Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Time flys. . .

When you are having fun. . .December has come and gone in a blur . . .but boy was it fun. Passed number 3 of the CPA exam. . .almost ready to take number 4 . . . and the final exam (yahoo!). Had a blast baking cookies, breads, scones, and all sorts of goodies for Christmas gifts. I have really missed baking. . .so glad I picked it up again. I really look forward to the days of having time to REALLY bake. Especially with Brooke. She loves baking so much that we got her a kitchen set for Christmas so that she can bake with Mommy with her OWN pots and pans. The past few days have been filled with "baking" and "taste it". . . .baking does really come from the heart:)

In the middle of all this I was able to finish Brooke's Owlet sweater and take a photo shoot a few weeks ago. I really love this sweater. . .pattern was easy and its just so adorable on her. I highly recommend!

In the mist of all the studying and baking I was some how able to put together 50 Christmas cards this year. . .it was like a card production line and by the time it was over . . .I was carded out! Its was another "Dear Santa" on the outside. . .and on the inside it read. . ."Got Milk?"

I really hope that every Christmas card is this much fun. . . .so far its been such a blast. Now to come up with an idea for next year. . . . .oh boy!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Today is the day. . .

the beginning of the Christmas season. That's right . . .I am at home in my woolies knitting, baking and listening to my Christmas play list. . . .oh so happy!! It's still hunting season . . .and I am actually not in a bad mood!

I absolutely love Christmas music! And I would have to say my all time favorite is the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. Being a big lover of jazz it is just the perfect mix of jazz and Christmas music.

So my bread is in the kitchen rising, Brookie is playing, and I am cozy knitting away on her owlet sweater while songs of cheer and chestnuts roasting are in the air :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Completed Cowl

A finished project! In all this craziness that is my life I am surprised I can finish anything these days. Hunting season is in full force which makes my life a living nightmare not to mention making me as ugly as a bear woken in the middle of hibernation. Especially this year with all the added work stress, CPA exam stress, and Brooke being at the age where she is into everything and pushing my every button. Oh how I can't wait for the new year. . .even though it will be the start of tax season . . .the exam will hopefully be over, I will not be doing any bookkeeping duties and more . ..and hunting season will be OVER!

Sorry, . . . .back to the happy place. The Chickadee Cowl really came out nice I think. Really bummed I have to give it away but it was a fun knit so I can make one for myself. Love this colors. . .especially the white alpaca which has a nice fuzzy softness that adds a nice elegance to the piece.

And the stitch . . .looks almost woven doesn't it. An enjoyable and recommended knit.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cables and Cowls

Well its now almost one week post exam number three and I am finally getting over the head cold that developed right before the exam. I thought for sure I would getting up every five minutes to blow my nose during the exam or rescheduling . . .but thankfully it gave me a small break to take my exam. The following week it revisited to knock me around again for good measure . . .I guess?

The exam I hope went well. I never have a good feeling walking out of there because there is so much that goes into the grading of that exam and you just never know. Hopefully all the hard work I have been putting in will pay off this time just like the last two and I will only have one more left to take in January. Then I can have my life back again.

This weekend thankfully was a three day weekend which allowed me to catch up on some much needed sleep and lounge time. Brooke and I decided to spend the weekend in . . .resting, cuddling, knitting, sewing, baking, and watching a lot of Mikey Mouse and Elmo . . .awe . . good weekend!

Last week I did manage to finish a quick hat for Brooke out of some left over Debbie Bliss scraps. Used 110 stitch cast on, completed a rolled edge and then set up a 10 stitch cable pattern that I altered between a 7 row color change.

It was quick but not brainless and matches perfectly with her jacket. She likes it and is actually pretty good about keeping it on if you ask nicely.

This hat reminded me of all the planning homemade gifts that I need to start working on. Below is a cowl I started the night of the exam in my hotel room to relax before going to bed. Pattern is the Chickadee cowl but it has been altered per the instructions from yayayarn on Ravelry. I like it so much that I will probably have a hard time giving it away. Good thing its for a really close friend.

The stitch pattern is a knit one, slip one (wyif) on one row and slip one (wyif), knit one on the next row. Gives it a woven texture that is really elegant.

Still not sure I want to give this away???? I really like it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

An enjoyable knit or two

Brooke and I had a wonderful trip to the NY Sheep & Wool this past weekend. I barely noticed the yarn or fibers because I was so busy chasing her around the sheep barns. We really had a great time. I left with my best knitting bud, two skeins of beautiful yarn, and a happy sleeping baby dreaming of jumping sheep. What more could you ask for in a perfect day:)

Later that night just before bedtime she had two stuff animal sheep in her arms and said . . ."mama. . .two sheep!". Not bad for an 18 month old. Sheep are not only great for knitting but for counting as well.

So this weekend I finished snowbird by Heidi Kirrmaier. Really easy pattern to follow, knit from the top-down so you can try it on as you go and tailor to your own shape. I chose Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed. Yarn is soft and has beautiful flex of color throughout for a nice tweed look. This yarn has a nice feel to wear and work with and I think it will hold up nicely over the years.

With this project finished I decided to go with something that would have a little more speed coming off my needles and a little more portable as well. I am at the half way point in my race for my CPA license so Topiary by Michele Wang seemed like a good fit. Yarn is the suggested Brooklyn Tweed Shelter. This is a really great yarn. Colors are to die for and the feel is a good soft quality wool. I am very impressed and would buy this yarn again in the future for sure.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vacation in the air. . .

Yum. . nothing like the smell of vacation. .

Lemon poppy seed bundt cake via:

Looks fabulous but we will have to wait for the taste test. Off to visit my very best craft buddy this weekend with little Miss Brooke. Should be a blast since it has been months since we have seen each other. I know Miss B is excited for a road trip. . .just look at that face :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Did It! Two down!

I did it! Woohoo! Test number two of the CPA exam is in the history books. And the beast of the four test to boot! An absolute amazing feeling . . .the best high ever! I will start studying for BEC this week and continue on to hopefully complete the other two exams before tax season starts. That is my goal anyway. . .put this behind me and then just enjoy life and work for a little while. Lots of people ask me . . well whats next? Well at someone point I would like to either get my masters or teach but at this point . . .I need a break and my daughter needs me. I really want to spend this valuable time with her. I will just be glad to get this important goal behind me. Its been one hell of a year that is for sure!

With the leaves changing and cool temperatures creeping up. . .I have really got the knitting bug again. . . .can't help myself! I find myself dreaming of sitting in my favorite chair with my knitting in my lap and my tea or coffee on the stand beside me. . all cozy and happy!
Snowbird pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier which can be purchased on ravelry. Easy to follow instructions. Love the collar line, knitting from the top down, size 6, dk weight. I am using some Jo Sharp silk road dk that I purchased at webs a few years ago. My favorite part is that I can continue to try it on as I knit because you complete the sleeves before the body. I have to admit. . .I have tried it on several times already and can not wait for it to be finished. . .I think it will become my new favorite sweater.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

That time of year again.. .

. . .you know the time of year. . . when you wake up to cool crisp air. . .you pick apples in the orchard . .your home is filled the smell of homemade apple pie and all you want to do is snuggle up under a blanket with your knitting. . .oh how I LOVE fall!

The three of us ventured out to Douglas Orchards in Shoreham, VT on Saturday. We usually go once a year because you can pick your own and they have all sorts of other kid friendly things going on. Luckily this year we went early and thus. . .we can go again!

Brooke's second year of apple picking went well. . .she loved it! A little too much actually. The only way we could convince her to leave was to give her an apple to eat for the ride home.

Sunday was filled with baking an apple pie and my first crust all from scratch and lots of knitting. Brooke and I actually snuggled for quite a while on the couch. . .she loves Elmo. .I love to knit. . .together it is just the perfect afternoon :)

Ya - I know, suppose to be studying but I just can't bring myself to get serious again until I get that FAR score back. . .its almost that time. . .come on 75!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Before and After

A very productive day yesterday. Started out with a 7 mile run with my best friend down the rail trail from Castleton to Poultney. Great run. . felt fabulous and had no trouble finishing. Feel it a little today but not bad . .the good kind of hurt.

Spent the late morning and afternoon studying for the next section of the CPA exam (BEC) while my husband and daughter were off watching the triathlon in Burlington. Studying went well. . got some terms to cram in my head but so far its actually quite interesting. (sick as that may be to some)

Then in the afternoon I quickly whipped together some curtains for my kitchen window. Nothing fancy since we plan to sell the house next spring and move to Rutland so that we can spend more time with Brooke outside the car. Last weekend I purchased some inexpensive fabric from Jo-Ann's with my coupon and within 1.5 hours I had something I was happy with.

1 yard of fabric
1/2 inch hems on all 4 sides
2 inch rod hem one of the longest sides


Well I like it anyway:) Not a good picture but this lightening in my kitchen is hard to play with for photos. . .I tried every which way and could not get a clear photo . ..lights off . . .too dark. . .lights on too blurry. . .I gave up.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Started my journey for better balance . .

One of the important things I thought about while on vacation was how to become more balanced in my life. For years I have struggled with trying to do it all . . and of course at lightening speed. Sometimes I am quite successful at it and bounce to the next level and other times I completely flop and take months to recover from my failure.

I think my greatest flaw and strength is that I hold myself to a pretty high standard. . . ."Perfection". It can be the most rewarding feeling when everything comes together in perfect harmony but when it doesn't, my self critical little side kick always chimes in to remind me how much I have failed.

But now that I am getting older I am starting to realize that we all are human! We all make mistakes and the important thing is to learn from them. Its important to take risk and to fail to keep you grounded and to also enjoy the rewards of those successes that do work out.

I find myself asking all the time . . "How to they do it?" . . ."they do so much" . . ."they never look exhausted". . . ."they seem to have it all!" Well, they don't really. There is only so much time and so much energy. Its an image they create . . .just like the perfect lives of all your friends on facebook. This is not Pleasantville and why would you want it to be?

What got me to thinking about all this was reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert It's really a great read that I highly recommend. Very witty and inspiring. Her journey to find balance really inspired me to live life a little fuller and to try and find some balance in my life. I may fail a few times in my journey to relax and enjoy life more rather than accomplish EVERYTHING yesterday . . but hey failure is OK!

So in this new search for balance. . what did I do on vacation?

1. Baked - I really have missed baking. . it's relaxing, challenging, and YUMMY! This is also one of my favorite things to do with Brooke. My mom baked with me as a kid and even though she is young she loves to watch and is really interested. An amazing bonding moment for us.

2. Running - I got up early in the morning and ran with Barley quite a bit on vacation (23.5 miles) in total while on vacation for that matter. I really love it and its so rewarding and good for you. We have a great rail trail by our house and being outside and the fresh air early in the morning was just heaven :) Some people meditate. . I think my meditation is running . . really clears my mind and relieves all the built up stress I carry.

3. Reading - read two fabulous books over vacation (Eat, Pray, Love and The Help). Can't say enough good things. Just pick them up and read them!

4. Crafting -

finished this cute little number for Brooke. . .fits great and she really likes it. Took her to the Beer, Wine, and Cheese festival in Middlebury and had a great time. Great wine, great food, great company. . .just a really nice evening. Hope to have more family outings like this in the future for sure.

Brooke in her "backpack" and her Papa. If you have a little one, get a backpack and get them outside. . she loves it and is constantly asking to go in the backpack. . its one of her favorite words:)

Brooke and I reading. . .my cute little bookworm.

I did knit a little but not enough to finish a project (but that is ok!). I mostly sewed because it was hot and what I felt like doing. I actually finished pillow cases and the Amy Butler Cabo Halter . . I just have not had time for photos yet. (but that is ok!) I will get there. . .at my own speed:)

What didn't I do on vacation? Work, Study, Stress, Worry . . .oh it was great! And yes, I did have to come back to reality but a better balanced reality with hopefully better focus, understanding, and boundaries.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A breath of fresh air

With my nose crammed in CPA exam review books. . . the weeks have seem to just fly by. Thankfully I now have a three week break and an entire weeks vacation in the middle of all that!

Even though its been a struggle juggling work, Brooke (who is now walking and into EVERYTHING!), along with managing a household and studying . . it really has been worth all the effort. I passed my first exam with a 91 (Auditing). And I just took the second (Financial Accounting and Reporting) on Monday. I will not know that score for weeks but I feel like I have at least enough to hopefully pass. Its the longest and hardest due to the amount of material. So I am 25% to CPA . . maybe 50% . . .lets hope!

Brooke has been growing and developing into the sweetest little person. I really do just adore her. I really look forward to showing and teaching her things when she gets a little older . . .our bond has grown so strong in the past six months. When she was born I was very unsure of myself . . .I am not a baby person . . .I never have been, but now that we are getting past all of that yucky baby stuff . . .oh it really is a treasure to have her around.
On the crafting front, working on finishing a sweater for Brooke (just needs buttons), started a wrap for me, and I have an outfit for Brooke cut and half sewn. Pictures to come . .maybe tomorrow on my lunch break since I am working on CPE from home tomorrow with Miss B. Thinking about making some cupcakes tomorrow as well. . .really have an addiction to making cupcakes for some reason . . they are just so cute. . little miniature cakes:)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A hat for Brooke

With one weekend left before starting my study plan for the next exam I decided to make something for Brooke. This hat, with left over scraps of Amy Butler fabric was quick, easy, and fun. Its reversible which is also nice. I really can't wait to make her the entire outfit with the Moda fabric I purchased on Saturday. And believe it or not. . .this is the only hat she doesn't take off immediately.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Birthday Cake a Success!

From scratch yellow cake (Best Ever Birthday Cake - from Came out great and will definitely file that one away in my receipe box. It was also the first time I played with fondant . . which i really love! It opens up so many options for decorating that you just can't do with regular butter cream. And if you don't like the taste you can flavor it with extract.

Also made some cute lady bug cupcakes so she would have her own little cake to make a mess of.

Now some people would say I went over the top a little but hey. . .some of my favorite memories with my mom are the great cakes she use to make for us. Besides I love her to pieces and she is worth it right? :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday!

Happy 1st Birthday baby girl! One year ago today you changed my life. I hope I have made you as happy as you have made me. . xoxoxo!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crazy week but I did squeeze in . . .

Lots of deadlines this week and next so I have been straight out. I did however in the middle of everything squeeze out two projects. . .not sure I slept this week. . .can't remember

Lime Cupcakes for the office. It was our Administrative Assistants birthday. These were fabulous! Could still use some tequila I think. . .maybe tequila frosting for April 16th??? Recipe via

And I was up Friday night making this quick gift for my mother-in-law's birthday. Simple bag from Last-Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts. Simple yet a really nice gift. Since my mother-in-law reads a lot I thought a nice travel bag for a book with a bookmark with the cutest little baby there ever was on it was a great gift idea. I just used card stock wrapped with fabric for the book mark with some very fashionable stampin up ribbon and a scrapbook accessory punched through on the top.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day :)

Happy Valentine's Day!

New project! Lace Twist Mitts by Debbie O'Neill from the Fall 2009 Knitscene. Yarn is Dream in Color Classy. Only one skein. Now that it is getting lighter I can knit on the way to work . . .hooray! Carpooling isn't such a bad thing after all :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Entrelac Scarf

A nice afternoon with a nice Noro entrelac scarf. Not a lot going on here but tax returns. This week seemed to be over before I had a chance to blink. . oh well. . just means it is closer to April 15th . ..independence day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Budgeting time

Budgeting my time has always been a struggle for me. These days its even more of a challenge. Tax season is in full throttle, I have a 9 month old this year, and I am trying to study for am exam in April. How do we accomplish all this and not end up at the crazy farm you might ask? Well, I bought this book on time management a few months ago to not find any easy answer but to get some key tips. One of the most important things I picked up from this book as to make a list of the top three things you want to accomplish that day. You can have more than three but in reality those top three are the most important and the only guaranteed ones you will accomplish that day. So far this little trick has worked for me. Keeps me focused. . I will always have my list of long term goals and plans but this weeds it down to a manageable level. It has been working . . .I have been more productive at work and getting there on the home front.

Today's list includes: 1. Cutting out the pieces for my next bag. Another Amy Butler Birdie Sling bag out of Amy Butler fabric this time. . .just for little old me :)

check! Number one is off the list. Now on to the next.

2. Knit for an hour and just relax. I put in 9 billable hours yesterday. . I need a little break or I will crack by April 15th. I have my favorite side kick today and she likes to watch mommy knit. Especially when she is sitting in my lap with a bottle. She pets the item I am knitting as a comfort tool for going to sleep.

3. And three. . hit the books. I don't plan on taking this auditing exam until April so I have time and I am taking it slow. . actually enjoying it. I do enjoy auditing and I have so much exposure to it that this is mostly a refresher and the new things I am picking up are really helping me in the field. Becker is definitely the best out there for CPA exam review. . I enjoy and look forward to studying. . that has never happened before!
Well I better get to number 2 & 3 before the day is over :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Easy projects to get me through my head cold

My poor brain was hit with a nasty head cold this week. With that said I really needed a break from difficult projects. I picked up an entrelac scarf I started over a year ago and began working on finishing that. . I find entrelac easy and since it is just a scarf. . it's just the right knitting project for me.
I also decided to make a quick fabric basket for my brother's girlfriend this weekend since her birthday is coming up soon and it requires mailing. Something that takes me a while to do since the post office hours do not always work with my schedule. I made her a little make-up bag for Christmas and saved the scraps. . .perfect size scraps for this cute little basket. All I need to do now is get some lotion . . make a card and off to the post office we go. See here for tutorial. . .

Of course the basket had to go through a very tough inspection. . .which I think passed. . .she seemed impressed . . .but knows this really was not a challenge for me. I think she wants those fabric rings I promised her. . .still don't know if I am ready for that yet. . .eeek!

Well off to study . . .getting that CPA exam out of the way this year. Maybe I can get Brooke to hold my flash cards??? . . second thought. . .maybe not:)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Finally a finished project!

I am sooooo excited to finally finish a project. . .and have it turn out perfect!!! Oh what a wonderful feeling!!! And I have to give some credit to my little helper. . if it wasn't for her hard work and support . . .mommy would have never made it! What a good little girl:) She even squealed with excitement and flapped her arms when I asked what she thought!

I think she might be excited just thinking of all the things I can make her later when she is big enough to make requests!

the inside large pocket of the birdie sling bag. . i will say the pattern instructions are very well written. I am very new to sewing and I was able to follow along without any trouble.

Fabric by Moda. I am not sure what pattern line. . .I happened to see it at Knits & Bolts in New Haven and thought this would be the perfect colors for a bag. Can't wait until next weekend when I can start another one. . now that I have been through all the steps and can relax knowing that I am doing it right.

The finished product. . .eeeek. . .I am just so thrilled with how it came out! Hats off to Amy Butler on this pattern!
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