Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year's Eve that is!

I’ve never been big in making and/or keeping New Year’s Resolutions.  I mean, when wrapped up in the moment of NYE (which someone usually has to wake me up at 11:58 p.m. for…..not one minute earlier either, cause I will fall back asleep if left unattended!) I tell myself things like “be healthy”, “do this crafty thing that I’m not that good at”, etc. but they’re never very specific and I rarely follow up on them throughout the year, let alone remember what it was I was thinking was a fantastic resolution back on Dec. 31st/Jan 1st.  I will say that I probably don’t remember them cause I’ve been asleep for 2-3 hours and was just woken up 2 minutes earlier for the ball drop, and will promptly go right back to sleep at 12:02 a.m.

Over the past year Rachel over at Maybe Matilda has done a monthly Goal list which included crafts, health, her family and home.  You will also see that at month end she would follow up on her successes along with what she would continue to work on in the following month.  I really like this idea!!!  Make a list on the first of the month of what you want to accomplish in the next 28-31 days.  When you only have 30ish days to accomplish the task at hand, you’re much less likely to make a totally unobtainable goal (think “I’m going to train for and run my marathon in 20__” on NYE vs. “I’m going to run 3 miles 4 times a week in the month of January June”).

So, I guess my Resolution for 2014 is to make a monthly goal list, which I will share here on the first of the month and follow up at month’s end to report back on how I did!

Be sure to click on this to see a larger version - there are lots of teeny-tiny photos included, many that haven't made it on here or Facebook!

I started this picture collage as a “background” for my New Year’s Resolution Overview.  I thought I’d use a few pictures, and then plop a white box with an overview list of the things I want to work on in 2014 on top.  As you can see, there wasn’t enough room for my list so below is my basic overview.  This is all just off the top of my head, a little last minute now cause I’m exhausted from formatting all those pictures!
  1. Finish one WIP a month
  2.  Christmas gift I-O-U’s from 2013 (hopefully before mid-year!)
  3. Start working on Christmas 2014 gifts in January
  4.  Try one new pattern a month 
  5. Continue to increase my custom order sales, especially through ETSY 
  6. Start cooking again - and share my favorite recipes with you
  7. Be better at blogging (both frequently/consistency of my posts and what/how I’m blogging) 
  8. Continue to work hard on our house re-model in hopes of having closer to 4 or 5 rooms finished by the end of 2014
Additions and details will come each month.  Looking forward to tracking this goal process throughout the next 12 months and see if a year from now, I feel as though I’ve accomplished more than previous years.

I must also say that by the time I was done formatting this chaotic collage, I realized that this display of previous projects (no, there are not all 2013 projects, just the pictures that I was able to easy pull off my computer) is very representative of all the crafty ideas that run through my head on a daily basis:
REALITY - You only have ‘this’ much time to work on and/or finish a project.
HOLLY’S DREAM WORLD - but, I want to crochet ALL THE THINGS in half the time!
SIMILARITY - I must have deleted 25 pictures that I tried to cram in with what made the cut

Maybe I should add “be more realistic about how much crocheting you can get done in a given evening” to the list above….eh, there’s always 2015!

2013 was a challenging year for me.  One that I feel was the best yet and one of the worst hardest.

I wish you all the very best in 2014.  Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Holiday Shopping

First, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!  I hope that everyone had the relaxing, enjoyable, stuffed-to-the-brim kind of day like I had.

I had this whole thing typed up preaching about my dislike of Black Friday shopping, but I stepped down off my soap box and deleted it.  While I no longer feel any desire to be out shopping at all hours on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I did at one time enjoy chasing down some deals with my mom and having our own little shopping spree for the day (the later is something that I truly missed this year, esp since my momma was hard at work most of Black Friday). I do hope that those of you who were out shopping over the holiday weekend found what you were looking for!

Also, for anyone of you, or your family/friends who are still working to cross names off your Christmas list, and enjoy giving hand-made gifts; I have posted 31 hand-crafted items to my ETSY shop.  Many prices are 10-15% lower than I usually charge in hopes that it will help you find something hand-made for your loved ones this Holiday season.  All items are ready to ship, and could be in the mail as early as Thursday!  You can find my shop by clicking on the link above, or on the ETSY button on the tool bar at the top of your screen.

One last thing - I just realized it's Tuesday!

Things currently making me happy:

1.  finding new crochet patterns and crafty projects online that I save away, and add to my growing "to-do" list!  I wish I had time to work on ALL the ideas running around in my head!!

2.  my upcoming #datenight with Jonathan.  We're going to see Straight No Chaser in Buffalo this evening!  We saw them at Chautauqua Institution this summer, and have loved their music, espically the Christmas songs for years!  I'm jump-out-of-my-skin excited for tonight :-D

If you've never heard of Straight No Chaser before, I will leave you with the following 3 videos.  These are my top three favorite Christmas songs/medleys that they do, and I never get tired of listening to them!

*Please note that what's great about these medleys are the play on words, topics and music that they create so crank up the volume and really focus on what they're singing .  I promise that between their vocals, the harmonies and the crazy direction each songs goes, you will be HOOKED!

"Christmas Can-Can"

"Twelve Days of Christmas"


Also, for those of you hearing them for the first time, or possibly reading their story for the first time, you should know that the videos above look as thought they were possibly filmed on a smart phone from the audience because they not only allow you to photograph and video their shows, but they encourage it!  Straight No Chaser went from being a collegiate A'Capella group at Indiana University to the sensation they are today because of a video that was posted to You Tube.
This also means that you can go on YouTube and watch hundreds of videos of them performing.  After about an hour of this, you'll be on iTunes downloading songs, I guarantee it! ;-)

Disclaimer - No one is paying me to promote the awesomeness of Straight No Chaser.  These options are strictly my own.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Two on Tuesday

It's been about 2 days past forever since I was last on here on a Tuesday with the time to stop and think about things that make me happy.  In honor of Thanksgiving week, I'd like to my post 2 things that I'm thankful for:

Snow is gently falling out my office window this afternoon and soon Winter Storm Boreas will be in full force.  Most of yesterday afternoon I would see something about the Holiday Weekend weather and dread the thought of having to drive north in another winter storm......then I'd remember; WE DON'T HAVE TO!  For the first time in more years than I can remember almost a decade, not only will we not be driving home in a blizzard, but we don't have to travel at all!!!!

2.  Thankful for a 4-day holiday weekend.  This ties in with #1 but with no travel involved this year, it's a solid FOUR DAYS off (#thingsIneverget)!  I'm positive that I won't get everything done I want to, and I'll likely still be sleepy when I return to work on Monday, but for now, the thought of 4 whole days of crocheting, my sweet husband, our puppies/kitties, sleeping in, sweats and family is enough to get me through the rest of this short work week!

As promised, my update post is coming....stay tuned!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Two Hundred Eight


208 days – that’s just 6 days short of 7 months.  

That’s also how many days have passed since I last sat down to write a post.

I could come up with a reason or excuse, but what for?  I will say this – uprooting your life, and moving 400+ miles is HARD WORK!

I owe you all a very long post on everything that happened with the move, our family, our job search, my return to community theatre, and of course my crocheting!!!  It will be coming one day very soon (4-day weekend coming up next week!!)   Fair warning the next time you see a new post from me – grab a big cup of coffee before you sit down.  Things could get chatty! ;-)

For now, I just wanted to say that I’m still here.  I’m a New York State resident again, loving every second of living in the country and am slowly catching up on all that my favorites in “blogosphere” have been up to over the past 7 months.  To date, I’ve caught up with:

Rachel of Maybe Matilda 
Pammy Sue of Scott's Place 
Taurie of Eye Love You 
Megan of Fire Wifey

I still have quite a few to read.  And yes, I am going allllllll the way back to April on each of your blogs and reading what you've been up to, clicking links for new patterns and recipes to try along the way!  I have missed you all!!

For those of you on Facebook, check out my Crafty Holly Louise page!  While I may be terrible about finding time to post here, I try and post something as often as I can on Facebook; whether a sneak-peak, finished project or just a new pattern that I’m drooling over!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

BIG Announcement

Jonathan and I will be moving the end of May 2013!  After almost 8 ½ years in the DC metro area, we will be returning to our favorite little corner of WNY…..Panama, New York!

I [sadly] gave my notice at work 3 weeks ago, and have just 3 short weeks remaining while Jonathan only has 2 weeks of his student teaching internship left!  3 weeks from today my parents arrive in town (extra hands to finish parking, and enough adults to drive all cars back to NY).  3 weeks from Tuesday we pick up our U-Haul, the movers arrive by 9 a.m. and hopefully by 1 p.m. on May 21, 2013 we will driving 2 Jeeps, 1 convertible, and 1 U-Haul the ~400 miles HOME!

The house that we will be moving into is on the property of Jonathan’s parent’s tourism business, Panama Rocks Scenic Park.

This, truly, life changing and exciting move has actually been in the works for almost 18 months now.  Conversations about whether or not it would ever happen probably starting as far back as the summer of 2007…so to say that we are ready would be an understatement.  In 2011, while in the final stretch of wedding planning we were faced with the decision of where Jonathan would go to school for his Masters – Maryland or New York.  Obviously, we chose staying in Maryland where Jonathan attended Johns Hopkins University while we continued to work and save every penny possible. 

Back in January we took our nextbig step toward the move; we started remodeling the house.  FOLLOW THIS LINK to read about how in 1885 the park was founded, how a farmhouse became a summer hotel, and a bit about the work that has been done by my in-laws since they purchased the property in 1979.  If your cup of coffee (or glass of wine) is big enough to keep you reading the History of Panama Rocks, you will read more about how half of the hotel was winterized in the late 1980’s.  This is where Jonathan and his sister, Jessica grew up, where my in-laws currently live, and where we got married. 

The process that we began in January 2013 was to winterize the 2nd half of the house that has been unused (other than for storage and guests when the extra space was needed). 
The work that we have done so far is depicted in the “before, during, after” pictures below.  Many hours have been put in by an amazing team that demoed the original horsehair plaster walls, wood lath and electrical wiring from the early 1900s.  Our Master bedroom, my craft room, [half of the bathroom], one future kid’s bedroom (2 small hotel rooms where we took down the divider wall to create a larger bedroom….will be used for storage for the time being), and the upper stairway/hallway have been rewired, insulated, dry-walled, and primed.  Our Master Bedroom also has been painted an amazing light blue that changes color depending on the time of day and level of sunlight coming in from any of the FIVE windows.  While Jonathan and I were home in early April we started work with my Dad to build frame for the doors to our closet, which as you can see below is still a work in progress ;-)
Starting on Monday the final stage of hooking up the electric to our side of the house will begin, in hopes that we will have power [and lights] when we move home.  First on the list for June is to finish our closet and replace the wood floors in the Master Bedroom and my craft room.

We have A LOT work ahead of us but are so very excited by the outlook of making this home our own:

***don't forget that you can click on each of the pictures below to make them larger***

Hallway walking in our Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom Closet Area

My future CRAFT ROOM - one day will no doubt be my favorite room in the house!

2nd Bedroom - A.K.A. "storage central"!

Upper Half of the Stairs 

***don't forget that you can click on each of the pictures above to make them larger***

I’m sure the next question that most, if not everyone, is asking is “what will you do in NY?”  Well, we are hopeful that Jonathan will be able to find a teaching job; putting his hard earned Master’s degree to good use.  I have been job searching, applying and in the beginning stage of interviewing as well.  This summer we will also be learning the ins and outs of running the Park, and enjoying a much needed change of pace that only a village like Panama can give you.

For now, I think it's time to get back to packing - we're MOVING IN THREE WEEKS!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


As I mentioned yesterday, I've jumped on the Bloglovin bandwagon!

Today I'm "claiming my blog" on Bloglovin

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A bit of housekeeping

No…not actual housework, don’t be silly ;-)  Just a little housekeeping in blogging/crafty land that I thought I’d share.

Mostly I wanted to make sure everyone knew I was still alive, well, crafting!  

My “real job” has been excessively busy, and when not in the office I have been pretty single-mindedly focused on 3 big baby gift projects that I needed to get done.   I know; I’ve known for how many months that these women were pregnant, and I waited until the last minute on all three gifts?  Of course!  There will a post soon about all the BABY LOVE I’ve been feeling these days J

On to the “housekeeping”:

Over the weekend I finally got around to publishing my Crafty Holly Louise Facebook page!  There’s not a whole lot to see just yet, but if you’re on FB, please follow the link above to LIKE my page.  I plan to post “in progress” photos there when I don’t have enough to say to warrant a blog post here.  There will also be big announcement, hopefully very soon, about my custom order offerings through FB as well.  Please, stay tuned!

My second announcement is really more beneficial to me, but for anyone who hasn’t tried out Bloglovin’ yet, [I think] I highly recommend it!  I had heard about Bloglovin’ in the past, and had checked it out, but saw no need for it at the time.  I have always been pretty happy with following up on new posts through my Blogger feed.  Then the past couple of weeks happened and I’m now sooooooooooo far behind on all my favorite blogs!  I was feeling a bit bummed about this, until I added said blogs to my Bloglovin’ account earlier today and the following happened:
1.       I realized how easy it was to use, and see what I’ve missed
2.       I haven’t missed nearly as much as I thought I had
3.       There’s an app for that!  I’m very happy to have a way to keep up when “on the road” that looks almost like I’m reading my Facebook feed – I am a creature of habit.
That’s all for now crafty friends – I don’t want to ruin the reveal for all that I’ve been working on lately (though if you LIKE Crafty Holly Louise on Facebook, you’ll get to see pictures there)

Like how I snuck that in one last time? J

Friday, March 1, 2013

....and the WINNER is....

First, I'd like to thank everyone who entered, and shared the news of my first crafty give-away!  It's been great fun reading your comments, and finding a few new blogs to follow.

New blog friends, is always an added bonus ;-)

And now, what you've all been waiting for...

the WINNER is...

Congratulations Megan!!  Please shoot me an email at craftyhollylouise@gmail.com with your mail address, and I'll get your cowl in the mail on Monday! 
and don't forget to send some St. Patty's Day pictures with your new accessory ;-)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 28, 2013


It's been a bit of a slow process as I learn how to post and share recipes, but I did add three more today on my lunch break!  Be sure to keep checking back to the RECIPES tab on the top of the page - I hope you'll find something fun to make.

Also, don't forget that you have until 11:59 p.m. TONIGHT to enter for a chance to win my "Irish Pride Cowl"!
You actually have 4 chances to win, so make sure you've done all that you can to improve your chances - and pass it on to someone you know :-)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cooking with Crafty Holly Louise

In an attempt to make the recipes that I share a bit easier for everyone to locate, you’ll see that I’ve added a RECIPES tab to the top of my blog.  I hope that you’ll be patient with me as I figure out the best way to share my favorite recipes with you (both old and new).  Please feel free to leave me a comment if you have any tips/suggestions – I’m always open to good ideas!

I’m starting out my “official” recipe-sharing with yesterday’s dinner; which we enjoyed with good friends.  I’ll apologize right now for the lack of pictures in this cooking post.  My itty-bitty kitchen was still “pre-scrub down” when I was prepping, and by the time the soup was ready, I was too hungry to think to take a “final product” shot!

Using my crockpot during the week always seems [in theory] like such a great way to make dinner on a week night, until I remember that it requires either morning prep before work, or evening prep the night before (and enough room in my fridge for my crockpot sleeve overnight)!  This basically means that my crockpot rarely gets used, and if it does, it’s on the weekend.

Anyway – I love creamy potato soup!  This recipe was easily made Gluten-free, and very easily adjusted to accommodate a vegetarian friend!  This was my first time using this recipe, so I really have no idea how differently it would taste with chicken stock and cream of chicken soup.  Honestly, it tasted so good the way I made it last night that I really have no desire to try!  I love that this is now a vegetarian meal – bacon’s a vegetable right?

The one thing that I will try next time is using some milk and cornstarch to thicken it up instead of cream cheese.  I think it’ll be just as tasty without the full-fat cream cheese (required to melt properly), and a bit less rich.  I’m going to put cheese on top of my bowl in the end regardless, so adding that much to the soup as well just doesn’t seem necessary in my book!  I’ll try to remember to do an update the next time I make this soup with the cream cheese substitution, and let you all know how it works out!

Crock-Pot Potato Soup

1 30 oz. bag of frozen, shredded hash browns
5¼ cups chicken or vegetable stock (or three 14 oz. cans)
1 can cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup
½ cup onion, chopped
1 T garlic powder
1 T dry dill
¼ tsp. each salt and black pepper
1 pkg cream cheese (not fat free, it won’t melt)

Combine everything in Crock-Pot, except cream cheese.  Cook for 6-8 hours on low heat.  About 1 hour before serving, add cream cheese and keep heated until thoroughly melted.  Dish soup, and top with shredded Cheddar and crispy bacon.

(Recipe adapted from Cara of http://pearls-handcuffs-happyhour.blogspot.com/)

Did everyone watch the Oscar’s last night?  We “watched”, but a napped halfway through, and definitely didn’t make it till the end of the evening (5 a.m. comes waaaay too quickly at my house!)  I haven’t seen any of the movies that were nominated (other than Brave), so I really watch the same way we watch the Super Bowl – not because we’re football fans, but because it’s the Super Bowl, so you watch!

Of course, there HAD to be Oscar crocheting!  I just got a new mill-ends of cotton yarn on Saturday that was screaming “Make pot-holders and matching dish cloths out of me!!, please”  So I followed orders:

Who did you think was best dressed?  Of what I saw of the Red Carpet, Kerry Washington’s dress was my favorite!

Don’t forget about my GIVE-AWAY and all the ways that you can enter to win!  Spread the word too – you have until Thursday, February 28th at 11:59 p.m. to enter for a chance at being “most-fashionable” this St. Patrick’s Day!!