Saturday, August 15, 2015

Finished Finishing

Despite the chaos that can be found in the month of August, with back to school and all that, I have carved out a bit of time to prepare for my fall craft shows. My aunt and I have added two additional shows this year, both of them closer to home for me. I did some scoping last year, and both have great potential.

My preparations have included lots of tracking inventory, and lots of finishing. The crocheting part is most definitely my favorite, next to actually getting out to the craft shows and selling. Finishing my product always seems to come last. Something about the tedium always gets to me. Due to my tendency to leave the finishing until the last minute left me with nearly a dozen hats to be finished this past week.

My favorite is this delicate one:
Silver blue with bright pink rose
It's perfect for a little baby girl! I try to keep a variety of hats on hand, but the sweet flowered girls' hats are my favorite. There are a couple of bears and birds to appeal to those who want something more boyish or neutral.

You can find more pictures of my finished hats (and other items!) on my Facebook page here. I'll be hosting a giveaway there soon, to celebrate my second wedding anniversary and my baby boy's first birthday, so you should definitely like my page :)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Into the Woods

18 rows as of this morning
My current color palette is very woodsy--dark green, dark brown-- but I'm not feeling as inspired as I should. Some friends came over yesterday, and they all had good things to say about it, so I have to imagine it's just my love of using *ALL THE COLORS* that has me less enthused.

The pattern is Rainbow Ripple again, and the colors are due to a bit of a stash busting need. Purchased the yarn nearly 3 years ago for something else, never got around to it. Now hopefully, this little blanket will be loved by one of my nephews.

As the school year draws closer (am I really saying that!?!?!) I am trying to move away from big projects and to smaller, complete-in-a-day type things. So hopefully, I will have this blanket and several other larger piece done before mid-August. I'm thinking at least a couple of MadCap shawls, Mine Once More and Daisy's Summer Lace for sure, and maybe one more blanket.

What are your goals for the rest of the summer?
Linking up with Ginny.

Friday, July 17, 2015


This past week, I kept busy by finishing two blanket projects. Neither were huge, but it still feels like a good accomplishment.

3x5 Sunny Spread 
My Monochrome Sunny Spread turned out quite lovely. I joined using a 2-dc cluster instead of my usual granny join. The border is 3 rounds of dc. While not a large blanket, I am hoping the recipients will appreciate the effort that went into its creation. 
22-row round ripple
Finishing (and declaring finished) the round ripple was a bit more difficult. I really wanted to add a few more rounds, but it was really getting to the point where I wasn't enjoying it. This one measures about two feet across, so for a baby, it's a good size. This one is for my sister-in-law who is due in November. I'm including with the gift a set of prayer cards.

Linking with Ginny.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Progress and babies.

A couple of projects going simultaneously right now, and deadlines approaching faster than originally remembered. 
Cloudy mornings mean colors are difficult to capture
This red & brown round ripple is a gift. After I finish with the brick red rounds, I'll add one more of beige and a border of the gold. Using Vanna's Choice yarn means the matching has already been done for me. I love the way these particular colors work together. 

Still working on my gray monochrome sunny spread, but as its due date is closer than nearly all my other projects, it's taken precedence over everything else. Just last night, I squared up a third of the circles, so I'm really optimistic about finishing-- maybe as soon as the end f the week. 

While this scarf didn't have a deadline, it's been a forever WIP. I decided to bite the bullet, frog the last section and weave in the remaining ends. The variegated sections are Alpaca Sox, which is lovely and fuzzy and warm. The solids are Knit Picks Palette, definitely a workhorse yarn, and one of my go-tos. 

Little Munchkin is ten months old, and just starting to toddle along. His 'signature move' is the three step plop-- just my funny way of saying he takes three to five steps, and then plops on the floor. He's still working on the balance thing. 

Linking with Ginny!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Days

When you're a teacher, typically you dream of summer as your time off. Even though the reality is not always that way. Luckily, I'm still on my "mandatory" two weeks off from school-- before slowly starting to do prep-work for the fall. 

lots and lots of ends
For those of you who have made granny squares before, you know what I mean by ends, ends and more ends. I work in phases for my grannies-- crochet a whole bunch at once, then weave in a whole bunch of ends at once. It may not be the best method, but it is the one that works for me. As you can tell from above, I'm on the massive amounts of end-weaving stage. My Kindle is hiding in the background, but I'm not reading anything new. But you can check out my brief unofficial review of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, my latest finished read. 

can you resist?
These sunny summer days are my temporary adjustment to being a SAHM. The munchkin and I are still figuring out our schedule, but I'm not crazy yet. We think he's teething, which is making everyone edgy, but hopefully something will break soon.

What are you up to on these sunny summer days?
Ginny's link-up here.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Russian History Again

I grew up in the aftermath of the Anna Anderson conspiracy, if you will. I watched Anastasia when I was younger, and read some children's historical fiction about her. I even took a Russian history course in college, I was that interested in the story. So when The Secret Daughter of the Tsar popped up on my radar, I naturally was interested.
Anna Anderson and Grand Duchess Anastasia, from website linked above. 

This fiction novel by Jennifer Laam follows the lives of three women during three very different eras. Lena, Charlotte, and Veronica are all connected to the supposed fifth daughter of Tsar Nicolaus II and Alexandra. I thoroughly enjoyed the tale that Laam wove so carefully, staying up late at last one night to keep reading. Fiction has not ben doing it for me lately, so this was a lovely change. Having read up on the Romanovs quite a bit myself, I caught on to some of the connections early on. However, there was still a surprise at the end.

I really connected with the three main characters on different levels-- Charlotte, who wanted to protect her son; Lena, who simply wanted a better life; and Veronica, a struggling history professor, hoping to get tenure and have her book published.

I would definitely recommend this book, as it was griping and relatively accurate where it needed to be. It has been really hard for me to find a good historical fiction book that doesn't have at least one scene of either brutal violence or descriptive sex (or a combination) and this book avoided both of those (for the most part). I believe if a story is compelling enough, it really doesn't need either of those things to further the plot.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Keeping Busy, Staying Joyful

One of the last days
Books I was reading

Finished Grannies

Little guy helping me read my new book
Progress on the Monochrome Sunny Spread

Busy would accurately describe my last few weeks of school. Collecting the final papers, grading exams, cleaning up my classroom, not to mention everything happening at home. My husband is on the final leg of his schooling this year, which has him doing 36 hours of clinicals plus 2 shifts at work. So all three of us are adjusting to a new schedule. Luckily, my husband brilliantly suggested that I do no school work until I've been done for at least 2 weeks. So crafting and cooking and cleaning and reading new books are the only things for me to do. Plus baby wrangling. All fun stuff. Still very busy. But onto my crafting and reading.

I jumped on the bandwagon and read Marie Kondo's book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Other than her new-age/zen ideas about talking to your possessions, I felt like she had some solidly applicable advice. This blog gives a great review on keeping one's faith in perspective while still using some of Kondo's advice. Overall, the idea of joy that Kondo talks about really struck me, and that's what I'm apply the most to my life.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus was a book I had heard about while listening to Catholic radio on the drive home from work. This was the second time I had checked it out from the library, and I still didn't finish it. The perspective of the author is fascinating, and I'm hoping I can get it again-- third time's the charm, right?

My new novel is The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, and I haven't started it yet. Hope to get a start today.

Working on a granny square swap for the next few weeks, so pics of my grannies will be popping up here and there.
Making a monochrome gray "Sunny Spread" for a gift for a friend, and am just starting to square up the circles.
Also, I'm the crazy one who is thinking ahead to Christmas already, and I have 5 bigger projects tumbling around in my brain for gifts. A new nephew arrived in early April, and he never got a gift from me, and there's another new one coming mid-November, so baby blankets for sure. :)

Happy life, busy life.
What are you all up to?

Ginny's yarn along link up

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Just Finished

I've spent the last few days glued to a book. A book on my Kindle, actually. Never thought I'd say that.

It's called People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. A fun bit of historical fiction- something I haven't been able to enjoy in quite a while.  The titular book is the Sarajevo Haggadah, an apparently* famous Jewish prayer book that survived the Inquisition, the looting of the Nazis and numerous other attacks on the people of the Jewish faith through history.

The tale is woven well, though at times I wished I was holding a paper book so I could flip back and forth. The Kindle was a Mother's Day gift, and it has been extremely convenient. It fits well in my bag, and I don't have the guilty feeling that comes with using my work iPad for fun stuff.

The book has a good mix of history and fiction, though the sprinkling of Jewish and Muslim words sometimes made it hard to follow. I also felt challenged by the historical names of particular places, as Eastern Europe and the Middle East were not my strong subjects. However, having read a number of the Temperance Brennan books by Kathy Reichs (and being a fan of the lighter end of that genre in general), the investigative portions of the book were intriguing to me. The main character is a specialist in old manuscripts and was hired to examine and repair a Haggadah that had missing/hidden since WWII. As part of her process of examination, she extracts foreign objects-- fibers, scales, stains-- and each of those take the reader back in time to the place where that particle intersected with the life of the book.

I think this book has a bit of something for everyone, and I definitely enjoyed it. Surprising, after a long run of non-fiction books that didn't quite hit the spot, and fiction books that made me feel overly sensitive. Worth my time, and worth me offering up a review as well.

* I only say apparently because, as noted, I am not hugely familiar with Jewish history or E.European history

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

KCBW 2015: Zoomed In

Hey there folks! As we continue our expose on a week in the life of a teacher, we rest our typing fingers for a bit and take some pics. As the colloquialism says, a picture is worth a thousand words. So rather than type a thousand words, we'll just take a few pictures. Catch us back here tomorrow as our stunning expose continues! ~The Mystery Student

Staking a claim on my school desk!

Baby tongue. Just because. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

KCBW 2015: a bit about me!

Today we take a look inside the lives of one of our teachers. So unusual, we see them every day, and never really give much thought to their personal lives. Obviously, we think that they eat, sleep, and breathe school. But that is not always the case. Underneath that "teacher look" is a person, someone that we might grow up to be.  

State your name, age, occupation: Mrs. G, older than you, teacher-- duh!
Baby selfies all day!

What do you like about your job?: I really love the material that I teach, and I truly enjoy students. Teenagers are funny sometimes, and definitely lovable. But I must emphasize the importance of being involved in extracurriculars. If I didn't help out with the school musical or MUN, I would not get a chance to see the students on a different level.

our little Tigers fan

What do you do in your free time?: Right now I spend a lot of time with my little one. He's the best, and being a mom is great, but also very busy. When I have free time other than that, I tend to read historical fiction, and crochet a lot of blankets and hats.

My reading has been less as of late, so if you could recommend some books-- I've been taking after my husband quite a bit, reading books that I can learn from, so mainly how to start an at-home business or raising farm animals. I glean a lot from blogs that I follow too.

one of my current projects

Tell me about your family: I have three siblings, plus 4 siblings on my husband's side. JT is one of 10 cousins, with an eleventh on the way. Right now, our immediate family is just the three of us, but both my husband and I would love more kids, if God wills it and we can handle them.
teacher work-- getting creative!

What do you dream about?: Weird stuff, sometimes being back in high school. Lots of flying.
teaching JT to bang on the table

No, I mean what do you want for your future: Oh, that. My husband and I would love a farm, with a few animals and such, but right now we're in no place for it. I dreamt once about being a librarian, but that was also coupled with being a stay-at-home mom, or raising alpacas. I'd love to open my own yarn shop some day, sell my finished pieces and my handspun wool. But I'm so far from that right now. It all seems impossible, and can be quite discouraging.
I really love teaching, and I love my students and my job, but home life has always called to me. Having some home business, being able to raise my kids, bake bread, make cookies. That's a dream.

Stay tuned, folks. The next few days are going to be a bit chaotic. Tomorrow, a picture is worth a thousand words. Thursday, we will be looking at what exactly teachers carry around in the bags they carry. Friday, we'll be sharing a video. And Sunday, a teacher's place of refuge. 
Thanks for hanging out!! The Mystery Student

Monday, May 11, 2015

KCBW 2015: If I were Yarn

Today we embark upon a journey. A journey with a mystery teacher. Who is she? She hasn't been here long, so not many of us know her. Let this be your opportunity. Today, we start with a simple task, allow our teacher to express herself in her own words. Check in tomorrow to get our "get real" interview with her. But for now, I give the floor over to Mrs. G. 
Catch ya later! The Mystery Student

If I were yarn, what would I be?

easy-care, colorful acrylic? long-lasting and impervious, acrylic has always been a go-to yarn of mine. the vibrancy of the colors is what always draws me back. a rainbow of colors. so much opportunity. but would i really describe myself in that way? the colorful part, maybe. i remember my own high school years-- hippie might describe my style for a time. long colorful skirts, a 'devil may care' attitude. but i am a long way from that place now.

what about wool? the yarn of history. as many varieties as acrylic, easily as many colors. the benefits of its warmth, varying levels of soft and rough. sometimes, you never know when, you have to be careful with your wool. too much agitation and the pattern is lost, the wool felted into a fabric, no longer able to be unravelled. but doesn't that describe me, too? handle with care, or don't. sometimes it doesn't matter. in those terms, in that way, i suppose i am more like wool. just as much variety as acrylic, probably even more. delicate and hardy at the same time. i like that.

Yarn is near and dear to my heart, and though I have to only pick one that I am like, I like all yarn.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Getting Ready

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2015 starts next week! I love the motivation that it gives me, especially when I've been neglecting my blog this semester. I'm hoping it'll give me the boost and accountability this coming week to get back into the groove of things.

If you haven't checked out the prompts yet, click the link above to do so. Or if you're on Ravelry, check out The Blog Hub. The community that's out on the web for crafters is so great.

This year for KCBW, I'm trying something different entirely. I'm setting up the whole week as if I was being interviewed for a project by my students. I think this will allow me to get out of my comfort zone a little bit more, and hopefully improve my writing skills.

Will I see you this coming week for KCBW??? I certainly hope so!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Sophie's universe crochet along in Vanna's Choice--colors-- duckie, radiant orange, terracotta, dusty purple, eggplant

Trying to get my mojo back.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When Knitting Becomes Friends With Me Again.

Crochet was my first love. One hook and a bit of string. Knitting came second and came less naturally. I tried making it work many times, but always fell back on crocheting, envious of all the awesome knitting patterns out there. I found Ravelry and the great crochet community there, which encouraged me to branch out in my crocheting. I still came back to my needles every so often, but struggled with it, projects that should only take days took months or more.

a few baby rows

This is my cast on for a baby sweater. According to my Rav project page, I started this on January 30. Starting small made me feel like I had a higher probability of finishing. 
Here I am, the beginning of April, the need for this sweater slowly fading. I've gotten as far as one sleeve in progress. Double-pointed needles are not my friend, so I switched to circular again. I have a shorter circ that I want to try, but haven't quite gotten there yet.

Ravelry says I finished working on this project April 4. Sounds close to accurate. I gave up on the sleeves and just went for the cap-ish sleeve created by the yoke. Not 100% successful, I suppose, but it took less time to finish than my last "big knitting project". I think I may be able to pull off knitting with dpn for a bigger project, just not this one. Despite sometimes feeling like I don't have it, this sweater reminded me that knitting has its place, and definitely some benefits.

I'm still going back to my hooks. :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

WIP Wednesday

I hope everyone's been enjoying the cold weather!! It was zero degrees yesterday when I got up for school, and it barely got warmer than that.

My students are taking exams all week, so my teaching is minimal, and I've had a little bit of spare time to crochet. I started a Juliana again, this time with the proper yarn. It is definitely turning out better this time, and I love the colors. I'm using Knit Picks Palette in Mulberry and Chroma in Gossip. I doubt I will use all the yarn up, so I'm planning what to make next. I really love this Chroma colorway, and I'm sad that it was discontinued. You can't tell from the photo, because I hadn't gotten far when this photo was taken, but the pink in this colorway is AMAZING!

When I need something a bit more brainless, I go back to working on infinity scarves. I'm in the middle of my fifth this month. Making infinity scarves is an ongoing project, and I really hope to finish up many more between now and graduation.

My fiance was over this past weekend, and brought a book with him-- he thinks I have time to read. Oddly enough, he's right, as I've been able to read nearly 3 chapters of Service, by Marcus Luttrell. Luttrell is a Navy SEAL who lost his team and wrote about it in his first book, Lone Survivor. This second book is much more palatable for me- one, because my fiance is no longer deployed, and two, because I'm not walking into the book knowing that everyone dies. E keeps bringing around these military books for me to read, to help me understand what he went through. It's eye-opening and sometimes scary, but we really do need to face what our military personnel go through to defend our freedoms.

Linking up with Tami for WIPW and Ginny for Yarn-Along.

Crafting Differently

Normally, I blog about yarn and knitting and crocheting. This week, I'm trying some ideas I found on Pinterest.

First: tile coasters.
The instructions I followed are from this blog. The blogger is clear and has a lot of pictures, making it easy to follow along. I was originally inspired by this pin, but, obviously upon further looking, it links to an Etsy seller. So I sought out DIY instructions, leading me to the previosly mentioned blog.

My Materials (Using Something Like Susie Homemaker's list and altering it):
  1. 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch tiles --from Menards-- 12¢ each-- might've been on sale
  2. Sheets of felt in desired colors-- you won't really see this, I had green, maroon, & black on hand. If you pay more than 30¢ for an 8x11" sheet, you are being robbed. Michael's has them for 26¢ (I think).
  3.  Scrapbook paper-- My sister and I did our fair share of scrapbooking, like 3 years ago, so I have one of those really big stacks that orginally cost $20, with a 40% coupon or something. If you don't have that, Michael's has open stock paper- a 12" x12" sheet will cover 9 tiles. Get several coordinating prints for variation! (Shouldn't cost more than a few dollars)
  4. Decoupage -- The blogger uses Mod Podge, which is too expensive for me, so I substituted-- 2:1 white glue & water. Mod Podge is just paste anyway.
  5. Hot glue gun-- if you're a crafter, you don't need to go out and buy this, so I don't count it in final costs.
  6. Scissors and ruler OR Paper cutter--- I am investing in a paper cutter after this. Scissors and ruler were not precise enough-- I actually took my scrapbook paper to work to do the cutting part. Joann's has a Fiskars for $25.
  7. Sponge brush-- Hardware store, 69¢
  8. Clear Acrylic Spray-- my mom had this already. Triple coat glaze, Krylon. probably $5 if purchased new.
Gluing Felt
two piles of felt covered tile!
Gluing paper in progress
Preparing to glue
Paper glued
First coat of glue

Note: cutting felt during the season finale of Castle is not a good idea. My edges were crooked. I personally cut a bit bigger than needed, just in case. I trimmed them after I glued. I do my best hot gluing before bed, which means I don't get impatient about the next step.

Note: Magazine pages do not work, they are too thin.

16 tiles $2.04
2 sheets of felt $.60
Paper $1.00
Sponge Brush $.69
Total $4.33

Second: polymer clay charms
Inspiration: this pin, step-by-step here.
Gifts for bridesmaids, to be made into keychains.

Polymer clay costs around $2.99, depending on the brand, and whether or not you have a coupon.
I used leftovers from my yarn bowl projects for all of these.
Stamps I had on hand.
Jewelry findings I had on hand. Eye pins are under $5 for a pack of either 50 or 100. Same for the jump rings. The key rings are a bit more expensive- $5 for a pack of 10, 1-1/4"
Acrylic paint borrowed from sister.

after baking
First batch of charms!

Letter close-ups

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Chugging Along

Busy as a bee would be an understatement. Running around like crazy may be more accurate. Luckily, we are on break from school this week, and I'm slowing down enough in hopes of getting my crazies under control for the final push to the end of the year.

Pretty Horses Swap-- VCFC on Rav hosted this swap, and I've been really enjoying myself. Chatting with other women making afghan squares in the same color palette and sending them to various corners of the country is a great diversion for me.

I'm joining mine in sets of four. A good friend of mine is a quilter and she always encourages "more borders!" so this double/triple bordering is for her.
First set of four

Besides this project of giant proportions (it'll end up as a 24 square blanket), I've been working on bits and pieces of other things. Nothing major. Hopefully different noteworthy things will be coming along soon.

Linking with Ginny again!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Still working on afghan squares, but also a few other things. Baby JT keeps life interesting, and combined with school, I have very few moments to myself. 

This face. <3

Friday, February 20, 2015


I've been working on a wide variety of projects lately. With 2 "cold days" off from school, I managed to get more done, but also start more things that need to be finished. A few sewing projects here, a bit of crocheting there. But it feels good to practice a bit of both. 

g-diaper inserts

afghan squares for a swap

little pants for my boy

my coffee table at 6 am.

my little guy helping with the fabric

a stack of nearly finished burp cloths

The sewing is all very new to me, but practice makes perfect, right?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

More Monochrome

Working on a monochromatic afghan means I have to have something colorful and small on the side to relieve the "boredom". 

still having color problems
I'm making half the squares using the Sunny Spread pattern, but still am searching for a pattern for the other ten squares. Luckily, I have tons of time to finish. The debate is between going with all circular designed squares, or to have the others be more square. My top contenders are Spiky Circle, KISS-fist, or Cat's Claw

This week, I read a great post about taking better photos. As you can see from the above photo, I'm still working on some of the ideas--- I tried the "uniform" background (kind of), but obviously still need to work on it a bit. My biggest problem is my broken digital camera. I only had a point and shoot, but I dropped it on the beach over the summer while on vacation. And my iPhone takes fine pics during the day.... So a new camera investment may be in my future... We'll see. 

In other news, I'm likely to be staying in my current job, unless a middle school position opens at my home parish's school. My principal may be getting me into some Advanced Placement training this summer, and as that's something I've been interested in since high school, I'll be staying where I am for now. But my husband and I are looking at houses closer to my job, and we would love continued prayers in that area. 

Christ's Blessings,

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Snowy Wednesday

Running late sometimes has its benefits. If I had been on schedule today, I wouldv'e been halfway to work by the time I received the call that school was closed to snowy weather. Now I get to spend a lovely quiet day home with my munchkin, a bit of school work, and my yarn.

He wants to eat the phone

I'm working on afghan blocks right now, partly as a way to use up some giant skeins I bought, but also for gifts. The greys are for a monochrome afghan for one of my husband's military friends who is getting married this summer. I figure if I start now, there's more of a chance that I'll have it finished in time. The beige and gold is the start of another afghan, this time for a swap. I will be participating in my first swap with the Vanna's Choice Fan Club group on Ravelry. I'm pretty excited :)
I have a few more projects on the hooks right now, but this is my project for today. Well, this plus some school work prep. So thankful for this day off to work on a few things :)

Linking with Ginny