Monthly Archives: March 2016

Small Projects: Knit & Cook & Declutter 

My energy level is improving. I’m doing grownup stuff:

  • fill out our income tax form
  • Which leads to thinking of closing my Etsy shop
  • cleaned out part of the attic
  • decluttering Christmas decorations

Knitting Success: Dyed Yarn

The Easter egg dye experiment continues. I was hoping I had enough yarn for a cowl & matching hat. The cowl is finished. I had a small amount for the hat. It will not match the cowl. But it will be another experiment after checking my scrap yarn jars. Time to get more egg dye kits. 


Nebbiolo cowl designed by Thea Coleman


Prepping pale blue & beige grey yarns for dyeing

The cowl is Nebbielo by Thea Coleman, Baby cocktails. I modified it for two reasons. The cable ‘shrank’ the length too much to wear doubled.  I just could not get the cable right.  Turns out I could not do the lattice right either. 

I’m still marking this one a success, mistakes & all. 

Cooking Success: Salmon Patties

From the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook by Michele Tam. 


Salmon patties prepped for pan frying


Salmon patties

Yum!  And they were even better as leftovers on salad. Double yum!

Decluttering Success: The Attic


Styrafoam waiting for recycle

These are three of five 55 gallon bags of styrofoam guts from old electronic product boxes. Found out the local UPS store can use them for packing. Win! They don’t go into the landfill. The outer cardboard boxes have been broken down & stacked. Waiting for the next recycling day. 


Christmas ornaments in the giveaway pile

These are Christmas ornaments that I haven’t used since the kids were here. The precious ones are still good and safe in the attic. 

Fitbit told me, I climbed 25 flights of stairs. 

I’m done. 

Being a Grownup Failure: Closing the Shop

I haven’t had the mental or physical energy to make bags or market them. Filling out tax forms make it undeniable. I’ll continue to make bags for fun, but probably close the business soon. 

Small Projects: Cooking Success & Fail (Success)


Nom Nom Paleo cookbook & cool swag

I won this book, Nom Nom Paleo, Food For Humans & other fun stuff on Instagram  @nomnompaleo a few weeks.  I don’t win stuff very often. This was a real treat. And have been trying something new every week. 

I made lots of bone broth. The freezer is nicely stocked with 4 0z. cubes of broth. 

(At the same time, I HAVE been slowly KonMari decluttering and organizing the freezer. I have learned the importance of labeling & dating everything. Otherwise, it DOES get buried and forgotten.)

This week, Kalua pig is a success. Just know, Costco’s pork shoulder comes in a 17 pound package. Huge! But I could not resist at $1.79/lb. This should last us a few months or enough for a nice party. Very little work but lots of time required. The total yield is 10 lbs portioned in quart size ziplock freezer bags, labeled and frozen. 


Bone broth & Kalua pig for the future

Next time: grind half of the shoulder into patties to try other recipes in the cookbook, like meatloaf, or Vietnamese lettuce cups.  


Pork shoulder sprinkled with smoked paprika & salt

Sadly, the mayonnaise on the other hand. Total fail. This is not the fault of the recipe. Lesson learned, ALWAYS check out the correlated YouTube videos. 

  1. Use a container three times deeper than the contents.  Two times is not enough. 

    Wrong wrong wrong container

  2. Use a narrow container for immersion blender. 
  3. Pay attention to the word, ‘PULSE.’ 

    Forgot to pulse

  4. Doing it again, the same way, doesn’t make it any better. 
  5. Nor does the high speed blender fix it. 
  6. Find a salad dressing recipe for the failed leftovers. (Update: Incorporated the failures into the successful batch)
  7. Clean up the greasy mess and try again tomorrow.

Update: Finally, the fourth time, success with the mayonaise. For my immersion blender, I shouldn’t dump all the oil on top of the egg. It did work when I gradually added a tablespoon of oil when each spoonful is emulsified. 

Mayo success at last

And we survived last night’s crazy tornados/thunderstorms/flooding. 

Next recipes: Salmon Patties & Fiona’s Green Chicken

Small Projects: Dyeing Yarn Success

Long Term KonMari Project: Dealing with all the little unfinished things (& avoid cleaning the freezer)

As you might recall, I realized a lot of my clutter was/is an accumulation of unfinished projects. All of which, in their current state, do not spark any joy. Nope, just the opposite. They spark failure, fear of failure, dread and denial. 

I’m not ready to say good bye to them. I hope I am ready to tackle one or two a week. 

Unfinished Thing 1: Overdyeing Yarn

This project lingered in my craft closet for several years and on the kitchen island for more than several weeks. It also represents a small bin of other yarns I want to overdye. 
Apparently, I still have some brain fog. I forgot to take process pictures.

Forgot to take a before picture. Here is a scrap of the original pale blue grey wool. 


Original blue grey yarn

Also forgot to take a picture of the dyes I used, which I believe are two turquoise and one blue. It was a guessing game. Here are the remnants. Yellow, red, orange, green & purple?

Remaining Easter egg dyeing pills

  • Re-tie the hanks of yarn so there’s not tight spots. (2 hanks of 100 g wool yarn)
  • Soak the yarn in hot water with a glug of white vinegar. (About 1/2 c to 6 c water)
  • Dissolve one turquoise pill in a small amount of hot water. 
  • Add to the yarn. Wearing heavy kitchen gloves to insure the dye has dispursed in the water. Be careful not to agitate the yarn. 
  • Squeeze a small bit of yarn to check for finished color. (Too light)
  • Decided to add a second turquoise pill. 
  • Repeat with blue. (This time I put a glug of vinegar in the dye. It did not dispurse but stuck to the yarn where I poured.) That was not my intention. A live and learn moment. 
  • Set on high for 6 minutes in the microwave. Checked for any dye remaining in the water. Returned to microwave for another 2 minutes. Water was clear. 
  • Left to cool for several hours. 
  • Squeezed as much water out as possible. Hung outside to dry. Forgot the vinegar was in the water. Since I can’t smell it, I’ll give it a good bath after knitting. 


Drying outside

What I learned:

  • I can not be uptight about the outcome. I must expect serendipity, chance, or risk. 
  • This was a LOT easier than I expected. Except, be more careful about agitating the yarn. It did felt a bit. 
  • No hazardous materials used.
  • Very low material cost. (Picked up the Easter egg dye kit AFTER last Easter.)

I can’t wait to start knitting this. Now THIS color sparks joy!


Before and after Easter egg dyeing yarn

I might do this once a week to work through my less than perfect yarn stash. 

KonMari: Small & Long Term Projects

What is wrong with me?

  • I’m knitting hats instead of shawls. 
  • I haven’t gotten back to the digital decluttering. 
  • I’ve no energy to work in the studio. 
  • I couldn’t even figure out what to chat about last week. 

Fatigue from a 1-2 punch combination of a new diet I started after Christmas and slight anemia.

Small projects will continue, until I start feeling better. 

This Week: The Fridge

The reason I picked the fridge….I KNOW there’s almond flour somewhere in there somewhere. I need it for a new-to-me recipe and the new-to-me diet. 

Yikes! There’s a lot of old stuff lurking in the back corners and plenty that no longer fit in my diet. 



See this drawer, stuffed from moving all the grains into the fridge when we changed to the slow carb diet last year. The vitamins will stay. We have been pretty happy with the slow carb changes. But now it is time to truly say goodbye to the SAD (Standard American Diet) and throw it out. 

Long Term Project: Ketogenic Diet

Slow carb was last year. This year is the ketogenic low carb high fat diet.  I thought I could do the simple & easy version using the modified Atkins. It’s been around 10-15 years, with plenty of books.  

But in my case, I am not doing it for weightloss. Nope, I have a newly diagnosed chronic blood disease (starting with fatigue & anemia) called CLL. And I’m hoping that the ketogenic diet will slow the progression to nill.

I found out this week what my fatigue and foggy head is, the Keto flu. It’s the transition from the body/brain using glucose as the primary energy to ketones. The anemia is from CLL and I’m hoping the Keto diet will help with it. (I am not under the watchful eye of a nutritionist or functional medicine practitioner.)



Yes, I found the almond flour. It’s in the freezer for now. (The freezer will be next week’s small-big project.) 

Now I have to find the recipe. 

I’ll have a few more posts soon about CLL and ketogenic diet later. 

Have a wonderful week.