So, if you’re a regular reader (hi, all both of you!), you may know that trash is a thing in the Gothra house.  Timothy and I, and I think men and women as a whole, view trash differently.  As soon as one piece of trash is level with the trash container, out it goes.  That’s the right way my opinion.  To Timothy, you just smash and cram the trash down as many times as you can get away with it.  And then when you literally can’t fit one more thing in there, just start piling it on top of the trash lid.

We’ve had battles.  I’ve written an open letter to men everywhere that was met with much sympathy from the women out there.  I’ve blocked the doorway with the trash so my sweets wouldn’t forget to take it out.  I’ve tried it all.

In our mobile home, you just had to take the bag of trash outside and throw it in the big trash dump thing.  Easy, peasey, done.  Now in our new home, you have to take the bag of trash outside and throw it in the bigger trash can.  And then every Sunday night remember to wheel the big trash can to the end of our driveway so the trash workers can take it away for us.

Can you see the potential for the problem?  Yes, our trash issue is now a two step process.  And if we forget to leave the big trash can at the end of our driveway for a couple weeks, we’re just overloaded in trash.

Nobody has time for that.

The trash has become such a thing in our house that now it’s just a joke.  Timothy jokes with his friends all the time about how he can never remember to take out the trash.  Ha ha ha. And they all laugh like it’s so hilarious, and I’m just over there giving him the side eye because NO.

Late one Sunday night, Timothy and I were hanging out and his phone started beeping.  I picked it up and saw this:

Photo-Jan-19,-11-30-37-PM

Ah, sweet, sweet boy.  You’re trying.  And that’s cute.  And I love you.

~Whitney

On January 28, 2014 · 6 Comments · In Lovely Life
 

BECOMING-learning-calligraphy-1

I’ve really been interested in lettering and calligraphy lately.  I love addressing letters and writing out gift tags.  Thus far, I’ve only worked with regular pens.  Those Sharpie pens are the BEST.  But I’ve been really wanting to try calligraphy.  The whole shebang – nibs and ink and flourishes.  A comment from my sweet friend on this post really sealed the deal.  I had to try it!

With a little Christmas money in my pocket and some internet research under my belt, I ordered some supplies from Paper & Ink Arts.  Last night, I claimed our dining table and told Timothy not to talk to me until I figured it out.  Well, it went down a bit nicer than that, but that was the gist of it.

BECOMING-learning-calligraphyThis was my first page of practicing.  Definitely not perfect, but oh so fun!  I joined the Flourish Forum, and they offer free lessons.  So far I’ve learned all the lowercase letters.  They offer printable worksheets that help you get the proper slant going, but I just used what I had.  We don’t have a printer at home, and I was eager to start.  I’m definitely going to print some of those sheets when I can, though, and try to make my lettering more consistent.

BECOMING-learning-calligraphy-2I bought a straight pen and an oblique pen (pictured above), and so far I like the oblique pen the best.  The only problem is that it doesn’t fit in the ink jar so I’ll need to buy an ink well or something.

I spent a couple hours last night learning and practicing.  Calligraphy is so soothing!  The way the pen scratches the paper – the way the tines of the nib spread apart to make a thick line – the way the pen effortlessly goes from thick to thin.  Ahhh, I love it all.

BECOMING-learning-calligraphy-3After I spent some time working on the proper way to make letters, I just got some plain white paper and played around.    I tried different variations of the letters and wrote out little phrases.  From what I’ve read, it’s best to focus on the proper/traditional way to make letters before you try to develop your own style or try to do modern calligraphy.  But I couldn’t help it.  Ha!

BECOMING-learning-calligraphy-4I still haven’t figured out how to get the right amount of ink on the nib, as you can tell above.  Sometimes the words get gloppy.  But it’s a process, and I can tell I have many (exciting) hours of practice ahead of me!

After working with a calligraphy pen, I’m never going back to doing lettering with a regular pen.  It’s just too fun!  And the supplies were surprisingly inexpensive.  The nibs were around $1 each and the oblique holder was only $2.

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So this shall be my new obsession for 2014.  It’s pretty much making me want to have another wedding with Timothy so I can address all those envelopes.  Ha!

What about you all?  Have you picked up any new crafts/hobbies for the new year?  Or are there any you want to try?  I’d love to hear.

~Whitney

On January 24, 2014 · 10 Comments · In DIY
 

BECOMING-stockholm-cowl-4

Also known as the Stockholm Scarf by Julie Crawford.

I knit this a loooong time ago, but never got around to writing about it.  Julie said that it took her less than a week to knit this infinity scarf/cowl.  This was maybe my third (?) knitting project, and it took me a few months longer than a week.  Ha!  The Ravelry page has since been updated to say not recommended for beginner knitters. Now I find out.

BECOMING-stockholm-cowl-6

I didn’t knit on this consistently.  I would knit a few rows and then switch to another project.  As my knitting skills grew, this cowl became a LOT easier to knit.  By the time I finished I was loving the pattern so much that I didn’t want to bind off.

The pattern is gorgeous.  It is reversible and looks lacy due to the thin yarn and bigger needles.  The yarn overs and slipped stitches give the same look as cables.    The pattern is a seven stitch, two row repeat and I modified it to knit in the round.  At first I was glued to the pattern.  You know when you have to be so focused on your knitting that you give the evil eye to anyone who so much as dares to speak to you?  Yeah, that’s not fun for anyone.  Fortunately, this pattern is easy to memorize after several rows.

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The yarn I used was a bamboo blend, so this cowl is crazy soft.  I love the feel, but now that I know more about knitting, I would choose a different yarn to knit this pattern.  The bamboo blend is so soft that it does not really hold the stitches up well.  A yarn with more wool in it would probably give better stitch definition.

BECOMING-stockholm-cowlI wear this cowl more than any of my other hand knit items.  I love the stitch pattern and drape – Julie did such an amazing job on this pattern!  I can’t wait to knit another one and play around with the yarn gauge.  Wouldn’t this be gorgeous in a heavier yarn?

BECOMING-stockholm-cowl-2

BECOMING-stockholm-cowl-1I wore this cowl when we visited Purl Soho in New York City.  To say I was excited was an understatement.  And while I was shopping (for three hours), one of the employees complimented it and asked if had made it. Day.Made.  No, make that life.  Yes.  Life.Made. 

BECOMING-stockholm-cowl-3So if you are looking for a fun, semi-involved knit that looks more complicated than it actually is, this is your project.

What have some of you been knitting lately?  Now that Christmas is over, I know several of my friends are knitting things for themselves.  January is the month for giving back.  To yourself.  I’m currently knitting this and am still in the eye-glare-when-you-speak-to-me phase.  But I’m going to get the hang of it any day now.  Ha!

~Whitney

On January 20, 2014 · 2 Comments · In Crochet & Knit
 

BECOMING-2014

Well, I missed the boat to write an on-time resolutions post, or a 2013 recap post, or a this-is-my-one-word for 2014 post.  But, then again, I don’t really have any concrete resolutions and I definitely don’t have one word for 2014.  I so admire people who can pick one word, but simplification has never been my strong suit.  I would need like twenty words.  And I would probably add a color.

2014 – This is my year to do the things I’ve been saying I’ll do.  And GOLD.  Also some floral, if I can sneak it by my husband.

Hmmm. That’s just not as catchy as some of the other people’s resolutions out there.

I have a love/hate relationship with resolutions.  I’m an all or nothing kinda gal.  If I love you, I love you.  If I don’t like you, I don’t like you.  (But I try not to show it, winky face.)  Things are yes or they are no.  You succeed or you fail.  Things are wrong or they are right.  Your excuse makes sense or it doesn’t.

The world and ministry and grace and love can be a confusing place if you are a black and white kind of person.  Thankfully, I married someone overflowing with grace and life and color.  I’m learning how to be more bendy.

 

So resolutions for this all or nothing girl can be difficult.  If I start slipping the second week of April and forget to do whatever I’ve resolved to do, then it’s a failure.  Why keep going through May?  I’ll just start back up again in January.  I feel like I either need to do my resolution excellently, or not do it at all.  Which is ridiculous.

Take my “resolution” from last year.  I decided to join Beth Moore’s scripture memorization plan and memorize one scripture every two weeks.  For a while I was doing great.  Trucking right along.  Then I missed some weeks and fizzled out.  Well, several months into the year, my church started a Bible quizzing ministry.  I signed up to be a coach and had two amazing young people on my team.  And our team won our church’s overall tournament.  And I learned 75 scriptures.

But when I looked back at my resolution from last year, I felt that old familiar guilt creep back up.  I didn’t keep that particular goal up.  I stopped before the year was even halfway over and wasn’t disciplined enough to learn a new scripture every two weeks.  I said I was going to do something a certain way, and I didn’t do it.  Fail.  Never mind that I ended up learning over three times as many scriptures as I had originally planned to do.

Now, how silly is that?

It’s just like Bible reading.  Last year, like EVERY year, I tried to read the Bible through.  But, like so many years before, I didn’t make it all the way.  It’s embarrassing.  Once I got to the point where I was super behind, and saw that I was not reading the Bible through “excellently” and being able to check off each day’s reading, I decided I’d just try again the next year. So instead of keeping at it, albeit a few months behind schedule, I just started completely over in January.  Ah, Genesis.  We meet again.  

 

So this year is my year of anti-resolutions.  I will not condemn myself for failing.  I will not look at it as an all or nothing thing.  When, a few weeks from now, I realize I’m behind on my Bible reading, I won’t just give up because I’ve missed the mark of excellency.  I’ll give myself grace and realize a little something is better than a whole lot of nothing.  And I’ll keep on trucking.  I’ll keep on reading.  I’ll keep on memorizing.  I’ll keep on trying to be better.  I’ll keep on trying to keep a clean house even if it’s the second week in a row that we run out of clean towels.  I won’t give up.  I’ll just keep trying.

Life isn’t an all or nothing thing. (Well, when it comes to heaven it is.  But you know what I mean.)  Each day isn’t either a success or a failure.  It’s life.  God didn’t fill the Bible with stories of men and women who did everything perfectly and who completed their goals each December 31st.  Nope.  The Bible is  full of people who mess up, who forget, who fall down, who deny Him.  But God is always there to nudge them along.  To urge them to keep trying.  To extend grace.

I do see the irony of making a resolution that 2014 will be the year of the anti-resolution.  But it works for me.  Ha!  I would love to hear what some of you have decided your 2014 will look like.  Do any of you have a single word for 2014?  Or some resolutions you’re prepared to rock out?  Or are you in the same boat with me?  I’d love to hear.

~Whitney

On January 17, 2014 · 7 Comments · In Lovely Life
 

hand-lettering

We all did it.  We doodled our fourth grade crush’s name on the inside of our Lisa Frank binders.  Practiced writing our first name with our crush’s last name.  Then, if we were daring, we would throw a “mrs.” in there.

I used to do it all the time.  Well, not all the time, but when I had a crush.  Or even when I didn’t have a crush.  Sometimes I would fill the pages of my notebooks with my family and friends’ names.  Then I would switch to the alphabet until I mastered the perfect cursive lowercase “r.”  The only letter I never liked was the capital “c.”  I would cross my fingers that I didn’t fall in love with someone whose last name started with “c.”  I just couldn’t make them look cute.  Ha!

Five years and thirteen days ago, the only boy I have ever loved asked me to be his girlfriend.  Well, he actually asked me five years and fourteen days ago, but I said no.  Loooong story.  And don’t think that he doesn’t bring that fact up every now and then to rub it in.  Ha!  But moving on.

Last night I had some paper and my favorite pen and caught myself doodling his name.  Just like I was back in the fourth grade.  Except this time the doodling wasn’t accompanied by giggles and shielding the paper with my hand so classmates wouldn’t see.  I didn’t have nervous butterflies in my stomach or wonder if I could spend the rest of my life with his last name.  And the doodle of his name ended up on Instagram and not my Lisa Frank binder.  So there’s that.

Doodling my husband’s name is even better than I had imagined it would be.  I’ve written his name so many times and practiced the different ways to intertwine the loops of the “y” and “p” that writing his name is second nature to me.  I’ve memorized the curves of his letters just like I’ve memorized the adorable little freckle on his chin.

Before I met Timothy, I used to wonder how it would feel to finally have your person.   To know that you will never date again.  Would it be weird?  What would it feel like to no longer have that uncertainty and wonder about your future husband?  Would I miss the doodling?

Silly me.  I’ll be doodling that handsome boy’s name until the end of days.  And I’ll be smiling at his adorable little chin freckle and thanking God that his last name didn’t start with a “c.”

~Whitney

On January 14, 2014 · 4 Comments · In Mr. and Mrs.