Friday, December 30, 2005

Just Call me Grace

Well, my photos are back up finally!! :) No more bandwidth worries! :)

I didn't have a particularly good day on Thursday, despite getting my photos and graphics back from the Bandwidth Police. As I was leaving the house to pick my husband up at work, I slipped on our porch and totally fell on my left knee. Talk about ouch!! I've been limping around ever since.

You never realize how important knees are until you hurt one of them. It's really frustrating!

But on the positive side of my prat fall --- I have gotten in some great knitting time!!

After a six week hiatus, I pulled out the cabled vest I've been knitting and got to work on those decreases. I hadn't worked on it for a long time as I was busy knitting scarves and dishclothes for Christmas, and at the request of friends. Since I wasn't going to be running any marathons with one knee out of business for awhile, I brought the sweater back out and got busy.

The decreases weren't as complicated as I thought they would be. I wrote out some notes, and made sure to keep close track of where I was...and so far, it's working just fine. Almost done. I have all the armhole decreases done, and I'm nearly done with the neck decreasing.

Big thanks to a great knitter -- Cathy B. -- who helped me to understand how to decrease and still stay in pattern. This is the first sweater I've ever knitted, and the first time I've done cables. Cathy is an experienced knitter, and her advise was wonderful!!! :)

I still have to finish the back (only about 16 rows done on it), and do the armhole facings, and the front facings, buttonholes, etc. It's for my MIL, and I just hope and pray it fits her when I'm done. I measured her, and have been very careful about gauge, etc......but still nervous since this is the first time I've made any clothing besides scarves, shawls, ponchos, hats, etc where gauge isn't quite as critical.....and where there aren't so many hours invested in knitting.

I have some new yarn in my stash. :)

I'm making a scarf out of Modea Dea Jai Alai in Raffia (a pretty mix of gold, grey, and rust). I just love it!

And I also bought some No Boundaries (NoBo) yarn at Walmart last night. It's so soft -- it's white and fuzzy with little pastel nubs of color.

It's acrylic and nylon and very soft. :) $3 a skein -- I thought that was a pretty good price.

And someone sent me two skeins of Yarn Bee Topkapi (sold at Hobby Lobby stores):

It's like a fuzzy ladder yarn -- very pretty in a bright turquoise. :) Not sure what I'm going to make with it yet -- but I'm sure anxious to try something! :)

And today's Contest question:

If you aren't familiar with the CONTEST, check out this earlier post for details. The prize box is worth more than $100! The winner will be chosen on New Year's Day! :)


What is your favorite type of yarn to work with -- type/brand/fiber??? And do you have a favorite sort of project ??

TTFN!! :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Oh the Glories of Bandwidth

Growl. Complain. Whine. Pout. Stomp. General ire and disgust.

I have exceeded my monthly photobucket bandwidth, so my pictures will not be linking for a couple of days. Payday is on Thursday, so I will upgrade my account so this doesn't happen anymore. I always get the threat letter from Photobucket. "Your account has exceeded 2,000 megabytes of bandwidth. If it exceeds 2,500 megabytes direct linking will be disabled for the remainder of your account month.'' This is the first time I actually popped up over their threat level. Grrrrr. lol.

But, that does mean that I am getting great traffic flow here at my blog. So, let's give it a positive slant.

So forgive the blank boxes that say "Bandwidth exceeded.'' I will be back up and running on Thursday with an unlimited bandwidth. No more threat letters! :)

And a contest question for today:
If you don't know about the contest, check this blog entry for details:
The prize will be awarded on January 1st at midnight. :) Multiple entries are allowed. Prize box is worth more than $100.

Today's Contest question is:

Do you have a favorite crafting television show(s)? If so, what show, channel, time, etc. And if you don't really have a favorite crafting show, how about any do-it-yourself type, home repair, home decorating, etc etc. Inquiring minds want to know! :)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Holiday aftermath

Well, we had a very nice Christmas with my husband's family yesterday. And today, we have a messy house, a sink full of dishes, and a lot of trash to take out. lol. It will take me all week to clean up from Christmas, only to have another mess on New Year's. :) But it's worth it. We really had a nice time!

Here's Joshua at Grandma's:

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He was getting sleepy, so he was very mellow. :)

Here is Sonya and Mikey playing cards. I don't think Sonya liked her cards. lol.

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My in-laws Dalmation was trying his best to stay out of the way of all the excited children running around. Here he is lounging on the sofa out of harm's way.

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And all the assorted little ones:

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From left to right they are: (front) Faith, Bethany, David (back) Elijah, Sarah and Joshua. All of the kids, except Joshua, are my SIL Stephanie's children. Bethany is about a month younger than Joshua, so they look almost like twins. :)

Here is my husband Michael with his parents, his brother John and his sister Stephanie.

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And here is Stephanie, her husband Michael and their children:

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And, I warned my husband to behave while we were taking pictures. And of course he didn't. is a picture of him being silly. :)

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TTFN!! :)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!! :)

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

At 2:30 this afternoon I was finally done getting everyone's presents ready. Whew. I have been frantically knitting and crocheting the last two days to finish up two scarves and a poncho before Christmas. My hands are tired. :) But, in the nick of time, they are all finished, wrapped and ready.

We had a nice Christmas Eve watching movies, and opening a couple of presents. The kids will open the rest of their presents tomorrow.

Joshua got a football and a toy cellphone and keyring tonight. Here he is showing off his football:

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Daddy had to help him open his presents as he didn't quite get the concept.

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Mikey got two t-shirts and a talking Stewie (from Family Guy). Here he is showing off his Stewie shirt. :)

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Merry Christmas everyone!! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Crafty Losers group started!

I've started a Yahoo group for fiber arts crafters who are also working to lose weight or improve/maintain their fitness!

The group is located here:

Feel free to join from the main page if you're interested, or send me an email and I'll send you an invitation to join.

Posts about knitting, crochet or any craft are welcome, as is information about fitness, diet, exercise, etc.

Anyone want to make a blog button for the group??

We can make 2006 a great year for fiber arts and fitness! :) Let's have fun and whittle down our buns at the same time! :)

And of course a contest question:

If you don't know about my contest, read more info here:
The prize box is worth more than $100! :)

Today's question is:

What is your favorite Christmas tv special or movie?

Hugs! Juli

New Year's Resolution

I would imagine a lot of people are like me and have broken numerous New Year's resolutions over the years. Normally I do great for about a month or so, and then I forget my zeal for self-improvement and end up back in Old Habitville. Ever been there? :)

Last year's resolution was giving up diet soda. And here I am December 2005 typing on my blog drinking Diet Cheerwine. Failure. lol. The year before that was a Yarn Diet. I made it to March, and then Herrschner's had a sale. Goodbye yarn diet.

This year I'm making a resolution of a different and more serious nature. It's a more serious and vital promise to myself, and one that I am going to keep for not only my sake but for my family as well.

So I'm going to share it here. Maybe there are others in the same boat -- if so, email me, and we can make the resolution together!! The more the merrier.

My New Year's resolution for 2006 is to lose 100 pounds. I've lost 85 pounds since my top weight in 2002....but I have a lot more to lose. And I need to be more serious and more dedicated about it.

When I was pregnant with my son Joshua (who is now nearly 18 months old), I had severe gestational diabetes and learned first hand what it's like to deal with diabetes -- constant blood sugar checks, insulin shots, very restrictive diet, etc. And I don't want to end up with full blown Type 2 diabetes.

Since Joshua was born, I've been holding my weight steady but I haven't lost any more weight. And it's time to get serious and get busy. If I don't whittle down my buns the rest of the way now, it will be too late for me and I'll be into massive health and physical problems.

So, here in front of all my craft pals, I am announcing that you will be seeing a lot less of Juli come next December.

I don't enjoy being fat. I don't like the way I look. Makeup and a good hair-do are great, but it can't cover up the 180 extra pounds I'm carrying around with me wherever I go. I want a different look, a different lifestyle, a different future than I can have at my large size. And I'm just stubborn enough to make sure I get what I want. Just ask my husband. LOL. :)

I'm starting today, and I will post updates here as I go along. If anybody wants to join with me to lose weight, let me know. We could start a crafty losers support group on Yahoogroups. :)

And, usually, I avoid showing pictures of myself because I don't like my weight. But, my friend Karla and others have been asking for me to post one. So, here is a picture of me with a very dear friend of mine that I'm sure you'll recognize: (and yes, he really is as sweet in person as he is on tv. Very motivating and hyper -- and a lot of fun!)

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And, a contest question for today:

If you don't know about the contest, look at my entry here:
The prize box is filled with goodies worth more than $100! :)

Just post an answer to today's question (and any prior questions as you can enter more than once), along with your email address or url, and you're entered to win! :)

What's your New Year's Resolution??


Friday, December 16, 2005

Icy Winter Wonderland and Ghost Busting!

Our neck of the NC woods was visited by ice yesterday. It rained, sleeted and did absolutely yuckie stuff all day yesterday. My husband had a totally crappy day at work (he's a phone man) because of all the rain and ice, and most likely he will be working overtime today trying to repair downed lines and outages. Not to mention all the people who work for Duke Power, which is trying it's best to return power to more than 600,000 people in NC and SC this morning.

Our power was out for about an hour yesterday. More rural areas were out longer.

But this morning, when you walk outside, all you hear is drip, drip, drip and the occasional sound of chunks of ice falling to the ground. It's all melting. The sunrise was beautiful this morning because the sunlight caught all the icy tree branches.

I ventured out and took some pictures. :)

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Doesn't that make you feel cold just by looking at it?? Brrrrrr! :)

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This is the crepe myrtle tree in my sideyard. It was all full of ice this morning. A lot of it has melted off now.

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Our garden lion had a mane of frost this morning and icicles hanging off his nose. He looked absolutely miserable.

And just as a hoot, I took a picture to see if breath on a cold morning could be photographed. And sure can!!

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Looks like some of those graveyard ghost photos they like to show on those ghost chaser shows, doesn't it?! So....that just shows that those aren't pictures of ghosts -- it's either fog, or someone breathing while they're taking the photos. Probably if you looked at that picture long enough, you could even pick out a face or features of some sort.'s not a ghost. Just me freezing my buns off taking pictures of ice on a cold morning.

And while I'm debunking those pictures -- how about those silly orb pictures??

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This orb is not an unearthly disembodied spirit. It's a bit of water that got on the lense of my camera while I was taking photos. And other times, these pictures are bits of dust floating in the air, or other particles that happen to catch the light of the camera flash.

So....ghosts busted!


If you aren't familiar with the contest that I'm having on my blog until Jan 1st, you can check out the details here:

The prize box is worth more than $100, so enter often!

Today's question is:

What is your favorite story about winter weather -- being snowed in, snow days off school, ice storms, etc??


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Knit Santa Claus

Knit Santa Claus
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The usual disclaimer: This pattern is my original design, and is posted here for your personal use only. Please don't post this pattern to other sites, or distribute copies, or pass it off as your own creation. Feel free to post links to this pattern.
**If you like my blog and patterns, please vote for me on the Crochet and Hook list. Vote by clicking the blue box towards the top in the left margin of my blog. Thank you so much!! Let me know what you think of my patterns -- just click the email link (also in the left hand margin).**
I will be posting a crochet version of this pattern soon.
Red and White worsted weight yarn
Small amount green and pink worsted weight
1 jingle bell
2 button eyes
Size 7 knitting needles
Size 10 Double pointed needles
yarn needle for weaving in ends
Fiber fill stuffing
Head and Body:
Using white yarn, cast on 20 stitches
Work in stockinette stitch (alternate rows of knit and purl stitches) for 20 rows
Change to Red yarn, and work in stockinette for 20 rows
Change to Black. Work in stockinette for 10 rows
Change to Red. Work in stockinette for 20 rows
The face requires some easy intarsia color changes, with work continuing in stockinette throughout.
Measure off small amount of white yarn to complete one side of the face and wind onto a bobbin, if you choose. I just pulled from the skein for the pink and the other side of the face, rather than using bobbins for those.
Before starting color changes, change to white and work 6 rows of plain stockinette. On the 7th row, work 5 stitches in white and change to pink. Work 10 stitches in pink, and then change to white, working the last 5 stitches. Continue in this pattern for 11 more rows. Then working from the skein of white, work 2 more rows in plain stockinette. Bind Off.
Loop stitch will be worked over the rows of white stockinette, forming santa's beard. To keep the loops uniform, pull the loop tight over your thumb before securing the loop. For loop stitch you bring your needle up at one side of a stockinette V and then put your needle through to the wrong side of the material at the other side of the V. Put your thumb into the loop formed as you pull the yarn through, and pull the yarn snug over your finger. When you pull your finger out there will be a loop left. Bring the yarn back up through the fabric in between the ridges of the same v stitch, and then back down to the wrong side of the fabric to secure the loop. If more details are needed, just message me and I'll take some photos to help illustrate the stitch.
After the beard and back of the head are done, with right sides facing, seam up the edges with the corresponding colors. Turn right side out.
Use fiber fill stuffing to lightly stuff santa's body.
Then take double pointed needles and white yarn pick up 40 stitches along the top. Two needles will have 13 stitches and one will have 14. Work one decrease on this dpn on the first row to even out the needles. Work evenly in stockinette stitch for about 6 rows. Then switch to red. Work evenly in red for about 10 rows. Then decrease one stitch at the front of each dpn every other row until 2 stitches remain on each needle. Decrease to one stitch on each needle, sliding the stitches onto one dpn. Work 2 together twice, and pull yarn through to secure last stitch. Sew Jingle Bell to the point of the hat.
Using pink, CO 3 stitches. Work in stockinette for 4 rows. Bind off, leaving a long tail. Using yarn needle, work yarn through edges of stitches and pull. Shape into a round nose, and using the rest of the long tail, secure to Santa's face.
Using red yarn, sew Santa's mouth.
Secure two button eyes to complete santa's face.
Arms: (make 2)
Using dpn's, cast on 15 stitches, with5 stitches on each of 3 needles. Work evenly in stockinette for six rows. Change to white. work evenly for four rows. Change to green work evenly for five rows. Decrease by K2tog at the beginning of each dpn twice. Situate remaining stitches on two of the dpn's and use kitchner stitch to secure.
Use fiber fill to stuff arms lightly, and secure to sides at hair line.
All done!! :) Here's a picture of the back:

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Santa Claus is Comin' to Town! :)

I was inspired by the upcoming holiday this week and made up a pattern for a knitted stuffed santa claus. He's not really fat, but he is jolly.

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I'll post the pattern by itself in the next post for anyone interested in making one. I hadn't done loop stitch in years, but I think his hair came out cute. :)

It's been a busy couple of days around our house getting ready for Christmas. We finally braved the storage shed and brought in all the Christmas boxes. We just put up a small tree this year with a few decorations since we have an 18-month old in the house. And as expected, Joshua has been busy the last few days taking decorations off the tree and playing with them. :)

Here's hubby doing his yearly check of the tree lights:

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I hate checking the lights -- I either end up stepping on them, or I get frustrated trying to figure out why half the strand isn't working. So....patient hubby untangles them and fixes them every year.

Mikey did his job this year as well. He's our official tree assembler. It's not easy pulling out all those branches and making them look more like tree branches than smashed big green pipe cleaners.

When I got the camera out, Mikey decided to become the Evil Pine Frond Ninja Santa.

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Eeeek!! Isn't he scary? :)

And here's the final result:

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Kinda sparse this year, but we knew the baby would be messing with the tree this year. So only a few unbreakable decorations.

Ok....Contest question!! For more info on the contest, here's a link my first post about it, in case you missed it.

The prize is a box of goodies from me worth about $100.

All you need to do to enter is post a comment with the answer to the contest question. You can enter more than once, so feel free to go back and comment on prior contest questions. :)

Contest question for today:

What is your happiest Christmas/Hanukkah memory?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A big Thank you!

Well, it turns out I got a couple of my exchange packages mixed's been that sort of week. :) I am in two Christmas exchanges on two different groups -- turns out my partners in both of the exchanges are named Karen.

This wonderful purse that I received earlier this week is actually from Karen A. from Hooks n' Needles, and not Karen C. from Crochetville whom I thanked earlier this week.

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You can imagine my confusion yesterday whent he postman brought me a big box from Karen C. marked Crochetville Pal. I knew I'd made a mistake somewhere!! Took me a little bit to figure it out...but now I have my packages straight.

Karen C. from Crochetville sent me a great package! Here is a photo of what she sent:

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She sent me a beautiful felted bag, which I also saw on her blog! Also 4 skeins of yarn, two candles, some holiday kleenex for my purse, a magnetized notepad, a sheep address book, a needle sizer, 3 sizes of magic looms, a snowman pin, and snowman decorative soap.

I love both purses that I received!!! Goes to show that gals named Karen are excellent crocheters and knitters!!!

Thank you to both Karens -- and I'm sorry I got you two mixed up and thanked the wrong person for the wrong bag. :)

And to continue my blog contest for this month:

*For information on the contest, read my blog entry here:


What is your favorite online store for craft supplies?? Please share the site's url, and a little bit about why they are your favorite. :)

**Please, remember to leave me your email address or your homepage url so that I have a way to contact you if you win the prize box. You can email me with your info if you don't want to post it to my blog. Just hit the Email me button in my blog's lefthand margin. **

You can enter the contest each time there is a question posted -- each comment/answer you leave will be a separate entry for the drawing on January 1st.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Celebration Contest! :)

As promised, for the rest of December, I will be having a contest on my blog. The winner will be announced January 1st, and will receive a big box of goodies -- yarn, craft supplies, patterns, etc from me!

I'm celebrating 2005! It was a milestone year in my family for all sorts of reasons....we moved and bought a house, Baby Josh hit all those cute baby milestones -- crawling, walking, talking, teeth, etc., my teenage son completed his freshman year of high school and started his sophomore year, we've made some great new friends here.....the list could go on and on.

2005 was a great year for crafting too! I started this blog in January 2005, and my counter just clicked over 30,000 hits at the beginning of this month. I learned how to knit this year, and love it! I also started designing my own patterns, taught myself needle tatting, learned to was just a banner year for creativity!

All in all, 2005 has just been a wonderful year for our family! Sure it had it's ups and downs....not everything was great. But I'm thinking positive and looking forward to 2006!

The contest is simple. I'm going to post a contest question at the end of each post I make for the rest of the month. People who read my blog can enter the contest by leaving a comment with their answer to that post's question, along with their email address, or their blog url.

I will write down each entry, and put them in the contest jar, which I have on my computer desk. At the end of the contest, a name will be drawn from all the entries, and I will notify that person that they have won! So, each comment left with an email address or url, will be a separate entry. The more entries, the better your chance of winning. The information will ONLY be used for contest entries. I'm a crafter, not a spammer. :)

Looking at what I have gathered so far for the contest prize box, the value of items is well over $100 already, and I will be adding more as the month forges ahead.

So, visit often this month and enter the contest -- it's well worth it!

I will be adding some new original patterns soon. I have the patterns all done, but with the holidays, four teenagers, a baby, a puppy, 3 cats and a husband.....finding time to get them posted has been impossible lately. I will try to get at least one posted in the next week.

If you like my blog, and my patterns, please take a second and vote for me at the Crochet and Hook list. The voting link is in the left margin of my page towards the top. I appreciate every click! :)

And here's the first contest question: (remember to post your answer in a comment with your email address or your blog url in case you win!)

What is your favorite online pattern -- knit, crochet or any craft? Please include a link so we can all enjoy your favorites! :)


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas!

I got a great package in the mail today from Karen C. from Crochetville. She sent me my Christmas Buddy exchange. She made me a beautiful felted purse, and included some chocolates (which the baby and my teenage son snarfed) and a skein of Bernat cotton.

Here's a picture of the purse she made for me:

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I just love it!!! Thank you Karen!! :)

My Christmas Cactus has decided to bloom -- does it have great timing or what?? I bought two of them for 50 cents in February this year -- leftovers from Christmas, I'm sure. Both plants were 2/3 dead after overwatering and being in teeny tiny pots for too long. After a year of Miracle Grow, they are both blooming for this Christmas season! :) Finally -- houseplants that I didn't kill!!

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I got sidetracked by a family situation this week and have yet to post the contest I promised.....I will work on that tonight and get things going tomorrow.

Which reindeer are you??? Take this quiz and find out!!

You're Comet!
You're Comet! You zoom around, and when you're not
delivering presents, you like to visit outer

Which reindeer are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, December 02, 2005

Postcards, Purses and Projects

I received my Crochetville purse swap puffy today from Jackie. The package arrived from the Phillipines, and I just love the gorgeous purse she made me!!

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She also sent 3 balls of thread, a postcard from Manila, and a pretty blue thread bag.

I love the purse Jackie! Thank you!!!! :)

I also received the Winter issue of Interweave Knits. Boy....lots and lots of gorgeous sweater patterns in this issue!! And a great pair of socks that I will have to knit. :)

Speaking of magazines, I tried the dishcloth pattern from the January issue of Creative Knits a second time, and got through it without any boo-boos. The last one came out a bit wonky as I was trying to knit and watch a scary movie at the same time. Obviously for me, knitting and scary don't mix. lol. Here's a picture of my 2nd dishcloth (and the stripes came out right on this one!)

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I received some more postcards/letters from Postcrossing. Here's a picture of the latest:

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The cards are from Spain, the Netherlands and Slovenia. I also received a letter with a short story pamphlet from the UK, and a traveling letter from France was included with my postcard from Barcelona, Spain. The travelling letter was started by a man in France and has travelled back and forth across the Big Pond several times. It started out in Britagne in France, and has been to New York, Norway, the Netherlands, Colorado, Spain, and now North Carolina. I will add my information to it, and I'm going to send it to Kiikka, Finland with my next postcard.

I have decided on a rather silly contest to celebrate my first year of blogging, and going over 30,000 hits on my blog. I will be taking the necessary photos tonight, and the contest will be posted either tonight or tomorrow morning. :) The contest winner will receive a nice box of goodies from me!! :) Stay tuned!

TTFN!!! :)