Jump Start to New Years

29 Dec

So for New Years I’m going to try to go to the gym and lose weight and build some healthier habits. I started a little early- Tia & I signed up for the gym on the 27th. Yesterday we went and did an hour of cardio. Let me tell you I used to LOVE the elliptical and now it kills me! But I stuck it out for 30 minutes and did 30 on the bikes.

Today we went and had a meeting with the physical trainer. We set up our personal fitness plans. We did the 30 minute work out and we attended some of his classes. We targeted abs, obliques, legs, arms, and back today. We learned how to use a lot of the machines and what to do when we are out there on our own.

Day 2 of Operation Sexy ended on a good note. My goal is to get down to 150lbs. Who knows if I ever will- but I’m sure as hell hoping!

Dieting is a pain but we are using this great tool. My Fitness Pal is an excellent site. It’s like a social networking site for weight loss. You can add friends and see status updates and comment on them and get encouragement from total strangers. The apps for Android & Iphone are also awesome- and if you just have an ipod you can use it offline which is super handy.

I plan to post some updates along the way of my progress. Probably weigh ins and inches lost. Wish us luck!

Giraffe-a-Palooza

26 Dec

Melman the Giraffe

So for Christmas, as you all know, I did a hell of a lot of knitting. Well, I made three stuffed giraffes for the children in my family. Unfortunately I only got a photo of one of them- I forgot to take one of the last two. The one featured was the first I made. The others are more mismatched. I made one giraffe with a yellow body that had pink spots, and it’s arms were pink with yellow spots. The third giraffe I made had a body that was pink with yellow spots, arms that were green with black spots, and a black nose and green ears.

The blue/pink one was gifted to my cousin Airiana who is only 2 1/2. The yellow one to my baby cousin Megan who is only 10 months old. And the third to my brother’s girlfriend’s daughter Piper. They were well received, and all of the adults were very impressed- insisting I ought to knit things to sell. At the moment I haven’t any interest in that though.

The pattern, once again, comes from Ravelry. It was an amazingly simple pattern. I used size 10 needles and acrylic yarn (because I didn’t have the money for something nicer and softer.)

The pattern is called Melman the Giraffe. Many people have knitted it in yellow and brown- as the pattern states- but I couldn’t resist making brightly colored, adorable giraffes.

It is a quick and easy knit. Size 6 double pointed needles have been my best friends this holiday season. Not only is it a quick and easy knit, it looks great. Everyone will be incredibly impressed with this little guy. He looks so much like a giraffe and is the perfect, squeezable size for the kidlets.

The only  modification I made was putting polka dots on the giraffe. It’s a simple edit. Where ever you want a spot knit two in contrasting color, the next two rows knit four in the contrasting color (so that you have one on either side of the first two), and then the fourth row knit two in contrasting color. It makes something akin to a hexagon. That’s all!

Robin Pattern (Red Robin, Tim Drake)

18 Dec

So I made a Robin for my friend Glenn for Christmas. I had him pick out his favorite costume for Robin, and he chose a red costume- the Tim Drake Robin. I couldn’t find a pattern, so I had to make up my own (again). It was kind of a pain in the ass, but I really like how it turned out. (Even if Robin has some birthing hips.) This pattern could easily be altered using different colors to make different super heroes. I plan to test this theory out over time.

I’ve uploaded the pattern to my Ravelry account as a PDF and I’ll also add it after the jump here for those of you who don’t use Ravelry. And, if you don’t, I highly suggest that you start. It’s the best free knitting site I have ever found. There are so many patterns to choose from it is ridiculous. And a large amount of them are free, too. They also have crochet patterns for those of you who prefer one needle to two needles.

It’s a quick knit because I did it in garter stitch all the way up. The part that takes longest is putting it together and stuffing it. At least, that was how it felt to me!

Pattern after the jump! (Or use this link to the downloadable PDF) Continue reading

A New Poetic Voice

14 Dec
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Poetry Hickory Dec. 13th Flier

The 13th (essentially last night at this point) was Poetry Hickory for the month of December. I was one of the open mic readers, and I read a few new pieces that I have written in the last few months. It’s been an uphill battle for me and my poetry. Some of you who know me well may scoff at that comment. I know that I am good at poetry- in the way that anybody knows that they are good at anything- but it doesn’t always come easily to me. Especially when I’m branching out to try something new.

Typically when I write, my poems have a very definitive voice and feel to them. Generally I am sarcastic and unforgiving. But lately I’ve been trying to do something new and different. I have been working on pieces about my family. Positive pieces. Pieces that remind me of the good times. Putting some of my best and fondest memories to paper.

Tonight was the first time really sharing that with people outside of my trusted authorities or poetic friends. With the assurance from Dennis & Kimberly that they were good, and with positive feedback from Scott, I decided to give it a go and to read them at the open mic. And now I have to say that I’m very, very glad that I did.

It’s weird to bare a piece of your soul that you so rarely let others see. My family is my world- most people know that. I would do anything I could for them, and I try to prioritize my family over everything else in my life. It doesn’t always work, but damnit- I try. Even so, many of those memories are precious and sacred to me, something that I don’t take out to show the world in such a personal and revealing way. I do have a reputation to uphold, after all, and that type of work doesn’t fit in well with my reputation.

Even so- it was a successful, therapeutic, and rewarding experiment and experience. I was told once by someone I very much admire that I have a voice and a very distinct point of view that needs to be heard- and I felt that tonight. I watched the crowd when I read. Silly as it sounds, many were nodding their heads- much the way a congregation does in agreement with their pastors- and it made me feel like I struck a chord with many of the people in the audience.

Naturally, though, it wasn’t all about me. Bobbie Ackley also read. She is someone I have only known a short period of time, but someone who has always been so genuine and lovely. It was her last reading before moving out of state, and it was wonderful to get to hear her work.

The featured readers were David Rigsbee and Gretchen Pratt. Gretchen was really and truly wonderful. I loved her work. It was very vivid, and it told a story. It was something that I think many people could connect with, and it was just good. The woman has some amazing talent.

David Rigsbee, I have to admit, was probably one of the best poets I’ve ever heard. Every word he spoke had my undivided attention. He was a very talented reader, and his work was great. I was amused and entranced and that’s something I believe must be very, very hard to do. I laughed a lot, and it was good to be a part of something- a part of a community- and to get a break from the holiday rush and the constant chatter and hub-bub of the world around me… To get lost in someone else’s world, basically.

It’s been a great start to this week. I’m hoping things only get better. And soon I will have some more knitting to share. (I will be glad when my life is no longer consumed by knitting.)

Slouchy Purple Hat

8 Dec

this photo (and none really) do the hat justice

I have a 17 year old cousin who is very Boho and faux hippy. She’s a great girl, and I love her to death. I can’t wait until she gets to be a real adult so we can hang out and do real adult things together. At any rate, this knit was for her!

It’s another Christmas project. I was searching for slouchy hats for myself (I love hats) and stumbled across this pattern: Slouchy Lace Hat by Jessamyn. When I saw it, I knew that my cousin would love it and immediately started to work on it (even though I have other, more pressing gifts to finish).

I used a soft, dark purple yarn from Lion Brand Jiffy. It’s called Grape. The color is gorgeous and so is the texture of the hat.

I didn’t follow the pattern exactly. Through some error I managed to give the lace a really interesting zig-zagged type of pattern. I have no idea what I did, but I love how it turned out, error and all.

The pattern says to repeat rounds 8 & 9 twelve times for a total of 24 rows. I had somewhere around 40 rows, so I repeated it about 20 times. Also, when I switched to double pointed needles for the finishing and cast off I jumped up to size 10. I didn’t have size 8 double pointed needles available, but I can’t tell that it mad any real difference in the hat.

I definitely suggest the pattern to anyone who wants a cute, comfy hat. I’m going to add it to my list of things to make for myself after Christmas.

Continue reading

I’ve Been Busy

10 Nov

Well- I’ve kind of been busy at any rate. Knitting has taken an abrupt halt as I rest my poor, aching fingers and wrists. The shawl I was working on is very slowly coming along, maybe thirty stitches at a time. But that’s because November has been a busy month full of writing for me. Writing and socializing.

I’m a part of two writing groups- The Hickory Writers Society and Tri-County Writers Group. With November also comes National Novel Writing Month. I’m very behind on word count- but I am hoping a write in tonight at Barnes & Noble will help to get me back on track. If I actually write for a solid four hours, I’ll definitely be caught up. I can easily crank out a few thousand words per hour. My word count is sitting at a measly 6224 at the moment. But I have faith that I can manage to get back on track before the month is out, if not before the night is out. I think my word count should be somewhere around 15k? Maybe 20k? Oh well.

Tuesday was Poetry Hickory. I was glad to go, and glad to have been able to go back at least semi-regularly. One of my favorite local poets read the open mic- Tony Ricciardelli. His poems always make me smile and I think he’s very talented. I was very glad to get to hear some of his work that I’d never heard before. It’s always exciting to hear any of the Open Mic readers, because I almost always see a new face. All in all it was a great night and, as always, jump started my creativity.

I’m actually going to be reading the open mic in December. I’ve been working on some new poems for it, too. I’m hoping to have a few things that are new to read. New and different from my usual style of writing. Some of the people from the Tri-County group helped me tweak a few today. I also e-mailed a couple of them to Scott to get some more “professional” feedback. I’m hoping that it goes well. They’re definitely outside of my comfort zone and a new type of subject matter and approach than what I’ve been writing.

The Poets for Change issue of Wild Goose Poetry Review is also out. It features one of Tony Ricciardelli’s poems, as well as works by Helen Losse, Scott Owens, and two of my favorite girls Shane Manier and Morgan Depue.

So that’s the update. And hopefully I’ll post sooner next time.