Thank you to everyone who participated in our annual Random Acts of Kindness blogs in the month of December. As always, it’s heartwarming to hear about all of the things you are out there doing for others. Last week, I loved reading about Ellen giving her Pi Shawl to her neighbor (an “itty bitty thing, traveling to Oregon for Christmas”.) Can’t you just imagine how much she must have loved receiving that? I also liked Alice’s idea of handing out Starbucks gift cards to Salvation Army bellringers. I want to remember that for next year. Those folks stand out in some pretty cold weather, giving up their time to ring that bell.
Karen and her daughter gathered up their spare and outgrown coats, mittens and hats and took them to a local women’s homeless shelter. Jennifer was able to help someone from her Sunday School class who has been out of work. Lisa donated several copies of a movie to the Ronald McDonald house in honor of a friend who had passed away. Beth and her daughter handed out cups of Instant Ramen Noodles and bottles of water to people holding signs, asking for help. And the list goes on and on. I think you all have been more creative and intentional with your RAK’s this year, than ever before.
Today is the last day to leave your latest RAK reports in the comments. Tell us what you have been up to this week, as you’ve been out and about, helping others! We’ll randomly draw winners next week. For this past week’s contest, we’ll be sending 2 skeins of The Loopy Ewe Solid Series yarn, 1 pattern, and a tub of our Soak’s Heel Creme to Claire in CA and Michelle in CA. (Go, California!)
Since this Friday is our last Random Acts of Kindness post, I thought I’d do my 2011 Resolutions post today. There’s nothing quite like putting them out there in public for posterity. As usual, I have three categories – the Completely Do-Able (these are the most fun and it makes you feel good to check some off the list as accomplished), the Challenging (these are the good ones that make you work a little bit to accomplish them), and the Nearly Impossible (but hey, it could happen. Write it down and give it a try.)
First, here’s how I did on my 2010 Resolutions:
1. Buy more knitting bags. (Yes. I did.)
2. Significantly increase my stash in case of future economic woes. (Yes. I did.)
1. Increase the number of days a week that I exercise. (Hmm. Well I probably did that overall, but it’s nothing to write home about.)
2. Learn to cook with more vegetables. (Nope.)
1. Give up knitting. (I did not. That’s why it’s on the “impossible” list. Not that I had any intention of doing it in the first place …)
2. Learn to play the bagpipes. (I did not. Still safely on the impossible list.)
1. Continue to build my stash with wonderful, luscious yarn.
2. Frog the UFO’s that are no longer appealing to me.
3. Continue to avoid lima beans.
1. Catalog my yarn/pattern/knitting book stashes.
2. Make my Christmas 2011 knitting list in January, and jump into the knitting.
3. Schedule an appointment at Time for Dinner every month (my new favorite place.)
1. Stop buying knitting books.
2. Learn to read instruction manuals before trying something new.
3. Become a Morning Person instead of a Night Person.
There you have it. We’ll see how I do. Do you have any do-able/challenging/nearly impossible resolutions to share about knitting or life?
It’s time for a new Loopy Ewe Challenge! One of the things we try to do around here is to move you forward in your knitting, encouraging and inspiring you to try new things. Sometimes it’s a technique, sometimes it’s a new yarn, and sometimes it’s a new type of project. For our First Quarter 2011 Challenge, we’re focusing on Cables. Cables add texture to whatever project you are knitting up. They look impressive, but they are amazingly easy to do. Bottom line – it’s just a matter of knitting your stitches in a different order – that’s what forms the twist. The other nice thing? You usually only do the cable row every 4-8 rows, so it’s not something you do on every row. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is.
The challenge is to pick a project with cables, and jump in. It can be mitts or gloves, hats or scarves, sweaters or vests, etc. Whatever project works best with your timeframe and your interests. Now some of you have been cabling for a long time, so you need to make this challenge a bit more difficult for yourself. Don’t pick an easy-peasy project with a simple cable. You’ll want to do something that lives up to the name “challenge”, for you. (Have you been following Wendy’s cabled sweater in her blog? So gorgeous. If you’re an old hand at cables, try something with multiple cable variations going on, like Wendy is doing with her sweater.)
Here are a few patterns/links to get you thinking, but of course you can pick any pattern with cables.
If you’ve done cabling before but never tried it without a cable needle, check out Grumperina’s great tutorial on cabling without a needle, found here. (If you have not cabled before, you might first try with a cable needle.)
Final details: Start date is today (or any time thereafter), and your project needs to be completed by 3/31. To be eligible for one of the Quarterly Prizes, photos must be submitted to our Photo Gallery by 4/4, and it needs to be a yarn that is available here at The Loopy Ewe. If you need to purchase yarn for this new challenge, we are offering a 20% off discount, valid until 1/7/11. Simply leave us an order note telling us which yarn you’re using for the challenge, and we’ll manually adjust it to 20% off when your order comes through. (Make sure that the discount doesn’t take you under the $75 level, if you’re going for free shipping in the U.S., otherwise we’ll have to add the shipping back in on that.)
So – who is up for the Cable Challenge? I’m making the Hollygrove Scarf out of Cascade Eco Alpaca and starting it today!
It’s Random Acts of Kindness Reporting Day again! Your wonderful comments and emails have brought a lot of smiles to my face, as I read through every one of them. I know you’re bringing smiles to a lot of people by doing something nice and then sharing it so that others can get ideas and be inspired. Thank you again for participating in this fun December tradition at The Loopy Ewe. The randomly drawn winners from last week’s contest were Kathryn from TX and Robin from KY. Each won two skeins of The Loopy Ewe Solid Series in their choice of colors, a pattern of their choice, and a tub of our Soak Heel Creme.
Today’s recipe came about because of the ad for Salted Caramel Chocolate Peanut Bark that I saw in the Crate and Barrel magazine. I bought some (purely for testing purposes, you know) and then figured for that price, I could come up with my own recipe! So here you have it. It instantly became a family favorite in my household. Enjoy.
2 lbs. chocolate melting bark (I use Ghirardelli chocolate, which is only available during the holidays. I get it at Sams in a 2.5 pound box and I used one box for this recipe. I also froze several boxes of it for baking later in the spring.)
2 cups of peanuts (I used dry roasted)
1 cup of caramel bits (found by the chocolate chips in the baking section at the grocery store)
Melt the chocolate and stir in the peanuts. Let cool for a couple of minutes and then add in the caramel bits. Stir well and then spread out on waxed paper or a Silpat mat (love those). Sprinkle the top lightly with Sea Salt. Put in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set and the bark is easy to break into smaller pieces. YUM.
What did you find to do this past week, to bring a smile to someone’s face? We’ll do two more drawings – for today’s entries, and for next Friday’s entries. Keep watching for opportunities to do something for someone and report back so that you can participate with us.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and sweet family memories this weekend. It’s snowing here today (with 2-4″ expected) and both kids are home. A perfect Christmas Eve.