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The Stockings are Hung

No, sadly, these stockings do not hang in my house, but they are hanging in someone else’s house–a family who is very fond of their new handknit Christmas stockings. And even though I didn’t get to keep these, it didn’t make me any less satisfied with the finished product. In fact, this is probably one of the hardest projects I’ve done, partially because I had to do the same pattern 4 times, and a very hard pattern at that, and I think that made finishing them all the more rewarding.

I’ve come to realize something about myself: I absolutely love fair isle and colorwork designs, but when I’m in the midst of knitting them, I tend to not be so fond of it. This is definitely one instance when I am merely a product knitter and not a process knitter. However, I love the finished product too much to give up on colorwork, but it’s helpful to know that I may just always hate the process.

I think the design element that makes these stockings even more charming than all that wonderful argyle and snowflakes are the crocheted initial patches. The recipient’s names were too long to embroider on, so I came up with this alternative. Luckily I was thumbing through a crochet dictionary I rarely look at; as soon as I saw the pattern for these letters, I knew that I had to do that for these stockings. I’m just thrilled with the results.

4 months of knitting is definitely worth it to create a lifetime of family tradition. I would definitely make this pattern again. In a few years (wink wink).

Visit my shop to see what I currently have for sale to stuff your stockings this holiday season. 

For more details about the making of these stockings, visit my Ravelry project page here

Hermione Granny Stripe Blanket [Free Pattern]

In celebration of Harry Potter’s birthday today, I decided to reread all the books while working on a special scrap blanket. I’m calling this the Hermione Granny Stripe Blanket, because I can imagine Hermione stitching away on all her scrap yarn (with her magic knitting needles [or crochet hook in this case] of course) while reading a good book.

This pattern is slightly different from my Straight Granny Blanket Pattern, because I wanted something with a tighter weave. Because I have not actually finished my blanket yet, this pattern will be a work in progress. I’ll continue to add to it when I get to the border, and might offer it as a free PDF download once it’s finished. My main reason for posting this pattern is because I wanted to make this blanket with a larger hook size. I’m not claiming to be the first person to ever come up with this, I’m just wanting to offer my version of how I’m making this blanket, and I hope you find it helpful!

If you would like to make your own Hermione Granny Stripe Blanket, feel free to use the hashtag #hermionegrannystripe on Instagram and tag me @kountingsheep because I’d love to see what you come up with! So with a big Happy Birthday to Harry, let’s get this blanket party started!

Hermione Granny Stripe Blanket

Size J crochet hook (6mm)

Worsted weight yarn scraps (examples include Vanna’s Choice, I Love This Yarn, Red Heart Soft, Caron One Pound)

Scissors, tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Gauge: not essential for this project

Note: I am using each color for two rows. If I end up running out of a color mid-row, I’ll just switch to a new color. I’m also just sort of grabbing colors randomly when it’s time to change colors.

With first color, Ch 155. Sc in second ch from hook and in each ch across. Turn. 154 sc.

Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as dc here and throughout), 1 dc in same stitch, *skip next 2 sts, 3 dc in next st (known as 3dc group here and throughout). Repeat from * across to last 3 sts. Skip next 2 sts, 2 dc in last st, changing colors in last dc. Turn. 50 3dc groups.

Row 3: With new color, ch 3. Skip next st, and working between the skipped st and the 3dc group, 3dc group. Work a 3dc group between each 3dc group of the previous row across to the last two sts. Skip next st, dc in last st. Turn. 51 3dc groups.

Row 4: Ch 3, 1 dc in between the first st of the previous row and the first 3dc group. Work a 3dc group between each 3dc group of the previous row across to the last 4 sts. Skip next 3dc group, 1 dc in between the last two st. Dc in last st, changing colors to new color. Turn. 50 3dc groups.

Repeat Rows 3-4 until Blanket reaches desired length. [my finished measurements coming soon] Fasten off. Weave in all the millions of ends (or work them in as you go, which is my preferred method. It means more work as you crochet, but then all the ends are taken care of when you’re done).

Border: [instructions coming soon]

For a video tutorial on how to crochet this pattern, watch this video on my YouTube channel.

See more of my patterns in my shop and on Ravelry!

Persevere Devotional Kit [Review]

I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about the changes to the Illustrated Faith monthly kit, Persevere. When I received my kit in the mail, I wasn’t exactly sure where to start. I looked over each piece and read through the devotional cards. As someone who likes structure, it was a bit daunting to not have the devotional booklet anymore. Today I actually had a chance to sit down and journal using the kit, and I had my “aha” moment for how I’m going to use it. I have to say that I think this new kit is really going to appeal to my personal style of journaling and give me the freedom to pursue other studies throughout the month in addition to working through the Persevere Kit. It took me a long time to create my first page in my Bible and my journal using Persevere, but now that I’ve done one day, I’m ready to share my review, as well as some ideas for how I will be working through it. I am finding myself gaining more and more excitement about the new format of the Persevere Kit, and I hope you will join me! Click here to purchase your own kit, and continue reading more below.

First, I want to give you an idea for the content inside the kit. You can also watch my unboxing video here on my YouTube channel to see more. The things that remain the same in the kit are: a full roll of washi tape, a welcome note card from Shanna Noel, and a stamp set. The stamps are a smaller 3×4 size, but still have plenty of variety for journaling. The things that are new: die cuts that are already cut for you, heart shaped tip-ins, journaling/devotional cards, thinner stickers, and a smaller string-tie envelope.

4 cardstock devotional cards and 4 cardstock journaling cards replace the 14-day devotional booklet of the past kits. Although I like having the structure of a guided study guide, I personally struggled with sustaining momentum for all 14 days. I was also torn about what to do with the notebooks once I was finished with them, because I normally keep just one big journal, and having a bunch of little journals made me feel disorganized.

I like to use a blank journal in addition to my journaling Bible, and I don’t really like having too many different notebooks/journals/bibles to keep track of. Now with the journaling cards, I have the freedom to use whatever journal I prefer. I think this will appeal to many people who, like me, prefer a certain type of journal/notebook/binder/planner/bible. You can just add the cards to your favorite journal, rather than using a journal provided for you.
I’m really in love with the floral designs of the stamps and scattered throughout the kit, as well as the gold foil accents everywhere. The quality of the products is amazing considering it’s only $20 for the whole thing! A lower price point is definitely very appealing to me, since we live on a tight budget and the old price point was often out of reach for me to participate monthly.

I’ve grown really fond of ways to make Bible journaling a bit easier and faster since I often have to squeeze my time in during naptime or after my babies go to bed, so having lots of paper pieces already cut for me is so great. There is a generous amount of die cuts included that match the style of the kit. I especially like that there are extra verse references on some of the smaller die cuts to also encourage more journaling ideas.

Another way to make journaling a bit easier is lots of stickers! They are all so pretty that I had a hard time using a few in my first day of journaling, because I want to make them last. I like that there are more tab options and they are also bigger than the previous kit’s cardstock sticker tabs. I also like that most of these stickers are fairly small, so that means a lot more to go around.

As I mentioned above, I finally had my aha moment of how I’m going to use the Persevere kit. The great thing about it is, you can use the kit in your own unique way, and I’ve already seen some great ideas from others! My plan is to use 1 devotional card and 1 journaling card per week, so 2 journaling entries per week for a total of 8 entries in the month. I usually start to wane after about 7 or 8 days in past devotionals, so I thought this was a good plan for me. I will also be using the cards in my blank journal as a way to write out some more lengthy prayers than I would typically put in my bible as well as do some scripture writing based on the verses provided. I then will use the other embellishments and stamps to journal the verse on the card in my Bible. If the card doesn’t have a verse, then that’s where the verses on the paper pieces can come in.

I’m really excited to journal through this kit now that I’ve had time to process the change and think through how I’m going to use the pieces to fit my personal style. There’s not just one right way to use the Persevere kit, and I love that the redesign seems to have allowed for more room for creativity and individuality while still working through it together as a community. To purchase your own Persevere kit, click here. I will be doing at least one process video, so make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel here. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I would be happy to answer them!

Please note post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission for sharing products I love to use at no additional cost to you when you purchase through the link. I was given a Persevere kit from Dayspring in exchange for my honest review. 

“I Am” Devotional Kit [Review]

img_1469.jpgThanks to the generosity of Dayspring, I was sent the July Illistrated Faith devotional kit “I Am” to review and showcase as I work through it over the next month. This was my first new kit for 2017, so I was thrilled to see how floral and feminine it was, two things that appeal to me. The pictures do not do this kit justice; it’s even prettier in person. If you would like to see an unboxing video I did, click here to see it on my YouTube channel.

The devotional was written by Melissa Garcia of @pienthesky on Instagram. She is known for her acrylic flowers and beautiful hand-lettering, so the whole design of this set reflects that. But more than that, she has written a 14-day devotional that guides me to dig deeper into who I Am in Christ. I’ve only had a chance to read the first day, but I’m already enjoying her writing style and the prompts that encourage me to reflect.

The first day spoke about being Fearless, which was so timely for me as I have been facing a lot of fears lately. And the great thing about these devotionals is that they aren’t dated, so you can go through this booklet at any time, at any pace. I have a hard time keeping on track with dated reading plans, so this is perfect for people like me.

My favorite part of the kits is always the stamp set, and I have yet to have a floral set, so this was perfect to add to my stash. I don’t have a lot of time to do freehand drawing the way I used to a year ago when I first started Bible journaling, so I’m always looking for stamp sets that appeal to my style. It’s much faster to lay down some paint and stamp over it, especially when I have an active toddler and young infant vying for my attention. But spending time in my Bible is a priority to me, and using the Illustrated Faith devotional kits helps me stay motivated to do just that.

The next part that I really enjoy about this kit is the stickers. I’m so happy that the kits now include alphabet stickers and more embellishments than just the backer card, because it gives me more opportunities to create cohesive entries without too much work. It’s always fun to add extra items from my stash, but it’s nice to have double the options from within the kit itself.

The zipper bag is another new addition this year, and it is so handy! I like to keep all my supplies together while I’m working through the devotional, so the bag helps to accomplish that. It’s the perfect size to fit everything plus a few extras, especially for those that don’t have a travelers notebook to hold the inserts (like me). I’m all about organization and this bag helps with that. And let’s take a minute to admire the washi tape: whoa! I like to add the themed washi tape to each of my Bible entries as well as the devotional itself, and the washi rolls that come with the kits are always a generous amount. The mini floral print on this washi tape is very pretty and includes multiple colors from the theme, so it will look great on every page I create.

Last but not least are the backer card embellishments, margin journaling cards and magnetic bookmark. There are just so many options for illustrating with this kit, and each piece is carefully thought out and designed to enhance the devotional booklet. The ultimate goal of this kit is to “dig deeper” into the Word and who “I Am” in Christ, and I can’t wait to see how God works in me over the next month.

To pick up your own kit, visit this link here. Please note that it is an affiliate link, but it does not cost you any extra. I receive a small commission that helps me to continue bringing reviews to my blog and help support my family in a small way. I appreciate your support! I will also being doing at least one process video of a page I create using this kit, so make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

Please note that I received this kit from Dayspring in exchange for my honest review. I only review products that I truly enjoy and use. Thank you to Dayspring for sending me this kit. 

Through Christ Devotional Completed

I finally made it through all 14 entries of the Illustrated Faith “Through Christ” devotional. It’s taken me since January, but I’m so proud of myself for actually finishing a devotional all the way through. I tend to lose interest before finishing, so it’s nice to know I can actually finish. 

I really enjoyed using a different color for each entry and also trying new techniques with acrylic paint on some of the last few entries. I also spent a lot more time writing out prayers in my Bible to go along with many of the entries. I felt God drawing me back over and over again to His word. That’s the beauty of Bible journaling to me: it’s not just about the art, it’s about how God is working on and speaking to my heart. 

I’m now working my way through the How He Loves Us Devotional from last year, and I will have an exciting new kit to show you in a couple of days. Make sure you are following my blog so you can receive an email every time I post. 

Click here to shop for Illustrated Faith Devotional Kits at Dayspring (affiliate link). 

Woodland Fox Baby Blanket Pattern 

New crochet pattern now available on Ravelry and in my shop: the Woodland Fox Baby Blanket! A great addition to any woodland or rustic themed nursery, and makes a great baby shower gift. 

I’ve had the idea for this blanket in my head for awhile but struggled to figure out how to make it work. Finally late one night as I was going to bed, it finally came to me. So I got to work, and the Fox blanket was born. 

Pattern includes written instructions and a color chart for the fox face. This would be a great introductions to crochet colorwork. Basic knowledge of how to change colors needed for this blanket pattern. 

To purchase, visit my shop here. Also available to download on Ravelry here. Make sure to link your projects on Ravelry! I also offer ready made or custom order Fox blankets in my shop!

Thrive Devotional Journaling Bible [Review]

One of my gifts for Mother’s Day this year was the new Thrive Devotional Journaling Bible, released last September by Tyndale. After looking through this beautiful Bible, I thought it would be fun to write a review for the blog and share my initial thoughts. I’m getting close to retiring my HCSB Illustrators Bible, and the Thrive Bible will be the next one I journal in. I’m excited for the Thrive Bible because not only is it a journaling Bible, but it also contains 365 devotionals, written by Sheri Rose Shepherd. 

Here’s the description from the publisher: “The THRIVE journaling devotional Bible is for every woman who wants to know God more deeply and follow Him more closely. God’s design for His children is that they live flourishing, fulfilling, joy-filled lives in Christ. Bestselling author and beloved conference speaker Sheri Rose Shepherd has devoted over 30 years of her ministry to helping women learn how to thrive in Christ, reflect God’s glory, and gain an eternal perspective. Sheri Rose invites women to join her on a year-long journey through the Bible in the THRIVE. The daily devotionals capture the very heart of her ministry by helping women discover their identity in Christ, God’s purpose and plan for their lives, and how to flourish in a faith that is pure, genuine, and life-giving. Each day’s devotional reading contains a key Scripture, a love letter from God, a reflection from Sheri Rose, a treasure of truth, and a special prayer for the reader. Sheri Rose encourages women to leave all of their concerns and struggles at the foot of the cross so they can truly thrive as the women God created them to be. This beautiful women’s journaling devotional Bible features a natural shabby chic fabric with decorative blue stitching, a THRIVE tag stitched to the front, round corners, cream page edges, and a matching ribbon marker.”

In order to accommodate the extra content while still maintaining a portable size, it is slightly wider than most journaling Bibles. It also has the Biblical text organized as double column instead of single column. However the wider size also means wider margins for more journaling on some pages, especially the devotional pages. The margins are lightly lined to help guide notetaking and written out prayers.  

The New Living Translation is quickly becoming my favorite, and I like how geneologies are listed as a list for easier reading. The daily prayers, book introductions, “treasures of truth,” and character profiles help enhance the text while reading in between the devotionals. I especially like that the devotionals are numbered 1-365, rather than dated (Jan-Dec) so you can start and stop any time of year without feeling guilty to follow a specific date. Each devotional also gives the page number at the bottom for the next devotional, since the placement of the devotionals vary from book to book. 

The light blue and cream color scheme is visually pleasing and not too overpowering.   It has some very subtle flower details, so for those who don’t care for florals won’t find them too noticeable. The pages are thin like most Bible pages, so there is ghosting of the text and color design. However the text font is a good size and still very readable. 

The supplemental material at the front includes a letter from Sheri Rose Shepherd, as well as tips on how to use and study this Bible. A Bible reading plan is included with a convenient checklist to help mark your progress. It is dated, but this is the only section that includes dates and obviously you can ignore that and follow your own pace. Since the focus of this Bible is to guide women through a yearlong journey to Thrive through Bible reading and devotions, there aren’t maps or concordance included in the back. The purpose of this Bible is to speak to a woman’s heart through the various tasks and trials she may face. 

Overall, I highly recommend this Bible for women looking to Journal their way through a yearlong journey of Bible reading and devotions directed towards the thriving heart of a woman. I can’t wait to use this Bible and add my writing and art, as well as my heart, to the margins.

Want to read more Bible reviews? Visit the Bible Reviews page to see all available posts. 

Please note that all pictures and opinions contained in this post are my own. I was not asked to give a review or compensated in any way. I received this Bible as a gift, and I’m expressing my opinion for the benefit of others interested in this Bible. 

Inspire Bible: May the Fourth

“May the Fourth be with you.” Yes it may be silly, but it’s fun! I decided to do a Star Wars page in my Inspire Bible. Yes that’s right. The iconic line from “A New Hope” when Princess Leia is asking for help stuck out to me and reminded me of Psalm 121:1-2 “I look to the mountains–does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” 

I didn’t have the time to paint a galaxy page, which is what I had in mind, so instead I started searching on Pinterest for ideas. The first thing that popped up was a link to this free printable set, which was exactly what I needed. 

I did a quick watercolor background in the margin with my Neocolor II and a waterbrush. I glued down the printable pieces and then added some Alpha stickers. The BB8 and Storm Trooper patches were leftover from an embroidery project I did last year and made the perfect page marker. I may do another Star Wars themed page on the other side to go with the Storm Trooper. That tiny light saber just makes me ridiculously happy. I don’t think I will forget this Psalm anytime soon. 

You can follow me on my new separate Bible journaling account on Instagram @kountingsheepbiblejournaling to see more pages, and to find out if I do another Star Wars one. Happy Star Wars day, and happy Bible journaling!

WIP Wednesday: Loggy Squares Blanket

I am slowly making progress on crocheting one of my old patterns in order to update it. I’m loving these bright cheery squares! These colors together make me so happy. 

For a project like this, I would normally wait until all the squares are made to see them together. However I needed to be able to visualize what they would look like in a row as well as take some measurements, so I’ll be assembling them as I go. It will be fun to see this blanket take shape one row at a time. 

Check back soon to see when the Loggy Squares Blanket Pattern goes live. 

Scrappy Squares Blanket Pattern

Introducing the newly revised Scrappy Squares Blanket Pattern. Knit up all your scrap and leftover yarn into this fun and whimsical blanket. Easy to follow instructions with tips on how to create your own fun Scrappy Squares Blanket. 

Available to download from Ravelry here

Available to download from my Etsy shop here

The Message Canvas Bible [Review]

I had the privilege of winning a copy of The Message Canvas Bible, so I’m going to post my review here. This is my first time with a softcover journaling Bible, and I like the flexibility of the cover. However, I know as I fill it up, it will be harder and harder to keep it closed, and I may consider getting a stretchy band to help with that. 

This is the description from the publisher: “Center your heart and mind on the story of God with The Canvas Bible as you color nearly 300 hand-drawn illustrations, including 150 hand-lettered Bible verses. 

Using The Message’s creative language and vivid metaphors, your imagination will be bursting with ideas for crafting, coloring, and drawing. Meditate on the very words of Scripture, and hear God’s voice speaking to your heart.
Make this Bible one of a kind by adding your own beauty and style. Fill the extra space with your own illustrations and prayers. Immerse yourself in the words of Scripture. Decorate this Bible as a gift for someone you love. Slow down as you color and enjoy a more relaxed pace. Let the story of God paint the canvas of your imagination!”
I really like the style of illustrations in this Bible. It reminds me of an adult coloring book the most out of all the illustrated Bibles I’ve seen. I feel like it would be appealing to both men and women, despite the cover being on the more feminine side (the hardcover watercolor cover version would be a more gender neutral option). The illustrations are more geometric with lots of lines and inner repeating patterns that would make for many hours of meditative coloring while reading scripture. 

This is also my first introduction to The Message translation, which is a modern paraphrase of the Bible. I wouldn’t use this translation for a deep Bible study, which is not its intended purpose anyway. It’s intended to be read like a story to make it easier to understand in today’s language. 

One thing to note about The Message is that it only has numbered chapters and the verses are left unnumbered. This is to allow for easier reading, but makes it harder to find a specific verse in a traditional sense of looking up chapter:verse. 

Each book of the Bible has an illustration at the beginning. I like the variety of lettering and styles used to illustrate each start of the books of the Bible. There is also a variety of plain illustrations as well as lettered illustrations that highlight a verse on the page.

The softcover is slightly larger than my Inspire and Illustrator’s Bibles. I have come to prefer single column journaling Bibles, as it makes the text easier to read as well as offers more room for journaling wherever there is poetry (like Psalms). I also really like that the preprinted illustrations are black outlines. My Illustrator’s Bible has gray outlines, and it makes it difficult to see the illustration once it has been colored. 

I spent some time coloring the Old and New Testament pages, and I was happy to find them not too small to color with a colored pencil. I know in my Inspire Bible that some of the illustrations have parts that are too small to color easily, so I found the Canvas Bible slightly easier to color. I’m excited to spend many more hours reading such a unique translation and coloring the many beautiful pages. 

Want to read more Bible reviews? Visit the Bible Reviews page to see all available posts. 

Please note that all pictures contained within this review are my own. I received a free copy from the publisher as part of a contest, and this review was not required as part of my winning. All opinions expressed within are my own.