The spinning continues, and I have a sock!

I have been steadily working on my spinning, and each skein of yarn I make shows improvement, which makes me hugely happy!ūüôā I now have 4 skeins of bare hand spun, and I can absolutely see myself falling down the deep and consuming hole that is dyeing yarn. If you think I’m crazy, go to etsy or pinterest, and type in hand dyed yarn. It is awesome! So many beautiful color ways, so many amazing¬†projects made with hand dyed yarn, and I really REALLY want to do that! I’ve already been thinking up color combos that I could do, and names for said combos….. I think this could be a real obsessionūüėÄ Anyway, back to the now.

I just finished spinning some merino wool, and a merino/bamboo blend. Both ended up being pretty soft, and I think one of them will be the first hand spun from my wheel I use on a project! Don’t know what project yet, but I have a growing list on ravelry, so I’m sure I’ll find something!

I have some mulberry silk, black diamond bamboo, and some regular bamboo in my meager spinning stash, all 3 of which are a little daunting to spin as they are more slippery fibers than what I have been working with. I also picked up a braid of superwash merino/ tussah silk blend when I went to check out a new yarn shop in Phoenix the other day, so I might spin that one next.

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Merino/Tussah silk blend fiber

With the slippery fibers there are different techniques you can do, such as spinning from the fold, and while I have watched videos of that, I’ve never tried that technique¬†before and I want to know more about what I should be doing when spinning those before I jump in. The mulberry silk in particular is so soft and I love the colors, I don’t want to mess it up. Actually when I ordered it, I completely misread the listing, and I thought it was merino. I was blinded by my love of the colorway and couldn’t read properly. That has to be it…

In other news, I knit my first sock! With all the podcasts I’ve been watching, and people I follow on instagram, everyone is knitting or has knit socks! I had been trying to decide what I wanted to knit next, and I realized I have a lot of hats already, I knit a shawl recently and I don’t wear shawls, I already have a scarf on the needles, and a sweater was a bit too much for me right now. I started to cast on the¬†‚ÄúSugared Maple‚ÄĚ fingerless mitts by Melissa Schaschwary, but wasn’t getting the gauge I needed, so I then cast on another shawl despite the “I don’t wear them” issue, but got a bit bored by it. I’m not even sure when exactly the urge to try socks struck, but I thought “socks are small, portable, and you can always use them!” so¬†I pulled out some sock yarn I had got on clearance a very long time ago and started swatching!

I eventually decided on the “Darling Ribbed Ankle Socks”¬†by: Ashley Darling and cast them on with DPN’s (Double pointed needles) but I wasn’t liking the needles. Halfway through the pattern I got seriously confused about what I was supposed to do, as the pattern is written to do one sock at a time, with magic loop. If your not a knitter it’s a little hard to explain, but basically you use a long circular needle (two knitting needles connected with a flexible cable) and you divide the stitches and knit half a round on the first needle, pull the second needle into the stitches on the cable, then knit the second half on the second needle. It’s really easy and a great way to knit small things without having to have tiny circulars in every size. So I asked some podcasters I follow what their favorite sock needles were, ordered some Addi turbo circular needles, and once they arrived I sorted out the sock thing and got a finished sock! Tahda!!

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It’s a real, actual knitted sock!

I also got this cool yarn valet, which lets me knit from the outside of the yarn cake without it rolling all over. So no collapsed yarny mess towards the end, which is awesome.

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Sock #2 on the needles.

In anticipation of the sock knitting thing going well, I purchased more needles and 3 more skeins of sock yarn alreadyūüėõ I am nothing if not prepared!

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Madelinetosh “Twist Light” in Composition Book Grey

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The Lemonade Shop “Mighty Sock” in Goldfish

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And Simply Socks “Simple Sock Yarn” in Orange to pair with the Goldfish for contrasting heels, toes, and cuffs.

Super exciting!!

I also made a basket with some chunky¬†yarn I had in my stash to use in my rolling cart that now lives by the couch, holding my drawing, knitting, and spinning stuffsūüôā

With all the knitting and spinning stuff going on, I haven’t done any drawing or painting recently, although there has been quite a bit of sewing and I have some bags ready to list in my shop tomorrow. It’s been busy around here, but in a very good way!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Something new!!

Some serious excitement has been going on around here! I recently got a spinning wheel!!!! ¬†It’s an Ashford Traveller, double drive, double treadle. Easy to assemble, easy to use, and I am having so much fun with it! I ordered it through Paradise Fibers, and they sent me free fiber for purchasing my wheel through them, so I have been spinning up a storm!

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When I started unpacking it, I had a lot of help and supervision: Waffles had to inspect every single piece. She was a very thorough¬†¬†quality control inspector , but she did try to steal a few of the best and most “stick like” ones for herselfūüėõ

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While she wasn’t allowed to keep any of the “sticks”, she did get a snack for all her hard work (and so she would give me some space to put it together!). The kitties showed little interest in the wheel for the most part, but the fiber was very interesting to them.

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“Human, why does this fluffy have a plastic force field?”

So, on to the actual wheel, and handspun yarn!

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The wheel is actually smaller than I thought it would be, although I don’t know why since I had watched videos on youtube of people setting up their traveller and using it. Also, it is a wheel that is meant to be more portable than a regular wheel, so that is a factor in size as well. But using the wheel is easy and it is a good size to squeeze in between the coffee tables so I can listen to the tv as I spin. Can’t knit and watch tv, and I definitely can’t spin and watch tv:/ Other great¬†stuff to listen to is podcasts, audio books, or interviews on youtube, anything I don’t have to watch. Listening to music messes up my spinning; slow songs make me treadle too slowly, fast songs have me zooming along faster than I can draft out the fiber. So no music for me at this time while spinning!

I’ve spun up about 4 skeins so far, each one getting a bit better than the last.

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Left to right, first to most recent. The two off white skeins are Ashland Bay Cheviot, and the burgundy and tan are %100 merino from Tempe Yarn and Fiber, all 2 plied. Definitely need more practice, trying to get a smooth yarn that isn’t so thick and thin, but I’m happy with the progress I’m making! I’ve got some Ashland Bay Corriedale cross on the wheel at the moment, and it’s looking more consistent than the others have. I can’t wait to ply it and see how different it is from the first onesūüôā

I sat down to do some spinning this morning, and Gizmo came over to investigate what was going on.

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What’s this?

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What’s that?

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What r u doin?

Check out Wool n’ Spinning’s Fiber Fridays for more spinning related posts!

Thank you so much for stopping by!!

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Handspun hat, some bags, and the festival

So I finished my handspun hat, just before coming down with the plague for about a week and a half. That wasn’t fun. But the hat is awesome! I even got to wear it to work the other morning when it was cold and I was still sick. It’s a good slouchy hat, with happy colors that make me smile, and¬†I made it from yarn I spun! Woot woot!

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So much happy!

Once I finished the hat, I sorted through my stash to see what I wanted to cast on next and I think it’s going to be the “Sugared Maple” fingerless mitts by Melissa Schaschwary. I love the texture of the fabric, and I’m planning on using some cascade 220 heathers, so fingers crossed I get gauge!

We got to go to the Renaissance Festival¬†recently, first one I had ever been to! It was so cool, I definitely want to go to another oneūüôā All the costumes, both performers and pedestrians alike, were awesome! Some of the costumes really made you worry about the person getting heatstroke because they were made of heavy brocade and lots of layers, and to see the people just out walking around in the sun it didn’t seem like a good idea. A few of the costumes were a bit weird and out of place, like the guy dressed as the pyramid head from silent hill. There were quite a few fairies, a Quasimodo, pirates, robin hoods, and a giant tree. And many of these were just regular people who came to the festival, not performersūüôā Gotta love people sometimes!

The highlight of the whole thing for me was definitely the spinning wheels. Yes wheels! As in more than one person spinning yarn! So awesome!! I freaked out when I was the ladys spinning yarn, but tried to do it silently so as not to scare them. I can’t wait to get a spinning wheel! So exciting!!

There was a ton of beautiful jewelry, glass blowing, candles and incense, ceramics, wood and leather working, face painting, photography, blacksmithing, and so many other cool things to see, but I only took about 5 pictures:/

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Oh, and there was an awesome wooden spiral staircase! *hearts!*

Other exciting news: there was a recent shop update! (shocking, I know. lol) I have some new project bags listed and ready to go!

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I plan to list some new handmade journals, some destashing paper packs, and possibly some stitch markers in the near future. If your interested, please stop over at my etsy shop and check them out!

Thank you so much for stopping by! Have a great day!

 

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I made a thing!

Actually, I made few things!

I have been on a knitting binge lately, and not just starting new things, but finishing things that had been on the needles for a long time and using up stash!! (The knitters and yarn hoarders among you will understand the significance of that statement. The rest will probably just think I’m crazy, but you’ll have that) I have been having so much fun watching knitting podcasts and being inspired to get back to knitting more often. I took a long hiatus and was mostly wrapped up in art journaling and drawing for quite a while, and while I’m still into those things, I have definitely missed knitting. After I finished up the green ribbed hat from a couple of blog posts back, I then whipped up a shawl (not my pattern. I know it sounds like that but it totally isn’t, I just like the way whipped up sounds cause it really did seem to knit up super fast), banged out a hat, finished off a washcloth, made another hat with cables, and started a hat with my handspun yarn!!¬†All of those¬†were just in February, as well as¬†some more project bagsūüôā It’s been a productive month so far, even with work picking up and being busier. So to finished things!

First up, the shawl! My first shawl ever! The pattern is the Jimi Shawlette, by Dee O’Keefe and it’s on Ravelry. It’s a great pattern for a beginner shawl knitter, and she includes directions to make it bigger, which I did so I could use up more of the yarn. By the time I was done I had only a couple of inches of the green left, and just a small section of the blue. Stash busting mission accomplished!

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Next up is a little hat I made thinking I would continue the stash busting trend and use up some lion brand wool ease I’ve had ever since we lived in PA. I had a couple of balls of the grey, a small bit of the teal, and a medium ball of the black. I was worried I might not have enough yarn to make the hat, but I shouldn’t have. I still have almost the same amount of yarn I did when I started, but now I also have a hat in those colors too. Really, it used hardly any yarn. I could probably make 3 or 4 more hats before I run out of the yarn… I suppose there are worse problems tho. The pattern is the “Strib hat” by Kelly Williams.

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Next up is a washcloth I’ve had on the needles for a very long time, and I think the reason it’s been so long is that I don’t like how un-elastic cotton yarn is. It hurts my hands after knitting with it for a while, and I just did not want to pick it up for so long. When I did get around to finishing it, I think it only took a couple of hours and it was done. All that procrastinating for nothing. The pattern was just one I made up, garter stitch boarders with seed stitch center, super simple.

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And next¬†the cabled hat. It’s the “Unoriginal hat pattern” by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, with most of the modifications mandybird on Ravelry made for the different weight of yarn. For the decreases I tried to follow the pattern, but mostly I just winged it because the stitch counts were so off and I don’t think I completed all of the pattern repeats before casting off because I didn’t want my hat to be too tall. I am not a fan of the elf point thing that happens when a hat is too tall. But it turned out pretty good even with crazy decreasing, and I’m happy with it. Except for the shedding. The yarn sucks. Anyway…

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And after that one was done, I cast on another, different hat with some handspun yarn I made! I am loving the way it is turning out! The pattern is the “Scant” by Lee Meredith.

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So happy with it!

Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed all the knitting-nessūüôā

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Tombstone

As promised, many moons ago, here is the pictures from our trip to Tombstone AZ!

Some of the pictures I won’t be able to show, a lot were from the Birdcage theater where we took the¬†tour, and there were signs all over asking you not to post pictures on social media, which I understand since it was a paid tour. But that means I can only show about half of the pics:/ That is still quite a few so, onward!

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The drive to Tombstone, while very long (about 4 hours for us), was really pretty. I love the mountainsūüôā

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The Birdcage theater was very cool, so much to check out and a lot of the history of the place. They have a tour you can take, with or without a guide, and if we go again we will probably get a guided tour, because even though there is some information on the items as you look at them, I think there is probably more to know than what they put on the little display cards.

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While a lot of what you see is fake/recreated, they are very detailed and original looking! They even have ghost tours you can take, but since we had a long drive back, we decided to skip that. Maybe next time!

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We watched the OK Corral re-enactment, which was a bit more comedy than we thought it would be, but it was fun and the actors were great. There are buildings that you can walk through to see pictures and read about the history of the town and it’s occupants, as well as stables and relics outside you can check out too. When we went through it was pretty dark out so a lot of the pictures turned out¬†a bit dark or weird looking. If you ever get a chance t check out Tombstone, go early. We got a late start and didn’t get a chance to see everything we wanted to.

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The blacksmith shop was one of my favorite places to check out. I love the details of the branding letters, and the metal roses were awesome! And the blacksmith has a great sense of humor, the redneck doorbell made us laughūüėõ

 

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Tombstone is dog friendly, and Waffles was allowed to go with us on the Birdcage theater tour, as long as we kept her on the heavy black mats on the floor. We definietly apprecaited it since it was pretty cold out and we didn’t want to leave her in the car. Plus, she loves to be included, and how can you say no to that face?!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Some knitting stuff, some sewing stuff, and podcasts!!

Happy New Year!

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A little late I know, but still.

I know I said before Tombstone would be the next post, but I will do that one next time, I promise! ;P

I really wanted to pop in and share something(s) I recently stumbled across. If you are not a knitter this will probably not be very¬†interesting to you, but have you checked out knitting podcasts on youtube? Do you even know that there are such things? Or am I the only person who had no idea such awesomeness existed? No one I know really knits or crochets, and the few people I know who do, don’t live anywhere near me. The podcasts are like hanging out with a good friend, and seeing what they are making and what yarns they’re using and hearing about the things they plan on making or new things they’ve tried. It is awesome! I’ve been watching podcasts while working on knitting project bags (I’ll show a few pics in a bit. If you follow me on instagram you will have already seen them) or while working on my “never-ending-favorite-scarf”, I started and finished a knitted hat for a secret santa present, finished another hat that had been on my needles for for-ev-ver, and whipped up a quick little earbud pouch, all while exploring the new awesomeness that is knitting podcastsūüôā Sweetness! Some of my favorite podcasts so far are, in no particular order as they are all awesome:

The Knitting Expat Podcast
Sticks+Twine
Holland Handmade
Sword of a knitter
The Fat Squirrel Speaks

These are the ones I have found that I really love so far, and I’m finding new ones each day, but I highly recommend each one on the list above!¬†They are fun and inspiring and often times funny, and just a great time!

So, for the aforementioned knitting objects, pictures!

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The never ending scarf you actually saw in the last post, and it hasn’t gotten too much longer although I have been working on it. It is actually a great pattern by Lisa Bruce called “favorite scarf ever” and the never ending part does not have anything to do with the pattern, I’m just lazy and don’t knit on it enough to make any real progress. No magical elves have visited my house to finish my WIP’s, which is very disappointing, but I may just need to leave out some delicious coffee or cookies for them. Need to work on that.

Next, the hat I made for my cousin, who I got for¬†the secret santa grab bag. I was so excited once I decided to¬†make her¬†a hat, didn’t really stop to think she lives in Arizona and while it has been the coldest here it has ever been in years, she probably won’t get much wear out of this :[
Whoops.

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The pattern is “Gin and Tonic” by¬†knittedblissJC, and after reading some of the comments from other people who had made it, I did a longer rib and added another set of the pattern rows so it would turn out to be a bit slouchy. I used cascade 220 heathers, and I love how it turned out! Until I washed it. Apparently I have never washed anything made from wool before, and good god does it stink when it gets wet! I was freaking out, because I made it about in the¬†week before I needed it to give to her (go me) and finished and¬†washed it two days before Christmas, discovered the smell and thought I had ruined it. I tried rewashing it with a different soap, drying it with dryer sheets in it, and finally putting it in front of the fan with a wonderful smelling bar of soap. After the fan thing it was dry (on Christmas morning, about 2 hours before we were supposed to be at my aunts house for Christmas, so just enough time to wrap it and eat breakfast and leave) and smelled quite good. ¬†Future handmade gifts will really need to be better planned, so I can enjoy the holidays instead of stressing over unexpected complications. Note to self: get wool wash. And keep extra gift cards on hand:/

Next, the hat I finally finished officially after years (and years, I don’t remember exactly when I started it, but I know it was in NC sometime around jan¬†2009). Picture is pre-blocking. If it dramatically changes after blocking, I’ll post some new pics. But I don’t think ¬†it will. Anyway, onward!

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I had finished this hat once already, and it turned out too short, so I ripped it back, and was going to add just a few rows but ended up setting it aside and being annoyed with it to the point that it got packed up and moved across the country, twice, before I picked it up again. Now in that time I did add a few rows here and there, which is why when I eventually finished it again a few days ago, it was waaaaay longer than it needed to be. Should have kept track of those rows….but anyway. It ended up having kind of a pointy elf hat thing going on, and while some people like that I am not one of them. I ripped it out yet again, and ¬†re-re-finished it, to finally have a hat I can and *might* wear in the spring or fall. Really, with all the effort of finishing this hat it should never be parted from my noggin, but I’m not in love with it. Which also might explain why it took so long to finish. The yarn is Naturally Caron in either spa or country, not sure which, but I’m thinking it’s country, and the pattern is just a simple 3×3 rib after casting on 96 sts on size US6 needles. So, finally off my needles and I now have a free pair of size 6 dpn’s! Yay!

And lastly, a cute little earbud pouch.

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The pattern is “Earbud pouch” by Mary Keenan (you can find all these patterns except for the 3×3 rib hat on ravelry.com) and I kind of just used the pattern as a guide. First I didn’t have any sock weight yarn I wanted to use for it, or teeny tiny US 1 & 1/2 needles, so I read thru the pattern, cast on 24 stitches with worsted weight yarn on US size 6 needles. Discovered part way through I wasn’t doing the increases right, didn’t bother to rip back, and at the end found I have no idea how to do the grafting even after watching a few videos on youtube. So don’t judge this pattern by my lil earbud pouch, it is way cuter on her pattern page.

Now, for the project bags I’ve been making!

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I think I will definitely make some to sell in my (neglected) etsy shop once I find a rhythm/pattern/the patience to be able to make bags in a reasonable amount of time. One day I made two bags in just a couple hours, went quite smoothly, and another day it took all. freaking. day. to make just one. On one of the flowery green bags I had to rip out the long seams no less than 12 times for various reasons. So you can see the learning curve is steep with this one. But theoretically, the more I make/practice, the better and possibly easier it will get! And I just realized, I’ve made all these project bags, and I still have a paper bath and body works bag sitting by the couch with 2 projects and my needles in it. *Facepalm*

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Some travels

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Hello!  Welcome to this slightly photo heavy post of our recent trip to Canyon lake, Tortilla flats, and the Roosevelt dam.

We had some family come to visit for Thanksgiving, and we had a great time. It was the first time we had people over for Thanksgiving since we’ve been married, so I was a little worried about cooking for more than just 2 people. It all turned out well though, and most of Thanksgiving dinner was done at about the same time, which was quite an accomplishment for meūüėõ While they were here, we took a couple of sight seeing trips around the area to Tortilla flats, the Roosevelt dam, and Tombstone.

We did the Tortilla flats, and the Roosevelt dam in one trip, because they are both fairly close to each other, and we stopped at Canyon lake for a bit too since it was on the way. It was overcast for most of the day, and a bit chilly, but it was a great trip, and the sunset was amazing!

If you’ve ever been to Tortilla flats, you know how winding and narrow and slightly¬†terrifying the road (route 88) can be getting there. If you haven’t been there before, I highly recommend an anti-nausea medication beforehand. I’m not sure if it was the winding-ness of the road, or just sitting in the back of the car, but I was definitely getting a bit carsick by the time we reached Tortilla flats. It didn’t last too long once we were out of the car tho, so that was good. And it also¬†didn’t stop me from taking pictures the whole way, after we got home¬†I had about 620 pictures on my camera just from the Tortilla flats/Roosevelt dam trip alone.

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Tortilla Flats is a neat little place with a mining era feel. They have a saloon/restaurant, a little museum that used to be a school house, a general store, and few other buildings. It was pretty busy when we were there, so I only have a few pictures. The museum was super claustrophobic feeling, as there were about 4 people in there at one time, and that was 3 too many! The walls in the restaurant and general store are almost completely covered in one dollar bills that people from all over the world have written their names on and hung up, which was cool. And the bar stools in the saloon were saddles, which I nearly wiped out trying to get on and off of.:/ Being short is rough, lol.

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After Canyon lake and Tortilla flats, we had to move a bit faster to make it to Roosevelt dam before the sun set. We made it before dark and got to see an awesome sunset over the mountains. My camera was doing weird things with some of the colors, but I love how most of the pictures turned out!

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I love the Arizona sunsets so much! I don’t know if I have just not noticed the sunsets as much¬†in other places we have lived, or if the sunsets are just more spectacular here, but we have seen some amazing ones since we’ve moved here!

It was such a fun trip and we got to see so many beautiful things, I’m so glad we were able to go.

Next up: Tombstone

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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