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151  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: Abundance of Embroidery thread craftalong-2011 Ongoing on: January 14, 2012 03:45:50 PM
I don't think it's cheating! One of my favorite embroideries was from a Star Wars coloring book. I made it for my fiance for his birthday last year (today's his birthday, so it was a year ago). Another nice thing about them, is it's easy to find a frame that fits, or to resize the image with a photo copier. Plus, crayon tinting is a breeze with a picture that was designed to be colored anyway!
152  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Healthy Eats-Along 2012 on: January 14, 2012 03:42:55 PM
I've been doing good all week with tracking my food. I'm finding I'm low on protein most days (newly vegetarian, it was kind of to be expected) so I need to start seeking out some foods that are higher in protein. Also, we need to get a scale...
153  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Re: Simple Pet Bed (link to tutorial) on: January 14, 2012 03:40:09 PM
Awesome! I actually volunteer with a guinea pig rescue in So. Cal. so it makes me super happy to see rescue pigs! I recently bought some cuddle cups for mine (my sewing machine hates me), and they LOVE them. I just wish I had more so I could swap them out and wash them more frequently... Maybe I should fight with my sewing machine and see who wins...
154  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Healthy Eats-Along 2012 on: January 09, 2012 02:47:38 PM
I joined myfitnesspal! Same username as here, if anyone wants to add me.

I was looking at livestrong.com's food tracker, and it's really nice - it has a bunch of categories, not just cals, carbs, fats, and proteins. It also tracked sodium intake, fiber, and cholesterol. The only problem: it wouldn't let me register!! After messing with it for about half an hour, I gave up. Then I saw a bunch of you guys are going myfitnesspal, and it essentially works the same way, so yea. Signed up!
155  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Healthy Eats-Along 2012 on: January 08, 2012 04:23:05 PM
I think I want to start monitoring what I eat. I feel like if I write it all down, it'll make me feel more guilty when I feel like eating sweets and things like that. Plus, it'll help me make sure I get enough protein and stuff.

Also, I think I'm going to start taking a multivitamin every day too.
156  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Healthy Eats-Along 2012 on: January 05, 2012 04:00:24 PM
I'm in! Sorry in advance for the rant...

For the past 6 years, I haven't eaten chicken or fish, and only very limited amounts of pork and turkey. However, I just couldn't bear giving up beef. It's just too delicious! However, the past year or so, I've been having some internal digestion problems related to eating red meat (it's genetic - my mom had the same problems at my age, and eventually had to have her gall bladder removed after her diet was literally reduced to eating baby food). So, in an effort to prolong, and hopefully prevent needing the same surgery, I'm going to go vegetarian.

I realized a while back that I don't actually consume that much meat per week, but when I do eat it, I tend to eat a lot more than is necessary (people are supposed to have a palm-sized piece of meat every day for protein. No bigger.). However, it is a huge MENTAL thing for me. Growing up, steak was (and still is) my favorite food. And my fiance is definitely a man's man when it comes to meat! However, I've slowly been showing him that vegetarian food doesn't have to be 'rabbit food' anymore. He goes through phases of wanting to diet and lose weight, and then getting grumpy because his body isn't used to real food. I know he wants to lose weight, and I feel like if I do this, maybe he'll be able to go on a journey with me. So I think I'm ready to tell him - and to commit: I'm going vegetarian.

So yea, that's my backstory.

My tips aren't just about healthy eating, but also eating more frugally...

1. Acquaint yourself with your fridge, freezer, and pantry.

Before you go to the store, clean them out. Anything past it's date? Throw it out! Anything on it's last day? Can you make that for dinner tonight? If not, throw it out.

Living in a house with 6 college-age people means there are always 4 half-gallons of milk, 4 loaves of bread, 3 cartons of eggs, and god knows how much leftover takeout. And that's just the first two shelves of the fridge.

If you clean the areas out before you go to the store, you see what foods your family ISN'T eating. You'll know what not to buy - or what to buy in smaller portions. Yes, sometimes buying the smaller block of cheese is more expensive per slice, but if you're throwing half the block away at the end of the week anyway, you're losing money.

Also, by cleaning out the fridge, you get a good look at what you have. If you check the dates of everything in the fridge, maybe you notice there's a jar of spaghetti sauce you'd forgotten about in the back that's about to expire in a week. Dinner some time this week? Sounds good! Then you can check the cupboard for noodles and spices in case you need some.

2. Make meals in advance.

One of the things my fiance and I have tried in the past (and it was working well for a while) was to make all of our lunches on Sundays. We bought enough Tupperware (super cheap at Target) for all of it in advance. Sundays we would cook a batch of chicken breasts for him, make salads for the both of us, and had little Tupperwares for the dressing on the side. Then in the mornings, we would put the lunch in a bag along with an apple and a pre-made baggie of baby carrots. Sometimes he would want a sandwich too, but just making a sandwich in the morning is a lot less intimidating than trying to put together a whole lunch, and still have time for breakfast before work.

3. Apple slicer.

Growing up, I never had an apple slicer. As stupid as it sounds, I don't like eating apples right off the core. I'm much more likely to eat (and finish) an apple if it's in slices. However, I never wanted to go to the trouble of slicing the stupid thing, so I just didn't eat them. Once I moved in with my fiance, he showed me this nifty little thing called an apple slicer. Shaped like a spoked wheel with handles, you shove the thing down, and voila! 8 perfect slices, with the core separated. Now I eat apples all the time, because it takes me 2 seconds to slice it!

So yea... That's my rant. Sorry.
157  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: A Year of Homemade Gifts! - 2011-2012 - Are YOU in? on: December 26, 2011 06:22:50 PM
Seriously awesome!! Totally going to have to make those next year for the fiance - he is a total comic book nerd!
158  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: A Year of Homemade Gifts! - 2011-2012 - Are YOU in? on: December 23, 2011 01:10:14 AM
Disclaimer: Feel free not to read this, I ramble and it's mostly boring.

So... I've been fairly absent for a couple months. Please don't be mad! A lot has happened, and it's been hard for me to find the time/energy/motivation to craft lately. I lost my job about a month ago, and it's been rough mentally.

I DID manage to finish the apron for the boy I nannied for. Then he used it once, and I remembered why I hate grosgrain ribbon... I had used the ribbon for the tie-ons, and it shredded the first day. Need to hem it and drop it back in their mailbox for him...

Was going to make something for Future SIL's birthday, but we had another argument just beforehand, and I decided it would be best to pretend I don't exist (trust me, it's the better option).

For Halloween, I spent a total of $11 on our costumes. I bought a pair of striped tights, so I could go as Wednesday Addams (had the rest in my closet), and a stamp. Why a stamp, you ask? Because our friends have a running joke about a particular striped shirt that Sean owns. That it makes him look like Steve from Blue's Clues. For those of you without kids, here's a picture - http://student.delta.edu/kaitlinkeifer/project3/tumblr_lf388qLzYb1qayaeu.jpg So, Sean needed a pawprint stamp to go with his costume. He only decided on his costume the day of Halloween, and I didn't have time to make him a stamp with that lovely pink stuff, so I bought one. He had so much fun drunkenly stamping pawprints on anyone who wandered too close.

Oh the grandiose plans I had for Christmas... -sigh-

We did manage to make a successful batch of homemade salsa. Spicy, but not overwhelming. And a pathetic batch, too. More like a zesty relish, but still good. I was planning on doing a bunch of canning over Thanksgiving break, but that's when I found out I was losing my job. And with it, dreams of everyone getting salsa for Christmas.

Sean is getting the home brew kit I've been promising him for over a year (by the time I turned 21, Christmas and his birthday had already passed, so I was just waiting around for this one to come along).

Parents and brother (who is home from the NAVY for 2 weeks! YAY!) are getting edible stuff.

So... enough with all of the failed endeavors (and I apologize because there have been many). Now on to the good stuff!!

The guinea pigs (we have 3) are getting cuddle cups handmade by someone else (my sewing machine and I aren't on speaking terms).

Kiera is getting a new bed - http://www.etsy.com/listing/88231753/wine-crate-pet-bed-deep (that's not Kiera. That's my mom's dog, Chloe. But it's Kiera's bed now). She's a little big for it, but she sleeps in our bed at night anyway, so whatever. It's cute, dammit.

I finished Sean's mom's present today - a (roughly) 4"x6" Celtic cross stitch embroidery. I'm going to frame it, and give it to her when she comes down to visit (she was supposed to come down for Christmas, but had to push it back to January).

Also, we finished making our wedding invitations! We designed them and had them printed at Kinko's (Fedex discount hurray). Then I hand-wrote all of the response cards, punched the bottoms, and cut and tied doilies. It was a nightmare, but I like how they look. I'll have to post pictures when I get them. Also did all of the calligraphy myself.

Lastly, I got my craft cabinet (yes, cabinet, not room) organized so it is usable again. Which is a gift to myself.

So far I've been pretty lousy about this whole homemade gifts thing, but I'm going to try to be better!
159  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: Abundance of Embroidery thread craftalong-2011 Ongoing on: December 22, 2011 10:34:17 PM
So here is a picture of my now-organized DMC floss boxes. Trust me, it took a long time - it started off as a gigantic pile of floss that was took over the couch. For some reason, it cut off the top of the picture (or maybe I just suck at taking pictures and messed it up). The top row has the metallic threads, the whites, and my extra bobbin thingys.

And here is my first finished project for this craftalong!

It's a Celtic cross from this http://www.twdesignworks.com/Free/ccross.html website, for my fiance's mom. Finished just in time for Christmas! I did make a few changes. A couple color swaps, and I chose not to use beads. OH! And I didn't couch the braided cord or whatever the instructions say to use. I used metallic floss, and after doing the two sides, remembered why I freaking hate that stuff, and opted not to do the top and bottom couching. Man I hate metallic thread. With that said, I'm really happy with how it turned out!
160  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: Abundance of Embroidery thread craftalong-2011 Ongoing on: December 12, 2011 09:12:25 PM
I actually am working on organizing our whole room right now (and next up, THE HOUSE). I found a couple of really GREAT websites. My new favorite is http://craftystorage.blogspot.com/ - it's a blog devoted completely to craft rooms, and how people store their crafting supplies!!

Also, for my first project, I'm working on http://www.twdesignworks.com/Free/ccross.html that design for my fiance's mom for Christmas. It'll push my boundaries some, because all I ever do is straight cross stitch, either full or half, so doing something with some neat patterns, backstitching, and even some beads is new territory for me. Substituted a couple colors, but they're really similar, so I think it'll turn out alright. Finished my grid and the first color today.
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