Cozy Memories and Change

Cozy Memories and Change

Can you believe it’s almost May?

The springtime is flying by and summer knits are coming out soon! This week I finish a pair of socks, start working on a design, talk about dreaded change, and read a familiar book. Enjoy!


Finished Objects

I finished a second pair of socks this months-whew! I feel like I’ve been marathoning. These are vanilla with Fish Lips Kiss Heels and twisted 2×2 ribbing. {I finally figured out a stretchy bind off that works for me. See notes.} We’ve had so much testing this month that both these socks and my Jelly Rolls were knit exclusively at school. Not bad, eh?

Yarn: Lolodidit’s Everyday Sock in the “Honeydukes” colorway
Pattern: Ravelry notes here and Fish Lips Kiss Heel here


WIP’s- Focus Projects

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“The Coziest Memory” by Kemper Wray

Last week I profiled my granny stripe blanket so this week I thought I’d share my other scrappy blanket. This blanket goes by many names: cozy memories, mitered square, but the pattern I’m following is called “The Coziest Memory” by Kemper Wray. I liked this pattern the best because of how simply it’s written and how nicely it’s illustrated.

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Big jar of sock weight scraps collected over the years.

I’ve only got a base row {15 squares} so far, but plan to add to the second row this #scrappysunday. My squares are a bit different because they are only 30 stitches. Long ago when I started collecting scraps for this blanket, people would wind off yarn from their hand to elbow about 12 times and call it “enough”… well, that’s enough for a 2 1/4 inch square. That’s why I plan on making this a cozy lap blanket to use while I’m knitting in my chair.


Something New

Ever since I knit Weasley sweaters for Christmas I’ve been searching for a portable way to carry around colorwork projects. I mean, what really happens when those balls get in the bag together? No matter how careful I am they come out a tangled mess!

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Intarsia solution at home.

I figured out an at-home solution- I used a tray from Hobby Lobby along with some small buckets to keep all the yarn in line. But what to do when I wanted to take my project with me? I would need a bag that was light-weight and that could keep my balls of yarn separated in a specific order. And it would be most convenient if I could set the yarn on a table or in my lap in that same sequence.

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Prototype of the buckets for colorwork bag.

So I decided to try my hand at designing such a bag. I’m still in the beginning stages. I’m working out the little buckets for inside the bag. They’ve got to be just the right amount of sturdy and still flexible. I want them to sit properly even when you pull yarn from them. Then I want the little buckets to transfer from the bag in a convenient way to the table or your lap. Stay tuned for the development of this bag!


What God’s Teaching Me

Change. Transition. Endings. Ah! These are all words that spike my heart rate.

There is always a bit of anxiety that comes with the end of a school year. Last year I knew that the summer months brought a job and campus change, a move to a different town, and our wedding- whew! This year doesn’t feel much different.

Although I don’t plan to change schools or roles, my workplace is seeing lots of transition. People I’ve become close to are leaving and we’re moving to a new building just across the street.

Kent and I knew that our current housing situation was temporary so now we’re trying to decide where to move next. Do root in our current suburban town and buy a house? Do we move back to the city and rent an apartment? Do we dare attempt to buy a house in the outrageous market that is Dallas?

I can feel my blood pulsing faster just as I type. Move school buildings. Move houses. New co-workers. New neighbors. New church? New church!

As I try to avoid thinking about these upcoming decisions, God is by my side. He’s telling me this week that it’s okay to ponder, get excited, get upset, discuss, argue, debate, and cry during this whole end-of-year transition as long as I make sure to pray. While my husband and I attempt to make these big decisions, we can’t lose sight of who will help us make the best ones- God.


What We’re Cooking

Sunday we had the last of this round of frozen crockpot meals- Chicken Teriyaki. You can find the recipe from New Leaf Wellness here in the free list of 25 five-ingredient freezer meals {I think I know where I’ll find my next freezer prep recipes!} Kent remarked that this meal tasted a lot like the Chinese Pepper Steak we had the week before. “No…” I thought. But sure enough, they have almost the same ingredients. While both are good, I prefer the beef and Kent loved the chicken. I forgot to take a single picture of the meal- so sorry!

We had one of my favorite ground beef casseroles over the weekend- Tamale Bake. It’s easy and delicious. Kent thinks it tastes better with taco sauce, but I like mine the way it is. You can change up the flavor with different types of salsa or kind of cornbread. My favorite is the good ol’ sweet cornbread, but Mexican cornbread is good too! I add a teaspoon of baking powder to the cornbread mix to make it fluffier. Also, I like to use half a can of corn in the Tamale Bake and dump the other half in some rice. Buen provecho!

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I cooked up more veggies for lunch this week. While I wanted to take the easy route with some steamable veggies, there just aren’t that many that I love. So I bought broccoli florets, carrots, and zucchini (mmm my favorite!) and baked them with some olive oil, salt, pepper, onion powder, and lemon grill seasoning. They turned out great!

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Plum Deluxe’s “Heartfelt Blend”

I’ve had a bit of a tea obsession lately. For Christmas, I gave Kent a three-month subscription to Plum Deluxe Tea. Well, guess who’s “enjoyed” it the most- me. Oops! So I decided I needed to order myself some tea before I drank his entire gift. I’m so pleased with their customer service. Andy, the founder, emailed me personally and answered my questions. It’s so hard to drink bagged tea now that I’ve had the flavorful taste of loose-leaf tea. I can’t wait for my first month’s tea to arrive!

Wednesday night I tried these Swiss Pan Burgers with Rosemary and Mushroom with limited success. This was the first time I’ve ever cooked with rosemary or shallots! While my burgers were flavorful, they turned out quite dry. Where did I go wrong? I could definitely improve on the shape and thickness of my burgers. The mushroom sauce was nice and thick before I added beef broth at the end, then it never thickened. I think I’ll leave burgers to our in-house grill master {Kent}.


What I’m Reading

So many books have been recommended to me lately- keep ’em coming! I try to go on my Overdrive app right away and put the Kindle book and audiobook on hold at the two libraries where I hold a membership.

I’m currently waiting on Letters of a Woman HomesteaderAt Home in Mitford, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, and The Way of Kings. Hopefully they don’t all come in at once! Two of these books are the first in a series. Series make me so happy because I have something great to read next.

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While I wait for those to be available I’ve started the Harry Potter series again. This is probably the tenth time for the first few books, but the later books in the series I’ve read far less. I’m right in the middle of the Sorcerer’s Stone. Boy, do I love these books! I’ve been going back and forth between reading the Kindle book at night and listening to my Audible app on drives and walks. I hope to read through the seven books {and maybe the “eighth” book} again by the end of the summer.


Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Harry Potter and the Unfinished Object

Harry Potter and the Unfinished Object

I have the day off today {built in weather day} and I intend to knit and crochet as much as possible! Perhaps, I’ll work on my yarn closet as well.

This week I ripped out a hat, revived an old WIP, and relished in Scrappy Sunday. I review the cleaning products I made last week, discuss movie morality, and learn even more about introversion. It’s a word-heavy week- so take it in bits. Thanks for reading!


(Un)Finished Objects

I don’t have any FO’s this week, but I did frog a hat instead of letting it linger in project purgatory- which brings on a sense of completion, right? The “Infinity Crochet Whirl Slouchy” hat that was challenging me so much a few weeks ago has been terminated… indefinitely.

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The promise of a fresh skein of yarn and pom poms.

First, let me say that the problem is me and not the designer or the pattern {although she could have made it a little easier, huh? I kid.} I think I chose the wrong yarn. My yarn was a beautiful lavender alpaca that my loving husband bought for me on a trip two summers ago. The yarn is great, but not right for this tricky pattern. It’s to flimsy and fuzzy to work cable stitches on a 5.0mm hook.

Second, I’m still pretty new to crochet. Having to work cables AND go into the row below AND link double crochets… it was all just too much! Some day I might get back to this project, but I don’t want to make any promises, especially not to myself. I don’t have any picture evidence of this project except the swatch I worked in a different yarn.

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See I can infinity crochet!

WIP’s- Focus Projects

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“Half Moon Oracle” by Kristin Lehrer with a pup in the background.

I’ve revived my Half Moon Oracle shawl. I started this shawl on January 13th of this year, and I’m not quite sure what made me put it aside. Perhaps it was the desire to get all my 2017 WIP’s out of way first. Now I wish I hadn’t stopped!

I’m using all three of the sock yarn skeins I received in Gracelynn Wool’s Harry Potter Club last October/November/December. The pink is called “Yule Ball”, the purple “Pensieve Memory #21” and the neutral speckle “Happee Birthday Harry Potter”. They create such an interesting combination, and not one I would normally seek out. I really wanted to use these Harry Potter-themed skeins together and I’m loving the result.

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The beginning of my scrappy “Granny Stripes” blanket.

Another WIP I’ve thoroughly been enjoying is my scrappy “Granny Stripes” by Lucy of Attic24. I went through quite of bit of swatching to get this blanket just right. I ended up using a size E hook to chain 302, then switched a D hook to work one row of sc through the back loop only. I followed the rest of the pattern with my D hook. {Full details on my project page.}

I’m mostly using leftovers, but I purchased some Diagon Alley-themed minis {more Harry Potter} from Teeny Button Studios at Fiber Fest and love the way they look in the blanket. Kent says that using new yarn goes “against the spirit of #scrappysunday,” but alas, I used them anyway.


Something New

Last week I shared that I’m trying out my own household cleaners. I’ve been using them for nearly two weeks now and I’m happy with them. I do find myself a little worried about if they are working to kill germs- I never worried if my store-bought cleaners did their job, but I probably should have! So I did a little research.

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All my new cleaners lined up and ready for action.

Vinegar uses its acidic properties to kill germs. The all-purpose cleaner I keep in the kitchen has vinegar, water, and lemon essential oil. At first, I was afraid to spray this concoction openly and only sprayed it on my cloth. Why the fear? I was openly spraying 409 on counter tops without a care where it was landing- yikes! So now I’m bolder with my spritzes and it’s working very nicely.

I also use this granite counter top cleaner that combines water, rubbing alcohol, and lemon essential oil to clean granite exclusively. I’ve read that vinegar can wear down stone, so I try not to use the all-purpose cleaner above every time I wipe down the counters. I definitely DO NOT spray this openly because rubbing alcohol is highly flammable. I spray it directly onto a cloth and never use it when my gas stove is burning. I also hide it under the sink instead of out on the counter {wear my pretty amber bottle of all-purpose spray sits} in case my husband tries to clean.

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I love having the recipe right on the label.

For the bathroom, I chose a combination of castile soap, water, and tea tree oil. Castile soap is so gently effective that it can be used to clean open wound (ick!), but was it properly cleaning my toilet? I chose this formula because my bathroom counters look like marble; I learned vinegar can etch marble– better not risk it. Tea tree oil is naturally anti-microbial and has lots of other great uses too!

I realized that the toilet needed something a bit stronger than castile soap and tea tree oil when I noticed that our toilets were a little… ahem… smelly. They never smelled when I cleaned with Clorox wipes {and I only did that once a week}. The good news is that vinegar cuts odors in addition to killing germs; so I decided to whip up tea tree oil, water, and vinegar spray for the outside parts of the toilet. I’ve been using baking soda along with a few sprays of the castile cleaner on the toilet bowl. {I’m trying these toilet bombs next!} Now all is fresh and lovely on the porcelain throne!

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So many cheese shakers, so many possibilities.

Remember how I ordered TWELVE cheese shakers for my baking soda… well now I’ve found spots in the house for four of them. I’ve got one in each of the bathrooms we use every day {for the toilet bowls}. The third is sitting next to my kitchen sink- any time I have a pot or pan with some extra stuck-on food, I sprinkle a little baking soda from my shaker and scrub away. The fourth I have on stand by for my couches because…

Next up is figuring out a way to eliminate dog odors from the upolstry- ugh!


What God’s Teaching Me

While I thought I’d be writing more about financial margin this week, the devotional I’m reading through the YouVersion Bible app took a hard left on two wheels into sexual sin. Whoa, weren’t prepared for that one were you? Me either. At this time I’m not going to dive any further into sexual sin than I have in my testimony. This is because I have far too much to write for this section and I can’t say it without sacrificing the privacy of others. {Quick note: If you’re in any type of relationship I highly recommend the “Guardrails” series by Andy Stanley.}

However, I’d love to touch on another point of morality, and one I faced this weekis that movie okay for me to watch? Let me first back up. Something happened to me in my first year of being a Christian, a change that I didn’t have a conscious effort making. See, God was waging war against the sinful part of me that loved watching “Scandal”* and adding colorful words to my sentences. Suddenly the violent show lost its appeal and curse words felt prickly on my tongue. I know this was God’s doing because I didn’t set out to purify my consumer habits, it just happened for me.

Nowadays, most movies or shows {or people} that include a lot of crude language, unnecessary sexual content (y’all know what I mean, it’s often laughable!), or disturbing crimes cause me to turn away instantly. There was even a moment last year that I nearly walked out of the theater because there were so many uncalled for sexual innuendos that did not add to the plot whatsoever. I know this is not an experience that happens to most people, but the things we surround ourselves with have a way of seeping deep into our souls.

So how can we make sure we’re protecting ourselves from the overly sexual and violent media in our theaters and Netflix feeds? When I find myself wondering if I should view a movie, I go to Plugged In. This site is awesome for screening movies for yourself or your kids. A movie rating (R, PG-13, etc.) only gives us so much information. Plugged In gives you a wealth of knowledge about the positive elements, spiritual content, sexual content, violent content, crude or profane language, drug and alcohol content, and other negative elements for all the Blockbusters. It also gives movies a content rating for kids, teens, and adult; this ranges from light to heavy.

For example, “Black Panther” {great movie!} is heavy for kids, medium for teens, and light for adults. It has a long section of positive elements and a small section for sexual content. Violence is the biggest reason that this movie is heavier for the kids and teens than it is for adults.

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And now, the movie I’ve been debating is… “I Feel Pretty.” While you can’t review movies until the day they get released, I’ve felt God tugging at me on the decision to see this movie all week. The box office gives it a PG-13 rating, which is usually a-okay for me, but the Amy Schumer movies that I’ve seen before have been highly sexual.

After looking over the Plugged In review, I decided that the movie should be okay for me. They have it as a medium for adults- as expected, most of the negative content is sexual. The good news is that we have MoviePass; so if the movie becomes too inappropriate at any time, it doesn’t feel like a waste of money to walk out.

*Don’t worry, just because you watch “Scandal” does not make you a sinner. This show was a problem for me.


What We’re Cooking

Saturday night we enjoyed “Texas Toast Garlic Bread Pizza“- a super easy recipe that’s a little healthier than delivery pizza. All I’ve ever known is Pepperidge Farm frozen Texas Toast, but my husband {a native Texan} says that this is not true Texas Toast. Hmm, what do you think?

Sunday we had another delicious frozen meal from New Leaf Wellness. {We only have five more so I’ll have to plan another freezer prep session in about a month!} This meal was probably my favorite so far- Chinese Pepper Steak. Now it was the meal that took the longest to prep since it takes three bell peppers and two pounds of top sirloin- chopped, but it was well worth it. On Sunday, all I had to do was dump the contents of the bag in the crockpot; then four hours later, put some jasmine rice in the rice maker. God bless modern cooking technology.

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Tuscan Garlic Chicken- be careful not to pour in too much oil like I did here. Oops!

Tuesday we had easy Tuscan Garlic Chicken. I love this recipe because it’s quick to prep and requires only a casserole dish and a cutting board. And let’s be honest, I could eat sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts all day long- yum!

For my work lunches this week I went heavy on the veggies with this “Quinoa and Roasted Vegetables” recipe. I didn’t mind all the chopping because there were only a couple of each type of vegetable. While the vegetables are in the oven, the recipe instructs you to make the quinoa AND they actually get finished about the same time. I love when recipes tell you exactly how to multi-task. The meal turned out great and I was able to get four lunches from it.

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What I’m Reading

I’m still listening to “Quiet” by Susan Cain and I’ve had so many moments where I’ve been thought, “YES! That’s me!” If you are an introvert and you need validation, just read this book- you will no longer feel alone.

Here’s a quick test to see if you are mostly introverted: Do you often let your calls go to voice mail? Does the forced greeting of your pew-mates at the beginning of a church service make you cringe? When you’re away from home, do you fantasize about the things you will do once you’re back in your safe place? Do you often hold deep conversation with individuals at parties while your friend/spouse is gabbing in a group and having a “good time”? Do you prefer to take your lunch at work accompanied solely by YouTube and knitting? Welcome to the land of introversion.

I often feel guilty about the amount of time I need away from the busyness of the world. I don’t necessarily want to be alone I just want to be allowed to do my own thing {namely knit}. Then I want to get back out into the world again- go to work, go to a class at my gym, see my friends, and then cozy up back at home with my dog, husband, and my yarn. I thought this was a crime… that I’m “missing out”. But perhaps not.

Susan talks about building niches into your day that allow you to be your true self. For both introverts and extroverts there are aspects of their lives that require them to act like the other. So taking care to have moments alone or more time to talk with friends is not only appropriate, it’s necessary.

From the knowledge I’ve reaped in this book, I can say very confidently that my decision to go from a classroom teacher {of 25 kids} to an interventionist {only 3-5 students at one time} was a matter of staying true to myself. I could perform as a classroom teacher, but it exhausted me. I’m so much happier as an introvert in my current role when I’m able to be my authentic self with scholars- and they respond better to it.

I think that introverts can reach people in a way that extroverts cannot. In most situations you can trust that you’re getting a genuine emotion from an introvert {sorry, we really don’t want to shake your hand at church, stranger!} whether negative or positively-received. That allows introverts to connect deeply in the relationships that they choose to foster, keeping a few close friends.

This book has been absolutely fascinating  and has changed my perspective of myself and others. I highly recommend it to anyone who is an introvert or is married to one.


Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Fiber Fest and Finances

Fiber Fest and Finances

I had the absolute BEST time at DFW Fiber Fest last weekend with my friends!

From Franklin Habit and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s creative insight to detailed stash enhancement, this is a jammed packed post. I also finished some socks, started a new sweater, and cooked up some cleaning supplies. I learned more about my introvert tendencies and how to have financial margin. Enjoy!


Finished Objects

I finished my first pair of April socks- Jelly Rolls by Mara Catherine Bryner. They were super quick since we’ve had so much testing going on at school. I just clipped my Erin.Lane sock sack on my belt loop and walked around knitting and knitting while I monitoring students. {I have a cute teacher bag with apples!}

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“Jelly Rolls” by Mara Catherine Bryner

I immediately cast on my second pair of socks for the month out of the same brilliant “Honeydukes” colorway by Lolodidit. I was planning on a second pair of Jelly Rolls, but I just don’t have it in me! These will likely stay vanilla.

I have sort of a secret goal for the year that I’ve been keeping to myself for the fear of not being able to complete it. I want to finish either one pair of tall socks or two pairs of short socks each month. In the months that I knit short socks I’ll make a pair for myself and a pair to gift my sister at Christmastime. In the months I make long socks, I’ll put them away for my mother-in-law and mom for Christmas. I’d love to get them a couple pairs each and then have the time to knit myself some festive socks in November and December!


WIP’s- Focus Projects

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“So Faded” by Andrea Mowry

I’ve been working diligently on my “So Faded” sweater by Andrea Mowry. My goal was to get to part where you put the sleeves on hold {I tend to get stuck in raglan increase land} by the end of this week. But when I realized we were going to the movies on Wednesday I decided I must be on the body to knit in the dark! This sweater is simple enough to be quick, but it’s still fingering weight. I really should knit some sweaters in sport or dk.

I’m going to try something crazy with this sweater… I’m going to finish the sleeves before the body. WHAT?! Raise your hand if you hate sleeves! I’ve got both of my sleeveless arms in the air. I detest knitting sleeves. Knitting tiny rounds of stockinette on a sock? No sweat! Knitting tiny rounds of stockinette while attached to a giant sweater body? That’s just asking to be put in time out.

After I finish my second color on the body, I will be rocking and rolling on the sleeves. Fingers crossed that this will cure my sleeve aversion.


Something New

I got to learn from two different knitting-famous bloggers this past weekend at DFW Fiber Fest.  Friday night Franklin Habit gave his talk titled: “Follow Your Bunny: The Creative Process from A to Q”. He was HILARIOUS! He used his own drawings and photographs to share what the life of a “creative person” is really like. I felt very inspired by him to follow my ideas on through their ups and downs and never to let failure stop me from sharing my process.

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My 14″ needles used for lever knitting.

On Saturday morning I took a class from the one and only Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. The class was called “Knitting for Speed and Efficiency,” and boy was it so much more than that! We were treated to a history of how we came to knit the way we do, and why that might not be such a great thing. We learned that a neutral position is the most efficient and least injury-inducing way to knit {because you can’t knit much when you’re injured!}. We also got to sample lever knitting, the technique practiced by the quickest knitters in the world.

Add to all that knowledge Stephanie’s humor and wit, and I can say that this is the best knitting class I’ve ever taken. I’ve already been able to put into practice some of the tips and tricks she shared {especially pulling out lots of yarn from your ball so you don’t have to stop as often} and I intend to practice lever knitting a few times a week. I walked into class with the mindset, “Eh, I probably won’t change my knitting style, but meeting the Yarn Harlot will be awesome!” I totally got more than I bargained.

If you ever have the chance to hear Franklin Habit teach or take a class with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, I say do it! You will not be disappointed.

Voila! Behold, my new stash pets. There are plans for each of these… mostly socks.

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Haul from DFW Fiber Fest, April 2018
  1. McKinney Knittery T-shirt“gettin’ knit done” | Plan: wear as much as possible
  2. Suburban Stitcher Sock“Cinder” colorway | Plan: Canyon” by Devin Ventre
  3. Brazen Stitchery Harmony Sock“Hufflepuff” colorway | Plan: shorties
  4. Erin.Lane BagsSweater bag in “Fantastic Beasts” and Twofer bag in “Balls”
  5. Suburban Stitcher Glitter Sock“Birthday Live” | Plan: Helen Stewart?
  6. Mush Stash Perfect Self Striping Sock“Lavender Apple”| Plansocks
  7. Night Owl Fibers Self-Striping“Double Mint” colorway | Plan: socks
  8. Teeny Button Studio Mini Skeins: “Diagon Alley” | Plan: scrappy blankets
  9. Gynx Yarns Power Sock“Black Hole” colorway | Plan: heels and toes
  10. Purrfectly Catchy Designs Sock BlockersAlpacas! | Plan: block all the socks

What God’s Teaching Me

This week we’ve been so busy testing at school that I haven’t had my usual 20-30 minutes to sit, knit, and watch my Margin devotional videos before the day starts. I’ve fallen shamefully behind. However, I start this section each week thinking I won’t have much to say and end up writing a novel. I hope to have more content from the message itself for next week.

These next few lessons are all about financial margin. When I was a single person, I did so well having financial margin with tithing. On one paycheck it was quite simple to set up my church offering to come out of my account a few days after my monthly paycheck cleared. Now that tithing is a two-person commitment, we’ve found our faithfulness wavering. We also lack a home church since we moved away from the city. I find it difficult to send so much money where my heart is not committed.

Isn’t that the truth though? You can only give where you have faith. Three years ago I would have thought it was crazy to give 10% of my income to the church. Every month? Did you know you could lease a car for that kind of money? A decent one too! Before I was saved, my heart was committed to ME… and I did lease that nice car. But once my heart was in Christ, I felt a strong commitment to my church to give that financial portion back to God.

My husband and I need to find our roots in a church again and revive our financial faith in God. Because when you can trust God with that much of your money, he can do miraculous things with your heart.


What We’re Cooking

The thing that I was most excited to “cook” this week was household cleaners! A month or so ago I decided that I was using too many paper towels and Clorox wipes wiping down the kitchen and bathrooms each day. So I order a massive quantity of red shop cloths from Amazon to use instead. {I bought red to signify that red towels are distinctly for dirty things, not for food or hands; but next time I would get white towels- too many red fibers!}

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You don’t need much to make your own cleaners.

My next step in this cleaning process was to find cleaners that I felt comfortable using with the cloths and washing in my machine. I didn’t mind 409 so much, even though when I sprayed down the kitchen counters it made me cough, but I really struggled finding something to clean the toilets. So I went to Pinterest to discover my own cleaners.

I mostly wanted to know what was in my products and how exactly they were cleaning my home. I found my granite cleaner and all-purpose kitchen cleaner here. I found my bathroom cleaner {another all-purpose cleaner, but with castille soap} and mirror cleaner here. I ordered most of my ingredients on Amazon and found the rest at my grocery store. These took minutes to put together!

I chose glass bottles for three reasons: 1) One site said that essential oils can break down plastic bottles over time. 2) I know that glass washes well in the dishwasher when it comes time to change what’s in that bottle. 3) When another person picks up a bottle thinking the rubbing alcohol is water {even though it’s labeled} they are going to notice the weight of it and think twice! My kitchen bottles are amber and my bathroom bottles are clear.

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Bathroom cleaning tools.

And for the toilet bowl itself… baking soda! I ordered these red pepper shakers like you find at pizza joints so I can have a shaker of baking soda in each bathroom {I don’t have 12 bathrooms… but this was the cheapest option}. I’ll go into more detail next week in my “Something New” section on how each of these products are working.

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On Sunday we had some food as well. Another freezer-to-crockpot meal from my big cooking day a few weeks ago- Chicken Quesadillas from New Leaf Wellness. I used canned jalapenos and boy was it spicy! We had black beans and rice on the side. We both enjoyed using the fresh tortillas from our local Kroger. {Sometimes it pays to live in Texas!}

Mid-week I made Stuffed Peppers from All Recipes. These are always a hit! This is the first time I used a recipe that didn’t use Mexican flavors. This recipe used spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning. The only changes I made were reducing the cook time to 45 minutes and adding mozzarella cheese on top. How can you have stuffed peppers without cheese?!

I also whipped up another of my go-to breakfasts- Energy Bites. I’ll throw in whatever treats I already have at home. This week it was Reese’s Pieces and Craisins. Pro tipspray your measuring cup with Pam before you squeeze the honey inside and it will slide right off like a dream. Another helpful hint is to use only a 1/4 c. measuring tool. Scoop oatmeal first, honey {with Pam!} second, peanut butter third. Everything else I just eyeball. Then after refrigerating for an hour or so, I scoop mine out with a cookie scoop. You can’t exactly roll the batter because it will crumble, but squishing them into spherical form works well.


What I’m Reading

I finished “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle! It took me about 150 pages to really get into the book. While page 150 to almost the very end were great, but the ending disappointed me. I expected more! More action. More answers. I suppose that one would need to read the four subsequent books in the series to get the answers I was left wondering about… but I just didn’t enjoy it enough to keep going.

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Current Read: “Quiet” by Susan Cain

I started reading, well listening to, a really interesting book called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. I self-identify as an introvert, but I wanted to learn more! What makes me the way that I am? Why do I let calls go to voicemail instead of answering them?

I’ve learned a ton from the first chapter- like that introverts aren’t necessarily shy, but are often just over-stimulated {so me}. There’s a 20-question true/false quiz to help readers identify as more introverted or more extroverted. I was 17/20 introverted; my co-worker was 20/20 introverted (we work so well together!); and my husband was determined to be an ambivert at 10/20 introverted. How fascinating! I can’t wait to share more of what I learn in this book.


Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty

Jelly Rolls and Margin

Jelly Rolls and Margin

Tonight I head off to DFW Fiber Fest to hear Franklin Habit speak and take a class from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee!

Next week’s post will be full of stash enhancements and new tips from the experts, but this is a robust week as well. I finished a shawl and started another pair of socks. We tested out one of last week’s freezer meals. I swatched for a sweater- this is the #yearofthegarment after all. Enjoy!


Finished Objects

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“Sugarplum Shawl” by Rachel Roden

I’ve finally finished my 2017 advent knitting- the Sugarplum Shawl by Rachel Roden. It was not my favorite knit… although I did enjoy working on it while avoiding my Christmas gift knitting. I think it was the border that tripped me up. No matter how many repeats of that border I did, I could not get it memorized.

Now it is done. There’s someone on my 2018 Christmas list that will really love the colors in this shawl. So one more gift knit can be crossed off the list!


WIP’s- Focus Projects

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Modified “Jelly Rolls” by Mara Catherine Bryner

I’m in love with my April Socks. I’ll make at least two pairs of these shorties- one for myself and one as a Christmas gift. There’s a good chance that I’ll still have enough of the main color {Lolodidit’s Every Day Socks in the Honeydukes colorway) to make one more pair of Jelly Rolls. I’ve got to finish up all the yarn since it’s my April #slaythestash2018 declaration.

I’ve only changed the heel so far. The pattern calls for a super cute two-color slip-stitch heel flap. I did the first two rows and thought, “nah!” So I subbed in my go-to “Fish Lips Kiss Heel” instead.


Something New

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I got a new Sucre Sucre Miniatures progress keeper in the mail this week- Harry Potter’s birthday cake from the first book and movie. Poor Hagrid just can’t spell a thing can he?

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Circular gauge swatch for “So Faded” by Andrea Mowry

One of my favorite new-to-me techniques is for swatching in the round. I used to knit all my stockinette stitch gauge swatches flat. This doesn’t give you an accurate measurement for a sweater that will then be knit in the round. But, like heck I was going to double the size of my swatch to knit it as a tube.

I think I owe it to the Grocery Girls for introducing me to this technique. Instead of casting on twice as many stitches to swatch in the round, just cast on your normal amount {for me, between 20-30} onto circular needles and SLIDE your stitches back to the right side after every knit row. You just carry your yarn loosely across the back! And when it’s time to block it you soak it and snip the threads you carried so your swatch can lay flat. Brilliant!

Here’s a quick video from Webs on this technique.


What God’s Teaching Me

I continued my daily devotional on margin this week. The biggest thing that stuck out to me was Day 6’s video sermon on scheduling margin- times of rest and time for God. Schedule? Well, “schedule” is my middle name!

I’m in a period of my life where my time is still my time. We don’t have any kids, I have a job where work is finished at work, and I have fewer weeknight commitments since we’ve moved away from the city. So why do I feel busier than ever? I think my problem is over-scheduling the “stuff” to do on my list and leaving no space for the valuable things in my daily life. I feel quite accomplished when it comes to meeting knitting, cleaning, and health goals… but what about spending quality moments with my husband or time spent in God’s word?

I know there is already margin in my day for the things I want to do. Every morning I get to work just a little bit early so I can eat my breakfast, knit, and watch Instagram stories or knitting podcasts. Why not exchange this time for my daily devotional? This wasn’t a hard switch for me this week as I already had that time blocked out. Now my 15 minutes each morning is spent framing my day for God. This is a habit I want to continue.

I thought I was doing a good job scheduling times of rest… really I was just making rigid goals for my day that allowed no wiggle room for new fun plans or to stop in the middle of a chore/row and talk with my husband. See, I am good at scheduling rest for myself, but with no consideration for how my husband seeks rest. My idea of rest is an evening at home with no responsibilities except to knit and watch Netflix. But Kent is filled up by spending time out of the house with friends doing something. We have a conflict of rest.

Hmm… how to combat this tendency? I think for me that this is a mental space issue not a physical time problem. How do I literally learn to “let it go” and be flexible with my times of rest?

These next couple of weeks I’ve just decided to start saying “yes” to things that build up my relationship and “let it go” to {some} things that are self-serving. When Kent asked to go rent a movie from the video store and wanted me to ride in the car too INSTEAD OF STAYING HOME TO COMPLETE CHORES??! Okay, yes! This builds my relationship. When he wanted my attention for a few minutes even thought I just settled down with my brand new sweater cast-on… yes, I can make time to find rest in my relationship.

I feel confident I’m not the only one who struggles to find rest. Whether it’s demands on your time or just differences in how you rest with your spouse, God tells us that it’s important to schedule rest in our lives. Without margin, we will have no space to appreciate the beautiful people and circumstances God gives us. I don’t want to be so busy that I neglect what is truly valuable. Thank you, Lord, for being the best example of margin.


What We’re Cooking

Mmmm! I made a family recipe of chocolate pies to celebrate my husband’s birthday. This is not a measured and true recipe- therefore I was so happy when they turned out perfect! I’ve had so many failed attempts at these. You know, trying to get them to taste just like your mother-in-law’s, it hardly ever happens.

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We had our first of the big freezer prep from last Sunday- Mushroom and Spinach Crockpot Stroganoff from New Leaf Wellness It was delicious and so easy! I defrosted it in hot water for about 45 minutes {because I forgot to place it in the fridge the night before} and then let it cook for about 7 hours. We had some steamable veggies and frozen meatballs on the side.

It did look a little gritty, but it didn’t taste gritty at all. Kent loved it too! This recipe was easy from freezer prep all the way to cooking it in the crockpot, so we will definitely enjoy it again. We cooked a 16 oz bag of egg noodles so we were able to eat it for two nights!

My lunches this week were on the hearty/healthful side- meet the Green Goddess Glow Bowl from The Glowing Fridge. I’m not so sure how I feel about Tahini… but now I have a whole lot of it to use up! You might see more recipes with Tahini in the future.

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Now how about something tried, true, and comforting- Broccoli, Rice, and Chicken Casserole. I just love casseroles because you can clean up your kitchen while they cook AND they typically feed us for 3 nights. Something I really liked about this recipe was using raw chicken- this saves me a whole 35-ish minutes to cook and chop chicken before the casserole-making even begins! I would suggest adding some salt and pepper to the mix. Other than that, it was tasty!


What I’m Reading

Can I say that I’m sort of ready to be finished with “A Wrinkle in Time”? I just need to put in one good afternoon of reading and knock it out. Perhaps paired with some knitting and Plum Deluxe tea?

My reading time is currently the five minutes between crawling in bed and falling asleep with the light on. This is not conducive to much reading. I used to read so much more when I walked on the treadmill several times a week. Now I walk outside so that my dog can get some exercise too, so I can’t prop up a Kindle anymore. It might be time to make use of my local library’s audio-loan function. {Just placed a hold on “A Wrinkle in Time”/ #520 on 36 audio copies / *sigh*)

HP Socks
“The Boy Who Lived” colorway by Must Stash Yarns follows the Harry Potter series book jackets!

Next up for me, a re-read of the Harry Potter series. I’ve been saying that I’ll do this every summer for the past five years, so it’s time! I already have the audiobooks downloaded on Audible and my husband and I together have many physical copies. This way I can read the physical copy at night and continue with the audio copy on a walk or while I’m knitting. I can’t wait to reread my favorite books. Maybe I’ll knit another pair of Harry Potter socks while I’m at it!


Check back next week for more going-ons in the Knitty Natty home!

Love in stitches,

Knitty Natty