Sunday, October 26, 2014

Weekend Project: Fruit Crate Shelf

Friday afternoon I wandered into Zoe's Store on 14th, a great little thrift store, always full on inspiration, and picked up a simple wooden fruit or veggie crate for $12. (They had a sturdier 25 dollar option, but I thought this ricketier one had more charm).

Since shabby chic is all the rage right now, you can find thousands of ideas for what to do with these crates on Pinterest. I thought to make a shelf  out of mine.

Coming to me as is though, meant it needed some work.

I pulled out some old nails, and added some new ones.

Gave it a serious scrubbing (the clear water in the pail was practically mud by the time I was through.

I resisted the temptation to paint it, wanting to salvage the original labeling on top.

And instead gave the inside a coat of a deep mahogany stain (two in one stain and polyurethane sealant).

Added some brackets for easy hanging and threw it up on the wall.

Furnished it with an ikea lantern, and a pair of milk bottles, not to mention some fresh fruit, and there you have it, a quick and easy weekend project in the bag!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Namasaturday 02: Late night mental yoga.

My favourite part my yoga practice is taking savasana at the end. After an hour and 15 of focussing on my breath as I move through each posture, savasana is the clearest my mind ever is. So peaceful.

Thursday night I was woken up by my cell phone ringing with some unfortunate news, and afterwards I thought there'd be no way to hush the noise in my head and fall back asleep afterwards. I thought to myself that I needed the peace of savasana, but wasn't about to hop out of bed to run through some sun salutations. So instead I tried some mental yoga instead.

First I chanted (with my thoughts) the opening chant to the Ashtanga Practice. And then I began to do sun salutations. Counting my breath, and visualizing the movements.

Inhale, hands go up.
Exhale, fold forward.
Inhale, chest and eyes look up.
Exhale, jump back, chaturanga.
Inhale, up dog.
Exhale down dog.
Take five long breaths.
At the end of your exhale, bend your knees and look forward.
Inhale, jump forward look up.
Exhale, bend forward.
Inhale, hands go up.
Exhale, samasthiti.

Going through these mental sun salutations calmed both my body and my mind. Eventually I was able to get some sleep.

Today is a reminder that yoga is available to you both on and off the mat. Even if you have not physically practiced in a few days.

And with that I'll leave you with the translation of the ashtange closing chant, the words of which seem particularly appropirate with everything going on in the world these days.

May all be well with mankind.
May the leaders of the earth protect it in every way by keeping to the right path.

May there be goodness for those who know the earth is sacred.
May all the worlds be happy.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Thank God for Cats on the Internet!

Sometimes you just need something to make you smile.

Or to help you get through Friday and make it to the weekend.

Or to do both.

Good Mythical Morning (on YouTube) drew my attention over to just now. And I can't click away, or do I want to.

It's basically a website that loads a random GIF of a cat, set to music. And it's different every time you reload. And they are all purrfection (see what I did there?).
 So click on over to the webiste and enjoy. Then go and hug someone you love today. Have a happy Friday!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm about to go over to the dark side.

I am on my way out the door to get my very own Costco membership. And it makes me want to die a little inside.On the other hand, I can't wait to come home with a lifetime supply of pickles, and devour them in less than a month.

Hopefully by waiting until after dinner it won't be a zoo?

Who am I kidding, it's going to be rediculous, at least Kevin is coming for emotional support.

Some other things that happened today.

1)For the 3rd time this week I spooned jam onto my toast, then washed the spoon before spreading the jam.

2) I started reading Grace's Guide Book (the art of pretending to be a grown up) and love!

3) I bought this for a couple of bucks.... I can feel a weekend project coming on!

That's all for now, Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Crochet Corner: Floor Cushion

When I have to start new things (and I'm procrastinating on them) I sometimes find a related task I like better, to do first. For instance to work on writing project for school, I certainly didn't decide I needed a new work area and then spend a day wandering ikea and assembling a desk and lamp. I mean that doesn't sound like me.

So as part of my goal of leading a more yogic life style, I decided I should give meditation a try. Which of course means I need a cozy floor cushion to sit on while I do it. So naturally that means a whole new crochet project (and not actual time spend meditating yet).

So here's the finished product.

And here's the pattern.

Solid round bottom side (12 rounds):
Round 1: Using a super bulky weight yarn in main colour, and a 6.5mm (K) hook, chain 4 and then make 11 DC into fourth chain from hook (12 DCs)
Round 2: 2 DC into each DC (24 DCs)
Round 3: *1 DC into first DC, 2DC into next DC* repeat around 12 times (36 DCs)
Round 4: *1DC into each of first 2 DC, 2DC into next DC* repeat around 12 times (48 DCs)

Continue in this manner, increasing by 12DCs evenly around, until you have completed 12 rounds (144 DCs)

Sides of cushion (3 rounds):
On next round, 1DC into each DC all of the way around, working only into back loop of the previous round (round 12 of the flat bottom circle). This will create a square edge between bottom circle and sides.
Next round, 1DC into each DC all of the way around, working now into both loops (normally).
Repeat previous row.

Top of cushion (12 rounds):
Round 1: *1 DC into each of next 10 DCs, then DC2tog* Repeat around 12 times (132DCs) working into back loops only of previous row (to create a square edge between top circle and sides.)
Round 2: *1DC into each of next 9 DCs, then DC2tog* Repeat around 12 times (120DCs) working into both loops of previous round as normal.
Round 3 *1DC into each of next 8 DCs, the DC2tog* Repeat around 12 times (108DCs).

Continue in this manner decreasing 12DCs evenly around, until round 11.

Stuff your cushion full of fiberfill... I used nearly an entire large bag.

Round 11: DC2tog 12 times around.
Round 12: 12 DCs.
Bind off yarn and sew the hole in the center, pulling 8 DCs of previous round tight.

Colour pattern: I did rounds 1,2,11 and 12 in the main colour, rounds 3,4&5 in blue, 6,7&8 in green and 9&10 in purple colours.

 The two rows that were worked only in the back loop can now be worked  in the front rows to add a decorative trim, which also helps define the shap of the cushion.
With second colour (worsted weight yarn) and 5mm (H) hook, 1SC into front loops only of each DC in these rows. (Row 12 bottom and row 3 sides).

Overall this cushion was super easy to make, help me to use up yarn from my stash and is super comfy to sit on.

One great tip, if you don't have any Super Bulky (size 6) yarn around, you can mix and match yarns together, for the blue and the green stripes I held a size 4 and size 2 yarn together. For the purple stripe I held a 3, 2 and 1 together. Doing this for the whole cushion would really burn through your yarn stash, and creates a great tweed look!

Reverse side (in the magazine you can see the blanket I'm also working on right now)

What yarn projects are you working on lately?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Namas-Saturday....get it? It's a yoga pun.

Since July I've been practicing Ashtanga Yoga as close to every day as possible. And I've made some huge strides. In addition it's becoming an essential part of my daily life and mental health. Because let's be honest, Grad School is notoriously horrible for your mental health. You can read a shocking article on the subject by Science Careers, reporting that nearly 60% of all graduate students self report mental health issues. And I am most certainly one of the 60%, especially this time of year when daylight hours in Calgary inevitably overlap with lab hours.

So as a preventative measure before winter sets in, here's to yoga!

This morning I attended Dana Blonde's Ashtagna Level 1-2 class at 10am at the Yoga Shala here in Calgary. And here are some things about that:

  1. I hate morning yoga, those first forward bends during sun salutations, oh the toes seem so far away, I really need a couple hours of moving around to loosen my legs up.
  2. Especially because yesterday I did not practice asanas, instead I attended a Yoga Philosophy class at the Yoga Studio North, by Anne Douglas, and sat on the world's second most uncomfortable chair for two hours and took notes. (I had previously sat on the world's  first most uncomfortable chair the last time I attended a workshop at the Yoga Studio North, and arrived early this time to avoid that situation)
  3. So at yoga this morning I chanted this mantra in my brain during my sun salutations "Don't Notice Me, Don't Notice Me, Don't Notice Me" hoping to avoid Dana's attention for an adjustment. Hoping to have a easy class of it.
  4. I figured I could get away with it, sure my mat was located right at the front of the room, but come on, it was a full house, so maybe I'd get lucky.
  5. NOOOPPPE the mantra did not pay off. She decided to 'assist' me in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana or the balancing posture where you hold you leg up by your big toe.
  6. And let me tell you, the assist just makes you work your but off, my quads were screaming by the time we got to part C.
  7. On the other hand, I felt hugely empowered and impressed to have had my leg held way higher in the air than normally, and smiled (while gritting my teeth) through the whole thing.
  8. During the seated postures I made a literal huge jump forward today, I managed to jump directly through from downward dog to seating, in one motion, keeping my hands planted, about half the time. A feat which I have previously only managed once or twice, and has been a mini goal lately. I guess after being forced (forced is a strong word, but yeah) to work harder than my lazy brain wanted to during those balancing postures I committed to working extra hard throughout, and it totally paid off. Thank you Dana.
  9. We then took some time to explore some postures from the begining of the seond series, which was great, especially because we skipped Navasana while we were at it.
  10. Then poof! I guess it was karmic payback for my earlier ill intentioned mantra, but I got spotted for an assist again, this time working through the shoulder stand sequence. But it was a great assist, because even tho I thought for sure I would fall the second my elbows came off the ground to get into Urdhva Padmasana, or flying lotus pose, I was well supported and it was great.
So that was my yoga today, an unexpectedly great way to end a very full week, and I walked out of the studio feeling so full of goodness.

In other news, the September issue (I think) of Yoga Journal recommended the book Going Om, which is a collection of short stories by yogis who are also writers; and I picked it up last night. I can't wait to curl up with it tonight, it features some authors I've previously enjoyed (Cheryl Strayed and Suzanne Morrison).

Any how, since yoga is such an important thing for me lately, I'm going to be writing about it here every Saturday in a post series titled Namas-Saturday. (Namaste.... get it?) so now you have that to look forward to!


Memebox Superbox #45 korea's Most Wanted

Yeah free things from the internet!

Every so often (really and truly infrequently) I get free things in the mail from the internet. And it legitimizes me as a blogger. And sometimes they arrive when I'm way to busy to blog about them (which immediately takes away the sense that I am actually a blogger...whatever that is).

This time, the box arrived, and I opened it up and took pictures....and well I haven't tried anything yet, but we'll get to that.

So thank you to 20something Bloggers and Memebox for sending this perk my way!

So I've never had a subscription box before, but I know they are pretty much a thing now. Unfortunately usually when I think I want one, they don't ship to Canada. So apart from knowing that memebox was a beauty subscription box, I didn't have any other expectations.

It arrived in a sweet pink box, which, since I hoard things like boxes I will probably keep... and will maybe upcycle it or something. So for the box alone, excited!

Inside it was packed full of beauty products, and I do mean full, only a single piece of tissue paper for padding. All of the products are from Korea, so that's fun too, except for this:

Some of the products claim to be "Dermatological test completion" which I know is probably just an unfortunate google translation thing, but since I have admittedly sensitive skin, means I'll be doing text patches with all of them. The above product is some sort of skin bio-cellulos soothing patch, recommended for sun burns... so I'll be taking these to Mexico with me next month (box came with 5).

 The box also came with a Shara Shara Tinted Style lip gloss (suuuper pink!), a Pure Skin overnight mask (suuuuper lemony), some Hope Girl Nail Polish (all clear coats with gold sparkles) and a Blithe Patting Water Pack (whatever that is).

And finally a Makeup Helper compact, which is a little bit light, and pretty heavily scented for a powder, but it has a sweet mirror, and so I'll get a lot of use out of that at least.

So there you have it. I'll update this post as I try these products, and although you can tell why I'm not a beauty blogger (I mean most days I don't wear any makeup at all, much to my mother's dismay), it was fun to get some new beauty products to try out!

What subscription boxes have you tried out? Any favourites that come up North?