Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good Bye to 2013

And good bye to, among others, all soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for our freedom

Good bye to various actors, authors, poets, politicians, painters including

  • Van Kliburn
  • David Frost
  • Scott Carpenter
  • Yvonne Brills, scientist
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Muriel Sievert
  • Helen Thomas
  • Ed Koch
  • Joyce Brothers
  • David Brubeck
  • other actors, authors, poets, politicians, and painters

And goodbye to my friends and family

My father, Charles W.  McCarroll (1919-2013)

                      My aunt Mary Howard Mays
Friend Mary Oman
Friend Maureen Keesler
Friend John Heniford, father of SIL Jack

Father of all,
we pray for those whom we love, but see no longer.
grant them your peace;
let light perpetual shine upon them;
and in your loving wisdom and almighty power
work in them the good purpose of your perfect will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Methodist Worship Book, 1999 (p498)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Post Christmas Post

Time to bring down the ornaments after the Christmas holiday.  And don't you know Amazon and FedEx employees are about fed up with their jobs by today?

A little catch up: lunch with the ladies in an uptown restaurant on Monday.

We lost Maureen, one of our original set of coffee/lunch cancer support group members, to breast cancer in November.  She really did not want to leave us.  We mourned her passing, prayed for her family, and are trying to reconfigure our group without her.   But we gained her daughter and daughter-in-law as new friends in a younger generation.  We toasted Maureen and remembered her with fondness and love.

Linking with Tami for a Finished Object Friday and with Fiber Arts Friday is the Derecho Shawl (the small size is a big shawl).


Forget that dopey facial expression and concentrate on the shawl.  Pattern and details here.
Click on the link/picture above to see what others are up to this Friday.
A thought to ponder:
See you Monday!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pausing in Advent for Madonna and Child

Never having been much of a collector over the years, and with that being said, I do admit to having a few Christmas collections;  most years I search out at least one box of assemblages for seasonal display.  One collections is of angels, another is of Christmas ornaments, and the third is pictures and icons of the Madonna and Child.

At last count, I had 24 religious icons. Some are Romantic era pictures, and some are replicas from the Byzantine period.  Most have come from different countries, where I searched them out among coffee bars and trinket shops. It gives my heart a thrill to find one, purchase it, and carefully pack it up to carry home where it is then carefully nestled along with the other icons, awaiting their retrieval for living room display (in lieu of a tree) in the Advent Season.

Here are a few Madonna and Child icons/pictures in our cadre:

Do you have a collection of objects that you enjoy viewing and displaying?  If so, I would really like for you to comment.  And show me what you collect.

linked here:
The Madonna and Child has been a common topic of art throughout the centuries but they were most influential in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance time periods. Paintings of the Madonna and Child have been dated back to before the sixth century and have continued to appear throughout the ages even to the present day. Despite how old and how popular of a subject the Madonna and Child is, artists manage to show a great deal of variety and originality over the years.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Sequins and Seed Beads and Styrofoam Ornaments

Ten years ago, I came across a magazine article that gave a tutorial on making ornamental holiday balls to use either as gifts, tree ornaments, or to group together in bowls for light reflection. These sequined balls look especially nice with candles placed close to the sequin and beaded balls, because the light plays off the surfaces and gives a soft, glowing effect.

In total, I have made about 20 of these sparkly ornaments, all in different sizes. 


  • Styrofoam balls in various sizes
  • 8 mm sized sequins
  • more clear plastic beads that come in one size at the craft stores, in packs of 100
  • 3/4 inch sequins (silver is preferred)
  • Beads with a hole big enough to fit on the pin and small enough that it won't slide past the head of the pin (size 9)
  • Ribbon, optional for hanging


1) Spray different sized Styrofoam balls with acrylic paint (silver or gold being the preferred color for Christmas, ensuring a base of color which will show behind the sequins);

2) after the paint is not quite dry on the Styrofoam, generously sprinkle silver or translucent glitter on the ball;

3) place a (silver) sequin on the ball, thread a seed bead through a size 9 dressmaker's pin, and then thread on a plastic bead

4) stick the threaded pin onto the sequin, holding all together, almost like a shish-ka-bob

5) repeat so that just a little of the glittery paint peeks between the sequins

Here are a few of the sparkling sequin and bead balls which we display each holiday season

Try making a few, they are fun to put together and will last forever if you carefully pack them away.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Exchange

Betty (the Woodfairy) suggested a fairy or angel - fairy ornament exchange this season.  I was all over that one, boring this blog to the outer reaches of the blogosphere for a week or so with pictures of a tree fairy made to exchange with PomPom. 

Boy, did I ever reap the better part of that exchange!  PomPom sent not only an ornament, handmade and sweet, but a book and a card, all wrapped up so Christmassy that I did not want to even open it.  But I did.  Here is what she sent:

Darling girls, stuffed and embellished with heart buttons galore.

 The girls are holding flower bouquets.

And PomPom sent a sweet book Mollie Makes Christmas, with loads of Christmas crafts explained.

 Cute baby booties patterns, complete with beads.

Happy, happy !
Mercy says WOOF! (that means "Merry Christmas" and "see my scarf")
Thanks to Betty for suggesting the exchange, and to PomPom for all the goodies!  I hung the ornament on the outside wreath for sharing views with the neighbors.
Stefan Lochner (1442-1451

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Patience in Advent

Today is the third Sunday in Advent.  I am inpatient in wanting to write of something else, something other than "patience".  The liturgical reading today, however, in part is about patience and says
James 5: 7 - 10

7 Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain.
8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
9 Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors.
10 As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
So patience is the lesson, one story or lesson that we need, especially in this season.  Not to hurry in our cookie preparation just to get it over and done with.  Not to hurry in slapping on the icing and not to rush in getting those confections off to the post office.  Instead, we are to be intentional in our purpose.


I am trying to slow the busy-ness process and make each step of completing a task a thoughtful one. Yes, it is hard, especially when one has always hurried to just "get 'er done".  (My mother once said as I was driving with her in the car that I would be making a cake at the same time if it were only possible.  I think of  her comment often when I am multi tasking, and smile.  And sometimes I slow down.)

  8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
You may also enjoy reading these Advent posts, and others found a Pause in Advent:

Light (Kathy)

The third Advent candle is lit today.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Week in Review

December 7-14, 2013
  • Weather

Record low temperatures this week here on the western slope of Colorado with -15 degrees!  Also we had 8 + inches of snow here.
  • Something New (to me)

Audible.  Love listening to books.  I've never bought more than a dozen audible book downloads, and usually from iTunes or Amazon.  But after listening to one of my favorite podcasts (The KnitGirllls), I was convinced to try an Audible subscription, with the first book free and twelve credits thereafter for a reasonable price.  As of yesterday, I'm listening to Life after Life, thanks Jean, and just purchased The Winter Sea by Suzanne Kearsley, thanks  to Woolythyme.
  • Knitting

on the Derecho shawl:

  • Food and recipes
Especially enjoyed root vegetable stew by the husband, Martha Stewart's cornbread and sausage dressing WITHOUT garlic and served with Cornish hens (thank you, Steph at KnitspiringOdyssey), spritz sugar cookies, and new coffee creamers (Mexican Cinnamon Chocolate by Lucerne is my favorite this week)

I may make cakes adapted from Gretchen's Nativity Cake recipe for the neighbors who so graciously shared their bountiful pumpkins, tomatoes and squash with us during harvest time.
  • Reading

finished The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani.  Giving it a grade of A-.

finished Amy Tan's Valley of Amazement.  Lots of reviews of the book out there.  Here is one recent review.  I would give it a grade of  B- for overall enjoyment.

still picking up Fredrick Beuchner's digital book Secrets in the Dark
  • Mailed

Cookies for Julie and a few little gifts

completed fairy for the fairy ornament swap.
  • Apps:

plugging along on "Flow Free" and  compulsively playing "Words with Friends".  Invite me to play under the name "templeton7" and we can compete on this sorta' Scrabble app.  Also using the new Audible app for listening to books and doing the daily word puzzle on "7 Words"
  • Christmas decorations

Set up Madonna and Child icons and votive candles
  • TV

the never ending funeral of Nelson Mandela, incredulous at the sign interpreter (did you see Jimmy Kemmel's take on the schitzoid interpreter?  I laughed.)

Enjoying some of the sweet little Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel, and movies from the books Diary of a Wimpy Kid (thanks, Charlotte).

"Magic of the Snowy Owl" (Nature), available through Dec. 25 on PBS Roku Channel

  • New blog friends I am stalking:

 barefootcrofter in Scotland
 Gladsome Lights in CA
 The Ellen Report
  • Linking to

Yarn Along with Small Things


Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Pause in Advent

Recently I came across a campaign to help build a second home for unwed mothers in Kenya, Africa.  The building is called Mercy House Kenya.

With the dire situation of the AIDS epidemic just in that country alone, it has taken over 1.2 million lives in 2012, or 75% of  2012 deaths attributed to AIDS deaths worldwide.

The Mercy House Kenya campaign has a poignant story, paraphrased and with some cutting and pasting, that is worth repeating.  They need money to build another house for mothers and their unborn and newborn babies.  Yes, it is a shameless appeal for your dollars; Ann Voskamp wrote the entire post here.   Voskamp writes:
Anticipation is the scent December.

So a woman in San Diego hangs a wreath outside on the front door, the sun beating warm on her neck and a grandma in Minneapolis watches the snow fall and ices another batch of shortbread and all the women in God’s beach house know the waiting of December isn’t passive, it isn’t a twiddling of the thumbs and flipping glossy pages of the latest catalogue and counting down the minutes, but this is the active waiting for a Baby to come.

Like expectant mothers preparing and praying and exercising and nesting – and working – because labour and delivery is coming — we’re the women waiting actively, praying and reaching out and grabbing hands and we’re women pregnant with hope, we’re women expecting – expecting Jesus’ kingdom to come into the world and come through us.

In Lubbock, Texas and Scapoose, Oregon and Calgary, Alberta and Sheffield, UK and Sydney, Australia – Christmas makes us midwives of another kingdom coming.

And once upon a time — today — in a slum in Kenya, a young girl rounds large with a baby. Where does she go in the running sewage and the rusting shanties to birth a baby no one wants her to have?

How does she feed a baby when her stomach gnaws with hunger and her soul is bony and starved?

... this is the part in the story where not one woman turns away or grows cold – because all God’s daughters are waiting for Jesus to come and she knows the One Whom her heart loves, that He comes as the least of these.

How can her heart not warm? How would she ignore Him now?

One girl holding a baby is knocking on a door in Kenya looking for room for her baby and Christmases all over North America are ready to answer that door.

There are Christmases all over North America that are saying there is no more room in the inn and no more room in their lives —  no more room for indifference, no more room for apathy, and no more room for excuses – because we are desperate to make room for Christ this Christmas.

That’s the Christmas we’re all buying this Christmas.

This is a link that will take you to making a second house for Mercy House Kenya.

The second Advent candle is lit today.

Linking with others to A Pause in Advent

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Deep Freeze

It is beginning to look a little like Christmas around here.  I'll have some pictures to show you on Sunday, along with a post about Advent.  Floss in the UK sponsors a blog-along relating to Advent, and I have been reading up in anticipation of remembering the Baby's birth during Advent. 

For today, some cooking, perhaps.

It is -5 degrees outside and could almost look like this if we got on our snow clothes and took a picture! But we have not had nearly as much snow as my friends in the North, nor have we experienced those dangerous icy conditions on the roads.  Friends, remember to drive safely!

It is pretty outside since we had eight inches of snow in the past few days.  But I'm in my jammies (yes, still), perusing Pinterest and about to continue reading Amy Tan's The Valley of Amazement.  Finished another pair of ballet slippers and linking to Finished Objects Friday and Fiber Arts Friday.

How about you?  What's cookin' ?  Scones or cookies in this kitchen...

PS: you MUST see this Life Sized Nativity (Knit-tivity) Scene !  (and you thought YOU knit excessively?)