"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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Crafting Time Around Mt. Hood

When I attended Central Missouri State University and graduated from San Jose State University I am convinced now that I should have worked on a Dabbling in the Arts Degree instead of a B.A. in Speech-Communications :) I want to paint with water colors, knit, crochet, quilt, write, photograph, and now I want to work more with polymer clay mixed media projects thanks to a craft night I attended at our church.  Shirley Rufener, who has a regular craft segment on the KATU morning show in Portland, demonstrated how to make a polymer coated pen, using colored chalk to enhance textured designs we made in the polymer clay after wrapping the clay around a pen.  Although I was not familiar with Shirley's work I was very excited to discover she has a book she has written with directions to make many beautiful polymer clay mixed media projects....now all I have to do is craft my time to enable me to do more crafting!

I have six rows of Continental knitting I have done on the blue, Merino wool blanket I am knitting!  The blue dishcloth is another story.  I used the Continental method of knitting for about  three rows, but somehow lost the garter stitch for one row.  So I ripped out the three rows and tried again...with the same result :(  When I showed my friend Idella what I was working on she picked out three or four rows for me and thinks that when I used the Continental method on the dishcloth I somehow twisted my stitches so in effect I did a row of purl stitches.  [If at first you don't succeed try try again...]

For several Saturdays over the last two months I have worked on a scrapbook album for my youngest granddaughter, Rose.  So far I have made a special scrapbook for five of  my grandchildren for their first birthdays.  I incorporated pictures of them in their first year along with some sort of story that highlighted the alphabet and numbers. Before Christmas I purchased some Faber Castell watercolor pencils and have used them on the first page of Rose's album...I had visions of using them to add an impressionistic touch to the work, but so far I have just managed to create some smudginess around "ROSE" :) More learning necessary for G'ma!

While I am not wild about the planning and the process necessary to swim on a regular basis, Teresa, definitely helps keep me motivated.  Both of us love the feel of being in the water and gently swimming laps for an hour and chatting while doing so :)  It is especially cheering when the sunlight glistens through the water.

When I visited Meredith's last post, I was so pleased to see that Fluffy Baa-Baa now has a little buddy to play with from time to time!  My Grand Girls enjoyed seeing FBB being kissed and pulled around in a wagon.  Thank you for the pictures and story, Meredith :)

As I am out and about I am always looking for some views of Mt. Hood to share with you. Even after seven years of living here, I am excited when I spot Mt. Hood, and I want to share its beauty with anyone who will let me share it with them :)

A friend made a gluten and dairy free peanut butter cookie recipe for me a year ago, and ever since I have been fiddling with the recipe to create variations on it. I can get fresh ground peanut or almond butter at our local market so I have been experimenting with using almond butter.

Chocolate Almond Butter Spice Cookies  350 degrees for 9minutes

1cup almond butter
3/4 cup palm sugar [or brown sugar]  [can try 1/2 cup honey or agave]
1teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla
dashes of salt, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper
2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips [gluten, dairy, soy free]
1 beaten egg

Combine ingredients. I use a small cookie scoop and scoop out 30 cookies.  Pat down the balls of cookie dough before baking. Let the cookies cool a few minutes before transferring them to a rack.

If you try the recipe, please let me know how you like it or how you modified it.  I am curious :)
And I am also curious to know how you are crafting your time! I love your comments and learning what is happening in your life.  Often you inspire me, which I appreciate so much, and I long to encourage you as well :)

Gracie xx


  1. Lovely to catch up with all you have been doing this week Gracie!

    I am sure your grandkids enjoyed catching up with the adventures of FBB!


  2. I twist my stitches when knitting continental too. Stopped for a while.

  3. First...amazing story about the pen....very nice. Second love the fact that you and Teresa go swimming from time to time...that's a very nice indoor pool! (my mom used to do that but got away from it....might have to push her to go back again) and Third, love seeing your pictures from Mt. Hood....it's always beautiful from wherever you are standing! And last....I've been working on my forever...never ending... hexagon blanket. It's growing each day and loving it more and more!
    Hugs to you!

    ps. Your grandbabies looks so sweet gathered around your computer...I can almost bet they were looking at Meredith's pictures she posted....that was so sweet of her to do!

    xx Shari

  4. Hello Gracie, After 5 years of being a nurse I wanted to go back to Uni to pursue Art. I love all fiber arts. I have tried a wee bit of polymer clay creating faces for dolls but that is far as I have gone. I always go back to stitching on everything I create. I always love seeing all your very lovely photos of Oregon. Love them. I enjoyed seeing your grand daughters watching you with the computer.. I swim 2 times a week and wish I had time to go more often.Today with the snow blizzard outside I am needle felting some wee heart for gifts. Hugs Judy

  5. Lovely pictures it looks like you've had a wonderful week Gracie, Water colour pencil are something I been thinking about trying, it's always so lovely to see your mountain
    Clare x

  6. Hello Gracie it is always nice to catch up with you and Mt Hood. Keep going with the continental knitting my friend changed style about a year ago and raves about it. Jo x

  7. Gracie, I love, love, love catching up with you. I am so glad the girls liked seeing Fluffy Baa-Baa having a great time over here. They are so adorable looking at the computer screen. Your craft night sounds like so much fun. Polymer Clay can make so many beautiful things. Love your pictures of your gorgeous mountain,
    Hugs to you and have a wonderful week,

  8. I'm impressed that you're trying continental knitting. My great-grandmother was part-French and was by all accounts a very fast knitter. I'm still in love with crochet at the moment, but I expect I'll get my needles out at some point.

  9. Hi Gracie! Wow, you got LOTS of neat photos of Mt. Hood lately -- I need to go in search of some pix. Your clay covered pens look super neat! I am so with you on wanting to do art things.. maybe we could do some watercolors together some day! See you at the pool tomorrow! Our older son and his family are coming for a visit in a few hours, Kristi is making Chinese Noodle Casserole for us all! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  10. I always love seeing your pictures of Mt Hood and would be very excited to be there to see it in person.
    Lovely pictures Gracie and your grandgirls are all lovely. Swimming with Teresa would be great, I need
    a motivator right here lol

  11. Sounds like you are busy with your artistic activities. Swimming is one of my favorite past times, I understand why you enjoy it. Mt. Hood is beautiful, thank you for sharing it's beauty. Heather

  12. I really enjoyed this post Gracie. It's so happyand full of love. I enjoyed seeing the girls and imagine them following Fluffy's adventures on Meredith's post. The clay work pen is really neat. I love craft nights with friends. Such fun! You're making such great progress with your continental knitting. I'm so proud of you. :-). The pictures of Mt. hood are gorgeous as usual. I'll be seeing it myself soon because we just made plans today for me to head over that way next Sunday for a week. Can we get together?

  13. Hi Gracie, I'm so happy you continued with trying the continental knitting, it's not easy to change a habit and you are doing so well. I love the scrapbook you r making for Rose and it looks like you had fun at the craft class. You and Teresa are doing so good with swimming that is very good for both of you. I just saw that Betsy is coming next week, hope we can get together with her. Have a wonderful week.

  14. I've always wanted to try polymer clay on my crochet hooks. It looks really nice on the pens too. What a fun class that must have been! Your little Grand daughters are so cute and you're lucky to be able to spend so much time with them. I for one, totally appreciate all your Mt. Hood photos as well as all the other scenes in your beautiful Oregon.

  15. Glad to know that you are enjoying lots of things!! I like the scrapbooking album you are making for Rosé :)

  16. Happy days Gracie. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post. X

  17. Your granddaughter is lucky to have such a treasure to keep, you have done a beautiful job.
    You and Teresa are so lucky to be swimming buddies, it must really help keep you motivated.

  18. What a lovely, full post about your life lately. I love working with polymer clay, isn't it fun? It's such a versatile medium. I've loved it since I discovered it in Girl Scouts as a child. Your scrapbook is lovely, Rose will appreciate it very much one day. Your knitting is looking beautiful too. I'm happy for you making the effort to go swimming with Teresa, you are both doing great. I hope you have a good week, Gracie.

  19. You have been busy Gracie. Interesting mix of photos. Not often one sees an almost empty pool!

  20. I love the photo of you with the children, Gracie! And also the views of beautiful Mt. Hood - thank you. As for swimming - I used to enjoy it but nowadays I feel about it more or less the same as my cat would if she knew such things existed. But I'm glad you're enjoying it! Maybe I would like it more if there I could find a pool as beautiful as that one. And of course so much more fun to go with a friend.
    As for crafting, I am attempting to recreate some fair-isle mitts. On my second attempt I believe I have the gauge right, so not bad going.

  21. I love how you have made a scrapbook for each of your grandchildren's first birthdays, Gracie. That is such a special gift and I love the photo of you with the little ones. You are a very creative lady, and I think it's great that you want to try lots of different crafts! Your pictures of Mount Hood are always beautiful and I love to see them.
    Wishing you a happy week, with lots of crafty times.
    Helen xox

  22. Hi Gracie,
    I hope you are finally getting the hang of the continental knitting. I'm sure you'll catch on!
    If you want the simple pattern for the baby hats, send me your email. I am willowknits at yahoo dot com. It's a super easy pattern. I adjust the number of stitches and the size of needles/weight of yarn to make all my charity hats on the same basic pattern 'template'.

  23. Dear Gracie,

    Yesterday I was reading "mere knits " blog and your spontaneous picture sprung out. So today I visited your blog. I can understand why you like living at Mt. Hood. It is a rather impressive mountain. Has it got a snowy top all of the year?

    You are such a Lucky woman to have 5 grand children allready. My children are 25 and 28 but not one grand child in sight. Not in the near future either. Seems so much fun to be a granny. I also like the name "granny" very much. At this moment my (Belgian) daughter has a relationship with a German guy. No granny for me. She had her chances though (she has been studying and working in London where she met some English chaps, YES for granny but in the end she went to work in Germany. With her German friend as a result now.

    Now I've only got my son left to pick out an English girl. It is a possibility one can not ignore :)

    What are you called by your grand children? And what are their names?

    Very pleased to meet a sailor girl,

    Brigitte from Belgium

  24. I had little paint sets that look like those chalks, the ones where you wet the brush and then try to get paint onto it but it never works ;-)

    Love your photos of Mt Hood, it's absolutely beautiful

    Well done for keeping up the swimming :)

  25. Hi Gracie :) You are not alone in thinking that maybe you studied the wrong subject...I wish I had studied something more creative than my original degree! As always your photo's are lovely, and the recipe for those cookies looks delicious...will definitely be giving them a go :)
    Sarah x x

  26. I always love to see your photos of Mount Hood, it's thrilling for me to see a proper, big mountain with snow on top. I've been having fun with polymer clay recently, too, making beads for necklaces. It's a lot of fun. You look like you've been busy doing lots of fun, rewarding things lately Gracie. Have a great week! x

  27. Dear Gracie,

    A lovely post which has given me a sense of getting to know you a little better and bridging the miles between our two countries.

    Like you I'm not keen of having to carve out time on a regular basis to swim but the benefits outnumber the efforts involved. I love swimming. We try to go in the evenings on Friday when the main lights are turned out which creates a very relaxing atmosphere.

    Warmest wishes,


  28. Dear Gracie, I always enjoy seeing your pictures of Mt Hood and the picture of you with the grandchildren. You have been busy with all your projects too. Sarah x

  29. Oh I SO love seeing Mt. Hood on your blog--love, love, love that mountain!
    No fun craft projects for me right now, but I need one with all the COLD weather they're forecasting for us this week.
    Mmm--I love almond butter! Thanks for sharing your recipe!
    Stay warm:)

  30. You are a multi-talented marvel! Love the pic of you and the grand girls :)


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