I am tired of knitting soap sacks....

Can I say how much I am tired of knitting these little things. They are easy, but monotonous. And I hate to seam, and each one has to be seamed up each side. And I don't crochet, so mom has to make the ties for me or I have to dig out the lucet to do them myself. I did these 20 last week, got almost 30 more ready to seam. That just leaves me 120 more to make for the year.

These little guys used to be made by J, but not anymore. So mom and I took them back over. So now they are knit instead of crochet, and square rather than round. But I like them better. They are lighter and will dry out faster, and can hold more soap as well. They also look a lot like the soap sacks my Nana made when I first started making soap before she passed. So I really like the throwback, retro, look and feel of the square sacks, they make me think of my Nana...

The New Plan, Update #6

OK. I am sore. I hurt. I went for a walk and didn't pay attention to the 20 minutes. I just walked. And I think it was closer to 30 minutes. Now my legs and hips hurt. Going up the stairs at the house is a tad bit painful. And I learned another lesson- do the whole workout at the same time. Yesterday I tried to to the strength training and then later go walk for my cardio..it was really, really hard to get myself up to go do the cardio. I was tired, it was cold out, I didn't want to bike, getting out the Wii was too hard, any excuse I could think of I did. But I am proud of myself- I got up, I got dressed, I got out, and I did it.

Today is arm and chest day. More push-ups- yay! But I think I will bike- different muscles than walking- give myself a break.


I haz a flud.....

OK, it wasn't a flood...it was a pipe in the kitchen that broke and leaked through the ceiling into my workshop. My burners are full of water, my drawers are full of water...I have a major clean up to do today. Yuck! But dad fixed the pipe and all is well. I just have the major clean up. As I work on it today my thoughts will be with the people currently experiencing real floods.. with real damage... Send them your good thoughts, and if you can spare it, look for a charity to support as well. Just this little puddle will take me all day to clean up and dry out...the thought of a whole house boggles my mind...

The New Plan, Update #5

One week done...

I was depressed that when I went to the doctor their scale said I was abot 4# more than the Wii says...And about 3# more than my other doctor's scale a few months ago...and I thought I haven't been gaining.

Friday was a re-do of Tuesday's work out. I picked it because it is the only day with push-ups and my arms are really weak, so I know I need the work there. The 20 push ups were already easier than on Tuesday...so either I am doing them wrong... or...I am getting stronger. I like the second option, and I also hope that muscle really does weigh more than fat...

So on to Week 2! I already did the floor work for today. I wall walk later after the sun comes up and the temperature rises some. Friday I got on the bike which was great because I could get everything done before my doctor's appointment- no excuses for no excercise...glad I found batteries in the garage...

Here is looking at another week of getting off my butt! Cheers!


The New Plan, Update #4

I wonder if yesterday's workout is just easier than the others, or if I am already seeing the effects of doing some exercise.

I meant to do my cardio on my stationary bike, but it needs batteries. No batteries = no resistance = no workout. So I ended up on the Wii (since it was rainy) and did 20 minutes of boxing. I am not a huge fan of boxing- I can't keep my feet together with my hands, and I have actually fallen off the Wii balance board - but I will keep trying. It is especially the "dodge left, dodge right" sections I hate.

After that it was 30 donkeys, 15 squats, 20 pelvic lifts, and 40 oblique twists. The donkeys were pretty simple, I may need to add an ankle weight, the squats I did on the Wii and I have a tough time keeping my balance where it is supposed to be, the pelvic lefts reminded me of the yoga pose "bridge", just over and over again, and the oblique twists were really crunches as you twist your body.

Today I am supposed to do my weak point. I am choosing to re-do Tuesday's workout of arms and chest. And I need to buy those batteries today so I can get on my bike...


Sleep..wonderful sleep

I'll admit it.. I am spoiled. Most of the year I get to go to sleep and wake up according to my body's needs and rhythms. Typically I am in bed by 10 and up by 6. But there are a few times a year where I cannot adhere to by body's clock and am forced to stay awake much later than usual. It kills me. I mean I am lucky not to fall asleep standing up, and I barely remember anything that happened while I was awake. It really is like my brain turns off but my eyes stay open.

One of these times is soon approaching. We are going on vacation soon with some friends of ours, and I just know that my 9-10 pm bed time most likely will not fit in with our schedule, and getting up before 6 will make me the only person awake for hours I am sure.

So what I propose to do is to shift my schedule. This week I am forcing myself to stay up until at least ten. I would like that to be up and functional, but the last few days has found me in bed, awake, watching TV. But hey, at least I was awake. Then as the next weeks fly by I am going to shift the bed time by 15 minutes. This should have me awake till about 11 pm without too much problem, and hopefully it will only shift my waking time by an hour as well. So far I am waking up closer to 6 am than to 5 am, so I think the forced awake at night is having some effect.

I hope to still get my 8 hours sleep just at a different time, and if I get to go to sleep earlier on vacation, great... and if I get to sleep later that is fine too.. but I'll pack lots of knitting just in case there are long hours in the lobby waiting for everyone else to get up...

The New Plan, Update #3

Three days of exercise complete- 17 left in the 4 week regimen.

Let's see here...

1) After two days of walking outside and actually trying to run for the first time since high school- I have shin splints. A little time in the hot tub yesterday helped, but flexing my feet still hurts, and walking downhill hurts more than uphill. So I need to ride the stationary bike for the next few days and I hope that I can at least go back to walking next week- I may have to wait on running for a while...

2) I bought 5 lb weights. I broke a sweat just carrying them from the back of the WalMart to the checkout. But I felt the exercises so much more. And my little 1 pound weights will not go unused- I need them for jumping jacks and I can always add them to my ankles later when I get in better shape.

3) Yesterday I hurt- my legs actually sort of convulsed while I laid in bed trying to go to sleep. My abs were killing me. But today I woke up and am just the tiniest bit sore. I think the 15 minutes in the hot tub helped. I think I need to stretch more... need to add yoga back into the routine...

So yesterday I...
walked for 20 minutes
did 25 jumping jacks with added weights
20 lateral raises
40 front raises
20 shoulder presses

My shoulders snapped, crackled, and popped like crazy, but my arms don't hurt today. I did have to do reps in sets of 10, I needed a short break.

On to day 4


Chapter 12

I am really excited that I am getting to the end of the first of three audio CD's that go with my Spanish lessons. I am almost 1/3 of the way done! I took some time last week to continue practicing Chapter 10 along with going on to Chapter 11. I am really glad that I did that. It gave me much more time to grasp the longer, harder chapters. Chapter 12 is pretty long too, and sort of repetitive, which is my pet peeve with this book. After I learn what feels like 20 ways to tell someone (in Spanish) that I don't speak Spanish... the book moves on to some important phrases- like "please speak more slowly", and "can you rephrase that?", along with "please write that down for me" and "I comprehend you but I don't speak Spanish well". The chapter finishes up with ways to say excuse me and thank you.

I really do see my skills building. I certainly have trouble understanding when it is spoken quickly but I am reading Spanish much better and I am getting more confident with my pronunciation as well. When I am near someone speaking Spanish I try and listen in and pick put what I can understand. It is all out of context, so it is difficult for me to piece it all together, but that will come with time and practice I am sure...

The New Plan, Update #2

Tuesday was targeting my arms and chest. I have learned that I am very weak in my upper body. And that I really do need to buy some 5 lb weights to get the most out of this workout...

I have also learned the exact position of some muscles I didn't know I had. I am starting to feel some of the ab work from Monday, and some of the leg work from yesterday. I did like the fact that I got outside in the fresh air. I tried to run, but that didn't work, I made it about a block before I was gasping for air. I am sure that is a combination of not being in shape, not knowing proper running/breathing techniques, and some lung stuff left over from last year's bad cold. But next time I will try and make it two blocks before gasping. And I never did stop, I just walked it off until I could manage, so I am glad that I didn't have to sit and relax in order to recuperate.

Tuesday's workout:
20 min cardio (a brisk walk outside)
20 bent knee push ups (I needed to do 5 at a time, with a break in between, but I did them)
20 chest presses (my 1 lb weights are not enough for this)
20 chair dips (these are hard because I don't have a good chair for this...)
40 bicep curls (need heavier weights for this too)

Wednesday (today) targets the back and shoulders. Guess I will run out today and buy a few weights.


There is a new yarn shop in town...

Well, It is actually in Bethlehem. I am really excited about going on Thursday when I am in town to visit B. I have had contact with them on Rav already because I am looking for a particular object to put in a swap box, but Kraemer didn't have it when I went up for sock yarn last week. I still want to try and purchase a minimal amount of yarn this year, and I want to try and focus on buying Kraemer yarns because they are locally made, so that means there won't be a ton of yarn for me to buy this year, but I do hope they have a better selection of tools and accessories than any of the other local yarn stores. I certainly can buy lots of needles and other things for swaps.

I am also thinking of joining a biweekly group/class. Maybe a little more community would be good for me... but then I look at all the other things I am already involved in and I wonder if adding one more thing is good for me. I mean when I am home alone, I won't want to go so I can get things done, and when I am not alone at night, I won't want to go because I will want to spend as much time with C as possible... well I think I answered that for myself...

Speaking of yarn purchases, I made a large one the other day for the afghan project. I needed a lighter brown for some squares, and black for the joining strips. I didn't plan on buying more than two skeins of brown, but they only had three left, so I got all three, and I got two skeins of the black as well. But that means I have enough of the dark brown for at least three more squares (April, May & June), and enough light brown for 7 or so of the moss stitch squares, and enough black for quite a bit of the joining strips...If my calculations are right I will need two more skeins of each color to finish (dark brown, light brown, and black)... but maybe less if I am lucky...

I also got the pieces to a birthday present finished. I just need to block all the parts and put them together. I also started on another hat for charity. It is as cute as a button! I am enjoying using these little hats to learn something new- last night it was a picot edge cast on...

Well that is all my knitting adventure for this week:) Knit on!

The new plan.. update #1

So I did the workout. 20 minutes of step on the wii- I really need to learn the routine, I have these sections where my feet just don't keep up to my head....

I did the squats on the wii too (actually 30, because it reps in 15 of them). I liked the fact that it tries to show you how you should be keeping proper balance during the exercise.

Lunges were also on the wii. I have done them different ways before, but I still feel like this is a good way to start, I may need to explore different ways to do the same exercise later, just to keep things interesting.

Dead Lifts- OK, I admit it, I really do need to buy some 5 lb weights. My little 1 pounders didn't make a difference. I would have done better holding soup cans in my hands...

40 crunches- I did these on the wii, but they have you do a jackknife instead. I need to do the crunches, because the jackknife doesn't seem to do enough ab for me, and then I go onto the next exercise and feel like I am working the same muscles.

40 reverse curls- I needed a wall for these. maybe I will get strong enough not to have my feet on a wall someday. But I really felt the burn, the last ten were very hard to do.

Overall I don't feel so sore that I am uncomfortable. Mostly I feel my abs, when I tighten my ab muscles there is some discomfort but no pain. I feel like I can do the exercises today without injury or making myself uncomfortable.


Time to try something new...

I think my workout routine lacked a routine. I wanted to try and bike or walk, but that was it and that was pretty boring.

I found a article on line from one of those women's magazines that I don't usually read (maybe it was Cosmo??) so I printed it out. 4 weeks to a better body. It is a one week routine that you do for 4 weeks. It is a 5 day a week routine that targets different parts of your body each day. A lot of it looks like I can do it on the Wii Fit as well, so I can get some extra motivation there I hope. I also like the fact that it doesn't make huge promises- just that you could look slimmer and be stronger in as little as one month.

Well, I have just about 1 month left before we go on vacation. So far 2 weeks of that I will be home alone alot and thus in charge of my food intake as well. I might just be able to feel a little better before going away.

So I am also going to try an blog a little about this every day and see if I can do it. I think a routine, plus the fact that it changes up some, plus some Wii Fit ane the ability to do the cardio portion outside may just make this interesting enough for me to do.

So today...
20 Min Cardio (Wii Step Arobics)
20 squats
20 lunges
25 dead lifts
40 crunches
40 reverse curls.

Now for the dead lifts it calls for 3-5 lb weights. I think I only have 2 lbs weights, but I will start with what I got before investing $ on other equipment.

Wish me luck!


Starting some new projects

I have gotten interested in making some new things for the business...

A friend asked me to develop wool wash- and I am working on both a solid and liquid version of that. For those of you wondering- wool wash is used to wash fine (typically hand knit) wool clothing. It contains a lot of lanolin, which is naturally found in wool)

My step-dad has asked for a after shave serum, so I am playing around with that- and it should also help another customer looking to add a moisturizer into her daily routine as well. The one he uses now is nice, but full of chemicals, I think I can make a simpler version with a lot less junk in it.

I made a special order of soap for one company, and am waiting on ingredients to make another for a good friend. Once cured, the gardener's soap will head off to Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and the other soap is made with kelp and seaweed extract- great for the face.

I also am working on lotion bars in a different form than the sticks I currently sell. They will be in reusable, recyclable tins.

I also have to choose the new fragrances for 2009 and get them into production. Any ideas? Leave me a comment...please...

And finally, I am trying to decide if I want to look farther into making air fresheners or not. What do you think? I have two options, one is a translucent plastic, and the other is paper like the old fashioned pine trees for your car.

But all of this is getting my creative juices flowing. I can't wait for the UPS man to arrive with my supplies and I can't wait to get the every day grind of production done so I can dive in and play and research.

Getting Behind...

So I haven't been practicing as much as I should and I am not ready to go onto chapter 12 this week. This is partly because Chapter 10 was so long, and 11 is not hard, but has many key phrases I should be sure to learn. So I will fail myself and re-do these chapters until I can get them right. I am visiting mom this weekend so that means I should get C to help me practice in the car some on the way up and I'll be able to practice a lot on the way back as well.

They are getting easier, but it is quite a bit to remember. I listened to Chapter 12 once, and it again is lots of phrases that build on the earlier ones.. so only a solid foundation will really help me in the future..


A Knitting Interlude

I started to hear it on Wednesday last week, ever faintly. The sound was emanating from my ottoman- the distinct cry of unloved yarn, whispering.."knit me...knit me..."

But alas it was ignored. Things to do and other things to knit. I finished some face scrubbers, and a baby hat (anyone have a baby that needs a hat??)..I could tell the yarn was crushed by the pure ignorance on my part. Didn't I know how much more I would enjoy knitting that yarn, rather than the cotton I was using? But the clicking of needles and my audio book was loud enough for me to drown out its cries...

Thursday it bellowed to me as I awoke.."KNIT ME...KNIT ME.." I could not get it's cry out of my mind. I broke down, grabbing the hank and rewinding it into two equal balls. The sound of "KNIT ME" doubled in its intensity. Two cakes of yarn calling my name, and as it slipped through my fingers onto the ball winder I couldn't bear to ignore it any longer.

So I grabbed it, a pattern, and needles, and cast on. My first toe up, short row heel, on two circular needles, sock. I knit almost all of Thursday. Watching Season 4 of The Wire, the magic of the sock began from the moment I cast on. No boring rib cuff here, right into the deep end of a toe. Then up the foot as the lace pattern became second nature and easier with each round. Onto the heel, the short rows forming a heel in a way I have never seen before, the shaping is wonderful, and no stitches to pick up- so easy!

Friday I meant to work and ignore the socks calling, but all it too was for C to say "It's Friday, don't work" and I ran back to my knitting. I was withing a few inches of finishing by day's end. And Sunday my mission was complete- the first sock- done. I even took pictures and walked around with it on for a while (I was that proud of myself).

Now the second ball sits in waiting as I finish a few other items I need to knit.But I hear it's whining. I won't have to wait long- I can't resit the temptation of the second sock!

I am a lazy lump, I'll admit it

So I thought posting my excercise goals here on the blog would shame me into excercising. I have learned that shame is not a motivating factor in my life. I sit and look atthe excercise bike after a long day in the workshop and I don't want to get on it, so I dont. It is too cold for a walk, so I don't. Instead I sit on the sofa and pack sweets into my mouth like they were the last on earth and I haven't eaten in a week.

I wonder if it is just too many things at once for me to do and change. I don't know if I can start that many new habits all at the sam etime, somthing just gives way. And I have plenty of times that I want to do somthing, but I look outside and the grey is too grey, and the bike downstairs just looks at me. So I give muyself excuses- too cold, too tired, tomorrow...

I guess half the battle of getting back on any wagon is to know you have fallen off of it. And I have, I have fallen off the excercise wagon. I need to get back on, but I might need to catch up with it first...

I start to Garden

I get to start to garden this week. I am very excited. I think that eating food that you grow yourself can be one of the most rewarding things in life. I also love the things that I learn each year. Last year I learned that if you plant two kinds of peppers too close together they will cross pollinate and come out all weird, or not at all. Actually I think my cucumbers did the same thing now that I think about it.

We bought a freezer and i am so excited. Lots of room to freeze and store my bountiful harvest for use during the rest of the year. I have been doing research into the best methods of freezing and how long certain vegetables will last in the freezer.

This year I am trying quite a few new things- or new varieties of things I have grown before. Some of this is due to the fact that we joined a local CSA, so I want to grow different things that I will be picking up from the farm each week.

Today I plant my peas and my first radishes... yum...peas...And in a few weeks the kohlrabi and cauliflower go in. New this year is luffa- i have read that they are edible when small and I know they make great sponges when large. Also new this year is garlic- I planted it in the fall and it should be ready by late June. Maybe mom will be here when it is ready to harvest.

To me the planting of peas means that spring is here. I should be able to get out my shorts and soon be sitting in the sun feeling the warmth upon my face. I can't wait!


To Be Or Not To Be (Ser and Estar)

There are two vervs in spanish for "to be". Ser is used for inherent charachteristics and professions...Estar is used to indicate location, condition, or a state of being.

This week I practice Chapter 10 some more. There are a few words I am having trouble with and then practicing my "to be" verbs. I am sure I will mess them up in conversation, at least at first.

Also, I learn..it is, and, to have and have not.

Seems like many sentences and conversations can be easily based on these few pages. It is a short chapter but seems pretty important to understand, these words and concepts will be used a lot in every day life.


Yes, another blog about yarn...

I think knitting for some people is more than a hobby, it is a lifestyle. I am one of those people.

Although I do it for fun, I can not imagine my life without it. It is my meditation- bring me on a long car ride and you will see me knitting away, distracting me from the highway traffic, that without needles in my hands, gives me heart palpitations. I can't travel without it and stories of the TSA taking away a project and then having to fly with nothing to do gives me the jitters.

I can imagine a life without making soap, but thinking of the days when my hands are too old to knit makes me sad in a way nothing else does. I think my definition of old centers around my ability to knit more than anything else.

It lets me feel accomplished- I can watch TV and still "do something", I can make things for the business, for presents, for me, or just for the fun of figuring out the puzzle of a new technique or pattern. I often do that, knit something with no particular use or person in mind, just to meet the challenge of making something I have never made before- to figure out in my head how something is assembled from just two sticks and some yarn.

Knitting to me is magic. It is only fitting that there is knitting in the Harry Potter books. Magic is accomplished with a stick (a wand) and knitting is accomplished with two sticks (two magic wands??). It amazes me every time I knit a pair of socks- that I follow a pattern and magically a heel appears- that a tube going one direction is suddenly turned to go another direction with just a flick of the wrist and a few rows of stitches..

Knitting to me is community. I have found more friendship in knitting than I ever have with soapmaking. Maybe because I do one for a job and the other as a hobby. I have attended knitting conventions but never soaping conventions. I participate in knitting newsgroups, but not soaping. I blog about all things yarny once a week, while the soap bubbles away in the shop waiting for a stir..

It is not that I would rather be a knitter. I think that would take the fun and mystery out of it. And it is not that I dislike making soap- I love it. But what I love most about the two is the research, the development, the learning, the practice, the wonder of making something out of practically nothing...

What knitting reminds me to do is to bring what I love back into my business. To develop new products, to tweak old ones, to accept and enjoy taking on special orders, and to stop being dragged into the mundane, the high volume of production. I can't wait for my "production" soapmaking to be done this year so I can infuse my business with new life and new energy- all thanks to knitting!


Work versus Fun

This week is Spring Break for K. That means I have help getting things done around the shop. But I am bad at using the help sometimes. I have been on a roll, using a scheduling system that has been letting me get lots of things done around the shop, but on a very set timetable. This means that I have been accomplishing things, just not what I have been wanting to or expecting to. Some of this is because I haven't set up things in the right order, so the steps leading up to something aren't complete, some of this is bad management- i would rather sit and work and chat than do something different but alone...

C says that everything now a days is a process. I remember when I wanted to do something I could just go do it- now it is a process to accomplish just about everything. Need to download books onto the MP3 player- oops- it needs an update first. Want to e-mail your doctor to confirm an appointment- oops- you need to set up an account and be verified first. Want to return a purchase at a 24 hour retail store- oops- only 8am-8pm (when the place is the place is busy and getting parking is impossible, and the greeter harasses you on the way in until you produce a recipt, while you get it out of your purse and plople bang into you and your cart starts to roll away...)

There are so many things I have given up because the process has just gotten to be more than the reward is worth. And I try to streamline my own processes, but that is hard when what you do is dependant on so many other people and what they do. There are just too many prcesses, and practices, and standards- and the inability to deviate from them (even when it is the right and smart thing to do). We are boxing ourselves in and I want to break out!

Spanish is getting hard....

So I started Chapter 10- Greetings-

Here is what I don't understand- why is this book set up to teach you 40 different ways to say hello. I mean, isn't one good enough when you are starting out? Maybe two? But I have learned ways that C says aren't even used often, or at all. I just think my brain space could be used in better ways. I mean, if you were learning English, don't you think that learning one word for couch would be enough to get you started- do you really need to know sofa, settee, love seat, and chaise lounge right off the start??

But I am trusting it, and I am going through the chapters in order, hoping that I will see a master plan come into focus. But I am now officially 1/4 of the way through the courses, and I still just don't get it!

Anyway- Chapter 10 covers introductions, how are you, and good bye. It is a long chapter so I think this is all I'll get done this week..

C gave me the quizes from the book up to the end of Chapter 10. I did pretty well, just a few big hiccups, but I think that if I was being graded I would have gotten at least a B. And it was all oral, seeing and reading the words I would have done even better, I am sure of it!

Soon to be Sock Knitting

I don't know if I can say enough about Ravelry. I really spend too much time there every day. It is a site that I wish the soaping community had (I know they have boards- but I want a community like this....)I have made great friends from all over the world, I have started knitting some things that I never would have done on my own. The Knit-a-Longs (where we knit the same or similar things) get me to try things I wouldn't try on my own. I tried broomstake lace- EPIC FAIL!! But I hope that my toe up socks on two circular needles come along better. I haven't cast on yet, hope to by the end of this week and the pattern isn't too hard so once I get the hang of the technique I should be able to move along fairly quickly.

The yarn seen here was dyed by hand by one of my new friends from Sweden. Isn't that just the coolest???

Complete lack of Excercise and no Excuses...

Well, I missed blogging last week, so lets start with the week before...

I was a complete couch potato..I did have a killer headache on Wednesday and Thursday...and Friday I went to Baltimore with B for the day (where I walked around a convention all day- that is some excercise, right??)...but that still leaves Monday and Tuesday of complete worthlessness...

And as some I know and love said to me last week- I have no excuses, I have a bike in my basement- I am just being lazy...

And last week...well, that person mentioned above kicked me in the arse near the end of the week.. but I still didn't get any excercise. I blamed my schedule- having K here to help during the day, and C home at night- I just couldn't find the time...

But I really don't have any excuses and I need to stop trying to make them up and rationalizing them to myself. The Wii says I weigh the same as last time I weighed myself (18 days ago), so at least I haven't gained any...

It is supposed to be warmer this week (but rainy today) so I hope to get outside for at least 30 minutes a day Monday-Friday. And I bought a ton of fruit at the grocery store which is a great snack- so I am trying to eat healthier too. And we bought an upright freezer so once the garden starts to produce I have more room to freeze my leftovers. Changing your habits is really hard to do, and although I haven't made a huge change, I think just the fact that I still want to is a good sign.