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Category Archives: Crafts

Baby Shower Gift ~ {Yarn Along}

In two other posts–here and here–I shared my progress on this baby blanket I was making for a friend’s baby shower. I thought you might like to see it finished!

monarch blanket + jamberry

We were asked to bring a book to the shower instead of a card to add to the baby’s library. I brought along, Jamberry, an absolute favorite of my girls. It is one we read at least once a week. It has inspired them to call every jam ‘jamberry’.

detail monarch blanket

detail monarch blanket

The detail on this blanket is just exquisite. I love the ‘butterflies’ that are woven in throughout the blanket. Again, the pattern comes from this book.

monarch blanket + turtle

This little turtle was a Christmas gift for Lucie that I made. She liked sitting atop the precious blanket.

Leslie's shower - monarch blanket

Photo by Leslie’s sis-in-law, Morgan

Here’s my lovely friend, Leslie, at her shower with the blanket. Her sweet Maleah Jane will be here in June!

 

Join others at Ginny’s for the weekly Yarn Along!

Butterflies and Flowers ~ {Yarn Along}

Monarch Baby Blanket

My stitching and reading seems to have a Spring theme this week. The blanket I’m still making my way across {about 3/4 done} is the Monarch Baby Blanket from One Skein Wonders for Babies. Still loving that turquoise.

The book I’m breezing through is The Language of Flowers. It was recommended by someone, somewhere along the way {I lose track of these things because I’m always in search of good book recommendations!}, and I’m absolutely loving it. Interwoven into the story is the main protagonist’s usage of the Victorian meaning of flowers in the bouquets she makes for clients and in gifts to others. She is an adult foster child, come-of-age, so the story is heavy but worthwhile. I don’t want to give away too much.

Monarch Baby Blanket

Stop by Ginny’s blog to find other great projects in the Yarn Along link-up! {Also, there’s a wonderful podcast at Fountain of Carrots this week featuring Ginny chatting about her conversion and a little glimpse at what life looks like in her household. Check it out!}

What I Learned in March

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

Linking up with Emily for this fun exercise of sharing what I’ve learned this past month.
Also, with Kelly because when you have 7 and it’s Friday–well, 7QT

brunelleschi's dome florence

Source

One) The Secret of Brunelleschi’s Dome — For those who are unaware, I have a strong fascination with church architecture. This was awakened in me strongly when I studied abroad in Europe. When I was in Italy during my Junior year of college, we visited the town of Florence for a few days. Rightly so, one of our objects of study during our time there was the dome of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. At the time, the mystery of how the dome was standing was still unsolved {this was in 2005}. Although I am no architect and, admittedly, not even great at mathematics, especially geometry, I was intrigued with how even modern man couldn’t solve this puzzle.

Recently, I was browsing the DVD tittles at our local library and I ran across one called Great Cathedral Mystery. I picked it up, not knowing of what cathedral it spoke of initially because I love to learn about any and all, but when I noticed it was Florence’s, I was even more excited to view it. It didn’t reveal on the cover if the problem was actually solved or not, so I was very anxious to watch.

It turns out they have! Besides the herringbone structure of the interior brickwork, which they’ve known about for some time now, they used a specific pattern to build up the rounded walls as they worked. Interestingly, it is the shape of a flower. {If you did not catch the translation from the Italian, the cathedral is name St. Mary of the Flowers.} As they built up the rounding walls of the dome, they used a flower pattern to measure where each brick would go so that it would be secure and hold up the others that were built up around it.

I highly recommend watching the show. Absolutely fascinating. And what a monumental task in having discovered the secret!

Blessed is She Retreat - Ike N'dolo music

Two) The Power of a Retreat — When I was younger, starting about early high school, I used to regularly attend retreats. Some silent, some with discussion, but always very fruitful and inspiring. Since marriage and children, I haven’t been able to attend one, until just a few weeks ago. Blessed is She hosted one in Phoenix, Arizona, which I almost miraculously found funding for, tickets, and a place to stay, making it possible.

Not only was the fellowship wonderful in every way, but the time spent heart-to-heart with Our Lord was so sorely needed, in a way I couldn’t even imagine. I try to maintain that relationship with Him on a regular basis, but a retreat is like a weekend getaway with your Lover–so good for rejuvenating and reconnecting.

garden beginnings

Three) Pulling Weeds Actually Helps My Shoulder Heal — One of my shoulders has been strained for some time now. I was seeing a physical therapist in January and February to help alleviate some of the pain. It is an overuse injury so I’m stuck in a Catch-22: it needs strengthening to prevent further injury, but using it too much makes it worse. I’ve been attempting to strike a good balance, but having a hard time doing so.

With the arrival of Spring, we’ve begun working in the garden in the hopes of a lovely space this year. I started pulling the weeds after the last rainfall {which makes it SO much easier} daily, working an hour or two at a time. The first couple days, my neck and shoulders were literally screaming at me. I would put heat on them a couple of times a day, stretch, etc. I decided to push through a little bit, and by the end of the week, the soreness began to subside.

The movement required for pulling and digging was a great combination for stretching and strengthening my shoulders and neck muscles. I’m getting towards the end of the heavy labor with the weeds, so next up is my birthday gift: the rowing machine.

playing Candy Land

Four) To Say ‘Yes’ More Often to My Children — Too often I’ve made myself too busy to just drop everything and follow the request of one of my girls. Or I’m being too rational or stingy about a request they’ve made. But I’m trying to change that.

Evey has recently taken to playing Candy Land with me on the board I had as a child. {SO much better than the modern one!} She asks daily to play. Sometimes I do need to say no. But the other day she came up to me and asked “Can we play Candy Land tomorrow?” I suggested, “Why not right now?” Her eyes brightened so big and we played a few rounds. I want to incite that joy more.

Another day, I gave the girls an afternoon bath. Immediately after jumping out, Evey asked to wear her Easter dress and all the finery that accompanies it. My initial reaction was “No way!” because, although we were going out for a bit, it was simply to a little cafe for a treat. But I said “yes”. Why can’t she wear what makes her feel lovely for a short time, even if it is just to the store? She had many compliments while we were out…and was proud that she picked it out all on her own. {And she really was just so beautiful!}

every day mess

Five) Blog About the Mundane — I’ve had a serious block recently about writing on the blog because I feel as if no one really cares about the day-to-day here and I’ve nothing super significant to share. But then I realized that that is what others tend to comment on–and what I love to read at others blogs–the every day, nitty gritty. So I’m trying. I’m trying to better about sharing a bit of what we have going on here. Well, that’s what I started this for anyway!

dishcloth and Rising Strong

Six) How to Make a Knit Dishcloth — Kind of ridiculous, isn’t it? I’ve knit probably several dozen things at this point but had never done a dishcloth. They’re really quite simple and a great place to start if you want to learn. They are also wonderful for practicing a stitch you find somewhat vexing. It’ll probably be my go-to during the summer for knit projects as I can’t stand a knit warm blanket in my lap when it is a hundred plus outside.

writer

Source

Seven) I am a Writer — I feel ridiculous even writing this out, but it needs to be said. Although, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic wasn’t a favorite read of mine, there was something that struck me hard. It was this: you have to believe you are, if you want to be a _____ {fill in the blank}. So often I tell others, “Well, I’m trying to write. I’m attempting to make a thing of this.” But, by golly, I am! Not only have I been doing this blogging thing for almost ten years now, but I’ve had articles published in journals, magazines, etc. since I was in high school. I’ve been a copy editor for a publication. {You can’t–certainly shouldn’t!–be doing that job unless you can write!} I’m a regular contributor with Blessed is She. I have experience. I practice my craft {albeit, irregularly, these days}. And I love to share my thoughts and stories through words. What more do I need to proclaim it?? Nada.

There you have it. I said it. I am a writer.

Next up: I am a photographer. Because I am, and I want to be that too.

Monarch Baby Blanket ~ {Yarn Along}

monarch baby blanket knit

This yarn I picked up at The Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria, BC when we were visiting last month. {If that shop could move just a little farther south, I would be one, happy gal.} It is the most brilliant shade of turquoise. Made from a washable DK, it is perfect for a tiny blanket for a wee one. I had trouble deciding on just what pattern to use, but I think my friend will approve and love wrapping her baby in the one I picked.

lovely turquoise yarn

Still finishing Rising Strong. It’s due at the library tomorrow {with no possibility of renewal} so I better get a move on!

Wave Upon Wave ~ Yarn Along

dishcloth and Rising Strong

I’ve been working through lots of projects lately but neglecting to capture photos before I send them along to their recipients. I guess the only reason I got this one is that I intend to keep it for myself.

I consider myself teetering on the edge of intermediate as a knitter, but somehow I’ve never stitched a dishcloth. I think many new knitters begin with just this type of project. (Mine was a scarf knitted in garter until I felt like stopping.) Back to the beginning I go….

I was out shopping with my mom for some yarn to give my sis-in-law as a birthday gift when I ran across this one. It reminded me of the ocean. I happened to find the perfect pattern, one with “waves” that work their way across. It took me about an hour or so to complete.

My reading this week finally finds me opening up Brené Brown’s latest, Rising Strong, which I’ve been waiting for since October from the library. Her two prior were quite inspiring to me, so I hope to find this one the same.

Somehow, like Ginny often does, I managed to match my project and book this week. 🙂

Linking up with Ginny for the Yarn Along this week.

Knight’s Hat {Yarn Along}

grey-knit-needles

grey-knit-hat-needles

Our family has been fighting an evil bug that caught us by surprise as soon as the cool weather hit last week. We’ve been nursing every cold symptom in the book with long naps, steam baths, and hot toddies. Extra time on the couch has found me with my knitting needles in hand for prolonged periods of time, starting the preparations for Christmas gifts.

My sister-in-law mentioned some time ago that my nephew might like a knitted knight’s hat so I searched high and low for a knit one {crochet ones are much easier to find} and stumbled across these “guidelines” for making one. I say that because it is not really a pattern but a few helps in the constructing of such a thing. It wasn’t too hard to figure out so give it a go if you’re interested.

Thankfully, my nephew doesn’t read my blog so I can share some sneak peeks of his gift. 😉

In the reading department this week, I shot through The Royal We which was great for entertainment, but not too much depth. Just what I needed with a cloudy head. Recommended for those who love British culture, especially of the royal variety.

Linking up with Ginny’s Yarn Along

#write31days ~ Day 6: Artful Tot

artful-tot-october

artful-tot-october-2

artful-tot-october-3

artful-tot-october-4

artful-tot-october-5

artful-tot-october-6

artful-tot-october 7

The Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento does a monthly program called Artful Tot which the girls are huge fans of {as is mama since she doesn’t have to clean up the majority of the mess!}. We attended this morning where they had a wonderful selection of activities, including vegetable and fruit painting, making tracks with farm animals, and water painting. The latter was done on a Buddha board {also made in a mini version}. I’d never seen these before but they’re amazing. Definitely going to consider for Christmas gifting!

Gave these a little extra contrast in post-processing to emphasize all the beautiful colors happening in these pictures! 🙂

Gathering My Thoughts ~ Brought to You By the Letter ‘T’

{I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

starbucks-fall-cup

Outside my window: The air conditioning is on today and, as usual, California is notorious for joining the autumn game late. It is nearly 90 degrees today. Not feeling like autumn one bit.

dancing-in-the-rain

Listening To: Evey is working on her letter for the week at the white board – ‘T’. It is quiet as Lucie is still resting, so I’m just listening to her organize the markers as she works.

Clothing Myself In: A simple skirt and shirt combo that I threw on before we went shopping this morning.

L-snacktime

Talking With My Children About These Books: We are on the letter ‘T’ this week in our curriculum. There will be lots of discussion about our favorite mode of transportation this week — TRAINS! Our list includes: Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherry Dusky Rinker, Train by Elisha Cooper, How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton, Hey Mr Choo Choo, Where Are You Going?  by Susan Wickberg {one of our all-time favorites}, Tea Rex by Molly Schaar Idle, The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco, and One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies. 

We mixed it up with a few non-train books for some variety, although I doubt the girls would mind if it was ALL ABOUT trains. 😉 One of these days, I need to write a post about our favorite train picture books. I’m pretty sure we have come close to reading them all.

L-in-contemplation

In My Own Reading: I finished Emily Freeman’s Simply Tuesday last week and I’m planning to join the (in)courage group in reading through it again starting at the beginning of October. Such a great read, one that needs to be pondered several times over. Is anyone else interested in reading along? I would love to discuss with a smaller group too. Perhaps we could make a Facebook page to facilitate.

I also just finished Witness to Love which I wrote a lengthy review of last week. This ministry is wonderful and sorely needed.

I’ll be starting Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection later this week as it finally came in from the library.

three-of-three-cardigans

Thinking and Thinking: About Christmas gifting. I have a dozen or more projects that I would like to accomplish for gifting so I’m getting my ducks in a row to get things started. So much to do, so little time. 😉 It really is coming up on us quickly!

watching-pope-francis

Pondering: Still drinking in all the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, from his visit last week. I’m hoping to write a post of a few of my favorite quotes, but in the meantime, here is one:

“And if at times our efforts and works seem to fail and produce no fruit, we need to remember that we are followers of Jesus, and His life, humanly speaking, ended in failure, in the failure of the cross.”

~ from Vespers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

asleep-on-the-stair

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: We are trying to get the girls on a better sleeping schedule. Bedtime has been a little too flexible as of late and it is making them extra tired and cranky. Better nighttime rest, also means better naps–something all of us appreciate.

baby-cardigan

Creating By Hand: Still finishing up my series of three sweaters using the In Threes Baby Cardigan pattern. I’m about halfway through my last one–a red one for Evelyn. I can finally share the newborn one I made for my sister-in-law that I gifted her this weekend at her shower. There is something so sweet and precious about tiny knits, particularly ones in pink for baby girls.

Also, made a little blanket with starburst stitching on the edge. I have a few more blankets for little babes in the queue this week.

baby-blanket

Learning Lessons In: Patience. Mine has been a little thin the past few weeks, so I’m learning what I need to say ‘no’ to in order to reduce the anxiety which decreases it.

Encouraging Learning In: Also, patience? 😉 These little gals want it…and they want it NOW!

E-picking-apples

Crafting in the Kitchen: Moving into a rhythm of Fall foods–apples, squash, pumpkins, etc. Later this week, we’ll having one of my favorites–stuffed acorn squash–which I will share the recipe for soon.

To Be Fit and Happy: My brother, Raphael, is on the same crew team that I was in high school. This past weekend, his team hosted a pancake row, where they invite family members for a little breakfast and a chance to jump in one of the boats and try their hand at rowing for a mile or so. He invited me to come along and I jumped at the chance! I hadn’t been on the water since high school, and I do love it so. I wish there was a Masters team nearby that I could join. Perhaps some day. 🙂

rowingLoving the Moments: We’ve witnessed some great moments of childlike faith from Evey the past few weeks and it is so inspiring, both from a parenting aspect and in my own walk of faith. Just yesterday, we were going to see the Supermoon eclipse but there was some cloud cover which was going to make it very difficult to see the moon. We told Evey that she should ask Jesus to move the clouds so we could see it better. She let out a sweet prayer and, sure enough, the clouds moved just at the moment of total eclipse. On the way home, she kept peeking out the window of the car, hoping to catch another glimpse of the moon but all the city lights were making it rather difficult. She says from the back seat, “Jesus, could you please move the lights so we could see the moon?” 😀

supermoon eclipse

Living the Liturgy: Two great saints celebrated this week — St. Therese of Lisieux on October 1st and St. Francis on October 4th. I picked up a few roses at the store for the Little Flower’s feast. I’m sure we’ll have a little treat the evening of after our dinner. St. Francis loved animals and nature, so perhaps we’ll go for a little hike on Sunday.

fall-flowers

Planning for the Week Ahead: Two of my friends had babies this month and we are on dinner duty this week for their families. One we have yet to meet so are looking forward to seeing her. Our week of the letter ‘T’ involves a trip to the train museum tomorrow after riding the train down to Sacramento. So much fun with choo-choos this week! Also, about to start a ‘t’ea party with my sweet girls….

Moments {Vol. 7}

swinging at the park

Always enjoy swinging together. “Stisters” – as Evey likes to say.

milkshakes at the park

Picnic in the park per Evey’s request, complete with milkshakes. 

strolling at the park

Not too thrilled that she’s missing out on the milkshake.

resting

Sleeping off all that awful illness and allergies that just won’t quit.

St. Francis hug

Hugging her friend, St. Francis, when she spotted him at the nursery.

standing at the bookcaseShe’s pulling up on EVERYTHING {and unloading EVERYTHING}.

mixing up waffles

My little helper in the kitchen mixing up Sunday morning waffles.

cousins meeting Jed

Cousins meeting Gram and Pumpkin’s newest addition – Jed, the puppy. {He almost disappears in this pic!}

hanging with Jed

Not sure who wins the cute contest here {but the grumpy face may disqualify you, Lucie}. 😉

bone for Jed

Evey picked out a little, rubber bone for Jed at the store and was excited to bring it to him at the puppy shower.

Jed's puppy shower cake

Puppy shower kibble cake made by my uber-talented SIL, Nancy.

exercise attempts

Trying SO HARD to get back into an exercise routine {but mostly failing miserably}. Although, these cute leggings from Nell at Whole Parenting Goods help me find some joy in the endeavor.

Easter crafting

Easter crafting it up. {Never finished our project, though. Story of life right now….}

Easter bunny

This is what it means to have an older sister. She sure is a cute bunny, though.

visiting great grandma

Visiting Great-Grandma’s grave on the 2nd anniversary of her death, which happened to fall on Good Friday this year.

flowers for great grandma

Helping Grandma put flowers at the gravestone.

sponge painting

Artful Tot at the Crocker this week. We thoroughly enjoyed stamping with the finger paint. {But preferred not to get our fingers messy.}

glue blobs

The glue was also a hit. She just sat there squeezing it for 15 minutes straight, into a little pile on her paper. She was fascinated.

le chat noir

Skipped {literally} through the Toulouse-Latrec exhibit at the Crocker, where our favorite {of course} was the black cat {although we misnamed it the “white cat”}. Perhaps for what it lacked?

old soul tea break

Intense rain storm called for a warming treat at a local coffee shop where they know how to do latte art right. Evey and I read while Lucie napped in her carseat. A huge thunderstorm blew in while we were enjoying our treat and we watched it hail for a few minutes, and heard the thunder which drew rather close. It was special, peaceful, wonderful moment I shared with my lovely Evelyn. <3

library explorations

Waiting for Daddy to finish work, we killed time in the library and let Lucie burn off some steam after being cooped up the stroller and carseat most of the day. She was most interested in munching on the back of chairs. {And I wonder why we’ve been sick most the winter…..}

Reindeer Games {and Candy Canes}

This is turning into a rather crafty Advent and I’m not one bit sad about that. On my own, I’ve been knitting whenever I have two hands free {which isn’t too often}, but what I’m really enjoying this year is getting Evelyn involved with making things. And I believe she takes after her mama on this one.

cousins

E rolling out dough

R cutting out

cutting cookies

My mom invited the girls and their cousins over for a little hands-on Christmas fun. We started out with some roll-out sugar cookies, taking turns with the rolling pin, then frantically trying to cover every space possible with cut-out snowmen, stars, and trees. We found out quickly who was fastest on the draw.

O cutting out

O rolling out dough

quick cutting

baking cookies

Candy cane reindeer is a long-time favorite in my family. We’ve been making them as long as I can remember. We would make them by the dozens and use them to fill out a mug of Kisses for our teachers that we would gift during the holiday season. Some might make it to the tree but they would never hang there for long.

candy cane reindeer

candy cane reindeer 2

candy cane reindeer 3

The easiest way to do these is with a squirt from the glue gun but that’s not a good idea with little hands around. This year we used tacky glue, and it did the trick. {Although, for some reason, the nose of mine kept sliding off. No one else seemed to be having this problem….}

candy cane reindeer 4

candy cane reindeer 5

The intricacy of the craft really stepped up when my brother, Seth, got in on the game and began creating superhero reindeer. {Can you guess which one is which?}

Green lantern reindeer

batman reindeer

superman reindeer

I can’t even.

green lantern protection

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