Finish or Frog In 2017

unfinished projects title

How many unfinished projects do you have hiding around your home?  While cleaning my craft area, I decided to gather all my unfinished projects together.

In no particular order, I have:

  • purple / Teal headband and fingerless glove set
  • alpaca shawl
  • blue nutmeg sweater
  • purple bamboo cabled gloves
  • shell stitch baby blanket
  • flower hexagon blanket
  • granny square blanket
  • grocery bag holder
  • bamboo sweater
  • crochet blue / brown basket
  • pop tart phone cozy
  • rainbow novelty scarf
  • suede bottom slippers
  • black / white cotton fingerless mitts
  • alpaca cowl
  • striped sock yarn bag
  • purple / mint cable headband
  • silk slippers
  • pink i-chord
  • blue cowl (hat?)
  • purple cable cup cozy
  • outline wrap
  • sundance beach bag
  • 2 color hot pad set
  • dark green hot pad set
  • pencil scarf (pillow?)
  • radiant circle throw
  • traveling cable handwarmers
  • lazy weekend socks
  • grey / green hat
  • family mittens sparkly blue / mint

I’m setting a goal for myself to Finish or Frog (rrrriiiiiipppp-it apart) at least 17 of my unfinished non-blanket or shawl projects in 2017. I am not including the blankets or shawls because I know I can’t finish that much in just three months. Plus, the granny square blanket is my scrap project, it will take years to get it finished.

I would love to have you join me in my challenge!  Head over to Instagram, post pictures of your unfinished projects, and use the hashtag #finishorfrogit2017 ! Check in on our Facebook page with pictures of your progress!  I’m even on Twitter to share and celebrate finishing our neglected projects. Let’s see how many projects we can get finished together!

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Fall is a time for crafts!

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Every season has a focus for me.  Summer is all about family road trips and camping.  Winter is storm season here, so we hunker down and spend time together at home.  Spring is a time of renewal, I’m ready to clean and declutter my house and start planning for summer.

Fall is all about crafting.  It is this time of year that I start organizing my craft room and thinking of projects to do.  Last week I posted about organizing my yarn stash.  This week I’ve been looking at my unfinished projects.

There is a sweater, that just needs one sleeve.  A pencil scarf that is only half done.  A shawl that has just a few rows.  A couple of sets of hot pads begun and set down.  At least two headbands and four hats.  The never ending granny square afghan I started for using up my scraps.  And another crochet afghan that was given to me in pieces that just needs a few center blocks, then it will be ready to put together.

I tend to be a bit ADHD when it comes to my projects.  I love to start new projects!  The thrill of a new pattern and excitement of a new item get me going.  Then my interest wanes as my attention is distracted by another shiny new project.

I have set a goal to finish all of my started projects, except the granny square blanket, before the new year.  How do you manage all your unfinished projects?  Are you one that finishes each one before beginning another?  Do you limit how many you have going at once?  Or, are you like me, and you realize just how many projects you have started only when you clean your craft room?

Follow me over on Instagram to watch my progress!

 

Organizing My Yarn Stash

yarn stash title

This weekend I decided it was time to try and organize my yarn stash.  As an avid knitter and crocheter, I have my fair share of yarn.  Some new and soft still in it’s lovely paper wrapper.  Some old and vintage of questionable ingredients.  Some still in tight skeins, some random small hand wound balls, some half used falling apart skeins.

craft roomMy craft area isn’t very large, and lacks storage.  Most of my yarn stash lives in totes stacked against the wall.  As I use my yarn in projects, I tend to leave the remains all around my house.  Stuffing them into one over full dresser drawer in the craft room when I clean up.

Every few months, I take the time to pull out my totes and try to make some semblance of the yarn stash and WIPs (Works In Process).

yarn stash

This year I discovered a wonderful new tool for organizing my yarn stash!  The YazyCraft Ball Winder turned out to be a real lifesaver!  For under $15 with my prime membership, I had an amazing little tool to help me organize my yarn stash.

Not only was it super easy to use, it quickly made yarn cakes that stored nicely and didn’t make my hand cramp from rolling all the yarn balls!

yazycraft 1

I had a couple of complete skeins that had been damaged in storage that needed to be rewound.  Before the ball winder, I would have spent a good amount of time hand winding the yarn into manageable yarn balls.  With the ball winder, I was able to wind an entire skein into four lovely cakes in less than ten minutes.

yazy one skein

A gallon zipper baggy holds the cakes nice and neat with their band so I know what I have and can match if needed.  Larger batches of yarn or in progress projects fit nicely in 2 gallon zipper bags.

Have you seen the multi-color yarn cakes in the stores?  Such pretty combinations just ready to go for a crafty project.  With my ball winder and my scrap yarns, I can make my own multi-color cakes.  I was so excited to see how this one came out!

multicolor yarn ball

I am excited to use all those tiny balls of scrap yarn to make my own multi-color yarn cakes.    Nothing goes to waste!

Plus, is there anything prettier than a freshly wound yarn cake?

yarnball

*This post contains sponsored links from www.amazon.com.  I was not paid to do this post or review of the YazyCraft Ball Winder .  However, if you use the link to purchase I will receive a small compensation.  Thanks for checking it out and helping to support my bloggy habits!*

Black and White Photo Challenge

Last weekend a friend posted a fun challenge on Facebook.  Take one photo each day in black and white for one week.  No people, no selfies, and no explanation for the photos.  I’ve really enjoyed the process.  I decided that I would set an alarm on my phone for 5pm each day.  Then take a picture of whatever was in front of me.

Head over to instagram to check out my photos in the series.  I’d love to see more people join in the fun.  I’m using the hashtag #blackandwhitephoto.

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Family Cleaning Day

Each weekend, our family goes in a lot of different different directions.  Sometimes we are rushing to get the trailer loaded for a weekend trip.   Sometimes it’s all about grocery shopping and errands out of town.  One thing that doesn’t usually get skipped is a family cleaning session.

The beauty of having teenagers is that I can assign each person a room or area and have the whole house clean in less than an hour.  Even on weeks when we don’t do much more than the minimum all week, I know we can have the house clean in a morning.

What weekend event do you do each weekend?

family cleaning

Dinner And A Movie

dinner and a movie

Ever since we bought our trailer, I have wanted to watch this epic film.  I love Lucille Ball in everything I’ve seen.  Her special brand of slapstick just tickles me.  I had seen bits and pieces of this movie, but never the whole thing.  It took me a few months before I finally ordered it off Amazon.  It arrived a few days later and we were ready for dinner and a movie.

Hubby and I decided to have a night in.  I cooked some pork chops, kernel corn, and fried apples.  We settled in together to watch “The Long Long Trailer”.  Oh my!  I laughed until I cried.  Hubby and I kept looking at each other and commenting about our own adventures on the many road trips over the years.  My favorite scene is when Taci is trying to cook dinner while they are mired in the mud.  As the eggs slide right off the frying pan, I remember all the times I ended up cooking dinner in the rain while we tent camped.

Bonus recipe!

My great grandmother used to cook fried apples every single night.  I stayed with my great grandparents for a couple weeks when I was fifteen.  She cooked the same thing every night.  Each person got a fried chicken thigh, about half a cup of mashed potatoes with pan gravy, and half a fried apple.  I got real tired of that dinner.  When they both passed away later that same year, I actually missed the fried apples.  Thankfully, while I was there, she showed me her recipe.

You will need:

apples (I prefer more tart apples for this, but any will work)
cinnamon
sugar
butter

 

fried apples peel

Peel, core, and slice the apples.  I like to use my fruit peeler because it peels, slices and cores the apples all at once.

fried apples rings

I cut each spiral cut apple in half for bite sized apple slices.

fried apples sliceStart to fry the apples in a frying pan with some melted butter over medium heat.

fried apples spiceSprinkle the apple slices with cinnamon and sugar.

Stir frequently while the apples slowly fry over the medium heat.  You want to cook them until they are just starting to become translucent, but don’t turn into apple sauce.  They are a wonderful side dish for pork chops, or just a lovely snack for fun.

*This post contains sponsored links from www.amazon.com.  I was not paid to do this post or review of the The Long Long Trailer .  However, if you use the link to purchase I will receive a small compensation.  Thanks for checking it out and helping to support my bloggy habits!*

Destination: Thousand Trails Chehalis

thousand mini golf title

When we bought Bessie, our new travel trailer, we received a one year membership to Thousand Trails.  Normally, this membership would cost us $565!  Because we live and purchased in the northwest region, we have 18 campgrounds available to us to try out.  We decided to start with the one that was closest to home and we were not disappointed!  We started with Thousand Trails Chehalis.

I love that we can be camping, but still have almost a resort feel.  There are lots of trails, two pools (one family, one adults only), basket ball courts, tennis courts, volleyball courts, lots of trails, two lodges to gather at, a small store, plus so much more!  There is a mini-golf course, though the last time we went, it was closed for repairs.

thousand pool

Their campsites are mostly partial hook up, though there are a few that are full hook up.  There are several dump stations on site, if you aren’t able to score one of the full hook up spots.  The entire place is nice and clean.  All the rangers and staff have been very welcoming.

If you have a membership, I definitely recommend this campground.  I know we have been enjoying it multiple weekends this summer!

thousand site

Food Destination: Miners Drive In

Miners burgers destination

If you are ever in Yakima, Washington, you should totally bring your appetite to Miner’s Drive In!  Their delicious burgers are the size of a frisbee.  Their shakes are thick, and big enough to share.  The onion rings are made with fresh Walla Walla Sweet onions, making them some of the best I’ve had.

Whether you choose to sit in the dining area, or outside at a picnic table, your sure to leave with your belly full.  Even my two teenager boys are satisfied with their portions!

Miners selfie

Lessons Learned: Packing for the trip.

Five lessons I have learned when packing for an extended camping trip in the trailer.

  1. Teen boys do not do a good job packing clothes.  At least, not mine.  This often means they have too little underwear and too many hoodies.  I have two choices for this, I can micromanage them and go through their clothes before we leave (frustrating for all).  Or, I can let them deal with the consequences, and see them wear the same outfit for more than they should.  I most often choose the latter.
  2. Dogs are not helpful when packing the trailer.  Two of our dogs love camping.  When they see me start putting things in the trailer, they often plant themselves on the couch in the trailer.  They refuse to move or leave for fear of being left behind.  This is especially frustrating when we aren’t leaving until the next day.
  3. We always forget something important.  It doesn’t matter how many lists I make and check.  It doesn’t matter if I start packing a week in advance, or we decide on a whim to go.  We will forget something.  Examples over the years have included: pillows (often), cast iron pan, towels, clothes (see number 1), hatchet, lighter, medications, camp chairs, etc.  We are getting better about this, but every trip, at least one thing will be forgotten.  Usually, we just deal without it.  Sometimes we decide it is worth purchasing on the way.
  4. Cell phones are great when parking the trailer; until you don’t have any service.  When parking the trailer, hubby is in the truck with is cell on speaker.  I am behind the trailer watching for obstacles and helping to line it up.  This works pretty well.  No yelling across the campground, very little “what did you say?”.  We have yet to camp in a spot without any service.  I’m sure this is coming, and it is going to be frustrating.  I’ve already added “walkie talkies” to our wish list for the trailer.
  5. You can never have enough water and food.  I tend to over pack for food and water.  Chalk it up to paranoia of being without services and trapped by some unforeseen event.  I always over pack food and water.  I have never regretted this decision.

What are some lessons you have learned when packing for a trip?

Marco packing

Lessons Learned: The right gear makes your life easier.

Having the right tool for the job always makes the job more efficient.  Having the right gear when towing and camping makes your life easier.  For some of the gear, it makes your life safer too!

Extended mirrors on the tow vehicle are a must have in my opinion.  We drive a large truck with big mirrors.  With our mirrors at their regular placement, I cannot see down the side of my trailer very well.  Most of my view is blocked by the trailer itself.  With the mirrors extended, I can see all the way down the side of the trailer.  With the small beveled mirror on the bottom, I can see the road all along the trailer to cut down on blind spots.  In the picture below, we are going around a corner, and I can still see a fair amount down the side of the trailer.  The more you can see, the safer you are going down the road.

A cordless power drill makes set up and take down so much easier!  We keep a handheld cordless power drill in the storage bay with our set up / take down gear.  Hubby put a socket on it that fits our landing gear.  No fussing with that silly bar to get the gear up or down, ZIP ZIP ZIP ZIP and all four feet are down.  Setting up in a new site is quick and easy.  While hubby gets the tongue jack set up, I quickly walk around the trailer putting down pieces of wood for the landing gear and putting in the wheel chocks.  Once he has the tongue jack secure, he walks around with the cordless drill and just zips the landing gear down.  Then he pulls the level out, I run the electric tongue jack to level the trailer.  We are generally set up within ten minutes.

All the comforts of home are already there.  When we bought Bessie, hubby and I agreed, we wanted the trailer to be as ready as possible to just hook up and go.  We wanted to be able to just grab some food, a change of clothes, load up the dogs, and hit the road.  So, we gathered and bought household items to live in the trailer.  I color coded as much as possible.  When we come back and do laundry, it is easy to tell what towels and washcloths go in the trailer.  All the brown or purple go in the trailer.  An extra set of bathroom items are already in the medicine cabinet.  I knew I didn’t want to be dependent on paper plates.  I bought a cheap set of dishes for the trailer.  They are a different color than our in home dishes, so children can easily tell what needs to go back in the trailer after we bring them in for sanitizing in the dishwasher.  I bought an electric coffee maker for when we have electric hook ups, and have my percolator for when we don’t.  I keep all my camping pans and cooking utensils in there, so we are ready to prepare a meal.  I also keep a small amount of shelf stable food in the trailer.  Over the past few months, we have slowly built up the trailer to be as set up as possible without packing.  If I wanted to go camping today, all I would need to grab is our pillows, daily medications, some clothes, water, and fresh food.  I love knowing that we are that close to getting out and camping.

the right gear