"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

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 🤗

Friday, June 30, 2017

In the Eye of the Storm

Welcome, Family, Friends, and Visitors!  While threatening hurricanes of news swirl around me in the world, and challenging squalls of circumstances rock the boat of this Saylor from day to day, one thing I try to meditate on is how to be in the eye of the storm.  I found this song on YouTube and while it does not reflect my specific experiences, it does speak to my aim to know peace in the midst of our world that is peace challenged. 
In my mind's eye, I see our home with gardens that offer the lovely controlled chaos in scent and sight of the quintessential English cottage garden abuzz with bees and highlighted with fluttering butterflies and hummingbirds. I do not have photos of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to show you, but I have seen them here.
 The Joseph Coat rose bushes climb to great heights, but we do not know how to train them to form a lush arbor over us.  They do however amazingly produce over a dozen roses at the tip of a few branches, and if your nose gets close enough you can enjoy their sweet gentle scent.
 The HollyHocks have come back again and are forming promising buds at the tip of each gangling stalk,
 and the Clematis is in lush purple bloom.
 We have several types of Hydrangeas and the white bush presently has the most profuse number of blooms.
 We have done some weeding of the berm out front and some of my adult children have spread Cedar chips to help keep moisture in the soil and hopefully discourage weeds from thriving.
 The wildflowers my youngest son planted down by the pond last year have dared to come back this year and he has been weeding around them since this photo was taken.
 Being born in New England, our family enjoyed having traditional Boston baked beans and brown bread that my mom made.  She had a brown pottery bean pot that my older sister now has.  I have been fascinated in reading in some English novels that the characters often ate beans and an egg on toast and so recently I prepared a version of that for myself and thought it was yummy.
 I just have four more rows to crochet on my Ruby shawl!!!!

At our worship art group last Saturday, I started on a mixed media project focused on the theme that God chooses to build believers together into a dwelling in which He lives by His Spirit. The example our facilitator made is very clever and different in color from what I have started. I enjoyed forming the base she designed and I hope to work more on decorating the houses.

How are you creatively coping with the storms of life in and around you?

May you know joy and peace.

Gracie xx

Monday, June 12, 2017

Crafting in Late Spring

Welcome!  While I had hoped to publish posts once a week since my last post, it has been over four weeks since then. I have been easily distracted by happy and sad events around me.  Creative projects stoke my happiness and combat my sadness.

 One sunny afternoon I packed the basket pictured above with some creative pastimes and hiked out to our front pond and sat at a picnic table to try to capture photos of wildlife, and then use my watercolor pencils.
 Can you see the squirrel in the upper V of the tree?  He scampered in the branches above me.
 And Mr. Mallard came into the view of my Panasonic zoom lens.
 Another day I stopped at the corner of Waybill Road and used my 7Plus iPhone to capture this zoomed in view of Mt. Hood with a row of mystery to me trees in front of it.
 Our flowers on the front porch are fluffing out in a lovely way.
 I am using Alicia Paulson's book, Stitched in Time and Helen Philipps' book Quick and Clever Cross Stitch to prime myself as I plan to do a stitching piece similar to my mom's I showed you several posts back.  My mom used linen to stitch on, but I have decided to use cotton Aida cloth.
Mid May I was given flowers to celebrate Mother's Day.  Some are now planted in the garden, but this bouquet lasted a long time and seemed to be happy on the Pioneer Woman brand tablecloth I found for a bargain price.
 We went to Wildwood State Park to celebrate birthdays while our friends from California were on a week long stay with us.
 Our friends stayed through Memorial Day, and we saw this Sandy cemetery especially decorated to honor those who have died in service while trying to establish and protect the peace.
 The first week of June my youngest daughter, son in law and son and I went camping on the east side of Mt. Hood.  We played miniature golf and the guys went back and played several rounds of golf on the big course as well.
 We had a bit of rain, hail and chilly temps, but even though we were deep in the woods we glamped thanks to being in a camping trailer.
This big black crow was our alarm clock on several mornings...just as effective as roosters!
 I have started the second part of the Ruby Shawl pattern. Guess what!  I have only seven more rows to crochet to complete the shawl!
Look what just arrived in the mail from my blogging friend, Joy, who lives in Lincolnshire, England, an area from which some of my ancestors immigrated in the1600's.  She sent a wonderful letter, and shared some lovely yarn left from a winter cardigan she just knit, some beautiful buttons, and knowing I like sheep, too, she sent me a learned one to help me count stitches! Thanks so much, Joy, for your kindness.
A few years ago a Mothers of Preschoolers group sold banners at the church I belonged to.  I bought the banner pictured above and have it hanging above my front door to remind me that it is my aim in life to get better and better at crafting love for those around me in the world, including you!

What are you crafting in the world around you in this season?

Gracie xx