Saturday, October 31, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Easy Peasy Poncho

OK that isn't the name of the pattern, but it really is EASY!  Quick knit, a day or two to knit.  You will need to wet block this poncho.  Even with the I cord edge it wants to roll, even after getting the poncho really wet and blocking it, the edge still rolled just a bit.

Here is the pattern, free ravelry download, I Want That Wrap.  I used a worsted weight yarn and a size 8 needle (I do knit loose so you could easily use a 9 as called for in the pattern).  And I even did a gauge swatch, which I rarely do.  I ended up adding stitches, 20 or so, to the pattern, knowing the width was 21 inches.  If I had not done a gauge swatch, I would have been very disappointed.  I did not repeat the stripe (purl) pattern, I just added knit stitches.  But it came out beautiful!  I decided that I would make this one for my friend, Nancy, this pumpkin color is really her color, and I think the poncho looks so beautiful on her.

So if you are looking for another quick and easy present, this is a great choice.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Can You Feel Samhain Approaching

I can feel it so much more this year than in years past.  Not sure why that is, maybe I am just more aware this year.  Samhain is the day we honor those that have crossed over.  A day when the veil between the living and the dead is most thin.  I can just feel those spirits around me so much more right now.  Not just my parent, I feel those so much more all the time.  But even community members that have crossed over, smelling certain smells, recalling so many memories, things they shared with me growing up, places we visited together.

Where I lived was definitely a "tribe" mentality.  There were families that were so connected, even though they were not blood related.  Maybe it was more of a connection with children, children being around the same age, spending so much time together.  But the tribe raised the children, parents treated all children like their own, helping out when they were needed, spending time together.  So there were so many adults in my life then, that I trusted.  And many of those have already crossed over.  I just am being flooded with so many of those great memories.  Sharing family time together.  I am so grateful that I had that kind of environment growing up.

Now I try to honor those memories, and those feelings, while at the same time protecting my present, and not letting those linger longer than I want.  I love this time of year, I love remembering my dear friends, in such a magnificent way.  I know their families miss them so much, as do I.  Take this time to be here now, feeling everything.  Take the time to be still and just listen, feel with all your being.  You will feel it too.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Things My Children Have Taught Me

This is a cooperative blogging post so if you would like to read what Nancy's children have taught her, please visit her blog, A Present Moment.

This is a tough one, so many things I have learned from my children.  I have blogged about this in the past.  I wanted, this time, to just pick out one thing.  And for me that is "to trust".  To trust in myself and my intuition and to trust in them.  

That was something that was not ingrained in my childhood, growing up. Actually it was just the opposite.  I was taught that I was just a child and could not trust my instincts.  That I should rely on my elders, they were older and knew better.  To trust that my mother knew what was best for me.  So growing up I did not trust myself, trust my intuition.  And as you grow, when this is your inner dialogue, you just never really trust yourself at all, even as an "adult".  I mean there is no magic pill you take, it is just who you are.  And when you are taught that you don't know what is best for yourself, you feel it your whole life.  Like there is something wrong with your inner compass, something you can't rely on.  

So my children taught me, from the very beginning, to trust that feeling inside.  That really I do know what is best for me, that I know how to react, I know what my inner voice is saying if I just listen.  And to also trust them.  I did not want to pass this distrust on to my children, so if I was going to trust my inner instincts, I had to also believe that they could trust their instincts.  That they also knew what was best.  Even as young infants, in their limited communication abilities, I had to learn to listen, to trust and to let go of all those external voices. 

This has been my greatest learning opportunity.  To let go of what I had been taught and trust myself, and trust my boys.  

What have your children taught you? 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Easy One Day Scarf

I needed a quick, cute scarf for a friend.  I found a great pattern for an easy shawl and just adapted it to the yarn I had on hand and the size I wanted.  But this pattern is really so quick and easy if you have a free afternoon you can finish this project and have it ready for gift giving. (great Christmas present)

Here is where you can find the original pattern, like I said, such a CUTE shawl if you want a shawl.

Here are the changes I made.  I used Cascade Yarns, Luna Paints yarn.  This is a cotton yarn.  Let me give you the details in case you are using a different cotton yarn, this yarn is 100 g/3.5 oz. 164 yards/150 m.  I used two skeins.  I knit this on a size 9 needle.  I do knit a bit loose so you might be able to get away with using a size 10 needle if you knit pretty much to gauge on other patterns.

I followed the pattern as written for the first 22 rows.  The I skipped to row 51.  I followed the pattern from here until row 116.  I finished row 116 then:
Row 117 repeat row 5
Row 118 Knit
Row 119 repeat row 5
Row 120 Knit
Bind off and weave in ends.

EASY! Have fun!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Simple Shrug

After making a few sweaters using the "make your own pattern" pattern that Susan, from OSuzannah's Yarn, created.  I decided to apply that same technique (simple arithmetic) to a shrug.  I had this beautiful fuchsia yarn in my stash and thought it would make a lovely shrug.  I am not a pattern maker.  But I am going to try to explain my process in case anyone else would like to try this shrug.

To start I made a sample swatch from the yarn, using the size needles I wanted to use.  I think the swatch was about 20 stitches by 20 rows.  I then counted my stitches per inch and rows per inch from that swatch.
Second I measured my wrist, in inches.  I took into account the amount of looseness I wanted around my wrist, since I didn't want the shrug really tight.  I then measured my upper arm, by my under arm, also adding in any looseness I want. The underarm is where the sleeve will open up.  My third measurement for now was the length of the sleeve, from wrist to underarm.  Remember to take into account any cuff you want, and where you want the sleeve to fall, without the cuff attached.

Taking those three measurements multiply the wrist measurement by your stitches per inch.  This gives you the number of stitches to cast on.  Multiply the upper arm measurement by the stitches per inches.  This gives you the number of stitches you want to end up with at the upper arm.  Now take your sleeve length and multiply by your rows per inch and this gives you the number of rows, total, to go from wrist to upper arm. If you subtract your wrist stitch total from your upper arm stitch total you will have the number of stitches you will need to increase as you work up the arm.  I increased two stitches every time I increased, so I divided the stitch increase number by two.  Then I divided the number of sleeve rows by that last stitch increase number.  This tells you how often you will increase.  So you will increase two stitches every_______rows. For me it turned out that I increased two stitches every 6th row.

So start out with your cast on, wrist stitches.  Join in the round, placing a marker where you joined (this is the start of the row).  Knit in the round.  Every time you get to an increase row, knit one stitch (after your marker) then knit front and back of the next stitch. Knit around until you have two stitches left in the row, then knit front and back in the next stitch and knit the last stitch.  The great part about this pattern is that you can try it on.  If the increases are too much you can stop increasing or you can add more if you would like it looser.  Once you get to your underarm, stop knitting in the round.

Measure your back from underarm to underarm.  Take this measurement and multiply by the rows per inch and you have how many rows you will go across your back.  But again, try it on as you go to be sure it is how you want it to be.  You will now proceed in stockinette stitch, knit a row and purl a row, until you are across the back and by your other underarm (no increases or decreases across the back).

Now start knitting in the round again, placing a marker where you joined to indicate the start of the row. And follow your pattern for the first arm in reverse.  You will be decreasing down the second arm to the wrist.  I took good notes as I increased so I could just reverse it down the other arm.  Instead of increasing, on those rows, I knit one stitch then did a SSK, knit around until you have two stitches left in the row then k2tog and knit the last stitch.  When I got to the wrist I bound off.*

For the ruffle pick up your wrist stitches.  Join in the round, place marker at the join.  Knit one row.  Now knit front and back of every stitch, so you are doubling your stitches.  Now knit three rows.  Next row knit front and back of every stitch, again doubling your stitches.  Now knit three rows and bind off.  Do the same for the other cuff and the body.  I did not count the stitches I picked up around the body.  I just looked at it and picked up stitches evenly around.  The ruffle for the body is the same pattern as for the cuff.  If you can't just wing it for the body, you can measure the opening of the body, then multiply that measurement by your stitches per inch and that number is how many stitches you want to pick up evenly around the opening.

*One thing I would do differently next time.  I would do a provisional cast on to start so that when I come back to add the ruffle I could pick up live stitches there and not have a seam.  I would not bind off finishing the second sleeve I would just go right into the ruffle, again not having a seam.  Although you can't see the seam, I just think it would be smoother.

I added a cable up the sleeve and across the back, you can see it in the picture. You can do that or not, or you can add any other pattern you like, or leave it plain.  That is up to you.

I am sorry if this is hard to follow, as I said I am not a pattern designer.  But if you have questions you can either comment here or e mail me at and I will do my best to answer.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Two Projects From One Yarn

I just finished up another shawl, this one is the Drachenfels shawl pattern you can purchase on Ravelry.  I used some really luscious yarn and love the outcome.  It is more vibrant that the photo, the lighter blue is really a rich teal color and the darker blue is a saturated deep purple.  The subtle stripe color is from Madelinetosh, and is more of a variegated color.  LOVE THAT YARN!

I had enough of the Madelinetosh left over to make a nice baby hat, for someone special for Christmas.  This yarn is wool, silk and cashmere and is so buttery soft.  This baby will have the best feeling hat around, to cuddle that cute little head.  Also made with so much love, could a baby ask for more?  Gotta love it when your yarn stretches past the original project and you can get just that one more item out of it.  A win-win.  All the yarn came from OSuzannah's yarn on Union Street in Morganton. She is always surprising me with such fabulous yarn!!

And a nice quote from the Madelinetosh web site:

Friday, October 16, 2015

What Small Appliance in Your Kitchen Do You Use the Most

This is a cooperative blogging post and an EASY one.  I think my friend Nancy came up with this prompt as she LOVES to cook.  If you want to see what appliance gets used most as her kitchen visit her blog,  A Present Moment and leave a comment.

For me the one that gets used the most and is my FAVORITE small kitchen appliance is my stand mixer.  I have a green Kitchen Aid mixer.  Here let me show you a picture.

There it is.  You can see the metal ring that fits around the front part has fallen off.  I just use this almost daily. I bake bread at least three times a week and it is just so handy.  I remember using the hand held mixer before this, and this is so nice, you can add ingredients without stopping the mixer at all.  I also have the grinder attachment so grind my own wheat about 1/2 the time (the other 1/2 I just don't have the time).  It sits out on my counter all the time so it is ready to go.  LOVE IT!!

Of course my Kitchen Ninja gets used probably more, to make smoothies at least once a day, but it is not my favorite so I won't get into that appliance.  Take care everyone, have a great weekend, and leave me a comment telling me what appliance you use most!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cooler Weather Brings Back Memories

Really it isn't  just the cooler weather, but the feeling of the cool air blowing on me and the smell or the fresh cut grass, and the fresh air blowing through the house.  It always beings memories flooding back, more so than any other time of year.

I guess for me Fall here in North Carolina, feels like Summer mornings in Maine.  The air is just a bit cooler, 60s-70s, and I have the windows open and the house fan on, so the air is just streaming in.  I remember that feeling when I was younger, my mom would open the windows and put the box fan in the living room window, to cool the house off in the morning before it would get hot outside, no central AC then.  So I love sitting here at my home in NC, closing my eyes and just remembering summers in Maine.

I think of all the time we spent out at a friends cottage, swimming, walking.  Several times we dragged mattresses down by the water to sleep under the stars.  I remember picking strawberries with my mom. Going out in the boat with my dad.  Or summers spent at Moody's Campground.

Fall seems more special to me every year.  All those memories seem so close to the surface, and I can share them with my boys.  I love that.  Sharing memories of people they never knew.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Last Day in Maine and Pemaquid Lighthouse

It was our final day in Maine.  We had plans to join my brother and his family in the evening.  I was spending the morning doing laundry, hate to take home dirty clothes when we have a washer and dryer in the rental house.  Jackson brought up taking a short trip to the Pemaquid Lighthouse for a quick picnic.  Such a wonderful idea.  We picked up clubs at a local shop and headed out.  I think this is one of the most scenic lighthouses around and I love going here, walking on the rocks.  Just so peaceful and yet there is such power and chaos in the crashing waves.  I could just sit and meditate here all day, listening to the sounds of the ocean.  So these are my final photos from our trip to Maine...


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Portland Head Light

We spent one day in Portland.  It was just a nice relaxing day, walking along the waterfront, looking in shops, eating donuts.  And we made a short stop at the Portland Head Light.  I had never been here before, as with so many places in Maine.  I guess when you live somewhere you just don't "do" the touristy things. So this was new for me as well.  I did enjoy the stop, nice views, and a small museum that talks about life along with waterfront, the history of the lighthouse etc.  We enjoyed our time together, and enjoyed the beautiful day.  We were very fortunate that the whole week was beautiful, nice temperatures, no rain, just all around a nice trip!  I would highly recommend visiting the lighthouse if you are ever in Portland, even if you LIVE there!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Family, Memories and the Lunar Eclipse

It was such a nice time sharing space with family again.  So many great times.  We took some time this trip to take the boys bowling, they had never bowled candlepin before so this was new.  But I think they enjoyed the experience. We went to DePatsy's Lanes.  I so remember my dad bringing me here in his off time, when I was so young.  I would watch him bowl and play pool.  I remember bowling here in my teen years.  I knew all the regulars, so many were like second fathers to me, they watched me grow up alongside their own children.  It was nice to be back and share this with my boys.  The place is no longer DePatsy's, can't remember the new name.  And, of course, EVERYTHING has changed.  My sister-in-law asked about all the old photos that used to decorate the walls.  We were told that most of them were destroyed when the place was flooded by rains, before the new owners took over.  But she pulled out two photos that survived. One of those photos did have my dad in it.  He is the one on the far left. The more photos I see of my dad, the more I think Dallen looks so much like him. We had a great time enjoying the evening and the memories.

And here is a picture of my older brother, Jeff, bowling.  I don't think he knows I snapped this shot.

Another memorable family moment from our vacation was enjoying the lunar eclipse.  We rented a house in Damariscotta, it was really close to town but at the very end of a dirt drive and secluded.  Wonderful place, and really no light pollution.  The night was perfectly clear and beautiful.  The boys, Jackson and I all enjoyed this lunar eclipse together in Maine.  Phillip snapped some photos so I thought I would share them here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Most Memorable Meal

This is a cooperative blogging post so if you want to see what Nancy's most memorable meal was check out her blog, A Present Moment.

For me this was a tough one.  It isn't really the meal that is memorable but the moment, the experience.  I have had great meals in amazing places.  So many with Jackson and the boys.  One most recent was after our Precipice Hike we stopped at Cafe 2 in Southwest Harbor.  Delicious food, amazing desserts and the Chai was oh so good and hot on a chilly evening.  But seriously it was all about talking about the trail and our experiences, how we felt, laughing so hard, and just feeling "good".  I have so many of those memorable meals, in Germany, out West...

I think one more memorable meal that sticks out in my brain is one Thanksgiving when I was a child.  I don't know how old I was, but I remember that my grandmother was hosting.  My mom was cooking at home and my dad was going hunting in the morning, so he dropped me off at my grandmothers home.  She and I watched the Thanksgiving day parade on TV together.  She, at that time, lived in a small trailer and I remember her getting ready for dinner.  She had a tables everywhere.  The "table" stretched from her kitchen on through to her living room (which in a small trailer is quite a challenge) and there were so many people, her children and grandchildren, people and food everywhere.  But again it wasn't the meal itself.  My grandmother was not a very outwardly affectionate person.  And I was rarely invited up to her house to spend any quality time with her.  So this day felt extra special, just she and I.  A very very rare occasion. She is gone now but I still remember that day, and remember how that day made me feel.

Another memorable meal was with a friend.  She and I and our kids took a road trip out west and we fell in love with one particular restaurant, Tomasita's in Santa Fe.  Loved it, the food was delicious.  I think we had a margarita and we were just relaxing, eating great food and laughing so hard, at our everything.  Laughed until we cried.  It was one of those moments that really colors my life.

Of course I love our "guacamole and cheese dip" nights.  Fresh home made guacamole, snacking and watching movies with the family.  Just comfortable and nice family time! Can't beat that.

Those are a few of my most memorable meals.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cadillac Mountain ~ More from Acadia

We chose to drive up Cadillac Mountain, and it was a great choice.  Crowded, lots of people, great views, but a bit harder to get pictures without other people in them.  But it is a nice place to visit, sit and have a picnic and look out at the water.

They had to have another Moxie, only get this when we come to Maine. I'll take water any day!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Precipice Trail - Acadia National Park - I DID THIS!

Yes, *I* did this, The Precipice Trail.  And I am so darn proud of myself and Jackson and the boys...they did it too!  It was scary in places.  I am so glad that I do NOT have a fear of heights.  Once we made it to the top, we all felt like we could tackle any challenge.  Amazing views, and such a feeling of accomplishment.  It was not really a hike, more like boulder scrambling and rock climbing.  You will see in the pictures there were metal rungs drilled into the rock face in places to help out along the way.  The hike starts and ends with this warning:

For those of you that have said I am not in many pictures, well this is your post.  I am in most of these as I gave my camera to Jackson for the climb.  I was climbing over boulders and my camera would swing down so much, I was just afraid I would break it.  Jackson had his back pack so he carried the camera.

There were two places in this hike where I had to sit and stop for just a few seconds and cry and then regroup and move forward.  It would hit me all of a sudden, the thought that my boys were just a few minutes ahead of us on the trail, and were so close to the edge, just that realization that I could not control the situation at all, I just had to release those feelings.  It hit me hard twice, but was a great learning and growth experience for me.  There was one young man on his way down, which I myself would never go down this trail, we opted to take the back trail down.  It was a little easier, not nearly as scary.  But this young man, was on his way down, obviously he was in great shape.  I was old enough to be his mother.  I stepped out of the way, as best I could, for him to pass, and just automatically said "please be careful".  He knew exactly what to say in return, he said "I will" in this soft, sweet voice.

OK on to the pictures.  It is an AMAZING trail.  We do plan to go back to Acadia on another trip and hike more trails.

Yes that is me up there and where are we headed....straight up!

The picture above and below are both of my oldest son, Dallen.  He said this was the hardest part for him, climbing UNDER that giant boulder.  It was a tight fit.

Yup, that is me and Phillip, my youngest, there on that ledge.

This is a little deceptive, you think you are almost to the top.  But WRONG.

That is Dallen's head sticking up there by that tree.

I liked this picture, Phillip is videotaping Jackson photographing Phil.

The view down.

I think this was one of those place I just had to stop for a second to release some of those tears/fears.

Not sure you can see it without zooming in, but just off the road is a white dot, just left of center, and that is our car.

The picture above is where we were headed but I have no idea how we got up there.

OK the picture above and the two below are almost at the top.  You think you have made it then realize...nope, more to go.

From here you can see the top, and the pictures below are AT THE TOP!  YAY!!!

Amazing views all around.

I loved this picture.  Jackson set the camera on a rock (no other people up here to take a photo of all of us), then jumped in the shot.  The camera must have been on a tilt because we all look like we are leaning (or maybe we were)..too funny!

Me and my sweetie!