Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Dirty but Healthy Salad

Before the year ends, I want to share a healthy recipe with my readers. Why dirty? With the balsamic vinegar dressing and ground flax seed, it looks like I dropped the salad in the mud-- lol!

I'm following a Fuhrman Nutritarian diet, eating mostly Greens, onions, mushrooms, berries, beans, and seeds. I don't do measurements well. Everything is a dash of this or that, following your taste. Here goes:

1 cup black beans ( I boil my own, no salt added) or use one in cans but low sodium

1 mango

1 stalk of green onion

1 clove garlic, chopped

a few sprigs of cilantro, chopped

1/2 avocado

salad greens or romaine lettuce

a handful of raw cashew

1 tsp of ground flax seed, sprinkle on salad last

for dressing:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp Stevia sweetener, or organic raw sugar (optional)

sprinkle of black pepper


For the coming year, I will dye more yarn and wool roving, knit more, quilt more, and design more free patterns to share with everyone. And I plan to sell yarn from my stash, yarn that I know I will never use. I will clean out my whole house, one room at a time.

That's my New Year's resolutions. Let's see how I fare.

Happy New Year to all of you. Here's to a healthier 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I'm writing this as I'm listening to a BBC 4 Global News podcast of Kim Jung Il's funeral and knitting at the same time.

I'm knitting the Bandana Cowl from the Purl Bee. Chunky yarn, yes, chunky, fat yarn, using jumbo needles as well. That means, I will finish fast--lol!

Day after Christmas, we went and saw Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The theater was packed but we found seats. I never thought I'd say this of a Tom Cruise movie but I liked it. Totally enjoyable. Missions 1, 2, and 3 were forgettable. I saw them all but barely remember what they were about. This one was so much fun that I didn't want it to end. I love his supporting cast of Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg and Paula Patton. I have been following Jeremy Renner's career and knew that he will be famous one of these days and it looks that has already happened.

He will be playing the hero in the movie Bourne Legacy, not to replace Matt Damon, but to play another character. My other favorite actor, Matt Damon, is not even going to be in this movie.

I can't believe that the year 2011 is almost over. Time is just flying way too fast.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Here we are, spending Christmas at my dad's. Everyone's home, lots of food as always. Last night, we took my aunt to the ER and spent several hours there. She's my dad's younger sister, 80 years old. She's had health problems for as long as I can remember. She's never married and lives alone. She took care of all of us, my sister and I, and all my other cousins, when we were still young and living in the Philippines. Being with her last night reminded me of when I was at the hospital with my mom, before she passed on. It makes me sad seeing my aunt like this and it saddens me because she might not recover from this one.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Red Schoolhouse

I can't believe how easy it is to knit this one and it turns out really cute too. Depending on the color of yarn you use, it can be a schoolhouse or simply an old fashioned 1900's house.

You can find the pattern on her website:

or on Ravelry:

1900 House

I'm knitting two more in different colors and will gift them to Emily's teacher. She's one of those people who enjoys hand knitted items.

Here's a mitten ornament on our tree. I was going to make an advent calendar type of banner using mini mittens but I ran out of time. Maybe next year.

Some more handmade ornaments, this one given to me by a crafty friend.

Monday, December 05, 2011

I hate being kept in suspense. Last Friday, I had some blood work done. I've been having these dry eyes symptoms paired with dry mouth. I googled them and came upon Sjogren's syndrome. And, the more I read, the more scared I became. I should have listened to hubby who told me to stop googling my symptoms. The internet can be a good thing and sometimes, a bad influence. I should have listened.

So, come Friday, I went to my doctor and asked him to run some tests. I had to stew for 2 days before I got the results. It was negative for any autoimmune disease. I can breathe again.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy thanksgiving to one and all!

What I'm serving today:
Roast turkey with gravy
home made cranberry relish
cream of corn from Honeybaked Hams (yummy)
my homebaked ham
carrots and brussell sprouts with almonds in garlic sauce
home made mashed potatoes with garlic
pumpkin bars with sour cream frosting from fresh pumpkin
chinese green salad with sesame dressing
sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows

whew! That's a lot of food!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Here is the finished Live Oak Shawlette:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Star!

My daughter Emily is getting an award today for scoring really high in her STAR tests. Although my kids are homeschooled, we are still a part of the public school system. Under Horizon Charter School, we are provided books, curriculum and budget to take elective classes. We report to a teacher every 21 days, who then checks and makes sure we are following "the rules" of the public school system. We've been with Horizon for years now and we like the system.

I also know that homeschooling works for us as evidenced by the high STAR test scores my kids have. These tests are given by the state every year in April. My Matthew also excelled in all 4 test subjects he's taken (Math, Language Arts, Science and History). While home schooling is not for everybody, it works for us. And what about "socialization" as I'm often asked. My kids don't lack in socialization and activities. Our church activities keep them busy every week, non-stop, that Matthew had to give up one or two activities due to lack of time.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

So far, this is what I've knitted of the Live Oak Shawlette. I like the pattern. It's very easy to follow and not boring.

This is one of the window displays at the H&M store at the Roseville Galleria. Pardon the blurriness of the picture. I did not have my camera, just my iPod.

We also went to Krispy Cream and got a dozen donuts. Emily picked this one as her favorite.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I wake up at 3 am in the morning and this is what I pick up:
When I was at Tuesday morning, I found some sock weight yarns, Araucania, wool/silk/nylon blend, on sale for $5.99 and 6.99 per skein. Not sure about the price difference but I bought 3 skeins, about 430 yds per skein. Not bad. I have a lot of ongoing projects but this one helps me with the insomnia problem.

The project is the Live Oak Shawlette from Knitscene Fall 2011.

When the anxiety kicks in, I turn to this project to get my mind off of thinking too much. Yesterday afternoon, I felt the anxious thoughts coming on. I decided to dance to the Wii. After 2 songs, it worked. I felt much better. Not only that, I was able to take a refreshing nap. It helped with the shortness of breath. I probably got about 5-6 hours of sleep last night, including the 3 am waking. I was able to get back to sleep, thank God! I have to cope with this perimenopause thing one day at a time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I have been trying not to write this because it depresses me. I hate being sick and this chronic cough is getting the better of me. There is this one gadget that saved my sanity. It's called a Peak Flow Meter. First of all, my Xray came out fine and so did my Spirometry (breathing test). So, what could be wrong with me? Asthma?

I have been to my doctor 3 times this month and twice last month. No one even suggested a Peak Flow Meter. Finally, with the last visit, he explained to me how it works. My meter reading was very good. I wasn't experiencing an asthma attack at all.

So, I've been using this meter everyday now, for over a week, and I only had to use my albuterol once (before my exercise session with the treadmill).

I am, however, also perimenopausal. And if I was to believe everything I read on the internet, declining hormones can completely get you all wacked out. Big time.

Here are some of my symptoms:
1. anxiety (tightness in the chest, shortness of breath)
2. insomnia ( I wake up at 3 am in the morning, regularly)
3. Acid reflux (gerd)

All of the above happens around dinner time and before I go to bed. I am even afraid to go to bed nowadays, anticipating the oncoming attacks.

What relaxes me? KNITTING and listening to podcasts and audiobooks. AND, my faith in God , that He will deliver me from all of these. I am totally in His hands. If only I will remember to not worry.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Living with Asthma

I think I have asthma. Further tests are being done. I passed the first breathing test and my Xray is okay but I have chest tightness and cough. It is scary especially at night. It's hard to sleep and breathe. And sometimes, I think all of it is just in my head. I get panicky when I think I can't breathe and so, I can't breathe. A vicious cycle.

Knitting relaxes me and alleviates the panicky feeling I get. I knew it was good for something--lol!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This is the cloth I wove yesterday. Yarn used is Peaches and Creme cotton yarn.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weaving on a Hazel Rose Loom. I bought this loom from their website, set it aside for a few years, and have now just picked it up. Quick gratification since you finish really fast.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Latest spinning news: 4 ounces of Merino Silk variegated roving (Before)
Handspun singles on the wheel (after)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The grimace on Emily's face was not really a grimace. Her mouth was just too full of deep fried Oreo goodness. Waiting for her was a slab of tater twists, all bought at the Santa Cruz boardwalk--lol! We had a wonderful mini vacation at Santa Cruz. I swear, all we did was eat.

We checked in at the Best Western Suites near the Boardwalk. I honestly don't remember ever using Best Western. It's a little more expensive than Motel 6 but not as pricey as Holiday Inn. So, I signed up for a 2-queen bed room for 4 people. As we checked-in, they upgraded us for free to a two-suite room with a king-sized bed, a queen bed, a sitting room, mini kitchen, and huge bathroom. Whoa!!

Here is Emily taking over the master suite. Have I mentioned that there were 2 huge TVs as well?

Here are hubby, Emily and Matthew at the beach. The water was still cold.

Emily and Matthew (and me taking the picture) waiting for Dad. He rides with them. I have vertigo and therefore, cannot ride.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Picture taken in front of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. We had a mini vacation to Santa Cruz, and on the way back home, we stopped by WMH. I've been there in the early 80's and found this place really weird. It still is, 29 years later. The kids were fascinated by all the weirdness and the way Sarah Winchester had the house built. I'm going to include the link to the
house and you can read more and see some pictures. During the tour, we were not allowed to take ANY pictures, specially inside the house. They want you to go there and see for yourself. Outside, on the grounds, you can take limited shots but by then, I was too tired to even care. The tour of the house inside and outside took 2 and a half hours.

This is a finished shawl, designed by Stephen West, called
Daybreak. It was an easy shawl to knit. I used a cotton/wool blend yarn called Cestari. I'm not sure if they still make/sell this yarn though.

This last shawl is called the Ginger Leaves Shawl. I've seen a similar design from Evelyn Clark's Triangular shawl book where it teaches you how to design your own shawl. I enjoyed knitting this one as well.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I thought I'd share one of my own designs.

My cousins from Canada are here for a visit. We took them to the Jelly Belly factory. Inspite of the long line and 30 minute wait, I think they enjoyed it. The free candy also helped. We also bought some of our own favorites at $9.00 per pound of Jelly Bellys. They had some odd flavors which fortunately we did NOT try: Barf, Pencil Shavings, Booger, Toothpaste, Skunk Spray, Rotten Eggs, Canned Dog Food, Moldy Cheese, Centipede and Baby Wipes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The yellow blob of lace knitting is now finished and here is the shawl. Sunflower fields shawl, with Emily modelling.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A new shawl in the making: Sunflower Field Shawl by Natalie Servant.

here's my version, so far:

I am using a hank of Knitpicks Merino Lace yarn which I hand dyed myself. I used a mixture of Yellow Sun and Astec Gold acid dyes. I think it turned out pretty yellow-lol!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

This is the crocheted sock yarn blanket I am working on and it is growing slowly. It's getting heavier as well since each square is done with single crochet. Very dense even though I'm using a size G hook.

The Spitzbergen shawl as part of a Knit Along. It is finally finished, only one year late after the KAL ended. I used my own handpainted lace yarn. I should have used a single color lace yarn but I couldn't resist the Merino softness of this one. The picture is upside down since I couldn't figure out how to flip it over. Oh well.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Spinning Cashmere! This is a really old supported spindle that I bought years ago. It's a super spinner. You spin on that little dent in the center of the block. I've finished and washed the yarn and will soon post a picture.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Alien flower from space. I was so impressed with this flower from the San Francisco Zoo. Lots of different varieties there.

Some proof that I've been knitting. One of those long fingerless mitts that can cover the whole hands but when folded down, becomes fingerless. I have no idea what it's called.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Things I notice about myself lately:

1. I am very impatient.

2. I don't really care if the Sacramento Kings stayed or not.

3. I'm sad that Arnold and Maria are splitting up after 25 years of marriage.

4. I love my kids no matter what. I don't like what my oldest is doing with her life but she's still my oldest and I can only pray for her.

5. I like exercising, working in the garden, and re-decorating and doing the laundry.

6. I cannot just sit and watch TV. I have to do something with my hands.

7. I prefer listening to podcasts and audiobooks.

8. I love knitting and crocheting equally.

9. I have way too much yarn.

10. I love, LOVE, my iPod.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Emily: Any new Willow?

me: No.

Emily: Darn!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I've picked up this project that has been hibernating for a while. Now that I'm knitting socks again, I have a lot of leftover sock yarn. Hence, the blanket. These are crocheted 4 inch squares, knitted from sock yarn. Wool and nylon blend and all superwash.

Monday, April 11, 2011

This is what I'm spinning for April, 4 oz handpainted Corriedale cross roving.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My spinning homework for March

Before: a jumbled pile of Merino fiber from Ashland Bay

After: 2 skeins of jeweltone Merino yarn

Before: carded long wool of unknown breed

After: 2 skeins of sage colored yarn

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I caved in

It was just too much pressure. I read Jared Flood's blog. You see, aside from being a gifted photographer and knitwear designer, he also sells yarn. Not just any yarn but American-made (spun) yarn from American wool shorn from American sheep. What stopped me before was the price ($12.50 per 140 yard skein plus shipping of course). Here's the picture of what I bought. I'm just going to try it and see what the hype is all about. It's not as super soft as Merino but not scratchy either. I will let you know how it knits up. I will design a one-skein pattern because I really don't know if I can afford a sweater using this yarn. One or two skeins is it for me because I'm cheap that way.

This is what I'm designing with the fingering weight yarn I bought from Great Northern yarn. One skein is 360 yards, so it should be enough for this cowl. So yummy to knit with.

I had one skein left of the Merino cashmere yarn I used for my cardigan and this is what I knitted. A simple ribbed cowl, using 136 yards of DK weight yarn.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm an avid reader of Anne Hanson's blog, Knitspot. She has some stunning patterns for lace and socks. One day, I read about the Great Northern Yarns company. So, I ordered me some:

These are amazing, soft, huggable yarns. Craig is the owner and he sells these at affordable prices. He ships really fast too. These are blends of yak and cashmere, mink, milk, and cashmere, and 100% cashmere. So many to choose from.

I have great plans for these yarns. Next-to-skin goodness.

Friday, March 11, 2011

An earthquake happened last night, in Japan, with an 8.9 magnitude on the Richter scale. A 23-foot tsunami followed almost immediately. Huge devastation in Japan. I can only imagine the fear and need for help. I don't know how other countries can help since the airport is closed due to damage. We will help, I'm sure.

I experienced the Loma Prieta quake in 1989 while I was 7 months pregnant with my oldest. That only lasted a few seconds but brought destruction. Having grown up in the Philippines, I'm used to earthquakes but you still feel fear.

Prayers going out to Japan and its people and other countries also affected.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

In search of...

the perfect podcast. Okay, so here goes. I went to iTunes and did a search for "fiber podcast".

I came across this one-- American based, hosted by 2 girls. I heard a hissing noise in the background. The girls giggled a lot, said a lot of "yaaayys".

So I move on to the next episode. This one had clacking noises, more giggles, more "yaayyys". And why do they end each sentence with a lilt, like they're always asking a question even if they're not?

For example: " I like this yarn?"; " It is a little snaggy?"
Oh wait, here's another: " We will be reviewing yarns that contain cotton content." he, he, he (the laughter is mine)

or another: " Ooh, this is our 100th episode. yaayyy! It's like.......... yeah."

moving on to the 3rd episode and I ask myself, "Why?"

Disclaimer: Podcasting must be hard. I admire people who do it. It takes courage to speak in front of an audience.Plus, there's the technical aspect. I can't do what they do. Kudos to them. But there is this one word they must remember.


moving on to the next podcast...

Monday, March 07, 2011

Half a century

Yes, my friends and those 7 people that read my blog, I turned 50 yesterday, March 6th. Man, just hearing that number makes me feel old. The good thing is, I don't feel old. I feel the same as when I was 30. However, I don't remember how it felt to be 30. The memory is the first thing to go, yadda, yadda, yadda.

My dad gave me a card that says even though I turned 50, I looked 35. Yay, Dad! I'll take your word on it (but then, he's my dad).

My gosh, I'm a 50 year old woman with a 10 year old daughter. When she turns 40, I will be 80 (shudder). I don't want to think about it.

I read somewhere that when you turn this age, you stop being politically correct. So then, I'm having cake for breakfast.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

I've succumbed knitting the Cobblestone pullover by Brooklyn Tweed. The Electric Sheep keeps talking about it, how easy it is to knit and how wonderful it is to wear, even for a girl. So, I will knit it for myself.

I'm sure you've all heard of the boyfriend sweater curse. I'm not superstitious and I don't believe in curses but I'm not one to challenge it. I am knitting the smallest size, 39 1/2" across the chest, the smallest size for a man. Now, if my husband wants to borrow it, of course, I will let him use it but it is not for him at all. Hubby has muscles and is wide across the shoulders, so, I don't really know if it will fit him. It will be tight for sure, he, he.

As you may know, I have been listening to British podcasts and the BBC Radio 4 network on iTunes and I believe it is affecting my accent (not in a good way). Like I told my son, I am having troubles pronouncing my words. Having lived in the US since the early 80s, speaking English more than half my lifetime, I've been Americanized. Once in a while, I still speak Tagalog to my dad, and my sister, and sometimes, my hubby. I have the normal American accent down pat. Listening to Brits speak is wreaking havoc. But I can't get enough of it. I am so fascinated by the accent.

I want to live in London for a year. Then, a year in Hawaii.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

I was at Joann's when I saw these 2 lonely skeins of chunky yarns. They're 100% acrylic but very soft, the Debra Norville brand called Serenity Chunky. I simply couldn't resist. Plus, they were on sale too. So, I did this simple fair isle neckwarmer or cowl which turned out really warm because of the stranding. This pattern has not been tested so feel free to email me if you find errors. I just wanted to share it with you all, asap.

2 Chunky Skeins Cowl

2 skeins chunky yarn in contrasting or coordinating colors
109 yards Main Color (MC), white
109 yards Contrast Color (CC) brown

US size 10.5 circular needles

Written out instructions: (see following chart)

1. Cast on 84 sts using MC. Join in the round without twisting the stitches.

2. k2 p2 to the end (MC)

3. * k2 MC, k2 CC, rep from *

4. * k2 MC, p2 CC, rep from *
Repeat 3-4 one more time

5-6. K around using MC

7. *k1 MC, k1 CC, k2 MC, rep from *

8. * k3 CC, k1 MC, rep from *

9. repeat round 7

10. k around using MC

11. *k3 MC, k1 CC, rep from *

12. *k1 CC, k1 MC, k2 CC, rep from *

13. repeat rnd 11

14. k 1 round using MC

You can repeat rounds 7-14 until you're ready to do the ribbing or until you're almost running out of yarn. Or, as an alternative design, switch the colors, making brown as the background color.(see sample picture)

15: K 2 rounds using MC

16: repeat round 3

17: repeat round 4

18-19: repeat 3 and 4 one more time

20: k2 p2 to the end using MC.

Bind off in K2P2