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Misc… (Life).

Last year I posted a list of my goals for the year – posting these goals for the world to see really worked.  I felt like I would be held accountable for them and disappoint if I didn’t reach them. I think I did pretty good last year, I tracked my progress in this post.  Unfortunately since that post I wasn’t able to accomplish anything else.  This year I have decided to do something a little different- I’m still doing goals (instead of resolutions) and this time I am breaking them down into quarters…. this was a suggestion of a friend and I thought it was a pretty genius idea.  And of course I’ll give you updates as we reach the close of each quarter.  So here are my goals broken down into quarters:

January – March:

Loose 15 lbs

Organize all closets and storage spaces – there seems to be a lot of storage spaces….

Eliminate my chocolate consumption (I think I’m an addict- at least to sugar), or at least drastically reduce.

Reduce my dairy consumption to only my morning coffee and then maybe reduce it again after that. Of course there will be exceptions like on my birthday, holidays and special occasional cheat days…. but mostly I would like to cut it out as much as possible- or at least cut out cow dairy and switch to goat dairy (which I really like), but I can’t find goat’s milk half & half…. does anyone know where I can get that?

Participate in Meat Free Mondays (no meat- go veggies!) This will be a toughie because I have a hard time keeping track of the days of the week :/ But that should be the hardest part, remembering the day of the week.  I was a vegetarian for about four years… so veggie cooking is easy for me :) But the general idea is that if we each just make one small change once a week that we can make the world of a difference.  I think this will also promote a healthier lifestyle throughout the country (fingers crossed).

Eat out only once a month – now that I get my large CSA box every other week, it’s forcing me to eat at home more that usual.  I would hate to waste veggies and let them go bad.  So am becoming really disciplined about the whole thing and really creative… I keep getting fennel bulbs and butternut squashes… every time! It’s like they have an endless supply!!! So I am forced to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to my cooking.  Last night I made mashed cauliflower with spinach and sauteed leeks (3 box ingredients- woohoo!!!) and I have to say- it was pretty good.

Self-publish 4-5 patterns (including about 3 garments) – this will be an easy one, I have the Craftsy Mystery Shawl KAL being released next month and I’m going to release between 3-4 garments at TNNA in Feb.  Check!

April – June:

Loose 15 lbs

Learn to quilt – I already got all the fabric and I have a design in my head…. is that too ambitious for a first time quilter?

Go to NY – but I wouldn’t mind if I went the in fall…. hmmm….. maybe I’ll go with my sissy when she graduates from college.  I should talk to her about that :)

Start on an e-book – I already have a few ideas in mind, so it’s just about materializing them and finding the time.

Finish one UFO (not sure which one yet, there are plenty to choose from), but at this rate I’ll have all UFOs finished in about 30 years! LOL!

Organize a rotating summer trunk show

Send in a teaching proposals for TNNA and Stitches

Self-publish 4-5 patterns (including about 2-3 garments)

July – September:

Loose 15 lbs

Finish 1/2 of my quilt

Start on a Triangles, Diamonds and Squares… Oh My! blanket XL size – Using Manos Del Uruguay Wool Classica here are the four colors I’m thinking:

The colors from left to right: Natural, Cameo, Henna & Cinnamon.  There are so many ways to arrange the squares of this blanket that I would really like to show more of the options.  The fewer colors one uses the more options there are to arrange the squares…. so even though the blanket calls for five colors and I have four pictured, I might end p with only three. Ideally I would like to make a grellow (grey-yellow) blanket, but I’m not sure if that’s just a phase I’m going through…. We shall see.

Learn how to and sew a pair of pajamas (already got the fabric) – now I just need to learn how to sew them.  I realized that the fabric store by my home just isn’t working for me.  I really like them and their choices of fabric, but it just seems like the classes aren’t working for me.  I think I’ll have to find a new place to take sewing classes.

October – December:

Loose 15 lbs

Publish an e-book in October

Start yoga – I might do this earlier, but my goal is to start before the end of the year.

Begin to learn Italiano!

 

It’s funny how our goals change from year to year- last year I was dead set on learning how to bake bread (which I never did).  Now I am off carbs and I have no interest in baking bread because then I’ll eat it all…. and as you can see I’m on a very tight weight loss schedule.  Now each quarter I have made a goal to loose 15 lbs- that makes it 60 lbs in one year.  Now I would absolutely love to be 60lbs lighter next year, but if I’m not 60lbs lighter and only 30lbs…. I won’t be mad.  As W. Clement Stone once said

“Always aim for the Moon, even if you miss, you’ll

land among the stars.”

In this case the moon is being thin and fit and the stars are being thinner :) Did you like that?

I still want to learn Italian for when my dream of moving to Italy comes true.  I need to start preparing for that day (even though it may not come for many years).  Sewing…. ugh…. I think I just hate my sewing machine…. it’s so freggin’ clunky… it’s definitely a deterrent.  I’ll have to just push through it.

Hopefully by breaking down my goals into quarters it gives me more of an idea of a time frame to work within.  This falls into my goal last year of learning to plan thins ahead of time (which I have been doing).

Some goals have no time frame, for example I would like to start teaching more on the national level…. but something like that is partially out of my control.  Also I think I might want to move out of Los Angeles….. I’ve been here my whole life.  It might be time to move on.  I’ve never really liked it here.  But sometimes these things are out of your control and they are constant work, but you are never really sure if it will ever pay off.  So that’s why I always aim for the moon!  Happy new year!

Oh and don’t forget about the pattern sale that’s going on- it’s going on through tomorrow!

At the beginning of the year I made myself some goals for 2012.  I put them on my blog so that I could hold myself accountable for actually reaching them.  Here is my list of goals and my progress on each one:

1. Learn to bake bread- no progress, but hopefully before the end of the year.  There is still time!  And luckily this is a task that shouldn’t take a day or two.

2. Learn to quilt- no progress, but I did buy all my fabrics and get my sewing machine out of storage. Ah ha! Here are my fabrics.  I purchased most of them from Sew Modern.

     

  

Here are all of the fabrics stacked up together so that you can see all the colors and prints in action.

3. Begin to learn Italian- nessun progresso (that’s Italian for no progress)!  But that’s okay I have plenty of time before I move to Florence, Italy.

4. Get my butt into shape- So for I bought an adult tricycle to get around (but it’s been raining lately- a great thing!!!) and I have lost 20 pounds (50 pounds to go).

5. Publish an E-book or a book book- HA! What an unrealistic time frame I gave myself! Maybe in 2013 or 2014.

6. Get organized- Believe it or not I didn’t own a desk before.  Now I have a desk a file cabinet, drawers, almost everything in my life has a place! but of course there is lots of room for improvement.

7. Learn how to plan things ahead of time- I have made so much progress on this.  Even my blog posts I schedule 7-10 days ahead of time! But this is a constant battle for me- procrastination is in my blood… its what I am made of… my very essence.  Fighting it is like fighting my DNA… it’s freggin hard! So I’m working on it and making progress.

8. Eat healthier and more vegetables (get a CSA box)- Got my CSA box! And I LOVE it!!!  I now receive the “more veggies only box” every other week.  They stay fresh much longer because they are local and don’t spend two weeks on a truck.  So not only am I eating more vegetables that are local, organic and in season, but I am getting way more creative in the kitchen!  BTW- Let me know if you are interested in Farm Fresh to You – I can get you a coupon code for $10 off your first box!

9. Eat out only 1-2 times a week- Well, ever since we got our CSA box I feel an obligation to use everything in the box.  May no vegetable go to waste! So naturally we are eating out much much much less.  Also now that I’m not working a full time job I’m not exhausted when I come home and I have a ton of energy to cook for dinner. Also all the veggies we eat give me energy, and the weight loss gave me more energy.  Its cyclical! So now we are down to eating out about 1-4 times every two weeks.

10. Plan a vacation to Europe & New York- Nothing on NY front… but I am thinking about it for the spring.  I did go to Barcelona in the summer. Sorry I didn’t blog about it… but it was right in the middle of the Olga’s Vest KAL and there just wasn’t any Barcelona blogging time… but I have to say- my sister and I had a blast!!!!!  But why don’t I share a few photos for fun?

     

From left to right: La Padrera, Parc Guell, La Sagrada Familia.

 

     

From left to right: Me shopping at All You Knit is Love wearing my Janna’s Tunic, a random yarn bombing in the Gothic Quarter, my sister polishing off a bowl of very Spanishy nachos and washing it all down with a hearty pitcher of sangria.

11. Self-publish between 8-10 patterns with about 5-6 garments- Hmmm….. well… this was definitely a tough one!  I self-published 11 patterns this year and 6 of them were garments.  So booyah! Got that one in the bag!

12. Finish all UFOs older than 3 years- HAHAHAHA! What a pipe dream! I did finish one UFO… and then I published it…. can you guess which one? Here is the link to the pattern… I published it :)

13. Knit another Blanket (maybe TDS)- Didn’t do TDS, even though I still want to.  I even have a the perfect yarn picked out, Manos Del Uruguay Wool Classica.   TDS my size! Even  though I didn’t knit a blanket, I have crocheted one and started piecing it together.

     

14. Make my own pair of pajamas- Yeah right! Another pipe dream.  Got the fabric, got the machine out of storage….  now I just need to relearn how to sew, follow a pattern, and remember how to use my machine…. aaaah! Overwhelming.  One of these days I think I’ll go to the Sewing Arts Center and take a class.

 

Why? Because I usually do some sort of give-away… right?!  So here I am in Florida and there won’t be anytime for blogging… and there might not even be wifi where I am staying. I’m at my grandmother’s house- where the knitting all started.  And then Fri, Sat, Sun I will be at A Good Yarn for a trunk show! Yay!  I have never been to this shop before but I am very excited to go and see all the lovely and exclusive yarns Susan carries.  I know she has very special things there.  I wonder if I will have enough room in my suitcase…

Anyway- if you are going to be in the area, make sure you stop by A Good Yarn and say hello!

 

Moving right along, I promised you a give-away right?!  So here it is- one lucky winner will get two hanks of Kollage Toasty  (100% wool, 108 yards) in the color 8203 Foliage as well as a PDF of the Greenleaf Ascot pattern to go along with the yarn.  And you know I always throw in some fun goodies to go with these prizes.

 

 

So… how to win?!  All you have to do is make sure you follow me on Twitter or Facebook (or both to increase your chances).  To find out if you win check back on Wednesday October 17th- I will announce the winner on my blog.  If the winner doesn’t claim their prize within three days I will announce another winner.  So make sure you check back and continue checking back… just in case!  Good luck to everyone!!!

 

Make sure you go out there tomorrow and spread the joy of knitting and/or crochet by yarn bombing out in public!  If you don’t have time, don’t worry!  You can yarn bomb on any day of the year.  Just go out there and pick a spot that is very public (or private if you’re a little weary) and bomb away.  No time? No problem…. get out those swatches that you’ve been collecting and find something to wrap them around.  It can be anything from a stop sign to a door handle, get fun and creative.  And remember – a good strong seam is very very important!!!

What’s a Grilled Cheese Invitational?  Every year during National Grilled Cheese Month (yes, it really exists) there is the Grilled Cheese Invitational right here in LA.  Of course its always on a Saturday and during the day, so that means I don’t get to go because I’m teaching at the shop every Saturday.  So I decided to host my very own Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational.

 

 

The day before I went to my local Trader Joe’s and picked up seven kinds of cheeses and three kinds of breads.  Then on Sunday Rory went over to one of our favorite local breakfast places, Zabies and picked up a Rosemary loaf I ordered a few days before.  The types of cheeses we had were: Double Creme Brie, Mild Cheddar, Imberico from Spain, Tripple Creme Brie with Wild Mushrooms, Semi-soft Fontina, American, and Raclette.  The bread choices were a rustic style French bread, Cracked Wheat Sourdough, Pretzel Challah, and the Rosemary bread.  I also made sure to pick up some other key ingredients for the Grilled Cheese Invitaional- tomato, avocado, basil, garlic, onions, butter (of course), pear and prosciutto.  Here are a few pictures of all the cheese.

 

   

 

There were only a few rules, everyone had to make a sandwich, you have to make at least three of one type of sandwich (so everyone can taste the sandwich), the scoring was from 1-10.  Of course with my friends, every singe rule was broken.  Boys watched some kind of sporting event on TV instead, Veronica made only two that she cut three ways each, and people scored numbers that were not between 1-10.

Nicole (my sister and model) was the first one to made a sandwich… I can’t really remember what went in it- I think it was garlic, onions, tomato, butter and the cheeses were Fontina & Imberico (that part I remember) and she used the Cracked Wheat Sourdough bread then popped it under the broiler.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of Nicole’s first sandwich because we were so excited to eat that it wasn’t until after that we remembered.  But I do have a cool action shot of Nicole in the kitchen.

 

 

Next was Veronica (I named the Veronica’s Mitts after her).  She started with a guacamole (that she made) and then used the Imberico & Soft Fontina along with the Rosemary bread and threw in some thinly sliced onions and cooked it on the skillet with butter (of course).  Veronica gave me a hard time when I was watching her cook, so there are no “action” shots, but here is a picture of her finished sandwich. Yum!

 

 

I was up next.  I wanted to kick this competition into high gear.  I sliced some onions and cooked them in butter and white truffle oil and then added a few garlic cloves as well as a rosemary and thyme bundle.  Then I put the onions aside and sauteed some thinly sliced pear in the same skillet.  I took the garlic from when I cooked the onions and mashed it up into a paste an mixed it in with some butter and (fat-free) mayo (how do they make that?).  Then I took the rosemary bread and made a layer of Imberico then topped it off with the onions and pears, then a layer of the Raclette.  It went into the skillet and browned until it got all gooey.  When it was about 5 seconds away from being ready I took them all off the skillet, spread one side with the garlic paste I made and threw them in for another five seconds.  Here are a couple pictures:

 

       

 

After that we were all a little tired of cooking and the game was over, so we decided to take a break and go to the beach for a little while.  We drove over to Will Rodgers beach and just hung out there for about an hour or so until we were ready to head back home for some more cheese.

 

When we got back Nicole was very excited to get started again.  She started to crisp up some thinly sliced pieces of the Prezel Challah in the toaster oven.  Then she made some kind of mustard-butter paste (I wasn’t really paying attention, I was on Pretzel Challah crisping duty).  She used the Sourdough for the outside then out in a layer of Semi-soft Fontina, a layer of the crisped Prezel Challah, a layer of Tripple Creme with Wild Mushrooms and then spread the mustard paste over the top slice (on the outside), and then popped it into the oven and then then the broiler.  After it was all golden brown and crispy she added some freshly chopped tomato to the center and served.  It was very good.

 

   

 

Then I decided to make one more sandwich.  I was pulled out the big guns!  I had made some of my mac-n-cheese for Thanksgiving and threw in a separate batch into the freezer for the perfect day.  Two days ago I pulled it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost.  I warmed it up in the oven (man I forgot how good this stuff is!) and was got ready for the sandwich of a lifetime.  Woohoo!  The Macaroni and Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich!  Yes!  I pulled out the Pretzel Challah for this one and put a layer of Cheddar, a layer of The Mac, and a layer of American.  That is all.  I greased the baking sheet with olive oil spray and covered the sandwiches in it as well and put it in the oven.  Here are a couple of photos so you can see the decadence.  It was very gooey (I promise), and yummy!

 

     

 

After that it was all over.  That was the heaviest sandwich ever!  It was pretty good too.  I think Nicole’s first sandwich was the best one of the whole day.  The other judges did not agree.  Veronica got first place with her guacamole grilled cheese sandwich.  I guess we all should have used some avocado to level the playing field.  Here are a couple of pictures of Veronica with her prize!

 

      

 

She got a wonderful and very official certificate and a coupe of washcloths I knitted up from Mason Dixon Knitting (a personal favorite).  I wanted to make a t-shirt for the prize, but I ran out of time.  Next year I might made an apron as a prize for the winnder, with pictures of cheese everywhere.  Haha!  So my little gathering was quite successful and that included a detour to the beach.  We had fun and can’t wait until next year!  Woohoo!