Just Because

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'm a Knit Wit!

Technically I've been knitting for years - but as with most things I do - it ebbs and flows.  The last time I picked up knitting (about 3 years ago) I started branching out and trying to learn different stitches and patterns.  This fall I signed up to buy gifts for a couple of senior citizens on an "Angel Tree" at work, and one of them asked for a scarf - which I figured I would just knit myself - and the knitting bug was back!

After I knitted that scarf, I decided to make my mom a scarf for Christmas. This thick yarn in this pattern knitted really fast - I finished this in one day!

Next I decided to knit myself something, so I looked through some patterns on Ravelry.com and Pinterest and decided to go with a cowl - It's basically a short infinity scarf done in the same pattern as the one above, and then sewn together at the ends - crazy complicated, right?

Since I was on a roll, I started looking for some more complicated things.  I have knitted dish cloths in the past, but was never able to do the "cool" kind where they are knitted on the diagonal - because you have add and then take away stitches from your rows.  I found a pattern that sounded easy enough when I read it, so I tried it:
And it worked! I love these rags - I will definitely be making more of these.

I found this next yarn around Christmas and I thought it would look good as a scarf with my yellow coat, so that's what was next:

 I did a little chevron pattern on this - which was really fun - but obviously this yarn is too busy to do this pattern, because you have to look really hard to notice the pattern.

With all of these fabulous projects under my belt, I thought it was time to go further - I started looking for sweater patterns!! I found an open front cardigan that looks simple enough, so that's on my list, but first, I came across this online class through Michael's and their sister-site Craftsy.com:
This nice lady, Amy Ross, with all of her perfect bins of yarn behind her (which distract me more often than I care to admit - Aren't they wonderful!?!?)

She goes step by step through each piece of the project, and in approximately 522 days I will have knitted a sweater! Well, hopefully not quite that long, but we'll see.
You start with back, this is the bottom ribbing part (and my super-cool yarn bowl by C & S Clay)

Here is my progress to date - not too much more til I get to the arm holes - that should be interesting!

I just love that from a ball of yarn you can create and actual thing that people can use! It's like magic =)

Do you knit? Crochet? Something else?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

TRUTH: About Eating Healthy

One of the areas of my life I am focusing on seeking truth is my eating habits. As I said before I recently finished reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.

In the book she talks about how making healthy food choices is not a matter of will power, but a spiritual matter - one that with much prayer will bring us closer to God.  She says something like "I'm not on a diet - I have made a choice to grow closer to God by following Him in this journey of healthy eating." I totally get that. Because, let's face it - it's glaringly obvious that I cannot do this on my own!  I am excited that this is not only a journey to lose weight and become healthier, but to learn more about God and grow closer to Him every day.

There are struggles and triumphs on every journey - and just in the past week I've had a few of each.  I'll share the struggles first:

- I don't like grocery shopping. I've been 4 times in the last 8 days. Clearly I need to work on my strategy there!
- I don't really like many healthy foods. I am trying to follow the Daniel Plan (Click the link to read more about that) and there are a lot of vegetables in it - not my fave. Thankfully though, I have found some pretty good recipes that I have enjoyed.
- I don't enjoy cooking. The prep, the cleanup, etc. - Just not fun.
-Planning ahead is not one of my strengths, so I'm working on being better there.

All is not lost, though!
- I didn't eat out once last week (Mon.-Fri.) - I couldn't tell you how long it's been since that happened! I did eat out all three meals on Saturday, but made healthy choices, so I count that a success, too.
- I bought some organic stuff. I know that's better for me, but I usually go the cheaper route.
- I did this:
I don't do meat on the bone - it's gross...but I baked this little bird and pulled all the meat off to have this week.  And I must say that chicken on my salad earlier in the week was GOOOD!
- I have lost some weight - I'm not exactly sure how much because I weighed at the doctor's office last week and then on my scale this week. I'm OK with not knowing, though - while the scale is indication that I've been making good choices, it's not the main thing.

Perhaps my biggest triumph this week is that I feel good about my choices this week. I have trusted the Lord that I can do this - and it is only through His guidance that I have started this journey on a good note.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pom-Poms & Finger Knitting

I love to try new crafty things, and since I've been on a knitting kick lately there’s lots of yarn around.
I don’t normally go all out for Valentine’s day, but I saw this post last week about finger knitting and I was intrigued – and since Lovey Dovey Day is the next holiday – red and pink it is!  I was shocked at how easy finger knitting is!! I watched this video on youtube, and that was it.  There are many ideas of projects you can do with finger knitting posted on Pinterest, but I really like the garland idea, so I went with that.  

The white strand is made from Lion Brand Homespun yarn – the same I made the infinity scarves out of the last two years.  The red is obviously a thicker yarn – not sure what brand.  

 I like the thicker strand myself, but the mix of the two looks pretty good.
The other strand hanging up there – pom-poms!
Pinterest yet again provided many ideas and tutorials for making pom-poms. Most of the tutorials required a pom-pom maker – which I don’t have – so I used a piece of cardboard to wrap the yarn around.  

While I don’t think I will be winning any pom-pom making awards, I like them!

Finding new crafts or hobbies is always an adventure - try it - you may find something you love!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Craft Room 2.0 {aka The Studio}

I know that not EVERYONE has a craft room.  I don't know why not everyone has one, but c'est la vie!

When I first moved into my condo (over 6 years ago - wow!) the second bedroom was my craft room/storage area.  In 2009 I did some major cleaning out in there and some minor decorating rehab:

Then about 3 years ago, Melissa moved in and my craft room became her bedroom.  Since she decided to stay a while I decided to move the craft room downstairs.  This works fine for me, however it's a bit cramped if anyone else is here.  Let's just say as a creative person, that area gets out of hand. A lot. 
Not to mention the fact that I am saver ("I might need that later, so I will save it right here - with all the other junk awesome stuff I'm saving"), so most of the time that area is a disaster.  I won't share pics of that - use your imagination, and then multiple that by 5 - and you might be close.

Fast forward with me to May of this year.  Melissa is getting married! 

Since it would be strange if she lived here after she gets married, she'll be moving.

And my wheels are turning over so. many. ideas. of how to design my craft room STUDIO!
I'm claiming that it will be my studio because that sounds more professional.

I plan to do this on a shoestring budget - because that's all I have. I know it can be done, I mean spend 5 minutes on Pinterest and you'll find 572 ways to redecorate on a budget. 

I have all of the big pieces that I'll need - dresser, bookcase, storage cubes, table.  The closet in that room is great, it has built in shelves that will be great for fabric.  

I want the studio to be bright and colorful and inspiring and organized. Most of what I'll be doing is painting and recovering things to match my vision.

I found this idea on Pinterest and I can't wait to see if it will work in there: PAINTED FLOORS!
Here are a couple of inspiration pictures:
How fun are these floors!?!?!? I LOVE the yellow one!
I hope that the floor under the carpet in that room is in good enough shape to do this!  I think I am most excited about the floor.

I'm still searching for fabric to use, I can't decide if I will stick with one line, like this one from Joel Dewberry - I do love this:
Or go with a more vintage/eclectic mix - we'll see!

Here are a few more inspiration shots - all from Pinterest:
This cart is from Ikea - and I really like it!!  I almost bought it that last time I was there, but didn't...That just means a trip to Atlanta will be in my future!!

 I like the vintage-y look of this space - and the use of all different colors.

Here is some pretty fabulous fabric storage.  I'd love to do something similar so I can actually see what I have.

This gallery wall just looks happy!  So many great possibilities!

I have a pretty good work chair, but it's black now, so I'd love to give it a new outfit!!

I'm sure you will be seeing more of The Studio in the coming months...
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


In a devotion book my mom gave me for Christmas the title of today's reading is "Do Over".  They talk about not making a long list of resolutions, but looking at where in your life you need a "do over", and what area(s) might need repair. How great that we serve a God that will take us back again and again - He gives us a "do over" everyday if we ask for it.

For the past couple of years I have chosen one word to focus on for the year. Last year my word was "Be". I had a plan to focus on one area (money, healthy eating, housework, etc.) each month - Be Healthy, Be Clean, Be Creative, and so on.  Did I complete all of those? No. But I did the first 2 or 3, so that's something!!

My word for this year is TRUTH.
This is why: I have been in a bit of a mental and spiritual funk lately. A little down, a little reserved, a little disconnected. I think most of us have those times. I am so thankful for friends and family members who are concerned with my well-being and honest enough to check in on me during these times and tell me some things I need to hear. In one of these conversations with Janna a few weeks ago she talked about an exercise that Alana did in one of her pre-surgery counseling sessions - they were talking about anxiety and how anxiety is lies, and  to combat that we should think about what the TRUTH is.  When Janna told me about this, I immediately thought, "I SHOULD DO THAT!!"...because lets face it, most of the reason I get into a funk is that I start living in the lies that go through my head. I know that is satan getting to me and dragging me down.

Soon after that revelation I began (again) reading the book "Made to Crave" by Lysa TerKeurst.  As someone who has struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember, this book speaks to my soul.  One of the things that she talks about is TRUTH. And the importance of learning to ignore the lies the enemy shoots at us on a daily basis.  

Coincidence? I think not! I love that God gives me the words I need to hear when I need to hear them. He's good that way. Isaiah 43:18-19 says "But forget all that - it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."  See? He's already started!

I need a "do over" in a few areas, and most of that involves looking at lies I have been believing and trusting the TRUTH that God gives me. So 2014 will be a year of TRUTH for me. I choose not focus on the lies, but on the TRUTH.  
John 8:32 says "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."