real. simple. happiness.

Well, well. December 21.
I've thought about getting over to this space all month.
I have also thought about knitting.
And, about your knitting. And, how busy a lot of YOU are knitting!
L O V E that!
I, on the other hand, have knit about 2 rows in the last several weeks. I know, I know. Shocking. I have a pretty good reason.
The chalkboard place mats were included in Real Simple's 50 gifts under $50 and I have been beautifully swamped. I feel extremely humbled and blessed.
I don't take for granted all of you. My entire reason I started that little business in the first place. You gave me the motivation and the inspiration. Truly, I couldn't be more grateful.
(This double rainbow showed up today. It was a lovely gift.)
I plan on getting my knitting back on. Very, very soon. I dream of all of it. Sweaters, shawls, hats, mittens and socks.
My wish to you is the same. Real, Simple happiness...
the merriest of Christmas's and the happiest of holidays!


Goodness gracious. Where did that month go?
Thanksgiving was spent in Florida. There really is so much to be thankful for.
A photo was taken to let you know how thankful I am. I can't believe I'm just now getting here to let you know. I love this community we are all a part of. I feel very blessed to be a part of it.
So, tomorrow's a big day. The countdown begins.
I have a hat and some fingerless gloves on the needles.
How about you?
Who's knitting what?
Please let us all know.
And, thanks so much for stopping by.

a winner

I honestly wish everyone could get a copy of this book. There really are some terrific, quick projects for all knitting levels.
The random number generator chose #97, Cameron. Please e-mail me with your address and I'll be sure the book lands in your hands.

60 more quick knits... just in time.

I love these books so, so much. 60 patterns. All made with the same yarn. How much better can it get.
Just in time for gift giving.
I almost slapped a post-it note on each and every page. That's how much I loved each and every pattern.
Scarves. Cable, lace, color work. I really love that one up there... knit in a tube. (There is a beautiful fair isle tube scarf, too.) I wish I would have taken a photo of the double knit checkerboard scarf and the basketweave pocket scarf. (SO many beautiful scarves.)
And those wave-cuff mittens up there... L O V E. The lacy cuff is knit separately and attached later. And then, buttoned closed! (You know how I love to pick out the perfect button.)
The colorblock cap. This one totally caught my eye. It is worked section by section with short rows and pieced together. The rib band added last.
Who doesn't love an ear flap hat for those super cold days. Love the colors they chose for this one.
The convertible mitten-gloves. I've made fingerless mittens... but never gloves. Would love to give it a try. And those stripes are just too cute.
Bobbled gauntlets? Yes, please. Adore those!

I have one book to give away. If interested, please leave a comment between now and Friday the 18th at 5 p.m. EST. I will have the random generator choose a name.


It took me a while to put this sweater together. It also took me a while to get photos. I can only blame that on daylight savings time and the color. The color of the yarn.
While I love everything about this sweater, I have one regret that I didn't make it in the natural color. Something about those cables... look so good in natural.
Pattern: Aidez
Yarn: Berroco peruvia quick, 9 hanks 9165 indigo.
Needles: 10.5 US
Size: Small

I do love it. It is a pretty quick knit resulting in a sweater that can be thrown on just about all of the time. I really like the long lines and drape. Soooo many people have made this telling you the balance of this project totally works. Easy yet challenging. Chunky yarn that makes it quick yet requires a bit of brain power to slow you down.
Thanks Berroco, for yet another wonderful pattern.

can't get enough

Oh boy.
Is it really November 7th!
Halloween came and went. (That seems like that was a month ago.)
A little girl turned 14. (I can't believe it. Stop the insanity.)

And these snicker-doodle brownies became a new favorite. (Thanks to my friend, Amy, for sharing the recipe.)
You should really go and get your 2 sticks of butter out of the refrigerator to soften. Now. (You will only need 3/4 cup.)
You won't be sorry.
Only sorry you will have to make them again. And again.
We couldn't even wait for them to cool before we iced.
Snicker-doodle Brownies:
2 1/3 cups flour :: 1 1/4 tsp baking powder :: 1/2 tsp salt :: 3/4 cup butter, softened :: 1/ 1/4 cups granulated sugar :: 1/2 cup packed brown sugar :: 3 eggs :: 1 tsp vanilla
Cinnamon Mixer:
1 Tablespoon sugar :: 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar :: 2 Tablespoons milk :: 1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350˚. Butter bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan. Mix together butter and sugars until blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients.
Spoon half of the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon mixer on top. Using the remaining batter, place teaspoon sized dollops on top of the cinnamon mixture covering all the pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for one hour (yeah right). Drizzle icing on top.

this morning

Our extremely, exiting way to start the day.
And, a finished project that just needs to be sewn together.

Have a beautiful weekend!

ebook winners

The random number generator chose numbers:
127: Lori Ann. You won the ebook AND the lovely malabrigo (up there!) to make the capelet.
16: Knit and Purl Mama. You, too, won an ebook.
Please email Nichole (bg at bluegirlknits dot com) and she can get you your goods!

Oh! And, Nichole is going to run the discount on the ebook until the end of day tomorrow, Wednesday, October 25th. Enter "friend11" at checkout to receive $3 off.


You know Nichole, right?
Nichole is a fabulous designer who now has an ebook, consisting of five patterns that came out at the first of October. All patterns are made out of Malabrigo... gotta love that. Nichole's patterns are extremely well written and easy to follow. I love how she includes the skill level and yarn weight with each pattern. I feel, it is extremely important to choose a pattern within your skill level so you don't get frustrated. I wish all patterns had this detail. The end result is not only beautiful but looks absolutely fun to wear.
Pumpkin patch leg warmers. Made out of Malibrigo Sock. Skill level, easy. I love the ruched look here.
Autumnal vest. Made out of Malibrigo Rasta. Skill level intermediate. I really dig this vest. Plus, chunky yarn = instant gratification.
The foliage hat. Made out of Malabrigo Lace. Skill level, Intermediate. I love this cable and colorwork hat with the tree motif. Nichole really knows her hats. (And looks super cute in them!) Remember, Nichole is the one who designed piece of pi. You can make a few hats from the yarn you need for one, just like you can with the piece of pi.
Gathering Mitts. Made out of malabrigo worsted and rios. Skill level, intermediate. These mitts have an outer lace mitt and an inner felted mitt! They are worked together and once knit, thrown into the washing machine so the inner mitt will felt while the out mitt remains the same. Two pairs of mitts can be made from the yarn for one!
Harvest Capelet. Made out of Malabrigo Silky Merino. Skill level, intermediate. (Yes, intermediate.) The silky merino makes this have a perfect drape. Lace work and bead work adorn this capelet, and the silky merino makes this have a perfect drape.

Guess what? Nichole would like to give away an ebook, which includes all five wonderful patterns, to TWO of my readers... and not only that, but one person will not only get the ebook but will also get the yarn to make the harvest capelet!

So, if interested, leave a comment here before Tuesday October 25th at 12 pm EST and the random number generator will choose the two names.

Oh! And if you can't wait to see if you won, you can purchase the ebook here or on ravelry here at $3.00 off by entering the coupon code "friend11" at checkout. That code will expire at 12pm Tuesday.

i see them everywhere

I really do.
The way the tape measure fell next to my desk. (I swear to absolute goodness. It made me gasp.)
Under the coffee maker. (I know, right!?)
And then, there. In the sugar, on the snickerdoodle pie.
Could it be any cuter?!
This morning, a big glob of jelly landed on the counter. You guested it... shaped like a heart.
Not sure exactly what it all means. Maybe I should have been a heart doctor?
I don't love the ingredients in this one. However, Charlie asked for the original snickerdoodles. Not just "cinnamon" cookies. I must say, they are pretty darn good. I didn't feel like rolling them into balls, therefore, decided to press it into the pan.
Snicker doodle cookies:
1 cup crisco (not my favorite ingredient) :: 1 1/2 cup sugar :: 2 eggs :: 1/2 tsp vanilla :: 2 3/4 cup flour :: 2 tsp cream of tarter :: 1 tsp baking soda :: 1/2 tsp salt.
-Cream crisco, sugar and eggs, add vanilla and then dry ingredients. Spread in 8" round pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. (1 tbls sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon)
Bake at 350˚ for 15-20 minutes.

My friend, Amy, shared a snickerdoodle brownie recipe. Those are up next. I'll let you know how those turn out.

my first guest blogger... and i love what she is doing.

Hi! My name is Marguax from the blog tentenknits. Leslie was kind enough to have me guest blog and for that I couldn't be more grateful.

We both have a passion for knitting. For most people they may do it once the weather gets cooler or maybe when a gift is needed. For me it is a year round obsession. Bamboo and cotton for summer, a wool blend for fall and alpaca for winter. I am a knitter obsessed. I knit so often these days that I can't imagine what it would be like to lose control of my hands and not be able to do the craft I love so much. Sadly it is something I can't say could never happen.

Let me tell you about Nick. Nick is the father on one of my closest friends, Torry. We met my freshman year at Boston College and I immediately gained an irreplaceable friend and new family. Nick and his wife Debbie quickly became foster parents to myself and my roommates. Her and Nick's generosity to us during those years was incalculable.

I guess it's no surprise years later it is their names that were on all of our wedding guest lists. No list was complete without Debbie and Nick.

Recently, Nick was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. If you've read the book Tuesdays with Morrie then I am sure you know exactly what that means. Already ALS has caused him to require hlp doing things we take for granted everyday - eating and breathing.
One of my most popular patterns is the 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf. I had been thinking of making a chunkier cowl version and only until recently did I find my reason to get it done. Go here and make a donation to Team All About Nick. Once you do, email me at (margaux at tentenknits dot com) and I will send you the pattern. It doesn't matter to me what you donate, just do what you feel comfortable with.

I know I can never repay all that Nick and Debbie have done for me during those years but I hope you'll help me raise enough to make a difference in their life and the lives of all those who suffer with ALS.

knit on,

. . . . . . . . . .

I really love that cowl. And the 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf, too. I'm in the process of finding some yarn to make the cowl in grey. You should join me!

saving sunday

Sarah has decided to save Sunday's.
Just a tiny bit of the day.
{This is the moment I noticed the white picnic table in our backyard. Under the trees. Half in the pachysandra, half in the grass. It is rotting with chipping paint and should be taken to the dump. I can't bare the thought. And today, it looked amazing decorated with the fallen leaves. I'm pretty sure I'll keep it around for another year. If it can weather another winter.}
Join along if you'd like.
Here's to another beautiful week!

kendama winners

So sorry to keep all you Kendama lovers waiting! I wish I could bake you a cake.
Libby used the above from Trader Joes's to make cupcakes. Pretty darn good. I would buy both again, in a minute. Probably because I love the packaging so much!
Okay... the five Kendama winners:
202: orinda7
14: susie
191: Robert Heister
315: Missy
Please e-mail me (address in side-bar) with your contact info so your Kendama's can get into action!
If interested in ordering off the KendamaUSA website, there are still about 15 orders left to receive the 15% off. (Enter the code "afriendtoknitwith" at checkout.)
Enjoy this day!

kendama craze... and a giveaway

Have you seen these things?
They are what my boys are currently obsessed with.
I mean obsessed. They are called Kendama's and they originated in the 1600's. I couldn't be happier that it has caught their attention. Keeping them off the video games and computer.
As written on the KendamaUSA website,
"The stylish kendama is an extremely addictive wooden skill toy that comes from Japan. It strengthens hand eye coordination, balance and reflex. It can be played by young and old alike. There are endless trick possibilities for the beginner and the seasoned master."
My boys stand for hours.
I mean HOURS, trying to master a new skill.
These guys from the KendamaUSA pro team make it look easy. Mental determination at its finest.
Girls love them, too. As Charlie's friend, Rachel is displaying. (Hi Rachel.)
I contacted the fine folks at KendamaUSA to tell them how happy I was with their product and to tell them I wanted to share this awesome wooden toy with my readers. Guess what they said? They would love to give away a Kendama to 5 (FIVE) of my readers! So, if interested, leave a comment by Tuesday, October 4, at 5pm, and I will have the random generator choose 5 names. I guarantee if you're not the one interested you surely know someone that would love one. They make awesome gifts, too.
If you enter and can't wait to see if you win, you can purchase one here. KendamaUSA will give a 15% discount to the first 50 people who buy. Enter the code "afriendtoknitwith" to receive a 15% discount at checkout!

Happy October!

the two winners and a lunch menu

My friend, Amy, had our little knitting group for lunch today. Man does she know how to do it. I am still thinking about the meal and wish I had more of all of it right now.
Here is what she served:
Fresh Baguette
To finish it off there were these. YUMM!

Honestly. I wish you all had a friend like Amy. However, you can make this lunch, have some friends over, and be a friend like Amy. Celebrate fall. Celebrate life. And maybe even knit a few rows.

The random number generator chose numbers:
187: Bethany
Congrats you two lucky winners of Lily's patterns. If you could please e-mail me (address in sidebar) I will get Lily your contact information. Thank you!
Like so many of you, I can't wait to see what Lily brings us in the future.
And for those of you that asked, my Libby informed me about a couple of years ago that knitting wasn't her thing! That stung a little. (Fingers crossed she may change her mind... one day.)

lily kate

Are you familiar with lily kate? If not, let me introduce you.
Lily is friends with my daughter, Libby. Just like so many of us, they have never met in person, but through this wonderful online knitting community, have become friends.
Lily is the same age as Libby. Thirteen.
I have to say it a few times, because at thirteen, Lily is one of the most amazing, accomplished knit designers (and knitters!) I know. Her talent and inspiration blow me away. I can only imagine where this ever beautiful path in life takes her.
Lily has been published in both "the Knitter" and the Scrumptious Collection. (Her sweet mother photographed the shots and Lily modeled.)
Lily also has a few free patterns and these six patterns to purchase on ravelry.
wray ........................blisco
kirkstone........................... latrigg
levens................................. McCafferty
Pretty amazing, huh!
Guess what?
Lily would like to give away a complete set of these patterns to two of my readers.
Leave a comment here before Tuesday, September 27 at 12:00 E.S.T. and the random number generator will choose two names.
Happy Knitting!

i just can't stop

My parents came to town. They are a tremendous amount of help when they are here. I feel very fortunate.
My mother had a bit of an intervention and told me we HAD to purge the house.
I don't need all those baby spoons? Really? I can't keep all 6 platters? Really? I don't need her old set of china, those extra glasses, those silk flowers, those candle sticks, those extra bowls, 50 cookie cutters, a tea server? Really?
It took some time and felt really amazing. The house feels light and I don't know if I have ever felt this organized. I absolutely need someone to reason with that voice in my head that tells me I should hold onto something. My mother was just the person.
I continue to pick up things and question it's need and use.
The "stuff" has been blessings to me and will hopefully bless someone who needs it. We had the VVA pick it up out of the driveway. (Gotta love that.)
I didn't knit much, however, my mother sure loved the socks she finished. Extra special because we got the yarn in Greece. (I got some, too. Time to cast on.)

Oh, hi! hi! hi! hi!

granola bars

For those of you that have been here awhile, you know I love to bake. And during the school year we do a "cookie of the week". In the beginning I had the kids choose the cookie. We soon ran out of cookies they wanted to try and now they usually just request a cookie we have already made.
Mostly chocolate chips. Or cinnamon cookies.
To switch it up, I thought I would try granola bars. I've made them for three weeks in a row. However, I'm not going to lie.
The kids don't like them.
I assume they would eat them if they were starving. But they usually just let them sit.
I really like them. A whole, whole lot. And for those of you watching your gluten, they're gluten free.
2 cups rolled oats + 1/2 cup to grind :: 1/2 cup sliced almonds :: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts :: 1/2 cup sunflower seeds :: 3/4 cup dried berries (I like the orange flavored cranberries from trader joe's) :: 1 can condensed sweetened milk (I said gluten free, not fat free.)

Grind 1/2 cup oats in food processor. Mix all ingredients. Butter 8 x 8 baking dish and spread ingredients into prepared dish. Bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes until slightly browned. Cool completely. Cut into desired size squares. Will keep for about 1 week in airtight container.

Working on Aidez. Slow moving at first, but I'm now picking up a little speed.

Happy Monday!