Sunday, January 29, 2012


I have been reflecting on my Craftolutions from 2011 and I have not really accomplished many of them (to be truly honest).  I attempted to do something with a few of them, but then forgot about them and never completed what I started.  Go figure.

I will highlight them quickly:
  1. Complete UFO's:  I did give away some yarn that someone else can repurpose, but I have not finished any of my UFO (unfinished object).  There is a reason why they are unfinished and it is because I don't really like them.  Life's too short to work on something that you dislike.
  2. Organize Projects in Binders:  I did buy a binder and page protectors, I grabbed all of the projects, patterns, ideas and the such and placed them in a project bag, but that's about it.  I have added to the bag occasionally, but have not put them in page protectors.  One thing I am doing is my current patterns, I'm putting them in the page protector right in the beginning so when I do get to that binder, they are good to go.
  3. Have Patience: Yes, I believe that I have gotten better at this.  I give myself more time and often come up with a Plan B, in case something goes awry. I can give my first Check to this one.
  4. Craft for Charity: I did not do this.  I feel awful not having time to do this; I have no excuse.  I have enough extra yarn and extra scraps of fabric, I just need to commit to this.
  5. Teach Someone to Knit: I think a friend or two may be interested in learning, but I have not pressed anyone to learn.  I can't make someone learn!  They know I do it, I knit in public (in front of them, often) and some read this blog.  If that's not enough to convince someone that this is the hobby they have been missing out on, then I'm okay with that.
  6. Realistic Projects: I was very realistic with projects this year.  So realistic, that I only knitted 4 toddler hats for Christmas.  I knew I was not going to finish a project for each family member and friend, so I just went real and bought gifts.  So much less stressful.  The hats came out cute, that is good enough for me. Check #2.
  7. Jog in 5K's: I have been jogging.  I jog about 3 times a week, but I could never get past 2 to 2.5 miles.  A 5K is 3.2 miles.  This year I have signed up for a 5K this February and have been jogging a 3.5 mile loop in my neighborhood once a week.  It ain't pretty, but I can do it.  It's all in my head, I convince myself that it's too hard, but I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and I will eventually get to the finish line.
  8. Read More: I already did a post on this just this month and I am no longer putting a "must read" number on my leisure book reading.  I was only one book short and I could have squeezed it in, but I just did not care for the pressure.
So, if you have been counting, I only completed 2 Craftolution.  To solve this issue, I've changed it from Craftolutions to Craft-no-lutions.  I have already made a few (although they may seem sort of self-centered).  I might be able to stick to these better:
  1. I will make less for other people and consider myself for projects first.  I get the feeling that not all handmade gifts are appreciated.  So, that being said, I will make what I like, for me.
  2. Read as many or a few books as I like.  This was an internal battle for me, but it is for the best.
  3. Not stress over things that I have no control over.  This is a huge one for me.  I am a worry-wort, big time.  I worry about everyone else and not enough about me.  This has already taken effect a few months back, so I'm managing the real stress by jogging, thinking with a clearer head and not being such a perfectionist (Just let it go...).
That's it.  Yes, no "I will do this and I will do that."  I will do it, if I feel like it.  Yea to the new me.

I have started a new fitness thing (so cliche, I know), that counts calories.  It is called MyFitnessPalIt is an online data base and food diary (also have apps for the iphone, Android and Blackberry).    My sister turned me onto it and I started it for fun.  Now, I am thinking that this is a good thing and I really want to stick with it.  It allows you to search their food and exercise database for just about anything and everything.  It shows nutrition info and helps determine calories burned during an exercise.  It teaches you to take notice what you eat and how much of it.  It is a tool to help you change your mindset on food and how you live based on that.

I am learning about portion size.  My portions were not normal; they were too large.  If you want to eat more, guess what?  You have to exercise to build up your calorie bank again.  It makes me want to get out and get moving so I can eat something good.  I'm sure after a time, I will not crave bad stuff.  You have to make the switch from eating a little bit of bad-for-you food, to a lot of good-for-you food.  It is hard at first and I almost quit (I know, it happened after only 1 week on the food diary/calorie counting) but I came to terms with how I'm living now (bad eating habits and an embarrassing waistline) and how I want to live (healthy eating habits, an active lifestyle and a toned body).  That is my goal.

I've only lost a few pounds and don't look any different, but I feel so much better, physically and mentally.  It's a great feeling.

If you check it out and join, add me as a friend.  My username is silvermox.  We will motivate each other!  Go ahead, try it!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cookie Swap 2012

Today was the Cookie Swap.  It was actually the 9th Annual Cookie Swap.  I have been involved with them for 9 years, can you believe it?  Anyway, we had a theme this year, which was "Favorite Fairy Tale." 

The fairy tale I chose was Rapunzel.  I chose to bake gluten-free lemon bars, which I called "Rapunzel's Lemon Tresses."  I got the recipe out of a book called The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free.

This book is filled with tons of cakes, cookies and bars that are made with a gluten-free cake mix.  The bars came out really yummy.  Each year we try to be more creative with how we present our cookies for display and the packaging.  This year, I was thinking of making Rapunzel's Tower as my centerpiece. 

I recruited Vince to help me and he was great at coming up ways to make them easy.  We took mailing tubes and cut them about 4 inches high (these will be for the individual sets that people will take home) and one that was about 10 inches high for the centerpiece. 

Then he drilled a hole towards the top for the window and we covered the tubes with strips of scrapbook paper that was a brick wall and he made little pointed roofs out of construction paper.  His daughter and I then took yellow yarn and braided long lengths to hang out of each window hole, which helped suspend the bag of lemon bars in the tube.  They came out so cute!

Here are the individual sets:

We had such a good variety of cookies and bars.  I will show a few here:

Apple Toffee Crisps (Snow White Twists)

Apple Pie Cookies (Evil Witch/Snow White)

Hazelnut & Gretel Cookies

Cinderella's Pumpkin Streusel Bars

Princess & the Pea Bars (Graham Cracker)

Meringue Clouds (Kisses)

Everyone brought such yummy cookies.  There were also Chocolate Pillows, Honey Lemon Cookies and Pumpkin Cheesecake Coaches.  I could not eat all of them, but they all looked delish.

We also vote on superlatives, and I won for "The Most Magical" which was Best Presentation.  The other categories were: "The Fairest of Them All" (Best Cookie), "The Queen's Jewel's"  (Richest/Most Chocolatey), "The Court Jester" (Nuttiest), and "Over The Moon" (Best with Milk).

We had a good time and I did not come home in a sugar coma.  Hooray for that!  I tried to off set all the sugar with a healthy portion of veggies from the veggie tray and cheese cubes. 

We'll have to think of a fun theme for next year too.  Anyone game for coming to Florida for the 10th Annual Cookie Swap??

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tangerine Tango

Each year the color matching system company, Pantone, announces a "Color of the Year."  This color is used in many industries to shape the upcoming trends in color (home decor and fashion, being a few).  This year, Pantone announce Tangerine Tango as the latest color.

It is a cross between a coral and and orange.  I like it, but not sure how it should fit in my wardrobe.  I went searching last week for a shirt or something that was this color or similar to wear to my work's holiday party.

Our holiday party was this weekend (yes, an after-holiday party) on the Starship Yacht.  It is fairly nice weather in the winter in Florida, but unfortunately, was not the case this weekend.  It was and still is in the 50's.  Yikes!  Cold weather on a boat did not seem good.

Back to shopping: my search was rewarded with a sequined-trimmed tank top.  It has that crumpled look like it was knotted-up and not ironed.

But, as you can see below, the straps were too long.  Not a problem.

All I did was fold down the strap in the back were it was connected and resewed it.

I trimmed the excess fabric and I was done.  Pretty easy.  I don't usually let something minor like like persuade me from not buying it.  The only extra thing I needed for it was matching thread, that I bought on sale at Joann's.

With this tank, I also bought a sheer, light turquoise blouse with tangerine colored flowers on it.  Since I figured it may be a bit chilly, I chose the dress pants option rather than the dress or skirt.  I also bought a light turquoise fitted jacket to wear over it.  

I painted my nails to match my tank top with a nail color that I already owned (an old color from Mary Kay called Mango Spice):

 In the end, we all had a great time.  Here is me dancing with a broom:

For some reason, someone grabbed a broom and each person had to dance in the middle of the floor with the broom.  Whatever, I did it, it was hilarious!

Here is me and my sweetie :

The outfit was comfortable, the night's festivities were fun and being with my sweetie completed the night.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Razzy Socks

When I went to visit my family in Mass just before Christmas my sister showed me how to knit socks.  I brought a skein of my own up there, but failed to take a pic of it before starting (I know, what kind of blogger am I?).

First we had to separate the skein into two equal weighted balls (50g each).  This yarn is called "self-striping" because the colors in the skein vary, but different from variegated, in that as you knit around the sock, stripes appear as if you purposely knit them there.  Really neat.
Then we took the ends of the balls and matched up the colors.  This took a few yards to get the colors striping at the same rate; we snipped off the extra yarn.  

My sister showed me the techniques she uses from the book Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson.

She showed me the "Judy's Magic Cast On" and I was off and knitting!

I am still knitting them, but I am close to being done.  See how they are striped?  That is the yarn doing all of the work.  Near the toe, it started knitting up a peach and black checker-like appearance.  It reminds me of one of my cats, Jasmine (aka Razzy); she is a Bengal cat.  Her hair shafts are striped with orange and black.

I will model what I have so far:

I am now finishing it up with a k2p2 rib.  Now I must stop blogging and start knitting!

UPDATE:  Click here to see them complete.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Books - Fourth Quarter

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a great New Year's Eve and hope that you are not wasting this Sunday recuperating!  Today officially leaves 2011 behind.  It was a good year for me, so I hope that 2012 will be just as good or better.

I had a goal of 17 books this year, because that was one more than I read in 2010.  The total is in and I did not meet the goal.  I did match what I read in 2010, so I'm still content.  Here are my last 3 books of 2011:

14. This book is considered a "Romantic Suspense."  It had some mystery with a sex scene or two thrown in there - I liked it!  A woman moves from the city back to her small hometown in Georgia, where she is opening up a B&B in the home that was her grandmother's.  She instantly is attacked by her teenage crush because he is now the town sheriff and she is a suspected burglar. Of course, the teenage crush is the best-looking bachelor in town who is afraid of commitment.  As predictable as this book was, it was enjoyable with the mystery of who keeps breaking into her B&B and why?  She and the hunky sheriff solve the crime and hook-up.  I give it 3 thumbs up.

15.  I can't tell you enough how much I love reading Jodi Picoult.  Her books get so deep into a subject that is not all that common that you actually learn a thing or two.  This story is about a high school that had the ultimate act of violence occur at it: a shooting.  A troubled teen heads into the school one morning and shoots and kills 10 students and harms several others.  One of the main characters is an eye witness who can't remember what actually occurred that morning.  This story has you feeling sorry for the kids who die along with the student who killed them.  You are immersed into seeing the school system, the police investigation, the court system and how teens really feel inside even though they may not portray it on the outside.  You will have to read the book to find out what is "nineteen minutes."  I give it 5 thumbs up.

16.  This was a fitting book for winter.  I also enjoy reading Nevada Barr.  I had read most of these books, which is a series with the character Anna Pigeon.  She is a park ranger who is assigned a three month assignment on Isle Royale National Park, located in the middle of Lake Superior, in the winter.  The park has a 50-year scientific study to study the behavior of wolves.  Think camping in negative degree weather with hungry animals roaming around you.  Not my idea of a good time, but people do it!  The study is being threatened by Homeland Security and the scientists are not happy.  One of the scientists is ravaged by what appears to be a wolf, but it is very suspicious, then a second scientist goes missing.  Anna tries to be careful while trying to find out who and why someone may be the cause of these "mishaps."  No longer is it just cold outside, but also in the heart of someone at the island.  I give it 3.5 thumbs up.

I enjoy reading but I also enjoy knitting and sewing, so it is hard to find the time to do all of them, never mind all of them at once.  I have so many books on my book shelf, that I do not need to buy another book for a few years, if I read at the rate I'm reading.  I love books though, and can't resist buying them and borrowing them. 

I am not going to set a goal for 2012.  Actually, my goal is to relax more and not worry so much.  That is a challenge all in itself.  So, setting a goal for a leisure activity, like reading, is not something I am going to repeat.

As for the Craftolutions....we'll see.