Thursday, October 30, 2008

sweetest little pumpkin

I am still knitting...I am still working on my mystery socks and my February Lady Sweater. Still. But today I completed a project. I actually completed it last year, needed some fixing. Last year I made an adorable little pumpkin hat for this little cutie. She wore it all fall and then into the winter. (Her mom, admittedly, is not as seasonally freakish as I am) Anyways,this little sweetheart also cut her teeth on the pumpkin hat. Needless to say, she cut through some of the fibers and the hat was in need of repair. That is what I completed today. Yeah for easy to check off projects! I had to get it done before fall was over. Of course, she had to model it for her mom and I again today...I think it actually looks cuter on her this year than last....maybe it's because she's gotten cuter (if that's possible).

The scoop:

Pattern:Patrick's Pumpkin (Fiber Trends)

Yarn: Galway Chunky in orange and green

Needles: US size 5

Size: small

Monday, October 27, 2008


Mom came over on Saturday and helped me with a home dec sewing project. It was a great day for sewing. It was cold and rainy outside. We had so much fun together inside. We laughed over and over at my pincushions though. You see my girls have a habit of taking my pins and sticking them all the way into the cushion and making little flowers. (Anyone else have this occurance at your house?) It drives me crazy in a mild kind of way. It really is harder to get at those pins when they're stuck all the way in the cushion. The other problem is my pincushions kept falling over. I bought them because they were cute. They came as a set, one was green and one was pink. (Molly, our dog, chewed up the green one ....while it had pins in it!) The cuteness of the cushions wore off quickly because they are way too round. Everytime you go to put your pins in, the whole cushion rolls over and slides out of the way. By the end of the day, Mom wasn't even using the pincushion...she was just piling the pins on the table. I decided after our sewing fest that it was time for a new pin cushion. So I made a couple. (I mean if I'm going to go to the trouble of making one, why not make several? right?) These are so easy. You can check out the tutorial over at Whipup for complete directions. I really like this pin cushion. It's big enough to hold a lot of pins and it sits flat enough that it's not going to roll around. It was fun choosing buttons to go in the center of each cushion. So mom you get first pick...which one do you want?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Today we were in need of some comfort. John Samuel wasn't feeling good and we missed our CBS class. Mckenzie wasn't happy that we had to miss. She had the cutest new outfit on and she was ready to go. I could tell she was upset that we had to miss class. I tried to talk her into knitting, or sewing or reading. Nothing worked...So she and I made some homemade Mac-n-Cheese to help bring a little bit of comfort. Nothing like gooey Mac-n-Cheese when your day doesn't go the way you thought it would. This is the best I've ever had. My mother-in-law agrees! The greatest thing about it is that it cooks in the crock pot. You've got to try it. You can get the recipe here.

While we're talking recipes look what I got in the mail!:
It's the new cookbook from Gooseberry Patch and one of my recipes is in it! How fun to see your name in print. It is a great cookbook....lots of really good homey foods. Nothing too frou-frou or over-the-top. Most of the ingredients you probably have on your pantry shelf. If you check it out, be sure to try the Scallped Potatoes and Ham!
(John Samuel was fine, by the way, he perked up as the day went on...of course if you ask him, he'll tell you he still doesn't feel well.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

waiting for daddy

Dinner was ready and we were waiting for daddy to come home from work. (He did a grocery run for bread on his way home.) The kids got out the colored pencils and the Dover coloring books and started to color. We're studying caniforms and feliforms in science and these coloring books make you feel so official. I thought it was a great I pulled out my knitting. It's those little moments of just being together (and wanting to be together) that make me smile.

The fact that they were all occupied and relatively quiet was a bonus too!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

vines of truth...and taking out the trash

Friday, we were reading in the book of Acts. We're slowly working our way through Acts during our morning Bible time. We are just finishing chapter 13. Throughout the book of Acts we've been catching on to some vines of truth. They seem to be just what we need at just the right moment. To catch you up to where we are, Paul and Barnabus have been sent out and are traveling. In Acts chapter 13, they arrive in Pisidian Antioch. They do what they always do, they head straight for the synagogue and when they are invited, they begin to tell the Jewish leaders and the people the good news. Of course, this good news is not received by all the Jews. Many believe and are converted, but some of the leaders get green eyed with jealousy and "talk abusively" against Paul. The message they came to bring is then offered to the Gentiles and they receive it with great joy. The offer of salvation is for all people.

But, the part that jumped out to me as we were reading is at the very end of Chapter 13. Those Jews who were jealous, incited others in their anger. "They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabus." They also kicked them out of the city (v. 50). Not quite the way I would have written the ending if I had been writing the story. I don't know about you, but if I had been Paul and Barnabus, and I had been doing what God called me to do and I ended up getting kicked out of a city, I would have been mad. Anger, hurt, disbelief and bitterness are some other dishes I may have dined on as well. But the Bible says that they "shook the dust from their feet" and went on. They actually headed for Iconium which was their next stop. Verse 52 says, they "were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." When they arrived in Iconium, chapter 14 tells us that "a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed".

Wow! I think if those guys had chosen to dine on anger, hurt and feelings of disbelief, they wouldn't have had room for their hearts to be filled with the joy of the Lord. They shook off the dust and left their hurt feelings there in the road. I know when I'm hurt or a situation comes into my life that leaves me reaching for bitterness and self pity, all I can think about is that thing that stung me. So I was encouraged to empty myself (with the Lord's help) of all the junk that keeps me from being filled with His joy. I want to be able to shake off the dust and not have it cling to me as I head out on my next journey. I want to be able to walk onto my next stop and not be hindered by what happened yesterday. But I've got to make room for His joy. The junk in me that fills me up must go so there is room for what He wants to pour into me. My Iconium is waiting and God has people there and situations that He wants to use me in...I can only accomplish what He has for me if I'm filled with His joy and power.

Excuse me, while I go take out the trash. :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

projects in progress

I joined the Mystery Sock Knit-a-long. I had some Sock Hop yarn that I've been itching to use and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to knit a pair of socks one chunk at a time. I decided to join a little late and so I'm a bit behind. That's OK though, I'm enjoying the process.
I also have been slowly working on my February Lady Sweater. I am now past the third button hole. A couple more rows of garter stitch and then I start my eyelet increase row! Yeah! Some variety is coming. As I've been finding time to knit, I've also found out some things about myself...

1. Mistakes are OK...I get a sense of accomplishment when I have to unknit or frog and then fix the problem. I also learn a little more about the process of knitting when I have to fix something.

2. I don't have to keep up with anyone...I'm knitting for the enjoyment of creating and learning.

3. Having 2 projects going is a great way for me to set one aside when I feel stumped or get to a spot that is dragging. It keeps me from being frustrated with one project.

4. I need to switch my FLS to Addis. These Denise needles are great, but not for every project. My Ella Rae wool yarn keeps binding up on the rubber cable and it is a lot of work moving my stitches along. I'm heading to my lys to pick up Addis this afternoon. My friend Beth Ann was right, some things just need to be done on Addis. (I just wish they weren't so stinkin' pricey.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

some advice from a tree

stand tall
act naturally
enjoy the view
settle down
make yourself useful
change your look for the season
smell good
sink deep roots
you never look stupid by staying quiet
learn to bend
take what comes and make the best of it
drink plenty of water
be yourself
take the winter off
be willing to be different
appreciate the differences in others
remember, variety is what makes us beautiful

This is from a scrap quote I did a couple of years ago...some of the thoughts are from Susan Branch's book Autumn, some are my own. So go enjoy your who you were made to be and enjoy others the way they are!

* I've since received a very nice email from Ilan Shamir who penned the following poem:

Advice from a Tree

Dear Friend
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of your true nature
Think long term
Go out on a limb

Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

Apparently some of his verses were included in Susan Branch's Autumn book and I wanted to make sure he received the proper credit for the original (and very profound) poem. You can check out his website here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

sunshine sewing

This Saturday morning started off with sunshine and some sewing! Hope your weekend includes some sunshine and being able to do something you enjoy! Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, October 10, 2008

what might have been

Some time at the beginning of August I signed up to play this year's edition of Dish Rag Tag. It's a knitting race where teams of 12 compete to be the first team to successfully pass a box through all 12 members of their team and have it cross the finish line first. The finish line is Emily's house in Alabama. The race starts at her home and ends there as well. There are some fun prizes too! The box contains a ball of cotton yarn, a dishcloth, a pattern and various other instructions and goodies. When you get the box, you keep the dishcloth, use the ball of cotton yarn to knit a new dishcloth (using the pattern). Then you send that dishcloth along with a new ball of cotton yarn and various other goodies to the next knitter on your team. (got all of that?) The teams include knitters from all over the United States. There are 289 knitters participating this year! Our box ran into some trouble somewhere in we got a replacement box and now we're back on track. The box that arrived in my mailbox on Thursday was sent from Amy in New Jersey. Amy, you did great! I loved all the goodies that you sent. The angel arrived totally safe! As soon as I got the box (and took my photos) I sat down and cast on for my dish cloth. Well, that was right after I ate some of the chocolate! yum. I even used the stitch markers that Amy made and began knitting away. My mail arrives late afternoon, so it wasn't long before I had to stop and get dinner going. Since it was Thursday, the girls had after they were on their way, I sat down to seriously knit. A little while later, I took a break to tuck my little guy in bed. As I was pulling up his covers, the thought crossed my mind that perhaps I shouldn't have left the dishcloth and my knitting supplies lying on the couch where Molly, our dog, could have gotten to them. Well, we read stories and said bedtime prayers and when I came back out to the couch to finish, Molly was looking rather suspicious. I immediately checked the couch and breathed a sigh of relief when I realized she hadn't chewed my near completion, dish cloth...whew. But I found evidence that she had been looking to munch. She totally destroyed the pencil I was using to mark off the repeats in my pattern. Naughty girl!
I was so glad she decided wood was more exciting to chew on than cotton. (She would have been sent to her crate for sure if she'd have chewed my knitting) Thankfully though, Lucy, the dishcloth was spared and it's on it's way to you! Keep your eyes peeled for the mailman. We will finish. Go Rag Tag Racers!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

wip (work in progress)

My mom made a comment the other day about how 'even' my stitches looked on the sweater I've started. They do...but they haven't always looked so even. The ones she commented on were just plain ole garter stitches. (You should see some of my attempts at lace.) There had been this wonky spot that I couldn't account for and I had to frog back and re-knit that section. She couldn't really know that from looking at the section that was on the dining room table.
Well, all this got me to thinking... (I know that can be trouble). I started realizing that knitting is such a good metaphor for life. You see, I'm just a work in progress. Each stitch in my life brings me closer to completion. There are those times that I have to be frogged and sections in my life that need to be reworked. I have some areas that seem easy...kinda like garter stitch, and some that need much more practice like my lace work. But even those 'easy' sections can get wonky every once in a while. As I think about my life, one of my deepest fears is that 15 years from now I'll look the same as I do today. I want all that God has for me, I think it would be so sad to get to the end of my life and realize I had missed out on all the joys and all the freedoms and all the peace and real growth that He had for me simply because I refused to change. Almost like ending up with a dishcloth when you started out knitting a cashmere sweater. I want to become all that my master has in mind for me to be. That means going on to the next stitch and the next section. It means allowing Him to frog areas that just aren't quite to gauge. That can hurt sometimes. (trust me I know!) But I know that He has my master pattern in mind all along and that I can trust Him to bring situations and circumstances into my life that are for my good. At certain times in my life He has stitches waiting on stitch holders, and yarn overs in places I didn't think I needed them. Sometimes, I'm not even sure whether He's knitting top down or bottom up..but I know He knows what He's doing in my life. I'm also certain that it won't be easy or even that it will all get done here on earth, but I'm willing to be knit into what He wants. The good part is that He does it, one stitch at a time.

"and we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord..." 2 Corinthians 3:18

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13,14

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sugarloaf and Squash

We were supposed to be camping this past weekend. Due to many circumstances, we were unable to pull off the camping trip. So instead of working around the house all weekend, we decided to break away for a while on Saturday and take a hike up Sugarloaf Mountain. It was a gorgeous day for hiking. Before we started our hike we stopped at Heisler's farm stand and picked up apples for our hike. Of course, I couldn't resist the squash. They have so many varieties as well as suggestions for how to use them. My favorite way is to bake them in a casserole dish with some water and then rake out the flesh and add parmesan and some butter. If I'm in the mood for something sweet, then I substitute the parmesan with brown sugar. Oh my. so. good.
These pumpkins caught my eye...they are called creamsicle. They are gorgeous...light orange veins on white shells. So unusual.

After we got our apples we headed to the mountain and hiked straight up. We were all huffing and puffing. Aparently we went up the steeper of the trails. Next time we'll reverse it and go up the trail that is more gradual and come down the steeper trail. Maggie tried to make us feel better by telling us it was because the air was so thin...When we got to the top, we enjoyed the views and our apples.

Our good friends Keith and Pam joined us for the day. It was great to hang out. There's always a lot of goofy around when we are together. And you know underneath every good man is a GREAT woman!
It was a great day spent together as a family with our wonderful friends. We're already talking about the next hike.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

heads up!

After finishing Those Mitts, I had about a half skein of gray yarn left. That half of a skein needed to be used up! I love finishing up things, it's such a challenge. So, I found this great hat pattern that looked to be the perfect solution. In the middle of knitting, I realized that I would have to use another color in order to be able to complete the hat. So, I introduced a blue stripe...a really wide blue stripe, and then went back to the gray. Well, as you can see I had to then go back to blue because my gray ran out. But of course no one else will know that it wasn't planned that way from the beginning. It turned out really cute and it is so warm and comfortable. It fits my daughter (who is modeling it) and my husband as well. I think this will be for my nephew who is in college. I like that it's a yarn that is machine washable. (not everyone cares for handknits the way we knitters do, especially college students) He has two that means I already have a way to finish up the blue yarn I started for this hat. And of course, that will mean I'll have another color to finish up for my third nephew's you see where this is heading? This could go on for quite a while!

The scoop:

Pattern: Pro Bono by Angela Fagen

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease in Denim and Gray

Needles: Size 10 circular and dpns for the decrease section

Size: I cast on 88 stitches for the adult size.

Mods: I knit using 2 strands of yarn and started my decreases at 7 inches. I also knit an extra k2tog round right before finishing off.

For: my nephew for Christmas