The getting organized bug

Now that the big sale is over, and we have taken two of the left over boxes out of the house, I have the “bug” to start digging out more and more, but I am not really willing to live in the midst of junk like we had to last week when we were setting up for the sale. I would like to do the rest of the clearing away in a more methodical and organized way. I stopped in at an antique store in Eureka today and mentioned that I have the old wedding dress of a former resident and I would be willing to give it to them if they would take it. The owner said she would take it and check if the museum would like it and if not they would be happy to have it in their store. One more item gone. Now where to start with the rest. I think the first thing I need to do is begin with an itinerary and a list and mostly a deadline. And, I need to just keep picking at it.

Stack of projects in progress

One exciting issue is that James and I have decided to turn the small back bedroom into my sewing/crafting room. We actually discussed taking out the wall between that room and the office, but neither one of us has carried the sledge-hammer up the steps yet. On the other hand, we have agreed that it won’t happen until there is a replacement bedroom in the basement area, so it will probably be about a year before I get that room. My real motivation for switching out that room is so that no one ever has to sleep on those old beds ever again. I found out the hard way this week that they are terrible. They have served their purpose, but really need to go.

Bag of Vic’s material

In the meantime, I will need to do a little better job of organizing the space in my bedroom to house the stuff I have. Actually I am starting to see the best idea would be to get started at completing a few of the projects and moving them on, as in out of the house. The other thing that I need to stop doing is allowing new items in. Since I still have Victoria’s sewing machine, she decided it would be a good idea to bring me her material for me to use in the projects she had planned. Like I need anymore ideas. Perhaps the best place to start would be a totally complete list of everything here. Yikes, that alone could take two months to complete.

Perhaps my plans for tomorrow after laundry, dishes, start the Sunday message and weed in the garden will be an inventory of material and items in progress. Right after that I will map out a plan for world peace because if I can get that list finished, I should be able to accomplish anything.

Embroidery: Dishtowels

First six days of the week.

Just wanted to share the set of dishtowels that I finally finished embroidering. I actually finished them last week. They were started years ago and I simply had no push to finish them until I needed a shower gift. I sent them with Paulina to take to a bridal shower for a wonderful young woman who grew up with my two oldest daughters. Lindsey is now the owner of her own very successful salon business and I am delighted to say as such is also my hairdresser. I finished these and added two of my knit dishcloths as my gift. I will be officiating her wedding early this summer and I am looking forward to finding a few minutes between now and then to go over some of the details with her and her fiancé Adam.

All finished.

What was left to do last Sunday

In the meantime, just wanted to share these bits of embroidery. I don’t necessarily love doing these, probably because I am not fussy enough to make them look as nice as some others I have seen. I do, though, really enjoy working the crewel embroidery kits that come out looking like a picture. I have many, many of them in a container stashed away. I should really dig them out and get on them. Chalk up another of those projects to help eliminate the clutter. Of course if I finish them next I will have to figure out what to do with them. Enough for now!!

One cupboard clean!

Book shelf of unread books.

Book shelf of unread books.

So, on Tuesday I got a bug to do some cleaning in my room. I just could not stand all the junk standing around anymore. In fact, I had complained about it the night before, and decided it was time to do something and quit talking or even thinking about it. As I looked around the room, I decided that in order to et a few things put away, I needed access to a certain wall, to set some items there, which caused me to end up cleaning out a cupboard which should have been cleaned out long time ago. Well, that was an interesting endeavor. The end result was a new bookshelf where I have stored up several books I would like to read in the near future. Actually the big bonus was the envelop of cash that I found. It was from 2014, and was money that I had set aside for Christmas presents. I remember looking for it then finally believing that I had already spent it. Good grief!!

In terms of the de-cluttering part of the day, I was able to part with a very few items that were deemed garbage, and I now have a large box of cards, photos and papers to sort through in the future. Hopefully the not so far away future either.

Tins!

Tins!

The old wire bookshelf that I was using has been dumped to the car shed for now. It may end up outside in the flower garden, but I have not totally decided. Since it is wire, it could be a good place for climbing plants, but it could also be a place for a few small pots growing herbs. Just not sure yet. The wall where it used to set is now filled with old pop corn tins. I know these items drive some of my daughters crazy, but for me they are great holders of things. I have at least 4 of them filled with yarn or yarn items. One is just for the cones of thread that I use to make the dish cloths. Another has my sock loom and yarn to go with it. Two or three are simply filled with yarn and others are filled with various individual projects including one full of socks that are headed for the sewing machine in the near future to be turned into a long sock snake to be put in front of that door that leaks so badly at the bottom. My great hope is to empty them one at a time meaning that another project is complete,/ and they can be reassigned to hold some other part of the clutter hanging out around here. Mostly, I just want to slowly, but surely whittle down the piles in my area.

Finished beanies

Finished beanies

My current work in progress is not one I want to show off at this time, but I will share the caps that I have recently completed. I love making these, and have found that I need to keep making them larger in order to fit adults. These are mostly the size of a teenager or someone a bit younger. Well, off to the next project. I am on a mission to get things into an arrangement that puts items within range of working on them and eliminate the many tubs of junk we have setting around the room. My goal is to be tub free in this room by Easter!!

Jan. 15: Message on calls

This is the message from Sunday, Jan. 15. The scriptures were: Isaiah 49:1-7, I Corinthians 1:1-9 and John 1:29-42. The title was “God’s Call for Us.”

Pink beanie about to be finished.

Pink beanie about to be finished.

Most of you are well aware of the fact that I like to sew and knit and do other crafty things in fact far too many different ones if you want the truth. In fact I just finished up an orange headband and have a pink beanie quite close to being finished with the yarn that was in the church stash in the basement. And because of this like, or passion or hobby as some might call it, I have accumulated lots of “stuff” to go with the idea of someday creating this thing or that thing. Some of you might also know that I like to write and that I used to write more publically, but now mostly I write what is needed for church and I journal. This week I spent a little time looking back at some of my journals as I was pondering a purpose or a plan for this year, and how to resolve all the stuff that I have accumulated especially in terms of sewing and knitting and such, and I found that at least once a year, usually near the beginning of the year, I have written about how this is the year that I am going to clean out the excess junk involved with all my fabric “hobbies.”

Headband front.

Headband front.

Headband back

Headband back

After seeing all the times I wrote about it, I mostly decided that this year I will not hold my breath on the issue, something that James and the rest of my family stopped doing long ago. The truth is that I really, really need to do some sorting and mainly I need to finish more than just a few projects not only to prevent all of us from suffocating under the volume of what I have to work on, but so that the items being stored become of use to someone who is in need. So for the time being, I am going to take these projects as my “calling” to do something good for others. But maybe that is selfish of me because in the long run doing that is really doing something good for myself.

So what is a “calling” if it isn’t a decision or a plan to do something that is worthwhile? According to most Christian beliefs a calling is a summons to serve a church in some capacity or in a place that has a Christian, church like purpose such as being a chaplain in a hospital or on a college or university campus or in the military. In secular terms the word “calling” can also mean a vocation, an occupation, a job. So is there a way to resolve all these meanings into one. Could we be “called” to various occupations in general, to positions of civic leadership, to volunteer tasks, even to groups or organizations in order to be a Christian presence in the midst of a worldly place in order to bring a witness and example for Christ?

Last week I mentioned here during the announcements and Wednesday during the board meeting that our denomination is looking to change the definition of who is eligible to answer the call to be clergy. A change that may take years to implement, but if nothing else, it will force our membership to look at how we think of call and how we interpret leadership in our corner of the Christian world. I for one like the heading that is at the top of our bulletins where it says: Every member minister because in truth we are all called to minister to each other in Christian fellowship.

In all of the scriptures that we read for today “call” was the central theme. In Isaiah, in the second verse that we read, the prophet spoke of being called before birth. This gives us the idea that God chooses us before we even know what we are capable of accomplishing. God knows, and God pushes us towards what we are to do, if we will only take the time to listen, to hear and obey.

In I Corinthians, Paul talks to the church there and speaks of their call as a church to be saints for Christ. That is to do the work of Christ no matter the sacrifice, no matter the hardship. And in turn, Paul instructs those church members to call on Christ for strength and leadership and love and all the things they need to endure whatever they will be asked to endure, even the petty everyday disagreements that happen within any group of people.

The gospel lesson, which we read for today, is not a new story to any of us. We have heard it before. It is the story from John’s viewpoint of how Jesus called his disciples. It is the story of how John the Baptist was busy declaring the importance of Jesus when he came by and two of John’s disciples (one of them is later identified as Andrew brother of Peter) decided they would rather follow Jesus than John and so they did. The story also goes on to list others that took up the call to be Jesus’ disciples to accept whatever it would take to be part of that inner circle. In fact, according to this version by John, Jesus didn’t even say, “follow me” to some of them, he just walked by and they went. They felt this calling without a formal invitation. It was something they were willing to do, something they were inclined to do and if we are able to believe it, this was what they were destined to do.

If you continue reading beyond where we stopped, you will find the words, “follow me” in the calling of some of the other disciples, but today’s lesson didn’t have it. The words we read today give an implied “call.” It is sort of that intuition thing of just knowing without anyone needing to say the words. I am guessing that most of us here at some point in our lives just knew what it was we were going to do as adults in terms of jobs. We had this feeling of how we wanted to devote our time earning a living. Some felt the need to be in health care, some working in education, some felt the tug of the open spaces talking to the animals or riding across the fields planting and harvesting, or running a business or a household, or doing something where you were serving others or all the many things that any of us have done over the years.

In going through this whole business of “calling,” I can’t help but think of that phrase: If you choose a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. It doesn’t literally mean that you won’t work because sometimes what you do is hard work, but if it is something that you enjoy, it won’t be a burdensome work. I also believe that if we answer God’s call for our lives and if we complete our tasks in a Christ like manner what we do is not a burden. But when things are hard, and tasks are overwhelming, Jesus has another answer for us. Jesus calls us not just to work for him, but to come to him. In I Corinthians Paul spoke of being called as an apostle to go out and spread the good news of Jesus. But there is also the call to come to Jesus to lean on him and to learn from him.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus doesn’t call us only to endure hard, challenging or impossible tasks, he calls us to so the things we are capable of doing and when things seem too hard, we are able to rest in his love and care. Jesus wants us to be successful, but he also wants us to follow his example of kindness and gentleness and honesty and sincerity. He wants us to care for others in a welcoming and fair and just way. And actually, another thing that I have come to learn over the course of these three years is that when you do things with the attitude of caring and concern that Christ would have, burdens are a little lighter and smiles are a little easier to use.

At the end of this month after our morning service, we will meet in the basement to review the events of the church year of 2016 and make some plans for the coming year. The nominating committee has done their job to give us a full slate of officers and for those who have agreed to serve (those who said yes when called), I say thank you from me and on behalf of the congregation. For those of you, who don’t have your name on the list; don’t think that means there isn’t a task for you someplace in the course of the coming year. If nothing else we are expecting something good to eat at the meal after the meeting, or maybe after one of the Lenten services, and besides that there are several more quilt tops that need stitching up next fall. Just remember that song we watched a few months back, “All God’s creatures got a place in the choir, some sing low and some sing higher…and some just clap their hands.”

One of the things we need to consider at our meeting is again what is our call as a church? We do actually fill needs in our community perhaps not as we once did or not necessarily as some think a traditional church should, but we have a real purpose, we have a real call. Let’s ponder that, let’s prayerfully ponder that between now and our meeting so we can all join in working together in answering God’s call for us individually and as this body of believers. In Christ’s name Amen!

Frugal project: covered hangers

img_8871

Samples from Irene

Today I decided to dig into a project I have been thinking of for over a year. It is a crochet covered wire hanger. I have several of them in my closet and have given others away in the past. I purchased them at the local thrift store and at an auction sale of one of our parishioners. Irene made many of them and I bought them in her honor. I have wanted to make them to honor her more. I have an entire laundry soap pail of wire hangers that could be used for this project, so no shortage of working on these. I took a few pictures, but not enough to explain the exact how to’s. I found a couple of places with good explanations and have posted them here: http://craftknowitall.blogspot.com/2013/01/crochet-cover-your-wire-hangers.html and the other one, which is a video is found at this site, but I don’t understand why it doesn’t show up in blue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q6AOTU2-4c by Sandy Shockley

img_8872I considered using the idea to tape the wires together and start at the hook, but then was too lazy to go down the steps for the tape, and convinced myself that if I ever wanted to wash them, I wouldn’t want the tape in it. So, I started by winding the yarn around the top of the hook tightly a few times then making a loop and beginning to crochet in a single crochet stitch taking the first loop under the wire and the second over and then pulling both through the loop on the hook. I won’t try to make this sound like a wonderful easy craft. The hangers are awkward to hold and the stitch is tough at best. The only redeeming factor is that even though it isn’t easy, it doesn’t take long to complete and it would be a great way to use up scraps of yarn.

Chosen wires

Chosen wires

Final project!!

Final project!!

Before I began, I spent some time choosing a couple of hangers that matched. I ended up grabbing a pliers and doing a bit of bending to get the little hook on the neck tight to the neck wire. They were not a perfect match, but as close as I could find. I think that might be part of the difficulty, finding two hangers that match. I do recommend using two hangers rather than just one for this project. One of the sample instructions that I shared suggests using two strands of yarn, and I feel that might be hard to manipulate, though maybe it was that I was using too small of a hook. I used a size G.

Roger about to nap!

Roger about to nap!

In terms of frugal living, this is a perfect project. It saves wire hangers from being tossed in the garbage and turns them into very useful hangers. I like these much better than plastic because there are no sharp edges that can snag a delicate garment. Also the yarn holds your garment in place and prevents it from falling off the hanger. Besides that it is a good way to use up extra yarn. These are tough to make, but actually a fairly quick craft and a nice extra little gift to throw into a gift basket at Christmas or birthday or some other time. I did have a little help while crocheting. Roger sat tight against me and held the yarn until she fell asleep. I guess she needed attention.

Hope you enjoyed the frugal project idea. I guess it could also count in de-cluttering because it gives you a place for all those wire hangers you want to toss out.

Projects on the needles

T-shirt rug

T-shirt rug

Since we finally installed the new television in my bedroom/sitting room/craft room I have been unable to stand being in almost any other room of the house. I have been glued to the TV because I have been watching the Cedar Cove series that I was so excited about it when it was on, but now it has stopped and so at least I can watch the old stuff. Anyway, as I am sitting, I don’t just sit, I have been knitting or crocheting as the whim hits me. I now have a stack of the cotton knit dish cloths (love them because they don’t get that ugly sour smell so fast), and have gotten a bit further on the crocheted t-shit rug.

The rug that is shown to the left so far has been made entirely from the cut off sleeves of Paulina’s sports t-shirts. When she was in volleyball, she always ripped the sleeves off the shirts she wore to practice because they bothered her. I never let her throw them away, and now I have gotten a good start on this rug. I have a bit more to go in the ball of t-shirt yarn that I made, but when that is gone, we will decide together if she wants me to make it any larger. I have just been going around in an oval (well as best I can) using a single crochet stitch. The dark grey middle section was a bit tentative and I put it under the sewing machine needle and reinforced it a bit with a wide zigzag stitch and that seems to be good. I am thinking that I will put some sort of backing on the rug when it is finished to prevent it from slipping, but something cloth so that it is washable. I will keep the updates coming as I am able to work on this. Somehow the bulk of some of this yarn is hard on my wrists, so I don’t do this very often.

Cotton knit dishcloths

Cotton knit dish cloths

The dish clothes are a much easier project for me and I find myself working on these much more often. I am able to use shorter needles and by making them a tish smaller than most, I can finish them up in one sitting (three shows) if I stay at it. The pattern I use is pretty simple. With a size 9 needle I cast on three. Row 1 is knit one (garter stitch all the way) then yarn over for an increase and knit the next two. The whole first part of the pattern is knit 1, YO, knit to the end of the row. Do this until you have 40 stitches. Now the decrease starts. Knit 2 together, YO, Knit 2 together, knit to the end of the row. Do this until you get to 3 stitches then cast off. I have found because of the way I pull and such this can turn out to be a rhombus instead of a neat square. I have compensated on a few by doing an extra knit 2 together once or twice near the end of the decreasing work, and I put that decrease in at the 4th and 3rd stitches from the end of the row and never two rows in a row. Hope this makes sense. If anyone has any better ideas for me about why my pattern isn’t coming out to the perfect square as I see in the pattern books and on the websites, give me a hint. I could use all of the hints you have. Ha!

So happy knitting and crocheting to all of you!!

Found while sorting

Yesterday it was really hot, and so we decided to work inside. I have wanted to do some sorting and rearranging for a few years. In the middle of the process, we had somewhat of a disagreement about how to put things back into the closet, and then some words came out about me not being willing to give anything up. It is true, I hold onto things because they mean something to me. I also dislike putting anything into the garbage that might have more life in it. We did eventually dump two medium bags of garbage. Most of it was paper.

Sesame Street latch hooks

Sesame Street latch hooks

We found a few things stashed away that we dug out to use including a couple of hamper bag holders. We also found some things that will be handed off to the original owner, AKA Victoria. I have a small box of her toys as well as her telescope ready to go to her place when we go there or she comes here, which doesn’t sound like it will be anytime soon.

Grover

Grover was always my favorite character.

James also found some latch hooks that used to be in the nursery when we lived in Jamestown. The wallpaper in that room was Sesame Street too. It was our first experience at hanging wallpaper and was enough to test any relationship. I guess all of the remodeling and cleaning out we have done together would probably have sent many others packing in separate directions. At any rate, I had completely forgotten that we had those latch hooks. They are still in great condition, but I am not sure where we will store them now that we have rearranged that closet shelf to hold old computer printers.

Well not much else to report. I need to get a few things, like my message for tomorrow, accomplished. So, happy weekend to you all.

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