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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Obsessed, determined, single-minded, frenzied, stubborn...

Ha ha! Sounds like I've been reading the thesaurus again doesn't it! So what have I been up to which has resulted in my feverish and determined behaviour? 
Last Sunday, while confined to home due to the wild weather, I decided that something had to be done about the growing pile of orphan and odd sized squares that are in a box in my sewing room. Regular readers know that I volunteer to take squares that are donated to K4BN, and then sew them into blankets, throws, knee rugs and cot blankies. I Really enjoy this because it's much quicker to sew up a blanket than knit or crochet from scratch.

This lot that were left  just didn't fit with the majority of donated squares. Over time I had toyed with a number ideas of how to use them but most needed a lot of crocheting/knitting work from me. I wasn't really prepared to do that... preferring to put the effort into my own creations and selecting my own colours and yarns etc. So sewing up was the way to go :-)

Last year I made a blanket out of odd sized swatches that had been donated, and, although a lot of work, it was satisfying to get it finished into a useful item. I wondered whether new donations might have squares in some of the odd sized ones I have, but on Sunday I decided that I would wait no longer because it probably won't happen that way! lol  Firstly, 'Mrs Purist' had to overcome her 'fear' of putting knitted shapes with crocheted shapes. 
This donated  'square' is about 15 inches by 12 inches; a monster compared to the other oddments
Those pink and white blocks had been joined already and resisted all efforts to  'un-join' them!

I had other commitments on Monday and Tuesday, so Wednesday was the day! The day when I would start work on a new throw to use up these 'odd ones'. I measured and 'fiddled' with layouts. I crocheted (dc) around the shapes (rectangles and squares) in black to stabilise some of the knitted squares but more importantly  to make stitching up easier. Last year when I sewed up the odd sized shapes into a blanket, I knitted pieces to fill spaces...not this time...too slow! I crocheted squares and rectangles to fit spaces. I was determined that this project should not take up too much time... (pfft! who am I kidding! lol) I worked most of Wednesday and Thursday on the project.

No knitting this time because I wanted speed! I crocheted this large rectangle to fit beside the fluffy pink rectangle

This is a small rectangle that I crocheted to fill in a space...nice and quick!

I added extra rounds to make squares fit..

This poor mis shapen knitted square got a crocheted border and was able to fit in quite well!

The throw arranged on my table to look like it's being used to snuggle under :-)

Last night it was finished being sewn up and a black border crocheted around it, leaving just the weaving in of ends! So my stubborn determination to clear out a box in my sewing room paid off. One more item for Karen to count in donations so far in 2013.

Same throw, just turned around to show the other end...

 Now my next sewing up  project concerns some knitted rectangles that were donated to K4BN...they are all white/off white and measure about 19 cm by 14 cm...sounds like a different sort of challenge.

And just to finish's the blanket I sewed together last year out of odd sized swatches that had been donated.

What I'm reading....

Often people remark to me when they hear that I'm avoiding sugar, whether I've read David Gillespie's book. (David is an Aussie who has gone on a 'crusade' against the high consumption of sugar after losing a lot of weight himself, by giving it up. He has been on Radio and TV shows promoting his books)  And I hadn't read it until a few weeks ago. I checked out the council library catalogue and put a hold on the book. But after reading the first page I realised that I had actually got his second book by mistake... I wondered whether if it would matter if I read the second one first...

It's a very 'easy read' and I didn't stop at the first page, I kept going! It became obvious that the first book provided the 'science' behind the theory that sugar (in the quantities eaten these days) is best avoided, but the writer did provide research studies' results in the second book as well. The first book does offer strategies for lowering sugar intake but the second goes into more detail and also provides recipes developed by Gillespie's wife Liz. I also appreciated the chapter on artificial sweeteners which just strengthened my resolve to avoid all of them.

When I read the chapters on how a person might expect to feel when they have 'given up' sugar, I found myself recognising all the outcomes that had happened to me. I felt quite smug because I had already weaned myself off the stuff (sugar) and the book was aimed at those who were going to try to do that! lol One bit of 'science' that Gillespie described really 'hit home'. The research suggests that eating a lot of sugar causes the appetite control part of the brain to become ineffective and in my personal experience this was exactly what happened. I was always hungry! Not any more:-)

I put a hold at the library for the first book and picked it up yesterday, so will start reading that shortly. Doesn't that donut look real on the cover!!

I'm still losing weight but not the average of 1- 1.5kg per month...more likely to be 400 g but that's ok. When the weather is a bit cooler I'll step up the exercise regimen.  
A week ago I needed a photo of me wearing reading glasses and instead of just taking a new photo, I went through my pictures files. Look at this photo taken in early June 2012, 3 weeks after I started to avoid sugar...

 I'm so glad that I came across this's a good reminder of what an overindulgence of cakes, chocolates and Mars bars can do 'after a certain age' lol! The photo below is a lot better..

Six months after giving up the treats
Some anti sugar proponents such as Sarah Wilson (another Aussie), forbid the eating of fruit...pfft! I've really got to enjoy and savour my 2 pieces of fruit per day in these last 8 months. Gillespie cites research which says that fruit, although obviously loaded with fructose, is ok because of the fibre if you eat fresh whole fruit. 

When we have guests over for a meal, I always prepare a fruit platter

Look what I saw at our local Coles supermarket last week... a large display and promotion for a breakfast cereal. I thought the name was very the amount of sugar in this cereal is very high.

But it won't be going into our shopping trolley!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Zillmere Knit and Natter...

Today I went to Zillmere Community Centre for the monthly K&N. We last gathered there at the end of November and during the recess some of the ladies have been very busy!

 At that last K&N at Zillmere, I handed over a bag of patchwork fabrics that a friend had given me to two of the 'regulars', who knit, but also do a lot of sewing.. There were mostly blue fabrics in the bag  and Ann And Val were thrilled that there were quite large pieces of material in the bag. They have been very busy with that fabric...they made 4 quilts... (photo of 3 of them)

In front there are other quilts ....

 And this one is so effective too!

And Ann and Val also turned some pretty cotton fabric into some children's clothes...
 But there are still more lovely items sewn by this lovely 2 ladies and their 3 friends!

This one had embroidered panels!

And a few photos of donations from others in the group...

And look at all this donated knitting cotton!
Yarn on the table in front of bags of donated items

Some children's jumpers for the Aunty Gwen Challenge

On the left, Jenny and Elaine sorting and collating members' items . On the table are some donated yarns and a big tin of buttons, all donations to the group!
So far this year the group has made approximately 649 items for the needy... and as you can imagine there will be an even greater need for items this year following these horror weeks with fires and now floods!

Nothing from me today...but yesterday I handed over a blanket made with the donated squares that I finished sewing up for FNSI :-) and I wove all the ends in on Sunday.

I'm now working on another sewing up knitting project...all the odd sized donated squares are now my some how sew them up into a usable blanket...wish me luck! lol

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The summer rains finally got here...

Most would be aware that here in Queensland, at the moment our weather is being affected by an ex tropical cyclone, Oswald. This has brought rain, winds and even a number of mini tornadoes and just about all the eastern seaboard of the state, plus now the coast of NSW has been affected. A number of cities and towns have, or will, flood and the severe winds have done a lot of damage in some areas. Many people have already suffered considerable damage to their homes (from flooding and also the tornadoes) and many more await the flood peaks expected both today and tomorrow and expect their homes to be affected by flooding again. People who were flooded in 2011 must be so stressed, anxious and on 'tenterhooks'...poor things!

Where DH and I live, we're fine...just a soggy back yard, leaves and twigs and small branches blown to the ground and a dampness in a lot of the furnishings. Last night the winds were very strong and I lay in bed wondering whether any of the roof tiles would dislodge...or whether a neighbour's tree would fall on our house and front know all those thoughts that make it hard to sleep. None of those 'disasters' happened though! So once again DH and I are very fortunate in that we live on a hill.

On Saturday the strong winds blew my pukeko ornament off a table on the veranda. I bought it on our last trip to NZ because I think that they are a beautiful bird. When this one broke I quickly removed other little statues and a lantern to a safer spot...poor pukeko!

This was taken on Saturday afternoon when the rain became heavier...

Reflections in the water on the veranda! (the plate had had a snack of chicken scraps for  Eduardo :-)) 

The view from the kitchen window...looking west. Those pencil pines in the photo were bending with the wind at alarming angles, but every time  I took a photo they were upright! lol

The winds just blew the rain on to the veranda. The rain is so heavy to the north east that the homes and the hill in the distance are 'invisible'
I managed to bring in some of the cushions and a quilt which  are normally on the cane sofa on the veranda; they still 'feel' damp so we're looking forward to sunshine to dry and air everything.
The winds just stripped the crepe myrtle trees of most of their leaves...

My frangipani is 'listing'. It normally stands up straighter and gives a bit of summer shade to the garden bed in the background. I have to investigate the reason for the list...
Just got a text message from DD2. She and her housemate have been without power for 16 hours and they need to charge their phones. And of course DH and I have been fortunate enough to have power (and a working phone land line, which many people don't have at the moment), so the girls can recharge their phones here.
Spare a thought for those who are not so fortunate here at the moment.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Our little trip away continued...

DH and I are not into gambling but we love the shows that Jupiters' Casino put on in their theatre. They are always very professional entertainment and excellent value for money we find.

The view from our room, looking east

Looking straight down from out hotel window; the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition centre is on the top left of the photo

The monorail pulling into the Casino stop....

The Convention Centre with the tall buildings of Surfers Paradise in the background
When DH and I travelled in the US,we noticed that the concept of the 'mini bar' just didn't seem to be there. So I thought I'd take a photo of the mini bar in the room. Many years ago when motels and hotels started putting these in rooms, many people thought that the contents were free (like the tea and coffee) and would eat and drink the items...then they would be quite upset to be presented with large bills,when they were checking out. You see the items are very over priced!! In the photo directly below, the bottle of water was priced at $8!!! (It would be just over $2 in the supermarket)
Coffee/tea making facilities and a 'wooden' door...

 And behind the door is the fridge which contains the mini bar...

 Inside the mini bar....
No freebies here...

As well as the fridge mini bar, look what was in a cupboard behind a mirror...spirits, chocolates and crisps...

On Tuesday night we went to see the current show at the Casino. The show is Tap Dogs and I can say that DH and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It is unusual to see tap dancers wearing work boots I must admit, but these guys were amazing. The show goes for 80 minutes and the energy that these guys have is incredible! Here is a promo showing a little of the dancing.

After the show, we had a light supper in one of the restaurants in the complex. When we had checked in, we were given some vouchers to use. One of them was for 20% off a meal in this particular restaurant...very nice! (and it was lovely food too!)
The next morning it was a little overcast...but we were lucky as it didn't rain.

In fact by the time we had breakfast and leisurely packed up, it was quite sunny again as we prepared to leave...

I thought I saw our car outside the main entrance to the casino...

But it must have been someone else's as it wasn't a