Friday, November 21, 2014

Pinteresting, Vol. 8

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) 


One of my favorite bloggers is Haley Stewart at Carrots for Michaelmas and she wrote this guest post over at Kitchen Stewardship all about Advent and how observing Advent can actually help us prevent holiday burnout. The idea is that spending the weeks leading up to Christmas in a quieter state of mind makes the actual season of Christmas (traditionally, from Dec. 25 - Jan. 6) much more enjoyable. Now, I love Christmas, I love the whole season, and I'm not usually sick of Christmas carols until sometime in February, but I also really love the slow-down of Advent. The time of prayer and anticipation, of holding out the real celebrations until it's actually, you know... Christmas.

Which leads me to: HOLY MOSES PEOPLE THERE ARE ONLY 5 WEEKS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!! I am SO EXCITED.

2)


I have been looking for something just like this for quite some time. These little cookies are store-bought pie crusts cut out to size, spread with jam (she used apple butter - yum!) and a cookie cutter used to cute out the little hole in the tops. They're so cute and look absolutely delicious - perfect for a more interesting cookie exchange party, if that's your holiday occasion du jour

3)


I'm not a huge fan of couple's tattoos. I love tattoos, of course, but matchy-matchy couple's tats? Not so much. Enter these inky arms inspired by Pixar's Up. Oh my cuteness! Not a bad way to go, if you absolutely have to have a couple's tattoo. 

4) 

 
It won't let me make the graphic bigger without making it so huge that it's bigger than the entire post, so I apologize. To see it at a decent size, click the link below the image. But if you think back to an earlier Pinteresting post (HERE), I showed you a cool idea for cinnamon dough ornaments. But the cool thing about salt dough is that you can paint it. My niece and nephew are spending the entire week of Thanksgiving with us (Friday to Friday - whoa) so this may be on the list of scheduled activities for us to do to keep them busy. Plus, it'll give them a cute souvenir to take home to their mom.

5)


Mary at Better than Eden has some great insights, and she shows them off in this post. I've always loved the story of Jesus cleansing the temple with a whip and going a little crazy, but Mary puts it into such beautiful perspective. Go read it.

6) 

This hack is super neat because it's not destructive.  Also, the command hooks are all but completely concealed by the bows. I imagine you could use this for a lot of different occasions, and in a lot of different places. I've pinned a few things that have free downloads for banner lettering, and I might make a few banners for the holidays to hang between my two downstairs bookcases over the TV (or where the TV won't be in a few weeks!). I'll be using this hack for sure, because I'm still a renter.

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
 

**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.**

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yarn Along - Churchmouse Feet

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.


Boy, have I fallen off the link-up blogging wagon! I've been spending a lot of time lesson planning for Confirmation classes so unfortunately both my knitting and reading have taken a hit as a result.

I took a brief break from the Christmas knitting crazies! I needed to do something small and light and fun for a while before I jumped back into hats and cowls and mitts and nonsense. Since I know someone who is due to have her first baby at the end of November, I figured now is the perfect time to whip up some cute booties in a bunch of colors.

sorry it's kind of fuzzy and bad lighting - a photographer I am not

I love this pattern. I love almost every Churchmouse pattern, to be honest. This one is so simple, so timeless, and so quick - it just makes sense. I also love that it has directions for three different gauges!!! so you can really use whatever yarn you have laying around to make it work!


*UPDATE* Man, I'm lame and didn't bother to share about the yarn I used. The blue pair is in Plymouth Baby DK, which is super-soft and I think it's superwash. The middle pair is from St. Elias's Pagewood Farm line in the River Rock colorway. It's gorgeous and soft and very pretty. Check the Ravelry project page (link is under the photo) for more details. I only used about 100 yds of each yarn for each pair, so this is a great stash-busting project, too.

Reading: I haven't been doing much pleasure reading (what is wrong with me!?), but I've been studying this book a lot. 


It's the Second Year Confirmation text my parish uses. It's great - if you're a college student. If you're a high school sophomore (as all of my students are), it's...dense. Difficult. I have a hard time getting through some of it.

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.*

A Haunting in San Dimas, or A Long Story About a Girl and a Ghost

Do you like ghost stories? I love a good ghost story. Unless I'm living a ghost story. Then I'm not so excited about them.

Getty Images
So my parents have been in Hawaii this week because my father has his first case in Hawaii and was asked to come and visit the scene and bring his wife along for a mini vacation. Because it's not like we have perpetual summer in Southern California anyway.

Since the 'rents have been out of town, though, it has fallen upon my shoulders to supervise things on the home front. Most importantly: caring for my sisters, freshly 16 year old high school sophomores. This involves a lot of driving. A lot of driving. To and from school, to and from band practice, girl scouts, competitions, church, homework club, plus driving myself back home to pick up Gatsby and change my clothes and then drive back to work twice a day. Lots of driving. (Also lots of annoying requests to go places without any regard for the fact that even though I'm their acting guardian, I still have a full-time job and can't just go spend two hours at Target in the middle of the afternoon.)

All of this means that I've been spending a great deal more time at my childhood home than I have in a considerable while (since the last time my parents went out of town with or without my sisters, basically). In the last days I've noticed things - disturbing things. The first of these was actually on the first day our parents were gone and I was in the house by myself for several hours while my sisters were at a football game (marching band and color guard). The first instance was at about 5:30pm and I was in the family room. We have a big, ranch-style house so the family room, kitchen, dining room, and living room are mostly a large, open space with bedrooms and bathrooms book-ending these living areas. The "family room" is right next to the kitchen and the hallway to the bedrooms runs perpendicularly to it. The door separating this hallway from the rest of the house is usually left open. I was standing in the family room adjusting the lights to the kitchen and sorting the mail when I saw it, not quite in the corner of my eye.

A slinking, black shadow had darted across the hallway and into my sister's bedroom.

I stood frozen trying to convince myself that my eyes were playing tricks on me but I was so, so certain that they weren't. I said a quick Hail Mary and went after it, turning on every light within my reach as I went. When I reached my sister's room I turned on all the lights, shone my phone's flashlight into her closet and in all the dark nooks and corners but found nothing. I shook off the icky feeling in the pit of my stomach, turned off the lights, and went back to sorting the mail. I thought, "Hey, it must've been one of the cats. If our cats are three times the normal size of a cat, amorphous, and inky-black like smoke. Sure."

About 2 hours later, I was in the garden. (The open living area of the house opens into the backyard via a wide, sliding glass door, so you can see from the house into the yard and from the yard into the house.) I was trying to locate the cats and make sure they were safely in the house or in the garage for the night. It was pretty out so I sat on one of the patio benches looking into the house to enjoy the night air and the sounds of the windchimes. After a few minutes of admiring the garden and how nice the new kitchen looks, I saw it and this time there was no way my eyes were fooling me because it passed right in front of me.

That slinking, low to the ground black shadow slithered out of the family room, through the dining room/entry way and out of sight towards my parents' bedroom.

Thoroughly freaked out, I went back inside and started lighting every candle I could find. I'm not sure what I hoped to accomplish with excessive candle lighting, but it made me feel a little better. I turned on the radio and found the Christmas music station and cranked that up loud, then settled onto a kitchen counter next to the radio and some candles and focused on knitting for another 2 1/2 hours until I could go and pick up my sisters. When I did pick them up I told them the whole story and they, of course, believed me. They've had their own experiences with this thing and know it's no joke. So we lit my St. Michael candle and said a rosary and went to bed early.

The next morning I called my parents to check in and tell them what had happened. Our mom was familiar with it because she's had experiences with it as well but what really surprised me was that my dad had seen the shadow, too. My father is a Bible thumping Protestant (sorry, Protestant friends) and doesn't go in for our "superstitious Catholic silliness," but told me he thought his eyes were playing tricks, too. Then, my mother gave me instructions on how to go about sage cleansing the house.

Understand: I'm Catholic. I teach catechism and study Catholic teachings and I take my faith and the teachings of my Church very seriously. I'm not a fan of superstition or New Age spiritualism or Reiki or alternative medicine (even though my mother is a massage therapist and I do consider that an authentic form of holistic health practice). But I was so freaked out and downright scared that I found a bundle of dried white sage and an abalone shell and opened up all of the windows in the house and wafted sage smoke into every corner of the house. Did I feel silly? Sure. Did it work? Well, I'm not superstitious, but I also haven't seen any slinky black shadows or heard footsteps or other weirdness since.

This isn't the first encounter we've had with spirits in my childhood home, either. Growing up there were always noises, some which could be explained - it's an old house, it creaks - and others that couldn't. Things would fall off of shelves, doors would slam or open, random cold spots... Yet these are things I've experienced on occasion in other houses. But when one of my mom's clients comes into the house and randomly wanders into the living room and then tells us that "She's cold and wants you to light her a fire," that's not normal. (That happened a few years ago while I was still in college, though I was present for that particular interaction.)

My sisters had an ugly altercation with something last fall, when they were home alone while in the bathroom brushing their teeth. They heard someone (thing?) come into the main part of the house (at which point they shut the bathroom door), footsteps in the hallway (at which point they locked the bathroom door), and then whatever it was banging and pulling on the door trying to get it open. The cops came and even used a heat sensor thingy which picked up the body heat from the chickens and the cops that had been through the house but nothing else. We've heard footsteps in the hallway at night, seen reflections in windows of things that aren't there, and so on.  We're not really sure what it is; it's not really malevolent, but I don't know if it's simply lost, either.

Whatever it is, my childhood home is haunted.


 Stay tuned, there may be more to come on the ghost front. I think I need to research the previous homeowners or something...

~Willow

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pinteresting, Vol. 7

Happy Friday and Happy Halloween 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.

Wow, guys, I kinda fell off the wagon the last couple weeks. Dunno where my blogging hat went but I was definitely wearing a lot of babysitter and worker bee hats the last couple weeks. Putting the Blogger hat back on. Pinteresting list time!

1) 

So I've become slightly obsessed with finding the perfect recipe for starting a round of Amish Friendship Bread. It is the most delicious thing in the world. It's definitely not low-calorie in any way but boy is it tasty. The only trouble is, eventually your friends, family, and neighbors will start to dread seeing you with plastic bags in hand, knowing you'll be baking every 10 days. But word on the internet is that you can freeze the starter....

2) 


Theresa at Ordinary Lovely used this pattern to make these place card holders for her annual Fall Soup Party. (Sorry for the heavy linking, but I want to make sure you go see her because her little pumpkins were so stinking cute!) Basically, the pattern is for these little stuffed pumpkins and Theresa did them in a bunch of fun fall colors in addition to traditional orange. I quite like them and plan to make a few to keep with my autumn decorations for October/November. Maybe even add a few to my Thanksgiving centerpiece or something. Or just make them as toys/fun things for the children and cats in my life. So cute!

3)


I saw this on the internet earlier this week and pinned it after I checked out NASA's website. I've always been fascinated by space exploration (fascinated and absolutely terrified) so this graphic is right up my alley. To think that we may put human beings on Mars in 20 years' time! I'm very excited to see what the future holds in this area.

4)


I love subversive, sassy cross-stitch. It's taking something saccharine and giving it an entirely new spin. I've seen dozens of others (started stitching a few, as well!) from "Be Nice or Leave" to "Suck it up, Buttercup" to some that are far too inappropriate to be displayed in my home. The ones like this, however, are just funny and slightly unexpected.

5)


I've used this rhyme several times in teaching friends of mine (in their early 20s) to knit. My niece has begun asking me to teach her and I think she may just be about ready - she's just turned 6. I know my parents will be entertaining her and her big brother (just turned 9) for part of their Christmas break, so perhaps Ill take advantage of that and we'll make a project of it.

6)


This dapper kitty is definitely ready for the holidays. Gatsby has this hat, too, but he won't hold still while I take pictures of him wearing it, the brat.


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
 

**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.**

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pinteresting, Vol.6

Happy Friday and Happy Halloween 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) 
This Christmas Prep List

Now that Hallowtide is upon us, we can finally begin turning our eyes to the holiday season.  This list is for the thing you can do in November (which starts tomorrow, by the way!) to prepare for the holiday crazies. It is far from comprehensive and some of the things on the list are a bit frivolous and silly. I do like the idea of doubling some dinners to freeze, making a gift-giving list, getting a haircut, and giving your house a deep clean. Since my current house mate is planning to move out December 1st, I feel like November will be the month to do some serious deep cleaning while we pack up his stuff.

 2) 

Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas tweaked a more traditional recipe for these gluten free little cakes, traditionally given to people during Hallowtide, especially on the Feast of All Souls, to remember to pray for our dead as well as to recall that death is not the end. You can google All Souls' Day traditions and come up with a plethora of information. I plan to make them but I think I'm going the plenty-of-gluten route because I happen to have regular AP flour on hand. 

3) 

I love cauliflower. Alton Brown actually did a special episode of Good Eats (probably my favorite foodie show of all time) dedicated to this member of the cabbage family. But even the great Alton did not think to use them in tater tots. I'm really loving all the clever recipes for things that are substituting some of the heavy starchiness of potatoes (as wonderful and delicious and God-given as they are, they're not the healthiest thing in large quantities) with cauliflower. This recipe looks crazy simple and very smart. The only change I'd make is I would probably leave out the bell pepper. I wonder if you could pre-form a bunch of them and put them in the freezer to bake at one's leisure? mmm....

4)

This tea for two tea set is so lovely. It's functional and extremely beautiful in its simplicity. There's even a tea light holder beneath the pot to keep the bottom warm! I don't know if this could ever replace my precious little white teapot but it really is lovely.

5) 


After J&M's Sweet Sixteen, I've become a teensy bit obsessed with chalkboard art. Granted, I'm not a very good freehand artist (at all), but I feel like I did so much research on it that it would be foolish not to put it to use. I even bought a roll of self-adhesive chalkboard paper from Michael's which I intend to apply to the back wall of the kitchen between the pantry and the fridge. I think putting these kinds of pretty messages up would brighten up the kitchen considerably.

6)  


I originally pinned this because I know someone who is really into penguins. But I started thinking about it, and about all the amigurumi patterns I have, and thought, What if we made a bunch of ornament-sized, Christmas themed amigurumi for the holidays??? I doubt I'll have time to dedicate to a project like this in time for this Christmas, but it's a fun idea. It was actually something I thought about doing last year when the gifts for my immediate family were in the form of donations to Heifer International (I was going to knit a bee ornament for my mom because I gifted a hive of bees in her name, a goat for my dad, bunnies for my sisters, and so on.)

 
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.

love,
Willow
 

**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.**

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pinteresting, Vol. 5

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.

On to the Pinteresting list!

1)
The Freckled Fox is seriously an internet gem. She has looooooong hair but her hairstyles work for almost everyone. Also, she talks about how to make a style work for different types of hair in most of her tutorials. This one is pretty labor intensive, but if you're going to a Mad Men or Gatsby party or dressing up for Halloween or a wedding, this look is so classic. Go look at her other tutorials because they are awesome.

2)  
This cute Flower Stitch
This is really cute and would be a fun motif to play with (if I ever get around to stitching things in a designerly way - someday maybe). The page it's from even has a video that shows you how to do it which is neat. Somebody want to make a doll blanket or something with this flower stitch as a border or something?

3)

I know, summer's over and we've crossed into pumpkin-spice-flavored-everything season, but I came across these and they are so cute! I love lemony flavored sweet stuff and I really can't get over how the centers of the sunflowers are oreos. I'm definitely going to make these for some summery occasion next year.

4)
Mr. Rogers. Everyone's favorite cardigan-wearing neighbor says it best. It's hard to remember in today's "Cult of Parenthood" that children don't really need to speak Spanish before they're 5 - they need to know how to play. Play is how they learn cause and effect, consequences, problem solving, interpersonal relationships, communication, and a host of other things that are vital to being functional, productive, healthy adults. Disagree if you will, but I'd rather hang out with kids who have wild imaginations than kids who can talk back to me in 4 languages.

5)

I love baking for my neighbors and friends. I hate giving these treats on my good plates or worse - a boring, flimsy paper plate. This hack comes to the rescue! I have tons of ribbon in a box in my closet that I pull out from time to time and use to decorate gift bags and things. Why not use it to dress up a disposable paper plate? Now you can give away delicious baked goodies with lovely presentation without having to come knocking 2 weeks later asking for your decorative plate back. Win-win!

6)

If you're like me and rent your current accommodations, decorating can be a bit of a challenge. You're (generally) not allowed to punch holes in the walls and you don't want to use too much tape because after a while tape will rip away the paint and then you lose your security deposit which leads to lots of sad faces all around. :( Tacks still put holes in the walls but they're far less intrusive than nails and tape and magnets are fun. I don't know if this is the best solution but it certainly looks neat!



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.

love,
Willow
 

**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.**

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yarn Along - Too Coowl for School

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.

 


The Christmas knitting crazy fest continues! For serious, I was babysitting last Saturday night and after the littles went to sleep I wrapped up J's this-is-not-a-Christmas-themed-hat slouch. As in, I was finishing the last round of decreases as the parents walked in at 10pm. The next day (or was it that night? who remembers these things?), I cast on for this cowl. I'm making it for my cousin who asked me nicely to knit her something for Christmas and since she wears the stuff I make her, she gets what she wants.  

It's a darker, cooler red than this. The light was wonky. Mea culpa.

I met the Cables and Eyelets Cowl a few years ago, and it started with the hat which can be found here. I love the hat, I love the pattern, I love that a Harry Potter superfan figured out how to knit something our darling Hermione wore in one scene of a movie... And I love that it so perfectly modifies into a cowl. It's great. The first one I made was meant for a friend but I wound up keeping it and sweet heavens it is the most delicious thing to have around one's neck! I'm very excited to make one for my darling cousin, C--------.

Reading: I haven't just been reading, I've been lesson planning. It's that time of year again! Yes, it's mid-October and that means that Confirmation classes are starting up NEXT WEEK so I'm hard at work putting together the first few discussions. I always feel better about starting classes when I know I have the first few weeks planned. I'm teaching 2nd year preparation this year which is a whole new ballgame for me, so do send up a little prayer for me that I don't muck it up too badly? Much thanks. The curriculum our parish uses is college level material for the 2nd years. Oh, lordy...

Found at THIS Etsy Shop


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. The "Coffee and Jesus" print is property of Evan Bell and linked to that Etsy shop. 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.*