Thursday, June 10, 2010

A New Page

After much consideration, I have decided to create a new blog. Thoughts During Walks has been a wonderful place for me to share my ideas and projects, what's going on with my family, keep up with friends, and make new ones.

Like me, Thoughts During Walks has evolved. It started as a crafting blog when Matthew was just a couple months old. Yes, I was busy with an infant, but I did have time to do quite a bit of crafting. Now, with two young children, I am busier than I thought I'd ever be! When I do have a couple moments to myself, I am often torn between reading, crafting, catching up on email, blogging, sleeping, and the list goes on. I have often felt pressure to create in order to have a subject for a post, which for me, is not a pressure that I like.

So, I started a new blog, one that I have been excited about and enjoy posting on. Contentedly Home will be in some ways much more personal, but in other ways not as personal as Thoughts During Walks has been. My focus will be on finding joys in the home, however small, and being at peace with this season of my life. There will be a spiritual aspect, and it will have more of a personal journaling feel. I will still blog about crafting, as it is something that is very important to me, but without the feeling of pressure. My children will still make their appearance at times, but far less often (mostly for security reasons).

Please join me in my new little space at! I cherish the friends I have made through this blog and hope to keep in touch. :)

Most sincerely,

Friday, May 14, 2010

I'm Back

Sorry about that--I got a little freaked out by some weird comments and messages sent through my Barefoot Books account. My mind started racing about stalkers, etc., and all of the personal info that's on this site. So, I made it private.

Then I started thinking that what's done is done. My personal info has been up here for about three-and-a-half years now! I enjoy blogging and have made some good friends here in the virtual world. In the future, I'll probably be a little more careful about posting pictures of my kiddos, info about where I live, or my last name. I want to focus on my crafting, reading, gardening, and other hobbies that make me happy.

I hope that you all haven't given up on me and my little space here!

Again, sorry about the abrupt absence.

Warm regards,


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring Crafting

I'm happy to report that my crafting mojo is back! However, my usual antics of starting multiple projects at once and flitting from one project to another is also back. Ah well, that's just the way I am. As the summer approaches, and the thought of Pat being home full-time for three months comes with it, I am constantly adding on to my "to do" list. My greatest desire is to really make this house a home and add my personal "Katie" touch to each room with handmade items. There is also some dark paneling that really needs to be painted over! So, I see much painting, sewing of curtains, and quilting of wall hangings in my future!

There are also several birthdays coming up! Ben's is May 3rd (I can't believe how quickly this year has passed!), mine is May 7th, and Matthew's is June 4th. I purchased some "Very Hungry Caterpillar" material to make into wall hangings for Ben's room, plus have plans for birthday decorations and a birthday crown for each boy. My goal is to make a (simple!) quilt for Matthew for his birthday, but I don't want to get ahead of myself too much yet. :)

Several weeks ago I received boxes of back issues of quilting magazines, fabric, and miscellaneous patterns from my mother-in-laws collection. I have since spent the weekends going through and organizing it all. The following picture is what my corner of the office/hobby room looked like on Friday (I have since cleaned it up fearing my husband would divorce me):

In one of the boxes were many small fabric scraps. I couldn't bear to throw them out, so I started investigating Crazy Quilting. I am really enjoying the handwork involved, as well as the endless possibilities of patch placement and embroidery. Coincidentally, I went into our local quilt store on Friday and was told there is a Crazy Quilting class starting next Saturday. There was one more spot left, so I signed up right away--an early birthday present to myself! :)

(Aren't the little apples so sweet?)

I've also started an afghan that was meant to go to a very special person to celebrate his college graduation a year ago. Oops! Hopefully I'll finish it by Christmas...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Break

Last week we went on our first family-of-four trip to visit family in Tucson. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and it was great visiting with our loved ones. I'm also happy to report that we all survived twenty hours in the car together! We tried to time the longer drives during naps, stopped plenty of times, and enjoyed listening to sing-alongs and read-alouds (courtesy of Barefoot Books). It was fun to do something different and get out of town, but I always enjoy coming home.

Of course I took some projects along for the ride, but I honestly hardly did any handwork at all. I was afraid that I lost my crafting mojo until I started looking through some of my mother-in-law's back issues of quilting/crafting magazines (my husband rescued them from the house before my FIL threw them away). Even though the magazines are anywhere from ten to thirty years old, there are some things that are simply timeless. I've been especially inspired by the quilted wall hangings and table runners. Perhaps there is some sewing in my future...

Family pic in front of the Catalina's (Matt was having a bit of a rough time)

Ben had just stuck some wood chips in his mouth--the little stinker!

Matthew loved playing in his uncle's trailer. There were many tears when it was time to leave.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Wow, I've been absent for a while! It seems like lately, after the boys have finally gone to bed, all I can do is stare at the computer and/or tv. Not much is going on upstairs. We have definitely been dealing with some sleep issues, and there have been a couple of personal issues I've been dealing with as well (nothing major, but my mind has just not been up for blogging).

The weather here has really been fluctuating. In one day it will snow several inches, melt a couple hours later, then the temperature will be in the 60s the next day. Ahh, spring in New Mexico! When it is nice, we've been trying to spend as much time as possible outside. Our daffodils are blooming, we pruned the fruit trees, and the grass is starting to slowly turn from brown to green. As I've mentioned before, this will be our first spring in this house. I'm excited to see what surprises will sprout in the coming months!

Today I sent out the package to my swap partner for the "Can't Wait 'til Spring!" exchange I hosted. I had a lot of fun putting the items together. The bag is a project I crocheted a while ago, but it went perfectly with the spring theme. I purchased the fabric charm pack at a local quilting store, and the book came from a local bookstore. I haven't read it, but it certainly looks interesting. I have already added it to my own reading list! I also included some all-natural diy spring cleaning recipes, as well as a couple of Burt's Bee's lip balms. I hope that my partner enjoys her package!

Let's see, I've also been bowling, experimenting with not wearing deodorant, planning our garden, reading Reading Lolita in Tehran for a book club, and trying to get organized for our first family-of-four vacation. We will be leaving for Tucson on Saturday for a five-day trip, so wish us luck! :)

I hope everyone is enjoying longer and warmer days!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Brotherly Love

Having a new sibling can be difficult, and we've had our fair share of jealousy and issues associated with Ben's arrival. Looking back, at 23 months old, Matthew was still a baby himself when Ben was born. Recently I've really been enjoying watching Matthew and Ben come to terms with each other. I'm sure they'll always have their moments, but I can already see their relationship blossoming as they interact more and more.

Dress-up has been very popular around our house lately. Matthew likes to tell us that he's "getting pretty." The other evening my mother told him, "no, honey, you're handsome." Matthew's response: "no, I'm pretty." I have to say that my husband, as a very masculine, football coach, meat and potatoes kind of guy, is taking all of this rather well. :)

Ben is the third little boy to wear the hat in the following picture. This kind of hand-me-down truly warms my heart. It makes me smile to think of the heads it's been on.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Going Barefoot

Three years ago (I can't believe how quickly time has passed!), when I was pregnant with Matthew, a parent of one of my students gifted me with the book, Welcome to the World. I have cherished it since, it is still on Matthew's bookshelf, and Matthew especially enjoyed discussing the pictures right around the time Ben was born. That was my first experience with Barefoot Books.

Several weeks ago we checked out some books at the county library, which is something the boys and I do just about every week. Because I have both boys with me and I don't want to drive the librarians too crazy, I often look up a subject in the card catalog, quickly find the call numbers and books, check them out, then read through them once we get home. Two weeks ago the subject we were interested in was "dinosaurs," and I ended up checking out I Dreamt I was a Dinosaur by Stella Blackstone. Matthew just loved it, and so did I. Being a crafty, fiber-loving person, I especially enjoyed the illustrations by Clare Beaton composed with felt, beads, ribbon and other embellishments. After reading it about ten times in a row to Matthew, I looked at the information at the back of the book and found that the publisher was Barefoot Books. The following information was also included:

"At Barefoot Books, we celebrate art and story with books that open the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life, inspiring them to read deeper, search further, and explore their own creative gifts. Taking our inspiration from many different cultures, we focus on themes that encourage independence of spirit, enthusiasm for learning, and acceptance of other traditions. Thoughtfully prepared by writers, artists and storytellers from all over the world, our products combine the best of the present with the best of the past to educate our children as the caretakers of tomorrow."

As a parent, former elementary-school teacher, and someone who just appreciates a high-quality book, I was intrigued. I started checking out more Barefoot Books from the public library and was met with literature and illustrations that met, if not exceeded, my expectations.

During this same time period Matthew and I discovered the you-tube video (the "watch our new video" button on the sidebar will take you there) for Driving My Tractor, another fun Barefoot Book ! You see, Matthew has an obsession (like many preschool-aged children) with trucks, trains, construction equipment and tractors. With our supervision, of course, we allow him to pick out you-tube videos of such transportation vehicles to watch. I ended up purchasing the book, with sing-along CD, for him and he just loves it!

After these numerous positive experiences with Barefoot Books, I decided to become a Barefoot Books Ambassador. I'm not one to jump into a business without looking at the details first, and after much scrutinizing, Barefoot Books looked like a perfect fit. I thought I'd post this here in blogland because, well, it's now a part of my life that I'd like to share. Plus, you never know who might be in the market for a great children's book!

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding Barefoot Books, whether it's about the products, my experiences, or becoming an Ambassador yourself. You may also check out My Marketplace, or click on any of the Barefoot Books buttons for more information on the books mentioned above, among many others. I am truly excited about this new journey in my life!

Thank you,

P.s. If you decide to become a member of the Barefoot Community (basically, providing your email address--but you can choose if you want to receive email from Barefoot Books or not), you will receive 20% off your first purchase.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Matches Made!

I sent out emails to all exchange participants last night. Please let me know if you did not receive an email or if you have any questions. Participants names are in the sidebar with websites linked to their names. Have fun choosing items for your partner and participating in this exchange!

Warm regards,
Katie :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Can't Wait 'til Spring!" Exchange

Edit: I'm going to add a two day extension to the sign-up! Please email me at by Tuesday, February 23 (midnight, mountain time). Thank you!

Yay! It looks like there's some interest in an exchange, so let's get it going!

1.) Please email me at with the following information by Sunday, February 21 (midnight, mountain time):
Mailing Address

email address
website (if applicable)

favorite colors

2.) I will randomly assign recipients to each participant, and contact participants through email (hopefully by Monday evening). This is a SURPRISE exchange! You may check out the person's blog/website, etc. who you will be mailing a package to, but please don't reveal your identity until packages have reached their destinations!

3.) Please send your packages out by March 20 (the first day of Spring!). Prior to sending out your package, please take photos and share on your blog, if you have one. It will be be fun seeing what everyone is sending out!

This is a "Can't Wait 'til Spring!" exchange, so please include 3-5 cheerful, lift-your-spirit, Spring-themed items. I want this to be fun, not costly, so try to keep the TOTAL amount spent under $20 and get creative--handmade is always great!

Here are a few ideas:
bright-colored tote bag
fruity lip balm
light reading
light-weight scarf
gardening accessories
found objects from nature

If you have any other ideas, please feel free to leave them in the comment section. Also, feel free to contact me with any questions via my email or through comments.

Have fun,
Katie :)
P.s. I took the above picture yesterday while exploring our backyard with my boys. This will be our first spring in this house/yard, so I'm excited to see what bulbs have been planted. So many surprises await!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Exchange, anyone?

Usually around this time of year I'm in need of a little pick-me-up. I know that spring is just around the corner, but realistically, we can still have snow through April here in northern New Mexico. Once, it even snowed on my birthday (May 7th)! So, I was wondering if anyone was up for an exchange? I was thinking that it could be a "Spring is Just Around the Corner" exchange with an emphasis on cheerful and spring-y items. Anyone game?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

This and That

As mentioned in my previous post, I have been working on a lot of different projects lately. I have been knitting and crocheting, of course, but I've also been enjoying sewing again. After much consideration I had decided to take my sewing machine in for a tune-up instead of purchasing a new one, and it was $70 very well spent! Now my thread isn't breaking every two inches, and my sewing machine and I are friends once again. It's not a fancy machine by any means, but it gets the job done, and it was my grandmother's so I like having it around for sentimental reasons as well.

First, I have a couple of birthday crowns I made for a first birthday (star crown) and second birthday (flower crown) birthday party we attended last weekend. Working with wool felt is so nice because fraying is not an issue and the fabric is nice and thick. I had purchased this felt many months ago from A Child's Dream Come True and have been very happy with it. I also enjoyed working on my embroidery and hand-sewing skills with these crowns. I see many more in my future!

I have several sketch books and journals I've been using lately and decided that they needed a special place of their own. I wanted a pencil holder/caddy that could house at least 24 colored pencils as well as my journals. I also wanted to use some of my Japanese fabric I purchased last year to add a little character. I am happy with the trifold design of this pencil/journal holder, but if I were to do it again I would make it a little bit smaller and add a top flap to ensure that none of the pencils fall out.

I've made it a goal of mine to focus on organizing our kitchen for the month of February. When we moved in last summer everything was put away very quickly, and now that we've been in this house for a good six months I'm starting to discover what works best for me in terms of organization. We have a little table for Matt next to the kitchen, but his art supplies have been constantly piling up on the kitchen counter. Thus, some wall pockets were in order to hold his supplies. He even picked out the fabric!

Finally, I wanted to draw attention to a great natural multi-purpose cleaner recipe found in the comments of the previous post. I'm excited to try it out! Thanks, BKD!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WIP Wednesday and One Small Change, February

I've had a lot of this and that going on lately, and like my husband has pointed out several times, I often flit from one project to the another. Thus, Work-in-Progress Wednesdays! I've been working on this sweater (Ravelry link) from Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. I absolutely love the top-down, seamless construction, although I now have 270 stitches on my needles! It will all be work it in the end when I have minimal seaming. :) I've also been working on Valentine's Day presents, birthday presents, a pencil case, and wall pockets. Yes, flitting, from knitting to sewing to embroidery to crochet and back. Plus I bought an eight ounce bag of lavender from an Etsy seller the other day for no reason in particular. Hmm...any lavender ideas?

As discussed in this post, for the month of January my "one small change" was to routinely bake bread for my family instead of purchasing it at the store. This was a fairly successful endeavor, and I hope to bake more "from scratch" in the future. I also made some homemade yogurt and granola, which turned out well for the most part: the granola got burned but Matthew assured me that he still liked it. That's my boy.

For the month of February I've decided to take more steps towards green, diy, cleaning. I've dabbled in this, but the convenience of store-bought products typically gets the best of me. So, I've stocked up on baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax, tea tree oil, and castile soap. I'm excited to feel like a scientist as I mix my concoctions. Hopefully I'll also be inspired to clean and tidy the house a bit more as well! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Craft Hope

Like so many, I have been deeply saddened by the devastation in Haiti, and I have been searching for what I could do to help in my own, small way. The number of organizations and programs of outreach is truly amazing, whether it's a national or international organization, Facebook group, Ravelry charity group, or private organization. Last night while I was searching the internet for a worthy cause that felt "just right" for me, I came across the craftivist site, Craft Hope. There are several craftivist projects a year that the site focuses on, and right now the focus is Craft Hope for Haiti. Crafters/artists have donated their work to the Craft Hope Etsy Shop, and ALL proceeds will be going to Doctors Without Borders.

I wanted to get involved, so I have already made one purchase. I'm sure I'll make more, as there are so many beautiful pieces of work in the shop. What a great way to stock up on gifts, for yourself and others. One word of caution: if you see something you'd like, purchase it right away (I learned this the hard way); the listings are going fast! Another way I got involved was by donating the neck-warmer shown below. This is from a personal pattern I've been working on, and I used Rowan yarn's Lima. The yarn is absolutely beautiful with tons of depth and softness. It's actually corded instead of plied and is supposed to have memory (perfect for any project with texture) and resist pilling. The turn-around for project submissions is taking several days due to the generous amount of projects being donated, so this neck-warmer probably won't be in the shop until the weekend.

So, take a look around at the Craft Hope Etsy Shop, feel good about the purchases you make, and make a donation if you're so inclined (Craft Hope is receiving donations until tomorrow evening).

If there are any other great craftivist websites out there, I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, January 18, 2010


After procrastinating for three weeks about switching over the email to our new computer, I finally did it today. It took about ten minutes. Why did I wait so long? Well, I was afraid of the hundreds of emails that were awaiting me there, and well, I'm a natural procrastinator. Lists, such as the one above, sometimes help since I like crossing out what I've accomplished. I guess I'm a visual learner.

My husband and I take turns sleeping in on the weekends. Typically, he gets to sleep in on Saturdays, and I get to on Sundays. Since today was a holiday and I got to sleep in yesterday, I got up with Ben at about 6:00am while Pat and Matthew were sound asleep in our bed. Although I love sleeping in, I also really cherish my early-morning time with Ben. He and I don't get to spend too much time together, "just the two of us." I enjoy watching him play, grow, and learn. And, of course, there's much cuddling going on as well! :) While holding Ben, coffee in hand (cream AND sugar, thank you!), I watched the changing of the sunrise. During the thirty seconds it took me to find my camera, it had already turned from pink to yellow. I thought it was definitely still worth a picture.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Christmas Knitting for Children

My Christmas crafting has extended into January, but at least now I don't feel pressured by deadlines! :) Most of my gifts have been completed, but some still need to be delivered. Out of all the projects on today's post, only the robot was delivered by Christmas morning. This robot (from Knitted Toys by Zoe Mellor) was Matthew's special Christmas gift from me. Several months ago he and Pat were looking through the book when Matt spotted the robot. From that day forward, just about every day, Matt informed me (and anyone who enquired) that Santa was bringing him a robot for Christmas. And, yes, Santa delivered. Actually, we told Matt that Mommy was going to make the robot, then give it to Santa to place in his stocking (after Mommy and Daddy let him in the front door since the whole chimney/fireplace thing was a little scary; also, I didn't want Santa to get all the credit!). The robot was knitted on size 2 needles, and I finished it at 11:00pm on Christmas Eve. It was all worth it when Matthew spotted it the next morning, let out a little gasp, and said, "thank you, Mommy!"

My first goal was to make two pairs of these cute little gator mitts. I actually have the green portion for two pairs completed, but only had the patience to actually finish one pair. Hey, at least I have a head-start for next year!

There are a couple special little girls in my life who were born at about the same time as Ben--one was born the next day and the other just five days later. Since there are many blues and greens in my house, I have to take advantage of knitting some girly-colored gifts. Both these hats were made using Bulky Cashmerino (Debbie Bliss), size 10 needles, and a personal pattern that I've been working on. I had fun working in some eyelets and picot edging, and further expanding the details of this pattern. I hope to have all the kinks out soon and share it here in my little space on the web.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Walking in Their Sleep

This afternoon after lunch Matthew broke Ben's crib by jumping in it. This made nap-time a bit more difficult than usual, and I really didn't want Matt to watch any more TV (he's on a big Caillou kick right now). So, I got the stroller and the Ergo out, and we went for a walk. Both boys fell asleep after about ten minutes. Unfortunately, goat heads knocked the wind out of my sails, er, tires, before I could get too far. My arms got a workout, though, trying to balance the stroller with a flat on one side!
(Those of you from White Rock/Los Alamos, can you guess where the above picture was taken?)

Amazingly, I was able to get Ben in our bed without waking him up (thanks for the tip, Britton!) :)

Plenty of crafting has been going on here, but there are some finishing touches that need to be made before any pictures are posted...

Friday, January 8, 2010

One Small Change, January: Baking Bread

I signed up for the One Small Change challenge over at Hip Mountain Mama to help me with my New Year's resolutions. Here is an excerpt from the site:
"We want to challenge each of you to make 1 change each month leading up to Earth Day (April 22, 2010). It can be small or it can be huge, but all we ask is that you decide on something you will do to make a positive green impact and follow through with it. If everyone makes 4 changes between January and April, this can have a huge effect."
The resolutions that have been on my mind the past weeks are all "green" and will hopefully help me express myself creatively, have a peaceful effect in my home, and improve my family's overall health. I also liked that the challenge involved focusing on one resolution per month, so as not to be overwhelming. Head on over and check it out--it's never too late to sign up!

My resolution for January is to bake bread on a weekly basis. My Aunt Nancy taught me how to make her fabulous high-altitude whole-wheat bread many years ago, and although I've made it many times, it's never been on a very consistent basis. I would really like for that to change. It's not a very difficult task; it just takes a little time. Plus, it's very therapeutic punching my fist into the dough when I knead it! :)

Of course, Matthew loves helping his mama bake. Right now I measure, and he pours. The teacher in me is looking forward to lessons on fractions and conversions in the future! Seriously, studies have shown that children entering grade-school today have less knowledge about fractions than previous generations due to the lack of hands-on learning in the home...Anyway, it's a quality activity for Matt and I to do together when Ben is taking his morning nap. Plus, the house smells wonderful as the dough rises and bakes!

It's a good thing this bread is just for our family, considering that Matthew licked it! I guess it serves me right for getting preoccupied behind the camera. Matt is such a boy; it cracks me up: he calls my kitchen utensils "Mama's tools," and when Pat gets any of them out of the drawer, Matt says, "no, Papa Bear, those Mama's tools!" When we were making the bread he pulled a cork screw out of Mama's tool drawer, told me it was a jackhammer, and began using it on the dough! Ah, life with little boys (and big boys!)...

(Matthew really does call his father "Papa Bear." I can't remember how it started, but it's so cute!)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thoughts During Walks Revisited

I created this blog nearly two-and-a-half years ago when Matthew was just a couple of months old. At the time we were going on VERY LONG walks, as it was just about the only way for him to get in a good nap. I would seriously walk around our neighborhood for one to two hours at a time! His napping got better, the weather got cooler, but we still got our walks in just about every day until I became pregnant with Ben. By then Matt was getting pretty big for the Ergo (plus it got difficult to carry him with my pregnant belly!), and he refused to sit for any length of time in his stroller. Also, I have to admit, I got a bit lazy.

So, I've been thinking about changing my blog's name. I've been going back and forth about this decision, and I'm glad I've decided to wait. The boys and I are getting out more now, and I'm enjoying my walks once again. This afternoon we went out for about an hour. Matt was in the stroller and Ben was in the Ergo. By the time I got home, both boys were asleep. Ben's now up and exploring our office while I type this, and Matt is still in the stroller (in the house). How I love not having twenty steps to climb before reaching our front door!

It's been cold here the past few weeks, and the snow from before Christmas is still on the ground. Typically, it melts soon after it has fallen due to our brights sunshine and fairly warm temps. I love the smell of fireplace smoke in the air, and there were tons of birds out looking for food (note to self: pick up a bird watching guide at the library!). My thoughts today were on my own past and how much I've come full circle: we walked passed a couple of ex-boyfriends' homes, the pool where I lifeguarded in the summers, a friend's house who passed away when we were eighteen. How things have changed: now I have two babes, a husband, a house, four pets, and a lot of history!

Now, I don't necessarily want to make "walking more" a resolution, but it is something that is being more and more incorporated into my life again. It makes me feel good, helps my boys rest, and helps me to gather my thoughts and have increased motivation. So...perhaps it is a New Year's resolution, then. I just don't want to jinx it!

On to crafting--
After seeing Ellie's great thermal cowl, I knew I wanted to make it. I even had the yarn the pattern called for in my stash. All the ribbing did take longer than I expected, so I was only able to make one before Christmas for a friend. I would like to make more, but I just need to remember to allow myself more time!

Several of my friends received these sweet crocheted caps. I found the pattern in the Winter 2007 Knit Simple magazine I had stashed away on my shelf. It was fun to do some crochet after weeks of working on the knitted Christmas stockings for the Advent calendar. I already have yarn picked out for a crocheted cap for myself!

I have many more resolutions, or perhaps I should call them "goals" or "ideas" for 2010, so there's much more to come! What are your New Year's goals? :)