Thursday, December 18, 2014

Yarn Along - Scarlet Mitts

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.

 

So I got this gorgeous baby alpaca over a year ago with the intention of making the Malabrigo Hand Thingies (I can't make this up). The whole shop was making them and the baby alpaca yarn was the ticket. It's so soft, knits up so nicely, and feels so good. The pattern is simple but not boring so it's a great project to step you into starting more intermediate projects if you're ready to move past scarves.

But because I'm an idiot, I did two stupid things.

1) I only knit up one last year. Then I got distracted so I'm finally finishing the pair.

2) The second one I knit too tight. Like, waaaaaaay too tight. I don't know what was wrong with me but I seriously mucked up this bit. I'm debating whether or not I want to re-make it, just rip it all out and start over (even though I've technically already bound off). It only took me a week of half-hearted knitting to make the one so maybe I can get them done soon. *Update: I knit another hand thingy (I now have 3) in a size 8 and oh the difference! I'm currently working on a 4th on the size 8 needle and need to weave in ends on the others.*


The bright red is such a fun, festive color, too, and I have a ton left, so I could conceivably make a hat to go with my mitts! We'll see how ambitious I'm feeling when we get there. I'm pretty much done with Christmas knitting unless I crochet hats for my niece and nephew. I may make them mini-mitts as well but we'll see how ambitious I'm feeling. I don't think we'll be seeing them until after Christmas so perhaps I'll give them to them after the New Year?

Not sure if he can smell the alpaca or the lotion I was wearing before I put them on

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

Apparently they were also tasty... Goofy cat.

Reading: After my uncle moved out 2 weeks ago (did I fail to mention that I live alone!!!! ? It's awesome.) the internet has been no-worky. There's a cord/cable issue that has yet to be fully resolved. 

Love Letters to the Dead | [Ava Dellaira]
Audible
In any case, I finished listening to the Audible audio of Neil Gaiman reading his novel Neverwhere and it was wonderful. I also finished listening to Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale and have moved on to Love Letters to the Dead. It sounds way more morbid than it actually is. It's pretty good so far.

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!

Since I likely won't post another Yarn Along until after the new year, here's a fun little holiday-ish collage I made on PicMonkey (which is really, really fun to play with!). Happy New Year and may you all have a very blessed Christmas.


  
Love,

Willow
  
 P.S. I'm not sure what's going on with my font in this post - the changes may or may not be reflected in the finished post. Sorry if it looks wonky - working on fixing it!

*Author's Note: The Yarn Along button in this post is property of Ginny Sheller and is used with permission. The image of Love Letters to the Dead audio version is taken from the Audible website and used for illustrative purposes only. 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, December 12, 2014

Pinteresting, Vol. 10

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)

Are these not unspeakably cute??? The link from the pin links to a place where you can buy a kit, but you can also download the free pattern if you want to make your own and bedazzle 'em yourself. I'm gonna keep pinning Christmas stuff until Epiphany, y'all. Christmas is gooooood stuff. :)

2)


Ah, the adhesive hook, a renter's best friend. I've struggled with our trash bags in the kitchen trash can for a while now and tried every type and manner of taping I could think of and eventually just gave up and now just let it slip and endure the frustration. With this handy hack, though, perhaps others don't have to! Upon reflection, this hack won't work because my kitchen bin puts the liner inside an inner tube of trash can, which sounds weird but it's what I've got to work with. If I ever get a more traditional/standard bin like a normal person I'll definitely switch to this hack.
 
3)
 I need this in a big, bad way. It's everything I want in winter apparel: it's comfy, neutral colored, features a cute kitty, and has a sassy saying on it which will ensure my singleness! For more on my forays into the world of romance (HA) visit this post

4)


 I adore Haley Stewart at Carrots for Michaelmas. This post is one of many reasons why. I've got quite a bit of housework to get done before I can really enjoy Christmas (if you had my mother breathing down your neck, you would, too) and it's become rather a begrudging mountain of "I don't wanna." But, with a slight change of attitude and some small happy-making touches, housework isn't such a hassle. I would know, because I employed some of these things last night and got a whole slew of tidying done between 7:30 and 9pm. I even vacuumed! The whole house! 

5)


We don't do a whole lot of makeup talk here at Infinite, but every once-in-a-while I pin stuff and really like it and go to Walgreen's and buy it and end up really really liking it. This is kind of the reverse of that process. (Though I did pin another makeup-y thing that I then went out and purchased here.) I got this matte balm about 2 weeks ago and I can't stop wearing it. It comes out as a darker berry color on me instead of this pretty pink but I love it. The rich berry color isn't too dark but still feels on point for winter (whatever that means).
 

 *hem hem* THESE COOKIES. These cookies are your reward for making it to the end of this post because Sweet Jesus are they good. I made them last year as gifts for my office friends and neighbors and you bet your bum I'm making them again this year. They were a hit, they taste fantastic, and while they were baking my whole house smelled like Christmas. If you don't like mint or chocolate they are not for you (and I'm not for you, I mean really, what's not to love!?) but they're awesome. The recipe was posted at House Unseen by the lovely Dwija last year around this time, but because I needed the recipe for this weekend, I went digging through her archives to find it and pin it. The pin links to her post from last December. She got it from one of her daughters' books.


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, December 5, 2014

Pinteresting, Vol. 9

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) 


All I can say about this recipe is YUM. This has everything I love and want in a comfort food casserole for the cold, winter days we're entering: chicken, spinach, pasta and artichokes! I very rarely cook with artichokes and I definitely want to start doing so. This recipe also seems so versatile that you could add mushrooms and asparagus if you don't happen to have a jar of artichoke hearts handy.
 
2) 

Okay these are too stinkin' cute! They're kitties! But they're post-it flags! And they're indie-made! ALSO they are currently 30% off according to the selling site so off you pop - $2.77 isn't bad for novelty cute stuff like this. (Seriously, I'm gonna go buy some as soon as I hit "Publish.")
 
3) 

So I live alone, now, and don't have someone (albeit half-assedly) sweeping the kitchen and dusting and vacuuming most days (seriously, it was a half-assed job at best but it was still something) so now I get to do it all myself. Which means it will be done right the first time so it won't have to be done every single day. I like this set-up because it has you doing basic maintenance every day instead of the Saturday and Sunday deep-clean-while-you-have-the-chance silliness I usually end up doing. Basically I need to print this out and hang it in my kitchen.
 
4) 

So this actually links to an article about throwing a swanky New Year's Eve party on a budget, which is cool, but party hats!!!! They're so cute and little and I've loved this idea for quite sometime but now it's in easy step-by-step format for us! I'm totally making a Christmasy one for our confirmation class Advent Caroling Party in 2 weeks.
 
5)

On a completely different note, I feel this is a very important pin. If you remember from this post, my childhood home is haunted. Our favorite priest is visiting us from his village parish in Kenya for a short while, so hopefully he will perform a proper blessing of the house before he returns, but just in case. Also, I live alone now, and there's been a lot of negative energy in that house for the last 4 years so I'm keeping a printout of this handy because after the events of last month, I'm a little paranoid.
 

Fair warning, the source site is (I believe) in Czech or something similar. My Eastern European language skills are very poor, but my best inference is that it's Czech. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
But this little tea house is so cute!!! Sure, we can't read the directions correctly, but I imagine you could use pieces from a birdhouse kit (or 3) and use a jigsaw to cute out some of the shapes and add hinges of sorts to the roofs and then glue it all together. Right? Too much work? Maybe this is a good idea for an advanced shop class final project. For my birthday. Just a thought...

7) *Bonus* 


These are so cute! I've been thinking about knitting some things like this for a while out of some of my scrappy leftovers I have from all of my Christmas knitting, and these might be the ticket. Can you imagine an adorable little garland of these things for Valentine's Day??? It's a free pattern download so off you go, get your copy.




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.**

Monday, December 1, 2014

Adventures in Online Dating

I can't believe I just typed that title. Here we go...

This is a stupidly long post so I've broken it up with funny pictures from my Pinterest. Some of them are relevant and some of them are totally not. I've sourced below each pic.

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