Liebster Award

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I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by two bloggers; however for the life of me, I can’t find one of them. If you are reading this, please let me know and I will link to your post! I do remember that she changed up the post to include the Myers/Briggs test. Thanks go out to andalexand for nominating me!!!! I’m very honored 🙂 And I found out who the other person was! Arts, Crafts, Foods and Things…thank you also for the nomination 🙂

Here’s how it works:

  1. Make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
    Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  2. Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  3. Ensure all of these bloggers have fewer than 200 followers.
  4. Answer the eleven questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make eleven questions of your own for your nominees or you may use the same questions.
  5. Lastly, COPY these rules in your post.

Blogs I am nominating:

A lot of blogs that I follow have already been nominated (some multiple times) and have written their posts. So, below I will leave eleven questions for anyone to answer. Consider yourself nominated! You may answer as many or as few as you wish and can always link back here.

Eleven questions for me to answer:

  1. Are you a crafter? What’s your poison? I am! Knitting is my passion right now; however I also crochet, paint, work with polymer clay, make jewelry and seek out inspiration on Pinterest for Christmas crafts.
  2. What is your favorite color combination? Dark, rich Purples and Greens
  3. How did you get into crafting? My grandmother taught me the foundation chain when I was 8 years old and wouldn’t continue teaching me crochet until I perfected it. I had a humongous ball of foundation chain 🙂 I later taught myself crochet (we didn’t have YouTube back then…or even the internet) through books. My Mom was always into crafts and we had something to keep our little minds and hands busy at all times. I recently got seriously into knitting, so much so that all other crafts have currently been abandoned.
  4. What is a random fact about you that would surprise others? I am an introvert…probably the reason why I love blogging and interacting with others on the web 🙂
  5. Why did you start blogging? I wanted to connect with others who also craft and although I was reading a lot of blogs; I wanted a voice of my own.
  6. What’s your favorite blog post (that you’ve written)?  I currently love the weekly series I started last week for the Thursday Knit-a-Sock-Along. I’m linked up with two other amazing bloggers in our quest to finish our first pair of socks.
  7. If you could only read one crafting blog, which would you choose? That’s not a fair question! I can’t just choose one 🙂
  8. Roller coasters–for or against? Totally against! I get major motion sickness and can’t tolerate them.
  9. What is your favorite beverage? New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Tea; not together!
  10. If money was no issue, where would you like to travel? Italy…to visit my husband’s relatives and see the country from which he sprung. I really need to get a passport so we can make this dream happen!
  11. Pets? Pics? I have a 17 year old cat, Zoe; a soon to be 13 year old albino chihuahua, Mini Mouse; and a 4 year old chiweenie (chihuahua/dachshund), Tinkerbell.
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Zoe

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Mini Mouse and Tinkerbell

11 Questions for You

  1. What is your passion?
  2. What type of work do you do?
  3. What is your favorite color?
  4. What is a random fact about you that would surprise others?
  5. Why did you start blogging?
  6. What is your favorite book?
  7. Do you listen to podcasts? Favorite?
  8. Country music –for or against?
  9. What is your favorite cuisine?
  10. If money were no issue, what would a dream day look like?
  11. Pets? Pics?

Again, please answer as many, or as few questions as you would like!

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Thursday Knit-a-Sock-Along: Week 2

Wow! What a busy, fast week it has been! My husband’s birthday was last Saturday and we celebrated with gifts and a very nice Italian dinner out. On Sunday, we went to see a play titled “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy” with our good friends, one of whom also celebrated his birthday last week. We finished up Sunday evening with a delicious dinner of Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Port Wine Reduction, Cacio e Pepe, a fantastic Salad and Olive Bread. Carrot Cake was served for dessert and we had loads of yummy Cabernet Sauvignon.

Between birthday celebrations and work on my test knit, I did not accomplish as much as I had wished on my sock this past week. However, progress was made! In my last post, I was 15 rows into the foot of the sock. This week, I am at 42 rows! It’s starting to look more like a sock than a toe warmer 🙂

One thing I have noticed is that I am accidentally adding a stitch here and there. I think I may be unconsciously performing a GSR stitch when moving to the next needle. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed by knitting two stitches together; however I wish I would catch myself in the act to see if that’s what I’m doing. The sock currently measures 5 3/4 inches and needs to be at 8 1/2 inches before starting the heel. Hopefully, I’ll get there before next week!

If you would like to join me and my other fearless sock knitters, here’s a link to Hannah’s blog and Maggie’s blog. Just search for their Sock posts 🙂

Happy Knitting!

42 rows of Foot Section complete; it's looking like a sock!

42 rows of Foot Section complete; it’s looking like a sock!

And some food pics! The first two are from our dinner out on my husband’s birthday. The third is the meal my friend Yvonne and I made for the two birthday boys on Sunday.

Sausage and Mushroom Pappardelle

Sausage and Mushroom Pappardelle in a Truffle Oil Cream Sauce

Chicken Penne

Chicken Penne with Spinach and Tomatoes

Beef Tenderloin, Port Wine Reduction, Caccio e Pepe, Salad and Olive Bread

Beef Tenderloin, Port Wine Reduction, Caccio e Pepe, Salad and Olive Bread

Even Section

WIP – OPEN TEST Charity’s Wrap

I’m currently working on another test pattern for Linda Browning (aka tinyknit) from Ravelry. It is the second, in a series of to be written patterns, designed around Harry Potter staff members. You might remember the first pattern I tested from this series, Septima’s Asymmetrical Shawlette. This one is inspired by Charity Burbage (due to the speed and ease of the design) and is called Charity’s Wrap.

The pattern can be worked up as a wrap or scarf; you can even widen the pattern into a shawl. The recommended yarn is bulky weight (wrap) or worsted weight (scarf) in two different colors.

I chose what I thought was a bulky weight yarn; however, it turned out to be super bulky. No worries though, as the pattern is quite flexible. The yarn is called Loops & Threads Charisma and I purchased the skeins at Michael’s Craft Store for $4.49 each. That makes this a very inexpensive project!

The color for the main part of the pattern is Northern Lights; a beautiful combination of teal, purple, cobalt blue, green and dark gray/black. The yarn is soft and squishy and works up very quickly. The color for the lace section of the pattern is Electric Blue (matches the teal color in the main color) and I am using size US 13 – 9.0 mm needles.

There is an increase section (44 rows), an even section (93 repeats of two rows) and a decrease section (44 rows). Then you pick up stitches and add a lace border. I am currently finished with the increase section and 70 repeats of the even section. The yarn is working up beautifully and I can’t wait to finish the main section and get started on the lace. If you are on Ravelry and would like to see my notes, check in here.

I’ve never blocked projects with acrylic yarn and will need to do so to open up the lace section. I know I can do a Google search; however does anyone out there have any special tips and tricks they would like to share? I will share final pictures once the pattern is officially up on Ravelry 🙂

Happy Knitting!

Loops & Threads Charisma - Northern Lights

Loops & Threads Charisma – Northern Lights

Loops & Threads Charisma - Electric Blue

Loops & Threads Charisma – Electric Blue

Increase section complete

Increase section complete

Even Section

Even Section

15 rows of the foot complete

Thursday Knit-a-Sock-Along: Week 1

After posting that I was starting my first pair of socks, I received comments by the two blogs that had inspired me to start and invited to participate with them while knitting their first pair of socks. I am about 5 weeks behind them; however I’m excited to be joining 🙂 Here’s Maggie’s first post Sock It to Me Thursdays and here’s Hannah’s first post Knit-a-Sock-Along. You can follow along with them, as well as myself, if you would like. I can’t wait to see their posts for this week!

I had noted in my last post that I am working with this pattern: Toe-Up Socks using German Short Rows. I’m really happy with the video instructions, as well as the written instructions. This pattern starts with a provisional cast on, which was a lot easier than others I’ve used in the past. If you want to see how she does it, check out the YouTube video. I am using US 3 – 3.25 mm bamboo Double Pointed Needles (DPNs) and Lion Brand LB Collection Super Wash Merino yarn in the color Purple.

Using the German Short Rows (GSRs) made creating the toe super simple. During this section, you only use two needles and create the toe using increases and decreases with the GSRs.

Once the full toe is complete; you pick up the stitches from the provisional cast on and divide among two more needles. The pattern advised to tie a piece of string at this point on the front of the toe so it would be easier to match the second sock. I’m also keeping track of my row count so I know they will match.

Now, this was where it got kind of scary…my first time using DPNs and boy was it awkward! I googled ways to hold your needles and I think I’ve found a method that is comfortable for me. It’s good to know that even for experienced DPN users, the first few rows are unruly. Now that I’m several rows in, things are going much more smoothly. So, with a few days down (and other WIPs going on besides the socks…more on that later) I now have 15 rows of the foot complete, and as my husband calls it, a toe warmer!

Happy Knitting!

Provisional Cast On

Provisional Cast On

First half of toe finished

First half of toe finished

Toe is complete!

Toe is complete!

15 rows of the foot complete

15 rows of the foot complete

Yarn Cakes

FO (Antep Shawlette) and WIP (My First Socks!)

My, it’s been awhile since I posted! My last post (Dear Mom- RIP) was hard to get through. This past week has also been difficult, as I went through the memories of planning my Mom’s funeral and actually getting through that day.

To fill some of my non-working time, I finished the Secret Test – Antep Shawlette. I can’t show any pictures right now, as the pattern will be published in a book. With this pattern, I learned the Chinese Waitress Cast On, s2kp and how to add beads. The Chinese Waitress Cast On was a lot of fun to learn and I will use it in future projects. It is a bit fiddly at first; however once you get into a groove, it’s pretty simple.

When I got to the section to add my beads, I first tried the crochet hook method. I found that a lot of my beads didn’t fit on the crochet hook. I also worried that my stitch would slip off the crochet hook and I would have to frog all my work. Next, I tried the dental floss method. This was much better, as I didn’t have to worry about losing my stitches. However, I found the process of loading the bead onto the dental floss cumbersome. The ends kept getting frayed and it was very time consuming.

Thank goodness for my knitting group! They said it was painful to watch me using the dental floss 🙂 One of my fellow knitters took a string from her husband’s guitar and wrapped a large bead around one end. Then she bent the other end. This makes for an awesome bead stringer! You place your beads on the guitar string and then use the little hook created from the bent wire to pick up the stitch that needs the bead, then slide it right onto your stitch. There were no worries about losing my beads or the stitch. She very kindly let me borrow it to finish my project. Thank you, Emma!

Guitar String Beader

Homemade Guitar String Beader

I’m in the process of waiting for my next test pattern, which should be here sometime today. Until then, I’ve decided to start my very first pair of socks! Sock knitting is something that has intimidated me, as I’ve never used Double Pointed Needles (DPNs). When I make my hats, I always use the magic loop method when decreasing. I purchased this beginner’s course from Ravelry, Toe Up Socks Using German Short Rows. There are plenty of youtube videos that go along with the course and I am one that learns by seeing and doing 🙂 It also seems a lot easier than other patterns I’ve seen.

The pattern calls for DK or Sport weight yarn instead of sock yarn. I’ve got my yarn (LB Collection Superwash Merino in the color Purple) divided up into two cakes, instead of knitting directly from the center pull ball. I must have miscalculated a bit as one cake is 54 grams and the other is 50 grams. No worries though, as the pattern calls for 50 grams per sock. I’ve also got my crochet chain ready. I’m ready to cast on! Wish me luck 🙂

Yarn Cakes

Yarn Cakes

Happy Knitting!

Dear Mom – RIP

Dear Mom,

I can’t believe it has been one year since you passed away. I’ve been through all the stages of grief and find myself going back and forth between some of them. It’s gotten a little easier; however, I miss you like crazy. I still cry, but I also laugh when I think about you and remember the good times. I want to call you and tell you about things that are happening in my life. I want to visit you and give you hugs and kisses. I want to knit you scarves and blankets to keep you warm. I know that you are looking down and watching over us. I’m also sure you know all these things; however, it’s so hard not having you here physically.

There have been many first anniversaries during this time. Your first birthday in heaven (I still have your card and present), my annual visit to Indiana for Thanksgiving, the joy of finding or making special Christmas presents for you, ringing in the New Year and making that call every year, the first Mother’s Day without you – oh, that was so very hard, getting a card from you on my birthday…everything. And now it is the first anniversary of you being gone.

I still haven’t been able to watch the video of you that I took where you tell me you love me over and over again. I hope that I’ll be able to soon. Right now, just thinking about it makes me cry. I hope you are happy being with Grandma, Grandpa, your sister and brother who passed before their time, as well as a myriad of other relatives I’m sure you were overjoyed to see again. Maybe you are throwing a little party to celebrate. I like to think you are. I can’t wait to see you again and until then, just know that I love you to the moon and back. Big kisses and hugs!

From 8/10/2014

Around 2:25am, my Mom passed very peacefully and now is in heaven, rejoicing from being no longer in pain. She loved to laugh, tease, and was such a joy in my life, as well as to anyone who met her. Intellectually, I know that she is in a much better place and I am so happy that she is finally at peace. Emotionally, my heart is breaking. My cousin told me that the moment she passed, the skies opened up and poured rain for a few moments. Heaven welcomed another angel today. Sandra Louise Asher Bryant Brandt, 10-19-1950 – 8-10-2014. RIP to the most beautiful woman in the world. You will be missed forever.

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Mom

Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards

We are very blessed to live in the beautiful state of California, with access to fantastic wineries! We had our first chance to visit the beautiful vineyards of Savannah-Chanelle, last night for a celebration of our friend Theresa’s Big 50th Birthday Party. There was plenty of food, laughs, music and friends coming together, with the addition of fantastic wine.

My husband heard from a colleague that they are known for their Pinot Noirs. We decided to buy a bottle of the 2012 Pinot Noir- Tondre’s Grapefield and learn more about why it is so favored. I’m not the best at describing wines full flavors; however this one was so delicious and smooth to drink. We loved it so much that we bought two additional bottles 🙂 You can view the description from the winemaker by clicking the link above as they do a much better job at touting their own wine. I’ll leave you to see some of the beauty of the vineyard and a few shots of the band playing.

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