Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Oh, hi there!

It's been a while! I didn't mean to, but I ended up taking the summer off from blogging. I also took the summer off from knitting, and schooling my kids. I helped our contractor in the basement, and schlepped the kids to summer sports, and not much else got done. It was a busy summer.

Today is our first day of school. So here's our "back to school" picture...
Yep, we were just getting ready to read our Bibles together. Angel is now in seventh grade, Princess is in fourth, and Kitty is in first. Today was a pretty light day as far as schoolwork was concerned; we had some errands to run in town.

But anyway, about summer... we got the bedrooms and bathroom done, and the man-cave is nearing completion.
Kitty's room

Princess's room

The girls' bathroom
Sorry, I don't have a good photo yet of Angel's room. I was all set to take one, and then we had a natural disaster. The basement flooded. Most of the water came in through Angel's window, and we had to empty her room and pull up her carpet. We got the carpet cleaned and put back down, but then it was time to head out of town for two weeks to visit my family in Kansas. Which was awesome. So anyway, don't let me forget to post a photo of her room soon.

I've continued (very slowly) to lose weight. Here I am wearing a knitted pencil skirt that I finished while in Kansas. It took me about two weeks to knit. I've already started another one...
I still have about 25 pounds to go to reach my goal weight. I'm planning on doing that before the end of the year. I want to start 2014 NOT thinking about my weight. 

So yeah... I'm hoping to find more time to blog now that summer is officially over. And more time to knit...

Sunday, June 16, 2013


We're finishing our basement. And by we, I mean the contractor and I. :) Three weeks ago, it was one big, open space, with the stairway basically cutting it in half. Now, we have framed three bedrooms, a bathroom, a utility room, a photo studio, and a half-bathroom. Electrical and plumbing work is almost done, and drywall is up in most of the rooms. The contractor started mudding the drywall on Friday. We haven't started yet on the man-cave part of the project; we're trying to get the girl-country side done, so we can move the kids downstairs.

I've learned a lot so far. I've done some framing before, but with this project we had to make the framing fit around the existing ductwork, so that was a challenge. And I got to set all the walls, which meant drilling down into the concrete, and using special bolts to secure the framing to the floor. I didn't do any of the plumbing myself, but I watched. I did do some of the electrical! I pulled wires, and attached them to junction boxes, and on Friday I wired a bunch of electrical outlets. Don't worry, none of those wires were hooked up to breakers yet. Drywall is not as easy as it looks, but it's also not complicated. I haven't done any of the mudding, yet; I've just watched. There's something about mudding.... ever since I was a little girl, I've found it mesmerizing. I liked to watch my dad when he finished the basement in our home, when I was about 10. Maybe I'll give it a try on Monday...

My hands are not happy about all this contruction work; they're very rough, and all my nails are broken. But oh, well. Nails grow back, and I'll pamper my hands when this is all over. I haven't knit a stitch in three weeks, partly because I've just been too busy, and partly because I don't want to snag the yarn with my rough, dry skin.

I'll post photos when I have some; I've been so busy working that I haven't been documenting the process with my camera.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


So... yeah, it's been a while. Since my previous post, I've finished a few projects, started a few more, taken a trip to Kansas to visit my family... and reached the halfway point in my weight loss journey!

That's right, I've lost 30 pounds! Here is me, at 150 pounds, on June 1st.
I'm liking my legs much more this year, so I'm planning on wearing a lot of shorts this summer. And shorter shorts than I used to wear too!


Next post, I'll talk about my latest project, which actually doesn't include knitting needles.... but tools. Ah, I love the smell of sawdust in the morning!

Friday, May 3, 2013


My Unconventional pattern is up! This pattern comes with two versions; both use short rows for shaping, and one has cables. It's a tricky pattern, and not for the faint of heart. If you choose to knit it, you should first have a solid grasp of cabling and short rows, as well as reading your knitting. Because it's very easy to get confused.
 The pattern is available on Knit Picks, for $4.99

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Aslan has defeated Jadis again!

Spring is here!

I have been feeling recently like I live in the place where winter never ends(Jadis-era Narnia perhaps?). It started in October, and has lasted until earlier this week. That's right; seven months of winter. But the past three days have finally started to look like spring. I have the windows open, and I'm wearing shorts. In fact, I'm wearing shorts that were too tight the past two summers, and my belt is fastened on the tightest hole. ☻ But that's neither here nor there. The point is: it's spring! I would plant my garden now, but I'm leaving tomorrow to go visit my family in Kansas! Kansas, where it's almost summer already. Maybe when I get home in a couple weeks, there'll be some leaves on the trees... ☻

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blankets for Baby

I've been working on a little project recently. If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that I have quite a few patterns published on Knit Picks. I decided to combine all five of my baby blanket patterns into an e-book. And then I designed another baby blanket, which I self-published on Nimblestix. And I decided to include it in the book as well.
Harmony is not pictured on the cover, but is inside.

Blankets for Baby is available for purchase on Nimblestix, for $12. If you were to purchase each pattern separately, you'd pay just under $14, so it's a savings of about $2. The e-book is 22 pages long, and includes: 
Posy Patch 
Sydney Claire
Evellyn Anne
Willow Carroldine

I believe you don't have to be a member of Nimblestix to download the e-book, but I'm not certain. And anyway, you should become a member if you're not. Nimblestix is a great site! It's like Facebook for fiber artists, but better. :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Knitting in a certain yarn...

I got an email from Knit Picks recently, asking if I'd be interested in coming up with a design for a new yarn colorway. Free yarn is free yarn, so naturally, I said yes. The yarn arrived, and it was beautiful. I've converted all my photos to black and white, since the colorway has to stay secret until it's released. I immediately dived in; I had already come up with a design that I thought would work... but it didn't.

The tiny-cables stitch pattern I wanted to use was completely obscured by the color variations. So I frogged it and started over. And frogged it and started over. And frogged it and started over. Finally, I came up with a design I liked; the cables and lace showed up well enough. But when it was about halfway done, it was clear that it was going to be enormous and not fit anyone with a normal-sized head (did I mention it was a hat?)... so I frogged it and started over. Again. I made some more adjustments to the cable pattern, to make it fit into a smaller stitch count, but I forgot to take into consideration that eight-stitch cables pull in much more than four-stitch cables do. Long story short, the hat I was designing to fit me ended up fitting my six-month-old niece almost perfectly.
 She's adorable, and she knows it.
 I like how it turned out, and may make another one, with the intention of having her model for me. But for now, I've abandoned that hat design. A friend of mine suggested that the stitch pattern would look nice in a cowl, which I thought was a great idea. Since a cowl wouldn't have any decreases or increases to worry about, I wouldn't have to figure out how to fit them into the design, as I had with the hat.
Three days later, I had a finished cowl, and almost no leftovers. My friends suggested 10 inches for the width. I was running out of yarn, so I only did 8 inches, which is fine for me, because I have a really short neck.

So I went through all that stress and ripping, to come up with a super-simple cable-and-lace cowl(and a hat idea for another day). And next time I'm asked to "come up with something" for a new yarn, I'll only agree if it's a solid color.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Harmony Preemie Blanket

My Harmony Preemie Blanket pattern is available for purchase! This little blanket is great for using up washable sock yarn leftovers. It's knit in the round, from the center out. It could easily be customized; you could use any weight of yarn, and you could add more repeats of the lace pattern to make it bigger.

The pattern is available on Nimblestix, for $2.00. Feel free to make as many as you like, for gifts or donations, but please do not sell the pattern, or the finished product of it.
Malabrigo Sock Yarn "Velvet Grapes"

Knit Picks Stroll Tonal "Pearlescent"

Miss Babs Yummy Sock Yarn "Chocolate Roses"

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Exercise and knitting

Just for fun, I did this yesterday:
I put on the shirt I'd worn in my January 1 "before" photo, and took a new picture and put them side by side. Nice change for only three months of work!

And my friends and I started a new exercise challenge. We're doing the Hundred Pushups Challenge. The goal is to be able to do one hundred consecutive pushups six weeks from now. When I did the initial test, I was able to do 12, so I have a long way to go. Yesterday was day 1...and my chest and ab muscles are incredibly sore today. Today is a rest day, and I'm hoping the soreness wears off by tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to the benefits of this program; it should make a big difference in my arm strength, and I'm hoping it'll firm up the saggy "girls" as I continue losing weight.

In other news...
I've finally settled on a design for the hat I'm making for Knit Picks. The colorway is still a secret, so I've converted the photo to black-and-white. But you can get an idea of how the hat will look. I'm knitting it top-down, and instead of columns of purls between the cables, I'm using columns of lace. The way it kind of swirls out from the center reminds me of a spiral galaxy. So I'm thinking of giving it a name that has something to do with the stars...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Progress picture time!

 Well, March is over, so it's time for progress pics! Without further ado, here are this morning's photos!

I'm down 24 pounds! Getting close to my halfway mark. I can hardly wait to visit my family in Kansas and let them see the new me! I'm still keeping all this a secret from them. I'm planning on going to see them in May sometime, so I've got time to lose another ten-ish pounds before then. They're not going to believe their eyes!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Another T-shirt Upcycle

After the t-shirt upcycle I did in a previous post, I came up with a crazy idea. I wondered if I could combine the technique with the knitting technique of cabling. I had to wait until I could get to the thrift shop to get a junky old t-shirt that I wouldn't mind ruining. The thrift shop near here is only open on Tuesdays, so I went today and found an XL tunic-length t-shirt.

So, if you want to try this out, you'll need: 
→ a t-shirt that is not only too big around, but too long by at least six inches.
→ sharp scissors
→ a measuring tape or ruler
→ three crochet hooks (size 8 or 9 works well)
→ a needle and thread

The most time-consuming part is laying out the t-shirt for the cuts. I wanted my decoration to run up the center of the front of the shirt, so I put the side seams together to find the center, and folded it there. Then I measured 1 1/2 inches away from the fold and marked it, then folded along those marks on both sides of the center. So I had three folds, held together. I used my measuring tape, and cut every 1/2 inch, about 1/2 inch in from the folded edges. The important thing was to not cut all the way through; I wanted a little space between each cut.

When it was unfolded, it looked like this:

Next, I took the three crochet hooks, and started picking up the loops. I did a couple of rows, then stopped...

Then I began switching the columns. And I just realized this picture is wrong; I changed my technique a little after I took it and forgot to take another. Oh well. I'll try to describe what I did...
I took the center hook and reached over to the next loop in one of the side columns, and pulled it through. Then I lifted that hook up and over the one that belonged in that column, so that they switched places. Then I took the hook that had its loop stolen, and use it to pick up the next loop in the center column. The hook on the other side picked up its loop as normal. Then I did the same thing, going the other way: use the center hook to pick up the next loop in the opposite side, lift it up and over the hook that was there, use the hook from that side to pick up the center loop, and used the leftover hook to pick up its own loop. It sounds a little complicated, but if you can braid, you can do it. 

Here's a closeup of how it looked after I'd done all the columns all the way up. 
 I used the needle and thread to secure the last loops at the top. 

And here's how it looks on me!
 As you can see, it's almost too short in the front now; this technique pulls up even more than the original technique did. I need to do something to the neckline; it's almost a v-neck now, but it doesn't lay flat, so I'm going to do something to fix that. I haven't decided yet what I want to do to the sleeves; I might cut them shorter and hem them, or I might leave them as 3/4 length sleeves. It's still winter where I live, and this is a popular sleeve length around here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Tiny FO

I'm participating in a service project, making tiny handknit baby blankets to donate to a NICU for micro-preemies and stillborn babies. I was going to use my Evellyn Anne pattern, but then I decided to design something new.
This blanket is 15 inches square, knit with Malabrigo Sock yarn - Velvet Grapes colorway. The pattern (when it's finished) will be called Harmony, after the baby my mother miscarried when I was a little girl. I'm planning on making a whole stack of these to donate, with sock yarn that's leftover from other projects. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

T-shirt Upcycle

I live in t-shirts. I'm a busy mom, and I don't have time for fancy button-down fashion. If it takes special laundering care, or takes extra time to get dressed in it, it's not something I'll wear often. Well, that, and the fact that the nice button-down, tailored stuff that I like doesn't fit so well when you're shaped like an apple.

I'm working on the shape of my body, so now I need to work on the shape of my clothes. Some of my plain, straight-sided t-shirts don't fit right anymore. They're too loose around the belly, but not so loose around the "girls" that I'll just get rid of them. Like the one in the picture below...
So I decided to do something about that, but I didn't want to take the sewing machine to it. I've used a sewing machine to make adjustments to knit fabrics before, and it's usually not pretty. You get funky-looking puckers when you're just trying to get a nice, neat seam. And I'm an experienced seamstress! 

I had seen a neat idea somewhere on Facebook a while back, utilizing scissors and a crochet hook, but couldn't remember where exactly I had seen it, so I decided to make a blog post about it, so I could share the idea with my friends. So this isn't my original idea, but I hope the person who came up with it won't mind my being a copycat.

Anyway, I got out my measuring tape and scissors... and I folded the t-shirt in half, so that the sides (where there might be seams if it were a fitted shirt, which it wasn't) were lined up neatly together. I laid out my measuring tape and snipped the folded edges every half-inch. I cut about half an inch in from the edge.
 So when I unfolded it, the cuts were about an inch long. I pulled a little at the sides to stretch them. And then I got out my crochet hook. I used a US8, but I don't think the size of hook matters all that much.
 Starting at the bottom, I made a crochet chain up the side of the t-shirt...just like picking up a dropped column of stitches in knitting... and then secured the final loop at the top(on the inside) with a needle and thread.
So now I have a t-shirt that's a bit more fitted, and has a fun detail at the sides! The crochet chain produces a very flattering ruched look, too. The whole project, including photos, took about ten minutes. And that was only because I had to go down in the basement to find red thread...
 I think, on the next one, I'll start it all the way at the bottom of the shirt, instead of two inches up, to avoid the little hole I got at the bottom of the chain. And when I lose a bit more around the belly, I might add in two more chains up the front, like darts, and stop them just below the bust.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bayerische Progress and a FO

I've gotten the first repeat done on my Bayerische sock! The trickiest part so far was the increase round after the ribbing. The cables aren't any harder than ones I've done before. ☻
And I finished my Unconventional Hood samples! Here's the cabled version:
 And the simple version:
And the pattern has been sent in to Knit Picks. Hopefully it'll be up on the site soon, before knitters turn to summer projects...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bayerische KAL

I'm participating in a Bayerische KAL over on Nimblestix.com. I've wanted to make these socks for a long time, and I think I'm finally ready, so I'm very excited about this.
Photo from eunnyjang.com

I'm using Knit Picks Gloss in Burgundy, and size US1 needles.
Come join us! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

First goal met!

So... I've posted about my weight loss journey recently...and here I am posting about it again. I would like to get back to the weight I was when I got married: 110 pounds. I'm short, and have a small frame, so that's not too skinny. Except that when I was that weight, I wasn't really fit. I was thin, but not fit. I probably have more muscle mass now than I did then, thanks to the past two months of serious exercise. So I wouldn't be surprised if I can't get back to that weight without looking ridiculously thin. So I'll settle for 120.

Anyway, I started this year at 180 pounds, which put me squarely in the "obese" category. And this is what I saw on my scale this morning:
That's right: I've lost 20 pounds! And that's 1/3 of my goal.

On the left, you'll see my photo from January 1(wow, the bathroom lights make me look yellowish!). 
On the right is a photo my eight-year-old took of me this morning right after my workout(which is why I look all sweaty).
I'm celebrating with a massage. I have been carrying around several massage gift cards in my purse for a while, and haven't had time to use them. I decided at the beginning of this year that I would celebrate each 20 pound loss with a massage.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Sometimes God Speaks.

I know I've posted before about how I feel lonely since we've moved to the middle of nowhere in North Dakota. Usually, I can go about my day, and stuff that feeling deep down where I don't have to deal with it. But at night, when I can't sleep, it's harder to ignore.

I suffer from insomnia many nights, and when I do, I like to pray. It helps me to focus and resolve any issues in my own mind that might be keeping me from sleep. Last night was one of those nights. I couldn't sleep, and I was praying for my friends, and praying that I would find more IRL friends who believe the way I do about things. Because while I have a lot of wonderful friends online, I don't have that many where I live. And I feel lonely.

So I was telling God about how isolated I feel, living in the middle of a wheat field. I was watching the snow fall, and thinking about how I won't be able to go anywhere for a few days because of it. I was complaining to Him that I don't feel "at home" in our church; I don't agree with some of the theology and I can't stand the style of service; I always feel depressed after a Sunday service. I was having a hard time putting into words how I feel, and finally I gave up. I told God that I know He knows how I feel and what I need even better than I know. I asked Him to speak to me. I've heard His voice before, several times. I waited and listened, but didn't hear anything this time.

And then... I felt that I needed to turn on the radio, despite the fact that it was near midnight, and everyone else in the house was asleep. I got out my ipod and earbuds, and turned on the TuneIn Radio app, which is set to my favorite Christian station in Houston. And this was the song that was playing:

Sometimes God speaks audibly. And sometimes He speaks through the Bible. And sometimes He uses a song. I just need to learn to listen better. And I need to hold on to the promise that He is always with me, and I'm never alone.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Too busy to blog...until now...

Well, hi there! I haven't posted anything in a few weeks. I've been so focused on losing weight...or trying to...that I haven't thought of blogging at all. Well, now I have time. Every once in a while, my joints get inflamed, and I'm in so much pain I can hardly move. It's happened again, and I haven't been able to work out for several days. I've done a little yoga, and some crunches and such, but other than that, I've spent much of this week in bed. While I've been laid up, I was able to finish a pair of socks...
 I used some lovely Malabrigo Sock yarn in "Velvet Grapes", and my own pattern, Hunter Socks. I made these ones a little longer in the leg than the original green ones. They're very soft and comfy, and are making my aching feet and ankles feel a little better.

This time around, the pain has struck only my lower half, probably because of the dance fitness I've been doing twice a day for most of this month. Anyway, my arms are fine so far, so I gave myself a haircut last night. It's always tricky to cut my own hair, but I decided it was getting a little too long and shaggy, and once I got started, I couldn't stop. I cut off about six inches in length; it's pretty short now. But I like how it turned out.
You can also see that my face is looking a little thinner... I haven't lost much weight, but I've lost inches all over. I'm starting to separate out some clothes that are too big now, and that's a wonderful feeling.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to when the pain stops, so I can get back to exercising. I'm desperate to lose weight, and I have a long way to go.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fun exercise

I'm not one of those people who likes to work out. I've never felt an "endorphin hit" when exercising. I did kind-of enjoy Zumba when we lived in Texas; there were classes at the gym. But I didn't like the music they used; I listen to Christian music for a reason. It was good exercise though.

So this past Sunday, I asked a Facebook friend (who is a Zumba instructor) if she had any recommendations for Zumba DVDs, since I don't have a gym membership up here in the middle of nowhere. She pointed me to a YouTube channel (ReFitRev) where I found something amazing: women working out fully clothed, to good music! The moves are similar to Zumba, but the music is way better.

Here's an example:

Not all of their music is Christian, but it's all at least "clean". This one is one of my(and my daughters') favorites:

I actually enjoy it. A lot. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I've been working out twice every day this week. And it's paid off; I've lost another inch off my waist measurement since I started this. My internet is crazy-slow, and the videos take forever to load, so I'm looking forward to getting my DVD in the mail; I ordered it on Monday. I highly recommend these exercise videos to my friends who want to lose weight. A side note: I love that I can let my daughters exercise with me, and I don't have to worry about the questionable lyrics they could be learning.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lace and Weight Loss

I'm designing a scarf. I came up with the fish lace motif a few years ago, when I made my Ichthus Shawl. I never did publish the pattern, so I decided to take the motif and put it into a scarf instead.
I'm using KP Alpaca Cloud laceweight yarn, which is incredibly soft. I really like how it's turning out. It's a pretty simple design, which is a nice diversion after the hood and glittens I designed recently. I'm already planning the photo shoot for this one....I'm going to need a white sundress...and a warm day.

I'm so ready for winter to be over. This past week, there were several days when the temperature didn't reach zero. And it snows every day. And it's cold. And windy.
In other news, I've been working out since the beginning of January. It's a secret, though. Well, not a total secret. But the fact that I've lost 13 pounds since New Years is. It would have been more if I hadn't taken a week and a half off from my intensive workouts because of injury(did yoga instead). I'm keeping my progress a secret from my family until I go visit them. I'm hoping to get time in March to do that. By that time, I should have lost enough for them to see the difference and be shocked. Hubby hasn't noticed yet...and I'm not pointing it out to him either. I'm waiting for him to notice. He's going to be traveling this next week, so I'm hoping that I can reach my first goal of 20 pounds while he's gone. 

It's not easy; I'm working out every day(using the PACE system), and eating less than I used to. And I'm drinking water almost exclusively. I allow myself one soda on Friday nights, and alcohol is only for very special occasions. I discovered a day-spa water recipe...I know, that sounds goofy, but it's good! I slice an apple and put it and a cinnamon stick in a pitcher, fill the pitcher halfway with ice, and fill the rest of the way with water. I put it in the fridge for an hour before drinking it. I'm up to almost a gallon a day, which is huge, because I never used to drink water! I'm adding in green tea now; I've heard that it's great for weight loss. My problem with tea is that I hate unsweetened tea, and I detest fake sugar. I usually use two teaspoons of sugar to a cup of tea; I'm cutting it down to one. 

I'm not using any faddish gluten-free/carb-free/all-liquid/protein-shake diets, and no diet pills of any kind. Just the good old-fashioned exercise-more-eat-less diet. No alcohol, no caffeine(well, almost), and I'm allowed to eat what I want as long as it's only a little bit. If I want chocolate, I have one. If I want chips and queso for lunch, I get a very small dish of queso, and only as many chips as it takes to eat up the queso. We had spaghetti tonight, and I really wanted seconds, but I let Hubby have it instead. If I want a cookie, I have one. I've learned that when I refuse to allow myself a little splurge now and then, the craving gets so bad that I end up having a big splurge, and then feel so guilty I give up. Not letting that happen this time.

13 pounds down, 47 to go...

And once I've lost this weight, I'm going to look terrific in my as-of-now non-existent white sundress and Ichthus Scarf...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jennifer Mittens!

As y'all know, I live in a very cold place. As a matter of fact, the warmest it got here today was 7 degrees below zero. And I wasn't made for the super-cold climate. So my hands and especially my fingers get very cold. I've been wearing cheap stretchy gloves from Walmart, and they just aren't enough when the mercury drops that low. So I designed some "glittens"... mittens with attached glove fingers! And I used the Capra I bought when Knit Picks had their luxury yarn sale after Christmas. I love Capra. It's so warm and soft. But of course it is; it's a cashmere blend!
Below, you can see the mitten-in-progress, when I had finished the fingers but not the mitten. 
I'm naming the pattern "Jennifer" after a friend of mine. I was feeling a little silly a few weeks ago, and challenged my friends to guess what show I was watching; I told them it was my all-time favorite show...and didn't give them any other hints. I said that whoever guessed correctly would get a handknit item designed for and named after them. After about an hour of guessing, Jennifer won with her guess: 24! I'll be making another pair for Jennifer, without the fingers. I'm writing the pattern both ways, so I need to be able to show it both ways in the pattern. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

New designs

Every once in a while, I get a "wild hair" and design something crazy.

My coat hood is oversized, and doesn't stay on my head if there's even the slightest wind. So I decided to make one that would stay on. Searching through patterns, I didn't find anything that was what I was looking for. I wanted a hood that would be seamless, and not have a goofy-looking point at the top of the back. So I thought of using short rows to shape it to fit my head. I made a really simple one...

And then I got really crazy...
 I'm calling this design "Unconventional", because conventional wisdom says that alpaca and cables aren't a good combination. I'm hoping I can make the design understood for other knitters, because to be honest, I got confused myself, several times! I have a test-knitter lined up, and I hope it makes sense to her.

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Patterns

Hello readers! I had three new patterns published yesterday!
 R&R Shawl is available on Knit Picks for $2.99.

Hunter Socks is available on Knit Picks for $2.99. The pattern contains both sizes.

Bottoms Up Dishcloth Set is available on Knit Picks for $1.99.