Little Bits of Sunshine

Little Bits of Sunshine

Every once in a while, life is abundant in little bits of sunshine. This was one of those weeks. And, among the bits of sunshine a sweater was born!


Sigla is a ray of sunshine all by itself because knitting a Mary Jane Mucklestone sweater is really a joy! Thirteen days start to finish and while I did not beat my Stopover time of 35 hours; at the conclusion I have a sweater that I am in love with! I made some modifications to the pattern which you can read about here. Sigla is on her way to becoming a well-worn old friend! (And, thank you Steve for taking pictures just before the downpour began!)

If you have not yet knit one of Mary Jane’s patterns, I strongly urge you to do so! And, for speed of knitting – a lopapeysa is just the thing to ignite your sweater fire!

Now on to the Friday Links, which today are all about gift knitting:

Now to round out the links – there is a very interesting MKAL that will be starting on November 25 to coincide with the Netflix release of the Gilmore Girls Encore Mini-season. There is no way I will get to this before Christmas, but it might be a good Christmas break knit! Who’s interested in joining me?

That is all I have for today, but the good news is that I will see you here tomorrow! NaBloPoMo marches on! My wish for you today is that your knitting is fast and easy and that your beverage of choice is chilled perfectly! Happy FriYAY everyone!


A Tale of Two Teachers and an Aide

A Tale of Two Teachers and an Aide

Think Write Thursday this week is all about teachers – especially a favorite teacher that most influenced you and how.

Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges. Joyce Meyer

And thus, began the great internal debate – which teacher to use…

I suppose I am fortunate that I had so many great teachers over the years. However, there are two teachers and one very special aide who had tremendous impact on my life as a student and their influence stayed with me far beyond the classroom to my daily life.


To start out – I moved midway through first grade and that meant a new school – Lakewood Elementary on the “north side” of Holland, Michigan. Not much fun at all when you are a child of any age, but it was especially difficult because it was obvious that I was woefully behind my classmates in so many things. The worst of which was reading. I was not reading at all, yet my classmates were. Luckily, I spent time every single day with Mrs. Hayward and it was with her help that I began to read. She opened new doors for me and with her help I became a voracious reader. She helped me get caught up to my classmates and I then just blew past them. It might have been a slow start, but once I got going there was no stopping me! Thank you so much Mrs. Hayward!



The first teacher I want to share with you was my second-grade teacher, Miss Vanden Belt. Until I began to work on this post, I never realized that my second-grade year was her first year of teaching! Miss Vanden Belt was extra-special! She was the first teacher that truly made me excited about learning. I thought she was magical – she dressed just so perfectly, her enthusiasm was catching, and simply put – I just wanted to make her happy so I eagerly did whatever she asked! Now, I went to pre-historic grade school and there was never any homework. But, she kept the fire burning in me for reading and I devoured books – in class, from the school library, and even those great wonders – Scholastic Books! But, perhaps the best thing about Miss Vanden Belt was that she never forgot her students.


I could run into her in Meijer’s and she would be as excited to see you as she was when you walked into class each morning. And, when you saw her again, she remembered your last conversation and asked how things were. And, you knew she sincerely wanted to know. I have not seen Miss Vanden Belt in years, but I think of her often.



The last teacher that had a tremendous impact on my life was Mr. Berghorst – he was my high school English teacher. I really loved him and took as many classes with his as I could. He was a very popular teacher with the students. Honestly, I can confidently say that he was everyone’s favorite teacher. As you can see, he was such a snappy dresser and was so different from every other teacher I ever had. He was a bit theatrical and his room was not your typical class room in very conservative Holland, Michigan. Encircling the room were hundreds of New Yorker magazine covers. I had never heard of the New Yorker magazine before Mr. Berghorst and that was just one of many things that he opened my eyes to during the classes I had with him. He taught the importance of critical thinking. His class room was a place that fostered lively discussion and how crucial listening is. He shared that there was a big huge world outside of West Michigan and he encouraged us to discover it with open minds. In his class I learned to overcome my fear of speaking in public, I learned how to write a paper that someone would want to read, and I learned that an open mind is the best thing you could possibly possess.

These very special people all had a wonderful influence on what and who I am today. I am so very grateful for all they imparted to my life.

If you would like to join Carole and I on our Thursday writing journey, you can sign up here.


Blue Knitting A La Gilmore Girls

Blue Knitting A La Gilmore Girls

The sleeves march on, and sadly not as quickly as the Sigla sleeves (which is finished and getting a nice soak this morning for her unveiling later this week!)

I just have miles and miles of blue to go.


The color work is done now just miles and miles of blue knitting.

Good thing I am taking the Gilmore Girls along for the ride. I am thoroughly enjoying them, and only moderately kicking myself for not watching them sooner because, really – they are making this blue knitting so pleasant!

And, for those of you who got the Dave Brubeck nod in the title – yes, Blue Rondo A La Turk is my ear worm today.

Sadly, there has been little reading here this week. I am still not finished with Karin Fossum’s He Who Fears the Wolf, however, I am almost done listening to The Girl on the Train – I have less than an hour to go.

Stay tuned for a nice book review post coming soon with lots of good things in it.

As always, I am joining Ginny’s Yarn Along where there is lots of great knitting and fantastic reads!

What are you knitting this week?



Gratefully Tuesday

Gratefully Tuesday

Hello, November!

It seems like just yesterday that you were here, but then I look back at the year and I realize it has been a very full year. A year full of so many good things but with temps slated to be in the 70’s here again today – it hardly seems like it can even be November!

This has certainly been a lovely autumn.

I have much to be grateful about today beginning with the Halloween festivities of last night. It was not a banner year for visitors – we had less than 30 Trick or Treater’s. However, seeing their excited faces was an incredibly pleasant break in the usual evening activities. And, really – I prefer visiting children to the news of late! So, perhaps for the next week we can just replay last night. Sort of the “I am so sick of politics” version of the movie Groundhog Day.


Several of you kindly commented on the soup from my weekend. I roughly based it on a recipe I found here. Changes I made: I used left over roasted chicken from earlier in the week. I shredded the chicken and added it with the onions as they cooked. I used Trader Joe’s Cuban Black Beans and Cannellini beans (instead of kidney beans). I did not have diced tomatoes or a can of diced chiles. Instead I used a large can of whole tomatoes and crushed them with my hand before I added them and I added a can of Rotel™ tomatoes. Instead of corn, I diced up the last few Anaheim and Cubanelle peppers from our garden. So, I changed it quite a bit! Haha! It was good and will be made again!

Sigla’s sleeve number two is almost done – I just have the ribbing to finish and it will be done! Just in time too, because cooler weather is in the forecast!


Lastly, I am grateful for all of you who read my blog each day! Thanks to I have a winner – and that is commenter #8 – who is Carole of Carole Knits! This is especially wonderful because it is thanks to Carole’s invitation last year to join her in NoBloPoMo that reinvigorated my blogging and brought so many new friends to my life! Congratulations Carole – MDK’s Stripes will be on its way to your house!


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