About Me

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Illinois, United States
I am a band director at five private schools in Kankakee. Music is a big part of my life, but knitting and crafting are right up there too. I own a ridiculous stash of yarn, which I am slowly using... and replacing with better yarn... I tend to knit and crochet a lot, in class, out of class, while watching tv, while driving, pretty much constantly. I have been involved with crochet romantically for 15 years, and involved with knitting for 11 years. They sometimes get jealous of each other. I think its funny. Along with knitting and crocheting, I quilt, spin (drop spindle) and design patterns!!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I have been absent more then expected this year for my blog/podcasting.  For some reason, this second year I feel I have to prove myself even more at my job then I did last year.

Last year every knew the band struggled (well two years ago). So any improvement I created with the program was DRASTICALLY better.  But now that we have taken that step up, and lost 4 really GREAT musicians to graduation, we have to work even harder to get to that standard.  We had our Christmas concert last week, and while the students knew their notes, the tuning was off.  (silly violins who do not listen to me when I hand them the tuner and say "fix it")

I am proud, because we can carry a tune.  While its not the best HS band in the world, we are a standard, small, private high school band.  We do not meet as much as public schools, we do not have as many students as public schools, but we do have quite a few students who will work very hard for the concerts.  I just wish everyone was as "all in" as I am!

I have been keeping busy craft wise, amazingly doing a whole bunch of quilting! I surprise myself sometimes because I realllllllly hate sewing.  I am slowly changing my mind.

I am currently working on two quilts- the first one is just missing the binding, and the second one needs fabric for the backing.

This is my baby quilt that I am almost done with!

Coda approves!

My second QIP (Quilt in progress) is laying folded up in my craft room waiting for some extra fabric!  

I just have to get through this week. I am taking some band students "caroling" this Tuesday for the local Hospice Christmas dinner, then Wednesday night is the Grade School Band Concert. 

Once this week is over, I will have so much stress off my back! I am utterly excited!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I will make this post short and sweet!

Check out my shop on Etsy,


Use Coupon Code: BLACKFRIDAY2012 for 35% off of your entire purchase!!

Everything from handknits, to handspun, to handmade for your holiday season!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I raked MY lawn for the first time. No big deal to most people.

But I enjoyed every second!

Monday, October 22, 2012

I bought a house!

I took the next big step in my life, buying my first house.

I could not have done it without the financial help from my parents, they made the downpayment possible.

I am so happy! My first week in the house went perfectly.

Officially one week in my house! 
Things I have learned/realized/come to love-
1. I can wake up an hour early and walk around, not having to worry about the people below me.
2. I don't have to wake up early because of the people above me.
4. I can decorate, paint, and do my own gardening. (though the weather has not been outdoor friendly since I have mo
ved in)
5. I have a bathroom drawer, that has a plug in it. So I can plug in my hair dryer, and not have the cords everywhere. EPIC.
6. During the summer, I can do private lessons in my air conditioned kitchen, instead of Mac's sweat chambers. (and Parents can read magazines in my living room!)
7. I can do laundry without it getting stolen.
8. I HAVE A CRAFT ROOM ALL TO MYSELF. (Well... the whole house is all to myself, but you get the point)
9. I can park my car in a garage, and not get rained on.
10. I actually like unpacking boxes.
11. I have a dishwasher. Nuff said.
12. and Lastly! There are no creepy guys that stare into my apartment, and no ganstas rapping in the hallways.

I am having a blast.  For the first time in a year and a half, I had friends visit me.  Every day this past weekend friends were coming over, hanging out, and crafting with me.  (if you saw where I lived last, you would understand how no one came to see me because they felt unsafe!)

We crafted all weekend! 
This is one of my friends, Jen (who was actually a senior in my band class last year, but is now a great friend!)  She came over to help me decorate letters!
We painted them black first, then stenciled on bright colors.

 Look at how pretty they turned out!

 A great big "MAKE STUFF" for my craft room wall!

I also have time now to relax a little and knit!  I have updated my shop with many items- feel free to stop by and check them out! Winter is finally starting!

Lastly- My kitten touched grass for the first time in her whole life this week!  She had a blast exploring! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012


So as many of you know, I am the band director for 4 private Catholic schools, and one private Lutheran school.  4 grade/middle schools and one high school.

I love what I do.  It gets stressful sometimes, like when the high schoolers are having a cranky day. Those are the worst. But the nice thing is the high school band meets at 7:30 in the morning, and I have the rest of the day to teach my grade schoolers.  For the most part they think I am the coolest, and that makes my day lighten up!

So. Last year the High school band hovered at 23 students.  It was very small. But we started up the pep band again, it had been a while since they had a functioning pep band.

Now the band is at 30 students and growing! We are building a name for ourselves and it has been a great experience.  We started a drum line this year.  Today was the first day the drum line performed two of their cadences.  The band had no idea what that was.  They were all smiles afterwards! Even the students that give me a hard time.  It felt great.

Next goal- Marching basics, I would love to march in a parade/across the football field next year.
Marching. My next obstacle!

Now for the grade school bands.  When I started last year, I was told the year before me there were only 8 students in the band ALL TOGETHER at all four schools.  My first year we had approx 26 students with all four schools- beginning and intermediate band.  About 11 beginning band, and 15 intermediate band students.

This year.... DRUM ROLL PLEASE!

We have 25 beginning band students, and 20 intermediate band students.  But that is not including the beginning band students who have been calling asking about joining, so in the end, it looks like we will have 50 students in the grade/middle school bands!

That is amazing!

From 8 to 25 to 50! Then next year???  holy crow. If we keep going like this I am going to need an assistant!

It has been a great year so far.  I feel more organized and comfortable. I know almost all the students, and I love my job.

This job is like wine, the older it gets the better it is.

I like wine. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

25 Things I’ve Learned In My 20s

25 Things I’ve Learned In My 20s

MAY. 21, 2012

  1. You can’t date a jerk and expect to turn them into a good person. Jerks are fully committed to being unpleasant. Those brief moments of tenderness they give you are designed to trip you up and give you false hope. It’s best to stay away altogether.
  2. The rumors are true: your metabolism does slow down as you get older! That means if you’re still eating whatever you want, there’s a good chance you’ll start to gain an awkward amount of weight. It won’t be too drastic but your clothes will start to hang differently on your body and you’ll feel an overall feeling of unattractiveness. Start to be conscious of what you eat and strive to live a healthier lifestyle if you want to get your teen body back. (Let’s be real though, that might not ever come back.)
  3. You’re going to lose touch with a lot of your friends. With some people, it will be expected but with others it will feel like a punch to the stomach. No friendship is truly safe in your twenties. You’re undergoing so many personal and professional changes that there’s bound to be some casualties along the way. Don’t worry though. You’ll end up with the ones that matter. If someone’s no longer in your life, it’s for a reason.
  4. You’ll be jealous of everyone who’s more successful than you. That’s okay. Just transfer that jealousy into something productive, like working really hard so you can one day eclipse them and make them feel jealous of YOU.
  5. You’ll question every decision you make and never feel completely certain that you made the right choice. It’s pointless to wonder though. You’re here now so you might as well make it be the right decision.
  6. You’re going to give your heart to a few people who don’t deserve it. Then, one day you’ll come to your senses and ask them to give it back.
  7. You’ll see your parents get older. You’ll come home during Christmas break and see new lines developing on their faces. One day it’ll just hit you that your parents are old and going to die. There’s nothing you can do about it, besides treat them with kindness and visit as much as your budget permits.
  8. You’ll have a boss who makes you feel like you’re nothing. It doesn’t have to be in a Devil Wears Prada way. The cruelty can be much more subtle. Don’t let them get to you though. They have no idea who the hell you really are and you’re probably going to have their job someday so…
  9. Doing drugs is fun until it’s not, until it starts affecting your life in negative ways and leaves you feeling guilty and wrecked. If that happens, you should stop doing them.
  10. You’re going to puke in public. It’s fine. No one cares. Just puke.
  11. You’ll know how to make twenty dollars last an entire week because you spent almost all of your paycheck on groceries at Whole Foods and drunk cab rides. This lesson in frugality will serve you well.
  12. You’re going to betray your convictions. You’re going to feel shame. You’re going to continue to put yourself in situations that aren’t good for you. And then, slowly but surely, it will become less frequent. It might not ever go away completely but it won’t be as bad. In the meantime, stop shame spiraling about it. It gets you nowhere.
  13. Loving yourself is hard. Hating yourself is harder.
  14. You’re going to hook up with someone who you would never touch in the daylight sober. Just don’t freak out too much about it. Consider it to be your good deed for the day.
  15. You’re going to have people in your life who are toxic. They may say that they love you, they may say that they have your back, but they don’t. Get rid of them.
  16. You’ll have moments with someone that are so intense, it’ll feel like you’ve been electrocuted back to life. You’ll hold on to these moments for a long time. They’ll give you hope when you’re going through the motions.
  17. You’ll always care about your first love. That doesn’t make you crazy, it just makes you human. When relationships end, it’s not so cut and dry. You carry everyone you’ve ever loved into every relationship thereafter.
  18. You’ll enter your twenties as a fashion disaster and (hopefully) leave them looking fantastic. If you don’t know how to put yourself together by then, I really don’t know what to tell you.
  19. You’ll realize that the Internet can be a cruel son of a bitch but, you know, www.whatever.com.
  20. So much of what you think matters doesn’t actually matter at all. It’s kind of rude. Like, thanks for making me believe in things that are ultimately so inconsequential, you jerk.
  21. You’ll treat someone terribly. Whether it to be a lover or your friend, there’ll be someone whose feelings you take for granted. We focus too much on whether or not someone is hurting us. The reality is that we might actually be the one who’s hurting someone.
  22. Doing “grown-up things” doesn’t make you a grown up. Shopping for housewares, buying a plant, embracing domesticity — these things don’t create maturity. If you’re still a baby who hasn’t figured things out, you’ll remain a baby, no matter how many times you pay your rent on time.
  23. Don’t force yourself into loving anyone. If it’s not working in the beginning, it’s probably not going to work ever.
  24. You are so lucky to have everything that you have. Stop crying about an unreturned text message and get some perspective.
  25. Don’t go too long without having sex. Ever.

Monday, August 13, 2012


No no, not me! That would be going backwards in trying to save money.

Plus I already have two wonderful fur babies!

They cuddle whether they like it or not!

I have been knitting a bunch for friends that have been having babies though. Which is something I don't normally do.  I am not sure why though! It is always great to see babies wearing/cuddling with something I have put my heart and soul into.
This is my boyfriends- cousins- son.  We had driven to Indiana to visit last year, and to meet the new baby boy Russel.  He was adorable!  I wanted to stick with the zoo theme, and decided to make a blanket that was giraffe colored.  I think I did a good job!
The mother made me realize why I do things like this when she sent me this
 "I just want to thank Vanessa for making this beautiful blanket for Russell! He sleeps with it every night and nap time. It is the perfect size and gives him a little warmth and comfort but also gives us the relief of if he were to pull it over his face he could still breath because of the holes. You did a wonderful job making it so thank you very much!"
It just made me smile!  I am glad he is using it, and actually sleeping under it!

Next up is a project for a photography.  She is the mother of one of my brothers friends.  I love her photography, and thought... hmmm... what a way to advertise! I don't actually know any babies in town, so its hard to take pictures of how big a hat is to post in my shop.  We struck up some ideas and decided to make things fun!

I knit this hat up as a "Dr. Seuss" theme.  I think it worked out and he turned out adorable in it! Eventually more baby hats will be for sale in my shop!  I can't wait!

I will leave you with this!
I marched in a parade this weekend with the "Best We Could Do Band".  I was able to get a couple of my students to march with me too! Next year I hope to get even more.  It was a blast, though I finally just got over being sore!  I hope all my students get excited for marching!

That is all for today!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Firestar Shawl

I just listed this beautiful and soft shawl in my shop! https://www.etsy.com/listing/105952941/firestar-shawl

Saturday, June 09, 2012

We have a winner!

I am sorry this is a day late! Yesterday things got a little nuts as we set up for todays garage sale!

I used Random.org to pick a number today. 1 through 11.

The winner is
Number 4!

oohfancypants you are the winner of the yarn and your choice of stitch markers!

"I love the Ocean Jasper stitch markers! That yarn is a super fun color. I am a teacher so I get the summer off, and I love to travel to visit friends and family, sleep late, and knit in the air conditioned apartment."
I am glad to be able to share these items with another teacher!
Let me know when you see this post, and double check if you would like those stitch markers! I will send everything off to you as soon as you let me know!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Welcome back giveaway!

Since it is almost officially summer (graduation ceremony is tomorrow) I would like to celebrate my first year of teaching with a giveaway!  I will be starting up my podcast either Tuesday or Wednesday next week!

The first part of the prize is a skein of Happy Feet DK from Plymouth Yarn CO.  It is 90% Superwash Merino Wool, and 10% Nylon, approx 262 yards.

The second part of the prize is you get to choose any set of stitch markers from my Etsy shop! Just go to the following link - http://www.etsy.com/shop/luganchica102?section_id=6883224 and pick out which ever set you would like!

I will send both the yarn and set of stitch markers your way!!!

What do you have to do?

1. Become a follower of my blog
2. Visit my Etsy shop and let me know which set of stitch markers are your favorite in my blog comments.
3. Tell me what you love to do over the summer!

That's it! I cannot wait to hand out this prize! I will close the giveaway on June 8th, and will choose the winner with a random number generator.  Please only post once!

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


This Sunday is graduation. And then I am done for the summer! Podcast is going to start up again!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Craft Fair

I am still alive. I promise! Things have gotten to be so overwhelming, but in a really good way. My first year of teaching is almost over, and I feel it has all gone down as a total success! I love what I am doing, and I could not be happier! I am wondering what to do over the summer though. I plan on teaching lessons Tues-Thursday so I have weekends free to travel and work at my summer home. But I really do not have much planned! Now the real reason i am posting tonight is because I finally have energy to talk about the craft fair I (The band program) hosted. We need money bad, to repair the drum line and buy a new sousaphone. This craft fair really helped us. We were able to bring in around $2,000 with vendor booth sales, concessions, and the raffle table. As soon as I get measurements down, I will start ordering repair parts for our drumline! Here are some pictures from the fair, taken by my mummy dearest. This is the main cafeteria. We were planning on having it in the gym, which has more space, but the school was setting up for their huge auction which was the week after the craft fair, so we had to change things around a bit.
Down the main breezeway, the Lee's Bee's ladies were amazing! They kept my mood up the entire day, even when I felt I could just fall asleep on my feet!
Our wonderful art teacher made the banners for the band raffle and the concession stand. I would have loved to keep the banner around, but during tear down, my students had other plans...
Our wonderful, excited students who were working the concession stand. I made sure we had students around the entire time. This event was put on for them, and they helped vendors move their items into and out of the building, went around asking if they wanted anything from the concession stand, and took care of the raffle and concession stand. They did a great job!
This is my booth. Not much. Don't judge! I was not really all that worried about sales, as I was more worried about the fair in general. I was able to bring in around $80 though, which helped me a ton with rent! My booth was a hodgepodge of items, knitted things, sewn things, stitch markers, earrings, handspun yarn... you name it!
These are just some cute booths along the way!
Our band raffle table. One thing I learned, no cell phones allowed behind the raffle table. Many of my kids would not interact with the people coming inside, and then they would not sell the tickets!
This is one of my seniors. She was literally my right hand woman the entire fair. She assigned students to sellers, and worked her butt off! I was so proud, and I know I could not have done it without her help.
Along the way, I was looking at booths and struck up a conversation with one of the vendors. It ended up with where I went to high school, and with that, we figured out she was my middle school science teacher! She was in her first year of teaching when I was her student, and now we have done a full circle! She took some amazing photography and sketches, I just cannot believe it! You don't know how talented your teachers are until you ask! BTW totally pimping her shop! http://www.etsy.com/shop/CarrieCarlson?ref=seller_info Please check it out! I am floored that she was one of my vendors. I remember her being my favorite teacher outside of the fine arts department. I disected worms with her! Science club was awesome, and I was just so excited to see her again!
My band actually created about a half hours worth of music for the vendors as well! (Side note, I now know that I need to have music playing the entire time, because it got pretty boring in there!) Thats me covering the bass drum part on the left! :P
My wonderful students calling out the raffle prizes.
and lastly, a view of the cafeteria and the wonderful vendors!
All in all, we had about 38 vendors, which is great for the first year. I sent out surveys at the end of the fair and about 90% were positive. The things that I need to change for next year- No rain, more music, different types of food in the concession stand (we had hot dogs, pop corn, and bake sale goods),one hour shorter, and use the gym instead of the cafeteria I think we can manage! Heres a big thank you to all the amazing vendors! And I hope to see you again next year!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dramatic Knits Musical Swap!

I met up with my mom today for dinner, and she had quite a few packages for me since I have all my bulky mail sent to the rents place so it does not get stolen from my apartment.

I opened up the first box and squeeeeeed!

Beaglemomknitter sent me an awesome package! I put down that my two favorite musicals were phantom of the opera and A New Brain.

Phantom was the first musical I ever saw when I was young. Then the first cassette tape I ever owned. Then the first CD I ever owned. (second was beach boys haha)

A New Brain is a musical about a homosexual composer (Gordon) who writes music for a Barney like character named Mr. Bungee who is a frog. Mr. Bungee is... for loss of better words the biggest dick boss ever. Gordon have a brain aneurysm which could kill him if the surgeries go wrong. The overbearing, overprotective mother is exactly who my mother would be if I was very ill. The whole musical is about love, life, and music. It just.... I love it. It's absolutely my favorite musical.

She did a great job with the swap package!
An adorable knitted frog, which my kitten took a liking to! :)

Awesome froggy stitch markers
A phantom of the Opera Coaster/tile, and rose scented soap.

I couldnt be happier! Thank you!