February 25, 2011

Break Time

Good morning friends! This is a public service announcement to let y'all know that I'm going to take a week off of the internet (or try at least). Not just blogging, but the whole stinkin' internet.

I've been feeling a bit like

this, and think I need to take some time to focus on this

and this

 and of course, this

(that's an old project, don't get excited), without getting distracted by the internet. I've been meandering around without much purpose and it's been taking more time than it needs.

It's a week for mental rehabilitation. I'll still be checking e-mail, for anyone who wants to get a hold of me. But no facebook, no blogs, no ravelry (gasp!), no internet surfing in general. With the exception of Netflix, since that's our entertainment.

We'll see how long I last. Hehe.

Love ya lots,

February 23, 2011

From My Camera

Little purple "weeds" that are springing up all over our grass. I only have "weed" flowers in my back yard right now before we landscape, so I enjoy these little surprises immensely. I'm itching for a garden something awful.

As I got pictures of the purple flowers the boys ran around and found "dannylinons" and asked if I could take a picture of them too. I just love dandelions. They're so bright and cheerful, and they dot the yard so prettily. I love the ends of their petals. They look like God painted each one on, one at a time. (Which I suppose He did!)

A different shot I got when photographing the yarn for the Chinook shawl. I liked this one quite a bit, as you can see the gradient of the colors.

Aaaaand this one. Haha. Duder wearing daddy's shirt.... and daddy. It was hilarious. Watching Ben try to get our 25 pound son into his shirt and through the head hole was even more hilarious.

Happy Thursday! We're almost to the weekend,

February 22, 2011

I Tripped And Fell In A Pile Of Yarn

Remember how I've been wanting to do a shawl, or a sweater, or big project of some sort? I wanted something fairly complicated again. Lace, or crazy cables.

The other day I remembered about this kit in my stash, so I dug out the bag of yarn. 6 hanks! It's the Chinook shawl kit from Knit Picks. It's a lace shawl that changes shades throughout by holding two different combinations of lace yarn together and changing them periodically. It should be pretty interesting.

It's worked on size 8/5mm needles which is CRAZY HUGE to me. I'm used to doing lace on 2s or 3s... maybe the occasional 4.

"What about all your other projects you've been knitting?", I hear you ask.


What other projects?


Happy Knitting,

February 21, 2011

What's Cookin': Espresso Cake

Ben and I both had a crap Monday. Totally crap. (I think I jinxed myself with the whole "Make it a wonderful Monday" bit at the end of last post.) So when he called at lunch to tell me about it, I decided we needed something to fix it.

And what better way to fix life than to fill it with home baked sugary goodness? Extra points if it tastes like coffee.

Susan at From Beyond My Kitchen Window posted the recipe for this cake a little bit ago and I have not been able to get it out of my head since.

Please go visit to find the recipe! It's wonderful. Absolutely delicious. It's so light and delicate and not too sweet (despite all the sugar). It's definitely got a coffee/espresso taste, but it's not so overwhelming that you can't eat it.

And it totally hit the spot. Monday is fixed! (Thanks Susan! :D )

Happy Eating,

Monday Randomness

It's Monday, and you know what that means!

- I've come to the conclusion, after spending days trying to come up with a topic to write about, that I just can't stick to topics. I seem to be a very random person, and I should just stick to that. Although I've been slowing writing up a Back To Basics post for how to cast on and work the knit stitch.

- I planted Morning Glories around our Wisteria, and they are sprouting! I'm so, so excited. I'm kind of hoping they will choke out the Wisteria and take over. I just love Morning Glories, they're such beautifully delicate flowers.

- This was supposed to be the weekend to start the Great Backyard Landscape of 2011. Ben was going to take Friday off, but that changed when all the weather sources were predicting rain all day long. So he went to work, and it was sunny all day until about 2! Isn't that how it always works? Heh. I hope we can get started on it soon though. I'm itching to get the garden in and growing while it's still fairly early in the year. I hope it will go well this year and we can eat from it all summer.

- Knitting has been a bit of the same ol' stuff from my house tour post. Still the blue pair of Emilies, mostly the yellow baby blanket, and still the teal Pointed Garter scarf, which I haven't touched in probably a week. I'm thinking about starting a sweater, but I can't find the one that's "just right" (which means I might wind up designing one - yikes!). And I keep reminding myself that summer is coming and I won't wear it by the time I finish it.

I've had a whole bunch of design ideas that I've roughly sketched out and have pinned all over my bulletin board, but they aren't solid enough in my head to really work on yet.

- I'm in a food/cooking slump. This week is my end-of-month-no-shopping week, so I won't be getting new ingredients, but does anyone have some new food ideas? I'll see if I have the ingredients. Something other than the usual spaghetti, tacos, macaroni, etc.

- I'm having a yarn craving - I want to buy so much yarn that the post man looks at me weird when he delivers enough yarn for me swim in.

- I have found a new love: Earl Grey tea. I haven't had it since I was a kid, and back then I didn't really appreciate tea. I picked up the store brand last time I was there, and it's heavenly. I could actually just open the sleeve and smell it all day long without brewing it. The florally citrus scent is wonderful.

- I've been a horrible housewife this last week. The dishes have lingered, the trashes didn't get emptied, the bathroom mirrors are still dirty. Time to get my butt in gear this week and get it all done. But I really just want to play with yarn... *sigh*

It's Monday! Make today wonderful, so the rest of the week can live up to it!

Have a great day,

P.S. - I'm trying a new comments addon - I hope it's not too terrible for you! :)

February 18, 2011

A Knitted Tour of My House

I realized the other day, that I have projects all over the house. While I try to at least keep the unused-at-the-moment yarn tidy and in one place, my knitting spills out into the rest of house.

The living room. My favorite chair - the one Ben bought me when I was pregnant with the boys. Another pair of Emilies in blues.

The office. My side of the desk. Where I do most of my knitting, since it's our hang out room. A baby blanket for friends of ours. Details coming... when I get around to finishing it.

The bedroom. My bedside table. Betsy can be seen in the back there, where she lives until the rare occasions I pull her out. A Pointed Garter Scarf in teal.

Do you have projects/tools that are all over the house, despite your best intentions? Or do you let it roam free without worry?

Happy Friday!


February 17, 2011

Blustery Days

This was our bizarre sky on Tuesday evening. I haven't seen the sky do that in a really long time. It was kind of weird.

Ben, who has been to Oklahoma, tells me that's almost how the sky gets when a tornado is coming, only scarier and green. I took comfort in the fact that we're in Earthquake country out here, not Tornado country. It was still beautifully creepy, though.

This storm brought in a LOT of wind. Scary, throw your car off the side of the road wind. I was so glad my grandmother watched the kids as I went shopping yesterday. The gusts were a little terrifying.

Now, the wind wouldn't really be a problem, except that we have an old fence on the left side of our property that has barely made it through the last few storms.

This is just a small portion of what it looked like yesterday afternoon, after I pushed it back up a bit. (Please ignore the messy backyard. We got our tax refund and should be doing landscape soon!)

When my brother and I got back from the grocery store, he asks if the railing we had on the porch, that Ben took down this weekend, had been holding up our fence. What? I looked outside to see our poor fence practically laying on the ground. It's now being held up by a shovel.

We're waging the war of deciding to replace the whole fence with a brand new one now, or do some minor repairs like resetting/replacing some posts and waiting until we pay off the car to replace it completely. Either option is feasible right now, it's just a hard decision. I'm leaning toward the car and hoping we can mend the fence to hold on long enough to last until then.

Pray that it holds up until we can do either one.

Also, my poor daffodils are thrashed and barely hanging on. I'm incredibly upset and may have spent a brief amount of time yesterday being mad at the wind. Which is ridiculous, I know. But it hurt my flowers!

Have a great Thursday,

February 16, 2011

Emilie Mitts Pattern

Good morning friends!

I'm on my way out to the store, but I wanted to let you know that the pattern for the Emilie Mitts is now available!

The pattern requires Fingering weight/sock yarn and US 2/2.75mm needles. 

You can purchase it via:

Ravelry/Paypal (You don't need to be a member to buy it.)

Happy Knitting!

February 15, 2011

What's Cookin': Rustic Potato Bread

It's been awhile since I've done a What's Cookin' post. Today's recipe is for Rustic Potato Bread. What makes it rustic? The fact that I made it into a ball and slashed an X in the top. Hehe.

And maybe that it uses lard. Just a wee bit. If you're opposed to lard, you can substitute shortening. But I've been keeping lard in the house for a while now because I'm evil and prefer things like lard and real butter and bacon. And I think it makes this bread taste wonderful!

The way I make this bread is with leftover mashed potatoes. No matter how hard I try to not have too many leftovers of mashed potatoes, I always seem to have at least some. We won't really eat them as leftovers, so this recipe is perfect to use them up. I love finding little bits of pepper in the bread from the potatoes. I think it's charming.

If you don't have leftovers you can boil one potato and mash it. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and use it in place of the boiling water.

The recipe I used says it makes one loaf, but it turned out to be a giant monster loaf the first time. So now I split the dough in two and get two generous loaves out of it.

Rustic Potato Bread

1 C mashed potatoes
1/2 C boiling water
1 C milk
1 1/2 Tbs lard (or shortening)
1 1/2 Tbs butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs yeast
1/3 C warm water
5 C flour

Mix potatoes with boiling water to reconstitute. Scald milk and combine with potato mixture in mixing bowl. Add lard, butter, salt and sugar, then allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, combine yeast and warm water and set aside until foamy. When potato mixture is cooled add yeast mixture. Add in the flour and knead (by hand or mixer) until smooth.

Allow to rise in a large, greased bowl about 30 minutes. Punch down and form into loaf/loaves by forming into balls and slashing tops or placing in 9x5 loaf pans. Allow to rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden and bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Happy Eating,

February 14, 2011

Back To Basics :: Bread Making

Let me start this off by saying I am totally not a bread expert. Well, maybe when it comes to eating bread. But when it comes to making it I've just got the little bits I've learned over the past 4 years making bread for my family and researching how to get what I want in a loaf. I'm sure there are plenty of other tips and tricks, so shout them out in the comments if you've got 'em!

This post is going to focus on yeast bread, since biscuits and quick breads are a different breed that I'll get to later. I'm not going to include a certain recipe, just the basic tips I've learned on how to get a good loaf.

Proof First - The first thing I learned about making bread was to proof my yeast first. I used to follow the recipes and add the yeast in with the dry ingredients and I had a few disasters of no-rise dough. Now I ALWAYS proof first, no matter what the recipe says. Proofing it first allows you to make sure your yeast is alive and well, and that your water is not too hot or cold. And if you wind up having bad yeast, at least you've just wasted the water a bit of yeast rather than a whole batch of dough.

To proof your yeast mix it with the warm liquid called for in the recipe. Add a bit of sugar (about a teaspoon or so) or a bit of flour to give the yeast something to eat. Let it sit for a few minutes to become bubbly and happy. If it doesn't bubble, something is wrong and you should toss it out. Your yeast might be dead, or the water temperature wasn't right.

Hold the Salt - Salt kills yeast. (Another reason I didn't understand mixing the yeast with all the dry ingredients.) Keeping the salt away from the yeast as long as possible while it's feeding will give you a better chance at a good rise. I usually just mix my dry ingredients and then add my yeast mixture. But if you're still having problems I have read that you can hold the salt until after the first rise. Then knead it into the dough when you are shaping your loaf.

No Chlorine - Chlorine can also kill yeast, so if you are using tap water and consistently have bread fails, that might be why. My luck with our tap water has been just fine - we must not have a ton of chlorine in our water. But if you're running into problems try filtering the water first.

Oven proofing - Trying to find a "warm, draft free" place to put the dough to rise can be difficult anytime other than summer. During the winter I will put the dough on the hearth, next to the fire. Or you can try the oven trick. Turn the oven on for a few minutes (3-5 or so), then turn it off again. Place the dough in your oven to rise. The insulated box will keep it nicely warm for a good long time. You can probably get both the first and second rise with just one warm up, depending on the insulation your oven provides.

Crunchy Crust - Allison asked how to get a crunchy crust on bread. I've only done this once, as I usually prefer a softer crust on my bread. But for french bread it's perfect. You need a method of creating steam in your oven/on your bread. There are a few ways of doing this. I've put a baking dish into the oven, on the rack below my bread rack, and allow it to heat up with the oven. Then when you put the bread in, toss a handful of ice cubes into the dish before you close the oven. They'll melt and provide a good amount of steam. Or, you can spritz the bread with water every 15 minutes while cooking. You can also just put a bit of hot water into the aforementioned baking dish before you heat the oven, rather than tossing in ice. Try to avoid brushing the loaves with water, as this can make them too soggy and you won't get much of a crust at all.

The steam allows the outside of the bread to stay moist for a longer period of time. This will not only allow for a larger loaf because it can expand farther than if the crust had already set, but you get a thinner, crispier crust.  The actual crisp itself comes from the caramelization of the sugars and proteins in the dough, so try letting it go a bit longer and darkening up a bit more, in addition to the steam, if you're trying for a super crisp crust.

Too Wet Dough - I've made a few recipes where I put in the full amount of flour called for and the dough is still very wet (and it's not supposed to be). I've also made the mistake of dumping in another half cup to "fix" it and wound up with overly dry, too dense dough.

For most recipes, you want to get to the stage where the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball (whether in a stand mixer, or by hand in a bowl). If you're at the same point - that you think the dough is too wet - you can try two things. Add the extra flour now, just a tablespoon at a time and making sure to stir it in completely before adding another tablespoon. It doesn't take much to get that ball stage. Or if you're going to turn it out and give it a good kneading, the flour you spread on the table should be more than enough to soak up the extra moisture. When in doubt, err on the side of slightly wet so you don't end up with the dense, overly dry loaves that I have.

Homemade bread is really the best thing since... well. You know. I bought a loaf of store bought the other day because I hadn't had a chance to make bread for the week. I then made my usual batch later, and Ben told me he loved my bread, especially after "having to eat" store bought.

I hope this helps y'all on the road to wonderful homemade bread!

Happy Baking,

February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Ben tells me Friday night, as we're making dinner, that he has to ruin my surprise. Uhh... Ok?

He explains to me that he was going to order me flowers for Valentine's day like he did last year.

But unfortunately, by the time he went to order them the other day, the bouquet that I loved so much last year was sold out. So he decided that instead of getting me a different one, we would go to Home Depot and I could pick out some live flowers! He figured I would like that best anyways, since I have been wanting flowers so badly.

Yes! Best Valentine's gift ever. I told him it was so much nicer this way because they would stay around for longer than a week and I could enjoy them.

So we went to Home Depot and he let me pick whatever I wanted. We got daffodils, tulips, a package each of yellow pansies and purple pansies...

And these, which are my favorite. They are Violas and I just love their little faces. They look like they have little whiskers. I wish you could see from the photo, but it's just not clear enough, how perfect those little lines are. They look like they've been painted on one by one.

I hope your Valentine's Day turns out as wonderfully sweet as my early one did!


P.S. This is going to count as my 365 for the day. And I'm starting to think that maybe that 365 goal is not such a good one. Starting to hate taking pictures because I have to do it every day is not so much fun and kind of kills the point.

February 11, 2011

365 Project :: Day 42

Tea prisms.

If you look really close, it kind of looks like there is a wine glass in the shadow.

Back To Basics :: The Idea

I have an idea.

But first I have to tell you how it came about.

I've been struggling lately with blogging. I've felt pretty brain dead in that I can't think of what to write about. I know part of it has been the dreary weather. But even with the gorgeous, sunny, warm weather we've had lately I still feel like I have nothing write about.

I've been trying to figure out why. Why am I lacking in ideas? Did I just fizzle out? A year of blogging and I'm done? Am I just that boring? Am I too busy knitting to talk about anything else?

And then I was listening to Meghan's latest episode of the Stitch It! podcast and she was talking about how she loved the beginning of her podcast "career" when she was learning so many things and sharing it with others and how she really wanted to get back to that.

And I realized - that's exactly it. I love teaching (and I didn't even know it!). I love sharing things I have learned with other people. I get giddy when someone asks me how to do something and I get to explain it to them. And I love learning new things. (Remember, Never ever stop learning.) I posted so much and so often when I was sharing things on budgeting and finances, and cooking when I was trying new recipes, and knitting when I was newly getting into lace.

Thank you for the epiphany, Meghan!

So once I was able to pinpoint my lack of content, it inspired my idea.

I want to create a Back To Basics series. My passion is the simple life, and simple times. While I enjoy certain aspects of technology, I love the simple pleasures of cooking, creating, gardening - just living life as it's meant to be lived.

I want to share the basic ideas and skills of life with everyone. My idea is to focus on a certain aspect of a skill with each post. For example, I've thought of doing a "How To Knit" section of the Back To Basics. One post would be the knit stitch, another post the purl stitch. Maybe a third could be lace, or cables. I'd like to do a cooking section, where one post would focus on bread making, another on sauces, etc. Specific parts of each section of life.

I want to share the little bit I've learned in my life so far, and I want to learn more. Since teaching apparently seems to be what I need to keep being creative and to keep myself learning more, I'll embrace it.

But there's more to it.

I want to involve everyone. Knowledge should be shared, not kept to one's self. And different people have different aspects and techniques on each subject. So I'd like to have continuous input from everyone with ideas and suggestions. I'm thinking maybe I could have guests posts from those who are more knowledgeable about a subject. Animals? I'm not so good at. But my mother in law knows chickens. (Heh, how's that for putting you on the spot?)

Let's get back to simple, basic things and share what we know. So what do you think? Interested? Have ideas, suggestions, questions? Want to guest blog?

My first idea was doing a post on bread baking. What's more basic than baking a good loaf of bread? Tips and tricks for a good rise, good crumb, different flavors, etc. I'd love any input anyone has. Or if you feel you're up to it, write me a whole post! I'm thinking I'll do the bread post on Monday.

I don't know how often I would post in the series. I suppose it's up to my whims and inspiration. But the more input and questions, the more I'll post.

And if you have a question on how to do something, and I don't know the answer, I would love to learn along with you and share the process.

Happy Friday (and inspiration),

February 10, 2011

365 Project :: Day 41

 It's been much too long since Betsy and I had a good long sit down together.

The heady perfume of the sheep is still in the soft merino wool, and it glistens in the sun as I spin. It felt so good and relaxing to do it again today.

Dishes - A Poem

Like rabbits.
How can five people,
Dirty 20 dishes?
In 10 minutes.
Wash yourselves!

February 9, 2011

365 Project :: Day 40

I was a seed-stitch dis-liker (hate is too strong of a word) awhile ago. But I think I've been converted now that I see how charming it is on soft yellow cotton yarn.

Finished Knit: Plain Fingerless Mitts

A pair of plain gloves for a customer, in a navy blue color.

I don't know what I'm going to do when it's too warm for fingerless mittens. I've been knitting them for so long I feel like it's all I know how to knit now. :O

Pattern: No pattern, just plain fingerless mitts

Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll in "Dusk" - 30 grams/138 yards

Needles: US 2/2.75 mm Harmony wood double points

Knitline: January 29th - February 3rd

YTD Mileage: .92. Ooooh almost a mile already!

Happy Knitting,

P.S. I think I feel a shawl or a sweater coming on...

February 8, 2011

365 Project :: Day 39

(Yes, I did miss yesterday's picture. Whoops.)

Ben and I did yard work Sunday and found these little stow-aways in one of the planter boxes. I'm not sure if they are leftover bulbs from last year that didn't come up before, or if kids/animals transplanted them to that spot during the winter.

I don't even know what they are, but I'm very excited to find out!

February 7, 2011

Finished Knit: Hot Red Valentine's Mitts

I love this color. It's like a hot red lipstick. Or a not-quite-ripe cherry. Or a perfect rose. It's been such a great color to work with.

Another pair of Valentine's mitts ready for the shop. This version is in Peruvian Highland Wool. I like them, but I think the pair with silk laced yarn is my favorite so far.

Pattern: Valentine's Mitts by Meg

Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in "Serrano" - 31 grams/143 yards

Needles: US 2/2.75mm Harmony wood double points

Knitline: February 4th - February 6th

YTD Mileage: .84 miles!

February 6, 2011

365 Project :: Day 37

Today's picture is a look at my "studio" set up. This is the spot I take most of my product pictures now.

Ben and I were taking pictures of an order I just finished and I thought it would be nice if I showed you how I got away with pretty decent lighting without all the fancy, expensive equipment.

I prefer natural lighting for my knits, so I use our office window. It's the best window I've found so far. The living room might work, but I don't feel like pulling the table in there. Plus the sunlight bounces off the wall outside and gives us pretty good lighting in here.

I use a white table cloth for my backdrop, which I've ironed now. Because trying to Photoshop out folds and crinkles is a pain in the butt. I've thought about using some scrap booking paper for different moods and effects on the backdrop, too.

I use a piece of white poster board as a reflector, to get light on the underside of my shots and reduce the shadows. I've taped a piece of foil onto it now for added light-bouncing-offery, but it's a little harsh sometimes so it's use depends on the shot.

I'm no where near where I want to be as far as skill, but going through my pictures over the last few months I realize that I am getting better. And all without shelling out hundreds of dollars. (Well, aside from the camera... hehe.)

I ordered a tripod, which should be here tomorrow, and I'm so excited for it!

February 5, 2011

365 Project :: Day 36

I bring out the camera and they all get crazy. This is Ty, after telling me "Mom! Takey my pi-ture!"

February 4, 2011

365 Project :: Day 35

Another pair of Valentine's Mitts gets cast on, in Serrano red.

Sitting atop it's Official Fancy Pattern! You can find the pattern (for purchase), if you'd like it, on the pattern page.

February 3, 2011

Linky Loo Friday

 Happy Friday everyone! I hope your week went spectacularly well, and that your weekend is even better!

Today, I'm sharing a few links.

KnitGirlinIdaho's Etsy Shop :: Reni has been a big help in making some changes and promoting my Etsy shop and I wanted to give her a shout out. She has the most awesome stitch markers I have seen. I think I'll have to be getting me some of her pin up girl ones. The coolest part? She can make stitch markers out of your own pictures. Check her out!

I have a Twitter now ::  Please don't hate me lol. I tried to avoid it for as long as I could, but I know that trying to market myself means working with social media. So Twitter it is! A necessary evil that I will probably wind up enjoying sometime down the road. Which brings me to my next link...

A Facebook Fan Page too :: Like it, if you're so inclined!

Supercook.com :: This site is awesome! There are various sites that allow you to type in what ingredients you have and search for meals based on them, but this is the nicest one I've found so far. It seems to be a little better with giving you just what you want and asking if you'd like to add things.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies :: I made these on Monday. Ohmygosh. Make them. Now. But add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and make the chocolate chips half semi-sweet and half white. You'll thank me when you taste them. I may or may not have eaten them for with after breakfast a few days this week.

Baby Blanket Pattern Contest :: Think I can finish designing and knitting a baby blanket in a week and a half? Heh. I'll be trying. If you have a design/pattern go enter! I would love to see one of my blog buddies win this contest! (I'm looking at you Allison!)

Happy Friday,

365 Project :: Day 34

Today got away from me, what with being in the sunshine and all. ;)

So today, I'm reposting this shot from the Valentine's Mitt post, because I really like how it turned out.

Tomorrow's Friday!

Finished Knit: Valentine's Mitts

Yay they're done! Just in time for Valentine's day. I love the shimmer these put out from the bit of silk that's in the yarn.

These were my in-between-orders project so they took a bit longer than I had hoped. But they are still ready to go for the holiday.

If you'd like this pair for yourself, you purchase it from my Etsy shop.

Pattern: Heart Mitts by Meg

Yarn: Knit Pick's Gloss Lace in "Port" held double- 35 grams/308 yards

Needles: US 2/2.75mm Harmony wood double points

Knitline: January 23 - February 2

YTD Mileage: .76 miles!

Thoughts on Being Good At Something

I've had a lot of people tell me that I'm very, very good at knitting. That my work is beautiful and amazing and all this stuff that I really think is not true. While I do know that I can knit, and pretty decently, there are many, many others who are waaaay better than I am.

But it got me thinking - since I am a decent knitter, how did I get here? How does one go about becoming good at something? So here are some thoughts on what I've done to get where I am so far, in the hopes that it will inspire others to do what they've always wanted to do - and be great at it.

10 minutes - You know the term practice makes perfect? I spend at least 10 minutes every day knitting. I've heard that it takes 10, 000 hours to become an expert at something and you can achieve that in little 10 minute chunks. 10 minutes every day really doesn't take up much time. Some things you can do before work, or on your lunch break, or right before bed! Just put some time aside and practice, practice, practice.

Love What You Do - What's the point in trying to be an expert in something you hate doing? I have a deep seeded passion for knitting and it makes it really easy to do it every day. ;)

Never Stop Learning - Let me repeat that. Never stop learning. Even if I start feeling like I've mastered something, I can never stop learning. I am always trying to read up on a new technique, or a new stitch, or a new way to block things, or what yarns go well with what project. Humans are naturally programmed to continually learn and grow. I try not to stunt that growth by thinking I'm done learning. You can always learn how to cook a new dish, or use a method you haven't tried before . Or try a different way to cross stitch so it's faster. Or paint that thing you've always wanted to try but never have.

Always, always, push yourself to what you think your limits are. And don't be afraid to just jump in.

Go be great!

February 2, 2011

365 Project :: Day 33

The torture mitts go through to look pretty.

Groundhog's Day!

 Last year's happy Potato Bush. Spring is coming! It's already budding out.

I posted on my Facebook this morning that, being the resident groundhog, I have decided today is the first day of Spring! Yay! I seriously thought about going and buying a truckload of flowers today. It's so beautifully sunny and (sort of) warm today. I'm hoping this gorgeous weather flows over the country and gives my snow-bound blogging friends some relief!

I think one of the best birthday presents I have gotten today is seeing that my Pointed Garter Scarf pattern (you can download it here) has had 3 downloads, and 1 started project today alone! It is really cool to see that. I'm hoping - children, orders and time permitting - to be getting some other patterns, like the Emilies and Heart mitts, up for sale soon.

Speaking of Heart Mitts I just have a thumb left and the pair will be done! Which will be soon, if I get off the computer and go do that.

The kids are down for a nap, I'm hyped on Starbucks (Venti Java Chip Fraps = Jittermania) and there is a chair outside in the sunshine calling my name.

Hope you are doing wonderfully well today, and that those in the snowy parts of the country are keeping warm and safe!

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