Race Car!

How awesome is it that Amazon is now giving away free race cars with your purchase?!? My furbabies are going to have a great time! 😉 Happy Wednesday!

Blindsides

A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. Matthew 12:20 NIV

Blindside. A hard word for a hard and crushing situation.  What do we do when it happens? We can’t avoid them, they come for all of us at several points in our lives. Job loss, loss of health, imprisonment of someone we love, and the death of someone close to us. I’ve lived through and survived them all. Not only did I survive, I grew. I am stronger now than I have ever been, but it’s only due to and through the Lord.

Last night was another blindside. We got the call that my brother-in-law died. We loved him dearly and I admit it is crushing. He was a kind man and we will greatly miss him.

At some point, we all die. Your death will be someone’s blindside. Same with mine – one day my kids will get that call. We can hide behind pills, booze, and yarn or we can accept that this is an opportunity to grow in our relationship with the Lord. The choice is one only we can make. Trust Him or wallow in grief, I choose to trust in His kindness and mercy.

I can’t  control what happens in life but I can control if I trust the Lord with the outcome. Today, I am the bruised reed and I know the pain isn’t here to destroy me. His goal is never to crush us, it’s to bring us closer to Him. I love what Psalm 91:1 says, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

Shalom, my friends.

 

 

Lavender Honey

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Lavender is one of my very favorite flavors to use in food or drinks. Especially, homegrown fresh from the garden!

Lavender honey is super easy to make. You simply boil a cup or two of honey with a small handful of lavender blossoms for 5 minutes and then let stand and cool for an hour. It will still be warm after the hour is up, which is good, because it makes it easier to strain and pour into the jar.

Now you can spread it on toast or use it in coffee, tea or even lemonade! It’s a delightful summer treat!

When Dye Lots Don’t Match

I love hand-dyed yarns! My sweet hubby knows I’d much rather have hand-dyed yarn than jewelry! Usually, buying two skeins at one time is no issue. You end up with fiber dyed at the same time and colors that match perfectly.

Other times, though, you end up with two skeins that are glaringly different. That was the case with this slinky bamboo shown above. Thankfully, there is a way to work around the issue. Lacy stitches and using each skein every other row hides the difference in color, especially if your yarn is multicolored. That’s exactly what I did with the wrap I made with my bamboo. It turned out beautiful, too!

Solid color yarns can also be rotated this way but the changes are a little more noticeable. Washing the yarn can help remedy any significant color changes. When you have the yarns as closely matched as possible after washing, give them a quick rinse in diluted vinegar water to set the color. Some dyers treat their yarns so they are colorfast – so don’t always count on this tip when buying hand-dyed yarn.

There is always a way to make an off color dye lot work – play with it until the colorway suits your project! Then it becomes a design feature instead of a flaw!

Tunisian Shawl

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The last couple of weeks have been a flurry of writing. I am always amazed at how quickly time slips by when I’m writing. I did take some downtime in the evenings to work on this Tunisian shawl.

It’s an asymmetrical shape made in a stitch I came up with while swatching. It’s also Ben approved, as you can tell! 🙂

I added beads to the border to help keep the shawl in place when I wear it. It’s made with a lovely hand dyed lace weight bamboo that would slide off easily.  Adding a bead to a chain stitch is very easy to do, you simply pick up a bead with a super small tipped crochet hook:

 

Then pull the yarn through the center of the bead with the tiny hook:

Next, we remove our tiny hook and insert our regular hook:

And finally, we chain over our bead to close our stitch:

Pretty easy, isn’t it? You can find a huge selection of beads at Fire Mountian Gems!

I have amassed a nice collection myself – it’s like yarn, one color is never enough!

More From Estes Park Wool Market!

I thought I’d share a few more photos of the gorgeous work that was on display at the Estes Park Wool Market.

These scarfs were a perfect example of what you can make with yarn you spin for yourself! Unfortunately, I couldn’t touch them, they were wool, after all.

This circle vest was made from 100% bamboo! I was so happy to find a booth that had no wool! It’s hard when you are allergic to pretty much every fiber at the market, but I managed to power through. 😉

I loved the felted bags! Felting is a fun and easy technique. It’s also how I found out I’m REALLY allergic to wool. LOL.

There was even sheep related artwork available. These little lambs were so adorable!

At last! A booth with all bamboo!

The Fiber Lady shop was, by far, my favorite place to visit! She even carried bamboo lace weight yarn! If you’ve ever tried to find a lace weight yarn without wool, you know what an adventure that can be. I bought the lace weight – I can’t wait to design something light and airy with it! Click on over and check out her store. The yarn colors are vibrant, comes in a variety of colors and weights, and she even carries project kits!

 

Estes Park Wool Market!

Two weeks ago we made our yearly trip to the Estes Park Wool Market. I love the view as we cross the lake into Estes.  One year we actually saw several elk swimming across it! It was an incredible sight to see! Behind those peaks is the Never Summer Range. They are snow packed beauties year round.

We absolutely live in the west – those chaps and lassos as “art” were pretty cool!  Visit any local ranch and you’ll find them in the mud room or barn.  😉

There were colorful felted items at the entrance to the market. It was the wool market after all!

I loved this spring themed felted scarf – it was a stunner in person!

Raw wool, alpaca, and rabbit hair were all around.  I even found some camel hair to spin! No animals are harmed to acquire their wool/hair. Sheep and alpaca are shaved and bunnies are brushed. The camel hair is gathered as they shed it (same with yak). They are all lovingly cared for.

Weaving is really hot right now and there were plenty of booths selling woven items or the supplies needed to do it yourself.

All in all, it was a wonderful day! I have more photos to share later. There were booths packed with glorious fiber and beautiful sample pieces, as well!

Finishing Well

Yesterday I had a long talk with a very dear friend of many years about some struggles we are both facing. We’ve spent our whole adult lives trying to live it well. Now, we want to finish well.

My friend and I have both seen Christians with good intentions start out well and end very badly. They gave up their faith, family, and future for something that was fleeting. In the end, the price was much higher than they expected to pay. How do we avoid becoming them?

It’s easy to get sucked down, broken or give up as we age. Things don’t go the way we thought they would. Plans fail, friends and loved ones die, but the clock keeps ticking, Which brings me back to, how do we finish well?

Finishing well isn’t about having that fat bank account, big house, or even the most yarn. It’s about keeping the faith. Having hope as life gets harder. Believing that God is bigger than any fear you face. It’s knowing the Creator loves you and cares about what is happening to you.

My point in all this? Finishing well means realizing the end here is the beginning of eternity AND living a life that reflects that belief. If I believe that this life is all there is, I’m going to fight tooth and nail to get the most out of it before it all ends – regardless of who it hurts. If I view this life as a transition into eternity with Jesus, I will fight the good fight to help bring others to Him. Fighting the good fight means refusing to be ashamed to call myself a Christian. It’s not just a label – it’s who I am at my very core. Jesus in me, working through me.

John 3:16 gives purpose and meaning to our whole life – especially the last half. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Eternal life makes finishing well a beautiful goal!

 

 

Annie’s Class Sale!

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I love learning so much that it’s my goal to learn something new every week. I’ve taught myself Java, HTML, iMovie, Photoshop, some CSS, and InDesign. French is next on my list!

I strive to learn new stitches every chance I get because it widens the design possibilities that I’m capable of producing. I also enjoy conquering a technique that has baffled me in the past. Plus it’s just plain fun!

I’ve taken several of Annie’s online classes. They are very well done and I love that I can watch them whenever I want. I can also ask questions if I don’t understand something. They come with projects so you can make something as you learn – it’s a great way to ensure that you remember the technique!

Right now Annie’s is offering 10 classes for just $10 each! Click on over and enter the keycode FLASH17 to get started today.  It’s that easy! But hurry because the sale ends Friday!

Tunisian Bracelet

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This morning I was looking for a quick and fun idea for scrap yarn. It’s been one of those mornings where I wanted instant gratification – not an easy thing to achieve with knitting or crochet! The above bracelet is the result of that!

The yarn is a bit fuzzy which is why the photo appears a little blurry. It was a fun and fast project!

I started with my Denise hooks, some pretty scrap yarn, my scissors and a yarn needle. I chained until it fit around my wrist loosely, for me, that was 30 chains using an F hook. My yarn is a sock weight so if you use a thicker yarn you’ll want to go up in hook size. I worked 3 rows of the Tunisian knit stitch and then fastened off. I then sewed the ends together and weaved in the ends! That’s it! Done!

You can do as many or few rows as you’d like. Whatever you do, don’t block it! This is the one time we want the curl! The curl is what gives it the lovely bangle shape.

These are perfect gifts or even stocking stuffers you can whip up in no time! What a great way to use up pretty bits of yarn you just can’t stand to part with!