YARN FUMES

Because we're all addicted to them, we just deny it.


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Whole 30 – Day 7: Naps and the Color Orange

This is a picture of my lunch today. A bit colorful, isn’t it (well, one color)?

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I can honestly say that it happened totally by accident, but all the same, it is sort of ironic. Think that Orange Theory is going to my brain overmuch? You’ll notice that the lunch of the day was the buffalo chicken and sweet potato from my last post. I can say after a few days that it ended up being much better than I thought it would be. The chicken was definitely hot, but the potato offset it quite a bit so it was even manageable for me! You should definitely check it out if you like chicken wings.

I also had a green smoothie for breakfast. Yes, I know it’s technically not Whole 30, but darn it all, if all the ingredients are either fruits or veggies and it’s a small smoothie, then I’m not giving myself a hard time about it. Am I skirting the edge? Probably. But then, that’s the life of a rebel. ūüôā

Day 6 was definitely a sleepy day for me. I didn’t want to do anything but nap. What made it harder, was that sleep came really easily and with it, some very fun and crazy dreams! Still, I’m glad today (Day 7) isn’t quite like that. You can’t take naps during working days if you want to remain employed. I’d say cravings are low, and energy isn’t bad, but I’m not feeling that tiger blood yet. Maybe in a few days.

As far as plans for food this week?

  • Sloppy Joe’s – using homemade ketchup. Probably on Tuesday
  • Chicken Meatballs? – I still need to find a recipe
  • I bought a cucumber, some broccoli and cauliflower, so will try to come up with some new recipe including one or more of those. I think the cucumber will be by itself – combining with the other two sounds slightly icky.

By the way, I may have gotten my brother to start the Whole 30 himself, now! Yay, for spreading the love!

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Whole30 Day 3 – Ketchup and Broken Eggs

Hi all! Checking in. All is going well on the Whole 30 front so far. I finished my third day of “Egg Roll in a Bowl” over lunch and still generally like it. That’s the beauty/curse of being single. You have to cook less (win!), but unless you make tiny meals, you have to eat them over and over and over and over and… well, you get the idea. Usually I cook like a fiend on Sunday night (preferably after 9PM, that’s when the magic happens and when Once Upon a Time used to end) and then eat the same meals for as many days as I can manage during the week. If, by Thursday, the idea of eating lunch doesn’t fill me with dread, I know the recipe is a keeper. Now technically, tomorrow is my Thursday, since Monday was a holiday and all the cooking was done that evening. Not sure how I’ll feel about lunch tomorrow – probably not thrilled, but not dreading it. Therefore, I think this counts as a keeper, with one concession – smaller batch next time.

If you’d like to try it yourself, here is the link. The recipe is from eat-yourself-skinny.com.

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NOTE: The recipe is better with a few glugs of Mirin Rice Wine Vinegar. Also, I added a few fried eggs on top of it. Together, these two things made a huge flavor difference. Do yourself a favor and make sure to add both, or at least the eggs if nothing else. And don’t drop two raw eggs on the floor in the process as I did today. It makes a huge mess and is a real pain to clean- although kittens seem to enjoy it.

Two other biggies on my cooking list this week: Homemade Whole 30 Ketchup (from Jaysbakingmecrazy.com) and Pulled Buffalo Chicken on Sweet Potatoes (from the Real Food Dieticians)

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Healthy-Crock-Pot-Buffalo-Chicken-Sweet-Potatoes-300x400@2xIn summary, the ketchup was awesome, even though I don’t have any granulated garlic or onion and had to improvise. Those are going to be purchased on the way home tonight, methinks, because I didn’t realize how often those two ingredients come into play these days. I have the whole foods, just not the spices, unless garlic salt and soul seasoning count? Doubtful. Anyway, huge hit. I had to make it once in college and it was a real downer. Clearly, I should pass this recipe on to my school peeps.

As for the buffalo, the sauce reminded me a LOT of hot chicken wing sauce. If that is your thing, than you will LOVE this recipe. If you’re a hot sauce wimp like me, then be forewarned, this stuff is pretty darned blazing – keep in mind, my level is 0 on a 1-10 scale at the Indian restaurant, so 3 pretty much does me in. Knowing this, why did I make it, then? Clearly I’m a masochist. Luckily though, there are a lot of recipes for homemade ranch dressing and I bet the combination of that and the baked sweet potato will likely drop the heat a bit. We’ll see.

I’m trying to make 5 new things a week while on this, so hopefully if these three recipes didn’t interest you much, the next few will.

Oh, and there’s a knit hat in progress. It’s not mine, it’s a test knit, but it’s gorgeous! Pictures soon! I promise, I’ll start designing again at some point!

Still doing Orange Theory. It still hurts. It’s still awesome.

 


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2018 is THE YEAR. Just wish I knew for what…

Alright all, it is a new year and if there was ever a good time to take the bull by the horns, it is today. I’ve been a somewhat bad girl. Blogging? Nope. Eating healthy? No, not really. Knitting? Well, yes, but not as much as usual. Dating? Yes – but creeps, so does it really count?

I DID get him…

IMG_20171205_132843.jpgHis name is Eisenhower (Ike) and his sister, Shazzer, hates his little furry body. But isn’t he just a lover? Squee!

But I’m getting sidetracked. Keeping the above in mind, I’m also a firm believer that if you want your life to change or improve, you have to start by making changes yourself. To that point, I started Orange Theory in December of last year. It’s painfully more expensive than I’m used to, even with the pre-opening rate discount, but it’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I’ve willingly gone to the gym about 15 times since December 1st, and we’re not talking piddly workouts here. They bust your ass. And in only an hour, too! Love. it.

So, that habit is coming with me in to 2018. In addition, I’ve just started the Whole30. Day 1. I completed it before, about a year ago, and the changes it made were amazing. It didn’t last, unfortunately, but hope springs eternal. In case you’ve missed the bandwagon (it’s been around for a while, so that’s unlikely, but you never know), here is a link with some good info.¬†https://whole30.com/

So, for the next 30 days, I’m going to post here. Some recipes I tried will feature, along what I learned, but frankly, this just gives some level of accountability. I would put down my weight loss, but I accidentally killed the scale last month (RIP scale, that’s what you get for giving me those high numbers), so I may decide to ditch the weight comparisons straight up.

For the heck of it, here’s some new year’s resolutions too. Don’t know about any of you, but I love checking to see how many actually stick for the year.

1 – Volunteer more. I’m working at a home for pregnant teens right now, and hope to work at the library as well. After that, who knows?

2 – Design. Let’s say 3 things? Haven’t really been feeling that bug for a while, but you never know.

3 – Meet new people / experience new events. I’d like to add Mr. Right to that list of new people (my words to God’s ears). Hint, hint?

4 – Completely organize my apartment and rid it of all superfluous material. If I can manage that, then let’s also include my desk and the car for bonus points.

5 – Stick with the gym, as I am paying for it after all. And more yoga would also be nice, even if it’s just videos.

I think 5 is more than enough. You? So far I’ve made it through 2 meals and have had two cups of very strong black coffee with nothing added (sigh). So far so good. Will give a summation of today in tomorrow’s post. Head’s up – “Egg Roll in a Bowl” is pretty darn good, especially if you add a fried egg on top of it.


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Woefully Behind Wednesday

Yes, I know, it’s been a while. But don’t worry! I’m not planning on leaving the blog this time. Unfortunately though (well, unfortunately for the blog, fortunately for me), it’s been a bit crazy around here. Not to say too much, but I’m hoping to change up a few things in my life in the near future. Oh, and I’m hoping to get officially published by someone who isn’t me as well. Wish me luck, time’s about here!

In addition to all the other stuff going on in my life… I did THIS:

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on the way ¬†to whitewater rafting (how’s that for irony?) last weekend. I got to lay in a chair while everyone else did THIS:

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So jealous. But they had fun, and actually, I did too. Next year, people, next year! Am more than ready to get this stupid boot off, let me tell you.

 


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Whittling the Queue – Wednesday

Today has been one of those “shove 12 hours of work into 8 hours” kind of days. Tiring, but much better than the “find a way to turn 2 hours worth of work into 8 hours” kind. Those are horrible. Of course, this excess of real life¬†means that I haven’t had much time to really think about today’s queue post, but that’s alright. I already had the knitting queue chosen! Please pardon the shameless self-promotion. ūüôā

September Sunset – by Heather HamiltonIMG_0784

The name for this sock came during a particularly brutal volleyball game this week. We lost. We lost big. It was one of those games where you realize your whole purpose in playing is to make the other team feel good about themselves. But the sunset was lovely.

Sign-ups for test knitting start this (long) weekend! I’ll be sure to post a notice up on twitter and on “Free Pattern Testers” in Ravelry. Keep an eye out¬†if you’d like to participate!

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Saphir – by Marion Crivelli

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Can I be completely honest? I probably won’t even consider making this until the beginning of next year, as I’m already in the middle of a fingering weight sweater. However, this sweater has been in my queue for at least a year now, and it will be made eventually. The stitch pattern is easily memorized but complicated enough to keep your interest. Three quarter length sleeves and a wide boat neck are two of my favorite attributes in a sweater. And it’s top down. Those are the positives. The negative? There’s an absolutely excessive amount of purling. I’ve never been a fan of purling.

The yarn I’ve put aside for this project is Knit Picks Palette in Eggplant. It’s a lovely, deep, dark purple. You should be warned that Palette is a very addicting yarn due to all the amazing color choices. If you want to make an inexpensive, color-work heavy project, Palette is your go to. Just be sure to hand wash.

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Autumn Cheesecake – by Stephanie (Allrecipes.com)

Autumn Cheesecake

Do any of you have recipes that are an annual tradition? Along with chili, salsa, and strawberry tart, this one is mine. My folks have two apple trees in their backyard and around this time of the year they deliver a big bucket of apples to my door. When that happens, making this recipe is my first order of business. I once had a boss tell me this tasted better than one made at the Cheesecake Factory. It looks store-bought too. You basically make a standard cheesecake with a nutty base and then top it with cinnamon spiced apples. The sugary, cinnamonny, appley goodness seeps into the cheesecake layer and results in this heavenly autumn-in-cake-form dessert. Make it. This week.

BEFORE MAKING THIS RECIPE:

  • Double the cheesecake filling because the recipe is wrong in that respect.
  • Cook the sliced apples in the microwave for at least 30 seconds – long enough to release at least some of the juice. Then discard the extra juice. This will prevent your cheesecake from becoming too moist.
  • Both walnuts and pecans are a good addition to the crust base.
  • Doubling the cinnamon never hurts either.

Happy baking!

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BTW – I probably shouldn’t mention this yet, but I’ve been racking my brains trying to come up with a new sock design. The newest one is the lineup… AWESOME!


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FO: ZickZack (A Scarf for the Brave)

Ok, I do feel the need to clarify. This scarf is not difficult from a technical aspect. In fact, it would be a wonderful first scarf for a new knitter as it consists of literally the same row repeated over and over. The¬†tedium is what makes it difficult. This scarf is a slog, I won’t lie. The results, however, are very worth it.

ZickZack – By Christy Kamm

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(I know, it’s not a “Human Wearing It” picture. I’ll update with another one¬†in the next day or two).

This scarf totaled approximately 900 yards when all was said and done. I finished up a full 4 balls of Lang Yarns Mille Colori Baby, 2 balls of each color.

Yarn review: The color changes on Colori are beautiful. They’re very gradual, same as in the case with Noro but the difference is this yarn is much softer and more comfortable to work with than the¬†Noro competition. The drawbacks to that softness are, of course, that the scarf is much more likely to felt and pill as time goes on. I’d strongly suggest you block once a year at the most if you want your finished product to last. Obviously then,¬†Colori would probably not make a good sweater choice. It is the perfect choice for this pattern, though.

Pattern review: The pattern was very clearly written and easy to memorize. I made my scarf much thinner¬†– 6 repeats per row vs 9. I also¬†adjusted my¬†needle size to 3. This baby grew on blocking, ending at just over 7 feet long (vs 5.5 feet pre-block). I adore¬†long scarves though, so for me, this was just a plus. However, it should be noted that I’m 5’8 and wear¬†high heels on a semi-regular basis. You may want to plan accordingly.

I completed this project over the following period:

  • A trip to and from Colorado (starting from¬†Eastern Kansas)
  • 10 episodes of Arrow
  • 10 episodes of The Flash
  • A 200 page e-book (probably superhero related considering the above trend, yes I’m 5, please don’t judge me, at least not much)

It’s possible this list says way too much about my nerdy preferences,¬†but the point has been made. Patience, patience, patience! I promise, it’s worth it.


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Whittling the Queue with WIPs

More specifically, by COMPLETING WIPs…

I love starting new projects. You can play with new colors, new yarns, new stitch patterns. You imagine how wonderful it will be when the days get cold and you can bundle up in lovely wraps, sweaters and hats. But then, you get bored. After hours of the same slog – have you noticed that some of the loveliest patterns are the most boring? – you want a change. This leads to a lot of WIPs. How many are on your needles right now? Let’s be honest.

My breakdown is as follows: (I think)

6 sweaters (3 are about 80% done, 2 about 15%, 1 about 0.05% – just cast on)

1 tank (40%)

1 shawl (40%)

2 pairs of fingerless gloves (60%)

3 pairs of socks (80% for 2, and 50% for 1)

So, 13. That’s actually a lot better than¬†it could have been. It’s still pretty bad, though.

(And it’s an unlucky number. When 13 projects are stored¬†in the same basket, the first one grabbed¬†will be the first to die, or dye, or something like that, I’ll have to ask Professor Trelawney.)

I have sworn to finish a few more projects before starting anything new – minus that new sweater I just cast on, which between us, I never should have started at this point. In the interests of not losing interest (did that make sense?), I’m going to show you a few of the projects in the works. These held high priority in my queue at one point. Maybe they’ll make yours this week?

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#33 Worldly – by Verona Design Team

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I’m making this sweater for my father as his Christmas 2014 present. Yes, I know.

In my defense, it¬†is knit on size 2 needles and was completed up to the armholes early last year but then he tried it on and found it too small. I suggested he could lose weight. He didn’t like that suggestion. So I ripped it all out. Let me say that I again in case anyone missed it. I ripped. it. ALL. OUT. When there was about 1 inch left of it that hadn’t been wound into the world’s largest yarn ball, he looked at it, asked what I was doing and then said, “But I could have lost weight!”

Can you really blame me now? Honestly? Wouldn’t you have to experience a temporary sweater separation after that debacle?

It’s about a foot long now. We’re getting there. I’m hoping for an FO by the end of the year. If nothing else, I’ve made the world’s largest gauge swatch. If it doesn’t fit this time, there will be no strike 3. The heart can only take so much.

Please do not let my horror story distract you though, it really is a wonderful sweater, and when this baby is done, it’s gonna be epic. EPIC!

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Sand Pullover – by Ela Torrente

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I am almost finished with this one. You’ll likely see an FO post for it at the beginning of next month. This sweater has so many positive qualities. It’s longer in the back than the front due to some added short rows. It’s top down (yay!). The stitch pattern is easy to memorize but not too¬†boring. The broken ribbing makes the sweater stretchy and very warm. Limited lace details add a lot of appeal without a lot of effort.

In addition, this is the first sweater that I’ve knit using Dream in Color Classy. I’m sold on this yarn. It’s¬†nice and¬†soft after washing, but doesn’t seem to pill as badly as some. I’m not¬†so sold on the color I chose – that’s the curse of online shopping – but an over-dye shouldn’t be too difficult to manage.

It should be noted that when making a top down sweater, periodic blocking is key. I may have made mine tunic length by accident… we will see once it’s completely dry. I like it anyway.

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And let’s not forget the weekly recipe, either.

Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake

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In the interest of keeping up with the WIPs theme, it should be noted that this recipe is already in progress. Mixing is completed and all it needs at this point is to be baked. It’s going in a regular loaf pan¬†because I’m not convinced at this point that I won’t destroy it if I go the bundt route – the bundt and I have not been friends, lately. I’m also probably not going to add the icing because, while I love icing, my jeans don’t.

But if one of you decides to go whole hog and actually follow directions – what a novel idea! – please let me know how yours turned out, as I’m quite curious. ūüôā

Till next week! May we have fewer WIPs tomorrow than we do today!