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!!

Home from the wedding and the Shower

All I can say is that I am tired. It was a crazy busy weekend, yet we knew it would go way too fast. James and I actually talked about how crazy it was as we were in middle of it, yet we knew that we wanted to enjoy it as much as possible, and that it would all end too quickly without us being able to do it all, which is how most things go. For instances some of the little ones were in the pool with Adie while we were at the reception, which made them happy, and made it easier for us to visit.

So here is how it went: I left home on Thursday about 1 p.m. then stopped in Linton to pick up James. He had scheduled a track sign up meeting in Hazelton for a little after 2 p.m., which was a little clever because it got us farther up the road a bit more quickly. When we hit town, we stopped off at the Civic Center to see the end of the UJ men’s basketball game. It was their final game there as next year they will be in the new complex on campus.

Afterwards we went to check in which was interesting because we had so much stuff to drag up the steps, and then I really needed to have some time alone to get things ready for the rehearsal. James ended up going to Jessica’s for a quick visit and some pizza. We met at the chapel later and went through how things should go. After that we went out to grab a few more needed items and went back to the room so I could get the rest of the vow on paper and the message finished. Thankfully I had the ending written and the beginning in my book in long hand. We did our shower shopping on Friday morning, and so glad we did.

My rose

My rose

The wedding was likely the most interesting that many have attended. Tony wound up with a nosebleed at the end of the message and Kenlee’s necklace would not open. There were no attendants other than Tony’s daughters and before Jess and Tony exchanged rings they gave the girls necklaces. At the point of the pledges when they said the “I do’s” we had a part for the girls to say “I will” and Jess and Tony did the same to pledge to join together as a family. It was sort of interesting. I found that in our Book of Worship. Also Jaxon as ringbearer threw way more flowers than Ana as flower girl.

The only part that had me in a panic was when the mic did not work at the beginning. It was working fine earlier, and in fact a few people were messing around with it as we were setting up, so I was afraid someone had wrecked it. The issue was that when Lindsey stopped the music, she did it by fading the volume. Thankfully on about my third “welcome” she caught on and we were good to go. I have no pictures yet, so I will share the rose that I got as the mother of the bride. There were some really special moments, and I will always cherish the little time that Tony and I had together before the ceremony started. My mother always said you don’t need sons if you have daughters, sons will eventually appear. She was right.

working on the shower

working on the shower

The reception afterwards was just right and we spent time visiting and telling stories and laughing. It was good. I was so tired and when I finally went back to the room I found Victoria and Paulina working on the center pieces and decorations for the baby shower the next day. They had decided on a Dr. Seuss theme and Victoria went all out. I at one point told her to quit and go to bed. She and Nate and Jaxon and David were heading to Bismarck by 6 a.m. to go to a little kids wrestling tourney and I wanted to sleep. More on that shower later.

Saturday we were at the shower from 10 a.m. until later in the afternoon. We stayed overnight and hung out around the pool then on Sunday we went to Jessica’s for a bit and up to the campus for a bit then some shopping and headed for home. We walked in the house about 4:30 p.m. and spent the evening unpacking and putting away. I did a couple of loads of laundry, which was great because I got a call to sub today and that is why I am writing now. Hopefully I will have time to do more tomorrow, but at some point I need to finish the message for Ash Wednesday, so not sure when I will catch up here. Have a Happy Fat Tuesday tomorrow.

Project completed

img_8928I did not take pictures as I was in progress with this project, but I have three from the completed item. I have been wanting to make this pillow for Jessica for a long time, and was glad to finally get the time. It actually only took me about half an hour to do. The easy part was that I had a pillow form to use for the stuffing and that is also what made it hard. I liked that I didn’t have to stuff it, but sewing around the form in closing it up was tough.

img_8930

This t-shirt comes from the campaign to repeal the corporate farming law that was passed by the legislature. Jess was a pretty big part of that repeal and that is probably another reason she was targeted during her election this fall. I guess it is her gain not to be part of what is happening this session. By the time they get finished gutting education and higher education and anything that benefits the poor then giving tax breaks to the upper end, the state will look like … well no need to continue here. I am sure you get the picture.

The bottom was tough to sew but I finally got it closed.

The bottom was tough to sew but I finally got it closed.

Here Is another  picture of that pillow. And the best part was that she seemed to like it, hurrah! This project was a big win for me. I got rid of one t-shirt and the pillow form, so this counts on my anti clutter campaign, rah, rah!

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!

Jan. 14: Sorting some Christmas items

James and I finally put away the Christmas tree. If you read any of my previous posts, you have seen our little white tree. I posted a picture of this year’s version on both Dec. 25, 2016 and Dec. 29, 2016. We bought it a few years back for several reasons the number one being that there really isn’t any room in this house for a large tree. I also really dislike putting lights on the tree. Each year it was getting more annoying to do that, and when we saw this little table top tree with the lights already in place, it was a no brainer. After we got it home we decided to pick a different color theme each year and decorate accordingly. The first year it was read (picture found on Nov. 29, 2014 post), and candy canes were all over that tree. I think I even replaced them once. Last year the color was blue (picture of this found on Nov. 27, 2015 on my old lucindagardens site) and that was really pretty.

All the old ornaments boxed for storage.

This year we did gold, and I like that one too. So now rather than have to dig through the big box of ornaments and try to remember where the garland and string beads are located in the storage area, we boxed up the items by color and marked the outside of the box. I think next year we will start all over with green. I know we have a few bulbs, and if we are willing to use the old wooden ornaments that are mostly green, I think it will work. Pretty soon we can just pull out the box with the label and leave the rest in place under the steps. Yipee!!! We also did some rearranging in the boxes that we were using for storage, and found that we could get by with smaller containers. Sometimes sorting isn’t necessarily tossing anything out, it is just organizing more efficiently. That was our main focus today. We also fixed items that were damaged for example James glued the head back on a wooden soldier.

Blue decorations

Blue decorations

Red decorations

Red decorations

One of the things that makes our basement look way more cluttered than it needs to is all the cardboard boxes that I save. I keep telling myself that I need them for days like today (and I did find just the ones I needed) so I can find something better to relocate and repack items to keep. It is cheaper than purchasing fancy plastic tubs or baskets. It is also better for the environment than the plastic storage items. However, as a bit of advice to the young people out there, the best thing would be not to accumulate and especially not to purchase so much junk in the first place, and then you don’t need the storage containers or the space.  And think of all the money you save from: #1 not purchasing the stuff and #2 not purchasing the storage container and #3 not needing to spend money at the clinic or hospital on a sprained ankle from tripping over all the junk or worse yet a counselor or psychiatrist to get over your hording addiction. OK, so maybe #3 didn’t come out quite as funny as it was intended.

The bottom line on all of this refers to the third part of my philosophy of frugal/organized living, where I list that thing about ask yourself if you really need this. Most of these Christmas items I ended up getting at various auction sales. Almost nothing other than that little white tree were purchased at full retail price. This is where I get myself into the most trouble. I always think that if I am getting a bargain then of course it is fine to buy it. I have to stay away from auction sales because bidding becomes a high in itself, and if an auctioneer ignores me for a couple of items that I might think are ok, and I might actually use, then I get carried away on junk things and bid just for the fun of bidding. You might see why I never step foot inside a gambling casino. I am too afraid of participating in that form of recreation. Now if only I could get myself to find the high in exercising or cleaning, that might be a good thing.

Homemade ornaments!

Homemade ornaments!

Plastic canvass and crocheted items.

Plastic canvass and crocheted items.

So enough of my true confessions. During our sorting today, I also pulled out all of the little handmade ornaments from many years past. I now have them in a small container in my sewing area. I see that some of them are little felt items and others are made with the plastic canvass that was so popular years ago. I have a stash of each, and figured these would be great small projects that I can work on during long nights of watching television. They can then be used as gifts for the grandchildren later on down the road. Oh and those crocheted snowflakes, I have to figure out how to make those to give each of my girls some of their very own. These were a gift from my Aunt Sylvia the first year we were married. I have treasured them each year that I put them on the tree.

We also found a few items with Paulina’s name on the back, and they have been added to her box of Christmas ornaments that hopefully will disappear to her home when she graduates and gets out on her own. Someday…. Well enough for now. What have you organized at your place lately???

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.

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