Friday, August 28, 2020

Cozy wraps and cozy mysteries as we move towards fall...

Happy Friday everyone, it's hard to believe that it's the end of August, but here we are. I wish I could say that I felt like September will be better, but I don't think that it will, and all we can do at this point is keep up our spirits and sense of humor about it! :-0 The semester starts at the university for which I work on Monday, but all of my classes will be totally online. I'm actually rather sad about it, but it is what it is. I miss my colleagues so much, and I'll miss the students. At least I'll be home (working, but still home) if the kids need to be home from school. We'll try focusing on the positives!

I've definitely been working on lots of happy distractions lately, and I hope you have as well! My autumn quilted bird bag from Bradford Exchange arrived this week, and looking at it immediately lifts my spirits:

Just look at those cute blue jay crests!

And, as ever, I've been crafting. This week, I finished a wrap for my good friend Emily, and this pattern is just super cozy!

Pattern is Perfect Pockets Shawl

Unfortunately, it's been so humid that I was sweltering when I took this photo :-0 but soon it'll be time for cozy wraps, and now Emily will be all set! If you crochet, even if you're a beginner, you'll be able to make this wrap! YouTube is our friend, and I had to watch a video on the wrapped stitch that appears in this pattern, but after that I was good to go. :)

I'm also back to my cozy mysteries, and becoming absorbed in the universe of the Amish Candy Shop series by Amanda Flower is exactly what the doctor ordered right about now. There are a number of books in the series, and my current position is with this Mother's Day themed installment:

After this is the very newest book, "Marshmallow Malice," so let the candy shop antics reign on! 

This week I was also chatting with my friend Irena, who mentioned this book:

...which immediately went onto my Amazon wish list for Christmas, hee hee. Book recommendations always stimulate my mind and creativity! Do you have any new books that you've read recently, or that are in your queue, to add to our list? Pop them into the comments! :-)

Friday, August 21, 2020

Early fall novenas, and knitted gnomes and garments that are no longer a mystery!

Hello all, and I hope that you are having a wonderful week! It's a week of novenas on my end, and I have to say that I am enjoying it so, so much. I finished up Our Lady Undoer of Knots on Sunday, and I think I already have the answers to the questions I was praying about (not necessarily the ones I was hoping for in all cases, but answers are answers, yes?). I also started St. Monica on Tuesday. I had forgotten that her feast is in late August, and I absolutely love this one! I pray for conversions of heart back to faith, and it always gives me so much solace. Coming up in the early part of autumn, we have the archangels (Sept. 29th), St. Jerome (patron saint of librarians, Sept. 30th), St. Therese (Oct. 1st), and guardian angels (October 2nd). It's a wealth of riches! I think I'm going to start updating and publishing the novenas tab on the blog again, with what novena I'm currently praying and the link to the relevant prayers. Look for that to start again in September if you'd like to follow along. :-)

Speaking of prayer, both of my kids are slated to go back to school full time in early September. Since they go to Catholic schools, the lower numbers of enrolled kids means that they can accommodate the health mandates more easily. My kids really miss their school environments, and so I'm happy it worked out this way, although I'm worried about how it will go and if it will last. All we can do at this point is pray for the best! My teaching this semester will be mostly, if not all, online, which I'm a little sad about, but we'll get there.

To distract myself, I've been crafting, as per my pandemic usual. ;-) The mystery gnome that I was knitting is no longer a mystery, so meet the new member of the family!

Pattern is Nice to Gnome You

He is currently frolicking with our house plants, and I'm just so pleased with how he came out! This is my first gnome, and apparently there is a whole gnome crafting universe out there, WHO KNEW?! I am totally into this now. This designer specializes in knitted gnomes. Did you ever? And her next gnome MKAL (mystery knit-along) will take place during Advent.


I literally cannot wait! I'm so excited for this!

I also finished the red cotton top that I was knitting for my mother-in-law:

Pattern is Kelda Tee

I kinda wanted to keep it :-0, but I managed to resist. But not before purchasing yarn to make one for myself in another colorway. ;-)

I'm also hard at work on my Advent doily:

Pattern is Wispweave Oval

This one is just SO PRETTY. The pattern is definitely a bit challenging for a beginning doily crocheter like myself, but so far the progress is good, albeit slow. I just love the different textures that this design is forming! I'm thinking I can use it for under our Advent wreath. The border is going to be silver. 😍

Do you have any novena plans coming up this fall? What is your September looking like? I know it doesn't look like it usually does for any of us! I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Knitting mystery gnomes, and other crafty delights...

Happy Friday everyone, and I hope your week was smashing! Well, I know a lot of things are decidedly NOT smashing right now, at least not in a good way. ;-) But I think things are slowly getting better, and we've gotta hang on to that positivity!

*virtual high five!*

Thank you for all of the lovely comments about Anne's 1st Communion! Even though the backdrop was not one I could have ever foreseen, it was a beautiful day, and I truly thought of all of you and your encouragement on that day! It just meant the world to me. 💗

This week I have been CRAFTY, and I've been promising a crafty post! Here we go. 😎 I've been working on a cotton top for my mother-in-law, and I'm almost finished!

Pattern is Kelda Tee from the Knit Picks Equinox Cotton Collection

Just have to finish the second sleeve, pickup and knit the neckline, and weave in what feels like 533 ends despite it all being a single color. :-0 This was a quick knit, and I highly recommend this collection! All of the designs are just stunning.

And DOILYS, who isn't excited about this one?! I've been promising that I would show the comparison photo of the 2 doilys that I made in the same pattern, one with size #3 thread, and one with size #10, and here it is:

Pattern is Simple Beginners Doily

Size #10 is the more traditional of the two for crochet thread, and it lends a less chunky feel for sure, but I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the larger #3 thread. It was a bit easier for me to see and work with, too. I've added a few more colors in that size to my collection. 😇

Going to make an Advent doily!

And in other exciting doily news:

Pattern is Ariel Snowflake

My first snowflake! This is the #10 thread, and it was HARD. 😂 But I'm glad I persevered, I'm happy with how it turned out! Although our snowflake friend does seem to be leaning into the breeze a bit, but hey, nobody's perfect. ;-) I'm thinking of making these as coaster sets for Christmas gifts!

But the thing I'm most excited about this week is this in-progress guy:

Nice to Gnome You MKAL

Yes, I'm knitting a gnome! My very first gnome, to be exact. I'm in love with him, don't tell Mike. 😂 And, AND it's a MYSTERY GNOME! Have you ever heard of anything quite this fun before? I'm betting you have not. ;-)

Every 2 days you receive a clue with instructional videos, and I am finding this process to be just an absolute kick. I'm currently working on clue 5, which is pretty far in advance of this photo, because I want to keep the mystery alive for anybody who may want to mystery gnome -along with me. :-0 I cannot even tell you the lift this has given me. Mystery gnomes, did you ever? Every pandemic needs a mystery gnome!

All right, how was your week? I finished up the Our Lady Undoer of Knots novena today, and it was absolutely delightful. I'm starting St. Monica on Tuesday, anybody want to join me?! Let's leave our intentions in the comments!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Making a lovely milestone out of pandemic challenges...

Happy August, everyone! I was going to chat about crafty things today, after updating everyone about Anne's First Communion, but I decided to save crafts for next week, and devote this whole post to the big day last Sunday, and to assorted other Catholic, uplifty things. 


As I mentioned last week, I was grateful that Anne's school parish was able to reschedule First Communion this summer, and that we wouldn't have to wait any longer. But let's just be honest, the current coronavirus restrictions are a bit of a bummer. We understand why they are there, but any type of milestone this year has had a depressing cloud hung over it's head, and it's not always easy to deal with. BUT, Anne was able to be with 7 of her classmates at the mass, and also have her grandparents there, which was absolutely awesome. Dianne noted last week in the comments that focusing on the positives really helps, and she's right! There were a lot of positives about the experience. 

Anne in her dress and veil before mass!

The day was very humid (and we don't have air conditioning! :-0) but we managed to yank on our dress clothes fairly successfully and made it to the church on time. There were 8 first communicants, plus other members of the parish attending the noon mass. The mass itself was lovely, we were so glad to have our parents there, and there was a professional photographer present to capture a few moments with each young communicant, which made me very happy. The children were all able to receive the Eucharist for the first time in a beautiful and reverent fashion.

Social distancing photo op with Father

Afterwards, we were able to have our parents back with us to our house for pizza and cake, and it all went very well. Even though it wasn't the completely traditional experience I was looking forward to, I'm grateful that Anne has reached this milestone and that it went without a hitch. I think her preparation suffered a bit because of the pandemic, and I'm looking forward to working with her this fall and Advent to grow deeper in her faith. 

In other Catholic news, the Our Lady Undoer of Knots novena started yesterday, and I'm praying it with regards to discernment for the fall and the kids' schooling. I'm linking it here if you would like to join in! It'll wrap up on the feast of St. Maximillian Kolbe. 😍 If you have intentions for the novena, feel free to leave them below and we can all pray for each other!