Winter Is Here – My First Game of Thrones KAL (Week One)

Winter Is Here - My First Game of Thrones KAL (Week One)

Disclaimer: If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones through the current episode, Season 8 Episode 1, then you may not want to continue reading this article. There may be spoilers contained within. Also, this is not a sponsored post. I am participating in a Marinade Designs GoT KAL at my own expense and just want to share my progress with our readers. No compensation is being received from the KAL designer.

Game of Thrones is back! Finally! I know I’m not alone in my excitement. And I’m not alone in my complicated feelings about this being the final season, either. I don’t want it to end. But, at least this is a world I can revisit any time I wish to rewatch the series or read the books. So, there is that.

I am a crafter. During previous seasons of this show I’ve come across crochet or knit alongs themed after the show. I’ve been wanting to participate in one forever. But, timing … sometimes I kinda suck at it. I always come across these things after the season is already started or too close beforehand to prepare the materials to do so.

This year, however, I stumbled across some information about an upcoming knit along (KAL) from Marinade Designs themed for the final season. I was really excited because I had several weeks to get prepared for it. And I figured, it’s now or never, ya know?

Winter Is Here - My First Game of Thrones KAL (Week One)

So, this is it. The Ice & Embers Shawlette Game of Thrones 2019 KAL. I’m anticipating a fun time for several reasons:

  1. It’s a fun activity to stretch out the GoT fun during the final season of the show. I don’t work on it during the show, since I want to focus all of my attention on the action, obviously! But, as the husband and I are anxiously waiting for the show to begin on Sunday evenings, this will be a great way to get a little head start on the action. Then, I can also work on it during the week between shows when I have time.
  2. I’ve never participated in a KAL before. Not really. I started one once but didn’t get far at all before life got in the way and I also got a little bored, I guess. I’m looking forward to getting online with the group of other crafters also participating in this fun activity.
  3. I’ve been crocheting for 25+ years, but have only been knitting for the last few years. I’ve knitted a few scarves and a couple of afghans, but have never made a shawl. Ever. Not in crochet or knit. So, new type of project, new skills, and a fun and memorable finished item to wear.
Winter Is Here - My First Game of Thrones KAL (Week One)

Of course, I’m not very far along since the season just started. But, still, what you see here is several hours worth of work.

The yarn came in hanks, so I had to untwist and wind it into balls. It can be a fussy process and needs to be done carefully. I found myself pondering previous seasons of GoT as I worked on it: wondering how the truth of Jon’s parentage would affect his budding relationship with Daenerys; with Sansa, Bran, and Arya; as well as with himself, ultimately. I mean, talk about a change of perspective on your place in the world! I wondered how all of the characters from the different houses would be able to work together to defeat The Night King and his undead army. I wondered how Daenerys’ heart will break to see her precious dragon that the Night King killed and then resurrected for his army. I wondered when everyone would realize that Arya had become such an accomplished little assassin.

Too many story arcs to touch on, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how this final season will tie up all the loose ends and if viewers will be satisfied with how it all comes to a close.

Winter Is Here - My First Game of Thrones KAL (Week One)

So here’s how I spent the last couple of hours before the premiere episode this week. I gathered the pattern I’d printed, the yarn, my adjustable knitting needles set, some scissors and a pencil. And of course, a snack and a glass of Diet Coke, I mean what’s crafting without that?!

I don’t think I’ve ever done a gauge swatch for any other project before. But, it states in the instructions that it’s important for this shawl. So, I knitted up the recommended amount of stitches and rows for the gauge swatch first. It turned out perfect. So, all good.

Winter Is Here - My First Game of Thrones KAL (Week One)

After unraveling the yarn from the gauge swatch I began to actually work the pattern. The Ice & Embers Shawl is of an asymmetrical design. It looks really pretty.

I watched a couple of YouTube tutorials on how to Make 1 Left and slipping a stitch purlwise with the yarn in front because I’d never done that in any pattern before.

I was movin’ along pretty well until I finished that first dark section and went back to the lighter color. I think I did something wrong. There was something off about the side. It wasn’t straight, it sort of dipped inward a bit. So, I tried to figure out where I went wrong, but wasn’t confident that I could back up and fix it. So, I ended up unraveling the whole thing and starting from scratch.

By the end of the evening, this picture shows how far I got. This is 35 rows of work. I wondered if I should have gotten further, but once I thought about it all told including this bit of finished work, the original attempt that I undid to start over, and the gauge swatch I completed before starting the project totalled 93 rows of work. The rows are short, but still… that’s a lot! And aside from a few minor mistakes, it went pretty well. So, I’m satisfied with myself so far.

Winter Is Here - My First Game of Thrones KAL (Week One)

I’m particularly excited for the last part of the shawlette because it features a stitch pattern the designer calls “Dragon Scale Lace,” that’s the larger end of the shawlette that is all the darker color. It looks so pretty and I can’t wait to try it!

If you are a knitter and would like to get in on this KAL, you can head over to the Ravelry page of the designer, Kristen Ashbaugh-Helmreich, and get started on one for yourself! It’s not too late to get involved.

There is a yarn kit that is recommended in the pattern that was dyed especially for this KAL. I didn’t end up going that route. I really thought about purchasing the recommended yarn, but I already had two hanks of really gorgeous blue yarn in Faded Ink from Miss Babs Inspired by Nature that I got from my Yarnbox subscription. I’d been hanging onto it until I found the perfect project.

I didn’t have a yarn that was similar to the lighter color recommended for the shawl, so I googled “Game of Thrones yarn” and found a company named Destination Yarn that had a selection of hand-dyed yarns themed after the show. I chose to purchase a colorway called “The Wall.” It has more turquoise in it, which is a favorite color of mine. I hope it works. So far it definitely has more bright color than the pattern-recommended yarn.

But, I’m committed now. So, onward!

I’m looking forward to coming back here every week and talking about what’s going on in GoT world and sharing the progress on my shawlette with all of you lovely readers.

What are you looking forward to most from this season of Game of Thrones? Have any show theories you’d like to share with us? Let’s gab in the comments!!!

Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully -- Tru Niagen
Beauty Brite Disclosure

So, I guess I might be considered by some to be middle-aged. But, in most respects, mid-forties doesn’t seem to be markedly different than the mid-thirties for me. The only thing I’d say that is noticeably different personally is that I seem to have a little less energy overall. At this point in my life, aging gracefully is pretty high on my radar, for sure.

When I was younger and had an idea about something I wanted to do there seems to have been more follow through. Life is give and take, where I had a little more physical energy when I was younger and tended to sit still less often I am now more likely to be still enough to choose projects more thoughtfully and intentionally.

So, here’s the give and take — when I was younger I did more things that required physical exertion, but now that I’m older I’m accomplishing more projects that require stillness. Like writing projects. Like planning things more thoroughly. Like starting crochet or knit projects and actually finishing them. Like actually trying more recipes where I used to just collect them thinking someday I’d get around to them.

Give and take. I’d say it’s a pretty essential skill for aging gracefully, in my opinion. Because nothing is sustainable long-term in life. You don’t have optimal energy from day one to the last day. You don’t have maximum intelligence all the way through. You don’t make the absolute best decisions.

I tend not to view a successful life in terms of having the best of everything or being my best self every moment. We all need those times when we just let it all go and give ourselves permission to be less than perfect.

But, do not mistake me for a slothful quitter. No, I do keep my ear to the ground to learn about new products and technologies that make life better, healthier, and more enjoyable.

Since decreased energy is a bit of a thing for me, I thought I’d share something I found that might help to address this issue. Tru Niagen™  from ChromaDex. It’s a dietary supplement, much like the daily vitamins many of us take to support good health. It contains 150 mg of niagen (vitamin B3).

Aging Gracefully - Tru Niagen

Tru Niagen™ is a form of vitamin B3 that combats aging by improving cellular health and increasing NAD levels in living human cells. NAD is important in how cells use energy. As we age, the stresses of daily life begin to deplete our body’s stores of this important coenzyme.

Aging Gracefully - Tru Niagen

WHAT IS NAD?

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is a coenzyme found in every living cell. It’s essential to every cell, but especially to those with mitochondria. That’s because mitochondria are “the powerhouses of the cell.” Mitochondria depend on NAD to convert food into the energy our cells need to stay charged and functioning at their best.

Source:
Tru Niagen™

So, I’ve been taking Tru Niagen™ for a few months and (aside from a couple of periods of having head colds or stomach flu) have noticed that I do feel like my personal energy levels are higher. I do deal with low blood iron and low vitamin D that contribute to my decreased energy levels. So, I continue to try to address those issues as well.

But, lifestyle changes like adding a multivitamin, eating healthier (or trying to, at least), and adding Tru Niagen™ to my daily routine seem to be having a positive effect. One of my first thoughts upon waking up in the morning used to be wishing I could turn around and just crawl back into bed for more sleep, even if I’d gotten a solid seven or eight hours of sleep. I don’t find myself doing that anymore. Also, most kinds of physical activity that required energy used to make me cringe since I knew I’d tire and want to stop, thus potentially leaving the entire project undone if I never went back to it. That seems to be something that I’m not having to deal with as much now, either.

Aging Gracefully - Tru Niagen

I am very encouraged regarding the effects of adding Tru Niagen™ to my daily routine. Because I, like most people, want to age well and remain intelligent and productive as long as possible. Anything I can do to try to have a good quality of life no matter how old I live to be is worth it. I still have a lot to look forward to in life and I want to be healthy enough to enjoy and appreciate all of it!

Obviously, I make no health or safety claims about using this or any other health supplement. If you are interested in this or any other product, please first take some time to do some research and to consult with your physician, as well.

Do you suffer from lower energy levels? What are you doing to address those concerns?

The Best Banana Bread Recipe I’ve Ever Tried

The Best Banana Bread Recipe I've Ever Tried--SImply Mudita Premium Stainless Steel 13 piece set measuring cups and spoons and equivalent chart

 

Beauty Brite Disclosure

 

Many years ago, when I got married, one of the gifts my grandmother gave me was a spiral bound recipe book (like the ones that churches are famous for creating). This one was from her own personal church and was filled with many different kinds of recipes contributed by her and other members.

[read more]

Best Gifts For Gamers

Best Gifts For Gamers--ROCCAT: Horde AIMO Gaming Keyboard

Beauty Brite Disclosure

 

Everyone knows a gamer. Many of our readers are probably gamers of one kind or another. I, personally, prefer fun little games I can play on my phone or iPad like word-themed games, or those where you build up a little town and trade gifts and help other players, solitaire-type games, mystery games, or coloring apps. Pretty basic and mundane, I suppose.

But, my husband and children are much more prolific gamers than I ever will be. They love all the popular games for the PC, Nintendo DS, Switch, Xbox and Playstation platforms like Left 4 Dead, Far Cry, Resident Evil, Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, Mario Kart, Zak & Wiki, Rock Band, The Sims, Grand Theft Auto, Assassins Creed, Halo, Metal Gear Solid, Battlefield, Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted, The Last of Us, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Gears of War, Metroid, inFAMOUS, Call of Duty……

I mean, pick your favorite game of all time and they’ve probably played it at some point. I can’t keep up with it all. I know I sound like a total noob.

Since they’re all gamers, any time birthdays or Christmas come around I always kind of delve into this part of their world just a bit (enough to become thoroughly dazed and confused!) in search of gift ideas that they’ll love.

Over the years I’ve found some nice little gems and started something of a tradition in gifting to the gamers in my own family as well as outside friends and family that is pretty successful. Here are some of my ideas for the best gifts for gamers. Some of this stuff you already know if you have a gamer in your life. [read more]

Overhaul Your Snack Cupboard

Overhaul Your Snack Cupboard--Mrs. Renfro's Salsa-Eat Your Coffee Energy Bars

 

 

Beauty Brite Disclosure

 

Snacks. It’s an all-important segment of every shopper’s grocery list and a constantly evolving one for me. We love snacks at my house, but get bored with the same old ones every week. So, it’s essential to rotate what I buy to keep everyone happy and satisfied. I think my family appreciates the effort I make to find new and interesting items to nosh on while engaging in various home or on-the-go activities.

Mostly, I choose snacks with other family members in mind in terms of their tastes and what they might enjoy. Sometimes, I see a snack option while shopping that I just can’t resist buying for myself regardless of whether anyone else might also like it. Few and far between, to be sure, but I do succumb to my own personal snack desires on occasion.

I want to share two of the newest snacks to have occupied a space in my cupboard recently, Mrs. Renfro’s Gourmet Salsa and Eat Your Coffee Bars.

[read more]

Delicious Keto Coffee Recipes

Delicious Keto Coffee Recipes - Bullet Proof Coffee - Hala Tree Coffee - Java House Cold Brew Coffee

Beauty Brite Disclosure

 

First of all, Keto is the latest lifestyle trend because many are having such successful results! Being on the Ketogenic Diet for nearly two months now, I can definitely agree that it has made me feel much better and caused my energy to increase.

In contrast, it took some time for me to get used to such a new way of eating. For example, embracing butter and oils. For my entire life, I can only remember hearing about the benefits of a low fat diet. Adding coconut oil to my coffee and cooking with butter? The horror!… [read more]

La Bufadora, A Beautiful Piece of Ensenada

LA Bufadora, A Beautiful Piece of Ensenada

 

My husband and I love to travel. In May, for our anniversary, we decided to take a cruise to Ensenada. Ensenada is beautiful and has many things to offer but my favorite experience there was the trip to La Bufadora.

[read more]

Fun Stories Personalized For Your Pet

Fun Stories Personalized For Your Pet - Petlandia Book

 

Beauty Brite Disclosure

 

 

Here’s a unique gift idea for the animal lover in your life. Who wouldn’t find it fascinating and fun to receive a storybook personalized for their beloved pet?

My daughter is as big an animal lover as I am. And her cats are her life. She’s a young adult, not married or a mother, yet. So, her kitties are her babies. I thought it would be fun to include in her birthday gifts a fun little storybook from Petlandia, personalized for one of her furbabies, Gypsy.

 

Fun Stories Personalized For Your Pet - Petlandia Book

 

This is an item that will be great for anyone, regardless of age, I think. Or even for yourself. The colors and construction of the book are really very nicely done. And it’s not just a short story with no plot, either. It’s more than thirty pages long with a nice amount of text which reads with a good flow. The story is full of fun details alongside beautiful illustrations. [read more]

Easy Smart Home Hack For Older Appliances

Easy Smart Home Hack For Older Appliances -- The Bond

 

Beauty Brite Disclosure

 

Remote- (or voice-) controlled devices make moving through my day a little easier. It’s an unnecessary luxury, but a welcomed one, all the same. Especially since I’m often on my feet flitting from one task to the next and stopping to flip a switch or find a remote control for pretty much anything is an aggravation that I just don’t need. Check out this new little home technology gem that I’ve found to make that super easy! [read more]

How to Make a Wreath for Any Occasion

Halloween Wreath

 

 

I have a super crafty friend that loves any do-it-yourself project. One day this friend hosted a wreath making party. I am not the craftiest person so I was hesitant, but went nonetheless. By the end of the party, I had caught the wreath-making bug! Since then I have made five new wreaths for various holidays and as gifts. It was easy, cheap (I get all my materials from the Dollar Tree), and fun!… [read more]