Monday, January 30, 2012

Experiments in sustainability

Growing lettuce in front of the slider.
Trying something new keeps sustainability interesting.  I found some lettuce seeds left over from summer so I put them to work in this pot, which is actually a baking dish I discovered couldn't be used for baking when I read the instructions.  Go figure Makes a nice looking planter, though. I sowed the seeds densely and am waiting to see what develops.  The soil was a little dry when I took this photo, but now the seedlings have been sprayed down. Will I be able to get a few salads out of this? We shall see. I put a large plant stand in front of the back slider and also use it for making sprouts.  Sprouts are a great way to grow fresh vegetables in winter and are tasty in sandwiches or just as a salad.  I want to try to keep two jars going, but recently had a failure when the sprouts got moldy.  If anyone knows why that happens, please let me know.  I'm pretty good about rinsing and draining the jars regularly.
Yummy bats from BohoKnitterChic
 Diet and exercise has paid off this month with a lovely blend of merino, silk, bamboo and Angelina in shades of sunshine and amethyst.  Gorgeous, isn't it? This is the work of indie dyer and blender BohoKnitterChic who has an Etsy shop by that name. I can't wait to spin it! But of course I have to be methodical about this stuff and I make myself finish up whatever I'm working on before I start something new. Sounds boring to me.  Oh, wait, it's me doing it! Now, I'm confused.

Requisite diet food photo.
If you've looked at as many diet blogs as I do--I love reading blogs--you will know that many diet bloggers put up photos of the food they're eating.  Above are some toastadas  I made with those sprouted tortillas--I prefer the corn ones but the store was out of them.  I made the refried beans myself--they are fat free but loaded with flavoring, and the green stuff is organic spinach that was on sale, then tomatoes and organic pepper jack.  I popped these in the oven till the cheese was nicely melted and served it with homemade guacamole.  They were pretty good.  I have no idea how many calories are in each one. So much for diet blogging.
Perfect little knitting bag. 

I'm a sucker for tote bags. I'm fairly certain this is a knitting thing because we knitters need something to transport or store projects in.  Those reusable grocery bags -- available just about everywhere these days -- are perfect.  Whole Foods just came out with a mini bag, so I bought one. It holds quite a bit, and I'm thinking small knitting project, water bottle, odds and ends for work. I gave up on the fancy briefcase, though I have one for things like writers' conferences. Tote bags are better.

Candles at work.
Soy candles are pretty nice.  The colors aren't as bright, but I like these pastels, they are a cheery way to light the dinner table in January.  And what I really love, is that I can have a pretty candle without the overbearing scent which makes my eyes water. Plus they are easy and fast to make, a big plus for a spinner, knitter, weaver etc.   It's nice to start something in the morning and have it done that night. It's like cooking, but the product doesn't disappear as fast.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sustainability keeps me busy

My garage has become my root cellar. These will become part of a stew.
Besides writing a harangue about an article on obesity this morning (see earlier blog) I've also been busy with maintaining a sustainable lifestyle.  This is work!  Above are carrots, turnips and onions I had stored in my garage that are becoming a stew made with grass fed beef. Yesterday, I spent a chunk of the afternoon grinding up my organic 8 grain flour for future loaves of bread.  And I worked out both days for my diet attempts as well as doing a bit of weaving and spinning and my newest hobby candlemaking.  So yes, it has been busy.

Yep, those are old heddles you see holding the wicks in place.
  Making soy candles has been my latest interest.  It is fast and easy and uses color.  The candles above were just poured.  They hardened as a lovely creamy yellow which I will show you later.  I had the opportunity to retask some items around my house to do this.  I heat the wax in a small slow cooker and poured with an old ladle.   It's a little messy, but it's kind of nice to have pretty candles that aren't heavily scented.  I don't really like scented candles that much, and unscented candles are hard to find.  So, now I can melt some wax and make what I need.
A jar of my ground flour.

I will have to see if my homemade bread allows me to lose weight.  Besides flour, salt, water and yeast, I throw in a cup of walnuts. I like bitter marmalade so that's low sugar.  Will this work?  We shall see.  I will try to get a photo and recipe in the next few weeks.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Nailed it!

I LOVE silk. My niece purchased these for me in Thailand.
Lost the six ounces I needed to order fiber from Bohoknitterchic for her challenge!  Yes, I was going to leave updates to the Flab to Fluff Challenge to once a month but then I remembered I had to lose weight to order the fiber for a contest I entered on Ravelry.  I ended out losing 2.5 pounds, giving me a net of 2 pounds more of fiber to buy.

In the meantime, I got the Yarn Barn's Mill-End Fiber Club mailing yesterday and OMG they have SILK yarn for FOUR dollars a pound!  So, today I woke up and did thirty minutes with Coach Nicole of Spark People and then sucked it in and faced  20 minutes with Jillian. Then I did the usual 45 minutes on the exercise bike and had an incredibly healthy lunch.  I'm thinking of 30 minutes of  BL bootcamp after I spend some time warping my loom.
Here is a green linen/cotton blend I'm warping for placemats. It's a former mill-end special.

Yeah, I know, overdoing it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah but we are talking SILK here!  Yum, yum, yum.  They have other yummy things and if I want a chance at them I had better get going before every other weaver snaps them up.  Well, loom warping is a little strenuous, and I need to do some carding.  I have piles of alpaca to work on for spinning and I've discovered I lose weight when I do a bunch of carding. Carding Cardio?

Has anyone seen my camera? I wanted to take pictures of stuff but I seemed to have misplaced it.  Above are pictures I haven't shown yet.  I wanted to show you my new hobby of candle making and the second 8-foot workbench my husband made over the Holidays. Now I have tons of space for projects and mess making.

That's it for now, I have some warping to do and then cooking of healthy meals.  Oh yeah, and some working out.  Silk.  That's my mantra. Silk.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Flab to Fluff Challenge

The Holidays have been good to me, adding to my stash.
Happy New Years Dear Readers!  I hope this finds you happy, whole and still sane after the long rush of Holiday Fun. As you can see above I've started my New Year with a big headstart in the stash department thanks to the appearance of my favorite magical being, Befana.  Yep, I stopped with the Santa business this year when I discovered that Befana, the Italian version, not only delivers presents to good little girls but also sweeps the house before she leaves.  Now that's something I can believe in.

Okay, so now it is resolution time again.  This year, I am making resolutions I can keep.  One Resolution I am absolutely NOT going to make is anything remotely related to "destashing." I love my stash.  I can always use more.  Avoiding the purchase of lovely fibers is not only unnatural, but it is just simply wrong.

The only destashing I need to do relates to the lard on my posterior. Oooh yes, I've grown large over the years and yes, it is in my best interest to see that stash diminished.  So I got this ideas: how about a little stash switchero resolution?  For every pound of lard I shed, I can get myself a pound of fiber!  If I really get after working out, I should be able to walk out of Tall Grass Farm with a couple of fleeces and still have poundage left over for Greencastle! Yep, I can envision myself doing jumping jacks right now as I sweat off pounds of flab to gain pounds of fluff!

The Flab to Fluff Challenge is born, complete with my very own fiber greed to drive me to salad eating.
Truth is, if I'm busy playing with fiber, how can I eat?  I wonder if I can knit on the treadmill?  This will be a challenge to my time, but should help keep me out of the candy dish in favor of the fiber bag.  Oh yes, I can so do this.  Anyone want to join me? My plan is to announce how many pounds of fiber I've earned at the first of each month. You can join me simply by leaving a comment and then on Feb. 1 let me know how many pounds of flab you've converted to fiber.

By the way, it is easiest to just leave a comment as "anonymous" and then give your Rav Handle or other moniker.  Craftsteader also has a Facebook Page.