"I started photographing my domestic world and writing not just about what I had made,
but why I made it, examining the thoughts that accompany creativity and the act of making."
Jane Brocket from The Gentle Art of Domesticity p. 189 UK edition

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The For Sale Sign is Up!

As some of you may remember I started blogging around nine years ago when I discovered fiber arts blogs that I started to follow. After moving to Oregon I missed the crafters I met with weekly while living in northern California and it took me years to find a weekly crafting group to attend in Oregon, so some of the fiber arts bloggers I followed became dear to me.  I never expected to meet any of the bloggers I followed, but I have! 

Most recently I met with my local blogging friend, Teresa, at the Crochet Guild of America Conference at a hotel near the Portland, Oregon, airport...and...with our very talented blogging friend, Mrs. Macawber, alias Sue Perez! Joy! If you haven't discovered her blog, I hope you will.  She very generously and expertly shares crochet patterns and tutorials. She also has patterns you may have noticed published in various crochet magazines. From time to time she also takes bike rides and shares on her blog gorgeous photos of the countryside and wildflowers near where she lives.  I have been trying to convince her to publish a book, and am happy to report she is working on one!  [No pressure, Sue, but I look forward to purchasing it! :) ]
Teresa, Sue, Gracie, and Gracie's sister, Margaret

My sister, Margaret had just flown up from Burbank, California, a few days prior to the conference.  She has done some beautiful stitching projects through the years, too.  After visiting with Sue and Teresa for a bit, Margaret and I drove on to meet my youngest daughter and her husband at Cape Lookout State Park on the northern Oregon coast where they were RV camping with some of my son in law's side of the family.  It was foggy when we arrived and foggy when we went to check out the ocean the next morning.

But on the way back to the campsite it was not too foggy to see this pretty thistle that reminded me of Thistlebear another blog I enjoy following.  So this is a photo especially for you, Jennifer :)

The next afternoon the fog rolled away long enough for folks, including my sister and daughter and me to go enjoy the beach and ocean in all its glory!

Those of you who have known me for a while know that admiring an ocean from the shore is one of my favorite past times!  I knit a dishcloth in between long admiring surveys of the sand and waves and rocks.

While my sister visited we explored possible places I might move to once our house sells, and we also got to see Multnomah Falls on our way to visit with a friend on the other side of Mt. Hood.

This was the only peek of the peak I recorded on my phone camera, but  Mt. Hood is amazing to me from any angle, and even if I only record just a bit of its beauty.

My sister went to my Wednesday knitting group with me, and she knit this sweet little preemie hat.  The pattern is a simple rectangle starting with about 35 stitches on size 8 needles.  She knit until she had about 12 inches in height, then our friend Sue stitched it up the side and closed the top.  You could also gather the top to form a bit of a poof.

Just after my sister flew back to California, my youngest daughter gathered our first batch of apples and she and I made some yummy applesauce.

Yesterday I picked the last of our peaches which were flavorful but bruised.  It has been particularly hot for a long stretch and I think I did not pick them soon enough.

The plums are still ripening and I am still wondering if we will get to enjoy eating them before we move.  I suspect we will.

Our house has been officially on the market for a week and has been shown once to folks who like it enough to put it on their list of possible purchases, but they have not made an offer yet.

Meanwhile, I am grateful to be living here and am amazed it has been nearly nine years since my husband died and we moved into the house.

I am finally packed enough that I have some time to check in with those of you who blog to find out what is new on your blogs; and whether you blog or not, know that as you read this that I am asking the Lord to bless you. :)

Gracie xx

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Busy as a Bee on a Bloom!

Are your days buzzing with busyness?  Mine seem to be!  I have made some effort to try to get a clear photo of a bee this summer like some of the photos I have admired in other blogs.  This is the best I have managed so far.

The Hollyhocks prompt fond memories for me of my Auntie Ruth in West Boxford, Massachusetts, USA, who for many years had some like this blooming next to the side entrance to her Stone House Farm home.

 This past week in between painting and packing and cleaning chores for moving I was resting in a chair on the front porch when I saw a big fluffy mama raccoon and I think four of her babies scurry across the driveway intent on reaching the huge old cherry tree to feast on the very ripe cherries that are on the grass.  I just barely caught a glimpse of mama behind my garden cart and a baby's tail to the right of her.

Then I cautiously moved around the house and got this shadowy view of mama who was posed ironically by a "caution" tape workmen had put down while installing a new internet line.

While preparing to move I still have been meeting with my stitching friends at church who are committed to knitting and crocheting blankets for babies who are admitted to the preemie NICU at a local hospital.  My current blanket is at the bottom of the photo.  Do you see the squash on the table?  One of the ladies is not only a prolific blanket maker but is also an avid gardener.  She brought her surplus squash to share!  So kind!

The current heatwave we are experiencing here near Portland, Oregon, has been great for ripening our blueberries.  I wish I could share them with you because they are delicious!

Although we did not meet our goal of having the house on the market by July 1st, we are very nearly ready for realtor photos and the next phase of the moving process.  I miss interacting with many of you who have struck up a friendship with me through blogging and appreciate so much those of you who visit and leave comments here in spite of my erratic posting here and erratic commenting on your blogs over the last two years.

As I go now to paint two closet shelves I am wondering are you busy as a bee on a bloom?

Gracie xx

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Does Weeding Count as Crafting?

Please let me know if Google is showing a notice on my blog that warns the reader especially from anywhere in the European Union that my blog has "cookies" that collect data and that you give me permission to do so.  Blogger says as a courtesy it is providing the notice, but it is my responsibility to check to see if you can see it        Thanks!  :-)

 Before I pontificate on the topic of weeds, welcome to my current in-home retreat :-)  While the painters continue to progress on the interior house painting, this newly painted room is where my favorite chair is and where my day/night bed resides.  Note the suitcase that speaks to my commitment to get this house on the market by July 1, 2018, and be ready to rapidly move to a yet to be determined humble abode. Also, note that in order to create a sense of calm and order around me I have folded up on a footstool a twin size quilt that I think I have not shown you before. Either my Nana or Mom made it long ago.  The now vintage materials are sweet to see and I find the quilt construction unusual.  As far as I know, there is no batting in it.  It is simply two patchwork quilt tops sewn together...no border.  Is there a name for that? Over a thermal blanket, it helps me stay cozy and warm. Also note that in the baskets in the bookcase, there are assorted crafting projects and supplies which I don't want to pack yet just in case I can make the time to work on them before I move.

 Now to the weeds.  According to my online dictionary, a weed is:
  1. 1.
    a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants.
  1. 1.
    remove unwanted plants from (an area of ground or the plants cultivated in it).

    "I was weeding a flower bed".

The plants pictured above were plants I did not want where they were so I weeded them out of the garden.

 Part of the property on which I live is a portion of a watershed project which offers some guidelines to what we "should" grow.  Foxglove is on the invasive not wanted list, and I have not purposely planted it, but I have not made any effort to weed out the volunteer plants around the pond because I enjoy seeing them.

 The red Rhododendron bushes on the east side of the house are in full beautiful bloom.  I was startled the other night when I saw a British drama in which a character was assigned the task of digging up a Rhododendron bush because it was an invasive species!

 The Grace Ward Lithodora ground cover is one of my favorites because of its brilliant blue blossoms and it helps to choke out things I consider weeds.  The bees love it!  I tried repeatedly to take a photo of a bee but did not succeed. :-(

 Most of this assortment of plants I purchased from a plant nursery and I am thrilled they are thriving and also seem to help keep weeds at bay.  So my answer to the title question is "Yes!"  Weeding is a craft that I have not appreciated as such until thinking about it in this post.  Besides crafting the choice of plants I cultivate, I enjoy the added benefit of watching bees shopping among the flowers for their sustenance, and I saw a pretty ladybug the other day, and I saw a huge blue heron swoop down into the pond!

 As I looked at these plums, I wondered if I will still be living here when they ripen.

As far as stitching goes I have made just a little progress on the preemie blanket I am crocheting and the dishcloth I am knitting, but I enjoyed working on them when I could this past month.

So what do you think, does weeding count as crafting?

Like the bunny on my project bag, I hope you are having a nice day :-)

Gracie xx

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Moving Forward

As I drove from Sonoma, California, to Boring, Oregon, March 15-16, 2018, I drove through a bit of snow north of Willits, California, and north of  Brookings, Oregon, much to my surprise! But the weather cleared beautifully so that I could stop at one of my favorite outlooks and take this photo, which you might recognize as a view similar to my blog header photo. [When I can figure out how to do so I will switch the photos :-) ]

If you look very carefully above the left-hand side of the plaque and near the water's edge there is a little red dot which is the roof of the Umpqua River Lighthouse.  The triangular shape in Winchester Bay is an oyster farm.

I chose this iconic view of Winchester Bay as a beautiful spot from which to visually launch my blog: an exploration of crafts onshore in the Pacific Northwest and my part in crafting in various forms as a growing Christ follower.

At the Biscuit Cafe, for breakfast on the Wednesday, after I got home, I met my knitting service group friends who knit and crochet preemie blankets for needy preemies.  On our way out of the cafe, I took a picture of this saying that is a pertinent encouragement for me now.

 On occasion, I have been accused of being too "preachy" in my blog. More often than not I accuse myself of not being clear enough in authentically reflecting my failings and faith in following Christ and I especially feel that since I have been home.  While the members of our household were/are committed to leaning in to know and serve Christ and not reject each other but to affirm who each of us is in Christ, nine of us have moved out and are not yet in communication with the three of us at home still.  We prayed/pray each other are blessed.

This raises all sorts of questions I can not answer for you or myself, yet, but I am believing our Heavenly Father the great Three in One, is drawing each of us closer to Him and I am praying that each of us glorifies the Lord in all that we do as Holy Spirit empowers us to do so.

 On the way home from California I experienced a bit of Spring snow and once home there was a bit more so that I felt I did not entirely miss Winter while I was in California.

Our ponds have Mallard couples visiting, and I have lost track of how many times the lawn has been mowed now.

My Spring Cleaning has been inspired by meditating on Christ's question,  "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" I heard a teacher recently say..."There are not any U-Hauls headed to heaven!" :-)

Yet one more season our huge Cherry tree blooms and flurries of petals are swirling to earth in celebration of Spring and abundant life!

My youngest daughter bought out my oldest daughter's share of the house and now my youngest daughter and her husband and I are preparing the house for sale.  I am looking for my first independent house in which to live and my youngest daughter and her husband are looking for their first "home alone," too!!

This is the latest preemie blanket I started since arriving home...one single crochet row, one double crochet row, repeat.

We are in the midst of hiring someone to finish painting the interior of this house and someone else to professionally clean the windows.  Someone else is scheduled to repair a pipe, and we have cleaning/weeding and some repair work to do as well.  The target date for listing the house is now July 1, 2018.

Oh, and I did get my taxes submitted and a refund that paid for my trip back home.  I also got my teeth cleaned and found I need another little crown :-( .  And I don't know when I will make it down to visit my sisters again, but both are doing well and keeping in touch.

Hoping you will check in with me and that I will check in with you!!

Gracie xx

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Slouchy Hat for Spring

 On the drive from Sonoma to Santa Rosa, California, this is one of my favorite views as Winter moderates to welcome Spring.

 The orange flowers in the field are we think a variety of Calendula, but do any of you viewing this recognize these?

 Sadly we can also see some of the devastations from the October 2017 wildfires that took 41 lives in this region.

 The burned trees on the hills are a stark contrast to the vineyards that now have Mustard plants growing in them to improve the soil quality.

 My oldest sister, Carolyn took most of these photos from the car with my iPhone 7plus as we drove to one of her chemo appointments.
 Even though this photo is a bit of a green blur, it captures some of the beautiful plant growth along the way that has us thanking the Lord for life in spite of the fires.

 This is the slouchy hat I just finished crocheting for Carolyn.  I used an H hook and USA double crochet stitches.  Forming a sliding circle I crocheted a flat circle twelve inches across. At Teresa's suggestion, I used Lucy's great tutorial on her blog, Attic 24. I crocheted five more rows on the twelve-inch circle then began decreasing until it fit Carolyn's head.  The yarn is 100% acrylic Red Heart Unforgettable Jewel medium weight and I did not use the whole skein.

Carolyn loves the colors, softness, and lightweight feel of the hat and we are having fun flopping it into different slouches on her head :-)

Carolyn's last CT scan shows improvement in her condition!  We are thanking the Lord for that and appreciate so much the prayers and good thoughts sent out for her healing.

This week while Carolyn's oldest daughter and some Grands are here from Nebraska, I plan to drive back home to Boring, Oregon, and stay long enough to submit my taxes and go in for a dental check, visit family and friends up there...then fly back down here to help Carolyn out for a bit longer.

I am missing communicating with many during this time but hope this post will help to catch those who read it up on my activities and let you know I am cheering you on in your life adventure as best as I can at the moment.

Gracie :-) xx