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!

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!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

52nd Birthday vs 53rd Birthday; What a Difference a Year Makes!

Hi guys,
I have lost 90.8 Lbs since I started my weight loss journey on January 11th of this year.
Yesterday was my birthday, and I wanted to compare photos of last year's birthday with this years, to see the difference.

Here's a side by side showing my Dad and I, last year (on left) vs. this year (on right).  I was way bigger than my Dad, and now I'm smaller.

Me and Dad, last year vs this year's birthday
 The next photo is of me and my Mom.  I was enormous next to her last year; my head was way bigger than hers, never mind my body.  This year I'm only a little bigger (she wears a Ladies size medium and I'm in a Large or XL, depending on the style).  Last year I was wearing a size 5X men's T'shirt.
Mom and 1, last year vs this year's birthday

This last photo makes me sad, as my beautiful fur babies, Mac (black standard poodle) and Benji (white toy poodle) are no longer with me.  I miss my boys very much, but I don't miss the extra almost 91 Lbs I used to carry around.  Mac weighed 70 Lbs and Ben only 8; I've lost more weight than both dogs combined.  
RIP baby boys; Mommy misses you and loves you.

Me and my beautiful boys on the left, me with my watermelon "cake" on the right.
Watermelon "cake" 
If you want to make your own faux cake out of Watermelon, here's a link to a blog for a beautiful looking watermelon cake...much prettier than mine.watermelon cake recipe  I was short of time and not very skilled at cutting it into a cake shape, lol.  Also, we had no small berries for decoration.

My 53rd Birthday, Car Show and Walk, 90 Lbs down now

Hi guys,

I turned 53 yesterday; where does the time go?  53!!!  Wow.

I started celebrating a few days ago.  My friend Nancy and I went for a walk to the local car show, then did some shopping.  It was fun going into regular stores; I don't need plus size any more.  Nancy had RNY surgery 9 years ago so knows what I've been going through and is very supportive.  We're almost the same size now, too.

Here are a few photos of Nancy and I at the car show:
Nancy and Betty Boop

Nancy and "gangster" car.  

Me and pretty car

Me and blue car

Me with my favorite car

Nancy with antique car
We had a blast, even though we were sad because Nancy had to put her beloved dog, Simara, down a few days before due to illness and old age.

Yesterday was my actual birthday, and my parents took me out to dinner.  I chose Swiss Chalet because my tummy can handle moist chicken, and Swiss Chalet posts their stats online so I could see the calories/protein/carb content before ordering and make healthy choices.  I chose the quarter chicken, dark meat because I process dark better than white now, and a side garden salad with super low cal raspberry vinaigrette. I gave my Dad my bread roll and half of my salad, which made him happy.  He and Mom both had the chicken dinner with fries, and although I wanted fries, I was able to resist temptation and was more than happy with my chicken and salad.  I also ordered my first diet coke in over 6 months, but only had a few sips of it.

Mom and Dad at Swiss Chalet.  They are wearing matching shirts, lol,

My first sip of diet coke in over 6 months...delish!

After dinner, we dropped of a take out meal for my elderly uncle Buck, who wasn't feeling up to going out,and then I went for a walk at Whitefish Island with my friend, Albert. We walked for over 2 hours and had a lovely time.

Whitefish Island

Al at Whitefish Island

Me at Whitefish Island
I had to wear a sweater for the walk because I felt cold, but when I got home I changed back into my pink top for the photos, lol.

I made my own birthday "cake" by cutting a mini seedless watermelon into a cake shape, then "icing" it with low calorie cool whip.  I decorated with berries.  It was a very small watermelon so I only used a few berries. I had planned on using blueberries and raspberries but we were out so I used strawberries.  It tasted wonderful.
My watermelon "cake"
We didn't get around to "cake" and coffee until after 10 pm, because Al and I walked for so long, but it was a nice way to end the day.  My parents and uncle gave me money to buy new clothes, which was really nice.  My brother was on the phone long distance, in the photo below.
My 53rd birthday

Me with my cake

Me and Mom

Lucy, me and Dad

All that was left of my "cake" 
It was a nice birthday!