Friday, October 31, 2008


I decided yesterday that the internet is taking over my life! Not really, but I do seriously need to reduce the amount of browsing and reading and overall internet surfing I participate in. With my trip coming up I really want to spend this next week preparing my mind and spirit for what I will experience in India. I also want to take some serious time for reflection and reconnection with my family when I return. So I'm taking a hiatus from "the internets" until the end of November. I will miss all you lovely people, but I promise to check in with you and see what you've been up to after the end of the month! I will still be checking my email since this is the only way to be notified about my work stuff, so if you need me feel free to email, but otherwise I'll see you after Thanksgiving :)

I leave you with this parting photo to keep me in your hearts until my return!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


As I've alluded to before, I'm heading to India in less than 2 weeks! I have done a bunch of reading up on what kind of crafting items are allowed on the plane as I very much intend to use that 12+ hour flight to get some stuff done! I am fairly certain I'll be ok taking a set of bamboo circular needles, round-ended scissors, a crochet hook, and plastic cable and tapestry needles on the plane. I have a carrying case I usually use for my accessories, but I didn't want to have to take out everything not allowed on the plane just to carry this, so I decided to make a little pouch for my goodies.

Using scraps from other projects I fashioned this:

This is a shot of the inside before it was sewn together showing the strip for holding the hook, needles, and scissors and the little pocket for the small items like stitch markers and row counters, etc:

I kept in mind Christina's lesson about not wanting the sewing lines of the strip and pocket from the oustide, so I sewed those on before sewing the two layers together. Its not a perfect solution - I'm not a superb seamstress - and it would be much better with a zipper instead of a button closure, but I really like the colors and it will work just fine for what I need it for!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Personal Blog

Hey all :) Not sure if you're aware of it or not, but I have a personal blog where I post more family-related stuff instead of work/hobby related items. You're welcome to stop by there anytime. Check out today's post for some snapshots of my family's trip to the park on a beautiful autumn day!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Love You, Doily

While looking for patterns for doilies for my mom I came across a pattern in a magazine I already had. I frequently forget about the pile of magazines I've accumulated in the last few years. With the ease of finding patterns online I hardly ever look in a book or magazine to find something I want to make. Since I've joined Ravelry I've been even worse about this. There's hardly a pattern you can find in a book that isn't listed in Rav's database. Part of the problem I have with using magazine patterns, at least crochet patterns, is that they're typically old-fashioned. In this case, however, that was a good thing. I mean I was making a doily for goodness sake!

This is the "I Love You Doily" from the Spring 2008 issue of Crochet! Magazine. It was kind of fun to work up and I actually liked mine better than the one in the magazine... maybe a first there :) There are supposedly hearts around the outside (between the pineapples), making it fit the theme of the title. I'm not sure I buy the heart idea, but its pretty regardless. This was part of the magazine's Mother's Day issue; one of the suggested gifts for a mom. Pretty fitting to give it to my mom, don't you think?

On a somewhat related note, I've finally discontinued my magazine subscriptions. Anything I want I can find online, or I can buy individual magazines if I really want a pattern. There are so many free patterns or independently published designs available online these days that its almost not worth having them on paper. I love that I can pick and choose, pay for the ones I like and print out the ones that need to be portable. Good for my budget - good for the environment :) I love sites like Ravelry and Etsy that bring designers right to you. If you haven't checked them out yet, they're a great source for inspiration!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Crabapple Butter

I took my first foray into making food out of something that grew in my yard last week! We have a lovely crabapple tree that grows in our front yard. In the spring it has these gorgeous white blossoms, and amazing bright red fruit by the fall. This year was an especially rainy spring and early summer in Indiana and our tree produced in abundance!

I had thought that crabapples were poisonous. I'm not sure where I picked that up, but it was wrong... they're just really tart, so most people don't eat them. Plus, many - like the ones on my tree - are tiny. I originally considered it too much work to do anything with them. However, after pruning the tree and seeing all that beautiful fruit falling on the ground, I decided I just had to do something. So I stripped all the fruit from the pruned branches and washed them up. From just a few small branches I got enough good fruit to fill up a large mixing bowl.

After de-stemming the fruit, I used this recipe (scaled down to fit my harvest size) to make some delicious crabapple butter. First you boil the crabapples in a small amount of water. Then you press the soft fruit through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds.

Next you add your spices and sweetner and heat it slowly to make it thicker. The finished product is this gorgeous bright red "butter". It was a little tart to my tastes, so I added some extra sugar, but overall it was a great recipe! It was time-intensive, but I kinda felt like a pioneer woman - reaping the fruit of the land :) Everyone in my family enjoyed it except my son. But he's kinda picky. We ate it on warm buttered toast with our dinner. A nice little side dish.

I froze the extras in small 1/2 cup servings so that we can thaw out a little at a time and it won't go bad while we're trying to use it up. Its got a very intense flavor, so its not something I'd use in large quantities. Overall, it was a fun week-day experiment. This recipe could easily be altered to give you crabapple sauce instead of butter. I think you'd just add some more water (and maybe more sugar)to get it to be applesauce consistency.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Krochet Kids

Early this spring I was investigating the idea of starting my own business. I was looking into the idea that it might be possible to use my love of all things yarny to support my family and make an impact in the world. I had a vision that either the items I made or the money I earned could be put to a better use than lining my pockets, but I didn't know what that was. I came across an organization called Krochet Kids International that was doing something very cool... something much like what I'd like to do!

KKI works in Uganda to teach skills to women vulnerable to poverty and disease. First they are taught to crochet. The items they make can be sold for a profit which gives them a sustainable source of income when they graduate from the program. They are also taught personal budgeting, financial saving, and small business management, with the hope being that the skills they are given will provide them the ability to build a small business of their own handiwork to provide for their families.

The women who are currently a part of the program are all single mothers or balancing the running of their own households and their extended families' as well. They are women who have been displaced and, in many cases, orphaned by war. They are women who live lives in conditions that many of us can not imagine even exist. They are women who love God, love their families, and love their country. They are women just like you, or your mother, or your sister, or your wife.

So how does this impact you? In the words of Pamela, one of the women who is a part of KKI's program, "I want the American people to love us and they should pray for us as well so that we have peace in Northern Uganda." In addition to loving and praying for these women, you can also invest in their lives in a tangible way. KKI has a store that sells actual items these women make. Each hat is handmade by one of the 10 women currently involved in the program. Each hat is a piece of a woman's life. Each stitch is made with love and a hope that their circumstances can change. I know many of you have made the commitment to have a "handmade Christmas" - where all the gifts you give are handmade by you or someone else - why not add a Krochet Kids hat to your gift giving this year? You will not only be giving to the recipient of the hat, you will be giving to the lives of women who have a much greater need than many of us can imagine! If you don't want to purchase a hat, check out their site for other ways to get involved!

"How does my purchase support these women?" you ask. The woman who are a part of KKI are given a salary for making the hats. Your purchase supports the mission of Krochet Kids International, making it possible for them to provide the salary for the women and expand their programs to include more women in the future. "Proceeds from hat sales are infused back into the very communities from which they came in order to promote further development and aid in Northern Uganda. We seek to aid the continued efforts of education, healthcare, and clean water through the work of various local organizations." (from the KKI website)

Disclaimer: I do not work for (nor was I solicited for promotion from) Krochet Kids International. I honestly believe in this 501(c)(3) non-profit Christian organization and its impact on the lives of the Ugandan women. In my opinion this organization is a great model for how we can use our giftings to promote health and hope around the world! All of the information I have presented here comes from their website (much of it from this page). I cannot verify how the funds of your purchase impact the global community. Instead I am going on faith that this program is legit and does what it claims to do. Please read the story of how KKI got started and form your own opinion before making any purchases.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Second Set Syndrome

So you all may have heard of the Second Sock Syndrome (not wanting to finish/start the second sock after you make the first). I have Second Set Syndrome. I have almost finished the first of 2 mittens in my second set of Fiddleheads. I just can't motivate myself! I am almost forcing myself to sit down and knit to "get it over with". I love the pattern I'm using (substituted charts from this Ravelry page instead of the standard charts), I love the yarn, I still love to knit, but I'm just not into it. Part of the problem is that I just have a ton going on right now and I have this ridiculous cold that makes me want to sleep all the time. Like literally, I'm tired by noon (and I'm 98% certain its not mono, I can still function!). Anyway, I thought posting some pics on here might get me motivated to get the second one done.

All I have are photos of the outer shell of the first mitten. I'm about done with the lining of the first and I have the first third of the second mitten done as well. I REALLY want them done before I leave for India so that I don't have any pressure when I return!

And just for fun, here's a cute pic of my family on our trip to the Indiana Dunes on Labor Day. Aren't I a lucky woman??!