"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

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

HOPE in March 2020

This is a view of Mt. Hood in Gresham, Oregon south of Portland.  When I was at the Credit Union on March 10, 2020, I stood by my mini-van after parking it to get this perspective of the mountain.  Even after having lived in this area for over 12 years I am thrilled when  Mt. Hood looms in my vision... majestically, snowy white.

Although snow rarely makes it down in the valley area where I live, we got a brief dusting of snow on March 14, 2020.  My Hyacinths and I did not mind.  It was too quickly melted.

During this time of "social distancing" while many of us try to thwart and contend with the coronavirus, my schedule has been totally cleared of in-person meetings except for going to the grocery store.  I have distantly greeted neighbors when outside getting the mail or walking around the condominium complex loop.   However, I am busier than usual as I try to take advantage of technology to communicate with family and friends. My couch is a sorting spot as I also try to keep in touch with folks from groups I have facilitated when we met face to face.

The puzzle table I set up on my birthday in the middle of February still has the uncompleted puzzle with which two of my kids gifted me.  We got the puzzle this far put together on my birthday and I have not added even one more piece!  Instead, I am hiding it with piles of papers I am shuffling and sorting out.  Various codes are typed out or scribbled on some of those papers.  I managed to follow directions, type in a code on my phone, and join in on an online baby blanket making meeting Wednesday morning.  It was delightful to see some of the ladies I usually meet with, and I actually managed to knit some rows of the current baby blanket on which I am working!

One of the first things I read yesterday was an encouraging post from my dear childhood friend, Kathy.  We went to kindergarten through the second year of college together.  We lived in Missouri just south of Kansas City.  I lived on a research poultry farm and she lived on a farm with dairy cows, other animals and they grew crops as well. (I was amazed to see a goat be born on her farm!) We are both retired now from working in the field of education.  She lives on the East Coast and me on the West Coast. Click on HOPE to read her latest post.

How are your days going during this unique Spring?

Gracie xx

Friday, March 6, 2020

Early Spring Crafting

Welcome!  I'm so glad you stopped in for a visit and I hope you will leave a comment and let me know you were here.  February had some lovely sunny days and I was happy to see Mount Hood, near Portland, Oregon, peeking over the roof of my unit one day.  It looks tiny, but a few blocks away it is visually vast!  I don't understand the science behind the difference I see here and there.  I just love seeing Mt. Hood in all its snowy wonder and would love for you to see it in person if you haven't.

Bouquets of delightful cheery Daffodils like these at my neighbors are opening in the area around me.

The pretty purple Hyacinths by my front step are opening beautifully although I have not smelled them scenting the air yet.

These trees near where I park my car are beginning to beautifully bloom and I have been enjoying seeing other trees in the area around me fully displaying blooms of pink or white, promising Spring is coming.

My four Dianthus plants defied being frozen in their mid-sized clay pots on my patio this winter, and have been producing sweet-spicy scented blooms since last Spring!!!!  I currently enjoy this little posy of blooms balanced in a little clear jar on my kitchen windowsill.  Amazing!!!!

The facilitator of our once a month worship art group at church challenged us to choose a Bible verse about God as our Refuge and illustrate it.  I thought about the image of God hugging us in His embrace as a mother hen spreads her wings over her chicks.  That image prompted me to remember the chicken range on our research poultry farm when I was a child.  Little chicken coops dotted a fenced in field. They were closer to the ground and not solid wood like I painted, never-the-less whatever they actually looked like they were there so that someone could coax the chickens to huddle inside them at night to protect them from predators.  No baby chicks were ever out there although I painted in the lower right corner of the picture some primitive brown and yellow blobs that are meant to represent a mother hen with her wings outspread to her chicks. The process of meditating on God as my refuge, my Immanuel, with me in all my circumstances even if my pencil sketching, watercolor did not conform to the internal images I imagined, was humbling, comforting, leaving me ruefully smiling.

This past month, my stitching has been invested in five projects.  I added more rows to two blankets not pictured here.  The project on the left is my first attempt to make a provisional cast on for a sock that is to go on a 9-inch circular needle.  I looked at a YouTube video for instruction.  I started knitting another purple dishcloth and am closer to completing it than this photo shows.  Then the completed crocheted double thickness potholder on the right is my one little Ta-Dah!

This Oxalis (Shamrock) plant I purchased last Spring nearly expired.  I noted when reading my friend Teresa's posts that when her Oxalis plant was doing poorly she put it out on her patio to recover and it did! I tried similar treatment for my plant by putting my plant out on my patio in the summer. Can you see the plant's two little white flowers in this photo I took recently?  I like how this view highlights the pretty pink in the underside of the leaves as well.

How are you in the season of life you are in? 

I happened upon these promising words it is recorded Jesus spoke before his death and resurrection.  They encourage me, and I hope will encourage you.

““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.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Gracie xx

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Colorful Cozy Crafting

Welcome!  I'm so glad you stopped by to visit.  Have you been involved in crafting?  Above is one of my recent crafting explorations.  When I was in third grade...more than 60 years ago...I was guided to focus on music rather art instruction.  While I am grateful for the music instruction I have had since then in clarinet, bassoon, piano, and vocal, I especially enjoy learning about drawing and watercolor painting now.  Once a month I usually meet with a small group of women to work on a worship art project.  Above is my interpretation of the recent project our facilitator designed.

While the season is winter in my part of the world, I have seen little snow and ice in the valley where I live near Portland, Oregon, to impair my crafting efforts. In fact, four of my hanging plants still have flowers on them and I have been thrilled to see hummingbirds visit them to drink from the blossoms.

Inside, my Oxalis plant, on the bottom left in this photo above, produces sweet little white blossoms and I am also enjoying viewing the white flower on the little white Pointsettia in the bottom right of the photo above.

During our chilly weather, I am especially enjoying knitting mostly at our church small group a little preemie sized blanket in acrylic yarn.

However, I am especially enjoying knitting at home more rows on the bulky Merino wool blanket I started years ago.  It is big enough now to provide me with significant warmth on our colder days.

While I still have a Christmasy jingle bell wreath on my front door, I am amazed at and enjoying viewing the pink blossoms on two hanging plants framing the jingle bell wreath. It was fun crafting this view to share with you.

And look what I spotted poking out of the earth nearby the front door... Hyacinths! Beyond the Hyacinths in the upper left of the photo above is a clump of Cala Lillies...they will be trumpeting the arrival of Spring soon in the weeks ahead...I type as a woman of faith!

A recent sunrise gave me the opportunity to craft a photo of it.  I used my iPhone 11 Pro to take the photo, cropped the photo on my laptop Macbook Pro and let it choose the glorious color intensity that reflects what I saw... an encouraging warming firey glow to enliven life from skies that had been perseverating in chilly gray for many days.

I hope you are enjoying happy times... will you share how you have been crafting your days?

Gracie ((hugs))

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 Crafting Vision

Happy New Year!  Sunrises like this one I saw not long ago from my parking spot by the patio continue to excite my desire to be creative and craft!  Does the beauty of creation do the same for you?

Recently I was told that the women in the groups in our church who make baby blankets for babies in local NICUs have made over 1000 blankets over the last six years.  I love being a part of this project over the last four years and knowing that many families have been prayed for and blessed with tangible encouragement during a difficult time. Part of my vision for 2020 is to make more little blankets.

I envision completing this wave blanket which I am enjoying crocheting and then finishing a knitted blanket I started last year.

Dear friends sent me this puzzle that features yarn and cats and my youngest daughter and her husband did the major part of crafting the pieces together on Christmas afternoon. Working on putting together other puzzles is part of my crafting vision for 2020.  Do you enjoy putting together jigsaw puzzles?

Finishing this and more potholders is also a part of my crafting vision for 2020.  It is my favorite style of potholder and fun to make and give as a practical gift.

I discovered this towel holder pattern last year and have enjoyed crocheting many of them as gifts.  While I have made many button fastened towel holders over the years, I think this is a brilliant pattern to keep regular hand towels on the rack.

You can find the free pattern to make the towel holders HERE. I used acrylic yarn, and find the design "handy" in every way, so envision making more in 2020.

On Tuesday mornings I plan to craft time reading individually with four children who are first or second or third graders. I plan to craft time with four women's groups, knitting, crocheting, or completing a Bible study or art-related projects...enjoying times of worship, times of fellowship with family and friends, visiting blogs and posting about my vision at least once a month if possible...and...stay focused from moment to moment with joy and gratitude or compassion and care as needs arise.

What is your vision for 2020?  Know that my prayer is that the Lord blesses you.

Gracie xx

Monday, September 30, 2019

September Launch into a New Crafting Season!

While searching for the autumn-themed crafts I knit a few years ago, I discovered I had just stuffed one pumpkin I knit with a big ball of yarn rather than finish it off properly.  Somehow the pumpkin also had two holes!  

A needle, yarn, and stuffing were found, and my rescue mission began...

Thankfully I was able to mend the holes, stuff the pumpkin, get it seamed and enjoy the process and result!

Unexpectedly, one September day on my doorstep, I found a wonderful box of gifts I had won from Camellia Fiber Co....a lovely card,

these beautiful mini skeins of yarn...

and this lovely handspun skein of yarn.  Now my mind is dreaming of what I may make with the yarn...

The gifts helped me resist the temptation of buying more yarn at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby, Oregon, a bit south of where I live.

My youngest daughter took this photo of me with our dear friends we arranged to meet at the festival.

We saw many quiet llamas.

We saw many beautiful quiet bunnies.

We saw many interesting sheep, but some were not quiet so their barn was lively with sometimes startling "Baaaas!"

The exhibit of felted entries contained a unique felted journal someone who had visited Scotland had made.

The journal did not win a ribbon, but I gave it my People's Choice Award!

On Thursday nights I am knitting a preemie blanket in a group of knitters I was invited to join. Wednesday mornings I am crocheting another preemie blanket, and I have a crocheted potholder project I carry around in the pocket of my purse to work on when I can. At the once a month art group I attend, the facilitator showed us a clever way to transfer a letter design we like onto art paper.

Have you launched into a new crafting season?

Gracie xx