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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Yarn Along 2015 {three}

I absolutely love yarn and books, so I am joining Ginny's Yarn Along again!




Very early in the morning on Sunday, November 15, we loaded up in the car to start our journey down to Orlando for a five day and night stay at Walt Disney World. I wanted an easy knitting project to bring with me, but the three projects that I already had on needles required a bit more effort than I wanted to give while on vacation. So after Mass on Saturday night, I cast on the Ericka Scarf. I had finished one in September and still had the pattern memorized. It was the perfect project for me to bring on the trip, as it was easy to pick up and put down as time allowed. And as for our vacation, we had a fantastic time. 

Currently, I am reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I am only on chapter seven, so I can't say much about it. It is good so far.

What are you currently knitting and reading? 


Monday, November 9, 2015

From Me to You #4 {Giveaway Series}

It is time for the next installment in the giveaway series!



November's giveaway is a $20 credit + shipping to Rakstar Designs

Rakstar Designs is the owned by Rakhi. She is the owner, creator, and designer of all the lovely items found at the shop. Several of her prints add beauty to my home, and I am also a proud owner of one of her necklaces. 




From Rakstar Designs about page: 


"In this station of life, I am aspiring to become a "seasoned amateur" like my dad before me, both in photography and other art forms, primarily digital design, watercolor, and hand-lettering/calligraphy. With the advent of "the YouTube" and online seminars, I am learning as I go, in photography and in other art forms. Rakstar Designs originally began as a photography studio, but has since evolved as my adventures in the creative process ebb and flow their way through time and space." 


And if you don't follow her blog, The Pitter Patter Diaries, yet, you should hop on over there to subscribe! Her blog is one of my favorites! 


Please use the Rafflecopter widget to enter the giveaway. Thank you!


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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Yarn Along 2015 {two}

I can't believe that my last Yarn Along post was in March! I am happy to join the knitting and reading fun again with Ginny today. 



Knitting:

 have several projects on my needles these days, but the one I have been working on the most is my Caught in the Rigging cape. Finally, I am done with the shoulder shaping section and am now working on the body. Only 10 inches more or so to knit!

Reading:


On Monday, I finished reading The Woman Who Was Chestertonwritten by Nancy Carpentier Brown. Frances Chesterton was the wife of G.K. Chesterton. The Woman Who Was Chesterton tells the story of the life and love they shared. Their story has struggle and success, illness and infertility, and conversion of faith. I enjoyed it very much!

Now I am back to reading an old favorite of mine, Anne of Ingleside, written by L.M. Montgomery. I have been working my way through the entire series again over the last two months. Sometimes I listen to a recorded version while I knit, but lately, I prefer to read a few pages before bed at night. 

What are you knitting and reading these days? 


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

From Me to You #3 {Giveaway Series}

Earlier this year, I won three giveaways in ten days! I can not tell you how shocked and happy I was to win and winning the giveaways gave me the idea to host a giveaway myself. Eventually, I decided to turn one giveaway into a series of giveaways.




I held two giveaways in the spring, one in April and one in May, and then I put the series on hold. Can it still be called a series after one takes a four-month break from it? Whatever, I am still calling it a series!

Now I have three things to giveaway, one each for October, November, and December. It makes me happy to be able to support bloggers and business owners while also giving gifts to other people.

This month I am giving one lucky blogger Bonnie's Basic Blog Consultation.




Here is what you can expect from Bonnie in her words (I lovingly swiped this from her blog post):


The Basic Blog Consultation will include two email exchanges. The first will be a conversation about your goals and your reasons for blogging. After spending a minimum of 30 minutes looking through your blog, I will send you an email with all my feedback and any potentially helpful resources, tutorials, and examples.


One of the giveaways I won early this year was a blog consultation with Bonnie. I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to work with Bonnie. She gave me excellent feedback with practical suggestions, all given with encouragement and kindness. After working with Bonnie, I knew that I wanted to give the experience to a fellow blogger. I know you will get useful tips and ideas from Bonnie! 
Enter to win below!


Please use the Rafflecopter widget to enter the giveaway. Thank you!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Child Care, Knitting, Listening, and Giveaways

I haven't posted anything here in three weeks! I have been busy with school work and something new. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I shared a couple pictures of Ralph hanging out with my niece. Well, in July I started watching her in my home four days a week for ten and half hours a day. I love having her with us, and she and Ralph enjoy each other.



She is sweet, smart, funny, and lovable. Her toddler energy keeps me on my feet, and she is a talker, as is my Ralph!  The two of them together talk non-stop, all day. I found myself just wanting to chill out and recharge in the evenings after she went home with her mom and dad. Writing coherent thoughts and recording happenings has been the farthest thing on my mind for a couple of months. If I had not committed myself to the stash blast all summer, this blog probably would have been totally silent! But we are in a good rhythm now, and I am not feeling as drained, so I am looking forward to posting more in the future. 

When I am not taking care of the kids, overseeing school work, or cleaning the house I have been knitting and listening to audiobooks. 
I recently finished knitting two scarves.




Information about the scarves is on my Ravelry project page. I didn't use Ravelry for over a year, but I have started again. I don't know why I stopped, as it is such a great space on the internet for knitters and crocheters. 

While I knit, I listened to a few audiobooks. 

One of the books I listened to was by Sally Clarkson. Own Your Life: Living With Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love was an interesting book, but I didn't enjoy listening to the reader so I could only listen to it in short spurts. I think I may have appreciated the message more if I had read the book myself.

Another was Divergent. It was very enjoyable. At over 11 hours of listening time, it was a great way to spend my knitting time.

I also listened to Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island through LibriVox. I listened to the versions read by Karen Savage. She does a great job! However, LibriVox does not have a recording of Anne of Windy Poplars, so I switched to reading the books. I breezed through Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne's House of Dreams and am currently on Anne of Ingleside. I, of course, have read the books many times over the years, but every repeat reading is just as enjoyable as the first, and in some ways even a little more enjoyable.

My giveaway series is starting back up! In the spring, I made a couple of promises about future giveaways, and I am a woman of my word, albeit a little slow to action. Life, it gets in the way all too frequently. {wink, wink}





Currently, I am making plans for three items to give away, one a month for the months of October, November, and December. October's prize is for a lucky blogger, but the other giveaways will be for all my readers. Check back next week for the giveaway details!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Summer Stitching Stash Blast #16 {link-up}

This is week sixteen, the final week, of the Summer Stitching Stash Blast.



In my usual fashion, last week I overestimated how much time I would have to devote to my knitting. I was unable to complete two scarves, but I did finish one. I took two scarves that I never wore and made them into a circle scarf that I think I will wear this winter with my winter coat. Both scarves were knit with Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted Sock Yarn. I had a bit of both skeins left, so I knit borders on the original scarves and then stitched both ends together. All the yarn that I had left is in the above picture. I think that is a stash win! The two original scarves can be viewed on my Ravelry project page

I think this summer's stash blast was a success. I completed many projects (pictured below) and made progress on four additional projects not shown. Currently, I have two knitting projects on needles, and four cross-stitch projects in progress. 



Now my stash is much smaller, but soon if will be even smaller. I have gathered a large cardboard box full of yarn from my stash to donate to the daughter of a good friend. That will leave me with enough yarn for seven planned projects. I feel like a weight has been lifted from me, and I am excited to start and finish those projects. Maybe I will even start updating my Ravelry page again! 

What are you working on currently? Have you finished any projects recently? Tell me about them in the comments or link-up a blog post below! 

See the rules for the link-up in the original post here



Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer Stitching Stash Blast #15 {link-up}

It is week fifteen of the Summer Stitching Stash Blast.



Summer is coming to an end, school is back in session, and there are pumpkin recipes floating around Pinterest and Facebook again. Most people I run into these days are very excited about cooler weather and fun fall activities. Even though I dearly miss my weekly trips to the beach, I must admit that I have caught the bug a little and am looking forward to cardigans, scarves, and a new wool coat. After finishing up my scarf last week, I pulled four scarves out of my stash. I hope to finish two of them this week. It is easier than it sounds because two of the scarves I will connect to make one long circle scarf, although there is a little bit of knitting I plan to do to connect them. And the second scarf I plan to finish only has 110 yards of worsted weight super soft alpaca yarn left to add to it. It is such a pleasure to knit with that I am not sure why I stashed it away for so long. For the final scarf, I still have about 300 yards of lace weight yarn to knit, so it will take me a bit longer to finish. 

Next Monday, I will post the last weekly link-up for the Summer Stitching Stash Blast. 

What are you working on currently? Have you finished any projects recently? Tell me about them in the comments or link-up a blog post below! 


See the rules for the link-up in the original post here



Monday, August 24, 2015

Summer Stitching Stash Blast #14

It is week fourteen of the Summer Stitching Stash Blast. 





I started and finished a scarf last week. It is just a chunky scarf knit in garter stitch. It is sort of ugly, but I kind of love it. I had some scraps of yarn left over from the blanket. There was too much to throw out, but not enough for an entire project, so to my stash I went. I looked through my stash and found three full skeins of Knit Picks Bravo worsted yarn in shades of gray, blue, and purple. They were not a perfect match to the colors in the blanket, but, in my opinion, close enough. Held together they would be chunky enough to make a scarf with the leftover yarn from the blanket. The scarf knit up fast due to the chunky yarn and size 13 needles. I am planning to purchase a new wool coat this fall in gray, and I think this scarf will be perfect for the cold days of winter. 


What are you working on currently? Have you finished any projects recently? Tell me about them in the comments or link-up a blog post below! 


The rules:

- Write a blog post showcasing your current and recently completed needlework and sewing projects. If you would like to combine your stitching post with another topic, such as a daybook, weekend happenings, book review or what your wore to church, that is cool with me.

- Any post that is not about needlework, sewing, or stitching in some form will be removed from the link-up, as will any post that is offensive. (I do not see that happening, but I need to say it.) See the first post for a the full description of needlework. 

- Please place a link to the most current Summer Stitching Stash Blast in your post so other stitchers can find the link-up.

- Show the other bloggers some love by visiting them and leaving a comment. We all know how hard it is sometimes to finish a project. A little encouragement may be just what she needs to complete her project.  



Monday, August 17, 2015

Summer Stitching Stash Blast #13

It is week thirteen of the Summer Stitching Stash Blast.





Finally, the blanket is complete. However, it is not perfect. I totally skipped a row near the end, but didn't realize it until I was binding off. I could not bring myself to rip it out, especially since it is no longer being given as a gift. Plus, I think only a knitter would notice the mistake. I also started stitching the pumpkin cross stitch I started last fall. I hope to finish it within the next couple of weeks. I have not decided what I will do with it once it if finished. 

What are you working on currently? Have you finished any projects recently? Tell me about them in the comments or link-up a blog post below! 




The rules:

- Write a blog post showcasing your current and recently completed needlework and sewing projects. If you would like to combine your stitching post with another topic, such as a daybook, weekend happenings, book review or what your wore to church, that is cool with me.

- Any post that is not about needlework, sewing, or stitching in some form will be removed from the link-up, as will any post that is offensive. (I do not see that happening, but I need to say it.) See the first post for a the full description of needlework. 

- Please place a link to the most current Summer Stitching Stash Blast in your post so other stitchers can find the link-up.

- Show the other bloggers some love by visiting them and leaving a comment. We all know how hard it is sometimes to finish a project. A little encouragement may be just what she needs to complete her project.  





Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Vacation I Did Not Want to Take, But I am Glad I Did

I had no desire to go away to Maine for a vacation. I made that fact known many times over several weeks. A week in a house with 26 other people did not sound like a vacation, no matter that it was a lovely, large lake house, and they were people that I love. It sounded like living life in a different space without the comfort of my snug, safe home. And life had been feeling tough lately, and all I wanted was rest, to lay in bed and not be bothered. Every time I mentioned to my family members that maybe it would be best if I stayed home, maybe they should go without me, I was given the look. You know the look, the one that says you are ridiculous and stop talking that nonsense immediately. 

So on vacation I went with my family, and it started gray and wet with a huge cup of spilled ice water on the floor of the car and hours upon hours of rain. My family and I arrived safe, just in time for me to help cook dinner and converse with family members I had not seen for weeks, months. I went to bed, tired from the long drive, but full of food and conversation. 


















The next morning the sunlight spilled into the room at 5 o'clock, and I climbed out of bed feeling better than I had in weeks. I was excited for the day ahead. That day I hiked a ski slope, and it was hard but worth it. And every day after that first day started bright and early and was full of physical activity. By the end of the week, I was tired and ready for home, but in the best possible way. My body was tired, but my mind was excited, happy and ready for more adventure. 

On the drive home, I thought about my negative feelings before the vacation, and I realized that the trip that I did not want to take was what I needed exactly. And I pondered how many times through the years that I had rejected an outing or gathering because it felt intimidating. How many uplifting and edifying experiences have I missed because I stayed home? 

Looking at the situation from the outside, of course, it makes sense that I would go on vacation with my family, but honestly, I had no desire to go. I am thankful that my family did not allow me to stay home. I am thankful that they knew better than I what I needed to do. I am thankful for their love. Always they make me better and remind me that I am loved beyond comprehension. Through their care, I am reminded of my Father's love and how His plans for me are always exactly what I need. 



For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.   
Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Summer Stitching Stash Blast #12 {link-up}

It is week twelve of the Summer Stitching Stash Blast. 



I finished the Doctor Who cross-stitch! Yay! My sister-in-law, Abby, loved it. I have moved on to a pumpkin cross-stitch that I started about ten months ago. As for my blanket, I only have two and half balls of yarn left to knit. I will finish it this week. I am determined! 

What are you working on currently? Have you finished any projects recently? Tell me about them in the comments or link-up a blog post below! 



The rules:

- Write a blog post showcasing your current and recently completed needlework and sewing projects. If you would like to combine your stitching post with another topic, such as a daybook, weekend happenings, book review or what your wore to church, that is cool with me.

- Any post that is not about needlework, sewing, or stitching in some form will be removed from the link-up, as will any post that is offensive. (I do not see that happening, but I need to say it.) See the first post for a the full description of needlework. 

- Please place a link to the most current Summer Stitching Stash Blast in your post so other stitchers can find the link-up.

- Show the other bloggers some love by visiting them and leaving a comment. We all know how hard it is sometimes to finish a project. A little encouragement may be just what she needs to complete her project.  



Sunday, August 2, 2015

Summer Stitching Stash blast #11 {link-up}

It is week eleven of the Summer Stitching Stash Blast. 






I have made some progress on my projects, but not as much as I wanted. It was hot this week, so I didn't even touch the blanket for several days, therefore missing my self-imposed August 1st deadline. I have set a new deadline for the Doctor Who cross-stitch. I would love to have it finished by Friday. I am feeling hopeful. 

How are you coming along with your projects? Link-up below! 



The rules:

- Write a blog post showcasing your current and recently completed needlework and sewing projects. If you would like to combine your stitching post with another topic, such as a daybook, weekend happenings, book review or what your wore to church, that is cool with me.

- Any post that is not about needlework, sewing, or stitching in some form will be removed from the link-up, as will any post that is offensive. (I do not see that happening, but I need to say it.) See the first post for a the full description of needlework. 

- Please place a link to the most current Summer Stitching Stash Blast in your post so other stitchers can find the link-up.

- Show the other bloggers some love by visiting them and leaving a comment. We all know how hard it is sometimes to finish a project. A little encouragement may be just what she needs to complete her project.  




Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Up the Ski Slope

About a month ago my family and I spent a week in Maine. We had a wonderful time. One afternoon we decided to hike up a ski slope that was around the corner from where we were staying. I have never been skiing, so I had no idea how high and how steep ski slopes are. All I was sure of was my love of hiking, and that the view was sure to be spectacular. 







We started up the slope feeling ready to conquer the side of the mountain, but only two of us made it to the top, my husband and our ten-year-old nephew. Ralph, my mother-in-law and I made it up farther than the majority of the group, but considering our group was made up of mainly young children (including nine-month-old twins) that is not surprising. It was a difficult hike. There wasn't a path to follow. The grass and weeds were a little overgrown, and there was hardly any shade. Some areas were very steep and wet and slippery. I used several tactics to keep me moving up the mountain. I traveled slow and steady with few breaks. Then I did fast bursts with frequent breaks. I walked up a straight line and then walked up a zig-zag line. Finally feeling defeated, I made my way down. 






Once most of us were back on flat land we quickly realized we had ticks in and on our shoes, so we took them off, and stuck them in a bag. Ugh, ticks are the worst! Then we waited until everyone was back from the hike before heading to the lake house. When we got back to the house, someone asked how the hike went, and I quickly responded, "It was probably the worst hike of my life. But I am happy I did it." 









And I was happy. Tired, and a bit sore, but happy. The hike was difficult, but the many breaks gave me a chance to appreciate the distance I had traveled and enjoy the magnificent views around me. I wanted to turn around about fifteen minutes into the hike, but I knew that I would be better for continuing forward. The happy satisfaction I knew I would feel at the end of the hike kept me going.


Isn't that the way it always is with the hard situations, the struggles? Sometimes our life journey is hard, but we have to keep moving forward, taking breaks when necessary, and always remembering to still seek the beauty that God has placed all around us. 
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