Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blog Party Prize

Vicki's "Grow Your Own Blog Party" is so much fun!
I've found many wonderful blogs to follow.  I have a lot of new followers on mine.
I'm making new friends around the world.  And, for me, the party has just begun.  I still have so many more blogs to visit from the list of almost 400 participants.  It's not too late to join in on the fun.  Just stop by Vicki's blog, "2 Bags Full" for a visit, more information and links to participating blogs.

As part of the fun, many of the blogs are having give-aways.  This blog included!
To enter, just leave a comment on at least one January post.  You can receive an entry for each post you comment on.  You can receive an additional entry for being or becoming a follower of my blog.
The winner will be announced on Friday, February 1st, 2013.

I've been trying to figure out a prize that would appeal to anyone.  But, since we're all so different, I decided to provide the winner with some choices.  That way, the winner will receive something they'll truly want and enjoy.  And, the prize will be made especially for the winner.

Here are some ideas I've come up with...the winner will chose one...

A set of hand knit wash/dish cloths in your choice of color.

A ruffled bottle sleeve to catch drips on your wine bottle.  These work great!

 A pretty, needle felted, rose ring.

A sweet little nest ring with tiny blue eggs.

A cozy cowl.  In a color of your choice.  You can see more photos HERE, HERE and HERE.
As you can see, I've made quite a few of these.  They're cozy, warm and pretty.


Or a fun and chunky, cotton, crochet doily.  HERE's the original post with another picture.
HERE's another pattern possibility.  The picture of the green one isn't the best but I love this pattern and have made a lot of them.  They work great as place mats and they have a really neat edge on them.

I had planned to have several give-aways this month.  Some for the party and some for my birthday.
This month has been incredibly busy for me though and I haven't even had much time to blog.  
So, I'm planning to have another give-away next month.  The party has just begun!

Thanks for stopping by.  And, as always, thanks for all of your wonderful comments.  I love getting each and every one of them.  I so appreciate you taking time to leave them.  I try to respond to each and every one of them.  However, because there have been so many, it's been a bit confusing knowing which I've responded to and which I haven't.  Plus, many of them come through with a "no-reply" on them and no email to respond to.  For those comments and anonymous ones, I may not be able to contact you if your name is drawn for the give-away.  So, please be sure to leave a way to contact you or check back on Friday to see if your name has been drawn.  Good luck!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Some people show their love, care or gratitude with food.
I show my love, care or gratitude with yarn.

I just finished up a shawl to show my gratitude to a very special young woman.
She's a friend of my daughter.  She reached out and was there for my daughter in a very big way.
What she did means a lot and I hope this helps to express our appreciation.

 She likes red.  I hope she likes this.  The variations of red in this yarn are gorgeous.
In person, the reds are much richer and prettier.  But, for some reason, I always have trouble getting reds to photograph correctly.  I took photos of it in different parts of the house and different lighting and these three came out the best.  I tried to tweak them a little with editing to get them a little closer.

 I crocheted it with about one and a half skeins of Serendipity Garden Yarn and a size "H" hook.
The pattern is the "Country Cotton Shawl".  I've made it before with the same yarn
but in a different colorway.  It's fun, easy and fairly quick to make.
I just had to count often to make sure I didn't do any mindless mistakes to throw it off. 

I added a shell edge along all three sides.  The shells were made with three double crochet stitches, a treble in the middle, and three more doubles.  I did a slip stitch in between the shells...a stitch that's very short to help set off the height of the shells and create better scallops.  The shell on the bottom point was slightly different.  It was made with three doubles, 2 trebles, and three doubles. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Warm Wishes

Our local knit/crochet group sometimes meets at member's homes.  The dear host of one of our recent meetings had something that I'd never seen before.  It was a teapot warmer.  It was glass and held a tea light candle, the teapot sat on top, and it kept the teapot warm.  What a great idea!  I instantly knew I wanted one and planned to keep my eye out at antique stores and yard sales to see if I could find one.

It turns out that they aren't as rare as I'd thought.  I'd just never seen them before.  Since then, I saw some at Teavana.  They were a bit pricey.  But, last week, I saw a nice one at World Market and the price was a lot better.  I didn't get it that day but decided that I definitely wanted it after thinking about it that night and reading great reviews about it online.  However, before I had a chance to get it, my sweet daughter surprised me with it for my birthday!  She made a pot of tea, placed a candle in the warmer and surprised me at breakfast.  She also gave me a cute card that she had made.  We enjoyed hot tea and fresh, homemade granola.  What a great way to start my birthday!

I already had this teapot and it fits great on the warmer.

The warmer is cast iron.  The top lifts off to place the candle inside and for lighting it.
The top is textured so it's not slippery and the teapot sits securely on top.

It works great!  The tea stays steaming hot to the very last cup.

It's been getting a lot of use.  I love it!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

She's Here!

 Our new baby, bundle of fur and cuteness has arrived!
We just picked her up from the local shelter yesterday.
She's only about eight weeks old and oh-so-cute!

Meet Penelope...

The best time to get photos is when she's sleeping.  
Otherwise, she ends up looking like a gray, white and pink blur
because she's always moving.  Hard to believe from these photos.  

So many adorable little, pink toes!

Her feet are so small.  Here's her front foot all stretched out under my thumb. 

She only weights 2 3/4 pounds.

It's amazing how much personality fits into this one, tiny kitten.
She's happy, easy going, playful, loving, brave, smart and funny.
She even thinks she can fly!  She jumps all the way down to the floor from 
the top of her kitty tree (about 5 feet tall), from the sofa to the top of the tree, 
and makes huge leaps in the air as she chases feathery toys.  
She spreads her arms out as she leaps as if they were wings.

She plays so much that she needs lots of naps.
She tries to stay awake as long as she can though.
She doesn't want to miss anything!
Uh oh...her eyes are getting heavy!

 Time for another nap.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Welcome to the Party!

There's a party goin' on!  I'm so glad you were able to come!  There are lots of wonderful people, great things to see, interesting stories, and endless inspiration.  There are hundreds of guests.  You and are are just a few.  The gracious host is Vicki at "2 Bags Full".  She came up with a wonderful idea for us to find new blogs to follow, meet other bloggers, and make new friends.  I loved the idea and didn't hesitate to join in on the fun.  My blog is just one of 400 that signed up for this international event.

When you visit my blog you'll find stories and pictures of things that I love to do...knitting, crochet, weaving, sewing, quilting, needle felting and more.  You'll find yummy recipes that I create using fresh, delicious ingredients.  You'll see stories of my adventures in travel, camping, and exploring slot canyons, caves and other exciting and beautiful places in the western United States.  You'll see lots of beautiful wildflower photos.  And, you'll enjoy stories about my wonderful family, including our adorable Airedale, Salsa and our soon to arrive new baby kitty, Penelope (we just picked her out at the shelter yesterday and get to bring her home on Monday...we're so excited!).

This month, I'll be having give-aways!  I'm still working on what the prizes will be.  So, be sure to come back and see.  To enter, simply leave a comment each time you stop by.  I love comments!  They add smiles to my day.  I try to respond to each and every one of them.  If you don't receive one, it's usually because the comment has a "no-reply" on it and no email address to write back to.  Each comment from all of the January posts will go into the drawing(s).  You can receive one entry for each blog post that you comment on.  If you're a follower or become a new follower, you'll get an additional entry.  I'll be drawing the name(s) of the winner(s) on February 1st.

I hope you'll come back for more visits.  While you're visiting today, click HERE to pop over to Vicki's to find more party goers and wonderful bogs to visit.  She has all the participants listed and linked so you can easily visit lots of them.  Have fun!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Just finished up a snuggly little set for a baby boy that's soon to be born.
He'll be the first grandchild for one of the ladies in our knit group.

I knitted a little snuggle sack and a matching hat.
And, I found an adorable set of little onesies that not only match the gray yarn but
look how cute the little dinosaurs look peeking out from the top of the snuggle sack.

There are two long sleeve onesies and one with short sleeves.

I knitted the snuggle sack and matching hat with Simply Soft yarn in Grey Heather.
It took about one skein.  I used a size seven, 16" circular needle for the snuggle sack 
and size seven double point needles for the hat.

I posted additional notes on how I did it on my Ravelry site.
Just click HERE if you'd like to see them.

I even made a little dinosaur card to go with the gift.

I sure hope they like it and that they didn't already receive
 a bunch of these since they know a lot of knitters.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Elimination Frustration

Our daughter developed some health issues over the past couple of months that suddenly became worse about a week ago.  She became concerned and went to see a doctor.  He feels that it could be a food intolerance and put her on an "Elimination Diet".  

We've made significant changes to our diet over time and especially over the past year.  We've even experimented with eliminating or cutting back on certain foods that could possibly not be agreeing with our bodies.  We found that dairy is one of those foods and have cut it out of our diet completely.  It was hard at first but we don't miss it now that we feel so much better and know what it can do to us.  We have less headaches and sinus troubles and DD also has less stomach troubles too.  But, that must not have been enough.

We've decided to go on this diet with her to support her and see if removing any of these items might improve our health as well.  The elimination diet is NOT easy.  So many things have to be eliminated and it leaves so few choices that planning meals and shopping have become a very big challenge.  The foods that are eliminated are common allergens or can cause inflammation in body.  The things we have to eliminate are:

Red meat, processed meats, eggs and egg substitutes
Strawberries and Citrus
Canned or creamed soups
Coffee, tea, alcohol, citrus drinks, sodas, caffeine
Margarine, shortening, butter and spreads
Peanuts, pistachios
Brown sugar, sugar, honey, fructose, molasses, corn syrup

The "allowed items" are...

Meat - chicken, turkey, lamb or cold water fish
Non-dairy "milk" - rice or nut
Fruits and veggies (except corn, strawberries and citrus)
Breads and cereals - made from rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, teff, millet, potato or arrowroot
Soup - clear, vegetable based
Beverages - unsweetened fruit or veggie juices, herbal teas, filtered water
Oil - cold/expeller pressed, unrefined light shielded canola, flax, olive, pumpkin, sesame or walnut
Nuts - almonds, cashews, pecans, flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower seeds and butters of these nuts
Sweeteners - brown rice syrup, fruit sweeteners

The frustration we've run into is that just about every food label we read has at least one of the elimination items in it.  That basically leaves a few kinds of meat, most fruit and veggies, and very few other things that we're lucky enough to find that fit into the limitations of this diet.  Even gluten-free items often have eggs, dairy, yeast or corn products.  And, many other products that seem like they'd fit into the rules, don't.  We were label readers before but this puts a whole new spin on things.  

We're also running into road blocks with finding recipes.  Even in our vegan cookbooks and our Forks Over Knives cookbook, which is all plant based, aren't helping much.  We've been searching on the internet too.  Many of the recipes we've found on there have items we can't have.  DD tried to bake some muffins from one of the recipes she found yesterday.  They were edible but were dense, didn't rise, and didn't have much flavor.  We'll keep searching for recipes and trying though.  Our meals aren't always fabulous but they're healthy and we're figuring more and more things that we can cook.  

We've been on the diet for a week now.  DD just started feeling a bit better yesterday.  Hubby said he's feeling a lot better and his weight is going down.  My weight has dropped below my goal (I was close before we started) and my psoriasis may be improving.  After two weeks, we'll go through a process of adding one food back for a day, removing it, waiting a couple days, and removing another one.  Hopefully, we'll know in a few weeks if we need to remove anything for good.  We're hoping we won't have to eliminate anything that's a big part of our normal diet that we love or that's an ingredient in lots of things.  The doctor also advised that DD take probiotics.  I'm hoping that will be the thing that helps her.  It would be so much easier than having to remove something like gluten from her diet.  

Have you ever been on this diet?  How did it work out for you? Or, do you know someone who did this?  What was the outcome?  I'd love to hear from others that have experienced this.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Snuggle Bug

Salsa, our Airedale, has seemed a little sad about Duchess (our kitty) being gone.  And, it's been hard for her to see us sad.  She's been sticking closer to us than ever and even puts her paw on our knee and looks into our faces with love and concern as if she wants very badly to help us.  But, she's also very happy to have our daughter home from college.  Her little heart loves us so much that it amazes me.  

The loss of Duchess has caused us to allow Salsa on the family room sofa.  She loves that very much.  She's decided that snuggling with us is quite nice.  She was snuggling with our daughter on the sofa a couple of evenings ago.  Look...she's holding her hand... 


So happy!

She's always in the kitchen when we cook.  We joke that she likes to help and is our sou chef.
She decided that "helping" our daughter cook last night meant snuggling next to her by the stove.

She snuggled with us on New Year's Eve.  She laid between hubby and I as we sat on the sofa.

"What'cha doin' Mom?  Are you taking my picture again?"

She started to get a little too warm from snuggling.  So, she went over to another part of the sofa, pushed all of the blankets onto the floor and stretched out to cool off.

Just had to include a photo of her from Christmas morning.  This was before her recent haircut.  So, she was a bit wild and woolly   She watched and waited as each gift was unwrapped and we wadded the paper and threw it across the room for her to tear up.  Fun!

We love our little snuggle bug!

Please excuse the photos as they were all taken in low light with my cell phone.

Have a wonderful weekend!  :-)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Sewing

Our holidays were chaotic and crazy and I ran out of time to do so many things.  We never even got our Christmas tree decorated.  But, I did manage to finish most of the gifts I'd planned to make.  That included a few sewn ones.

My daughter has always knitted, crocheted, sewed, woven, spun, etc.  But, now that she's grown up and experiencing the stresses of life, she has a bigger appreciation for those things and the relaxation and escape they can provide.  However, her knit and crochet projects mean she needs to borrow tools from me.  That's fine...until I need those things for my projects.  So, I decided it was the perfect time to get her started on collecting her own tools.  I sewed her a crochet hook/knitting needle case and a project bag.  And, I was able to do it with left over fabric from her quilt.  So, I knew she'd love it!

It was a bit challenging finding pieces of fabric that were big enough and that looked great together in these projects.  But, I did it.  I'm quite pleased with the outcome.  And, best of all, she loves it!

I gave it to her with a set of crochet hooks in the most commonly used sizes, some stitch markers of various kinds, yarn needles, and a little case to store them in.  I'm also going to buy her some knitting needles but needed to wait to see what she already has and what she wants.


I made a project bag for my friend Tammi too.  

I love the blues in this fabric!  And, it goes well with the knitting needle case I made for her last year.

I'm not sure how or when she did daughter managed to sew a project bag for me!

What a special gift!  The fact that she made this for me, with her hands and love means so much!
And, believe it or not, I'd already planned to make a project bag with this fabric.
I love it!  And, I've already put it to good use.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Knitting

The only knitting I was able to do for Christmas this year was this hand towel for my husband's aunt.

I knitted it with size six needles and a 150 yard skein of Sugar N Cream in the color, Buttercream.
The pattern is called, "Basket Rib Hand Towel" and it's available for free on Ravelry.  
The colors seemed perfect for her.  Plus, she's moving and this is flat, light weight, and easy to move.

I forgot to measure before I wrapped it but it was about the size of a standard kitchen hand towel.  It's a fun and easy project that works up fairly quickly....if you don't make mistakes that take you back several inches at a time from being in a hurry!  :-)

I made a towel with this pattern last year.  You can see it on the bottom of THIS post.