Welcome to my blog

If you enjoy finding a lot of different outlets for your creativity, then we may just be kindred spirits.
This blog is an outlet for my interest in miniatures, crochet, plastic canvas, and many other various arts and crafts.

I also love walking, taking digital photos, and most recently, have rediscovered an old love...bike riding! I purchased an amazing new bike, a comfy Townie by Electra this summer, and have been having a grand time exploring the area as though for the first time. It's like being a kid again!

If you enjoy any of these things too, pour a cup of coffee and tea, sit down, and join me.

Take care!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

First Bike Camping Trip!

Last Friday I went on my first bike camping trip.  It's been crazy busy and I was away at our family cottage for a few days shortly after, so haven't had time to get on here until now.

I had such a great time!  (There are loads of photos, and each can be clicked on to make them bigger.)

It wasn't a long trip, only about 20 km there, 20 back, but they were hilly kilometers and I was carrying about 50 Lbs of gear on my 30 Lb bike....very different feel from my normal bike rides; much more difficult.

Loaded bike
 Here's my bike, all loaded and propped against the house because it was so heavy my kickstand wouldn't support the weight.
Getting ready to head out for my first bike camping trip
 Here I am with my trusty steed, Corabelle, getting ready to head out.  My Mom is in the background, telling me I'm totally crazy, lol.
Me and my loaded bike
 I'd never ridden a loaded bike before, and it took some getting used to.  I can't imagine how much harder front racks and panniers must be for steering.  I'm ordering some in the winter so I'll be all set for next spring, lol.
Creek along the route
 About half of my ride was along a quiet country road called Base Line. There were lots of pretty creeks and a few narrow bridges.  The above photo is one of them.  I was going so slowly that I was passed by a farm tractor towing a trailer, lol.
The turn from Base Line to Airport Road
 The turn from Base Line to Airport Road is tricky because the fist thing I had to do once I turned was climb a hill.  I made it up every single hill on this trip, and there were lots of them.  Thankfully not too big, but last year I wouldn't have made it up a single one, never mind carrying so much stuff.
Airport Road
 My bike is a hybrid bike, a comfort bike crossed with a beach bike, and it's very comfortable.  I love the upright position and I love my bike,  but in all honesty a mountain bike would be easier for carrying stuff, and for giving me alternate hand positions.  My hands grew numb quickly from the single handle bars, and I had to keep shaking them out.
Arriving at the campground
 This shot is "before the collapse" taken just as I arrived at the campground.  I felt fine until I stopped, got off the bike, and immediately became so dizzy I could barely stand up.

I went in to register and almost collapsed. The couple who run the place brought me to a shady spot behind the building and let me sit in a lawn chair in the shade until I recovered.  They said I had a touch of heat stroke and needed to just sit still and drink water.  I'd been drinking G2 on the ride but I guess I didn't drink enough of it for such a hard ride on such a hot day.  I had a sunburn on my face, neck, shoulders, and even the part in my hair was beet red.

As I sat, relaxing, I could feel eyes on my.  I looked up to see the cutest little red squirrel peering over the roof, looking at me.  We sat staring at one another for quite some time.  It's probably just me, but the squirrel looked concerned, lol
My camp site
 When the world finally stopped spinning, I went to find my camp spot, which was not easy, lol.  I parked my bike and decided I'd better eat something.
 This snack sized tuna kit was perfect; a tiny can of tuna, 6 crackers, a napkin and spoon.  It was yummy and I felt even better after getting some protein and carbs in me.
Close up of lunch (yum!)
 After lunch I set up my tent.  I was still super hot so I decided to change into my bathing suit and ride over to the beach.
Going for a swim
 The water was lovely; warm, for once.  Lake Superior is usually frigid. I swam for about an hour and a half, but leisurely.  I did laps then let the waves carry me away for some distance, then swam back, over and over again.
Pointe Des Chenes beach
 It was really gorgeous out there.  I love the beach.

My tent and bike
 My camp site was  rocky but OK.  My tent was a tad too small for me and I am considering getting a bigger one. THis is fine if it stays dry but if it rains I'd be in trouble because when I lay down, my head and feet touch either end.
Sunset at the beach
 I went back to the beach to watch the sunset over the water.  It was spectacular.

Wood was too wet to start a fire
 I tried to start a fire, but the wood was too wet.
 I gave up on the fire and cooked supper on my little cat can alcohol stove.  It's just a Friskie's can with holes drilled along the upper edge to let the fire out the sides so that the fire won't go out when a pot or pan is placed upon it.  It worked perfectly to reheat my burger, which I cooked ahead and then froze.  It was mostly thawed by the time I cooked it.  I then melted the cheese when it was done. It was yummy.
Supper cooked on cat can alcohol stove
I had a great time and am looking forward to doing it again.  The only downfall of the trip was a group of noisy people set up next to me and let their kids scream until about 1 AM.  I was exhausted and every time I fell asleep, the kids would wake me up.  The park is supposed to be quiet after 10 PM and that family was really inconsiderate. The adults were super loud too.  Other than that, I had a great time.

Monday, July 17, 2017

32 km bike ride along the Hub Trail

Yesterday I did an almost 32 km bike ride, and it was difficult because half of it was extremely hilly, but I made it.

The hub trail, SSM
I lost the trail for a bit but found it again.  Most of this ride is on bike paths, but some spots are on road, on either bike paths on the road or wide paved shoulders.  Only a few blocks on the actual trail were on roads without paved shoulders, but those portions were in quiet neighbourhoods.  I have to ride through neighbourhood streets to get to the trail, and to get off the trail too.
Hill at entrance to trail
 The above photo was taken from the top of the first hill.  It's kind of hard to see the street way down at the bottom of the hill, with the tiny cars, but that is where I came from, and it was quite a steep hill. I made it to the top but it made my entire body shaky for over an hour after. I have no idea what caused that shaky feeling.
Fort Creek
 This is the main creek that this conservation area is named after: Fort Creek.  There are also loads of smaller creeks that feed into this one.
This is the first of many bridges I had to cross, some quite high.
 There are several bridges throughout this portion of the trail; some quite high up, with pretty views.
 I had to walk up this hill.  This photo was taken at the top, to show the pretty wildflowers and rock wall.  The rock wall was a great place to sit and rest.  It was super hot and humid out.

From the bridge

View from bridge
 The bridge views were very pretty.  It's hard to tell, but that is actually a wide and really tall trees, below.
 The sides of this bridge were about one inch taller than me, so about 5'5" tall.

 These trail signs are everywhere on the dedicated trail, but nowhere to be found on the streets, where they are really needed to mark the trail.  Notice the bear warning sign.  I was worried bears would smell my pepperoni and cheese supper, lol.  I had it wrapped securely in a thick cooler bag.
 Prouse Motors built this nice shelter/rest area for bike riders/walkers, just before Highway 17 West.  I stopped and enjoyed the shade.
 I made a pit stop for G2 and also bought some pork rinds, but didn't eat them.
 I took this photo of my bike near the new hospital as I couldn't believe I made it there, lol.
 The photo above shows the bike shop where I bought my bike.  They have a picnic/camping area for people to use.  I stopped to get a trail map, and met a couple who are cycling from the Sault to Southern Ontario!  OMG; what an amazing trip that would be, but scary.  The TransCanada highway would suck for bike riding.
 This is the intersection for Highway 17 East., leaving town.  I may do this section one day soon if I decide to do another bike camping trip after my first test trip to Pointe Des Chenes.  It will be a longer trip, 3 or 4 nights instead of 1, if I work up the courage to ride on the highway.
 A nice shady section of the trail.
 Topsail Island at Belleview Park.

 Sunset at Belleview Park.

 Darkness falls on the boardwalk, near the mall.  The trail is nicely lit up, and I have bike lights and reflectors so I was quite safe.
 This is the intersection near the underpass.

This last pic shows how dark it was when I got home. That's my house, with the bright light shining.

It was a great ride and I had lots of fun, despite the rough start with all of the hills.  I'm very surprised I was able to make it up so many of them.

Lost 100 Lbs, Before and after pics, 23 Weeks Post Op

I had a huge milestone last week and forgot to blog about it!  My weigh in days are on Wednesday, and last Wednesday, I was down 100.8 Lbs!  Woohoo!

I was so happy!  I told everyone and people were pleased but I was really surprised that my family didn't do something for me to help me celebrate.  I don't really need it because the weight loss itself its own reward, but I was kind of let down.

Anyway, here are some photos.  In the first, I'm covering my cleavage as this top is a size XL and is now so big on me that the shoulders fall off on both sides and the front gapes open too much if I bend over, like I am in this photo.
Me after losing 100 Lbs

Before and after (during, as I still need to lose more)
 The shot on the left, above, is from last summer.  I hated getting my photo taken and you can tell by the look on my face.  That's a piece of pizza on my plate.  I hated eating in public and always took small portions so nobody would give me dirty looks. The photo on the right  side was taken last week.

Before and After 100 Lb loss
The above photo shows my face, this past Christmas vs last week (July 2017).

So, I'm doing well.  My weight fluctuates some because I retain water, especially on humid days. I can only take a half dosage of my water pills or they make me lightheaded, but can't go off of them because of the water retention.  I'm hoping that will get better.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Bike Riding and Weight Loss, I'm down 98.8 Lbs Now!

I love riding my bike so much!  I did 48 km in two days this week; which is crazy considering that a mere 22 weeks ago, I weighed 98.8 Lbs more than I do today, and couldn't even walk for 5 minutes without having an asthma attack.

I am only 1.2 Lbs away from my 100 Lb lost goal; I can't believe it.

Last year when I bought my bike, I loved it a lot, but a 20 km ride took me ALL day and wiped me out for a week.  The other day I went for a bike ride, and did 30 km in about 3 hours, with only one 10 minute stop for a rest (and fifty zillion stops for photos, lol).  Here are a few of my favourites.

My bike on Base Line

Airport Sign
 The picture above is the Airport sign, at the end of the driveway that leads to the, well, airport, lol.  It felt so amazing to ride my bike there, and past it, because the last time I drove past that sign was with my Dad when he dropped me off, then picked me up again at the Airport after my RNY Gastric Bypass Surgery, which I had in Toronto.  I was 98.8 Lbs heavier then. I never would have guessed I'd be able to ride my bike out there by this summer.
Mark's Bay
 These photos show Mark's Bay.  There's a long, bumpy dirt road that leads off the main road to Mark's Bay and it was rough to ride on, but funny too, as I sang the whole way at the top of my lungs to scare off any potential bears.  My friend Albert saw a bear and a moose at Mark's Bay last week (not on the same day) so I didn't want to take any chances.  There were no bears or moose, but there was a rather amused family who laughed at my singing.

Sun starting to set over Mark's Bay
 I hadn't realised it was already 7 pm when I set off on my bike, so i only had a short 10 minute rest before I had to head home again, and even so, I was riding in the dark toward the end of the ride. I have lights and reflectors, and was wearing my helmet, so it was all good.
Sunset on Base Line

Moon over a pretty field

I am planning an overnight bike trip for sometime next week.  I've been buying the gear I need slowly...tent, sleeping bag, mattress pad, etc.  The last thing I needed was some sort of cooking stove. I did order one on Ebay, but it won't come in before I plan to leave.  I really only want to boil water for tea or oatmeal, etc., so I watched a lot of Youtube videos and decided the easiest and cheapest thing to make would be a cat can oil stove.  I went out and bought two cans of cat food (in case I screw up the first one) and a one hole punch, and some fondue fuel.  I basically just have to punch 2 layers of alternating holes along the top of the can, pour in some fuel, light it, and I'll have a mini oil stove.  I didn't want to waste the cat food so I drove to the park after I bought it and fed it to the seagulls, who were very happy to get it, lol.

I'll do another entry this weekend, after I make the stove and test it.  Wish me luck!