Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Knitting for Christmas in July

Hello Friends,


I hope you are doing well.  I have been seeing Christmas in July everywhere lately, I have seen some vloggers and bloggers doing Christmas in July posts.  I did a Google search and read that people like to celebrate Christmas now because we don't have any holidays at this time of the year. I myself have started thinking more about Christmas lately, and thinking about our traditions and looking forward to it. I love the warm feeling of Christmas, being with loved ones, giving gifts to each other, and I really love knitting gifts for my family and friends to show how much I appreciate them. I was inspired by seeing Christmas in July everywhere, that I decided to also blog about it.

I remember that last Christmas, I was thinking it would be so nice to knit up some Christmas Stockings. But I realized with all the Christmas gifts I was knitting already, I wouldn't have enough time to get them done. So, I am going to start early this year and hopefully knit up a couple stockings for my boyfriend and I for Christmas. I found a pattern on Ravelry for Jumbo Christmas Stockings in a Jiffy-Striped by Jennifer Jackson and thought they looked really cute and it would be do-able in time for Christmas. I am excited to get started. I looked over the pattern and bought the yarn needed and I am ready to begin.



I love knitting with these new bamboo US 15 needles with the chunky, soft yarn. It has been awhile since I knitted with super bulky yarn and thick needles, and today I really enjoyed knitting with them again. I also love how quick you can knit something up with bulky yarn. Sometimes I am knitting with the fine yarn and it feels like I am not getting very far because it takes more time to knit up. The pattern I am using for the stockings, is Jumbo Christmas Stocking in a Jiffy- Striped by Jennifer L. Jackson, and I found the pattern on Ravelry.

Photo by Jennifer L. Jackson from her Ravelry pattern page (click for photo source)

So Christmas is only 5 months away which is crazy and I am so excited for it to be the holiday season. Is anyone else like that? I love the music, the decorations, the food, the family gatherings, the shopping, and just the happiness it brings. I even catch myself listening to Christmas music and it is summer, it feels wrong but I love it. I am looking forward to spending my second Christmas living with my boyfriend. He is now more aware of how obsessed I get with Christmas and he thinks my Christmas in July post is kind of crazy, but I think he secretly loves it. That is what I am telling myself anyways. I usually start celebrating right after Halloween, like maybe a week after. I used to decorate the family Christmas tree in mid-November and I still go over to my parent's house for our Christmas tree decorating and we have dinner, decorate the tree, and eat too many chocolates and cookies, and have my favorite festive drink, eggnog! So the countdown begins...

I have still been reading Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding, and Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. This does not reflect on how good they are, I just haven't been reading a lot these past few weeks and should make reading more of a priority.

In other knitting updates, I blocked my first sweater piece and will be working on blocking the others this week which I will share with you soon.  I have been working on knitting up the kerchief and almost done, and knitting the chevron lace scarf and will be starting to knit my summer sock project soon.  It has been really busy with my certificate courses wrapping up for the Summer but I will find the time to knit as well

Joining along with Frontier Dreams with Crafting On, The Little Room of Rachell with Yarning Along, AsKatKnits with Unraveled Wednesday, and Julie's Creative Lifestyle with Cooking and Crafting with J&J.

Thank you so much for visiting! If you would like to keep updated on when I post on my blog, please follow me on Bloglovin' or Google Followers, I would love it if you visited again.

Have a good day!



Friday, July 21, 2017

My First Time Blocking a Knitted Piece for the Sweater

Hello Friends,

I hope you are doing well.  Today I went to Michael's craft store and bought some yarn and needles for a project I will share with you soon, and then to Walmart to buy some more pins for blocking. They did not carry them at this location, so I bought some dress pins and they worked well along with the fork pins I had purchased already. I will definitely be buying more blocking pins in the future. I blocked my first knitted piece and it took quite awhile because I was just getting used to placing the pins and making sure they stayed in place and made sure the tension was good and even throughout the piece. It required cold blocking by spraying the piece once it was pinned down to the desired measurements. I pinned it all down, then used a spray bottle and sprayed cold water on the piece. I was not sure how much to spray so I kept going until it was all damp.  Now it is sitting in my living room drying on the foam mats.

After pinning the sweater and spraying the piece
 First, I pinned the bottom of the piece to be 24 inches across, I had to stretch it quite a bit. I did not have to stretch it up as much it was already pretty close to the measurement because I knit a little extra so it would be longer.

It is hard to see, but the photo is of the pins up the side of the piece


Before blocking the piece
After the piece is pinned and sprayed 

I will be sharing how all the pieces turned out in an upcoming post. I will post some before and after shots to show the difference blocking makes.

I went to Michael's today and they had a clearance sale on these Loops & Threads skeins and I scooped them up for $4 each. I was looking for white and red super bulky yarn for a project so I was very happy. I bought the US 15 bamboo needles for the project and the Patons Kroy socks yarn for the next pair of socks I will start knitting soon.

Michael's haul 

I enjoyed my first time blocking a knitted piece. It took a lot of focus and attention to detail. It is very important to have a lot of time to work on blocking a piece, because it took me longer than I expected it to. I am looking forward to seeing how all the pieces turn out after they are blocked, and how it looks once I seam all the pieces together and have a sweater.

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you would like to keep updated on what I am up to, you can follow me on Bloglovin' and/or Google Followers.

Hope you have a great day!




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Preparing For Blocking, Healthy Smoothie Recipes, and Reading On

Hello Friends,

I hope you are doing well. I had a wonderful weekend spending time with my family and going shopping and now all the summer sales are happening, so it is a good time to shop! We got our new Sealy mattress, bed frame, and headboard delivered on Sunday which we purchased at Sleep Country and it is so comfortable. It is taking me awhile to get used to it though, I have a hard time sleeping on different beds or in different places right away but I know I am already adjusting to it. I am looking forward to this week, I will be working on blocking some sweater pieces finally and continuing to finish my Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief.

I have the materials all ready to begin the blocking process for the pieces of my sweater. I have the blocking mats that I bought at Walmart instead of using some more expensive blocking squares I found. I also bought some blocking pins from Walmart. They aren't the T-pins I keep seeing people use, but I will give them a try. I will be sharing my experience blocking all the sweater pieces, along with some before and after shots in the next posts.


Close-up of the pins
 I have also been knitting more of the chevron lace scarf and loving this pattern. I am looking forward to wearing it towards the end of the summer when it is a bit cooler.  I am almost finished the last section of stockinette pattern before the final garter/eyelet section and finishing section. I hope to block the kerchief next week.

To be a scarf using the chevron lace stitch pattern

Kerchief in progress, almost finished
I have still been reading Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding and Into the Water By Paula Hawkins. I have not been reading too fast these days. I think I just need to pick a time each day when I sit down and read. I can't read in the late afternoon too much or else I will get too sleepy. I am really enjoying these two books!

I tried two smoothie recipes with the new Hamilton Beach Personal Creations Blender I bought on Saturday. It works so well, and it is so powerful for such a small blender. I love it because after you blend your ingredients, you can drink right from the same cup. It is so fast and easy, and cuts back on dishes. The two smoothie recipes I found and tried this week are the Hearty Fruit and Oat Smoothie from Martha Stewart and the Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie from Gimme Some Oven. Hope you give them a try!


Hearty Fruit and Oat Smoothie:


Ingredients

Ingredients:
I split all the ingredients in half for this smoothie because I am doing a weight loss challenge which requires me to eat only two servings of fruit each day(more about the challenge below). It tasted great with half the ingredients and it was enough to eat for me.

1 cup quartered strawberries  
1 sliced banana     
¼ cup raw almonds          
12 cup old-fashioned oats        
1 cup of low-fat yogurt             

1 teaspoon maple syrup         

Method: 
put all ingredients into the blender, blend and enjoy

Recipe from Martha Stewart 

What I thought: 
I loved this smoothie, I liked the taste of the almonds and the oats mixed in with the fruit. I felt so energized after drinking this and that it would fill me up for the morning. I can see this being a good drink for when you need a quick breakfast to take with you on the go. The only thing I would change about this smoothie, would be to make it colder by adding frozen fruit or ice to the mixture.

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie


Ingredients

Ingredients:
1 large banana peeled
1 cup of ice cubes
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 heaping tbsp of peanut butter
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, store bought or homemade

Method:
put all ingredients into a blender, blend and enjoy!

Recipe from Gimme Some Oven

What I thought:
This one was my favorite. I am obsessed with peanut butter and banana, so I knew I would love it. I like that it is colder too because of the added ice. I really enjoyed drinking this smoothie for breakfast this morning and it filled me up until lunchtime. With its simple ingredients and delicious taste, I have a feeling I will being making this one a lot.

I have been still working on losing weight and getting toned by following the Cityline Weight Loss Challenge guidelines which is basically each day eat  3 protein, 3-4 fats, 1 grain (the hardest one, and no grain at dinner), eat lots of vegetables, and 2 fruits. I had fallen off the wagon a bit, but my mom and sister are also doing the plan and they encouraged me to get back on track and we have all be encouraging each other. So far I have lost 12 pounds but I feel a change recently again and I feel more motivated to resist temptation and grains at dinner so I think the loss will pick up again. I really want this for myself and I am feeling less bloated and feeling better lately which was my reason for starting.

 I still need to have my gelato in the evening sometimes!
Joining along with Frontier Dreams with Crafting On, The Little Room of Rachell with Yarning Along, AsKatKnits with Unraveled Wednesday, and Julie's Creative Lifestyle with Cooking and Crafting with J&J.

Thank you so much for dropping by! I hope you liked the post today. If you would like to keep updated on when I post, please follow me on Bloglovin' or Google Followers and you can get notifications on when I post.

Have a great day!


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