Saturday, January 5, 2013

A New Year

December was very busy.  Didn't feel like it at the time, but somehow it sped by without me having any time to blog.  Of course wasting time on Facebook doesn't help.  It can tend to get in the way of more productive activities sometimes.

Anyway I had a reasonable amount of time off during the holidays.  So I worked on two new crochet projects.  One is on-hold until I can get the recipient to try it on.  The other one is 99% finished, just need to weave in the ends.  It's made of wool/acrylic blend yarn, so I wanted to try steam blocking.  Did a bit of reading on it and it sounded like the way to go, since I've not been overly successful with water blocking acrylic blend yarns.  The steam blocking is one way of "killing" acrylic.  Another way (so I've read) is to run it through the wash and dry.  I've certainly done that with fleece throws w/ no problems.  It makes the fabric soft and relaxed.  But as this yarn has wool in it, and a nice fuzzy halo, I thought this might work better.

I bought a new steam iron today and gave it a try.  Wow!  So simple.  You can see the yarn relax and grow as you steam and ease the work into place.  Here is the result:
I may have been able to coax it even larger, but I didn't want to overdo things the first time.  It's still not as large as I thought it would be, but I like it.  Supposedly steam blocking is permanent on full acrylic.  I don't know if the wool content in this yarn will change that or not, but we'll see.

We had a nice Christmas holiday.  Went to see The Hobbit and Les Miserables during my time off.  Both good films, although I thought they padded The Hobbit with too many chase and fight scenes.  Ken gave me the novel for Christmas, which I (shockingly) have not read yet, although I've read LoTR more than 15 times.  So that's on my To Read pile, probably next in line.

I made a big pot of soup for Christmas Day.  We had the kids here in the morning and my sister and niece here in the afternoon.  The four of us went on an icy-windy walk at Celebration Park down on the Snake River before dinner.  It was beautiful, but there was a snowstorm blowing in, so we got cold after just 45 minutes or so.

 Looking west from the bridge over the Snake River to the Owyhee Mtns.  That's Oregon over there.

Tachy and I, looking at petroglyphs.

Jas with the "typewriter" petroglyph.
                  Our house after some snow.
We were glad of hot soup when we got home that evening!

Hubby and I gave ourselves a recumbent stationary bike for Xmas.  I also got a nice little shop heater for when I'm working in our bedroom, which is typically colder than the rest of the house.  It's been very handy this week as we've barely got up to 20F during the days.  The temps were down to 0F overnight last night.  Our "high" today was 23F, although I'm not sure I believe that.  It was darn cold out.

Ken and I are watching our calories.  We have a litte app on our iPhones called Lose It!  So we've set weight loss goals and are trying to keep to our calories limits.  His limit is higher than mine for now, even though it goes down as you lose.  It's kind of a pain figuring out the calories on food we cook ourselves, but fortunately Ken is good at math.  And it's great how you can find so much info online now.  When I did this in the 1970's it was much harder to figure out calories on things.  We decided even if we can just get close most of the time that'll be ok.  There's been a definite difference in how much food we eat every day.  The fudge, chocolates and cookies from Christmas are disappearing MUCH more slowly than usual.

We started Dec 29th.  I haven't lost anything yet, according to the scale, but I do feel better.  I think it's the reduction in the amount of food more than anything else.  Ken has lost a pound.

Anyway, it's easier to do this together and so far we have not felt overly deprived.  We both miss the snacking most, but it hasn't been super-hard to stick to our goals so far.  I'll be interested to see how well I do, with the thyroid meds making it more difficult.