Progress, People! I’ve Made Progress!

I’ve been busy. And, I’ve had a chance to relax. Most importantly, I’ve had time to finish not one, but TWO projects, freeing myself up to start new stuff.

First, A Spicier Life Blanket CAL update. Part three has been released today, but I’ve only given it a quick glance to see what stitches are in the next rows. I’m right on track and plan on starting part three a little later today. Here’s my progress so far:

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George (my youngest and largest cat), was very into the blanket while I was working on it.

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As for finished projects, I have Manon:

When I finished the sleeves, I thought the torso looked a little short, and you know what? I forgot to add the garter stitch edge at the bottom. No worries, though. I picked out the woven-in tail, undid the bind off, and added in the last few rows. So much easier than what I was going to do: pick up stitches and knit. Luckily, I looked up how to make sweaters longer and the advice I found was if the sweater is knit top down, you can just undo the bottom and continue on. I’m not as swift as I’d like to think I am, and this option never occurred to me. This is why Google is my most trusted advisor.

Yesterday I finished the Hotel of Bees Shawl. I love love love it!

 

I think I’m going to make another one using the suggested color way. Eventually…

For now (besides working on the Spicier Life Blanket) I think I’m going to cast on a pair of socks. Using this…

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For Maggie, I think. The pattern I plan on making is the Picot Socks, as seen on the first episode of The Knit Show.

In other news, Aaron’s high school band won Grand Champion at the Georgia Contest of Champions band competition. Those kids have been working so hard, and I may be a little biased (naaaawww, me?) but they put on an excellent show. Last night they participated in the county band exhibition. I wasn’t at the competition, but I did make it to the exhibition. At the end of the show I tracked him down and snagged a photo of Aaron in full uniform:

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He looks like a little toy soldier. 🙂

Below are photos from the competition on Saturday (Top pic, Aaron is far right. Bottom pic, far right in the last row):

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I’m insanely proud of him and have been talking so much about him on social media, I starting to annoy myself. Eh, whatevs! He’s awesome. 🙂

That’s all I have for today! Hopefully, on my next post I’ll have part three of the Spicier Life Blanket complete, and a pair of socks on my needles!

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Forsyth Fair

We’re almost to the middle of October, yet this corner of the world feels like a sauna. Regardless, I’ve been knitting, crocheting, and doing the autumn type things, like going to the county fair, and buying up too many Halloween decorations–even though it’s been so muggy I haven’t wanted to decorate the house.

I have not mentioned it–at least I don’t remember mentioning it on this blog–but this school year has been crazy busy for me because Aaron, who is now a Freshman in high school, joined the Marching band. I try to get to the home games to see him perform. (In the middle bottom photo, he’s the guy all the way at the end of the formation.) Right now, this is one of my favorite things ever, and I’m sure my Facebook friends are tired of hearing about it. Ha!

Since Aaron is in the band, and the band played in a parade at the county fair, I went to the county fair. I’ve lived here eight years, and this is my first time going to our local fair.

I’ve been working on the Spicier Life CAL. We’re on part two, now, which is pictured, in progress, in the bottom right photo. The completed part one is the other two photos. I’m enjoying this project a whole lot! Although, I did make a teensie mistake yesterday while working the “larking around” rows. I realized what I did wrong in the second row, but I didn’t feel like going back and frogging the row I already completed so, c’est la vie. It now has added character. Here’s my mistake:

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The blue row is the mistake row. Instead of crocheting into the bottom row plus the current row, I only crocheted into the bottom row, as if doing a front post double crochet. Oh well. The mistake is only visible from the ws of the work, so no one will ever know….

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In knitting news, I finished the arm to Marcy’s Manon sweater. Just one arm to go! After I finish this weeks SpicierLife rows, I’m going to finish this sweater. It shouldn’t take any time at all!

There was another knitting WIP I forgot to share last week. I actually have two triangle shawls in the works, one being the Hotel of Bees I shared last week, and the other, Lattice Sampler shawl. So, that’s THREE projects I’m working on right now that involve samples of different stitches. Do you think I may like lots of variety? Or maybe a really short attention span? Anyhow, here’s my progress on the Lattice Sampler shawl:

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Part of me wants to start a pair of socks, but….I should probably finish all the WIPs I have now….

That’s all I have for today!

 

Doing ALL the Things

I’ve been pinging back and forth for the last few weeks, unable to settle.

What I’ve been doing:

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Above…it’s not glamourous. It’s not very pretty. (Okay, it’s kind of pretty, if you’re into utilitarian things.) It’s a bag bag. It’s a bag to hold bags. If you want to make one of these yourself, here’s the pattern: Plastic Bag holder.

Below…something pretty and pretty FUN. The Hotel of Bees Scarf I’ve been dying to make ever since I saw it on the Cherry Heart podcast. I’m using Mandala yarn, so I’m not following the color scheme in the pattern–this time. I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it again, but with the actual color scheme suggested. Such a fun pattern! (Find it here.)

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I’ve also started YET ANOTHER crochet project. This one is part of a CAL, the very first I’ve ever done. 🙂 It’s the Spicier Life blanket from Cherry Heart. It’s just started, so if you’re interested in participating, you can find details linked at the end of this paragraph. Below is my color chart (interesting? Probably not.) and I have a swatch done for gauge, but no photo of it. This morning the first part of the pattern was released, so, by the end of the week I should have progress photos. If you’re interested in the CAL: Spicier Life Blanket CAL.

23D12E9D-CC23-46A4-A5CB-BDB525BBF0E2In addition to the crafting, I’ve been playing with gouache and watercolor. Below is one painting I worked on one lazy day.

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And, this happened two weeks ago, but I had to share:

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That’s the pumpkin roll I made for my book club last month! We read You by Caroline Kepnes, and our reactions to the book were mixed, as usual. I loved it, but I like dark humor. And it was DARK. Our next book we’re discussing in The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I already flew through it (it’s a quick little book) and enjoyed it. Wasn’t scary, though. I’m convinced people were easier to scare pre-1970s.

In addition to my book club, I’ve also joined a writing group. I didn’t post about it, but at the beginning of this year I took a 6-week novel writing workshop with Joshilyn Jackson–one of my favorite writers. She’s written Almost Sisters, Gods in Alabama, Backseat Saints, and many more. (These are not affiliate links. I just love her work and think you should buy her books.) It was a memorable experience, not just because I was learning from a writer I admire (I’m a total fangirl, and in an attempt to play it cool, I continuously, throughout the six weeks, made a complete fool of myself), I also made friends with several of the women who took the workshop along side me.  I continue to meet with them on a monthly basis, and I’m proud to say, I have written 33k words (actually, 32,977 words) towards a novel I am determined to finish. (In case anyone was wondering, Joshilyn is as cool in person as she is in print. She’s hilarious and SMART and she knows the craft forwards and backwards. Oh, and she likes whiskey drinks.)

So, yeah. I’ve been busy doing all the stuff. All of it. Ping ping ping.

Yeah, Yeah…

It’s been TEN MONTHS since my last post, and, guess what? It was a repost. Because I’m a very lazy blogger.

Yes, I know this.

I’m just going to blame it on the fact that I have four kids and no attention span. Let’s move on.

SO! I haven’t been doing a whole lot of crafting, but I have finished something I was working for a while. My granny square blanket:

I’n’it lovely?

I FINALLY finished the Autumn table runner IN TIME FOR THANKSGIVING. Also, something I’m proud of, even though I quickly learned my cats think it’s a cat mat for the table.

Then…I took a looong break from making anything.

Boo.

BUT! I moved my desk and my crafts into the “sitting room” in my master bedroom and voila! I suddenly felt like making things again.

I’m currently working on Manon, a sweater that’ll be for Marce-monster.

And, I just finished making a pincushion out of a planter my friend Cathy gave me:

There are other projects, I’m sure, but I can’t think of any right now.

School starts here soon–at the end of next week! I don’t plan on putting as much on my plate this year as I did last, which, if I’m honest, is why I wasn’t able to get much sewing, knitting or blogging done. By Christmas I was so overwhelmed with all the things I’ve added to my life, and by the end of the school I swore, “never again.” So, we’ll see. I have a tendency to volunteer for things at school. Last year, after a very boring summer, I said, “I volunteer! I volunteer! Give me ALL THE JOBS!!” Luckily, I HAVEN’T been bored this summer. As a matter of fact, this summer was so full of things going on, I feel like I blinked and it was over. So, instead of looking forward to school because I want something to do, I’m looking forward to school because I’ll have 3/4 less children in the house and perhaps a little quiet time to work on some more projects.

Pumpkins in a Row Tutorial

It’s October! In the spirit of the season, here’s a tutorial (and pattern!) I posted three years ago.

New content coming soon!

Fisheyes and Magpies

Pumpkins in a Row

As promised, a tutorial for a fun, festive, Halloween pillow! All the particulars and templates can be found here:

Pumpkins in a Row Instructions

Pumpkins Template

A companion to the two PDF files above, here’s a step by step photo walkthrough to help you along!

Print and cut out paper templates from the PDF above. Print and cut out paper templates from the PDF above.

Place face pumpkin on matching blank and check for any overlapping. This particular pumpkin is not perfect, so you'll have to trim so both pieces are the same! Place face pumpkin on matching blank and check for any overlapping. This particular pumpkin is not perfect, so you’ll have to trim so both pieces are the same!

Cut out facial features. Cut out facial features.

Pin blank template to brown felt and cut around edge. Pin blank template to brown felt and cut around edge.

Place pumpkin templates FACE DOWN on orange felt and outline pumpkins and faces with marker. This will be the wrong side of the pumpkins, and ink won't show on other side. Place pumpkin templates FACE DOWN on orange felt and outline pumpkins and faces with marker. This will be the wrong side of the pumpkins, and ink won’t show on other side.

Outline Pumpkins

Carefully cut out faces with small scissors. Carefully cut out faces with small scissors.

Pumpkin cut outs

Cut Fabric according to dimensions in the instructions PDF. Cut Fabric according to dimensions in the instructions PDF.

Sew back according to pattern listed in the instructions PDF, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Sew back according to pattern listed…

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Goodbye, Summer!

It’s September. I could pretend the kids just went back to school, but, I’d be lying. They went back the first week of August. Also, all the photos I’m about to share are from July. So, yeah. I haven’t posted anything (other than one book review) since July. I’m sorry. I’ve just been really. stinkin’. busy. (As I write this, my eyes are puffy and tired and I feel like the last time I truly slept was sometime late July.)

So, mid-July, my family took a trip. This was a week long “Tour of the East Coast” trip. Well, not really. It felt like we were touring the East Coast, but we only stopped a few places. I think I was so exhausted after this trip, I blocked it from memory. That’s not right, I had a really great time and saw lots of family, so, no, I didn’t block it. But, I felt I needed some recovery time before I uploaded the photos to my computer and shared. Then, I got busy and forgot…

Submitted for your approval, What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part 2 (Because Part 1, if you remember, took place at Amelia Island in Florida, and I did share that):

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Uncle Tim photobombing the kids.

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The kids and their cousins. The newest one is in Aaron’s arms. 

First, was a stop to see Grandpa Bob and Grandma Anne (and Uncle Tim and Aunt Danielle and Aunt Megan and Uncle Travis and all three cousins) in N.C.! While there, we got to visit Uncle Travis at work, which would be boring if he were an accountant or something like that, but, luckily, he’s a fireman. 🙂 The kids got a personal tour of the station.

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After we left North Carolina, we headed north to see Grandma Joanne, but it’s a long trip to Upstate New York, so we stopped in Virginia. While there, as a fun treat, we drove through the Virginia Safari Park, which was AWESOME! I took way too many photos, so, here’s just a few highlights. As much fun as this little side trip was, Maggie woke up the next morning with an upset stomach…and vomited the entire rest of the drive up to Grandma’s. All 8 hours. It’s okay. It’s cool. We survived.

Next up…

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Sean loves his grandma!

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…Grandma’s house! Grandma put up a tire swing for Maggie, and the kids loved it. We also stopped by Aunt Cheryl’s house to greet the horses! (Maggie’s favorite part of visiting family in NY.) That giant black animal is a dog, and his name is Thor. He’s a sweetie, but HUGE. One “kiss” to Marcy’s face covered it entirely in doggy slobber. And, knocked her over. I love a big dog!

Then, it was back home! We just had one full week left of summer vacation before we had to think about “back-to-school.” As I pointed out, that was over a month ago. Since then, it has been non-stop busyness. We’re adapting, though!

So, did you have a good summer? Are you as ready for fall as I am??

Love Warrior Review

Love Warrior: A MemoirLove Warrior: A Memoir by Glennon Doyle Melton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let me start off by saying I received an Advanced Reader Copy for this book. That said, my review is honest. Like this book.

It’s difficult to give an a complete review on this book without mentioning Glennon Doyle Melton’s previous book, Carry On, Warrior.

I enjoyed Carry On, Warrior, but I felt it was missing something. It preached honesty and self-acceptance, but I finished the book feeling either Glennon was holding back, or, her life wasn’t really as “messy” as she claimed. One of my major problems with the book was that she spoke a lot about her addictions and mental health issues, but didn’t go into it. It left me feeling like she just woke up one morning and decided to be a better person, and–POOF!–sober and no longer bulimic! The book felt a little dishonest, whether it was because she was withholding information, or because it wasn’t really as bad as she led on, I didn’t know.

Now, I realize, I was looking at the book the wrong way. Carry On, Warrior is not a memoir. It is a collection of essays (some, taken directly from her blog) held together with a common theme: embrace your life, flaws and all. It isn’t meant to be about her problems. It’s a lifesaver tossed out to an overwhelmed mom, drowning in the expectations placed on her to be a “perfect mom” and a “perfect wife” and a “perfect person.” Glennon’s anecdotes are meant to help show others, “It’s okay! I’m a mess, too!” But, it wasn’t a memoir.

Love Warrior is a memoir. It’s not a compilation of feel good stories to comfort the reader. It’s not a cheerfully, “life-is-absurd-so-let’s-just-laugh,” book about marriage. It’s a raw, and truly honest, look at a marriage facing ruin. It’s about how marriage is the union of two people, both carrying their own baggage. Those two people don’t leave their baggage at the door. They bring it into the house with them. They open those suitcases, pull out all their crap (issues), and either hang them neatly (and hidden) in the closet, or toss them on floor so everyone keeps tripping over them. Where as before, each person only had their own “crap” to deal with, now they have their spouse’s, as well.

The book starts at the beginning and adds in all that back story I felt was missing from the previous book. To understand Glennon’s marriage, she first asks you to understand her. She talks about her childhood, and reflects on what lead her on the path of bulimia and addiction. She then shares her experiences, struggles and the shame associated with it. Glennon makes sure you know “who,” and “where” she was in her life when she met Craig. Then, she starts at the beginning, again, but, this time, it’s the beginning of her relationship with Craig. Knowing how they met, how they started dating, and why they got married helps to better understand the present state of their marriage.

Glennon does not hold anything back. Not a thing.

While Carry On, Warrior is full of hope, Love Warrior feels more cynical. While it does end on a high note, there’s no closure. It’s as if we’ve reached the end of the beginning. Here was a giant obstacle, we’ve scaled it, and now, we’re on the other side. To be continued….

But, if you are a follower of Glennon Doyle Melton, you know it was really just the beginning of the end. She announced a week or so ago she has decided to seek a divorce. Those who have not read her book, yet, might be shocked, but I wasn’t.

It takes a lot of courage to write a story like this. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it would be to sit down and type out all those things you don’t want to think about, all those horrible experiences and feelings that most people hide from themselves and others. But, I also think, “how liberating!” When you don’t have secrets, you are never worried of being “found out.” When you confess and accept yourself at your worst, you protect yourself from the judgments of others. What can someone say about you that you haven’t already said?

Honesty is more than just telling the truth. It’s looking beyond your own perspective and seeing the situation as a whole. It’s being angry, and yet, still being able to admit you may be wrong. It’s seeing that there are no “villains” and that everyone is doing their best just to get by. Glennon doesn’t just unpack her baggage and lay everything out neatly for everyone to see. She also shakes out Craig’s bag. She doesn’t kick his crap around on the floor, though. She lines it up neatly next to hers. Does she judge him? Of course she does! She’s been hurt! But, does she also take a step back and see that he, too, is only human? Yes. Does she do her best to treat him with the same respect she treats herself? Yes.

This isn’t a happy book. It’s not a self-help book for those wanting to work on their marriage. It offers no advice, and takes no stance for or against divorce. It’s just a thoughtful and honest portrayal of a troubled marriage.

View all my reviews