Monday, October 20, 2014

A Quick Update...

Hey Y'all!

As you may have noticed, I am not the most faithful blogger... Thus, I have decided to suspend my attempts at blogging for the present time. While I'm away, I hope to focus on better developing my business and products over at Etsy (and having this lovely baby boy in December!). 

Be sure to stay in touch via Instagram (@MesAventuresHAK) where I post almost daily, and through my shop

I hope this sabbatical will only be temporary and that I'll return freshly inspired!

Until later,
Adventure well; Live fully. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Super Straighforward Steps for Pregnancy Fitness

Back to School!
It's that time of year again--Summer is winding down, kiddos are back at their books, and the rest of us are once again renewing resolutions of fitness and health. 

22 and a half weeks pregnant (and still taking silly selfies, but who could resist??) with a BOY (yippee!). A few weeks ago, at the sweet nudging of my Hubster, I realized that walks, even long, frequent ones, were not cutting it as my pregnancy fitness plan. About this same time, my Mama bought me a fabulous pair of maternity jeans, and I wanted to look and feel great in them. 

I hadn't gained any shocking amounts of weight or anything like that, after all, I'm growing a whole other person, but John could tell I was lethargic and losing confidence about how I looked and felt. So to the Y he sent me (side note: It takes a special man to tell his wife that she needs to get her backside out to the gym and be able to do it in a way that makes her feel encouraged and confident, not fat or criticized). 

So, in light of the last couple of weeks, here are my very straightforward 
Tips for Staying Fit and Feeling Great 
During Pregnancy:

1) Talk to your OB or midwife. Really, don't skip this step, especially if you don't have a history of being active. If you are fortunate, you'll get a green light like me, "Anything that you can do that you are able to do, do it." If they have guidelines, listen to them. You can always ask them to reevaluate your condition later after you make some progress, etc. 

2) Just do it. Really, do it. Put on your big girl yoga pants and your sneakers, and do something. Cant think of anything but walking? Walk. Start somewhere, anywhere. 

3) Shake it up. Fresh out of ideas? Shake it literally (Zumba class, baby! I'm in love!), or figuratively--try an Expresso bike or the elliptical instead of just walking. Keeping your mind engaged is also important when working out. Boredom busts good intentions. Find ways to make exercise fun.

4) Don't forget to hydrate and eat well. Hydrate means water, and plenty of it. Also, don't interpret that as "eat perfectly." I'm definitely pro-ice cream. ;-) But pay attention to what goes in your body. Don't undermine your workout with crummy eating. 

5) Look good. Choose flattering maternity clothes. Budget busted? I've found some lovely steals on Old Navy's clearance rack. Knowing that you're rocking a fun outfit will add bounce to your step and serve as both reward and motivation for staying active. 

Keep it simple. Keep it fun. :-)

Adventure well; Live fully.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Studio Update: More Word Art

Howdy, everyone!

Custom orders have kept me in the studio and away from my computer for quite a while! Though that is indeed my favorite way to spend my time, it means that y'all have been rather left out of all the excitement. Even now, in fact, I should be knitting away on yet another lovely project, but I'm finally bursting to show y'all what I've been doing.

A couple months ago, I shared the word art I created as a gift for a teenage gal in need of some encouragement.

A quick nose around Etsy showed me that no one else is really doing word art like this, so I added it as a custom item in my shop.

In May, I got my first order! I put together this piece as a gift for a mom from her 4 kids:

It included some of their favorite qualities about their mama and was "signed" by them. At 9x12 inches, it's also large enough for her to frame and hang it where she'll see it every day.

Then, a few weeks later, I received another order. This time for a family heirloom piece to be featured in the couple's new library. This piece took more planning and skill, and I loved the challenge!

This painting was huge: 16x20 inches. In fact, I ordered special watercolor board for it so that it would be easier to manage, ship, and for them to frame.

The family name was Scottish, so I incorporated some of the better known Highland flowers: thistle, heather, and bluebells. The "calligraphy" is all outlined by hand then painted in and lends it self to the classic, heirloom feel of the work.

I hope to do more work like this in the future--I really enjoyed working with my customers to select color palettes and draft sketches. It challenges me to listen well, ask careful questions, and think outside of work I've done before. It's a unique adventure!

Want to learn more? Check out this listing in my shop!

Adventure well; Live fully.

Monday, May 19, 2014

2014 Tour de Cure

We did it; we did it; we really, really did it!!

After two+ months of training, fundraising, and then wondering if I could bike that far with morning sickness, the Tour is complete! All 28 miles!

Before anything else, THANK YOU to our wonderful sponsors and supporters for your financial gifts, encouragement, and prayers. You were behind us all the way! 

Now, the story. 
Yesterday was rainy. Like, really, REALLY rainy. And all we could think as we drove to Douglasville through the downpour was, "Wow, this is going to be miserable." 

We got there and suited up for the worst (at least as best you can when you're going to be on a bike...).  

We registered, and pinned our numbers on our coats. John even got a super cool bike jersey because he's a "red rider," meaning, he rides with diabetes. He kind of got special treatment like that all day. ;-) 

 It wasn't raining at the starting line, so off we went. The ride was gorgeous--through the woods and farms of south west Atlanta. The air was cool and fresh, but the roads were hardly wet, and the rain, and my nausea, held of the whole ride. God is so good! Every 7ish miles there was a pit stop--with water, gatorade, granola bars, and, so we refueled often and took our time. We rode 28 miles in 2.25 hours (plus stopped time).  The hills were challenging, but we really did enjoy it (probably me most of all. ;-) ). Yippee!

Perhaps the best surprise was that not just Stuart, but April, Anna, Adam, AND Chester were all waiting for us at the finish line with cameras and cheers. What a welcome!

It was an awesome experience. Yesterday's riders collectively have raised $400K to STOP DIABETES! And, as our lives are daily impacted by the disease, the thought that better treatments and maybe even a cure can be found is an awesome thought. 

Photo: Tour de Cure 2014 is here! Just remember to "Keep on and Ride on"!
 (Photo from the Tour de Cure Atlanta Facebook page)

Adventure well; Live fully. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Moby Gimli Bat-Cat

Good Morning!

How about a happy cat story to start your day with a smile?

Once upon a time, there was a tiny little kitten. As far as anyone knows, he was only 6ish weeks old when he was abandoned at a PetSmart near Chattanooga. He was black with a grey undercoat and amazingly social, affectionate, and playful. 

One day, a husband and wife wandered into this same PetSmart. They were there to buy a white betta fish and name it Moby Dick (the wife was nerdy like that). On a whim, they decided to go say hi to the cats in the adoption center. They were busy sticking their fingers in the cages and cooing at the cats when they heard a most insistent mew. They looked around to see where it was coming from just as the little kitten crawled out from under the cages. He stunk to high heaven and had fleas galore, but the wife picked him up anyway. It didn't take long to figure out he had no where to go, so the couple decided to take him home and try to convince their landlord to let them keep him. 

On the way home, they named him Moby. Little Moby was so tired that he fell asleep in his litter box as soon as he ate a little bit of food.

They took him home, bathed him, and made sure he had plenty to eat. He fluffed up and settled in very quickly--loving both his makeshift bed and his little mouse. 

But, alas, the couple's landlord was the only soul on earth not completely vulnerable to Moby's charms, and he would not let them keep him. But, after a week of agonizing over the fate of the world's best kitten, HA met Erin. Erin and her hubby have two kids and three other cats, and were thrilled to add this feisty, loving kitten to the mix. So, for about 6 months, Moby lived with them, enjoying kitty-friends and being carried around like a dishtowel by the little girl. During that time, he grew up quite a bit!

He never quite grew into his ears, though, and was known as the Gimli Bat-Cat. 

Then, in March, Erin called HA and asked her about readopting the Bat-cat. He has a knack for mischief that was just a little overwhelming with 5 other potential mischief-makers in the house. HA drove to Chattanooga the next day and brought him home to the Studio. 

The Mob-ster is still crazy, but also crazy cuddly. There is certainly never a dull moment!

 (He's also still not sure if he's cat, dog, or human. ;-) ).

And they all lived happily ever after--including Erin and her family whom we love very much! 

Adventure well, Live fully.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Knightlet #1

Howdy, Everyone!

Shortly after my last post, Hubster and I got some exciting news: Our first Knightlet is on the way! 

I wish I could eloquently describe our emotions and thoughts, but it's really very simple: we are so happy. 

Rather than trying to keep the secret, we told the whole world pretty much right away with the help of our Moby-cat:


While I can promise you he doesn't really have a clue that I'm pregnant, he's the only one that has reveled in the exhaustion of the first trimester--he's getting spoiled by all this extra cuddle time! 

Our parents are over the moon--which is the most wonderful thing ever, and my friends are excited, too (and maybe just a little overwhelmed ;-) ). 

And, after weeks of waiting, we FINALLY had a prenatal appointment this week and got to see our little baby (and his/her heartbeat!).

 I'm 9 weeks along, and just can't wait till December 18th! 

Talk about a new adventure!

Adventure well; Live fully.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Month's Adventures

Happy April 1st!

It has been over a month since I blogged, y'all, which is just nuts to me.  In some ways, I suppose my life has been too full of living and has left little room from writing about living. 

I've been on Instagram, so those who follow there have seen all that I've been up to. Two things on that:
1) FOLLOW ME! @MesAventureHAK 
I definitely Insta more than anything else because I love sharing snapshots of daily life.  
2) Look up^^^ I added that cool, scrolling bar of photos this morning. Those are my Instagram pictures via SnapWidget. So, if you click a picture it will take you to SnapWidget, but you can link to Insta from there. Fun stuff. 

There will be more stories on all of the below soon, but for now let me give you a fly by of the last month:

1) Moby Gimli Bat-Cat. He's that silly black cat in so many of my photos. He has quite a story all by himself, but the gist of it is that we have the best cat in the world!

2) Biking. With only 7 weeks till the Tour de Cure, training is in full swing. Audrey has been a trooper as I challenge her day after day to push her mind and body just a little further in the saddle. To climb one more hill, pedal one more mile, practice riding on the roads and in the rain, etc. 

3) Drawing. I won't be so bold as to say that I'm doing a drawing a day, but I'm trying to do several a week. Some are just quick sketches inspired by a verse in my morning devotions, and others are exercises in my sketchbook. I tend to be a bit pencil shy--strongly preferring my paintbrushes-- but the time has come for me to develop my drawing skills. 

4) Reading. But I've done less and less of it in my spare time over the last few years as college work has dominated my reading energies. With just a month of university left, I am being more intentional about building "fun reading" back into my life. I recently finished Demon Fish and Ender's Game and am now tackling Atlas Shrugged. Good stuff. :-) 

Remember, I always love to hear about your adventures in the comments or on any of my social media outlets! Be in touch!

Adventure well; Live fully. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Atlanta Tour de Cure: We Need Your Help!

Good Morning! 

I've actually been quite productive in my studio lately, but I'll write more on that later. For now, I need to fill you in on a new adventure:
The American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure Bike Ride. 

The Hubster, Audrey, the sweet 7th grader I nanny, and I are joining Audrey's Aunt Stacey and some friends in the Atlanta 2014 Ride. 

Who: John & HollyAnne Knight and Audrey Sylvester

What: The American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure 28 mile Atlanta ride.
When: May 18, 2014
Why: To raise money for diabetes research, raise awareness about all types of diabetes, and celebrate the champions who live with diabetes every day (Like my Hubster, who has had Type 1 for 13+ years).
How Can You Help: 
  • We need prayer: for safety in training and riding, for this ride as a whole to raise lots of money for research, and for that research to find new and better ways to fight, prevent, and CURE diabetes. 
  • We are FUNDRAISING. We need to raise a minimum of $200 each in order to ride, and we'd like to go above and beyond that. The fastest way to donate is by going online. Follow these links!
Donate to HOLLYANNE 
Donate to JOHN 
Donate to AUDREY     


Adventure well; Live fully.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Lesson from the Fishes

Happy Friday, everyone!

As y'all may know from Facebook and Instagram, I set up my aquarium this weekend. 
29 gallons of Amazon River happiness. 

The tank is still cycling, so we'll see if everyone makes it through these critical next few weeks, but for now we have 2 striped angel fish, 6 lamp-eye tetras, and 6 cory catfish (3 different varieties: 1 green, 1 julii, and 4 sterbai...we kind of bought all the leftovers at the pet shop).

I knew that these fish were very different from each other (even though angels, tetras, and corys are a pretty common community tank combo), but since this is my first community tank, I'd never had the opportunity to see how different species reacted when introduced to a tank . 

By the end of the day, I had a few thoughts:

My apologies that they are so far away, but they are shockingly camera shy. Just trying to get this shot was an adventure--the angels love to hog the limelight!

So how did they handle their big ol' home?
As soon as the dropped in they just started puttering around like it was no big deal. They've explored some since, but they were overall pretty nonplussed by the whole thing.  


We call this guy Quatro (he has 4 stripes), and we also have Trip (3 stripes). Quatro is certainly the dominant one and has decided that he loves the camera...though he hasn't quite figured out how to hold still. haha. 

Anyway, these guys are about the size of a quarter and already growing. Quatro has shown mild signs of aggression (that dominance thing), so we're hoping that doesn't become an issue as he gets bigger (they'll both be bigger than my hand at full size). But let me tell you, that tough guy act was NOT a thing the night we put them both in the tank. They both had freaking panic attacks. If I hadn't been so worried about them adjusting well, it would have been funny. They had been moved from a crowded, bare store tank to my wonderfully planted Amazonian haven...and they were having a cow. It was ridiculous. 

Cory Cats

 If you are not an aquarist, this may be  the first time you've heard of "cory cats." Corys are catfish and members of the family Corydoras. They are small, usually growing to 2-3 inches in length, and they are much more active and diurnal than many other catfish. They are very peaceful and prefer to life in schools. Really, they're like a bunch of swimming puppies. 

The top photo is of my Green Cory and the bottom is a Julii Cory (We also have 4 sterbai--they look a lot like the Julii, but without the black dorsal and the stripes on the side). I bought the Green Cory first because he was just so active and playful, and we got the rest to keep him company. 

Unlike the tetras who took everything in stride or the angels who panicked, the corys seemed to embrace being introduced to a new home. As if on an adventure, they immediately began to explore their new tank and make themselves at home. It was only a day or so until I found they'd dug quite a hole against one of the logs to give themselves a new hidey hole, and I've found them everywhere from under the java fern to lounging on the Amazon Sword leaves. I often find them swimming excited laps or all piled together in a corner. 

So, what's the point?
Here's the point:
I want to be like the corys. 
I don't want to act like life is either no big deal or the scariest ride ever. 
I want to admit that I may not know or understand it all and embrace new things with a bit of excitement, making a conscious decision to focus on the learning, growing, and process of life rather than a race for perfection. 
I want to focus on the good stuff. For example, corys typically prefer to school with their own species, but we couldn't find 6 of any one species, so we just bought all the oddballs--and they all seem to be getting along just fine. They'd rather have 5 other corys of 2 other species than be alone I suppose. I want to embrace the folks in my life without expecting them to be perfect or just like me. I just want to do life together, each teaching and learning. 

As I told y'all, I recently started a job as "Mary Poppins" for a teen girl and her teen brother. We've been spending the last few weeks learning how to do life together. They and their dad keep talking about stuff that I'm teaching them, but let me tell you--I am learning so much and being so blessed by these kiddos. They ask me to plan and be patient; they ask me to try new things so we can figure out paths to success; they ask me to walk away from my homework for Apples to Apples or biking, or just a story. They ask me to laugh and love and, most of all, just be with them. They ask me to make time and room in my schedule, my thoughts, and my heart for them. We're not just alike; none of us are perfect. But, like corys, we're finding friends and safe places and room to swim and time to discover, and those are treasures. 

Keep calm and Cory on. ;-) 

Adventure well; Live fully. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Share a Friend: The Hubster! (Knight IT Consulting)

Oh, hey, Stranger!

I hadn't really planned to take a weekish long blog-break, but the last week just flew by.  I've been knitting my fingers off, having a blast nannying, bowling with the hubster, and sometimes studying ( ;-) ). 

Anyway, I'm BAAAAAACK, and I have some news for you! 

While we were gone, this handsome guy: 


...started his own IT company: Knight IT Consulting.

Right now, it's just local in the Atlanta area, but he's hoping to offer remote services soon. 
John is well equipped to help you out with computer configuration, maintenance, and repair (on site or drop-off) as well as Parental Consulting. 

Now, the first part of that is pretty self-explanatory: he can get your computer running, keep it running, and fix it if it quits running. He can also help you understand things about using your computer. But what about that second part?

Parental Consulting Services are for helping YOU know how to protect your children online, safeguard their devices, and know where your kids are. He will set up parental controls on devices and show you how to use them. 

John is an excellent coach (he's helped me with everything from rollerblading to grilling to bowling), so if you are looking for a computer guy who can get the job done and explain it to you in plain English as well--he's your man!

John is Comptia A+ certified. :-) 

Visit his website at
or "like" him on Facebook at 

Adventure well; Live fully. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Scary Ride

Sometimes our adventures are thrilling and wonderful. 

But sometimes, they're just terrifying. 

Sometimes, adventure isn't even the right word. 
Sometimes, it's a nightmare. 

Our worst fears come true, and we find ourselves living in bondage to that pain and anxiety. 

Life is hard. 
Even the good stuff is hard oftentimes. 

So we watch, and we wait. 

We cling to hope.

My little sister was in Into the Woods last night. Frankly, it was a scary play. But it made me think. 

The best things in life aren't wishes. 
Or perfection. 
                                                           Or riches. 

The best things in life give us reasons to keep putting one foot in front of the other. 


Delicate, elusive things that slip thru our fingers like wind and sand and hover in the corner of our visions like strands of gossamer. 

"Hope has a way of turning it's face to you
Just when you least expect it
You walk in a room
You look out a window
And something there leaves you breathless
You say to yourself
It's been a while since I felt this
But it feels like it might be hope.

"Hold on. Hold on. 
Keep your eyes on the prize. 
Hold on."

~Sara Groves

 Adventure well; Live fully. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Studio Update: Watercolor Word Art

This piece grew out of a desire to encourage a young teenager who has been struggling to find her place in life. The details aren't my story to share, but the bottom line is that she has been needing some reminders of God's plan and purpose in her life and His love for her. 

As I worked on this piece, I also decided to offer Watercolor Word Art as a custom listing in my shop because I think other people would enjoy having their name surrounded by their favorite quotes, verses, lyrics, words, etc. 

This piece is unique in that I spent a lot more time planning it than I usually do. I'm rather notorious for just sitting down to create or paint without putting proper forethought into the matter. Sometimes it works, but trust me, there are plenty of things that never make it to the shop or the blog or anywhere else! 

I got a text in class one day about what was going on in Siena's life and almost immediately jotted a doodle on the corner of my paper:

Over the next few weeks (and our move), I kept scribbling ideas in my sketchbook, playing with lettering and how to frame her to include verses and add color, but without making it look too "busy." 

By the time I sat down today to give this idea its first real go, I had a general idea of where I was heading...just enough that the work took on a life of its own as soon as I began. 

My very first steps were in pencil, then I inked over those lines and added the verses. The little geometric shapes were my first hint that this piece already had its own ideas.

Shockingly, I slowed down enough to make a color palette. I'm so glad I did!

About halfway through I panicked. Her name was colored, the key words were "highlighted," and I'd started adding the extra geometric shapes around the outside sections. It looked VERY awkward, and I wasn't sure it was going to work at all... But I was surprised and delighted when I finished!

Once it dried, I took it off the painting board for proper photos:


As I mentioned, your own customized word art is available in my shop
Names, quotes (verses/lyrics/words), colors, and general style are all fully customizable!
Click here to learn more. :-)

Adventure well; Live fully. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Share a Friend: Audrey

Howdy y'all!

As you know, I recently started a wonderful nannying job as "Mary Poppins." What you don't know is that one of my new kiddos, Audrey, is a super awesome artist!

 She has been taking classes from a local artist, Larry Smith, and this is her latest work in progress. 

Here's a few questions I asked her this afternoon: 

Why do you like to paint?
A: It's relaxing. When you have so much to do, and you finally get to sit down to paint, it's calming. 

What do you plan to paint next?
A: A fox in the snow from a photograph my friend's grandfather took. 

What other creative things do you like to do?
A: I like to sculpt polymer clay, and I like to paint with watercolors. And I occasionally sketch. 

Watch out, Etsy, she's heading your way in a few years! ;-) 

Adventure well; Live fully. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Studio Update: Knits and Paintings

Greetings from The Studio!

In this case, I mean not only my studio, but also our home, recently christened The Studio because of the way my arting space is central in our new place. 

If you've been following the shop or any of my social media, you know a lot of things have happened in the last week or so. Here's an overview of all the latest shop items!

Custom Order Watercolor Painting

 This listing is for one custom order painting from a photograph (or an idea. ie: "I would like a painting of a field and barn." I can make that happen!).

Subjects can include:
People (faceless only)
Homes (or other buildings)
Flowers, trees, etc.

Sizes range from 4x6 inches to 11x14 inches. 

The photos above are examples of the kind of work I can do--I love creating custom paintings!!

Tree of Life Fingerless Gloves
 I have been wearing a pair of these for the past two winters, and I looooove them. I recently worked out a deal with the pattern designer so that I can offer them to YOU in my shop. 

Mine are moss green and knit from wonderful soft wool. But, I can knit them in any number of colors for you! They come in two sizes: S/M and M/L. 
 (Photos courtesy of the wonderful designer, Jenny Williams)


If y'all have been following the news, we got a lot of snow and ice here in Atlanta this week. 

This piece was inspired by the view outside my new studio. It was also a lovely foray into mixed media art, using permanent pen, watercolor, and oil pastel. It is 12x7 inches. 

Celtic Cable Knitted Mug Cozies

These originated from a custom order, and I loved them so much, that I just had to put them up in my shop.

 There are two colors listed, hopefully with more to come soon. If you are just itching for a different color in the meanwhile, all you have to do is ask! 

Last one, y'all:

These fish compete for dominance through lip-locking...

...but I think they're a pretty cute idea for your fish loving honey, too! 

Remember, Valentine's Day is coming! :-) 

Adventure well; Live fully.