Sunday, July 27, 2014

In the Pink

In my life changing goal of eating better I decided to pick up some beets.  I have always loved beets.  I especially love the way the dye everything pink that you put with them.  :) 

I have never eaten beets with anything more then a little salt so I decided to try something new.  I read how they coupled well with Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar, so I whipped up a little emulsion to try it out and they were delicious!

Here is my little recipe. (180 calories)

2 – Cups of beets
1 – Tbsp olive oil
1 –  Tsp balsamic vinegar (1 tsp is equal to 1/3 tbsp)
2 – Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ – cup of diced onions (red will make it sweeter)
4 – Cloves of garlic diced (less if you don’t like garlic)
Dash of pepper

They say a perfect vinaigrette will have a 3 to 1 ratio:  oil and vinegar respectively.  I was counting calories here so I didn't want to make a lot, and a little goes a long way, but you can double or triple the recipe as long as you keep the 3 to 1 ratio as your base.

I put the oil and vinegar together with the pepper and the cloves of garlic diced and whisked it together in a glass bowl.  The Oil and vinegar will separate as soon as you leave it alone for a bit but I like to meld my garlic into my vinaigrette as I finish the other prep work.

Dice up your onion.  Cry if you have to.

Then I whisked in the Dijon just enough to blend it in and then added in the onions as well.

My beets came out of a can just as red and beautiful as they could be.  If you use fresh you need to peel them and you can boil them a bit or eat them raw. 

I placed the beets into the Dijon emulsion and tossed them so they were all covered and let them sit a bit.

At this point you can eat them as is or put them on a salad.  I put mine over some lentil rice I had and let everything turn pink and heat up a bit.  It was delicious!  And beats are really good for you too!

This is where I have been walking on my elliptical this week.  They really got me with the whole Hawaii angle.  Next year we plan to go and scatter Mom’s ashes as she requested.  I love Hawaii, which everyone says…but I really do.  You can feel the spirit of the island and it is just magical in a way that can’t be explained.  So when my elliptical came with two tracks in Maui, I was really excited.

I have never done more then a mile on an elliptical but for the chance to walk in Maui I managed 2.5!  Every time I was going to give up I thought about how much I love Hawaii and then there would be falls or a shot of the ocean and I was back in stride. 

It is hard to take 30 – 35 minutes just to walk; but I am doing it.  It doesn't matter if I’m tired or whatever…I’m just doing it. 

This week I lost a pound, took at least 3000 steps a day, ate in my allotted calories, walked 3 times for 30 - 35 minutes, tried new healthy food dishes, got at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night and I feel really great.

We are woking on the joining of the is a long process.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well.  :)

Hugs and happy crafting,

Sunday, July 20, 2014

There Are No Words

Here is the batik motif all completed.  I LOVE it!  I am so happy with the way it came out.  The colors stayed true even after soaking for 8 hours.  All the wax came out really easily once I got the water boiling.

This is what the wax looks like when it rises to the top and cools.  It was easy to peel off and dispose of using this method.  When I tried to pull it off while it was hot, it made a huge mess.  I thought this picture of my sister's blue water looked like the moon.  :)

But what is amazing, incredible and just gorgeous is my Hue Shift Blanket.  All four squares are complete. Since we are doing each step together, they are only laid out here to show you what the completed blanket will aspire towards.  OMG!  This is so lovely.  I am so proud of myself that I kept up with it and got this far!

Yes there are ends, seams and borders still...but wow that is 100 squares there!

Baby steps lead to amazing things.

We got the elliptical this week.  It is amazing!  I hopped right up and did 10 minutes before I realized it was on some crazy program with steeper and steeper inclines and I had to stop.  But it really was a smooth experience and after 10 minutes with the incline program I was sweating.  I will do 10 minutes every other day for a week and then bump it up to 15.  I'm trying to work up to 20 minutes every other day.  I will do something on the alternate days when we get the Total Gym set up again; right now I'm just doing crunches and lunges and some other exercises for 20 minutes.

That is on top of my walking.  I have consistently walked 3000 steps now for about a month so I have bumped that up to 3500.  I know that really isn't a lot, but for me who sits at a desk most of the day, it really is.  I have to really work to get those extra steps in.  When I started the program I only was only walking 1500 and now I'm up to 3000.  I'm pretty proud of that.

When I started I was 167.  I thought the 7 was a 1 and and totally misread my weight.  lol  So now the 7 is a 1 and I have lost 6 pounds over the course of 6 weeks.  I want to lose a pound a week so that this is a lasting life change and not some quick fix.  I'll be at goal in October and that is fine with me.

The scale is just a number.  I love myself no matter what size I am.  But my joints, they let me know when I'm getting over my BMI and about three months ago I couldn't barely move when I woke up in the morning. Also, I refuse to buy new clothes when I have so many nice things.  Some of my clothes had gotten a little too tight and I knew that was a sign as well.

Just losing 6 pounds has lessened the joint pain and I have so much more energy.  I have eaten under calories all month and have really been trying to insert more fruits and veggies in my diet.  It is hard when I am at a desk all day but I have found little things that really work for my lifestyle.

Today my UP decided it would start in on my fiber intake.  I'm averaging around 15% where it wants me to be at 25%.  Sigh.  Being healthy takes a lot of steps and each is like a color on my squares.  Individually they might not seem to mean much but when you intertwine them with other health building squares you can really see the impact that they have on the body.  In this case, I am the creation.  The diamond in the rough.  The blanket of beautiful hues.  And each step, each day of calorie counting, each workout, each time I go to bed on time and all the little things I do for me, add up into a beautiful whole.

The blanket has taught me so much and it will always be a gorgeous reminder of what you can accomplish when you take a step at a time and just keep pushing forward.  In the end, you will have something lasting and worthwhile.  The journey is just as important as the goal.

What will be your first step?

Happy crafting,

Sunday, July 06, 2014

For Want of a Nail

For Want of a Nail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

In this old proverb one negative event caused a butterfly effect of cascading effects that lost the kingdom.

I remember a story about a Duke and how one beautiful day he pricked his finger with his tie pin.  After that he yells at his wife and then she yells at a servant and so the circle goes around until the stable boy hits a cat with a rock.  The offense is brought back to the Duke and all the people involved in a backwards chain of blame are brought in, until most of his staff is in the room.  And then his wife turns to him and says you were the one that yelled at me to begin with.  The he apologizes and each person apologizes to the one they wronged and the cat gets some overdo lovin’.  The castle is happy again and everyone is smiling and laughing and going about their day as if nothing had happened.

This magical life changing element of butterfly affected fate can go either way.  Some things in our life are just partners that we take for granted until they have a problem: like say…alarm clocks.  An alarm clock just does its job when it has been asked to do so.  Yet, we curse at it and hit it and beg it each morning.  Instead we could be blessed that this is our herald to a new day: we should be happy that we alive to see another day on this beautiful Earth. 

When I wanted to find a new path to help me stay in shape and make lasting daily routines, I bought a Jawbone UP.  This little blue bracelet that sits on my wrist is a constant reminder that I am committed to a new and healthier life style.  It is my partner in this endeavor.  It tells me if I have sat for an hour with a gentle reminder.  It is my alarm clock that goes off slowly bringing me to a new and beautiful day.  It counts my steps and reminds me when I still have a way to my daily goal.

I love my UP.  Together we have found out that I’m a good sleeper who can do really well with 7 hours of sleep but 8 hours is better.  So it came up with a bedtime for me based on the time I wake up that is perfect for me. It reminds me a half hour before I have to be in bed so I can make sure I actually get there on time.

I wanted to walk at least 3000 steps a day, which I know isn't really much, but for me, it is perfect.  I was only logging in 1500 when I started the UP program and now I am consistently getting 3000.  My UP started making the goal of 3500 for me this weekend and I met it each day.  My UP motivates me and hitting those goals makes me feel better about my self.  It is my nail story in reverse: my butterfly effect creating good health.

Once the sleep and the steps had been figured out I wanted to start tracking what I eat.  I wanted something that was easy to use and that would work with my UP.  I found Lose It.  Lose It and the UP started talking right away.  If I have burned a certain percentage of calories then the UP will tell Lose It and give me a few extra calories to eat that day.

Lose It is easy to use and it is on my tablet, phone or computer.  I can set motivating goals there too.  What’s great is that it gives me the number of calories based on my lifestyle, which the UP was happy to share the deets on.  I can plan my meals ahead for the day so I know exactly what I am eating and stick to it.

The next thing to change is our scale.  It is a bit old and I thank it for all it has done but it keeps fluctuating between five pound differences when I weigh three times in row, which can be a little frustrating.

Our new scale will talk Lose It through WI Fi.  Both applications will know exactly where I am at.  The new scale has the BMI stuff too so I can start measuring all that again.  I look at BMI as a guideline.  When you don’t seem to be losing any weight, yet your BMI numbers are changing it shows me that somewhere things are moving around and getting tighter.

Lastly, during our stay-cay this year we have planned to figure out a way to work out.  Things will have to be shifted around so all three of us can have time to work out but it will happen.  We are going to fold up the cat cages that aren't used anymore and re-hook up our Total Gym.  I just bought a Nordic Track elliptical machine as well since it works both the upper and lower body in a low impact way.  I got a good deal on it with the holiday discount and an extra 10% off that price.  :)

All for the want of my UP.  :)

We batiked cotton shirts last week.  It was a fun process full of learning curves and hot wax.  To make this shirt I blew up an image and pinned it under the cotton.  Next time I will get a wash away pencil and draw the image on.  Next, came the careful drawing of the wax onto the cotton with a tjianting tool.  This was not as easy as I had thought and I wished that I had taken the time to test it first.  But c’est le vie.

Lines?  What lines?  Yep, the wax ran all over the place before I could stop it.  Next, I filled in the lines with chakra colors.  I had wanted to ROGVIB but yellow was the first I used.  Again, c’est le vie.  I blended each of the new colors into the old for a cool effect.  Then I wrapped my shirt in saran and let it sit over night.

In the morning I waxed the entire flower on both sides with a brush.  The brushed wax didn't penetrate to the other side the way the tjianting tool had.  I let that dry.

I got a wash basin and poured pink in it a little at a time.  I rubbed the pink into the white to get gradient effects and kept rubbing until all the dye was gone.  As you can see some spots were still white and that was okay.  I really am happy with the way the pink blended in.

Next is the really long step, getting the wax out of the cotton.  One of the ways to do that is to boil it out.  I still have to do this step as you can see the shirt is totally covered in wax.  It takes a really long time and you have to make sure the water is boiling when you put the shirt in.  We tried it with my husband's shirt and it took most of the day before the water even began to boil.  So I will finish this next week when I can put the water on at 6 and then boil my shirt for half of the day and then let it cool and scoop the wax off the top.  But I do really love the way it is coming out and I can't wait to proudly wear it.

I helped out my sister's friend by helping her discover the pattern for a project she had misplaced.  It took a bit of time to unknit it and write down the chart as I went.  I was actually quite proud of my self to be able to figure it all out and get it recharted for her.  So I will have to catch up on squares next week.  I should be able to double them up since I will be on my stay-cay and there will be plenty of chill time.  :)  Sorry there is no picture.  My camera and computer are fighting at the moment.  lol 

Here is my progress on the Awesome Trellis!  I am so thrilled with this stitch.  I love the gentle change in color between the skeins.  I am very happy with the way this is knitting up.  Yay!

Happy Crafting!

ETA:  I am not affiliated with any of the companies that are associated with the products mentioned in this post.  This is what works for me and I am sharing my progress and how I am achieving it.  Thanks!