Hope ~ The 1st Sunday of Advent

Hope, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

"Awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ"
Titus 2:13

The hope of the Messiah's coming as it was celebrated 2000 years ago. The hope of the Messiah's return still to come. Advent is a time of waiting, of preparation, of anticipation. It is a season of faith, of celebration, of joy, and of peace. This Sunday we light the first candle, bringing light in the darkness and the hope of Christ's glory!

Join me in celebrating this blessed hope by leaving a comment on this post through midnight Friday Dec 5, 2008 to be entered into a drawing for the crazy quilted piece shown above. The recipient will be drawn and announced on Saturday!

Hope CQ

For me, hope is living, growing thing, a tiny seedling that grows, blossoms and takes flight. It is my hope that this little piece will nurture hope in your heart!

HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
~ Emily Dickinson


Simple Christmas

simple Christmas, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Once upon a time, I loved lots of knick knacks and clutter, the Victorian look of abundance in my surroundings. Lately, it is the look of simplicity that I love, serene whites, natural things, homespun linen, white crocheted lace, green plants and light . I was reminded of this as I was getting out the Christmas decorations today. I was going to add to it, but I love the simplicity of it that suggests the season but isn't gaudy about it. And best yet, Mollie Kitty has been sitting on the corner of the cabinet nearly all day, keeping watch through the nearby sliding door. Her serene pose completes the look nicely, don't you think?
Unpacking Christmas
I love opening the boxes of Christmas decorations each year and rediscovering old favorites. Like these replica mercury glass ornaments and the wooden snowflakes. I'll definitely find a spot for these again this year.

I've been working on my Christmas Book. If you'd like to follow along, I'm posting a Flickr link on the sidebar that you may click on to view the pages. I'll post new pages as they are completed.

In years past, I would have had all my Christmas decorating done the day after Thanksgiving. This year, possibly due to the fact that I'm not moving very fast with my broken ankle, and maybe because I have a chance for the first time in many years to savor the season slowly for at least the next couple weeks, I am enjoying taking my time. A little bit here, a little bit there. I do love this journey to Christmas!



Fixed, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

I kept looking at the cover of my Christmas album thinking something wasn't quite right but couldn't figure out what. This morning my Mom e-mailed me, asking if I'd transposed a couple of letters in Christmas, and sure enough! Luckily, it was easy to repair and I'm much happier with it now!

My sister helped get out the boxes of Christmas decorations this morning. I'm looking forward to getting out the Christmas things and seeing what I can do with them this year!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Leaf Jewels, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to thy name, O Most High;
to declare thy steadfast love in the morning,
and thy faithfulness by night,
to music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For thou, O Lord, has made me glad by thy work;
at the works of thy hands I sing for joy."

Psalm 92: 1-4

The last leaves of autumn hang on the limbs like precious amber jewels. The neighbors fireplace is burning pinon pine, it's fragrant scent drifting through the air. It's a cool, damp Thanksgiving Day here. A perfect day to stay snug and warm inside!

Thank you for the kind, empathetic and encouraging comments left on my last post! They helped me get through some discouraging days! I've now graduated to a walking cast, complete with a pneumatic inner stocking that keeps my bones nice and stable and allows me to take a few steps!
Book of Christmas 2008
Now that I'm feeling a bit better, there is more energy for crafting and so I've finished my "December Album". The goal is to take a picture for it and journal a bit each day from Thanksgiving through New Years. The idea came from Ali Edwards.
Tree Ornament
I've also done a little bit of crazy quilting. So far I've completed a Christmas Tree ornament!


What I did last night...

22Nov08, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

What a week this has been! From oral surgery to a broken ankle! On my way to work last night, I stepped on a branch in the shadows that I couldn't see, rolled my ankle, fell down a step and broke my ankle.

I'm grateful to the young men moving into an apartment near mine who dropped everything to help and to my sister who took me to the ER, got my prescriptions for me, took me home and got me settled. Also to some excellent care given by the Dr and nurses in the ER.

So now I am on strict orders to keep any weight off that ankle for the next week and a half or so and may be out of work for up to 6 weeks since my job is one that requires me to be on my feet through most of my shift. I've been given a walker and must say that it makes me feel old and rather incabable! It makes one appreciate some of the simplest tasks that we take for granted every day, such as getting a glass of water. I can see that one of my first tasks will be to make a pouch to hang on it that I can carry things in, such as my cell phone, a water bottle, the ibuprofin and other such neccessities!

On the bright side, I should have lots of time for working on stitching, knitting and paper crafting the next few weeks!


Warning... happy artist at work!

artist at work, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

For those who have the illusion that I and my surroundings are always neat and clean, this post will burst your bubble! While the majority of my apartment does remain moderately neat and clean, my study/studio usually looks rather like a tornado recently moved through.

I've been spending happy hours this past week cutting and pasting. At the start of the week, my desk was nice and neat, with lots of space to work. But the more I work, the more the creativity flows, the messier things get... which in turns spurs yet more creativity. It continues on until, I either have no space left to work or I simply cannot stand the mess any longer and then I take the time to clean up my workspace. It happens about once a week and as the above picture indicates, it's about time! I knew I had to post about this after reading this wonderful article by Deber Klein, whose thoughts about studios match mine so well!

So, rather than be dismayed at my work area, know that I have been happily creating and that my next project is nearly complete! You can catch a glimpse of the December Photo album I've been working on in the front of the photo. Next time, I hope to show you the completed result!


Christmas Planner

Planner cover, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

As you may have noticed, I've been thinking about Christmas lately. I have been trying to think of ways to make the season meaningful and joyous and came up with the list below of things I love about Christmas and things I love to do.

* Decorating my home
* Candlelight
* Enjoying the Christmas lights in the community
* Baking Christmas cookies and breads
* Christmas Carols
* Attending a Messiah sing-a-long
* Attending a local production of "The Nutcracker"
* Attending a midnight Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

In the past, I've found it all too easy to let the things pass by that I enjoy, simply because I didn't take time to plan, so this year, I've made a small Christmas planner to help me keep track.
inside pockets
The idea came from several I saw on Organized Christmas. It starts with a regular file folder (which I happened to have in red!), then folded to make pockets and a small accordian style booklet. I used scrapbooking papers to cover each section and pocket, adding titles to the pockets to fit my needs. In each pocket, I placed several sheets of cardstock/paper with the tops trimmed a border punch for a festive touch. A ribbon tie keeps it closed when not in use! Now my lists will be at hand and hopefully I won't misplace them!
Back n covers
On the back, I placed a December Calendar, created in MS Word. Here I'll keep my schedule for the month so I don't forget those important events I want to participate in! The nice thing about this planner is that it is small enough to fit in my purse or work bag so I can keep it with me throughout the season!


Christmas Cracker

Christmas Cracker, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

The crazy quilting online group hosted a Christmas Cracker swap recently, the insides filled with goodies for crazy quilting and the outsides covered with pieced blocks or fabric. Since we aren't supposed to open them until Christmas and they can be used as decorations until then, I pieced a Christmasy block for the cover!
Christmas Cracker cover
I've taken a shine to rich red, green and black fabrics with gold highlights. In my stash, I found the red and gold lace ~ the perfect thing to decorate the ends of the block with! I hope my swap partner enjoys her Christmas block and has fun embellishing it! I may have to make one for myself!


Thank you!

Thank you so very much for the prayers and good wishes for my oral surgery. It went very well and I am in less pain now than I was before the surgery so I can't ask for much better than that!

Viking hat01, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

My new hat is finished! This was such an enjoyable project! And I even like the way it looks on me, though you'll have to wait for a picture of me in it until I can get someone else to take a picture for me.
Viking hat 04
I did make a few minor modifications to the pattern. Because I have a big head, I added an inch and half to the length of the cabled band. Once the stitches were picked up on either side of the band, they were to be knit in reverse stockinette, but I'm not so fond of that look so knit it with the stockinette stitch facing out. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out and the way it fits, though if I were to knit another one for myself, I'd probably knit the stockinette portion about 1/2" to 1" longer before decreasing for the top, just to help it cover my ears a bit better.
Viking hat 02
If you are like me and want to see the top of the hat as well, here it is!


Thursday morning...

No pictures of lovely projects to write about today, though my winter hat is coming along nicely, but rather a prayer request. Thursday morning I need to have some oral surgery done, which I am quite anxious about. I would deeply appreciate your prayers for a safe surgery and an uneventful recovery. Thank you!


First Snow

1st snow 10Nov08 01, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

This year I have been waiting for the first snowfall and last night it came! The morning dawned to a world softened by a gentle blanket of white.
1st snow 10Nov08 02
Snowy mornings make me feel snug inside. My inclinations towards domesticity are fulfilled by a hearty pot of Scottish Breakfast tea and a pumpkin pie baking in the oven. Between the morning's tasks, I am drawn to the window time and again to enjoy the intricate patterns of branches and snow against the clearing sky.


Knitting Projects

Viking hat brim, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

With the advent of cooler weather, I've been knitting again. I've been needing a winter hat so went looking through my knitting books for a hat pattern that would look good on me. Regular hats make my head look funny and berets ~ well, on me they just look strange! So I was looking for a pattern with a little bit of width at the top and hopefully something that I'd enjoy knitting.
Viking hat
This hat on the cover of "Viking Patterns for Knitting" by Elsebeth Lavold might just be the perfect hat for me! I bought this book several years ago when it was first published because I loved the celtic knotwork patterns in it but had never knitted anything from it. I'm so glad I kept this book! I'm knitting this hat out of Paton's Classic Wool in Woodrose Heather. I love the color and it should be a warm cozy hat this winter when the snow flies and the temperatures fall!
Fetching gloves
I've also knitted a pair of "Fetching" fingerless gloves. My hands get quite cold when I'm at the computer, so I'm hoping these will keep me warm and toasty! The yarn is a chunky wool yarn from Candide, leftover from a pair of very heavy wool socks I knit a few years ago. Next time, I'll knit them an inch or two longer and try using a regular worsted weight yarn. The heavy weight Candide yarn makes them a little bit bigger than I'd like, but they are still quite cozy!


Election Day 2008

I voted, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.
Need I say more?

I've had more fun mail this week! Ati from Norway and I have swapped before. This time we swapped ATCs! She received one of my cq collage embroidered ATCs and in turn, I received a gorgeous needlefelted and embroidered ATC titled 'Summerfields'! I opened this while at work and was lucky to get it back from my co-workers who were enthralled with it!
My block home
The crazy quilt round robin I've been participating in is drawing to a close and I received my completed block this week! I asked for a Christmasy woodland flora/fauna/critter theme for my block. It came back with loads of gorgeous seam treatments and gorgeous embroidered elements! Now I need to get the two side blocks completed that I'm working on to go with this!


Brown Paper Package!

Package, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Several weeks ago, I played a guessing game at Tongue in Cheek and won for the most creative answer! The orginal prize was meant to be a wine bottle topper, but after seeing my blog, Corey offered me the choice of lace for my quilt blocks as an alternative prize if I wanted! Who could resist the lure of antique lace direct from France?!
Package Detail
Each day for the past couple weeks, I've eagerly visited the mailbox and this morning, there it was! A delightful brown paper package from France, enticingly decorated! What fun to savor the anticipation of opening it!
French Lace 5
Inside I found an amazing treasure trove of lace and a note!
French Lace 3
There were lovely lengths of delicate edgings,
French Lace 6
Embroidered and bobbin lace motifs,
French Lace 4
A beautiful lace jabot,
French Lace 1
And my favorite ~ some gorgeous hand embroidered eyelet trim! I love that every stitch is visible, testament to the embroiderers skill. To think about someone sitting and embroidering foot after foot of this trim ~ it's overwhelming!

Corey! Thank you! I am so touched by this wonderful and delightful prize! My head is swirling with ideas for crazy quilt blocks to showcase some of these amazing bits of lace!