Monday, February 17, 2014

Exercise - My Least Favorite Thing To Do

Another one of those unpalatable New Year's resolutions. I'm trying to live a more healthy lifestyle. Eating lots of vegetables and fruits, as little processed foods as possible. I'm interested in dropping a few pounds too because I am not at a heart healthy weight. Exercise is the catalyst that brings all these efforts together.

But, I haaaaate exercising. I have a stationary bike in my bedroom that makes a lovely hat rack. It is the most uncomfortable thing in the world to sit on. I even bought a new gel filled seat that doesn't make it any more comfortable. And I don't think my knees like all that pedaling very much either. It's facing the TV so I can zone out while riding but I keep looking at the clock to see if it's time to get off the torture seat.

I do like to walk, though. I understand walking is a very beneficial work out. At the moment, this is what the weather looks like where I live.

            So I won't be doing any outdoor walking until around end of April.

I have, however, devised a plan. I'll walk indoors and take my mind off the distasteful chore by giving myself some "eye candy". Purposefully walking the mall is painless. I don't even know I'm working out. My imagination is busy taking in all the storefronts. After my workout, I can stop and rest on a comfy sofa or chair with a grande' latte' and people watch or read or even knit. This does count as "exercise" even though it's painless.

I have discovered another great place to walk-work-out and I go there often anyway. The supermarket is a great work out venue. Our local ones are huge.

I don't just run in and get what's on my list and run out. I intentionally walk up and down each and every aisle in the supermarket, I'll walk all around the perimeter. If I do spy something on a shelf that I want, I will stop and put it in my cart but I walk many aisles where I know I am not interested in the merchandise. But groceries are not my primary purpose, burning calories is, getting my heart rate up, warming and stretching my muscles, is: the purpose. Once again, eye candy. I'm distracted by the merchandising and not really annoyed by the fact that I'm working out.    

Here is where I worked out today:

This guy just happened to be outside the store. I had my camera with me and asked the officer if I could take his picture. The horse looked right at the camera and smiled for me.

Another venue where I took advantage of the shear size of the indoor track was Hobby Lobby on Saturday. Intentionally, whether or not I was interested in what that aisle held, I walked up and down each and every aisle in the store and around the entire perimeter.

I have never had a good, reliable pedometer. They always go kaflooey on me. But I do think a purposeful walk around one of these stores is at least half a mile. I know the mall is a mile. They have it posted there. Many "exercisers" walk the mall in the early morning before the stores open for the day. The mall opens specifically for this purpose. That's too early for me though. I don't mind dodging crowds.

Another bonus or "plus" to this type of work out is you get to throw all your stuff in a cart and walk around leaning on it. So winter coats, even boots and heavy purses do not weigh you down. You're free to exercise unencumbered.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tee Shirt Scarves

Occasionally the meetings of the women's ministry at my church has a meeting where we do a craft project together. In the past, we have made facial scrubs, greeting cards, made pillowcase dresses for the ministry "dress a girl around the world".

This past Friday, our craft project was a tee shirt scarf.

I had never heard of a scarf from a tee shirt and couldn't imagine how it was done. We were instructed to bring a large tee shirt, scissors, a measuring instrument and a snack to share.

                    This leader had knotted two scarves together.

When we arrived, all the woman's ministry leaders had one of these scarves around their necks. They were awesome. Needless to say, we all jumped right in, snipping, measuring, kibitzing. Not a soul went near the food. Therefore, can we assume that crafting is more fun than eating.

I must note that when we were finished making our scarves and parading around looking at all the beautiful scarves our sisters had made, we did have a snack in our hands.

I do want to make an attempt to share with you how to make one of these beautiful scarves. A tutorial is in order.

1 - For the tee shirt  (cotton - no spandex), you can go to a charity store like the Salvation Army or GoodWill, or you can buy one at JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby or Michael's using your 40% off coupon, you can raid your husband's tee shirt drawer for ones he would donate if he could bear to part with the old thing.

2 - Lay the tee shirt out on a table, making sure the bottom hem is matching back and front. Pat it out so it looks all straight before beginning to slice.

3 - Cut across the bodice of the tee shirt, from arm pit to arm pit. Remove the top third of the tee shirt (the part with shoulders, neck and sleeves). You will just be working on the bottom 2/3's of the shirt. What you have before you now is a tube.

In this pic, you can see the bottom edge of the shirt on the lower right (under her hand) Also under her hand you'll see that she has removed the hem of the shirt and it is dangling down off the table. NOTE: you must cut off the hem of the shirt.

Up where you see the blue ruler in the pic, is where the shirt has been cut away from the top third, from arm pit to arm pit. On the far left of the pic, you see the part that was cut off and will not be used for this project (but would make a good dust rag).

The charming lady is slicing her tee shirt from one side seam up to - but not through - the opposite side seam. When she is finished slicing, the shirt will resemble a Hawaiian grass skirt. This is good.

Next comes the most fun part:  Run your hand between the two layers of the shirt at the seam that has NOT been cut through and gather up the uncut edge in your hand. Pick it up off the table while holding that gathered, uncut seam in one hand and with your other hand inside of the loop/strip pull and stretch as far as you can, each one of those loops until they curl up like a rope or cord. Sometimes where you've held onto the loop to stretch it doesn't curl up. In that case just pull both sides of the uncurled spot until it curls.

                                   Pulling loops until they curl.

Open up your big tube of cords into a circle (infinity scarf).  The part of the tee shirt that the cords are attached to (the seam that you didn't cut through) you will now cover with a scrap part of the tee shirt. Scrunch that part up as tight as you can and wrap the sliced off hem around this gathered part, securing it by tucking it in on both ends. Or as I have done with this turquoise one I made - I wrapped one of the ribbed cuffs from my shirt around it and hand sewed it neatly closed.

The cuff of my long sleeved turquoise men's tee shirt, raw ends folded inside and hand sewn together covering the connection part of all the strands of cord.

This is how my scarf looks doubled. I know by now you've noticed the braid. I didn't include the instructions for that in this tutorial. I don't think it adds much to the look. This was my first try. I think whenever I make another one, it will be without a braid.

I did also make a flower out of one of the sleeves. But, really, how much embellishment can you have on one scarf?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

♥ Be My Valentine ♥

I have three sweet little granddaughters that live far away from Grammy. I like to keep in close touch with them because I don't get to see them often enough (for me). So we phone, skype, sent notes and cards and once a year I visit them at their "far away" house. This famine of "hands-on" and "up close and personal" makes me very sad.

Last week, while doing some grocery shopping, I went to the greeting card aisle to pick out Valentine's cards for each of them and when I saw the price of each card on the card backs, I went into sticker shock. I determined, right then and there, that I would make cards for each of them. I already had all the supplies at home for this project (because I am a "relentless crafter" ).

I treated myself to an intense look at the Valentine's cards on the supermarket shelves to gather inspiration for the ones that I would handmake.

Here are the ones I made:

The blue night sky one has a heart shaped star constellation in the sky. I need to think of a caption to put on this one. I'm thinking of "you're my brightest star". How are you at thinking up captions? Can you think of one I might use on this card. Put it in the comments. I may have to use it (with your permission).The other two are self explanatory. "You make my heart flutter" and "you've captured my heart". I will write a personal little note on the inside of each card.

Also, going in the package to their "far away" house will be three little Valentine bracelets that I made for each one.

Here's the Valentine Bracelets.................

         ♥ Happy Valentine's Day my sweet darlings ♥ Grammy misses you so much ♥