ugh. goals.

i don't think that having new year's resolutions only because you feel pressured to have them is really the point. but that's a little how i feel this year. last year i was all bursting at the seams to tell you how awesome i was going to be last year and how much i was going to get accomplished.

and i am really okay with the fact that i didn't complete most of those things. i wasn't lying.

but i would be lying if i pretended that i actually had goals for my life right now.

crap, this post is about to be long. so how about i make it a "choose your own adventure" type thing? okay, done. you can read any one of the following endings to this post:

there you go, four posts in one day. and you thought i was slacking, didn't you.

blogging is a funny sport

there are good bloggers and notsogood bloggers, but was does it really matter if you're good or no good? sure you could be making some money, but it's not like it's your livelihood. sure you could have a million readers, but if your family likes seeing all those cute pictures of your kids, that's the main goal, right?

and we get so upset if people don't read our blogs, don't we? we're all like, why don't people like what i have to say? i'm going to go on strike FROM MY OWN BLOG and see if anyone notices. and then four months later we write a post laced in bitterness to our non-existant readers, starting with:

"sorry i haven't posted in a while, not that anyone really reads this. (except you mom! love you!)"

it's just a weird thing that we take so seriously and yet we don't take seriously at all. we want people to read it and yet we say things like, "it's my blog and i can say whatever i want."

a blog can be a glorified journal, a scrapbook, a soapbox, a suggestion box to the world, a self-confidence booster or so many other things.

and because there are no rules to blogging, i find myself in doubt and in indecision. do i write a blog to please people or to please myself? how diplomatic should i be? should i write to my readers or should i write for my own pleasure and good, regardless of who reads.

i think the most difficult question i ask myself about blogging is, "what should i write about?" i'm usually asking the more specific question: "how much of my life do i share with this reader's of mine?"

but that's the thing, there are actually people who read this thing [i'm still amazed]. i get embarrassed by how many people read this thing. i instantly think, oh my goodness, what do they think of me? do they hate me? do i annoy them? do they expect me to be this hilarious in real life? 

i love this whole blogging business, i keep coming back to it obviously, but i find myself trying to find the purpose of all of it. because it's just a funny thing to do when you think about it.

for now, my purpose is write about my life, to receive feedback (which so far has been good), and to enjoy the learning process. i may not do exactly what you all expect of me, like have a beautiful and well-thought out list of goals every year, month or week. but i will be honest with you and i will try my very darndest to make it funny and interesting to read. so there you have it, that's what you can expect of me this year.

blogging about my life

i so admire mommy-bloggers who set all of these goals for themselves and accomplish them every week. but it also make me feel like crap because usually one of my only goals for the week is just to blog. does that stink or what?

but i'm really not complaining. i love reading about other peoples goals and i more often feel inspired than like crap. i think it just gets me caught in a war with myself. and blogging can make it worse at times.

there is a certain expectation that comes with blogging, i hold myself to higher standards because i blog about my life. it's really good for me and i fall short in many ways to my own standards. and you actually get to see that.

it makes failing even scarier, because i have an audience. and i choose to have an audience. i pour my freaking heart out to you people! i've shared a lot of my life on here. you know that i was born at home. you know many details about our finances. you know certain organizations we give money to. you know that i set goals and fail them, very often.

and if i'm being frank, i think that's why you keep reading. you want to know what my life is like. i've got you hooked with my witt and charm and failures.

so what's the balance? how do blog about my life without boring you to death or straight-up lying? how do i blog without setting impossible standards for myself? how do i blog about the realities of life with out complaining or being super annoying or super unrealistic?

honestly, i actually think i've actually done a pretty good job of balancing all of these things in 2011, and i'm toasting to 2012 for an even better year of blogging for all our sakes! but the bottom line is, don't judge me for being an entire month behind on setting goals for myself.

the boiled down version of new year's resolutions

so far, 2012 has been about surviving for me. surviving at work, surviving at home, surviving life. it totally sucks, really. i don't want to just survive life. i want to own life, like really, own it. i want to wake up and tell life what it's gonna be today.

but alas, life has been so busy that i've had to resort to survival mode. it happens, you know? usually in january, too. i mean what the heck.

while everyone else in the world has started (and many have already failed) their new year's resolutions already. i'm staying ahead of the curve because i haven't even thought about my new year's resolutions. boom, roasted.

really, if i had time to actually think about my goals for life at this point, it would really boil down to the one sentence answer i have had time to think about. be awesome at life. that's really what goals are anyway, the means to the end of being awesome at life.

so that's what i've got for you people, four words. be awesome at life. january is over today, but that's all i've got. i don't have a list, a plan or even made up statistics for you, maybe someday, after survival mode has hit.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

you're driving out of the t-park at 7:45am and you see not one, or two, but SIX yellow school buses turn in to the trailer park within a three minute timespan. and at this point, you determine that at least four people in your trailer park are school bus drivers by trade.

i'm sure there are more.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

the initials for trailer park are T.P.

i mean, seriously.


this week, i have found myself in tears multiple times. it's hard to describe the sorrow i have felt for two beautiful families whom i hardly know. and the sadness i feel thinking of two wonderful lives ending.

jobin's [my brother-in-law] mom died early this week. i only had the pleasure of meeting lilly twice in my life, but she was such an inspiring woman. she truly lead her life humbly, serving others to the fullest of her extent. she was beautiful and wise and everyone that knew her well didn't hesitate to give her all the respect and honor she deserved.

eli horn was a precious almost-eight-year-old boy who died this morning. i had never met him, but his family attended cornerstone church in ames before they moved to a variety of treatment locations for eli. the community in ames and beyond that has gathered around this family since 2007 has been nothing short of a true church.

it may seem silly that i am so heartbroken over two people i don't know, but the body of Christ has bonded us together. lilly is my sister and eli is my brother in Christ. i feel more connected with them than i do many others in this world. i weep at the thought of them being gone from this earth, it's so upsetting to think of the feelings of those closest to them.

i'm thankful these two souls are with their Creator. i'm thankful i'll meet them in heaven, and know them even better when we're there together. i'm thankful that our God is rejoicing in them joining Him, but also comforting those of us left on this earth.

i just felt the need to share these stories on here today. it feels so strange that the whole world isn't stopped right now.

so, to lilly and eli, i can't wait to meet you in heaven!


haiku tuesday

frosty air and lips
snow in the air and my hair
winter has found us


trailer park life: the good life

you know you live you're a blogger in a trailer park when...

the answer is always YES.


haiku tuesday

sometimes i ponder
story lines fly through my mind
what will we become?


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park precinct when...

you hear this quote about newt gingerich at your caucus:

"some people say he's an s.o.b. but i say you gotta be one to deal with 'em"

thanks, alicia, for the inspiration!


crafty christmas: herringbone cowl+how to block your knitwork

i found this lovely pattern on one of the best knitting blogs: the purl bee. if you knit, you probably need to make it your new year's resolution to make absolutely everything on their blog. seriously.

as soon as i saw it, i knew i wanted to make it for my sister-in-law, valerie. it just reminded me of her.

seeing as i was going to have to learn a new stitch, and this scarf is HUGE, i got started in early november. i did not anticipate that it would take me forever to complete it. sheesh. consider yourself warned, this thing is huge, and harder to knit than most projects i've completed. it took me three weeks and i was knitting it every time my hands were free. by the time i was ready to cast-off, i actually forgot how to cast-off, ha.

after i figured out how to cast-off [which is a little funky with this pattern anyway], i tried it on, and it was too small. and i was all, "whhhaaaaatttt?!? this thing did not just take me three weeks to knit only be too small." i followed the pattern exactly, so it was a little frustrating.

it was at this point that i remembered the most magical thing you can do to you knitting: blocking. i had never blocked anything before, but i had heard that this extra step can make all your knits look uniform and perfect and it can help shape your work as well. and since i needed all of those things for this piece, i decided to go for it.

i googled how to block knitwork and most websites instructed the following:

  1. dampen the work with cold water
  2. lay out on a towel
  3. use t-pins to shape the work
  4. let dry completely
once it's completely dry, the knitwork keeps the shape you want it to. 

in true lisagrace style though, i came up with my own way of blocking. : ) mostly because i really needed this scarf to be stretched out. because this was an infinity scarf, i hung it [dampened] on the rod i have over our washer and dryer. i safety-pinned the sides together so that it wouldn't curl as much and i stuck my rolling pin through the bottom to make it nice and stretched. 

it worked like a charm! as soon as it dried completely, which took about 24 hours, it looked great and was stretched out perfectly! 

so there you have it! and if you're wondering if all of this was worth it, i would like to officially reassure you that it absolutely was. i loved giving this to my sister-in-law! and i loved the learning process, too!

disclaimer about this herringbone stitch: this stitch is way easier to do in the round. i think it's possible to do on straight knitting, but i don't know how.


crafty christmas: cable knit scarf

i was knitting the cabled infinity scarf i showed you yesterday over thanksgiving break while we were in ames. my mom saw it and was all like, "i want one!" at this point in my life, i do whatever my mom wants me to. and i didn't have a gift idea for my mom yet so it worked out well.

after we got back to iowa city, i went to the yarn shop and looked around for white yarn. there was nothing good. i found this absolutely beautiful mirasol yarn that was a merino, alpaca and silk blend. as i worked with it, it would change from light gray to bluish silver to silvery gray. i fell in love with it and bought four skeins.

i used the same basic pattern, but cabled 6 stitches instead of 8.

you'll need:
us size 15 needles
thicker yarn for size 13-15 needles
bigger cabling needle
tapestry needle for weaving in ends


cast on 24 stitches
r1 [back]: slip first stitch*, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p*
[*on every row, you'll always slip the first stitch and purl the last one]
r2 [front]: slip first stitch, k6, p2, k6, p2, k6, p
r3: slip first stitch, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p
r4: slip first stitch, cf6, p2, cf6, p2, cf6, p

main pattern:
r5 [back]: slip first stitch*, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p*
[*on every row, you'll always slip the first stitch and purl the last one]
r6 [front]: slip first stitch, k6, p2, k6, p2, k6, p
r7: slip first stitch, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p
r8: slip first stitch, k6, p2, k6, p2, k6, p
r9: slip first stitch, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p
r10: slip first stitch, k6, p2, k6, p2, k6, p
r11: slip first stitch, p6, k2, p6, k2, p6, p
r12: slip first stitch, cf6, p2, cf6, p2, cf6, p

repeat the main pattern until you've reached your desired length. when you're getting ready to cast off, stop after row 8, and then cast off.

happy knitting!


crafty christmas: cabled infinity scarf

inspired by this pattern, i decided to knit this for my mother-in-law. i saw this beautiful green yarn in my favorite little yarn shop and knew it was the perfect color. it was yarn for size 8 needles, so i held two strands together and knitted on size 15 needles. i basically changed the original pattern completely, simplifying it and making it more of an infinity scarf than a cowl.

this is one of my first attempts at writing out a knitting pattern, so please let me know if you have any questions!

you'll need:
us size 15 needles
thicker yarn for size 13-15 needles [or you can hold two strands together like i did]
bigger cabling needle
tapestry needle for weaving in ends and kitchener stitch

cabled infinity scarf pattern

cast on 30 stitches
r1 [back]: slip first stitch*, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p*
[*on every row, you'll always slip the first stitch and purl the last one]
r2 [front]: slip first stitch, k8, p2, k8, p2, k8, p
r3: slip first stitch, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p
r4: slip first stitch, cf8, p2, cf8, p2, cf8, p

main pattern:
r5 [back]: slip first stitch*, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p*
[*on every row, you'll always slip the first stitch and purl the last one]
r6 [front]: slip first stitch, k8, p2, k8, p2, k8, p
r7: slip first stitch, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p
r8: slip first stitch, k8, p2, k8, p2, k8, p
r9: slip first stitch, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p
r10: slip first stitch, k8, p2, k8, p2, k8, p
r11: slip first stitch, p8, k2, p8, k2, p8, p
r12: slip first stitch, cf8, p2, cf8, p2, cf8, p

repeat the main pattern until you've reached your desired length. when you're getting ready to cast off, stop after row 8, and then cast off.

use the kitchener stitch [there are great tutorials on youtube, here's one that i've used] to graft your work into an infinity scarf and give to someone you love, or keep your beautiful scarf for yourself!

happy knitting!


crafty christmas: reduce paper waste and reuse paper bags

i usually do a little shopping the day after christmas and get all the wrapping paper i'm going to need for the next year. but after having the same couple rolls of wrapping paper for three years, i realized my wrapping paper needs weren't as great as i thought. so i thought about it, and decided to use up the last bit of my wrapping paper and then stick to the three r's principle.

the stronger force behind this post though is that i live in iowa city now and the entire city will judge me if i don't reduce, reuse and recycle. just call me a people pleaser.

i think i should thank pinterest as another contributor to this idea, because i saw so many classy pins of kraft paper wrapped presents.

combining the powers of the three r's and pinterest, i believe that i made the ideas i saw even better by making this little project free and eco-friendly. [on a braggy side-note: my friend kaylee and i were just talking how we are the best at making ideas we find on pinterest even better]

i started asking for paper bags instead of plastic at the grocery store [who has too many plastic bags? i do!] in early november. i folded the bottom up and stored them flat. when i started wrapping presents i simply cut the paper bags like this:
are you wondering about the print that is usually on the outside of grocery bags? well, i've never seen one with print on the inside! flip that sucker over and you've got yourself some free kraft paper.

i doodled the names with a sharpie and used my gray industrial thread again. the cute bags in the first photo are also reused from home-ec workshop where i get my yarn.

speaking of yarn, stay tuned for pictures and patterns of my christmas knitting projects!

happy krafting! [pun absolutely intended]


crafty christmas: show off your christmas cards

i know i'm not the first person ever to do this, but it is darn cute so i thought i'd share.

do you have a bunch of christmas cards sitting in a pile? i did until a few days ago. we got back from seattle and opened the majority of said cards, and i put them in a pile with the rest of the mail.

i LOVE getting christmas letters and cards. when i was a young girl i would sit and read every single christmas letter that my parents got. i didn't know half the people, but i read them anyway. i actually think my first sure sign of adulthood was when i received my first christmas letter addressed to me at my own house.

and while i cherish these letters, they still end up sitting in a pile for a long time. and as my fridge is rather crowded, i can't put them there either.

SO, staple gun in hand, and armed with gagillion feet of gray industrial thread, i fashioned for myself a "picturesline" [as opposed to a clothesline] in my kitchen. i used the same clothespins that i hang my clothes with in the summer, so this little project was completely free, just the way i like it.

plus, this project gives me:

a lovely way to show off my friends
a classy look
a little bit more happiness and love in my kitchen

i'm satisfied!