Friday, December 28, 2012

Counting Down the 2012 Knits

Just because I was curious, I looked over on my Ravelry page to county the number of knitted projects I finished in 2012.  Drum roll, please....there were 27 garments.

Wowser Dowser, that was a heck of a lot of knitting in the past year.

Last project finished thus far were for a friend with arthritis, an avid gardener who supplied us with squash and tomatoes all summer.  We really enjoyed his produce.  Here is one of Mr. Gardener's ... actually Mr. Woods'...wristers:

Then the husband said his old ones were not as sturdy as the ones he was modeling, so he wanted a pair like Mr. Woods was given.  But he wanted a pair with the thumbs knitted for extra warmth, so I modified this pattern and should be through with another pair shortly.

Other modifications on the pattern: sport weight yarn was held double to achieve a more sturdy fabric.  The yard used was 90% alpaca from Lonesome Stone Fiber Mill in Granby, Colorado.  They have 70 alpacas they rear and shear and process wool for their family owned business.  This is a picture of their mill:

Lonesome Stone alpaca fibers can be accessed here if you want to purchase yarn directly from their mill.

And these are the wristers for the Mister, half way completed:


Fiber Arts Friday
Participating in Finished Objects Friday and Fiber Arts Friday.  Look at others' projects by clicking on the highlighted links.
Update 12/29/12, a pair of wristers for the husband, with an attached thumb:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

There is Nothing I Can Give You Which You Have Not

I salute you and there is nothing I can give which you have not, but there is much while I cannot give it, you may take it. No heaven can come to us unless we find it in our hearts today. So take heaven. No joy can come to us, unless it comes to us in this present moment. Take joy. No peace can come to us, unless we find it right now. Take peace. (Father Giovanni, 1513)
Franz Ci┼żek (Austrian artist, 1865-1946) Santa with Toys 1910-20 
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Have a Defiant Christmas

Attributed to and contributed by John Shea, writer, storyteller and Catholic theologian, written in 2000:
Some Christmas I am going to send out a Christmas card that will look like this. On the cover there will be three images. The first image will be a star brightly shining but it will be surrounded by darkness. The second image will be an evergreen but it will be surrounded by trees without leaves. The third image will be the traditional one, it will be a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, but the child will be surrounded by a ramshackle stable. When you open the card, inside there will be in very bold print, "Have a Defiant Christmas!"
The first image will be a star brightly shining but it will be surrounded by darkness. 
The second image will be an evergreen but it will be surrounded by trees without leaves.

The third image will be the traditional one, it will be a child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, but the child will be surrounded by a ramshackle stable. 

When you open the card, inside there will be in very bold print, "Have a Defiant Christmas!"

Shea goes on to say that there is defiance in the light and darkness cannot overcome it.  About the lone tree with greenery when all other trees have no branches, he says the evergreens defy defoliage and give us a sense of life.  The baby in a ramshackle manger? Well, that is imagery for a child who was sheltered and given hospitality in a land and time when there was great rejection.

Shea's entire article can be accessed here where he talks more in depth about the imagery.

A defiant Christmas?  It's something to ponder.  Read others' Pauses in Advent here for more meditations during this Christmas season.  I'll be having a Defiant Christmas and hope you do as well.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wrapping up the Project Week

Finished Objects on Friday, one knit and one painted.  Linking up with Tami at Finished Objects Friday.
And linking to Fiber Arts Friday.

Elowen Shawl pattern found here

purl bump pattern
The pattern gave me a bit of trouble at first.  But it ended up being a generous size (59" x 24") and the colors go well with denim and grey.

And then a completed silk painting that took the Frame Depot longer to matte and frame than it took me to paint.  But they did a great job after lots of discussion on how to stretch the fabric without tearing the edges.  The technique Mr. Framer used was called "sinked" as it was stretched over foam board with another layer of foam board cut around the stretched silk, then matted and glass covering it and a frame edging cut to size and attached. I could not get a straight picture with the matte looking other than whoppy-jawed, so just did a close up of the silk.
Matted and framed with non-glare glass; dimensions 39" x 31"
This will go over our fire place after Christmas.

Did you finish any projects this week?  One project we still need to complete today is cleaning off the gunk on the top of the ceiling fan blades.  Would Tami allow me to show a picture of the dust before I get up on the ladder to clean and then after?  Think not.  But go visit her blog to see others' finished objects on Friday. And be sure to look at Fiber Arts Friday where there is lots of alpaca going on.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Favorite Christmas Images

Just to share some beautiful Christmas images I have been collecting on Pinterest, and hope you take a moment to enjoy the season... 
Angel with Lute di Jacopo (Italian Mannerist painter, 1494–1540) source

Luca Signorelli (1441-1523) source

George Bernard O’Neil (Irish artist, 1828-1917) Hanging the Mistletoe 1892 source

Gustave Brion (French painter, 1824-1877) Christmas Singers Detail 1856 source

Melozzo da Flori (Italian Renaissance artist, 1438-1494)
 Angel Playing the Tambourine source

That is a DOG by the fire! source

linking to Inspiration Avenue and  the Victorian Era


Saturday, December 15, 2012


to look a lot like Christmas in our house...

Right down to a cute old fairy type elf who watched me make lots of cookies today.  Yes, I burned one last batch thinking the timer was telling me the oven was still on, but it kept beeping because there were cookies ready to be taken out of the oven.  That oven and I had a bit of a communication problem.

The gingerbread men recipe called for unsulfured molasses.  I used blackstrap molasses.  The recipe is here.

Mr. Fairy Elf must have sneaked a crumb of a cookie because his expression looks like a piece of it got caught under his denture.  His little cheeks are so cute and red from the cold ... or did he get into the amaretto again?

Happy Saturday!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Pause in Advent

Please click on The Mennonite Girls to read a message that will warm your heart and amaze your soul.

And visit "A Pause in Advent" here and read more stories about the Christmas journey from the 2012 bloggers taking part.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Peace: A Possibility

When I think of peace at this time of year, my visualization usually turns to doves, angels, or perhaps the nativity scene.  Many beautiful images can be found at Inspiration Avenue on the web at this site.  In fact, the bold type encourages "Peace on Earth, Goodwill To Men."

But what if the holidays are difficult for you, and peace is nowhere near possible?  What if health issues take precedence in your mind, or you are grieving a difficult loss?  What if your heart is breaking?  Where is your peace, or peace of mind?

Family estrangement, especially during the holiday season, is a situation that brings many people anguish. I looked into this issue and found that this is a universal heartache, certainly not just one in my heart. And perhaps after reading this, you will not ask "WHY?" when you learn of an estrangement situation, but can just be there as support for your friend or family member.

So please indulge me, if you are so inclined, to read about some of these thoughts put together here, to gain a better understanding of why family members might estrange themselves.

From this article written by Tina Gilbertson, she hits it right on:

You must understand that the other person has a reason for wanting to reduce contact with you. It hurts to think about being rejected at all, and to accept that there's a reason you were rejected is one of the hardest things any of us can do. However, it's also necessary if you want to have a relationship with the person again.

 You are wrong and they are right. No qualifiers, no conditions, no compromises. How they feel is the absolute truth of the matter. This must be your attitude and your belief. People don't end important relationships on a whim; at some point they really must have felt hurt /unseen /devalued /attacked /vilified /dismissed /damaged /ignored /betrayed /rejected /disrespected by you enough to build that wall. Of course you never meant to do any such thing, but that's how they took it, and that's how they feel. That's reality. That's a fact. 

This is not about you. Your story is not interesting right now to the person who rejected you. They are only interested in their story. Since it was they who initiated the estrangement, your job is to be curious about them, to validate their feelings, and to be available to them in a way that they define as positive or useful.

Accept their decision. For whatever reason, no matter what you do, the other person may decide not to let you back into their life. Let them know that you accept their decision, that you genuinely wish them well, and that the door is always open if they change their mind. Acknowledge to yourself the loss of the relationship, and allow yourself to mourn. Accept the new reality of your life without that person in it. You will survive without them. Your life may look and feel different to you, but it will be yours to do with as you please. If they ever do change their mind and come knocking on your door, decide right now to let them find a peaceful, whole person on the other side.

Many parents have done everything possible to raise their kids in what they perceive to have been the right manner, but they still face excommunication from children and grandchildren. Here are possible issues involved:

  • Parents took an action “out of love” for the child, but it was the wrong action or the child perceives it as being wrong.
  • Some ex-wives or ex-husbands poison the child about the other parent. Sometimes, the child's new girlfriend or boyfriend uses similar tactics.
  • Some parents feel that they have spent years of their lives taking care of their children, and feel no further financial obligation. This common cause of family discord is multiplied when a child also hears that the money issue is somehow related to the parent's divorce.

Sometimes there is no obvious reason for a son or daughter to break off communication, but it would be helpful to many families if a social scientist would study this subject. It seems that one of the risk factors is divorce.  Another factor is having daughters.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Mark Sichel in his article found here says:
The central premise of this article is that all healing starts from within. The most important reconciliation is the one you make with yourself. That way, your family's willingness or unwillingness to participate in a healing process will not be able to take away your peace of mind.
An extensive listing of websites and resources relating to family estrangement can be found here.

Again, if you are seeking more help in understanding estrangement, the above cited resources can be helpful. Most large churches in urban areas have support groups on the topic of "estrangement."
Lastly, go here to read, in part...
Joshua Coleman, a San Francisco psychologist who is an expert on parental estrangement, says it appears to be growing more and more common, even in families who haven’t experienced obvious cruelty or traumas like abuse and addiction. Instead, parents often report that a once-close relationship has deteriorated after a conflict over money, a boyfriend or built-up resentments about a parent’s divorce or remarriage. “We live in a culture that assumes if there is an estrangement, the parents must have done something really terrible,” said Dr. Coleman, whose book “When Parents Hurt” (William Morrow, 2007) focuses on estrangement. “But this is not a story of adult children cutting off parents who made egregious mistakes. It’s about parents who were good parents, who made mistakes that were certainly within normal limits.”
I am praying for peace this season.  And I accept that as the mother of an estranged daughter, I am responsible for this estrangement.  Just please don't ask my "why," because although I made many mothering mistakes, one of my two daughters is emotionally close to me while the other is distant.

Did I give too much attention to the handicapped child and not enough to the one without visible handicaps?  Did I expect too much from one and not the other? If so, which one? Did I give too little, or too much? Should I have stayed in a marriage that was not good for any of us, and am now seeing consequences 30 years later? I have gone over the questions many times with both daughters, and they both give answers of "you did just fine."  So somewhere in there is a mis-truth.  But I still question, and yet also still don't have an answer as to why one has removed herself from the family.
As a Christian, I believe God gave man peace through His Son.  Here are a few scriptures I especially like to think about:

John 14:27....I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Isaiah 40:29-30... He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Peace be with you all.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Confetti Bean Soup in a Jar

What is on your "I Really WANT to Do" list for the holidays?
Really, is there such a thing as a list of Things You Must Do For the Holidays?  Kinda takes the fun out of it.

Besides listening to more seasonal music, I really wanted to make "soup mixes in a jar" for gifts.  It was unbelievable how many sites came up on a Google search for just this topic.

Here is the one site I settled on at this link because it was COLORFUL, EASY, and HAD LABELS.

Needed: 12 wide-mouth pint (2-cup) canning jars with lid and rings 14 pounds assorted dried peas, beans and lentils (at least 8 different varieties):
  •  pink beans 
  •  black beans 
  •  baby lima beans
  •  lentils
  •  red lentils 
  •  black-eyed peas 
  •  red kidney beans 
  •  pinto beans 
  •  split peas 
  •  great northern beans 
  •  small red beans 
  •  white beans 
  • 12 Italian-flavor or beef flavor bouillon cubes 
  • 12 bay leaves
Just put half cup of each bean layered in the jar topped with a bouillon cube and bay leaf and tie on a the printed label.  Like this!

I like soup, and almost any kind of flavor.  How about you?
If you made the soup exactly as directed, it would be pretty bland.  I'm thinking of giving a package of ham hocks along with the jars of beans, reminding the bean recipients that they will also need to add spices for a heartier, tastier version of this bean soup.

(Just had to add the Soup Nazi picture from the Seinfeld days.)

Linking to A Sheltering Tree ... because soup is something that can nourish a body and soul!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Pause In Advent

Joining in with Floss in France who has offered to sponsor a Christmas Blogger Event Termed "A Pause in Advent," where we stop a moment and reflect on the spiritual season, this article from the late 1980's gave me pause to think about a different turn on Christmas. Perhaps you will like it too.  An excerpt...
I direct a Christian theater company and this Christmas season we have a play running called "0, Little Town of Bagels, Tea Cakes and Hamburger Buns." The play is about the contemporary experience of Christmas based on the fact that the people to whom Christ came that first Christmas are the same kinds of people that we are today. Bethlehem means "house of bread." Bread means bagels, tea cakes and hamburger buns. Christmas is not a remote event. It is not a memo tucked away in a history book and forgotten. It is a celebration for right now — for the people who are now, as were the people who were then — some of them hurting, some of them alone, some of them angry, some of them tired, some of them separated from their family, some of them ill. Unto those people, God sent his Christmas card.
Click on the highlighted title to read the entire essay O Little Town of Bagels, Tea Cakes and Hamburger Buns by Jeanette Clift George.  It is a thoughtful writing.

You can read others' Pauses in Advent here.

click here to join in the pause