Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So Long, 2013

Today is the last day of 2013. Isn't that crazy? I've been thinking a lot lately about moments and memories, and how you can't ever get them back again. So right now, no matter how special you make today, you'll never live again in the year 2013. You'll never live this single day again. To me, that's kind of awing.

I am indifferent towards 2013. There were plenty of great and wonderful times, and others, not so much. I spent my last semester of college during the year 2013, and graduated in May. What an accomplishment. I feel proud of myself and I hope I made my family proud, too. A Bachelor's degree! The high-schooler in me is shocked and surprised that I'm already an adult living in the "real world."

Matt and I finally got to take our honeymoon in May, as well! Destin, Florida was where we went, but we stopped in Nashville along the way. Sure, we could have spent a few thousand dollars to fly out of the country and have a dreamy honeymoon, but that's not us. We wanted a beach. We wanted to relax. We wanted a nice place to stay. We wanted each other and no one else. So that's what we did, and we saved a few thousand dollars doing it. It was spectacular. :)

Along with a degree came time to say goodbye to a lot of things. For one, I left my job at the vet to start my new marketing job. I was a intern there for two and a half years, and leaving was such a hard thing to do. I'll never forget sobbing in the car all the way home that day! I'm such a baby. I loved the people I worked with and loved getting to take Miss Bell to work with me everyday. Working around animals is such a joy. I'm thankful, though, for the job that I have. I work with some great people and am lucky for the freedoms it has given me so far. I can't believe I've already been here for seven months!

I took up some new hobbies this year, too, including crocheting. I don't care if it makes me an old, boring lady. I enjoy it and am happy to have found a little hobby to keep myself busy!

My big brother got married in September to his high school sweetheart, and that makes three for three for the Phillips kids! It was such a fun wedding and I'm happy that I got to be a part of it. It was beautiful.

Matty and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in October. It's so hard to believe we got married last year. I wish we could go back and get married again. I loved everything about our wedding day. It was beyond perfect, and I am beyond blessed to share this life with this man.

Regardless of the struggles and stresses of 2013, I'm ready to take on 2014 in full swing. Who knows what the year will bring us. ;)

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013

Mornin' :)

We had a great Christmas this year, though I kept complaining that it really didn't feel like Christmas. Who knows why! It was nice to spend time with family though, as always. Jack and Jordan were here this year for a couple of days. It was good to have them here this time! I miss my big brother.

On Christmas Eve, we had our annual gift exchange at Mamaw's where we all bring a $25 gift and play Dirty Santa. It was a lot of fun! I sacrificed for Matt this year and he was definitely the big winner! He walked away with a utility light and a fold-up dolly. He was pretty happy!

We are really thankful for all the great gifts we received this year. From clothes, to slippers, bags, games, and more! I loved getting a mini-sewing machine from mom and dad, and I can't wait to start playing around with it! I want to learn how to sew, so stay tuned! Matt is loving his new clothes and Kinect! Bella loved getting her Christmas bone from Uncle Tony and Aunt Kenzie. ;) She dressed up for the occasion.

After leaving mom and dad's, we ventured over to Matt's mom and dad's house where we got together with the whole family. Last year, we started a gift exchange that is sort of like the one we do at Mamaw's, but with a twist! We do a $25 gift, and also a $10 silly gift that starts with a particular letter we choose. Last year was F. This year was S. We ended up with a Babycakes Cupcake maker (eek!) and a bottle of Bailey's with two gift cards. As far as the S gift, we ended up with a 2014 'Stache Calendar from Jeff and a Super Mario pillow from Mike, which we ended up giving to Mason anyway. Then....I got an AMAZING gift from mama Cindy. She had mine and Christina's wedding dresses preserved!! I was SO happy and just touched...it truly meant a lot to me. So much that I cried, HA. It was so nice.

All in all, Christmas was great. I love spending the time with family. Next, we have New Year's Eve coming up (tomorrow), which of course we will be attending the annual Kleypack PJ party! We always have so much fun. Updates on that to come. :)

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Post-Concert Blues

Howdy :)

Well, that ZBB concert must have been extra spectacular, because I ended up catching a nasty bug the next day. Lunch on Friday was where it all began--aches, fever, chills, ugh. I spent the entire weekend cooped up at home with tea, blankets, and the couch. No over-the-counter remedies were doing the trick, so I took Monday off work to see the doctor. Turns out something has been going around. I decided to take Tuesday off as well seeing as how my cough was still icky and I just wasn't feeling up to par.

I'm feeling much better today, though. Antibiotics and steroids seem to be doing the job. Dad jokes about how it was probably Zac Brown himself who passed along the sickness, and if that's the case, I guess I won't complain. ;) Matt has been a great nurse (duh). Cleaning the house, giving me my meds, catering to my every need. He's a good one, ladies.

Other than doing a little catch-up work from home, I was crocheting like a mad woman while at home sick. I finished two scarves, started a third, whipped up another mug cozy, tried my hand at making two granny star ornaments, and worked on a crochet towel holder (as opposed to the traditional towel topper). I'm starting to love crochet more and more!

Below are the sources/patterns for my recent projects!
    • Mug Hug - Use any color! I did a particular themed mug hug that I won't share for sake of ruining a Christmas gift idea! I didn't make the coaster, just the hug.
    • Towel Holder - I just love this pattern. It's super cute and easy for me since I'm not very good at the traditional crochet-top towel (my mother-in-law is amazing at those). This turned out SO cute.
    • Granny Star Ornament - Took me a minute to figure out the magic ring, but this one turned out okay too! If only I could train myself to crochet a little tighter!
    • Crochet Star Ornament - Be careful, this is a U.K. pattern. I had to be careful with not confusing the stitches! Other than that, this one turned out cute, too.
Once Christmas is over and I'm finished whipping up gift ideas, I plan on starting on some blankets! I started a baby blanket in the fall just to kind of warm up to the idea of crocheting something larger. I have yet to finish it, though, because of all the hype of the holiday season. I can't wait to get back into the swing and finish it up! Then hopefully work on a throw or two for our home. :) Stay tuned!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Zac Brown Band Concert

Last night, Matt and I went to see the Zac Brown Band at the Nutter Center. It was HANDS DOWN *theeee* best concert I've ever been to. They absolutely rocked it. It probably helped that we had tickets in the pit, meaning that I was within an arm's length from the stage!! It was beyond words. I've never done something like that or been as close to a famous person before. I know, I know, I'm a little giddy and starstruck about this...but it was just so great.

I was pretty proud to have been this close!! The group on the left is Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, who opened up for ZBB. They were great too! Troy Andrews played a three-minute-straight note on the trumpet during one song. We were so amazed.

ZBB playing an awesome rendition of "Day That I Die." LOOK HOW CLOSE WE WERE!!

Did I mention that I got to shake Zac Brown's hand? Matt and I both did! I died. It was just all-around the best concert I've ever been to. Even Matt loved it, and I'm so happy that he did. I talked it up so much since I went with my good friend Leah last year to see them in Cincinnati. I'm so glad we got tickets in the pit and that I got to see this amazingly talented group of musicians. By far, my favorite band.

What a great memory. :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Cards!

This will be mine and Matt's second Christmas as a married couple, but our first time actually sending Christmas cards! This year, we had some photos done by a friend of mine (see Photo Time!) and then I had my lovely sister-in-law Kenzie create some cards for us. She is an outstanding graphic designer and just started her business, Ivory House Creative. Check them out! They're also on Facebook!

I am absolutely in love with them. Matt and I spent our Friday night stuffing them and addressing them (while also making Christmas sugar cookies and watching Christmas movies), and I can't wait to send them out this week! I think we've definitely found a new tradition to carry on.

These cards are the "It's a Wrap" holiday card from Ivory House Creative, but they also do wedding and shower invites, planning, the whole nine yards! Any event you're planning, I promise you not one detail would be missed. Kenzie is awesome!

Besides that, not much happened this weekend. We helped Matt's brother begin the process of moving this weekend, and tried a pizza from Trish's Cafe in Union, which we've been wanting to try. I give it an A+! Definitely a good pizza. Kind of a cross between Hoagies and Marion's. Yum! We also wrapped most of the Christmas presents, and spent all day Sunday lounging around the house. We took Bella outside to play in all the snow we got Friday, too. She absolutely loved it! Crazy girl.

It was a nice, relaxing weekend. :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mug Cozies

Hey y'all!

I've not only been obsessed with scarves lately, but also these cute little mug cozies. I don't know if it's the thought of drinking something warm from a mug or if it's just my love for buttons (they are so cute), but for some reason I just love these little things. Here are a couple I've recently finished that actually didn't take me very long to do at all...maybe an hour or so.

I'm really happy with the way they both turned out! :D Pattern information below.
    • Owl Mug Cozy - Free pattern from  Red Heart. This was made with what I believe is Lion Brand Jiffy yarn...nothing special. Most of the yarn I have is hand-me-down or I've had it a while, so unfortunately I can't name exactly what it is unless I buy it special! Follow the link for all the info needed. :)
    • Pink Mug Cozy - Free pattern here as well. I opted out of making the coaster with this one; I didn't think it was too necessary. But it looks cute! This one is definitely for a larger mug depending on what kind of yarn you use. Again, I'm not exactly sure what mine was.

Side note...I just joined Ravelry, and now I'm going to be even more of a crochet freak than before. So many patterns, not enough time in the day. :(

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Tonight, Matt and I are staying in and having a Christmas Extravaganza!! Stuffing Christmas cards, making cookies, wrapping presents, and probably watching Christmas Vacation for the 10th time this month (already). Stay tuned! ;)

Linked up to the lovely blogs below!

Persia Lou  Wake Up Wednesdays  Crafty Wife Put A Bird On It

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Scarves, Scarves, Scarves

I pretty much feel like that's all I've really been doing lately! Since my student loan debt has decided to start poking me right around the holiday season, there's no better year to start making holiday gifts instead of buying. Don't get me wrong, I finished my small round of store-bought gifts on Black Friday. But this year, I'm bringing back old tradition with a few homemade gifts as well. :)

Here's a sneak peek--and I can talk about this one since my Grandpa likely doesn't follow my blog, hehe. I'm working on this scarf for him, meant to be just your plain-old manly-man's scarf. I'm using a ribbed stitch (just single crochets in the back loop) and I must say, I wish I would have done double crochet with how time-consuming it has been. I guess that's all part of my learning process here. But I must press on!

I want to try to experiment with different stitches, which is why I chose the ribbed stitch. I got the idea from my dear crochet bible, Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Crochet (I think I found this at Jo Ann Fabrics). It's been really helpful with my self-taught crochet journey. It has tons of patterns, stitches, tutorials, you name it. Not a bad price tag either!

For this scarf I'm using Lion Brand yarn, in the Heartland collection. It's in the "Black Canyon" color. I'm using a size 5mm crochet hook, I believe. This is the first work I've done without following a specific pattern, so I hope it turns out okay. I think my foundation is a chain of 15-20. I would have liked it to be a smidge wider, but I think it'll do. I hope this thing doesn't take me a decade to finish. Must. Complete. Before. Christmas.

Working on one for Matt next per his request. Let's see if he'll even wear it!

*Note to self:  get a nicer camera. Your phone pictures are horrid.

Hope everyone's week is going well! Mine has been extremely stressful. I'm trying to start each day with a newer, more positive outlook, but my mornings have been making that difficult. I'm trying to remind myself to breathe....take it slow....don't overreact....let everything take its course. Ahhh.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Little Crochet Pouch

Now that the Thanksgiving madness is all over, I finally found some time to crochet a little bit. I'm an avid Pinterester (yep I just made that up), and while perusing pins one day I came across this adorable little Hook Monster. It's a little pouch to store all your crochet hooks in, which is something I've needed. Before, I used a very classic and dysfunctional Ziploc bag.

Here is the original source and creator of the Hook Monster. I absolutely love it. However, I didn't really make mine into a monster...more just like a colorful little pouch. :D

The yarn I used was multi-colored, but I can't remember the brand. I'll have to check later. Here's my little diddy. Even Matt was impressed.

What I loved about doing this little pouch is that I could just kind of eye ball the length and make it however long I wanted it to be. In real life, I'm more of a rule follower, and sometimes need precise direction, but not in my little crochet world. Gosh, I'm a nerd.

Anyway, I was pretty pleased with this. It was all single crochet (pretty easy), and I even learned something new! I had never worked in that kind of round before. It began with a chain of 10, and then just single crochet around and around the chain in spirals. Pretty darn cute.

In other news, I'm working on a little doggy sweater for my dog-niece, Lola. She's a mini dachshund and probably doesn't even weigh 5 pounds. Stay tuned for that!

*Update - I figured out what yarn I used for this. It was Deborah Norville (Premier) Everyday® Soft Worsted yarn, in the "Lilac Ridge" multi. It's pretty soft. This was done with a 3.5mm hook so that no chunky holes would allow the hooks to fall through. :) 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend Madness

WHEW! I survived yet another great holiday weekend with family. A lot has happened since last Tuesday, but I think I'm somewhat prepared with updates. Wednesday was my final day of work before Thanksgiving, and I had so much to do that night that I thought my mind would EXPLODE just thinking about it all day. I had to run to mom's to help clean/cook/whatever, and run to Kroger to get some final fixins, and finally get home in time to bake a cheesecake, little smokies, and ham dip.

I was doing well.....until we got home to find that a little mouse had been rummaging through the pans under my oven. :(

This irritates me to no end. I knew that moving to our little old house (built in the 1940s) would come with quirks, but the mouse thing? I can't handle. This lead me to throwing everything on the floor to be cleaned whenever I had time (which didn't happen until Saturday), and bitching about wanting a new house. I got the cheesecake together and in the oven, and finally was finished around 11:30pm. Phew. I got the recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook! This little cutie has recipes dating back to the 1930s--an awesome little find and bridal shower gift from my mama.

I'm happy to report that the Kleypack loved the cheesecake. It was the first one I've ever made. :D

Holidays are always tough, especially being young and married. I'm sure it'll get worse with kids. Matt and I always try to fit in equal amounts of time with both sides of the family, and feelings get hurt here and there, and it's just difficult. This year's Thanksgiving wasn't too horrible, though. Mom ended up having hers yesterday to make up for all the madness on turkey day. I persuaded her not to go all out since she just had hip surgery not too long ago. We went to Mamaw's for a bit, then John and Cindy's. Not too shabby.

Of course, I wrapped up the week with a little Black Friday shopping, but I won't bore you too much with those details, other than apparently people don't get up early and go anymore. Matt, Kaitlyn, and I were up and at it at about 5:30am, and the malls were DEAD. Them crazies out shopping on Thanksgiving night......*smh.* I got some killer deals though!

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! Miss Bella surely did.