The Year Long Crochet Project

Actually, it's going to be longer than a year for this project because it's already been a year and I still have a lot more to do. It may end up being the 2-year project. We'll see. But I digress.

It all started with Erika Knight's fabulous book Simple Crocheting: A Complete How-to-Crochet Workshop with 20 Projects over at KnitPicks.  I had ordered this when KnitPicks was having a 40% off sale on some of their books and I was stuck with not much to do in Hyder, AK, besides play in mud and watch bears (see previous post). The very first thing I wanted to make was the blanket near the back of the book. Of course I don't have the book with me here in Juneau so I can't show you a picture, but let me just say that the color choices were not the best. However, I really liked the pattern. I thought, "Oooo, I can make that really cute in two colors (light pink and grey) and it would make an awesome baby blanket." Ya, that was a year ago. I think I'm about half way there. Ugh!
I'm using the Comfy Fingering Yarn from KnitPicks for this project, so the squares end up only being about 2.75 inches. That results in the need for A LOT of squares. I calculated it out to about 200 squares (100 pink, 100 grey) for the size of blanket I'm wanting. I figured it out, and it's going to take me about 67 hours (not counting the border) to get this thing made. Sometimes I'll sit down and do a bunch of them at one time, and then I'll go weeks without doing anything. It's one of those kinds of projects :).

Today was one of those days where I sat down for a little bit while the girls did some schoolwork and I crocheted up a couple and added them to my stack. It felt good to get back at it. One of the best parts is that I get to use my favorite hook.  If you hop on over to Polka Dot Cottage, you'll meet Lisa Clarke and find yourself mesmerized by all the beautiful polymer clay work that she does. Her crochet hooks are seriously my favorite. I refuse to use anything else (and NO she is not paying me to say that - it's just the truth).  I happen to be partial to blues so my "F" hook is my very favorite :).  She even makes a little indent where your thumb goes that makes it so comfortable to use.

We'll see how far I get on this thing by the time we get back to Washington (which should be some time in September). I foresee a post where I lay out all the squares I have by the end of September so you can all see where I'm at. Who knows, maybe it will give me a spur to get the thing done before the end of the year. Then again, I just may be talking about it again next summer :)

Trip to Mendenhall Glacier

Where we're staying here in Juneau, we're just a few miles away from the Mendenhall Glacier attraction. It's a great place to visit on a nice sunny day, so that's exactly what we did. Along the trail, there are lots of rock walls and boulders to climb, lots of babbling creeks to explore, etc. The girls had a blast climbing everything they could find.

And, there were a ton of these flowers all along the trail. I had to restrain the girls from picking them all. So, instead, they decided to try and smell them all. They're so funny.

It was a REALLY warm day so Kaitlyn decided to tie her jacket around her. She tried to get me to carry it for her, but I've gotten to the point where I'm making the girls carry their own stuff. Otherwise, I'm always loaded down....not fun.

"Where's the glacier, girls?"

With all the "detours" and rock climbing the girls did, it took us about an hour to actually get to the spot we were headed for. But, once we got there, it was totally worth the wait.

And, here's a close-up:

One of the best parts was at the end of our trail there was a gorgeous waterfall.

It was a great day. The girls played in the water, which in quite a few areas wasn't totally freezing. We also met up with Anthony's sister and her kids. We're definitely going back there soon.

Don't forget to click on a picture to get a good look at all of them.

A Work of Love

It was a beautiful evening last night where we live. I had the doors open and the kids stayed out playing a "bit" after their bedtimes. I usually like to get them down and snuggled in no later than 8:30, but they were engrossed in a little project and playing so well together that I just watched them through the window and didn't go out to get them until a little after 9:00. By then, they had construction the site that you see here:

Previously, it had just been dirt. Yes, they transplanted weeds, flowers, and all - along with making the cross.
I asked them if they had buried a bug or something and Alexis replied, "No Mommy. We were thinking about Jesus and how He died for us, so we made this for Him." It was very touching. We talked about how He's no longer dead and that He's with us all the time. Alexis said, "I know that. I just wanted to build something for Him and I didn't have big enough rocks to build the open tomb." So sweet.

If you click on the pictures, you can see a little bigger version of it. I like all the little details they added to the "site".

Floor Planner

Have you ever been to the website ?

I found this site awhile back when Anthony and I were talking about how we wanted our shop/apartment to look when we started building on our property. I wasn't excited about the idea of drawing up a grid and cutting out little pictures of tables, stoves, chairs, and such (to scale), so I search around on the internet and found a free and easy to use floor planner that had all those things and much, much more. All I had to know was the dimensions of the apartment section of the shop, and off I went. I really got into it and spent about 4 hours playing around with layouts, where to have the bathroom and the stairs and all that. I finally came up with this for the downstairs of the apartment:

Anthony requested there be a T.V. room, and I really wanted a sitting place that was no where near a television, so we worked everything else around that. The kitchen is super tiny with limited storage space, but  if you look at that white space on the top left - that's the stairs going up from the back door. Underneath that is going to be all the pantry space I need. I could even forgo having a dishwasher to gain more cupboard space. No, seriously, I could. I've got more to say on the whole dishwasher subject at a later time.

On a whim, I put in a cute little chair, standing lamp, and small round table next to the front door. I like the idea of having a little space to just sit, or read, or write, or whatever. Most of the foot traffic is going to be coming in through the back door because the bathroom/mud area is right there. We'll have some "locker" spaces against the wall to the bathroom to put all the shoes, coats, umbrellas, etc. that need to find a place when people come in.

On the whole, I really like it. It's nice and cozy. I think we can be quite comfortable until the house is built. Then, we can use it as a guest house for when people want to stay a day or two. How fun :).

I'll probably do some rearranging to the upstairs layout before I'm completely satisfied with it. But, here's what it looks like right now:

The stairs come up into what will be the "school room". There's a craft table in the middle for all of our project times and we each have a desk to work at. There's plenty of space for storage cabinets, white boards, bulletin boards, and the like. It should be great.

If you're planning a room remodel, or are thinking about building a house, I would highly recommend using to get your layout ideas down. It's very versatile and has a TON of items to put in your rooms, and it's FREE!

Wet Days

100 piece puzzle a great-uncle gave to the girls. Alexis had to hurry and do it right away :)

The last few days has been quite wet around here. The girls haven't had a chance to get out and ride their 4-wheelers at all. We've been mostly hanging out around the house reading books and watching shows. One of Alexis's favorite books right now is the Horse Diaries Series.

We accidentally started with book eight because we had seen it at the library and didn't realize there was a huge series of them. Even so, it was a really good book. We've now started at the beginning and we're picking up book 2 at the library tomorrow. We've since found out that there is a Dog Diaries series as well, which I'm sure we'll be tackling next.

As for Kaitlyn, she's been thrilled with her BOB books. We're working on set 1 right now. There are 18 books in this set.
These books are the BEST for getting the beginner reader going. Kaitlyn's been doing fantastic and the books crack her up. It's funny watching her read the words, look at the picture, and then understand what's going on, and then she laughs and laughs.

As for me, I'm doing my annual read of Stepping Heavenward.

I try to read this book once a year because it's so inspiring. There is so much that speaks to my heart and each time I bring away something new to help me become a better follower of Christ.  One of my favorite quotes from her is this:
You cannot prove to yourself that you love God by examining your feelings toward Him. They are indefinite and they fluctuate. But just as far as you obey Him, just so far, depend upon it; you love Him. It is not natural to us sinful, ungrateful beings to prefer His pleasure to our own or to follow His way instead of our own way, and nothing, nothing but love of Him can or does make us obedient to Him.
I highly encourage every woman to read it at least once. You won't be sorry.

Some Fun Pictures

The above is a little collage of Katie at the ocean. She had so much fun there playing with Alexis and our dog Suzie. Even though it was a really windy day, she giggled and giggled while chasing the surf until she got too cold and then we raced back to where the truck was. She warmed up in the soft sand and played seals and sharks with Alexis. It was a great time.

This picture is from today. Alexis went out on Summit Lake with Papa and caught herself eight fish with the largest being 14.5" long. She had such a great time. Papa said she did outstanding. Way to go Alexis!!!

Richland, Oregon

Our family decided to take a trip down to Richland, Oregon to visit hubby's twin and her family for a few days.  The land is so beautiful and the weather is very mellow (cold, but mellow). I love this barn that's on their property. Katie ran right in there to check it out and having very sensitive skin, she rashed up a bit. Poor baby. But she's doing alright.

They also have horses, chicks, and a chocolate lab.

The girls have been having a great time. Alexis, of course, is such a little farm girl.  Oh, and she got to ride a motorcycle for the first time - she did AWESOME!

We've been having a great time relaxing, visiting, and just hanging out. It was so nice of them to let us come invade their home :)

In Need of Coasters

Please tell me I'm not the only one who just got Christmas all put away? Please. I have a terrible habit of leaving it up FOREVER. One year it was March before I actually got it all put away. I know, pathetic. Not sure what my hang-up is about it. But, this year, I did manage to do it while it was still January.

This morning I realized that I no longer had a coaster to put my morning coffee on. I had been using the fabric Christmas ones that my mother had sewn up for me (which are awesome). But, alas, they were all packed safely away. However, I knew that the thing I needed to do to fix this dilemma was to drop everything (except the coffee) and grab my yarn and hook. I found a multi-colored cotton yarn in my stash and proceeded to whip out a small wagon wheel big enough for my cup to go on. I love the colors and my mug fit nicely on top of it. Dilemma solved! Now that I've got my emergency mug wheel, I can think about stitching up some variations. "ADD THAT TO THE TO-DO LIST!!!" Ha!

So far, on this overcast Saturday morning, this and two loads of laundry is all I have accomplished. Oh, yes, and I also managed to get out of bed :). Now to think about the rest of the day. Looking forward to spending a late afternoon/evening with my B.F.F. and our two families.

New Year

Happy New Year!!!

The family and I went to an amazing New Year's Day brunch at a good friend's house today. It was startling to realize that another year has passed and my oldest is now 8 years old - yikes!

As with every new year, people keep asking me if I have made any New Year's Resolutions. To be honest I haven't and I'm probably not going to. I'm going to trust in God to refine the parts that need work and make sure I'm in His Word daily so that I'm open to His prompting. Not a resolution - just a willingness.

Tomorrow, we start back on our full schedule of schooling and regular activities. It will be nice to get back into the groove of things after having a whirlwind of a holiday season. They were enjoyable, but a bit exhausting. Now we can buckle down and focus on our studies and think of fun projects to add to the mix. 

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and continue to have a wonderful New Year!