"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, January 22, 2015

Shades of Winter

We are enjoying white, pink tinged Apple Blossom Amaryllis blossoms and the last glory of our red Poinsettia.
The blossoms are so heavy I found the stalwart green stem bent in half one morning!  : (
Then I discovered that the green and brown palm trees from the Fisher-Price Nativity set are able to prop up the stem.
Can you see them? : )
My youngest son and I fiddled with the electric stove and coaxed it to warmly glow orange and gold with new light bulbs.
This pretty scarlet and green Cyclamen plant was purchased for my youngest daughter to cheer her as she recovers from hip surgery.
Knitting this alpaca, silk cowl feels like I am knitting a soft warm, fluffy, silvery cloud.
When Teresa and I came out of the gym pool one day, recently, Mt. Hood was outstandingly snowy white against blue gray clouds.
Our confused Camellia bush is producing these gorgeous pink and white Springtime blossoms.
Usually this bush starts blooming in late February, so we are getting an early treat seeing the pretty pink contrasting against the deep evergreen leaves of the bush.
 Mt. Hood was glowing goldenly from Jonsrud overlook near Sandy, Oregon, just before sunset recently.
After the Seattle Seahawks won their last football game my oldest daughter took this photo with her iPhone of a muted winter rainbow we saw out my window.
A few days ago I received this lovely card and felt stitched heart shaped Valentine pin from my sweet friend, Betsy.  My basket full of rainbow colored yarn seemed a good background to perch the card and pin on to show you.  I bought the cotton yarn in this basket on sale from Lyon Brand Yarn a few months ago and am enjoying single crocheting around  35 chains to form a double thickness rainbow colored pot holder. 

The new year has found me occupied fighting off a cold for a week, involved with my youngest daughter's out patient surgery on her left hip, reading material for a class on Eastern Orthodox history, exploring the use of the word "secret" in Scripture, helping to keep my living space tidy, celebrating my oldest son-in-law's birthday, swimming less than usual, and doing a little knitting and crocheting, too.  I re-read some of Women's Work: the first 20,000 years, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, that Annie has been reviewing on her blog, but in general I feel I am behind on EVERYTHING, including post reading.  However, the shades of winter around me stop me in my tracks...to behold beauty in the moment.   I am grateful God created it! I am recharged by it!  I want to replicate it! I want to share it!

How are the shades of winter affecting you?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

One Scarf's Story: 2014 My First Year Using Alpaca Fiber






I knit two bunnies from this fiber I bought at Sue's in Jamesport, Missouri.

I knit one bunny from the Boucle Mix, and the bunny hopped across the pond to live with friends there.

This luscious alpaca silk yarn I purchased from talented Rebekka's Camellia Fiber Co.


My youngest son and I visited Prince Edward Island in September.  I had dream's of absorbing the beauty of LM Montgomery's setting for writing Anne of Green Gables.  My son dreamed of playing golf.  Our dreams came true!  

While on the island one thing neither of us had dreamed of was visiting Green Gables Alpaca Farm, but we did that, too.  Tim took the photos of some of the alpaca on the farm.  The alpaca were not keen  on smiling for him, but rather were intent on enjoying a meal.  

When I got back to Oregon I ordered some alpaca fiber from Green Gables Alpaca Farm to knit a scarf for Tim for Christmas as a remembrance of our great trip. My friend Teresa gave me some guidance on knitting the scarf, 22 stitches on size 8 needles:

First Try...knit 2, purl 2,....get distracted... rip out.
Second Try...repeat first try...get distracted... rip out.
Third Try...knit one row, purl one row...get distracted...rip out.
Fourth Try...knit, knit, knit, knit...

Darling granddaughter came to visit.  Grandma looked up to see her darling granddaughter waving a pair of empty knitting needles around...the very needles that had held the Fourth Try.  Mercy!  Darling granddaughter said she is sorry and offers to help get the stitches back on the needle.  Grandma forgave her and hastens to say she will put the stitches back on the needle, then miraculously succeeds in doing so...both the forgiving and the getting the stitches back on correctly the first try!

I knit and knit and knit and finished the scarf on Christmas Eve!  Hooray!

After Tim unwrapped the scarf he immediately modeled it for me...I spared him the harrowing tale of the scarf's birth.

While I have not got the hang of spinning alpaca fiber yet, I have enjoyed knitting my first alpaca fiber projects this year, and just before Christmas I purchased 285 yards of 80%alpaca 20%silk in a logwood and iron shade that is begging me to knit something wonderful.  I had another scarf in mind when I bought the fiber, but it only took 180 yards to make Tim's scarf so I am debating whether to make a longer or wider scarf or something else.

Do you have any suggestions for my first alpaca project of 2015?

Happy New Year!!!

xx
Gracie

Thursday, December 25, 2014

One Thousand Gifts and More




December 19th, soon after arriving at my good friend, Taci's, beautiful new home for our Bloggers' Lunch, I met our newest blogging friend, Becky.  Becky knows how to knit, but is especially interested in photography.  In her blog she recently held a giveaway that I won, much to my delight and surprise =)  Becky brought my giveaway gift, One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters, by Ann Voskamp, and gave it to me.  One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are was on the NY Times bestsellers list for 60 weeks.  I was interested to learn that Ann not only is a successful published writer, but also writes a daily online journal.  She also is a homeschooling mother of six and supports Compassion International as a global advocate for needy children. The book Becky gave me contains excerpts from her bestseller.  I am eager to give it more focused attention soon.  Thank you Becky, for your generous gift to me.

Becky also made candy, and, lovely calendars for each of us, using a photo she took on a nearby Oregon farm.  Taci gave us pretty, hand crocheted washcloths and magnets, and candy.  Teresa gave each of us one of her wonderfully crocheted, Scandinavian red hearts, and a pretty red globe Christmas tree ornament and a piece of candy.  Betsy gave each of us shell necklaces from her recent trip to Maui, pretty cotton yarn, and cute winter outfitted seagull statues. Our blogging friend from across the pond, Helen,  sent us lovely hand-stitched heart ornaments through Betsy. I admire the creativity of each of these lovely ladies, and thank each of them for the generous gifts they gave me, but I especially am grateful for the gift of friendship they share with me each time we have contact.

On Christmas Eve two of my children and I attended a vigil 10:30p.m. to midnight service at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Portland...a new and beautiful experience for us; but we did not get home and into bed until 2:00a.m. My four little granddaughters and their parents were up at 7:00a.m.  to investigate what Santa had left in our socks.  Mercy!  Our sock investigation was fun!  We had a yummy breakfast of Christmas oranges and waffles and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus...without a birthday cake this year. We gave, admired, received, and unwrapped gifts much of the day, and had ham and salad and olives and sweets throughout the day.  However, in the midst of our celebration, we sympathized with little Rosie when we realized she had stopped bouncing on her pony, Pokey, and had settled down for a bit of a winter's nap.....


Notice the sheep on Rosie's sleepers?  I think she did not have to count sheep to fall asleep today, and I strongly doubt I will have to count sheep to fall asleep tonight!

On whatever day you may be reading this, have you been busy creating, recognizing, giving and receiving countless gifts...and getting the right amount of rest you need?  I hope so!

xx,
Gracie






Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's In the Bag



Am I going to report I have everything perfectly done I want to have done?  Can I find all the photos I wanted to share with you?  Will this bag be used and appreciated by the ten year old boy I crocheted it for to hold his art supplies?

No...No... and I don't know :-)

But I am having the best time stitching, beading, writing, typing, photographing, calling, wrapping, and sending....

Where ever you are, if you have made yourself known to me, I appreciate you, and the common interests we share. Thanks for visiting me here and thanks to those of you who take the time to leave a comment here or email or text or call or visit me. It is wonderful to know that you know what is in the heart of the creative efforts of this blog.  You understand what is in the bag and you share it with me. Thanks so much!!! xxx

Love,
Gracie





Monday, December 8, 2014

Enjoying Light!
















As the daylight hours slip away so quickly from me in this Autumn to Winter seasonal shift, I am once more caught by surprise...both protesting and embracing the change. 

 This year I am celebrating six weeks of Advent instead of the four I have in the past...longer to focus on celebrating the coming of Christ, the Light of the world:

longer to notice the changes of light around me, the glow of sunlight on the new coat of snow on Mt. Hood, 

longer to enjoy the warmth of candlelight and Christmas tree lights and my funny little electric fireplace in the hearth,

longer to appreciate the little OttLite on the arm of my chair while I stitch on this and that,

and 

longer to appreciate the light of love in the eyes of my family members...

I am enjoying the light around me.

Are you enjoying the light around you?

xx
Gracie