Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Yarn Along - Wildflowers Cardigan, Week 3

Greetings! Obviously one of favorite things is reading, but I also quite love knitting. Ginny over at Small Things hosts a lovely little link-up so once you're done here go visit and see what everyone else is up to.


 


Gosh, I can't believe it's only been 3 weeks. It feels like so much longer. It feels as though this cardigan is all I do anymore. (It really isn't; I've been doing a ton of cleaning and organizing at home but I'm still trying to get as much knitting done as possible to keep up with our self-imposed deadlines.)


Our goal is to be completely finished with the back by next Thursday. My personal goal is to be done a bit sooner than that. I've started the armhole shaping and making sure to count my stitches and mark my rows off very carefully because this is one of the parts that I really don't want to screw up.


I finished The Kings of Clonmel on Monday night and it was so good. I quickly moved on to the next one, Halt's Peril and finished it on Tuesday afternoon and jumped right into The Emperor of Nihon-Ja. It's so good. I have a few criticisms of the writing at this point in the series but I'll save those for my more thorough review of the books.  I'm so deeply invested in this series that I'm just gonna power through and there are only 2 left after this one! 


I'm headed to exotic Salem, OR on Friday at dark o'clock in the morning and until Monday night and I'm really excited. I'm bringing my knitting and I can't decide if I'll bring the last two Ranger's Apprentice books or if I'll bring my Kindle instead... It's such a hard decision! I'll probably bring my Kindle, though. In any case, I'm ready for 4 days of rainy, cold weather and completely thrilled to see my northern relatives and wander around town enjoying the cherry blossoms. My parents are keeping an eye on Gatsby and my house so I don't have to worry about that, thank goodness.


If you want to know what else I've got on my needles, head on over to my Ravelry page for a look-see.

That's it for me today.  What have you been knitting and reading lately? Let me know in comments and then head over to Ginny's to see what everyone else is up to!

Love, 

Willow



*Author's Note: The Yarn Along button in this post is property of Ginny Sheller and is used with permission. All other images used in this post as well as text are (c)Whitney Miller and may be used only with my express permission. See my About Page for details.*


Monday, January 26, 2015

52 Lists, Week 4

Happy Monday! Welcome to my 52 Lists Project, wherein I feature one list every week for 2015. To join in with your own list, scroll down to the link at the bottom, print out your own list, and then share it however you wish!

Week 4: List Your Current & Future Goals & Dreams

This list is really quite similar to my list from last year - in fact, I'm pretty sure the majority of the "Future" goals and dreams are identical (with a couple of additions). Here we go...

Current:
  • continue using my money carefully so I can continue to cover rent and expenses
  • start saving more money
  • eat out less and less
  • get in 30 minutes of exercise each day (I'm currently at about 3 times a week but my goal is to get this in daily)
  • catalog the library
  • stick to my Condo Cleaning Schedule
  • write blog posts in advance and post more regularly
  • meet new people and make new friends
  • try new recipes
  • finish the family cookbook
Future
  • be a recognized, fiscally solvent writer
  • own a small house with a yellow kitchen and a garden
  • share my life with someone I love (hopefully not just my cat)
  • have children
  • learn a new language
  • live in a foreign country for 6 months or more
  • go to Spain
  • see my niece and nephew baptized in the Catholic Church
  • have tea with Francesca Lia Block
  • hug John Green, Hank Green, and Taylor Swift
  • read thousands of really good books
  • start a literacy foundation
  • reform Catholic religious education
  • become a saint (not necessarily a formally canonized one)
 


That one about a literacy foundation always surprises me, but when I tried to leave it off the list it nagged and nagged at my brain until I put it back. I'm not sure what to make of it, but there it is.

So what about you? What are some of your goals and dreams for the future? What kinds of things would you like to accomplish this year? How about 5 or 10 or 20 years from now? Let me know in comments or with a list of your own!

Hope you have a lovely Monday...

Love,

Willow

For more fun with 52 Lists, click down on "52 Lists" in the little categories section at the bottom of the post, and go over to Moorea Seal's site to see more!

Check out Moorea Seal's entire project at her blog below:
http://www.moorea-seal.com/p/52-lists.html  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Yarn Along - Wildflowers Cardigan, Week 2

Greetings! Obviously one of favorite things is reading, but I also quite love knitting. Ginny over at Small Things hosts a lovely little link-up so once you're done here go visit and see what everyone else is up to.


 

Week 2 of the Wildflowers Cardigan looks like this:

Maybe someday I'll get decent light in my living room so my pictures suck less...

That's 49 rows of stockinette, people! 10 inches! I've been averaging 10-20 rows a night when I put on my serious face and buckle down on it (which has been about 5 nights out of 7 in the last 2 weeks, so not bad). Tomorrow we meet for our 3rd official session at Karen's and I plan to either start decreasing for armholes then or by Saturday morning at the latest.

I had to do a bit of tinking on Saturday (so frustrating!) but by Sunday I was back on track and realized I should've been putting lifelines in every 20 rows but I wasn't. Don't worry - there are a bunch of lifelines in, now. It's a little time-consuming but I'd rather take the time to put them in rather than have to rip back farther than absolutely necessary if catastrophe strikes later.
Reading:
Since I've been really putting my nose to the knitting I haven't been reading a whole lot in the evenings, though I am still getting about 2 chapters in right before bed on The Kings of Clonmel, the next book in Ranger's Apprentice. This is the 2nd book in the series that's completely new to me so it's very exciting to be on this new adventure; my dreams are certainly more interesting. 

But for knitting, I need to listen to something, and I realized while babysitting last Friday night that I downloaded but failed to listen to Sarah Mackenzie's podcasts of the Read Aloud Revival. Guys, they are so, so good. These podcasts are so inspiring and encouraging.  Even without kids of my own, as an adult who wants a little extra something intellectually now that I'm out of school I'm finding so much inspiration to start reading challenging or different books without the intimidation factor looming large. It's hard to explain but if you like books at all you should absolutely go and at least listen to episode 1. 

If you want to know what else I've got on my needles, head on over to my Ravelry page for a look-see.

That's it for me today.  What have you been knitting and reading lately? Let me know in comments and then head over to Ginny's to see what everyone else is up to!

Love, 

Willow



*Author's Note: The Yarn Along button in this post is property of Ginny Sheller and is used with permission. All other images used in this post as well as text are (c)Whitney Miller and may be used only with my express permission. See my About Page for details.*


Monday, January 19, 2015

52 Lists, Week 3

Happy Monday! Welcome to my 52 Lists Project, wherein I feature one list every week for 2015. To join in with your own list, scroll down to the link at the bottom, print out your own list, and then share it however you wish!

Week 3: List the Things You Should Be Proud Of

This list is always difficult for me because when I look at my life in a "big picture" kind of way, I don't see much that's changed since I left school and became a secretary. But when I look closer, especially at the last few months and weeks, I see some changes I've implemented and I'm really proud of the progress I've made.

  • my job
  • teaching Confirmation
  • I was brave and gave online dating a try
  • I'm managing my anxiety better than ever
  • I've managed my money well enough that I can afford rent and all of my bills/student loans and still put a little bit of money in my savings account each month
  • I'm eating really healthy right now (I still don't like quinoa but I'm eating it anyway)
  • I've been getting up early and getting to work earlier
  • I've been exercising more regularly
  • I've made a cleaning schedule and stuck to it
  • I'm reading more this year
  • I'm keeping myself better organized and sticking to my plans better
  • I'm writing more - both on the blog and in my personal journals
  • my progress on my Wildflowers Cardigan
  • my pretty good relationship with both my sisters

So there you have it! They seem kind of small, but for now I'm quite pleased with myself and these little things. I should also add that I have made my bed almost every single day of 2015 (I skip the occasional weekend morning) and I'm proud of that, too.

What are you proud of? What goals have you met or started to make progress on? Let me know in comments or with a list of your own!

Hope you have a lovely Monday...

Love,

Willow


For more fun with 52 Lists, click down on "52 Lists" in the little categories section at the bottom of the post, and go over to Moorea Seal's site to see more!

Check out Moorea Seal's entire project at her blog below:
http://www.moorea-seal.com/p/52-lists.html  

 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Yarn Along - Wildflowers Cardigan

Greetings! Obviously one of favorite things is reading, but I also quite love knitting. Ginny over at Small Things hosts a lovely little link-up so once you're done here go visit and see what everyone else is up to.




Here we are, week 1 of my Wildflowers cardigan. Karen, Jaimie, Therese, Lorene, and I are finally on our way to making this lovely cardigan from Coastal Knits. We started choosing yarns and swatching for gauge back in December, shortly before Christmas. We gave our gauge swatches to dear Karen who kindly helped us figure out what size needles and what size of the pattern we would need to work to achieve our desired size cardigan. Then we met up last Friday night to cast on and get to work. 

I cheated a little by casting on some of my 222 stitches the night before (in my defense, I can't count worth anything so I knew I'd need to count and count and count again once I'd cast on), and I also started knitting one of my pocket linings. The others got their stitches cast on and we began working on the edge since the sweater is bottom-up. 

Someday I'll take better photos

The edging. Oh my goodness. It's one of those things where you have to count very carefully and put your wine down and focus and shush the people around you. It's not difficult but it required a great deal of focus. It also required me to completely rip out what I'd done and start over.

We met up on Saturday afternoon to finish the edging (which I'd caught up to that morning), put in a lifeline, and confirm our meeting schedule. We intend to be finished by April 30th. I've got a lot more knitting to do...

This is what 31 finished rows looks like. 123 rows to go...

The yarn is a new line my LYS is carrying: Berroco's Folio is a DK/sport weight yarn that's baby alpaca and rayon and while it's working up a little fuzzier than I'd really like, it feels good running through my fingers, isn't too splitty, and looks like it will have gorgeous drape when I'm done. I'll let you know in April if it was worth the money.

So last week I talked about Thrift Books and how much I love them, right? Well three more books in the Ranger's Apprentice series came yesterday so I spent more of my evening reading instead of knitting. I finished The Sorcerer of the North in a little less than 3 hours. This was partly because I'd read it before, and partly because it's not a very long book. Then I started reading The Siege of Macindaw but forced myself to quit after about 13 chapters because I had a headache and was very sleepy. I need to come up with a system that allows me to read a chapter for every 4 or 5 rows I knit, otherwise I won't finish my cardigan or my reading list.

The first three in the series - gorgeous hardcovers!

If you want to know what else I've got on my needles, head on over to my Ravelry page for a look-see.

That's it for me today.  What have you been knitting and reading lately? Let me know in comments and then head over to Ginny's to see what everyone else is up to!

Love, 

Willow



*Author's Note: The Yarn Along button in this post is property of Ginny Sheller and is used with permission. All other images used in this post as well as text are (c)Whitney Miller and may be used only with my express permission. See my About Page for details.*


Monday, January 12, 2015

52 Lists, Week 2

Happy Monday! Welcome to my 52 Lists Project, wherein I feature one list every week for 2015. To join in with your own list, scroll down to the link at the bottom, print out your own list, and then share it however you wish!

Week 2: List Your Greatest Comforts
 Ahhh, comfort. After a long, stressful day at work or an exhausting argument with my mother, or a frustrating conversation with my sisters, sometimes the only thing I want to do is go home and indulge in one of my self-soothing methods, like a hot bath or a cup of tea. Here's my list of comfies:



~Gatsby kitten-cuddles ~Christmas food ~warm tea ~my Oma quilt ~candles

~saying the Rosary ~hot baths ~long, quiet, night drives ~knitting

~coffee ~coconut oil lotion ~rose gardens ~sunny spring walks ~pajamas

~Denny's with old friends ~jacaranda blooms ~hugs from just the right person ~bare feet

~getting letters ~someone else cooking for me ~listening to Bon Iver or The Weepies

~reading YA novels ~reading poetry ~Jane Austen ~audiobooks ~Harry Potter marathons

~Doctor Who reruns ~having houseplants ~going to church ~keeping a journal

~singing in the car ~giving gifts ~playing piano ~sewing ~fresh flowers
 
someday I will take not-terrible pictures

This list is far from exhaustive, but it's a good idea of the things that bring me comfort. What are the things that bring you comfort and solace? Let me know in comments or with your own list!


Hope you have a lovely Monday...

Love,

Willow

For more fun with 52 Lists, click down on "52 Lists" in the little categories section at the bottom of the post, and go over to Moorea Seal's site to see more!

Check out Moorea Seal's entire project at her blog below:
http://www.moorea-seal.com/p/52-lists.html   

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pinteresting, Vol. 11

Happy Friday and welcome to Pinteresting! The part of the show where I roundup my favorite pins from this week and share them with the world. I pin recipes, decorating ideas, religious stuff, teaching thoughts, funny stuff from Tumblr, kids' activities, crafting ideas, knitting/crochet patterns, and cute cat pictures.


1) 
 Don't these look yummy? The recipe calls for seasoned stuffing mix, but since I'm not a huge fan of stuffing (it's great for Thanksgiving, but past that - no thank you) I may substitute breadcrumbs or crushed seasoned croutons instead. These look like a nice little snack for having people 'round when you don't want to make it a dinner party.

2)

I like this list. It's pretty simple but it's still a good list of little things to make your life better. This list is something I try to incorporate with my New Year's Resolutions of being happier, healthier, and more organized.

3) 
Click through and read this article by Mary at Better Than Eden. It's simple and beautiful and lovely and made me sit at my desk for a few minutes and think. It's just really good. Go read it and then let's all be stars, okay?

4) 
 Sometimes I come across funny Hogwarts headcanons and they remind me how much I love the Harry Potter fandom (which is clearly still alive and well!). Looking back at the series you have to wonder how on earth Dumbledore rationalized hiring the buffoon that was Lockhart - this gives us a possible explanation.

5)

So Julie at Knitted Bliss was doing a January sponsors show-&-tell and one of them designs patterns for people from babies to grown ups (have you ever seen a kids' pattern you longed for in your size? me too) and my favorites are the little hooded cowls. They look so warm and cozy! And adorable! Go look.
     Also, these patterns make me wish I lived somewhere cold and snowy so I could wear these. It's not quite cold enough here in sunny SoCal. Our "cold snap" over the holidays had nighttime temps dropping to the high 30s whereas in Vermont right now the temperature is a whopping 18 F. Yikes!

6) 

Doesn't this look delish? I love avocados, even though they're more expensive off-season. I'm not sure I'd even use this for pasta sauce; I might just cut the recipe in half and use it as a spread on a quinoa-asparagus wrap with cherry tomatoes. Mmmm...

That's it for this week's edition of Pinteresting! I always enjoy curating my favorite, most recent pins. If you're not currently on Pinterest, make sure you take a moment to say goodbye to your loved ones before you log on, because there's no going back! You can follow me on Pinterest (any or all of my boards, find your cup of tea) HERE. Happy weekend!

love,
Willow


P.S. What do you guys think about my new blog design? I'm still tweaking it a bit, but I think it's a lot easier to read than the old one and maybe a little more viewer-friendly? I'd love to hear some feedback in comments.

**Author's Note: None of the images in this post are my property. I have borrowed them from Pinterest and made my best effort to ensure that the Pinterest pages linked to link to an original source. If you see your work here and want it taken down please see my About page and contact me. Thank you for not suing.**