Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lenten Sacrifice Jar Challenge

Preparations for Lent have been underway here for a few weeks now. Like many I ponder about what I want from this season. Do I want to focus on sacrifice or spiritual improvement? In my journey to develop a plan for my own personal enrichment I also look for what the children in my life can do. Each year I look to challenge my catechism students to make Lent a meaningful season.  I typically have them fill out a calendar where they color the days based on the activities they have done. For example use yellow to indicate they helped someone, purple if they went to church, pink if they read the Bible... 

This year I was searching for something in addition to the calendar. Partly because I am looking for ways to fulfill the three pillars of Lent at home with my own children ranging in age from 3-16. Getting my own girls involved takes more thinking due to the span of ages.  In my research I was inspired by many people; Priests, friends, fellow mothers, and my children. I concluded that this extra something needed to be optional but also could inspire the other family members at home, even the adults. I came up with my Class Lenten Sacrifice jar challenge. 

Inside are cards with a challenge to complete. Some are easy such as reading the Bible or another faith based book. Others will require family involvement such as help pack meals at a local meal packing event. And others will really be hard for the children (and adults who are inspired) to do such as showing kindness and humility to everyone even people who are rude or mean to us. 

This afternoon I will be introducing my class to the jar and I'm looking forward to seeing how my class reacts to this challenge. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Late Winter Early Spring Mantel 2017

The transition to early spring decor has been finished. Saying farewell to all the winter decorations is bittersweet for me, a lover of winter. It's always so hard to see it go. Cheerful pinks replace my glittery silvers and the small bits of greenery find their way back in our home. While it may be warming up I still can't part with my favorite winter picture over the fireplace. I will let it be packed away by April but until then I get to dream of snowy days in the Colorado mountains. With the recent Valentine's Day excitement I have kept those pretty paper hearts I made years ago hanging along the mantel. They will come down later this week to be tucked away until next year. 

The little pieces that find their place on the mantel change depending on what I am drawn to at the moment. I love old postcards. I find them on my travels in antique and thrift shops. The ones of Paris and London I discovered 3 years ago in an Ohio antique mall. They have become my favorite finds. I secretly adore the ones that have been sent. The sentiments written are such sweet pieces of human interaction that make me smile. Sent with love to family or friends these little messages remind me about how important it is to share our experiences. 

Books are my one true weakness. I am such a lover of books (always a librarian I tell you) and adore old books. I carefully search for first editions of books I love. When I am lucky and find a gem, such as my A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh book, it becomes an every day part of my life. What a treat to read these beauties. I recently was sent a box of vintage books from my father. These books belonged to my step-mother who passed away not long ago. A kind woman who loved music and reading her books. Her childhood books were in need of a good home. When my father asked if I wanted any of her books without hesitation I accepted them. And here they are being loved again. Some I have read and others are quite new to me. What I love is the binding of the books. Colors and textures that we no longer see in modern made books. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

The teen's hat

Now that I am in between baby gift projects I'm trying to catch up on this eyelet cable hat for the 16 year old daughter. It's called the Hermoine's eyelet and cable Hat. I made her one in the same yarn a few years ago but she has out grown it. She still wears it as it is her favorite hat but I know it is a bit too snug. She has been waiting several months for me to get going on the new hat, even so much as leaving me notes about the specific yarn color. She asked me over the summer to make a new one. I had the yarn set aside but you know how it goes in a busy house. Other things consume our days and those want to do projects end up getting lost in the shuffle. I have decided to make this a priority because I know the last cold days of winter are few. I'd like to get this one done in time for her to wear at least once. So far I'm making a decent effort and hope to have it done by the end of the week. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Lil' Professor Sweater

Another cardigan went on its way to a dear sweet baby boy. I dubbed this the "lil professor" sweater as it will be worn by the son of none other than our dear friend the professor. I have been calling this the baby boy grampy sweater but "lil professor" has a nice ring too. A great go to jacket for boy babies. It's a quick knit, relatively seamless and does turn out to be a great addition to any boy's wardrobe. 

The unfinished wooden buttons were not my first choice for this sweater. I had lovely red stained wooden buttons in mind they would have been so striking with this blue yarn but alas they were too large. I'll save those buttons for another project. I have such a good supply of more feminine buttons so I'm going to need to find more masculine options to have on hand. Which is why I bought a bulk order of unfinished wooden buttons. 

The pattern is the Baby Sophisticate sweater knit in Artyarns Ultramerino 8 in color 252, a discontinued yarn. I bought this yarn years ago and I think I ended up with 8 skeins of it. The yarn was super discounted which is why I bought so much. Initially the yarn was meant to be used to make a shawl but I never found a pattern that matched my skill level at the time.  I am so glad I have been able to put it to good use as the color is such a great deep blue. I'm happy to report that after several baby gift projects this sweater makes the last of the yarn. The yarn meant for one thing has become many wonderful garments. Now I can't wait to see if this fits that adorable baby boy. 

Monday, February 06, 2017

Morning succulents

I just love the way morning sunshine can transform a room. 

Thursday, February 02, 2017

A knitted tunic dress

I wish I had a better picture of the baby dress I made for our new niece. As of late I am getting bad at remembering to take pictures of the knitted gifts I give away. So I made another Emma Tunic in the teeny size for our niece. We visited them just last week and I didn't even take a picture then! Oh well. So what I have is the one I took right before splitting the dress to make the yoke.

This is a favorite pattern to knit because it's easy and so sweet. I like that it can be layered over a onesie or worn as is. I hope little R enjoys it as much as I did making it for her. Usually I knit this in a wool. For this dress I decided to use a lighter yarn that would not be too hot to wear in a warmer climate. Hill Country of Texas can get hot so this needed to be made of a yarn that can be year round functional. The Knit One Crochet Too Nautika is a microfiber nylon blend. It's a great yarn to use and holds up well. A little more drape to this than wool the yarn is a great choice for baby garments which need more ease. The soft texture makes it great for babies as it should not be as bothersome as some wools can be on delicate skin. And it's washable! A great help to any parent. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Project Night Night

I came across this charity, Project Night Night, in an article in a parenting magazine a year or two ago. It has always been on my mind to get involved with it because it is for such a good cause. Providing a blanket, book, and stuffed animal to a homeless child. You see becoming homeless can be for any reason. Fire. Flood. Abuse. Poverty….. The list can go on. Shelters all over the country are recipients of these very needed tote bags. The bags are made for children birth to pre-teen. The website provides links to various shelters in need of the bags. Calling ahead is recommend so that you can determine if the shelter needs more bags. Sometimes they get large donations from other social groups and due to storage space many shelters can't store many at one time.

I decided I'm not going to wait any longer to get involved with this charity. I ordered the tote bags from their website. Due to the location of where we live I was confident that out of the 30 shelters available we'd fined one in need of replenishing. We opted to participate in the Adopt a Night Night program. This program accepts gently used stuffed animals (we have so many that need a good home) and new or like new books. We felt that this is a better option for us since the girls can choose which stuffed animals to give away. We've been having problems with them being unwilling to part with their hardly if ever played with stuffed animals that I thought this might be just the motivation for the girls. It's also a good lesson in sacrifice. Sharing the joy of a treasured toy is a great way to start of the new year.

Following their instructions I sought some warm lightweight fleece blankets online. We chose different colors to brighten up the bags. Then we called our friend an Usbourne Books seller about finding books to put inside the bags. We bought 5 Dr. Seuss favorites just because.

As for the stuffed animals…well as I mentioned we have plenty of lightly used stuffed animals lurking on bedroom shelves eager for a new home. Many are going to be bears but we do have a few odd ones like a lobster and dinosaur that will be great for boys. The girls had some hard decisions to make about those friends sitting on their shelves. Each needed to decide if this toy would be better on the shelf or in the arms of another child.

Packing the bags was fun.

We tagged them to make it easier for the shelter staff to decide which bag would be best for its recipient.

Then we drove them to the shelter.

Truly this was a great charity to support. I dare say it may just become a new favorite.