it's what i do

Knitting patterns and blog ramblings about knitting and sewing. ... and gardening, and cooking. Basically all the makes. There's a lot of strange knowledge in my brain that I'm hoping can do some good out in the world.

 

Unpatterns are available on Patternfish!

on the needles

• Big Grey Thing

• Lots of Turkish Bed Socks in BMFA Socks that Rock

in my ears
  • The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
    The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
    by Louise Penny
  • A Rule Against Murder: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
    A Rule Against Murder: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel
    by Louise Penny
under my nose
  • The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
    The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
    by Daniel J. Levitin
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Monday
Aug252014

#whole30, Day 1

Day One is done!

I'd like to record every day here, (dearlordI'mgoingtobecomeoneofthosepeoplewhopostpicturesoftheirfood), for the record, and in hopes it helps someone craft menus or cope with working a Whole30 into their busy work week!

I've decided to keep one thing simple that's become problematic for weekdays: Lunches. I'm lucky to work with a bunch of creative, fabulous people, and G and C, two officemates at work, have been my inspiration for healthy eating for a while now - they bring Salad. Every. Day.

Day One's salad was lovely: fresh local tomatoes, spinach and kale and chard for greens, red bell pepper, some leftover bacon from the weekend's breakfast, and 1/4 of an avocado. My first attempt at making salad dressing was a success, too (why did I wait so long to try that?).


Breakfasts are often egg-based in Whole30, because it's the cultural norm and it's an easy platform for morning protein and veg. Day One I used some of the lean ground turkey breast I'd saut´eed up the night before, plus pico de gallo, wilted spinach, and the other half of the bell pepper that went into lunch. 

 On Day One, I went to the gym in the morning before remembering that I had a Kettlebell class that night (!), so I accidentally doubled-up on my workouts. (Boy, I love to overachieve early on!) Good thing I prepared for a pre-workout snack from work: the last 1/4 of that avocado, plus a few extra pieces of turkey.

 Dinner was some Thai curry I'd prepared the night before, because I knew I'd come home from Kettlebell class late, and because Boyhood was coming down for a date night! I added some cooked sweet potatoes to the curry, and made some more sauce. It was yummy - another first: Thai Curry paste! Hot, but not forcibly so. I surprised myself by eating less than I thought I would... Left quite a bit in the bowl. Surprising, after the busy day at work and the two workouts.

Two more things I learned just in this first day: a lot of my sweets-after-lunch craving has to do with wanting to refresh he taste in my mouth! I packed along a toothbrush and toothpaste and just hit 'reset' on the tastebuds. That, and a little walk to run an errand out in the sunshine, and I was more ready to go back to my desk without a cookie in hand. Also, mid-afternoon, rather than the black tea with milk & sugar that I'm used to, we cracked a box of Steve Smith's "Fez" tea: green tea with spearmint. Refreshing, tea-like, and a little boost from the green tea. A good workaround!

Day One can be deemed a success (though I dreamed of 'accidentally' eating pastries)! More on that next post.

Sunday
Aug242014

on becoming whole

Updates must be in the air... I'm full of a sense of renewed energy (perhaps typical for this time of year?)

The wardrobe re-vamp has been joined by an interest in clean eating, and clearing out the junky habits that have limited me over the past few years (I'm looking at you, Pinot Grigio!). I'm a big fan of Allison's blog, Wardrobe Oxygen - if she recommends something, I'm rather prone to trying it. Her post a few weeks ago, and then its follow-up, prompted me to look into Whole30, and I very much liked what I saw!

The premise is pretty simple: cut out processed foods, sugar, alcohol, and grains and dairy for 30 days. Eat vegetables with lean protein most of the time, fruit sometimes, and get good rest. This is intended to re-set your taste buds, combat the cravings for sugar that plague some of us every afternoon (ahem), and reduce inflammatory responses you might not know you have to things like wheat and dairy.

Fridge Makeover, 'after' edition

Now, I don't think I'm particularly sensitive to wheat - I likes me my toast! And dairy doesn't feel like it's ever been an issue. But a renewed commitment to healthy eating, to feeding myself like I matter, is the crux of it.

I had a rare Sunday when I'm down in my work town, at the condo, with a bit of extra time to plan and prep. My planning went like this: study the sections in the book where they outline basic meal prep; figure out what combinations of protein and veg I wanted to eat this next week, and then plot it all out in a cute day planner I started using and then abandoned. Cute toys = guaranteed success in my book!

For future reference (or in case anyone is interested in diving in and wants some ideas about how to organize grocery shopping and meal plans): I started with the protein/veg mixes that I thought sounded good... and for simplicity's sake, kept workaday lunches to salads + a protein. Figured out which evenings needed easy meals (working late, etc.), and then moved stuff around until I had a menu for the week: breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day til Friday night (on weekends I go home up to PT, and Boyhood and I can shop for the weekend's meals together up there).

Then I wrote out a grocery list, writing down each ingredient as it came up in the plan, and tallying how many servings per item: 5 halves of avocado = 3 avocados, ground turkey used 4x... and that made my list.

Armed with my list (and packing my planner, for reference when my brain fell out in the store, as it always does), went grocery shopping! Veg veg veg and more veg, plus hunting for exotic new-to-me ingredients like Thai Curry Paste and ghee. Total damage, for the record: $135. A minor ouch, but considering it's sparing me the $40 margarita-and-quesadilla post-work meltdown, it's worth it. Plus, no alcohol in that ticket - that's been pushing up the grocery bills for the past few years, alas...

Sunday night meal prep: Thai Chicken Curry!

So here we go! My intention is to check in here every day, post my progress and revelations, kvetches and successes. Plus, daily menus in case that helps someone out there start their Whole30 with success!

 

 

Tuesday
Jul152014

minimal is a verb

The rampage of minimalization continues!

Because I work away from home, my wardrobe is naturally divided by geography: off-day, weekend clothes in PT, workaday clothes in BI. And while I had gone through a major wardrobe re-vamp just prior to taking my full-time job (hello, day dresses! hello, button-downs!), that was 15 pounds ago. And increasingly, over the last few months, I've been frustrated getting dressed for work.

And it wasn't until I went through this wardrobe purge and re-set last night that I realized how fatiguing and saddening it is to flip through your hangers in your closet and reject stuff - it's basically an exercise in saying "No. ... No. No. No. Maybe, but doesn't fit. ... Nope. Nope." How many times should you say 'no' before 8 in the morning?

I've been inspired by a few blogs lately: Into Mind and Un-Fancy to name just two. And the "Project 333" exercise in living with 33 items in your wardrobe for 3 months has excited the innner minimalist in me.

So last night, I took EVERYTHING out of the closet (not hand-knits - that will have to wait for another time), and sorted it into piles:
• LOVE!
• LOVE, but it's too small.
• LOVE, but it's more suited to the closet at home for weekend wear.
• LOVE, but it's not right for this season.
• NO.

They warn you when you go through an exercise like this not to get nauseated by the sheer volume of stuff you've managed to collect in a wardrobe, and not to be daunted by the size of the NO pile, but ugh. Do I ever feel like a First-World Diva. I'm looking forward to taking the NO pile over to the Childrens' Hospital thrift store here on the island, where they can do some good. (Ya don't just dump Kate Spade handbags at the Goodwill, especially if a childrens' charity can benefit!)

The weekend clothes are boxed up, ready to take to the car; the 'too small' clothes are in one underbed bag (hope springs eternal, and they are fantastic pieces, built to last, so when I lose this extra weight thanks to "Younger This Year," I'll bring them back out with joy); and the off-season clothes are in two other underbed bags. The space beneath the bed has been vacuumed (yay! side benefit), and it's amazing how this feels. I had no idea how much taking off-season clothes out of a closet could help me feel more relaxed about getting dressed! A total eye-opener.

I kind of want to just stand in front of the closet and stare. (Boyhood and I call this "watching the baby sleep" - you just love to soak in the impact of what you've accomplished with a big project like this.

Three hours later, and I have a functioning wardrobe with room to breathe, and any number of great outfits to plan with pieces that fit, are easy to wear, and don't make me feel like I'm fat or too hot all the time.

Phew! As Boyhood said this morning when I told him what I did after he went to sleep last night: "Honey, you're on a roll!"

Saturday
Jul122014

always more tiny

Our move two years ago into this mildly smaller house (1200 sq.ft. down from 1400) was a great exercise in refining our lives and the things we lived with. When Boyhood and I were moving our possessions, we took advantage of the fact that it was a 5-block move to "high-grade" our stuff. We took the things we truly loved, and had a lull of a few weeks to consider everything we'd left behind in the old house. Did we miss it? Was it really great? If not, it's gotten purged.

Fast-forward a few years (has it really been almost 2 years since we moved into the Red Cottage?), and the steady creep of 'stuff accumulation' has led to fewer hangers in the (already tiny!) closet, a dresser drawer filled with socks, underwear, loungewear I can't identify....

And then once I watched "Tiny" on Netflix, it was settled. A purge was in order.

I've also been following Project 333, and while as a clothing maker I have a profound wariness of getting my wardrobe down to 33 items (all the sweaters! all the scarves! would I have to stop knitting?), I'm longing for a simpler wardrobe - especially as I move from space to space for work and weekends.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you: half my wardrobe. (The half that's at home - there's another load just like this in my work-week living space).

I'm about to pull out the things I know I love to wear, the things that are easy and a good expression of myself in the world. The things that fit, that fit with one another, and are fun to wear.

In another pile will go the obvious donation items: things I'll never wear again, things that really don't fit, or things I've just gotten over or worn out enough to let another person have a crack at them.

In another pile will go my off-season items (right now, that's winter) - we have a separate space upstairs where I can store these until they come into rotation.

And a third 'oh god, I can't decide!' pile will get boxed up, put under the eaves upstairs in deep storage, and if I don't miss it in a few months' time, it'll get donated too.

Will I get down to 33 items? Maybe for here, for my weekends/off time at home... Then I'll winnow the work clothes down to a similar number, and start sewing my ideal wardrobe to streamline even more!

Stay tuned. Excited to be documenting the process. (And glad to be back in the blogosphere!)

Sunday
Oct062013

suddenly, fall

and - we're back!

I don't think I'm alone in feeling like Fall is the true beginning of the year. It may seem perverse on the surface to mark new beginnings as the trees lose their leaves and the garden beats a full retreat, but the general drawing-in after a busy summer feels right (especially after the spectacularly sunny summer we enjoyed up here in the NW corner!).

So I'm feeling a bit more bloggish these days - there are some neat new developments around here, like our little guest house next door and its big space for sewing and blocking, my renewed interest in gardening and cooking, and an emerging resolve to learn two new skills: guitar and sewing. These would all be fun to document and share... can you teach a 45-year-old knitting dog new tricks?

Stay tuned.

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