Friday, October 19, 2018

Fresh Friday ... Breathe Deeply

Welcome to the launching of Fresh Friday!
Here's the plan...
On Friday's I will be posting about all kinds of "fresh" finds for all of you.
The list may include:

~ new knitting products I am currently in love with
~ new patterns I am working on and loving
~ healthy recipes, including gluten free, vegetarian and vegan
~ chemical free cleaning products for your home
~ my favorite essential oils and what they are used for

My goal is to eventually do a Fresh Friday post every week,
however it may be more like every other week until after the first of the new year.
I am currently in my super busy season at Front Porch Knits,
especially as I prepare for our upcoming Christmas Open House,
which will be held in my home on Saturday, December 1st.
Not to mention the constant work of new puppy training.

Today's first fresh find is this awesome Namaste Knitter's Train Case 
from Jimmy Beans Wool in Blush.
It's available in several color options but I had to have mine in PINK!!!
It comes with all of these lovely little items included inside.
I was so excited when it arrived on my doorstep yesterday just in time for
my weekly knitting in public trip to Thirty-Thirty Coffee Shop
in Peoria's Junction City
{ favorite spot!}! 
Side Note... If you live locally and haven't been to Thirty-Thirty, you have to go!
The drinks are TOO DIE FOR and the staff is AWESOME.
And see the best part of all ...
The Train Case has that wonderful little whole for the yarn to feed through
so everything stays tucked away nice and neat inside while I knit, knit, knit.
I'll let you in on a secret... I'm a spiller at times.
Therefore all of my patterns are kept in plastic sleeves always
because when I'm knitting,
I'm drinking tea, always.
This lovely Train Case is exactly what I needed
to take back and forth on my weekly jaunts.
It holds everything I need perfectly and keeps expensive fibers
from being tea soaked,while also ensuring I don't leave my tiny sterling silver
stitch markers and other notions behind.
It's so much easier to see down inside of than rummaging in a bag.
Yep. I love it!
My current fresh make is this ribbed and cabled mitten.
I love the fact that there's just a touch of cabling
going across the top and that the ribbing
goes all the way around the palm.
This gorgeous charcoal grey yarn is Cascade 220 Superwash Merino Wool,
once again from Jimmy Beans Wool. It is soft, warm and breathable. 
I simply adore merino wool. It's my very favorite fiber to work with.
Nothing makes better mittens.

Speaking of fiber...
I'll leave you with one very simple healthy food idea.
Two pieces of Gluten Free Bread {purchased from Costco, not homemade} toasted.
Topped with:
Organic Almond Butter
Raw Pepitas {Pumpkin Seeds}
Hemp Hearts {Shelled Hemp Seeds}
Health Benefits of:
ALMOND BUTTER ~ Good source of healthy monounsaturated fats, which help lower the risk of heart disease. We gain antioxidant action from Vitamin E and it helps lower cholesterol.
RAW PEPITAS~ Rich source of fiber. Helps prevent constipation and benefits digestive health.
Boosts your intake of protein and minerals. Contains macronutrients that provide energy and provides essential minerals required for proper tissue function.

Sometimes this toast is my breakfast and other times it's my lunch.
Either way it is yummy and extremely satisfying and satiating.
I hope you've enjoyed this first installment of "Fresh Friday".
Next time up I plan to introduce you to my daughter Chelsea,
who you'll recognize as a model I use oftentimes on my websites.
Chelsea works in the Beauty industry {more on that later}
and is a whole foods/clean eater and fantastic cook. 
I will be sharing a combination of her recipes along with mine,
including foods that make your hair and skin softer;
something we all need with these upcoming Winter months.
 Until then...
Stay warm and toasty with some nice hot tea,
cozy knitting, and healthy comfort food.
That's what I'll be doing!

"To ensure good health:
eat lightly,
breathe deeply,
live moderately,
cultivate cheerfulness,
and maintain an interest in life."
~ William Londen

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Dog Days of Autumn

Nearly two weeks ago I took a little road trip
to pick up the newest member of our family.
This is our new baby, Percy.
He's a Toy Poodle and we simply adore him.
He looks all black in this picture but his coloring is actually called "phantom".
You can see his beautiful coloring better in
this photo of my two sleeping beauties ;-)
He loves to play with his toys...
Sometimes I go through the house and pick them all up and put them in a pile because I'm stepping on them at every turn.It doesn't last long though. I sit back down to my knitting and within no time this is where we are again...
This is the hallway just outside the bathroom door and leading into my bedroom.
For some reason Percy loves the bathroom.
When he goes missing I oftentimes find him curled up asleep
on a towel in the bathroom floor or on the bathroom scale.
He loves the kids and they love him.
Parker is so excited to have a new puppy in the house.
On the day we brought him home he said,
"Grammy, Thank You for getting me a new puppy."
He tells everybody that Percy is HIS dog.
He decided it was time to start reading his favorite books to his new best friend.
 I think for Percy there might have been a bit of chewing involved
but Parker didn't seem to mind.
On the days I pick Gabby up from school Percy rides along.
He watches intently out the window for her from my lap.
By the time she reaches us there's a whole lot of wiggling going on!
As for our other two dogs, Phoebe, who turns 10 next month,
is delighted with her instant status of motherhood.
Heaven help us all if Percy so much as makes a squeak.
She has to sniff and lick him and ensure he is okay.
They play together and lay together.

Mack, my older boy, is taking his time deciding about Percy still, as is my sweet old kitty cat Mercedes, who is spending time hiding out in the basement and sneaking up for an occasional peak at the black fluffy thing that seems to have suddenly taken over the household.
I have faith in them though.
This isn't the first time I've worked to integrate animals with one another.
We'll get there. In the meantime I am making sure
that everyone gets plenty of attention.
{It's a full time job}.
All things considered, he's a very good boy and we are settling in quite nicely.
He is very smart, as poodles typically are.
By day 2 he was coming to me when I called him by name.
This is my second poodle in my lifetime.
We had a chocolate colored miniature poodle, named Cocoa,
when I was a young teenager that we all loved dearly.
Having one again makes me extremely happy.
Poodles are easy to train because
they thrive on routine and are therefore obedient.
I can already see this in Percy even though he is just coming up on 15 weeks old.
He was born on June 26. Just 4 days before my birthday. It was meant to be.
For the most part I am home and don't have to crate him.
However, I do take my granddaughter Gabby
to ballet each week while my daughter is working.
I am gone for about 3 hours and I need to know Percy is safe
and not chewing on things in the house
that could hurt him while he's still so young.
He had his first time in his crate this week and got right in with zero fuss.
He simply laid down, curled up and went to sleep.
{Phoebe was the frantic one upon our arrival home,
due to separation anxiety from her baby}.
I got to relax and enjoy my knitting and this fabulous
Signature Fall Latte at my favorite place.
While Gabby is in ballet I always sit and knit at
Thirty-Thirty Coffee Shop in Peoria's Junction City.
I love the drinks and the employees there.
I look forward to this respite from the daily madness every week.
It's how I do ballet.
There are times like today that I enjoy a nice misty Autumn day.
The leaves are turning scarlet on my dogwood, the squirrels scamper industriously around the house as they collect walnuts from the tree in my backyard,
I keep the tea kettle whistling, the dogs romp and nap at intervals
and my knitting grows and grows a stitch at a time. 
Yes, on days like today, I say let it rain.

Whatever your day and weekend brings to you, 
I hope and pray it's peaceful, happy and full 
of all the things and people you love best...
and maybe even a dog or two...
or three.

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures;
they give unconditional love.
For me, they are the role model for being alive."
Gilda Radner

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Joy-FULL Living

As hot Summer days gradually slip into soft and gentle early Autumn,
I am soothed to my very core.
And yet I find myself to be oddly exhilarated at the same time; inspired even.
This is a good thing.
A very good thing.
My business is growing more all the time
and I am working on tweaking things
like ordering new business cards
for a fresh new look and updating my websites,
including my business facebook page.
For those of you who are on Facebook and are interested
in following me there you can click on the link
and keep up with what I'm doing on a regular basis.
You might even see me make a fool of myself on live video from time to time...
As you can gather, our September Sale was enormously successful,
not to mention so doggone much FUN!
I knitted ever so many Pumpkins in a bazillion different colors...
And yet I am still knitting more and more of the little beauties for custom orders
because they were all snapped up during our sale.
This is, after all, THE Pumpkin Capital of the World. And we LOVE our Pumpkins!!!
From time to time over the years I have been asked if I ship internationally.
The answer is YES! Absolutely!
This lovely little trio left our Morton Post Office yesterday to head across
the big ocean to their new home in London, England
where I hope they will be very happy indeed. 
{More importantly, I hope they will make the sweet young woman
who ordered them extremely happy!}.

I cannot even express the honest to goodness pure JOY that is brought into my daily life by the entire process of every aspect of this business. It just keeps rolling on from year to year. I love choosing the fibers, which I am extremely particular about. I love pouring over patterns then modifying them as needed to make them fit the needs of individual customers or my strict standards. For example, it has taken me several years to perfect these Pumpkins. I use the exact same wool, a certain type of poly fill and my own secret technique. Plus each one weighs the same in order to ensure premium product quality.
I want my customers to have only the very best.
If my name is on it, then it better be top quality. 
My policy has always been that unless the customer is 110% HAPPY,
I remake or refund.
This brings me to the real JOY-FULL part of what I do.
I am first and foremost a people person.
Those of you who know me personally, know this.
However, I deal with so many people around the globe
who I will never meet face to face.
I want all of you to realize that
if you place an order or make a purchase with me,
I work hard at going back and forth online with you until we get it exactly right.
I track packages once they ship and I follow up with customers to make sure they are happy with their goods when they receive them.
They may be small things like pumpkins or fingerless mitts,
or larger garments such as 
shawls or baby clothing that I've made to specific measurements.
I need to be sure they fit properly.
It is all very important to me because YOU as an individual
are very important to me.
Whether you live locally and I know you personally,
 we have just recently connected through one of my events 
or I work with you through one of my websites 
You bring great joy into my life.
You cause me to continue to grow and stretch as an individual.
My days are filled with creative purpose as I work full time from home 
to continue to supply as many lovely knitted garments and items
my hands and needles can possibly create in a year's time. 
For all of this, I thank each and every one of you.
I am excited about the many new avenues we will travel together
as my business continues to grow and expand.
I look forward to placing small treasures in your hands that make you smile 
or ...
Wrapping you in cozy things that make you feel warm, happy, beautiful and loved.
For me this is Joy-FULL living.
It's my adventure.

"Wonderful adventures await for those who dare to find them."
Hazel Gaynor, The Girl from the Savoy