Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And the Total is:

I have been blessed with parents who instilled in me a great love of reading. Ever since I can remember, I loved books. From dad reading "Hide and Seek with Grover" in Grover's voice, to wanting to host a 'read a thon' when my friends complained about being bored during summer vacation, to feeling like I was the only person in middle and high school who read for fun. I read a lot, and a couple years ago, after being introduced to Goodreads, I decided to see how much I actually do read. Sadly, the Goodreads goal setter/reading tracker just hasn't worked for me (or my mum) so I decided I'd keep track here on the blog. 

This year I read: 

55 books, 24,439 pages

In 2013 I had set a goal to read 13 book every quarter, and I reached that goal, no problem. I didn't quite match that goal this year, thanks to many wonderful life events that I am so happy were able to occur. So as an added bonus, I tracked how many pages were read as well. I'll keep it up in 2015 and see if I can beat either book total or page total. Stay Tuned. 

2014 Books
  1. The Woodcutter by Kate Danley (344) : Goodreads Review Buy it on Kindle, only $3.99
  2. Remember Dippy by Shirley Reva Vernick (176) 
  3. The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau (268) : good inspiration book, not a how to guide ;)
  4. The Tomb by F. Paul Wilson (A Repairman Jack novel) (448)  : this one was 'revised' recently and it was glaringly obvious at times what was 'revised' in it. Originally it was written back in the eighties, and it still had a lot of eighties details, then all of a sudden someone was listening to an iPod.... I wish they had left it unrevised. People who read are smart. They're not going to wonder what a Walkman is. 
  5. A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin (288) 
  6. The Wheel of Darkness by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (388) 
  7. Willow by Julia Hoban (329)
  8. The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony Audible audiobook version
  9. Legacies by   F. Paul Wilson (A Repairman Jack novel) (448) : Note on  my previous note. This novel came 10 years after the first one. So now it makes sense that the first one got revised, however, I still feel like it would have been fine to not revise the first one and just set this one in the same time frame.... Still loved it though.
  10. The Revenant of Thraxton Hall: The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Vaughn Entwistle (336)  - advanced reader copy 
  11.  Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis- audio version. I really need to get a hard copy of this book. It's one of my favorites! 
  12. Death in the French Quarter by Kent Conwell (214)
  13. The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball (376)
  14. Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (435)
  15. Fever Dream by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (416) 
  16. Cold City by F. Paul Wilson (368) 
  17. Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (545)
  18. Dark City by F. Paul Wilson (368) 
  19. Conspiracies by F. Paul Wilson (416)
  20. Two Graves by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (484)
  21. Out of Range by CJ Box (320) 
  22. Cursed by Jennifer Armentrout (304)
  23. The Puzzle of Piri Reis by Kent Conwell (272)
  24. The Eye of God by James Rollins (410) 
  25. Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool (306)
  26. Dead Reckoning by Mercedes Lackey (336) 
  27. The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (400) 
  28. In Plain Sight by CJ Box (224)
  29. Altar of Eden by James Rollins (398)
  30. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (552) 
  31. All the Rage by F. Paul Wilson (512) 
  32. Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick ( 391) *Angsty teen romance warning
  33. Death Without Company by Craig Johnson (271) 
  34. Free Fire by CJ Box (368) 
  35. Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (384) 
  36. Pines by Blake Crouch (309)
  37. Wayward by Blake Crouch (322) (Unfortunately the author falls in love with the F-word in this book)
  38. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd (420)
  39. The Last Town by Blake Crouch (285) (Continues his love affair with the F-word.)- Loved and hated the ending of this. It's one of those books that leaves you satisfied, but also frustrated.... if you know what I mean. 
  40. 'Scuse Me While I Kill This Guy by Leslie Langtry (325)  ( I read this for a book club, otherwise I don't think I would have found it. It was GREAT!) [And I'm super happy this book club is not a Jane Austen love fest like all of the other 'book clubs' I've participated in.]
  41. Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck (360) --- Warning: Christian Romance. I got through it but I got really sick of the "I'm saving my kiss" "What does God want me to do" junk. (Sad, I know. I'm a Christian but I don't like it when people are all in your face about it. Plus, not everyone thinks and feels the same way I do, but in this book that's what it was like. EVERY PERSON was asking the main character what she thought God wanted, and to follow God. Ugh.) Having said that, I did like the plot and kind of wish there was a second book so I could keep being 'friends' with the characters. 
  42. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (272) It seemed longer... in a bad way. 
  43. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (232):   This was a fun, quick read (for a grown adult that loves reading... for a child it might take them a little longer to get through it). First off, don't go into this thinking it will be like the movie because it wasn't anywhere close to what the movie was like. The only thing in common was that in both Ella wants to break the curse of being obedient. I will not comment on which was better (the book or the movie) because I liked both of them. 
  44. White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Pendergast 13) (368)
  45. Divergent by Veronica Roth (487)- So I decided to read this to find out what the big deal was about these books. To be honest, I have that freaky Twilight Zone feeling that I've read them before, but I can't be sure because they are too recent for me to have read them already... Still a little unsure what the big deal is about them. 
  46. The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell (328) 
  47. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (525)
  48. Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell (336)
  49. Blood Trail by CJ Box (320)
  50. The Castle Behind the Thorns by Merrie Haskell (332)
  51. Kindess Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson (288)
  52. Allegiant by Veronica Roth Goodreads review  (526)
  53. The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (408)
  54. Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen (326)
  55. How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World by Jordan Christy (196)
Abandoned (sad, I know):
White is For Witching by Helen Oyeyemi: This book had really high scores/ratings on Goodreads. And I cannot figure out why. It was horribly written, IMO. I do know that new wave/ 'prose'/ modern art folks will like it. But I got just past page 80 and couldn't bring myself to continue. At that point I was yet to identify a plot. And the narration kept jumping around so even if there was a plot, there was no way to find it between jumping back and forth between the house (yes the house) talking and the girl talking. I think the grandma and mom may have added a word or two here and there... Anyway, not the book for me. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Beginnings and Endings.

Several years ago I had a Young Woman's leader who told us about an afghan that she had in her home. She was getting ready to move into their first home and her mother asked her what colors her home would be in. She told her mother. Unknown to my leader, her mother then went out and bought the supplies to make her an afghan to use in their new home. Her mother began that afghan.
Unfortunately, her mother passed away before she was able to complete the afghan. A member of the church stepped in, and again unknown to my leader, took the partially finished afghan. She put a label on it where it had been stopped that read something to the affect of 'made with love by your mother'. This lady then went on to finish the afghan and delivered it to my leader.
Great story right? I loved hearing this and have thought for years how wonderful it would be to be able to give a service as precious as that to someone. To be able to ensure that they got what their mother, or grandmother, intended them to have, even if they were unable to complete it themselves.

When an opportunity presented itself to me a few months ago, I didn't have to think twice about helping out.  A lady from my ward approached me with two nearly finished Christmas stockings in hand. She explained to me that one of the other ladies in the ward had lost her mother over the summer. This mother had made Christmas stockings for all of her children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren. She had two great-grandchildren arriving soon, and so the stockings were made. However, the names were not decided on yet, so that part remained blank on the stockings. None of the family knew how to knit, and were feeling a bit lost and disappointed that Great Grandma had left stockings for these children, but the stockings were 'incomplete' and no one could finish them. I took the stockings, and got the names of the children, and finished the stockings.I feel like maybe I was able to provide a good ending for those families and that they will feel like Great Grandma was able to have completed the work she set out to finish. (In more ways than just knitting.)
The completed stockings, with one provided to me so I could duplicate the writing.
In light of this, I had wanted to make stockings for myself and my husband. One co-worker pointed out that I would need to make one for each child we would have to which I responded "duh". Sometimes I get a little deep thought-ed (if that is such a thing). And I really enjoyed that I was able to provide an ending for one family, while providing a beginning for another. I loved making our stockings! I am so very grateful that I have been blessed with the talents I have that center on the home and family, and am ESPECIALLY grateful that I had an opportunity to use those talents to serve a family in need of the comfort a simple name on a stocking could bring.

My husband's stocking: He wanted "real Christmas colors"
My stocking! I wanted to tip my hat to my wonderful Scandinavian heritage and chose colors that I not only like, but could maybe be considered traditional Scandinavian-ish. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Super Awesome Mega Giveaway

If you haven't visited AND liked our Facebook Page, now is the time.

In December I like to do an end of year Fan Blitz. IF we reach 100 fans by December 31, I will do a Super-Awesome-Mega Giveaway. If you like the page, you can enter the giveaway ;) The catch is; WE HAVE TO REACH 100 FANS, or the giveaway will not be Super-Awesome-Mega.

Here's some previews of what may be included in the giveaway:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December Means PHD's!

Being in grad school doesn't leave much time for myself these days. So when December rolls around and my classes are done, I find myself with 4 whole weeks of nothing. This is a time I look forward to all year long.

This year I am spending this time working on all my PHD's and stashbusting. PHD? Aren't I supposed to be on break? Yes, yes I am. In the crafting world PHD means "Project Half Done". And the stashbusting, well. I need to pay for school before I can pay for new yarn and fabric for myself.

On my List this Year:
Christmas Stockings for my new husband and myself
A new Pair of Gloves for myself using the sKNITches yarn, "New Tradtions" dyed to match UT's colors
Finishing up the Noro Blanket

Then systematically working my way through the remaining yarn in my stash until I either run out of ideas or I run out of yarn.

I have several 'quilts' that are partially done as well, that will hopefully be finished up too. And the fabric stashbusting, well... I have some things I've been meaning to make for myself (some skirts, a new dress shirt) and the rest can just become what it tells me it wants to become.

Keep an eye out here, our Facebook page, and on the Etsy shop for updates. (Previews and maybe even a Super-Awesome-Mega Giveaway)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pinterest Adventures: Jello Fruit Snacks

This is a first of hopefully many Pinterest Adventure posts. I know a lot of people do them and the humor in it is that real life doesn't always translate to pinterest level products. However, I really think it's nice to see that someone else, a "normal" person, was able to somewhat successfully do something found on Pinterest.

(If you have any pins that you would like me to try out first to work out the kinks, just let me know!)
Picture and Recipe credit goes to Six Sisters Stuff blog:

This pin caught my eye because it said Homemade fruit snacks. I love fruit snacks, but being a graduate student, and a newlywed, fruit snacks are not in the budget. So of course I thought I'd be able to have fruit snacks if I made them at home. Sadly, the ingredient list at the time would have cost about the same amount as a box of fruit snacks, so I just let it sit.

Then, I decided I really really wanted to try it. I went to Kroger and found out that Kroger brand gelatin was on sale for only 39 cents a box. So I grabbed a couple on the last shopping trip, and waited for a weekend.

First off, it says to "sprinkle the gelatin" into the water. This didn't work. The gelatin clumped up all gross and kind of stayed that way on the first go around. The second time though, I whisked it in like I would with gravy mix. Whisk constantly while slowly pouring the powder in. It worked better, but not perfectly. Maybe it would work better with brand name gelatin?

Next, I poured it into a mini ice cube mold, the ones with the silicone bottom so you can pop the ice out easier? I had difficulties trying to decide how full to fill them though. This is the first go around when I filled them up pretty much all the way. I ended up not filling every one up. And ended up with some monstrously big fruit snacks. 

My second go around, I filled them to where the silicone part ended. I had enough to fill up this mold, and if I had a second mold probably about half of that one. Since I didn't have a second mold I used my husband's gun shaped ice cube mold. Got two guns out of it too. 

The tutorial instructed me to let the fruit snacks "sit" for "at least 20 minutes". Ok. Good, I could do that. I wandered off to Netflix a show. When I came back, they were still really soft and I couldn't get them to come out of the mold. 

Yeah, so turns out you should let them sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. This was missing from the instructions. Second go around, golden on this.  However, this did not ease the getting them out of the mold process. Alas, I have no pointers on this part other than be patient, and maybe a little aggressive. They will eventually come out. 

Finally, they do not need to be kept in the fridge after the initial setting. But they do need to be eaten rather quickly ( a couple of days) if you elect to not keep them in the fridge. They will mold otherwise. At least they will if you live in the South like I do.

My last thought: These really aren't like store bought fruit snacks. They are weirdly squeaky (best word I could come up with) and don't taste nearly as good as store bought ones do. BUT if your children are young and you are on a budget, go for it. They probably won't be able to tell the difference.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Abandoned Books

There comes a time in everyone's life where they are reading a book and they don't know why. I used to be the type of person who wanted to finish every book I started, and I am pretty good at it. Sometimes it ends up that I really like a book.

Then, once upon a time, I happened upon a 'rule of thumb' about reading books. (I'd like to say it came from Stephen King, but I can't be sure.) It was advised that you read a book to at least page 50, and if you still don't like it and don't want to know what's going to happen, toss it.

I ran into a book like this over the weekend. I just can't keep going. I powered through and made it past page 80. But I just can't anymore. I wondered how to categorize this book on my book tracking page (see the tab up there that says "Books"?). And decided to add an "Abandoned" list at the bottom of the page. I don't anticipate this category being used very often, but it needs to be there. That way I have some record and won't make the mistake of picking up the same book again....

Much love, to all the books (even the bad ones).

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Deal With It

For most of my life I have worked with young children. From babysitting, to being nursery leader, to nannying, and currently as an aide at a preschool. I’m with children all the time. Every now and then a child teaches me a life lesson that really couldn’t be learned from an adult, because it is through the simplicity of having a three year old say something that an adult can’t say without sounding like they are trying to manipulate or criticize you.

A few weeks ago, I was helping some children get their rain boots on so they could go play on the muddy playground. They had already gone out earlier that day, and socks had gotten wet. One child in particular was struggling to get their boots on over their wet socks. The child fussed, and whined, and dropped the boot in frustration. I finally decided to let the child know their options.

“You can take off your wet socks and wear the boots without socks. Or you can just deal with it.”
(I know it sounds harsh… hang in there)

The child looked at me, heaved a heavy sigh for a three year old and said. “Ok. I’ll just deal with it.”
The child then put their rain boots on, and ran off to play on the playground. For the rest of the day, not a word of complaint or discomfort came from that child. They had made the decision to “Just deal with it” and stuck with it.

As I thought about this, a quote from Elder Jeffery R. Holland came to mind: “ No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse.” (

As I related this incident to my dad (a freakin’ awesome guy, btw), we talked for a bit about this life lesson. As adults, and teens, and even children,  there is a tendency to put blame elsewhere; To complain, to whine, and to expend energy on not dealing with a situation and getting through it, but rather in complaining about it. In my dad's experience, those that can 'Deal with it' are those that are more successful in life. People want to be around them more, and they get more accomplished in life because they are not expending negative vibes, or wasting energy in complaining about what's going on around them. 

How can we as adults ‘just deal with it’ and in the process improve our lives? I know that for several people they use the month of November to focus on gratitude. They post daily on social media sites something they are grateful for. Unfortunately, quite a few people I know preface their ‘thankful’ post with a rant, complaint, or whine and follow it with “But I’m grateful for…”. While I think focusing on gratitude  is a good practice, I personally feel that if we can reduce the whining, complaining, and blaming in our daily lives we will automatically be more grateful. Because we aren’t drawing attention to the ‘negative’, we are just dealing with it and moving on.

And if we aren’t focusing on the negative, we are able to better see the blessings in our lives. So, whether you choose to post on social media what you are grateful for each day or not, please take a moment to ‘deal with it’, instead of complaining! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Can You Hear It?

Be still, and know that I am God.
 Psalm 46:10 

     As some of you know, this is a subject I feel  very passionately about. I think that in today's world people have a hard time being still, and quiet, so they can really listen. Listen to others, listen to themselves, and most importantly to listen to God. 

    Elijah in the Old Testament tells us: 
...and behold the word of the Lord came to him.... And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. 
And, behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind: 
and after the wind and earthquake,; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 
1 Kings 19: 9, 11-12

     So we learn from Elijah, that there's a lot of noise out in the world, but the Lord isn't in any of them. The Lord is a still small voice. Dare I say that when you take time to listen to all the voices around you, not only is it hard to hear the voice of the Lord, it's often really difficult to hear your own voice too. 
  Nephi, in the Book of Mormon,  tells us that even if we have great spiritual experiences in the past, if we allow ourselves to, we can drown out the voice of the Lord in our lives: 

...Ye have seen an angels, and he spake unto you; yea,ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken to you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling,that ye could not feel his words. 
1 Nephi 17: 45

   So what can we do to make sure we aren't getting to the point where we are past feeling? How do we ensure that we are able to hear that still small voice in our lives? 

      You need to be quiet. You need to tell everything and everyone else in your life to be quiet, just for awhile so you can listen. This means turning off the computer, tv, cell phone, mp3 player, and (IMO) anything considered 'technology' these days. Find a quiet spot in your home, or near work, or wherever you can go (sometimes I take a walk without the iPod and the phone on airplane mode). Start small, 5 minutes a day or an hour on the weekends. And quiet everything that may distract you and meditate, or read the scriptures, or write in your journal. 

      You will never hear the Lord's voice if you do not give Him opportunity to be heard. Sometimes it may take awhile for you to start hearing the voice of the Lord. Especially if you are used to loud commercials, loud blaring music, the chime of a text message, etc.  For some of you who already take time to have daily prayer and scripture study, this will be an easy transition, just add a few minutes to that time to be still and listen. 

      Which brings me to my final point, and one I'm bit cautious about sharing. Every Sunday you are given the opportunity to unplug, be still, and listen to the voice of the Lord. It's called church. The Lord blesses you with all of the abundance you have, the least you can do is give Him the time it takes to attend your church meetings.

        Leave the phone in the car, turn off the wifi on you iPad or Kindle. Better yet bring actual hard copies of the scriptures with you to eliminate the 'I need to have it with me because my scriptures are on it' excuse. Yes, excuse. I know people who say that and then spend all of sacrament meeting checking email, Facebook, and making dinner plans via text. 

     Those things can wait. The Lord cannot. 

P.S. I found these guys on Facebook, if you are the type that taking a public pledge is a goal keeping strategy that works for you: Tech Timeout

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Busy Busy Busy

I have a lot of blog post ideas kicking around in my head lately, but am a bit overwhelmed with school right now. I thought I'd drop you all a line and let you know that there will be some (hopefully) good stuff showing up here soon.

This weekend, I think I might be doing a Pinterest activity, I'll take pictures and make a post out of it for you all. ;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Planting, A New Experience

I'm a Utah girl. And, as a Utah girl, this time of year is when you break out the sweaters, scarves, and hats because the first snow is a few weeks away.

But, I don't live in Utah anymore.

So, this time of year you are thinking about maybe getting the sweaters out. Maybe. But the biggest adjustment for me is that here you are doing your Fall Planting for your winter crops.

What?! Winter crops?! (at least that's what the snow bound Utah girl says in my head)

Yep. I've spent the past few days getting the garden at the preschool pulled up. No more tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, cucumbers, etc. And today we started our fall planting. We planted lettuce today.

Over the weekend, I very creatively and carefully got some new soil for my container garden. (I'm still experimenting on getting the right type of soil for my container garden, the Spring choice was bad. My peas died... and I only got 2 tomatoes and 2 peppers.) I transplanted some broccoli and spinach, and planted some spinach seeds in the optimistic hope that I'll be able to have a staggered harvest of spinach since I love it so much (but only raw... whoever cooks spinach is really doing themselves a disservice).

I'm going to plant some lettuce too... If I'm lucky and can get a couple more containers on sale. I'd love to get a deep one for carrots. We've planted carrots in containers at the preschool and they did great!

So, here's to a new experience for this Utah girl! I'll keep you updated on how the container garden goes ;) Maybe you can learn some from my trial and error with it!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Little Better Day by Day

Do not expect to become perfect all at once. If you do, you will be disappointed. Be better today than you were yesterday, and be better tomorrow than you are today. 
We cannot become perfect at once, but we can be a little better day by day. 
-Lorenzo Snow

I've been having one of those months, you know what they are like. And I found this among my piles of papers that I'm trying to get through during this process of moving and organizing. It was something that I really needed at this time in my life. We can't change yesterday, but we can change today. We can do one little thing better, and slowly we will move toward that person that we want to be, and the person that God wants us to be. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Following Mom's Advice Can Land You in the ER

With a lot of changes happening here in my life, I've been trying to focus on some aspects of my life that I would like to be better at, and really making an effort to progress in them. Writing here on the blog is one of them. However I often run into Writers Block when it comes to the blog so when I had a moment in the past week where I thought to myself "This is one of those moments that the Yarn Harlot would write about".

My life has been pretty hectic, with grad school, two jobs, a new husband, and all the daily dilemmas, I sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed. Unfortunately, when the stress piles up my body has recently decided to react very badly. As I sought relief my mum gave me advice she has always given me, "Exercise."

Only this time mum was a little more specific in her advice, "Sweat. Really sweat. Like dripping off you, people slipping on it cause it's puddled up on the floor." Gross. I hate sweat. I hate sweating. I know I should exercise and would do it more if it didn't involve sweating.  Well, I was getting desperate for some relief from feeling so sick, really really desperate.

My husband cycles. I have a bike, and I'd been meaning to start cycling but had not had enough motivation to do so. As I came to the conclusion to follow my mum's advice and sweat, really sweat, I though I might start cycling. I set a date and set a goal for how far I would bike, according to the 'start cycling' article I read online.

I got up early-ish. Did some yoga and then set out for the Greenway with my bike. It's a great bike, a vintage Panasonic in pink.

It rattles, but it does ride pretty nicely, and I love it anyway. I started out with my little program running on my phone to track my ride. I had read that a beginner ride would be 5-8 miles long, so I decided to do at least 5 miles. I've run this particular Greenway several times, once in a race, so I had a good idea of where I needed to go to reach my 5 mile goal, and was confident I could do it on my bike.

Well, a little over halfway through this first training ride ever, I had what we called a duster on the ranch. This duster was quite the duster. I crashed.

I remember as it was happening thinking to myself, "You've gone over 3 miles, you can't give up now. Just jump back on the bike, like you would a horse, and finish the ride." I jumped up, took note of the scrape on my leg and palm of my hand. After that, I noted that my wrist might be broken. After rolling it around, and moving all of my fingers, I decided that although a little scraped up, I was fine and could finish my ride.

Another rider, I'm not sure if he actually saw me crash, or just heard it (I'd like to think he didn't actually see it) asked if I was okay, to which I replied I was fine and jumped on my bike. It took me a minute to realize the chain was off, but that was an easy fix. As I continued on my ride, I noticed a stinging on my shoulder and pulled my shirt up to find a huge, bleeding scrape on my shoulder. Ok, no problem. Just some scrapes and a really pretty bruise on my thigh.

It wasn't until a few hours later when I started to realize that my arm hurt. REALLY hurt. I couldn't straighten it, or fully bend it. After much debate and consulting with some friends and family, I decided to visit the ER after doing dishes brought me to tears. (From pain, not because it was dishes.)

Me: I think my arm is broken. 
ER Nurse: Were you wearing a helmet?

Me: I think I broke my arm. 
ER Doctor: Were you wearing a helmet?

While I appreciate that people are advocating for wearing helmets (Which I do wear ALWAYS), I had a hard time understanding the connection between my arm hurting and whether I was wearing a helmet or not.

All said, the ER decided that there was too much swelling and fluid in my elbow to determine if it was broken. They gave me an ace bandage, a painkiller prescription , and instructions to ice and rest it. The nurse told me, "If it hurts to do it, don't do it." I went on my merry way, and after some minor difficulty was able to schedule a follow up appointment with the sports med folks at the student health center.

After getting follow up x-rays, the doctor walked into the room and announced, "Your arm is broken, it's really cool."

She then showed me my x-ray. Basically, the bone got dented. Technically broken, but not broken enough to need surgery or even a cast. So I'm 0 for 3, 3 broken bones and still no casts.
The bone at the top? It's supposed to be straight across, not have that dip/dent in it... 

PS: One kindergartener was disappointed that I didn't get to have my hot pink cast.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This summer was a summer of marriages for my family. I had two cousins get married, I got married, and my little brother got married.

When I called my mum and sister to ask if my idea for a wedding gift for my brother and sister was a good idea, they both said the same thing.

"Yeah, she's like you she's always cold. It would be perfect."

So, I went and stash dove into my fabrics. I asked Sarah what her favorite colors were. Thinking I might luck out since I had a red and white quilt partially done, and I could just finish that one off for them. Sarah told me her least favorite color was red... dangit.

Thankfully I had some blues, grays, and purples on hand. (Blues and grays are my go to colors, I love them.) Armed with my quilting book, I chose a quilt I liked and embarked on my first quilting for someone else without their input adventure.

I lucked out and found a local quilter who said she
could get it quilted in time for the wedding for me. She even made a label for me to put on it.  Unfortunately, I had to pick it up during my honeymoon. I called my friend who was kind enough to go pick it up for me. I then worked like a crazy lady to get the binding done.

I could hardly wait to give it to them. At this point my brother knew what the gift was, he just hadn't seen it, and it made me nervous because he was acting excited about it but you never really know...

So, here they are with their new quilt. It's only throw size because I didn't have the fabric (or time) to do a bigger one. They seem to like it ;)

Maybe I can keep up this stash dive quilt for a special person/purpose/occasion up.

At the very least I can keep up the stash diving part. That stash is getting out of control...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

(I usually try to give credit on where I get these from, but pinterest linked this to some weird iTunes app... if you know where this originally came from let me know so I can give them credit!)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Did you Know?

Apparently September is "National Sewing Month". Whoda thunk?

I've been working really hard and getting more of my sewing and crafting stuff done. My sewing machine is currently sitting in my living room, and it stares at me all the time. It's been a great motivator to me to be working on things.

With this in mind, I'd love to do a series of sewing 'tutorials', pinterest experiments, and maybe even some sew alongs. Please let me know what you would like to see happen here on the blog!

p.s. Pinterest experiments are when you see something on Pinterest and want someone else (me) to try it before you try it, to work out the kinks and let you know if it's really worth doing. Drop me a line, or send me the pin and I'll add it to my line up. ;) even if it isn't sewing related...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Super Summer

I know, I know, the blog has been silent lately. I had a very eventful summer, with two weddings (one of them mine), travelling back to Utah twice (for the weddings), and finishing up my first year of grad school and starting my second, as well as trying to get my Etsy shop up and running, blogging kinda got put on the back burner.

Of course.

I have some great ideas for the blog though, so hang in there, stay tuned... good stuff to come!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Call For Help

I'm trying to decide which direction to take the business in the next year (yes, I still think in terms of school semesters...), and NEED YOUR HELP! 

Would you rather buy a completely finished quilt (like this one:, 

a kit (like this one:

or just a quilt top (like this one:

As many of you know, or at least I hope know by now, I rely heavily on the feedback and opinions of my potential customers and my 'fans'. I have some new color combos going on in the kitchen item department thanks to feedback. And I'm working on some fun stuffed animals as well after getting some initial reactions on Facebook. 

But when it comes to the quilts, I love making them, the piecing part is so fun to me, but they don't get much attention. I need to know if it's going to be worthwhile to keep churning them out and trying to sell them (especially now that I've finally found a person to help me with the quilting part of quilts).

Let me know! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Drinking Water

So, you always hear that you should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to benefit your health. But I've never really heard much beyond that personally. "They" say it's good for losing weight, good for your skin, good for you brain functioning.

While I can't say that my brain functioning has been in top shape lately, I can say that I've been making an effort to drink 'enough' water each day. Not so great for the bathroom breaks that seemed to take over my life for awhile there... And I can't say I noticed much of a difference in anything other than the more frequent bathroom breaks.

However; it has yielded some results that I just didn't notice. I am a private tutor for a family and I often spend a few minutes chatting with the mother after the sessions each day. The other day out of the blue she asked, "Where have you been getting your facials at?"

Me: Ummm.... excuse me?

She asked again, and I explained that I had never had a facial (and currently can't afford something like that, Grad School folks, grad school). She went on to say that she noticed my skin was glowing and seemed a lot clearer lately. I shrugged it off and later that night realized the time frame she gave was about the same time frame as me drinking more water.

So, even though you might not notice it, others do see the difference drinking water can make!

(Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom... again.)

PS: If you are a bottled water drinker, for the love! Please stop! You can get a filter pitcher, or attachment for your faucet for less than bottled water costs. You'll save money and the environment at the same time!

Friday, June 6, 2014


Life has been insanely crazy for me lately. Still, I keep thinking I need to post on the blog!
This is just a quick note to say that I am still here, and am planning on posting more often. I now feel like I have my feet mostly under me this semester and can allocate some time to blogging.

Have a lovely Friday!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fiber Friday! The Beginning of... well...

 I made a shawl. I'd been wondering for a long time what the big deal about shawls was anyway. Like, do people really wear them? And look good in them? Why not just toss on a sweater or use a scarf?

I didn't get it. But then, I moved here and at the LYS, there is an abundance of shawl knitters. I started to wonder what exactly it was that I was missing out on. And so, for the Winter Challenge, I found myself some beautiful, blue yarn. (Juniper Moon Farm's Moonshine) and a pattern that wasn't too "old lady" (The Lonely Tree Shawl by Silvia Bo Bilvia [side note, not sure if that's her real name or if she's just playing the name game there...])

I cast on during the opening ceremonies. A feat in itself, since I was visiting the fiance and he wasn't too thrilled to have knitting take precedence over him. (It's going to happen, honey. It will continue to happen.)
After wearing it to church,  I turned it in on the deadline day. I now understand what the big deal is about shawls. I really liked it. It can keep you warm like a sweater, but if you want to, you can leave your arms uncovered without fussing with rolling or scrunching up the sleeves. Plus, it's pretty. ;0

 One week later, I returned to the shop to find it on display with a medal. Not just any medal, the GOLD.

What the heck?!
I'm already plotting the next two shawls. Knitting store, watch out! I might clean you out of yarn in the next few weeks!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Finance Friday: MTurk

Hey, so I totally missed Fiber Friday last week. For good reason though, I had a shawl blocking, but my dad also happened to be in the same state as me. So he and I got to sort of hang out and introduce the future in-laws. Fiber Friday should be back next week, hopefully it will be a good one ;)

Do you love Amazon? Do you have an Amazon wishlist a mile long, but an empty wallet? Here's a solution-ish. While I'm yet to see great returns from this, it has helped here and there with some extra dollars.

There's this place called Amazon Mechanical Turk, found at . It's run by Amazon, and will link to your Amazon Payments account.

So what is it? Well, it's surveys and tasks. I stick mostly with the surveys because some of the 'tasks' are sketchy like "Download this program and test it". Ummmm.... viruses and hard drive malfunctions anyone?

A lot of the surveys I take seem to be preliminary research for graduate students getting ready for their thesis and such. Some are really short, like 5-10 minutes. But some are over an hour long. (I'm yet to actually take the entire hour to complete the survey though, I'm a fast reader.) And often have quality control questions in them to make sure you are actually paying attention.

The only downfall to this is you have to 'qualify' in order to get higher paying tasks. For the first few months I used this, I could only qualify for tasks that paid $.01- $.50. But, it does add up over time. And when you do start to qualify, you can make a few bucks per completed task.

Then, as you shop on Amazon, during checkout it will ask if you want to use your Payment Account balance, letting you know how much is in there, for your purchase. So, you don't have to charge your card or bank account if you have enough.

If you want the cash, I know that you can cash out the balance, as long as it's over $1.00. Personally I like to set a goal and work to it before withdrawing so it really makes a difference if/when I do withdraw.

This is a great way to get some extra cash during commercial breaks, or during your lunch breaks, even for an hour or two on weekends!

Good luck and happy earnings!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In Recent Months...

      In recent months, I've seen a lot of people in my life be very critical and judgmental of others. In my viewpoint, a lot of this is coming from a "Holier than Thou" mindset. The people are so focused on religion and how things should be according to them, that they are missing the mark on a lot of great things. They are missing opportunities to love those around them, to feel the Spirit, and to serve the Lord because they can't look beyond someone not doing something 'right'.

It makes me wonder, "If you are being this critical of others to me, how critical of me are you to others?". I'm not perfect here, I can be critical and judgmental. However, in the past few years, I have tried very consciously, and sometimes with much difficulty, to not verbalize criticisms to those around me. I try hard to change my thinking when I find myself being critical of others. And it's frustrating to me to have people hop back into high school mode and start gossiping and criticizing to me. What is it about me that makes these people think I'm okay with that?

      This morning I ran into a blog post on a blog that I don't frequent, but for some reason is in my bookmarks. While I feel that this person goes off into left field a few times, overall I think they did well in addressing criticism, especially when it comes to criticism in the church.

If you have time, I think you should check it out, and ponder what it means for you personally and what you can do to improve yourself in the area of being critical, if you feel there needs to be some change there.

Criticism is Bad by In Defense of Women

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cooking, a Love (and future regular post)

Recently while talking with my fiancee, he asked how much it costs me to bake bread from scratch. He was trying to figure out if it was really worth the time of baking it when you could just go to the store and buy a loaf.
I said it was worth it because I like cooking and baking. It was cheaper, but I couldn't tell him exactly how much cheaper. But I felt like (and still feel like) the time and effort are what makes it infinitely better than buying. I love mixing it together, letting it rise, baking it, and eating it fresh from the oven. I get a really satisfying contentment from it.
It's not just bread either, I love baking desserts and cooking dinners. I just like it.
However, he did get me thinking. So I started to calculate how much it costs me to bake and cook the things that I make. I thought maybe perhaps some other people out there would like to know this sort of thing too, so I will be making a regular post of it.
I will be posting the recipes I use, the cost of the ingredients, and how much I get out of the recipe. Keep in mind that I am a single girl, and I shop at Kroger using store brands. Also, one of my pet peeves is when people say 'it cost such and such', but they don't break it down, so I'm going to break it down for you telling you how much each ingredient cost as well as the total cost.
If you have a recipe, or see one on Pinterest, that you'd like me to try and calculate for you, let me know! (again, keep in mind that I'm in grad school, and it might take me a couple weeks to get to it...)

Love you all, if you have a chance you should come over for brownies, peanut butter cookies, or cinnamon bread!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Brought to you via Design Divas on Etsy. They've got lots of other great LDS vinyl wall quotes for Young Women, Family, and just for fun!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Finance Friday: Couponing made Easy

I don't 'coupon' like some folks do. It's ridiculous. But I still do what I can to save money at the grocery store.

Enter: The Kroger App (disclaimer, I have no idea if other stores have this type of thing, but Kroger does and I love it)

Each week I need groceries (which isn't that often really), I open up the Kroger app on my phone. It has the weekly specials in it. AND coupons. Generally I get my list together before checking the ads, but sometimes I have a general idea of what I need, like some fresh veggies, and see what they have.

The nice thing about this is you can add the item to "Your List" and it gets organized based on the areas of the store. You can pull up your list and it's in an order of sorts that makes sense so you're not running back and forth in the store.

The best part however, is that the coupons get loaded directly to your frequent shopper card. When you scan the card, if you have a coupon for an item it automatically deducts it. You don't have to cut the coupons out, and such.

Super nice too, I can open the app while waiting in line at the post office, while on the bus, over my lunch break when I don't have homework. It's portable coupons folks! I love it.

Bonus tip: When you get your receipt, check it for the survey code. Each survey you complete  gives you 50 fuel reward points, and with the cost of gas these days every little bit counts!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

One way to make this Utah girl's heart soar is to send snow to her. It's snowing, and supposed to keep snowing all night. 4-8 inches is projected. In Utah this is no big deal, but here in the South things get crazy. They shut down schools, I got sent home from work early. And even my night class ended early, resulting in me not having to give my presentation tonight.
But, it also brings some disappointment. Or sorrow. Or something akin to those feelings. You see, I've been avoiding doing my dishes, and cleaning the apartment in general actually. Not to mention the half finished skirts and pile of knitting projects, and quilts that are scattered about. While I would love a snow day, I also don't want it because that means cleaning and organizing. And still having to do homework.
It makes me wish I was a little kid again where snow day meant playing and no school, not this grown up snow day is a chance to get caught up with all the work.

Still, I get a smile in my heart when I look out the window!

I'm Avoiding Dishes and Homework

My friend sent me this on Pinterest as I was stuffing my face with chocolate chip cookie dough.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Fiber Friday!

Sounds good right? Fiber Friday. I figure I can alternate it with Finance Friday. 'Cause I still like the sound of that one too.  Fiber Friday will be a regular post about some of the things I've been doing with my knitting and such. This first post is a pretty exciting one. (At least I think it is...)

Okay, This week is the GRAND REVEAL of the results of the Yarn Dyeing Workshop I participated in... a while ago, sponsored by the wonderful Yarn Haven. We learned how to dye with Kool Aid. (And not have to boil a pot of water.)

We used squeeze bottles and the microwave. It was great fun to be with all the ladies and see how differently every one dyed their fiber.

I went with a striped pattern, using Blue Raspberry, Lemon-Lime, and a red that I don't remember the flavor of.... cherry? Strawberry? All I remember is that the flavors all produced a different shade of red.

Here is the yarn drying on the drying rack. I put it in front of the heater in hopes it would dry faster.
The yarn is getting ready to be wound into a ball!

After winding. I was still very curious to see how it would knit up...
AND Finally, the Kool Aid Socks.
So, there you have to progress post-dyeing. I also made a pair of yoga socks that turned out looking even cooler than the regular socks because of the way the colors lined up. I'll get you pictures soon. (FYI: I've been posting pictures of projects as I finish them on the "Yarny Things" page, and sewing stuff on the "All Things Fabric" page.)

I have worn these socks, and they weren't the most comfortable. I blame them not being washed yet. Washing seems to help the yarn soften up and be nice. I will wash them this weekend, and, as requested by some do a follow up on how well the colors stay.

Happy Friday all!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


I did set a goal to post on the blog more often this year. However, I also set a goal to get the Etsy shop really, truly up and running again.

Currently this means I've been spending some time working on the Etsy shop. (There's an Etsy mini on the right sidebar of what's in the shop, if you're curious, but it only shows 9 items, there's more than that in the shop!) Which consequently means I'm spending less time blogging than I would like to spend.

I think I may have a new system in place for making time for both things, and we'll see how things go in the next few weeks, mmm'kay?

Here's a quick shout out:
Any one who knows how to web-design, I'm looking to make some improvements on the blog. Let me know if you can help a girl out!

Check out the whole shebang on Etsy: Aunt Jaq

And also Facebook for fun things like Giveaways and previews (and ability to buy before it goes on Etsy): Fan Page on Facebook

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Internet Adventures, Maybe Idiot Adventures?

Internet Adventures  0.1

There seems to be a popular website out there called Pinterest. I happen to have an account on Pinterest, and see a lot of interesting things on this website that make me wonder. Yeah, but does it work? Is this for real? Is it really as miraculous and wonderful and time-saving and gorgeous as everyone seems to be making it out to be?

In fact it’s not just on Pinterest that I see stuff like this. Lots of blogs and even sometimes stuff shows up on Facebook that makes me wonder if it’s something that really does work, or if it’s really as great as people make it out to be. A lot of it, I think that a certain ‘type’ of person will really love it, but maybe it’s not for a girl like me.

So, in hopes of posting more often here in the blog (it’s on the rotating list of goals I’m working on for the year), I will post some of these special little tidbits, after I try them out and let you all know how I feel about them. It will be quite fun, I think. And a great way for me to be doing new things on a semi-regular basis. 

If you see anything that you would like me to try out, SEND ME THE LINK! I’ll do it! As always I rely on my friends and fans to help generate ideas, this little brain can only do so much, especially while in grad school ;)