Thursday, October 27, 2011

from strength to strength

Sipping my morning coffee and reading the Word, I came across Psalm 84: 
"Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.  They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion."  (v. 4-6)
As I read the phrase "they go from strength to strength" I found myself praying...."Lord, help me to journey through life from strength to strength.   I sometimes feel as though I'm going from crisis to crisis or prayer need to prayer need." 
You know what I mean?  It seems like certain stretches of road have me going from drama to drama (maybe that's because I have teenagers) or concern to concern. Don't get me wrong.  I count my blessings every day and I know my cup runs over with abundance, but when I hit those places in the road where things are tough I find myself wanting the gentler road...the one without all the mud and all the mess.     That's when I long for the pretty path with flowers and paved roads. 
And then I quietly heard in my heart the Lord whisper to my spirit, "It's not your strength that you go from, it's Mine.  In those times of crisis or trouble or drama, it's My strength that you land on and take off from."  That Valley of Baca is a reference to a place of tears.  As I walk through the places that make me cry (and I will walk through those place...we all do), I find comfort and refreshment in Him.  He is the source of my strength. 
See, I was backwards in my thinking.  (again) What I was really wanting was 'cake walk' to 'cake walk', but I know enough to know that during those hard times, that it has been His strength that I've encountered and that has supported  me and held me up.   It's particularly during the hard times that I find myself leaning in to Him.  It's His strength that gets me through one trial and onward in my journey.  If I didn't have to pass through those Valleys of Tears, I wouldn't know His strength the way I do.  I'm so blessed.  I have been all along.   He reminded me that I have been walking from strength to strength.....not mine.  His.
In the end, it doesn't matter what condition the road is that I find myself traveling on...
just that I am found traveling in Him.  I've set my heart on pilgrimage and I'm so thankful that He supplies His strength for each mile of the journey.  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

the bliss of autumn...outside and in

We're right in the middle of peak foliage for our state.  It is beautiful outside. Ordinary yards are transformed with brilliant colors and the woods are just magical.   Today John and I took a drive to our favorite heirloom pumpkin stand.
 This is one of my favorite places to visit each autumn.  I always take loads of pictures....the place is pure eye candy!
 I saw these cheese gourds and took this picture specifically for Jodi.  (check out her squash's very helpful!)  The tag said that the Long Island Cheese was perfect for pies and stored well over a long period.....I think one of these would make a really big pie!
These peanut pumpkins were really fun and unusual.  Two ladies came by and picked one up without any hesitation....they were on a mission and apparently it involved unusual pumpkins. 
 We lingered around the stand taking pictures and watching the chickens and then we took the long way home through the creek.  It was a great little getaway!
Inside, I've been decking the house with these great fabric pumpkins.  These were made from a Patchwork Pumpkin pattern that I bought from RetroMama.   There are three sizes and I made several of each. 
 Kim did a great job writing this pattern. It is chock full of tips and tricks and the photos helped so much.  They were so fun to make.  I held myself to using fabric that I had on hand.  (a self imposed challenge....and it helped use up some of my fall scraps)
 I ended up making 6 pumpkins.  After the first one, I had the hang of it and they went together pretty quickly.  My favorites are the two wool plaid ones which were made from an piece of fabric leftover from a vest my mom made many years ago.
 I gave one to my mom and she showed it off at book club this morning.  All the ladies want me to make them one now!....they are really cute!    I have a feeling I'm not done making these pumpkins.... but for now, I'm going to head out and enjoy the beautiful autumn scenery!
Hopefully you'll find some time this weekend to enjoy the scenery around you....Happy Fall! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

just a pumpkin peek

I'm caught up in a pumpkin patch of sorts.  Making these pumpkins is too much fun!  
 Be back to share soon! I'm off to the store for more stuffing.   Hope your days are filled with autumn delights!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


My ADVENTure has been on vacation lately.  The start of school and three birthdays in September seems to have knocked all ADVENTuring to the back burner, but this weekend I was able to get in some sewing.  It was a great Sunday afternoon full of football and sewing.  The windows were open and the sun was shining.  I had a hot cup of coffee and I was ready to go! 
  I made some mini notebook covers for my book club.  These are so fun to make!  The book club is a mother/daughter book club - I'm a daughter which is weird because I'm so used to being the mother these days. We've read some great books and it's been really good to get me out of my comfort zone with literature.  I tend to pick the same genre over and over again.  Some of my favorite book club reads have been:  To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.   We've worked through about a dozen books so far.   I'm the oldest of the daughters which makes my mom the oldest  most mature mother (in the book club).  It's a great mix of ages...30's to 70's. 
 I tried to pick fabric to coordinate with the personalities in the book club. Can you tell that we have some free spirits and some whom might be more easily labeled as traditional?  The diversity makes for great discussion!  They'll probably all get their notebooks and want to swap with each other for a different fabric choice! What do I know!?! (Remember how you used to do that in elementary school?  The teacher would pass out folders and you'd be nudging your neighbor to trade colors with you...) 
  I found the tutorial for this mini notebook cover on blogger a couple of years ago and I couldn't find the blog to link to it anymore.  (it came from a blog called "knitting after hours").  The covers each take a fat quarter and they sew up pretty quickly.  I bought these little notebooks in packs of three from Office Depot.   I'm sure you can find them in any office supply store. 
As I was taking photos of the notebooks, my boy came riding up on his bike and after checking it all out, asked if I would make him one.  I told him that I'd be glad to after I bought some more interfacing.  I mentioned that we could pick out a boyish print and he'd have a notebook for doodling.  He bent down, picked up the striped notebook and said, "This one looks like boy would carry it...can I have this one?"  After hearing yes, it immediately went into his back pocket and off he peddled.  Hopefully my book club members will pocket theirs with just as much joy. 
So, before it's my turn to choose our book club read, do you have any favorites you'd recommend? 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

vite cowl

Vite is grapevine in Italian....I know because I looked it up.  Until I knit this infinity scarf/cowl, I'd never come across the word before. But that's the great thing about's expanding my horizons...even if I never set foot in Italy.   Designers often choose peculiar clever names for their patterns and so I'm always learning new words.   
In addition to the vocabulary lesson, this was a fun, fast knit.  It took me longer to find a sunny day for photos than it did to actually knit the entire scarf.  It was knit on huge needles (size 15) with a chunky yarn (cascade magnum).  Kristi has the pattern available as a free download on Ravelry if you're interested. (thanks Kristi!) You can wear it long or doubled's fun and versatile. 
The Magnum yarn is one ply 100% wool.  It's almost like knitting with roving.  I love this color (Lake Chelan Heather) and it is so very soft.  Since it is wool, it is also decidedly warm. 
I think this is one of those scarfs you could wear doubled up around your neck when you're outside and then let it out and wear it long when you get inside where it's'd still give you some indoor style without all the warmth up around your neck.  
Here's the knitty gritty:
Pattern: Vite Cowl by Kristi Johnson
Yarn: Cascade Magnum (1 skein, knit until it's gone)
Needles: size 15
Modifications: none