April 30, 2013

Subtle Cowl Pattern

  I recently knit my favorite thing ever.

Well...my favorite thing ever besides this hat

You see it all started with this yarn. 
photo from eatsleepknit
This beautiful, subtle yarn. I bought it in December at the yarn store I used to frequent every Friday night in college. 

Wild and crazy gal right here. 

Thank goodness they didn't carry Madeline Tosh when I was in school otherwise my husband would have kicked my butt for how much debt I was bringing into our marriage. 

But I found this yarn and I squeezed it. 
I 'oohed' and 'awwwed' over it. 
And my husband told me to buy it. He actually encouraged me to buy it. 

My search for the perfect pattern showing off the subtle color changes began. I checked out stitch pattern books from the library, spent hours on ravelry trying to find a pattern and cast on then ripped out this cowl almost a dozen times. 

Anything somewhat complicated made the color shifts get lost in the pattern. I needed something simple. Something basic. Something that really highlighted the natural beauty of this yarn. 

This pattern is simple. 
So simple that I feel silly for writing it out, but maybe you are searching for something like I was and this will be the perfect pattern for your yarn.

If you are looking for a pattern that really lets your yarn shine, here it is.
 ~ Subtle Cowl Pattern ~
(want a print friendly version? Click here)

Yarn: 1 skein of Madelinetosh Pashmina yarn or around 350 yards of another sport weight yarn. 
The Madelinetosh yarn shown is the 'Alizarin' colorway.
Needles: US Size 8 Circulars, 24" length
Notions: Tapestry Needle, Stitch Marker

This pattern creates a cowl that is long and is able to be wrapped around your neck once.
  Height - Approximately 8 inches tall after blocking
Gauge - 5.5 stitches wide per inch
If you would like to increase or decrease the pattern, do so in increments of 2 stitches.

(if you need any help with how to do any of these, check out Lion Brand's website)
K - Knit
s1wyif - bring yarn in the front, slip one stitch knitwise, bring yarn to the back

Cast on 220 stitches.
I used the knitted cast on (found here), but if you have a different stretchier version you prefer, go hog wild.
Join in the round without twisting any stitches and add a stitch marker at the first stitch.
Row 1: Knit all stitches
 Row 2: s1wyif, K1 * repeat until end of round
Row 3: Knit all stitches
Row 4: K1, s1wyif * repeat until end of round
 (note: this stitch pattern is also known as the half-linen stitch)

Knit these four rows until you get the desired height of your cowl or until you only have enough yarn left to bind off. 

Bind off using your preferred method. Your bind off needs to be stretchy and elastic though. I recommend and love Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off (found here).

~ With Love, Ashlee ~

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April 25, 2013

Blog Vomit - Round II

I haven't been hanging around here much lately so I would like to extend my apologies to all my readers (hi mom!) about that. I get a little bit introverted at times and just want to hang out with me, my husband and my puppy and not share a thing about my life. Other times I want to go, 'Look at me, look at me! I did something cool and/or I made some yummy vegan mocha fudge sauce!'

I am trying to not be quite so introverted and I think that my husband wants me to stop talking just to him about the delicious vegan mocha fudge sauce that I made.

There really isn't any cohesiveness in today's post, just a little hodge podge of what has been happening lately around here...

a) Two weeks ago we took our 'little brother' to Stone Mountain, Georgia to climb the giant stone mountain there. As someone who grew up in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, the idea of a 'stone mountain' in the middle of nowhere didn't make any sense. When it was described to me the first few times, I was like, 'So it's a mountain made out of entirely stone? No dirt? No grass? It's just hanging out without a single other hill around it?' 

And yeah, it is just hanging out and people climb it.

Just hanging out with our thumbs out on top of a stone mountain. If you look real close right over John's right shoulder, you will see downtown Atlanta.

b) I woke up at 6:30 am today (yeah me!). I have been crazy productive thanks to all the caffiene I started to ingest at such any early hour. The big downside of getting up so early though is that by 4pm, I have already eaten all of my alloted calories for the day. 

Damn you vegan mocha fudge sauce!!!

c) Have I mentioned yet that I made a vegan mocha fudge sauce today? It is crazy delicious. 

 Photo and recipe courtesy of the 'Love Food Eat' blog

I tried it in both a cup of hot coffee with a little almond milk and then in a big glass of almond milk with just a little bit of coffee. I think that the best way to enjoy it though is going to be by having some on top of pureed frozen bananas like a vegan ice cream sundae. Oh and with strawberries!! 

It is taking a lot of willpower to wait until tomorrow to enjoy that.

d) I was originally going to do an outfit post today but after further review of the photos, I decided that I hated my outfit. But I did love my hair, so here are a few photos of what my hair looked like yesterday. 

I have been wearing my hair curly now almost exclusively because of my new favorite product in the world. 

Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curl Cream

Miss Jessie's, I will happily be a spokeswoman for you because this curl cream is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. 
But please, stop making this smell like dryer sheets.

e) Yesterday my 'little brother' and I went and saw 'The Croods' together. It was really stinking adorable. I cried so hard during that movie that I had to hide the tears streaming down my face. As visually beautiful as it was, definitely not worth the extra $75 to see it in 3-D.

f) We are having people over this weekend for a BBQ/law school final studying session. Wives and girlfriends are coming over and this is the first time that I have ever had another female in my home since college that isn't a family member (that sounds so weird to write but it is true). I have suddenly grown very self conscious of where I live and am trying to look around trying to figure out what needs to be cleaned/fixed. There are so many things that we need to do, but since it is a rental, our hands are tied/super lazy on some things. All I know for certain though is that our copy of 'Everyone Poops' will be proudly displayed on top of the toilet. 

That's about all I got for now. See ya tomorrow!

~With Love, Ashlee~

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April 16, 2013

I'm Back!

Oh my goodness....

It took about three weeks and I consumed countless bottles of wine and cups of coffee (and maybe a bag or two of vegan chocolate chips) but I am finally done with my business taxes!!

My sweet, dear, patient, loving husband stayed up with me until 2am Monday morning to finish them with me. The whole time we had a mantra that we kept repeating - 'It is not the end of the world.' 

When you are a small business owner, it is hard to know what your tax burden is going to be. There is no monthly withdrawal from an employer based upon your salary. I have to do it myself, and my income isn't steady. Some months are awesome, some are slower, and you always have to make sure you set aside money for taxes. 

This was our fourth time doing taxes since I started my business and I am still learning the accounting/tax side of it. My brain is not set up to understand excel spreadsheets well and my husband is a excel spreadsheet GOD so I just let him set up the formulas and I enter in all the information. Every year I figure out things to do differently and this year was the closest that we have ever come to the deadline thanks to some accounting hiccups I created.

The best thing about doing taxes and inventory though is seeing where your business stands. I grasp a better idea of what I own, what I have had sitting around for too long and how much I actually spend on supplies. 

Also, with counting over 2500 different items that I have on hand (yeah....I have a lot of beads), I always find things that I forgot about and get new ideas on ways to use what I have on hand.

So here's to making this upcoming tax season even better than last and as my husband shouted at 2am early Monday morning...

~With Love, Ashlee~

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April 1, 2013

Tax Sale!

Hey Everyone!

So I currently have 2,478 excel spreadsheets open on my lap top and mounds of receipts all over my office floor. 

I am doing my accounting and taxes for 2012. 


Worst thing about being a small business owner (besides having to deal with health insurance) is the whole accounting/taxes aspect of it all. I am terrible at it, I put it off and I beg my husband for help with creating various formulas that supposedly calculate things for me.

I have a busy two weeks ahead of me with trying to figure out this stuff so I decided to go ahead and have a sale in both of my etsy stores while I sit here, eat some dark chocolate and cuss to my puppy about how unfun math is.

I recently added a lot of new things to my stores, and right now you can get the new items as well as the rest of the items for 15% off!

First up - some bright, hand painted, color block brass earrings in various shades of spring and summer.

Find them here!

I have some new chan luu inspired wrap bracelets which feature some fun new buttons. Is that elephant not adorable?!?

Find them here!

Lastly, some sweet cameo lockets. Blush pink, cornflower blue and classic black are all available. 

Find them here!

Check out both 'My Sweet Nomsa' & 'Nomsa' on etsy to see all of my items that are 15% off. 

Everything is on sale right now, so if you have had your eye on something, now is your chance!

Have a great evening everyone!!

~ With Love, Ashlee ~

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