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Monday, December 27, 2010

New Games

I got a new game for the Wii today, one that works with the Balance Board. I am very excited and can't wait to try it out!

There's really nothing to report, but I did finish last week's chart so I thought I would post my totals.

Totals for 20-26 December:
   Veggies: 46/63 servings
   Exercise: 6/7 Days
   Water: 45/56 8-Ounce glasses
   Vitamins: 7/7 Taken

Not bad considering it was one long holiday all week! Having the Wii really helped after Christmas day because neither Fiance or I had the energy to do much else. Hooray for modern video games!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Joy and the Sore Muscles That Come With It

As a joke,  I told my parents that Fiance and I would like a Wii and Wii Fit Plus for Christmas. I know how expensive that would be, so I did not count on actually getting one.
They got us one!
I literally face-planted on the box and started crying. Not a lot, just a little, and I think I might have cracked one of my dad's ribs when I hugged him. Needless to say, the rest of the day we plotted about the best way to set it up and by the time we hit our front door the PS2 had been deemed obsolete. I know they've been obsolete for a while, but I just love all my games! (And a PS3 is WAY outside the budget)

For those who don't think Wii Fit Plus will give you a workout, I am here to squash your doubts! Like any workout, you have to do it with intention. I've gotten my heart rate going while catching digital hula hoops and racking up as many spins as possible. My balance has improved since I started headbutting soccer balls, though I'd be better if I could just avoid those flying shoes!

Not only are the games affective, but they're fun too! There is a Body Test option, in which you are weighed, your balance tested, and your Wii Fit age calculated. The weight is rather accurate and it keeps track of each user. 

I could go on and on about the virtues of this system, but that is not what I started this blog for. So on to the developments!

The Wii Fit Plus was our biggest development. We've also managed to avoid any major eating pitfalls, other than when we are eating. Being on the road most of the weekend has messed that up pretty badly. We should be getting back to it after tomorrow though, which will increase my weight loss rate.

And, of course, it is almost time for my first official weigh in! I know I've lost weight, but I don't know exactly how much. Soon I will be moving the little scale at the top of my screen towards my goal.

Next month we're going to take a trip back to my wedding dress so I can give it another go before classes start again.

It's scary to think of classes being so close, there is so much I have to get done for the wedding! I had better get busy, though it will probably have to wait until the rest of the world is awake.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

No Cardio for Me Today...

And I hate it. In a moment of "brilliance" I decided to make cookies for all the parents on my list. This totaled 18 dozen cookies ( that's 216 cookies for math-impaired bloggers like me), with a few left over because my recipe makes about 4 dozen at a go.

And I didn't eat a single one!

But that could be because I've only had 3 servings of veggies today and have yet to work out. All things considered, it's no surprise that I feel like an ox. It's funny how things can change in two short weeks!

I'm exhausted, my wonderful accountability blog, so I'm logging off with after my short blurb. Hopefully tomorrow morning I can tell you that I worked out despite the late hour, and a rousing (yet slightly "illegal") meal of salad and V8 rounded out my veggie count and rescued the day. I'm hoping, but I am definitely not holding my breath!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jillian Michaels and Jarritos Or, Why the Letter J is Today's Letter...

That Jillian Michaels is one tough lady. I made it through about thirty more seconds of her "Burn Fat, Boost Metabolism" DVD than I did yesterday, but it still hurt. I also did it without taking a hit from my inhaler, which I totally gave myself kudos for. I followed it up with a floor routine aimed at working the shoulders and back. I have problems with neck tension so it probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but my back is definitely a problem area. Normally I would beg Fiance for a shoulder rub but he just got stitches in one finger and it's in a splint. Finger splints are not very conducive to shoulders rubs.

This is the second day in a row that I have whooped my own butt, and it hurts! But when I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror I feel proud of myself, and that is something precious. The shrinking waistline and toned arms help.

My eating has improved again since getting home. We went out for groceries and now have several kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables in the house, as well as fruit cocktail in a can and some turkey bacon. I've also looked up new recipes to try at lunch so I can have some variety for little money. A variety of dishes would definitely help keep us motivated in eating heavy meals for lunch and light meals for dinner.

In other news, I have found a loophole to my "No Soda" rule, and it is not carbonated water (which is actually a pretty decent substitute). Jarritos soda, usually found in the "Hispanic" food aisle (Eye roll implied) is a soda that contains NO high fructose corn syrup. It still has a lot of sugar, but as long as you don't drink a ton of it and exercise as normal, it's no worse than some fruit juices. They don't carry the usual flavors like cola or root beer, but they have fruit punch, pineapple, and tamarind. All of them are very tasty! Next time you're shooting eye daggers at your beloved for having a Dr. Pepper, remember Jarritos! It sure saved Fiance's hiney at dinner the other night. ;)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Definitely Paper

The pomanders are almost certainly going to be made out of paper. My mom found a great blog that provides a DIY for the paper flowers, which I will link below. The only alteration I would make to the instructions is this: When you're gluing the flower on to the Styrofoam ball, keep a pen handy. Decide where your flower will go, then use the tip of the pen to break a hole in the ball, large enough for the stem of the flower to fit in to. Fill the hole with hot glue, then insert flower. This lowers the height of the flowers and prevents them from tipping over.

And now for the link: The Smith's Paper Pomanders

That's all I've got for right now, but most of my free time has been devoted to making one of these as a test product for my wedding so I've been a little hyper-focused!

It's Been A While...

Okay, so it's only been three days. Considering I was double and triple posting the first week, that is still a long time!

Sunday Fiance and I drove home, and while I am glad to be back, I am going to miss that stationary bicycle. The Rec center should be opening up soon, so I can use theirs but it won't be the same as having one handy to use while watching TV or when I get bored. Since coming home I've managed without the bike, but I had to make lots of adjustments first. Without something simple to rev up my heart rate for Cardio, I've had to the rely on workout DVDs. Today was Jillian Michael's "Burn Fat and Boost Metabolism" routine, though I only made it through the first two and a half circuits. All told that is fifteen minutes and my heart was pounding, so I turned off the DVD and did a little cool down before launching in to my usual floor routine. I am so tired right now, I can barely type.

My eating has also required some adjustments since I've returned home. Fiance and I are covering all our own groceries again, which means that I am very careful about what I buy. An example would be a shopping trip we made to the grocer's today. Instead of picking up premade pizzas we opted to make something from scratch. Not only was the second option healthier but it was less expensive as well.  I've also got my chart (which I did not have while on vacation) so I can keep a closer eye on how many servings of fruit, veggies, and water I consume.

I think I am doing quite well, all things considered. Fiance and I have chosen Sunday as our rest day, so that we can prepare and freeze meals for the upcoming week without worrying about fitting a workout in. I've also gotten some great exercise in while wandering around during the shopping trips we've taken lately. The Holidays are only five days away and I've still got one person left to shop for. I can say with certainty that wandering around Wal-Mart for an hour will wear you out!

I'm off to relax, which I think is well deserved after how hard I just worked! I would do a happy dance, but I am way too tired.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Been a While...

I haven't knit in a very long time and it's making me sad! I only have another four months until the wedding and I haven't even finished the second Mother of the Bride Handkerchief. I'm hoping to get the rest of the them done before the Spring Semester starts. I'm not sure how well that is going to work out, but one can always hope! I even bought more yarn, though I ended up ordering from a company in England. I thought ordering from another country would be more expensive, but it saved me almost two dollars a skein off Debbie Bliss Bamboo yarn.

That's all I have to report for now, though I hope to have more soon.

New Pomanders

So, quick note, because I am eager to workout: The pomanders for the wedding may actually be made out of paper! My mom found a great How-To for paper pomanders so we're going to give it a try.

Yep, that's it for now lol.

Second Try-On Went Well...

I count it as well when the two attendants swore up and down that I almost fit, I just needed to lose a few inches off my waistline. Normally I wouldn't like being told that I needed to lose weight, but when I already know it's true, the assurance that it was doable sounded nice. The woman who laced me into my dress today was able to get it zipped up a little more than the attendant from Tuesday, and knowing that the dress didn't fit took the sting out of seeing the gap on the back. It still hurt, but not nearly as much as it did a few days ago.

In other news: I still haven't worked out today! We ate dinner a little while ago, so I'm letting my food digest before I throw myself into a cardio set, but I will be working out tonight. Being in my dress made me want to hit the gyms HARD and that translates to a great deal of pushups, bicycle crunches, cardio, and Pilates.

I've ordered a bunch of CDs and DVDs from the library, which will make working out even easier. The CDs will increase my workout playlist by at least half and the DVDs will give me a variety of workouts to try. Fiance and I got a new computer recently and I lost a great deal of my music in the data transfer. Replacing more than 500 songs is not easy! The Internet has also given me a ton of new workouts, especially when I Google "Wedding Dress Workouts". I can't wait to give them all a try and start dropping those pounds.

And now for our headline: It has been four days since my last drink of soda and I've managed to fight off some pretty intense temptation! Now if I can only keep this up for another sixty years or so...

In addition to avoiding soda, I've also found a great new way to make sure I eat enough vegetables and avoid eating too many empty carbs and starches. Before serving up a plate of dinner tonight, I made a decent sized salad and chowed down. I started out with about two cups of bagged salad mix then added a whole carrot (sliced), a bunch of broccoli left over from last night, and five grape tomatoes. Total it was a whopping five servings of vegetables. I dressed it with Balsamic Vinaigrette (I know it's not the best dressing, but it's better than a cream!) and enjoyed. A before-dinner salad might be a very good habit to get in to. The salad didn't fill me up but it decreased the appetite I had left, which made me think about what else I was eating. Dinner was pork chops, corn, and a flavored rice. I was served a plate containing all three, but after the salad I was most attracted to the pork chop and the corn. I did eat a little rice, but most of it was left on my plate before I was full.

At the moment I am battling a sweet tooth craving, the third in as many days. I don't normally crave candy, so I think it's a psychological thing. Between dieting and the friend that insists I eat like crap, candy has a definite Forbidden Fruit appeal. I may still indulge, but only in a bite sized treat. And then I have to do an extra five pushups. The pushups alone might prevent me from eating the candy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

This Might Count as a Minor Obsession

I worked out a third time today, mostly because I made Fiance a deal. After supper with the family I still felt hungry, despite two big helpings of broccoli and two servings of squash as well as two fish fillets and two chicken patties. I know that sounds like a lot of food, but with everything I've done today it wasn't enough. Fiance made me a deal: I could have a Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Bar, but I had to do ten pushups before we went to bed. That would bring my pushup total to twenty in one day, which is a lot more than I have ever done before.

I tried to resist, really I did! But I gave in around 9:30, and let me tell you it was one tasty snack bar! And not only did I do the ten pushups, but I hit the stationary bicycle for ten minutes and burned another 45 calories, according to the readout on the machine.

I don't know what we're going to do when we get home and don't have a stationary bicycle to ramp up our cardio. We'll figure something out though, because I can already see a slight difference in my leg muscles. If I keep up this level of activity for the next five months, I will be in great shape and my dress will fit perfectly!

I Like Posting Twice

Apparently I love posting twice a day, because this is the second day in a row that I have done it. Hey, that is a lot of two's!

Anyways, on to the topic I started this blog for: My weight loss!

I did fifteen minutes of really intense cardio, which really pumped up my heart rate. Unfortunately, Fiance and I are exercising in the same small space, so I ended up waiting until he was done on the stationary bicycle before I could do any pushups or crunches. That's not the say that I did a whole lot of work after the cardio, mainly because I don't want to push myself too hard and end up hurting my arms. My workout yesterday was quite intense and I can still feel the effects in my upper arms. Every resource I've found says that you shouldn't strain too hard, so I decided to skip a day between weight-intense workouts. I made do with a set of bicycle crunches and standard pushups. All in all, I feel I should do more, but it won't do me any good if I hurt myself.

I plan on doing a lot more tomorrow before I try on my dress for the second time this week. I don't need to go for an actual fitting until February, but I want to get a picture of what I look like in the dress right now, as a form of encouragement.

Kind of off topic, but I am excited about this: Wedding hair and makeup! I've been watching Wedding Makeover and it's got me thinking about whether or not I should rely on family and friends for makeup and hair or go to a professional. I'll be asking my moms about it tonight, because I know absolutely nothing about hair or makeup lol.

And back to the weight loss: We'll be heading home soon, which means I will have access to the school's Rec center again, as well as our slightly more spacious living room that I can use my DVDs in. Yay!

Change in Plans

So much has changed dearest blog. The terrarium design, the floral curtain, my sewing skills... everything!

The terrariums will only have spirals on every other jar, which will cut their time in half. Thankfully mu MIL had roughly 20 Ivy Bowls stored in her closet, which saves us about $20, because we decided to go with a uniform kind of bowl instead of recycled jars.

 We've also decided to order two beaded curtains from the Internet, which will make the floral curtain unnecessary. In the end it will be cheaper and prettier, which is why we abandoned the original idea. That doesn't mean that I have fewer crafts to do though, because new ideas have popped up!

We nixed the wedding quilt because of cost to my Bridesmaids, who were thinking of doing it as their wedding gifts. The woman my Maid of Honor was using for advice quoted her a cost of $2000, which is ridiculous. Unless they're contracting a professional Amish quilt maker, it should not cost that much. G and I have some great fabric stored in our closet that we used as a ceiling dressing in our old apartment, so we're opting to weave that with fake ivy for the altar cover. My MIL had quite a bit of ivy stored in her garage, so we've got that covered.

In addition to a wonderfully woven altar canopy, I've taken on the project of making pomanders for all of my bridesmaids. At the moment I am thinking of making them red, though I may change them to white. I know it is not orthodox for anybody but the bride to carry white flowers, but there is very little tradition in our wedding. =P

We're still planning on doing the memorial charms for my late SIL, as well as a seating chart and a few other crafts that I can't remember at the moment. This is why I have a big binder, because I can't seem to keep everything straight!

Unfortunate Allergies

I woke up this morning feeling completely miserable. My allergies decided they hadn't made me miserable for a while and that today would be a good day to start again. Needless to say, I haven't felt like working out.

My eating hasn't been too bad, which is the one reason I don't feel guilty for avoiding the stationary bike so far. I treated myself with two of the taquitos I mentioned last night, and they were a nice beef-cheesy beginning for my day. A few hours later I made a turkey sandwich with lettuce, American cheese, and a little bit of Miracle Whip on white bread. Normally I would have used cheddar cheese and wheat bread, but we're at my grandparents' today and I am not going to complain about free food! We brought along a few packets of Miso, so I made a bowl to go with my sandwich. I rounded the meal out with a glass of V8 and a large class of water. A few hours later I made myself a peanut butter sandwich and ate it with about six ounces of 2% milk.

I have a friend who keeps telling me that I am eating too much, and that my eating habits are awful. I must say, that is one of the most discouraging things you can hear when you've changed your eating habits as much as I have.

I gave up soda, again.
I haven't had a piece of candy, a cookie, ice cream, or brownies in four days.
I don't eat red meat any more.
The only thing I have had to drink in the last four days, besides water and V8 Juice, was half a serving of spiced Chai tea and the six ounces of milk today.
I don't eat anything after 10, I don't eat bread or rice products after 6, and I'm eating smaller meals throughout the day. If you add that to the fact that I am getting picky about eating right, including avoiding red meat and eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, I don't think anyone can say that I eat poorly.

But when someone is just trying to help, how can you get mad at them? I'm usually not in the same house as them, so things will get better in a few days after we go home.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Double Dose

I got restless after dinner, which was a heavier meal that I originally planned, and worked out again.

  • 15 minutes cardio on a stationary bicycle and I really pushed myself. By the time I was done my legs were shaking.
  • Several kinds of crunches mixed in with Pilates moves. I spent another thirty minutes on these, and by the time I was done my arms felt ridiculously heavy.
I ate again after this workout, though it was a light meal of a peanut butter sandwich and a huge salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Two fruit leathers rounded out the meal because I had a huge sweet tooth after all the veggies, and I figured I would get another serving of fruit in.

At the moment we don't have the groceries necessary to eat really well, due to a strange set of circumstances, so we're having to make do. I think we're doing pretty well so far, and I'm hoping we can keep it up for another three days, which is when we can go grocery shopping. Until then I will be improvising and relying on my V8, exercise, water, and self-control to help me lose weight. I even got a chance to use my self control today, when my loving fiance made some taquitos for his late supper. They smelled so good!!! But I decided that I would not eat any tonight, saving them for tomorrow instead. Go me!

There are only fifteen more days until I weigh myself, and I have a lot of work to do!

Day the Second...

Today marks the second day of this blog, as well as the second day of my weight loss resolution. I know I'm a few weeks too early to make resolutions, but I think it'll be okay.

It may be early, but I am doing well. I woke up earlier than usual this morning and my fiance wasn't feeling well at all. I managed to rummage up a bacon and eggs breakfast for him, which settled his stomach quite a bit, and made me hungry in the process. I bit the bullet and worked out first, which turned out to be a good choice.

Fifteen minutes of cycling cardio followed with twenty minutes of pushups, crunches, and weight exercises. After working out I made us lunch, which was not as unhealthy as it sounds. We shared a box of macaroni and cheese, though I ate two servings of green beans before chowing down on cheesy-noodly goodness. A glass of V8 rounded out the meal, which I followed with a dessert of grapes. All said, I had five servings of fruit and vegetables for lunch which was also my heaviest meal of the day.

So far so good! If I keep this up, I may actually drop a pound or two before I try on my dress again on Saturday. If I do it won't make a huge difference, but it will help.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My "Oh Shit" Moment...

I am getting married in a little under five months and I have finally had my "Oh Shit" moment. My wedding dress is kept at a store three hours from where I live and I finally found time to drive out and try it on. As a bit of background, I just completed my junior year in college and work part time at a local library. The past three months have been absolutely crazy and trying to eat right was a huge challenge. My fiance and I ended up at fast food drive-through's more often than I would like to admit, but I have to say that I did not eat very bad. Salads and chicken made up most of what I ate, but fast food is still fast food and my scale hasn't let me forget. Exercise was another hug problem, mainly because of time but also because of my energy levels. Research papers and split shifts can take a lot out of a person, which means all I wanted to do was relax once I got home.

Unfortunately, the result of all that caught up with me yesterday afternoon. My grandmother took me to try on my dress, and I burst in to tears when the attendant couldn't zip up the dress. I had thought my waistline was shrinking because my pant size was going down and my face was getting a little thinner.

I was wrong.

The shop attendant told me there were things they could do to the dress so it would fit, as long as I did not gain any more weight. I have other plans, however. I intend to lose at least thirty pounds by our wedding. My approach is broad and will change most of my habits, which is why I started this blog. A lot of it is focused on a chart I printed from TheKnot.com, which allows me to keep track of the number of water and fruit or vegetable servings I consume each day, as well as my vitamin intake and whether or not I exercise.

  1. I will be eating at least eight servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
    Every morning I drink 8 ounces of V8, which amounts to two servings (a serving is a 1/2 cup of fruit or veggies) and every night I have a bowl of miso soup with dinner, which is considered a servings of veggies.
  2. My heavier meals will be eaten at lunch instead of dinner.
    I once read that heavier meals at night don't make sense because most people become inactive after supper and burn most of their daily calories between lunch and dinner. After thinking about it, I decided that the logic was sound. After working out a proper schedule, my fiance and I decided to start eating heavier meals earlier in the day and lighter ones at night. This means we can not skip breakfast, but that is sound advice in any case.
  3. No more soda!
  4. No eating after 10pm. Unless something big comes up, this should be easy to follow
  5. Exercise at least three times a week, preferably once a day. This one will depend on my schedule, but I have to start making more time for workouts.
That is all I've got at the moment. I've only been working on this for two days, so I am hoping that I can keep it up. So far I have worked out two days in a row, eaten lots of fruits and veggies, avoided soda, and drank lots of water. I also haven't stepped on a scale in almost a week, and I don't plan on weighing myself until after New Years, because I need to give myself time to actually see results.

Thankfully I signed up for a karate class next semester, my fiance and I are planning on taking dance lessons, and I have a workout buddy that is more than happy to drag me to a gym. I've also started varying how I work out, which is helping with my interest level. Unfortunately, the most affective workouts are the least interesting so I will have to find a way to make it more interesting. I've read that watching movies or listening to music helps, so I have started looking into more music because my library is way too small at the moment.

I'm hoping to meet my goal early, because I've set my goal weight a little higher than I actually want it. But I don't intend to make myself sick losing weight for the wedding, so small steps are best. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Podcasts, Environmental Law, and Birthdays... I Swear They're All Related.....

While I was sitting in my environmental law class today (see, it all stems from here: related) my mind was reeling with the podcast I had started listening to on the bus. Okay, so maybe this all started with the podcast, but we're sticking with environmental law, and that is for a very good reason. Unable to concentrate my full attention on the professor, I was turning over some of the topics the author had covered, and some of the music he had played. I will provide links to both the Podcast and the musicians sites at the bottom of the post and anyone who happens to read this should check them out. All were phenomenal, putting me in a great mood and really making me think.

And when I say it made me think, I am not kidding. I've got seven topics to cover today. SEVEN! Magical and closer to ten than zero, quite an impressive number.

The first topic that came to mind was my family. This could be attributed to the podcast's focus on family, and to the fact that my birthday was yesterday. *Takes a Bow* Yes, thank you... thank you. But the combination of these influences really got me thinking: People are always telling me that I am an unusual person. Not "you wear your underwear on the outside and eat dog treats" kind of unusual, but the "there's something about you I can't really put my finger on" kind. Personally, I don't see it. I may be more sensitive than other people... and, okay, I may be able to communicate freely with errant spirits. But that's not that unusual, right? Right. What on earth caused me to be a spirit-relating, energy-buzzing kind of person? I think it was my parents. My parents share the same birthday, which is very close to Beltane. This has given them some interesting gifts and blessed them with the notice of the fey. If you add that to my birthday, an exact two weeks before Samhain, you may get yourself the answer as to why I am so unusual. I'd never thought about it until today, and that is really saying something. Following this train of thought, I realized my husband's birthday is less than a week after Yule. It will be very interesting to see how our kids turn out.

While in the midst of this starry-eyed revelry, my teacher started talking about drums of toxic waste. Of course, my mind immediately jumped to a pair of tribal drummers who were playing in the commons at my university the other day. See, I swear I was paying attention.... Drummers, right: At the time I thought about going up to them and saying how good they were, maybe ask if they taught others or knew of people who did. I would love to learn the drums. Alas I was too shy and kept moving, missing the chance. I haven't seen them again, though I hope I will. I will definitely be looking into drum lessons in the area though, starting with a local "hippy" shop and moving on from there.

Thinking of drums got my mind on tools of the Craft, and I thought about Besoms. I need to make one for a ritual next year, and I have no idea where to get materials from. I had heard that craft stores are good for it, but my local ones seem to be fresh out of knotty wood and reeds. So I took to the internet, hoping to find some information on what kind of wood I need, and where I could get what i was looking for. Witchvox came through, naturally.
http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usmn&c=words&id=14122
Armed with this article, I will be taking flight (get it???) to my local craft store once again. I am very excited about getting this Besom made! I wonder if the sales associates with know if their wood is birch, ash, willow, or something else? Hmmm...

Now for that podcast information: It is called "A Pagan Heart in Maine" and is highly recommended. The author is both funny and thought-provoking, making the length of the podcast a worthy enjoyment. I know I promised links to his featured artists' page, but I found something better. Below is the link to his website, and it features its own links to the musicians' home pages. Nifty, eh?
http://www.paganheartinmaine.com/

And finally, I would like to announce that I will be taking to Amazon later tonight, to review both decks of Tarot cards I currently own, a deck I once owned and then lost (sad face), as well as numerous books on the topic of the Craft. I will post a link to them on another blog post tonight, as well as some pictures I intend to take of the decks. Until then, Blessed Be!



http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usmn&c=words&id=14122
http://www.paganheartinmaine.com/

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Guilt...

I have neglected you, dear blog. I have also neglected my crafts. Unfortunately it is because school has started again. But, I have been trying to make it up to you.

I started painting jars for the terrariums. You know, for the wedding? Yep, those. Pentagrams on the bottom of each for protection and spirals for decoration and/or guidance on the actual jars. Almost all the jars have lines of glue where the label was affixed at the factory, so we're going to put our own labels on the jars, saying why the plants inside were planted there. I'm loving this wedding more and more every minute.

Other than that I've been lazy. I'm sorry blog, I'll be better from now on!

A Fresh Beginning...

I tried to start this blog yesterday and for some odd reason it did not stick. So, I started again. Those of you who do not reside in my brain (Lucky you!) probably have no idea what this blog is about. A Pagan Path is the place where I post any and all links I would like to keep track of, people I think are interesting, places I want to encourage travel to... and they'll all be related to my religious journey. As the title suggest, I am indeed a Pagan. Wiccan, specifically, but I welcome all people to read my blog.

For a kick off, I am going to repost the links I had on my first attempt yesterday, then go on the add a few more and gush about my latest book plans.

Link one is to the Amazon page for a book of Pagan themed crossword puzzles, which is definitely going on my Christmas wishlist.
http://www.amazon.ca/Pagan-Puzzles-Ben-Gruagach/dp/061514828X?tag=witchgrotto-20

Link Two is to the Anticraft website. Although I can't tell if the authors are Pagan or not, the Wheel of the Year skirt featured in their book has me hooked on the website. I even adapted it to make a Samhain ritual skirt, of which I have not taken pictures yet. They'll be up soon, I promise.
http://theanticraft.com/

I had a third link, but I can not remember what it was. As a sort of fall-back, I am going to post the link to Witchvox's page. Because I can, and because if you don't know about Witchvox you should.
http://witchvox.com/

Now for the gushing part. I know I said that would come after the "new" links, but I changed my mind.

For years now I have complained about the lack of religious fiction for Pagan children and teens. Adults don't have much to choose from either, though I am partial to the Rowan Gant series by M.R. Sellars (http://www.mrsellars.com/). Silver Ravenwolf spins a nice Hollywood-esque tale, Laura Faria Stolarz books are highly recommended, and Cate Tiernan got me through high school (mostly). But none of them really look at what being Pagan means on a day to day basis, and a lot of them rely on over-dramatized renditions of the Craft. I would love to see a book focused on how being Pagan helps a young man or woman overcome obstacles, find acceptance, and generally be at peace with themselves. And a few more books with dramatic renditions wouldn't hurt.

My complaining has ceased to be meaningless. I decided that, being an English major and all, I could remedy the situation myself. I've dreamt of being a writer since I was ten and what better to write about than my religion! It lets me have a double dose of the Warm and Fuzzies, from the writing and the religion. Great solution.

Since the inception of this idea, I've added books of poetry to the list. Of course, childrens' poetry is a special subset. Needless to say, I can't wait to get started!

Now for those new links. Keeping with the pro-children theme, I've found some pages I would love to keep handy for when I have little ones of my own.

http://www.spiralgoddess.com/Kids.html - This link is freaking awesome. Its got coloring pages, stories, and a place to make a digital altar, which mom and dad can then print out for them. I wish I'd known about this place when I was a kid!


http://www.moondragon.org/pagan/ppptales.html - A great place for Pagan stories to tell the little ones or to read for your own enjoyment.

And finally, a great link for Pagan families!
http://oakdancer.com/

I wanted to post a link to Pagan baby clothes, but at the moment that seems to be a largely DIY arena. I am definitely entertaining the idea of a Triple Goddess baby blanket. I must start sketching these things!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Babies, Babies Everywhere... Some are Here, Some are There

I recently found out SIL-S is pregnant (again) and a good friend of mine is expecting her first. This is an excellent opportunity to knit the baby booties I've been eyeballing on Ravelry. I've already started the Converse Baby Booties, knitting one of them in a day, though the number of ends I have to weave in are ridiculous. It will be worth it though, and they are so cute! The top is shaped using short rows and I was utterly lost at first. I posted a thread on Ravelry (after a lot of project page and blog post lurking) and was reassured by the responses. Short rows may appear scary but they're not, trust me!

My queue now features the Sea Creature Baby Booties, Hobbit Feet Baby Booties, the Shrek Baby hat, the Pixie baby hat, the Berry Baby hat, the Santa's Helper booties and a pair of plain booties, for unassuming days. Of course, each mother will recieve a rendering of each project and I am making a third version of each to put in my Hope Chest. If I find out either baby is a girl, I have a cute little skully jumper waiting in the wings. Although, should either turn out to be a boy I may just knit one up for me! I may not be expecting a baby, but one must be prepared. They grow too fast! At the moment the only toy I am knitting is a set of stuffed Stitch Sampler blocks. They'll be great for a baby and I get to play with the samples. I'm thinking of making a pretty wild one, I just need to check the gauge in my stitch dictionary against that of the project.

Other than baby knitting, my prjects have slowed down. I'm out of yarn for the Handkerchiefs, though we plan on buying more next month, and the garters have been ignored. There isn't really any reason, I just haven't felt like working on them. Unfortunately I set a deadline for myself and that means I need to have three of them knitted, blocked and mostly sewn up before the end of the month. I can't dye them until I have them all ready, but I don't think it will take me too long once I start working on them again. I've also decided not to make the veil, mostly because it does not match the dress style I want. I've found some gorgeous lace at Michael's instead and intend on using that. Now if only I could decide on a dress!

I finished a beer bottle cozy a few days ago. Its very cute and really makes my drinks stand out. I've been using it with IBC cola, but its all the same thing! =)

Flower Strings and Christmas Things...

After a foraging expedition in to some craft supplies I had stored in my parents' attic, I found a wonderfully full spool of fishing line. While I normally despise the snarl-y strands, it was the perfect material for the beaded curtain slated to hang behind us at our wedding. Upon our arrival home, we cut the spool in to 6 1/2 foot lengths and bound groups of them together. A bit of quick math told us we would need almost 300 such strands, and our spool was not going to cut it. Once the entire spool was cut, we added a new one to our "Wedding Shopping List" and began threading beads and silk flowers on to the cut strands. Two strands are completed to date and I intend to finish another one tonight. Aunt B told me one particular strand reminded her of the Hindu wedding she attended, which I took as a wonderful compliment. Hindu weddings are visually stunning events, and it made me happy to think we would have a little of that pizzazz in our wedding.

Wedding crafts aside, our other focus is Christmas. With an ever-growing brood of nieces and nephews to make gifts for, I never seem to have enough time! This year was made easier than last year becuase we have already cleared a few gifts with R, thought I doubt his kids will be thrilled. They're getting clothes, because they are at the age where they grow faster than most people can keep up with. I also have a special lock-box in mind for my niece H, because she has had a few problems keeping others out of her diary. I'm hoping to find the right box soon, otherwise I will have to order it off eBay. A little Green Day decoupage and a padlock... Voila! Instant security! I plan on keeping a copy of the key and giving one to H and R, so both father and daughter can access it (and in case H loses her key. R's son Dm is harder. He's a very quiet kid with varied interests, most of which require a computer cable. Thus I am utterly stumped on what to give him.

My nieces R and I are covered. Their bags were finished about a week ago and have been lying in the Gift Bag ever since. I'll take pictures later and post them in my No-Word Wednesday post. My sister A is also getting a personalized bag, though I haven't finished hers yet. My DH is harder to make something for. He's very in to books (a few British authors in particular) and etymology, neither of which lend themselves well to crafting. I may knit him a few things, but I think I will be sticking with books as his gift this year.

Despite the holidays being five months away, I feel like I've fallen behind. October is my family's busiest birthday month, including my own, and there are multiple parties to attend. Not all of these are the craft-friendly kind, though I may organize a Yule Craft party of my own! After Halloween of course.... I might even wait until after Thanksgiving!

Halloween is another great holiday. I plan on going pretty wild with it again, and I can't wait to put some of the new crafting skills I have learned to use!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In the Bag...

I finished part of the bags for my nieces last night. Their names are stenciled and painted, leaving me with decals. Once those are done they are set for Yule. We bought them crafty little knickknacks to put in which will make them happy. Yule gifts may seem premature, but considering how large our families are, last Yule would have been a good place to start for this year.

And other than the bags, I am pretty much craft-dead. We are too broke to buy any more craft supplies this month, and until I borrowed the paint from my mother in law, I couldn't even finish the girls' bags. I also found a spool of fishing line at my parents' house too, which is exactly what I needed to make the curtain that will ultimately go across the back of the wedding canopy's frame in our ceremony. With the wedding in eleven months (almost 10) it doesn't seem like I have enough time. I plan on making one string tonight, so I can show the ladies at my Meet and Greet what I have in mind. I'm not even sure if I'll like it, so tonight will be my first night stringing the beads and flowers. I hope it turns out well!

Not being able to buy new crafting supplies has really increased my rate of completion, I must note. I have finished several knitting projects, organized both my craft and my knitting areas, and have set aside the materials for several projects. My next project, set for this Friday or Saturday, is fusing together the plastic bags that I have been collecting for some time now. I have the instructions from a friend on Ravelry, so I intend to get it done soon. It will be nice to have the most complex project for my bridesmaids out of the way, I still have so much to do for them!

Being tight on cash has also made me think about purchases I have planned for the future. Do I really want to buy the wood and paint for my Yule boxes if I can't finish my wedding projects? Do I want to make the chuppah if the veil isn't done? With all these questions in my mind I sat down and really thought about my priorities. Yes, I do indeed need the yarn to knit my veil with. But I could hold off on buying the fabric for for the quilt. Eventually there will be a sale and I can get it even cheaper, right? So I came up with this list to keep track of what projects I would like to finish before I go gallivanting off to buy new materials. There are, of course, knitting projects listed but I suppose I can't keep the blogs separate forever!

1. Totes - With only decals left, I have fabric paint and hard plastic used to make personalized stencils. It shouldn't be hard to come up with the proper designs from the Internet.
2. Garters - I have quite a bit of crochet thread ready to be turned in to garters and the necessary materials to complete them (Dye, bias tape, elastic, etc)
3. Second Handkerchief - All I need to do is put the initials on the corner and I'll be done
4. Third Handkerchief - I can't buy the yarn for the edging but I can certainly finish knitting the body and weaving in the multiple ends my lovely cat created when she broke the yarn in several places. * Grumble *
(She's fine btw, I made sure!)
5. Hope Chest - It would be nice to have this done by my wedding, and we're very close. We have all the necessary paper, we just need to finish scraping the old paper out from inside and apply the new stuff.
6. Invitations - My fiance is designing our invitations, and I can't wait to finish them!
7. Giraffe - I promised my cousin a knit giraffe for Yule and bought the yarn last month
8. Sample Strand - I need to make a sample strand for the curtain
9. All my No-Knit Night projects - These are knit projects that only need sewing done, thats it.

And because I am in a list making mood (I usually am) here are the projects I would like to compelte this year, prefarably before the Yule season.
1. Veil - I will be buying the yarn next month or in August
2. Garters - All 6 (I'm a dreamer)
3. Handkerchiefs - Given that this is a great car & social project, I hope to have these done before the end of the summer!
4. Invitations - Yeah, I'm getting pushy on these LOL
5. My sister's tote - I need new paint, so I will raid my MIL's house again (I already checked my mom!) and see if I can find her favorite color. If not, I'm off to the craft store next month.
6. Quilt Design - At least. Part of the quilt itself would be nice.
7. Bracelets - I don't know what style yet, but I would like to finish the memorial bracelets
8. Memorial candle - How do you put a picture on a candle again?
9. Hope Chest - One good weekend of work and its done!
10. Altar Table - My fiance could probably do this in a few hours, then I get to paint it! =D

I'm pretty excited to see what all we can get done before Yule!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Inaugural Address....

I am WitchyCrafter, though Witchy will work for short. I have started this blog to chronicle my various crafting projects. I have another blog, Twisted Yarns, which follows my knitting adventures. Most of the next year's blog posts will be wedding related, as I am getting married in May of 2011 and we are doing most of the work ourselves. I have several projects in mind that I will be working on, most starting at the end of the month. Most of them are either gifts for my Bridesmaids or decor items for the ceremony and reception. I will also be posting about crafts that are not wedding related, but those are going to be fewer than those that are for my wedding. What can I say, a wedding is a lot of work!

Since I have yet to really start any of them, I think a list would be best. Most of these are simple projects that shouldn't take me long once I get them figured out, and some will require a lot of help. A few have already been started but most are on hold for various reasons. I hope that I can share a lot of my crafty joy with any who read this blog, and I plan on posting often and at great length. So, here we go!

  1. A "Wedding Curtain" - the area behind our officiant is not the most attractive space, sporting an old fire pit and a few benches. Campers also frequent the area we have chosen to get married in, so a beaded curtain featuring silk flowers and petals will be hung behind the officiant to block such views.
  2. A Chuppah and Frame -I am not Jewish and neither is my fiance, but the idea of a canopy to cover us during the ceremony is a great one. My fiance burns easily and I don't like to squint LOL. We hope to make the canopy out of a handmade quilt we will use as a wedding quilt and the frame will be reused as something else once the ceremony is over as well.
  3. Wedding Altar - In the ceremony space there is a water mane, covered by a not-very-attractive green dome. My fiance has promised to make me a cylinder shaped table to place over it, which will serve as the altar at our wedding.
  4. Fused Plastic Bags - These bags are cute, environmentally friendly and are intended as gifts for my bridesmaids. A friend of mine has shown me how, and I can't wait to get started. I will certainly link her blog when I post the project itself.
  5. Memorial Candle - My sister in law, who was also one of my best friends, passed away earlier this year. I plan to make a large memorial candle, including her picture, to be placed at our ceremony.
  6. Memorial bracelets - In addition to the candle, I am making a bracelet for each bridesmaid to wear, I will also wear one, and I plan to put an additional charm on my bouquet.
  7. Personalized Totes - This project is not for the wedding, but for Yule. Last year I made one for each of my nieces and they have effectively used them to death since. I am going to make them new ones this year, so it should be interesting to see if they want different decorations!
  8. Christmas boxes - On top of being a crafter, a witch and a student, I am an environmentalist. The amount of wrapping paper used every Christmas bothers me, especially since most of it is non-recyclable. Until I can find a gorgeous recycled wrapping paper, I have decided to use a more permanent solution. I got the idea from the Make it Green Girl podcast, which is no longer on the air, but she had some great tips. One was to designate a specific box and wrap it in fabric or reusable paper, thus creating your Christmas "Gift box". I am taking this a step farther and painting wooden boxes to appeal to each child in my family, and a catch-all for the adult I choose in our Christmas Lottery.  Certified wood and non-VOC paint of course!
I'm sure there are more but that is all I can think about at the moment. Hopefully I can get cracking on some of these before too long, though there is another wedding in my family this month, so I've put most on hold until after that. I may work on any that I won't require assistance on, but there are a few I need help with and those will have to wait!

I got a Knitting jones...



I am at work and all I want to do is get home and put the border on my second handkerchief, cast on for the third, work a row in my Rainbow Baby Blanket, and sew the appendages for the dolls. Rumor is that employees were allowed to knit a few years back but they vetoed the right after someone ignored patrons while knitting. I would like to know who so I can kick them in the arse. There is very little to do at work, so I lurk on Ravelry and add patterns to my favorites and my queue.






After a year of putting it off, I finally embroidered the initials on my first Handkerchief. I have discovered that thinner paper works better, as do letters in a connected style. I originally tried a font that formed letters from disconnected lines, known as Ductus, but it didn't turn out well at all. I've also decided not to add flowers or other embroidery because I think the initials add classic elegance and need no other embellishment.







The second Handkerchief needs the edging and embroidery done, but now that I know what I am doing neither should take me very long. I plan on having the entire handkerchief completed by Sunday night at the latest. Handkerchiefs three and four will be started soon, though they make great car projects so I may save them for later in the summer, when we will be traveling. I can also knit them in public without anyone asking what I am making, which is a bonus because I would like them to be a surprise. I think my mom knows by looking at my Ravelry page, but I have other surprises for her!







The Baby Blanket has become my least favorite project. It takes so long and is becoming obnoxious. I have decided that I will not buy any more yarn for it, particularly since I started the project as a way to eat through my myriad acrylic yarns. I hope to have it done before fall, but it is not a priority.







My other WIP that I am really excited about is my pair of dolls, intended for my niece's Christmas present. I meant to give them to her last year but I ran out of time, underestimating the amount of time and energy my job would take. Word to the wise: If you're going to work for a fast food joint, make sure they are a properly functioning one. If something big has gone wrong, the little people have to pay for it. The store I worked in was falling apart, and I ended up working two months worth of ten hour shifts, starting on day one. Needless to say that took all my energy, and then I came down with the (dreaded) Swine Flu to boot. I was too burnt out to finish the dolls by Christmas so I put them away to restart this year. I will certainly have them done in time, especially since I could finish them tonight!







The wedding garter has become an elephant in the room, so to speak. I would like to finish it but I am terrified of messing it up when I sew on the bias tape and elastic. I should really do it, but I think it may wait until my next No-Knit Night. In the meantime I have cast on for a second garter and I plan on getting at least three more done before the end of summer.







As for the No-Knit Night, it was s smashing success, as I wrote yesterday. I think I will try to get one every two weeks, though that depends on what I have going on and if any event requires a knit gift. I know I have a box full of half-finished projects somewhere, and it would be nice to see all those washcloths finished.







On a more crafty note, I think I will start yet another blog, this one to detail my non-knitting crafts. I have seen many project pages on Ravelry containing the details of these projects, but I think my blog will be enough for me. I hope to fill it with all the wedding related projects I have waiting for me, which will more than likely take most of the next year to complete LOL.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Success!

My no-knit night was a success. I got the embroidery and sewing done on my two dolls. I will be knitting the arms and legs soon and sewing them on during my next No-Knit Night. I also finished all the seaming on the garter pockets. Its a great feeling to have them done. Leaving long tails was especially helpful when seaming, as was going along the same seam more than once. I closed a lot of gaps that way.

When I resumed knitting tonight I resumed work on my Rainbow Baby Blanket. I used yarn that was much too thick and I have gotten tired of working on it. I started the project to work on a blanket but I am not pleased with the way it has turned out. I plan on donating it to a friend's charity, I Love My Blanky, which makes and donates blankets for the homeless. Its a tedious blanket, and I will certainly pick a more interesting one next time.

I also restarted the Hopechest Handkerchief project tonight. My first handkerchief is complete except for the lettering and embroidery, which I have checked out a book on. At first I tried to freehand the lettering, but that did not work. The original pattern suggests using tracing paper pinned to the handkerchief, and I recommend doing so. Freehand is a lot harder than it seems! Hopefully I will have it done by next week, after almost a year of hibernation. It was one of the first projects I put on Ravelry and it will be nice to see it finished.

As of tonight I am down to four WIPs, five hibernating projects and one frogged project. I eventually intend to complete them all, and to redo the frogged item. With things as crazy as they are at the moment, that may take a while.

I still have all the other crafts to do, seaming took more time than I thought it would. Sunday is my day off, however, and I plan to make the most of it!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The No-Knit Night

I have decreed that tonight is a No-Knit night! Over the last three or four days I have knit quite a bit, completing my last pocket garter, two doll headdresses, and beginning another lace garter. As a result my hands have started to hurt and there are several "completed" objects in need of attention. This attention can range from embroidered embellishments to crocheted trimming to the weaving in of ends and the sewing of seams.

I may be able to finish my first Hope Chest Handkerchief this week, as long as I can find a good book on calligraphy to trace and copy letters from. Once I have done that, it will be complete!

The second Hope Chest Handkerchief still needs a border as well as embellishment, so that will take me a bit longer. I also need to find my old copy of the pattern so I can read over the notes I wrote the first time. Once I have both of those completed (and I can work it in to the budget LOL) I will order the same yarn the other two were knit from, so I can make one for my MIL and my StepMIL as well. Maybe even one for me and each BM, though that really depends on time and cost.

The cabbage and flower dolls are coming along rather quickly. Since frogging the original flowered headdresses I have re-knit the purple one and completed the cabbage headdress. Tonight I will embroider the faces and sew the headdresses on.

I also have to weave in the ends on two more pocket garters, as well as sew up the seams. I completed one while at a family party on Monday, but seaming takes a lot more attention than knitting and I put it away after a bit so I could be more social. Hopefully I can have them all done by this weekend and they can be checked off my list!

My intention is to complete all my WIPs and at least half of my hibernating projects by the time the semester starts in August. I don't knit much during the school year, and I have lots of other crafts to do as well.

Since this is mostly a knitting blog, I don't really want to get in to the other crafts I am doing. Instead, I will list them below. At least that way I can make sure I won't forget them! =)

Crafts Left To Do:
  1. Wedding Curtain (This will be used to make sure the unsightly things behind our officiant aren't captured on film LOL)
  2. The Wedding Canopy (Large enough to cover my fiance, the officiant, and I as well as our altar)
  3. Christmas Bags (For my nieces)
  4. Christmas boxes (to replace all the wrapping paper and conserve waste)
  5. BM's necklaces
  6. Dusty's Memorial Candle
  7. Memorial Bracelets
  8. Spa Kits (For Christmas)
I also intend to spend a great deal of time tonight baking and preparing some healthy desserts we can eat during the week. There are also some household chores to be done, but they certainly have no place in my knitting blog, they're too depressing!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Organized Knitting? Impossible!

I, like many other knitters, recently got tired of misplacing my patterns and using yarn intended for project A for project B instead! All that was compounded by living with my fiance and two cats in a tiny studio apartment, and I decided to do something about it. Amidst pulling my hair out for unrelated reasons, I struck upon a solution. After two hours, I have a folder for in-progress and queued patterns, which is in a basket with a number of labeled bags and tupperware containers, each containing a single project.

I must say that this system is so effective! It forced me to find as many patterns as I could, put them all in one place, then clean up the messes certain UFOs had become. The dolls intended for me niece had half-frogged accessories mingled with yarn intended for the dolls' arms, as well as extra needles that were not even the right size! My desire for a clean and organized work environment gave me the fortitude to dig through that tangled mess and set it all to rights. In one sitting I frogged a flowered headdress intended for a doll I decided not to make, frogged another flowered headdress that was much too big for the dolls, balled all the reclaimed yarn, stored what I no longer needed and cast on for a resized headdress.

Other projects have finally reached completion, such as the book cozy I knit some time ago. After sitting in various bins for three years I finished seaming the edges and put it to use, holding my current book. I must admit that it is not my finest work, but I am proud that I finished it. The edging will need work as time goes on, I have no idea what I was doing when I first made it. The project reminded me of how many skills I have learned through knitting, and of other skills I have honed. It really is surprising!

I also did one project, start to finish, in less than 24 hours. The Doughnut pincushion is my current crown jewel, because I do not normally knit and I am very proud of how well it come out. I've already used it to hold the pins I blocked my garter with!

My garter is my most complex project to date. While my Tank Top was my first garment, and it taught me a new cast on method, the garter is my first lace work, and my first foray in to sewing a knit item. I purchased the bias tape and elastic last night and hope to have it sewn on by this weekend. It will certainly need more starch, and I need to take more time with it, but that is why I am throwing my first garter at the wedding. LOL The yellow ribbon looks fantastic in it, and looking back on the project it knit up much quicker than I expected.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tips, Tricks, & Plans for Lace Garters

I have almost completed my first lace garter, and I am quite proud. I have done about three repeats a day, topping out at five yesterday. The second to last repeat was a mess, and I nearly lost a lot of knitting from a dropped stitch, but I picked it up in time. The two stitches that I dropped and knit over I have hung paper clips on. When I finish the garter I plan on running a long length of thread through the stitches and weaving them in to secure the dropped stitches. I recommend keeping a size 7 crochet hook handy for picking up dropped stitches, and for assisting in carrying certain stitches over.

I think the garter will be done by tonight or tomorrow night, and then I will weave in all ends and block right away. If it looks good after blocking I will sew the bias tape and elastic in, as well as treading the ribbon and tying the bow. I may also find a small charm to add, though I'm not sure what yet. Probably a Celtic or religious symbol, though I have no idea where to find one that small. Once I have a complete garter I am going to cast on for the rest, if I like the one I have completed. I think I will, which is good. If I don't then its back to square one!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Knitting for my Wedding...

My fiance proposed on New Year's Eve and I now have a stack of projects to knit before the big day. At the moment I am working on Pocket Garters for myself and my Bridesmaids as well as pretty lace garters, with an additional garter to throw. Elann Esprit and Cascade Fixation are my yarn of choice for the pocket garters while Aunt Lydia's crochet thread forms the lace garters. I have switched to size 30 thread because I could not find size 40, and I believe it works just as well. I intend to finish all eleven garters before the end of summer, which is easy to do since I am almost done with the pocket garters and I do at least two repeats of the lace pattern each day for the pretty garters. I did a bit of research on Ravelry before starting to work with the size 30 thread (I originally had size 10, not knowing there was a difference). One knitter finished hers within a month by doing one repeat a day, which is wise because the repeats often take an hour. I have since slimmed my time down with small tricks I learned (detailed in my projects page), but it is still hard on my wrists.

I did three repeats yesterday and two each day before that. I am at a little over seven inches, and I intend to be at ten before the end of the week. My hope is to complete the garter within two weeks and cast on for the second before the end of the month. This will give me a three-month completion time for all six garters, which is perfect. I never get to knit much during school semesters and I am knitting my veil as well. Since the wedding is early next May, I don't have a lot of time to get it all done. Hopefully I can make it work. I also have to finish the dolls for my adorable niece, which will be part of her Christmas present. I also have the "stuffers" we bought earlier, such as the black velvet "Color In" picture frames, the Coloring Books and a few other knick knacks. The girls have also destroyed the bags we got them last year so we're going to make them new ones this year, though I think we're going to go about it differently. I am going to ask his mother to teach me how to sew, then I am going to make them quilted bags. Those should last longer than shore-bought canvas. We'll see.

Because lace is tricky to work on in the car, I have been working on other projects during the lengthy periods we have been in the car this summer. Incidentally, they also work wonders for my patience when things get tedious and we are out of the house. The projects include the rainbow baby blanket I started a year ago. Perhaps I will see Brittany again and give it to her. Otherwise I will donate it to a homeless shelter or some other organization who could use it. I will admit its not my best work but it is my first blanket. I also have to finish my cabled scarf, though I think the one on my needles is for my mother. I may have finished that one and wrapped it last Christmas, so I am a bit confused lol. Another Mother of the Bride Handkerchief is in the queue, this one for my fiance's mother. After that is one for his stepmother and then (possibly) crocheted necklaces for them. It depends on how much time I have =(

I also have to make the bags for my Bridesmaids, as well as the crocheted bags to go inside, their mix CD's and the art for their covers, their chokers, the chuppah, the bead curtain for behind the chuppah and a number of other things. Suddenly I don't feel like there is enough time to do everything! Hopefully there is, fingers crossed and hope to the Goddess!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Getting Myself In Stitches Again...

I took an unofficial hiatus from knitting over the last few weeks. Between the straight A's I promised myself, money woes and my work schedule I was too busy to take up my needles. I know there was time while I was watching TV or in the car (as a passenger of course!) but those time frames were either used for sleeping or reading. February ninth marked the beginning of the end for my hiatus. While taking pictures of the wonderful Salvation Army treasures I scored (discussed in my other blog) I remembered that my Ravelry account was strangely lacking in new pictures. My tank top had grown by about twenty inches, I had most certainly started the Braided Scarf and I had several completed Christmas Washcloths.

For months now I have been working on the Two-Fisted Tank from the Pints and Purls book. I expected it to be a project that knit up quickly and I was right for the most part. In October we were driving a great deal and I was able to knit the 2x2 rib pattern without getting bored. 13 inches quickly grew from my needles but froze when the holidays approached. The mad rush of holidays killed my drive to knit the tank top. I revived the project in the middle of last month and have no finished the body and the shaping for arm holes. All I have left is the yoke of the top which requires knowledge of the Backwards Loop Caston. Once I learn that there is no stopping me!

My mother's scarf is coming along nicely as well. A week after Christmas I asked her what she wanted me to knit her, as a belated gift, and she asked for a scarf in black. I had to find something funky and cool for a mom such as mine. The Braided Scarf was the answer to my quest. Five stitch cables make the braiding easy enough and size 13 needles knit it up quickly. I am using Shepard's Shades by Brown Sheep and I have fallen in love with this wool! Its soft and knits up with more loft than I expected. I am thinking of using this yarn in a hat for myself if the weight is what I need but for now my mother's scarf is a beautiful use for it. My only complaint is that as the scarf gets longer (currently it is about 4 feet) it gets heavier and makes a less convenient travel project which was my original use for it. Such is the way of the knit I suppose!

The project I have been happiest to resume, due in part to its long hibernation, is the project of Christmas Washcloths. Around the end of August I developed the brilliant idea of making spa kits for the women in my family. Hand knit washcloths, home made candles, personally bound books in addition to a few organic beauty supplies stuffed in to baskets purchased from Salvation Army. Brilliant idea! Except for the fact that candle making is messy, I had yet to find local organic hygeine supplies and the washcloths took 6 hours to knit give or take a few interruptions. At a meager 5 washcloths a basket I had about 45 washcloths to make. I know it sounds like I had plenty of time, but as always there were complications. September my fiance and I settled in to our new apartment and life in a town. He attended classes during the day while I finished unpacking and rearranging. October is one of the busiest months for our families and then we both came down with the dreaded Swine Flu in Novemmber. By December it was too late to consider finishing all 43 washcloths that had yet to be cast on and I pushed the project back a year. Now it is back on my needles and I am so excited to see the little flowers form!


At the moment I have frozen work on the scarf pending a trip to my Local Yarn Store. I will be making a second one because they are just too cute but first I need to finish my mom's. The washcloths are my best bet for travel work because they never get very big but I work from a cone of cotton which is. I suppose that is just the way projects go.
 
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