Friday, August 31, 2012

A month of knitting - recap

Whew! I completed an entire month of knitting. Some days I knitted a lot and some days I knitted a little. But I worked on something every single day! I really enjoyed myself.

First, I completed my shawl. That was a major feeling of accomplishment!

The last week of the challenge, I started knitting a scarf for my dad. We had a lot of fun picking out both the pattern and the yarn. I LOVE working on size 13 needles. Such fun!

This scarf should be roughly six feet long by the time I'm done with it. I can't wait to see how it looks!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's On My Nightstand?

What's On Your Nightstand
I love putting together these lists for the Nightstand posts because I'm always amazed at what I end up reading. This month it was mostly the Bible and Christian fiction. The books were very hit or miss for quality and I'm hoping to have a more consistent month in September!

  • 1 & 2 Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 & 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 & 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Genesis
  • Job

Christian Fiction
  • The Amish Nanny by Mindy Starns Clark - 3.5 stars for the unique setting (don't judge the book by its cover!).
  • Ruby's Slippers by Leanna Ellis - 2 stars. I'd recommend skipping it simply because it wasn't good.
  • Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs - 2 stars. I couldn't get into it and decided to drop it. There are too many good books available to waste my time on something I can't get into.
  • Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews - 3.5 stars. SO close to a 4 star read. If you enjoy Biblical fiction, I would highly recommend this one.

Japanese Manga (translated)
  • Apothecarius Argentum, Vol. 1 by Tomomi Yamashita - 3 stars. All of the manga I sampled was fluffy but entertaining. Not something I'll read on a regular basis.

  • A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy by Thomas Buergenthal - 3

Secular Fiction
  • The Little Nugget by P.G. Wodehouse - 3.5 stars. An enjoyable read but, surprisingly, I enjoyed the short stories better!

Currently Reading
  • Evelina by Fanny Burney - I'm not reading it very quickly but I am enjoying it very much. I will definitely be reading some of Ms. Burney's other titles.

Happy reading!

Monday, August 27, 2012

This Week's Memory Text - Proverbs 21:9

I'm not going to add any commentary for my selection of this week's memory verse. It's just a personal reminder. Here it is:

It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop,
than with a brawling woman in a wide house
Proverbs 21:9.


Friday, August 24, 2012

It's a blog hop party!

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

It's a party!! Quilting Gallery is hosting another fun blog hop and giveaway. I've not been able to quilt since we moved (no iron or ironing board yet) but I still wanted to participate in the giveaway.

I'm giving away two Christmas fabrics. I'm unsure of the exact yardage, but I know they are at least half a yard each.

The two fabrics together

Close up 1

Close up 2

To enter the drawing, leave a comment below. That's it! And I am happy to ship internationally! The drawing is open until midnight on September 3 and I will draw a winner on September 4. Make sure that I have a way to contact you if you win.

If you feel like being extra kind and have a great pizza sauce recipe that you're willing to share, I'm currently on the hunt for the perfect pizza.

Visit Quilting Gallery on Sunday to see the entire list of blog participants. Happy quilting!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Coming soon: a pizza or two

Hubby and I were chatting today about cooking. I know how to make a few things really well, a lot of things so-so, and have had my share of kitchen disasters. I follow a number of vegan or vegetarian cooking blogs and have memberships at several recipe websites. However, I still have problems putting together a menu each week. We get bored with the same basic menu.

Have you ever heard the theory that too many choices cause a person to be indecisive? That is me in the kitchen. I have aspirations of being a great vegan cook so that I don't cave when I see a really awesome looking pesto or goat cheese pizza at the grocery store. I want to make lasagnas that taste as good as they smell. I want to stop spending two dollars for a truffle at the chocolate shop! (Well, sort of...).

I asked Jeff what he would like for me to make really well. He didn't even hesitate.


We eat homemade pizza every Saturday night and have for the past two years. It's a lovely tradition. However, I don't know how to make a good crust so we buy a premade dough from Whole Foods. My sauce usually turns out pretty well but I never measure the spices so it tastes different from week to week. And we tend to get stuck in the same rut (albeit a tasty rut) of mushroom, onion, and basil as our pizza toppings. I know there are more options!

So, starting with our next grocery trip, I am on a quest to learn how to make the perfect pizza. I told hubby that I don't want to make pizza just once a week because I will never remember from week to week what went well and what needed fixed. Instead, I want to make several pizzas a week until we find a great one and then incorporate that into our menu.

Does anyone have a great vegan pizza crust or red sauce recipe? I hope we don't get tired of pizza before I can perfect my pizza making skills!

A Month of Knitting - Week 3

A finish! My first finish in several months. I am so happy!

Sorry for the bad pictures. It's late, I'm still feeling under the weather, and I don't think this shawl is very photogenic. While I am happy to finish it, I kind of wish I had chosen a more distinctive pattern. Ah, well. It's a good starter project. This shawl is very warm and should help keep me toasty this winter. Plus, I love the color!

So what's next? I get to play with this lovely gray, wool yarn.

My dad requested a warm scarf for his birthday. He even picked out the pattern! In July, when I was visiting my grandfather in Wyoming, my dad and I made a quick stop into a local yarn store and he picked out the color and yarn he wanted. The store didn't have enough skeins in one color lot, so I made a special order and it arrived just yesterday. Perfect timing!

I'm really excited to be working with such big needles. What fun!

Monday, August 20, 2012

These crazy days!

What a weird few days. On Thursday, I came down with what I think was heat rash. Heat rash! After 14 years of living in Arizona, I move to Washington for two months and end up with heat rash... I guess that's what happens when you've had a ton of 70 degree days and then suddenly switch to 90+ degrees with no air conditioning. I'm just now starting to improve.

We missed a bunch of plans this weekend. On Sabbath, we were going to attend a new church. In the evening, we were going to find a couple geocaches in honor of International Geocaching Day. On Sunday afternoon, we were going to visit the downtown Japanese market to participate in a summer festival. Ah, well. The best laid plans!

Instead, I've spent the past four days holed up inside, trying desperately not to itch. I've read a few books, worked on my Japanese, knitted, and tried to sleep. On Sunday, hubby bought a mattress cover in an attempt to create an additional layer of protection between the air mattress and the cats' claws. Interestingly enough, Sunday night was the best night of sleep I've had in the past six weeks! I'm not sure if I was finally exhausted enough to sleep for seven hours or if the mattress cover was soft enough to create a decent cushion between myself and the bed. Who knows. I'll be thankful for the blessings as they come!

I am praying for a good night of sleep tonight and the opportunity to be productive tomorrow. Bible in 90 Days started today and it's been exciting already. Today's reading was almost identical to the cover to cover plan, but only because Genesis is already written chronologically. In a few days, I think the plans will deviate quite a bit.

Hopefully everyone else had a very blessed Monday!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A bit of randomness

Vegan frankfurters

Bruno goes crazy for honeysuckle

Surveying his kingdom

Quinoa Taco Salad - Very yummy!

Overzealous at the library?

Reorganized temporary bookshelf

And in other random news... nope, still no bed. We are going to Sears tonight to (hopefully!) exchange the current air mattress.

Because I have been remiss in posting this, here it is. December 1941 by Craig Shirley. I have nothing to say that hasn't already been said. Terrible editing that yanks you out of the narrative. A supposedly inaccurate portrayal of history. I stopped reading the book half way through because of all the criticisms of historical accuracy. If I am going to study history, I am going to study accurate material. I'll be sending this book to my father-in-law, who is a retired history professor to see what he thinks of it. Thank you to Booksneeze for gifting me the copy in exchange for my honest opinion. Sorry I can't recommend it!

I have to end this post with a more positive note. What is more entertaining than a picture of my silly kitty?

Nap time!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Month of Knitting - Week 2

I haven't posted lately because I've been so tired. We are still sleeping on an air mattress and I don't think I'm getting more than 3 or 4 consecutive hours of sleep. We figured out our budgeting and determined that we can order a mattress on September 9th. A little less than four more weeks! Maybe once we have the new bed, I'll be able to get a full night of sleep and have more energy during the day.

Meanwhile, I've been diligent about knitting every day. It's not much but I complete at least two rows each day, roughly 30 minutes of knitting.

I had hoped to complete my shawl this week but fell a bit short. Two inches left to knit!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Month of Knitting - Week 1

The first week of my knitting challenge is already complete. I knitted every day! Some days were more productive than others, but I knitted at least two rows each day. As the rows keep getting longer, each row takes 10-15 minutes depending on if it is knit or purl.

I had hoped to work on more than one project but my shawl is so close to completion that I'm pushing myself to finish it before starting another.

Bruno supervising my shawl

32" complete

Three inches left to go

I should be able to complete the body of the shawl this week. Then I just have to add the rest of the border. Today was chilly and I could have used my shawl when we visited the mall. I'm excited about being so close to the end!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pizza Garden - One Week's Progress

My pizza garden is getting bigger every day! I love watching the progress it makes.



Mini tomatoes

The other day I only had one tomato plant sprout. Now, all of a sudden, I have three!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

This Week's Memory Text - Proverbs 8:17

I've been feeling rather inadequate lately. I seem to go through phases where I wonder if I'm enough for God. If I offer Him enough to make Him want to love me.

I know this feeling, this attitude isn't Biblical. I know that God loves me. But sometimes I feel like I'm not enough. This week I want to memorize a promise that relates to how I've been feeling lately. Maybe it will pull me out of this slump.

I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me

Proverbs 8:17.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wanted: a new DSLR

My Canon PowerShot takes horrible close up photos. I have to keep at least 18 inches away from the subject to get a clear photo and that it makes it difficult to photograph my new little sprouts! Thankfully, I discovered that my camera phone takes somewhat decent close ups. Aren't they pretty?

And someday, I'm going to cherish one of these beauties... I already own two lenses that are compatible with this camera from my film days.

Ah, wishful thinking. I'll stick to my camera phone and try to be thankful that I have one!

Pizza Gardening - Day 5

I have sprouts!! I literally squealed when I checked the bags this afternoon. They are barely visible, especially in the photos, but there is just a tiny bit of green in each of the bags.

My oregano is growing the fastest. There are tons of tiny green sprouts poking out of the dirt.


The basil is growing slower but is showing definite signs of progress.


And my tomato has one tiny white-ish shoot. Just a tiny little thing. So cute!!


I know it's early, but I have visions of a really yummy pizza coming out of the oven.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bible in 90 Days - Please join me!

Have you heard me talk about the Bible in 90 Days program? It is a fantastic group of readers and mentors who read through the entire Bible in 90 days. Yes, it is challenging. But it is also life changing!

Here are my thoughts after completing my first session. I have also mentored two sessions of the program and have signed up to mentor again.

Would you please join me in reading through the entire Bible? God will speak to you when you read His word! For this session, I have committed to reading alongside the group I mentor. We have two options: reading cover to cover or reading chronologically.

I hope you'll join me! If you have any questions about the program or my experiences with it, email me (contact email is to the right) or leave a comment here.

Bible in 90 Days

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August - a month of knitting

Because of life happening over the past few months (strange, isn't it?), I haven't had the energy or motivation to commit to a thirty day challenge. Now that we are getting settled in Washington, I'm eager to begin a new challenge. I did not plan ahead at all, just thought of things that I'm already doing but could focus and push myself on. I needed a challenge that does not require any money, thus the need to be creative with what I already own. What better project to tackle than my knitting?

I am going to spend some time every day for next thirty days pushing my knitting knowledge and skills past their current limits. At this point, I do not want to commit to a certain amount of time, but I will pick up my knitting every single day.

Here's what I have on my needles right now:

Moss Shawl

My moss bordered shawl is currently 26 inches long. The goal is to reach 35 inches and then add the rest of the border.

Baby washcloth

I have made this dishcloth pattern before. However, this one is on smaller needles. Hopefully it turns out well!

Upcoming project - fingerless mittens

This is my challenging project for the month - fingerless mittens. Thus far, I have only knitted flat items: a scarf, a partial shawl, and several washclothes/dishclothes. The mittens will stretch my knitting to a new level and I'm excited to try!

I only know three knitters "in real life," but two live in Michigan and one in California. I would love to meet other knitters online! Want to connect with me on Ravelry?