Wednesday, September 30, 2015


So what is this thing called the Whole30
It is thirty days that will change you. I will leave it up to the website to explain it but I will tell you what it has done for me. If change is what you are looking for I hope you'll check it out. 
I think I first saw the Whole30 mentioned in a post on Instagram back in July. Something clicked and I ordered the book and jumped in head first. I began on July 14. 
I did not heed the bit about planning and not doing a Whole30 during a time with big life events and I was derailed by a three day high school reunion around day 20. I still stayed mostly compliant but not 100%
I jumped back on in August and went off the rails again in New Orleans as I was driving cross country with my daughter. I would not have passed up French Market cafe au lait and beignets, though. It would have been inhuman. 
September one rolled around and I decided to start again and this time there were no big events to get through. There were some social events but no marathon road trips or reunions with tempting non compliant buffets. 
One outcome is that I learned to cook again. My husband has been doing  most of the cooking up til now and he is now happy to share the kitchen. I am much more engaged in the planning and shopping and cooking and it has been a good change for us. He is happy to share my delicious meals although he still eats his non compliant food. He is a chocoholic - but I am not doing this for him I am doing it for me. 
Successes: my cholesterol has come down as well as my triglycerides. My blood sugar is returning to a healthier level. Still not out of the woods but no longer in imminent danger of type two diabetes. And I was right up against that number which was a scary thing.  My fingernails which were constantly breaking and shredding have grown back healthy. No more splits.
The tendonitis in my foot, which had me on disability on and off for the past two years, no longer causes me pain and I have been able to walk and go to the gym pain free. Also the swelling in my knee, which was another inflammation site is much improved. 
Alas, I am still not thin, but I have lost 25 + pounds since July. Believe me when I tell you I tried other ways including calorie counting and weighing my food, even counting steps, which was becoming impossible because of the tendonistis. So this was a last ditch effort. And for a post menopausal woman with a deficiant thyroid, losing weight is no small feat. So I am quite happy about that. 
All this and no going hungry. For me, if hunger was a part of the plan, I would have never made it.
Which leads me to this: If the Whole30 is so healthy then why quit after 30 days? My answer is that I will not be quitting. I will continue to eat this way as long as it is healthy for me. I may enjoy the occasional beignet - with no shame, and I fully intend to make some paleo treats fron the lovely recipes in my new cook books, because, um, banana pecan ice cream  :D. But for the main part I will still be here cooking up meals with protein, vegetables, fruit, fat and spices. The pic is me in July. As soon as I get one from now I will post it. Today I am holed up with a cold and do not feel camera friendly. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

knitting queue of shame...

So my knitting queue is getting rather long and unruly. I am definitely not a monogamous knitter. I have enough patterns to keep me busy until I am  200 yrs old- which sometimes seems sooner than later.
Oh Valencia
On the needles now is a sock named oh Valencia by Kate Atherbey, And there is a Hat called Cúram from Ysolda , and a newly released old pattern for socks called Anemochory  by Hunter Hammersen. And there is the Mahy shawl and a sweater....and some other things that I know are in my room somewhere.
So that is my queue of shame.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

making clothes, making art

Pattern crafted from Cal Patch's Creativebug class, Stencil from Alabama Chanin
cotton knit from Alabama Chanin
Circle Dress From Marcy Tilton
     The first thing I remember wanting to make is clothes. My mother's family were all sewists. Not so much her - she was more inclined to the Fine Arts while the rest of us leaned more toward the Sartorial.
     But to my mind there is art in the perfectly conceived hand made garment. You do not have to look too far to see this. Recently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, there was the exhibit titled  "China through the Looking Glass" and if you saw the Alexander MacQueen Exhibit at the same place a few years ago-or in other great museums around the world - you have yourself witnessed where fashion and fine art have intersected.
      Lately I have had the time and inclination to re awaken my clothes sewing interests. I have been sneakily adding to my garment sewing stash over the years, waiting I suppose for just such a time,  buying the occasional pattern, or book and have been delighted to find all sorts of support on the internet, from classes on platforms like Craftys, Becreative, YouTube tutorials (tutes)- to name just a few, there is a dazzling array of offerings. Some are free and some not so much. And there is Pinterest, which can get you lost in a warren of distraction and inspiration.
   Currently I find myself with an overflow of fabric and patterns, and I am applying myself to the lofty goal of using them before they are completey obsolete or I am dead.
     I have availed myself of classes which have piqued my interest and even sewed some dresses. It has been a long time, maybe decades? since I have sewn an actual dress. most of my sewing has been quilting or window treatments - a different flavor of fashion.
     I have drooled over all of Natalie Chanin books, I have joined Creative Bug to to take a class from Cal Patch to learn how to draft my own patterns, I have done sewalongs with Grainline Studio and found designers who designing for all women, like Marcy Tilton and Catherine Tilton who make fun and creative clothes for women of all ages.
     So that is what I have been up to. I still want to make quilts. I have one in mind which will take shape over the winter. It is grello. If you aren't sure what that is, stay tuned.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

speaking of clothes...

I bought some beautiful Italian wool yardage when I was in Germany a few years ago and packed it up in a box with all of the other beautiful fabric I bought and so it has remained.
My goal for the rest of the year is to make some garments that spark joy with some of this fabric.

One of the patterns I bought recently was the Marcy Tilton Circle Dress V9112. Marcy has posted several customers version on her blog and facebook page and that is what finally swayed me. I did not see a version I did not like.

I have some lovely black and white polka dot which I bought from Marcy's website and the aforementioned wool from the shop in Cuxhaven - a lovely shop!  Although the polka dot is a proven favorite I think I might risk the wool and have a jumper for the winter. Or maybe I will cut out both and have two. I have heard of people making four!
On this rainy day, I have a plan.
p.s. none of the links in this post are sponsored.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

     Yesterday I bought some clothes. Yes this is a big deal for me. For the last 8.5 years I did not need to wear anything but a company branded tee shirt with jeans and sneakers.
     This made it very easy for me to avoid buying clothes. I could skate by on the minimum. And for the most part I did. There was very little that apppealed to me as a sophisticated, artistic older, no longer skinny woman. Clothes for women my age were all drab and humorless. And yes dammit I want my clothes to have humor and elegance and grace. I realize this is not a small expectation. But we only have one self, one body to dress and by the gods of fiber I am going to have some fun.
       So where does one turn? I get physically ill looking at the fashion rags with the starving children they use as models. I feel sorry for them and I want to take them home and make them soup and creme brûlée.
     I peruse the sewing patterns and feel more inspired but you cannot try things on and send them back once you have taken the time and effort to make them. You are stuck with them. They emit a reproachful aura of failure when they do not meet your expectations. Was it me? or was it the design?
     I am a skilled sewist, have made clothes for myself and all sorts of decorative items for my home so I am not likely to have a crisis in confidence at this point. But I do like to try things on.
So. This is what I found. First in Denmark and then here in NY
                                                     and this is what I bought:

These fit the bill. And it seems to be a good company. And the clothes are FUN. And comfortable. And they fit.  And if you are so inclined, you can wear them with clothes from past collections. Love them.