Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Crochet Shell Cowl

I've been on a kick since developing this pattern last week + I still can't get enough of crocheting these mini cowls.

They whip up so quickly + with only one skein making them easily addicting.  I may or may not have made 7 over the weekend....

... and started another one tonight to work on while my laptop loads all these pictures...  :)
What has got you all caught up lately?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Favorite TV Shows

What are your favorite shows to watch + how do you watch them?   
Note: affiliate + referral links are included to both sustain this blog as well as give you an exclusive sign-up bonus that is otherwise missed by going directly through their website.


Peaky Blinders
Hell on Wheels
Extreme Couponing - for when I'm clipping + organizing my coupons Sunday afternoon.


Parks + Recreation

*use this link to get 2 weeks FREE


Game of Thrones

Amazon Prime:

Cranford (Season 1)
Downton Abbey
The White Queen

Since we don't have cable + I don't live by a TV schedule, we watch our shows through the Playstation 3 on one of the portals.  Occasionally we'll break out one of our DVDs (or Blueray), but we keep that physical collection to a minimum.  Usually it is a movie or series that is not offered on one of these platforms.  Since it is rare for us to find shows that we both enjoy, when we do find one (Sherlock + Hell on Wheels), we watch them together in the evenings after dinner + EJ's in bed.  It makes a great evening ritual that I thoroughly enjoy.

As for the dramas, I find they are one of the best ways to relax as well as get some productive knitting accomplished.

Do you have a favorite show that helps you create?

Referral + Affiliate links help me bring you valuable content without ads.  I recommend products + services that I use myself or that come highly recommended by peers.  
Any sponsorships that you see in my sidebar are handpicked by me because I believe in their products + services and think they could benefit you.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Best Open House Yet!

Saturday, Michael's hosted their quarterly open house to garner up some excitement + new student sign ups for spring and summer projects.  I'm excited to say it was my best Open House yet! 

I had 4-6 new students sign up for beginner classes (Crochet was the forerunner 4 to 1!) and I scheduled two future classes - one in August(!) for crochet boot cuffs + one in July(!) for my newest crochet cowl.  That one #newproductdesign that I've been blowing up your Instagram feed with? 

Shell Crochet Cowl on Instagram |
Yeah, that's the one I'll be teaching in July.  Four ladies are already signed up for it and I think two sisters might ALSO be joining us for it.  *clicks heels*. 

I think my favorite part of the day was feeling a kindred spirit connection with one young lady who will "be starting middle school next year."  And she (and her mom) couldn't stop saying how excited she is for all these (6!!) classes.  :-D

 It's going to be a super fun summer!  How did your weekend turn out?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Crafting Wherever, Whenever

My favorite thing about the knitting + crocheting niche is that I am not tied to a designated desk all day in order to get my products made.

I can stash a ball of yarn and utensils (scissors + needles or hook) in my purse and work wherever I am that day.  When I would chauffeur all day, I could knit at our stops (15 minutes here; 45 minutes there), or when I would watch an older gentleman in his home (while his daughter/ caretaker was out running her errands) I would knit while he watched a movie or we would work on a puzzle.  Sometimes I'd bring my laptop to catch up on emails + blog reading/writing.  But the best part about this aspect is that when I'm waiting in a long line or in a waiting room, I can happily pass the time productively knitting (or crocheting) without feeling like I'm "wasting my time."

The other great part about this niche is how infinite it is.  There are so many different interpretations on the same project, let alone on the different items + styles that one can create out of yarn, that there are vast options available to the customer. 

Sometimes I think it is hard to be original in this field because it may seem like everything has been done.  But then I allow myself to solve a problem with my own puzzle-solving creativity before I look to the internet to "tell" me how others have solved it (youtube, pinterest, etc).  You can see examples of my problem-solving when you read one of my original patterns.

What is your favorite thing about your niche?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Gardening has Started!

Please forgive me for my lack of posting last week.  I'm happy to say the beautiful summer weather has finally made it to our neck of the woods!  So any nap times have been spent outside trying to clear away winter debris + get our property ready for summer beauty...

Sunday after EJ's party, I was able to rally my hubby + in-laws to fill in the trench around our home addition with top soil.  Even the young boys next door wanted to help us shovel it out of the truck and into the wheel borrow.  I loved how quickly it went with so many hands!

Friday I finally planted two large rhubarb starts during nap time and I'm so excited to see them taking root.  Saturday hubby picked up a truck load of compost to spread on top of the topsoil, around the rhubarb and around the back side of the addition for the future blueberry bed.   

After I planted the rhubarb I got to work pulling out all the grass taking over our 3 remaining raised beds.  (Two? years ago hubby had to remove 2 beds in order to bury our electric line to the house).

It is definitely taking longer than I wanted. 

But I'm so thrilled to see all the earth worms that have taken up residence in the beds!  I don't remember seeing ONE when we were building + tilling them 3 years ago.


my dad is starting my Amish paste tomato + bell pepper seeds since I don't have access to a sunny south window this year (or the time to remember to water them) and he sent me this picture last night of the SPROUTS!

How is your garden growing?

Monday, April 13, 2015

EJ's Birthday Party

Even though it may have been organized in only a couple weeks and a scramble up to the last minute (since I wasn't sure if we would be hosting at our house or my dad's), it turned out to be such a fun day!  Lots of friends + family came out to celebrate our little one's huge milestone.  

I am always humbled + honored that so many of our friends + family take the time to join us in our celebrations.  From her birth to her baptism to her birthday and all the home addition work in between, we are truly blessed by all the amazing people in our lives.

EJ definitely enjoyed her special day once she had a chance to take in all the faces that came to see her.  She was the cutest little guest of honor, greeting + smiling for everyone and never even cried once!  She was quite happy being passed from mom to dad to auntie to grandma to friend and took it all in stride.  She even dug right into her personal colossal cupcake much to everyone's cheering.  Though it took giving her a taste from a fork for her to realize she was supposed to eat it.  :-P 

I'm happy to say my mother caught it all on video with her iPad so she could share it with my dad (who was sadly called into the ER for a surgery for the majority of the party).  I couldn't believe EJ ate nearly the entire thing! (I wasn't sure if I should have stopped her sooner?)  I'm happy to report she never got a stomach ache that we could discern and never threw up so that was a success.

She was showered in gifts with a whole new summer wardrobe + beach toys + sunglasses + sun hats.  And like a perfect gift receiver, loved every one of her toys as she unwrapped them - more interested in her current one than the new one placed in front of her, haha. 

I think the biggest success, after all the birthday girl festivities, was the double-sized play yard that my father set up in the living room.  We brought over some of EJ's toys for her peers to play with and they seemed to really enjoy themselves which helped our friends + fellow parents enjoy a little adult conversation.

Even though I was a little nervous about planning such a thrown together Big Milestone party, I think it was success.  I've even got half her thank-you card written (usually a procrastinated chore for me)!  :)

How did you celebrate your weekend?

Friday, April 10, 2015

EJ's First Birthday Reflection

The Days are Long but the Nights are Short

It is an accepted fact that these little ones in our care grow up far too quickly.  And I think it has a lot to do with our struggle to keep up with the day-to-day of living (clean dishes anyone?) while still trying to stop + be fascinated with these tiny humans (that wrinkle-nose smile never gets old!). 

So it is with this in mind that I say, "when did you grow up already!?" + "Slow down on that growing-up thing" so I can be in the moment with her more.  These desires to be present + observe all her little personality traits are what motivate me to get a dishwasher (true story) + hire a cleaning lady (if only for deep cleaning every couple months) + just outsource more housekeeping.  I don't want to wake up one day to a clean house (though it would be lovely!) + find out my daughter is heading off to college. 

But I digress.  Today is about EJ + her amazing milestone of turning ONE. YEAR. OLD.  The Humble Christian in me feels truly blessed when I say what a miracle it is to celebrate her birthday today because so many babies don't make it (every story breaks my heart!).  I'm not trying to sound morbid, just acknowledging what an accomplishment it is.  And how proud I feel of our little family for getting here. 

To all my New Mommy friends

Those endless nursing sessions + long nights really do fade away into yesterday.  Your nipples toughen up so quickly you don't realize it until weeks later (at least I didn't).  One night you wake up before Baby + realize they "missed" their feeding and you get to go back to sleep.  And then it happens another night until you are both "sleeping through the night"! 

The amount of milestones + new teeth + outgrown clothing overlap so much you start to loose track which happened when.  Although I've been doing my best to remember "She first crawled the week after her 5 month birthday," dated pictures (thank you smartphone!) have been my best memory keepers.  Thus backing them up to a hard drive + Shutterfly is a must for this Mama.

My biggest advice is to drink in their sweet baby smell every day.  Give them the biggest hug every time it crosses your mind.  Because one day they really will be "all grown up" + smashing cake at their first birthday party  :)

Happy Birthday my Sweet Baby Girl!

Back up all those lovely photos + Have a great weekend!

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Any sponsorships that you see in my sidebar are handpicked by me because I believe in their products + services and think they could benefit you.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Are You a Blogger Who Makes or a Maker Who Blogs?

Because, let's face it.  These are two different approaches to blogging.

Are you a Blogger or a Maker first?  |

When I first discovered this idea, I was rocking my daughter to sleep + the question came at me like a riddle.  Which one are you? it wanted to know.  It took a couple of rockings for me to decide.  

A Blogger Who Makes

You blog to tell a story + if your craft or wares come into the picture, it is because they are part of your story.  You blog to put your voice out there + to hear others validate your thoughts through comments + shares.  You may blog to build a community through more interactive approaches like knitalongs + link parties.

You probably have quite a few categories of topics that you love to cover and this helps you build a large following around many topics.  My personal favorites are sustainable family living, crafting, and minimalism.

Some of my favorite Bloggers are Buckaloo View + Field*Wonderful + Thrifty Frugal Mama
 + Little House Living + High Heels & Two Wheels + Reading My Tea Leaves

A Maker Who Blogs

You blog to share your process or your wares with your fans + build a following around your product or services.  You want your readers to have behind-the-scenes access to your creative process + all that it entails.  You are most likely using your community's feedback to better understand what your audience is seeking in your business.

Your categories are more in line with your business niche + less about your personal life (though I know plenty of business blogs that deviate from this).

I don't find myself following as many of these blogs as the former, but when I do, I binge read them because they are full of self-help articles + pretty stylized images.  My favorites include:
Pickles + DarlingbeBrave + A Bowl Full of Lemons + Elle&Co + byRegina + KylaRoma

Certainly there isn't only one way to blog.  And readers need a mixture to keep things interesting.  I just thought this would be fun to see who identifies with which personality. 

Ultimately I'm a Blogger first who happens to make + sell things.  Looking at how long I've been writing, what motivates me to write, and why I write, all point to my reason for blogging: community engagement.  That's not to say I don't want to monetize or mention my Etsy shop, but it does highlight the fact that those are or have become secondary to my motivation for reader engagement.

So I pose the same question to you:  Are you a Blogger who makes or a Maker who blogs?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Since Becoming a Mama...

"I see you!"

I can't believe it will be nearly a year (this week!) since I became a mama to the most beautiful, bubbly + SMART baby girl.  Looking back on the 12 months that we've managed to survive, I've never felt such growth in my adulthood. 

* I've started searching out more "organically practicing" food sources (because it's expensive and too many hoops to jump through for the small farmer) for meat and dairy essentials as well as other grocery items when I stumble upon them.  We've been very fortunate to have such a great network of Farmers' Markets (Toledo + Perrysburg) as well as a strong local food movement gaining ground in our local grocery stores.  I've also learned to reach out to friends of different ages (like my mom + her friend) and different lifestyles (my single, no-kids friends) to help me continue canning every summer now that I also have EJ to watch.  Hopefully this year she can help? watch more of the action.

* Celebrating the small successes more often & remembering to prioritize the comforts of home (real dinner at a real dinner time; bedtime rituals; alone time with hubby; me-time!; blogging, crafting & daydreaming brainstorming) have been the biggest challenges but also the best rewards.

Look at that clean endtable!  "Look Mom!  I can almost reach your coffee!"

* Baby proofing has been the best motivator for a clean(er) house.  As in, HIDE EVERYTHING!  :-P  The toys around the room don't bother me because they are easy to gather back into their basket.

Isn't it so pretty?  I love Target.

It is my reading clutter (magazines + newspapers) that I sheepishly cannot seem to corral as beautifully.  I can't wait until we have the rest of the house baby proofed (gulp - yes, so far it is only the living room sectioned off with baby gates).

EJ loves to help fold laundry.  She is really good at pulling everything out of the basket.

* I've learned the TRUE meaning of the word MULTI-tasking.  I can now backup videos (aka "home movies") from my phone to my computer while playing chase with EJ while folding laundry (did I mention running the washing machine + the dishes drying?).  Of course, those are the good, long-napping days.  Other days I'm lucky we are all fed, dressed & smiling.  ;-)  I'm sure other moms can attest to these less-than-stellar days.  The beauty is that there are plenty of both days so the good days pick up the slack for the less-than days which keeps it all in perspective.

What have you learned with your newest transformation?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Why I Love Affiliate Programs

It is a win-win for everyone!

I've slowly been adding affiliate links to my posts + need to do a blog audit to clean up + polish my old posts + add in appropriate links to make each post better.    My goal for these affiliate links is to increase my blog income (without costing you anything!) so that I can remove the Google Ads between posts.  Wouldn't that look so much nicer??
If any of these programs interest you, just click on one of my links.  It doesn't cost you anything but it helps me out a LOT.  In some cases you might even get a bonus by using a referral link instead of just signing up with their website!  Coupon Apps usually offer this incentive (interested to learn more?  Comment below + I'll write about it next).


I fill out surveys, print grocery e-coupons, watch videos + answer polls to earn points which can be redeemed for gift cards.  My current favorites are Home Depot, clothing stores, and  How does this relate to knitting + crocheting?  AMAZON SELLS YARN!  I only just discovered this myself (duh, me!) and it has opened up a whole new level of shopping at home (uh oh).  It is where I have found my latest favorite, new baby mitten colors.  But best of all - it now means I can get my yarn for free or very cheap because of swagbucks + Amazon Prime's FREE 2-day shipping!  
Once I earn 450 points I redeem them for a $5 amazon gift card.  It takes a couple weeks to get the card so I make sure to redeem the points right away so that I have the gift card code when I'm ready to make a purchase.  Even better?  Once you have the gift card code, you can go to your amazon account + enter that code to use later.  (They make it way to easy to have a shopping spree...)
Click here to sign up for SwagbucksIf you'd like to know more of my strategies to earn swagbucks quickly, you can email me @ knittedhome @ gmail + I'll send you an email with everyone I know!


Ebates is my favorite way to earn cash with all my online shopping.  It reminds me of a cash-back credit card.  For my yarn friends, Ebates offers cash back to Michael's + JoAnn's, (I just bought tons of yarn from this awesome shop!) + Hancock Fabrics + some departments!  Just type the name of the store into the big green search bar at the top.
Once I have all my purchases in my online shopping cart, I close the store's window and open ebates.  I select the store I'm shopping at + it opens a new window to that store.  Stay in this window to complete your purchase.  Select your shopping cart + complete your purchase as usual (enter any promo codes + gift cards as usual; your credit card info is safe + Ebates will never see it).   Ebates will track your purchase in this window in order to give you a percentage back of your total (minus tax + shipping).  That's it!
Sometimes Ebates will have a daily double deal where they offer double cash back on a particular store.  You can sign up for those emails (one a day) if you do a lot of online shopping + want to maximize your cash back.
Sign up here for Ebates
Did I mention you can also use your Swagbucks giftcards to pay for your purchases you make through Ebates?  What a great way to double-up + maximize your savings!


If you are doing a lot of shopping (like all those new crochet hooks + knitting needles + yarn), this savings add up QUICK!  You can sign up for Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial to get FREE 2-day shipping .  If you like it (which who doesn't love getting something in the mail in 2 days for free?), you can sign up for a whole year with Prime for only $99.

I hope this post helps shed some light on my use of affiliate links in my posts.  I also hope it will allow you to keep your confidence in me as well as allow you to support this little blog without spending any money out of your own pocket.  I'm right there with you in wanting to save money.

Did I miss anything?  How do you save on your hobby?

Referral + Affiliate links help me bring you valuable content without ads.  I recommend products + services that I use myself or that come highly recommended by peers.  
Any sponsorships that you see in my sidebar are handpicked by me because I believe in their products + services and think they could benefit you.