Archive for January, 2011

January 26, 2011

Handmade: Baby Gift

The birth of a new child is one of the most precious times in life.  The first few days are so fresh and surreal as time seems to stand still.  Then the frenzy begins…  The demands of a new baby and regular life are in daily, even moment to moment, conflict until a steady rhythm is finally achieved (although this is always a delicate balance often upset by growth spurts, tummy aches and teething). Those are beautiful days to be cherished and treasured.

For the new mom, it can be a veritable roller-coaster ride.  The elation of birth, the joy of family and friends, and the beauty beyond description of a newborn baby bring so much wealth to a mother’s soul.  Lack of sleep, recovery from birth and the awesome responsibility of a wee babe who needs her constant attention can weary even the most seasoned of mothers.

It’s a vital time for those who’ve gone before to band together provide their help and support, and to give back, in a way, to those who gave to them. In our congregation, we organize meals for these young families which are delivered warm each evening. New mothers are exceedingly blessed, lifted and loved through this practical service. The newest members of our congregation are watched and waited for, and upon hearing of their arrival the forces that be mobilize.

As life has it, these babies usually come during hectic times. Even though I’m usually juggling several things and putting out a few fires, I still love planning and preparing a meal so vivid are my memories of those days when we brought each of our 4 little ones home.  As a plan, I reminisce. I remember some of the best gifts I received during those days whether word or deed.  I remember the fuzzy, crazy days filled with newness and love. I remember the extreme lack of sleep and difficulties and struggles of nursing.

The last time I was called upon to deliver a meal, I wanted to add a little gift. I had some baby yarn and found this pattern on Lion Yarn’s website and I knit. Knitting a gift affords one a lot of time to prayerfully ponder the recipient which I did with each stitch. For me, there is a joy unspeakable in creating something uniquely special and personal. Since the baby girl had an older brother, I also created a busy gift for him which hopefully would bring him joy and be helpful for mom (I was completely enamoured with busy gifts for my older sons when the littler ones were born!).  I decided on a crayon roll similar to the one I made for my little guy inspired by this tutorial and this tutorial.

All projects are a learning experience.  As a whole, I loved how the sweater turned out, but would definitely change a few things next time I use the pattern. I would convert the pattern to circular needles so it would be a more seamless design.  What do you think?  What is your new baby tradition?  Do you have a go-to baby gift?

Oh, yes – I also made a pink gingham (it’s just a phase) bag for the gifts…

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13

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January 20, 2011

Inspiration: Red Gingham

Be very wary – I’ve some red gingham and I’m determined to use every scrap of it.  Currently, I’ve an infatuation with all gingham in it’s glorious array of sizes and colors, but I absolutely drool over red gingham.  Perhaps it the season of transitioning from the Christmas to Valentines, but whatever it is, I’m inspired!  I’m dreaming of a white and black kitchen with some pretty punches of red gingham.  For now, I’ll settle for sewing gingham curtains and kitchen do-dads.

Maybe some of these gingham lovelies will inspire you as well…

Ingenious and cute doorstop from Bouf.com

Isn’t this darling from Etsy reminiscent of a 50’s diner?

Oh, my! These snappy Betsy Johnson numbers will make doing dishes simply dreamy…

Ruffled, red gingham from Country Curtains to frame my world.

Order and a healthy dose of inspiration for my kitchen shelves from this cozy Etsy shop.

Inspiration overload! – this teapot cosy from Not on the High Street has me running for my sewing stash.

From the French Pantry on Etsy, to my pantry. My homemade raspberry jam will be tasting even sweeter.

And the super special, secret ingredient to all home-cooking – made with LOVE – also found on Pouf.com

Dreaming of a white and black kitchen with pretty punches of red gingham (image from BHG)…

Those who live at the ends of the earthstand in awe of your wonders.From where the sun rises to where it sets,you inspire shouts of joy. Psalm 65:8

January 18, 2011

Handmade

Handmade…  *Sigh* Just the word, brings a simple smile to my face and a warmness in my heart.  I’ve had a life-long infatuation with all things handmade.  I was blessed with a grandma and a nana who created beautiful handmade gifts for us children, especially for Christmas, and a mother who was always creating and coordinating gifts for baby showers and weddings.

My grandmother was a brilliant woman who knitted, crocheted, quilted and sewed.  Each year, we each received hand-knit, woolen slippers from her.  She quilted bed covers for my parents.  But, the best gift of all, she taught my sister and I to crochet at a young age.  If there was a crochet hook and yarn around, we could easily be occupied for hours creating and designing clothes for our barbies and dolls.  I inherited her travel sewing machine which served me well in making costumes and clothes for my sons.

My Nana is an artist.  Her handmade gifts tended to be hand-painted with delightful whimsy and pizzaz.  Each year, we received hand-painted ornaments each year a new theme and design.  Her gifts also were always wrapped in her signature, Christmas themed cloth bags.  Being the granddaughter of a tailor, my Nana could sew just about anything.  She created much of my mother’s clothes, and later created dresses for my sisters and me.  Even though she is very shaky now, she’s still crocheting gifts for charities, babies and friends.  Her greatest gift to me is she taught me to sew.

My mother is a brainy, Rennaissiance women who knits, sews, quilts, spins, crochets, needlepoints, and more.  If there’s a hand-craft, she’s done it (some she enjoys far better than others).  She’s always creating something whether it’s handknit socks for my dad, or a quilt for a new baby.  Her greatest gift to me is her example of giving something uniquely special and heart-felt.

I’ve a beautiful, handmade legacy which I hope continues into the next generations.  My hope is as I highlight my handmade creations that it’ll inspire and even spark a passion for all things handmade.  As I work to build my Etsy shop, I’d like also to feature some of the stunning work others artisans on Etsy have crafted.

These are a few of my favorite things (click images for link):

Are you feeling the LOVE?

She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.  Proverbs 21:24

January 13, 2011

My Hiatus

Hiatus is from the Latin word, Hiare, which means to gape. Intentially or not, I’ve  taken a more than brief hiatus, or break, from my blog writing.

Well, I’m back and setting sail on a new course with the goal: to have Dancing develop more personally and purpose and structure.

Welcome to a new year and a new day!

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  Isaiah 43:18-19a