Thursday, September 13, 2012


Ok, so after changing my blog into a knitting blog, I have decided to create a new knitting blog and keep this blog, Robinznest, as my personal, sometimes reflective, most of the time trivial place that I write and meet with friends.  Got that?

It just seemed like a good idea and an easy solution to my new knitting podcast.  I hadn't written anything in months and perhaps just sliding it into my knitting life would be the easy fix.  However, I found that I missed Robinznest being what it has always been and from time to time I feel stirrings of writing creativity that make me think I will start blogging more regularly again. 

So there you have it.  Robinznest will remain as it has been and Robinznest Knits will be the place that I release my podcasts and talk about my knitting.

And who knows, maybe someday soon I will start blogging here again.  I miss it.  And I miss you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Robinznest Episode 2 - Confessions

 Listen to Episode 2 - Confessions by clicking below.


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This episode seems to have a couple of knitting confessions!

Off the Needles:
Lamb by Susan B. Anderson

First Confession:
My Ravellennics project, Sheep Run Socks were an epic failure.  Sad, but true.  However, I will not be defeated by the sock.
                    Crystal Socklet - Knitty Spring/Summer 2012
                     Fixation Ankle Sock - Sarah Keller

On the Needles:  I'm still working on the Sothia. This is where the second knitting confession came in!  I have shawl issues!
                      Shipwreck Shawl
                      Cedar Leaf Shawlette
                      Piper's Journey Shawl
                      Silk Moon Crescent Shawlette
                      Duchess of Cambridge Shawl
                      Is there a Color Affection in my future???

I am also working on the Sweetheart Skirt for my little 3 year old granddaughter.

Qued Up :
                     A cardigan for my daughter:  Wispy Cardi by Hannah Fettig
                     Baby gift:  either Flower Cardigan and Hat Set or Circle and Stripes Stroller Blanket,
                        both from Itty Bitty Nursery

On the Farm:
 Check up on the latest happenings with the calf, the chickens and the sheep.  I discuss whether to coat or not to coat the sheep.

A Few of My Favorite Things:
          E Z PDF Reader for my Kindle Fire
          Knitting Row Counter android app

The difference between Fair Isle and Intarsia

Contact me at:

 My blog:
                                                            Robinznest on Ravelry

See you next time!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Robinznest THE PODCAST! Episode 1 - An Introduction

Exciting things are happening at "the Nest"! Creating a podcast is something I have thought of doing for quite some time now.  And since I had a few days off this week I decided to just go for it. In my first episode I talk about my knitting, my farm, how I am growing my sheep into sweaters and of course my sweet grandbabies. I hope to be able to embed an audio player in my posts in the future, but I am a very slow techie person and it is going to take me some time to figure it all out. In the meantime, if you care to listen, go to iTunes and search in the podcasts for Robinznest. If you listen, please be sure to leave a comment on iTunes, it helps move my podcast up in the search engine. I truly hope you enjoy it!

SHOWNOTES for Episode 1 - An Introduction 
the first knitting website I discovered 

this is the pattern to the infamous Mr. Foster.  Give him a try - he is an education in himself!

This is the first knitting podcast I discovered.

This is a great website/podcast to follow.

I have learned so much about wool and knitting on this site.

The shawl I am currently working on.

In the podcast I said this pattern was called Sheep.  My bad, it's really called Lamb.

This is the Ravelry group I joined for the Ravellenics.

Yikes!  This is my project for the Ravellenics!  Wish me luck!

The most awesome sheep/wool/spinning resource ever!

The world's fastest knitter - whew!  She makes me tired just watching her!

Contact me at:

 My blog:
Robinznest on Ravelry

Thanks so much for listening - please leave me a comment and/or feedback and let me know what you think.  


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Days

Technically, it's not summer yet.  But it feels like it is.  School is out, weather is warm, flowers are planted and the days are longer.  I am enjoying it all so much.  For the first time since I can remember my summer days are feeling like, well, summer.  No more getting up early and driving to work, sitting at a desk spending my day behind a computer, and driving home, tired at the end of the day.  Now these days are filled with kids and field trips and popsicles and lambs and gardening and chickens and knitting and reading.  I run errands during the daytime like lots of stay-at-home women do.  I went to the nursery last week to pick up some more flowers and I went mid-morning and it felt so free!  It may sound crazy but it is the most liberated I have felt in many years.

Here are some pictures of things I have been busy with:

Sweet Ava Claire had her big dance recital.  Pure sweetness this girl is!

Poppa has started teaching Tyler the basics of horse riding on a horse just his size.

And whatever brother does, little brother has to do too.

We have added chickens to our little farm!  This is Marigold - the sweetest little hen.

This is Chrysanthemum, my little Buff Orpington.

He looks like his is squeezing them - but he is actually very gentle with them.

Tom Cruise - the rooster.  The name just seemed fitting.

We have spent the last 3 weeks building this chicken coop.  My husband is a master builder!

So, our little hobby farm is complete now - two horses, one miniature horse, two lambs, one jersey calf, a dog, a cat, and now about a dozen chickens!  I really never saw myself doing this - it just sort of happened.  But I am having so much fun and there is something so satisfying, so calming and centering, so fulfilling in just enjoying the basics of life.  I feel so blessed!

Monday, April 30, 2012

I Live On A Farm!

So it's true - little lambs really do eat ivy!
So it all started a while back after I got into knitting.  The whole process of knitting is so fascinating to me and the more I knit the more I wanted to knit and the more I wanted to learn about knitting.  I started reading blogs about knitting and listening to podcasts about knitting and I realized that many knitters were also spinners.  I recall as a little girl loving the story of Sleeping Beauty.  There is a part in the story where Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger on the spindle while spinning.  That never made sense to me because as far as I know there are no needles or pins involved in spinning!  Anyway, I digress.  My point is that I have had a life-long fascination with spinning but in all honesty I didn't know that you could even still do it.  I mean, I didn't realize they even still made spinning wheels.  But podcasts such as the Knitmore Girls and The Knit Wits made me realize that not only can you still get a spinning wheel but it is an art that is becoming more and more popular. 

I also loved learning about different fibers and what makes some fiber better than others to knit with.  An idea began formulating in my head.  Wouldn't it be amazing to raise a sheep, shear it, process the wool, spin it, and finally knit it into a sweater?  At first I dismissed the idea as something that would be impossible to achieve.  My life is busy enough thank you very much.  But like all good and fun ideas, it just would not go away.  I began researching what kind of sheep would produce the desirable fiber I wanted, just in case my dream ever got legs.

This brings me to last week.  I mentioned my idea to my husband and to my surprise he said "Do it"!  I guess I don't know why his response surprised me.  He loves raising animals and he has always been 100% supportive of my love of knitting.  But I wasn't prepared for his enthusiasm.  He went to a farm auction the next day to look for a sheep.

He came home with a steer.

My daughter with Little Bill
He texted me a picture of a sweet 2 week old, bottle-fed,  little Jersey steer and I was hopelessly in love.  That is how we became the surrogate parents of the sweetest little Jersey calf you can imagine.  His big doe-like eyes can melt butter.  He loves to be petted and played with.  He is absolutely adorable.

My husband also informed me that apparently Friday at the sale is for cattle but sheep would be selling on Saturday.  So we went back to the farm auction.  It turned out to be a bit frustrating for me because while I knew the name of the sheep breed I was looking for, I couldn't recognize one when I saw it.  And the auctioneers don't mention the breed as they are being sold.  I quickly realized that buyers were looking for meat sheep, not fiber sheep and none of them had ever heard of the breed I was interested in.  We went home to our little steer empty handed.

That same afternoon a neighbor came by to help my husband put some trim up on the barn and we got to talking about our experience.  He listened intently and said, "I know someone you need to talk to".  He pulled out his cell phone, dialed a number and handed me the phone.  A nice woman answered and I explained to her what I wanted to do.  She was very friendly but again, she didn't know about the breed I was looking for.  However, she did know where to point me.  She told me I needed to go to a place called The Sheep Shed.  Apparently, about 30 miles aways from me was a sheep farm that specialized in fiber sheep.  Wow!  I immediately called and connected with a most amazing woman who instantly knew exactly what I wanted and why.  She invited me to come over and told me she had two sets of lambs she just knew I would love.  Both sets had been born as a set of quads and a mother ewe can only nurse two babies well so they had pulled the other two and they have been bottle fed.  My husband and I jumped in the pick-up and quickly drove to The Sheep Shed.

I have lived here in this area for many, many years and I truly don't know how I didn't know about his place!  It is a family owned business that raises sheep for meat and fiber.  Not only do they do that, but Cleo, the matriarch of the family, teaches how to process wool and spin it.  It is a one-stop shop to learn everything I want to do!  I am so excited I can hardly stand it.

They showed us the lambs and I immediately chose the one month old brother and sister Rambouillet/Border Leicester Cross.  One is black and the other is white.  Cleo showed me what their fiber would spin up like.    After learning how to bottle feed them and care for them we loaded them up and brought them home to take up residence with Little Bill the calf.

They are so much fun!  Bottle feeding animal might get old if you have to do it forever but I can't imagine ever getting tired of it!  There is just something so natural, so earthy, so satisfying about taking care of such sweet and gentle creatures.

So now our little farm has horses, lambs, and a calf.  Next time I will tell you about....................

...............the chickens!

Monday, April 23, 2012

April Potpourri

Longer days, warmer temperatures, green grass, and blooming spring flowers make for one happy lady at the Nest! Our winter was mild, as far as winters go, but oh my, how I love summer!

The spring cleaning bug bit me mildly and I decided to paint my living room.  I did the kitchen/dining room last year.  I chose to carry the brown from the dining room into the living room and selected a darker brown to do an accent wall and the plant shelf area.  I really, really loved the results.  Choosing paint colors is so intimidating to me and I finally decided to just pick something, anything and get going.  When it was all done I wanted something fresh and new to hang on my quilt rack.  My sofas are a spring green color and so I wanted something to tie the browns and greens with a small red accent.  I found the perfect thing in my sewing room.  It was from a quilt kit that I have had for several years.  How exciting to get a new wall hanging and not spend a dime!
I didn't measure it for my rack and it ended up being just a bit to wide.  I had to fold in the side borders.

It is so wonderful to be able to be outside with the kids.  Here they are reading the Bible together.  Tyler was reading to Ava Claire about Adam and Eve.  I'm not sure where his version of the story came from, but it was quite entertaining!

I finished knitting a shawl I have been working on for several months.  Right after Kate Middleton married Prince William, she was spotted at a grocery store with a green shawl tossed casually over her shoulders.  Knitting designers everywhere went crazy trying to design a replica.  I chose this pattern called the Duchess of Cambridge Shawl.  I went with a wool/silk blend yarn in a colorway called Moss Tonal from Black Sheep DyeWorks.  I absolutely love the color - it has lots of variations of greens in it.  I had a bit of trouble with the pattern but the designer was good to answer my emails and I finally finished it last week.  I will be blocking it soon and then I will try to post a picture of it.  It is really lovely.  I am a bit nervous that I am more of a shawl-knitter than a shawl-wearer.  This would not be a good thing as I just ordered some more yarn to make yet another shawl.  I truly enjoy knitting the lacy patterns -they are challenging enough that I don't get bored and small enough that there is some instant gratification.

We lost a dear family member recently who had fought a long and hard battle with cancer.  He was my brother-in-law and was only 47 years old.  We flew back to Oklahoma City where my husband did the funeral and then we brought him back here to Idaho and buried him in the cemetary in the little mountain town my husband's family is from and that he loved so dearly.  My, he will be missed.  My favorite thing said about him at his service was that he WON his battle with cancer, for he is alive today and the stupid cancer is DEAD!  YES!!  He ran a very hard race but he finished so strong.  He and his family have been Godly examples to everyone on how to die with grace and dignity.

My sweet daughter Jessica will be graduating from college in TWO WEEKS!  I can't believe it!  It just seems like the other day I wrote this post, describing her difficulty in leaving home and starting college.  Now she is graduating with an elementary education degree and moving into her own rented home in the big city down the interstate.  I am so proud of my girl!  She has excelled in every area and worked so hard.  She student taught the third grade this year and absolutely loved it.  She hopes to get her very own third grade class this fall.

It seems that I am going to inherit some chickens in a few weeks!  Now this is something I never imagined myself doing.  There was a sweet lady in our church that talked her husband into getting her some chickens for eggs.  She died just a couple weeks later.  Her husband just doesn't want the chickens and offered them to us.  We thought about it for awhile and have agreed to give "chicken farming" a try.  I don't know the first thing about it but I have been surfing the internet and have found some great websites and blogs with lots of information.  My sweet Ava Claire wants her very own "chickadee" and I think it will be fun to get her one that she can enjoy.  She doesn't want just any chicken however.  She wants a white fluffy one -called a silkie I believe.  I am probably getting in over my head, but we are in the midst of figuring out what kind of chicken coop to built now!  Ha!  Life certainly never is boring around here!

And oh my.  Pinterest!  I have found more things to make and do and try than I ever could do in my lifetime.  And the list just grows and grows and grows.

There are just a few of my April happenings.  See you soon!

Monday, March 19, 2012

March Musings

So, since I haven't posted anything since February, well, I've been feeling a little lonesome for the ole' blog. I thought it would be good to stop by and jot down a few of the things that have been going on. So, in no particular order here goes:

I still love my new job. People keep asking me, like they don't really believe me when I say how much I love what I am doing. I really, really love it. I think why I love it so much is because it does not feel like a job. It feels like, well, it just feels like family. And I LOVE my family. So I am as happy as can be spending my days with four little sweethearts. I believe that besides their parents, there is no one, absolutely no one who can take care of children as well as a grandmother. And I am up for the task. I love each one unconditionally and their best is my priority. I am as happy as can be. Here we are at a recent field trip to the zoo:

And even though the days are longer than they used to be, I have a minimum of two hours every afternoon to read, knit, or watch tv. Unthinkable! I have never had that in the working world. I have watched two seasons of Downton Abbey and am in the fifth season of Friday Night Lights. I have knit a passel of fairies and dinosaurs. I am working on a shawl right now and am trying to decide between starting some easter knits for the babies or an intensely detailed pair of socks for me. I love it!

I hate spring. I always have. The word bipolar comes to mind. We have a few days of 70 degree weather and it is awesome. The next day is is in the 40's and the wind is blowing hard. I hate wind. I learned to hate wind as the child of a crop duster. Wind was the devil - it was not friendly to our livelihood. I still feel the same way.

I joined Weight Watchers. It's going well. I figured since I am more active now then I have ever been I should take advantage of it. My husband is doing it with me and two of my daughters. It's great to do it as a team.

And speaking of WW :), I just got Ree's new Cookbook. It is amazing. I made her saucy brisket for Sunday dinner and it was a hit. And the recipes can all be entered into WW recipe builder to figure out the points. So the two can co-exist.

I just finished reading John Ramsey's book - The Other Side of Suffering. John Ramsey is the father of JonBenet' Ramsey, the little girl who was murdered in Boulder, Colorado several years ago. If there is any book I could recommend to you it would be this one. It focuses mainly on the spiritual walk of John and Patsy Ramsey following the death of their daughter and the horrible, inexcusable treatment of them by the media and the Boulder Police department. I simply could not put it down and stayed up until after 1:00 in the morning to finish it. I want to read it again. If you have a Kindle, download this book now. You will not be sorry.

Next week is spring break. I am so excited. I have not have spring break off in many, many years. My teacher/daughter gets the week off so my nurse/daughter took a vacation week so we could all have some time off. Perfect! I intend to spend some hours in my sewing room working on a quilt and some other smaller projects. I can't wait!

We took a long weekend and went to Tuscon, Arizona for my husbands birthday. We met my brother and sister-chick down there and spent a couple of days in Tombstone. We had a blast. It was my first visit to Arizona and I totally get why people move there.

Beth Moore is coming to our area again. She was here four years ago and it was such a special time. I really look forward to hearing her again. I believe she is an anointed woman of God and I always learn from her words. And Travis Cottrell will be with her again. He leads worship like none other.

Well, that's it for now. It's been good to visit.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A New Day

So, I have been a full time nanny/pre-school teacher/grandmother for three entire weeks now. I have definitely entered into a new phase of life! Here are some of my observations:

My body is screaming - "What do you think you are doing???" I am definitely getting a workout like I never did at my desk job. While I am sore and knocking back Advil more than ever - I am still glad. I needed the exercise and I figure it's saving me the cost of a gym membership.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE teaching pre-school. It is a career I never imagined doing - but I seriously am wondering if I missed my calling. I love the creativity involved, I love when my sweet little 3 year olds understand a concept, and I even love the preparation involved. It is just pure fun to me.

However, it is infinitely difficult to teach two 3-year olds while I have two 1-year olds underfoot. If anyone has any suggestions - PLEASE share them!

ROUTINE and STRUCTURE are the only way to survive this daycare task I have undertaken. I made a chart of our daily schedule, posted it on the fridge, and we stick to it like glue. The kids love it and are constantly running to the schedule to see what is expected of them next. I can't take credit for thinking this up - it's just something I inwardly knew would have to be. We do not vary from the routine one little bit - except for Fridays. On Fridays, Poppa comes to town and we do fun things with him.

Part of our schedule is a two hour nap/rest time in the afternoons right after lunch. I have been amazed how much knitting and reading time it affords me. I have never had a job that gives me this much personal time.

It's amazing how many of the habits and skills I used as a young mother have come back to me - it's like riding a bike I guess - you never forget. Things like put things away the minute you are done using them, and write things down when you think of them just come natural in a house full of children. Unfortunately, over at the empty nest it seems I have forgotten these valuable tricks as things don't get put away quite like they used to ;(

Amazon Prime membership is a MUST. I have never used this before but since I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas (best gift ever!) I had a free month trial membership. It didn't take me long to pay for the annual membership. I don't have time to go shopping anymore (and I don't really enjoy shopping anyway). Being able to purchase what I need, with free shipping, and receiving my purchase in TWO days is invaluable to me! Just this week I bought some pre-school supplies, a new pair of pajama pants for my husband, and a season two DVD of Downtun Abbey.

Speaking of Downtun Abbey , have you watched it yet? Oh. My. Goodness. It is so incredibly good - I just love it. It's a Masterpiece Theatre series from PBS. It is a period drama set in England in the early 1900's and it is riveting. If you haven't seen it, stop right now, go to Netflix and start! You will love it! It's another thing I treat myself to during nap/rest time.

Since three of my little charges are little boys, and I only raised girls, I wanted to learn about boys. I downloaded Bringing Up Boys by my beloved Dr. James Dobson and have started reading it. It is so obvious that boys are different from girls and I want to do the best job I can molding and shaping them to be little men. I have already learned so much!

I am afraid that I will not be good enough for this incredible task I have been gifted with. I look at these little lives, these little people that I love so deeply I can hardly stand it, and I worry that I will fail them. I want so much to do this right. I want to give them a legacy of faith and love and wonderful memories and I worry that I will not do it to the level it should be done. It has become the number one prayer priority of my life.

I have never felt more tired. I have never felt more alive. I have never felt so blessed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


So here I am - the last week of employment by the University I have worked at for the last 12 years. Actually, 11 years and 51 weeks, but who's counting? It has been a blessing to work where I have. It has provided a college education to my four daughters. There is no other way we could have done that. We never imagined how we would send our girls to college - but as we have learned over and over again, God ALWAYS provides. It has been a place of peace. Working in a Christian environment is amazingly different that working in the secular workplace. I know this because I have done both. It has been a place of friendliness. I have worked with and for quality people of the utmost integrity. Feeling appreciated, valued and important has been a very good thing.

But I am so ready to move on.

One of the things I have struggled with the most is giving the best time of my day to things that don't really matter in the long run. By that I mean, my job could be done by most anyone. And the clerical duties I was responsible for didn't really make much of a difference to anyone else. I didn't make a difference in anyone's life. But that is all about to change!

I won't be sitting behind a desk anymore. I won't be entering line after line of test scores or grades or classes into a computer system. I won't be scheduling or proctoring or emailing anymore.

Instead I will be solely responsible for the care and feeding of my four precious grandbabies. I will have two 3 year olds, a 1 year old and a 10 month old depending on me for everything.

I will be holding a morning pre-school for the 3 year olds. I have had the most fun planning my curriculum and purchasing school supplies. The internet has been a huge source of ideas and plans and who knew the Dollar Store had so many teacher supplies? My teacher-daughters have been educating me in the ways of teaching letter sounds and using correct words for shapes. Apparently the shape I have always known as a diamond is now called a rhombus. I guess I will be learning right along with the kids! I'm so thankful for my daughter's help because I sure don't want to damage Tyler's and Ava's intellect before they even get to first grade!

Monday morning, bright and early, I will be reporting to my new job. I will be wearing my yoga pants and slippers. I will be bringing my knitting to enjoy during afternoon nap time. I will bring my little dog with me to work every day. I will be ready for lots of hugs and kisses from little people.

It will be a new day!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Year

So here we are. 2012. I remember when I was in the 6th grade, one of our math problems was to figure out how old we would be in the year 2000. We worked diligently figuring out the mathematical equation and when most of us realized we would be 40-ish, none of us believed we would ever really be that old. Ahem. How wrong we were.

Christmas is over and I am left with storing the decorations and the memories for another year. We had a good family Christmas. We spent time with my husband's family in the little Idaho mountain town of McCall. However, for the first time in my memory there was no snow. Really weird. All my girls were home and I love, love, love having my girls all around me. We got to spend a lot of time together. We went out to dinner one night without the grandbabies - a first for us. It was lovely to just sit around a big, round table and visit the night away. We went on a sleigh ride that ended up being a wagon ride because of the afore mentioned no snow issue. But it was fun and the dinner they served was awesome.

Here we are at the "sleigh" ride.

Here are my two oldest grand monkeys - Ava and Tyler sporting the sock monkey hats I made them.

No matter how many pictures I take, and I take a lot, I NEVER get all four of them looking at the camera.

My sweetie and I.

This was some of us at the lake in McCall. Typically those mountains would be covered in snow and the lake would be iced over.

I am looking forward to 2012. I am thinking and praying about my word for the year - IMPROVE. There are so many ways this word could make a difference in my life. Last night I downloaded on my Kindle, Debbie Macomber's new book, One Perfect Word, which is a non-fiction book that tells the story of how she has prayed for a specific word every year to live by. I read the first chapter and I can tell it is going to be captivating.

My husband and I began reading the Bible in a year again, only this time we are reading the New Living Chronological version. I love the idea of reading scripture in the order it was written. I think I will also enjoy not jumping from the Old to the New Testament every day in the same sitting. That always gave me spiritual whiplash!

I have chosen my memory verse for this month: "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind." 1 Peter 2:1. This dovetails with the whole IMPROVE concept.

I love that I have finished up all my sewing and knitting projects and I have a clean slate in front of me. There is nothing better than starting a new project and so right now for my first 2012 project I am gathering all my supplies to knit myself a sweater - something I have never done before. Knitting garments to wear intimidates me like nothing else and I need to conquer this fear. I am going to be knitting the Rocky Coast Cardigan from the Coastal Knits pattern book. I love these two designers and there are several patterns in this book I plan to knit someday.

I have reading to do too. I am re-reading the Zion Chronicles and I am on book #4. I am going to read Beth Moore's book on Insecurity and I definitely plan to read Francine Rivers two newest books, Her Mother's Hope and Her Daughter's Dream. I have had them both for months and just haven't put aside the time to read them. They are on my 2012 goal list.

And 2012 is an election year. I am a news junkie and election years are awesome years for watching news. I love the whole process and look forward to watching all the caucuses, debates and state elections. I know - I'm weird. As I type I am watching the Iowa Caucuses. Fascinating stuff.

Pinterest has taken over a portion of my time as well. I was slow in getting to the table but I am going full force now to make up for lost time! I have found so many great ideas and have already used many of them. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Pinterest!

So there you are. Just a little bit of what I 'm looking forward to this coming year. How about you?