Category Archives: Knitting

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10 YEARS!

You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY!

I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.

SEE YA BACK HERE TOMORROW!

happy things


I’m looking at my calendar today and kind of freaking out that we’re only a couple weeks away from December! How did that happen? I am looking forward to the holidays and the nice winter break we get for Christmas and New Years. We got that snow I talked about the other day with more on the way. The roads yesterday and last night were not pretty. No snow plows were out until after the snow fell and melted on the roads and then refroze to sheets of ice when the temps dropped into the 20s. That seemed a little backwards to me, like they could have at least been out putting down some dirt on top of the ice or something. People were off the road everywhere.

On a sidetone … yes, I know it’s not smart to take photos while driving, especially in this kind of weather. I held it up in front of me (not blocking my view) and pressed the volume button on the side of my phone letting the phone focus and snap a few photos on its own and that was that. I did not look at my phone screen to make sure it was in focus at all and it took me all of about five seconds. My eyes never left the road and there were no other cars around. And I did not look at the photos to see if they turned out until I arrived at my destination. I do not recommend this behavior at all. If my son or daughter did this, I would take their phones away forever. ;)

Kind of a funny story about this bad habit of mine … when we were in Yellowstone, I drove through the park and also had my big camera sitting beside me or in my lap the whole time. It’s mostly slow driving through a lot of areas and I would whip my camera up and take pictures out the window or through the windshield. We were driving like 5-10 mph through one area where a lot of cars were stopped or creeping along to look at a little bear that was off the side of the road. There were park rangers nearby kind of directing people through the area and making sure nobody approached the bear. As we drove by slowly, I lifted my camera and the ranger said, “Driver, please pass your camera to a passenger in your vehicle.” haha!

I didn’t listen very well, though …

Since the snow is not my favorite, I thought I’d share some things that are making me happy this week:

• Zach and I found THIS at the grocery store yesterday! What? Love these. We are SO making them this weekend. Mmmmmm.

5 Hymns on She Reads Truth this week. So many beautiful songs. My favorite has always been It is Well With My Soul. But I really love so many. Including this one:

• We’re only a week away from The Truth About Drew’s Kindle Countdown deal. Starts next Friday (the 21st) at 99¢ for a few days, then bumps up to $1.99 and so on through the day after Thanksgiving when it goes back to regular price. If you haven’t bought it yet in eBook form, this would be a great time to pick it up! One of the most important scenes in the book takes place at Thanksgiving, so this would be the PERFECT time to read the book!

• Finally listened to my first Christmas song of the season. “O Holy Night” sung by Mercy Me. The snow this week has kind of put me in the holiday mood, so it might be time to turn it to the Christmas channel.

• Knitting! I’ve been doing quite a bit of knitting lately. I always get into it more in the colder months. Sitting under a blanket on the couch, knitting away. My favorite winter pastime. I recently finished this great big bulky infinity scarf for myself and, after seeing Elise’s cowl tutorial yesterday, I decided to give that a try, too. I’ve never really knitted in the round before. I have circular needles, but just never tried. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be.

That’s it for today. Have a wonderful weekend!

around here | happy pi day


I’m typing away at my desk and I can hear bangs and crashes outside as the sun melts the snow and ice from Wednesday’s snow storm. The kids had yet another snow day on Wednesday. We went from nice thawed, dry roads, driveway and porch to 6″ of heavy wet stuff. Normally, I wouldn’t mind a random snow day here and there, but we’ve had so many this year that we were informed by the superintendent of schools this week that we’ll definitely be extending the school year into the second week of June and even further into the month if the snow days continue. I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but this is the longest winter EVER.

Our snow day was actually very productive. I spent most of the day doing laundry and baking meals ahead for Jake’s lunches. Chloe’s floor was covered in clothing, so I asked her to please sort the dirty from the clean and she ended up cleaning and organizing her whole space. When she starts working on her room, she’s on a mission and she does such a nice job of it. She likes to display all her favorite things and she’s loving her new IKEA bookcase we got her for her birthday.

I also got one of the small IKEA bookcases when we got Chloe’s so I’d have a place for my albums and Project Life supplies. Lots of new goodies arrived this past week from Becky and Kari as a thank you for being part of the creative team this year. Thanks, girls! :)

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Starbase with Chloe’s class at the Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek. I went with Zach’s class (posted about it HERE) when he was in fifth grade, too, and it’s such a great program teaching kids lots of fun science facts and experiments. Chloe made me get my picture taken in the space suit. I did always want to be an astronaut when I was growing up, so I guess now I know what I would have looked like in space. :D

I picked up some yarn at Mary Maxim last weekend when we visited Jake’s parents. I’m giving THIS pattern a go.

It was spring conference time this week. Chloe’s was student-led and, boy, is she thorough. She put together a little power point presentation with a slide for each subject. They’re supposed to write a few sentences about what they’ve been learning. She wrote at least 6 paragraphs about each subject and read them out loud to us. The conference is supposed to take 10-15 minutes. It took us about 20-25. Nothing wrong with that. I just remember Zach’s having a few sentences, very brief and to the point. It’s so interesting to see how different they are. She’s doing well in all subjects with Math still being the one she struggles most with. When she takes her time, she’s got it. But when she’s rushes and doesn’t think it through and check her work, she makes a lot of silly mistakes. We’re working with her teacher and doing extra practice each night through a couple online sites they use in class and we think it’s really helping. Zach’s doing pretty good. His biggest problem has always been not turning things in on time and forgetting assignments. We’ve got him using a daily planner and that’s helped. Last marking period saw some lower grades because he didn’t make up work on time. This marking period has been much better and we’re proud of him for being more responsible.

Finally starting this book that my lovely mom-in-law got me for Christmas. I’ve been reading Emily Freeman’s blog for a while now and have never read any of her books. For shame. Time to change that.

And here’s my pile of books to read. It pays to have a hubby who works in publishing. Can you tell where he works? One of these things is not like the others. Hint: It’s not Revell. ;)

Still plugging away at scanning Grandma’s negatives. Found this one last night of me taking a bite out of my 5th birthday cake. My mom still makes us do that every year. ;)

And, last but not least, Happy Pi Day! For a little Pi Day humor, click over to my hubby’s website, Plus Sized Models.

a knitted gift


I enjoy knitting. A few years ago, I just decided that I wanted to learn and watched a bunch of YouTube videos to figure it out. I still haven’t tried anything really adventurous, like socks (haha!), but I’ve made scarves, hats, a blanket, arm warmers and dishcloths.

For Christmas this year, Mom O put fingerless gloves and a slouchy hat on her list so I went to work knitting her a gift. I knew how to make arm warmers, but I wanted to make short wrist warmers instead, so I kinda winged it based off of the original arm warmer pattern I followed. (HERE is that pattern. There are free downloadable instructions there.)

Here is the pattern I used to make these cute hand warmers.

HAND WARMER DIRECTIONS:

• Use whatever size needles you need to go with the gauge of your yarn.
• You will also need a yarn needle and scissors.

Cast on 40.

Knit 4, purl 4 (rib stitch) repeat to the end.
Repeat for 18 rows.

Work in stockinette stitch (knit a row, purl a row) for 24 rows.

Then work in garter stitch (knit stitch every row) for 5 rows.

Cast off the final row.

Fold the handwarmer in half so it’s turned inside out and stitch the edges together, leaving an inch open about 1″ from the top cuff so there will be a place for the thumb to go through. :)

A pretty cute project that isn’t all that difficult and was finished during a night or two of watching episodes of Castle.

The slouchy hat pattern can be found HERE. The yarn I used was not the kind they recommended, so mine turned out much more stretchy and loose, but I liked it anyway. And so did my mother-in-law. :)

Isn’t she cute. ;)

around here | january’s end


January has been such a weird month and I feel like the blog has suffered for it. I’m usually pretty consistent with my blogging, but having so many snow days this month with the kids here and not as much of a regular routine has messed that up. But, this month has given us more time to hang out together and that’s important, so I’m OK with it. Tomorrow is another day, right?

I’ve gotta say, I am loving being a part of the Project Life® Creative Team this year. If for no other reason than it is really pushing me to work on my albums more because I want to keep up and have plenty to share with you all. Today, I had some prints made at our local Walmart. Close, fast, convenient. Not my favorite photo place (I <3 Mpix.com), but it works in a pinch. Got all my January photos in the album and ready to work on the journaling. Feeling accomplished. ;) If anyone has questions for me about my Project Life process, photography, editing, etc., please feel free to ask in the comments section and I will do my best to help. I plan to share more as the year goes on.

Today makes Snow Day #8 for the kids this school year. 3 this week. We’ve been inside for days. Cabin fever has reared its ugly head, so Chloe and I finally ventured out this morning to run errands. Bitterly cold. Even the coffee I got on the way home did not take away the chills. Brrrrr. I want spring and summer!

The end of January is all about taxes around here. I work part time for my parents’ small business doing their bookkeeping, payroll and annual taxes. So this week I’ve been surrounded by all sorts of withholding forms. 940, 944, W2, W3, etc. Such fun! Getting everything ready to work on our personal taxes, too. Papers, papers, everywhere!

Been getting a little knitting in while watching episodes of Castle on DVD. (Mom O, please disregard the above photo. You aren’t supposed to see that yet!) This is always the perfect time of year for knitting. Freezing cold outside while I’m on the couch under a blanket making something with my own two hands that will keep me (or someone I love) cozy warm. Love knitting.

Hopefully we are done with snow days for the year. Weather permitting, I will get back into a more regular routine as we move into February and will be blogging more often again. We’ve got some fun things coming up – a late family Christmas, Chloe’s birthday celebration (she turns 11 on the 11th!), more gymnastics meets, more Project Life pages. And maybe a nice shift in the weather with a big February thaw. One can only hope. :)

on our walk


What a fun sight on our (very chilly because it’s still snowing) walk this morning. This was in front of our local library. I love it!

We stopped to take a few pictures of the Thornapple River, which has actually gone down some since it crested this past weekend.

But still, the photo on the left was taken last fall. There is usually that little chunk of land out there in the middle and the water flows around it on either side. That’s now underwater (right).

It was a cold walk for sure. I am chilled to the bone right now, but it felt good to get out and moving. Am feeling optimistic about the warmer weather in the weekend forecast.

Have a great Wednesday!

pouf!


I made a pouf! That’s just fun to say. I was browsing around the internet the other day and I came across THIS LINK for a knitted stool called a Puff Daddy on a Norwegian knitting site. It looked simple enough. I just had to buy the supplies and go for it. And it was a really easy, relaxing project. I worked on it for a couple evenings while we watched TV.

I went with Lion Brand Thick & Quick yarn in Barley. I wanted to do a fun green shade to brighten up the living room, but the green they had at the store was hideous, so I went with this brown shade instead. The pattern mentioned both #15 and #19 circular needles. I went with the #15’s and they were perfect. I used a comforter that used to be on our bed that we were no longer using for the stuffing. Did my best to roll it up into a ball before I knitted it shut. Could not get the hole any smaller than what you see in the above photo. I followed their instructions, but it was challenging with the bulky yarn. I don’t mind, though.

Chloe has been sitting on it and we’ve been using it for a foot stool. It’s a fun little addition to our living room and even better that I made it with my own two hands. :)

Here I am looking like Dumb Donald from the old Fat Albert cartoons.

I crack me up! :D

monday’s list


Happy Birthday to Chloe! 10 years old TODAY! I can’t believe she’s in the double digits already. Slow down, years, you’re going too fast.

• A good full weekend. We enjoyed having a three day because of the snow day on Friday. Lots of knitting on my part. I made a pouf for the living room. Will share about that this week.

• Jake and Chloe went to the Father/Daughter Dance at school on Saturday night. They looked so nice all dressed up. If you follow me on instagram or facebook, you may have already seen a few pictures I shared of Chloe getting ready. :) They had a blast dancing the night away.

• Yesterday, we went to my parents’ farm and had a birthday celebration for Chloe. Mom made a delicious meal – ham for Chloe because it’s her favorite. She loved all her gifts from Grandma, especially the purple rug for her room. It was a fun time with family.

• Sickness has struck. Zach was home for two days last week with the bad cough, runny nose, etc. Well, Chloe and I got hit with it last night. Poor girl is sick on her birthday. But she has the most energy of all of us and she was up and moving this morning, getting ready for school, even with a snotty nose. She took cupcakes to share with her class for her special day. She couldn’t miss that.

• A busy week ahead with Valentines preparations and a class party and gymnastics and a sleepover for Chloe and another friend’s birthday party and a special dinner for Jake’s mom, Shirley, to celebrate the end of her radiation treatments!!!! Yeah!

I think I’m ready for Spring Break! ;)

this week


A few pictures taken on my phone this week:
• made some yummy apple crisp.
• went to Joann and Hobby Lobby yesterday with Mom to get some yarn. got what I needed to finish the blanket I’ve been knitting and picked up some thick & quick chunky yarn for a new project I’ll share later.
• happy that we have a Biggby in town. and it’s so cool that when they send a coupon through email, you have the choice to print it or just load it directly onto your Biggby card and it automatically comes off your total when you buy your coffee.
• Jake asked me to pick up some Cuties at the store this week. They are so tiny and so tasty. I also bought a huge bag of oranges. It’s very citrusy around our house these days.
• Took a little self portrait while editing pictures the other day. I only have to wear my glasses when I’m at the computer for long periods of time.
• Our area got dumped on with about 6 inches of snow last night. Some places north of us got a foot or more. So it was a SNOW DAY again for the kids. It looks really pretty out there, but it’s not pretty to clean that mess up. Jake’s snowblower wouldn’t start, so he was out there shoveling and it was the heavy wet kind of snow. ugh. OK, Punxsutawney Phil, I hope you were right that we’ll have an early Spring this year.

Coming up … Chloe turns 10!!!! What? I told her she’s not allowed. She needs to stay in the single digits forever. <3

blankets and spelling and moustachios


Thought I would share a picture of the knit blanket’s progress. I think it needs a few more columns at least, but I ran out of yarn.

I used Vanna’s Choice in Lime and Taupe for this project, by the way. Then will come the task of weaving in all the loose ends and sewing the columns together. I like how it looks all laid out on the floor. I’m excited to finish it.

Today’s happenings:
• Mom and I walked almost 3 miles today at an average of 20min/mile. It was only about 10 degrees out, but the sun was shining and it wasn’t windy. Best part, the sidewalks and paths were dry and ice free. Yay!

• Chloe is in her school’s spelling bee today. They did a little spelling bee in each class last week and the top two kids in each class got to go on to compete against the other fourth grade classes. She was first place in her class. I’m so proud of her. I remember my fifth grade spelling bee. I was third and I will never forget the word I spelled incorrectly: basin. I spelled it with an “e” instead of an “i”. It’s funny the little things that you remember. :D

• Zach has a funny little project to do for school tonight. He is the king of procrastination. (It’s due tomorrow.) He’s reading a mystery novel for his language arts class and their project is to take a cereal box and create a made up cereal that goes along with something in the book. Zach’s book is “Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary“. His idea is to make the cereal be called “Moustachios”, which would, of course, be shaped like mustaches. He cracks me up.

AJAXed with AWP