Wednesday, June 28, 2017

the work of hands...



I have a goal to be intentional about "making" this summer. Whether that be with yarn, fabric, wood, paint, or food, I have some aspirations.

First of all, I absolutely go a bit crazy when I have a project languishing for too long, That means I have a few things that I absolutely want to get done before we start back to school in August. First of all, I have a pair of socks that I knitted for Brad. I finished the second sock while we were in Tennessee in May, but forgot my dpn's so I couldn't finish the toe. And it's STILL sitting in the project bag now a month later! What?! That's definitely a priority. Not because Brad needs wool socks in the summer, but because I only have several rounds left on that darn sock and it needs finished!

I also want to knock that large crocheted afghan out of the park over the next three months. It's already quite large, but my goal was to make it huge so that multiple bodies could snuggle under it. I was working along at a very nice clip until I ran out of yarn and had to order more and then, subsequently, lost my momentum. I'm using this pattern by Attic24.

Another fun crochet project was the market bag. I literally made that entire thing in under 24 hours, start to finish. I used this pattern, and I love how it turned out. It's a bit bigger than I thought, but that just means I can fit more things into it. This was a practical item for me to make, and I do plan on using it when I visit the little farmer's market we have here in the summer. But I could also see this bag being very useful for the beach as well.

Lily is currently making a crocheted rug out of thrifted sheets. I made another thrift store run yesterday morning for more sheets. One of our local thrift stores sells flat sheets for $1 each, and you really can't pass that up, especially when you have a use for them. I bought enough sheets for her to make her rug, as well as enough for me to make one.

I also have a collection of vintage, thrifted pillowcases that I want to trim with a crochet trim. This will probably not be done this summer, but it's definitely on my list of creative "to-do's." I love the look of these pillowcases. In addition, I bought that charm pack last spring because I wanted to make a quilt. Not an over-the-top quilt, but, rather, just a plain, simple patchwork quilt. I've only ever quilted a few smaller projects, so I think intimidation has been preventing me from actually cutting into that fabric. That's silly though, isn't it?

Handiwork has become a very important pastime here in our home. I suppose it has something to do with me sticking the kids in their highchairs at the age of one with oversized paint brushes and non-toxic paint. They've always just seen the process of creating from both Brad and myself, so I suppose that they would just naturally assume the same habit. In the above photos, the sewn doughnuts, the woven candle mat, the rag rug, and the yarn on the spindle are all projects that Lily completed or is working on right now (plus many, many more.) That girl can create up a cloud of dust when she gets in the frame of mind to do so. She's always got her fingers into a project of some sort. Ian is more interested in working with wood or repurposing things (he gets that from him dad and a bit from me.) He made me the wooden coasters from a tree he cut down behind our house and gave them to me as a Mother's Day gift.

So, yes, we spend a lot of our time making things here in our home. Maybe that's foreign to some people, but I honestly couldn't imagine not making that a priority for our family. And I am absolutely certain that it is essential to me and my peace of mind. It's a big part of how I express myself. I just feel like I must create. Which is one of the reasons I have recently took up watercolor painting again this summer. I used to paint in high school and college and my hands-down favorite medium was watercolor. I recently started a nature journal which I am head-over-heels in love with because it is enabling me to practice painting again and learn and record so much about nature (which is another favorite topic of mine.)

Now I suppose I need to find the time to pursue all of these creative goals/projects this summer. I have a rather good feeling that I will not accomplish near what I would like to because I do spend most days out-of-doors in the summer. But there are always rainy days and nights around the campfire which lend to the "making" mood.

Some other crafty plans I have...

I love this Chevron Crocheted Bag

These would be great for storage.

I love this shawl by Cherry Heart.

I need one of these on the side of my barn.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

a seed...



I couldn't imagine life without a few certain things, one of those being a garden. 

This is how I love to spend my mornings. After Brad leaves for work, I brew myself a cup of coffee, slip on my rubber boots and a sweater and head out to the garden. I tend to my plants, watering, weeding, loving on them. Each day, I observe their growth, appreciating each plant that will be feeding our little family very soon. 

The green of the leaves, the tendrils wrapping around the trellises, the smell of the basil and tomato plants, the way the dirt splashes on the sides of the beds when I water. All of these things are noticed and swallowed deep.  They feed my soul. They fill my God-given need for nature and beauty. 

A seed is planted and cared for, and then it bursts open beneath the ground. It bursts from within the boundaries of its dead, hardened shell, and new life pushes its way up from beneath the dirt and soil. What once was dead is now alive.

So it has been with my life. This is how I have been changed. It is a process. I have died to my own selfish pursuits so that I can grow through Christ. First I must die so that I can grow and florish. Such an upside-down way of thinking. 

But won't I be miserable if I deny myself? Oh, but this is where it really becomes topsy-turvy. My heart is filled anew with lasting joy, with contentment, with a treasure of the knowledge of all of the good things I have received. My eyes are suddenly wide open and capable of seeing things which had not previously been seen.  

And the heart knows that this is best. It is full. It has been filled with the treasure of God, the gift of His Son. And this is best.  




Monday, June 26, 2017

Lately...



Wow! I haven't posted since December!

I'm quite active on Instagram, and I have found that it has replaced my need to blog. I have discovered that the reason I loved blogging in the first place was because it enabled me to record and share moments in our life. Instagram has allowed the same and with less thought and intention because it's photo-sharing with a small snippet of a thought. I am all for being intentional in life, but sometimes keeping my blog updated has felt like a chore requiring more thought than I feel able to expend.

But I've missed blogging. Do people still read blogs? I feel like there has been such a big shift to Instagram. It's funny how quickly certain social media platforms can replace others.

So perhaps I'll get back to blogging on a more regular basis. I definitely have more time during the summer since we take a break from our homeschooling.

So far this break, I have been doing a ton of reading. I set a goal for myself to read twenty-five books this year. I've read twelve so far which means I'm pretty much right on pace. It's been wonderful to get lost in books again. I'm reading mostly fiction right now, with a couple of non-fiction also on the bedside table, picked up from time to time.

I've also been very busy with gardening and outdoor work. I love the summer. I can hardly stand to be in the house this time of year which also means that I do not do much knitting. I'm too much in love with the weather to sit and knit. However, I did start crocheting a cotton market bag yesterday which I will actually use at the farmer's market this summer. Most of my yarn-time the last few years have been spent knitting, so this little project has been a nice, quick break. It's amazing how much faster crocheting is than knitting.

This is also our summer to travel. We were in Gatlinburg, TN, and made a quick stop in Asheville, NC, to visit a friend last month and have vacations to Charleston, SC (to visit our best friends) and Bar Harbor, ME, planned as well. I LOVE traveling. I LOVE getting away. I always feel so inspired and refreshed after traveling.



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

making things


There are several times during each year when my creative senses seem to jolt to life. During those times, I find it hard concentrating on much other than creating and making or thinking about creating and making. 

I have noticed that the time from Thanksgiving until Christmas day is one of those times. Something clicks in my brain, and I just find myself wanting to make everything. And I love it. Although it does prove challenging to balance it and keep it in check with all of my responsibilities. 

Even our homeschooling days reflect this. Sure we continue on with our math and grammar and history, but this is the time of year when I find that it's pertinent to fit in the creative enrichments that I find so important. Classical music fills the air. The yarn and paint and fabric is usually littering many surfaces of our home. The piano and guitar are humming away. The oven is churning out many more yummy delicacies than it does any other time of the year. 

Right now, with the encouragement of Bob Ross (or should I say his old re-runs on Netflix) my kids are enthralled with painting. We're using acrylics as Brad had a bin of them left over from his painting days many years ago (note: acrylic paints stay good even after twenty years of not using them as long as they're sealed tight.) We picked up some canvases, and the kids have been spending many hours at the kitchen table painting. 

While they are busy creating their masterpieces, I'm finding moments of time to knit and cross-stitch. I did some Christmas gift knitting, and now I am trying to focus on getting some socks done that have been on the needles for a couple of months. I get a bit twitchy when I have projects languishing for more than a month or so. 

And we got our first substantial snow last night. It looks so pretty! As much as I prefer a warmer climate, I figure that if it's going to be cold it is much better for there to be snow. Without it, all is gloomy and grey.