Knitting, outdoors

Meet Tucker

This is Tucker. He is my new woodland buddy. He makes me smile. And laugh. A lot!

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As you can see, he’s an adorable and thoroughly cheeky little squirrel with the sleekest fur and bushiest tail imaginable.

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For a while now, I’ve been wondering who has been taking bites out of my decorative corn (left over from Fall)… Turns out it’s Tucker! (And I think we can all tell which flavor he likes best!)

Tucker likes to run up onto the back deck, under the kitchen window and grab a mouthful of dried corn kernels. Then he runs back across the deck, climbs up onto the railing, and perches there to enjoy his snack!

I happened to see him through the kitchen window, doing this over and over early one morning as I was making coffee. Now we meet up for coffee & corn breaks most early mornings and late afternoons.

I haven’t yet figured out whether he’s told all his friends & relations about the free handouts on my back deck, or whether he’s keeping it all to himself… πŸ˜‰

Here’s a quick peak at what’s currently on my needles…

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Another baby blanket. This one is a sample in a smaller size as I would like to offer a couple of different size options in the pattern.

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And this is a new pattern I’m working on for a Spring/Summer weight shawl!

What’s been making you smile/laugh lately? And what’s on your needles/hooks/wheel/loom? I’d love to hear all about it!

Happy Knitting!

lace, neck wear, new patterns

New Pattern: Rose Trellis Lace Cowl

Introducing…

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Size large, modeled by Annelies Van Dam Barger

Rose Trellis Lace Cowl, my newest pattern just released!

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Annelies Rose Trellis 2.1 – Version 2
Size medium, modeled by Annelies Van Dam Barger

Version 2

Inspiration for Rose Trellis came as I was contemplating what to knit for a very dear friend.

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It didn’t take me long to decide that she needed a cowl…

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Size large sample cowl in progress, colorway “Clematis.”

…and to suit her personality and style, I knew the cowl needed to be bold, yet elegant, feminine, and lacy; and of course warm and cozy… πŸ˜€

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I think the combination of the rose trellis and chevron lace stitches with the hand dyed fingering weight merino wool captures this perfectly!

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I wanted the wearer to have the feeling of being enveloped in a gorgeous, elegant, soft, warm cloud…

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This is why the large size cowl is SO large – truly enormous – so that it can be worn in a multitude of ways according one’s mood and circumstances!

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And because not everyone wants to be enveloped, I included a size medium as well… πŸ˜‰

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It’s nice to be able to choose the size that appeals most to our own unique sensibilities. πŸ™‚

Personally though, I am almost always in a mood to be enveloped in warm, soft, merino lace! πŸ˜‰

I used Madelinetosh Tosh Merino LightΒ yarn to knit my pattern samples.

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This merino wool fingering weight yarn is deliciously soft, squishy, and oh so warm while giving excellent stitch definition for the lace!

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Of course, you can use any fingering weight yarn that you like to knit this cowl, but I feel that this yarn with it’s 100% merino wool content and single ply structure really contributes to creating that luxurious, warm, yet elegant and voluptuous feeling.

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The size large sample cowl (purple) was knitted in colorway “Clematis,”Β and the size medium cowl (green) in colorway “Lowland.”

Huge thanks go to Annelies Van Dam Barger for modeling my samples, to Allison O’Mahony of Kniterations for tech editing the pattern for me, and to Karen and Sue for test knitting!

You can purchase the pattern directly on my patterns page, in my Ravelry Store or in my Etsy Shop.

Here are the pattern specifics…

DESCRIPTION

Rose Trellis is a lovely lace cowl available in both medium & large sizes. Designed to be worn draped luxuriously once, twice, or even three times about the neck, Rose Trellis envelopes the wearer in a warm cloud of delicate lace. Knit in a fingering weight wool, it’s the perfect blend of warm & cozy with elegant style. An entertaining knit involving two different lace stitch patterns, Rose Trellis is worked horizontally in the round. While this does result in a large stitch count, it provides a continuous loop of scrumptious lace with no seaming or grafting. Its the perfect project for any knitter who enjoys lace!

SIZE & FIT

Two sizes, medium and large. Can be worn many ways, such as draped about the neck in one long, luxurious loop, about the shoulders as a luscious shawl, or looped several times about the neck for cozy comfort on a cold day.

FINISHED MEASUREMENTS

Circumference: 59.5 (114.25)” / 151 (290) cm

Length: 29.75 (57)” / 75.5 (145) cm

Width: 14.75” / 37.5 cm

GAUGE

17.5 sts & 26 rows = 4”/ 10 cm worked in the round in Rose Trellis Lace stitch pattern, measured after wet blocking.

YARN

Uses 662 (1147) yds / 606 (1049) m of fingering weight yarn. Samples shown in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (100% superwash merino wool, 420 yards / 384 meters per 100 gram skein) in colors β€œLowland,” and β€œClematis.”

NEEDLES

Size 8 / 5 mm circular needles, 40 (60)” / 100 (150) cm cable. Or size to obtain gauge.

NOTIONS

A yarn needle, 12 (24) matching st markers (optional), plus 1 unique st marker to mark the beginning of the round.

~Happy Knitting!

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Knitting, outdoors

Beautiful Cozy

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What a lovely, cozy, December day it has been! I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such beauty – indoors and out.

For the last week, I’ve been participating in a black and white photo challenge on social media, which has been a lot of fun! I’ve found it’s really opened my eyes to see beauty in unexpected places, and given me a profound sense of gratitude for the smallest of everyday blessings. Here’s a link to the album if you’d like to see: Black & White Photo Challenge.

This afternoon I’ve been cozied up with a warm cup of good coffee and some deliciously textured knitting! I’m nearly finished with the center section of a baby blanket I’m designing for a friend. I’m loving a new challenge, the textured stitches, and this soft, gorgeous yarn! (It’s Cascade 220 Superwash Merino in color # 31 “Baby Blue.”)

What’s making you happy today? What are you working on? I’d love to hear all about it! πŸ™‚

Happy Knitting!

 

Family, Holidays, Knitting

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! I sincerely hope you were all able to enjoy a wonderful time with family and friends these last few days!

I’ve especially enjoyed the chance to spend some quality time with my sister, Hannah, and my littlest niece, Claire!

They live some distance away, but were able to come and stay for a few days over Thanksgiving, which has been a real treat! πŸ˜„We even got a chance to peruse the Christmas Tree Farm together…

Hannah, Claire, Mom, & an adorable little Christmas Tree!

… and celebrate Claire’s birthday with Cousin Vera and Aunt Annelies!

Happy Birthday, Claire!

Cousins play time! Vera and Claire are still just a tad too little to actually play together yet… but playing nicely close-by is totally awesome! πŸ˜‰

I’m also incredibly grateful for being able to live my dream of designing, writing, and sharing my knitting patterns, and for the support you all have shown me! A sincere and heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you! πŸ™‚

So how was your Thanksgiving? Did you get to spend some time with family? What are you grateful for?

Happy Knitting with Love,

~Sarah

Family, fiber festivals, Knitting

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival 2017

Yesterday was as close to a perfect day as I am likely to get! πŸ˜ŠπŸπŸ‚

The weather was beautiful and it was Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival day in Berryville, Virginia;Β and I got to go with my sister-in-law, Annelies and my two-year-old niece, Vera!

We met up in Harrisonburg to carpool to the festival; and truly, the brilliant smiles with which they greeted me totally made my whole week! πŸ™‚

Well stocked with fabulous company and good coffee, the 1.5 hour drive flashed right on by and before we knew it, we had arrived at the festival just in time to get a prime parking spot! (An unusual occurrence for me! πŸ˜‚)

I showed Vera how to politely examine the soft and luxurious yarns on display in the vendor booths. Not only was this fun, but it helped re-direct the two-year-old urge to pull all brightly colored skeins off of the shelves and hooks! πŸ˜‚πŸ’—

But of course, the biggest hit of the day, by far, was the animals: Alpacas, sheep, and angora goats!

These adorable alpacas were so friendly and calm!

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The white one is named “Fenway”, and the brown is “Carpe Diem.”

 

They were just chillin’ and people-watching, and socializing with whomever came by to say hi!

Vera took a couple of minutes to warm up to the alpacas since this was her first time seeing them up close! Watching another child petting them certainly helped. πŸ™‚

 

Once she had a chance to get to know them a bit, she absolutely loved them!

 

I swear she was having lots of fun – right up until we asked her to smile for a photo!

 

Fenway was very cooperative and photogenic! πŸ™‚

Later on, the sheep really wanted to share a popcorn snack!

 

And across the isle, a super nice girl brought her goat right up close so Vera could pet it!

 

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In addition to enjoying the wonderful animals, I was also excited to snag a great book…

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…some gorgeous yarn…

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100% alpaca and SO soft! πŸ˜„

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…and a blending board!

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My plan for the blending board is to use it to blend my Angora Rabbit’s wool with Alpaca wool so that I’ll have enough to knit something special once it’s all spun up!

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Annelies was on a mission to find the perfect yarn to crochet a hat for Vera to match her new Winter coat! Here’s the yarn!

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And here’s the hat!

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By mid-afternoon, Someone was completely worn out from so much fun, and took a very good nap all the way home!

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A hand-knit shawl does make an excellent car-seat blanket, don’t you think?! πŸ˜‰

Do you go to fiber festivals? Do you have a favorite? Got plans to visit any this season? We’d love to hear all about it!

I’m excited to be heading to the Fall Fiber Festival @ Montpelier this coming weekend! Stay tuned for updates! 😊

Family, Hats, Knitting

Most Loved Project

The topic for Day 3 of the Yarn Love Challenge this month was “Most Loved Project.” This threw me off for a few days as I have difficulty determining which of my projects I love most! πŸ˜‰

But then it occurred to me that looking at this question from a Handknit Recipient’s perspective might be interesting. So now I’ve got a slightly sarcastic but humorous take on “Most Loved Project” to share with you! πŸ˜„

…Not long after we were married, I wanted to knit something practical for Hubby that he would enjoy wearing. Naturally, a hat came to mind!

When asked what kind of hat I should make for him that he would actually wear, Hubby said: “Black, and plain. No cables, no patterns, no colors; just black and plain.”

Of course, I thought: ” BORING!!” But I wanted to knit him something he would like, so I tried my best to knit him the black, plain, BORING hat! But…

I couldn’t resist adding a red angora lining! “Angora is so soft, and no one will see it on the inside,” I thought…

Hubby was dubious, but he did bravely wear the hat – all of one time, to a family gathering (my family of course)! Unfortunately, a bit of red fuzz from the angora lining emerged and remained mingled with his facial hair. It wasn’t glaring, so I didn’t notice it, and probably no one else did either. But Hubby was SO mortified when he noticed it in the mirror that night, that he refused to ever wear the hat again!

So the infamous black, plain, not-so-boring hat became mine and has been well loved and much worn despite the fact that it is too big for me! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Do you have a fun “Most Loved Project” or Handmade Gifting story to share? We’d love to hear it!

Happy Knitting!

Knitting, Stash

In ProgressΒ 

I’ve been working away and making good progress with my yarn stash organizing and cataloging! It feels good to see my Yarn Stash Notebook filling up with yarn samples and data, and to see my Yarn Stash becoming more orderly, accessible, and therefore useable!

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Progress on the Yarn Stash Notebook!

I do take frequent breaks to do some actual knitting though! πŸ˜‰

Right now, I’m loving knitting the sample for my newest design (coming soon!!)! πŸ™‚

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Lacy, stripy chevrons…!

The yarn I’m using is Knit Circus Greatest of Ease in “Over The Rainbow Speckles,” and Expression Fiber Arts Resilient Superwash Merino Sock in “Pistachio.”

I’m also really enjoying my “just for fun” knit…

The very start of my Leaves of Grass shawl!

The pattern is “Leaves of Grass” by Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed)…

Feeling like I need to switch to a longer cable soon…!

The yarn I’m using is Madelinetosh Pashmina in “Thoreau.”Β It’s super soft and squishy and feels lovely in my hands as I knit. I can’t wait to snuggle up in this shawl on those cool Autumn evenings (they are still a long ways off, so I have plenty of time to finish!) πŸ™‚

This is the very first time I’ve ever knitted a circular shawl, and I’m finding that I’m really taken with the ease and simplicity of the Pi Shawl construction! At the beginning of this project, the one piece that I had absolutely no idea how to do was the circular cast on. This tutorial by Knit Picks was super helpful, and I quickly discovered that it’s not as hard as it looks! πŸ™‚

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Working on Leaves of Grass with grass for company! πŸ˜‰

Something I’m really enjoying with this knit is the excitement whenever I finish one chart and move on to the next! It’s fascinating to see how the different motifs fit together, play on each other, and seem to grow together! (This effect with the stitch patterns will be easier to see after blocking!)

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Leaves of Grass shawl.

Now that I’m on the second-to-last chart and have completed the last increase round, I have a total of nearly 600 stitches on my needles! Even though each round now takes a while to complete, I’m still excited and enjoying working this shawl! I can’t wait to see it finished! (And I’m sure I’ll be knitting another circular shawl before long!) πŸ˜‰

And last but not least, I’m trying out something new – knitting with beads!

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Practice Swatch: Arrowhead lace with beads.

This is just a little practice test swatch I’m working with some leftovers of a gorgeous alpaca yarn and some seed beads I have on hand. It took me awhile to decide where to place the beads with this Arrowhead Lace stitch pattern, and I’m still not quite sure I’m happy with the result. I think I’ll knit on it a little more and then block it and see what I think then. πŸ™‚

Of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts too! πŸ™‚ Where would you place the beads in this stitch pattern? Have you ever used beads in your knitting before? If so, what do you think of the technique? Do you like the effect?

I’d also love to hear about whether you’ve knitted or considered knitting a circular shawl before! If you’ve made one before, did you enjoy the experience? Why or why not?

As always, best wishes to each of you, and happy knitting!

~Sarah

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Knitting

When Life Gives you Lemons…

Knit like crazy! πŸ˜€

We all have our “off” days. It’s part of life. Every day can’t be totally awesome, or there’d be no such thing! I’ve had a lot of awesome days recently, so I guess I was overdue for anΒ “off” day…

Usually when I’m having the occasional “off” day, it’s the little stuff that can get under my skin and irritate me, even while I’m doing my best to handle it well. πŸ™‚

And then there’s the entirely unexpected stuff that can just jump out and smack you (sometimes rather hard) when you’re not expecting it! That’s (literally) what happened to me the other afternoon!…

Arriving back from a lovely grocery shopping trip with two of my sisters, I was rushing to get those groceries in the house (we live a good distance from town, so time is a factor with those refrigerated items…). Both hands full with eggs, milk, and meat, I was booking it towards the front steps, and then… One of my flip-flops caught on the concrete steps as I was on my way up to the front door. Thinking I could catch myself with my other foot on the next step in time to restore my balance, I tried to take that next step up real quick,… Misjudging the height (the steps are not quite standard size), I caught my other flip-flop and catapulted (rather awkwardly) first into the front edge of the storm door that we had propped open, and then onto the concrete stoop…!

Rather bruised and battered, (but much wiser regarding the dangers of flip-flops and concrete steps plus hurrying with both hands full), I am utilizing the best comfort and coping strategies I know:

  1. Knitting…Lots and lots of knitting this evening – as much as I want! πŸ˜€
  2. Doggy cuddles…Lots and lots of doggy cuddles (while knitting of course)! πŸ˜€


I’m already feeling a lot better! Even my slightly bruised ego is recovering. πŸ˜‰

Do you use knitting as a comfort and /or coping strategy on occasion? I’d love to hear about how knitting has helped you get through something difficult as well!

~Happy Knitting!Β 

Knitting, shawls

Summer Shawl Knitting…

One sure sign of a truly deep love of knitting is a knitter who keeps on knitting despite the Summer heat! πŸ˜‰

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Knitting the Kathryn Scarf on my back deck!

What to knit in said Summer heat?

My favorite go to is lace! In the Summer, I knit lots and lots of lace! Though I don’t personally limit myself to only working with yarns that are cotton/linen blends in Summer, I do enjoy them, and they’re a great option for cooler Summer knitting and knitwear. πŸ™‚

Shawls are a really useful (and beautiful) garment to create when you’re knitting lace. They can be very light and airy, making the perfect light layer to grab and wrap around your shoulders as the sun goes down on a breezy Summer evening! I find them very entertaining to work, as well as super portable for travel knitting!

Here are a few favorite Summery projects of the past that I would knit again in a heartbeat!

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Flambe

This is the first shawl I ever knit – the one that got me hooked on shawl knitting in fact! It’s the Flambe One Skein Shawl, by Michelle Miller of Fickleknitter. I bought the kit for this shawl in order to participate in a knit-a-long (KAL) that Michelle was hosting. It was SO much fun! A KAL is a great way to connect with people who like a lot of the same things you do, and also provides amazing support and encouragement! (Especially when you’re new to shawl knitting!) πŸ˜‰ This shawl has a lot of happy memories for me! Β Flambe makes a fabulous Summer knit because it’s complicated enough to keep your mind busy, but not too complicated for travel knitting, and it only requires one skein of sock yarn! It’s also perfect for Summer wear as it’s small – just enough to cover your shoulders if the air conditioning gets to be a bit much or there’s a chilly breeze at night. πŸ™‚

 

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Lace Leaf Shawl

This one is the Lace Leaf Shawl, designed by Mary Henderson. It’s a lovely leaf pattern, easy to memorize; and you can customize the size of your shawl by knitting more or fewer repeats! The yarn is a fingering weight merino/silk blend called “Row of Tulips” by Expression Fiber Arts. It was an absolute dream to knit with!

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Obi Shawl

Another Fickleknitter design by Michelle Miller, The Obi Shawl is one of my all-time favorite shawls to knit. In fact, I’ve already made two of them! One I gave away, and the other gets a lot of wear as a favorite go-to layer that I turn to constantly! The yarn is amazing – a merino/cashmere/silk blend called Serenity Silk Single by Zen Yarn Garden, it’s also one of my favorite yarns to work with! The color shown here is called “Dragonfruit!”

I might also finally allow myself to knit a shawl or two from my current list of shawl-crushes…!

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A Hap for Harriet: Designed by Kate Davies; photographed by Tom Barr.
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Fantoosh!: Designed by Kate Davies; photographed by Tom Barr.

I’m totally in love with both of these shawls designed by Kate Davies: A Hap for Harriet, and Fantoosh!Β They are both simple, but elegant, and the yarns used for the samples look absolutely scrumptious! I particularly love the coziness and generous size of Fantoosh!, and the delicate simplicity of A Hap for Harriet. If you’re drooling over these like I am, be sure to check out Kate’s shop – she has kits for sale containing: yarn, pattern, and project bag!

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Rock Island: Designed by Jared Flood.

I’m also loving Rock Island, by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed. I find the mix of openwork lace and simple garter stitch captivating! Brooklyn Tweed Vale is a lovely lace weight wool; although for Summer, I think this shawl would also be great in a cotton or linen blend such as Purl Soho’s Linen Quill (wool/alpaca/linen) or Juniper Moon Farm’s Zooey DK (cotton/linen/flax).

While we’re talking about Summer shawl knitting…

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Leaves of Grass: Designed by Jared Flood.

…knitting a circular shawl has been on my bucket list for a good long time now, and I’m feeling the urge to buckle down and just do it! I’ve been eying this one – Leaves of Grass, (another Jared Flood design) as a potentially great Summer knit…hmmm…need to go check my stash and see if I have enough fingering weight yarn… πŸ™‚

Do you knit in the Summer time? If so, what Summer knitting project(s) are you currently working on? Do you have a favorite Summer knitting style or project? I’d love to hear all about it! πŸ™‚

~Happy Knitting!

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Family, Knitting

A Good Visit!

Yesterday we had perfect weather for being outdoors! (In Maryland, that is! πŸ˜‰)

Claire enjoying the shade in the green, green grass at the park!

I got out the baby-carrier and Claire and I walked to the park for a bit!

Smile or smirk? Maybe a bit of both…?! πŸ˜‰
Under the tree with Auntie!
I’ve also made a lot of progress on the “Kayla” infinity scarf!

Kayla Infinity Scarf

Now halfway through repeat # 3,…

So nice to knit on the deck during 😴 nap time! πŸ˜‰

I’m finally almost caught up to my level of progress on the “Kathryn” scarf! 😊 (Which means that I am approximately 3/5ths of the way through both!) 

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I’ve so enjoyed spending time with Baby Claire,…

Playing with Claire!
…and my sister and brother-in-law the last two weeks! 

My sister, Hannah & Baby Claire!
Brother-in-law, Everitte & Baby Claire at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival!

I can hardly believe that today is my last day here! I know I’ll really miss them when I go back home…

Happy Claire modeling her Foxy Hat!
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Happy Claire in the swing!

But I’m really looking forward to my next visit! I’ll be sure to make it SOON! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‰β€οΈ

Peek-a-boo, Foxy Baby Claire! 😘