Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Amish Christmas - Cynthia Keller

Summary from Good Reads: Meg Hobart has everything: a happy marriage to a handsome, successful husband, a beautiful home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and three wonderful children. But it all comes crashing down around her the day she learns that her husband, James, has been living a lie—and has brought the family to financial ruin. Penniless and homeless, the Hobarts pack up what little they still possess and leave behind their golden life for good. But it’s not the material things Meg finds herself mourning. Instead, she misses the certainty that she should remain married to James, who has betrayed her trust so thoughtlessly. Worse, she is suddenly very aware of just how spoiled her children have become. Meg wonders what her family has really sacrificed in their pursuit of the American dream.
A frightening twist of fate forces the Hobarts to take refuge with a kind Amish family in Pennsylvania, where they find themselves in a home with no computers, no cell phones, nothing the children consider fashionable or fun. Her uncooperative brood confined to the Amish world of hard work and tradition, their futures entirely uncertain, Meg fears she can never make her family whole again.
Celebrating life’s simplest but most essential values, packed with laughter and tears, this is a story of forgiveness and the power of love. You will never forget the special moment in time that is An Amish Christmas.

The Hobarts life was overturned in what seemed like a moments notice to Meg.  Her husband lost his job and all of their life savings and assets in a phony investment scam.  They must pack everything they own into a Ford Mustang and are heading to Meg's parents house in upstate New York where they will live and work until they get their lives back in order.  Along the way, they decide to stop in Lancaster, PA overnight to learn about the Amish and find a place to sleep.  They get into a car accident with a horse and buggy on a snowy and icy evening.  Thankfully no one was hurt but the car needs a lot of work to get it in working order.  The Amish family involved in the accident takes the whole family in with open arms until their car is ready.

Along the way, they learn about themselves and realize that being disconnected from the world has changed their lives in more than one way.  Although the two older children were difficult when they first got there, everyone was impacted by the love and friendship of this Amish family.

This was a wonderful Christmas story about love, friendship, forgiveness, family and community.  It definitely reinforces the fact that everything happens for a reason. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Paw Dishcloth

I finally knitted my first picture dishcloth.  Here it is:

It was not as hard as I imagined!  These picture dishcloths do require you to pay attention and they do not have a pattern to it that can easily be memorized.  It was fun to make though.  I will make more of these again!

Pattern: Paw by Amy-lynne Mitchell
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton #W260936 - Boogie Blue
Needles: US 5 on 24" Cables

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cool Christmas Presents

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  I sure did!  Here are two gifts that I received from hubby that I had to share with my fellow knitters:

Shirt #1

Shirt #2

I also received some gifts cards for iTunes, Amazon, Applebees, Longhorn Steakhouse and Macy's along with some sweaters, scrapbooking supplies, candles, bath soaps, baking stoneware and bluetooth speaker for my iPad.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Too Big Winter Hat

OMG, do you believe this?  This hat is now too big.

Well at least now I can have hubby put it on and figure out how many less stitches to do for the third try.  But I need to make a few things first because I am sick of making hats that don't fit!  LOL!

Update: I found a home for this hat!  Dia, can you guess who????  He was very grateful!

Pattern: Regular Guy Beanie by Chuck Wright
Yarn: Loops & Threads Impeccable #01040 - Black, #01044 - True Grey and #01532 - Claret
Needles: US 6 on 47" Cables

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cherry Pink Hexagon Dishcloth

I have been wanting to try making this dishcloth for a little while.  Now that I am done making Christmas presents, I can.  Here it is:

I didn't have enough yarn to add a scalloped border on the second one.

This was a fun and easy pattern to memorize.  It worked up quickly too!

Pattern: Crochet Hexagon Dishcloth by Mary Ellen Wells
Yarn: Peaches N' Creme #218 - Cherry Pink
Hook: US 7/G

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Crocheted Ponytail Holders

Here's a cute little stash buster project:

Here is the close up of one of them:

In all honesty, these took maybe 10 minutes each to make by using the scraps of leftover cotton yarn from my dishcloths.  I can't wait for my hair to be long enough to use them myself.  For now, I am giving them away to my co-worker's that have daughters.  I need to make more purple ones by request though!  LOL!

Pattern: Ponytail Holders from All Free Crochet
Yarn: Leftover Sugar N' Cream Yarn
Hook: US 8/H

Friday, December 16, 2011

Mistletoe Granny Dishcloths

Here are some festive holiday colored dishcloths:

Here is a close up:

There are 8 dishcloths here.  Four are for my hubby's co-workers and the other four were a special request from two co-workers to purchase.  I do want to try and make some more just to see how many I can get out of one 12 oz skein of cotton yarn.  I am thinking that I may be able to get 2 or 3 more out of it, we'll have to wait and see.

Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton #W277586 - Mistletoe Ombre
Hook: US 7/G

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Scrap Granny Dishcloths

This is the final set of dishcloths for my MIL:

I love that the striped yarn worked out this way.  I did not plan it but I am glad that it worked out like this!

Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Solid #108 - Morning Glory Blue, #112 - Poppy Red and Lily's Sugar N' Cream Stripes #23705 - Americana Stripes
Hook: US 7/G

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Morning Glory Granny Dishcloths

Okay, I'm getting to the end of my yarn to make dishcloths for my MIL for Christmas.  Here's another set of blue ones:

Here is a close up:

As you can tell, I really love this pattern.  I think it is my go-to crochet dishcloth pattern.  I can complete one in under an hour.

Pattern: Granny Dishcloth #2412
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Solid #108 - Morning Glory Blue
Hook: US 7/G

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Winter First Hat

Here is a hat that I made for my hubby:

He announced in Webs a couple of weekends ago that he wanted me to make him a hat with three colors, gray, black and red to match his snowmobile.  I told him that I need to find a pattern first and I wanted to wait for a sale on yarn instead of buying it at Web's for $4.99 a skein.  These were on sale 2 for $5 at Michael's!

This was my first time making stripes!  After reading about making jogless stripes, these came out perfect!  I am so happy with it!  I now have enough yarn to make several more of these by mixing up the colors since I only used about 100 yards for one.

Unfortunately, this hat was too small to fit hubby.  I have figured out how to adjust the pattern and I will be trying again to make it for him.  This hat was bought by a co-worker to give to her nephew for Christmas so it will be put to good use.

Pattern: Regular Guy Beanie by Chuck Wright
Yarn: Loops & Threads Impeccable #01532 - Claret, #01040 - Black and #01044 - True Grey
Needles: US 6 on 32" Cables

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Plain and Fancy Christmas - Cynthia Keller

Summary from Good Reads: Raised in a Pennsylvania Amish community, young mother Rachel Yoder has led a simple life within her close-knit family. Widowed three years ago, she has moved back in with her parents, attempting to raise her daughter, Katie, without further emotional upheaval. Meanwhile, four hours and a whole world away in New York City, Ellie Lawrence is laser-focused on a high-powered public relations career, with too little time for her family, her friends, or even her boyfriend.
Then one fateful day, these two very different women receive shocking news of a mistake made three decades earlier and long kept hidden: Shortly after their births, the two were accidentally switched in the hospital. Shaken to the core by this momentous news, Rachel and Ellie are plunged into an exploration of who they are and where they really belong. While Ellie is eager to learn more about her Amish family and their life in the countryside, Rachel cannot help but feel jealous as she watches the only mother she has ever known bonding so easily with her natural daughter. But Rachel also knows that her own biological family is out there, and with Katie at her side she heads for Manhattan, where she establishes a connection with the raucous, spirited Lawrences.
As Ellie and Rachel make their way through unfamiliar landscapes, they face life-altering challenges and grapple with a crucial question: Will their old conventions and desires give way to new customs and yearnings? With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, it takes the love of two families for Rachel and Ellie to discover their own paths to fulfillment and happiness.

Rachel and Ellie were switched at birth in the hospital by accident 28 years ago.  The nurse who discovered the secret was protecting her alcoholic husband from losing his medical license if it got out sent a letter to the two girls explaining the situation.  Rachel tucked the letter away to be forgotton but Ellie wanted to meet her other family.  They both got a taste of their life that should have been and both came to some realizations about their lives and its affect on everyone involved.

This is the first book that I read from Cynthia Keller.  I really enjoyed it!  It was a nice and different Amish story that was a pleasant change from most other Amish stories.  I am looking forward to reading An Amish Christmas by Cynthia Keller next!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hershey's Cloths

Here are some little paw shaped washcloths for Hershey:

I used some leftover scraps for these.

Pattern: Washcloths for Dog Tear Eyes by Sara Sach
Yarn: Lily's Sugar N' Cream #19014 Chocolate Ombre
Hook: US 8/H

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Meet Hershey!

I have been meaning to introduce you to Hershey, our new puppy who is a 14 week old chocolate labradoodle.

This picture was taken on the first day we brought him home.  He has been a wonderful dog!  He is so stinken smart too, that's the poodle in him!  He has already learned sit, stay, come, to play fetch and is working on how to stand up on his hind legs.

Here is a picture of him hanging out with me on Monday:

I am so glad that he is a part of our family!  He has helped both of us heal from the loss of Simba.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Red Ribbed Dishcloths

Here are a set of knitted dishcloths for my MIL:

Here is a close up:

I can't believe how long it takes to knit dishcloths instead of crocheting them.  I'm making her last two sets by crocheting them!  LOL!
Yarn: Lion Brand Lion Cotton Solid #112 - Poppy Red
Needles: US 7 on 24" Cables

Monday, December 5, 2011

Soft Pink Clapochet

Here is my first clapochet:

Here is the full length of it:

I made this for my mother for Christmas.  I started this on 11/14 and I ripped it apart on 11/15 and started all over.  After looking at pictures of other finished ones, I realized that I was counting my last 2 TR incorrectly.  No wonder it looked funky!  I also changed my hook from a J to a E!  I love the way it came out!  It is much tighter and neater!  I need to make one of these for me now!  LOL!

Pattern: Clapochet by Crochet Kitten
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft #9719 - Soft Pink
Hook: US 3.50 mm/E

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Plain and Simple Christmas - Amy Clipston

Summary from Good Reads: In the tradition of her widely popular Kauffman Amish Bakery series, author Amy Clipston tells the tale of Anna Mae McDonough who was shunned by her family four years ago when she left her Amish community in Lancaster County, PA, to marry an Englisher (non Amish) man and move with him to Baltimore. Now, eight months pregnant when her first child, she longs to return home for Christmas to reconcile with her family, especially her stern father, who is the religious leader for her former Amish church district.  So Anne Mae writes a letter to Kathryn Beiler, her brother's wife, to enlist her help. Kathryn asks her husband, David, if she should arrange Anna Mae's visit. David cautions her that a visit would cause too much stress in the family and instead suggests they visit Anna Mae and her husband in the spring. However, Kathryn arranges the visit anyway, believing in her heart that it's God's will for the family to heal.When Anna Mae arrives in Lancaster for Christmas, she doesn't receive the welcome she expects and her world begins to fall apart, leaving her to question her place in her family and her faith in God.

A book filled with love, the pain of being separated from one's family, and the determination to follow God's will regardless of the outcome, A Plain and Simple Christmas is an inspiring page-turner that will keep you guessing what happens next right to the very last page.

Anna Mae and her Englisher husband, Kellan, want to visit Anna's family at Christmas.  They are expecting their first child and wants the child to know her family.  After being shunned from her family for three years, she longs to see all of them and have them back in her life.  She contacts her sister-in-law, Kathryn, to discuss the idea and to make plans for their visit.  Will her family welcome her with open arms?  Will it be a Christmas miracle to reconcile?

I loved this story!  I have read several Amish stories that involved shunned family members and this one showed how a shunning affects the whole family.  Some family members welcomed her openly, some were reserved and others forbidded to even talk to her.  In this story, Anna Mae has a wonderful, loving and caring Christian husband who care for her dearly.  Since he has no family of his own left, except for a sister in California, he is willing to help make ammends with Anna's family.  It shows how families can come together and reconcile with upcoming births especially at the holidays.  Thanks Amy for another wonderful Amish Christmas book!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Christmas Singing: A Romance from the Heart - Cindy Woodsmall

Summary from Good Reads: After Gideon coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie’s hopes?
Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve.

Three years later, will learning the truth behind his rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?
Spend Christmas with the Amish in this story of love, romance, heartache, and restoration.

When Mattie loses everything athat she had worked so hard for in a fire, she returns home to visit her mother around the holidays. When she arrives, she runs into Gideon, her former boyfriend, which she has not seen in three years. They ended on hard term believing that he was in love with an Englisher. Yet he was hiding the truth to protect Mattie. Will Mattie find out the truth? Will she forgive him and reconcile?

I really enjoyed this book! It is the first that I have read from Cindy Woodsmall and it will not be my last. But I must admit one thing, this book made me hungry. As Mattie describes the different cakes she made for Lizzie and Beth to sample for their wedding cakes. I wish I cold have sampled them! LOL! The was a delightful Christmas story that warmed my heart.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Naomi's Gift: An Amish Christmas Story - Amy Clipston

Summary from Good Reads: Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams ... and secrets. You'll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the 'English' way of life---and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families.

Naomi's Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches---a time of family, faith, and hope for many others---Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family's quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down. Naomi's story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal.

Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi's Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston's fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.

Naomi King has been heartbroken twice and has been labeled as an "eager" woman.  Caleb comes into town for the Christmas holiday to spend time with his family in Lancaster County.  He is a widower with a seven year old daughter, Susie.  Susie meets Naomi at the famer's market while she is working at the quilt stand for her family's store.  Susie is instantly connected to Naomi and their friendship blossoms the more time they spend together.  Caleb wants to meet Naomi but his nosy sister Sadie has someone else in mind for him.  Will Caleb and Naomi become friends?  Will Caleb go back to Ohio?  Will Naomi's heart get broken again?

I love these books!  The characters are so well developed!  I loved how Amy brought the familiar characters from the Kauffman series back for this festive holiday read.  After the holidays, I am going to sit down and finish the Kauffman Bakery series because I fall in love with them each time.  There are several Christmas Amish books that I would like to read before the holiday first.  Thanks Amy for another great story!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Americana Granny

Here is another set of my MIL's Christmas dishcloths:

Here is a close up:

I'm still not sure how I feel about this pattern of dishcloth with striped yarn.  I guess that I am expecting it to work out evenly and it never will.  I'll have to get over it!

Yarn: Lily's Sugar N' Cream #23705 - American Stripes
Hook: US 4.5/G

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lydia's Charm - Wanda E. Brunstetter

Summary from Good Reads: Visit Amish Country during the fall as Lydia King attempts to make Charm, Ohio, feel like home after losing her husband. But is her heart ready to open back up to love when gifts appear on her porch from a mystery source? Could it be from the widowed father of four energetic boys, or is it from the man who has rejected romance to be his family’s caregiver? When life hands Lydia another challenge, will the gift giver be there to support her?

Lydia moves from Illinois back to Ohio to be with her mother and grandfather.  She lost her husband and her job and has nothing holding her there.  As she gets to know people in the new community, she first meets Levi who works in the general store owned by his parents.  Then she meets Menno who is a widower with four active boys.  Menno is looking for a wife and mother to his four boys.  Lydia has many challenges in Charm including finding a new love.  What will become of Lydia in Charm?  Was the move worth it?

I loved this story by Wanda Brunstetter.  Lydia's story is a rough one with too many losses for one person to deal with in a short period of time.  But it proves that with family and faith, she could make it through it.  I loved how this story ended, it made me happy!

Thanks to Net Galley and Barbour Publishing for allowing me to review this book!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy 39th Birthday to Me!

Wow, I can't believe that this is my 39th birthday.  Where did the time go???

Here is a picture of Jay and I with two celebrities whose birthdays are also today:

This picture is from our trip to Walt Disney World from last year.  Jay took me there for my birthday so we could celebrate it together!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ruby's Morning Clory Blue Dishcloth

Here's another set of my MIL's Christmas dishcloths:

Here is a close up:

I love making this pattern with solid colored yarn!

Pattern: Ruby's Dishcloth by Jill Foerster
Yarn: Lion Brand Lion Cotton Solid #108 - Morning Glory Blue
Hook: US 3.75/F

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ruby's Red Dishcloth

Here is my first set of dishcloths for my MIL for Christmas:

Here is a close up:

She requested lots of homemade dishcloths for Christmas.  She loves how they come out and how well they work in the kitchen.  She'll have more than plenty for quite a while once I am done making all of these.

Pattern: Ruby's Dishcloth by Jill Foerster
Yarn: Lion Brand Lion Cotton Solid #112 - Poppy Red
Hook: US 3.75/F

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Panorama Fire Blossom Dishcloth

I decided to make my first round dishcloth.  Here it is:

I really liked how this turned out.  This was also my first time using front post double crochets (FPDC).  I like the way they came out.

Pattern: Fire Blossom Dishcloth
Yarn: Peaches N' Creme #278453 - Panorama
Hook: US 5/H

Monday, November 14, 2011

Finished Bird Cage Blanket

Here is the finished bird cage blanket:

I attached the block by doing a single crochet with the back sides facing each other.  Then after attaching all the squares and rows, I added a single crochet border to tie it together followed by a double crochet row and finishing it with a single crochet.  I really like the way this came out!

Pattern: None
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver - Navy
Hook: US 5/H & US 5.5/I

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Baby Blanket Square

We discovered that we needed one more 12" square for the co-worker's baby blanket that we are making.  So I made one more:

I did 9 rounds of pattern followed by one round of single crochets to finish it!

Pattern: Granny Dishcloth #2412 by Bernat Design Studio
Yarn: Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice #000 - Linen
Hook: US 8/H

Friday, November 11, 2011

Granny Loves Licorice

Here's another set of Granny dishcloths:

Here is a close up of the first one:

Here is a close up of the second one:

I like these so much better using the smaller hook and varigated yarn!  This project combines my current two favorite projects: dishcloths and granny squares!  Love it!

Pattern: Granny Dishcloth #2412 by Bernat Design Studio
Yarn: Peaches N' Creme #210 - Licorice
Hook: US 7/G

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Granny Dishcloths in Pinky Stripes

Here are some cool granny square dishcloths:

Here is one up close:

I like how these turned out!  I am going to make them again but I am going to use a smaller hook to make it a little tighter.  Plus I am going to use a varigated yarn versus a stripped yarn.

Pattern: Granny Dishcloth #2412 by Bernat Design Studio
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton #00732 - Pinky Stripes
Hook: US 8/H

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bird Cage Blanket - Block #2

Here are the rest of of the blocks for the bird cage blanket:

Color #1

Color #2

Color #3

Color #4

Oops, I miss counted.  I had to make 2 more of the light blue and green to  make a square blanket.  I did not get pictures of them since I added the border too.  Next, I need to add a border to each block, attach them and add a final border to the whole blanket.

Pattern: Free SmoothFox's Charity Square Nbr 2 by Donna Mason-Svara
Yarn: Wintuk Omber #3028 - Spice & Red Heart Super Saver - Rainbow Brights & Lion Brand Vanna's Choice #173 & #105
Hook: US 8/H

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ruby's White Dishcloths

Here's a new crocheted dishcloth pattern:

Here is a close up:

I love this pattern!  It creates a nice thick texture!  I may use this pattern again!

Pattern: Ruby's Dishcloth by Jill Foerster
Yarn: Lily's Sugar N' Cream #18001 - White & #01317 - Hot Purple
Hook: US F

Monday, November 7, 2011

Heaven is for Real - Todd Burpo

Summary from Good Reads: A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven.

Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.

Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how "reaaally big" God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit "shoots down power" from heaven to help us.

Told by the father, but often in Colton's own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.

I read this book for my neighborhood book club.  It was a very easy and casual read.  I loved Colton!  He is a 4 year old who is wise beyond his years.  After his encounter with Jesus in heaven, he shares his discoveries with his parents so a matter of factly.  He shared details about heaven that he would only have known by reading the bible thoroughly.  It was nice to hear about heaven through the eyes of an innocent child.  I'm very glad that I read this book!