Friday, September 6, 2013

Knitting up a storm lately...but BOYS ONLY!!!

     I have been on a knitting binge lately and I am not sure if I can stop! I know this doesn't sound like a "real" problem but it kind of see, right now my family is on a baby kick. I have written past posts about how many babies are being born this year and how we are having a "run" on boys. Four of my nieces are adding to their families this year: 2 are already born, one is due any day now, and the last one will deliver in Oct/November. I believe that every baby should have at least one handmade baby item in their lives so I spend time finding patterns, buying yarn, and knitting something for the baby before the parents have their baby showers. I give every new baby in the family a handmade gift. I am certain by now all of my nieces and nephews ARE SICK of getting the same type of gifts but I do NOT care-handmade items are needed!
     So far my nieces that have given birth had boys (Marvin and Tyler are exactly 1 month apart!) and my soon-to-deliver niece is also having a BOY! The last niece is finally giving the family a GIRL which is the first one in 3 years! You would think I would jump at the chance to knit little frilly girly items but...BUT...(and here is the problem I mentioned at the start!) I CANNOT STOP KNITTING BOY ITEMS!!!! In particular I cannot stop knitting boy items for the soon-to-be-born great nephew! As of right now I have knit: an afghan, a deer hat, 2 deer stuffies, 2-5 hour sweaters for boys, and 2 camo baseball hats! Today I found myself looking at booties/socks for him AND looking for orange yarn to make him ANOTHER baseball cap! I have to start knitting for the little girl being born soon and I CANNOT seem to cast on anything!
     The baby afghan seems to be the favorite among all the family. I made alternating light and dark brown squares with "Deer heads" in the center. Instead of sewing these together using a mattress stitch or some other way of connecting squares I, instead, delved into the scary art of CROCHET! I find it extremely difficult to manage yarn with one hook and prefer to have TWO sticks in my hands when maneuvering yarn. However, my niece decorated her nursery in camo so I needed to incorporate it into the blanket somehow. Thanks to my sister, Lisa, (and YouTube), I learned how to use a crochet hook to connect the squares. Once I got used to only using one hand, the connecting of the squares went fairly easily and I even felt confident enough to add a border! Check my Instagram for close-ups of the squares!
Camo and deer head afghan-sorry so blurry

Deer stuffies

Dark brown deer stuffie
Light brown deer stuffie
Camo baby baseball cap

Side view of camo baseball cap

Smaller version of camo baseball cap

Camo baseball cap-newborn size

Camo baseball cap in larger size

Deer horn hat

Large 5 hour baby sweater in brown
There is also a camo version of this sweater but in my excitement I forgot to take a pic and my niece keeps FORGETTING to send me one! BRIE!!!!!!!

The following patterns were used in this post (all found on
* Baseball cap is from: Baby Boy Brimmed Hat by Janel knits
* Stuffies are from: Deer Bean Bag by Katie Startzman
* 5 hour baby sweater is from: Baby Boy 5 Hour Sweater by Gail Bable

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back-to-school teacher gifts...

     Many of my great-nieces and great-nephews are starting school this year for the first time so I felt that the teachers needed a little "Thank you" gift. When my great-niece started school I made her a Back-to-School Crayon wreath (please check my blog posts!) and it was really well received from her teachers! The problem I faced with this years Back-to-School gifts was the fact that instead of one child starting school for the first time...there was 4! Two preschoolers and two kindergartners! I did not want to spend a ton of money on the gifts so I scoured the Internet for an alternative to the Back-to-School wreath...and I found: "Bird's Nest Bracelets." I found a great tutorial on Pinterest that showed step-by-step how to make these adorable pieces:  Mommy Made...pop over there and see how easy they are to make!

I decided to make these bracelets because necklaces are not for everyone...after giving two to my great-niece, Sadie, to give to her 2 preschool teachers I received this in return:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Last Thankful Thursday of August 2013-8/29/2013

Today I am


    For my last Thankful Thursday I want to focus on being thankful. Really appreciating all that I have and all that I am. I have written and re-written this post several times...and still it seems difficult to express how I feel. Do I love my family? my life? YES and YES. Do I appreciate all that I have? All that I have lost? All that I will gain? YES, YES, and YES. But I want to express more to this that I am really grateful for the quiet moments as well as the loud moments...instead of using my words, though, which lack the ability to say what I feel, I scoured the Internet looking for those wiser than I! Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “One of the main reasons that we lose our enthusiasm in life is because we become ungrateful..we let what was once a miracle become common to us. We get so accustomed to his goodness it becomes a routine..” 
    ― Joel OsteenYour Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential
  • “Rest and be thankful.” 
    ― William Wordsworth
  • “Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.” 
    ― Marcus AureliusMeditations

And finally a quote I hope to live by or at least aspire to live by:
  • As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. – John F. Kennedy

     I have asked myself if I will continue on with Thankful Thursdays or move on to something else over and over again. I am not sure. I like looking at the small details of my life and trying to share what I care about but on the other hand I do not want this to become difficult or feel forced. So for now I will let Thankful Thursdays rest...I will not stop being thankful or grateful...but for now I am excited to think about what this next month holds! Wordless Wednesdays, maybe? Throwback Thursdays, perhaps? Tutorial Tuesdays? Or some other alliterative alternative? Stay tuned....

  • References:
 Osteen, Wordsworth, and Aurelius quotes found on:
Kennedy quote found on:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thankful Thursday...Aug. 22, 2013

     This is the 3rd installment of Thankful Thursday! If you made it this far: THANK YOU!

*image from

So I decided that today's Thankful Thursday is going to focus on: THIS BLOG!

  • My blog. I am thankful to have an outlet where I can write my ideas down, let out some of these crazy thoughts that jumble around in my head, and the best part is that someone reads this! When I started this blog I had visions of becoming a world renowned, cutting-edge blogger who traveled the world talking about how YOU TOO CAN BECOME A FAMOUS BLOGGER! Ok, so not really. I thought I would keep a record of the different crafts that I liked to do and maybe have some place that I could exchange ideas with other like-minded bloggers. I started this blog with gusto but like most bloggers I began to fade in my blogging posts.  Life became hectic, things got in the way, and sometimes I just didn't have anything to say. BUT for some strange reason I have been compelled to come back to this blog and just say HI. I know that this blog is not huge. Or that people have never felt the need to wake up and read my blog but I love having a place of my own in this huge Internet world where I control a space. Its not world famous but it is mine!
  This week's post is short but I dedicate to all you bloggers out there who write to share, to feel in touch with a vehicle as large as the Internet, who sometimes need 5 minutes to yourself because the kids have you going crazy or work has you stressed out so you blog, or even those who cultivate a blog like a gardener tends their space-working hard and pulling weeds each and every day! I dedicate this Thankful Thursday to the occasional blogger, the obsessed blogger, and the one's in between! Thank you!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thankful Thursday-August 15th, 2013

Welcome to another Thankful Thursday! This experience has really made me stop and think about what is important in my life as well as what should be important in my life. All week long I think about what I want to post here on Thankful Thursdays. Some days it is serious:

  • Life. Although people may not think so because of my anxiety and panic I really do love life. It scares me. Intimidates me. But I love life and all the little miracles that accompany it. A cloud. A flower (I mean, have you ever looked at a multi-colored flower? Art! As a knitter, changing colors is a difficult task so I can appreciate a multi-colored flower!) Love. Laughter. 
  • Being. Feeling myself in the moment. Embracing all the little and big things that influence who I used to be, who I am, and who I will become.
Other days Thankful Thursday ideas are less serious (So maybe not less serious but more hungry?!?)
  • Triple nut bars.Seriously triple nut bars are the ultimate in snack foods! Consisting of sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, and pecans (wait....that's 4 nuts...why do they say TRIPLE nut bars? Oh...sunflower SEEDS...not NUT. Nice play on words. I applaud that!) and some sort of sugary concoction that holds all the nuts into the bar...yum...sweet and salty and so good!
  •  Microwave popcorn.  Microwave popcorn in my main stay food. I LOVE it! I am a master in popping the perfect bag. Not too many kernels, no burnt pieces, and just the right amount of buttery popped goodness. On my microwave DO NOT use the button marked: Popcorn. Oh no! Instead put it in for 2 minutes but keep it in for only 1: 47 seconds. Trust me: perfect! 
  • Diet Pepsi. Diet Pepsi. What can I say? Y..U..M!

Still other things cross my mind that are good for Thankful Thursdays:
  • Driving. I love to drive. Not long road trips but backwoods trips that show me how beautiful the state of Virginia really is. For instance, when I go see my sister, Lisa, I have to travel about 30-40 minutes into the backwoods. I love the wind coming in the window, music blaring, singing on the top of my lungs like I am a rock star. In these moments I feel like I am the only person in the world and it is up to me to appreciate the beauty around me. Old buildings, the rivers, the fields, the way the sun filters in the tall pine trees. I imagine that is how the world looked before the Industrial Revolution and everything seemed new. 
  • The Internet. I live in a small town in Virginia. Tiny. I love it. But sometimes the world feels too small and I need to reach out to people other than family, I need to broaden my horizons, or just understand what is going on in the world. The Internet does this for me. Even though I come from a time before the Internet was mainstream I appreciate its usefulness and its ability to make the world more...flat. 
How do I narrow it down? How do I chose what I am truly THANKFUL for over what is mere hunger or random thoughts? :) I don't! I write a blog post like this one! 

*Sorry no pictures this week! I have been spending a lot of time knitting and have not found something fitting for this post. Check back! I might have one tomorrow!! :)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Thankful Thursday-August 8th, 2013

Today is actually August 9th, seems Blogger ATE my original Thankful Thursday post! I set it up to auto-post and when I checked today: IT WAS GONE! I am sorry about the late re-entry!

     This is the second installment of my Thankful Thursday series for the month of August. I was nervous about last week's post but got really positive feedback so I know I am doing the right thing! This week was a really rough week and I had to dig deep into myself to find something to be thankful for. Have you ever had one of those weeks? You know you have things to be thankful for but time, stress, bad things, your own inner voice-all conspire to make you blind to the good aspects of your life. That was how it was for me this week as well. So here it goes:

  • My family. I know that I was thankful for them last week and you may think it is cheating to name them again but I really am thankful for them. The support and love they give me pulls me through my darkest times and makes me grateful to have been born into such a great group of people. I never want them to think I do not love them or appreciate them. From a simple cup of coffee to a phone call that brings me to tears with laughter--I appreciate all they do for me both little and big. Thank you everyone!
  • A baby's coo. 8 weeks ago my newest great-nephew was born: Tyler Wade. Yesterday I saw him for the first time in a couple of weeks. Oh how beautiful he has become! He smiles and coos! Already! 8 weeks ago he was in-utero, floating around in flotsam and jetsam, unable to do anything, and now he smiles and coos: AMAZING!
  • A new kitten. I was not happy to come home last Monday to see that my 11 year old niece had found a newborn kitten in our pantry. She and my brother decided that the kitten would be better off being taken care of by people instead of her mommy kitty (who was nowhere to be found). I do not agree with animals being taken from the wild and taken care of by people who think they know better than the animals mother. However, this kitten has become a great source of joy in my home. She is so sweet, playful, and beautiful. She has quickly moved our home around to fit in and even the dog (who no one likes-see last Thankful Thursday) loves the kitten. If only she would stop using the bathroom on ME!
Alice the kitten....isn't she adorable?

  • Laughter. Sometimes I get so wrapped inside my own head, deeply entrenched in the grip of anxiety, that it gets lonely and dark. On the outside I smile and talk, joke around, and try to pretend everything is "normal." BUT it gets difficult on some days and I want to hide, disappear, and shut the feelings away. The only thing that combats these feelings is laughter. In my family there is no shortage of this! Thank goodness! If you get more than one of us together laughter will overcome us and brighten even the darkest moods. Here is a true example: My great-nephew needed to go to the emergency room (he is ok) and my niece (his mother) asked me to watch her two oldest children-8 year old Carmen and 5 year old, Taylin. No problem...emergencies are emergencies! Carmen and I were talking and she went to sit on my coffee table when I said: "Watch out, Carmen! Don't sit on the house phone!" She looked confused and said: "The what?" "The house phone,' I said, 'Its on the table." She looked even more confused and said: "The house phone? WHAT is that?" She then proceeded to pick up my house phone and ask if she could play games on it! I laughed as I realized that at 8 years old she did not know what a home phone was...only cell phones! I am still laughing at her innocence, her confused look, and the look of disappointment when I explained that you can only make PHONE CALLS ON THE PHONE!

    So this concludes the 2nd installment of Thankful Thursdays...what have you been thankful for this week? If, like me, you had a rough week please feel free to use my Thankful Thursday to help overcome any obstacles...I do not mind sharing! Also, if you have any 8 year old children around you and need a smile....explain to them about house phones over cell phones! The look on their faces is priceless!! :) Until next week....

Thursday, August 1, 2013

First Thankful Thursday- August 1st, 2013

     Today is my first installment of Thankful Thursday and I am kind of nervous! But here is goes...
This week I am thankful for:

  • My family! I have a great family! We are always there for each other through the good and the bad. They are the best friends I could ever ask for. Seriously. I would be nothing and no one without the support of my family. 
  • The sound of a gaggle of kids yelling my name! This week Beth (my niece) stopped by unexpectedly, normally unexpected guests throw my anxiety into overdrive, but she brought with her 5 of my great-nieces/nephews! As they exited the car they all cheered: "AUNT CATHY!" like I was the highlight of their day! Then the kids, 8 years old to 23 months old, all ran up to me and hugged me! It was the sweetest thing! 
  • My dog. A lot of people hate my dog. I have had him since he was 6 weeks old and he is turning 13-14 years old. He is a grumpy old man but, and in all fairness, was a grumpy puppy-to everyone BUT me! He is the sweetest thing really. He barks and tries to intimidate everyone but that is because he is small (he is a MIN PIN/POM mix) plus he has a little vision issue because of his age. The other day I was feeling crappy (not physical but emotionally and mentally) and my dog crawled on my lap and hugged me. He put his head back on my chest and just laid there. Tell me how can people hate a dog that hugs?
Isn't he adorable?
  • Knitting. Without knitting I do not think I could make it through the week. It calms me, soothes me, challenges me, and flexes my mental acuity. Not to mention that I get to create lovely items for friends and family. This week is all about my nieces, Brie's, soon-to-be born son. The shower is on August 11th so I am in the process of making gifts. So far I have made an afghan and a baby hat (check back later for a blog post...and for a sneak peek...check Instagram!) and am in the process of a pillow (for decorative purposes!) and maybe something else...

    Phew...I did it! I finished my first Thankful Thursday! It was not as bad as I thought! Check back next Thursday for another installment!!! What are you thankful for?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Thankful Thursdays starting in August...

     If you know me personally then you know that I have struggled for years with a horrible anxiety/panic disorder. As a child I was what was considered back then as "shy"-painfully shy. I remember hiding behind my moms legs whenever we came in contact with someone new. I remember trying everything I could do as a teenager to be invisible-in fact, my only goal as a teenager was to be invisible as much as possible. As an adult my acute shyness has not disappeared but has morphed into an anxiety/panic disorder. I have learned more effective coping skills for my anxiety than the highly unlikely chance of becoming invisible-barring some industrial accident that is! The funny thing about my disorder is that if you know me, are in my select circle of family and friends, you can easily forget that I suffer from it everyday. I am loud, outspoken, well-spoken, educated, semi-intelligent, funny, and generous. When I am with people in my comfort zone (family mostly but a couple of friends as well) it is easy to overlook that I am battling terror on a regular basis, that I have an over-inflated sense of flight or fight responses, or that I have difficulty being as "normal" as regular people. Certain "normal" aspects of other people's lives terrify me-meeting new people, having unrehearsed, unsolicited conversations with strangers, stepping away from my regular routine, and any changes with my "comfort zones" (home and families houses) without adequate time to adjust will leave me reeling-I literally shut down. I am sharing all this information because I think it is time for me to look for the positive aspects in my life instead of dwelling on my anxiety/panic disorder and how to not activate the fear I have.
     Starting in August I will begin a new segment in my blog called Thankful Thursdays. Every Thursday I will list my blessings and anything positive that has occurred in my life. My goal is to have a written record of the blessings I have in my life on a daily basis (a summary will be posted on Thursdays but will be a cumulative list from the week!) so that when times get bad (and they will) I can look back on something positive. Sometimes I will post pictures as well so that I will have a visual record.
     I know I do not have a lot of readers on this blog and that is okay...I am not writing this for anyone but me; however, if you like it that is just icing on the cake! I will continue to add knitting posts, family posts, and other stuff that happens in my life on here so do not worry...stay tuned for my first Thankful Thursday...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I am on Instagram now too!!!

Check out my new badge on the right!
I am now on Instagram! I want to thank Emmy166 on for walking me through how to add a badge onto my blog!! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I think this is going to make it so much easier to add pictures to my blog. Also I have started a blog on under the same name as this blog. The new blog will be similar to this one and will link to my Instagram, FB, and that I have finished my Master's degree (YAY! Finished on 7/1/2013 with a 3.61 GPA! So proud of myself!) I have a lot more time on my hands to update my blog and increase my Internet presence.

Thank you so much for sticking with me, readers and family, as I neglected my blog for studies but I am back now and will be posting on a regular basis!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pinwheel blanket

I am trying to expand my knitting so I have learned how to make socks (ONE PATTERN DOES COUNT!), how to use a chart, and how to use crocheting in my knitting (edges DO count!). Another thing I wanted to accomplish is learning how to knit a circle. I found a pinwheel blanket pattern on and bought the perfect yarn: a giant cone of Peaches and Creme yarn. Making the blanket was not as bad as I though and there is only one or two mistakes in my blanket (NOT THE PATTERN!). I had fun making it and even though it does not have an owner, yet, I still love how it looks and feels.
close-up of color

Look you see the mistake?

Carmen's doll

My great-niece, Carmen (her pics dot this blog!) turned 8 years old in March. For her birthday I bought her a doll that looks like her and is kind of an American Girl-type doll. As soon as I gave her the doll she changed her hair style and the doll now sleeps with her every night. As a knitter I could not simply go to a store and buy her an outfit that all little girls have access to! Knitters are unique! So I set out to make Carmen's doll a handmade outfit. I scoured the Internet and looked all over but nothing really jumped out at me. Most outfits are too winter-y or odd colored or bulky. I wanted to make her a cute little summer-y outfit. So using several different patterns for sizing and fit I made Carmen a 3 piece outfit: panties, tank top, and mini-skirt. The doll in the picture IS NOT Carmen's doll but is my model (my niece, Kirsten's American Girl-type doll who I still owe an outfit to because she let me borrow her!)

3 piece outfit-the panties were thongs until I crocheted a nice little edge on them!
NOT Carmen's doll but my clothes model

Socks for my sister!

I have learned how to make socks BUT can only figure out how to knit them using one pattern...Incredibly Easy Socks (can be found on However, socks there are so many different types and colors of  yarn that I really do not mind only being able to master one sock pattern. My sister is fully addicted to my handmade socks and I have to say that she owns every pair I have ever made (all 3 of them!) The pair I call Opposite Socks were made using sock yarn purchased at Joann's for 97 cents, I think it is Patons. I call them Opposite Socks because the way that the colors changed for each sock-almost a mirror of each other. The next socks I call Pink Summer Socks because the yarn is thin and perfect for cool evenings in the summer. I bought the yarn from Big Lots for 80 cents!! I am working on sock 2 now!!!

Here are some pictures of my latest socks:
Opposite Socks!!!! Made with 97 cent sock yarn-Patons

See my ladybug row counter? Pink Summer Socks

I turned the HEEL!

Obligatory foot and half finished sock picture

Yes, I see the laddering! LOL! Pink Summer Socks

See? It all worked out!!!!

These hats may not be appropriate for children (no NUDITY!)...but I think they are awesome!

Here are some more projects I have been working on! I am trying to teach myself how to use charts as well as create simple charts. I figured a simple hat pattern would be the best and I stumbled upon the Weed Chart on and thought I would try it out. The first nine pictures are made from the Weed Chart using Red Heart yarn. The second hat is my own chart that I generated using a free chart generator. It is made with a really super soft black yarn (no label) and the green is Red Heart. I learned a lot by making the same design. How to do floats, how to follow the chart, and how to hold my tension.
Warning: my hat may not be appropriate for children!
The hand is my 4 yr old great-niece-HELPING

This is my new FOAM HAT HEAD

This is so much fun!

The stem is a little WONKY

Getting closer to the end

The bottom leaves are a little weird

Really HUGE finished hat!

Close-up of WONKY stem-my fault not pattern

Side view! Look how long!!!

MY OWN DESIGN-love rolled brim


OK so I messed up a little but it so GREAT!

Baby Boom

Sorry, once again, it has been awhile since I last posted but I have been extremely busy. I am in the last stretch of my Master's degree (3.6 GPA!!!) and have been knitting in between class, papers, and finals. My family has had a BABY BOOM since I last posted. My niece, Leesa (and her husband, Richard) welcomed a baby boy, Marvin Richard, in May. My niece, Lena (and her husband, T-no really that is his name!) welcomed a baby boy, Tyler Wade, on June 13th. My niece, Aulbrie (and her boyfriend, Ryan) are due to have a baby boy in August/September. And my niece, Jessica, is due to have a LITTLE GIRL (FINALLY A GIRL! LOL!) in October/November. SO I have been doing A LOT of baby knitting!! In between knitting for babies being born IN the family, I have also knit a blanket for my nephew-in-law's sister. Do I have to explain Southern families convoluted relations here? They are extremely twisty, confusing, and MIND-BOGGLING! It helps to read them slowly to understand them! LOL! Also I have been knitting socks, practicing how to use charts (still shaky on them), and whatever little projects I can fit in between. SIT BACK and ENJOY the pictures!!!
Leesa's baby set

Leesa's Baby set-close-up of bootie

Leesa's Baby Set-far shot

Close-up of Lena's sailboat baby blanket

Ashley's blanket

Ashley's Blanket getting crochet edge

 Ashley's blanket--close-up of crochet edge

Ashley's Blanket stripes

Ashley's Blanket