March Goals Check-In

Books

IMG_1941

During a getting rid of stuff binge I removed the chair that sat in front of this book-case and then rearranged the books in it. I took out 6 I realised I’d never read to go off to new owners and found a few that I had forgotten I bought that look really good! The stack on the left on top are books that I took out of another book shelf to get rid of and then thought I’d like to re-read before sending them off as I’d kept them for so long.

Something I have had a hard time getting past when decluttering is getting rid of things I’ve had for a long time. I guess as they’ve been there for so long I figured I should carry on keeping them. I finally have realised that it’s ok for them to go if I’m not going to use them or I don’t like them. If I’m done with something but just keeping it because I’ve had it a while then it’s ok to let it go. I found this with some tea and coffee jars I’d had for about 17 years, I’ve made good use of them but they don’t fit my needs any more so they can go and fill a gap for someone else now. It’s been that way with books this week, getting rid of things I’ve had for a long time and was keeping only for that reason.

I have started about 3 books from the shelf now but I’m not making much progress. Ui also bought 3 more which are health related so I’m only 3 down even with the decluttering… I did read 4.5 books from my Kindle this month though so at least I’m reading something I guess even though I probably bought that many…

Knitting

I actually cast on for three new projects this month despite my pledge. The first was the Lacustrine shawl which I saw and just really wanted to knit and I did in a frantic two weeks. The second was Seaview cardigan which was to fill a gap in my wardrobe, I figured it made more sense to use up yarn I had ready for a project rather than buying a black cardigan from Primark to fill the gap. Then right at the end of the month I cast on Early Winter which is a really simple shawl. It’s been in my queue for ages and I bought yarn specifically for it was just the pattern price. Sometimes I just fancy something new and I figure if it stops me buying yarn then that’s ok.

I frogged most of the Bianca jumper as somehow I had gotten turned around in the middle of a row and it was all off. I will pick it up again when I can make it my main project as it needs attention to keep up with where I am in the pattern. I made a lot of progress with the Dalton jumper though and have only ground to a halt because I have to pick up for the sleeves now and I hate doing that. I will force myself soon and then get on and finish it. I’ve been working on the Weasley Patchwork socks too and a doll that I’m making for my son.

I cleaned out the knitting baskets in my bedroom and put some yarn back in stash and moved two projects into bags rather than them getting dusty in an open basket. I feel like I’m making good progress with my knitting goals despite the new projects and I’ve not felt like I’m lacking anything by not buying any yarn. The only money I spent on my knitting this month was for three patterns which is pretty good.

Sewing

I made some good sewing progress finishing 3 knitting bags, 6 pairs of pyjamas and my cross stitch this month. I bought cross stitch threads for the four seasonal samplers to go with the and stuff to frame the finished one which I will get around to sooner or later now that I’ve washed it and cut the backing board to size.

IMG_1965

I started the Spring cross stitch sampler and have 4 of 25 blocks done so far. I think I either have eye strain or need reading glasses though as I’m finding it hard to see the holes in the linen. I have an eye test booked next week so we shall see what’s going on hopefully.

I’m looking forward to getting on with some sewing projects for myself, although what I want to work on next I’m not sure, it keeps changing all the time.

Kitchen

I’m doing pretty well with the tea reduction. I’m down to 6 tea club teas, and that’s including the 4 that arrived this month so that’s great. I’ve also drunk up about 4 other kinds and am getting near the end of at least 2 more. I thought I was done with the mint teabags, but then I looked in the cupboard and found another two boxes…

Speaking of the cupboard, I finally reorganised the food storage how I wanted it.

Top left is in the storage room and it now has just the bulk items, tea and vitamins in it (you can see the almond and soya milk to the left of it, I buy a box at a time from Aldi as it’s the cheapest I’ve found for almond milk to date). Top right is the cupboard in the table in my kitchen and that has replacements for stuff we’re almost out of plus jars and tins. Bottom left is the sideboard in the storage room which now just holds my canning jars and extra storage jars (and until I looked at this picture I had no idea there was an extension cord under there…) and bottom right is the reorganised and decluttered wall shelves in the storage room now that the empty jars are put away. I’m happy with how it all looks and I’ll carry on trying to reduce what’s in the first cupboard.

And I have been reducing what’s in there. I refilled the corn flour and amaranth flour jars getting rid of these packets. I still have one more bag of corn flour from the box of it I bought. I also emptied the dates and raisins into the storage jars and the coconut (I will now never forget that a kilo of coconut is a bloody huge amount). I’ve refilled a few other jars but not finished the bags. I also cooked up the last kilo of black beans and froze them, so I’m pretty happy with how much I worked through this month and hope to continue with the progress.

IMG_1959

Of course, as soon as I used stuff up I needed to place an order with Real Foods for other things… Real Foods are in Edinburgh and they have free postage for orders over £24. They are cheaper than my local health food shop and fill the gap on stuff I find it hard to source in the very rural area I live. I got tahini, mayo, barley, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, oat bran, bulgur, coffee filters, baking paper (expensive but the best I’ve used to date), rice syrup, white miso and sausages and beans. All of that was £54 which was much lower than if I’d bought it from Tesco or the local shop. I wish they did chilled foods but sadly no. The VBites mozzarella has gone up to over £4 a block now locally which is just stupid. I must remember to check Holland and Barrett for it next time I go.

IMG_1945

Talking of expensive, I had been using the Amazing Grass powder on the left. I bought this 100 servings container from Amazon for £39. When I went to order another one the price has gone up to over £70 for the same amount. I know there has been inflation in food prices (I can’t afford to buy organic anymore as it’s moved out of my price range) but to almost double in price in 3 months is bizarre (and it’s not just Amazon, it’s everywhere, the one I bought also wasn’t on sale, it was the regular price at that time). After looking about I’m now using the Life Drink which is £20 for about a month’s worth, so still bloody expensive but the best price I could find for a green juice powder with probiotic in it. If you know a place or brand with good prices please let me know because I really want to keep using green juice powder.

I decluttered some more kitchen stuff too, I keep thinking there’s nothing left to get rid of and then I find three more things I’m now ready to let go of! I’ve thinned my mugs out about 10 times now and I still have tons of them, but it’s a slow process. My porch is stacked full of stuff to be donated so I must make a run very soon, if only so I have room to get rid of more!

So March has been ok, except for being snowed in for a week. Onwards to April and hopefully the weather will warm up a little as all I want to sew right now is summer clothes which is a sure sign that I’m done being cold!

Advertisements

Lacustrine

IMG_1983

Pattern: Lacustrine by Ysolda Teague

Started: March 1st 2018

Finished: March 14th 2018

IMG_1985

Yarn: Vivchari Ethno Cotton 1200 (70% cotton 30% linen) in Ocean bought from Etsy

Needle: 3.75mm

IMG_1984

Comments: I just wanted to start something new and this pattern called to me when it was released so as I had stash yarn I dove right in and worked on it constantly until it was done. As commented on my Ravelry project page I think this ball of yarn was short in yardage, I had enough to finish so it only impacted my stopping 1 row short so I didn’t have to play yarn chicken. I knit this like reading a book, one bit of the instructions at a time without looking forward and it made it really fun and I kept rushing on so I could get to the next step. I used a stitch marker to mark the short rows and it made it so much easier not having to search for the last wrap and turn. I knew it was big but you couldn’t see it until it came off the needles and it’s massive! I really love it and the colour (the first photo is closest) and it was a great project to work on.

Pyjama Jam

Time for the Spring pyjama making duties, the idea being that if you’re pissed off with winter (as I totally am) then preparing for warm weather will make it arrive faster. If you’re new to my sewing I have been making pyjamas for both my sons since they came out of babygrows. I had one winter and summer off when they wanted fleece pyjamas and onsies which were cheaper to buy from Primark than to make, but besides that I’ve made them every pair of pyjamas.

My older son has grown a lot in the last year so his summer pyjamas were a bit tight and small, even the ones I made him last year, so I had three pairs to get done for him. In the spirit of using stuff up these first two pairs are from fabric I bought when he was a toddler! I obviously didn’t know back then that I would have two boys who have no interest in cars, planes, sports and all the other ‘boy’ things that get put on fabric, so these really aren’t exactly to his taste. However, he understands about using up what we have and as he won’t wear them where anyone can see him besides his brother and I he’s fine with it. He wore the helicopter pair immediately even though short sleeve weather is not here yet so I think they passed the test.

Funnily both boys asked me why I wasn’t making them t-shirts this year when they saw I’d bought them! I don’t have any plain jersey left in the right colours and it’s expensive stuff now so it’s cheaper to get two t-shirts from Asda for £7 than buy 2-3 metres of fabric. I found the t-shirts for my younger son on Amazon for £1.50 each, I wish I’d looked for the older one’s on there as it might have been cheaper, but there you go. They were both ok with it once I’d explained the cost and assured them that I would appliqué the front of the t-shirts so the pyjamas were matching sets!

 

These are both Burda 9747 bottoms, the helicopters are full length and the race cars are below the knee shorts. He’s into the largest size of this pattern now so I’ll have to check and see if I have an adult one for next year. The fabric is Painting Red Rhinos, it’s the heavy weight cotton they did. PRR were (are?) a quite expensive kids clothing company that print their own fabric. They used to sell off what was left over at the end of the year and I bought quite a bit back in the day of good exchange rates and surface shipping from the States. Besides the quality the other good thing about this fabric is that it comes white and as the pictures are printed on you can dye the background without losing the pictures. Both of these were done with Dylon in the machine sometime in the past. This fabric is trouser weight so actually a bit heavy for pyjamas, but it is really soft and I’ve used it before without complaint.

IMG_1964

These are also Burda 9747, the fabric is from Fabworks Online. I bought 3 metres of it last year, I think it was on sale or at least really cheap. I had intended to use it for myself but it is perfect pj fabric so I did that instead. I made full length trousers and the short sleeve shirt. The shirt is not my best work, the collar is a bit funky and the buttons, although evenly spaced, aren’t quite right, but as they’re for sleeping who cares?!? The pattern matching on the front was a complete fluke, I didn’t try to match this at all. I really like the way these look, my son really likes pjs with a proper shirt for some reason so I think he’ll be pleased.

My younger son got to use up all the leftovers from previous years. The foxes are Burda 9747 but the other two pairs I didn’t have enough for that pattern so I used Kwik Sew Sewing for Children in size Large, straightening the legs a bit and adding two inches to the length going by how the last pairs I made him from this pattern fit him. I like all of these a lot, I think they’re really fun. He will complain about short sleeves even when he’s sweating away in the summer as he prefers to be fully covered, but at least they’re not shorts like last year which lead to a few crying fits when they were the only clean ones!

So now that that’s out of the way I can get back to working my way through the pile of things I’d like to make for myself. Not sure what I’m going to start with but I’ve got a few ideas!

Random Meals From My Kitchen #8

Sorry for posting this earlier with no words in it, had it saved as a scheduled post and then forgot to actually write it!
IMG_1931

This is the Marrakech Bowl from, yes again, Power Plates. It’s a bulgur pilaf with roasted vegetables and chickpeas and a Lemon Tahini Dressing. Again, it was really nice and I’m sure we’ll have this one again.

IMG_1932

Golden Rice Bowl from Power Plates. This has Tofu Paneer which was a new one for me. I didn’t read the recipe and therefore had pressed the tofu but not marinated it. I just basked it in the marinade and it worked out fine. The rice is really nice and has lots of vegetables in it. It’s served with the Goji Curry Sauce which I’m still not totally sure about but it’s growing on me.

IMG_1933

Pasta with Broccoli and Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce from, you guessed it, Power Plates. This is supposed to have Broccoli Rabe which I think it like Purple Sprouted Broccoli, but we’re not fans so I went with the regular broccoli and it was fine.  This was really fast and easy, I think with brown pasta it could do with a bit more sauce though, the boys loved it as was.

IMG_1938

I’m trying to plan my lunches better as it’s a real weak spot in my meal planning and I end up with very dull and unhealthy stuff. This is the Roasted Kabocha Salad with Barley and Lemon Miso Vinaigrette from Power Plates. I used butternut as I’ve never seen a kabocha in my life. It was a really tasty salad and will go into my lunch rotation for sure, the only cooking is to bake the squash and onion and toast the pumpkin seeds so if you cook the squash in the evening when the oven is on it’s a simple assembly job.

IMG_1939

And finally for this installment, Sweet Potato Nacho Fries from Power Plates. I can never get my sweet potato fries to go crunchy so they were a little soft which didn’t really give a nacho feel. However all the rest of it was nice and we all enjoyed it, the queso sauce is really fast and tasty, so I will keep trying to get some crisp going.

More to come, I seem to have fallen behind. I’m still mainly cooking from Power Plates but have been dragging out a few other books here and there as I’m working on another clear out of my cookbooks and want to make sure I have given something a good go before tossing it aside!

Sweater Sacks

I didn’t really need any more knitting bags considering I already have a ton that I’ve made previously and I’m not (supposed to be) casting on for anything new. However, I saw this knitting fabric in an Instagram post and immediately had to have some. I found it at Sew and Sew along with the cute bunny fabric at the end of January I think, and I’ve now made it into the sweater size bag from the Ramona Rose Sock Sack in Three Sizes pattern.

I had to cut the inner pockets of these an inch shorter than the pattern says because the fabric came as fat quarters rather than a single half yard (must remember to read the small print in the future, the fabric was very over-packaged with each FQ in its own plastic bag so I probably won’t order from them again). As I only use the pocket for stitch markers, ball bands and the needle packet it’s really not a big deal. I interface the outer layer with a pretty heavy iron-on interfacing, which isn’t in the instructions, but I prefer a bag with a bit more body to it.

I had to order some more zips, which I buy about 20 at a time from Ebay, but it means I’m stocked up now! I bought the lining fabric for these first two from Sew and Sew as well, the zig zag below was from my stash. I made the grey bag first and then discovered I had no ribbon or cord that went with it. I was intending to pick it up whilst in Newcastle but then we got snowed in for a week so I ordered it from Plush Addict (and some for the blue bag) and it arrived once the postie could get through!

Every time he sees this bag my younger son tells me he wants pyjamas from the bunny fabric. It’s really pricey for yardage though so he won’t be having any until I can find it hugely reduced!

So, fast and easy project off the pile of stuff to be completed. This is a really well written and easy to follow pattern, I’d recommend it if you like a drawstring bag. I’ve made all three sizes and they’re definitely my bags of choice.