Gardening · Weight Loss

Time for Plants

Hi There,

It is super warm in Toronto this week. At least for me, I don’t do well with warm. I joke with my coworkers that I would die in South Asia.

So with it regularly hitting 25+C, I think it is time for some balcony gardening. I went to my favourite garden centre to get some plants, Plant World at Royal York and Eglinton.

So now for what I got!

  • Cayenne peppers
  • Bell peppers
  • Roma Tomatoes x 2
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Marigolds
  • Petunias

All so pretty. As you can see I enjoy vegetable gardening more than flower gardening. But I usually buy some colourful plants to brighten up my space. Marigolds do double duty as they tend to deter pests. I still need to get them into their final homes in pots. All my pots are living in my storage locker right now.

My diet is still going well. We had some family over so I had a night off of that. Jumped right back on again though. I even made Harvey’s work. I had the Veggie burger with a side salad and that put me in the right range for calories. I figure based on the calorie counts I see in the app I should be having: 300 calories for breakfast and 400-500 calories for lunch and dinner.

The portion sizes took a bit of getting used to but I am fine with them now. Sometimes I find there is even too much food now.

I haven’t sewn much since my last post. I did get my bias tape makers in the mail so I can make a few meters of bias tape when the mood strikes. Maybe this weekend…

TTYL

Coding · Sewing · Weight Loss

Weekend is here, time for friends

Hi there,

This weekend brought beautiful weather and a great opportunity to hang out with some good friends of mine.

We enjoyed the amazing weather with a walk in High Park. That park has to be the best one in Toronto and it was the perfect day. We chatted about everything and just had a generally great time.

Over the past few years, we have worked together on a mental health app aimed at children. We have over 1,000 downloads and are well on our way to more. The app is Strong Minds and it is a great tool for anyone that needs some tools to help them manage their feelings. I did most of the development and one of my friends did practically all the design and drew all the images by hand. The app is gorgeous and I am proud that we have had no crashes for the past 3 months. It was definitely a passion project between the four of us and one that we are all proud of.

In sewing news, I have cut out those pyjamas I mentioned last time. I just received a set of bias tape makers from Amazon and I can now make my meters of 1.5-inch bias tape for the neckline and the straps. Self-bias tape always looks so good but making it is quite tedious.

As to the diet, it’s still going well. I still have more energy despite my seasonal allergies dragging me down a bit. I’m surprised that my food budget isn’t too far out of line, but I haven’t eaten out in the past 2 weeks so that definitely helps things. The recipes are still delicious and the recommendations from the app are definitely getting better. That AI they are hyping definitely is doing something. There is a pair of leggings I made last summer that are fitting better today than when I first made them.

TTYL

Sewing · Weight Loss

Skirt is done, now what…

Hi there,

I finished the skirt! It looks great!

 

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The Pleated Skirt from Knipmode

 

This was overall a fairly straightforward sew, but I totally ignored the instructions for the invisible zip. After the pocket fiasco, I wasn’t too confident in the instructions. It came together well in the end and I am happy with it. I did go up to a size 52 for this one, I remeasured myself in the waist/hip area and that was my size. This would be the largest size I have measured in European sizes.

The next sewing project I am thinking of is pyjamas. I am thinking of doing the Cupid Cami and Tap Pants from Hot Patterns. I have a few choices for fabric. Trying to decide between a rayon challis or a cotton voile. Both would look great in this pattern. The rayon challis has a paisley print in a pink and purple. The cotton voile is a royal blue colour.

A quick update on the diet plan. Still going well on the food plan. Unnatural Vegan did a spot with her criticisms of the meal plan after trying it for 2 days (that’s what I think she said in the video). I don’t quite agree with her assessment. For one, it sounds like she was setting herself up for failure by deliberately choosing recipes that she knew she probably wouldn’t like. She also sounds like quite the picky eater when it comes to texture. I actually own all of her recommended books in the video, and they are very good. I might incorporate some of the recipes from Appetite for Reduction in my meal planning, some of those were very tasty. As an aside, that was one of the first vegan cookbooks (maybe the first?) I ever bought.

I should probably segue into how I am actually doing the meal plan. For starters, when it’s just me I am cooking for, the recipes call for small amounts of veggies (ie, 1/4 apple, 1/2 lemon, 1/4 bunch asparagus). That will add up to a huge expense if I do a different recipe each meal. What I do is I have a bunch of leftovers, I don’t mind eating leftovers for meals. I figure out what number of servings will use the most whole ingredients and scale the recipe up to there, keeping in mind how well the recipe will keep to the next day. Then I use Paprika to enter in all the recipes and plan my meals in the app. The app generates a shopping list that I use to do my shopping. I don’t mind repeats of meals in a meal plan. I don’t get bored that quickly and honestly doing that many new recipes in a  week are overwhelming.

I try to follow roughly what meals are recommended for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I don’t follow exactly the entire day. I may take one breakfast for one day and pair it with a lunch from a different day, and maybe a dinner from yet another day. This way if one of the meals is a dud I am not stuck with a meal I don’t like. This avoids the Unnatural Vegan’s issue with the meal plan. As to her complaint that the recipes don’t have enough flavour. I figure as long as I am not adding a lot of calories to the meal. Increasing the spices and aromatics should not be an issue, and honestly, I don’t like my food too heavily seasoned anyways, it tastes fresher and cleaner to me without a bunch of extra spice. Although if I am eating Indian food, spices all the way, the more the better.

Well that was a long post. TTYL

Sewing · Weight Loss

1/2 week mark and what’s on my sewing table

Hi There,

Just thought I would check in.

4 days down of the 22 days vegan meal planner and feeling great. I woke up with tons of energy. I have been eating a load more fruits and veggies, maybe my body was missing the nutrients. I have only had 2 out of my 3 usual cups of coffee and I am still feeling awake. Fantastic.

On my sewing table right now is the skirt from the March issue of Knipmode. It’s looking good so far and I can’t wait to show you. The stripes are working well with this pattern. I am about to install the invisible zipper.

The pocket area is weird on this skirt. For one, they have you sewing the pocket bags together before sewing it to the other side. This lead to some very confusing topography. I sewed the side seam with the pocket the wrong way the first time. I got it the right way around for the second side seam. But this one also has the zipper in this same seam. All in all, very confusing. I will be interested to see how the invisible zipper goes in. I might just do some basting so it goes smoothly, otherwise, the seam allowance has a tendency to not be in the right place.

This fabric also frays when you look at it funny. Trying to get in this pocket area to at least serge it off is a challenge. I’ve attached the waistband and fortunately, that went in without too much trouble.

Ah well, wish me luck.

TTYL.

Weight Loss

Time to Get Healthy

Hi there,

I have been feeling over the last few weeks that I have let myself go. I am my heaviest (I think, I don’t weigh myself) I have ever been and I am definitely the largest clothing size I have ever been. My diet lately has been takeout and snack foods. That can’t be healthy.

Being vegan in Toronto, on one hand, is great, there are so many options at restaurants and grocery stores have so many great vegan convenience foods. It’s so easy to find vegan options everywhere I go. On the other hand, these options are not necessarily the healthiest.

When I first went vegan (permanently) I was doing it for the health reasons. I followed the Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live program and did decent at it, that went for about a month until I did the more general WFPB style diet. That I was combining with Weight Watchers for a good part of my undergraduate. My weight, while not where I would have liked at the time, was decent.

In my last year of Uni, I discovered the Fat Acceptance movement and the HAES stuff. I had convinced myself that it was ok to eat junk food with abandon. I ballooned in size. I started having to shop at plus size stores for the first time in my life.

After Uni I went straight into the world of work. My job is sedentary, sitting in front of a computer all day. I went from walking at least an hour every day to and from school to barely any activity at all. My weight went up even further.

I fully accept how I got here. Junk food and take out helped me cope with adjusting to the working world by taking the stress off of cooking. Not worrying about my weight let me focus on getting my foothold in my job and completing my degree with good grades. I don’t blame past me for this weight. I may be unhappy about it, but I was doing the best I could at the time. I only have so much coping ability.

Now I am going to try the WFPB style diet again mostly. I will still have some of the convenience foods in an absolute emergency type situation (ie no food in the fridge type thing). I bought the 22 days nutrition meal planner to get my self some new recipes. That’s the one endorsed by Beyoncé and Jay-Z, I’m not part of the Beyhive don’t worry. Today is my first part day starting it and we will see how this goes.

I hope to look back on this and remember where I came from.

On an unrelated note, I went to see the Sakura in High Park. Absolutely gorgeous.IMG_20180512_154359.jpg

TTYL

knitting

My Soft Harmony Sweater

Hi there,

In addition to my sewing, I also knit. Right now I am knitting a Soft Harmony sweater from the February issue of Fashion Style. Fashion Style is the German translation of Knipmode, but they include a different knitting pattern in there from the knitting magazine Sabrina.

The Soft Harmony sweater is a boat neck sweater with half length sleeves that have a slit in the bottom. The knitting is done in a lace pattern that adds a slight scallop texture to the hem.

 

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The bottom part of a sleeve in progress

 

 

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One of the back/front pieces completed.

As you can see from the pictures I am using the Wendy Supreme DK yarn in 100% mercerized cotton. I always choose plant-based or synthetic fibres for my crafting because I am vegan. My veganism spans beyond my diet and goes to my crafting and general consumption habits as well.

I am enjoying knitting this yarn. Sometimes cotton can hurt my hands because it has no give, but this yarn I am having less of an issue with.

The needles I am using are my KnitPicks interchangeable Harmony needles. I have had these for about 8 years now and I still love them. They are just the right amount of grabby for this yarn and the points are perfect on these 5 mm needles. I find the taper of the point on these needles varies significantly between sizes but the 5 mm have a nice balance of pointiness and taper length. The only issue I have with my particular set in the 5 mm is that one of them like to become unscrewed from the cord. Nothing a quick twist can’t fix but it’s still annoying.

I’m playing chicken with the amount of yarn I have right now. Based on my current tension and how the back and front played out I should have just enough yarn to complete it. I am debating with myself whether to go back to the yarn store and see if they have another ball in this dye lot. I may see where I am at when I start the second sleeve. I have enough thread tails I might be able to salvage for the remaining knitting and the crochet around the neckline.

TTYL

 

Sewing

Delta Hooded Vest Complete

Hi there,

Since my last post, I have completed another project. The Delta Hooded Vest from HotPatterns in collaboration with Fabric.com.

 

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Modelling my new vest

I thought I would give a review of this pattern.

 

The size range is the usual HotPatterns 6 – 26, I made a 16 although I am a 20 based on my measurements. I find Trudy’s draft on tops runs large, perhaps she just prefers more ease.

The instructions on this were quite clever. I especially like how the corners of the hem were done. You end up wrapping the front facing around the back facing while stitching the side seam. The finish this produced was very neat.

The French terry I used for this made a very cuddly hoodie. It was just the right weight and drape for this. It wasn’t so stiff that the hem corners look awkward. The colour is that peachy-salmon colour that looks so good with my skin tone.

All in all a great pattern from HotPatterns. If I needed another hoodie like this I would make again.

The pyjama pants I am wearing in the photo I also made, they are the 5 out of 4 pyjama pants pattern. I have made this pattern 3 times, twice for myself and once for a gift. It is definitely a TNT pattern for me.

TTYL