I’m-A-Back!

Obviously, it’s been some time since I last posted. Lately, God’s been teaching me some things – mainly about how to seek Him first and how to set aside selfish ambition. Because I now realize that I started this blog for my own glory, maintaining it has not been in God’s plan for me these last months. But, I am learning and asking God to change my motives to ones that will bring Him glory. For right now, I’m only going to be blogging when I feel my motivations are aligned with what pleases Him. And I want to also change the tone of this blog. From now on, this blog is for Him, not about me. I want to focus on His goodness and the ways He works in the smallest things of my life, including the talents and interests He has entrusted to me for use in building His kingdom. Over these last few months, as God has turned my heart more towards Him, I have found my creativity level has been enhanced much more so than when I pursued creativity alone. How awesome is our Heavenly Father? What a testament to Matthew 6:33 – “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

All that to say, I’m back for today! One of my friends recently inquired about what kinds of projects I had been working on lately, since I hadn’t updated the blog for a while. So, I thought I’d organize and condense the last month or so of my “fun stuff” into one blog post.

During the month of December, I decided I wanted to de-clutter, organize, and update the look of my bedroom. One of my ideas was to start a hoop-art gallery on one of my empty walls, to create a bright, yet vintagey, feel. Well, I lost interest in re-decorating after a while (I’m blaming Pinterest for starting the whole idea in the first place!), but I did come out with a few hoop art pieces.

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This is a “portrait” drawn by Vera Neville, the illustrator for my favorite book series – Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series. I used a transfer pencil to trace the back of a print-out of the image, then just ironed it onto some stabilized fabric. Viola! A pseudo-version of paint-by-number, embroidery style.

I also finished my first knitted sweater in the month of December – the Monet Garden Sweater pattern publicized by Red Heart. I used their Boutique Treasures yarn in the Portrait color scheme. This being my first sweater, it has some…imperfections. It’s a little snug, but that makes it extra warm. I don’t think this yarn is going to let any body heat escape. I’m half-way scared to wear it for fear I’ll get too hot and pass out! Here’s a close-up image of the “fabric,” as I’m too embarrassed to show you the actual form of the sweater. (Positive thought to self: I will improve!).

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I also began reading more during the last couple of months, especially in late December and early January. I received several books for Christmas and have already read over half of them. The titles were simply too good to “save for a snowy day.” The books below are most of the ones I have read over the last couple of months. All of them come highly recommended! (The book spine on the bottom lacks a title. It’s MaryJane’s Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook by MaryJane Butters – the editor of the magazine, MaryJane’s Farm. This book is a great DIY manual and inspiration source for everything farmgirl related.)

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Currently, I am working through a couple of books. One is a review book, so be on the lookout for the official review! The other one is…

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Merciful heavens, this book is loooooooooong. Because I’m casually reading it in between other, “more important” materials, I’m not sure when I will finish it. But, it’s been on my mental “To Read” list for a few years now, so I had to give it a shot.

As for current projects, I’m pretty much focusing on just one right now. This is Cardigan #1 of the two I plan to make as arrival gifts for twin second cousins! It’s not finished yet, hence the quite crude appearance. It’s very much a learn-as-I-go type of project, as was the sweater I talked about earlier. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed seeing it take shape.

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So, those are the highlights of my “fun stuff” for the past month or so. Things are getting busy again, as the new year gets underway, so I don’t anticipate quite as much extracurricular indulgence in the upcoming months. But I’m excited to see where God takes me, in terms of creativity, academics, and just life in general.

 

 

‘Tis the Season for Frank Sinatra, Walnuts, and Knitting

Fall in the Park

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Shut off your computer or phone right now and step outside your door. Now, take a deep breath. You feel it? The biting crisp that nearly sears your lungs, it’s so fresh? The chilly wind nipping at your nose and ears (ugh, that’s so cliche. Sorry…)

Oh, yes, my fellow Book Ladies! Fall is Here!

Fall is probably my favorite season. It’s not just the trees that look like firey torches or the autumn breeze that seeps through you and makes you feel alive. It’s the memories.

Like last fall, when I found a Frank Sinatra cassette tape at a local thrift store and played the dickens out of it (yes, I live in the dinosaur days and still use a cassette player every now and then). I could sing every word to “Being Green” and “Somethin’ Stupid.” I would listen to it while I’d make my breakfast or while I cooked dinner by myself. Good ol’ Frank. We worked through a lot of food together. Sadly, I think I wore him out. The tape isn’t working properly this fall, much to my chagrin. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

Then there are the falls when I was a young squirt. Those days were characterized by picking up walnuts, raking leaves, picking up walnuts, collecting stray twigs every now and then, and, oh yes, picking up walnuts. Have mercy, those trees loved to bear bumper crops. We devised some pretty clever ways to get them out early too so we wouldn’t have to keep coming back to pick them up every night. The method that sticks out to me is throwing a football through the branches of the tree to knock down as many as we could. We didn’t do that too often. It’s not very efficient, you  know. 🙂

Then there was the fall break during one of my middle school years. I taught the neighbor girl how to knit. We sat in her yard and talked and knit, both of us without a care in the world. One night, her mom invited my sister and me for Chinese, and we ate out on the lawn. I bet I spent every evening of that fall break at her house, knitting needles clacking and mouth running.

Fall days are the good ol’ days, folks. The year and all the crazy projects are wrapping up, family is drawing closer, and the days are getting shorter (which totally means more time sitting curled up on the couch with a good book since it gets dark earlier). It’s such a time for memories – the old ones come pouring in and the new ones are spun every day. When I look back on this fall next year or ten years from now, I’ll remember listening to classical music on the radio on the drive home, the first pot of chili I ever really got just right, and pumpkins painted with Snoopy characters. Kind of gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling already.

Snoopy Pumpkin

~The Vintage Book Lady