Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Have a safe and spooky night!

Love from Stacy, Charlie, and Apollo

PS. No cats experienced sugar overload in the creation of this post. It is artwork from a greeting card :o)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Little Lily on the Prairie

I'm still working on my niece Lily's red sweater, so I don't have any new knitting to show you. I thought you might like to see the professional photos my sister Hil (Lily's mom) had taken recently. We call her Little Lily on the Prairie in these photos because of the cute bonnet she is wearing.

I love this first photo because it reminds me of my grandmother, who is her namesake.

Lily is the most smiley, giggly baby I have ever met. When she smiles, it makes your heart flutter. She is now able to roll over from her back to her belly and it looks like she will start crawling any day now.

Crane artwork by Brigette Clough

Speaking of birds, I'm excited to tell you that later next week I am going to the Sandhill Crane Festival in Lodi. I'm going on two different wildlife tours, and one is an early morning Delta birding cruise. You might remember my trip to see the cranes on my own last year. I'm excited to be participating in the festival this year!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Halloween Treat Boxes

About a year ago I lost my creative mojo for most of the crafts I used to love, like artist trading cards and mixed media collage. My poor craft supplies have sat abandoned in the closet, wondering if I was ever going to play with them again. I'm happy to report (to both you and my craft supplies) that my desire for crafting has been rekindled.

I'm not sure exactly how it happened-- boredom, loneliness, of just a random surge of creative energy, but last week I found myself wanting to make stuff again, stuff that doesn't involve yarn and knitting needles, and I wanted to do it with other people rather than alone at my table. Fortunately there is a creative arts lounge not too far from home, so I took a class on how to make Halloween treat boxes.

It turned out I was the only one in the class, which was okay because I'm pretty shy in large groups. The instructor, Alexis, was super nice with lots of patience. The two of us sat at a big table and she taught me how to do die cuts, fold the paper in to boxes, make rosettes, and other fun little techniques I enjoyed learning.

The boxes are the perfect size for four miniature Hershey bars.

On a different subject, these photos were taken with my new iPhone. When I tried to use my trusty pink digital camera this morning, I discovered it was no longer working. I'm quite surprised at how well the photos turned out using the iPhone, although I did touch them up in Picnik.

I don't know what is going on. In the last month I have broken so many items by spilling hot coffee or dropping or stepping on them. So far the list includes my netbook, Kindle, eye glasses, cell phone, and now my camera.

I will have to be extra careful with the iPhone until the clumsy spell is broken.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Works in progress

I have two enjoyable projects on the needles right now. One is this lap blanket for my mom. I'm using Encore Colorspun and intentionally selected an old-fashioned color scheme because I want it to look like something my grandmother would have knit. You might remember the story behind this from a post back in June (scroll to the end of the post).

I'm hoping to have it done in December so I can give it to her for the holidays.

The second project is a sweater for my niece Lily. The pattern is from the book 60 Quick Baby Knits, which was recommended by the nice lady at my LYS. It has lots of adorable patterns.

Lily's will be red with white accents.

I had such a great time tonight at a "creative arts lounge" making treat boxes for Halloween. I'll take photos tomorrow and post them soon.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Respite and adventure

The best remedy for those who are afraid,
lonely or unhappy is to go outside,
somewhere where they can be quiet,
alone with the heavens, nature and God.
Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be
and that God wishes to see people happy,
amidst the simple beauty of nature.
I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.
-Anne Frank

Not long ago, feeling disconnected from nature and depleted from being endlessly wired in to technology, I decided to spend a few nights at a Buddhist retreat center in the Santa Cruz mountains.

The retreat center offers two types of lodging-- small, private rooms and yurts (similar to a tent cabin) away from the main buildings in a towering redwood grove. While trying to decide which type of lodging I wanted to stay in, I felt a tiny shiver of fear at staying alone in a yurt in a secluded forest, so I went with that. Something inside of me was craving both respite and adventure.

During the day, I hiked through the forest. On the trails I came across little altars and statues placed on rocks and tucked under trees. My favorite hike was the Eight Verses Pilgrimage Trail. Each of the verses are printed on a sign and spaced evenly throughout the trail with a nearby bench for sitting and reflecting.

There were offerings on top of some of the signs, like sea shells, medallions, stones, and bouquets of flowers.

The retreat was exactly what I needed. Time alone in a spiritually-nourishing, natural setting, where I could gaze up at the trees and listen to birds and reconnect with what is important to me.

This statue of St. Francis stood at a crossroads on a forest trail, placed there by the retreat center and used as a landmark on the hike to the yurt campsite.

Every time I came across him, he was a reassuring presence, letting me know I was on the right path.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crossover Jacket

Ta da! I knit my first baby crossover jacket last week. The pattern is from the wonderful book, Vintage Knits for Modern Babies , a gift from a thoughtful friend. I added the pink crochet edging on the sleeves and went with matching pink buttons.

The jacket fits my four-month-old niece Lily perfectly.

Who, by the way, has started smiling and laughing.

My heart is melting.