Thursday, February 26, 2009

First Week on the Diet

First off, I hate calling it a 'Diet'. It has such a negative feel to it. So maybe I'll call it an 'exercise plan' instead. Exercising is part of it. Yes, that's what I'll do.

I jumped on the scale this morning for my weekly weigh-in. This is my first week on the new exercise plan. I didn't think I was going to have anything to report, as I got an error message. I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought "What the .....?" I got off, let it shut itself off and tried a second time. Got the same thing. The scale is digital and apparently needs a new battery. I tried it a 3rd time after my shower and finally got a reading. I am down 2.8 lbs for my first week.

Last night I met up with Anita O. at knit night. We are planning on being partners as we both have a little weight to loose and it is sooo much easier to have a partner. I took my books along that I follow, specifying that she didn't have to follow the same ones. We had a great conversation where she made it clear if this diet book required her to give up her morning coffee with creamer, she just wasn't going to follow it? LOL I assured her she didn't have to. If you have to say "I can never have this again" your not likely to commit to the diet anyway. We are going to report into each other every 2 weeks. Of course if we have stuff to share in the mean time, we will definitely be in contact. Although I forgot to give her my phone number, I will be sending it to her.

On the knitting front, I got all of my stitches picked up around the neckline of my Tomato Sweater. I was a little thrown on how to evenly space them. Talked it over with Kathi at work and realized I had to do the ratio thing. I haven't thought about ratios in almost 20 years. Couldn't really remember how to do it. But since she has high school kids, she reminded me. So here is how I figured it: (not sure if it is the correct way to calculate it, but it came out)

I had 40 stitches to pick up and I have 55 stockinette rows. Divide both numbers by 10 and you get a ratio of 4 to 5.5. So for every 5.5 rows of stockinette, I have to pick up 4 stitches. To make it an even number and easier to fiddle with I multiplied both numbers by 2 to get a ratio of 8 stitches for every 11 rows. Since I'm a visual person, I drew a graph with 11 boxes and played around with where to 'skip' 3 rows that would make it look even. I came up with this: KSKKSKKKSKK Repeat. K= pick up/knit stitch & S=skipped row. It worked perfectly on the first side of the neckline, but I had to fudge it a bit on the second side. Might have been because I was doing this a knit night and trying to do this plus follow several conversations at the same time. I then got 1 row of ribbing done before we had to leave. I'm planning on taking a couple days off from knitting as I am going to a quilting thing this weekend, but I can't wait to get it done and be able to wear it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weight Loss Update

I have a couple of observations from my first week back on the diet.

1) Since I have been eating better I am not feeling totally exhausted by the end of the day. I haven't fallen asleep on the sofa once this last week.

2) Eating better foods has sparked my interest in cooking again. I have not been in a cooking mood, because all I was cooking was unhealthy junk food. I broiled a nice steak the other night with a small baked sweet potato and salad with romaine, spinach, tomato, a little cheese.

I have held off on renewing my membership to Fitness USA, because I just don't enjoy going there. So I stopped off at another one called Lakeland Athletic Club, but it wasn't what I was looking for either. I have admitted that I don't do well by myself. Both of these facilities operate basically the same. You are given a list of exercises and you do those on your own, unless you have a friend join with you. I do better with classes, but the only ones these places have are aerobics. On Friday, I'm going to try out another facility out by the bypass called The Fit Club. Sounds promising. They don't have machines, they just do free weights and classes. The first class is free, so you can try them out. Then it's either $6/class or you can get a punch card for $45 which is good for 10 classes. Will let you know what I find out.

In the mean time, I'm going to be doing some of the weights from The Cardio Free Diet Book and from a new book that I got last night at Borders. It is geared towards women and is called "101 ways to work out with weights" by Cindy Whitmarsh.

Tomorrow is weigh in day, so I'll let you know how I've done this week.

Minor Success!

I finished binding off the ribbing on my Tomato Sweater last night. I tried it on and it FITS!!!! IT FITS! IT FITS!

Can you tell I'm excited. The first piece of clothing I knitted was a vest and it was too small. Then I made the Friendship Jacket and it was a little too big. Then I tried the Asymmetrical Shrug, which was a total disaster. The right sleeve was knit flat and then seamed and the left one was was knit in the round, which resulted in one being too loose and the other too tight and too short. It's still waiting to be frogged. I couldn't even look at it.

So you see, I haven't had much success in knitting anything that fits; other than socks. That definitely explains my joy.

Now all I have to do is finish the sleeves and the ribbing around the neck and it will be completely done. I really like top/down sweaters. I can't wait to get it done and wear it. At this rate I may have it done by Easter. Keep you fingers crossed.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pink Tomato Sweater

I finished the ribbing on the bottom of my sweater last night. I didn't bind off, because this is my first top down sweater and I wasn't sure what the best way to bind off ribbing was. I thought about calling one of my Elisabeth S. but by the time I did, it was after 10pm. I thought it was bind off "in pattern," but although I looked through a couple of my books, I didn't find anything. So I decided to wait until I could ask Kathi at work. She told me that is exactly what I'm supposed to do. So at lunch today I will be binding off the bottom edge on my sweater. I'm deliberating on whether to start the neck ribbing next or pick up one of the sleeves and knit that. If I had 2 sets of Size 10 knitting needles I could do both. Hmmm Think a trip to Hobby Lobby is now in the works. If I have them both going, then when I'm tired of ribbing (because let's face it, its BORING) then I could switch to the sleeve for a break.

I've been doing so much knitting on the Tomato Sweater and the Celtic Vest the last couple of weeks, because I want to get them DONE. Any way, I notice my elbow is starting to act up again. This time it's the left one. So I'm planning to take tonight off knitting and do some applique on my Temple Guardians blocks. I have 2 done for sure and half of the 4th one done. There are 9 blocks altogether.

I know I should take longer off and I will as I am going to a quilting "day camp" this weekend. Barb D. is opening up her office on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Yeah quilting marathon. Now I just have to figure out what to sew on; UFO or new project??????

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Eggrolls and Coconut Chicken Soup

On Friday, I drove over to my friend Lily's house. Where she taught me how to make authentic Thai Eggrolls and Coconut Chicken Soup. It had so much fun and it turned out to be a lot easier that I expected.

I took lots of notes and photos. Those I will upload later.

Basic Eggroll Recipe by Lily Davis.
8 cups finely shredded cabbage
4 cups shredded carrots
8 cups cooked rice noodles, cut into 2"-3" lengths
1 cup sugar
3-4 tsp salt
liberal amounts of black pepper
3 packages of eggroll wrappers (we only used about 2 1/2 pkgs)

Mix the all your filling ingredients together and let them set to marinate. Lily said the longer you let them set the better the flavor will be, but we on a time limit, so ours only set for 1/2 hour or so. Next, you have to get all the liquid out of the filing mixture. Take a cotton towl and lay it in the sink. Put a double handful of the filling mixture on it, wrap it up and begin squeezing all the moisture out. This step is important otherwise your wrappers will get soggy. Repeat until you until you are done.

Lay out the eggroll wrapper on the diagonal. Place a pile of the filling in that corner. Pull the point up and over the filling. Keep it tight. Roll the eggroll to the center of the wrapper. Then fold in each side corner. However at this point you want to pull them in enough and at an angle the last point is slightly skinnier that the eggroll itself. It won't absorb as much oil that way. Repeat, Deep fry and enjoy!

Edited 2/24/09: I found a blog mentioning baked egg rolls and I plan I trying that on the 10 I have in the freezer. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Cook 6-7 minutes on each side until they are brown and crisp.

Coconut Chicken Soup by Lily Davis:
1 can coconut milk
1 can water
2 cans mushrooms or fresh if you prefer
1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
Lime Leaf: 2-3 if fresh or 3-5 if frozen
6-8" piece of lemon grass cut on the diagonal
3 Red Thai peppers
1/2 cup sugar
fish sauce (2-3 Tbsp/ to taste)
Juice of 1 Lime

Mix coconut milk, water, pepper, lime leaf, lemon grass, sugar in a pan over medium heat. Be careful, coconut milk can skald just like regular milk. Once it is hot, add chicken and fish sauce. Simmer to cook the chicken and bring out the flavor of the lime leaf and lemongrass. Add the mushrooms, simmer a little longer. Once you turn off the heat, add the lime juice. Adding it while cooking will make it bitter. Serve with cilantro on top.
NOTE: I found a recipe in my Everything Thai cookbook for this also, however it adds red curry powder or paste. I think the Cambodian Thai restaurant that I go to does this and it is very good.

Eggroll dipping sauce:
Ok, we didn't make this, but Lily told me what was in it and I tried to make it at home. Mine tastes good, but isn't as thick as Lily's. So I think I added too much water.

Chili peppers, simple syrup (water/sugar), garlic and white vinegar.

These all tasted very good and I hope you try one.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Winter is Back!

I woke up this morning to 4 new inches of snow. I actually had to wear my boots to work again. And the latch on my car door was stuck in the open position, so it would stay closed. This has happened before in cold weather, but it didn't happened when we were have the sub-zero temps, so I wasn't expecting it. I sprayed WD40 in the latch mechanism and connected a bungy cord around the handle and over to the passenger seat. As soon as the car warmed up (about half way to work) I tried shutting the door again and it finally caught. What a pain though.

Sheesh I was so hoping the snow was over with.

New Topic: I have decided that I need to get back on my exercise program. I kind of petered out over the last year. I did so great last year. I lost 30 lbs and over 27 inches. I was working with a group (B100 fit club) sponsored by the local country radio station. But once that ended I lost my momentum. I work better with a group then I do by myself. With the group, I am held accountable if you know what I mean. By myself, I'm not accountable to anyone but myself, so if I don't exercise no one knows. Well, I've fallen back into the same routine as before I lost the weight and gained back about 15lbs. I go home tired and nap on the damn couch. Then I can't sleep when it's time for bed, stay up late and wake up tired again. It's a vicious circle.

I also donated blood last month and got a new reading (non-fasting [NF] of course) on my Cholesterol In January 08 when I lost all the weight, my NF Cholesterol total was 132. So that has definitely gone up. And I pretty positive that means my Triglycerides have gone up too, which was one of the reasons I had originally started my exercise program.

I am determined to do something. So I dug out the book "The Cardio-Free Diet" that we were using with the B-100 Fit Club. And I am re-starting my exercise program. I know when I mention the book on my blog, that the author Jim Karas will get dinged on his blog. I'm kind of embarrassed for him to read this, because I was doing so well before.

I'll keep you all posted with my results.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Color Swap #2

Last Friday was a really trying day. I stopped off the post office to ship my Color Swap package out to my Swapee. Then headed out of town for a funeral. When I got back home that night I was totally surprised to see that I had a package sitting on my porch. It was my package from my swap partner. If that's not Karma I don't know what is.

And it was such an awesome package from Mary a.k.a (Silverbirks) too. It was just what I needed after a long day. I had only stopped at the house to drop off some food and then I was heading for the Red Purl which has open knit nights on Friday night. So I took the package with me and opened it there.

I liked the blue tissue paper so much I kept it and am going to re-use it for packages. Just a perfect color.

I will tell you that I loved all my blue goodies. I especially love the felted bowls/scissor case and the Fleece Artist Somoko sock yarn. Mary was worried that it wasn’t as blue as it looked on-line, but Mary you don’t have to worry. It is great; dark navy blue, green and purple. I can’t wait to make the Cherry Swirl Socks that came with it. Everyone at the Red Purl was drooling over it too. I also got the leftover yarn from the bowls, a skein cotton yarn to make dishcloths, buttons, beads, notepads, scissors, quilting highlighter tape, Wintergreen Altoids, Nestle Crispe Bar, Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Carmet bar and Oreo Cakesters. If you haven’t tried the Cakesters, you must. I love them, but try not to buy them because I know I would eat the whole box. Oh I almost forget, She included dried blueberries, which I had never tried had before. They are good too. Once you start eating them you just can’t stop. And then they are gone.

Here's a close-up of the Fleece Artist yarn. I am currently working on a vest and sweater, then I have a baby sweater to work on, but once those are done, I AM working on these socks. I just can't wait.

And here is the close-up of the bowls. I'm planning to use one of them to keep my keys in, because I am always laying them down and then forgetting where they are.

Thank you Mary!!

And here is a view of the package I sent. I can't tell you who it went to thought, because it takes 6-10 days to get there.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I went to the library last night before you guys left me books to check on and picked up 3.

Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb - Futuristic Cop murder mystery. I LOVE this series and have been waiting to get this one.

Velocity by Dean Koontz - A guy gets a note to do something or a young school teacher will be killed. The cops think it's a hoax, so he does nothing and the woman is brutally murdered. Sounds kind of interesting.

While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky - One sister has a heart attack and is in a coma.... I've read a couple of Delinsky's books before and thought what the heck.

Thanks for the book suggestions. I will look into them during my next trip to the library. The medical thriller sounds good. I've heard that Robin Cook was good, but never tried any. Tess Gerritsen writes some good ones too. Harvest was excellent. And I've heard several knitting friends discussing "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time", I just can never remember the title. Now I have it written down. :o)

On the knitting front, I started my Celtic Vest again; my third attempt. The first time I accidentally felted it. BooHoo! The second time, the colors just didn't come out right, they kept pooling when I didn't want them to. So this time I have a lovely lavendar/green/aqua yarn that I got at Lorna's in Chicago paired with a solid aqua. I only have 10 rows done, but it is looking great!

I've also been working on my Tomato Sweater; in Pink/White. It's knitted top down and I have it knitted down to the decreased just below the bust line. I tried it on before I started the decreases and it was a little loose, but I don't think it was too terrible. I tend to where my clothes loose anyway. I don't like clothes the cling to you. I have 5 skeins of the pink cotton ease and I'm hoping that is enough to make the sleeves 3/4 instead of caps. I'm really liking the feel of the Cotton Ease yarn.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I need a Book to read!

I desperately need something new to read. I have been re-reading a couple of my favorite books, but I've read them so many times, I practically know what's going to happen when I turn the page. Any suggestions?? I like mystery, sci-fi (fantasy), romance.

I think I'll head for the library tonight before my knit group to see what's new.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wristlet Project Bag

Picture courtesy of Vicki from Simple Knits

I am announcing the debut of my very first pattern. Ok, I've made patterns before, but never to sell.

I designed this small bag to carry my sock knitting projects in. But it would be perfect for any small knitting or sewing project. It hangs from your wrist, enabling you to carry your projects with ease and comfort whether you are on the go or just hanging out with friends.

The pattern is being sold for $5. However, if you do not sew and you would still like a bag for your own, I will be making the bags to sell also. They are $15 each. If you are a Ravelry member, my user name there is: moonlightserenad.

Additional photos:

I have not been lazy!

I just wanted you to know that although I have not posted in a week, I have not been lazy in that time. I have been working on knitting, sewing and (yuck!) cleaning.

On Friday, my day off, I actually took the Christmas decorations down. They are packed, and just waiting for me to transport them to the basement. Since the tree is only 4ft tall, and I don't have a box to store it, I am going to leave it intact and just put a garbage bag over it. Yes, I took the ornaments off and pack them away. But I did leave the lights on it. Then I proceeded to clean the living room. I am notorious for getting something out and not putting it back, so I had to take care of all that. And I vacuumed too. Dang can those cats shed!

I finished knitting a small feltable bag on Sunday and last night I felted it. It is so cute. I'm going to be adding a fabric lining and handles. It is for an on-line knitting swap, so I cannot post photos of it until my swap partner receives it.

I have also been writing up the pattern for the small project bag that I designed. I will add a separate posting for that with pictures and information.