"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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thankfully Crafting

Dear Friends and Family and Guests,
 During our more frequent Fall rainy days, Mt. Hood collects more and more snow to the delight of skiers, snowboarders and those of us who just enjoy admiring the mountain when storm clouds lift.

 Although we had steady rain this morning with a few flashes of lightning and a rumble of thunder, our neighbor's tree I can see out of one of my windows is a wonder, glowing with golden light, a beacon in the storm...

 Even in the waning days of Autumn, there are still many trees in our neighborhood that are a joy to behold...I wish I could show them all to you.

 However, outside or inside, we are doing a lot of celebrating in our household this month:  My oldest granddaughter, Hayley is now ten!  My youngest daughter Elisabeth is now 34 and she and her husband Gary just celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary!

 On her birthday Elisabeth got stained glass making supplies and she made this lovely tree and has been mending three little stained glass pieces given to me which have suffered damage in the last forty years during our many moves. [her husband Gary admired her efforts...really he did!]

 Elisabeth was taught by one of Gary's aunts how to make quilted ball ornaments and then she coached me to make one, which was fun.  I found a Youtube tutorial for making a similar pattern HERE if you want to give it a try.

November 23, 2017, is our USA celebration of Thanksgiving.  It also happens to fall on my granddaughter, Sarah's second birthday!!  I found a set of 24 little board books for her which I have wrapped and put in a little pink plastic basket for her, but I also crocheted this little book bag for her in which she can carry a few of her little books should she wish to do so.

My youngest son Tim grew a wonderful crop of tomatoes this year.  I have the last of them in a basket on my dining table and they are so good I wish I could share them with you!

I have much for which to thank the Lord, even though, or perhaps especially because, I find myself an imperfect human being in an imperfect world, and yet miraculously, I am loved and can love and creatively pursue life, and I pray that you find this true for yourself as well.

Have you found yourself thankfully crafting?

Gracie xx 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Colorful Crafting

As I type to you, I am just back from celebrating my granddaughter, Rosie's 4th birthday in our dining room!!!!  The seasons and the years continue to fly by with whirls of concern thankfully punctuated by joyful celebrations of the births of those we love :)

The last few days have been so beautiful here in Boring, Oregon... sunny but moderate temperatures, and the colors of the foliage stunning... demanding my attention and appreciation.

Not long ago my youngest son harvested his colorful carrots.  I loved seeing their various colors and shapes... and the ones I tasted were delicious!

The nurseries around us have contrasting but complementary colorful rows of trees and shrubs and vines, the farmers' artistry expressed on the canvas of the earth.

The landscape artists of various businesses have painted the earth in their charge so wonderfully I want to stop and applaud...or at least take lots of photos in appreciation or their work. 

At one crossroad I stopped to take this photo lured to follow the road in this direction,

but instead, I turned in the opposite direction and in two blocks came across this amazing sight, trees safely aflame in firey beauty,

and across from them a pumpkin patch with families riding in hay wagons,

hunting for perfect pumpkins to wheel back to their cars for the ride home.

I explored Barton Park along the muddy brown Clackamas River, which was swollen by recent rains, while green and golden trees stood at alert on the river banks,

and golden leafed trees highlighted the lovely arch of the bridge.

It is a wonderful reward to capture a glimpse of Mt. Hood after it has been hidden under the clouds of stormy weather that have contributed to its impressive white snowpack.

During the stormy weather though, I have been gathering colorful elements to craft various projects inside, like this woven bracelet leashed together with a whimsical sheep button.  I followed the first weaving pattern in this Youtube video HERE.

Do you see two starfish on a beach enjoying the sunrise or sunset in this watercolor painting I made on a card?

This colorful crocheted hat for Rosie I completed using my friend, Teresa Kasner's pattern you can find for free HERE.

There are several other projects that I have completed and more that are works in process.  One day I plan to show you more :)

Are you enjoying others colorful crafting or being involved in crafting something colorful yourself in whatever season of life you are in?

Gracie xx

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Crafting a Welcome to Autumn and You!

 "Of all the roads both East and West, the one that leads to home is best!"  After traveling 8000 + or - miles in the last two months, last Saturday night I landed in a very smokey Portland, Oregon. Rainy days during this past week have helped to douse the forest fires around us and clear the air of smoke.  Mt. Hood has even collected some early fresh snow.  That my mind is still awhirl from traveling was obvious to me on Thursday when I showed up for a meeting that is not scheduled to happen until next Thursday :)  However, I am settling back in, and have put out some Autumn decorations.  The first day of Fall I made some vegetable chicken soup sprinkled with hot Italian sausage crumbs and sweet potato chips.  What is the last soup you made?

I at age 66, drove with my sisters Carolyn, age 75, and  Margaret, age 73 from Portland, Oregon to the Omaha, Nebraska area in July.  We stopped at Little Bighorn National Monument and were sobered as we thought of the lives lost in the battle over land rights between Native Americans and the US government.

In the Black Hills of South Dakota, we stopped to admire the mountain in the background that is being carved in the shape of the statue in the foreground to honor all Native Americans, although conversely, some feel that the project is dishonoring Native American sacred ground.

We drove to Nebraska, near Omaha to visit Carolyn's oldest daughter and son-in-law at their farm. We managed to get all but one of their children in this photo. 

Although Nebraska is known as the Cornhusker state, we were very impressed that they are growing a pineapple in their kitchen :)

From Omaha, we flew to Boston and met Margaret's youngest daughter, Holly, who drove us around the area with great care.  One place we stopped was the Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine, where Holly took this photo.

In the Fox restaurant nearby we had fabulous lobster dinners.  I like lobster best boiled without anything on it, or in a salad with a little mayonnaise on it.  Do you like lobster and if so how do you best like it prepared?

In Lawrence, Massachusetts, we saw the Ayer woolen mill where our father worked as a manager of a drum carder nearly a hundred years ago.  The clock tower is just a bit smaller than Big Ben in London, England.

Then Holly drove us to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where we visited 97-year-old Uncle Arthur. During the visit, he mentioned that our dad helped him get hired at the Ayer Mill which was news to us.  Uncle Arthur told us again of being on a plane assigned by the Airforce to get photos of the horrible devastation in Hiroshima after it was bombed in WWII, which still seems a vivid memory for Uncle Arthur.   We are grateful for his service and grateful for the love he has given us always.

After visiting Uncle Arthur we boarded a ferry and floated over to Nantucket Island south of Cape Cod to take a bus tour of the island.

The Hydrangeas were especially beautiful on the island.

Holly took this photo of us.  In the background, you can see the old brick and cobblestoned streets that were bumpy and challenging to walk on during rain showers. 

Delightfully, while on the Cape, we were able to dine with Holly, her older sister Heather, Heather's husband, Jeremy, my grandsons Aron and Kenny, my great nieces, Maddie and Lauren, daughter-in-law, Julie, and my oldest son, David.  David and his family drove back to NY where they live in Bayside and all the rest of us flew to Michigan from Boston to visit the family of my brother-in-law, Larry, for the first time since his death this past winter. It was a sad, but sweet time as we celebrated his life.

Carolyn and I then flew back to Omaha and spent another two weeks on my niece and nephew's farm.  We attended the county fair, went out for lunch one day and helped out where we could.

We left on August 21, 2017, and saw the total eclipse from a farm west of Lincoln, Nebraska.  This photo was taken at the time of the full eclipse...a time of brief twilight!

We drove over many miles of wide open spaces that helped us feel wonderfully free, and we admired gorgeous cloud structures, like these in Fort Bridger, Wyoming.

The cliff in Fort Bridger, Wyoming was especially striking to us.

Once back into Oregon, we had a wonderful stop at Cascade Locks where we ate lunch and admired the sternwheeler and the mighty Columbia River, never dreaming that days later a forest fire would scar the land, destroy homes, and rob folks of their livelihood. 

Along the way, I finished crocheting a new pocket for my cell phone. With Lizbeth size three cotton thread I chained for the width of my cell phone and then single crocheted around and around until the pocket was big enough.

With this bargain cotton thread that I had made my first cell phone pocket, I made a tiny facecloth from the leftovers.  The first pocket I made for my phone is in a safe place...[lost on the trip :( ].

Carolyn and I spent a week at my house in Boring, Oregon, and then Margaret flew us down to her home in Burbank, California, to help her celebrate her birthday.  We had a wonderful time together this summer, visited cousins, and sites I have not shown you but we made memories to treasure and I hope you have made good memories this summer, as well.
This morning as I meandered home from church I stopped in Sandy, Oregon, at Jonsrud viewpoint to get a photo of Mt. Hood with its fresh coat of snow to show you.  It is a gorgeous early Autumn day with a just right temperature.  I hope you are having a lovely day wherever you may be!

Thanks to those of you who checked up on me because I have not logged entries on my blog for several months, nor visited your posts.  I look forward to visiting with you soon!

In these times of forest fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, mudslides, and political discord, may you know the Lord's peace; love and support everyone you can; and enjoy loving creative pursuits.

:)  Gracie xx

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

☀️ Summer Celebrations❣️

Welcome to our Summer Blueberry Tea celebration!  My granddaughters, Molly, Rosie, and Joy helped me fill Cookie Bear with ginger cookies. Cookie Bear, who is about 46 years old was made for me by my last college roommate, Ginger. He has traveled back and forth across the USA thanks to all our moves. Each girl wanted him to look at her, so they kept turning his head around.  Molly was our hostess and decorated the sea chest for the event.  She chose blueberry flavored tea which was delicious, and Cookie Bear is looking at her in this photo.
 We are celebrating that my youngest son-in-law, Gary, has been honing his woodworking skills.  He did not make this swing, but he finished it and figured out a way to hang it on two trees which we think is pretty clever.  The swing faces the pond, which is now in its dry season.  The pond looks like a big bowl of green salad now and as summer progresses it will probably become more golden in color.
 We have three Hydrangea bushes.  We hoped we could coax all three to be this purple-blue hue, but so far just two of them are co-operating.  However, we are celebrating that two of the bushes have made it through their first year here and we hope the third will enjoy blooming here, too.
 We did not knowingly plant this Daisy plant but are celebrating its choice to bloom on the berm because we are fond of Daisies.
 On July 4th we celebrated the USA's birthday with an indoor/outdoor picnic. Our menu included hot dogs and hamburgers, salads, chips, white cake, and fruit. I had strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries with frozen vanilla almond milk on top...patriotically yummy 😃
 At nightfall, we had a few little fireworks.  Some of my young granddaughters could be heard celebrating by saying, "Happy Birthday, America!"
 This summer we are celebrating that nearby Mt. Hood received a good snow pack in the winter. It still has lots of snow on its slopes and we so enjoy being able to see it during our warm clear summer days.
My good blogging friend, Teresa and I met at a restaurant to celebrate that I finally finished my Ruby Shawl!  Teresa was first to use the pattern and encouraged me for years to finish my shawl...what a dear and faithful friend!  In spite of all the challenges I faced in crocheting it, I am so glad I did.  Teresa is wearing the new shawl she just finished.  Isn't it gorgeous! If you haven't already visited Teresa's blog, click HERE.  You will be linked to it, where you can learn more about how she made her shawl. You can also search her blog to enjoy seeing the many beautiful things she has knitted, crocheted, painted, beaded, photographed, and you can enjoy the good narratives about them and her life adventures.
Thanks to all of you who have encouraged me to finish the shawl and to interact with you through blogging!

Tonight my youngest son, Tim, and I plan to head to the airport to get my oldest sister, Carolyn.  Then in a few days, we plan to head to the airport to get my older sister, Margaret.  Next week we three sisters [ages 75, 73, and 66] plan to drive from Portland, Oregon, toward Omaha, Nebraska, to visit my niece, Trina's family who live on a farm near there.  Then we plan to fly from Omaha to Boston, Massachusetts, to visit more family members. From Boston we plan to fly to Detroit, then from Detroit Margaret plans to fly back to Burbank, California, while Carolyn and I plan to fly back to Omaha and drive back to Portland.

I am so excited!  My mind is full of lists I have not stopped to write down, but I hope I am remembering to do all I need to do!

Thanks for visiting with me here.  I love your kind comments.  My communication with you over the next six weeks is apt to be sparse, but I will be wondering..." what are you celebrating this summer?"

Cheering you on and praying for blessings for you,
Gracie 🤗