Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Abel's Field

We enjoy having a family movie night at our house, so I'm always on the lookout for some good, family-friendly movies. When I got the chance to review "Abel's Field," I couldn't wait to get the DVD in my mailbox!

About Abel's Field
Left motherless by tragedy and abandoned by his father, high school senior Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis) faces enormous pressure as he strives to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying of the football team. But fighting back only finds him singled out for punishment and assigned to an after-school work detail under the supervision of the reserved groundskeeper, Abel (SOUL SURFER’S Kevin Sorbo). Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As dark times lure Seth toward desperate measures, the reluctant Abel may be the one person who can point him back toward the light.
The movie touched on a bunch of current issues: kids acting as the head of a family because the parents aren't around, bullying, peer pressure, and letting others minister to us when things get tough. I liked the fact that the main character in the movie was faced with some tough situations, situations that drove him to desperation, but he realized that he wasn't on the right road, and made changes. 

The movie was very family-friendly in that it did not have profanity, sex scenes or bloody violence. There were a few scenes of bullying where some punches are thrown, but the movie doesn't dwell on that with close camera shots and all that. You see the first punch thrown, you see the crowd gathered around, cheering on the bully, and then, in the next scene, Seth has some bruises that tell the rest of the story. 

We enjoyed this movie, and would recommend it for others looking for a good movie to watch on a Saturday night with the kids -- probably 6th grade and up would enjoy this movie the most. 

You can read more Abel's Field on Facebook or their website  (both their website and Facebook have movie trailers you can watch) or follow them on Twitter

I'm giving away a free copy of the DVD - enter via the Rafflecopter form below by Monday, February 4th, and you may be the winner of your own copy of Abel's Field. Limit one entry per person per day, age 13 and up. The prize can be shipped internationally, so even friends abroad can enter this one!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Battling the Scrap Yarn Monster

I'm sure you've seen the bumper sticker: "She who dies with the most yarn wins".

I'm in the running. I have tote after tote of yarn in the basement. There's an ottoman by my husband's chair that's filled with yarn. Another tote in the living room closet. And the ever-present basket of scrap yarn by my chair.
It's the little balls of yarn that I have left over from projects, or received from people. Too small for most projects, but too big to throw away. I'm always looking for projects that will help keep the scrap yarn from taking over.

I was making progress on the basket above, so I went down to the totes in the basement to restock. This is what I found:
It took an hour to get it untangled, and then another hour to sort the yarn out into colors and get each color into a separate zipper bag, but now it's organized and ready for projects!

In the past week, I've come up with two favorite patterns that work up quickly and use up scrap yarn!

The first one is what I call "Scrapper Hats". They use up about 2 ounces of yarn per hat and size 13 needles (circular and double-pointed).

Cast on 48 stitches on circular needle. Connect and work in K2, P1 ribbing for 20-24 rows (depending on how much yarn you have and how long you want the hat).
Row 1 of decreases: K2 together, P 1 around
Row 2 of decreases: K2 together
Cut yarn, leaving a 4-6" tail. Pull tail through remaining stitches and draw tight. Tie off. Add pom-pom to top of hat. I love my pom-pom makers (pictured below)

Here are some of the hats I've made using this pattern:

 The other project that I've been making with scrap yarn is infinity scarves. These are made on a really big circular needle (size 17). The pink scarf was made on my size 13 needles, and is a little smaller. I grabbed a couple of colors that looked good together, with each ball of yarn weighing about an ounce and a half.

I cast on 77 stitches and knit in a K3, P3 pattern. Since 77 is one less than a multiple of 3, the rib gets shifted over one stitch each row, and makes a slanted rib pattern.

Basically, I just keep on knitting, not really keeping track of the beginning of rows. When it looked like my yarn was running out, I started to cast off. (Confession time... in the red/gray scarf I'm wearing below, I ran out of gray yarn while casting off, so the last six stitches are red yarn only.) With the big needles, the 77 stitches makes a scarf about 48" around. With the size 13 needles (pink scarf), it came out to 38". I just got a set of size 15 knitting needles, might try a few scarves with those, too!

I have a craft show coming up in March. We'll see how these sell! In the meantime, my neck is cozy warm!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Spiral Stripe Infinity Scarf

I have lots of scrap yarn. Next to my chair, I have a small laundry basket that is just small balls (half an ounce or less) of knitting worsted. I'm always trying to come up with projects that use up little bits of yarn like that.

So, earlier this week, I pulled all the small balls of yarn in light gray and blue. Then I found a half-used skein of cream-colored yarn.

I used a size 10 needle - my little 8.5" long circular needle that makes it easier to make things like mittens and narrow scarves.I love those needles, wish they came in more sizes (I have them in size 6, 8 & 10).

I cast on 35 stitches with the cream, and started my pattern of knit 3 in Main Color (Cream), 3 in contrasting color (blue or gray). Because it's one less stitch than a multiple of 3, it results in a spiral stripe, like this:


 I didn't use a marker to mark the beginning of a row - when I ran out of my first ball of blue yarn, I connected the gray yarn and just kept on going. When I finished with gray, I put on blue again, and so on, until the scarf was about 48" long. Then I cast off with the main color, and sewed the ends together to make an infinity scarf.

The scarf weighs 4.6 ounces, so I used about 2.3 ounces of cream and 2.3 ounces of assorted scrap yarn. I'd like to make another with just two colors... and I started one this morning with two spiral stripes going in opposite directions. I'll put up a new blog post with the pattern when that one is done.

This is my first time posting a "pattern" - so if my directions are as "clear as mud" let me know and I'll try to explain better!