Monday, January 23, 2012

Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon

Well, I'm back at school for my last semester as an undergraduate. It is really a bittersweet feeling-- and due to some unhappy circumstances at the end of last semester, I was very anxious about returning. For comfort, I had been working my way through the book of 2 Chronicles as well as the book of Psalms each night before bed. One night, not long ago, I prayed that God would give me the strength, courage, and grace to return to school and put things right. Then I opened my bible to this Psalm, Psalm 51:

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your steadfast mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgement. Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give you a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, then you will delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar."

Because I had strayed far from Him in the dark times of the past few months, I was finally broken. And because I came to God with my fears, my praises, and my sadness, He comforted me with words and actions. Praise the Lord, for He is good, and His steadfast love endures forever!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January Morning

Outside my window- The sun has risen on another bright winter day. Frost covers the neighborhood, and woodsmoke rises from chimneys up and down the street.

I am thinking about-
Having a relaxing day baking with my dear sister-friend Emily.

From the kitchen- I need another cup of tea. PG Tips is too wonderful to go without.

I am creating-
A multitude of winter "use-it-up" projects. Including a rag rug, quilted potholders, and a few new dresses for swing dancing.

I am reading- Too many books to count! Let's see-- A Year of Living Biblically, Captivating...

I am hearing- Slippers on the floor, utensils in the kitchen, creaking of wicker chairs, and chirping from my little bird.

I am planning-
To take a shower, bake for most of the day, then work on sewing projects until I have to run errands this evening.

I am wearing-
My pajamas still! Flannel green pants, blue moccasins, and an old red sweatshirt that I got in Acadia National Park when I was eleven. Back then, it was down to my knees, but now it fits me perfectly.

My hair is-
An absolute mess. I brushed it into a high ponytail last night, and when I woke up, it was snarled and curly and frizzy. I need to give in and wash it with conditioner today :-P

Around the house-
There are piles of uneaten Christmas candy, new magazines and newspapers, knitting projects, winter boots, garden seeds to be catalogued for the 2012 season, graduate school applications, history books to be read for my thesis, bags of Boy Scout paperwork and handbooks, and all kinds of holiday thank-you cards ready to be sent out.

I am praying- That the Lord will continue to help me make progress in my life and live each moment as it happens. I pray that He will help me enjoy the blessings that I have today, and not dwell on dark times in the past.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Winter Show-And-Tell II

More homemade Christmas gifts:

For Daddie, a draft catcher for the front door. Thickly woven cotton filled with rice and cloves keep the front hall insulated and smelling warm and spicy!

For my brother, a polka-dot bow tie. I found this idea on Martha Stewart's website, and thought it would be perfect for a blossoming mathematician and jazz musician.

For my sister, an Infinity scarf to match the hat I made her a few years ago for Christmas. She left for a school trip to Poland a few days after Christmas, so she wasn't able to model it for me, but I think you get the idea.

For Momma, a pillow made from an old sweater of mine. It was my favorite sweater for years, but was too stretched and worn to keep wearing at school-- so I sewed it up and added some silvery buttons. It matches perfectly with the snowflake motif of her quilt!

Alright, so this wasn't really a Christmas gift, but I love it nonetheless. A year ago, my sister found a 1930's or 1940's era apron for me and I have nearly worn it out with use. I longed to copy the pattern and make a new one so that I could give the other a rest. While I was rooting around in the attic one day, I found a box of fabric from Momma's crafting days (before I was born, of course). Inside there were some large scraps of fabric that were just the right size for an apron pattern. Within 3 1/2 hours I had ironed the material, traced a pattern, and pieced together this beautifully utilitarian new apron! I wish I had a better photo, but you can still see the style of the 1930's in the voluminous waist and sweet ruffles at the bottom.

Winter Show-And-Tell

Here are just a few of the things that made their way into our holidays.

For Christmas I gave Daddie a big jar of the rosemary soap that I made over the summer. Somehow the ratio of oils was incorrect in my recipe, so most of the soap became crumbly and dry. To remedy the situation, I took a few cups of the crumbled soap, added baking soda, water, and a bit of fragrance, and boiled it into a liquid handsoap. This is extremely helpful for hardworking hands-- it removes pine pitch, motor oil, paint, and all sorts of other icky things. If unscented, it can also be used for dishes and cleaning the house. But be careful if you plan to add it to mop water-- it works so well on linoleum floors that it makes them extremely slippery!

Next we have the candles that I made for Momma for Christmas. We tend to go through quite a few candles each month, so I collect the leftover wax from tapers and votives until I
have enough to melt down for a new candle. This year, I had nearly two shoeboxes full of old candles, so I had plenty of choices! To make upcycled candles, there are a number of steps.

-First I group like colors together and put them in a stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water.
-Stir the wax as it melts and remove any old wicks with a wooden dowel.
-Prepare new candle moulds with fresh wick-- braided 100% cotton twine is best and burns cleanest.
-To add some nice scent to my candles, I use the wax wafers produced by
Yankee Candle for "wax potpourri".These melt right along with the old candles and give the wax a more consistent color.
-When all the wax has melted, pour into the prepared moulds.

The candles that I made this year were gingerbread, lavender vanilla, and vanilla scented.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Project Wishlist

Recently I've found myself paging through knitting patterns, inspirational sewing sites, and books that I've been collecting thinking, "I could make that!". I've amassed quite a collection of bookmarks in my mind of things that I'm sure I'll get around to someday. But in the meantime, I'll have to content myself with a good old-fashioned to-do list.

  • Mug cozies-- Scandinavian pattern for Lily
  • Fingerless mittens for Ethan
  • Mittens for Daddie
  • Cabled headbands
  • Baby sweater with locally farmed, dyed, and spun wool
  • Socks!
  • Fair Isle sweater
  • Sweater with Scandinavian pattern
  • Tablerunner for Momma


  • New potholders-- quilted
  • Quilt for Claire
  • T-shirt quilt for myself
  • New swing dress for Spring semester
  • Undergarments! for swing dancing, etc.
  • More farmer's market bags for Barb, Emily
  • Aprons for myself
  • Altering of old dresses
  • Denim skirt
  • Dog bed for Chessie


  • Rag rug
  • Hooked rug from scraps
  • Tin lanterns
  • Cross-stitch finished!
  • Seal and label seed packets from last year
  • Start seedlings for the Spring & Summer-- egg cartons
  • Frame drawings
  • Make more candles-- tapers, columns, and votives
  • Homemade shampoo
  • New batch of handsoap

I just know that as soon as I post this, I'll have another flood of things that I forgot to mention. But until then, I've got a good list to start from.