18 November 2014

Indie Designer Gift-A-Long 2014

What is a Gift-A-Long, you ask?  Well, it's an opportunity to join with other fiber folks to support independent designers and hopefully get a few Christmas knits done.

And, I'm part of the madness!!!
Until Friday at midnight all of my designs are 25% off!  So are the designs of 293 other designers.  Just use the code "giftalong2014" when you purchase the patterns through Ravelry.  Then, head over to the GAL group to participate in discussion, sharing, and a crazy amount of prizes. Seriously, do it. You won't be disappointed!

Here are a few of my favourite designs. Now I just have to decide which ones I am going to take advantage of the sale to put in my own pattern library!


Symbiotic Cowl


Polar Vortex Thrummed Mittens




05 November 2014

And Suddenly it's November!

 My life. It get's away from me. Daily.

One day it's June 2007 and I'm having my first baby, and the next day it's November, I have no idea what day or year because I've suddenly got 5 kids and the calendar is in the other room!!!

By the persistence of my little sister, Chloe, I did manage to pull myself together enough to gather coordinating outfits, comb through everyone's hair, and meet her for an hour for a photo shoot.

My favourite thing about these pictures?  Atticus's hair. I love it!  He's 2 1/2 and hasn't had a haircut, and I love it.

03 November 2014

The Suit that wouldn't Knit Itself

When I was pregnant with Eli I began crocheting a blessing dress for the much anticipated Baby Blessing that all children in our church receive shortly after they are born. Of course, when Eli was born a boy we realized that he would look much better in a suit than a lacy dress (which was okay, since I had only gotten about 10% done by the time he was born.) So, my lovely sister-in-law, Renee, made me a darling little suit out of the leftover fabric from my wedding dress. It was cute. He was cute. All was happy.

When I was pregnant with Silas I worked a little more on the blessing dress, but again did not get it complete by the time he was born. When he came out a he, I called upon the mad sewing skills of Renee again.  The suit she had made for my tiny little Eli, who was blessed at 6 weeks did not fit my monstrous Silas, who was blessed at 3 months. 

When I was pregnant with Atticus, I got awfully close to finishing the dress.  But, he came out a he as well. So, having made Eli and Silas each their own, Atticus naturally needed one as well.  Enter Renee, and a blessing outfit was made for sweet Atticus as well. Here's the dress (which, incidentally, won the Best In Class Ribbon at the Calgary Stampede Creative Arts and Craft Show): 

Well, seeing as I'm not sure if I will ever have a girl, and not one of my boys have worn anything of my own making, when Machen came out a he I decided I needed to make something for him.  I should have known, seeing as it took me 5 years to make the blessing dress, that this would be no small endeavour, but I dove in anyway. And, after two months of knitting ferociously, I did in fact finish a blessing suit for my sweet Mac.   Isn't he the sweetest thing?!?

The pattern is a Dale of Norway design, from a pamphlet I bought off Ebay.  I used MadTosh Lace, and teeny, tiny needles (size 0 and size 1), so it was basically like knitting with spider webs. Actually, if I consider the stitch count, I probably could have knit Jared an entire outfit of his own with worsted weight yarn - not something I would EVER consider doing.  I posted all about it on my Ravelry page, so feel free to jaunt over their and take a look: jennyvangy's Blessing Suit

16 October 2014

Chicken Fajita Joy

I'm no food blogger, I promise, but I love me some easy, fast meals that will feed the crowd that is my family.  It feels like over the last year I have suddenly acquired two horses that eat their weight at the dinner table.  So, with four eating like adults, I am always searching for good, quick, filling meals.

This one turned out good. It doesn't have a name, because I made it up out of the contents of my refrigerator, so I shall call it Chicken Fajita Joy, because it brings me joy to be done dinner with full, happy children.  I'm blogging it because I want to remember what I did. I don't follow recipes well. Sometimes I see a picture of something on Pinterest, realize I don't have half the ingredients for said goodness in my kitchen, so just wing it. Most nights I forgo the Pinterest step and just make it up from the start. Usually it turns out okay, as long as no baking is involved.

First, I made 3 cups of brown rice.  I always add a few cups of bone broth to my rice for all the nutritious goodness it holds. (I make the bone broth after I cook whole chickens and freeze it in ziplocks for such occasions.)

While the rice was cooking I laid out 4 chicken breasts in a pan.  On top, I sprinkled a liberal amount of my own fajita spice mix. The chicken breasts were frozen, otherwise I would have diced them and mixed them up with the spice. I just diced the chicken after it was cooked in this instance. It turned out just fine.

And, on top of the chicken went sliced peppers and onion, and then some more fajita spice (I like it spicy.)

And, only because I had a tiny amount of leftover cheese in my fridge, I grated and sprinkled that over the mix. We try to avoid dairy as much as we can, but I figured using it up would spare me from irresistible late night grilled cheese sandwich blitzes, so it was worth it.

And then I baked it at 350 degrees for about an hour (actually, until Jared walked through the door and I remembered I had actually put dinner in the oven.)

I cut up the chicken and then served the entire thing on the rice with salsa and sour cream (which in our house is actually just plain yogurt.)  It was super easy, maybe 15 minute actual prep time, and completely delish.

For those who want to know, I make a few spice mixes myself, like the fajita mix, and just leave them in jars. I like to know whats in, or rather, what's not in, my spices.  I put the "recipe" on the lid so that I can always recreate.  Here's the recipe for this fajita mix:


Ever feel like you've been hit by a bus, and the bus just kept on driving, and no one even noticed you lying there bleeding on the sidewalk?  Perhaps I'm being a little overly dramatic, but seriously, I'm kind of feeling that way right now.

Let's review the scene:

1. For the past two years we have been slowly crawling, on our hands and knees, over sharp shards of government red tape (yes, it's sharp and shard-like), through the process of public adoption.  And, every time I think there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel, a torrential storm passes through and the light goes out. We are now waiting for the Aboriginal tribes in Alberta to give us the okay to officially adopt our sweet girl - something they are given the right to do for every public adoption in Alberta. It is not until then that the paperwork will go to a judge to be rubber stamped and we will be given the all clear.

2. I had a baby. Baby # 5. He's sweet. He's cuddly. I love him. But, I had a baby. Baby # 5.  I am exhausted, and overwhelmed, and babies take a lot of work. Who knew?  I hate to admit it, but I don't feel I've had any time to really enjoy this sweet boy whom we've been blessed with. Where are the hours I would like to spend squishing his cheeks and reveling in his newborn freshness?

3. I am homeschooling two children this year, one of whom happens to have special needs. Plus, I've decided to align with the Alberta curriculum this year, so that adds a whole level of stress to our homeschool days - and yes, may also be something I decide to scrap before too long.

4. Last week Jared blessed our baby Machen in our church. Normally, a glorious event, it was in fact one of the most stressful days of my recent life.  Pictures?  I didn't take any. Not one. Instead I had to get my house guests (whom I love) and my own 5 children (whom I also love) dressed and ready for 9 am church (I didn't dress the house guests). I also had to have ready the Thanksgiving dinner for the 55 people who attended, before we left for church.  And, guess what? The Turkey was still bleeding when we came home from church.  Bleeding.  But, against all odds, my house was spotless (sort of), and everyone enjoyed themselves. I was kind of in a state of shock the whole day, and am not sure if I've fully recovered 4 days later.

5. Two weeks ago, amid all of the other goings on, I was called to be the Primary president of our ward.  I know the Lord has a grander plan in mind than I can see, and I trust in him implicitly, but seriously?!? Honestly, I feel underqualified, and unfit for the task. But, I also have faith: faith that the Lord will carry me through this, show me what it is he wants me to do, and bless me and my family for doing just that.  Still...

And those are just the actual events. It doesn't take into account the piles of laundry, the constantly rotating boxes of clothes that are cluttering my home continually, the piano and cello practices, the basketball and art lessons, the potty training, breastfeeing, dinner making and so on.  Here I am.  Me.  I'd like to be doing so much more than I am, but feel like despite all there is to do, I'm not really doing all that much in the first place.

Okay, how do I end a blog post like this. This was not a call for sympathy or a cry for help, just an attempt to air it all out, a therapy session in 10 minutes on my blog.  That is all.

28 August 2014

Smocked - A Knitting Pattern

I have always loved little smocked dresses: you know, the kinds I wore in the early 80s as a baby.  It wasn't until recently that I realized I could combine my love for the height of 80s baby fashion with knitting.  Thus was born, Smocked.

First off, let's all pretend we don't recognize that sweet baby wearing that beautiful dress. I've only got one baby, after all!

The pattern is written so that you can make it either a dress or a shirt, with simple, perfect smocking across the front, dainty puffed sleeves, yet simple raglan, seamless construction.

Oh, and the button band on the back is off centre, which for some reason I think is oh. so. cute!

Of course I think you all should knit this immediately, but don't take my word for it. Check out the other knitters on Ravelry who have knit it up: 

So, buy it. Buy it now.  Just click on this little button right here to do so >>>>>>>>>>

18 August 2014

Family Photos, a year later!

Last September we had family photos taken.  I couldn't share them right away, because the adoption plans were still in the works. But the photos are gorgeous, so I want to share them now, even though these kidlets are a whole year older, and we've added yet another since then.  


All of us together:

And, the whole Evans clan. Since this picture, three babies have been added.  It's just a little out of control!

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