Another week, another challenge...

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So, last week's challenge wasn't so successful. If I count chocolate ice cream into the deal, I spent $9.40 on chocolate last week. That's almost double the amount I was limiting myself to. Oh vell, try again this week!

I should also cut back on spending, but this week there was a sale on at Knit Picks - up to 40% off sock books. They don't ship to Australia, only within the US, but I knew one of my friends (Tom Birch) from San Fran was coming back to Sydney for the Anzac Day long weekend. So taking advantage of the free shipping within the US (if you spend over US$50) and Tom bringing it over when he comes to visit, I spent US$55 on 2 books plus some sock yarn. I just started my first pair of socks, and it's going quite well (although I'm still trying to find out how to not have the holes from where I wrap my stitches when I turn the heel) and thankfully even though the pattern is just basic stocking stitch, the yarn is very pretty, and that keeps me interested!

Also spent $5.50 on an armchair that I bid on eBay...

Well - it costed me more than $5.50 when I count petrol money and the time spent driving there and back (it was all the way out in the Hills district - Beaumont Hills, 45 minutes each way!). I reckon it looks better in real life, and it's quite comfy too! (Am sitting on it right now as I type... :D) It's perfect because I can sit properly whilst I knit instead of knitting on the bed, and I can also sit next to Mark when he's at his table on his computer. All I need to get now is a laptop table, and I'm set.

Oh and talking about buying stuff, when I was buying my text book for a uni class, I bought two Popular Penguin books - Clockwork Orange and Lolita. It's pretty cheap already, and buying it at the UNSW bookshop we get 10% off, so it ended up being $9 each. I hope to do more leisurely reading to kick start my imagination, as well as to possibly improve my (horrid) writing skills. I find that academic journals and articles are sometimes a bit dry, even though I should employ their writing techniques moreso than fiction novels. But being the arty-farty wanky me, I prefer something with an interesting narrative. Have started a bit of Clockwork Orange, and must admit even though it's kinda novella size, it's still a bit of a challenge to read as the language used is slightly cryptic - lots of slang used by Alex, the main dude, and therefore slows the process down a bit as I try to decipher what he's talking about half the time! I know it's the language that is used in the movie, which I remember but not extremely clearly, but having the images you can guess pretty quickly what he's on about, as opposed to having to re-read the paragraph to get the context of what he's trying to say. Sometimes movies do do half the work for you, as you don't necessarily have to "imagine" the protaganist's world, but I guess that's the magic about reading a novel - YOU get to conjure up the images the way YOU think it should be and really no one will judge you. As a movie director of a film based on a novel, if the image you try to recreate does not meet up to the standard of, say, a hardcore fan's expectations, you're just a sucker for punishment... :D

And I've been learning a bit of guitar too! Mark, of course, is teaching me a bit here and there. I now know how to do 2 octaves of the G major scale, and I'm going to try learning a few chords next week. Am trying to practice my picking and also keeping my fingers closer to the frets. I scored this acoustic guitar from freecycle, and even though it's not fantastic - far from it actually, it's good to learn on before I invest in a better than crap guitar.

This week's challenge? To detox my system. It has a lot of gunk. I'm going to try and be as healthy as possible, and also try to exercise everyday again as well. Have made a list of things to do, so that's another challenge - cross off everything on that list! :D

Until next week, smile everybody!

My new baby cousin!

Hello Celyna Tran! :D

(In case you haven't guessed, it's a baby girl!)

Which completes the ideal family of six in the Tran household - my aunt Linh and my uncle Nhan (the proud parents), and the kids Nathan, Trudy and Corey. Can't wait to see Celyna when she's in town over Easter... :D They live in Dubbo, so I don't get to see them that often.

Photographic Update 2

So there is more...

In terms of buying things, I also bought more things such as a Ravelry Project bag that I've been using since it landed in my hands thanks to Kris

And I've started quite a few projects here and there... One of my friends requested a beer cozy for a long neck after I told him that I bought hemp yarn from a yarn store and haven't quite decided what I should knit with it...

It really shouldn't take long, but I discovered that this hemp yarn is in fact quite course and it hurts the fingers after a while, which kinda slows down the process.

I also started on a feather and fan scarf for my boss Rachel, who's birthday was actually 2-3 weeks ago at the end of February... Has a few mistakes, but hopefully she doesn't notice!

I was inspired by the people knitting at the M&S Stitch and Bitch sessions to knit a pair of socks. My first attempt failed BADLY because I decided to start with a fairly tricky cable pattern which enabled me to make heaps of mistakes after I thought it would be fine. So I decided to do a simple toe-up stocking stitch pattern, and I'm also hoping that it'll be knee-length - depends if the yardage of this yarn allows...

And one night I remembered that my aunt in Dubbo is pregnant, so I thought I would knit my new cousin a little jumper. She's apparently going to be born around Easter time, or probably even now... I should give her a call soon. But I did this all in 2-3 hours about a month ago, and haven't touched it since...

And Daddy's birthday was a good month and a half ago, yet I still haven't finished the first piece! It's the back I'm currently doing, so hopefully I'll finish it sometime soon. I'm knitting it up with some Patons Wool Tweed DK, and it's actually looking kinda nice, despite the few mistakes at the bottom when I was still figuring out the pattern - couldn't be bothered frogging it back, so hopefully Dad won't notice that either!

We have a friend residing in our balcony. Don't know what to call her, but she's massive. Doesn't look it in the picture, but she's huge, and her web is also quite big. Any suggestions as to what to name her? Click on the pic to enlarge her, but be warned that the photo is quite blurry...

And last but not least is the BESTEST THING EVER! One of my very close friends Cecile went to the US of A recently to get away from it all, and when she went to Disneyland, she brought back for me a LITTLE ARIEL! And her Little Flounder makes bubble-under-the-sea noises, and it's just sooooo cute! Also bought be back a Playbill from NYC, which I hope to go in October this year to actually SEE the production!

And yah, to update on my weekly challenges? Not that great. Haven't been going for runs because I've been just too tired and flat out with teaching and uni and Bombshells, which is now over. But I have been maintaining my fruit a day, and staying away from soft drinks since my one slip up with that can of Diet Coke. Haven't had Maccas since, and have been trying really hard to knit at least an hour a day... Haven't really knited for an hour today, but will do after finishing this blog entry. :D

This week's challenge? I'm only allowed to buy $5 worth of chocolate a week for the next 4 weeks at least. Today I already bought $4.40, and consumed half of it (Hershey's Cookies and Cream is soooooo good), so I should save the rest for extreme emergencies and I shouldn't buy any more this week. I thought up this challenge after I bought the chocolate going "Wow, 2 bars of chocolate and it costs $4.40 already... Chocolate can be expensive, maybe I should cut back a bit..." I know, I know, I can't believe I thought that either.

Photographic update

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Here are some photos to update you what I've been doing lately... Excuse the crappy quality of the photos - most of them are blurry, but I'm just showing pictures, not really creating art. :P

Most recently - My new fringe. Like?Apparently it makes me more Asian and younger, which I don't mind either....

I've also been buying things off eBay, which I should stop doing, but hey, trying to boost the economy, right?

One purchase was a Polaroid camera - I just recently bought film for it (so expensive! Turns out being $2.50 per photo) and the stupid camera ate up a whole packet (10 photos, so $25 lost). Oh well, I'll see if I can try and find out whether I can use the wasted photos on some artistic collage.

Also off eBay I bought a cupboard to store my stash of yarn... And here it is:

This is the cupboard itself, with the middle shelf exposed and therefore a perfect place for me to store the knitting books and notions.

My top shelf!

And bottom shelf...

Needs to be a bit more organised, but I like how it's in a shelf now and not in boxes, and I can look at it from time to time to remind me how much yarn I actually have...

And I'm holding a stall at Glebe Markets, and my first batch of inventory for the stall came last week - here's a sneak preview!

Pretty ain't it??? If it's not all sold, it's just more for me!

And I finally got to clean my 1kg of Romney fleece that I bought last year off a Ravelry member. I bought Ashford Hand Carders from Petlins in Rhodes and it's a bit of a slow process, but it's getting there...

Ahhh! Running out of time, need to dash to teach... So shall create another entry with my WIPs that I've started in the past month or so...

Another relief is that I finished Bombshells, which turned out to be a very well received production. But no more shows this year! Focus on me, me, me. And knitting. And piano...

This year's dream...

To go here...

Broadway, New York City.

To visit, of course... Don't think I'll actually be in a show there.

No self control....

I have no self control sometimes... The other night I was so tired and stressed out and feeling sorry for myself that I caved in and had a soft drink. Not that having a soft drink is bad for you, but the whole no-soft-drink-for-the-rest-of-the-year thing didn't work. But you know, sometimes you have your one lapsed moment, and then you pick yourself up again and try harder.

I also haven't gone for a run in ages. Ages as in about a week and a bit. Too lazy. Although I've been trying to eat less in general and I still am maintaining and losing a bit of weight. But I'm still eating junk. Lots of chocolate, and chips. I can't live without chocolate, even if it's a small bite each day - Chocolate is part of my staple diet. But I think I can live without chips.

So this week's effort of a challenge will be no chips. No twisties, no hot chips, cheezles, nadda.

And also to knit heaps. Have so many projects going on at the one time... It's crazy!

Have also been hand carding fleece that I bought about a year ago, and the fleece is really pretty and soft. Going to see if I can try spinning it with my spindle later, but I have 1kg to go through - I think I've only gone through like 50 grams so far? It's going to take forever, but I'm persistent!

Oh - and I've organised a stall at Glebe Markets for the Easter weekend - Saturday 11th April. Those who knit should come by and check it out! If not, come by and say hi anyways... :D

My (quasi) Weekly Challenges

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These are my weekly challenges that start from that week onwards for the rest of the year. Will update and edit accordingly. :D
  1. No more Maccas
  2. No more soft drinks
  3. Eat a piece of fruit daily
  4. Jog/walk every single day
  5. Knit for at least an hour a day
  6. No chips of any kind

So much for a challenge, eh?

Well last week's challenge of a) jogging every day and b) knitting for an hour a day didn't quite work. There was at least one or two days where I didn't knit, and there was at least 3 or 4 days where I didn't jog? Sigh... Procrastination much.

So this week's challenge is to uphold last week's challenge for one more week.

Uni is starting again soon, and I'm kinda nervous about it all! Need to focus on getting things done.... GAR!

And Bombshells is a show that I've been musical directing which is in it's production week. And now I'm also playing the piano for it, so lots of things I need to do this week!

On top of that I'm organising a stall at Glebe Markets to sell yarn, and hopefully I'll be able to grab a stall and have some yarn to sell! :D

Should go and knit now - lots of knitting to do. Need to knit 3 vests in a week!