Detox: Day 3

Read Day One: Here
Read Day Two: Here

So, I’ve been thinking about food a lot! Seriously, like every waking minute! A restless sleep last night was all about food! How to prepare it, how to beat the cravings, how to prepare better options. Not only for myself, but for my whole family. It hit me that my children eat what I provide. If they aren’t picking healthy options then it’s because of what I have supplied in the kitchen! And I can’t make a healthy eating change for myself without giving the whole family a shake up!

The older two boys have loved me making them ham and salad sandwiches and chopping up vegetable sticks. The younger two love the unsalted popcorn and array of fresh fruit. They’re all a lot more willing to try some of the ‘strange’ things I’m bringing home then I originally thought! I’m starting to feel like this could work…if only I can maintain it!

This morning I was up early. Why? Because I was super excited for breakfast! On the menu today…

Day 3:

  • Breakfast – Boiled egg with slice of lean bacon and tomato. A peach

  • Mid-Meal – Apple or pear

  • Lunch – Soup

  • Mid-Meal – Small handful of nuts

  • Dinner – Soup

Now…breakfast! I’m not a fan of boiled eggs…I don’t like the yolk by itself so I improvised a little. I took out my non stick skillet and cooked up the bacon and egg with no oils, fats or butter. All I can say is it was so damn good! And that little bit of fat on the bacon (which I usually gobble up with relish), ended up on hubby’s plate! Finished off with my tea with skim milk (no sugar) and a peach. That peach, let me tell you, was pure heaven! I swear it was the juiciest, tastiest, sweetest thing in the world! Breakfast was awesome…I can get through the day!

Breakfast Day 3

I decided to mix up my soups (the thought of another bowl of the veg soup nearly turned my stomach!) so I opted for the chicken and veg soup listed in my little book. I don’t eat ginger, I don’t eat garlic, I haven’t tried coriander, I hate asparagus, and I’ve never been brave enough to touch chilli…but I cooked that soup up and, honestly, the smell was amazing! I’m sure I’ve gained a super sensitive nose for all things fresh!

I ate with trepidation but there was soon a lot of mmmmming and om nom noming! Light but tasty and I felt really satisfied when I was done. I will make that soup again!

Chicken and veg soup!

Afternoon tea wasn’t very exciting and my yearning for something sweet was at an all time high! I even just wanted a piece of fruit just to get a sugar hit but I drank up my sugarless tea with a whimper and reminded myself about tomorrow…tomorrow I can have fruit and some yoghurt! Hang in there girl!

Afternoon snack

This afternoon I’m cranky, I’m irritable, I’m snappy, I’m miserable!

Dinner…soup…yay (insert sarcasm here!)

Tomorrow…tomorrow…hang in there!

 

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Detox: Day 2, Part 2

Day 2…continued: Vegetables (steamed or boiled) and as much soup as you want.

Read Day 1 and Day 2, Part 1: HERE

So, after my run in with a plate of raw vegetables I was feeling pretty low! Sugar craving was at an all time high! Every time I walked past that last giant blueberry muffin left sitting on the bench I swore at it! Yep…cranky!

Lunch was more soup…I’m so over soup already! I could not live on soup!
Joy is half a fresh corn cob! Yep, I downed that soup and finished with some yummy, juicy, sweet fresh corn! *Bliss*

I started to try and think of a different way to enjoy raw vegetables. Did some Googling and juicing seemed to be a good answer. The reviews all sounded great, I’d get a good dose of those raw veg nutrients in a more pleasant way! Only problem…no juicer!
No worries, I though, I’ll just use the blender!

Nope!

Ended up with a gritty slop that looked and smelt like sick!
Like, LITERALLY!
Big pile of NOPE!
I want something SWEET!!

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo…I was too busy spitting it out and washing it down the sink!

Slumped, disheartened, frustrated, hungry and miserable on the lounge then I remembered…I can have skim milk!! Oh boy! That glass of white goodness never tasted sooooooo good! It’s a 99.8% fat free, lactose free, skim milk high in calcium and added Vitamin D. Best tasting thing ever right in that moment!

Afternoon was a bit of running around and no chance to grab a bite so early dinner instead. A small bowl of soup (yep…over it!) and a plate of steamed capsicum, carrot, snow peas and corn. Better! Because I had such an early dinner, I enjoyed a cup of tea (skim milk, no sugar) for supper once the kids were in bed.

Today was hard! Like almost breaking point hard! I didn’t lick the ice-cream scoop like I really, really wanted to do after giving the kids dessert. I didn’t touch that blueberry muffin that sat there all day taunting me until the kids got home. I didn’t eat the left over spaghetti off my youngest sons plate. I’m in control…I can do this!

Besides…tomorrows breakfast is boiled egg, bacon, tomato and a peach! Can NOT wait!

 

Detox: Day 1 and Day 2, Part 1!

So, we’ve all heard about having a detox right? Suppose to be good for you and all that? There are so many different ones out there that’s for sure! Well, I decided to give one a go!
You know, feeling sluggish, tired, eating WAY too much junk and piling on the weight! I figured it was time to perhaps reset my body and retrain my tastebuds to go for an apple over a muffin, an orange over biscuits, some unsalted nuts over potato chips…you get the idea!

I mean, really, when I sat back and looked at my diet…let’s just say it was bad…like embarrassingly bad! There were days were it consisted of no fruit or vegetables at all! Way too much processed food and cups of tea with heaps of sugar spaced regularly throughout the day…yeah, yeah…not good! But it’s all about being honest with myself! I want to be healthy and live long enough to annoy my children in their adult years!

So…I found a kick-start soup diet!
So far I’m into day two! Yes…that’s all! Day two! Longest day of my life!

My journey so far…

Day one: Fruit and as much soup as you like!

Sounds easy enough!
And, honestly, aside from a constant headache (most likely because my body is screaming “WHERE DID YOU PUT THE SUGAR??”) the day went pretty smoothly!
I had a moment when the children came home from school and ate up the (more delicious smelling than usual) muffins. No I didn’t take one! And I even managed to NOT eat the chunk my youngest left on his plate! I did poke at it and a little voice in my head said, “Go on! It’s just a bite!” I told her to shut up and chucked it in the bin! Hard times!

As my family gobbled up their sausages, creamy pasta and vegies, I ate my soup! Smelling the scents of their dinner and willing myself not to just chow down on a sausage! Compared to their dinner, mine felt bland and tasteless!
When they pulled out the ice-cream for dessert I went and hid in my craft room! I can do this! I ate an orange! Feeling better, tired and a tad irritable, but better!

Now, day two, present day…

Day two: Vegetables (steamed or boiled) and as much soup as you like!

This will be hard! Where’s the sweets! Oh I want the sweets! Wahhhhhhhhh!
Ok, I’m good now!
So, breakfast…I cheated! The thought of having vegetables OR soup for breakfast just made me feel ill! So half an apple and some cherries instead! We’ll get back on track for morning tea!
Off to the shops this morning! And, aside from the white bread and full cream milk for the kids, my trolley looks really good! A rainbow of colour and healthy choices! Feels good! Driving home I can smell the freshness of fruit and vegetables and I’m a tad surprised that I actually enjoy the smell and can’t wait to get stuck into some!
So home and morning tea…

health3

Looks delightful doesn’t it!
No, no and a hole pile of nope! I’m not a fan of raw vegetables so I’ve just discovered! Tomato…tomato is about the only raw veg I enjoy! Come on tastebuds! You can do this!

The detox tea I found in my travels at the shop and it read…

“…contains dandelion root and milk thistle…we’ve also added the fresh taste of orange, lemon and hints of ginger and mint – so you feel like you’re indulging, not detoxing! …a naturally mellow and sweet tasting green tea base so there is no need to add milk and sugar.”

LIES…it’s all LIES! There’s NO sweet! NO SWEET!! Arghhhhh!

I downed that plate of tasteless, unsweet raw crunchy pieces of colour and downed the cup of detox tea with a grimace while trying to remind myself I’m doing my body some good!

 Today is going to suck…!

Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

For Crochet Toys/Amigurumi

by Janine Tsakisiris

tips

Your hook:

Your choice of hook will affect your end result. Choose a larger or smaller hook then suggested and your crochet toy size will be altered.

Your hook size will depend on the yarn chosen. Whatever yarn you select, if it is different from the suggested yarn in the pattern, you will need to make sure that it results in stitches that are small enough so that no stuffing will show through.

Yarn choice:

Not all yarns are suitable for crochet toys. Acrylic is one of the best. It holds its shape well and is durable and usually very affordable. With crochet toys, one ball can go a long way.

Some wools, although lovely to work with, are not so good when it comes to stitching pieces together. They tend to fray or felt and break apart after pulling on it for a while. Some people may also have allergies to wool so you need to consider your recipient.

Cotton is another nice choice that also washes well. Keep in mind though that it can have a tendency to stretch, so after a few washes you may find the stitches being pulled and the stuffing showing.

Always read the label on your chosen yarn for its care instructions. Is it washable? An important thing to consider when making a toy that will be much loved.

Because you are creating tight stitches, you will need to find a yarn that doesn’t scratch and grate across your fingers. There are many available yarns and yarn blends. Experiment and find a yarn that suits you and take note to ensure the colour palette available is large enough for your requirements.

Yarn in a nutshell…
1. Any yarn can be used, simply adjust your hook size so that no holes appear in your stitches that might show the stuffing.
2. If you use a smaller or larger hook your toy size will vary.
3. Not all bulky yarns are equal! They vary from brand to brand. (This goes for all plies of yarn!)
4. To find out what ply yarn you have (as they don’t all say), simply go to Ravelry (link below) and type in your yarn. It will list all the properties but keep in mind point 3! lol
5. To find a similar yarn simply go to YarnSub (link below) and see if you can find an equivalent.
Your yarn choice will affect your end result…don’t forget to have some fun with it! Enjoy bringing them to life and making them unique! 😀

Some helpful places to look at:
Yarn Substitution: Yarnsub
Yarn Details/properties: Ravelry yarn database

Stitches:

Right side vs wrong side…yes, there is such a thing with crochet toys. End up with the wrong side facing and your whole project will not only look different, possibly be slightly larger and a little distorted, but some stitches simply won’t work to give the desired effect. As you crochet your work will start to curl slightly. It’s important to make sure you curl it so the right side, the side that is facing you from the beginning, stays on the outside of our work.

Stitches for crochet toys need to be tight so that the stuffing doesn’t show or become tempting for little fingers to pull out. You may find the tightness of your stitches changes from day to day. Trying to keep the stitches tight and consistent can take some practise. If you find your stitches are still too loose then try going down a hook size.

Stuffing:

Loosen the stuffing fibres slightly before using to prevent it from having a lumpy appearance.

Keep in mind the shape you have created, where the increases and decreases are is important. Don’t force so much stuffing in that it causes your toy to fight its own shape.

Ensure when working around safety eyes and/or noses, that you don’t push the inside stem of these causing the eye or nose to tilt at a funny angle.

If your toy has a neck, ensure there is adequate stuffing as, over time, this can become a weak spot.

Be careful with arms. If you overstuff the end it will become bulky and this will cause the arms to sit out straight from the body rather than aiming slightly down. Keep this in mind for any other appendage depending on the toy you are creating.

Add your largest piece of stuffing first and then work in smaller wads of stuffing to help give your toy its shape. Use the end of your hook, or even the tip of your scissors (carefully of course) to push the stuffing into the smaller sections.

If your pattern has two pieces with large open ends to be sewn together, always ensure you add extra stuffing before sewing the hole closed. Again, the end of your crochet hook is a handy tool for this.

Compact your stuffing slightly as you go without forcing your crochet toys shape to pull or stretch. Stuffing naturally compacts over time and with continued play so ensuring plenty of stuffing is essential.

Stuffing can have a huge impact on your end result. Too much and it’ll force the stitches apart and allow the stuffing to be seen. Too little and it will quickly compact and your crochet toy will have no shape. It’s important to find a balance.

Sewing:

Sewing requires a wool needle that has a large enough hole to thread your chosen yarn easily and a sharp enough point to be able to slide through your crochet toy without pulling the yarn fibres apart.

Deciding on the best way to sew on attachments can take a bit of practice. It will also depend on the desired look for the completed toy. Ensure the stitches are pulled tight and, if necessary, add in a little extra stuffing before sewing any holes closed. This is especially important for necks to avoid them becoming overly floppy as they are carted around.

Pinning any attachments before sewing is always recommended. Sew once you’re happy with the positioning.

Ensure the attachment is secure. If it’s too loose, it will simply be pulled off over time. Add extra stitches if necessary to ensure a tight bond.

To finish, run your yarn through a few stitches and then pull it through the body of your crochet toy. Pull slightly and cut your yarn close to your work and the end will slip back inside the body of your crochet toy.

Personalising and personality:

Make your crochet toy your own. Alter the colours to suit your tastes. Who says a teddy bear needs to be brown? Moving the positioning of facial details, limbs, etc., can completely alter the appearance of your new friend. Experiment with placement. Using pins to check positioning of appendages before sewing is always a good idea. Add buttons, a crochet flower and a ribbon around a neck, glasses perched on a nose or even some tufts of hair. Enjoy creating something truly unique.

 

Photo Light Box

My crochet critters deserve some better lighting for their photos! I might prefer the dark shadows when it comes to having my photo taken but these little ones need me to get stuck into seeing if I can create some better lit pics! My craft room isn’t the best for taking photos and I wanted something that produced (hopefully) consistent results.

So, to Google I went! I found a heap of easy tutorials and decided to give it a go.
Gathered up all my supplies. Now, as usual when I want to work on something RIGHT THIS MINUTE there was something I couldn’t get! A sheet of white cardboard. Instead I grabbed a light blue and a light pink thinking they would look nice. Tomorrow when the shop has a new supply arriving I’ll head back and grab white but, you know, I’m impatient so on we go…

Took my handy box cutter and cut out the side panels. Easy!

Time to tape on the transparent sheets. I used greaseproof paper as I had it handy and figured if this didn’t work it was no great loss! Turns out greaseproof paper doesn’t like my sticky tape but, after a bit of fiddling, I got it to stick enough. *Note to self: Buy some masking tape!

Cut the backing cardboard to size and, rather then sticky tape it in place (as I do want a white one to go in there), I used some sticky putty pieces to hold it in place. Easy in, easily removed. Awesome!

Well, less then 30minutes from beginning to end. I’m impressed! Now, why did I wait so long to make one?  And then the fun bit…set up!

photo box 6
I bought one new lamp and pulled out my sons study lamp to use too. (It’s ok, he won’t miss it! It wasn’t plugged in anyway! lol)

And testing time!
What do we think?

I now want a bigger box and I’m thinking a third lamp on top wouldn’t hurt either but for now I’m happy…

…and I discovered that a patterned sheet of scrapbook paper fits in this box nicely! We could get quite creative with this I think!

♥Neen

 

Tunisian Crochet

Bag2

So, I’ve had this set of Tunisian crochet hooks that I bought from a shop a couple of years ago! Yes! Years ago! I had seen Tunisian work and had thought I’d love to try it…one day!
Well one day finally came!
I decided to take a break from the normal. It was getting a little tedious and routine anyway. Time to give something new a try.
I started with practising some basic stitches.

Tunisiantry

YouTube and Google were my friend! After a few hours I though ‘I got this!’ and searched Ravelry for an actual project to sink my teeth into.
Now, just starting out I didn’t want to purchase a pattern so I was on the hunt for something relatively easy, useful and, of course, free. I’m a huge fan of free patterns! I appreciate any artist who offers up their time and knowledge to create a pattern and then generously provide it for free so that others can learn!
I found this pattern, Aspen Bag by Amy Depew and decided to give it a go! It was pretty easy to understand and, along with YouTube, I figured everything out. Considering I’d only been dabbling in Tunisian crochet for a day, I was pretty chuffed with my progress!

Progress

And besides, with basic rows like these, once you get the hang of it, it progresses with relative ease!
One thing I discovered about this kind of work is that it curls…a lot! Again…YouTube! I found this helpful video to flatten it and it worked a treat!

T1T2

And with a little bit of stitching at the end it was done! Now, it’s by no means perfect! There are a few boo boos in there but, honestly, I’m thrilled with how it came together.

My first Tunisian crochet project…yes, I’m taking a bow!

Bag3

Jumping Jeff!

So, who else loves the iconic Aussie kangaroo? In crochet…? Even better! I designed and wrote this pattern for Lincraft Australia. It uses the Lincraft Double Knitting yarn. He’s now available free online! Go check him out and let everyone know what you think! 🙂
You can find him listed on my Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/jumping-jeff-kangaroo

You can find the pattern directly here: https://www.lincraft.com.au/jumping-jeff

roo2

Jumping Jeff the Kangaroo