Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This Moment

'Tis the season for pumpkins...
Beautiful, glorious pumpkins are everywhere. Pumpkins of every size, shape and color. These soft creamy white ones have always been my absolute favorite with the rather dusty looking green ones coming in a close second. The stores are filled with them, front porches and steps are dotted with a variety of them and where I live we are surrounded by fields of pumpkins still growing on the vine. I also live close enough to the Libby's canning factory to smell the pumpkins being processed drifting along the Autumn breezes.
This picture of me holding the pumpkin was taken by my daughter Chelsea yesterday at a local park. She and Parker stopped by and he ran through the house looking for me. "Grammy, Grammy!!!"
"Do you want to go with us?!!"
Well now... how do I say NO to that?
Monday's are busy for me as they are for most people. I do extra housework to prepare for my Knit Night Girls to be here for the evening and I spend a portion of the afternoon in my kitchen baking.  Like I've mentioned already as well, I have a steady flow of knitting work to accomplish from now until Christmas. This pair of Jane Austen Mitts was a custom order that shipped this morning.
The season for fingerless mitts is in full swing too.
While Parker was running around enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, his mommy was able to snap a few photos for me to use for my Shop. It was just a sudden thought on the way out the door for me to grab these mitts just in case we had a chance for a quick picture or two. I'm so glad it worked out.
More importantly, however, I realized that the real heart of the matter was that I was so happy to be there at the park with my daughter and grandson, watching him skip along from the curly slide to the swings, then to the bouncy dinosaur and car, while the wind ruffled his hair, all the while calling over his little shoulder, "Come on Grammy, Come ON!!!"
I could have so easily told them, "No... I have way too much to do today... I really should just stay home."  But then I would have missed out on that particular moment that will be forever engrained within my heart and soul. We weren't there long and by days end I still got everything accomplished  that I needed to.
There was time to work on another custom order ...
A Crocheted Shawl in the making.
Most of my orders are in some shade of Grey these days.
I have no problem with that,
as I can never seem to get enough of the color myself.
And I had plenty of time to mix some pumpkin and spices around in the kitchen and make the house smell warm and inviting for the arrival of my knitting group...
Pumpkin Spice Bread

2/3 Cup Unsalted Butter
{softened to room temperature}
2 2/3 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Cups Pumpkin
2/3 Cup Cold Water
3 1/3 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Cloves
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place Parchment Paper in the bottom two Loaf Pans and
spray with Cooking Spray
In large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until well blended.
Add eggs and beat.
Add pumpkin and water and beat well.
Sift dry ingredients together and add to pumpkin mixture.
Pour half of batter into ONE prepared Loaf Pan.
Add walnuts to remaining batter.
Pour remaining batter into second Loaf Pan.
Bake for 60 - 70 minutes, watching closely as ovens vary.
Cool bread on wire racks for 15 minutes.
Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
Enjoy with your favorite hot drink!

"The living moment is everything."
D.H. Lawrence
(1885 - 1930)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Tranquil Heart

As I have continued to step from one decade of my life to the next I have discovered something about myself. I think it was always in my original blueprint but it took the hand of Time to continuously polish and perfect it day after day, year after year over the many moments of my life. It can be summed up best in one simple, yet profound word...
In retrospect, I have basically always believed wholeheartedly in the theory that one should bloom where planted and, quite honestly, that seems to come rather naturally for me. Even my mother has always said this about me, which has always made me feel really good inside. When I reach for the stars, they are the stars in my own backyard. I am a nester, a homebody, a nurturer and, well, quite simply, content in the life God has blessed me with.
My husband is still my best friend after being together for 37 years. Our two grown daughters are a constant source of pure love and joy to me, along with their husbands. My grandchildren fill my heart to overflowing. They all make life a continual feast for me.
Amongst my many blessings, I also have beautiful friendships. The flowers were a gift from a sweet friend a couple of weeks ago when she came for an afternoon of knitting, laughter and tea on the front porch. I have reached a point in my life of taking pure pleasure in the sweet, simple things of life, like that afternoon with a friend, beautiful new twists of yarn, a new project to crochet or knit, an unexpected gift of flowers, a phone call from an old friend who I haven't heard from in awhile, a cozy kitty napping in my kitchen, the many wonders of nature and the sheer bliss of a good pot of tea.
A new shawl in the works

Leia ~ Hilary, Brandon & Archer's kitty

Tallulah, who eats from my hand
A friend who showed up on the porch
As Time carries on its march and I continue to stroll through this world,
 I am constantly aware that my heart becomes increasingly more full
peace and thankfulness
for the simple treasures that are my life.

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
Laura Ingalls Wilder

"A tranquil heart is life to the body ..."
Proverbs 14:30 a

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Glory Days

October is being gentle of spirit for a few days, giving us tender days of golden sunshine and huge cotton clouds drifting lazily across clear blue skies. I find myself opening windows once again to air the house, grabbing my knitting, brewing a cup of tea and wandering out to the front porch to settle in on my beloved porch swing to enjoy these days. They are like a beautiful ear of Indian corn, these fresh early glory days of Autumn that are sprinkled in here and there. I know they must be captured and appreciated when we are blessed with them. Before too long the porch swing will be silent.
Therefore I continue to knit cozy warm articles for the cooler Fall days and Winter that surely is coming. For I know it's easy to be fooled on these mild days of lovely, light breezes but eventually the winds of change will come. So I find mitts and mittens continuing to fall from my needles.
Then in the midst of it all I had the pleasure of something light and almost Summery come through my Shop as a custom order. I was able to put down the knitting needles for a few hours and pick up my crochet hook.
I have a regular customer who likes to purchase little pretties from time to time and after buying one potholder in a different color combination she also placed a custom order for this one.
The first time I ever made one in these colors was for my sister, Bridget, so I always think of her when I recreate it. I have to say it's my favorite color combination for these potholders.
Speaking of Bridget, we do finally have a diagnosis after the many doctor visits and blood tests.
She has Aplastic Anemia, which you can read about by clicking on the live link.
We Thank all of you for your continued prayer on her behalf.
Your love and support mean the world to all of our family.
Those of you who know Bridget know how much she loves to cook and bake.
Here's a sampling of her recent artwork.
Even though she doesn't feel her very best, she continues to worry about her big sister when I get overly tired. The week after the Pumpkin Festival Craft Faire she sent supper over every single evening so Scott would be fed while I was knocked out on the couch. Not only was I exhausted from the Craft Faire but once I get through the Pumpkin Festival, my busy season is in full swing and I knit or crochet all hours to stay on top of it. She has also baked fabulous desserts for my Monday night knitting group the last three weeks. These gorgeous pumpkin cookies were last nights offering.
How wonderful it is to have a sister to go through life's journey with.
These are glory days indeed.

"What sets sisters apart from brothers and also from friends
is a very intimate meshing of heart, soul and the mystical cords of memory."
Carol Saline

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October's Soul

Enchanting October,
we Welcome you back.
We knew you were coming.
September told us as she bid us farewell on her way down the garden path,
aglow with traces of Summers last fading sunset.
We've been preparing for your visit,
as our knitting needles have been busy with wool
that will warm hands, heads, necks and feet
when you caress us with your cool fingertips.
We know your approach will be gentle and light of step,
bringing just a subtle softening around the edges of our world.
In the beginning you will be sweet and mild mannered,
allowing us to open a window from time to time,
so Miss Puss can experience the beauty of your breath in the air
if only for a moment ...
However, we know your fickle ways only too well and before long
we will have much need of warm garments and steaming cups of tea as you begin to shake your glorious head of russet and gold,
leaving falling tresses in your wake for us to trample through.
There are sure to be days of gray when we endure your brooding moods.
We will weather your storms and the many aspects of your personality as we gradually adapt to you by working with even heavier wool to knit warmer mittens and always keeping the kettle on and the blessed teapot filled.
There will be cozy afternoons of leafing through whole magazines devoted solely to you, as we relax and snuggle deep down into our favorite thick sweater in that chair that fits only us exactly right...
And tender moments to make new memories with precious loved ones.
Regardless of which element of your temperament you choose to reveal,
we remain bewitched by your alluring charms.
 Cherishing your return to us year after year, we celebrate your presence
 by filling our homes with the rich spicy fragrances of fresh baked goodness.
Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, swirling together and rising up ....
all fragrant and warm, inviting you in as our honored guest.
 Carrot Cake

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
3 Cups Finely Grated Carrots
1 Cup Oil
4 Large Eggs

Sift together first six ingredients.
Add carrots, oil and eggs.
Beat until well mixed. {approximately 2 minutes}.
Turn into two pans that have been layered with parchment paper
and sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.
Turn out onto wire racks and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 Stick Unsalted Butter - softened to room temperature
1 - 8 Ounce Block of Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese
-softened to room temperature
2 Pound Bag Confectioner's Sugar
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla
2 - 3 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream

Mix all ingredients till smooth and creamy.
Use more or less cream according to your preference
on the consistency of your frosting.
{I tend to like my frosting a bit on the stiff side}
Use a dash of milk instead of cream if you prefer.
I realize there are a whole lot of recipes out there for Cream Cheese Frosting,
this is just how mine has developed over the years.
So October,
our multi-faceted and ever changing
Friend of old,
We Welcome You Home
with open arms.
We give thanks to You
for the wonders of your bounty
and the mysteries
that wait around each corner for us.
Come In,
Our Souls are ready to embrace You
and all the Magic you contain,
once again.

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Soft Serenity

For those of us who live in the corner of the world where this time of year slowly brings Autumn to our doorstep, we are sitting on the edge of our seats with the anticipation of little children as we watch September once again walk out of our lives, taking with her the last random days of golden summertime. She must make way for her friend October who will bless us with her soft hues of russet, deep red, orange, brown and her own softer shade of gold. We see apple trees heavy with their fruitful bounty and porches decked out in their harvest attire of pumpkins, gourds and mums.
The days will become clear and crisp and the nights will be fresh with a hint of smokiness in the chill of the air. Each step Sweet October takes closer to our hearth makes us dream of cozy sweaters, thick socks and friends and family gathered with us around steaming mugs of cocoa, cider, coffee or tea.
For me it's always lovely hot tea along with my knitting projects to be worn for the cooler days ahead. This always includes a variety of fingerless mitts to suit different peoples fashion styles and this Fall it includes a few custom orders for some beautiful Shawls that I am so excited to make.
The one shown in the picture at the top is my own personal wrap. I have a customer who wants me to crochet one identical to it for her elderly mother who lives in Texas and gets very cold in air conditioning. Hers will be worked in grey and I am anxious to see this favorite accessory of mine made in a new color. As for the other two shawls I have been commissioned to make, I will show them to you when the journey begins ...
It really does thrill me when someone discovers I make shawls and orders them from me. These lovely articles have a language all their own and not everyone speaks it anymore. It seems to be too antiquated for some. Those of you who continue to share my love and passion for them know exactly what I mean.
Fingerless mitts and mittens are another one of my great knitting loves. There's just something about warm hands that make us warmer all over. I love fingerless mitts especially this time of year because they enable us to still hold onto those delicious hot drinks of choice, not to mention leave our fingers free for the many tasks of our day. Another bonus for me is knitting in the round on double point needles. It is my absolute favorite way to knit. There's just something about it that I find extra soothing. Maybe because it forces me to work just a touch more slowly and therefore is even more relaxing to me.
These are my newest mitts on my shop
They are just like Jane Austen might have worn... very feminine and lacy with a touch of old fashioned romance to them. This pair is a gorgeous shade of Cranberry Red, which is my all time favorite color. I am currently working on another pair in Charcoal Grey; my other favorite color. I also love all shades of pink and most purples. There is a beautiful ball of the loveliest shade of Dusty Lavender patiently waiting its turn in my knitting bag to be the next in line to grow into a pair of lacy mitts right after the grey ones jump off the needles.
I love keeping a pair of mitts in my work basket because they can be done in between other projects so quickly and easily. Plus they are very transportable.
I am busy stocking my shop with a few different options.
These are the heavier, warmer cabled version that I love so much with their wonderful flecks of tweed.

 There are also some with a more intricate cable and a bit more length up the arm.
I absolutely never ever get tired of cable work.
It's classic, elegant and totally timeless.

Although I am a Summertime lover through and through, I must admit that when this time rolls around every year feelings of peace and soft serenity begin to settle in on me. Oh how I love going to the drawers where I store the items I have handmade for myself over the years and pulling them out. Old friends we are at this point. They lay waiting to once again wrap themselves around me so together we can be set free to discover all the hidden secrets this new Autumn holds for us.
It's as if they too know there will be mornings in the park picking up colorful leaves, acorns and pinecones, afternoons spent on the porch swing with my tea and knitting, and moments of awe when the most glorious sunsets suddenly fill the sky and I will need their warmth wrapped around me to step out into it all and soak in every drop of the beauty my heart and soul can hold of this magnificent season.

"Autumn, the years last loveliest smile."
William Cullen Bryant

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Well the whirlwind of Morton's 50th Golden Pumpkin Festival has finally come to an end and I am slowly recovering. I was unable to do my usual Thankfulness Tuesday post yesterday due to overwhelming fatigue but after an afternoon nap and then 12 hours of sleep last night here I am.
So please bear with me as I try to figure out exactly what day it is...
This photo shows only a portion of our booth about mid morning on the first day, which was actually two spaces wide, and I had to snap quickly between customers. We had two days full of gorgeous sunshine that brought out a beautiful crowd of shoppers. There was a bit of issue with the weather on Friday that caused our director to have to work hard and rearrange the whole schedule {hats off to you Kim for all of your hard work!} but in the end it all worked out perfectly. It was the best show the three of us have ever had. So many of the items that we have spent hours working on sold and that makes us so happy.
Plus I came home with custom orders as well.
But here's the real bonus for me...
I really love the opportunity to be involved in my community in this way. Being up there in the midst of it really is all about community and people coming together for a common goal and to have a good time. At my heart of hearts God programmed me to be a people person and I spend the entire year that I am creating fiber art for this craft faire looking forward to the time I will spend with the different people who will flow in and out of my booth. We always have family and friends who help with the setup and show up to visit, shop and show their loving support year after year, which I cherish more than words can say. If any of you are reading this... Thank You. Then there's the thrill of meeting all the new people that trickle in and out to look and try things on and make purchases or custom order items if we don't have the right size or color they need. I always find myself face to face with and old high school friend or two who has moved away and is home just for the festival and it's so much fun to reconnect. I also gain new knitting and crochet students every year too because they take my business card and show up for lessons and oftentimes we become friends. Although it takes me a good week to recover due to my health issues, I absolutely love every single drop of it all and I wouldn't miss it for the world. I am so thankful that when the smell of pumpkin starts floating on the air I find that God has once again given me the energy and strength I need to be involved in this very special event.
Of course there are also the rides that start on Wednesday before the Craft Faire.
Eric took Gabby and Parker up the first evening and got this picture of Gabby but there are no photos of the little guy. He was very excited about the train... but only watching it. He had no plan to ride it. Maybe next year.
Brandon captured this moment of Hilary and Archer on the merry go round.
I'm always so busy getting ready for the Craft Faire and setting up and then selling that I often have to conserve my energy just for the business at hand. Thankfully they are good about sending me these precious pictures when they snap them.

I hope this post finds each of you enjoying this last true day of Summer in
Good Health and Great Happiness.
I will be back in a few days to share a recipe and show you
what I'm working on for my
Christmas Sale.
For now I leave you with a lovely quote on community and friendship ...

"Alone we can do so little;
together so much."
Helen Keller

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Goodness of The Lord

Yesterday was a milestone in our household. It was the day we celebrated my husband, Scott's, five year mark of being a Pancreatic Cancer Survivor. For anyone who knows anything about this particular cancer, you realize what a truly miraculous thing this is. Very few people beat this one. It's considered The Big Boy of cancers. When I was thirteen I watched my grandmother lose her two year long battle to it and all those memories made me even more thankful that God had a different plan for Scott and me and our whole family.
For one thing we have two little grandsons he might never have known had things gone differently. This is Archer we are pictured with. He belongs to our oldest daughter Hilary and her husband Brandon.
We celebrated his second birthday on Saturday, September 10th at a local park on a very beautiful day.
His name is actually Archer Scott, which made a certain set of grandparents cry when we received that announcement after his birth. The joy that he has brought into our lives truly has no words. He reminds us in many ways of his mother at the same age and yet he is much like our beloved son in law as well.
His cousin Parker, who was two in May, was at the party as well.
His first question when told he was going to Archer's birthday party was,
"Will there be cake and will it have frosting on it?" He also really likes balloons.
  I just can't imagine Scott not being here to experience every drop of these two little men that God has sent straight down from Heaven just for us.
Look at this beautiful face. Once again, the perfect blend of a much loved daughter and son in law.
The joy that they all bring to our lives is something that I could have experienced on my own you might be thinking... but believe me, it would never have been the same without My Beloved. Scott and I have been together since I was a mere girl of 15 and he was really still just a boy of 19. At this point we are one flesh, one breath. Sometimes it's hard for me to tell where he stops and I begin. So I am more thankful, clear down to the very deepest part of my heart and soul, than anyone will ever know, that God chose to allow me to keep him. I thank Him every single day for His blessing.
We went through a difficult time five years ago, there's no denying that. Scott had sixty percent of his pancreas removed, along with his spleen and a soft ball sized mass. We spent six nights in the hospital. He was so sick that some of it's a blur to him but I remember every detail. During that time both of our daughters were planning their weddings six months apart. Scott had surgery in September, Chelsea was married in October and Hilary was married in April.
Plus in the midst of all of it, Scott had massive radiation treatments. He was so thin that he had to be refitted for his tuxedo he wore in Chelsea's wedding. He still jokes that it was her who walked him down the aisle in that wedding. But he made it. He danced with both of his cherished daughters at their weddings and he was here when their children entered the world. And by the Grace of God he is still by my side. I have to say here that I knew before we were told that Scott had cancer, that he did indeed have cancer. I felt the Lord preparing me. However, I must tell you that I also knew just as certainly that God would see us through. I had complete assurance of heart about it. That doesn't mean the journey was easy by any means but I always believed he would be
A Survivor.
"I would have despaired unless I
had believed that I would
see the goodness of the
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart
take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord."
Psalm 27: 13, 14