happy with how it turned out. We'll be even happier when the last bits are done, and we can just get back to using it. 🙂

The Shop is Open for Business!

Yes, that's right. I have finally opened the Etsy shop. I have listed stitch markers that I finished today, and I will be adding more things in the coming days. I have a couple necklaces that will be done very soon. I'm not sure what will be going up, other than jewellery, but I will have to see about putting up my knitting patterns and also some knit items. Many people like knit socks, so they may make an appearance as well. We'll see how long it takes to do things. The jewellery is a lot of fun to make, as are the stitch markers. Now I just have to get things sold. 🙂 Feel free to spread the word and to send people to my shop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/tanyalavine The next time we go out, I have to get a price check on shipping, and pick up some bubble pack envelopes for shipping. That way it doesn't look so bad when I just get the price check on shipping, but don't actually ship something. hehe I'll pick a US and Canada postal/zip code and see what it will cost, so I can set that up as the default in the shop. These are the stitch markers that are listed: Untitled I also have the same beads in blue. I love how they turned out. These are the beads for the necklaces: UntitledUntitled And now for some finished items. I finished my jacket (Medieval from Drops) a few days ago. I absolutely love it! The buttons fit it perfectly, as well. medieval Also, I can show the secret socks that I talked about weeks ago. They were a test knit for someone in the Ravelry community. They turned out terrific. The recipient has received them, and they are loved. 🙂 2013-06-14 14.53.21 Other than that, everything else is a work in progress. I should have more pictures of finished stuff soon. Until then, keep checking back, and be sure to check the shop for anything new!

Summer and socks

It appears that summer is arriving. We went from cold to warm, with not much in between. The buds have gone crazy here, and we went from no buds to leaves in just a couple days, which means the pollen count went from nothing to high. The good thing is that it's warm. Nice and warm. We're at 20 right now, and it feels fantastic! It's supposed to be around 30 tomorrow with the humidex. Not so pretty, but beggars can't be choosers. hehe We'll go out later to get the air conditioner ready to go. We just need to check to make sure that there is no debris blocking the intakes. We had it serviced not long ago when the motor went in it. So, I managed to finish a pair of socks. Yay! I absolutely love this pattern. It is fast, easy, and the sizing is always perfect. Sometimes I find that the sock sizing just doesn't work and they are too loose or too tight. But, these? These are perfection. Every. Single. Time. I love them. Untitled hmm..not sure how I got that bruise..oh well. I probably did something dumb. haha! I also have a recipe to share. This was shared on facebook recently, and I'm not sure where it actually came from, if it's someone's recipe or not. Things tend to lose their authorship on there. But, it's not my recipe...although I would love to claim it. haha I did do some modifications to match my tastes and what I could find. It seems to be very forgiving. I couldn't find jalepeno's (and I'm not a fan anyway), so I left those out. I forgot the lime juice, so I just doubled up on the lemon juice. I'm also not a fan of the fat free sour cream, so I used normal. I also forgot the garlic..both times I've made this. Somehow I keep missing that! I'm sure it would be even better if I could remember to put that in. hehe But, is going to be a main stay over the summer. It's cold and so refreshing and packs a lot of veggies into a small serving. I say small, but I'm currently eating half the batch. 😀 Crisp Cucumber Salsa: 2 cups finely chopped seeded peeled cucumber 1/2 cup finely chopped seeded tomato 1/4 cup chopped red onion 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley 1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and chopped 4-1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed 1/4 c reduced-fat sour cream 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice 1-1/2 tsp lime juice 1/4 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp seasoned salt Tortilla chips In a small bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, lime juice, cumin and seasoned salt. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately with chips.

Almost finished object

I have been a busy bee the last little while. We have been healing well from the accident, although we still have some aches and pains. The weather isn't cooperating well here, so we have sinus issues lingering, but those are temporary, even though it's miserable. We have upwards of 20cm of snow forecast for tonight through Sunday. Snow day!! We were able to get out around the snow storm of last weekend to buy our car. With some searching and investigating, we finally found one that fit about 99% of our needs. The only thing it didn't have was cruise control. But, for $500 we can have that installed. The car was under budget with under 35,000 km's on it. We chose a 2010 Dodge Journey. We had to think hard about whether we wanted to put our own money into it to get a brand new vehicle, or one with AWD. This one is front wheel drive. But, given the fact that we'll be leaving the Great White North soon, AWD wasn't worth the extra 10k. As we sat and thought, we considered the move and everything else. We decided to save our money right now for the move and for repairs/changes that may be needed on the new house. You know that we'll have to at least buy paint for the new house. We are very happy and comfortable with our choice. It was the most responsible choice to make, and benefited us the most. We got a newer vehicle, with 2 1/2 years warranty remaining, and have money left from our insurance pay out. Since the Journey is a crossover type vehicle, there is a ton of room behind the back seat for storage. In a few days we are going to try a dry run of packing the car. We need to know what we can fit into the vehicle, and what we have to send with the movers. At this point, the plan is to bring 2 suitcases and the cat carrier. I am also going to make use of the vacuum sealer to squish things down, and those clothing bags you can get that you can suck the air out with the vacuum. We just need to know if the suitcases will fit the way I want them to. Now, on to the project! This is a jacket that I saw on Knit and Crochet TV. It's a Granny Square Hoodie. It's so wacky, fun and cute!! I have a bajillion ends to weave in still. Since we're going to be snowed in this weekend, I plan on working on that to finish it up. Front: Untitled Back: Untitled The plan for this jacket going forward is to put a few buttons up towards the upper area, just around the chest. The bottom will hang open. Also, since it's made of granny squares, it is pretty open. I would like it to be a jacket that will be suitable for fall or spring. To make it work for that, I plan to line the jacket with a fleece or flannel of some sort. I just need a little something to block all the breeze that could get through. The problem is that the fabric here is a lot more expensive than it is down in the US. It's almost $20 a meter here, and it's $4 a yard down there. I think I might finish the jacket to wear as is for now, and then line it for fall after we are settled in our house. I also have another project on the go, but it's a bit of a surprise. I don't think she reads this block, so hopefully it's safe. It's an adorable baby blanket. It's all done with squares, and you just pick up and cast on stitches to join them together as you go. There isn't any sewing to this point. The idea here is to line the back of the blanket with a baby fleece. Then I'll edge it with a silk ribbon, and sew along the squares (once I pin them straight), and make it almost a quilted texture. I love the colours. We didn't want it to be too "baby" with the colours, so we tried going for brighter girl colours, that would be good even as she gets older. We went with the spring garden theme. Untitled I'm sure I have a lot more on the go, like the sweater made of lace weight that I mentioned before. But, I need to get this baby blanket done and in the mail as quickly as possible. That put everything else on hold. It should be done in a week or two. I just need to keep myself working on it, and not putting it down when I get bored. We bought an ice cream maker yesterday, which we used today for the first time. We made strawberry ice cream. I do not like store bought strawberry ice cream. But, homemade. Oh. My. Goodness. It's like strawberry shortcake! So delicious. We are patiently waiting for it to finish freezing to be able to eat it. I think we have waited long enough. 🙂

Crafting Distraction

First off, my apologies on the downtime of the website. We needed to do a server change, which meant that the website had to go through a migration period while the new server picked it up and routed all the necessary information. That's now complete, and should be running smoothly once more. Thanks to my brother for taking care of all that! 😀 I was going to name this post something else, but I thought the acronym that described my lack of ability to dedicate my attention to something would have meant a ton of unnecessary spam. So, I went with the title I did. Ever since the accident I lost my knitting mojo. First I was depressed that I lost my hat (which I did eventually get back), then I was just down in general over everything related to that and the Immigration stuff, and it all set me off. So, I didn't feel like doing anything. As I started to perk back up and finished healing (which isn't 100% and I still have pain in my ribs, but it's not bad enough to stop me from doing anything..other than situps, and is that really a loss?), I began to work on crafts again. I haven't felt great so my level of concentration has gone down the tubes. This has meant that I get incredibly frustrated...and very easily frustrated. I have also cut out about 90% of the pop I was drinking. That has meant that I am fighting a difficult battle against hypoglycemia. I am starting to win that battle, but it was rough for a few weeks. You may be asking where this has lead in the crafting stuff. Well, I have gotten start-up-itis. I want to make everything. So, all I have to show are things in progress. They are cute things though! First, I have decided that I want to make a Sara Lace Cardigan which is just so adorable! We went shopping for the yarn, and I got a great deal. It only cost me about $40 for the yarn, compared to the next closest price, which was $80. So, I got enough for 2 of them. It was really the only logical choice. These are the colours: Untitled I love both colours. They are gorgeous in person. I think the smokey purple will be great for a lot of everyday wear, and the red will be great around holidays and when I really want a nice bright sweater to pick me up. The yarn is quite nice, and it's a Rowan brand. Even though it was the cheapest option, it is definitely not a cheap feeling yarn. It's great to work with. Then I was watching Knit and Crochet Now on TV and they were showing a granny square hoodie. I fell in love with it immediately. I admit that I don't usually like crocheted clothing items. I don't know why, but it usually just doesn't fit with what I am looking for. But, this? This I just loved. We went out yesterday and bought some yarn so I could make it. We ended up going with Vanna's Choice for this one. I wanted an acrylic that wouldn't shrink on me. Not that I have done that before with anything. Seriously, I am so bad with hand washing! It's working out terrific. Vanna's choice was also the only yarn that the store had, which had 3 nice tones of grey and a nice blue. I wanted to get as close to the colours in the picture as I could. I started working on this last night and have 6 squares done already. I need to make 21, and then there is all the connecting and seaming and such. I am loving how the blocks look so far. 😀 Untitled Other than that I have been trying to work on wip's as well. I need to get some things finished, even though I just don't feel like working on them. I do a little at a time, when I can convince myself to do so. I'll get things cleaned up eventually. And speaking of cleaning up. I need to work on cleaning out the craft room tomorrow. Since we are on the last parts of my Green Card application, I need to start getting things into an order. It's time to start zip locking and vacuum sealing up yarns for transport. I also need to get some of this done, since I have now migrated yarns into our bedroom closet for lack of room. This isn't a hint of having too much yarn, this is all about having stuffed junk in places that was supposed to be a home for my yarn. I should really try to remedy that tomorrow. 🙂

The Great Smoothie Experiment

Today is day 5 of what I am calling the Great Smoothie experiment. First, a little back story. Okay, so about 10 years ago I ran into some difficulties. I ended up being depressed and feeling suicidal. I talked to a psychiatrist who explained to me that it was all situational. But, the problem was, the damage was already done to my body. I had been starving myself for weeks. That developed into my body going into starvation mode, and me not being able to recover. While I was starving myself, I dropped 20lbs in 2 weeks. I only weighed 135 to start with. So, this was a lot of weight. The doctors plan to get me eating again was straight forward. For a week I had to go on liquids only to adjust my body to food again. After that we introduced food, but I had to eat very small portions, and very often. This meant I was eating all the time. But, that eating would consist of 1 boiled egg. Or 1/2 an apple. It was small. I was trying to fight through, even though I didn't want to eat. What set me over the edge for a 10 year battle? Well, as I was trying to recover my ex looks at me one day and says "wow, you're eating a lot. Do you want to get fat?!" I lost it. Honestly, that was the last straw. No, I didn't want to get fat. I had just finally decided that I wanted to live, and food was sort of required in that. Of course, it was followed up by the comment of how you can't kill yourself by not eating, but ya, we'll just let that one sit there. Anyway, this has all turned into a form of anorexia. It's different than the normal form where someone is only 80lbs and is visibly starving themselves. I have some of the signs, but I am overweight. I have the fuzz all over my body, and I have difficulties with my thinking and with my digestive system. I eat enough to survive, but not much past that, really. I eat dinner. And I might have junk food. But, the rest of the day is me starving myself because I feel guilty eating more than that. J sits here daily trying to get me to eat more. He tries to think of anything and everything that might make me want to eat at lunch time. Success was very fleeting. Honestly, it's been so long that I don't even feel hungry any more. This is where the smoothies come in. Since my body is in starvation mode, it keeps everything. Every ounce of fat I take in, every gram of sugar is kept in my body because it doesn't know when it will get more. This translates to excess body fat, and sugar levels that have me at pre-diabetic levels. Here is my thought process. I don't feel like eating. But, I can drink calories like nobody's business. So, why not drink my vitamins and nutrients too? If I eat first thing in the morning I come close to throwing up. But, I can drink something. So, I now make a morning smoothie. Since I like having a morning caffeine jolt, I make a coffee smoothie. It has a cup of coffee (in this case I have been using the packages of Starbucks iced coffee, but any coffee that has been chilled will work...stronger is preferred), 3/4 cup frozen yogurt and a frozen banana. The recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, but that was a little odd tasting for me. It just wasn't my thing. I was using just regular vanilla yogurt until I ran out. The store didn't have vanilla when we went today, so I found Chapman's brand Dutch Chocolate Frozen Yogurt. Oh. My. Goodness. This is awesome tasting. I want seconds. haha! Here is what is interesting about the morning smoothie. When I am about half way through it, I get hungry. Really hungry. Stomach growling I must eat now kind of hungry. So, I go and get something to eat. And I want to eat it, and I can eat it. I sip the rest of my smoothie as I eat. This sets me up for the rest of the day. I have been able to eat well at dinner, instead of just picking at food. My second smoothie of the day comes in the evening, usually around 10pm. We're usually up late. We're both night owls. But, this gives me fruits and things and has stuff in there to work as a natural sleep aid. Unfortunately this smoothie also makes me hungry, but I just ignore that. hehe I don't really want to eat a meal at 11pm. Since we're fighting getting sick again, last nights smoothie was orange juice based. Usually it's milk based. But, I thought that the extra hit of orange juice would be a good thing. And I was right. I feel much better this morning. I'm still coughing a bit, but not nearly as bad as I thought I would be. Since my smoothies are full of fruits and dairy, they are quite healthy. One smoothie that is about 2 cups has about 250 calories. And since I am trying to have 1200 calories a day, this is a huge help. It gives me my daily fruits and things and it just pushes me up to that calorie number. My stomach is shrinking quickly, too. I had a big problem with bloating because my digestive system just didn't operate correctly. Things are much better now. I was getting pains in my sides the first 2 days of having the smoothies, because I still had my other liquid intake the same. This had my kidneys and bladder in overdrive. I nearly ended up with a bladder infection. But, on day 3 I cut back on the other drinks and have myself to where I am not thirsty, but I am not over-hydrated. No more pains in my sides. As you can see, this smoothie is almost gone. I'm late with my breakfast smoothie because we had to go to the store for more ingredients before I could make one. So yummy! Now to get my lunch. I think I might try adding some flax seed into one of these smoothies. I might need to grind it down first. I do not like seed bits in my smoothies. That's why none of them contain raspberries. Untitled

The wait continues

And here we are in January. We are still waiting on things to move forward with my Green Card application. The websites quote of 5 months may have been a bit overzealous. But, the wait must go on. With the waiting comes the filling up of time component. I'm sure we can all guess what that might have meant for me. You're right...more knitting. I have been a busy girl the last couple weeks. I am considering getting a head start on some Christmas presents. haha! Why not? I mean, once that Green Card comes in, we'll be in high gear to get moved down to the US, and then looking for a house, then moving in to said house, then doing any renovations that are needed. By the time I actually get settled again it's going to be around October at this rate. lol But, while we are in limbo down there, I will be able to start working. I am going to be starting on some designs that I hope to publish as soon as I can. That will depend on when I start on the designs, and when the test knits are complete. I have one project on the go already for a butterfly scarf. This will lead into selling the handmade items from those designs on Etsy. I know that technically the copyright on patterns in the US is on patterns only, and not on that actual items made from it, but I still feel like I should honour the designers a bit. You know? I don't have to, but it just feels like the right thing to do. So, I will design my own patterns and sell the items I make from those designs. I'll also sell the designs. I do plan on putting the copyright information on there, but I will also add that the copyright is on the pattern only, and not the items made. This will give the buyers of the pattern more ability to use it. I purchased a book recently about how to design socks. I also have a book on fairisle designs. I plan on getting into those books soon. In addition to that, I am also going to be taking my sewing stuff down with me. I plan on starting to make my bags once we are there. Since we are going to have more spare time than I think we will (I mean, we won't be house hunting 24/7, and when we find a place it'll be a couple weeks or months before we actually close), I want to get started on the bags. Luckily, the sewing items won't take up much space in the truck. All I have right now is the sewing machine and some thread. I haven't purchased any fabrics, because they are too expensive compared to down there. I'll get fabrics once we get there. It'll be much easier to move it the half hour across town, as opposed to the 5 days across country. Now, on to the projects! January is known as Hattrick month. I'm part of a hockey group on Ravelry that does this every year. Usually I am in school and just don't have the time to work on hats. But, this January was different. And it's been downright frigid. So, hats it is. 😀 The idea of Hattrick month is simple. If you watch hockey, you already get the idea. So, a hattrick in hockey is 3 goals in one game. The idea of the Hattrick in this case, is 3 hats made in January. I am currently on hat number 6 (did I mention I was bored?). Hat 1 was a cute fairisle pattern I have been thinking about for a while. I started last January and just didn't have time to get past even the ear flaps. So, I started again. This isn't the best picture, because it was midnight, and I was using my iPad. hehe This pattern is from Ravelry, of course, and is called Alpaca Earflaps. Untitled Next up, we have a hat for J. It's a simple bulky weight yarn that should be warm on those chilly winter days. He's already worn it out a few times, and really liked it. This one is called Jason's Tweed Hat. Untitled Hat number 3 was a child's hat and will probably end up being a Christmas present. It's an anime style hat of a character whose name I have forgotten once again. haha But, it's a cute one. Untitled I really loved hat number 4. I find that beret's are really cute. I have been wearing this one quite often. It's called Columbia Beret. Untitled My fifth hat was for a friends brother in law. He's going to be start chemo soon to prep him for a stem cell transplant. To help lift his spirits, we sent him a hat in the local team colours. This one is Ellen's Knit Hat. It's simple, and can be easily modified for any stripes or designs you would like to put in. I kind of like how my stripes turned out. 🙂 Untitled I have a sixth hat on the go. I bought a class from Craftsy on Double Knitting, which I have been working my way through. The hat on there is Atyria. I am only part way through, but it's pretty neat looking. It's too big for me, I think, but it might fit J. Double knitting means that what I am seeing on the outside of the hat, is exactly the opposite of what is inside of the hat...totally reversible. You'll see what I mean from the pictures. After I learn this, I want to learn how to double knit a hat that is a completely different pattern inside from what it is outside. Outside: Untitled Inside: Untitled I also finally finished my Basket Case socks. I am very happy with them. I didn't bother with matching colours on these, though, because I ran out of yarn part way through. I also have to fix my bind off for the right sock because it's a bit tight. But, that's just a minor detail. They are a bit big, but oh so comfy! Untitled As I was cleaning out yarn and taking stash photos, I came across a pair of mittens that I had completely forgotten about. So, I also finished those up. I had about 3/4 of the first mitten done, so it didn't take long to finish that one. The pattern was pretty easy. It's a Drops pattern and didn't take much time at all. Untitled I also made a quick dishcloth too. I picked up some cotton yarn for myself, when I went to get the 40 balls for mom. They were on sale for half price, so mom wanted a bunch. hehe Untitled And last but not least, is a picture that is technically not knit by me, but it's definitely knitting themed. It's a tea pot and mug set that I found at Stokes. How awesome is this?! It's so cute. 😀 And since we had giftcards from Christmas, it cost me nothing! Even better. hehe Untitled I should be finishing up another pair of socks tonight. Then I need to look through my stuff again to see what other WIP's are out there. I know I have my tank top on the go and I have a couple scarves. I need to start getting these finished, so I can have my needles back. That is the only good thing about waiting for the Green Card! I have time to get through this stuff, so I can get my knitting items organized and in their proper place before we have to pack things up. 🙂

Personal Crisis

Okay, so it's not a crisis really. It's more of a mental breakdown of sorts, all sorts of built up frustrations that have me feeling pretty low about myself. I have no idea now how long its been that my back has had me laid up. I do know that my hip pain started in July of 2011. That's over a year of pain in my hip. It's been a tough go. About 2 years I lost feeling in my thigh because of a pinched nerve in my hip. My neurologist gently suggested that I should lose some weight. It wasn't so much about being overweight or anything, but I had put on some weight, and she felt that taking that extra weight I had just gained back off, it could help. I couldn't disagree with her...It really was a sound judgement. Seriously, when I was in with the neurologist I had to put all my pride aside to have a proper discussion with her. I didn't want to get defensive. And I sort of already knew that the extra weight could be an issue. But, she approached the subject gently. There was no asking what I weighed. There was no saying my BMI was too high, or that I was overweight or whatever. Just in the routine questions, she asked if I had put on any weight recently. And I told the truth...I had. So, I left and started to work on losing the weight. In 3 months I dropped 30lbs, and after a while I lost the last 10. I increased my exercise, I ate veggies and fixed some parts of my diet. The weight dropped fast. I was actually eating fresh peas that I had found at Costco instead of junk food. It made a huge impact immediately. And when I took the weight off, the feeling came back. She was right! Then my back started up. I have a bulging disk at the L5 vertebrae in my lower back. That is excruciating. Plus I have all the hip troubles still. I found out that I am prone to pinching the nerve like I did a couple years ago, because of a defect in my hip. Then add in the fact that the drop foot is causing all sorts of problems in my mid back because that is where the muscle that is used to lift up the hip is connected. The last year and a half has sucked. I try to suck it up and take as few painkillers as possible, because I don't want to damage any organs. Some days I just want to keep popping the pills to make it stop hurting, but I don't. I try to be responsible about the medications I take. But, some days it just doesn't help. When I'm having those days I forget about the painkillers completely, because if they aren't helping, then why bother? All of this meant that my activity level went down...a lot. I can barely get around a grocery store...actually, I can't get around one without having immense pain by half way. But, I push through. Thanks to the pain, my mood took a nose dive. I try to not let it, but sometimes it can't be helped. I started taking Vitamin D to help, which it does. My mood is improving every day, and slowly but surely I am healing. My final physio appointment in next week. There isn't much more he can do for me. But, thanks to all this I started eating like crap. I mean, sure I eat good meals at dinner that are well balanced and such, but around that...junk. With my antibiotic allergy, I couldn't eat the normal things I liked. So, when I have raw veggies I had no dressing. I love ranch dressing, and I couldn't eat it. Luckily we have now found a recipe for homemade Miracle Whip and homemade Ranch Dressing. It's delicious!! We tried it today and I am in love with it. hehe There are no preservatives, no junk, and it's safe for me to eat. We made the mayo and the dressing in about a half hour. It's so easy. You know what this means? This means I am now on a diet. Yes, you read that right. The person that loathes the word diet is going on one. Now, don't misunderstand the meaning of that, though. When I say diet, it's not the same as other people think. I don't cut out everything. What I do is a strict moderation diet. So, I will make sure that the amount of dressing I have with my veggies is not more than the amount of veggies. I get 2 tablespoons of dressing for a large bowl of veggies. No just doing a huge squirt and eating a tablespoon of dressing on each piece of broccoli. Also, I get to have a treat every day if I want one. If I cut out sweets and things I will fail this diet on the first day. I just can't sit here all day every day eating chips or chocolate. But, I can have a sweet treat at some point during the day. Also, I believe that fat is needed to help the body digest the food. It tells your stomach that it's time to work. But, it has to be good fats. So, we have only butter in the house. But, we moderate the amount. When I make chicken stock, I keep all of that fat in the stock. I only take off any oil that might be in there from any sort of coating I put on the chicken. I don't need the oil. I also drink 2% milk. Since we changed to our higher fat diet, J has lost a fair bit of weight. He can't keep his pants up, and he's lost quite a few inches around his waist. But, like anything else, we moderate. We don't have a cup of butter with our meal. We cook with a small amount of butter mixed in with some oil when we fry. Many of our meals only contain a tablespoon of butter in it. I am definitely going to have to alter my eating, though. I have a fridge full of vegetables and I have a bunch of apples too. All my snacks, except for my one treat a day will be the fruit or the veggies. I need to have about 5-7 servings per day to meet the food guide, so that's the goal. My goal is to lose 50lbs. This is all the weight I have put back on, plus an extra bit to bring me down to a weight that I would prefer. It isn't a "skinny" weight. This is the weight where I always felt the healthiest. The next problem is going to be when and if I can exercise. Tomorrow will start the attempted exercise bike. If my back can hold on for the 15 minutes then I will progress from there.