Friday, October 31, 2014

Loving Layers

It's Halloween! It also happens to be my mother in law's birthday--we are going to bake her a cake and spend some time with her. But tomorrow the husband and I are attending a huge halloween bash with costumes and friends and spiced apple cider. I can't wait!

Right now I'm just loving layers. And this outfit.



Someone pointed out I hadn't posed a photo of the back of my haircut. Well, here is a photo, with an hat attached. Hope it helps, hehe! It's much shorter in the back then in the front. I love love love it. I also love these pants with like everything in me. If they weren't so thin I'd wear them more!


How is your day going? Have a great last run today before November and the cold descends.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thoughts on Marriage

When I first started dating I believed the lie of "the one". There was only one man for me. And when I met him I would know. And after marriage he would love me and only me forever, and together we would have eyes only for each other until the end of time. The rest of the world would appear pallid and ugly as it was washed in the glorious aura of our True Love.


Fast forward two years (not even that long, I know) and I've learned a few things. One, there isn't just one person for me or for my husband. He became my one person when I married him, but I'm sure if I had not married him I'd still be happy and so would he (not that I want that, you know, I'm glad I married him. I'm just saying if things had worked out differently and we'd never met or something, I wouldn't be suddenly deprived of love). I mean, I've dated other people and I've most certainly thought they were "the one". But I didn't marry them. I chose my husband to be "the one". It wasn't magic. It wasn't karma. And it wasn't foreordained or anything. I could have married any of my previous boyfriends (and came close to that point a few times) but in the end I chose not to, and eventually met my husband. He is the one I chose to love and remain faithful to. He is my "one" now, because we are married.

I'm also still occasionally attracted to other members of the male species. Even through I'm married, my eyes were not cursed with blindness: other people are still very much cute and sexy and interesting. There are people I've met since marriage that if I was single I would want to get to know more. I don't think this is wrong, and I don't think by casually noticing a well groomed man or a spark of intelligence or emotional compatibility in another person makes me unfaithful to my marriage. Nor do I think having male friends is wrong. What, am I suddenly supposed to lock myself up away from "scary males" just because I have a ring on my finger? That is dumb. I'm not going to forget my morals and jump in bed with anyone (but my husband) over a mere friendship. Not to mention that telling women they can't have male friends ostracizes them and teaches them that they can't trust a) other males and b) themselves.


What I have with my husband is more then friendship. We are more then friends. We are lovers--and that's a status I don't share with anyone else. When the bond crosses from friendship to lovers is when the problems start to arise.

I use boundaries and openness and honesty when traversing any and all friendships, regardless of gender. And I make sure to always keep my husband's feelings in mind when making decisions. These are just things I use in my marriage to make sure there are no misunderstandings. My husband and I discuss our individual wants, needs, and desires and make informed decisions about our life together. When it all comes down to it I trust my husband to never cheat on me because he is an honest man. I've seen him treat me and others with integrity and thats why I trust him. It has nothing to do with how many or how few female friends he has. I know he feels the same about me.

What do you think?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Exercise Update


I didn't exercise last week, but that's okay. I plan on getting back on the workout train starting today! I won't lie, I've been feeling really great lately. I'm still at 160 pounds but my clothes fit better. So far (since my last update post, whenever that was) I've lost 4 inches under my bust, going from 34 to 30 inches. I have lost two inches around my hips, going from 44 inches to 42 inches. I've lost one inch around the upper arm (didn't measure, sorry). I can't tell you anything else, because I'm lazy. Suffice to say this diet and exercise kick I have been on is a wonderful lifestyle change and I love it. I still want to lose two more inches in my hips--my goal is a 40 inch circumference.


I'm still pear shaped. I'll always be pear shaped (meaning, my hips will be larger then my top). And I'm okay with this. I love my shape!


My next mode of attack is to figure out how to fix my gut. I suffer from bloating in this area--its not a fat issue, but a GI track one (you can learn more about it in my vlogs). Getting rid of gluten and dairy in my diet as well as sugar has helped so much--but I'm still bloated. It's just not as bad as it was (and it was bad, trust me). I need to be more careful about the gluten. It's hard to avoid both gluten and dairy as both these things are stables in the American diet. Many days I successfully avoid milk products but gluten is a little bit harder. Creative dinners have been a must around here.


How are you guys doing? Here's to the next month of exercise, knitting, and fun.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kitty Hat Tutorial


I made a cute crochet kitty hat tutorial that is perfect for beginners. You will need aran weight yarn and a size 5.0mm crochet hook to create this hat. It really is very easy! Perfect for fall, and stretchy enough that it can fit a wide variety of heads.  What should I make next?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wearing


I love it when my husband takes my picture. I think I smile more, because I'm interacting with the man I love and he makes me laugh. Also, he's cute.

The pictures just come out way more candid!

Fall is here, and I am happy.

What have you been wearing lately?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Manhandled in Public

I've thought about sharing this story for awhile but have not because I didn't know what purpose it would serve. I decided it would be good to share today for awareness sake. I never assumed this would happen to me. And, before you ask, this isn't a terrible horrible story, just an awkward one that shows something about society. Something I'd never encountered before.

So, one Friday my husband came home with tickets to a Virginia Tech game. As he was driving home he'd called into a radio show and won them! I was really excited--he graduated from Virginia Tech and I also had lived there for two years and worked on campus. They have an excellent football team and my husband had enjoyed going to their games when he attended campus. Tickets are usually $60 a person, and we were both trilled for the weekend getaway, even if I am not particularly fond of Football (but I love marching band). My husband also mentioned there was an amazing Creole restaurant in town that makes soup to die for, and that he would take me there after the game. I've never had Creole food, so this also piqued my interest.


So, we get to the game. We survived a huge crowd. We spent $4 on one bottle of water. It was very noisy and my husband was very happy. The game starts and I quickly lose interest. My husband is standing up (most everyone is) but I'm sitting. And the guy next to me is drunk.

I didn't realize he was drunk until much later. He just sounded like he had a strange lisp.

He comments on the fact that I am wearing a sweater. I tell him with a smile it's because I don't want to get sunburned. I'd forgotten sunscreen. It was about 70 degrees out, but I wasn't that hot. He then comments again about the sweater. I suppose he can't hear me. I repeat what I said before. I start to think something is weird about him, but I can't place it.

He tells me I should take off my sweater. I'm confused, I tell him again about the sunscreen. I pull up my sweater arm to show him how pale my skin is. He throws an arm around me and leans into me and says something, I can't remember, because I feel sort of awkward about a strange man putting his arm around me. I'm very relieved as he removes his arm. Perhaps this is a football thing? I don't know.

He asks where I'm from, and we talk some. He tells me about his work and how his girlfriend just broke up with him and how sad he is and how his two friends (sitting on his left) brought him to the game to help him have a good time. I tell him about what I do. I start to relax, maybe he is just being friendly.

It's the second quarter now, my husband sits down during a break and introduces himself to the man and they talk a bit about VT and Hokies and Engineering. When my husband stands back up the guy throws his arm around me again and asks me why I don't have any keys. (something about waving your keys during a play?) I again feel stressed. Didn't I just introduce him to my husband? His arm is sliding up and down my side and I don't want him touching me anymore. It feels weird and I don't like it.


But I don't know what to do. It's then I notice he is drunk, and currently consuming alcohol from a flask as well. I'm immediately alarmed. But I still don't know how to correctly traverse this situation. I don't want to cause a scene. I don't want to be one of those girls who needs her husband to help her out. I also don't want to be rude. The guy puts his hand on my leg. I am ticked off.

I decide to pretend to be interested in football. I stand up. The guy stands up. He puts his arm around me again and grabs my boob. I freeze. He lets go. He turns to his friend. I don't know what to do and I wonder if that just happened? Did he stumble? Was it an accident?

I look at my husband but he is focused on the game. I feel really weird. Did I just get groped by a drunk men in a crowd of people while standing next to my husband? Why yes, I did. I don't know what to do and I find my confusion even more overwhelming. I mean, I hear stories about this happening to girls and always thought that if it ever happened to me I'd scream at the guy or lecture him on feminism or something. But this person is drunk. He'd probably just ignore me. I feel tense, anxious, and the fact that I feel this way annoys me.

So, I sit down, and lean away from the man and pull out my book. I think he got the picture.

At halftime when the guy left to go use the bathroom or whatever, I told my husband that the man was making me uncomfortable. My husband offered to switch seats with me. I felt...mortified. If I switched seats he would know me made me uncomfortable! For some reason the thought of that was worse then moving away.

Well, I'd tried to tell my husband this discretely, but it's loud at a football game and the guy's two friends heard me. They apologized for him and scooted over so he'd sit on the end and they would sit in the middle of us. I felt much better after that. He tried to talk to me a few more times but I ignored him.

I'm fine, I mean--just shocked. And that is really all to the story. Now I'm left to think over what I should have done or what I could have done. Mostly I just mull over why I felt required to be nice to a man who took advantage of me and grabbed my chest. I still don't know.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bow Cuff Tutorial

I created some fun little bow cuffs for Bible, Beer and Babies!


You can buy a pair of these adorable boot socks in my etsy shop or, if you crochet, you can follow the tutorial below to make your own! They are super easy and use any acrylic worsted weight yarn you have laying around. Download the PDF file here, and bows are optional!



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Vegan Holiday Cooking Book Review

I received Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe  from Blogging for Books. I picked this book because I thought it would have desserts--and it does, but it also has vegan lunches and dinners as well.


The pictures in the book are very well done and the hardback version is extremely sturdy. I like how the book will lie flat (and not self close) making it easy to read the recipe when cooking.

To test the book I made the "Pastoral Vanilla Cupcakes" on page 73. They are amazing. I noticed the recipe calls for less sugar then most cupcake recipes I've tried. I loved how this brought out the flavor of the sunflower oil and the vanilla extract!


The cupcakes turned out fluffy and delicious. I did sub coconut milk for the soy milk the recipe suggested because I don't eat soy products. I noticed nothing obviously amiss with the finished product when I did this.

The only thing that didn't turn out as expected: this recipe says it makes 8 cupcakes. It made 16 for me. And the recipe says it uses a standard cupcake tin. Not sure if it is a misprint or what, but it definitely made more then I was expecting. Also, the cupcakes stuck to the wrapper more then usual, causing some interesting munching-on-the cupcake liner moments for me and the husband.

So, the frosting is amazing as well! I did put in 1/2 the recommended sugar, because I am trying to cut back in that area, and I love the taste of coconut meat so there was no issue. It was still divine!


I will be making these again. My husband and I loved eating each and every one! 

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books but all opinions (and yummy cupcakes) are my own. I can't wait to make a few of the other recipes!

Patreon

Hi guys! Today I'm going to talk about Patreon. I've never done anything like this before, so please bear with me.

As you know, I am trying to build a business--a knitting business (not a blogging one, blogging is a hobby and a fun, relaxing thing for me--not a business, although they do overlap since I use my blog at times to post about my knitting). For a whole year I've been making tutorials and attempting to sell my knitted and crochet designs.


It just hasn't been working. I mean, I sell a design here and there. But there are SO MANY designers it's hard to find a repeat customer base. However I noticed that whenever I offer a free design, it is received very well by the fiber art community. My fox scarf, for example, has been downloaded over 2,000 times--where my "paid" patterns, like my wilderness hat, are purchased only once or twice a month.  I get e-mails from people thanking me for making a free pattern and gushing about how simple to understand my instructions are. I never receive any correspondence about my pay-for patterns (at least, positive correspondence...)

So I thought perhaps I was going about this the wrong way. There are a very limited number of free patterns that are good. I mean really good, with steps easily explained and a clear picture tutorial. This is a niche I could fill!

So from now on, all patterns will be free. Past patterns that I charged for, however, do not fall under this new rule because that would not be fair to those who already purchased them. But all new patterns I make starting from today will be free.


Thus, instead of paying for a pattern, you can use Patreon to give me a "tip". It's totally optional and totally amazing. And tips come with perks.

Patreon is like Kickstarter in that you pledge an amount of money to a person's business plan. But instead of pleading a one-time amount, you pledge to give monthly. It's secure because it's done through a third party. It's safe because I receive none of your personal information--Patreon takes care of all that. You can also cancel at any time, and you can only pledge $1 a month. 

Right now I just have one option, and I think it will stay that way: to donate 1$ a month to Kitty Adventures. Don't worry--I know this isn't for everyone and I don't expect everyone to suddenly donate to me. I just have the option. All funds that are "donated" will go to buying supplies (like yarn and needles) and making videos and patterns that will all be free. It's a way for me to do what I love and be supported by those who love what I do.


Pledge $1 a month and I'll love you forever and link to your blog/twitter/funny cat picture on my sidebar with a text link under "Patreon Supporters".

Check it out if you are interested, and let me know what you think!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall in all it's Cold Glory


I will say that fall is my favorite season. The air conditioner is turned off, the house feels quiet and empty, like the pause before you inhale to breathe. The leaves on the trees decide to decorate the world in so many colors my eyes don't know where to look and I just want to bask in all the beauty.

I can wear sweaters again and people don't stare so much when I pull knitting from my purse, the clack of the needle matching the rhythm of my heart.

Yes, I love fall.


I guess there are annoying things about this change of seasons as well. The way people are obsessed over pumpkin spice lattes. I mean, seriously people--its a caffeinated drink with twice the recommended amount of calories and probably enough sugar to kill a kitten. Yet you'll wait in line like it's some golden accessory that will bedazzle your flawless hipster outfit. Priorities, people. Priories.

You won't catch me drinking that. I'm a tea girl. Antioxidants, herbal, with a dash of honey. About 1/3 the price of your milky monstrosity. (can you tell I'm so over the hype?)


Well, fall is here. And I'm happy. It's chilly but not cold. The outdoors is full of a promise of snow to come in a few months and cozy evenings at home with a book in front of a fireplace. And my warm husband, who always overheats in the summer loves to snuggle and watch the leaves blow around.

Things just seem quieter in the fall.


To prepare I've ordered some books on amazon and my husband and I bought a cast iron skillet to attempt some wood-stove cooking. Here is to hiding indoors and knitting, cozy sweaters and most of all warm soups and tea.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pretend Life

Lately I've been feeling like I don't belong.

I'm not sure when this started. I just feel...like an odd thumb sometimes. When I'm with fellow artists, I know without a doubt that my art isn't good enough, that I don't belong here. I catch myself wondering when they will see my imposter status. I know they will sneer at me soon, and ask me to leave.


I catch myself wondering this even when it's been several months--and even when people praise my art.

I wonder why I feel this way.

This feeling of not belonging invades other aspects of my life as well. When I'm with other women my age, I feel like a child. I know I don't fit. I don't have an job like them. I don't have children like them. I don't dress like them.

Honestly, I don't feel like an adult. I feel like I'm playing pretend.

I know other women my age treat me with respect, and value my opinion. Why does this shock me? Why do I think my voice does not matter? Why do I hesitate before telling people what I do for a living, as if what they do is somehow better then me? Every job is important. Every life choice matters.

It's hard for me to put myself out there sometimes, in the real world. I feel I deserve the laughter that comes when I describe my passion for knitting, writing, and fashion photography. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that the blank stares and "well, I have a real job" comments hold more value then my meager existence.

But what is value? Just a scale, a scale constructed by people who have their own goals and their own ideas. A messy sum, a game of compare/contrast--nothing concrete. I mean, I have my own ideas about value. And I like them. I talk about them here, in this space I call my own where I, honestly, feel most like myself.

I guess the difference is I try not to force them on others. I don't need to justify myself; I like the choices I've made.

My life isn't pretend. But I still fight the feelings inside me that tell me it is.
 
Some days it feels like a battle, a fight to be recognized. Some days the fight isn't worth taking, and I let others just assume what they will.

I know I belong somewhere. With my husband, although he also sometimes feels a stranger. No one is perfect, but with him I feel loved, respected, and most of all cared for, deeply in a way I can't explain--not in words, anyhow.

But sometimes I feel more at ease in a room full of yarn then a cacophony of talking heads.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Backstitches Yarn Shop

Backstitches is the closest local yarn shop to my house. They have a knit and sit every Friday and I try to make it when I can! Last week I went in and asked to take some pictures for my blog. I love this yarn shop and thought it would make an amazing backdrop for a fun fashion photo shoot. The minute I set up my camera and took a few shots no less then 10 people walked into the shop and I had to stop taking pictures of myself (hah). I hope to come back and do another session soon!


I don't know about you guys but I love yarn. The color. The way it feels. The ideas I can get just by picking up a skein and running my hands over the texture. I love yarn so much that the majority of my personal money is spent on it every month.


Going to a yarn shop is a treat and an adventure for sure. Right now I'm sad because I frogged that sweater I started last fall. It's hard when something you work on fails utterly. I've taken the entire thing apart, and will use the yarn to create something else. Maybe. Sigh. (It didn't work...)


I would love some motivational comments to help me along on my other unfinished projects. Blarg.

Do you feel the same way about yarn that I do? Have a great day, and visit your local yarn shop soon!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Crochet Granny Square Glove Tutorial

The other day I came across this pretty crochet gauntlet tutorial by Melody. I loved the pattern, but couldn't see myself wearing something without a thumb hole. Thus inspired, I modified her free tutorial and then wrote my very own top "glove" portion to suit the modified square. I love both Melody's gloves and my own finished product. My glove is vastly different from hers, but I do owe her credit for sparking my creativity.


If you know how to crochet and want to make yourself a pair of these gloves, I made a YouTube tutorial. I am having such a fun time releasing two videos a week (one usually makes it to the blog) and...I now have one hundred subscribers on YouTube. I'm floored. Really.


One annoying thing is that my video editing software will only allow me to upload videos that are under 15 minutes. This is annoying, since youtube has abolished the time limit--but my software has not had the restriction lifted. It was really hard to get this video under 15 minutes. Like, really hard. I deserve a reward.

I'll see you guys later...also, let me know what kind of videos you would be interested in seeing from me in the future, since this video thing seems to be agreeing with me. It's so much fun.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Things I Don't Understand.

I've seen this floating around the internet and to be honest I really don't understand it.


First of all, this just makes me mad. As an individual who was severely dyslexic (and who still struggles with it now and then) I cannot spell. And I absolutely hate people that try to put me in a box or label me based on one social skill. No, I can't spell. But that does not mean I don't "deserve" 15 dollars an hour.

You know, I'm really not for raising the minimum wage. (I am for lowering the cost of food and the cost of living and making what we already earn worth more, because I think that is what we need. If we just raise min wage inflation will occur because most owners of businesses and big wigs are greedy and they will raise prices if they have to pay more just to keep making the same amount of money) We need to fix the problem of inflation. My mother in law paid for her husband to attend Penn State by working at Kroger's in the 1960s. His school bill was roughly $300 a semester. You can't do that anymore--and that is what needs to change. But that's besides the point.

Maybe instead of telling this person who can't spell what they "deserve" to make hourly, you should instead hire some more teachers, create smaller classrooms so students get more one on one time and help teachers have more time to individually learn what each child needs. This would better prepare kids for college.

Or maybe the person who wrote that sign is a non-native English speaker. Ever think of that? Our country is diverse and English is a hard language. Making fun of how someone spells or writes when they are already trying to navigate a whole other country isn't nice. That's the first thing I thought when I saw this sign--I wonder if this employee is a native English speaker? I would suspect not, but of course I can't say for sure.

No matter what we need to realize that even people who can't spell are amazing. I mean, I graduated from college. And I still have a hard time understanding the difference between sell and sale and then and than. Suffering from a disability or poverty or anything for that matter does not mean I can only make a certain amount of money an hour.

But thanks for telling me where you think I belong.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Making a House a Home

One of the hardest things I went through in the first year of marriage was moving in with my husband. Mr. Adventure had owned a house for about 6 years when I met him. Before he'd even met me my husband had enjoyed complete control over where his possessions went. He never had to think about incorporating another persons desires or things.


When I first moved in I literally felt like I was camping. Where was my stuff going to go? Could I rearrange things? Didn't Mr. Adventure know that kitchen cabinets are not for electronics? I felt like a stranger in a home that was supposed to be partly mine. And I didn't know what to do about it.

Most couples rent an apartment or buy their first home together. Moving in to a space together gives both individuals time to settle and find a routine they like. Making a house a home is supposed to be a joint effort (at least, that's the way I thought about it). Instead, I moved in with my husband 6 years after he'd already "settled"--he long since had his routine and organized his space to suit his needs.

Fast-forward almost two years from our ceremony. I feel like Mr. Adventure and I have changed our home to reflect not just his needs and wants, but mine as well. And yes, there are still electronics in the kitchen, but I was able to rearrange the living room to include cozy literature nooks, so I'm happy. We've both given and taken and worked together. It didn't happen overnight (like I thought it would) and it certainly isn't all done, but I am really proud of our home and I no longer struggle with "camping" anymore. I don't feel like I'm going to "Brian's house" when I pull into the driveway and I think that's what matters most. It's our home.


Here are some things I learned along the way.
  1. I had to realize that my husband had been doing things his way for 6 years in a house where he lived all by himself. Yes, he loves me, and yes, he wants me in his life--but it is hard to break 6 years of habits and let another person into a space that had before always been yours.
  2. We both need our own space. Even in a small house. We both need our own space and this isn't wrong and it does not mean our marriage is falling apart. This was hard to realize. I felt bad for asking for my own space and my husband worried that I didn't want to be around him. We eventually realized we were both wrong.
  3. I do not share everything with my husband and he does not share everything with me. But we love each other.
  4. I learned that my husband is one of those people that likes to "stew" on ideas. I am not one of these people. I have an idea, I want to do. the. idea. now. In unrelated news, I'm learning patience.
  5. My husband is one of those people that thinks if it has a fancy name...why do I need it. But I love my food processor that he finally bought me. I'm glad my husband trusts me to know what fancy food appliances I really will use and what ones will just take up space.
  6. I should not take for granted that my husband will just like my rearranging his things without asking. (He was quite upset when I thought he would be kinda excited when he got home to see that I had "fixed things" one time) Strangely enough, my man wants to jointly decorate. I suppose this isn't that odd, but I certainly thought it was more of a women's thing. 
Here is what my home looks like today. (and here is one year ago) And I love it. It's not perfect, and it probably never will be. But you know what? It makes me happy, and it keeps both my and my husband warm at night. So who cares if there is a bit of dust or a few unfinished projects laying around?


What about you? Have you ever felt like a stranger in your own home?

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