Knit-a-long a Mitten With Me

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My local yarn store, Loopy Yarns, rewards its customers with a $10 off coupon on our birthdays every year. This year, I decided to use mine to pick up a copy of Britt-Marie Christoffersson’s Pop Knitting. Her earlier publication, Swedish Sweaters, is a prize item in my knitting library, and I saw many good reviews of PK when it was first published, but none of that prepared me for the kind of technical and design innovation to be found in this catalog of intriguing stitch patterns. Before picking up Pop Knitting, I would have sworn there was nothing new to do with garter stitch (the most basic stitch in knitting) after 500+ years of knitting history, but, reader, I would have been wrong. Apart from the book’s deep appeal to my inner knitting geek, I love that so many of the multicolored stitches are both interesting to work AND suitable for men’s garments, with their heavily geometric and sometimes woven appearance.

The author is a former member of the Swedish textile design collective 10-gruppen, and knit up most of her stitch patterns in Pop Knitting only as large swatches for display in a museum show. There are no actual garment instructions in the book, though there are some finished items shown. So, I thought it would be fun to work up a few simple mitten patterns using the stitches to knit together with some of the author’s other fans on Ravelry.

I have designed three mittens for this knit-a-long (or KAL in Ravelry-speak), and the instructions given below are in three sizes. You will need a copy of the book for the stitch patterns of two of the designs; for the third (Blocked Stripe Mittens) I found I had changed the stitch enough that I couldn’t describe it clearly in reference to the stitch pattern given in the book, so I have written it out in full. Participants are welcome to design their own mittens with Pop Knitting stitch patterns as well.

 L to R, Blocked Stripe Mittens, Shadowbox Mittens, Garter Stripe MittensL to R, Blocked Stripe Mittens, Shadowbox Mittens, Garter Stripe Mittens

The KAL will begin on Friday, November 21th, at 5 pm, and end at midnight, December 31st, Eastern Standard time. Three of the knitters posting finished projects on the KAL thread will be chosen at random at the close of the KAL to receive the Ravelry download pattern of their choice from a selection of American and Swedish designers. (See the KAL thread for more details).

I hope you will join us for this Mitten KAL! The mittens should make quick-to-knit holiday gifts, and are a great way to use up odds and ends from your stash.

 

GarterStripeGarter Stripe Mittens
Yarn: Worsted weight wool, 165 yds/151 m for the largest size: About 50 yds/46 m of the main stripe color (Color B), 90 yds/82 m of the cuff/thumb/top color (Color A), 25 yds/23 m of the alternate stripe color (Color C)
Needles: Set of 4 or 5 siz 9/5.5 mm double-pointed needles, or size needed to obtain gauge.
Gauge: 16 st per 4 inches/10 cm
Sizes: (by finished hand circumference) (7”/18 cm, 8”/20 cm, 9”/23 cm)

Pattern Stitch
Two-Color Garter Stitch, Four Rows #1/Tvåfärgad rätstickning, fyra varv 1
Since we are are working in the round, we need only follow Rows 1 and 2 of the pattern. Work every Row 1 in Color B, and alternate Colors A and C on Row 2. At the beginning of each round, bring new color up under the color used for the previous round to prevent gaps in the knitting. Tug firmly on the new yarn at the beginning of each round to neaten up the join.

Right Mitten
In Color A, CO (28, 30, 32) stitches and join, being careful not to twist. Work in K2, P2 rib for (2 1/2”/6.5 cm, 2 3/4”/7 cm, 3”/7.5 cm), then attach Color B and begin working pattern stitch. Work even until piece measures (1 1/2”/4 cm, 2”/5 cm, 2 1/2 “ /6.5 cm) from top of cuff, or to desired position of base of thumb, ending with Row 1 of Pattern Stitch.

Peasant Thumb
On the next row, take a length of waste yarn and knit the first (4, 5, 6) stitches of the row with it. Cut thread for the color to be used in this row, and reattach, purling the rest of the round with it as given in the pattern stitch. Work the next round in Color B as usual.

Continue in patttern until mitten reaches the top of the little finger, or measures (4 1/2”/11.5 cm, 5 1/2 “/14 cm, 6 1/2“ /16.5 cm) from top of cuff, about (1 1/2”/4 cm, 1 3/4”/4.5 cm, 2”/5 cm) short of desired length.

Shape Top
Break off Color B & C, and continue knitting with Color A.
Round 1: (K5, K5, K6), K2 tog 4 times, end K (0, 2, 0)
Round 2: K
Round 3: (K4, K4, K5), K2tog 4 times, end K (0, 2, 0)
Round 4: K
Round 5: (K3, K3, K4) K2tog 4 times, end K (0, 2, 0)
Round 6: K
Round 7: (K2, K2, K3), K2tog 4 times, end K2tog (0, 1, 0) time.
Round 8: (K1, K1, K2), K2tog 4 times, end K (0, 1, 0)
For two smaller sizes, break off yarn and thread through remaining (8, 9) stitches. For largest size:
Round 9 : (K1, K2tog) 4 times
Break off yarn and thread through remaining 8 stitches. Pull tight to close.

Finish Thumb
Remove the length of waste yarn, picking up the stitches released above and below the gap on dpns. There should be (4, 5, 6) stitches on the bottom needle, and (5, 6, 7) on the top needle.

Arranging stitches on dpns as you go, knit stitches from the bottom needle, pick up 3 stitches along the gap between the bottom and the top needle, knit across top needle, pick up 3 stitches along the gap between top and bottom needle.

Join and knit next round: K (4, 5, 6), cdd, K (4, 5, 6), ssk, k2tog. (11, 13, 15) st.

Work even until thumb measures to about the middle of the thumbnail, or 1 1/2”/4 cm, 1 3/4”/4.5 cm, 2”/5 cm.

Shape Top of Thumb, size 7”/18 cm
Round 1: [K2tog, K2] 2 times, K2tog K1.
Round 2: K
Round 3: [K2tog, K1] 2 times, K2 tog.
Round 4: K2tog 2 times, K1.
Break yarn, thread through remaining 3 stitches.

Shape Top of Thumb, sizes 8”/20 cm & 9”/23 cm
Round 1: [K2tog, K (2, 3)] 2 times, K2tog K3
Round 2: K
Round 3: [K2tog, K (1, 2)] 2 times, K2tog K2
Round 4: [K2tog, K (0, 1)] 2 times, K2tog, K1
Break yarn, thread through remaining 4, 6 stitches, pull tight to close.

Left Mitten
Work as for Right Mitten up to Peasant Thumb. On the next row, work to last 6 stitches. Cut thread, and knit last (4, 5, 6) stitches on a length of waste yarn. Work the next round in Color B as usual. Finish as for Right Mitten.

 

ShadowboxShadow Box Mittens
Yarn: Sport weight wool, 200 yds/ 182 m for the largest size
Needles: Set of 4 or 5 size 4/3.5 mm double-pointed needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
Gauge: 30 st per 4 inches/10 cm
Sizes: (by finished hand circumference) (7”/18 cm, 8”/20 cm, 9”/23 cm)

Pattern Stitch
Slipped Stitches and Stockinette #1/Lyfta maskor och slätstickning 1, 2 x 2 over 8 rows variation.

Right Mitten
CO 52, 60, 68 st, work 2 x 2 rib for (2 1/2”/6.5 cm, 2 3/4”/7 cm, 3”/7.5 cm)

Knit 1 row plain, then begin Pattern Stitch. (2 x 2 over 8 rows), work for 2 inches, ending on slip stitch row. Work even until piece measures (1 1/2”/4 cm, 2”/5 cm, 2 1/2 “ /6.5 cm) from top of cuff, or to desired position of base of thumb, ending with the plain knit row of Pattern Stitch.

Peasant Thumb
On the next row, break yarn, take a length of waste yarn and knit the first (8, 9, 10) stitches of the row with it. Reattach working yarn and finish row in pattern. Knit the next round, continuing in pattern as established.

Work even until mitten reaches the top of the little finger, or measures (4 ½ ”/11.5 cm, 5 ½ “/14 cm, 6 ½ “ /16.5 cm) from top of cuff, about (1 1/2”/4 cm, 1 3/4”/4.5 cm, 2”/5 cm) short of desired length, ending on a plain knit round.

Shape Mitten Top
Round 1: *k (4, 5, 6) k2tog, k (5, 6, 7) k2tog, rep from * around
Round 2: K
Round 3: *K (9, 11, 13), k2tog * rep from *
Round 4: K
Repeat rounds 3-4, decreasing number of stitches before k2tog by 1 stitch each round, until (36, 40, 44) stitches remain. Dec every round until 8 stitches remain. Cut thread, draw through loops to close.

Pick up stitches above and below waste yarn, remove waste yarn. There should be ( 8, 9, 10) stitches on bottom needle, and (9, 10. 11) stitches on top needle.

Arranging stitches on dpns as you go, knit stitches from the bottom needle, pick up 3 stitches along the gap between the bottom and the top needle, knit across top needle, pick up 3 stitches along the gap between top and bottom needle.

Join and knit next round: K (8, 9, 10), cdd, K (8, 9, 10), ssk, k2tog. (19, 21, 23) st.

Work even until thumb measures to about the middle of the thumbnail, or 1 1/2”/4 cm, 1 3/4”/4.5 cm, 2”/5 cm.

Shape Top of Thumb, size 7”/18 cm
Round 1: [K2tog, K 4] 2 times, K2tog K 5
Round 2: K
Round 3: [K2tog, K 3] 2 times, K2tog K 4
Round 4: K
Round 5: [K2tog, K 2] 2 times, K2tog, K 3
Round 7: [K2tog, K 1)] 2 times, K2tog, K 2
Break off yarn and thread through remaining 7 stitches.

Shape Top of Thumb, Sizes 8”/20 cm & 9”/23 cm
Round 1: [K2tog, K (5, 6)] 2 times, K2tog, K 5
Round 2: K
Round 3: [K2tog, K (4, 5)] 2 times, K2tog, K 4
Round 4: K
Round 5: [K2tog, K (3, 4)] 2 times, K2tog, K 3
Round 6: K
Round 7: [K2tog, K (2, 3)] 2 times, K2tog, K 2
Round 8: [K2tog, K (1, 2] 2 times, K2tog, K 1

Break yarn, thread through remaining 6, 8 stitches, pull tight to close.

Left Mitten
Work as for Right Mitten up to Peasant Thumb. On the next row, work to last (8, 9, 10) stitches. Break yarn, and knit these (8, 9, 10) stitches on a length of waste yarn. Reattach working yarn and knit next round, continuing pattern as established. Finish as for Right Mitten.

 

BlockStripeBlocked Stripe mittens
Yarn: Worsted weight wool, 150 yds/137 m of main color, 25 yds/ 23 m of contrast color, for the largest size mitten.
Needles: Set of 4 or 5 size 8/5mm double-pointed needles, or size needed to obtain gauge.
Gauge: 20 st per 4 inches/10 cm

Sizes: (by finished hand circumference) (7”/18 cm, 8”/20 cm, 9”/23 cm)

Pattern Stitch
Note: At the beginning of each round, bring new color up under the color used for the previous round to prevent gaps in the knitting. Tug firmly on the new yarn at the beginning of each round to neaten up the join.
Variation of Two-Color Garter Stitch, Four Rows #2/ Tvåfärgad rätstickning, fyra varv 2.
Round 1: * With Color B, P4. With Color A, K4. Rep from * around.
Round 2: With Color A, Knit.
Round 3: With Color A, * Sl 4 wyib, K4. Rep from * around.
Round 4: With Color B, * P4, Sl 4 wyib. Rep from * around.
Round 5: With Color A, Knit.
Rounds 6-10: Repeat Rounds 1-5.
Round 11: * With Color A, K4. With Color B, P4. Rep from * around.
Round 12: With Color A, Knit.
Round 13: With Color A, * K4, Sl 4 wyib. Rep from * around.
Round 14: With Color B, * Sl 4 wyib, P4 . Rep from * around.
Round 15: With Color A, Knit.
Rounds 16-20: Repeat Rounds 11-15.

Right Mitten
Cast on (36, 40, 44) stitches in Color A and join, being careful not to twist. Work in K2, P2 rib for (2 1/2”/6.5 cm, 2 3/4”/7 cm, 3”/7.5 cm), then attach Color B and begin working pattern stitch. Establish pattern by working (4 ?, 5, 5 ?) pattern repeats on first round.

Work even until piece measures (1 1/2”/4 cm, 2”/5 cm, 2 1/2 “ /6.5 cm) from top of cuff, or to desired position of base of thumb, ending with a plain knit round of pattern stitch.

Peasant Thumb
On the next row, take a length of waste yarn and knit the first (6, 7, 8) stitches of the row with it. Cut thread for the color to be used in this row, and reattach, working the rest of the round with it as given in the pattern stitch. On the next round, knit across the waste yarn stitches, then continue in pattern as established.

Continue in pattern until mitten reaches the top of the little finger, or measures (4 1/2”/11.5 cm, 5 1/2 “/14 cm, 6 1/2 “ /16.5 cm) from top of cuff, about (1 1/2”/4 cm, 1 3/4”/4.5 cm, 2”/5 cm) short of desired length.

Shape Top
Break off Color B and continue knitting with Color A.
Round 1: (K7, K8, K9) K2 tog 4 times.
Round 2: K
Round 3: (K6, K7, K8), K2tog 4 times.
Round 4: K

Continue decreasing in this manner, reducing number of stitches before K2tog by one on each decreasing round, and alternating with plain knit rounds, until (16, 20, 20) stitches remain. Begin decreasing every round until 8 stitches remain. Break yarn and thread through these stitches, pulling tight to close.

Finish Thumb
Remove the length of waste yarn, picking up the stitches released above and below the gap on dpns. There should be (6, 7, 8) stitches on the bottom needle, and (7, 8, 9) on the top needle.

Arranging stitches on dpns as you go, knit stitches from the bottom needle, pick up 3 stitches along the gap between the bottom and the top needle, knit across top needle, pick up 3 stitches along the gap between top and bottom needle.

Join and knit next round: K (6, 7, 8), cdd, K (6, 7, 8), ssk, k2tog. (15, 17, 19) st.

Work even until thumb measures to about the middle of the thumbnail, or 1 1/2”/4 cm, 1 3/4”/4.5 cm, 2”/5 cm.

Shape Top of Thumb, size 7”/18 cm
Round 1: [K2tog, K3] 3 times.
Round 2: K
Round 3: [K2tog, K2] 3 times
Round 4: [K2tog, K1] 3 times
Break yarn, thread through remaining 6 stitches, pull tight to close.

Shape Top of Thumb, sizes 8”/20 cm & 9”/23 cm
Round 1: [K2tog, K (4, 5)] 2 times, K2tog K3
Round 2: K
Round 3: [K2tog, K (3, 4)] 2 times, K2tog K2
Round 4: K
Round 5: [K2tog, K (2, 3)] 2 times, K2tog, K1
Round 6: [K2tog, K (1, 2)] 2 times, K2tog.
Break yarn, thread through remaining 5, 7 stitches, pull tight to close.

Left Mitten
Work as for Right Mitten up to Peasant Thumb. On the next row, work to last (6, 7, 8). Break yarn, and knit last (6, 7, 8) stitches on a length of waste yarn. Work the next round in pattern, knitting across final (6, 7, 8) stitches of the round. Finish as for Right Mitten.

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Dashing Through the Snow! It’s my Favorite Time of Year!

Can you believe Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK! This year has just flown by- especially the last couple months. It was August like two blinks of an eye ago! I cannot believe we are almost to Thanksgiving. That is just crazy to me.

This Holiday season is going to be so much fun. Because Baby Bub was so scared of Santa Clause last year, I started right after Halloween trying to help him understand. Our town has already put up its Christmas decorations so we have already started riding around looking at lights. And Baby Bub oooooos and ahhhhhs like the best of them! It is so precious. Riding around looking at Christmas lights is absolutely one of my holiday traditions- my mom, aunt and cousin and I used to ride around every Christmas looking at lights.

thanksgiving-dinner-flickr_beiIt has got me thinking about our Holiday traditions. And what my holiday traditions were as a child. I am here to tell you, I knew exactly what was on the Thanksgiving menu every year because we had the same stuff every year. Period. And we had the same menu for Christmas lunch too. I looked forward to it every year. All of my Daddy’s moma’s side of the family came together. My Daddy had 10 first cousins on that side and just about all of them had children and even some of them had children too. My grandmother was kind of the glue that made that happen- and when she died, we quit doing it. One of the items on the menu every year was a rice ring- when I made it for Bub’s side of the family, they did not appreciate it in the least!

traditionsIt wasn’t until I married Bub and started celebrating holidays with his family that I fully realized that different families do things differently. My family never and I mean never sat around the table- there were too many of us. I mean, 4 sisters, 11 children among them and all of them with spouses plus 16 children in my generation. The dining room table and buffet became the serving line. When I tried to do the same thing at my house with Bub’s family- they thought I was crazy for expecting them to eat with their plate in their lap- but, it was all I had ever known. His family is not nearly as big.

This year we are doing something we have never done before. We are going to a Thanksgiving buffet at a local restaurant- the one where Bub and I work. Bub has to work that day- his mom is going to the mountains and my moma said it was her Thanksgiving too and she was staying home (I don’t blame her a bit.) My dad, stepmom and sister are coming down and Bub’s sister, her husband and daughter are going to join us- no cooking, no clean-up, no leftovers. I am looking forward to it!

black fridayAnd what will you be doing the day after Christmas? Will you be braving the Black Friday madness? Are the deals just too good to pass up? In my case- no, no, no. Maybe and I mean, maybe if I didn’t have a sidekick that I would have to take with me- I might think about hitting up some Black Friday sales but, the thought of shopping with Baby Bub and having to deal with all the crowds sends me into a near panic attack. I am 100% sure I can find good deals online from the comfort of my own home.

carsAnd after we turn the corner of Thanksgiving- Christmas is the next stop. Wow! You just do not know until you are in a serious relationship with someone what it means to have to juggle all the family time. I just love seeing everybody and hanging out with them on both sides- but, I abhor having to do the Holiday 500! One of the things that I really remember from the Holiday seasons of my childhood were that we had a plan- the same plan every year. I spent Christmas Eve with my Moma’s family. Christmas morning I went to my Daddy’s house and then to his Moma’s house. That’s what we did for my entire childhood. My Daddy’s mother hosted Christmas for her family- all of them, just like at Thanksgiving every year of my life- except the last one of her life. Seriously. I knew from a young age that I was expected to be at her house by 11 on Christmas morning- pretty much come hell or high water. Bub’s family kind of does different stuff every year. I never know what we are going to do from year to year.

nightclubI will say this- we all, and I mean my divorced parents and both sets of grandparents all lived in the same town. So- it was kind of different. We now live 2 hours from my hometown where my parents and surviving grandmother live and Bub’s mom and stepdad live an hour and half from here if we can’t take the ferry. I made the decision before Baby Bub came along that I was not going to spend Christmas driving. And when he was born I decided we would spend Christmas Eve in our own beds. This year, we are trying a few other new things including not having the traditional Christmas menu- we’ll see how it goes. The one Christmas tradition that we will be doing is riding around looking at Christmas lights several times a week- from here through Christmas- I just love that.

What are your Holiday traditions? Does your entire family get together? Do y’all have the same menu every year? Do you play the holiday 500? You know, we want to know!

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Testing… Testing…

I’ve been off the grid, both in the blog-o-sphere and in real life… but, I’m back… kind of. I’m flying back to LA from Georgia this Tuesday with plans to resume bloglyfe tout suite. But, until then, let me leave you with this which came to me in a moment when a laugh was much needed…

This video spoke to me, for whatever reason. I can’t tell if I am more Argus or Tater Tot right now, but this video just hit me in the right spot. I do have an affinity for silly animal videos, you know. Thanks for letting me take a breather, internet and Coralie. It was necessary, but I missed you…

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Bathroom Remodel: Walls Edition

When Bub and I moved into our house- we were first time homeowners. The previous owners’ style, I like to call 1991 Country Chic. Their primary color palette was beige- beige walls, beige wall paper, beige counter tops, beige floors, beige. We came in like gangbusters removing wall paper and painting. We had no concept of cohesive color palettes.

We have tackled the rest of the house room by room. We tackled the master bath about 2 years ago- picking a color that no more matched the house than the man on the moon. But, we liked the color on the color swatch. We still had no idea of color cohesiveness.

And then it came time to paint the hall way. We decided to paint the hallway one shade darker than the kitchen. We were starting to understand color cohesiveness. And oh my! The bathroom color next to the hallway was almost offensive! So, we decided to paint the bathroom one shade darker than the hallway, 2 shades darker than the kitchen on the same color swatch.

It took us forever to actually paint. We lived for at least 6 months with a couple squares of the proposed paint on the walls. It was long enough for a friend to visit and tell me that it was too dark to paint in there. Too late, we had already bought the paint! So we painted the master bath and loved it! There is a little dressing room attached to the master bath with the master closet (aka my closet- Bub has his own closet on the other side of the master bedroom).

This little dressing room was home of the last wallpaper in the house. And I wanted to do something loud in there. I started following my own instructions on how to remove wallpaper- tried and true. But, it was like a scene out of my worst nightmare! I started under the dressing table- first layer of wallpaper, 2nd layer of wallpaper, layer of paint, 3rd layer of wallpaper, 4th layer of wallpaper and then the top layer of Sheetrock!

under the desk

I just wanted to crawl in a hole and not ever come out! When you peel off the top layer of Sheetrock, it means that you are going to have to Spackle and sand and even then your walls may not be nice and smooth and awesome. As I was sitting there wondering what the hell I was gonna do, Bub came in and said- Just Paint Over the Wallpaper. Wah?!!? That goes against everything we have ever done! His logic was that since I was the primary user of this little space, if it turned out janky, I would just have to overlook it. And just like that- the weight of the world lifted!

I got down to business. There were places on walls that I had already peeled the top layer of wall paper off. Bub helped me sand those edges, and Spackle a couple places that need attention and then I started painting. And I thought I might be coming out of the gate with having to turn a blind eye- because I could see the layers of wallpaper under the paint.

wet paint

But, the paint dried and those contrasts vanished! Bam!

But, I was not finished with this little room. Even with all the wallpaper removal drama, I still love busy walls- I do. I came up with a wallpaper alternative- using a foam stamp to create busy! I used some paint one shade lighter on the color swatch (the color of the hallway), a foam stamp and sponge brush to stamp a design all over the walls of the dressing room.

stencil

go for it

And when it was finished- I loved it! It gave me a wallpaper look without having to deal with my future self cursing me!

foam stamp

Yep. I love it. And at the end of the day, hindsight is 20/20 but maybe we should have tried painting over wallpaper at the very beginning of our wallpaper removal journey. Oh well! Do you have any instances of hindsight being 20/20 in your home remodel journeys? As always, we want to hear about it.

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Goals Check- November 2014 Edition

Lord, Have Mercy! When I set out in January with my 75 goals for the year I just could not understand why people would look at me funny when I started listing them… and listing them. However, I am really glad that I did set them and that I have habitually come back here to assess where I stand with them every two months. I was thinking about them last night and thinking about what I would be doing for next year… and thinking that I may not set my agenda with so many bullet points for 2015.

But. Let’s talk about those 2014 bullet points.

1. Drink more water. Yeah. I have not done so great with this one. Like, I have done bad. I hate drinking water. It does not come natural to me and I view drinking water as a chore. Even with my very first goal for the year to be drink more water, that has not changed.

namaste

2. Exercise 3-4 times a week. Well, I have found an exercise that I love and I mean love. I started going to yoga classes and they totally make me so happy. I never understood why people did yoga. But, part of the Can You 24 exercise video series includes some yoga and I loved doing it in my living room. So, I decided to go a class and was instantly hooked. Not only have I found yoga to be good for my body, but also for my mind. It is a time where I really try to focus on being just in the class. I try not to think about anything but nothing. And, I try to use the time that I am in class to clear my mind so that when I leave class I can bring a new perspective to what ever I do think about. I have to say, if you have never given yoga a shot, go do a class- see what you think.

3. Meal Plan. Well, I have to say it has been touch and go. But, I have continued to come back to it. I do so much better in the grocery store when I have a plan. Let’s face it, I do so much better in life when I have a plan. Maybe that is the greater lesson I have worked on nailing down this year- even if the plan changes, having a plan gives me direction.

4. Read 2 Books a Month. I have struggled with this one too. Although, I have read some great books recently and have started a daily meditation book- that I look forward to reading every day.

last lectureThe first book that I have read in the last 2 month was The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. This was the second time I have read this mighty book. I read it for the first time over 6 years ago- I did not have a husband or a child. I was touched by it then but, this time around- I was moved. Randy Pausch was a successful college professor who, among other things, pioneered virtual reality. In his mid-forties, with 3 children under the age of 5, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. When he was still in great health he was invited to participate in a lecture series in which the lecturer delivers a lecture organized around the focal point of how the lecturer would want their legacy remembered. Pausch organized his around the idea of achieving your childhood dreams. This is a powerful book. It is a fast read. But, you are going to need an economy sized box of tissues.

theresaAnd guess who has a new book out?!! Yep! The Long Island Medium! Love her. I would just die if I ever just randomly came across her in public. I feel certain that I have relatives and my husband has relatives that would absolutely draw her to me. (Yes, I come by it naturally.) But, this book is somewhat centered around finding your soul’s purpose and learning life lessons. Uh, hello! I felt like she wrote this book just for me! Sometimes, I have the hardest time shutting off my mind’s chatter, again- with the yoga. I began peeling back the layers in the first of the year and have really gotten down to the quick of my soul searching in the last month. So, when I came to this book and she basically says that we need to be open to seeing the signs and that part of that is getting quiet and listening to the universe and to God… and then the very first song in the playlist at my very first yoga class was one of my all time favorite songs… I mean, things started stacking up for me. Yep, this is another good one.

journey to the heartAnd finally, the third book- it just ties this all together for me. Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie. Maybe you have heard of this author, maybe you haven’t. I had not. But, again- at that first yoga class- at the end, the teacher read a quick meditation about de-cluttering. Holy smokes y’all! I have been cleaning out and selling our stuff on Ebay and Facebook and taking clothes to the consignment store… I mean, again- another sign I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Then the next class she read another quick meditation about something else that hit close to home. The third class, I asked about the book and went home and downloaded it. I read it daily- usually several times a day. Sometimes I read it to Bub too. It just gives me something to rest my mind on. Again, this is a good one.

5. Pin 3 Star Gold. This has not happened. It will, it just has not happened yet.

6. Increase habitual readership here on the blog. If you have not come across this in your own life, I want to tell you that Google Analytics is a mess. It is rather informative but, also kinda confusing because those numbers do not necessarily line up with the numbers that are reported by the blog itself. And then, we run into people that say stuff like “Oh, I love your blog! I made a burlap wreath- thanks for the inspiration!” Now, that is really nice and so sweet but according to Google Anayltics nobody in your town has ever visited the blog. Leigh and I have decide to labor under the impression that our habitual readership is increasing- and I am cool with that.

7. Plan blog posts and plot on Calendar. Well, I do this 70% of the time. With our latest reorganization I have not reorganized my calendar. But, I will. And while I am here. I have to say that the latest reorganization is so nice. I feel like it has given me lots and lots of breathing room in my life. I am not constantly trying to cook dinner and document every step or bogged down by the idea of having to find and document anything and everything- I can actually be selective about what I do share on the blog rather than feeling desperate (sometimes) to just post something. So. yeah- my calendar, I’ll get intentional and organize it- until then, I’ll just have to wing it.

8. Find and join a Facebook blogging group. Okay people, I have said several times that I am not the most technologically advanced person. It is really funny when people ask me techy questions because, really- I’m not that person. However, after waiting 11 months to find and then be able to join a Facebook blogging group— do this simple exercise- up at the top of your browser, open up a new tab and go to Facebook. Not the app- Facebook in a browser- find the search bar- it will have a little magnifying glass in it. Found it? Now, type ‘blog’ in the search bar. On you laptop, you can actually scroll down and see the find groups with blog in the name… I mean. Seriously. It took me 11 months to figure that!!! The moral of this story- I found one that looked good and asked to join it. If they don’t let me in- I’ll look for another. Like I said, I am not your techy friend.

9. $1000 in Baby Bub’s saving account. Well, his birthday money went in- but, we have not made it to the $1000 mark… maybe next year.

10. Support local charities. In my effort to de-clutter and clean out, I donated 2 rubbermaids of toys. We had way too many. We still have a bunch- but, we have less now. And also, there have been drives around here for blankets and jackets- we have a pile of those ready to go as well. Also, Bub and I intend to adopt some Angels from the angel tree in town. I am particular about taking care of those that have needs close to home. I know that there are people whose needs are no less urgent that those people who are geographically closer to me- but, I particularly like to take care of those in need in my county.

diva classics11. And finally, new music. I am a sucker for a cover song. And I love a famous person to do covers- it kind of like insight into what they are listening to and when they cover and song and make it their own it’s the best— Two greats, and I mean greats have released new albums of nothing but covers. The first, Aretha. I saw her singing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” on David Letterman, I believe and was just enthralled. The new album, Aretha Franklin sings the Great Diva Classics, is just her take on all these classics. What I find funny about this is that Aretha is the diva. I cannot deny her talent but her attitude is not always peachy. I was reading a review and the writer ended his review with this question and I think it sums it up- why is a Aretha singing other diva’s songs rather than her own? Whatever the reason, she did a great job.

its the girlsAnd the second great to release an album of covers- Bette Midler. Love, love, love her. She compiled 17 of her favorite-favorite girl band songs and covered the hell out of them. Interestingly, she covers TLC’s “Waterfalls”. She was on Jimmy Fallon this week and was fabulous- of course. Much like Aretha, she has a voice of a song bird. It’s the Girls is a great album too.

Ok. Are you still with me? I cannot believe it is already November! The next time I talk about goals, it will 2015. Can you believe that? 2015. Cray-cray. I am so grateful for the accountability I have found here all throughout the year. Thank you, Faithful Reader, for that.

Now. Is it too early to start decorating thinking about Christmas Thanksgiving?!! Ha!

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White Pumpkin Decorating and Christmas Planning

Happy Halloween! Can you believe that it is already Halloween? This year has just flown by, each month faster than the one before!! It will be Thanksgiving in a blink of an eye and Christmas before we know it!

I just could not let Halloween slip by without sharing a little pumpkin decorating. I love decorating pumpkins but I do not particularly love carving pumpkins. I was watching The Chew this week- Clinton really is crafty- when I was inspired by his pumpkin decorating. He painted a pumpkin white and then modge-podged shiny confetti to the bottom half. It was right affective.

I decided I needed one myself but, that I would make some minor changes. I wanted to buy a plastic pumpkin so that I could keep my pumpkin and be able use it in years to come. We just got a brand new Hobby Lobby- I am sooooo excited about this. So, I off to Hobby Lobby I went looking for a plastic pumpkin as well as shiny confetti.

I want to say, that I have another new something I would like to bring to your attention, maybe you have heard of it? Raise.com It is a site where you can buy and sell gift cards at a discount. I did check to see if there were any Hobby Lobby ones available- but, not so much. However, there were some for Michael’s as well as JoAnn’s Fabrics- (that’s the store that caused Leigh to brave the Black Friday crowds last year.) Another store that I will be getting some cards for will be Target- hello, discounted gift card plus cartwheel plus 5% savings with my Target debit card- Ho! Ho! Ho!

I digress, where was I? Oh yes- glittered white pumpkin decorating. I was lucky enough to find a white pumpkin at Hobby Lobby but the only confetti I could find was not what I had in my mind’s eye. So, I shifted gears to glitter. And from here, this was the easiest craft ever!

all the stuffI mixed purple, orange and black glitter together in a solo cup and used a sponge brush to paint on Elmer’s glue. Then I just poured the glitter over the glue.

a little glitter hereThere were some places that I missed with the glue, but I just painted on some glue in those spots and poured glitter back over it- so easy.

patch it upI just kept painting and sprinkling until I made it all around the pumpkin.

let it dryI let it dry and then added it to my centerpiece on my dining room table! I love it and am so glad that I went with a plastic pumpkin so that I can enjoy it in years to come!

white pumpkin plus glitterDo you have any crafts that were silly simple and super awesome- you know we want to hear about them.

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P.S. I have been really thinking about Christmas garlands for my front porch. I think I am finally going to try my hand at decorative mesh and I am also pretty sure that the Fall Wreath will not be the end of my love-affair with burlap… do not fret, I will share it all with you!

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