Books read in December

Golden Fleece – Padraic Colum - CLASSICS

The Bronze Bow – Elizabeth Speare – CHILDRENS

Calvin’s Institutes - THEOLOGY

Study Guide to the Westminster Shorter Catechism – Williamson – THEOLOGY

Caddie Woodlawn – Carol Ryrie Brink - CHILDRENS

Blind Side – Michael Williams - CONTEMPORARY


Looking Back in the studio

Looking back on 2009, it's been a productive year in Sara's studio:
lace scarves & shawls 2.5
scarves/cowls 2
hats 4
pairs of mittens/gloves/mitts 6
pairs of socks 5
sweaters/vests 1
baby sweaters 2
dishrags 2
purses 1
lap blankets 1
toy rabbit 1
Total Knit Items: 27.5
(6 of these items were for me - the rest were gifts!)

(this is a bit more sketchy as I haven't kept great records)

girls dress 1
girls nightgown 1
kids pj pants 5
adult skirt 1
doll dresses 2
doll bedding 1
ironing board cover 1
log carring bag 1
finished queen size quilt (10 yrs in the making!) 1
purses 2
baby quilts 1
*and lots of alterations & mending!*

I write this list not to brag, but rather to see trends in my creative output. I was surprised as I dug through photo archives and my journal logs to find projects that I had forgotten about or thought I had done in 2008. This helps me make a list of things I want to knit/sew for 2010. Many items on this list are small: hats, mitts, etc. I'll review and come up with my plan for 2010 in the next few days.

Oh, and I should add that the first six months of the year were spent mostly repairing our water damage and refinishing our dining set! Needless to say, I get a bit paranoid if I hear a drip of water these days.


Christmas Crafties

Do you ever notice strange trends that you create unknowingly? Like a tendency to buy purple clothes? I discovered I have an overabundance of red and white yarn, so I used it to decorate our mantel! Cheaper than buying more decorations, right? :) Below you can see a bunch of yarny goodness, including a sweater sleeve from a thrift store find that I prompty bought and took apart. Even my drop spindle had red wool on it, so it found a home in my "snowpile" of white wools!
The rest of that thrift shop sweater turned into a pillow cover. I whipped up another festive pillow made from 2 log cabin squares from a quilt square swap earlier this year (recognize them, BK?)
As if all this crafting goodness isn't enough, THIS amazing creation was made by a wonderful cooking-friend of ours (who are the best kind to have around Christmas!). This is way beyond my skils. Don't you love the little meringue toadstools? It tasted every bit as good as it looks!

And then there are the handknits. It is so satisfying to sit with wood needles and some wool and create something that will warm a loved one. These thick socks went to Steve, who has learned that when one receives a handknit gift, one must immediately put it on and prance around with glee. (We're still working on the prancing around bit, but he was very happy to get SOCKS!)


Critter Knits

Made these fun mittens for my nephews - puppies for the little guy and skunks for his big bro.

Winter Wonderland

We're still dreaming of a white Christmas. Winter in Virginia is a fickle thing, teasing us with a dusting of snow followed by bright blue sunny skies. Those moments of white wonder have long melted away and leave me to remember my wintry trip to Michigan earlier this month.

My parents must've played with Lincoln Logs too much as kids
swallowtail shawl I knit for Mom last year

my sis and cousins - in the land of the Dutch they grow 'em TALL!
(I'm the only one in heels!)

Dad's workshop after a snowy night

even my 88 yo Grandpa is taller than me!
(still lives in the house he was born in)


Things I never noticed...

Also, those concerned about an officially endorsed Christianity producing nominal Christians, like in the time of Constantine, need to deal with Esther 8:17:

"Then many of the people of the land became Jews, because fear of the Jews fell upon them."

This is not a concern, but a blessing. It raises its own problems, but is a blessing, overall.

Things I never noticed...

In Esther, the king's first queen Vashti is removed for failing to come to the king when invited.
The next queen, Esther, fears punishment for coming to the king UN-invited.


Too much goodness

The goodness is waist-deep around here.

1) it's snowing!! We're all so excited to see this rare treat - and at Christmastime, too! Thanks God! Hubby took the kids outside in their tshirts and shorts to grab a handfull and bring it in the house. He came in with snow on his beard. Y

2) chocolate + cinnamon + coffee = WOW. I whipped up this fudge in 5 min or less. This is pretty much instant gratification.

3) saw the Nutcracker ballet today, first time for my oldest boy. He's too cool to say that he liked it, but he's been doing a lot of funny looking leaps this afternoon.

4) thrifted red & white fair isle knit sweater was turned into a festive pillow cover. I'm falling in love with Scandinavian/Norwegian traditional designs. I will have to try some fair isle knitting in 2010.

5) husband reading aloud "Lord of the Rings" and doing the voice of Gimli the dwarf.

But you shall die like men

Just read Psalm 82. Verses 6-7 always blow me away as one of the most shocking examples of "remez," where the teacher quotes a text, hinting on another level at what is before or after what he actually quotes. In John 10:34, Jesus quotes Ps 82:6 to counter their charge against Him of blasphemy. But beyond His countering that charge He is making another point. "He called them gods, to whom the Word of God came," meaning the original audience of Ps 82. And to whom did the ultimate Word of God come? Those Jesus is arguing with!

Now, what happened to those "gods" in the Psalm? Verse 7: "But you shall die like men." And so it would be with Jesus' critics. Though they were temple rulers, the "gods" of Israel, they would die, because they did not judge justly or defend and deliver the poor (see rest of the Psalm).

Obedience check-up

I'm experimenting with audio, here. Apparently the link gets you to the audio, but takes you away from here to the website that hosts it.

In this podcast by Jay Adams he asks a series of questions that covers the waterfront of possible problems.


Putting on Christ

Quoting Augustine"
"Some put on Christ as far as the receiving of the sacrament; others, as far as sanctification. The former, good and bad do equally; the latter, the good alone."
Calvin's Institutes: IV:19:16

This opposes the standard view that without faith the sacrament doesn't do anything - it doesn't "take." No, there is a union with, a putting on, Christ that happens in the sacraments. But without faith it does not benefit.


Still have the Spirit

"But those miraculous powers and manifest workings, which were dispensed by the laying on of hands, have ceased; and they have rightly lasted only for a time. For it was fitting that the new preaching of the gospel and the new Kingdom of Christ should be illumined and magnified by unheard-of and extraordinary miracles. When the Lord ceased from these, He did not utterly forsake His church, but declared that the magnificence of His Kingdom and the dignity of His word had been excellently enough disclosed."

John Calvin: Institutes book 4, chapter 19, section 6.


Christmas Flurries of Activity

We're still here, really. Many random things occupy our days this Christmas season:

-wondering when it will stop raining so I can get our outdoor decorations up
-making apple dumplings. 3 dozen or more!
-sewing holiday skirts from remaining Reformation day costume fabric
-watching squirrels carry the stuffing from our porch swing up to their nest
-reading Lord of the Rings aloud to the kids (they're hooked)
-kids writing acrostics for CHRISTMAS and coming up with "torpedo" for T (what?)
-5 yr old sounding out "O Come all ye Faithful" on the piano
-the happies from wool and wood knitting needles
-more happies from cello/piano duets played late at night with the husband

When the camera batteries get replaced, I'll share some of this goodness with you!