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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Menu Along: April 24 - 30

We took a road trip this weekend, because our bishop was visiting a church in our communion, and stayed with the priest and his wife there. I spent our trip re-doing and re-doing and re-doing the calculations for the short row neck shaping on Amira. I'm still not really happy about how they are working out, and may mess with two of the sizes again, anyway. Most of my actual knitting was on the scarf portion of Marine Layer, though. You can see that above. The way I've designed it, if you want to make the scarf a little longer, you can, but if not, you can make a second set of the mitts, with the colors reversed, and have two ways to wear your set.

Also, the Peace Out, Eugene, Unicorn Dandruff Cowl has an owner now. Our priest's wife wears colors like this, and it was her birthday, so I gave it to her. She looked lovely in it, and it fit her personality, and she doesn't even live in Eugene. I forgot to get a picture of her in it, of course.

So, funny story: As we were leaving their house toward church, Rich said, "Hey, I think that sign said yarn!" When we were heading back, he said that he would turn around and look at it again, but as he got my hopes up, if it said yard or something else, he would make sure I was able to pick up yarn somewhere else. Well, he was right. However, we had an opportunity to go to breakfast with both our priest and his wife and our bishop and his wife, and then drive over to our old home and visit with friends of ours, the husband is a close friend of Rich's and turns 90 tomorrow, so we had no time to shop for yarn. It was so worth it to spend time with them, that I didn't mind at all. I love that Rich keeps his eyes open for yarn signs, though. It turns out that this is Crown Mountain Fibers, which I had heard about from some knitting podcasts, and never realized was based in our state. Now I know to schedule time to visit on our next trip.

I have done no reading on my own this week, but Rich asked me to bring along Theology of the Body in Simple Language for us to read together. We started it almost a year ago, but never read through the entire book, and since we had been reading it together, we neither of us read it on our own. So, I read aloud several chapters while he drove on our trip this weekend, and it gave us lots to discuss. He also asked me to bring along One Flesh to cover the Orthodox position, but we never finished the first. I've read just the beginning of it, though, and it looks to be a great book, so it will be our next marriage book. With the exception of the references to the doctrine of Original Sin in Theology of the Body, which we simply mentally replace with Ancestral Sin or concupiscence, however, neither book is strictly Catholic/Western or Orthodox/Eastern. Both are the Church's teachings on marriage, rather than a particular church's teaching, and both are valuable. Even just taking the time to read and discuss these ideas brought us closer together, and really has given us new eyes with which to appreciate each other and our marriage. The books are also full of lenses that help focus one's view correctly and realign oneself to the right path with regard to marriage. I highly recommend them both. Even only having read the introduction and first chapter of One Flesh.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, and The Philosopher's Wife.

We left for our priest's house immediately following Jerome's baseball parade and opening ceremonies on Saturday and joined them for dinner. It was nice to have a relaxed breakfast with them on Sunday morning, and Rich and I had a great conversation touching on theological and practical elements of our faith with our priest until late in the night. As my hand/skin has been giving me so much trouble, we also had him and our bishop pray for my health after the Eucharist. They prayed and anointed me with the oil of chrismation, which was wonderful. Our bishop spoke so well and gave us much to think on, and then to be able to receive the Eucharist with our church body was such a blessing to us. We don't take it for granted now that we can so rarely receive as a family at church.

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, April 20, 2016

Yarn Along: Virtual Baby Shower

This project was made entirely for the delight of making it, and has already appeared on the blog as a finished object, with the hopes that there would be a mother of a baby girl who would like it as a gift and not mind having to hand wash it (or put it on the wool/hand wash cycle in the washing machine) and dry it flat. So, basically, a knitter.

Who should be pregnant, but our yarn along hostess, and what better way to celebrate her new little one than with a whole interwebs' worth of knit and crocheted (sewn and embroidered?) gifts? Many blessings to you and your babe, Ginny, I pray for a safe and healthy delivery of your daughter and many years to her! This is sized for a one year old (maybe up to 18 months), so it can be something you pull out after all the wee, little, things are grown out of and put away. I really wanted to get a photo of Entrechat on an actual infant, but I forgot to snag one at our homeschool picnic, and Nejat is too big for this. God bless you and enjoy your virtual baby shower!

I have another FO to share. We named this the Peace Out, Eugene, Unicorn Dandruff Cowl. Now I need to find someone in Eugene who wants it. This was a Paradise club color, and I have this same colorway in a fingering, plied, yarn (a previous month's shipment), which I much prefer. Somehow it wasn't so tie-dyed/eye searing on a smaller scale. I had intended to make a crocheted shawl with this, but the instructions were more than I could decipher, so I chose an easy, garter stitch, mindless, quick project, and finished it in a day and a half. It is a gift waiting for the right recipient. My other knitting looks very much like it did last time I shared it, so I didn't even bother to take pictures.

Paradise Fibers' April Club Yarn, of Yarn Fairy Manderley in Gothic

Here is this month's Paradise Yarn Club package. I really like this colorway, and have a shawl in mind, but reserve the right to wait and change my mind, since I won't likely get to it any time soon.

As for reading, I finished A Christian Ending, and can recommend it completely, with two quibbles. I normally don't share children's books, but Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb: Jonah and Jesus was so wonderful, that I have to tell everyone to go read it. Read it to your children, read it for yourselves, it is a beautiful book.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, and The Philosopher's Wife.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Menu Plan: April 17 - 23

We had an incredibly busy weekend. Our Friday was pretty clear, except for errands, but Saturday we began with a homeschool roller skating event, then a produce co-op delivery, then we had our dance lessons that night. Instead of resting after church on Sunday, we drove an hour to pick up bee packets to replace ours which died in the hard freeze this winter, and to get some for friends who want to begin bee keeping.

We've been so full with ballet and baseball and committee meetings for a homeschool formal dance that we're holding in May that it's been hard to have any normalcy with meals. Almost every night, no matter the schedule, we still eat together as a family, but sometimes that means we are eating dinner at 8:00. I began hosting a knitting lesson and knit night at our home this month and forgot about Rich's monthly meetings for a neighborhood group (kind of like a grange) that meets the same night of the week. So, last week, this meant that Rich had to get Mariam, Yasmina, and Amira to dance, Jerome to a baseball game, and get everyone back to be kicked out of the van to eat dinner so he could get to the meeting, a half hour late, all while I was making dinner, cleaning, trying to get the other kids in bed, and preparing for my class/gathering, then hosting and teaching while getting the latecomers their dinner, and trying to get them to do their chores, clean up and go to bed. We've decided that in May and June, we will cancel the knit night on his meeting nights, because not having him around to wrangle kids while I do my thing with the ladies and having him have to do all the driving on that night, when I normally can do some of it, or at least pick kids up, was way too much. Anyway, we're exhausted and scaling back where we can this week. Which isn't that much. However, fortunately, Jerome only has two games and no practices this week, which makes our driving schedule a little less hectic.

There are a couple repeats this week and then a busy weekend ahead again. We were hoping to get some rest next weekend, when there are no classes, games, dances, field trips, errands to far off places, or anything like that, but then I realized that's when Elijah's belated birthday party is supposed to be. So, maybe in July we'll get a rest.

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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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Yarn Along: Misfit Edition

Not the picture I sent, because it wasn't as bright and clear, but I loved the way the colors looked in this one.

One of my submissions had a response last week. I was so excited, because usually a quick reply means a yes. Alas, it was a no. Rich looked at my proposal and asked how anyone could say no to that face. Well, they have three times now (in fact, Amira, which is with my knitters to preview, is one of the designs they've turned down). I'm still waiting to hear about the second proposal. While it's never nice to get a rejection, honestly, I think these designs are solid. I design the kind of things that I would wear, or my kids would wear, or my husband would wear. And I think we have reasonably decent taste and style. So, I just put them back in my files and either fiddle with them a little or work on them as is to publish myself or send to another call.

I'm nearly finished with A Christian Ending and motivated to get all sorts of things prepared and talk to our priest about starting a ministry at our church to serve this kind of need. I finished Knitlandia. It was a fun read, but it would have been nice to get it through our library, rather than buying it. No new books yet, but probably something more like brain candy.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, and The Philosopher's Wife.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Menu Plan: April 10 - 16

Blessings to you all in this Paschaltide!

I went to my doctor and she said that since I had a flare up in my hand while smack dab in the middle of not eating any of the allergen foods (and since those allergies are, she is certain, secondary reactions simply because my body is reactive right now), that I could go back to eating any of them I wished. This is thrilling to me. That's the good news. I am still having problems with my health, however, and have other problems that don't seem to be related to this one, and we're trying to get to the bottom of both, which have been ongoing for over a year now. The skin issues will be a year in about a month, the other issues have probably been around for nearly two years. I am in pain, exhausted, and discouraged, and could use some prayer. It is a little blessing that I can eat things like real cake again, though. I wish I'd gone to my doctor earlier, then I would have been able to eat the delicious cookies a woman at church makes for coffee hour.

Since I can eat normally again, Rich suggested a gut bomb pizza dinner to celebrate. This particular pizza parlor puts so many toppings on their pizzas that we actually make two other pizza doughs at home and bake them with sauce and cheese and the extra toppings to make that much more pizza. We have a ton left. So, we may be eating pizza for several days. We also had our first glean of the year, and so we have a million carrots. We are peeling, chopping and freezing a bunch in our vacuum sealed bags for cooking later, and we've filled one of our vegetable drawers in the fridge with them for us to use and eat now. All the greens are going to our chickens and turkeys, and whatever we don't finish processing or use will go to them, too, and they will become eggs and meat for us, so it's not a waste.

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, April 06, 2016

Stitch Fix Number Six

A big thank you to 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 the first box I've received that actually kind of disappointed me. I only kept one item, and it wasn't because the others were things I liked/loved, but were not quite right in some way. I just didn't really like most of the other items. This fix actually came in February and I'm only now getting around to posting it. Part of that was our busy life and how sick we all got and Holy Week and travel and so on, but mostly it's because I couldn't get that excited about it. I'm giving them another shot this month, so I'm really hoping to see something much better. There were two items I might have kept had they been better designed/constructed in this box, but they weren't and I don't want to pay retail for something that isn't just right. One thing I was particularly disappointed in was the quality of their in-house lines. I understand that having in-house designs cuts their costs and can, potentially, cut the customer's cost while still keeping their profit high. I don't have a problem with that. It was the fact that patterns weren't lined up, seams weren't sewn properly, there were visible flaws. That should go to a TJ Maxx or Ross type store, where you get a steep discount, rather than coming as a curated style box at retail prices.

Item #1 Fate Rowen Faux Leather Quilted Vest - $78

I hate faux leather. And I didn't like the whole SnM vibe this gave off. Not my style at all. I did ask for a quilted vest, but I asked for bright colors. (I was thinking more royal blue, emerald green, ruby red, something like that). The slash pockets were good and the zippers were metal instead of plastic, which I do love, and if it were real leather (which would have cost more, but I removed all price limits some time back) and without that belt at the neck business, it might have tempted me away from the brighter color desire. But, no.

Items #2 Margaret M Emer Printed Straight Leg Pant - $98

& #3 Amour Vert Norma Split Neck Silk Blouse - $118

I asked for coral or melon colored pants. I even liked this color and, sort of, liked the print. But there was no closure whatsoever on them. Which meant that elastic and plenty of fabric was needed to get them over any woman's hips, let alone a woman who has been pregnant nine times and had six c-sections. It sagged around and emphasized the c-section belly in a way that nobody wants to see. These needed a side zipper and hook so it could lie flat and tight against the belly, or even a front fly with zipper and button, or something. They were also a bit too long, and I have specified the length I need pants to be in my style profile. I don't need elastic band pants at this price, either. Had these been made with a little more style in mind, I would have kept them, and worn them with heels.

The blouse had that gorgeous royal blue going for it, and it was silk. However, I wasn't entirely sold on the print, and the neck band seam was sewn wrong. We took the picture in a way that you can't see it, really. I wish we'd taken a shot of it that just showed the weird, sticking out, sewn badly neck band. Again, this was one of their in-house brands, and it was sorely disappointing to have flaws in brand new, retail examples. Pass.

Item #4 Loveappella Jina Back Slit Knit Top - $54

This is the only thing I kept. Honestly, though I really like the teal color, it was more because I didn't want to lose my styling fee and it was fine enough. I liked it. I didn't love it. There is a slit in the back, which is cute, but I have to fiddle with it a bit if my hair is not down to make sure that my bra doesn't show. So, that's a little too wide of a slit for so buxom a woman. I can't exactly wear it without one, and they don't make industrial strength strapless numbers for women of my bra size. And I don't want to wear a strapless bra to wear a shirt. So, I wear this with jeans and skirts and keep my hair down. Which means you don't really see that slit, anyway. But, it is cute enough, and I can wear it while running around with kids, so it works. Because I had some credits (thank you again!), it only cost me $4.

Item #5 Market & Spruce Corinna Striped Dolman Top - $48

I actually really liked this top. It was a dark slate/navy blue with white stripes, I thought the dolman sleeve was flattering (more than I thought it would be), and it was fitted at the waist, which showed that I actually have a nice shape. But the stripes didn't line up on the tops of the sleeves. Obviously. I even liked the diagonal/chevron thing that was going with the stripes on top of the sleeves, but having them not meet drove me crazy. This, too, was from their in-house brands. So, I sent it back.

Details are important to me. I've mentioned before how details have sold me on a piece sent, but this time it was the details that turned me off. I definitely would have bought the pants and this top, had they been designed better and made properly, which means I would have spent another $146 on this box, which means they lost those sales. I hope the higher up types listen to the comments I made to my stylist about the in-house brands. Rich was actually surprised that I kept anything. He figured that, especially with the credits covering the styling fee, I'd just send it all back. I did need more tops, though, and I like that length sleeve for fall through early summer, as well as the color. Even though this one wasn't successful, I am going to give them another shot. If I have another one that is this far off for me, I may either wait much longer, or decide to stop for a while. This is a splurge for me, and a successful box, in my opinion, doesn't have to be filled with 100% winners. But there should be at least one thing I love, and other things that might work, and that I like. I didn't have that enough in this one. My next fix is scheduled to arrive in two weeks, so we shall see.

In some ways, the more I do this, the more I get to know what I like and don't like and my own personal sense of style, so I am more willing to say no if an item doesn't fit that. I've learned more about styles that work for me, thanks to my stylist sending things I wouldn't have picked myself, and I've learned how much the details really matter to me. That has been valuable, even without considering the items I've kept that I love. I'm hoping my comments and other people's comments to them will help improve the choices, and definitely improve their own brands.

If you are interested in trying Stitch Fix for yourself, I encourage you to give it a shot. It's been a fun treat for me, and a way to help me refine and define my personal style. I'd encourage you also to do as I do, and get rid of something you don't love or that doesn't fit for every item you keep.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Yarn Along: Submit and Receive

Most of what I've been knitting I can't share here, but I'm still plugging away on my Marine Layer scarf.

Amira is being sent to my knitters in the next couple days! I'm hoping to have it ready to publish in about six weeks. I've also sent in two submissions for consideration, so I would appreciate your prayers for their success. Again, please like Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, if you haven't already. Thank you!

I have three yarn club shipments to share. One of them I forgot to post about in February, so I'm sharing it now. Also, as we were traveling last week, I visited a yarn shop and picked up some souvenir yarn, as is my habit. One of the yarns I picked up was a huge score, I was able to get four skeins of silk ribbon yarn for the price of one of them - enough for a summer top.

Elemental Effects Cormo in Coastal Fog was Paradise Fibers' February Yarn Club offering and exclusive color. It is soft and squishy, and I have a cabled hat planned for it.

This yarn makes me so happy. It is Maine Made Frolicking Feet in Scarlet Bugler, which was the Paradise Fibers' March offering and exclusive colorway. I have it set aside for Fire Thief

I can't seem to get this color right with my poor photography skills. It is a red-pink, but it isn't nearly as bright as this looks, and is more like a red that leans pink with tonal variations, than a pink that is vibrant with variegation. Anyway, it is my Magnolia Society Sweater Club shipment for March, Madelinetosh Limited Edition Super Soft DK in Afterglow. I am going to make Raindance with it.

From Left to Right: Alchemy: Yarns of Transformation Silken Straw in Blood Orange for a summer sweater for me, The Loom Risoni Silk in Brick for a shawlette for a friend, and Berroco Captiva in Honey for a design I have in mind in the future.

Amira and I finished If You Love Me, Let Me Go this week. I read a little out of A Christian Ending while we were out of town. Also, like all other knitters right now, I am reading Knitlandia. I like it, but there are parts that kind of irritate me. Like how she said that Madrona has been in Tacoma since 1999. I lived in Gig Harbor the year they started, and I went to it every year we lived there. They moved to Tacoma in 2006. I know that East Coast people think that everything on the west coast is Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and, if we are really lucky, maybe San Diego, so even mentioning Tacoma was probably a big stretch, but really. I'm a little annoyed that she felt like she had to include some nods to particular political and social views, especially because it really had nothing to do with the essay topics. So, I'm nearly finished with it, and while I am enjoying most of it, I think I will either sell it or trade it on Paperback Swap.

Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, and The Philosopher's Wife.

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Monday, April 04, 2016

Menu Plan: End of the Paschal Octave

Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

The translation should say: Christ is risen from amongst the dead, defeating/conquering death by death.

I meant to post our menu for last week, but we were so busy with our corporate worship and our family preparations, that it just didn't happen. I do have several recipes from our feast that I hope to have posted in the next couple weeks, however.

Although our feast is over now, the season still has six more weeks, and we are enjoying this Paschaltide, especially now that most of us aren't sick at all anymore. Rich and I spent part of last week at a work conference, and though we always take Holy Week and Bright Week as our spring break, Alexander had to go to school last week. We also were able to eat with friends all weekend, which was nice, and gave us a chance to visit with people we love. We're back in the game this week, and back to our normal fasting patterns. Since I got dairy back for our Paschal feast (I chose what to return to first based on what I missed the most), I'm taking one more week without the other foods, and I think we'll get to try eggs again for me next week. So far, there was no difference made with the dairy or without, but it's been so good to have it to eat again.

Blessings to you all in this Paschaltide!

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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