Wednesday, June 6, 2012

30 by 30 Update

Slow and steady wins the race? Man, I hope so. I have been making the slowest possible trek through this list. I think I got so caught up with training for a 5k so that I could mark that one off that everything else took a back seat. Still, I want to go over a quick update on the couple of things that I did complete and maybe the little pat on the back will encourage me to knuckle down and get through some more.

1. Lose 10 pounds

This is pretty heavily tied in to running the 5k. I started training for the 5k around the end of January. At the time I weighed in at 175 pounds. I was pretty down because that's the most I've ever weighed and I know a main factor was all of the junk food that I ate after moving down here and we were temporarily kitchenless. The weight gain seemed so slow that it was easy to rationalize the crap food at the time because I didn't notice the effects for a while. I'm not a healthy eating idol or anything but that was definitely a low point. So by adding in 4 to 5 times a week of running/walking as I built up my endurance for the 5k I was able to totally shed my 10 pounds. In fact, as of now I'm at 159 pounds. So yay me for losing 16 pounds so far!! So now I want to update my goal to lose about 15 or 20 more pounds by the end of the year. That would put me around 140 which is my goal weight and one that I haven't been in about 10 years.

8. Have toys for sale at the consignment shop in town

As I mentioned in a previous post I completed a super cute white squirrel toy and put it up in the consignment shop in town. They let me know about a week ago that it actually sold and the woman was interested in buying more! I've got a second one almost finished. It's just missing the eyes because I've somehow managed to lose one of the backings and can't find it anywhere in the house. I may have to order some more online before I can finish it.

12. Run a 5k

I'm totally most proud of having completed this one. I'm planning to frame my number and be a super geek about forever. I still don't think I'd really consider myself a runner but, sort of contradicting that, I've been seriously thinking about pushing myself so that I can run a 10k this year. I'm still slow but I'm constantly amazed that I can run for over 30 minutes and not die. 

This was the first item that I was able to check off the list. I love me some reading and George R.R. Martin is crazy good so this was much more pleasurable to complete than losing weight or running. When Chris gave me the book for my birthday last year I was excited but I also, stubbornly, decided that I wanted to reread the entire series in order to truly appreciate the newest book. So that meant rereading four other books, each clocking in at around 1000 pages and now that I no longer have a couple of hours on the subway to read it took forever. Still, I'm glad that I reread them and I loved the new book. That man can write sci-fi like nobody's business.

In The Works
The house is being painted as we speak! He started about a week ago and it looks badass. I'll put up some before and after shots when it's all done.

I have started a one sentence a day journal that I've kept up consistently for about two weeks so that's something.

The stitch and bitch, roller derby, transylvania handcrafter's guild meeting, and next meteor shower are all on my calendar over the next month.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Squirrel Making

A few months ago I decided to try my hat at creating my own toy pattern. I wasn't trying to make something revolutionary but just something simple with simple shaping and one color. The little town that I live in celebrates a White Squirrel Festival each year and the owner of the consignment shop in town had been asking me if I knew how to make a white squirrel toy so I took up the challenge and decided I would make a pattern for a white squirrel. Above are Chris' and my sketches to try and determine the general shape. Evil Patrick is not related to squirrel making but rather a creepy manifestation of Chris' psyche.

The sketching helped me a lot with visualizing where I should be adding increases and decreases and was a great reference to look back at as I went so that I could judge whether I was really heading in the right direction. You can see where I scribbled notes as I went to keep track of what I was doing and, when it wasn't working, scratch it all out and start over. I definitely need more practice to get the hang of making up my own toy pattern. While I like how this turned out I feel that I hit a better cat note than I did squirrel. My next step is to modify the pattern to make a pirate squirrel like the one drawn near evil Patrick. I always loved making pirate monkeys and I think that pirate squirrels will be pretty damn cute, too. Really, everything looks better when dressed as a pirate. I think it's the eye patch.

The in progress and finished squirrel are below. I'm super happy with the tail although I think I could have stitched a Swiffer on it's butt and saved myself about 3 hours of tedium. In the finished product I also added a jaunty little scarf because the squirrel just seemed like it needed something to break up all that white. Plus it makes it look sophisticated and jet-setting and, really, don't squirrels sort of look that way in real life? Something about a fluffy tail makes an animal look fancy.

Squirrel in progress
Finished squirrel

Monday, May 28, 2012

White Squirrel Festival 5k Run

Before the race. You can tell by my nervous smile.
After the race. Exhausted and crazy proud of myself.

Earlier this year I made a list of 30 things that I wanted to do by the time I turned 30. I've got an update coming later this week but one of the things that I'm most proud of is that as of Saturday I checked off #12: Run a 5k. This was no easy task for me. I'm a total couch potato, never very athletic and after having moved to NC and spending 6 months living without a kitchen I'd gained a fair bit of weight.

There were two or three points last year when I tried getting into the couch to 5k program but I usually burnt out by week 3 or 4. In January, after making this list, I committed. I started running with the C25K Pro App on my phone 4 to 5 times a week. It's interval training and starts out with really short runs of just a minute or so at a time but I remember even that seemed grueling at first. The absolute worst was when I hit the day like 6 weeks in when the plan just says run for 20 minutes. It pulls out the safety net of a minute or two of walking somewhere in the middle there. I remember when I finished that jog for the first time that I texted Chris saying that I had run for 20 minutes and not died. That alone was pretty awesome.

So after a couple of months of training I have finally run my first 5k. As you can see by the photos I made it from beginning to end and somehow managed to look happier after running up the hills of NC. I went into the race with one goal: run the whole time, no walking. If you'd seen some of those hills you'd know what a task that was. Although I didn't win a medal or run any amazing time I met my goal and couldn't be happier. Part of me is also proud just to have managed to get to the start line by 8am. I'm not a morning person. I've never run a single morning before because whatever my best intentions I cannot respect an alarm that wants me up before 10am.

I ran the course in 37 minutes 24 seconds all while listening to a Twilight Podcast by Pop Stuff from How Stuff Works. I know everyone makes play lists when they run with music that's fast and motivating with good beats and whatever but I love me a podcast. Most of my couch to 5k was spent listening to the guys on Stuff You Should Know and giggling a little as I ran. It might explain why I'm not very fast. Josh and Chuck may be super entertaining but they don't really have a great beat. For me though they were a great distraction from my mind's constant reminder that I don't have to run. No one is making me run. I could walk now or now or now or anytime I want and zombies won't get me.

Speaking of zombies, I am desperately psyched for an app called Zombies, Run! that's coming out on Android next month. It could be a great motivator for upping my speed a little. In the game you're a runner for a town after there's been a zombie apocalypse. You go into town for supplies to keep the survivors alive. As you run the game will chime in with supplies you've picked up and warnings of zombie hordes! If you're being chased you actually have to speed up to outrun the attack and live. You can even hear the zombies in your ear buds! The app is way pricey but I've got to say it sounds like wicked fun and I've got the ladies at Pop Stuff to thank for mentioning it in their running podcast.

Now that I've checked off running a 5k from my list I think I'm going to go for a 10k. I'm not sure that I'll ever consider myself a serious runner but I think that I may like it. Plus, I've lost about 15 pounds since January and I just feel healthier. Chris was asking me where I was planning to go after the 5k run a few weeks ago and the conversation somehow ended in a ridiculous bet. We agreed that if he runs a 5k I'll run a marathon. I may have started liking running but I will say that marathons seem like complete madness to me but I do know my husband and I feel like this is probably a pretty safe bet for me. Although I'd love to see him get healthier I've got my fingers crossed that he chooses biking instead.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

White Squirrel

I've been talking with the super nice owners of the local consignment shop in town for a few months about trying to get some stuff in their store but I've been so crunched for time that I've put it off until now. Every year this little town has a White Squirrel Festival and when I ran into the consignment shop owner a few weeks ago he told me his wife has been desperately seeking white squirrels. They forwarded me a link to the pattern that they'd found online at Pixie Kitten. It was so crazy cute that I bought the pattern and made my own little white squirrel. I finally finished it up the other day and dropped it off at the shop this morning where it stands as a one of a kind toy (until I get around to making some more). White squirrels are so hugely popular here that I think these would sell crazy well. So one down, dozens more to go!

30 by 30

Recently, I embraced the idea of making a 30 by 30 list. The prospect of turning thirty has been freaking me out more than a little so I'm looking at this as way to make the approach to thirty something exciting instead of just something to cry over a pint of ice cream about. I just wanted to share the list and I'll get an update on here soon since I've actually managed to knock a couple of these off the list so far!
  1. Lose 10 pounds
  2. Set up an etsy shop and make at least one sale
  3. Sew a skirt
  4. Learn to better use my dslr camera and flash
  5. Take more pictures
  6. Get the inside and outside of the house to acceptable (doesn't have to be perfect but to where rooms look like rooms and all our crap is unpacked somewhere without looking like a tornado came through)
  7. Plan and plant a garden
  8. Have toys for sale in the consignment shop in town
  9. Join the Transylvania Handcrafter's guild
  10. Plan a trip to Europe (I'm thinking France or Germany)
  11. Go to the roller derby
  12. Run a 5k
  13. Go on a road trip
  14. Re-learn German
  15. Learn how to cook a really good steak
  16. Have the balls to get up and sing at karaoke
  17. Watch a meteor shower
  18. Learn to roller skate
  19. Get dressed up and go out to a fancy dinner
  20. Visit the Biltmore house
  21. Start a journal and keep it up
  22. Go to a stitch and bitch
  23. Host a party at my house
  24. Read A Dance With Dragons (Chris bought this for me for my last birthday but I decided to re-read the entire crazy long series again before picking it up so that I would be refreshed but it's taking me forever to get to it)
  25. Paint the outside of the house
  26. Get a haircut
  27. Do 10 things from the amazing little book Random Acts of Kindness by Danny Wallace
  28. Make a new friend in my new town
  29. Cook one totally new recipe each month
  30. Learn to lighten up