Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cables of Winter Skirt Set

I did it. I finally stopped procrastinating and I did it. I frogged the sleeves of the sweater from my Cables of Winter Skirt Set and I re-crocheted them. Yay! I feel like a load is lifted from my shoulders. This was something I should have done months ago. Months and months ago. I was "supposed to" release this pattern along with quite a few other patterns on my website last October, but because I never got around to re-crocheting this sweater (and an apron which I will get to tonight or tomorrow) I couldn't release anything.

In addition to re-crocheting the sleeves, I also photographed the set on Chloe. I will show you the set. (which will be available this weekend sometime on my site for purchase)

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And another shot...

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I am quite pleased with this ensemble. It was rather quick for me to design and crochet and yet its cute and stylish. I love it.

Well now... I am off get some things done around the house and then I need to re-crochet that apron and then work on something for my "Thing-A-Day" challange. (probably will just crochet a mug cozy for today's thing) Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Have To!

Philippians 1:21
"For me to live is Christ, to die is gain."


I've been thinking the past few days about my blog. I mentioned to you all a few days ago about my concerns. Things have rattled around up there in my head for long enough. I have prayed about it and finally today I got my sign. I was driving along on my way to watch James play a basketball game this evening and Toby Mac's cd Portable Sounds was playing on my stereo. My favorite song from that cd came on during my drive and it hit me.

"I don't want to gain the whole world, and lose my soul"

That's it! Plain and simple. What does it benefit me if I have the world reading my blog, if I lose my soul in the process. (and no...I am not talking about losing salvation here...that's not my point) What matters most in this world is Jesus. I want my life to please Jesus, to be a reflection of Him. And if that means that I lose readers on my blog because they are "offended by religous content" then so be it. If I lose my internet business because I love Jesus, then so be it. If I lose everything...my home, my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends because I follow Jesus then so be it. I would rather have lived my life for Christ.

So, I have to. I have to talk about my Savior when I write because He is so much a part of me that for me to not talk about Him, I would die. And someday...yes, someday, the world will know. They will know why. They will finally understand. And for some of them it will be too late. BUT...they will bow! They will surrender and they WILL bow before my Lord and Savior. I will bow before my King with love and rapture. But they will bow with fear and trembling. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.




Princes and Paupers
Sons and Daughters
Kneel at the Throne of Grace
Losers and Winners
Saints and Sinners
One day we'll see His face

And we all bow down
Kings will surrender their crowns
And worship Jesus
For He is the Love
Unfailing Love
He is the Love of God

Summer and Winter
The Mountains and the Rivers
Whisper the Savior's name
Awesome and Holy
A friend to the lonely
Forever His love will reign

He's the Light of the World
And Lord of the Cross



I can't wait for that day. The day I see my Savior's face. I long to see Him smile down tenderly upon me, gingerly wipe the tears from my eyes and whisper softly into my ear "Well done, good and faithful child. I love you."

So, while I share the joys of homemaking, the delights of motherhood and my journey of crochet designing, there will be many references to the deeper part of my life. The spiritual side. I cannot and will not change that just to please a few people. I would rather lose those readers than give up what is most important to me. I have to talk about Jesus. He is my everything.

Thing A Day Thing

I did it. After much deliberation I have decided to join the Thing A Day challenge.

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I am a little bit nervous about this, whether or not I can actually create something new every single day for the whole month of February. I must begin plotting out what I am going to do. I need themes. I need ideas. Uggg...

I have started formulating ideas in my head for weekly themes. I thought if I broke it down into weeks, that would make it easier on myself. Here is what I have come up with so far.

Week 1 ~ Boutique Week (ha ha...that sounds catchy, eh?) - I will make little things to sell in my Boutique
Week 2 ~ Calligraphy Week - I want to learn calligraphy this year so what better way to start than with this challenge?
Week 3 ~ Home Decorating Week - I would like to do things in my sewing/craft room to make it more "inspirational" for me. (and organized)
Week 4 ~ Card Week ~ pretty easy, don't ya think? I couldn't think of anything else and this would be fairly simple. Make one card a day. Easy peasy. I always need cards.

Of course, I may throw in a few random things here or there that don't fit into those categories...like making Valentines treats, or baking something new and yummy. But I am pretty excited and a little tentative about this challenge. So, anyone want to join me? (Thanks for the push Brandie. We can be cheerleaders for each other, what do you say?)

Week #1
Thing #1

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Cabled Tea Cozy


Thing #2
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More Cabled Tea Cozies


Thing #3
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Even MORE Cabled Tea Cozies


Thing #4
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Beaded Stitch Markers


Thing #5
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More Beaded Stitch Markers


Thing #6
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Baby Bottom Bloomers


Thing #7
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Blue Dishcloths


Thing #8
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Bright Dishcloths


Week #2
Thing #9
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Rye Bread


Thing #10
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Calligraphy Practice


Thing #11
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Cream Puffs


Thing #12
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Banana Cake


Thing #13
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Dainty Teacup Cover


Thing #14
FLOP


Thing #15
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Winter Wonderland Bonnet


Week #3

Thing #16
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Apron Hooks


Thing #17
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Towel Rack


Thing #18
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Teacup Hooks


Thing #19
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Darling Teacup Cover


Thing #20
Organized Photos on Computer


Thing #21
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Adult Apron Finished


Thing #22
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Cowboy Candy Bars


Week #4


Thing #23
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Frilled Lace Dishcloth


Thing #24
COMING SOON


Thing #25
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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Scones


Thing #26
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Bedroom Curtains


Thing #27
COMING SOON

Monday, January 28, 2008

All Cozy and Purple-y

Since I finished quite a few WIP's last week I felt like I should reward myself with a new project so I pulled out some purple Simply Soft yarn and got to work. I am involved in yet another swap (been a long time since I was in one of those) and thought I would make my partner a mug cozy. Not just any cozy, mind you...MY cozy. (Can I tell you just how much I love this pattern? So quick, so easy and yet so....cozy??? No, thats too cheesy. Yet so stylish. Yes. That's it. Stylish)

So, I made one.

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Then I was left with a mostly full skein of purple yarn and pondered on that situation for a few minutes. What was left for me to do except make a few more cozies? (perfectly logical conclusion, I must say)

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And there you have it. Loads of cozies. What am I going to do with them, you ask? Well, most likely I will put them into my Boutique. I've been thinking and contemplating this weekend over the idea of peddling my wares to some local venues. Craft shows maybe...quite possibly some Boutiques. This endeavor would mean that I would have to have quite a large amount of "stuff" in stock. Stuff to take with me to sell. So...in addition to building up my Boutique, I do believe I will seek out some sort of place to sell locally. Of course, as many of you may already know, I lack the trait of courage. Naturally shy and a bit of a recluse...er.... I mean "homebody", I tend to grow faint (and sometimes most of the time queazy) at the thought of talking to strangers. Its a daunting thing, strangers are...you know? Anyways, while I mull that idea over in my head (and try to figure out a way to sell to local businesses without having to ever talk to anyone) I will continue on in the designing.

Update on the Winter Wonderland Ensemble: The dress is done! Okay. Sort of done. I finished it but will need to re-do the trim on one sleeve. (and no...I am not going to show you until I get it re-done) You see...I bought a different brand of thread that was similar in color and figured that if it was only on one sleeve then it wouldn't be noticably different. Well, that brand's thread quality is sub-par and wouldn't you know it but the color is completely different than the last ball of thread I bought from them. Drats. (yes...same dyelot and everything) So, needless to say, this dress will not be shown until I can get my hands on the right thread. (and the right brand) I will begin working on some sort of head covering to go with the dress. I have in my head something truly unique and different and totally "cool" but I am a little unsure if the integrity of the ensemble's style will be maintained if I use this idea that is in my head. So, my other option would be a bonnet. Hmmm...I love bonnets. Its very do-able. Which is why everyone else designs bonnets too. Which is the very reason why I would want to do the idea in my head. Never seen anything like that before...

Well now...it seems I have got my brain all confuzzled-like and not at all cozy-like as the title of this post implies. I must be going now to see if I can remedy the situation with a cup of coffee (decaf...which I should probably NOT be drinking since I discovered that even decaf coffee keeps me awake at night) and a brownie. I baked brownies today. James tasted them and asked (had the gall to ask) if they were from a box. What??? Doesn't he know me by now? Ahhhh...but from James, this is a compliment. Not from anyone else, but from him? Yes. He grew up on boxed, fake food and he much prefers that (weird, eh?) to homemade from scratch food. I, on the other hand, cannot cook from a box. It is impossible. It would be like asking me to change my eye color or something. Very difficult to do. So, for me...its a huge compliment when he says that my homemade from scratch food tastes like it came from a box. Anyways, I am off to taste one of these delicious brownies, drink my decaf coffee and contemplate my next project. (bonnet? or WIP?) I hope you all have a wonderful evening!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

50 Book Challenge 2008

Welp...I came up 10 short on my 50 Book Challenge for 2007. Drats. I have been reading a ton of books lately though, so I figured I might as well start off a new challenge for 2008. Maybe if I start at the beginning of the year I can accomplish it this year. If you have any good ideas for books to read, please leave a comment and I will look into it.

1) Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
2) A Searching Heart by Janette Oak
3) A Quiet Strength by Janette Oak
4) Like Gold Refined by Janette Oak
5) A Merry Heart by Wanda E. Brunstetter
6) Looking for a Miracle by Wanda E. Brunstetter
7) Plain and Fancy by Wanda E. Brunstetter
8) The Hope Chest by Wanda E. Brunstetter
9) The Bishop's Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter
10) The Crossroad by Beverly Lewis
11) The Betrayal by Beverly Lewis
12) The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne
13) Village School by Miss Read
14) Created to be His HelpMeet by Debi Pearl
15) Mrs. Wiggs and the Cabbage Patch by Alice Caldwell Hegen
16) The Lessons of St. Francis by John Michale Talbot
17) Mrs. Whaley and Her Charlston Garden
18) Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
19) Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
20) I Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Miss Fannie
21) The Fairy's Return by Gail Carson Levine
22) Where Two Ways Met by Grace Livingston Hill
23) Job's Neice by Grace Livingston Hill
24) Millie Molly Mandy
25) Duskin by Grace Livingston Hill
26) Heaven by Randy Alcorn
27) Pat of Silver Bush by LM Montgomery
28) Tommy and the Wishing Stone by Thornton Burgess
29) The Cat Who Lived High by Lilian Jackson Braun
30) The Sacrifice by Beverly Lewis
31) The Prodigal by Beverly Lewis
32) A Gown of Spanish Lace by Janette Oak
33) Green Dolphin by Elizabeth Goudge
34) Depression by
35) Found Treasure by Grace Livingston Hill
36) Blue Ruin by Grace Livingston Hill
37) Mrs Piggle Wiggle's Magic by Betty MacDonald
38) The Street of the City by Grace Livingston Hill
39) The City of Fire by Grace Livingston Hill
40) Marcie Schulyr by Grace Livingston Hill
41) The Gold Shoe by Grace Livingston Hill
42) The NEW Strong-Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson

Friday, January 25, 2008

Lady Guinevere Sweater, A First

I designed my first ever adult wearable. (can I get a wooo hooo?) Not only is this my first time designing an adult wearable, but its my first time every crocheting one. (keep in mind that I discount shawls, stoles or ponchos as wearables) I must say that I am quite pleased with my first effort. Take a look.

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Its lacy. (gorgeous) Its wooly. (warm) Its green. (yummy) Its beautiful. (romantic) I tried to make it a little more fitted than a typical "boxy" type sweater. I wanted it to have some style and grace to it. So...I increased in certain places to make it "fitted" and I must say that I love it. I can still wear a shirt underneath it (and after looking at that picture, I highly recommend doing so since I can see some white under there that you shouldn't be seeing) and its not too bulky. I do wish I could have made the bottom lace a tad bit longer. One more repeat would have been good. I have less than a ball of my KnitPicks Telemark wool left though and I am afraid it wouldn't be enough to finish the repeat. So, its going to have to stay a bit shorter.

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I will be typing this pattern up over the weekend and hopefully announcing it for testing on Monday. I am off now to eat something from my kitchen (what...I don't know yet, but it will be yummy) and then watch movies with Chloe. James is gone for the weekend so its just us girls. PARTY!!!! (which means chocolate)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Playing Around

So...its another night of insomnia, I guess. And you know that means one of two things. Either I have spent the past few hours crocheting or else I have been piddling around on the computer. Of course, if you are here reading this then you must have noticed the changes to my blog...and if you noticed the changes to my blog then you can pretty much guess which of those two things I've been doing the past couple of hours.

You got it! I made my blog PINK! Yay! Its something I've been wanting to do for about a year now, but just never got around to playing with it. Now I have. I still have some things I would like to add (little pictures along the side and whatnot to make it "pretty" to look at) but I like what I have so far. Its more "me" and there isn't another "me" in the world so there can't possibly be another blog like mine. And do you know what else??? (this is the really cool part) My blog now matches my website! Wooo Hooo!

In addition to my new "look" I also took some pictures of myself. (because that's what self-absorbed, artistic-type people do) Then I edited them and came up with a few that I think are kind of cute.

Me


Okay. So that one doesn't really classify as "cute". I was attempting to exhibit my modeling skills. (or lack thereof) And then I kicked the modeling up a notch and came out with this one....

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Don't quite know if its beautiful...or silly. Haven't made up my mind yet. (but its leaning towards silly) I don't even know what to do with these pictures. Like the title of this post says, I was just playing around. But...ahhhh....oh yah...this next picture is PURE cuteness!!!

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And it gets even better. MORE cuteness!!!

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So, maybe I can make these smaller and add them along the sidebar to the blog. I don't know what else to do with them. But anyways...Do you like the new look? (Its awfully pink, isn't it? Gotta love that pink) Now I better go try to get to sleep again or else its going to be a very long day tomorrow. (I have a date with a girlfriend to go coffee shopping. Mmmmmmmmm!!!!!)

Its All About Pink!!!

I love pink. I adore pink. My eye is naturally drawn to anything that is pink. So when I saw this blog, I was instantly in love. And check out the store too! I dream of having a cottage somewhere with a large garden surrounding it and all pink stuff inside. (and throw in some white and maybe some sage green too...those colors look wonderful with pink)

Cute Pink Stuff

Ohhhhh...I could surround myself in pink. I think I shall. This motif has now become my inspiration for my craft/sewing room. I am going for shabby chic pink! (with white and sage green too)

And I do hope to win this lovely "giveaway" from the Buttercup and Roses blog to start off my new pink theme. Wouldn't that be lovely? Stop by and check out the giveaway for yourself.

3 More Done and STILL a Billion to Go!

After crocheting for 3 days straight on the Winter Wonderland Ensemble (which you were privileged to preview yesterday) I laid down my hook today and took a little break. I decided to work on some sewing.

Dress #1

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You may recognize this fabric. I made myself three skirts a few months ago with this brown cordouroy and the floral fabric in between. (remember the gored skirt?) Anyways, I thought it would be fun to have matching clothes with Chloe. (silly, right? But its what I have dreamed about since I was a little girl...matching dresses with my baby)

And the same pattern again, in a different cordouroy...

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This one is so cute in person. The picture just doesn't do it justice. The flowers are embroidered onto the cordouroy. How cute is that? I actually bought this fabric to make a dress for myself (and YES!...I have the pattern...and NO!...its not cut out so as of right now it is not a WIP) There was enough fabric to make a dress for Chloe. Once again though, this dress pattern is a little too short for my taste, so I added a bit of lace at the bottom. I'm not particularly thrilled with the look, but its better than nothing. (and "nothing" shows panties while walking, so "nothing" is not an option) I couldn't find dark pink lace or even brown lace that was wide enough to amount to anything. So, I opted for this ecru and its okay. It will suit its purpose.

I found that applique in my stash of junk ...er...I mean "sewing supplies" and thought it looked perfect. Of course, I may have very well have purchased the applique for this dress, which could be why it goes so perfectly, but I don't remember. (fancy that)

Dress #3

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Silly me didn't think to buy lace for this dress, so its just going to be a little short until I can get back to JoAnn's for more. I figure it will be fine around the house with tights on. At least you won't see any panties if there are tights on, right?

So why do I feel like I still have a billion WIPS to finish? Because that number is probably pretty close to the truth. Just to prove it to you, I will list out some of my WIPS here...

~ 2 nightgowns (cut out and ready to sew)
~ baby doll nightgown (cut out and ready to sew)
~ sewing organizer for my sister's birthday (half sewn)
~ knit sweater for Chloe (knit and ready to be assembled)
~ knit bed socks (half of one sock finished)
~ Lady Guinevere sweater (one sleeve left to crochet)
~ White and pink baby dress (bonnet done)
~ ecru baby dress (bodice started)
~ thread tablecloth (almost half done)
~ thread dishcloth set (one dress halfdone)
~ knit afghan (two squares done)
~ baby sweater (needs sleeves re-crocheted)
~ crocheted apron (needs skirt re-crocheted)
~ quilt (needs to be "quilted")
~ baby doll quilt (squares are cut)
~ Barbie dress set (halfway done)
~ girly afghan (one panel almost done)
~ Tea Shawl (a few rounds done)
~ flannel blanket (edge needs trimmed)
~ thread place settings (one complete setting done)
~ PK doily (one round left)

That's all I can think of. (or even feel like listing) Pretty close to a billion, don't ya think? And now its probably time to pick that hook back up and get on with the crocheting. I only have 1 1/2 rounds left for the bottom trim and then one more sleeve and the dress will be done. Why not work on it a bit more today? Have a great afternoon everyone. Hopefully you will see a completed Wonderland dress tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Winter Wonderland Preview

Finally! She crochets!!! Yes. You may have been wondering if I still crochet since it has been so very long since I have shown you anything that even resembles crochet. I am happy to tell you that I do. I have been working on this next item for well over a month. The design idea has been rattling around somewhere in my brain for over 2 years. I had the name and idea for this dress before I even had the name for my business picked out. (that name would be Lullabies and Lace...which my dear sister helped me come up with) I figured it was about time to start designing this thing. So...I did. And it is taking me a little longer than I anticipated. Simply from the fact that I have been reading tons of books, sewing tons of dresses, baking tons of bread, playing with tons of toys and all sorts of other things that come into my day by the ton-ful. That fact and that fact alone is why I have not spent a ton of time crocheting lately.

This week I have put that to a stop though. The hook came out of hiding, the dress came out of the WIP basket and the couch has become my home. And see what I have to show for it???

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Of course you can't, because this is just a preview. Preview means "suspense". I love keeping you all in suspense which is why my preview only previews a portion of the item I am actually showing you. This way you will drool and pace and shout at your computer until I finish the dress and show you the whole thing. Then again, the other issue is the dress is incomplete. I can't possibly show you the whole dress because the rest of it is in my head (and still in a ball of thread in a store somewhere).

And since I can't show you that and because I love you all so very much, I will show you something else instead. I have finally (and finally is the understatement of the day) taken a decent picture of my Sweetheart Lace Ensemble. Only thing is...it is no longer called Sweetheart Lace Ensemble. A new name is being voted on as I type.

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When taking pictures for a new design, I take about 30 or 40 pictures. It is hard to get the "perfect" picture where my lovely daughter looks pretty and the dress is showing its best features. Toddlers (who are quickly becoming preschoolers) are fairly busy little boogers so they have the tendancy to NOT sit (or stand) still for longer than 3 seconds. (if that) Then, after the 30-40 pictures are taken, comes the decision time. I sit in front of the computer and sift through all 30-40 pictures to pick the best one. That is how I happened to pick the one above. While Chloe is being silly, I thought this picture was perfect because it has "personality" written all over it. Who would NOT want to buy that pattern (or the dress, for that matter) with a face like that?

My favorite feature of this ensemble has to be the headband. I just love the special touch it adds to the whole ensemble. A little bit victorian, don't you think?

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So now we come to the naming of this dress. As I mentioned before, it is no longer named Sweetheart Lace. The idea in my head for Sweetheart Lace was this same dress but in thread. I still plan to make this dress in thread and when I do, it will be called Sweetheart Lace. That leaves me stuck with no name for this dress.

I decided to add it to my Nursery Ryhme Collection so I asked my tester's to come up with some names. Dear Amy took one look at it and said "CurlyLocks, CurlyLocks". Well, me, being the weirdo that I am, decided to take it a step further. Here is my list of possible names for this dress. I leave it up to you all to vote on the name you like the best. (as my testers are voting on my forum too)

#1 ~ Little Lacy Curlylocks Ensemble
#2 ~ Lacy Little Curlylocks Ensemble
#3 ~ Little Curlylocks Lace Ensemble
#4 ~ Curlylocks Lace Ensemble

Why Read a Blog???

In doing some "blogsurfing" this morning, I came across a blog I have often read. I noticed that my name was not on the blogroll. Why would I notice this? Well, because my name has been on this blogroll since about the time I started blogging. Its always been there and now its not. Now, granted, I do not know this person well. I know of this person, but have never spoken with this person or become friendly with them.

On pondering this subject further, I realized that this bothers me. I couldn't get it out of my head. Why am I no longer on the blogroll? Have I offended this person somehow? Is my blog somehow not worthy anymore? Now, don't get me wrong. This person has every right in the world to do what they wish with their blogroll. They can read whatever blog they want to and it doesn't have to be mine. I have no right, whatsoever to be offended. But it got me thinking...and questioning. What was it about my blog that interested this person in the first place? And why, after two years are they now dis-interested?

That got me thinking even further. If this person is no longer intestested in my blog, are there others? And if so...why? That is my question for the day. Why? So I ask you, my readers, why?

Why do you read my blog? (if you have been reading for a while)

What do you like about my blog that brings you back?

Are my posts too long? Too short??? Too religious? Not religious enough? Too sporatic? Too personal?

I am just curious this morning. I have been questioning my purpose in blogging lately and finding my name no longer on a blogroll this morning just reiterated the fact that maybe I need to re-think things. If people (you all) like my blog as is, then I am doing okay. If I don't have any readers (or am losing readers), then maybe I need to change it up a bit. So tell me, please tell me...why are you reading this?

Listen Up!

The other night I was sitting on my couch crocheting. James was out for the evening and I felt like reading the Bible. One problem. I still wanted to crochet. What a choice that was set before me. If I choose to crochet, that would appear like I was putting it before God. If I choose to read the Bible, I wouldn't get my "work" done for the day. (I had already had my "devotions earlier that day)

Suddenly, an idea hit me. Why not listen to the Bible? Fantastic! I immediately "googled" audio bible online and found a NIV version of the Bible.

Now it took me a few minutes to gather my wits about me and actually hear the Bible. The voice...oh the voice. It sounded like that announcer guy for movie previews. You know that voice. The voice that makes everything so terribly exciting that you just have to watch the movie? Yup. That was the voice reading Hebrews chapter 1 to me. Not only that, but it was set to music. Yup. The same music behind the movie preview voice. I spent the whole of Hebrews 1 chuckling to myself. Needless to say, I had to listen to the chapter again...

Once I got over the initial, movie-going excitement, I actually enjoyed listening to the Bible. I was able to crochet away mindlessly while taking to heart God's message. Sometimes I prayed before hitting the next chapter. Sometimes I just listened to the next chapter immediately. It was great. I think I will do this more often.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

School

For the past half a year, I have been having "school" with Chloe everyday for half an hour. We play with playdoh, dance to music, beat the drums while marching around the coffee table, thread shoelaces through shapes...if I can think of it, we have done it. Well, I decided that we need to take things to the next level. I asked a friend what curriculum she uses with her daughter (who is the same age as Chloe) and she guided me to this website.

Letter of the Week Preschool Curriculum

This is right up my alley. First, I will need to organize things. (which is something I ADORE doing)It will take discipline and commitment, but that is fun for me. (weirdo that I am)

I wanted to point out the reason why I chose this particular curriculum. It has everything. Numbers, letters, shapes, nursery rhymes, poems, books and more. It has everything listed out that you will need including lists of books to read that correspond with your weekly theme. (library visits...here I come) It has lists of what to do on what days of the week (because I am slightly anal retentive like that) It has coloring pages to print out that also correspond with the weekly theme.

Boy am I excited to get started. I think Chloe will love it as well. I will let you know how it goes. (I plan on gathering stuff this week and starting next week) Now I am off to continue crocheting on this never-ending dress. (been working on it for about a month and it just seems like its never going to get done)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Magic Pill

A couple of months ago, my mother read my some articles she had regarding a certain "magic pill", as I now call it, that contributes to better sleep. She highly recommended me to try it due to my many nights of insomnia and lack of energy during the day.

The "magic pill"? Calcuim. Yup. Calcium.

Did you know that calcium actually aids in sleep? Why, you ask? Well, read this article and see for yourself.

I started taking gobs amount of calcium a couple of months ago and noticed I was sleeping a bit better. Still not what I would have liked, but much better none-the-less. Well, just to test it, I quit taking the calcium for two weeks. As a result, last week I had two completely sleepless nights in a row. That was enough for me. Back onto the calcium I went. Once again, I am sleeping better. Last night I slept all night and only woke up twice. Both those times I was able to roll over and immediately fall back asleep. Of course I would like to get to the point where I don't even wake up...that would be ideal, but for now, I am just thankful for the full night of sleep.

One more thing though. You MUST take vitamin D with your calcium or else your body won't absorb the calcium and it would render useless. Ever heard of drinking warm milk before bed? Yup. Calcium. I am so thankful for calcium.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Three Down. A Billion to Go.

I started a new crochet project in light of my recent "One for One Goal" but the durned thing was taking too long. I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere (its a new design and quite tedious) so I took a break yesterday and today and did some sewing. These three dresses count as three completed WIPS so I am happy they are now hanging in Chloe's closet and not sitting on the windowsill in my sewing room. Hooray!

This first dress was a booger to make. I learned quite a bit while sewing this one.

First lesson: A seam ripper is a beginner seamstresses best friend. (it really is)

Second lesson: Read the pattern VERY carefully and if your brain is in a confuzzled state...STOP! Don't proceed any further. Get some sleep and come back a couple of weeks later. Whatever you do...DO NOT CONTINUE SEWING!

Third lesson: Basting is put into the instructions for a reason. Sometimes it is good to follow those instructions. It is alot easier to seamrip seams that are basted instead of sewn regular. ALOT easier.

Fourth lesson: Velvet is very slippery and not the easiest fabric for a beginner seamstress to work with.

Without further ado...I present to you the dress with each seam having been sewn twice. (I literally could have sewn two dresses in the time it took me to sew this thing. Ripping seams out takes a long time.)

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There IS a front and back skirt on this dress. I found out the hard way. (hence the above lessons regarding seamrippers and basting) I also made a modification to the dress. After taking one look at the instructions for making a thread button loop to close the dress, I decided to sew bits of ribbon on to tie the dress shut instead. (whatever works, right?)

I made the same dress in fleece. Much easier to work with than velvet but still not my favorite cloth. It will be a very warm dress. (which is good because its supposed to get below zero this weekend...and that after having 70 degree weather last week. YIKES!)

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And the ribbons I was mentioning earlier.

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I was able to squeeze in a third dress today as well. The Mickey Mouse dress. Chloe adores Mickey Mouse and so I bought this fabric because I thought she would love it. (she loved it in the store) Well, when I showed it to her today after it was done, she smiled and then immediate said, "Minnie?"

Me: "No...Mickey. This is a Mickey dress."

Chloe: (After getting off her chair and looking around the sewing room for a minute) "Minnie?"

Me: "No Minnie. I made you a Mickey dress. Do you like it?"

Chloe: "No...Minnie. MINNIE!!!"

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Ahhhh. She now knows the difference and there is no getting around her any more. I can guarantee you though that come tomorrow morning, this dress will be much more appreciated than it was this afternoon. Mickey is...after all...her utmost favorite.

Well, I am off to fix supper. Leftovers tonight. Gotta get rid of all this soup in the fridge. I believe we have three. Bean, chicken noodle (homemade) and chicken and dumplings. I also made some banana bread and cranberry-cheese bread that we will be cutting into for dessert tonight. YUM. Have a wonderful evening everyone.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Beauty of Simplicity

1 John 2:15-16
Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world."


In the past two days I have read three "Amish" novels by Wanda E. Brunsetter. I have this fascination with the Amish and a little dream in my heart to BE Amish. I know I can never be, but that doesn't hinder my fascination of them. I do believe though, that there is alot I can learn from them. Just reading these books the past few days convicted me of some things in my life. Funny, huh? A novel can convict someone of sin?

I had read through half of Proverbs the other night and do you know what one word stuck out to me as I read? LAZY. Yup? Of everything in Proverbs...all those little nuggets of truth and the only word that spoke to me was lazy. Could God be telling me something? And then to read these 3 books and see just how UN-lazy the Amish women are. I admire them. You cannot say that Amish women are lazy. I was convicted and inspired.

But that is not what I wanted to talk to you about today. I wanted to talk to you about something else I was convicted about. As I have been studying the Amish lately, one thing stands out in my mind about them. Yes, they have a LOT of rules for thier faith. Rules that up until a few months ago I thought were silly and pointless. But in my studying of their faith, I am beginning to realize that those rules serve a purpose that we all could take to heart. So maybe I don't need to wear dark dresses down to my ankles and a white prayer cap but there is something to be learned here.

In these books I read by Wanda E Brunstetter, I noticed many times the reference to living in the world and not of the world. They use this scripture to back up why they choose not to have modern conviences and extravagances. There was alot of talk about pride and graven images (idols) and placing importance on things rather than the Lord. While I do believe God gives us beautiful things to enjoy the question is...am I placing these things as more important then they should be? Might I take a hint from the Amish way of life? There is beauty in simplicity. Maybe I can enjoy God's creation more if I don't have my home filled with so many "things". Imagine how much beauty there would be in a simple bouquet of garden flowers if it didn't have to compete with all the crystal china and ornate "knicknacks" (for lack of a better word) It surely would help me enjoy God's creation more and man's creation less. (because, quite frankly, I do enjoy man's creation quite a bit and isn't that, in and of itself, a graven image?)

Last night I started reading for my devotions in 1 John. The verse I quoted above is the one that hit me. It was talking about the very thing I had been pondering all day. "Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you." Do I love the things this world offers me? "the lust for everything we see" Oh boy. Now we're hitting a little close to home. I continually look around my house and wish my husband made more money so I could have this thing or that thing to make my house more appealing. Maybe if everything coordinated better, then people would say "Wow! Anna's a wonderful housekeeper!" whenever they come over. Its all about me. Its all about how "good" my house looks. Its all about getting approval from man. Is that right? No. Its sin. My focus is not on the Father and doing His Will. Its on me, doing what makes me happy. WRONG! "and pride in our possesions" Okay. That hit the nail on the head. I must say that I LOVE my comforter in my bedroom. I even got the perfect color of paint for the wall to match the comforter. James bought me some gorgeous furniture that all matches. The lamps tie the whole room together. Whenever someone comes to my house, I always make sure the door to my bedroom is left open so if they need to use the restroom while they are here, they can catch a glimse of my perfectly lovely bedroom, because quite frankly, its the most beautiful room in my house. I am proud of my bedroom.

Am I saying that I need to get rid of the beautiful comforter? and the furniture? and the pictures on the wall? No. I don't believe that is what God expects of us. I do believe He wants me to create a lovely home for my family. God gives us good things for us to enjoy and use for His glory.(James 1:17) But there is a lesson here I can learn from the Amish. "Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you." I need to stop having lust and pride over material possessions. My Father must be first priority in my life. People must come next. That leaves no room for loving the things of this world.

My heart attitude must change. Lord, forgive me for having idols in my life. Forgive me for putting things more important than You. May You be the single most important thing in my life. May I seek Your will first and foremost. May I enjoy the creation You have set before my eyes for me to enjoy. May I not find the things of this world so enticing. May I enjoy Your simple beauty.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

For Amy...

Dear friend, this one is for you.



I love you sweetie. Hang in there, girl.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Long Lost Song of Thanks

I heard a song a few years ago that left me weeping. I had not been able to find it again until today. I was browsing my friends blogs and saw this video on Ladysnow's blog. Enjoy one of my favorite songs of all times.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Latest Happenings

I am getting quite bad at this posting thing, aren't I? I did so good for most of the year last year. What happened?

Anyways, since its been a few days since my last post (almost a week???) I thought I would just update you all on things going on around this house. Let me see. Where to start? Hmmmm...

~ I have read probably about 6 books in the last week. Yup. Somewhere around there, anyways. I have found a new favorite Grace Livingston Hill book. It is The Finding of Jasper Holt. I love Grace Livingston Hill but this one is my new favorite. (that and Amorelle, and Partners and Homing...love Homing) I finished Kerry by her as well. I also read a few Janette Oak books. A Woman Named Damarias, A Searching Heart, A Quiet Strength, Like Gold Refined. Great books. I loved them. But the book that I am dying to tell you about is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. If you only read one book for the rest of your life...make it this book. It will touch your heart. I promise. I laughed. I cried. I was convicted. It was the best book I have ever read. (but its not my favorite...nothing can take the place of Anne of Green Gables...NOTHING!)

~ I bought James a pedometer for Christmas. Guess who was the first to use it? (and the only one to use it?) Yup. Mwah! The little booklet it comes with says that a normal amount of "steps" you should walk in a day is 10,000. I figured I was pretty normal so I tried it on for a day. A "normal" day...whatever that is. Well, after a full day of "normalness" it only registered 2,200 steps. That's it. I was shocked. I decided that I had better do something about this. I mean, its no wonder I haven't lost my pregnancy weight, right? But I don't want to stress myself out so I am starting small. I walked around the block and wore my...er....I mean JAMES pedometer to see how many steps it was. 2500. Not bad. Not what I wanted, but not bad. So, I figure I can handle that much every day for a week. Any more than that and I will burn myself out. Then, next week I will increase it to one and a half times around the block. Then two times, two and a half, three and you get the picture. Hopefully I can get it up to 10,000 steps without killing myself. Do you realize how many steps that is??? (or am I just lazy?)

~ After reading Redeeming Love this weekend, I read the book of Hosea. The book was based off that book of the Bible. I was a bit disappointed though. Francine Rivers sure made it seem more romantic than it was. Oh...don't get me wrong. Hosea is pretty romantic when it comes to God's unconditional and redeeming love. But throughout most of Hosea, the Isrealites are getting ready to be punished for some pretty awful things. Things I don't even want to mention. Horrible and despicable things. But then God spoke to me and informed me that I have done some pretty horrible and despicable things in His sight. Oh, they may not be murdering children or anything like that...but they are certainly things God doesn't like. Take for instance little gods. He makes it pretty clear throughout the Bible that He doesn't really like it when people have other gods before Him. In fact, He hates them. Despises them. Abhors them. (are there any other strong "hate words" I could use here?) Well, I am quilty of that sin...so it hit me that I am really no better than the Isrealites were. I am in need of forgiveness and redeeming love just as they were. Hmmm...I couldn't sleep at all Sunday night.

~ So I got up with a headache Monday morning. Yuck. I had trouble sleeping again last night too. I don't know why since I was exhausted. About 9:30 last night I decided it was because I am not getting enough exercise and I wasn't about to lay in bed for another 8 hours wishing sleep upon myelf. I got up and found an abs workout on our television. (love that On Demand from Comcast...great stuff) Now I was expecting this thing to be about 30 minutes but I had NO intention of completing the full thing. Well, as I got going doing every sort of crunch imaginable...time was up. Yup. It was only 10 minutes. "I can handle this," I thought to myself. So, I have plans to do it again tonight...although my tummy is quite sore from last night, but hey! Gotta do something about this tummy fat, right?

~ Date night is changing. No more movies that I don't care to watch in the first place. No more 24. Okay...not entirely true. There will be some 24. But I asked James the other day what he would enjoy doing for date night. (aside from movies) He said he would enjoy fixing up the house with me. What? Yup. That's what he said. So, this past weekend, he bought some trim to make windowsills around our lovely basement windows (that I cemented in myself) and I started the lovely task of painting the walls. I am planning on taking it slow. One wall per weekend. The whole bottom half of the entire basement wall is stone facade. Terribly time-consuming to paint by hand. (which is why I am only tackling one wall at a time) But I have to say...even just the one wall I got done last weekend looks 100% better. It really brightens up the basement. (it is dark red on the bottom and dark tan on the top. I am changing it to light tan on the bottom and ivory on the top like the main floor of the house) I hope to get some pictures taken of the work this next Friday night.

~ I updated my website this morning. I haven't gotten around to re-crocheting the items that need re-crocheted and photographed so I wasn't able to release any new patterns yet. But I got a new sale going on. (first new sale since October...and I am supposed to have a new sale every month) I am way behind on business stuff but I am not going to stress about it. I am just going to take it one day at a time.

~ I release my new baby bunting for testing today. It is full up with testers too. Went quick. Anyways, I am working on a lovely little dress now for Chloe. It was supposed to be her Christmas dress but I didn't get it done in time and I am not going to stress out about it. It will get done when it gets done.

Well, I think that is enough updates for one day. Hopefull I won't wait a week before posting again. Who knows though. Who knows. I am not going to stress myself out about it. (do I keep saying that??? Well its true. I don't need any stress in my life) Have a great evening everyone!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I Resolve

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope your 2008 is filled with many wonderful blessings and thankful hearts to enjoy those blessings. Our 2008 started off with a great success. Well...don't know if that describes it very well, but we had a delightful day today. We stayed home and didn't do much of anything. My sister called and asked what we were doing and I said, "Hanging out" and she asked, "What are you doing while you are hanging out?" to which I replied, "Nothing. I am literally just hanging out". And that was the truth. For most of the morning I just sat on the couch and watched Chloe play.

Of course, I did finish my puzzle today. Right on time, too. How amazing was that?

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It is missing a piece right smack dab in the middle. Can't complain much though since we inherited the puzzle for free from Elijah's barrel at church. It did bring me hours upon hours of amusement. (or muddlement...depending on how you look at it) James even helped, that he did. And not the last peice either. (since that piece was missing and all...) He sat down a couple of times this week and put a few pieces in. Then he spent this morning with me working on it. Ahhhh...what a guy. Need I tell you that he hates puzzles? He doesn't see the point. Frankly, I don't either except that I really enjoy putting them together and they remind me of my grandfather.

Anyways, I thought I would share with you all a couple of resolutions I have written for the New Year. Its that time of year again and hey...at least I try, right?

~ I resolve to read my Bible every day

~ I resolve to pray daily for my husband and daughter

~ I resolve to send every single member of our family a birthday card this year.

~ I resolve to wash my dishes after every single meal every time

~ I resolve to lose that last 15 pounds of pregnancy fat before I get pregnant again. (which I am hoping happens in a couple of weeks so I don't have much time, do I?)

~ I resolve to feed more veggies to Chloe (and eat more myself)

~ I resolve to memorize one book of the Bible in entirety

~ I resolve to finish all WIP's in my sewing/craft room

~ I resolve to finish my quilt I started about 6 years ago (in case I don't finish all the WIP's...I at least wanna finish this one)


And I have more resolutions but I will spare you the 3 page list. (just kidding...its not 3 pages...) We don't really have any big plans this year. We were hoping to get to England this year but I don't think we are going to make it. The biggest thing happening for us is that James is deploying for four months this summer. I am okay with this, but am a tad bit sad since he will miss our wedding anniversary. Does anyone have any ideas what I can do? It is our tenth anniversary and we had always said we would take a cruise for our tenth since we didn't have a honeymoon. I am a little disappointed that we don't get to be together for the date, but I will get over it. Life goes on.

We are planning on going to New York for my birthday in April. I guess that's the other "BIG" thing happening. If I can't go to England or the Bahamas, go to New York, right? I am saving my money for some shopping in Manhatten and then we will head up to Niagara Falls. So, James hasn't okayed this trip yet...but he didn't say no. (which means yes if nothing goes wrong)

So, that is pretty much all that passed through my lazy brain today. I really hope you all had a wonderful day in which to praise the Lord for the blessing of another year. Happy New Year everyone!