2015 and looking back

Another year has come and gone, and despite my long absence from this blog, I still think about you often.  It's been an exciting and crazy year and after a certain point I was so overwhelmed by all the changes that it was hard to sit down and blog about it.  However, I'm looking forward to get back at it, so I thought I would do my 6th Annual "Looking Back" post. 

While over the years I've given you tables of numbers, but this year was a big year, that caused my traditional productivity to take a big of a dive. 

However, I managed to knit by new nephew (who is now four months old!) sweaters and socks, made my first adult garment (a vest) and designed a bunch of patterns I hope to release at some stage. 

I also destashed a bunch of yarn, and still have more (if anyone wants to check it out - you do need to be a Ravelry member to view), but my official stash gives me joy and makes me want to work with it. 

So in the end I think I've met my 2015 goals, with a few exceptions. 

Knit socks, lots of socks, and any other patterns that inspire me.
Done! Despite my crazy summer of working I knit 9 pairs of adult socks and 3 pairs of baby socks.  Two of those pairs were new design that haven't been released yet!

Spin & weave as much as I can without it feeling like a chore.
I actually taught one of my camp counsellors how to spindle this summer, and while I did bring my wheel and looms to camp, I didn't do any of either. I still love both of these, and so I will call this one a half win, because I tried, but the reality of the year got in the way.

Keep the stashing to a minimum, but buy and use the yarns that inspire me.
YES!!!  I took on little yarn and continue to destash and make myself feel better and better about my stash.

Work on other crafts like cross stitch, needlepoint, tatting and crochet, to keep my fingers and my brain working.
Yes!  I'm working on a cross stitch pattern that is coming along slowly, and my main creative outlet for the summer was making friendship bracelets.  Also, I have a crochet blanket on the go that I expect I will work on next summer when I'm back at camp.

Blog more - because I enjoy doing it and I think you folks out there enjoy reading it.
Sort of, I had a good start on this, then I went of to work at camp and my life went a little haywire and I didn't really get things back on track.  So I need to reevaluate this goal when I review my 2016 goal setting.

Thursday Things: Cooking for One

I know that I mostly talk about knitting on here, but I can't help but share about my latest discovery that is making my life easier. 

Here's the thing, cooking for one sucks.  Most people know this, I think it was a meme before there were memes. But it's hard to know how much it sucks till you do it, but the motivation myself to make something other than mac and cheese or salad is somewhat scarce. 

That's where my new friend comes in ... CookSmarts.

This is a meal planning service that has started to motivate me to actually cook meals!  Every Friday they publish 4 new recipes that can be scaled from 1 to any number of servings and will adjust it's ingredients to suit the servings. Also, sometime the meals have pre-planed overlap, so a grain may be cooked for Monday is served with Thursday's dinner.  Or an exotic ingredient will be needed a couple of times during the week to make sure you use it up.

Here is the look of next week's (April 6th) meal plan.  As you can see I started checking off the boxes as soon as I checked it out.  And because I'm not a fan of chicken thighs or shrimp, I selected Monday and Tuesday as Veg, then the other two as GF because I've been finding that wheat and I don't agree with one another so I don't cook it or eat it at home. I've been known to mix and match meal types to make sure I'm getting GF/Veg as my tastes prefer.

CookSmart MealPlan

 Now if some of those meals don't appeal to you or you  want to plan dinners for 7 days, you can add in any of the thousands of previous recipes to your week. With Original, Gluten-Free, Paleo and Vegetarian versions of each recipe, this system has managed to make me try new things and get out cooking. 

Once you've picked your  meals and your servings, CookSmarts generates a shopping list for the meals of the week. It assumes you need everything (like sugar, salt etc) but you can go through the grocery list on the website and "check off" the ingredients you already have in your pantry and then they will either let you print or email your list for when you go to the store.

So far I've only made a few of the meals, but most of my delays have been due to changes in plan, but because of the pre-planning involved, I've been able to store those ingredients (freeze for meats, mostly) and then re-select those meals the next week to make sure the ingredients get used before they go bad.

My two fave meals so far have been Ginger-Beef Stirfry and Swiss Chart and Goat Cheese Frittata (which I made with spinach and feta because that's what I had on hand).

So I'm a fan, it takes the thinking (my main barrier to entry) out of dinner and is helping me be  more responsible about my eating, because I'm an eater not a foodie (to quote Dan Pashman of The Sporkful podcast, another new fave) I don't have the internal drive to create incredible meals just for me.

So this is my first Thursday Thing, which are just things I love and feel the need to share about. This can range from crafting to cooking, and all the other good stuff I love.

Back at my desk

I know lots of you went back to work last week, but one of the things about being funemployed/freelance is that you work when there is work to do and you get to take the time you want when you want it (if the work agrees with you taking a break).

So here I am back at my desk.

I think I know where to start ...

Although I want to just curl up like Jack, that just doesn't work. 

Fresh air and exercise are a much better way to start your day and they do a world of good for my physical and mental health.

On 2015 and Looking Forward

Well, the first full day of the year has nearly passed and I'm finally at my computer to write out this year's goals.

Looking forward and looking back on the Muskoka River

You can see my goals for the last few years, some have been proscriptive and long, other years have been more relaxed.  I think this year is going to be a relaxed goal year because I have a sneaking suspicion that at the end of the year I'm going to be having one of those "well, you can't believe the year I've had" kind of posts.

So for this year my goals are as follows - 

Knit socks, lots of socks, and any other patterns that inspire me.

Spin & weave as much as I can without it feeling like a chore.

Keep the stashing to a minimum, but buy and use the yarns that inspire me.

Work on other crafts like cross stitch, needlepoint, tatting and crochet, to keep my fingers and my brain working.

Blog more - because I enjoy doing it and I think you folks out there enjoy reading it.

That's it.

I think keeping it simple and focusing on the experience, rather than the numbers, will make for an enjoyable year.  So here's to 2015, another exciting year when exciting things are bound to happen.