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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Yarn Along: More Fair News (Late)



So, I wondered why there was no knitted Best in Class ribbon at the fair. It turns out that I won it for my Equinox sweater! The ribbon wasn't on there the first day of fair (which was when I originally took photos). I also picked up a second most original ribbon for my "striped" shawl. Most of my knitting this past week has been for proposals that I can't share here. There has been a little progress on Amira's cropped hoodie, also, but I only brought that out with me when I was going somewhere that I couldn't be focusing on my notes and graphs. I didn't even bother photographing that, because I'm just at the end of the ribbing.

This weekend, I have a swatch done for a proposal to a knitting magazine and am working on the writing and sketching. I have one finished and one almost done for a yarn company, with two more to do. I have an idea sketched and begun for an online pattern magazine/aggregate. I'll be swatching for something in a similar vein to put together an e-book of patterns to publish myself once the exclusivity contract runs out if my four are accepted with the yarn company, or to self-publish sooner with another design already published and one in the idea phase now, if they are not accepted. The last two things I'm working on right now are related, similar, spring/early summer garments for babies and toddlers/children for a knitting magazine's spring issue. The first is due the third of September, most of the rest are due around mid-September, and the final two are due at the end of September, so I have a lot of work on my plate right now. The good news is that we are completely busy with preparations for school, a bathroom remodel, Alexander's college program, Rich is slammed at work, and we have eight children to raise, so we have all the time and energy in the world! I'm only a little stressed out about all of this. But excited, too. I am so hopeful that I might finally get a little break that would make my name and designs a little more familiar to knitters out there.

Here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. There hasn't been a lot posted there in a while, but your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns and that helps. Thank you!


My reading this week consists mostly of a Romans study we're doing with a parish back in the area where we used to live. They are using Google Groups so we can participate, even from here. There is a video series by N.T. Wright that we are watching along with it, which you can follow along with, too, if you like. We will be on week three next Thursday. This is the schedule of reading and videos from our priest, if you are interested.

Week 1:
- Bible: Read (or listen to) -- the book of Romans [Yes, the whole letter, from cover to cover. It takes less than an hour.]
- Read -- Paul for Everyone: Romans, Part One (For Everyone): Introduction
- Read -- Romans (N. T. Wright for Everyone Bible Study Guides): Getting the Most out of Romans

This are the videos by N.T. Wright for week 1:
[Most weeks we will only have one video. However, the background information is very important to consider in the letter.]

Introduction --
Context and Setting --

IMPORTANT TIME SAVING NOTE!!!: On Youtube you can listen at 1.25, 1.5 or 2 times normal speed. I almost always listen at a faster speed. This is available by clicking on the settings icon next to the CC options in the lower right side of the video window.

Week 2:
- Bible: Romans Ch 1 and 2
- Paul for Everyone: Romans Part 1 Chapters 1 and 2
- Video: (NT Wright On The Book Of Romans - 10 Part Series - Part 3 of 10)
- Romans Study Guide: Chapters 1 and 2 [I encourage you to work every question. At least read the questions. Bishop Wright includes teaching attached to each question. Our discussions will focus on the questions listed with each week.]
> Ch 1: Romans 1:1-17 and questions: 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11
> Ch 2: Romans 1:18-2:16 and questions: 1-13

Week 3:
- Bible: Romans 3-4
- Paul for Everyone Part 1 Chapters 3-4
-Video: (NT Wright On The Book Of Romans - 10 Part Series - Part 4 of 10)
- Romans Study Guide Chapters 3-5:
> Ch 3: Romans 2:17-3:8 questions: 1,2, 5, 7, 8, 10
> Ch 4: Romans 3:9-31 questions: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 12, 13
> Ch 5: Romans 4:1-25 questions: 1-4, 7, 10

Week 4:
- Bible: Romans 5-6
- Paul for Everyone Part 1 Chapters 5-6
- Video: (NT Wright On The Book Of Romans - 10 Part Series - Part 5 of 10)
- Romans Study Guide: Chapters 6-7
> Ch 6: Romans 5 questions: 1, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11
> Ch 7: Romans 6 questions: 1, 5, 8, 10, 12

Week 5:
- Bible: Romans 7-8
- Paul for Everyone Part 1 Chapters 7-8
- Video: (NT Wright On The Book Of Romans - 10 Part Series - Part 6 of 10)
- Romans Study Guide: Chapters 8-10
> Ch 8: Romans 7 questions 1, 3-5, 7, 11, 12
> Ch 9: Romans 8:1-17 questions: 1, 3, 5-7, 13
> Ch 10: Romans 8:18-39 questions: 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11

I believe we'll be doing the second half at a different time.




Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Menu Plan: August 23 - 29


This is another busy week, but it's at least slowing down a little. Mariam's birthday is this week, and her name day is this week. We are down to one bathroom while we fix the drywall and sink and toilet in our upstairs bathroom. Which means we are using the boys' gross bathroom downstairs. I sent them in with scrub brushes and disinfectant after I had to use it once.

We have a couple repeats this week, but I expected that. We had so much leftover from our fair food that we brought some with us on the first day for our lunch and only bought dinner and snacks/treats there. Since Rich worked the fair booth every day but the first, and I worked every day but the first two, we are both recovering a bit, too.

As usual, fall began today. It always comes the Monday following fair week. We get two or three weeks of fall and then winter starts. That's kind of depressing. Rich is coming up with ways to extend our garden, because we are getting late snap peas and all sorts of lovely things and we'd like to keep harvesting as long as we can.

Below, I include our daily Bible readings which we use to read through the entire Bible each year. We read through all of the Old Testament and New Testament, reading the Psalms and Proverbs twice. Remember that the Psalms are according to eastern numbering in our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles (II Kings is II Samuel in the west, III Kings is I Kings, and IV Kings is II Kings, I Ezra is also called I Esdras in other translations, II Ezra is often translated as Ezra or II Esdras).

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Yarn Along: Fair Ribbons!








Click on each photo to see project or pattern information.

All of my fair entries won first prize, and one even received the most original ribbon. A lady with a crocheted lace tablecloth took the best in class. I have knit a little more on Amira's cropped hoodie for ballet this year, and worked more on swatches and prototypes for design submissions. Like this hat, which is almost how I want the design, but not quite. It's still a nice hat, and I intend to use it as a baby gift, but the cables aren't quite as I envisioned, so I'm working on prototype #2 right now (which I won't be able to share here unless it, too, falls short of my idea).


Here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. There hasn't been a lot posted there in a while, but your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns and that helps. Thank you!

This month is the last month of Paradise Fibers' Spokane/PNW themed yarn club. I automatically roll over to the new club unless I cancel, so I'm keeping my ears open for details about it so I can decide if I want to continue. I really liked the color of this month's shipment and it is a yarn company I like, too.


Baah Sonoma in Blue Paradise

I finished Emma with the kids and finished Under the Duvet: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and Other Calamities for myself, but haven't moved back to my other books or started a new one.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On and Yarn Fanatic Party.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Menu Plan: August 16 - 22


It is fair week! And we are slammed! This menu plan is mostly a guideline, because who knows what will happen while we are working our neighborhood ice cream booth at the fair? I have three recipes to post, and a post I've been meaning to finish for over a month, a randomania post, and another post planned for next month about the book with Saint Catherine in it. But I am doubtful that those will happen before Sunday. Oh, and it is Jerome's birthday this week, too, so we're busy with things for him as well. He turned three the year we moved here and now he is nine! I'm going to work hard to get my yarn along post done, because I want to brag share if I have ribbons at the fair.

We're getting Alexander ready for his college classes this fall. There are two things left to do, one is easier than the other. The first requires dealing with the government school district, which can be antagonistic to homeschoolers. So, we'd appreciate prayers there. The other is just paying the fees, which are lower than I expected them to be, actually. Alexander is already registered for his classes, has his student ID, and is excited to get started. We do not want a bureaucrat, who thinks she has the authority of our son's education, to mar that in any way. So, I'm going in with his transcript (which covers nearly three quarters of the credits required to graduate from high school already, even though he is only a junior this fall), a big smile, nice clothes and makeup, and just saying that "We understand that we need a letter from the high school counselor or principal to complete the process for his admittance to the college. Here is his transcript, we are not seeking a diploma from the high school. Thank you!" We'll see how it goes.

On top of all of this, we gleaned a ton of corn, so have been blanching, cutting, and freezing corn forever, plus wrapping entire ears for freezing, plus eating a ton of it. We served some for our fair food night tonight, too. Our friends brought coleslaw and watermelon and Rich and I fried things for a long time. Loads of food and loads of fun. We had 22 people here, including our family - and that was only three families! One of these families raises pigs for 4-H, and they are giving us a pig to clear some of our weeds in the garden and pasture and fatten up for butchering in October or so. Our kids have already named him Sir Francis Bacon. Rich, Alexander and Dominic have been very busy building fencing, a shed, and a gate for the pig. We already have a watering trough and feeder.

The smoke is pretty bad still, and Washington and Idaho are mostly on fire. We are still safe, but the smoke is really a challenge. I feel bad saying that when there are people whose homes and businesses have been lost or at risk, but breathing is hard for all of us just with the smoke. We wake up to a fine layer of ash on everything each morning. I feel like my eyes have been red since the end of June.

Below, I include our daily Bible readings which we use to read through the entire Bible each year. We read through all of the Old Testament and New Testament, reading the Psalms and Proverbs twice. Remember that the Psalms are according to eastern numbering in our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles (II Kings is II Samuel in the west, III Kings is I Kings, and IV Kings is II Kings, I Ezra is also called I Esdras in other translations, II Ezra is often translated as Ezra or II Esdras).

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Yarn Along: Secret Stripe Shawl




Here are the photos of my "striped" shawl, all blocked and finished. My thumb is doing something weird in the picture out of the UV light. I really like how this turned out and I'm excited to send it to my friend after fair. Because I am entering this in the fair as well, with a photo of what it looks like in the light, since it will be in the shade the entire time. Nejat's starry, starry, night for her birthday (in May!) is pretty close to finished as well. I think I said on the project page that I was 55% through it - I think it's closer to 60 - 65%, and I'm leaving off all the fiddly appliques. Good thing she doesn't know anything about calendars or birthday customs!

I had a little set back on Ventus, but I have a few opportunities coming up with yarn companies looking for patterns that are exciting to me, and I think after fair is over I can fix the issues with Ventus. And, of course, there is Saint Catherine, which will be published around September 8 in:


One-Skein Wonders for Babies: 101 Knitting Projects for Infants & Toddlers

It is available for pre-order right now! I'm really hoping that she made the back cover. When the book is released, I will also publish the pattern for sale individually. I really like working with Storey. They've been communicative and kind every time I've done something with them. Even though this book has taken almost two years from call to release, it's still been a good experience and I'd be happy to do more with them.

Here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. There hasn't been a lot posted there in a while, but your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns and that helps. Thank you!

There's been a little more time to read this past week, and I've made some decent progress on Under the Duvet: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and Other Calamities. Enough that I really thought I'd be finished, but no such luck. Next week for sure.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On and Yarn Fanatic Party.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Menu Plan: August 9 - 15


Last week was a little hectic with lots of activities, and this week is a lot hectic preparing for the fair. I promise I will post those recipes, but it's getting crazy around here. We do have a repeat of a meal, because we had to move some things around. However, we are beginning to be able to use produce from our garden, and our neighbors have supplied us with lots of fish that we are taking advantage of this week.

A major feast is this week, the one which we truly thought of when we were naming Mariam, before we knew of Saint Mariam Baouardy. We also have a dance scheduled this week, and a birthday to prepare for next week. I'm trying to do all our major errands this week, too, to free up our schedules next week so we don't have anything but fair and Jerome's birthday to deal with in our days.

In other news, I am in denial that school begins in a month. Which is hard, because Alexander registers for college courses this week. I finished off his transcript, and was pleasantly surprised to see how broad and well rounded his education has been. It was good to take a step back and see the big picture that way. We're so excited for him, because this is an opportunity to graduate from Trinity Academy here at home and also have an Associate's Degree and FAA certification, all with no student loans, and with the potential to begin an entry level job in his field of choice at a pay rate that is higher than most college graduates'. He has made excellent choices for his education and career path. We are praying for his success and transition to manhood right now.

Below, I include our daily Bible readings which we use to read through the entire Bible each year. We read through all of the Old Testament and New Testament, reading the Psalms and Proverbs twice. Remember that the Psalms are according to eastern numbering in our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles (II Kings is II Samuel in the west, III Kings is I Kings, and IV Kings is II Kings, I Ezra is also called I Esdras in other translations, II Ezra is often translated as Ezra or II Esdras).

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Yarn Along: Finished for Fair


This is a week of finishing! I finished the "striped" shawl. It took me until today to get a decent picture, and I still need to wash and block it, but I'm counting it as an FO. Also, I finished up two more of the scrunchies to make into a nice floral, scrunchie, bouquet.



Fair is in two weeks and I'm gathering the knits and crocheted items I want to enter. I'm going to enter these scrunchies on the ends of crochet hooks as "stems" in a floral arrangement. Amira is letting me enter her shawl, and I'll be entering Equinox and the matching hat. I'm thinking of entering my designs, Sea Smoke and Saint George (if Alexander lets me) and I will ask Elijah if he will let me enter his Weasley-ish sweater. I don't think I will enter many baked goods this year. It's a lot of stress to get it all done in the short window of time they have to be baked and brought in for judging.

I've kind of gotten over my design hump, I think, and I'm working a bit more diligently on Ventus, and have two more designs in early development, with the hopes that one will be ready for fall and the other for winter. There is also a quick hat pattern that I have almost ready that I'd like to publish mid to late fall, and I could always use test knitters for any of these projects. Oh! I keep forgetting to post this. Saint Catherine will be published around September 8 in:


One-Skein Wonders for Babies: 101 Knitting Projects for Infants & Toddlers

It is available for pre-order right now! She didn't make the front cover, but I'm waiting to see if she made the back cover. I did love the proof page photos they sent me, and I'm confident any other pictures will be great. When the book is released, I will also publish the pattern for sale individually.

Here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns and that helps me. Thank you!

Technically, I'm still working on these books, A Christian Ending and Under the Duvet: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and Other Calamities. In reality, though, I barely read anything this week. Rich suggested that I post a picture of our mail. But, to be honest, I haven't read that all that closely, either.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On and Yarn Fanatic Party.

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Monday, August 03, 2015

Menu Plan: August 2 - 8


Here is another delayed post. The fires around us socked us in with smoke which gave us, especially Rich and me, a relapse of our cough and illness. We had significant ash on our cars this weekend. I'm praying that the fires and smoke abate for those directly affected and to give us a break. The recipes will be posted this week.

Our farmers' market treasures this week were gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and eggplant, nectarines, and three kinds of plums. We also had some bounty given to us from one of the people at Rich's work who always has an abundant garden and shares with the staff. Rich brought home some lovely Armenian cucumbers. We finished our apricots, but didn't have enough to preserve this year, as a late freeze killed the blossoms on our tree. Again. We've really only had two good years of apricots since living here and one mediocre. Freezes have gotten them the rest of the time.

Remember that the Psalms are according to eastern numbering in our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles (II Kings is II Samuel in the west, III Kings is I Kings, and IV Kings is II Kings, I Ezra is also called I Esdras in other translations, II Ezra is often translated as Ezra or II Esdras).

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Yarn Along: Nearly There!


Just a quick update this week. I am almost finished with the "striped" shawl. It might be finished this week! Though, that would mean a lot more knitting time. Maybe Sunday? And I have someone to give it to who likes these colors. I did finish one more of the scrunchies for the girls, too.



Here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns and that helps me. Thank you! I'm hoping to get back on the stick with some design projects in the next couple months and to finally release Ventus for sale. I'm working on photos.

I'm still reading the same two books, A Christian Ending and Under the Duvet: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and Other Calamities.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, Yarn Fanatic Party, and One Project at a Time.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Menu Plan: July 26 - August 1 (Plus a Recipe)


Our festivities last week took up much of my blogging time, so my menu plan is a bit late. I'm including the recipe for the Greek macaroni and cheese, though, as a bonus.

My birthday was a lot of fun! Rich and I went dancing at a regional jazz festival, they have a Latin jazz stage, and danced nearly every dance while we were there. We weren't sure if we would last until midnight, but we did, and even went to a dive to grab pizza slices afterward. However, since it takes about an hour and a half to get home from there, we weren't in bed until 2:00 a.m., and were so exhausted that we slept in until 9:15, which we haven't done since we've had children. We had a late brunch, which was nice, and Rich and I had another, mini, date at the farmers' market, where we grabbed Sonoran hot dogs (hot dogs with bacon, chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, salsa verde, sour cream and pickled jalapeños), and then grabbed great deals until the market shut down. They close at 1:00 and we got there at 12:15, so while the selection wasn't all that great, as it would have been had we gotten there early, people were literally giving produce away.

Not counting the pork we bought (there is an excellent, naturally raised, pork producer that sells freezer packs there) or the hot dogs, we spent $67 on: 15 pounds of fancy lady peaches, 15 pounds of apricots, 10 pounds of Rainier cherries (which taste like candy), 8 pounds of red potatoes, 4 pounds of French fingerlings, 3 pounds of eggplant, 3 pounds of shallots, a quarter flat of raspberries, 10 bell peppers in green, purple and red, 3 pints of strawberries, 3 pints of boysenberries, 2 big bunches of Italian parsley, and 1 pint of pear tomatoes. Not bad! So, we've been using a lot of lovely produce, and will be using it more this week. The berries have largely gone into desserts, with a little fresh eating, the eggplant was turned into a giant batch of baba ghanooj, the other fruit is being eaten with meals and as snacks, the parsley was used in tabbouleh and kofta, and the potatoes and peppers will be used later this week.

Our dear friends and the people who get all of our children should we die will be in our area later this week, and we are looking forward to having a great time with them. We're hoping they get to stay the night Thursday, so I have a grand meal planned with a nice dessert to use up the last of our raspberries. We only got to see one of them on our funeral trip, so it's going to be nice to see both of them this trip.

Remember that the Psalms are according to eastern numbering in our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles (II Kings is II Samuel in the west, III Kings is I Kings, and IV Kings is II Kings, I Ezra is also called I Esdras in other translations, II Ezra is often translated as Ezra or II Esdras).

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.



Greek Style Macaroni and Cheese


This is a big recipe, you can halve it pretty easily and make it in a smaller pan, but it is great the next day, too. I make this without meat for Wednesdays or Fridays, but chopped hard sausage or salami make a nice addition to it. Something else that would be nice to add would be some chopped Kalamata olives.

2 heads garlic
2 pounds pasta (I use small shells or penne or something about that size)
8 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crumbled, dried rosemary
1/2 cup flour
6 cups whole milk
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 pound feta cheese, crumbled (herbed or tomato and basil is fine)
1 pound Asiago cheese, shredded
5 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
12 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, including marinade
1/2 pound salami or garlic sausage, finely chopped (optional)

Grease an 11" X 15" pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the top 1/4 off of the heads of garlic, place on a large enough piece of foil that it can wrap them almost completely (save those garlic tips, too, and use them in another meal). Drizzle the tops of the garlic with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil, wrap them with the foil and bake for 30 minutes.

While the garlic is baking, cook the pasta according to package directions, subtracting a minute or two from the cooking time so it doesn't turn to mush in the oven.

As the pasta is cooking, heat butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat with the leeks and onions. Add the oregano, pepper and rosemary and stir well to combine. Cook until the the allium are golden brown. Sprinkle with the flour and stir and cook to eliminate the raw flavor. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking well, and add the chopped sundried tomatoes to allow them to rehydrate a little. Cook a few minutes, until the mixture is thickened. Stir in feta and Asiago cheeses and stir to combine. Add the chopped spinach and stir to wilt slightly.

Cool the garlic heads slightly, then squeeze or pop the garlic cloves out of the papers. When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss in the prepared pan with the garlic, artichoke hearts and the optional sausage. Carefully pour in the cheese sauce and mix well with the pasta. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the dish is bubbling and heated through. Serve with a salad, bread or breadsticks, and fruit.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yarn Along: Sick and Tired


I'm more than half way through the "striped" shawl. That may be the best photo of the colors I've been able to take so far. They are really not my colors, though. I just love the magic of the yarn changing color. So, I will probably give this to someone, I'm not sure yet who. Anyway, lots of long term projects that aren't finished yet were a little discouraging, though, so I pulled out these cotton bonbons and some hair elastics to make scrunchies for the girls. Instant gratification. The yellow and turquoise will become two more tonight or tomorrow.

This illness at our home has put a damper on our energy and appetites and every thing else. There hasn't been much working going on my end, either. So, here's the weekly reminder to like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns and that helps me. Thank you!


Madeline Tosh Twist Light in Peace of Paradise

My yarn club shipment came this past week, along with a shawlette pattern and some highlighter tape. I'm thinking a baby item with this yarn. Or really funky socks. Next month is my last month, I believe, though we plan on subscribing me to the Magnolia Society Sweater Club when it opens.

The fires still burn. Some friends of ours had their business buildings burn to the ground Friday, there have been more fires around our area, and over the last couple days a fire was burning that kept rekindling and jumping the freeway, leading to evacuations, closures and so on. There are fires all over our county, and in nearly all the counties around us. It's a bad year for fires here. Please keep praying.

As you can see above, I have a more serious book, A Christian Ending, which I mentioned last week, and a complete fluff book, Under the Duvet: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and Other Calamities. It is a humorous collection of essays from an Irish writer. It's hilarious, and trivial, and I am enjoying it immensely.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, Yarn Fanatic Party, and One Project at a Time.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Stitch Fix #4


Again, thank you everyone who has signed up using my referral link. I so appreciate the credits, as they allow me to get these more frequently than I thought I would initially. If you are interested in learning more, I wrote about my first experience on the blog, and you can do a search on my Stitch Fix posts.

This was my birthday box and I have to admit that I was a little disappointed in it. Each item had something about it that was just right, but most had something or somethings that made them not quite right and one of the things I am trying to do and learn is only to buy and keep those things that I love, that fit well, that make me feel attractive and comfortable. Don't get me wrong, there are some beautiful items here; that was almost worse than having them be completely wrong, because I wanted to like them. Rich said he saw them laid out on the bed and thought that it was entirely a miss, but he agreed with my assessment after seeing it all on me.

Item #1 Market & Spruce Barrymore Solid Pleat Detail Top - $48

The orchid color on this was exquisite. It was lovely and flattering, and I will definitely be looking for it when I shop, both for clothing and yarn. However, it was a little too tight at my high bust, even though I have been losing weight steadily since January (and on my illness and antibiotic diet I have lost about 18 - 20 pounds in the past two and a half weeks). I really wanted more cap sleeved and flutter sleeve and short sleeved items, and I think I even mentioned that in my note. I own a lot of sleeveless tops, and need something different. Also, I think I wore outfits almost exactly like this when I was in high school. My senior picture has me in a top that is made of the same material and shaped in almost the same way. Sent back. Regretfully.


Item #2 Pixley Carissa Striped Fit & Flare Dress - $64

When I first looked in the box, this was honestly the dress I thought I'd like out of the two. I thought it was a slam dunk. I love big stripes, I love grey and navy, so I thought it would be an easy yes. However, the navy panels on the side really made the dress kind of odd. This was a cotton and spandex dress, really comfortable, but it should have stayed a little more casual - gathering rather than box pleats. And those navy panels were also textured like lace pressed on something, which I didn't like. Had the bodice been solid (either grey or navy) or had the stripes gone all the way across, I think it would have been better, but broken up like this, it made my bust and top half look gigantor. The back had a V, and I actually put it on backwards in our room to see if it would look better, which it did, but not enough to change my mind. Rich took a photo, but it showed the mess in our sick room and our jury rigged sun/heat block in our windows. The side zipper was really flimsy, in my opinion, Rich was worried he would break it zipping it up, and this wasn't a tight fit at all. It was quite comfortable with plenty of room to maneuver and fasten. This dress ended up confusing me more than anything. That V belonged in the front rather than the back, and it couldn't decide what kind of dress to be. I did not understand it at all. Rich said he was glad I didn't like it, because he thought it looked more like a rugby shirt to him. I like having casual dresses that I can wear every day, though, so I was hoping it would work. It didn't. Sent it back.


Item #3 41Hawthorn Kassidy Faux Wrap Dress - $68

This was the item I was sure I would not like on first glance. The print was a little more toward the 1964 side of fashion, which is the upper limit of the timeline I feel fits me (1936 - 1964, if you are interested). However, I adore it! It was the winner of the box. It was a heavier material without being hot, was lined, the navy and blue-red were lovely colors, I liked the arabesque, geometric print, it flattered my figure, it was comfortable, and my detail loving heart appreciated that the print lined up almost exactly where the front wrap crossed. Happily kept and I wore it most of the afternoon after doing pictures. I will be wearing it when we go dancing for my birthday. The only things that would make it A +, absolutely perfect would be if it had pockets and if the polyester were not part of the blend - rayon was the bulk of it and spandex was the other part, I would have liked just those two fibers better. I hung this up in my closet before I even decided on everything else.


Item #4 Just USA Anjuli Dark Wash Denim Jacket - $58

This was the right style, the right color and I wanted to love it. However, I couldn't button more than the bottom two buttons, and that took work for the second one, the upper arm was too tight, and it was distressed, and I've said that I don't like that. I don't want to pay extra for someone else to wear out my clothes. If this jacket had ended up this distressed after a couple years of ownership, that would have been perfect. Starting that way? Not so much. Also, since denim always shrinks a little, I knew it would end up looking comical on me. I really wish it had been better, because I loved it in so many ways. When I looked up the brand and style to see if it came a little larger, I found that it was a junior cut, and that just won't work with my nearly 40, mother of many, curvy even when I was young and thin, body. Sadly sent back.


Item #5 Street Level Huron Reversible Magnetic Closure Tote - $48

This is the one I feel kind of bad about, really. I pinned this. I'm sure Liz thought this would be a gimme. But, somehow I didn't realize that it was this gargantuan. Had it been a little smaller, it would have been perfect. I loved the gold, the inside was cream, as was the detachable zippered pouch inside it. If the denim jacket had fit, I would have kept this to use as a knitting bag and the sleeveless top anyway, and just gotten the whole box and given the striped dress away to someone who loved it. Had this been a bit smaller and the denim jacket fit properly without the distressing, I would have loved all three and worn them together a lot.


Even though I only kept one item, I still think this was a success. My biggest fear doing this has been receiving a box that I hate so much that everything has to be sent back and I lose my styling fee, and at least I avoided that - and with an item that I truly love. Like I said, it was harder with the items being almost right and me wanting to like them so much. But, I have committed to owning clothes and accessories that I love and know I will wear and feel comfortable and beautiful in, rather than having something that looks nice hang in my closet instead of being worn. And since I do this to expand my sense of style and help me develop it more, rather than because this is a bargain, I also don't want to spend the money at retail prices for something that isn't exactly what I like/want. I'd rather wait. Liz did still do a great job, though, and I like that she is still expanding my tastes and pushing me to try things I wouldn't otherwise. The blouse was a color I like, but wouldn't have tried on myself in a store, the print dress was something I wouldn't have even paid attention to while shopping, except to quickly pass it over, and I love it. I have adjusted my style profile a little to see if we can align a little better and made a couple specific requests for my fall box. Stay tuned and see how Stitch Fix #5 goes!

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