Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Scrapbook of Poetry

Several weeks ago, my sister and I got together 
for an evening of paper-crafting fun. 

 First, we used the Bartleby website in order to locate poems by our favorite poets. I had previously made a scrapbook of Emily Dickinson's poems, so this time I focused on William Wordsworth. I had noticed Jan Karon quoting him quite frequently throughout the Mitford series and thus was eager to read more of his works. My little sis chose Elizabeth Barrett Browning's works for her scrapbook's focus. 

This is a fun, easy project that comes together rather quickly. The longest part was reading through the poems to decide which ones to print, but having previously performed that step of the process, the actual evening of paper crafting was a very simple and rewarding activity. Definitely a night to remember.  Made the finished book so much more meaningful since it has the memory of working together with my sister attached to it ~ our laughter, our joking, and even our uninspired staring as we supposed how we should embellish the next page. I am looking forward to doing more scrapbooks like this over the summer.

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Life's Happy Distractions


As I was penning some thoughts in my journal, I couldn't resist the charm of a bowl filled with bright, yummy Starbursts. Oh, the joy of savoring a candy from my childhood. I bit into the tart confection and remembered those gloriously long summer days outdoors playing with the neighborhood children. We would share our smuggled handfuls of the treat and feel like we were on top of the world. 
How simple things were then. 

Wishing you a heart full of happy reminiscing.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Scripture

Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways... Satisfy the hunger of your treasured ones. 
 ~ Psalm 17: 7 & 14 (NLT)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Study of Tulips

My sister-in-law's bridal shower was this past Saturday. It was done in one of my favorite color schemes - red, white, and aqua. Wish my camera had been in hand to share the adorable, fifties-style decor with you, but alas. It was a miracle I even made it to the shower. Silly me, mistakenly wrote it's start time as 3 pm in my calendar!
There I am, sitting at home, leisurely heading upstairs to wrap her gift when my phone buzzed. A text from my life-saver-of-a-cousin read, "Where are you, Woman?!?" 
Oh, boy. The clock read 2:15, so I thought, "Maybe it started at 2 not 3. Yikes!" 
But not so... 

 It had actually started at 1 pm. Triple YIKES!!! Away went my lofty, Pinterest-inspired, gift wrapping notions and in its place appeared a gift bag and tissue paper. (I still took the time to pen a thoughtful card, though. Those are important to me).

I zoomed over to the venue which was mercifully a mere 7 minute drive away from my home arriving just in time to see the gifts unwrapped (my favorite part). Again, mercifully, when my husband's family plan a get-together, the show generally doesn't get on the road until 30 or 40 minutes after the intended time. Guess I fit right in! 

My horrendous gaff was kindly overlooked and I ended up having a wonderful time. My other sister-in-law had driven in with all four of my darling nieces for the occasion. Since the party was 50's themed, most everyone had dressed to the time period. My youngest niece, just two and a half years old, warmed my heart as she yelled, "Aunt Shana!!!" from across the room and ran to me with her poodle skirt fluffing about her so adorably (totally hated myself for rushing out the door without my camera). Every one of my nieces sported some whimsical take on the 50's era garb. Four year old E., who generally hates dressing up, was decked out in a cute black and white dress and sweater set. Six year old O. (the sweetest priss you ever did see) kindly presented me with a cup of water playing the part of hostess quite perfectly. She wore a dress of bright red with happy white polka dots. The eldest niece I., who will be 9 all too soon, skipped up to give me a cupcake, a gauzy scarf jauntily tied about her neck and a crisp white shirt tucked into her denim pants (cuffs rolled for the occasion, of course)

My heart swells with pride that I am a part of such a kind and welcoming family. My own family is so wonderful, I couldn't imagine being so blessed twice over, but I am! God is so good. 

"So what exactly do the million-and-one pictures of tulips have to do with this post?" you might be asking yourself. Well, they were part of the centerpiece decorations for the big event. As niece I. was helping clean up the tulip-filled mason jars and their aqua be-glittered water, she decided to combine the flowers into bouquets for all the women in the family who had remained after the shower to help clean up. 

I was so touched when she presented me with my very own handful of tulips. After I had said my goodbyes and gone back to my homey routine, I placed them lovingly inside a cream ware pitcher. The pitcher's handle ended up being remarkably convenient for carrying them with me from room to room so as not to miss out on a single second of their fond remembrance. 

Today, the petals are dark and wilting. The pitcher is waiting beside the kitchen sink to be emptied, cleaned, and put back into the cupboard. I am very sorry to see them go, but somehow, composing this post has helped me prepare to finally throw the dead flowers out. 

Glad I was able to be a part of such a special day. Now, I am looking forward to the wedding! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One Golden Evening

 Hubby surprised me last Friday night with a drive to the country. He said he had a new place for us to go walking. The car sped over hill and dale. A fine, green haze misted the landscape. Rows of newly turned earth anchored the scene with its rich brown goodness. The evening air was still. Warm, but not hot. We pulled into a recently minted park yet known obviously to only a few as there were just three parking spaces carved out. One lone sign indicated the start of the path. Down we wended our way among the wonders of a spring wood. Tufted heads of purple phlox were just starting to make their shy appearance. Striated wood sorrel carpeted either side of the path. Overhead, dogwood branches cradled ivory blossoms while vibrant tufts of green moss and soft patches of grass popped up about our feet. The path narrowed so only one of us could slip by at a time. Gnarled roots groped their way across the path. I tripped once, but hubby was quick to grab my hand. 

Then. Quite suddenly. We were there.

Treetops gradually fell away and a vista opened before us overlooking a riverbed. A perfectly placed park bench awaited us. The song of the woods surrounded us. A fly fisher cast his pole repeatedly out across the dimming river. He was so still in his work that we questioned if he wasn't just a trick of the eye. Only a branch sticking out of the water. But no. Then the pole would flick again and his hat would bobble assuring us there was indeed a person there below. We talked very little, content to simply absorb the beauty of the nature all around us. Slowly, the sun began to set enveloping us in its golden, slanting rays. 

Time to head back. We neither one wished to be caught past sundown in this remote wood. (Especially as it was Friday the 13th!)

Driving round a bend in the lane on our way home, we happened upon Pleasant Valley Cemetery. Here the land was flatter and the sun not so far down on the horizon. John parked the car so we could explore. Old cemeteries have been a favorite of ours since shortly after we first began dating. We love to play the tombstone game making surmises about the life and times of the now deceased. When we got to Elmer & Maude's tombstone, we both noted how classically suited their names were to the 1930's era in which they had lived. I got stars in my eyes imagining the well-to-do life of Legrand & Ella Britton and how gala the event when they introduced their daughter Tamsey into society. We paused somberly over the diminutive white stone that was marked simply, Infant. 
So many stories now long forgotten. Some played to a long, full life. Others whose acts ended seemingly far too soon.

The rest of the drive back to town, we rolled down the windows and just let the wind do its refreshing work. 

Such evenings come too few and far between.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Scripture

  Now that Jacob had returned from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him again at Bethel. God blessed him, saying, "Your name is Jacob, but you will not be called Jacob any longer. From now on your name will be Israel." So God renamed him Israel. 
~ Genesis 35:9-10 (NLT)

This is the second time God renames Jacob Israel in scripture. Jacob meant "heel" or "deceiver" while Israel means "God fights." How much better it is to be known as someone for whom God fights rather than as a heel and deceiver! I do not claim to be a Bible scholar so I have no idea how much time has passed between each time this occurred, but I do know it transpired two different times. 

When we are saved, God puts his name - the beautiful name of Jesus - on us to cover our sins and make us new creations in Him. It can be hard for us frail humans to remember our new name and to live fully in the grace and truth newly endowed to us. So, sometimes, God has to remind us that He's given us a new name. 

Thank God that He never gives up on us, but takes the time 
to remind us of His goodness over and again! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lincoln's Cocoon Set

Yet another baby cocoon made, but this time with a small twist - the addition of a puppy dog hat! The hat actually came about when I had worked nearly a third of a skein of yarn and had to admit my defeat. The baby cocoon was a skinny cylinder that no baby was fitting in any time soon. Yikes! My heart grew sadder and sadder as I yanked out row after row. Thankfully, my mother was there to witness the event and wisely suggested making the last few rows the hat rather than considering it a total failure. Eureka!  

So then I went back to my tried and true cocoon pattern 
(you can read more about how I use this pattern here). The ears, spot, nose, and mouth on the hat were pretty much free form from a picture the expectant mommy had sent my way. Button eyes were the finishing touch. I considered adding a reverse single crochet (or crab stitch) around the rim of the hat, but quickly dismissed the idea. I wanted the hat to have plenty of stretch for longest use possible. I feared the neater, tighter edging of the reverse sc might make the hat too  restrictive too quickly for baby Lincoln.

A note to my dear blogging friends. I have been trying to post comments on your sites this evening, but am experience a severe case of a Blogger Bug. All my comments disappear without a hint that they have been received for moderation, etc... Also, my Preview button is accomplishing nothing. Not even an hour glass turning. I miss chatting with you all and hope Blogger is fully running for me again soon. 
In the meantime...

Happy Crocheting!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Of Flower Fairies and Little Sisters

Easter has come and gone in a rushing whirl of good times and DIY projects completed (or at least started or else written on a "To Be Done Soon" list)

My one and only little sis is moving states away to North Dakota the end of May. I have been trying to soak up every spare moment I can in her company. It is a bittersweet time. She has always been in my life close by and never more than a twenty minute drive away. Now, she will be nearly a 24 hour drive away. She has landed a really great job opportunity, so I am very happy for her. Still.... it is a change that is going to be hard to get used to.

On a brighter note, the end of the school year also brings my sister-in-law's wedding! The flowers pictured above are just a sampling of the 95 flowers I crocheted and sewed in honor of her big day. Her wedding is going to be a beautiful rainbow sherbet of pastels. Each of the five flower girls will be outfitted in a dreamy tulle skirt stitched in one of the coordinating colors. I imagine they will look rather like miniature pink, purple, mint, butter yellow, and soft blue flower fairies. 

These hands have been busy with projects aplenty, but slow to snap pictures of the final products. Plan to get more posts up later this week. Till then...

May your days be merry!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Organizing My Chaos

 Amazing how crafting notions can so quickly creep into 
tangled piles here, there, and everywhere.

As I sort and bundle in an effort to contain the burgeoning mess, I discover cheery spring colors are coming to the forefront of my decorating schemes. Happily, the restoration of balanced creativity is resuming its rightful place of honor in our home.

Yes, this spring break week is precisely the elixir I need to re-energize my flow of creativity. Meetings and late nights can tend to take it out of a body. But this week? I am spray painting furniture, airing out the house, going on day trips, and catching up with friends & family. Oh what a happy week! Precisely the refueling I needed in order to enjoy the remainder of this school year.
 (only 7 1/2 more weeks until 11 blissful weeks of summer break)


ric-rac & thread

 Scads of lovely inspiration to soak up and store up. The act of spring cleaning. Reorganizing my various crafting stashes is a calming even strengthening ritual for me. As the outward clutter regains order, the inward chaos quiets down as well. The things I need to do verses the things that can wait to be done become evident. Peace begins to fill my heart and soon after that joyful anticipation blossoms as the promise of summer comes closer and closer. 

Happy Spring Cleaning!