Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

It is that time of the year where we reflect back, and account for all the things we have accomplished or not accomplished. Last year as part of my new years resolution, I decided that I wanted to master my knitting skills and watch my etsy shop grow. One way I would do this is by creating 52 projects one project for each  week of the year (Yeaaa Right).

Before 2012, the only thing I could knit were blankets and scarves. B-O-R-I-N-G. I have now learned how to use double pointed needles (DPNs) which has allowed me to knit things in the the round. Such as hats, mittens, socks, sweaters, stuff animals etc...Once I figured this out, it felt as if could knit anything.


Here is a blanket that I made for my daughter. Its filled with my favorite colors from Vana's Choice. Its a lot like a prayer shawls. It wraps around her for times mommy cant snuggle. 

These HexiPuffs will be sewn together to make the beekeepers quilt by tinyowlknits. Once I make about 300 of them. Its a great way to use up.

Currently I just finished a hot pink for my dear cousin, and one black one for another cousin. Here are some that I have made and actually photographed. The first one was used by just using red heart soft yarn in a off white color. The second one I used by using Homespun By Lion Brand, which worked up quickly and nicely. 

I have about three sweaters in progress. I just don't have the patience to photograph everything. But here is one picture of a kimono wrap that I am making for my daughter. Unfortunately its on the back burner because I have ran out of the yarn. My local yarn shop no longer carries the yarn and the yarn company no longer makes the yarn I am needing. I am saving up my money to buy it from other online yarn shops to complete it.

I have a dark brown and beige striped sweater using Lion Brand Fisher-mans Wool. That I was making by using the Harry Potter Sweater pattern 

Currently I am learning how to make adult socks. I am using Patons Kroy Sock yarn. Will post pictures soon. I have came a long ways in my knitted. I would have never thought that I could be making hats, sweaters, mittens, and socks. I owe most of this to wonderful youtube. There are many people there who have set up tutorials explaining what the different techniques and stitches are. It has helped. If you feel like something is beyond your skill level , go out there and keep trying until you get the hold of things. Now only if I can get a hold of spinning wool for yarn. 


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Heaven is for Real Book Review

I normally do not do book reviews, but I wanted to share a life changing book that I just finished reading. Earlier this Spring a friend from church gifted me this book called Heaven is for Real By Todd Burpo. Here is the quickest review: The book is a true story about a boy who became very ill and was at deaths door. During his 'dying' moments this boy had a experience in heaven that changed their family forever. As soon as I started reading, I couldn't stop turning the pages. I won't give the whole story away but the booked changed how I imagined heaven and my heavenly father to be. 

One thing I took from this, is that God really loves us like his own children. We would do anything for our children right? Some of us may even take a bullet for our children. God gave his only son Jesus as a ransom for our sins because he LOVED us so much. Imagine if you had to watch your child suffer in agony like Jesus did. You would be very tempted to put an end to it immediately. I believe God had to turn his back from his son because if he kept watching, he would not be able to follow through with it. I am not sure if it took me being a mother to understand this, but this example changed my perspective in the relationship God wants to have with us. 

I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cables Oh My!

Well I created an infinity scarf for myself about a week ago and wanted a matching hat. I wanted cables so I found this pattern off of ravelry called the Chunky Cable Hat by Modern Lace Tin Can Knits and instantly fell in love. I did not have a chunky yarn on hand but I used the yarn I had anyways. Well since I have been on vacation I couldn't afford to buy any premium yarns, so Red Heart soft yarn had to do. Overall the hat turned out great, some areas looked a little loose but overall it looks great in person (I never say this about my own knits). Only one problem the hat was a few inches too short. I immediately placed it on my toddlers head and it fit perfectly. Needless to say, she will be looking good this winter.

I would also like to mention that this was my first project that I have completed with a cable design. Next obstacle lace.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Candy Corn Hats

When I think of fall several things come to mind; the leaves changing color then falling, Halloween, the harvest before winter, and Thanksgiving. So as many of you know I love to crochet and knit, and wanted to find something to make that my daughter could wear during this fall. So as I was searching through the many Ravelry knit and crochet patterns I found a pattern designed by Sarah Sagaser that was called the Candy Corn Hat. I fell in love with this pattern because it was super easy to knit with circular needles, and within the pattern it had clear directions how to make this hat for babies, younger children and adults. When I made this hat I used Vanas Choice Color Mustard for the yellow part and Red Heart Soft Yarn for the orange and white parts. What's nice about this pattern and yarn combination is that the hats have lots of room for stretching the ribbing of the hat is almost like an elastic feel.

As soon as I posted this hat on my facebook page I had an overwhelming response of people who wanted me to make them this hat. Many family members and friends that is. I do sell this hat in my etsy store for 10 dollars.

If you are going to a birthday party or need to make a last minute gift for a friend this is the pattern. Its super easy and took only about two hours to whip out. Plus it doesn't require that much yarn. 

Hope you feel inspired! 


Friday, September 7, 2012

The Black Shard By Victoria Simcox Giveaway

The Black Shard 

By Victoria Simcox

Approximately 267 Pages long, about 1 to 2 pictures per chapter. Middle School Age Read 9-13.

In the Black Shard a sequel to the Magic Warble Kristina and some of her school mates are taken back to Bernovem...into a thrilling and often dangerous adventure. 

Kristina's stay at the summer horse camp has been horrible, all because of two people; Hester and Davina who make her life miserable. When a cruel prank from Hester goes terribly wrong, the three girls find themselves back into the magical land of Bernovem. In Bernovem Kristina is very excited because she gets to see her friend Prince Werriem. When Prince Werriem invites her to sail with him on his ship to his homeland Tezerel, putting it simply Kristina cannot refuse. 

Reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal and best of all her friend Werriem, things appear that they couldn't get any better for Kristina. But when Werriem becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone known as the 'Black Shard', Kristina becomes haunted by this ghost like hag. Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to posses her soul, Kristina will see that it is her weakest moment  that she will encounter more strength than she has ever known. 

Authors Biography
Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children's Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends. 

Victoria Simcox Author of Sequel The Black Shard

Three lucky readers will have the Opportunity to win a digital copy of the book The Black Shard. This is a fun read that can be downloaded to a Sony reader, ipad etc.

Winners will be notified shortly after giveaway has ended. Winners must respond within 24 hours to claim their copy. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Simple Day In Oregon

I believe as parents, many of us find ourselves trying to live through our children. Making up for the things we never had, or got to do, our live our dreams through them. When I became a military spouse I left my life in Oregon Mountains to follow my husband wherever he was stationed. I love being an Army wife, and find it fun and adventurous but at the same time I miss my simple life that I once had. 

Ember and I have the opportunity to travel from our home in Germany to back home in Oregon. The majority of my family lives in the mountains and most of my family lives a simple lifestyle.Because we are staying with my grandmother the nearest city is at a minimum of 30 minutes away. Those of you who have a toddler finding things for them to do can be challenging. Especially when toys are limited. 

My daughter Ember loves helping and gathering things. Since my grandparents have fruit trees growing throughout their property I decided to have her gather snacks for her and her great grandparents. We first went to the plum tree and ember gathered the 'good' plums. I thought this was a fun thing for her to do; and its the same concept as Easter egg hunting. 

Ember Plum Hunt
So after a few minutes gathering plums we walked to the other side of my grandparents property to the apple trees. The apples are not completely ready but I allowed Ember to pick a few for her snacks. Someday when my husband and I retire, we will buy a house with land, have my own apple trees and will bake apple pies for my husband!

The apple tree is blooming.

If you look hard enough there are many things you can find to occupy your child time. When I was a child my sisters and I  use to take the seeds that bloomed from the old dandelions and would blow them into the air thinking it was our wishes. So I pass this little old custom on too my daughter. Its fun to watch her get excited as the wind carries the seeds in the air. 

The dandelions are blooming everywhere.

Then we finished off our day with her jumping around on the trampoline. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

4th Times A Charm?

Some of you may know that I have been trying for 3 months now to make it back home to Germany. I made the 3 hour trek to McChord Washington. Because we had arrived earlier than expected we made a detour and ate at the Denny's restaurant. I had a nice lumberjack breakfast which included; 2 pancakes, two eggs, 2 sausages, 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of ham, and their famous hash browns. It had been a while since I ate out and it was well enjoyed. 

We arrived early to the air port and got put on check in/ sign in list and waited for the roll call. It was not until about 10 minutes before roll call two families showed up, one with 4 members and the other with 5 members. To make a long story short, I got bumped off the list and once again didn't get to make the flight. Since the last 3 flights were cancelled this was somewhat disappointing. Maybe I am wrong, but I went on this trip with little expectations that things were going to go my way. 

Ember my little princess took the news better than I thought she would. The last 3 times were filled with crying for about an hour, tantrums, and missing her daddy. It breaks my heart to tell her she can't go bye bye on the air plane because she doesn't understand why. But this time she did fine, didn't whine or throw a fit. 

As we were making the 3 hour trip back to Oregon, I decided that after being up for 36 hours I could not stay up any longer unless I had some caffeine. So we stopped by this local Star Bucks cafe and if you know anything about me, I love anything with pumpkin spice. The day I went to Star Bucks was the day where they launched their Fall flavors. So I ordered a grande white mocha with a splash of pumpkin spice, and a pumpkin cheese muffin. Delicious! Not only that, the Washington Seattle coffee mug was there. I already had the Portland, Oregon mug so I was happy that my collection was starting to grow. 

I just love these Starbucks city mugs! This is the second mug that will  be added to my collection. Some of my friends have about 30 different mugs from different cities that they have been to. How many mugs do you have? I take pride of my coffee and tea time. 

Although my morning started off crummy the scenic view of Mt. Rainier , Mt. St. Helen's, and Mt. Hood is breathtaking (Sorry I don't have any pictures). There was an abundance of different types of timber, natural lakes, and rivers such as the Willamette, and wild flower blooming everywhere. There was a slight breeze in the air. The temperature was not too hot but not too cold. The sun shone just enough on the skin to warm the bones. This is a place I would like to call home someday. 

It is now noon! I have made it to northern Washington and back decided where I want to possibly live someday. Its easy to point out the negatives, but when you search for the positives, your day will shine much brighter! 

Take care


Saturday, September 1, 2012

How To Make Your Own Knitting Needles

There are so many instances where I have traveled or went on a vacation somewhere and wished I had bought my knitting needles. Well I currently live in Germany  but I am on a extended vacation in Oregon. To make a long story short I had this urge to knit but no needles. I didn't want to go out to the store and buy another pair of knitting needles when I had about 50 different types at home. I once heard of people making their own knitting needles but I never put much thought or effort into making a pair until I became desperate. 

Making your own knitting needles is relatively easy. The process begins by searching for that perfect pair of twigs that you can form into needles. My grandparents recently trimmed the tree limbs of their silver maples. Since the branches had been recently trimmed the wood was still fairly fresh and NOT dry, so I chose a pair of twigs that I liked. Dry wood cracks and breaks easily so that is why it is important to choose a more fresh wood. The second part of the process, is removing of the bark from the stick. Since I was impatient I just roughly sanded over the bark and bumps on the stick with an emery board (sand paper can work as well). Once everything was fairly smooth, I then took a pencil sharpener to form a tip. For double pointed needles form a tip on each end. Once you have formed the tips it is important to take the sand paper or emery board and smooth out ALL rough edges. Then if you would like your needles to last longer take the time to treat the wood. Adding a clear nail polish will help protect the wood from chipping and prevent snags. 

When I first started knitting with my homemade knitting needles, I  used a finer and more soft yarn. I discovered that the yarn easily snagged. I am sure that this could be fixed if you treated the wood, or actually took all the bark off. Then I tried an acrylic yarn like Red Heart Super Saver and it didn't even snag, and the knitting process was easy. 

Making your own knitting needles is one way to cut back on craft costs. However for some projects where gauging is important homemade needles may not be ideal. These are unique and you can add character by gluing ac-corns at the ends, buttons, and thimbles. If you mastered the art of making knitting needles out of sticks then you can make special gifts for friends and family.

My way of making knitting needles may not work for everyone. I see much room for improvement. This is one of those types of projects where you can make it unique and your own. 

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Granny Squares

Granny Squares

Recently I have been wanting to make something with a camo type yarn and a bright color. Because I am suppose to be making my trip back to Germany soon, I didn't want to embark on a difficult knitting or crochet project. I have done baby blankets in the past and they usually take about a day or two to crochet. However, I didn't want to just make any blanket, it had to be challenging for me to want to finish it.

Often I will get many questions about knitting or crochet. Questions like, "how do you purl again?" or, "whats the treble crochet?" However, I am ashamed to say that I have NEVER made a granny square. How embarrassing right? So I Google patterns and tutorials on how to crochet a basic granny square and I came across a very useful website called craftsylish the contributing author Linda Permann demonstrated so beautifully step by step how to crochet a granny square. The author also gave her bit of two sense that made this daunting task easier.

Once I made my first granny square, I caught on and was able to whip out a square less than 5 minutes. I experimented with different color variations with the Red Heart camo and hot pink yarns.

I am not finished. However, I would like to share my milestone. Here are the pictures of the granny squares I have completed thus far.

I am not sure how I feel about the color choices. It seems a little gaudy, but perhaps it can be used for a nice blanket for a hunting or camping trip. Or I could make a granny blanket just out of the pink squares. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Winners of the Magic Warble Giveaway

The Winners of the Magic Marble giveaway by Victoria Simcox; are Shanda Kendall and Giedre Sliumbra. We will be hosting the sequel to Magic Warble The Black Shard Soon. Keep checking back. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Baa Baa Black Sheet Have You Any Wool?

Baa Baa Black Sheep Have You Any Wool?

My dream job would to work for a yarn shop and just knit all day. I absolutely enjoy knitting and its a great pastime to quit bad habits, pass time, and calm the mind. It may sound silly to some, but I dream of having a few alpacas and sheep for the simplicity of using their coat for yarn. I never really put much thought in the yarn making process. 

I have always adored art yarn but could never bring myself to buy the costly art yarns that range from $30-40 a skein. So I decided its about time I teach myself how to spin yarn. I went to the local yarn store here in Sandy and bought a yarn spindle and a bag of merino wool roving. A total cost of about $27.00. Its cheaper then buying a skein of art yarn so what the heck. I thought spinning yarn would be very easy, but it turns out that its trickier than I thought. My first attempts my roving kept kinking up and I could not manage to make yarn without it either being so thin is breaks or two thick and uneven. 

I realized that yarn spinning is not going to happen overnight and that it is going to take much practice like it did learning how to knit and crochet. I feel that I have almost mastered both but I remember when I had a moment where it seemed that things just clicked. 

I was however, able to form about a 1 oz ball of yarn. The gage in the yarn however varied greatly. Because I am in the process trying to get back to my husband in Germany all my knitting supplies were sent home. The circulars that I do have, had my knitted prayer shawl on them. And the only crochet hook I had was a size N hook. Huge. But I said what the heck I have enough yarn for a newborn hat. I am pleased at how the variety in gage gave an interesting range of textures throughout the hat. 

Now I need to figure out what projects I want to start once I figure out how to spin roving correctly. 

Note Be Sure to Check out my blog giveaway

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Magic Warble By Victoria Simcox Giveaway

Magic Warble By Victoria Simcox Giveaway

Magic Warble Book Information

Approximately 267 Pages long, about 1 to 2 pictures per chapter. Middle School Age Read 9-13.

Dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals and an evil queen. All of these can be found in The Magic Warble, an enchanting tale of friendship and adventure. 

12 Year Old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in school. The kids all tease her and she never seems to fit in. One Christmas Kirstina received an unusual gift and finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem the home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and the evil queen Sentiz. 

In Bernovem Kristina not only fits in, she is honored as "the chosen one" the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz's control. However, it is not quite simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift that she was given, the famous "Magic Warble"  in its final resting place. And she must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queens "Zelblocks" before she reaches her final destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, as well as an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.  

Authors Biography

Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children's Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends. 

Three lucky readers will have the Opportunity to win a digital copy of the book. This is a fun read that can be downloaded to a Sony reader, ipad etc..that will make for a great read. 

Winners will be notified shortly after giveaway has ended. Winners must respond within 24 hours to claim their copy. 

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Many Uses Of Vinegar!

The Many Uses Of Vinegar!

Ever since I was a young girl, it always seemed like my grandmother was always talking about vinegar. She would tell me things like, "if ever you feel like sickness is coming on; take a swig of vinegar, take vinegar pill, or eat a pickle ('cause you know it has vinegar in it'). She would also add on, "I take vinegar every day and because of this I have not had the cold or flu in about twenty years." The grandchildren always thought she was crazy! But it turns out my grandmother knew what she was talking about. 

According to Heinz (n.d.), " vinegar is made up of sun-ripened grains and crystal clear water."

There are many uses that vinegar can be used with. Today I have gathered up a few of the most common ways. Some of them you may or may not have thought of.

Natural Rise Aid; Simply add a cup of white vinegar to the dishwasher and it will help eliminate the spots and any film. (I have recently done this and I was impressed out how clear my glass came out to be).

Non-Stick Stain Remover: Take a cloth and soak it in white vinegar and rub into your discolored pots and it should slowly being to remove stains and preserve your cookware. 

Clogged Kitchen Pipes from Grease?: Simply add 1-1/2 cups of white vinegar with about a 1/2 cup of baking soda and pour down drain. Seal the drain and wait about a half an hour then turn on faucet and rise. 

Ant Problems: Combine equal parts vinegar and equal parts water and mop or spray in areas where ants are prevalent

Mopping: I like to add about 1-2 cups to my bucket of hot water to mop my floors. White vinegar does not leave residue and is recommended for cleaning wood floors. 

Sunburns: take a moist cloth and add some vinegar then dab on skin. This will reduce the redness which will help with the pain. If you burn easily, like me one thing my grandmother would tell me to do is soak in a bath made of luke warm water and several cups of vinegar. This sounds crazy but has worked every time. Especially with the second degree burns that leave blisters!

High Blood Sugar: According to Web Md taking two tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar before bedtime can reduce blood sugar levels by 4-6%. (Wish I knew this when I was pregnant).

Sore Throat: I have been diagnosed with chronic tonsillitis. After having a sore throat for 4 months I gargled some vinegar with water as hot as I could stand it. Guess what my throat felt so much better afterwards. 

Heartburn: There are some people that claim that mixing; 1 Tbs of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with 4oz of water after a meal can help with heartburn. 

Easy Marinade: Add one cup of white/cider/wine vinegar with one cup of liquid bullion (Haven't tried this let me know how it works out for you). 

No More Cracking Eggs: For every quart of water you boil your eggs with add two Tbs of  white vinegar. This should help prevent cracking and make it easier to peel the eggs. 

No Buttermilk In The Pantry ?: If you are needing some buttermilk but do not have any in stock. Add a Tbs to regular milk and problem solved. It now works the same as buttermilk. 

Make Veggies Last Longer: Notice that your veggies are starting to go bad? Soak them in some cold water and add about a 1-2 Tbs per quart. This should revive your veggies. 

Odors: Pour about 2 cups of white vinegar to your laundry and it will remove odors. It even absorbs cigarette smoke. 

Removes Stains: Blot the stain on your clothing with a wet cloth that has been soaked in undiluted white vinegar and let it sit for 24 hours and it should remove most stains, including wine and cola. 

Protect colors: Immerse your clothing in full strength vinegar and it will help preserve the color of your clothing. 

There are so many many ways vinegar can be used. Its safe for babies and pets and it contains no harsh chemicals. You can buy a large container of vinegar for no more than 3-4 dollars. I use vinegar with everything. It has cut down the cost of cleaning supplies tremendously. For more information about how to use vinegar check out Heinz Vinegar site here:

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crochet Newborn Bow Beanie

Crochet Newborn Bow Beanie & Crochet Bow Pattern &Yarn Review

As I mentioned in my last posting, I have too much yarn. So I have been going on the baby beanie making frenzy. This is a handmade crochet beanie that I attached a bow to. My Arts and Craft Store is now selling a decent yarn other than Red Heart Super Saver. So a few months ago in February I bought about 20 skeins of the Vana's Choice by Lion Brand Yarn (linen and Magenta Colors). By far it has been the best acrylic yarn I have worked with. Unlike other acrylic yarns, this one does not leave your hands feeling as sweaty etc.. its easy to work with and best of all its SOFT! I love the softness because its great for babies, kids, and even adults. Who wants to wear something made out of itchy yarn. Any who this is what I made my Sunday morning!

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I am selling this hat at my vanessahogan03 etsy store for $5.00!

Instructions For Crochet Hair Bow:
Row 1.)Chain 25 Stitches
Row 2.)Half Double Crochet (HDC) to end, then turn work.
Row 3.)Chain up 2 Stitches, then HDC to end, then turn work. 
Row 4.)Chain up 2 Stitches, then HDC to end, then turn work
Row 5.)Chain up 2 Stitches, then HDC to end, then turn work
Row 6.) Chain up 1 Stitch, then Single Crochet to end and finish off. 

Right now you should have a strip of fabric that you had just created. Sew opposite ends of the fabric together. Just take a craft needle and weave through the ends. 

Your now sewn work, will look like a childs headband. 

Organize your fabric so that the sewn seam is in the back center. 

Now pinch the center of your fabric  and start wrapping yarn around the center a few times. It should begin looking like the bow in the picture. Once you like the way it looks tie it off in the back. Make sure you leave a long strand if you want to sew your bow on a hat or any other work. This bow would also be great on a metal hair clip etc..I see some future projects in the future!

Disclaimer: I was not sent the above product mentioned for review. This review is 100% my opinion and has not been edited or reviewed by anyone. I was not compensated in any other way for this product review.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Weekend **GIVEAWAY**

My Weekend

Well this weekend has been very busy! Here is what my weekend consisted of;
*My husbands birthday
*Finishing up my school finals.
*Decluttering house and cleaning EVERYTHING
*And working on some hats to finally get my etsy shop going.

I have one more day until my weekend is over. My Sunday will consist of work and listing products on my etsy store.

I have absolutely too much yarn. Does a 20 gallon tote & plus sound like too much? It does! So I have crocheted 4 Newborn Boy Hats. This giveaway would make a great baby shower gift or a great starter collection for your little one.

So here is what is in the giveaway: enter to win!