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Advent Sock Mashup – WEEK 2

December 8
The color of your eyes.
(from 2015)
[My eyes are brown.]

December 9
Color inspired by the temperature.
(from 2015)
[It was -30 C here on that day, so I picked a magenta-colored yarn.]

December 10
Color inspired by the animals in your room.
(My husband picked the method for this day.)
[Surprisingly, I had a lot to choose from, but I eventually picked grey for the elephant bookend.]

December 11
The color that represents you…
(…according to this diagram.)
[I identify most with “blueberry”, though some of the others are sometimes close.]

December 12
The color of your shirt.
(from 2013)
[I’m wearing a teal shirt with a crocheted edging on the neckline. So I’m trying to make a motif similar to the one on my shirt.]

December 13
A color you pick from the nearest painting.
(from 2014)
[The nearest painting is done by a local lady in our church and is of a poinsettia – appropriate for Christmastime! So I’ll be using a bright red.]

December 14
A color from your other hobby’s equipment.
(from 2014)
[For most of my life my primary hobby has been reading, but lately I’m also trying to get into sewing.]

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Scrap Yarn Advent Sock Mashup – WEEK 1

I’ve been eyeing up the infamous Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar for some time now. Last year I even vowed to have my Christmas knitting caught up by December so I could participate in the 2016 KAL.  Unfortunately, it turns out there is no 2016 KAL.

So I’m making a mashup from 2013-2015, plus a few of my own ideas. I want to share the mashup so that other people can join in.


December 1
A color from the cover of your favourite book.
[One of my faves is The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. My cover has silvery-green fruit hanging from a tree, so that’s the color I picked.]

December 2
A color that reflects the size of your stash.
(from 2014)
[My stash is 8.8kg, so I’m going with a semi-muted lime green.]

December 3
Color determined by the year you joined Ravelry.
(from 2015)
[I joined Ravelry in 2012, so green again for me.]

December 4
A color picked from a color acronym of your name.
(find your name acronym here)
[I used C for Carmine, which as it turns out, is red.]

December 5
A color based on your height.
(pick which group you like best first, then find your height)
height-chart
[The two I liked best (the top ones on the ends) have nearly the same color for my height, so I went with a light orange for 5’3″.]

December 6
Color determined by your favourite game
(from 2015)
[My favourite game is Settlers of Catan. I’m going to blindly draw a piece from a selection of the colors I have yarn in.]

December 7
A color starting with the first letter of your father’s name.


When I get caught up, I’ll post a picture of my socks.

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NHL Scoreboard Scarf (KAL)

I was browsing through various knit-a-longs (KAL’s) on Ravelry when I found a cool pattern for a football-themed cowl. Naturally I decided I wanted to do one for hockey – I suppose that’s the Canadian in me.

Turns out football has a WAY different scoring system than hockey.
And I didn’t really want a cowl…so I crafted my own pattern!

My pattern for a NHL Scoreboard Scarf, inspired by Michelle Hunter’s Scoreboard:

Habs Scarf (WB)
(2014/15  Montreal Canadiens season)

Worsted weight yarn (I used Bernat Premium and Caron Simply Solids)
4.00mm needles

Cast on 35. This counts as the first row of the scarf.
*Note* the bind-off will count as the last row of the scarf.

The scarf is done entirely in garter stitch (every row is knit).  For each game:
knit 2 rows in team color A for each goal your team scored
knit 2 rows in team color B for each goal scored against your team
knit 2 rows black or team color C to separate games

You could put the goals in the exact order they were scored in the game, but I preferred to lump them together to make bigger stripes.

I carried the yarn up as I go to avoid tails. There’s a good tutorial here.  (The only issue with this is that, up close, you can see the tails along the side of the scarf.)

Bind off.

It’s a KAL because you can knit during the season as you watch your team play.

 

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The Perfect 8-inch 3-layer White Cake Recipe

A few weeks ago, I tackled my first 3-layer cake. I spent all morning (okay, 1/2 hour) on pinterest and google looking for a white cake recipe that was already set up for 3 8-inch layers. Then I decided to browse my own cookbooks and sure enough, my sister-in-law had given me EXACTLY what I was looking for in a binder of recipes.

So here is the perfect recipe:

INGREDIENTS
1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups white sugar
4 large eggs
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup milk

Weigh your bowl. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour pans lightly. (3 eight inch or 2 nine inch pans.) Cream together butter and vanilla extract. Add sugar slowly until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Then add to sugar mixture alternately with milk, mixing well after each addition.

Weigh the bowl again. Subtract the original weight from the new one. Divide this number by three and pour these equal amounts into each pan. Give a tap on the counter to remove any air pockets. Bake for 40 minutes.

(This recipe courtesy of my sister-in-law, courtesy of The Idea Room.)

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A Lesson From Yarn

Right now I’m working on a baby cocoon for my son. It’s a nice pattern because the top third of the cocoon is split, so he can have his arms out. So the pattern starts out working flat, on regular needles. I’m using bulky Loops & Threads yarn (dark blue and stormy); one is solid while the other is multicoloured.

image
(This is a bad picture because that white color is actually almost neon green.)

Yesterday I was talking with my aunt and trying to figure out what kind of stripe pattern I wanted to make with the colours.[Sidenote: My aunt is my inspiration for knitting. She’s so good at it and makes wonderful, colourful, creative things – Christmas pickles, the claymation character Wallace, and many pairs of socks, to name a few. She taught me how to knit and I always go to her for knitting help.]

…so yesterday I was asking her advice on the numbers of coloured rows and then she said, “Oh, I thought you were using self-striping yarn.” A plain old statement, right? Wrong! I was knitting at home today and I realized: she thought the colours I picked went so well together that she assumed they had come manufactured that way.

Then, as I was basking in my pride, it occurred to me that someone else might have thought: she thought it was self-striping because she didn’t think I could pick colours that nice together, or she thinks the colours are uncreative and must have been manufactured.

To be fully honest, I don’t think her statement was a reflection of me at all. But it’s kind of interesting to me how much we read into things. And not only do we read into things, but it’s crazy how much doing so shows about us and how we perceive/think about things. I’m glad I thought of something positive when I could have thought of something negative; it kind of revealed a little bit of my attitude and mood.

I also noticed that the two thoughts were essentially opposite sides of the same coin. So I want to challenge and encourage you: when it feels like something someone says carries a bit of a subtle jab, flip the coin. Maybe you’re just hearing it the wrong way.

12

The Infamous Hanging Basket Crochet Pattern – In ENGLISH!

infamouscrochethangingbasket

 Once upon a time, I was on Pinterest when I saw a picture of a beautiful hanging basket.  I clicked on the link and it led me to a page with another link to a pattern for it, but the pattern was in Norwegian!  Using Google translate gave me most of the pattern, but what can you do for the bits that are abbreviated? Not much, unless you Google that too.  I came across a web forum where somebody had posted what the abbreviations mean.  And now, here I am, posting a pattern of the basket in English!  Woohoo!

I used Loops & Threads Charisma yarn (which is a bulky weight) and a 10mm crochet hook.

1) Ch 2 (or make a magic ring)
2) 5 sc in second loop from the hook (or in the ring)
3) 2 sc in each st = 10 sc
4) 2 sc in each st = 20 sc
5) (increasing) sc 1, 2 sc in next st around= 30 sc
6) (increasing) sc 2, 2 sc in next st around = 40 sc
7-10) 40 sc around x4
11) (increasing) sc 1, 2 sc in next st around= 60 sc
12-13) 60 sc around x2
14) Turn, ch 1, 60 hdc, 1 slip st
15) Ch 2, 60 dc in the back loops, 1 slip st
16) Ch 1, 60 hdc (in the whole loop), 1 slip st
17) Ch 1, 15 hdc, 30 dc, 15 hdc, 1 slip st
18) Repeat row 17, but in the back loops
19) Ch 1, 60 sc, 1 slip st
20) Ch 1, in the back loops, 15 sc in 30 sts (crocheting two sts together like when you’re decreasing), 15 sc, 1 slip st (into the next loop – you’re not back at the beginning again, but that’s good)
21) Ch 10, slip st into the same spot, but on the “19th round.
22) Ch 1, sc around the opening, 10 sc in the chain, 1 slip st
23) In the back loops, slip st around from one side of the strap to the other side. Fasten with a slip st and weave in the end.

This pattern is originally a Norwegian pattern.  I also received help translating it to English (especially the post by ma2ska).

By request, I also attempted to translate the pattern into Spanish. But someone else who probably actually speaks Spanish has a really good tutorial here.

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Reading Challenge!

I’m in a Ravelry group called book challenge and on one of the forums, I found this excellent reading challenge! The reason it’s the bomb is because you can incorporate it into what you’re already planning to read. 🙂

Reading Challenge:
-A book with more than 500 pages
-A classic romance
-A book published this year
-A book with a number in the title ~ I Have Lived a Thousand Years (Jul. 29/15)
-A book written by someone under 30
-A book with nonhuman characters ~ The Hobbit (Feb./15)
-A funny book
-A book by a female author ~ Ethan Frome and Other Stories (Jan. 29/15)
-A mystery or thriller
-A book with a one word title
-A book of short stories
-A book set in a different country ~ Treasure Island (Jan. 13/15)
-A nonfiction book
-A popular author’s first book
-A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
-A book a friend recommended ~ Fire World (Apr. 29/15)
-A Pulitzer prize winning book
-A book based on a true story
-A book at the bottom of your reading list ~ The Book Thief (Mar. 3/15)
-A book your mom loves
-A book that scares you
-A book more than 100 years old
-A book based entirely on its cover
-A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
-A memoir
-A book you can finish in a day ~ Fantastic Mr. Fox (Jul. 25/15)
-A book with antonyms in the title
-A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
-A book that came out the year you were born
-A book with bad reviews
-A trilogy
-A book from your childhood ~ A Handful of Time (May 6/15)
-A book with a love triangle
-A book set in the future
-A book set in high school
-A book with a color in the title
-A book that made you cry ~ One Thousand and One Arabian Nights (Jan. 15/15)
-A book with magic ~ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (Feb. 1/15)
-A graphic novel
-A book by an author you’ve never read before
-A book you own but have never read
-A book that take place in your hometown
-A book that was originally written in a different language
-A book set during Christmas
-A book by an author with your same initials
-A play
-A banned book
-A book based on or turned into a TV show
-A book you started but never finished

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Instant Gratification

I was thinking today of advice I would give a teenager friend of mine who is struggling with her perception of relationships in high school. Particularly, I was imagining advice I would give in terms of sex. As a Christian, I believe sex is a great thing and that the free-est, most satisfying and gratifying sex is had within marriage. It’s secure, it’s fun, and you don’t have a lot of fears associated with it because the famous “problems” with premarital sex (i.e. STDs or pregnancy) either don’t apply or aren’t a bad thing anymore. (Nutshell version, not really the point of my post.)

Anyway, I was imaging telling my friend that having sex in a high school relationship is pretty much just instant gratification. It’ll feel good at the time (ignoring that the first few times usually don’t)…but it won’t feel good the next morning. It won’t feel good if you forgot to “be careful.” It won’t feel good six months from now and you break up.  It won’t feel good seven years after the relationship, when you’re finally in a serious one with someone you actually want to marry and you have to confess to them.  That moment of instant gratification won’t be worth it.

After I had stopped thinking about this and moved on with my day, I was watching a documentary called Hungry For Change. One of the guys on the show said (about processed/sugary foods) “it will make a biochemical change in your brain; it will make you momentarily uplifted or momentarily happy…”

And something clicked.

Like in my imaginary conversation with my friend, my mind began supplying the rest: It will make you momentarily happy, but it won’t feel good when the baby’s born unhealthy. It won’t feel good when…your husband’s metabolism slows down…when you have to change the whole family’s diet…when you’re a senior and you’re regretting the nutritional choices you’ve made.

I’ve heard my grandparents talk about how they would do things differently, how they wish they would have eaten better or kept themselves in good shape. I’ve seen the Buzzfeed video where they show what  sleep deprivation does to your body.
I’ve also thought lately that teenagers legitimately can’t foresee how their decisions will affect their lives, or foresee what their future selves will think of their present selves’ decisions and actions. (why they should pay more attention to the experience and advice of those around them.) Mulling over that, I wondered which aspects of my life are similar.

“will make you momentarily happy…”

When I heard those words, the stream of my thoughts swelled to a mighty river.  I’m in the dawn of my adulthood. The decisions I make now decide my habits for the rest of my life. They begin the foundation for my yet to be born child(/ren). Sixty years from now, I’m going to have a pretty strong opinion about what twenty year olds should do. If I can hazard a guess as to what that is, I can do it now. I think it’s realizations like this that fuel my motivation to make good choices and do hard things.

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Prologue

January 10, 2015

I’m trying to find a “suitable” reading list, but maybe I’m too picky. The problem is that there is no objective or definitive list: there are a million lists. I first became interested because there was a pamphlet at the local library, which turned out to be Library Journal’s Most Influential Fiction of the 20th Century. Now, for the most part it’s a pretty good list for what I need. But the problem is, just because something is influential doesn’t mean it’s good. Good writing, good plot, whatever.

Take The Stone Diaries, for instance. The first chapter is about a morbidly obese woman giving birth when she didn’t know she was pregnant and includes the sex lives of several people, even the spacey depressed woman next door. It’s kind of graphic in fleshy description. No thanks. I don’t care if this book raised questions of gender roles and brought attention to the inner lives of isolated housewives. I want literary quality! Pardon me for not being interested in sex-oriented dystopias (The Handmaid’s Tale) or extravagance and affairs (The Great Gatsby). There’s nothing wrong with me for that.

But I’m looking for a list of 100-200 books from the 19th and 20th Centuries that are well-written classics. I’m looking for things ranging from Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Frank Herbert, H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc. I want books that are worth reading for what they are. I don’t want books that were cultural phenomenon simply because they were written as a response or contribution to culture or politics. I mean it’s unavoidable; most books were at least written to contribute to something going on at the time, but not all books are created equal. For example, if I’m going to read about racial prejudice and struggles, I would rather read To Kill A Mockingbird, than The Color Purple.

Another reason I’m having trouble finding a book list is because I want one made by some sort of credible source. I like BBC’s The Big Read, but it’s compiled of peoples’ favorites. There’s also Goodread’s Best Books Of series, but it’s also compiled by voters and contains non-novels like Green Eggs and Ham. I did find one site that has many lists, but it’s kind of overwhelming and mostly for books that won awards. In the end, I think what I’m really going to have to do is just take these lists and read some books and make my own library list of classics, which is kind of disappointing but probably worth it.

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A Resistance to Fleeting Frivolity

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. I hardly make firm resolutions to begin with actually, because I’m avoiding the guilt of breaking them. But it just so happened to be the beginning of January when a good resolution – one of discernment and forbearance – came to mind.

Being someone who doesn’t have some huge passion for anything, I tend to bounce around from interest to interest and feel unworthy to call any interest a hobby. My one real hobby is probably reading, but even that has been failing to satisfy me since becoming pregnant in September. This summer, though, I speculated that perhaps people in general naturally cycle through their hobbies or interests. This has been true to my experience. My conjecture from this is that if you want to get better at your hobbies, you need to cut out some of them so that your hobby cycle is smaller and you return to the same ones more frequently. For example, if I’m cycling through all my ambitions: painting, drawing, art journaling, scrapbooking, piano, learning French, baking, crocheting, learning to knit, reading, blogging, learning about nutrition, drinking tea, watching sophisticated TV shows, etc., I’m not actually going to get very far in any of them. Instead I become burdened down by not knowing what to do, having too much stuff I hardly use, and feeling inadequate in all my pursuits because of my inconsistency in them. So I decided to cut out some of them (piano, French, blogging..) and took turns trying to finish projects I’ve started so I can leave that hobby behind (art journaling, scrapbooking..).

Having just now set the background for my resolution, here it is:

I don’t want to buy any new stuff for a hobby until I’ve been actively interested in it for at least a month.

That’s pretty clear cut – and remarkably easy to break. I think it’ll be good though, and for any of you who are like me, I also encourage you to consider making a similar resolution. I think it will help curb my premature spending and lower impulse purchases. (As in, it’s January 9th and I already didn’t buy some Mango Madness tea or any Italian cookbooks.)

With that, I wish us all luck and bid you adieu.