I decided to make some fun little zippy bags to sell in shopghostfaceknitter.com – they feature three internal zip pockets and three larger spaces. Perfect for notions, pens/pencils, makeup, jewelry, anything you want to stow away in style.
Well it was a week of highs and lows all around. We lost Vladimir to a stroke on Wednesday, which just put a heavy cloud over the week. There was a lot of grief and sad painting – I’m happy I kept working though, because now I feel like a lot was accomplished.
I need a new main panel. F*&k! The connection tabs on the bus had been roughed up by the former owners and it’s such a severe issue the electrician (now that he’s involved) is going to replace the whole thing. This will require a permit so because the garage wiring is so bad/not to code we actually have to disconnect the garage and cap it so the inspector does not fail the work. I just keep having flash backs to the listing ‘AS-IS’ – and indeed it is….. The photo below shows MY inspector complaining about a breaker that does not match…. no mention of circled broken tab on bus. I am learning a LOT about electrical work though – pretty fun. Except for the whole spending money part.
Painting like a mofo –
Got the living/dining room in progress with 1 1/2 coats – still need to do the ceiling and the interesting trim on those cove ceilings.
Finished the bedroom!
Before – rusted windows, major plaster damage on windows, WHITE, wonky window treatments…
Plus the bathroom is 99% done! In the next week or so I’ll post a total before and after on the bathroom. I have done so much work in here – it’s so nice looking now! 🙂
Yay! It’s time for Yarn Along the Rockies here in Colorado. Yarn Along the Rockies is a yarn crawl that takes place all over the front range here from Boulder down to Colorado Springs. There are a total of 23 shops on the map and at each shop there is a special pattern to celebrate! At each stop you also get a ‘passport’ stamped which shows where you have been. At every 6 shops (and the final 23rd shop) you receive a really cool stitch marker. It’s a great way to see some shops you normally would not go to, as well as connect with lots of knitters from all over the front range.
Lois, my Aunt Lori, and I hit the road on opening day and hit 13 out the 23 shops on the yarn crawl. The highlights for me were a wonderful shop in Boulder called Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins and also LambShoppe and Fabric Bliss (which had some embroidery thangs as well as a lot of fabric).
Here we are in the HUGE Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins. I really loved that shop because they had such a variety of yarns – every price range Patons to local artisan blah blah blah. Plus, the women working there were just so nice and took the time to chat with us and help us even though it was extremely busy.
Here is a silly little cat face from Mew Mew’s Yarn Shop in Lafayette. That shop has some really interesting yarn art.
Here we are outside of Tea for Ewe in the Tennyson neighborhood (which used to be total dump so I’m still shocked it’s like hipsters in paradise up there now).
It was a fun day! We bought some awesome yarns. I have to say I was really stunned at how much the yarn and knitting/croche/fiber arts scene has grown in Colorado. It makes me happy to see so many people joining such a fun community. However, I’m also pretty much over the whole ‘custom/hand dyed/hand held/kissed/bathed with’ whatever the hell people are doing to justify $30-$50 for a skein of yarn. Here’s my point of view… So you spend let’s say ~$100+ on any kind of garment – worse is when you spend ~$50 on a goddamn cowl! Then okay so if you keep your knitted item you live in fear of wearing it, washing it, or even looking at it because 1. you just spent a month making this damn thing, 2. it’s made of $100+ yarn that could be ruined with any daring coffee sip, and 3. let’s face it you can really only wear most of these things for a select time of the year. Wow! that sounded like a major hater here, but I’m over it. I know buying big brands like Lion Brand, Red Heart, Patons and even the queen of gameshows Vanna White’s brands might not be the ‘snob-tastic’ way to knit/crochet – but goddamnit it’s the only way you can actually partake in this expensive ass hobby/lifestyle and not have credit card debt or eat the cat food you buy for your cats to save money.
I don’t know I’m just over spending ~$80 on average for supplies for usually an accessory when most often the person you are making this gift for does not even know how to take care of the item. (I will reference when someone machine washes something totally ignoring the tag – or when the hand made item is wadded up in the bottom of the closet – GEE I’M SO GLAD I SPENT 40 HOURS MAKING THAT FOR YOU!!)
Okay rant over, here is my perspective. I am very happy that so many people are interested in my same hobbies – it makes for a much more rich and interesting community to try things out it, look at other people’s successes, and generally have a wonderful selection to begin in terms of yarns, patterns, and tools. HOWEVER, I do not support the knitting snobs – not at all. I was so lucky in Chicago to find a group of crafters that were in love with crafting and not the labels. Those women inspired me more than any posh knitting store yarn circle would. And I guess I’m just at a point where I LOVE the hobby and I don’t need to quantify my skill, my love, or my productivity with how much money I spent on fiber.
Also, I think we can all agree that we knit/crochet/sew because we enjoy it. I hope that as this community hopefully grows even larger we can all share that love of the hobby itself instead of trying to one up each other in terms of labels.
We will finish our crawl on Friday and I am very excited to see the remaining 10 shops as well as have a chance to enter into the grand prize drawing (hey, I didn’t say I am opposed to specialty yarns – I’m just over the yarn snob stigma).
Anyways, I hope this comes across as me being an advocate for everyone who enjoys fiber hobbies – I realize a huge part of this is also hand making the supplies that is wonderful also, but I am really tired of the stigma and the ‘prejudice’ that revolves around ‘artisan fiber’.
I’m sure it is obvious that I took a mini-break (cough eight months cough) from crafting during the move, job change, additional move and beginning of summer. Well, I have ended that break and I am very happy and exciting to be diving back into the craft-scene.
I crocheted an adorable baby afghan from Bernat and thought I would share:
Bernat® Baby Blanket™ Yarn: 4 skeins (MC) Peachy, 1 skein White (A)
Crochet hook size M/13 [9 mm] or size for gauge
36″x40″ [91.5 x 101.5 cm]
7 sc & 8 rows = 4″ [10 cm].
With MC, ch 89.
Row 1: (RS). Cluster in 6th ch from hook. *Ch 1. Skip next ch. 1 dc in next ch. Ch 1. Skip next ch. Cluster in next ch. Rep from * to last 2 ch. Skip next ch. 1 dc in last ch. Turn.
Row 2: Ch 4 (counts as dc. Ch 1). *1 dc in top of next cluster. Ch 1. Cluster in next dc. Ch 1. Rep from * to last Cluster. 1 dc in last Cluster. Ch 1. 1 dc in last dc. Turn.
Row 3: Ch 4 (counts as dc. Ch 1). *Cluster in next dc. Ch 1. 1 dc in top of next Cluster. Ch 1. Rep from * to last 2 dc. Cluster in next dc. Ch 1. 1 dc in last dc. Turn.
Rep Rows 2 & 3 until blanket measures 38″ [96.5 cm]. Fasten off.
BORDER: With RS facing, join A with sl st to top right corner. Ch 3 (counts as dc). Work 1 rnd of dc evenly around all side edges, having 3 dc in each corner. Join with sl st to top of ch 3. Fasten off.
Beg = Beginning
Ch = Chain(s)
Dc = Double crochet
Rep = Repeat(ing)
Rnd = Round(s)
Sc = Single crochet
Sl st = Slip stitch
Yoh = Yarn over hook
Cluster = (Yoh & draw up a loop in next st. Yoh & draw through 2 loops on hook) 5 times. Yoh & draw through all loops on hook. Ch 1.
So I have been wanting to write this post for a year. However, I figured I needed some time/evidence/and some personal research before I dished about my weight loss last fall and then keeping it off for over a year. I lost the weight through a controversial method – the HCG Protocol. Some see it as no better than a diet pill, for me it was in no way shape or form ‘the easy option.’ Also surprisingly, through HCG I learned just how important nutrition and fuel is for my body. It went from the sole desire to ‘look a certain way’ to being able to fuel my life and be healthy.
Shall we look at a before?
Now what about an after (april 2014)?
Let us begin.
About a month after I got sober in July 2013, I realized that just stopping my alcohol consumption would not magically make me lose the weight I had, for years, deduced must be there because of booze/booze related consequences. After a month sober, I physically felt better and mentally felt great, but still had every excess pound on me. Now at this point, it had been years since I exercised regularly and I had 26 years of bizarre eating habits going on. A prime example of my ‘bizarre’ eating habits is ‘oh no I can’t eat that whole serving of chicken breast, instead I will only eat half and use those ‘saved’ calories to consume some M&Ms’ – makes total sense….. However, before HCG I had tricked my brain (but not my body) into thinking all calories were equal. Of course I’ve heard the opposite of this said everywhere; at the gym, at WeightWatchers, at CrossFit, at Title Boxing, at Whole Foods, on Dr. Oz, in People Magazine, etc etc… but I never really believed it. Why? Because I wanted to eat the bad shit. Plain and simple. Sure an avocado is amazing for your body/nutrition, but a donut is more fun! Also I am a ‘victim’ of the generation that was told fat and calories are BAD! Something we as a culture are just starting to wake up from….
However, I digress, I wanted to lose the weight. I was single, sober, and by golly I wanted to be thin. (Yes thin, not healthy – we will get there) When thinking about the way to lose this excess 30 pounds I had with me, I immediately thought of the HCG Protocol. I have had several close friends see long term success with HCG so I figured I would try it in Chicago. Oddly enough, there is a medical clinic just two blocks from my house that advertises (in giant neon flashing lights) that they have the HCG Protocol there. I took it as a sign from some ‘diet higher power’ and made an appointment.
Now here is where the risk got high. This HCG protocol was not cheap. In fact, it was a cool $1000. I was weighed, questioned, pinched (for BMI), and had an EKG done for heart health in my consult. The Doc said – it seems like a good fit for you. I agreed (good thing I had that 0% APR Chase Slate card on me!). I’m going to give the canned version of what the next 42 days of my life were like. First off, I was to inject myself daily with HCG (which some of you may recognize as a hormone produced by pregnant ladies) and follow a very strict meal plan of specific foods that were under 500 calories a day. This may sound alarming, because well it is pretty insane. But, I had seen the results of the folks that followed the protocol and so I followed the instructions.
The first two days of injections you get to pig the eff out. NO JOKE. There’s a little bit of a ‘science’ behind what you want to eat (more fats/proteins), but basically anything you want in an quantity until you are so full you may vomit all over yourself. I vividly remember this was the last time I ate Taco Bell. It was amazing.
Day Three – 42. 500 calories MAX a day. Of only certain proteins (chicken breast/certain fish), leafy greens, and two fruit options (apple/grapefruit). So I wasn’t miserable. 1 – because the pounds fall off by 1-2lbs per day. So it was at least results producing. 2 – the HCG chemically tells your brain/body you are satisfied at 500 calories and thus is allowed to burn your fat without knowing you are actually starving yourself. I don’t know the real science behind this – this was my attempt at not putting you asleep but sharing my process. Now this whole 500 calorie business is serious. I recall one day chewing (NOT EATING) 10 sticks of gum and because of the sucralose in the gum I gained 3 pounds. Once I realized that was the only thing different in my diet I made sure not to do that again. That was early in the protocol too so it reinforced that cheating was going to really sabotage this. Plus I JUST SPEND A GRAND ON THIS. (Believe me I hyperventilated about it many times – but stress deters weightloss so I had to calm the eff down and be thankful that card was 0%APR for a year longer)
During these 42 days I also had weekly (every Sunday) doctor visits where I would weigh in, get my weeks worth of shots and a weekly B12 shot.
So, naturally there is fear about the sudden stopping of the shots and then increasing the calories. At the end of the 42 days I had gone from 195lbs to 166lbs. For the next two weeks following the protocol I had to increase my calories to at least 1500, BUT remain on the same selection of foods. Now 1500 calories disappears very quickly in a diet where you can have nuts, pasta, pizza, sugar, soda, but when you can only eat eggs, chicken breast, leafy greens, apples, grapefruit, certain fish… it takes a lot of those things to get you to 1500 calories. For the first time in my life I felt like I was gorging on healthy foods. The doctor said I would probably continue to lose a few pounds which I did – I finally ended the weight loss at 164lbs. This re-introduction of calories is also so important because it sets the ‘base level’ for your metabolic function. So if you follow the 500 calorie days, then biff it in the 2 week post weeks the whole thing was WORTHLESS.
After the two weeks I was able to introduce basically everything except starch and sugars into my diet. Obviously this means bread is out. Sugar is the goddamn devil, but again that’s a conversation for another day.
So what did the protocol teach me? A LOT. It actually retrained my ‘yo-yo dieter’ brain into eating proper and good nutrition. Gone are the days of skipping dinner to eat a pack of M&Ms or have a sugary cocktail. Now I want to eat to fuel my body. In the past year I have learned that I can do anything with my body – ride 1000 miles on my bike, walk around Thailand, craft, walk my pug, discover Chicago, run an 8 minute mile, and learn to box. In September I took a break from my usual 2 hour daily active regime (3000 calories/day intake) and got a little confused. I started letting the empty sugar calories invade my day instead of eating cashews/avocados and other healthy fats. I blame seasonal induced lameness. I got on the scale on 11/3/2014 and weighed 175lbs (at night after eating all weekend long in Des Moines) and was bummed. I knew what I had to do…. Today (11/10/2014) I’m 164lbs as I have cut the added/processed sugar from my diet for just the past 7 days. (What’s that base level weight?! you are a real thing?!)
In conclusion, the HCG for me was the best option and it came at a time when I was most focused and inspired to do this. I followed the Protocol to the ‘t’ and lost the 30+lbs in the 42ish days. I have successfully kept off ALL the weight over 14 months later. To say I am happy with the process and the results is a gross understatement. The HCG protocol retrained my brain to care about my nutrition and my health, not my calories. Today and this past year I have experienced the healthiest relationship with food I have ever known as an adult. It may seem extreme, it may not be your cup of tea, but it allowed me to reach a level health wise that I am so proud of. I know what works for my body and I am happy that finally at 27, I have a healthy relationship with my body and with food/nutrition.
If you have questions you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I would love to educate anyone interested in this process. I also understand many people do not agree with this protocol, I understand that as I was once very against this (until through my close friends was shown long term healthy results are the outcome) – please don’t demean my journey as I would never demean yours.