Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 Goals Update: January


It's hard to believe January is already over! I've spent the whole month working and knitting. Not too shabby. Anyhow, here's the update on my goals for this year. 

1: one self portrait (per week)
Success! I didn't really think I would fail at this one, but it's still exciting because it's something I've never tried before. 

2: compose photos (every day)
Success! *Technically.* On the 29th I took a picture, but it wasn't technically intended for this goal, but for this post. I'm a tad upset about that, but aside from that I've taken one every day. I'm still thinking about how exactly I want to share all 365 photos, but here are the ones I've blogged about:
001 | 002 | 003 | 004 | 007 | 018 | 023 | 028 | 031 - which is at the top of this post

3: read the Bible (every day)
This was a fail. I think I did for the first few days, but not past that. For the past couple nights I've tried listening to a chapter, but I just end up falling asleep. So. I'm still working on this one. I'm all about a good routine, so I'm trying to figure one out that will help me to get the most out of my Bible reading. If you have any ideas or want to keep each other accountable, let me know. 

4: journal (daily)
I technically haven't journaled every single day, but I have all the things and information for each day, and I'm just working on getting caught up. 

5: blog (daily)
SUCCESS! I am surprised. It makes it easy, though, when I can easily just post the photo I took that day. Which may be cheating, but I don't really care. 

6: walk
Ha. Well, I haven't done that at all. You could blame that on the cold weather, but it's really just because I haven't felt like it. 

7: bike
Same as above. The weather is a reason to blame, but the time just hasn't been right. 

8: 52 projects
Good progress on this! I actually finished the fifth project tonight, but it's a matter of blocking before I will let myself consider them completed, and I will only blog about them until then. I really think this could be a possibility, especially considering that so many projects can be done in just a couple evenings. 

9: 52 books
If you read yesterday's post, you know this has not gone so well. I've already accepted the fact that I won't reach 52 books this year, but I'm ok with that.

10: experiment with photography
I haven't done too shabby on this. No time lapses or long exposures, but definitely gotten to know my tripod. 
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05

11: make six new meals for the family 
Haven't done any of these meals yet. Maybe in February. I've been pinning some ideas on Pinterest, but they're all so cheesy. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I'm just thinking that maybe all six meals shouldn't have the word "Baked Cheese" in them, ya know?

12: learn to play the keyboard
Uh, yeah, no progress. At all. Beginning to think maybe I should have just put "learn something new" for this one. 

13: at least one photo book
Also no progress. I am thinking of making a photo book at the end of the year with pictures from goals 1, 2, 8.

14: travel
No traveling this month! Which is a bummer, except that I'm dreaming of some plans for later in the year, so it's all good.

So there you have it. My month in review. It's fun to see my progress in this format. Looking forward to seeing what I get done in February! How are your new year's goals coming along?

- rl

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What I Read This Month

Or more like what I DIDN'T read. I made very little reading progress this month. If you'll recall from last month's reading post, I was working on reading Insurgent and One Thousand Gifts. I'm still working on both of those. Except I didn't read a single word of One Thousand Gifts, so I didn't bother to even include it in this month's photo shoot. I have, however, possibly found a good nightly routine (my last one was thrown out the window when I finally finished The Office and couldn't think of another show I wanted to replace it with), so I hope to get more reading done now that I'm making myself do it before I'll go to sleep.

So this is what I read this month. in the process of reading:
1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
I'm so beyond bored with this book. Last night I seriously considered just giving up on it and moving on, which is something I've only thought about doing a few times before. I think I've decided to soldier on, though, mainly because my little sister is obsessed with the series and keeps badgering me about getting it read.

- rl

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WIP Wednesday

More purple on my needles this week! A different project, though, thankfully. I finished knitting the scarf I've been working on the past two weeks, but I'm procrastinating figuring out how to block it, so it's just sitting in my room waiting. But! I have finally started my older sister's hat. It's been a pretty quick knit so far. Faster than I remember the first time around. I started it Monday night, and probably could have much more progress on it, but I paused and knitted a quick scarf that I'll share later this week.

I had difficulty starting this scarf. I keep forgetting how to knit in the round. I started knitting it "inside out" multiple times, which took some thinking to figure out how to hold the needles. I think I've got it now, though. I definitely hope to have this finished within the next couple days, and I think I'll even try blocking it using this method. I'll have to do some more research before I actually get started, though.

Each of the little markers you see on there represent where I'll be increasing on the next round. I've finished with the band of the hat, then I just have to increase a few stitches for the body of the hat.

- rl

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Day Off


Today I was thankful for the day off. It's not that I ever work long shifts or anything (five hours is about the longest now that the Christmas season is over and the mall is much, much more empty), but I just start to edge towards exhaustion by the end of the week. Definitely a huge benefit of working at Chick-fil-A is that we have Sundays off, but a true day off, to me, is one where no one else is at home and I can just do the things I need to get done with no interruptions. It really boils down to the fact that I'm a bit of an introvert. I need time to mentally recharge once I'm around people too often. Am I the only one who thinks about this stuff?

- rl

(p.s. this is part of my 14 goals for 2014. You can view all my goals here.)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Knit Those Mitts!

deep red

That was basically my train of thought all weekend. I got the request for these two pairs of mitts the Friday before last (the 17th if you're technical, or future me who will want to know the exact date). I would have started them immediately, but there are two reasons I didn't:
1) my one-project-at-a-time rule (I know all long-time knitters are laughing at me, but I plan on keeping this a rule for as long as I can!)
2) I didn't have the yarn
So, I didn't actually end up starting until this last Friday. I began them that evening after the kids my mom & I babysat went to bed. I finished most of mitt #1 then. When I got home, I completed it, then casted on mitt #2. On Saturday, I worked in the morning, then hung out with my best friend, which involved introducing her to Downton Abbey, and knitting, of course. I got halfway through, then realized I had gone too far, so I had to frog the whole thing (I can barely knit these basic items, much less frog a few rows then pick the stitches back up), so that definitely put me behind. I finished mitt #2 that night, then started mitt #3. Sunday afternoon, I spent hours in my room. I finished #3, then started and finished mitt #4. I waited to weave in the ends until I finished all the mitts, so I was up until 2am.

But I finished. I made today my deadline because of these freezing temps (it's 27F outside! That's cold for us Texans!). But now I can take a deep breathe and work on my next project: this hat in this yarn for my older sister. As stressed as I made myself to get these mitts done in time for my mom to take them to her two coworkers, I enjoyed it. Truly.

- rl

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Self Portrait (04/52)

This has pretty much been me the last 24 hours, which is why it feels like a good self portrait for this week. I've finished the first three mitts (of the four total I'm making, for two pairs), and now I'm working on the final one. I started getting a tingling in my left hand earlier, so I took a break for dinner and am trying to get into a better posture. I need to find a chair with better support than just sitting on my bed, I suppose. Also, I'm nearing the end of season one of 7th Heaven. It feels slow going.

- rl

(p.s. this is part of my 14 goals for 2014. You can view all my goals here.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Project 02/52: Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth

This project is kind of what started it all. Fall 2012, my mom went to a Pinterest party at our church, and she came home with some dishcloths. We thought they were much too pretty to use, but it sparked our interest in knitting (for me) and crocheting (for her). I'm actually surprised it took us so long, but we finally made the thing we've wanted for over a year now.

I believe it was my mom who first found what kind of yarn we needed (we used Peaches and Cream), then we looked up patterns in our respective craft, and finally made them the other night! I used this pattern. 

I had so much fun making this. It's fairly small (about an 8" square), so we're considering making them larger the next time. I'll have to take some pictures of the two she's completed and post them as well, because her stitches are definitely prettier than the garter stitch on this one. I'm now convinced I will never buy dishcloths. I'm already imagining what colors I'll have in my future kitchen. 

- rl 

(p.s. this is part of my 14 goals for 2014. You can view all my goals here.)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Edward Knitterhands

Oh, man. I crack myself up. While working on another pair of these mitts, I put it on and showed my mom, who said it looked like something out of Edward Scissorhands, leading to the Edward Knitterhands.

In other news, the progress shown in this picture only took about three hours. Not too shabby. I've got two pairs of these mitts to finish by Monday, so it's nice to know a time frame.

- rl

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Content Evenings


Tonight I began to knit my first dishcloth! My mom (who crochets) and I have talked about making some before, then this morning we stopped by WalMart and picked up a few skeins of Peaches & Cream. I must admit, I spent a lot of my shift at work today looking forward to getting home using this yarn! I went against my "rule" of only having one project going at a time, but I figure that's alright with such a small project. That, and I was beginning to go crazy working on the same thing for nine days. 

I got all caught up on Downton Abbey last night, and now I'm onto 7th Heaven. As much as I've always loved the Camdens, I miss the Crawley's. I'm a fangirl, in case you couldn't tell.

Ok, I need to get back to knitting. As long as I finish this dishcloth before bed tonight, I won't feel so bad. 

- rl

(p.s. this is part of my 14 goals for 2014. You can view all my goals here.)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WIP Wednesday

I'm still on this scarf. (Side note: I'm mentally calling this the Downton scarf, since a majority of it has been done while watching this show.) because I'm nearly done, though. I'm onto the second skein of yarn, and it's somewhere around 55" right now. I'm not sure how much longer it'll be until I need to switch back to the garter stitch. Then I have to learn how to weave in the ends and block it. If this is still a work in progress (blocking excluded) but next Wednesday, I will have gone mad, for sure.

- rl

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blog Photography

After yesterday's post about blog design, I thought today would be the perfect time to talk a little about blog photography. I happened across this post about lighting last night, and it got me thinking about my method for taking pictures for this blog. Over the course of having this blog, I've taken a few photos of the funnier ways I end up taking a picture. 

I will do about anything to get the picture just right, which is why I've already taken over 20,000 (possibly even 30 or 40k?) photos on my DSLR. I've had my tripod for just under a month now and I can't imagine ever being able to get some of the photos I have without it, like the ones here and here

The part of photography I've always struggled with is taking my camera outside. I always feel awkward when taking pictures with other people around. I read a blog post about that same thing yesterday, found here. Not that there's much I do anyway that would require pictures (I only really go to work and church, which sounds rather dull now that I've written it down), but I hope that the next time I have the opportunity to go somewhere interesting, I make sure to take as many pictures as I like, and not feel awkward.

- rl 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Blog Design

Out with the old...
and in with the new!

Last Wednesday I was off, so I finally took the time to make a new header for my blog. I've meant to work on it for a while, since I made the first one back in July just to have something, then I just didn't know what to replace it with. I tried to be purposeful with choosing images I hope display what I post about/love.

My main inspiration was Elise's blog, of course. I don't think I've mentioned it before on here, but she is my favorite blogger, and a big reason for that is the design of her blog. Maybe it's weird, or maybe it's the yerd (meaning yearbook nerd, of course) in me, but I believe design is very important. I've been following blogs for a good five years now, and I've found that I only follow blogs with good design. It's not a superficial thing, I don't think, but just that I like things that have been thought through. Not only design-wise, though, but also content-wise. If you're a blogger and are curious what I mean about being picky about design, this tip list is pretty solid (and from my second favorite blog!).

That's enough blog talk for one day, I think. I could go on and on. It's obviously something I'm a little passionate about, I guess.

- rl

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Self Portrait (03/52)

This week's self portrait. This afternoon I helped my mother with some baking - I made dog bones and she made chocolate chip cookies. Little sister was helping us both by taking dishes to the sink, etc. when she volunteered to braid my hair. I initially said no, then agreed, because why not? So she did. A loose fishtail while I kneaded the dough, or whatever it's called. It was falling apart by the time I was done, but I still wanted to get a picture with it. Now I'm wanting to try a few new styles with my hair.

- rl

(p.s. this is part of my 14 goals for 2014. You can view all my goals here.)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Catching Up


I've been horrible about journaling this year. This week it's because I'd rather be knitting and watching Downton Abbey. If staying up until 1am worrying about a television drama is wrong, I'm not ready to be right.

- rl

(p.s. this is part of my 14 goals for 2014. You can view all my goals here.)

Friday, January 17, 2014

My View

This has been my view for the last few days. Knitting a scarf + finally starting to watch Downton Abbey. I'm nearly done with season one and it's already broken my heart, so I'd recommend it. 

- rl

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Rocket Summer

He really was that close. Like, only one person was between us and him. So crazy!
I don't even know. Doesn't it look like he wants me to sing along???
Yes, he crowdsurfed. Twice. And both times he went right over us!!!!

I mentioned here that I went to see The Rocket Summer last month at The Prophet Bar in Dallas. These are a few of my favorite pictures from that night. I actually have 80-something favorites, but I'll spare you that and just post nine. These show reasons why Bryce Avary is one of my favorite musicians and people. He's passionate about his music, and he knows how much it means to us, the fans.

Just looking back through the pictures makes me get all shaky. I'm SO glad my sister and I got it all recorded. I love being able to go back and watch every second of it! Did I mention he had a mariachi band open? And Santa came? And there was a proposal? Oh man, I can't wait for the next show.

- rl

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday

My second WIP Wednesday! I can already tell it really is a motivator to make sure I don't go weeks without progress. That's definitely a goal of mine: to make sure I'm always working on something. I also want to make sure I only do one thing at a time. I see way too many posts about people having four projects going at once, so I'd like to focus on one thing and just get it done. I'm like that with other things, like books and tv shows.

Anyway, back to this project. I started Monday night after I finished the mitts. I chose this project because it's part of a very cool project of sorts, The Simple Collection. I decided to work my way through these eight projects, and then I bought this book, so now I think I'll switch back and forth between the two sources. I'm not sure yet. It depends on yarn, really.

So far, I love this yarn and I understand the hate I've seen on k1p1 ribbing. The final result is supposed to be 60", and so far I'm about 10" in, so I'm hoping I can finish by this time next week. Making a scarf is basic, but what makes this more difficult is that I'm using circular needles to knit something flat, so I'm really using this project to understand that.

- rl

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Project 01/52: Maine Morning Mitts

Yesterday, I finally finished these mitts. They ended up taking me 10 days, start to finish, but I could have easily finished in less than four days if I had worked on them consistently.

When I bought double pointed needles, I knew I needed to do a small project in the round so I could actually learn how to use them, so I went on Ravelry and found this pattern. I read through it before starting, so I knew I was going to have trouble with the things I'd never even really thought about before, like the whole process of making the thumb. It was definitely difficult and required lots of googling, but I think they turned out fairly well for my first attempt.

I finished the second mitt last night, then cast on my next project within an hour.

- rl

(p.s. this is part of my 14 goals for 2014. You can view all my goals here.)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Fettuccine Lasagna

 The Set
 The Process: Part I
 The Process: Part II
 The Final Product
The Side, brought to you by: The Mother

This is a meal I introduced into our family, thanks to Pinterest. That's right: in the Little house we actually apply Pinterest in real, despite the stereotype. It's a meal that I make. My mom makes and shreds the chicken, but besides that it's pretty much my dish. I'm a tad protective of that title, for whatever reason. Anyhow, I figured I would share the recipe, just for fun. The website it comes from calls it Three-Cheese Pasta Bake, but I think Fettuccine Lasagna fits better. We add chicken, but the original has no meat.

- 16oz of Ziti (we usually use Ziti, but we ended up having to use Rigatoni this particular time and I think I actually prefer it)
- 14.5oz Alfredo sauce (it suggests 20oz, but I've found you can use as little as 14.5oz and it's fine)
- 8oz sour cream
- 15oz ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups shredded chicken

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and return to pot. 
2. While the pasta is cooking, stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream in one bowl; stir in pasta and chicken until evenly coated. Spoon half of mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
3. Stir together ricotta cheese and next three ingredients; spread evenly over pasta and chicken mixture in baking dish. Spoon remaining pasta and chicken mixture evenly over ricotta cheese layer. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.
4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, or until bubbly.

I hope that makes sense! I pretty much copied the instructions from the link, but I did rewrite it a little bit, so if it's confusing you may just want to click through and use their instructions. Don't forget to add the chicken, though. I did that once and it wasn't too great.

- rl

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Self Portrait (02/52)

My second self-portrait in my year-long challenge. Daylight was gone when I realized I had forgotten to take one, but then, right as I was starting to make dinner, I figured I could just set up my tripod, turn on the 10-second timer, and shoot away. And I did. My family began to get a little annoyed by the sound the camera makes when it counts down, but I think I got some pretty cool pictures.

- rl

(p.s. this is part of my 14 goals for 2014. You can view all my goals here.)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Planty Update

A little update on Sam. He's doing good! I love seeing the beginnings of his new leaves/pedals/whatever. I've recently started to water him using ice, which looks funny to me, but seems to be working fine. I still hate to see how full he was when I first got him. The goal is to get it back to that.

- rl

Friday, January 10, 2014

January Skies

Tonight I went to close my blinds (I keep my blinds open in the daytime to use the natural light, then Christmas lights at night) and happened to see the sunset. Now, Texas has good sunsets. Like, every night. If I took a picture of the sunset every night I would have a lot more pictures, but I just don't, because it's time consuming, ya know? But I happened to see some pink clouds that looked particularly pretty, and while I couldn't get at the right height to get those, I did get some pictures of the sky that I liked, so why not blog them?

- rl