Friday, September 19, 2014

Pinteresting, Vol.3

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. Anyway, my list of favorite pins this week is below. I may not get to post next Friday (not that any of you care) because next Friday I will be elbows deep in prepping for the Sweet Sixteen. We are T minus 8 days, people! I still have soooo much stuff to do, too, but I've got all weekend to do the time consuming stuff and next weekend will be the heavy lifting. On to the Pinteresting list!

1) 

Don't you love one pan meals? I sure do. Mostly because I really hate doing dishes but also because then I don't have to have a zillion different bowls out and make a mess of the whole kitchen. This looks delicious; it's full of mushrooms and tomatoes and spices and my two favorite things: garlic and mushrooms. (I don't know why, but I love garlic and mushrooms.) I'm going to try this soon as the weather (finally) begins to turn a bit cooler in a few weeks.

2) Speaking of cooler weather...

 
It's not cold here yet. In fact, we're just coming off a killer heat wave (it's been 105 for the last few days and only just cooled off yesterday-ish). But it's finally beginning to feel a bit cooler, a bit more like fall, and I'm so excited. I'm not the classic "cozy sweaters and lattes, yay!" type, but I'm beginning to wilt from all the summer heat. I'm ready for the sense of change and anticipation autumn brings. I'm also thinking about starting a monthly letter thing here inspired by Letters to July (not that intense, though), but more on that later, maybe.

3)

This is so freaking cute. I remember the story about the Whovian fanboying at Wal-Mart and I am so excited that the story continues. Stuff like this is really unrealistic and possibly completely fictional, but it gives me hope that one day I, too, will bump into someone in a bookstore who understands why I have strong feels about Francesca Lia Block's poetry. Probably won't ever happen, but I can dream.

4)

For me, nothing says "Fall is coming/here!" like Snickerdoodle cookies. They are seriously my favorite cookies and I love seeing all the clever (and sometimes crazy) variations people make on this classic cookie. My grandmother's recipe is still the best, but I'm not above trying out those wacky pumpkin pie flavored snickerdoodles. (Fun Fact: The girl who came up with this recipe has a cat named Pumpkin who likes the pumpkin snickerdoodles. I also once had a cat called Pumpkin. Cats for the win!)

5)


I think this is really clever! You put some toys and treats in a cut up gladware container and let your kitty go to town. This is actually on the list of things to do this weekend. If I get it done I'll post about it. I've been meaning to find some ways to stimulate Gatsby while we're at the office since we've been so busy that he doesn't get as much playtime as he used to... Poor kitty.

6)

All too often I fall into the trap of negative thinking and I'm one of those people who is easily overwhelmed and jaded by the awfulness of the world we live in. Things like this are a great reminder that our attitude shapes the world we live in and it's pretty easy to be our own sunshine - and we have the power to shine on others. 


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, September 17, 2014

Yarn Along - Cedar Leaf Shawlette

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.


I knit a bunch of stuff over the winter it felt like, but I slowed down in the spring and early summer and spent more time writing letters and taking Gatsby for walks. I did knit up this sweet little shawlette in the last two months which is quite nice. I'm a bit bummed that I didn't go for the full sized shawl (I had enough yarn, I just neglected to buy that pattern) but this is so pretty and lovely that I don't particularly mind. (I mean seriously? ALL of Never Not Knitting's patterns are delicious. Alana is brilliant.)


I did Alana's Cedar Leaf Shawlette in green in an attempt to broaden my color horizons (I wear so much purple, I really need to branch out!). I wish I could have done it in the colorway shown in the pattern because that slight variegation is drop dead gorgeous, but it's not in the budget. Besides, this baby sport weight yarn is plush and feels good against the skin. Plus it's a lighter color and I think that's a bit more flattering on me.


This was a relatively easy knit. Stockinette stitch short rows give it a nice shape and the leaves are knit on at the end. It took me a couple of tries to figure out how the leaves worked but after I got the first 2 done it all made sense. The leaves did take me almost a month to get done, though. This was due in part to the fact that there was a solid week that I didn't do anything with them because I dropped some stitches (*shudder*) but also because it was an 18 row repeat and you had to do it 29 times. Granted the rows were never more than 16 stitches but still. That's a lot. Whining aside, it did turn out so very lovely. I'm very excited to see how it looks when I finally finish blocking it and get to wear it.

Leaf Edging

Reading: I'm taking a break from The Other Typist. Again. Instead (because I've been in hyper knitting mode to finish M's Snowflakes hat) I've been listening to Neil Gaiman read his fantasy novel Neverwhere which is brilliant and gorgeous and he does the most awesome voices and everything about that man is so luscious and wonderful and I need to stop gushing about him forserious. I also started reading Miss Buncle's Book on my Kindle. I kind of like it but I'm really not sure yet.

Close-up of the leaf edging

Also, bonus pic of my progress on the Snowflakes checked slouch - I started the decreases on Monday night so I'm on the home stretch!

It's gonna be big and slouchy

**UPDATE!** I finished the Snowflakes hat on Wednesday night. FO Post coming soon.

 
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

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pinteresting, Vol. 2

Happy Friday, Friends and Pinners alike!

I realize I missed last Friday - I'm sure none of you were devastated. But I'm back with more! Things around here have been very busy (I say "here" meaning my life, not "here" as in the blog), because OH MY GAWD JAC and MARY'S SWEET SIXTEEN IS IN THREE WEEKS!!!!!!!!!!! I can't even handle the stress I'm internalizing. It's gonna be a blast, though. That is, it will be a blast if any of their crappy little friends R.S.V.P. Why does no one R.S.V.P. or send thank you notes or talk on the phone anymore? What's up with that? ANYWAY. Pinteresting picks this week are below. Have fun!

1)

These are actually called SugarTats, temporary tattoos that make it look like you've painted your face. There are nose, mouth, eye, and face tats that apply like regular old temp tats and look really cute. However, if I run out of time (or money), a little face paint, a floppy hat, plaid shirt, jeans, and some straw sticking out of sleeves and hair will do. I'm looking for a really easy costume this year (if I dress up at all) because I don't have the time or the energy to go all out on making my longed for Rainbow Brite costume.

2)

Pin links to a post at Amongst Lovely Things and this really beautiful article Sarah wrote about how to make the most of your kids' early years. I don't have kids and I don't homeschool, but if you have little ones in your life, this is a wonderful read. So insightful and important.

3)

You may be thinking, "Willow, you crazy cat lady, Christmas is still almost 4 months away!" My response to this is: "Actually, dear reader, Christmas is a mere 14.5 weeks away." You may allow your jaws to drop. Can you imagine how yummy these 2 ingredient (not edible) ornaments would smell on a fresh cut pine tree? How you could make a zillion of them and give them to your friends, neighbors, and stinky relatives? I'm so excited to make these as Advent gifts. Also, because I believe in giving credit where credit is due, please note that the lovely photo I pinned was inspired by THIS post at Katy Elliot.

4)

Seriously this looks so good. I love spinach, I love feta and parmesan cheese, what is not to love about this??? Actually, if I do make this I may substitute the brown rice for quinoa or something because rice isn't my favorite grain but I'm not sure if it would actually work. We'll see. It just looks so good! I'm sure you could also sneak some kale in with the spinach for a super green powerhouse of a meal.

5)

It's a crochet hippopotamus, get it? This is so stinking adorable. The pattern is for sale on Ravelry and I just can't handle how precious it is with its little ears and the grey in contrast to the white and pink flowers... I love this so much. I'm really anxious for my friend C------- to have kids so I can fill that child's nursery with handicrafted jungle animals like giraffes and elephants and this here happy hippo.

6)

I mentioned the Masquerade Sweet Sixteen thing, right? And how I'm completely losing my freaking mind over throwing an epic party in less than a month? Yeah. These inspired our cardstock invitations, which I will share in a post in the near future. I'm thinking it might be a 2 post miniseries detailing "how we did it" for less than $300 (our budget is actually $200 but I'm allowing for a few excesses). Ours were not quite as elaborate as these and were handwritten because printing was exorbitant but I still think they came out very pretty. I'll post all about it in a few weeks, once we actually pull it off. :)  If you're interested in my Sweet Sixteen dedicated board on Pinterest, please go here. It's pretty cool how much neat ideas I've found.

7) BONUS


Seriously, I'm talking cute safari nursery theme. Always knit (or in this case, crochet) for babies.


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
 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yarn Along - Snowflakes Checked Slouch

Linking up (for the first time!) with Ginny over at Small Things for her weekly Yarn Along. I figure I should start sharing all the knitting I've been doing and there's no time like the present! Head on over to Ginny's to see what everyone else is up to. 


Last week I started working on Christmas knits! I know it sounds crazy, but there are only 15 weeks until Christmas and I basically stop all Christmas knitting after the first week of December because I'm busy making Christmas decorations and other crafts in preparation for probably my favorite holiday. We'll talk more on Christmas later.
Ravelry Page
ANYway, the only people I really knit things for anymore are my sisters and a couple of my cousins (and babies - always knit for babies). So my sisters and my girl cousin get hand knits this Christmas. I was thinking of my sisters and how much I love the checked slouch I made for my friend R--- and our cousin Charlotte and Snowflakes was born. My youngest sister M loves pretty shades of blue and the blue yarns I chose against the white look kind of like snowflakes. I hope she likes it even though it rarely gets cold enough to warrant a woolen hat this cozy here in SoCal.



In books lately, I'm slogging through The Other Typist. I only say slogging because I keep putting off picking it up. When I do pick it up I can read 3 chapters before bed and be perfectly satisfied. The trouble is, I really don't like the main character/protagonist/narrator. She's just not likeable. I know, main characters don't necessarily need to be likeable, but there's a difference between someone who is believably flawed and unreliable as a narrator and someone who is just plain boring in order to showcase someone far more interesting. I'm not joking when I say that the antagonist is fascinating, but there are quite a few things about this book I would change if I had my way. I'll do a full write up on it when I finish. If I finish. Yikes.

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.*

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Feature - Pinteresting

I'd like to try to do a weekly round-up of my favorite pins. This is partly inspired by Knitted Bliss's Pin-Ups series and partly because I spend a lot of time on Pinterest. I really love it.

My boards vary from recipes to fandom to cute cat pictures to knitting patterns to clever craft projects as well as ideas for teaching and stuff I'd like to do with/for my future children. I also like gardens and home decor. My pinning is pretty eclectic but I pin a lot. I've got more people following my Pinboards than reading my blog!

SO. Some of my favorite pins this week are:

1. 

This Lighted Burlap Garland would look so pretty in lieu of an evergreen swag on our staircase. I usually try to decorate our stairs somehow, but I really love the look of the lights and the colored fabric. I imagine you could use Christmas themed fabric or even just colored cotton or something since sometimes burlap is expensive. (Yes, I was looking at Christmas decorations in August. It's been really hot lately and I'm pretty much done with summer, okay?) If I was really ambitious, I might try to do a garland like this for different seasons or in different colors or something and keep the string lights strictly for Christmas, but I don't think I'm willing to dedicate that kind of time to this.

2.) 
 

My sisters' Sweet 16 party is coming up and we're thinking about DIYing a photobooth so they and their friends can have a bunch of fun pictures. I've been spending a great deal of my Pinterest time looking at other people's projects, from the extremely extravagant to the kind of pathetic. We're shooting for something easy and simple but with a cool visual effect. 

3) Which brings me to:

Right now we're thinking about either streamers, a balloon wall, or some kind of funky beaded or glittery or sequined curtain against a solid colored plastic party tablecloth. Cheap and simple but a visual treat. We hope. I'll try to post pics of the process once I finish the "research and development" phase. Maybe in a couple weeks.


4)


This is one of my new favorite things: the various Tumblr scenarios in which we imagine modern muggleborns at Hogwarts. This isn't the funniest one but it's the one I've pinned most recently and it's still pretty entertaining. I'm not sure where I found it (probably in the bowels of Tumblr), but I saw one about muggleborns singing Queen and trying to figure out wi-fi at Hogwarts...

5.)


I really want a ton of butterfly lavender around my house. It's pretty, it smells nice, it cleans the air (if it's an inside plant - but it needs full sun!), and lavender is really, really, really good for bees. And bees are important if you - like me - enjoy eating good food.

6.)

I wasn't kidding about the cute cat pictures. This is pretty much what Gatsby looked like when he was little. His head's bigger now but his whiskers are certainly as long. That's the fun thing about having a tabby - most of them look quite alike.
 
 
I hope you've enjoyed this (and the larger font - I'm trying it out to see if it's more legible). I had a fun time 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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Answer Me This, Vol. 16 - SuperWhoLock and 90s TV

Welcome to Answer Me This! The Q&A style linkup hosted by Kendra over at Catholic All Year. It's the internet's favorite cocktail party!




1.  What is your favorite room in the house?
I spend most of my time in the living room, but now that I think about it I don't really have a favorite room. This is mostly because I don't like where I live and with whom I live and why I live there. Hopefully soon I'll be moving into a two bedroom place and I'll be able to convert the second bedroom into an office/library/study type of room with my desk and papers in it. Ideally I'll be able to put a futon or something in there as well to be able to convert it into a kind of guest room if necessary. (I know, I can barely afford where I'm living now so thinking I'll be able to live in a 2 bedroom place by myself is crazy but I can dream, you know!)

2. Do you subscribe to any magazines or periodicals?
I do! I have a subscription to The New Yorker which I plan on cancelling (I thought it would be intellectually stimulating but instead it's just taking up tons of space). I subscribe to Poets & Writers as well as Writer's Digest and The Sun. Those three I quite enjoy.

3. How do you feel about the sign of peace in Mass? Enriching? Awkward? Overdone? Just right? Some combination of the above?

Source

Because I usually attend the teen mass, I find it excessive and overdone as the teens form a mob and try to hug every.single.person. It's great that they're filled with love and I think that's important but they mistake it for social hour. I enjoy the Saturday night vigil mass when I can make it because it's still very warm and welcoming and joyful, but still more restrained and reverent. I love that the sign of peace is still part of our liturgy but there's a distinct disruption of the reverence accorded to the consecrated Eucharist when people are running around in the aisles to hug people in other pews. Give a hug or a kiss or shake hands and smile but remember that Jesus is sitting up there.

4. What is your least favorite sound?
Nails on a chalkboard.

Also the strangled cat noises that fill the house when my uncle decides to "sing" in the shower. I usually have to check and make sure he isn't actually strangling the cat.
Source

5. What was your favorite TV show (or shows) growing up?
My "I grew up in the 90s and was a teen in the 2000s" is about to show in a really big way...


I loved Recess and Boy Meets World and Lizzie McGuire and As Told by Ginger. They were just so good. I feel like they were actually about friendship and family and the stuff that's really important without being obnoxious and obvious about it because they were still really entertaining.  Once I got into middle school I stopped watching as much TV and by the time I was in high school, the internet almost completely replaced it. However, I still have very fond memories of watching those shows and talking about them with my friends at school the next day.

6. What are your favorite TV shows now? 
Currently on air? Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock (BBC), and Top Gear: UK. Otherwise, I don't really watch TV on a television. I watch shows that ended ages ago on Netflix. I'm currently on season 7 of House: M.D. 


*If you find yourself suffering from SuperWhoLock Syndrome, please consult your local fanbase on Tumblr or Pinterest for support.*


So that's it for this round of Answer Me This! If you have a blog, answer the questions and link up with us over at Kendra's in this post. Don't have a blog but still want to play? That's okay because this whole thing is made up and the posts don't matter - leave your answers in the comments either at Kendra's post or right here! I'd love to hear from you.

love,
Willow


 
*Author's Note: The "Answer Me This" logo image belongs to Kendra Tierney over at Catholic All Year. None of the other images in this post are my property. They belong to very talented, hard-to-track-down artists on the internet. I have given credit as best as I could where I was able. Thank you for not suing.*

Monday, August 11, 2014

Answer Me This, Vol. 15 - Summer, Pie, and Libraries

Welcome to Answer Me This! The Q&A style linkup hosted by Kendra over at Catholic All Year which is super fun and easier than coming up with my own content. It's also known as the internet's favorite virtual cocktail party! (in my opinion, at least)




1.  What do you still want to do this summer?
 All the things! I really want to take a long weekend and go to a hotel by the beach, but that probably won't happen. I want to ride my bike a bit more and I want to continue cleaning up my room. There are only 4 weeks left of summer technically, and I'm spending most of them at the office. I do want to polish at least one of my poems to start submitting to lit mags by fall deadlines, though. So that's my wishy-hopey for the next 4 weeks.

2. What's your favorite kind of pie?
 Apple. I love to make it and I looooove to eat it. I'm also a big fan of cheesecake, even though it's technically not a pie.

This is technically a cherry pie. I love making cherry pies, but I won't eat them.


3. How much sleep do you need each day? How much do you get?
 I've learned over the last several months that I actually require about 9-10 hours of sleep. I usually get about 8, which is great (I guess?) but it sucks right now because I'm in super night owl mode so I'm not falling asleep until 1:30/2am which means I'm naturally waking up at 10am. Do you see how this is screwing with my work schedule? I'm trying really hard this week to be better about getting to bed and doing sleepy things like drinking tea and not watching House on Netflix...

Source
4. Do you prefer to swim in a pool, lake, river, or ocean?
I like to do my swimming in pools and lakes, thanks. Rivers are not really my friend and the ocean is a bit yucky and has sharks in it. Pools and lakes are clean and cool and refreshing and so nice.

5. Do you know any poems by heart?
Blueberry Girl, by Neil Gaiman. It's technically a picture book but it's told in inverse and has a very lyrical quality to it. Also, when my Blueberry Girl was little she would insist that I chant it over and over again while pushing her on the swings, so it stuck in my head.



I'm also very familiar with In Flanders Fields and Because I Could Not Stop for Death--. I also know Jabberwocky and assorted Shel Silverstein poems.

6. Do you use the public library?
 No.  Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of libraries and the institution that is the Public Library and libraries and librarians are wonderful and do great good in our world and I absolutely support and promote the use of the library, but I do not use the library myself. I wish I did and I wish I could but there are several reasons why I don't.

a) The public libraries in my area are dark, dingy, scary places with terrible lighting and a very limited selection of books I'd be interested in reading.

b) Because I work all the freaking time I either take a 1 1/2 months to read a book or I binge read 3 in one weekend. Library due dates do not seem to understand this.
Source

c) I often find a lot of markings, dog-eared pages, mysterious stains and smells as well as sticky spots in library books. This makes me sad, angry, and frustrated and generally ruins my reading experience.

d) My To-Read pile is staggering on both my Kindle and my nightstand. I don't need to go to the library when I'm still trying to get through all of these books I already own.

There are some really beautiful libraries out there and there are fabulous librarians in them. I simply don't have the privilege of living near any of them right now.

So that's it for this round of Answer Me This! If you have a blog, answer the questions and link up with us over at Kendra's in this post. Don't have a blog but still want to play? That's okay because this whole thing is made up and the posts don't matter - leave your answers in the comments either at Kendra's post or right here! I'd love to hear from you.

love,
Willow


 
*Author's Note: The "Answer me This" logo image belongs to Kendra Tierney over at Catholic All Year. The first two images in the "favorite quotes" part of this post are my property - if you wish to use them, please ask. The rest of the images in this post belong to very talented, hard-to-track-down artists on the internet. I have given credit as best as I could where I was able, thank you for not suing.*