Humpz Dayz

Is it just me or is this week kind of dragging? Maybe because it’s supposed to be Spring, but the weather still stinks? I mean I can’t complain that much – it’s been above freezing in Chicago so that’s like heat wave status.

Anyways – I’ve had a pretty great week so far albeit a little quiet and slow.

First: Been really enjoying my gym time. I go 4-5 times a week now and just feel like I’m killing it there. I’m still amazed that I have lost no weight, but the overall shape/tightness of my body is radically different. Don’t believe? oh look a before and after! My favorite! (haha). I have been going between 2-4 miles a day and as of last weekend have been using intervals and inclines to keep me on my toes.

after on left 3/14 – before 12/24 on right; same weight 160.

Second: I FINALLY found a great dentist here in Chicago. I had avoided the whole ‘check up’ thing since I moved. I take insane care of my teeth now (after root canals, LANAP surgery) and so I knew I wasn’t going to have any cavities or major plaque issues. I did have a consult done on my ‘root canal-ed’ teeth that are in the front. I’m nervous, but incredibly excited to move forward with that. To say that I have adjusted my lifestyle and smile to accommodate my always graying teeth would be an understatement. It’s a major bummer to look at photos and have it make my teeth look misshaped or worse look like I’m missing teeth! So that’s an endeavor I’m about to journey through and am excited to move past.

Third: I scheduled my GMAT exam. I know what you are thinking “Brianna, you just graduated with your MA last year.” Well, you all know it’s a goal to get my PhD and this stage of my life would be the best time to just ‘get ‘er done.’ So I have 9 weeks to study my face off. I’m not too concerned about finding time and I bought the Manhattan study prep kit so I think I’ll do just fine.

Fourth: I beefed up my sewing skills with a simple skirt class. The highlights were learning the ‘french seam’ and some nice hemming techniques. I’m excited to begin sewing more especially since I’m at the size I want to stay.

pattern and fabric.
little ‘faux fur bag’ i made the cats. the safety pins make the cover/lining removable (i.e. washable) they LOVE it. both fight over it.
adorable yarn draw string bag i made. i actually did the inside with french seams and practiced my casing skills haha.

Fifth: GREAT progress with the Heliopath KAL with socalmeaghan. I’ve seen quite a few followers/fellow KAL friends are WAY ahead of schedule. I am right on track. It’s taking me about 4 hours (!!!!) to knit the 16 rows of the cable lace pattern over 151 stitches. (That’s 2416 total stitches if you wanna think about how much work in a different sense). The pattern is easy, but tedious and as soon as I start getting tired I have to stop because I start fumbling and it gets scary with all the YO / K2TG / P2TG and cables.

4.5 inches of pattern / 2 inches of ribbing. sigh.

So there was the weekend/first half of the week. I’m ready for spring. I feel lonely and whiny. Lois is coming to visit Friday so I’m really excited to be around family.

xxx
GFK

Ghostfacing March Goals

Well it’s the first Monday of the month! Can you believe that it’s March? It seems like I was just back home in Denver eating green chili, nut bread, and getting tattooed for Christmas! Time flies when you’re having fun! That being said, I think every beginning of the month I’ll do a new ‘monthly goals’ challenge. That way I can measure, record, and obtain short term and long term goals for accountability.

My short list for March to-do’s:

1. Go to the Dentist – for many this is a simple chore, for me (someone who has had EXTENSIVE dental work over my short lifetime) it is a living nightmare. No joke. I had a great dentist in Denver who did my “laser gum surgery” (say it like Dr. Evil) and I haven’t found one here that I’m comfortable with. I specifically need to find an office that respects that I am terrified and not just ‘being a baby’ or ‘high maintenance.’ Okay now that I’ve thrown that out there I can wait until the end of the month to resolve it.

fact: chewing on your hand makes your teeth super strong.

2. Cheapskates are the best skates – I’m tired of spending money I don’t need to. I stopped shopping at the regular grocery store at the start of the year, and it’s cut my grocery bill in half. Plus I eat more (+1600 calories a day) and eat out WAY less (once a week out of pocket / 3 chipotle visits with gift cards). I’m going to only buy my clothes from thrift store from here on out, because I’m just sick of spending money on things. I’m not ‘broke’ by any means, but why spend the dough if I don’t have to? I’d rather have a GIANT savings account and some new tattoos than ground beef from whole foods or a new cardy from Target.

massages are not consumption.

3. Lent – Sigh. I’ve been a ‘terrible’ Catholic lately. In the sense I haven’t been to mass since last Easter, but as a person I think I’ve been more ‘faithful’ than ever. I digress, Lent, whether you believe in the tales or not is a good time for restraint and reflection in general. PLUS, it’s easy to commiserate with other ‘lent-giver uppers’ during this time. So my plan is to give up snacking completely after dinner. I’m a huge fan of the rolling dinner from meal to bed and it’s got to stop. It just makes me feel bad and gross. I need to eat more during the morning/afternoon, not at 10pm. ALSO this one is HUGE. I’m restricting frozen yogurt to once a week on the weekends. TEARS. But froyo doesn’t really fit with my whole lifestyle change and cheapskates regime.

a family out of control

4. I’ll save the best for last. This month is about positive energy. I’m really focused with surrounding myself with inspiring people. Everyday, I meet new folks either in real life or the interwebs that make me think that this world and life is so awe inspiring – this month of March I’m going to continue to surround myself with PMA and people with enthusiasm. Believe me I’m so happy with my family and friends and to add to that stellar roster is exciting as hell.

Okay I think that’s a great start. Dentist, cheapskates, Lent promises, and PMA. March, I’ll do right by you!

XXX
GFK

EMBROIDER-HOLIC

I’ve really taken a shine to embroidery. It’s fun, it’s relaxing, I’ve gotten pretty quick at the small designs and I think it’s way way pretty. I’m just getting into more expensive floss (thread), but overall if the design is cute and the work is neat, the embroidered piece is just darling. These are the embroidered towels I have done in the past two weeks.

'bang bang my baby shot me down'
‘bang bang my baby shot me down’
close up on cowboy puppy
close up on cowboy puppy
bumper car crash
bumper car crash
carnival set of towels
carnival set of towels
vegas showgirl
vegas showgirl

Together

Well it’s Valentine’s Day. It’s always a day full of such great expectations. If you have a typical Valentine good for you. I’m flying solo, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have awesome family, friends, and the tribe to send me love all year long. Plus…. Motley Crue.

Happy V Day. Whatever it means to you.

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Love yourself the most.

xxxx
GFK

February Health Challenge

I’ve decided to do something a wee bit different in terms of challenges this month because obviously I NEED to get back into the flow with writing daily blogs – I was doing so so well before the holidays. Life just gets so busy! I’ve done several things this past month that I have been proud of. I started running again which I love. It’s nice to run for mental well-being and fitness/stamina than just ‘to lose weight.’ I’m making HUGE progress on my vintage patterned sweater. I taught myself how to fair isle. Also I learned to crochet and have been having a blast learning the ins-and-outs of that art.

crochet mummy
crochet mummy

Oh and Lois visited over the weekend and we had a blast!

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Anyways this challenge. It’s just a daily reminder about health. This picture I found on Google Images for “February Blog Challenge” is old and I’m not guessing the correct blog for this is even working, but I hyperlinked the photo to the address on there despite it seeming like that domain has changed owners. I thought it would be a great way to get back in touch with some mental/physical well being.

Old Feb Challenge I'm Hi-jacking.
Old Feb Challenge I’m Hi-jacking.

So I’ll just jump right in at #4: Relaxation. This one is always tough for me, because I operate at high energy and anxiety levels 24/7. However, I do relax by knitting and embroidering. Most projects I work on become pretty therapeutic. Especially embroidery, the ‘risk’ of messing up or ‘ruining’ the project with a simple mistake does not exist.

embroidered tea-towel for my Grandma's birthday.
embroidered tea-towel for my Grandma’s birthday.

I think that’s why I’ve enjoyed learning to crochet as well – the ‘ripping out’ is so simple and not as scary/severe as when a small mistake is made in knitting. Sometimes, like last night I just crocheted a little ‘doo-dad’ and watched TV all evening. It was so relaxing and just what I needed after a jam packed weekend with Lois.

just a shriner fez for the tribe.
just a shriner fez for the tribe.

I can’t believe it’s already February. Time flies!

xxx
GFK

Fair Isle Goat Pillow DONE

Well, it’s done. It only took total 10-11 hours which is not that bad considering it was my first real Fair Isle project. I’m really pleased that I did NOT try this as the glove. I think it would have turned into a AMF knitting project (angry mofo), if I had tried DPNs with my first time Fair Isle. Anyways, there’s a few mistakes – it happens. I really dig this as a pillow and will be doing more pillow/tapestry designs in the future. I will however go a step further and knit in the round next time. All my mistakes were on the purl side (WS) so being able to see the knit side the entire time would aid in banishing those little flubs.

Finished pillow front being 'blocked' it's acrylic so it's not like that did anything.
Finished pillow front being ‘blocked’ it’s acrylic so it’s not like that did anything.
added some 'french knots' to cover up a missed black perrie. oops.
added some ‘french knots’ to cover up a missed black perrie. oops.
i really like the split in the goat.
i really like the split in the goat.
finished pillow. pug mildly impressed.
finished pillow. pug mildly impressed.
shhh mom, just shut your mouth.
shhh mom, just shut your mouth.
new sweater blaster - embroidered 'B" for the baby boris.
new sweater blaster – embroidered ‘B” for the baby boris.
one half of hall and oates. this is what i do on saturday nights people.
one half of hall and oates. this is what i do on saturday nights people.

Pet Projects: The Animal Knit Bible

After my ‘finishing faux paw’ (harhar) on Boris’s new sweater of sewing the arm holes closed I realized I’ve knitted too many pet sweaters to be making such a silly mistake! So I’ve been inspired to share a few of the patterns I’ve made here.

a cat straight-jacket is okay with me too.
a cat straight-jacket is okay with me too.

Obviously I knit a lot. I knit for people and of course animals. I have talked a little bit about the knitted items I’ve made for the animals before, but without a doubt all the patterns are from Pet Projects: The Animal Knit Bible. I can’t even tell you how many sweaters I’ve made for mine and others’ pets, but here are a few of the patterns and a lot of sweaters I have made from this book. (PS If you click the book link it takes you to the Ravelry page with other knitters’ works too!)

Despite his grumpy demeanor he's warm.
Despite his grumpy demeanor he’s warm.
This was for a furry friend. Too short for Vlad.
This was for a furry friend. Too short for Vlad.
All dressed up and no where to go - also ever since I took this photo I've wanted to make an all grey 'knight' suit for Lee.
All dressed up and no where to go – also ever since I took this photo I’ve wanted to make an all grey ‘knight’ suit for Lee.
My first sweater for Vladimir then it became Leopold's.
My first sweater for Vladimir then it became Leopold’s.
Although short, he prefers this sweater because he can run around.
Although short, he prefers this sweater because he can run around and you know grab a cup of coffee.
Pet bed, perfect for two.
Pet bed, perfect for two.
Vladimir's favorite summer spot.
Vladimir’s favorite summer spot.
"The Anti-Firework" Balaclava..... aka "The Laugh Hysterically at Your Animal Hat"
“The Anti-Firework” Balaclava….. aka “The Laugh Hysterically at Your Animal Hat”
Again "Laugh Hysterically"
Again “Laugh Hysterically”
I modified this hat to make Lee transform into RASTA PUG MAHN.
I modified this hat to make Lee transform into RASTA PUG MAHN.

They have a LOT of wonderful color pattern knits in this book too. I think I’m gonna turn the page from the sweater section and start making a few other fun animal items. Coveting it now? Buy it here.

SERENITY NOW!!!

Gee Whiz, it has been quite the week here in ‘Chiberia’ and it’s only Tuesday. First let’s just get it out of the way – it’s so cold I can’t even believe it. Second, Chicago has really sucked it up on being ‘prepared.’ The CTA (our transit system HA) ran yesterday with MAJOR DELAYS – that meant that instead of waiting an average of 5 minutes for a train or bus (even less most days) the wait for the bus was 15 minutes each way to work (exposed mind you) and 15 minutes for the train. The only saving grace yesterday was that a lot of people stayed home. This morning we were not so lucky because the buses are back to business as usual but the train still for some reason is running incredibly infrequent and late.

let's not even talk about this cold.
let’s not even talk about this cold.

Regardless, the crap weather didn’t stop me from taking an amazing class at The Needle Shop on Saturday to learn the famous Amy Butler Gumdrop pillow. I had a blast. I met some great women and learned some awesome new patterning and hand sewing skills.

Amy Bulter Pillow
Amy Bulter Pillow
Amy Bulter Pillow well received.
Amy Bulter Pillow well received.

I also started a new sweater for my sick kitten Boris.

Boris' new sweater.
Boris’ new sweater.

My neighbors and I exchange little ‘trinkets’ from time to time and this was what I made for their pup Lola.

Handkerchief for the neighbor doggie Lola.
Handkerchief for the neighbor doggie Lola.

I made some ‘winter shorts’ notice I’m wearing long underwear under them haha.

new pj shorts for the STAKBE club.
new pj shorts for the STAKBE club.

Sewing is interesting with two nosy sphynx cats.

my two 'assistants'
my two ‘assistants’
the inspector.
the inspector.

Finally – a chuckle at how ridiculous Leopold looks in his winter outfit.

a man with a mission.
a man with a mission.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great day of new beginnings. I woke up with some congestion that has been upsetting my asthma and driving me insane. I’m going to grab some Mucinex for later, but any respiratory ailment scares me, because it can get so out of control so fast for someone with asthma. Bleh – woe is me!

Other than that, I embroidered (which is fast becoming addictive) and knitted on a little surprise gift for someone. I’m determined to get the pattern out of my Harry Potter book and start on the ‘Luna’ vest I love from there too this week. Anyways here is a few photos from my lazy 2013/2014 switchover.

Life is pretty tough for a small sphynx cat.
Life is pretty tough for a small sphynx cat.
Blizzardy New Year here in Chicago.
Blizzardy New Year here in Chicago.
First Project of 2014 Complete - Cowboy Pup.
First Project of 2014 Complete – Cowboy Pup.
Close up of Cowboy Pup
Close up of Cowboy Pup
Cowboy Pup the Robber.
Cowboy Pup the Robber.