Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Solstice

The return of the light begins today at 4 pm my time which is Pacific time. It is the shortest day of the year. If you are interested in the history of solstice, check here. If, on the other hand you are interested in the science of solstice, go here. It's really very interesting to even try and fathom this "pale blue dot" that Carl Sagan called the planet Earth, with it's tilt, seasons, equator, ice caps and vast geography. The fact that I exist on it is even harder to digest.

I love this photo of DS sitting on a rock overlooking a lovely winter lake. What I love the most is the fact that he is looking towards the light. I find myself looking towards any light when I am outside because it is so dark this time of year and the days so short. But here it is mid-December and though winter has a few more months before it wears itself out, the days will be getting longer. There will more than likely be a lot of gray days ahead but they will by gray longer rather than giving up early to the dark. For me, it is a contemplative time...a time to write journals, take walks and watch nature...it amazes me that each plant, each animal, knows exactly what to do. I rarely do...I am prone to guessing...and hoping it all works out. I am optomistic.

The solstice is an optomistic time for the Earth. I never feel closer to the Earth than I do at this time of the year. I am more likely to celebrate this "return of the light" than the celebrations of Christmas or New Year's which I grew up with. For me, it is personal...I will build a small bonfire and throw in wishes for the future; I will place a smooth stone near the fire...one for each person who is missed and not with me any longer. I will go out to the garden and pick some greens for dinner and light candles...and pray for peace. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 17, 2006

me... Person of the Year?

Hummm...radical thought, this. Now I don't get too political here, but if you read this cover article from the current issue of Time magazine you might consider being political as an art form.

I am a very political person...I read everything I can about what's going on in the world. I look at it as my responsibility. If I am to partake in what the world offers then I need to be informed as to what the correct choices are. I'm not asking that everyone be like me...you have to decide for yourself. But first you have to educate yourself. Then decide.

This article points out what a "force" we are as individuals if we gather ourselves, reveal ourselves...stand together to make changes. We don't have to be famous, discover unkown viruses, write important books. In fact, we don't even have to know that we are changing the course of history, we who are humble...

A radical thought and yes, political. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 10, 2006

German Star and Apron Pattern

The photo below is for Craftydabbler who asked what pattern I used for Heather's apron.

The star ornament at left is a version of the German Star folded ornament that I originally saw on Carol Duval's craft show on HGTV many years ago. I made lots of these stars for a couple of years; gave them as gifts and decorated just about everything with them in my house for the holidays.

As many crafters know, we get side tracked and go on to other ideas and I am no exception. When I was putting together Heather's package I pulled out my stars and put one in her box. Spread the joy of stars kinda thing. So when Heidi asked me for the instructions on how to make these, I found a great tutorial on the internet. To make sure the pattern was correct I made one from a piece of scrapbook paper that I had. Here is the result after a bit of time and some frustration. I do have some suggestions if you want to make some of these.

1. You can see what happens when you use one-sided paper. If you want them to look uniform, use double sided paper or plain like the instructions suggest. I think this is a bummer because I love all the beautifully patterned paper out there, but oh well.

2. The pattern calls for strips of paper 5/8" wide by 20" long. Actually, the tutorial has the measurements in cm but the above is very close. So, unless you want to paste paper together, you will have to find 20" paper. I pasted the above paper together with double sided tape. The 5/8" strip should be cut VERY precisely so do your measuring carefully or have a copy center do this for you. They may even have the 20" paper in at least white. The better the cut, the easier it will be to do one of these.

3. The directions can be a bit tricky but after a few mistakes, I caught on. After you have completed one you will want to do more...I think children maybe 8 and above could do these with supervision and maybe even younger if they are particularly agile with their fingers. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 02, 2006

An Apron for Heather

Here is the apron that I made for Heather for the holiday apron swap over on What's Cookin'. She mentioned that she liked Michael Miller fabrics and I was only too happy to find some MM coordinating prints for her. The tree on the left is a a pocket which might come in handy for an odd piece of chocolate to keep one going while cooking. I liked the feminine ruffle at the bottom of this apron.

I included in the package a few of my favorite recipes that I have used during the holidays including gingerbread, peppermint chocolate cookies, Italian meatballs and my favorite granola recipe that I have given for gifts more times than I can count. I may post the recipe over on Tie One On for the holiday apron entry. Go check it out! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Beautiful Apron!

Thank you so much to the very talented Ann for my fabulous apron! I ADORE this apron...the colors are perfect and the workmanship is just exquisite...right down to the felt flower embellishment! There are even some sparkly rhinestones for a festive flair. Could a girl ask for anything more? Not me...

She also sent very yummy recipes on the cutest cards that match the apron! Plus the nicest soaps...one is wrapped like a chocolate bar and smells like yummy chocolate chip mint ice cream...2 bars that look EXACTLY like lemon bars (which I got a recipe for the real cookie bar)...and a magic bar of beautifully scented soap that I am using regularly...plus a coupon book and a handmade can of magic that also smells divine.

Was I lucky to get Ann for my swap partner? YOU BET. Thanks so much, Ann...you are truly the best. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Freedom from Want

Nothing says Thanksgiving like this painting by Norman Rockwell, "Freedom from Want". I can't speak for everyone but I think most folks would like to be able to have a Thanksgiving here in America like the one portrayed here...lots of food, smiling faces and multi-generational.

Of course it is completely idealistic and unrealistic to think that this represents us as a nation, we are, after all, not all caucasian and certainly there are more of us than ever not able to afford this lavish a table.

So, I will give thanks for what I do have and be grateful for the family that I love, the friends who have stood by me and those that are new that I am just beginning to nourish. I am still amazed at the bounty of food that we have to choose from and how people can always find something to give no matter what abundance they do or do not come from.

I have only to look into the eyes of a person passing by to know that each and everyone of us has the capacity to choose love over hate.

I leave you with this..."When the power of love overcomes the love of power, there WILL be world peace". Happy Thanksgiving to all. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Leg Warmers

I was attracted to this yarn for a couple of reasons. One, I loved the color verigation and two, it is acrylic yarn. I am making two pairs of these leg warmers for Christmas gifts and they MUST be easy care.

These are easy to knit and go pretty quickly even for my slow fingers. I was able to get one leg warmer out of one skein of yarn with just a few inches to spare. Whew.

Pattern:

Size 4 US double points (mine are bamboo and the acrylic yarn likes them)

Gauge: 22 st in st. st. =4" (but this is not real critical)

Cast on 68 st. Put 17 stitches on 4 needles. Work in the round for 2 and 3/4" in 2 x 2 rib. Change to stockinette(knit all rows) for 9" then go back to the 2 x 2 rib for another 2 and 3/4". Bind off.

I got this yarn on the Elann site but I don't know if they still have the yarn. Posted by Picasa