Friday, December 19, 2014

Knitted Coffee Cozy for Christmas

Nothing says Christmas like a Santa inspired coffee cozy.  I found a pattern online for a crochet coffee cozy, but I'm more a knitting kind of gal.  I couldn't find a pattern I wanted to use, so I took things into my own hands (namely knitting needles and yarn) and came up with my version of a Santa coffee cozy.  I wanted it to be feminine and timeless.  Here's what I came up with:

Size 5 mm knitting needles
Sport weight yarn

Cast on 34 stitches with red yarn.
Rows 1-3:  knit 2, purl 2 across.
Rows 4-12:  stockinette pattern (knit row 4, purl row 5, kmit row 6. Change to black yarn and purl row 7, knit row 8, purl row 9. Change back to red and knit row 10, purl row 11, knit row 12.
Rows 13-15:  knit 2 purl 2 across.
Bind off.
Add crochet edging with white yarn.
Sew on rhinestone buckle.

The picture doesn't show it well, but the black yarn has an iridescent fiber in it for a little glam, as does the white yarn.

I found the template for the cup cozy template here:
Sherri Goad is offering the template free on her site.  I printed it out onto Kraft colored card stock.  Sherri also shares her pattern for a crochet Santa cozy. 

Now it's off to make one in Blue, red and white for my favorite son-in-law who is a Buffalo Bills fan!  Then a couple more Santa ones for dd and friends.  Good thing they knit up quickly!

Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Zinio - Free Digital Magazines to Your Computer, Tablet, or Mobile Device

I am home nursing a stomach 'bug,' and thought it would be a good time to catch up on some blog posting.  Fortunately, this is easier than ever with my ipad mini always ready and eager to execute my every command.  I'm just waiting for an app that makes my coffee on demand!

Now, let me back up several years.  Back to when I eagerly entered came kicking and screaming into the world of technology.  I was starting a new business, and had to learn so much more about computers than I ever wanted to know.  But, I persisted, and now, I can find my way around my computer with ease.  I'm no stranger to Facebook, and am happily tweeting and pinning, and even posting pictures on Flickr, and running three blogs and writing hubs!  If you had told me all of this all those years ago, I would have laughed.

Here's a link to an article I wrote a few years ago for HubPages about my entry into the technological age .  As I read this, I think about how far I've come.  I'm fascinated with the advances that have been made with technology in just this short time!  My desk-top computer tower lies in a pile with it's monitor, keyboard, speakers, and mouse, waiting for us to take it to a computer recycling center.  My trusty Mac lap-top remains, faithful and ready for those rare times I actually use it now.

My ipad is now my companion wherever I go.  I won't go into all the ways it has literally changed the way I do so many things now.  That would be a blog post of it's own.  Here, I want to let you know about an app that I discovered called Zinio.  I found out about Zinio when I was at my local library a week ago, waiting to pick up my pizza from across the street.  I happened to see the brochure, picked it up, and the circulation desk person asked me what device I had.  Then she proceeded to tell me about how I can get FREE eMagazines.  The rest is history!

Zinio for libraries is a free online service that allows you to download free digital copies of your favorite magazines to your computer, tablet, or mobile device.  All you need is an up-to-date Library System card in good standing, and an email address.  Zinio is compatible with your PC, Mac, Apple, Android, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, Blackberry Playbook devices.  It is not compatible with Nook devices.

To get started, you must register for both a Public Library Zinio account through your library, AND a account.  Directions how to do this are available at the library, and it is very easy and quick.  I did it in just a few minutes, and have been enjoying about 12 of my favorite magazines right on my ipad, free!

Check it out at if you're from Greece, or at your library website, and get your Zinio account to start reading your eMagazines!  If you don't happen to live in Greece, not to worry.  Just contact your local library, and ask about Zinio for libraries.

If you are wondering, as I did, if you would enjoy viewing your magazines online as well as having the actual magazine in your hot little hands....well, I can honestly say that I am a convert.  I love not having the clutter of all the magazines around, having to recycle them or sending them to the landfills, and trying to keep my place when I have to put the magazine down.  Now, I just simply close the app, and when I come back, it's right where I left off.  I can even bookmark articles I want to come back to.  I can also put the magazine on my reading list, so I don't have to be online to read it when I'm not in a wi-fi area!  I think the thing I most enjoy is being able to click on links in the magazine and going to the websites for more information.  Also, using the coupons through my ipad at the stores!

Are you hooked yet?  If not, take a ride to your library and talk to them about it.  You will be glad you did!



Saturday, January 26, 2013

My Coffee Nook

My very favorite thing about my kitchen is my little coffee nook.  It was my number one priority when we started planning our kitchen make-over this past summer.  My entire kitchen was planned around making sure there was a space for my coffee area.  It's just a small area, as the wall ends there, but it's my favorite thing about my little kitchen.  It's about four feet wide all together, but has opened up lots of room on my counter tops (which have such limited space), so it's room well spent! To the right is the refrigerator.  One of those magnetic towel bars comes in handy to hold towels.

It started with an old white dresser we had in the attic.  Some minor repairs to a couple of the drawers, several coats of paint (ok, it's eggplant, NOT purple - the picture does not do it justice), and some new knobs, and Viola! - my coffee cupboard was born.  It's filled with coffees, teas, sugars, honey, cocoa, snack, and lots of other wonderful things.
On top is my Hamilton Beach coffee maker, electric tea pot, and coffee bean grinder.

 Over the coffee area is a set of shelves our good friend Richard put up for me.  The corbels (those little bracket thingies that hold the shelves) have a pretty swirl design which don't show in this picture.

One of my very favorite simple pleasures is a good cup of coffee.  Oh, how I love, love, love my coffee!  Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, even McDonalds are all pit stops for my coffee fix en route to work or when the urge strikes while I'm 'out and about.'
With many coffee lovers it's all about the caffeine, but for me, it goes much, much deeper.   It's more like an 'experience'  than a caffeine fix to me.  When I'm home, I have certain cups that I like to drink from, and the cup or mug changes with my mood.  I will drink almost any (good) coffee, but do have my preferences.  For a first rate experience, I like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts whole bean coffee, and grind my own as I use it (it stays fresher that way).   When I feel nostalgic I make my coffee on the stove in a glass coffee pot given to me by my favorite aunt when she switched to an electric coffee pot.  Most days I use my Hamilton Beach coffee maker.  I use the single cup side on work days, and on weekends I make a full pot on the carafe side.

I adore my little coffee haven.  It's one of those little things that brings me pleasure.  A cute little area of my own, filled with things I love.   I hope you will stop by some time to share a cup with me!




Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Keeping Christmas After The Decorations Are Put Away

      As I sit in my favorite chair, enjoying our Christmas decorations, I feel a tinge of sadness at the thought of taking down the cheery, festive signs of my favorite holiday.  The lights along the fireplace mantle, with the gaily colored candles, flowers, and manger scene, the Christmas tree, glittering and bright, our Christmas plates, flowers,  baskets, and my ever-growing collection of Christmas books; these will soon be put away until next Thanksgiving weekend, when they will make their annual trek from the attic to the living room, dining room, and kitchen.   I get this feeling every year when it is time to start thinking about putting away the Christmas things and getting the house "back to normal."
     There's the creche, which had belonged to my mother and father, and which I had loved, even as a child when my mom would lovingly put it under the Christmas tree.  It is now the focal point of my fireplace mantle, bringing us hope and feelings of peace and love during this season of beauty and joy.  The ornaments on the tree make us smile as we recall the story about each one, and the memories they bring.  Christmas pictures lovingly painted by our grandchildren adorn our refrigerator, and tell us how much they love us.  We use the serving plates my husband's mother made for us so many years ago to make our table festive.  Everywhere I look, Christmas is evident.   I am overwhelmed with peace and hope as we sit here each evening, enjoying the comfort and safety of our home.  I will miss the lights, the sparkle, the glistening, festive touches placed so carefully to create our Christmas haven.            
     But, alas, the time is coming when these outward signs of peace and joy must be taken down.  The mantle will still have some candles, which I love for their warmth and soft glow.  Our usual accent pieces, which had been put away until after the holidays, will once again replace the Christmas tree and other Christmas objects.  Our family pictures, familiar and loved books, gifts from family and friends, and objects we chose together to adorn our home will reclaim their rightful places on our walls and tables and furniture, and bring us joy.  
      When all is said and done,  Christmas will still be very much alive in our home.  For the love and peace we feel does not come from these objects, but it starts deep inside us.   It is the culmination of years of nurturing and caring from our parents, love and concern from our loved ones, children and siblings and friends.  It is the undeserved and unconditional love of God our Father, who comes at Christmas in His simple way, bringing us peace and hope; to remind us how much He loves and cares for us, and of his promise that He will always be with us.
    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him."     (Romans 15:13 NIV)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Pajama Day

     Today was one of 'those' days.  In spite of my nagging to-do list, I chose to just ignore my conscience and claimed it a "pajama day."  When my daughter was little, we would have pajama days every once in a while.  I would make snacks, we would rent movies, play games, and just hang out in our jammies all day long.  That was many years ago, and now my daughter, Faith, has pajama days with her own daughters.  
     My pajama days are just for me now.   Granted, I don't have them very often (note to self....make it a point to have them more), so when I do it's a real treat.  They are a sweet indulgence, almost better than chocolate!
     I mentioned 'conscience' earlier, as I used to feel guilty about spending an entire day doing almost nothing, or at least nothing as far as any work, cleaning, or productive activity goes.  Not that there isn't a pile of laundry, mountains a little bit of dust on the furniture, or at least a dozen other things that need my attention.  I certainly had lots of I should be doing things clammoring for me to get to.  But there are times, and today was one of them, when you just have to turn a deaf ear to that nagging conscience and pamper yourself with a day, or at least a couple of hours, just to do nothing....or anything else you want.  
     Sometimes on pajama days, I will read, sometimes I'll 'play' in my craft room.  Today, I just took the time to be reflect, to think, to dream.  I don't know about you, but I find that I fill my days with too much activity.  There's always too much to do, so much rushing and hurrying to get one thing done, then on to the next.  Sometimes I just need to be still.  I did make some food, and at least straightened up the house a little (VERY little).  I simply read a little, and reflected...a lot.
     This is my first entry in my new blog.  I haven't posted on my other blogs for quite some time, and will be getting back to those, as well.  But in my reflecting today, I was thinking about a workshop I took this summer.  It was called The Living Your Strengths Journey, and it was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  If you ever have the opportunity, run, don't walk, to your phone or computer to sign up.  I found out so much about myself....some of which I knew, but also much that I was surprised at.  It was truly a motivating experience, and this new blog is a result of that workshop.
     Welcome to Journey Through Autumn.  If you are reading this, chances are you, like me, are in the autumn of your life.  I'm finding there are so many joys and blessings, surprises and opportunities at this stage of life.  I hope you will find this blog refreshing, fun, informational, and most of all, a blessing to you.  Come back often, and share your thoughts with me.  I would love to hear from you!
     Do you ever have a pajama day?   How do you spend it?