Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy 2016!

Hello, dear readers!

Sitting here looking out at my snow-covered lavender field and happy to be on winter vacation, I am in a reflective mood.  2015 was a year of ups and downs for me, as I'm sure it was for lots of people, but I am very much looking forward to what 2016 has to offer.

One creative project I am looking forward to making is a Temperature Blanket.  This is an unfortunate name, in my opinion, so I will likely end up calling it something else.  The basic concept is every day, I will crochet a row according to what the high temperature of the day is.  I may end up adding a color or two, but here is a quick chart I made:

So, for the next 10 days, the high temperature here will be in the 30's.  That means my first 10 rows of 2016 will be Lavender Blue.  I have joined a Facebook group to crochet along with others, and many people are using lots more colors.  I think I will stick with just these.  I intentionally chose more purples and greens because those are my favorite hues. I hope to not have too many rows of red, but I guess we will see next summer what will happen.

One problem is going to be making sure this baby doesn't get too big, but with 366 rows,  how can it not?  Perhaps I will make two afghans, one from January 1-June 30 and the other from July 1-December 31.  This might be a good way to tell just how quickly climate change is taking place.  ;)


I'd like to wish health, happiness, good fortune, and joy to you and your family!  Happy 2016!

Ozzie wants you to have an excellent 2016!








Saturday, December 12, 2015

Kitty rolling around in the grass

This is completely senseless and silly, but my kitty cat Storm was pretty adorable today.  :)

Saturday, November 28, 2015



#SmallBusinessSaturday was started a few years ago in response to the insanity of Black Friday here in the States.  The day after Thanksgiving is a huge shopping day with great deals, but some people want to support small businesses more than the big box stores.

Well, I can think of one small business that would appreciate your patronage:  Prairie Sunshine Soaps!

Prairie Sunshine Soaps was started by my husband and me in 2012 in our kitchen.  Although Chris supports me in my endeavors, I'm the one who runs it now.  I currently have 79 items in my Etsy shop:  45 different soaps and 34 different crocheted washcloths/soap savers.

Making soap came as a response to my Aunt Sara's question about all the lavender we were harvesting in our front yard flower bed:  "What are you going to do with all that lavender?"  Chris had seen an article on The Art of Manliness about making your own cold process soap and so we decided to give it a shot.

We have five types of lavender soap and so many more, such as Pink Lemonade, Sandalwood, Orange Clove & Cinnamon, White Tea & Ginger, Crisp Anjou Pear, and Lime Mint, just to name a few.  It is always wonderful to mix colors and fragrances and see what the soap will look like when it's taken out of the mold.

And here are some of my crocheted items:

Right now, I am running a special for #SmallBizSaturday:  Spend $15 or more and get 15% off if you use coupon code SMALLBIZ2015.  This offer is good through Monday, November 30.

#shopsmall  #smallbusinesssaturday

Thank you so much!




                                                                                 SMALL BIZ SATURDAY.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Je pleure avec vous, Paris.

I was saddened to hear about the deadly attacks on Paris yesterday.  Deadly attacks anywhere are clearly horrible, but I have a special connection to the country of France.  I am a French teacher and I have been to France several times, my most recent visit being just this past summer.  I have only ever encountered friendliness and wonder in my travels to this beautiful land.

My heart is with the victims and their families, as well as all my French friends.

I am crying with you, mes amis.   Paris, je t'aime!






Monday, November 9, 2015

Oui, je l'aime.

Oui, c'est vrai.  Je l'aime.  Apres tout ce temps, je l'aime toujours.  Et la chose la plus incoyable, c'est qu'il m'aime aussi!  :)






Wednesday, October 28, 2015


I'm still rooting for the Kansas City Royals, my hometown team.  I know I'm a Jenny Come Lately to this Royals team and I know I don't attend (m)any games, but I hope to change that next season.  My brother and his wife are huge fans, as well as many of my Facebook friends.  I love seeing pictures of them enjoying Royals' games at Kauffman Stadium.

My fair weather fandom doesn't matter during the next several days because our boys in blue have made it into the World Series yet again, and they even won the first game in 14 innings very early this morning.  During that game, I couldn't stand how close the score was and I needed something to do with my hands.  So I went in search of blue yarn and I decided to make a crocheted cowl.  I used Lion Brand's 45-minute cowl pattern, but I used Homespun yarn instead of Amazing.  The reason for that is I already have cowls with nearly every color of Amazing, and I had some seriously gorgeous Homespun yarn just calling out my name to be made into something #Royal blue.  I used Montana Sky and Windsor held together and crocheted with a Q-size hook (16 mm).  One way to ensure your crochet project whips up nicely is to use a huge hook.

I really like how it turned out.  How about you?  I wore it at school today because the heat in our 53 year-old building is having a hard time finding the rooms in my hallway, but that just makes for an exciting day.

If tonight's game is close, I will most likely make some fingerless gloves to go along with my Royal blue cowl.


I remember when the Royals won the World Series in 1985.  Thirty years ago, I was in high school, um, I mean Kindergarten--LOL!  It was a surreal experience then and it is electrifying living through it again.  I'd say thirty years is enough time to go without a World Series win.  Let's bring it back home again, lads!


Go, Royals!  You are the scrappiest team in the major league.  Your hearts are in the right place and you make us Kansas Citians proud!

#ForeverRoyal  #TaketheCrown  #World Series  #KansasCityRoyals




                                                                             KANSAS CITY ROYALS!


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Go, Royals!

We love our hometown Kansas City Royals!  We've got Royal Fever.

Go, Royals!  Allez, les Bleus!  Beat the Astros!  #TakeTheCrown

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The longest lasting crochet project I've ever done (but now it's finished!)

I am a slow crocheter.  I will admit that.  I also run out of time to work on crochet projects because of pesky things like work and family obligations (just kidding!).  It usually takes me quite a bit of time to finish crochet projects, especially afghans.  But the crocheted afghan I have just finished takes the cake.

It is the Americana Afghan, and the pattern can be found here.  I bookmarked the pattern on June 25, 2014, in the midst of World Cup fever.  I was feeling patriotic due to the USA soccer team's victories and it was summer vacation, so I started making the afghan.  Besides, the yarn colors are gorgeous (it is made with Heartland yarn in Acadia, Olympic, and Redwood),  and I wanted to make something impressive.  Little did I know it would take me as long as it has.

The length of this project is not caused at all by a bad pattern; the pattern is great and pretty straight forward.  I made quite a few mistakes in the beginning and ended up having to start again from scratch just a few months ago.  The main problem I had at the beginning was that I was not vigilant in counting my rows.  The pattern says to make each square around 12 inches, which I did, but I realized what I thought was 12 inches after one square was not exactly the same as another square.  So instead, when I restarted the afghan from scratch, I decided to make each square 60 rows tall. Each square was supposed to end up being identical to one another in width and length.

Of course, that isn't always the case, as you can see by comparing each square.  That meant when I went to put them all together, I had a hard time lining up the seams.  I had to take the seams out a few times because they were too wonky, but I finally made peace with the quirky nature of imperfection.

If you make things by hand yourself, you might think like I do and see all the mistakes you've made and where you could have done a better job.  But I hope that when people see my afghan, they will see all the hard work that I put into it and find any irregularities charming.  :)

I will say the stars were a blast to make, although weaving in the ends was a bit of a pain.

I still have to sew in the loose ends that I've hidden behind the afghan in the photos.  That will take about an hour.  But I have my lovely Netflix to keep me company, particularly the kiwi show The Almighty Johnsons.  I have fallen in love with New Zealand accents and each of the Johnson brothers.  Check it out at the Almighty Johnsons website.

I had Storm and Ozzie keep me company as well this morning.





and a bonus:



                                                                                     DEAN O'GORMAN.



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Happy Labor Day

It is the end of Labor Day Monday here in the U.S., a well-deserved day off work and one last chance to enjoy summer.

It rained this morning, which made my heart sing.  It has been hot and dry here for days and even though we experienced nothing like the drought they've experienced in the western states, our plants desperately needed a nice, tall drink.  Our rain gauge shows two inches, but I don't know what the official count was.  That is two inches of lovely nourishment my poor recent lavender transplants surely enjoyed.

I tried a new recipe today, one I found on Pinterest.  They are taco pizza rolls from the Old El Paso website.   Here is what the original looks like:

And here is what mine looked like:

Not quite the same, but not entirely too bad.  I should have used thin pizza crust because the thick stuff was a bit too doughy, and this is coming from a girl who LOVES bread.

On the positive side, I cut my new soaps today.  Frankincense & Myrrh smells like a gift made for a god (ha ha, get it?).  And Orange Clove & Cinnamon smells like fall, which is right around the corner.  Seriously, they smell great and they will be available on my Etsy site on October 5, 2015.

And the last thing on my agenda today was to work on what is perhaps the longest-lasting crocheted afghan project ever undertaken, my Americana afghan.  When (If) I finally finish it, I will write an entire blog entry about it, but here is a sneak peek.  I would say I am now 90% finished.  That could be wishful thinking, but I am definitely more finished with it now than I ever have been.

Oh, and the best news of the day is that season 2 of Poldark has begun shooting in Cornwall, England!  I imagine I won't get to see the broadcast until next summer at the earliest.  But I won't think about that.  Here is my beloved (LOL) Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark.  Oh la la!  I wish he were holding a scythe!  ;)

Thank you yet again for reading.  You're a star!



                                                                                         POLDARK!  POLDARK!  POLDARK!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Last weekend of "summer": Lavender, roses, sunflowers, new soaps, and more

The kids and I have been back to school for a month now, but Labor Day weekend is the traditional "end of summer" here in the States.  It's been a lovely Labor Day Sunday.  It was made even better knowing I have tomorrow off, which is indescribably wonderful.  Chris had to work today (no fun), so this is how I spent my day:

I watered the Phenomenal lavender because it was looking pretty weak a couple of days ago.  We haven't had rain in a very long time and the temperatures have been in the 90's all week long.  We recently transplanted a whole bunch of lavender from our vegetable garden to the lavender field, something we should have done earlier or later, but the transplants needed watering all week.  There is a 60% chance of rain tomorrow and I am hoping beyond all hope that it will indeed rain and give my plants the water they need.

Here is what the field looks like now:

We will have to see how everything performs over the winter.  I have read somewhere that the Farmer's Almanac predicts a colder than normal winter, which is not ideal for lavender.  We will see...

More pics from the garden today:

We have six knockout rose bushes growing behind our white picket fence in the front yard.  They looked quite pretty this morning.

When I came back inside, I decided to make soap.  I made two types, Frankincense and Myrrh and Orange Clove & Cinnamon.  It smells positively delightful in our home.

Check back in a couple of days after the soaps are ready to be cut to see what they look like.  They will be available for purchase in our Etsy shop around October 6.  I may decide to sell my soaps and crocheted goods at a local craft show this fall.  We have a few scheduling conflicts this month, so I'm not sure when that will be, but I will let you know.

Thanks as always for reading.

Enjoy the rest of your Labor Day weekend.  If you're not American, cheerio and have a brilliant week.   ;)




                                                                                                HANDMADE SOAPS