More on the De-cluttering

My most recent efforts on the de-cluttering task has been centered around finishing projects. I started by sitting in my rocking chair in my bedroom and making a mental list of works in progress. I had 16 items before I even paused to look around the room from container to tub to box and figure out what was inside. Let’s see if I can recreate that list here: 1. yellow and green afghan, 2. multicolored afghan, 3. blue and white beanie, 4. giraffe dishtowel, 5. calf dishtowel, 6. cat dishtowel, 7. pig dishtowel, 8. knit blanket, 9. kid pj’s, 10. pile of torn pants, 11. Christmas welcome crewel, 12. stack of baby blankets, 13. stack of blankets (Vic. material), 14. Smurf crewel, 15. t-shirt rug, 16. fix doll–make clothing….and the list goes on.

broken doll

Fixed doll

I ended up completing #9 and #16 except for the clothing part. I am still trying to make wearable patterns, but I found an unfinished pillow that will turn into a bed for the doll and found some blocks from that fleece blanket project which is not even on the list that can be used to make a doll blanket. I have changed my attitude from completing projects to eliminating clutter. While I was finishing up the pj’s, I realized that since I already had black thread in the machine, it would be a good time to fix up James’ wind pants. The sewing let loose on the zippers at the bottom of the legs, and the hems were a mess because they were too long. The result is that he now has another pair of pants for his morning workout and I don’t have to figure out where to store those pants while cutting them up for something useful.

pajama pants finished


I want to show the pajama pants separately. These were started two or three Christmas breaks ago, but we never got them finished. I was trying to help Victoria with a few things she had started, but did not know how to finish. She was never taught how to read a pattern and some things did not make sense. Pants can be difficult, I even had myself off at one point here. They were already cut and the inseam was finished, but they were packed away all this time. Before I finished off the waist band, I realized that without someone to measure, I didn’t know how tight to make the elastic. I ended up putting two small button holes in the front facing of the waistband, which was just the top folded over. The pants now have elastic and a drawstring. I am really excited. Now I know how to do this and can do it again and again. Maybe….

The best part of this story for me is the de-clutter part. With the work of this day besides the pj’s and doll that will go to two children, I was able to put a pair of pants back in the drawer, empty two spools of thread (two black spools were really near the end), eliminate a piece of elastic and one shoe string from my stash. And, I will eventually get a few more items out the door with the doll accessories, more on that later. All in all Tuesday was a great day. Besides that I have made a few rows of progress on those afghans. Hopefully they will get finished yet. Ya!!!

In progress…sort of…

Baby afghan

So, I have three items either on the knitting needles or with a crochet hook in them at this time. I am sure there are several more items around the room, but these are the three that I will feature today. I have been trying to get this baby afghan finished since I dreamed it up. There is also a “twin” version of this same blanket in my mind and I have the yarn for it, but so far have not picked out the needle. I think three at a time is enough, and frankly I don’t want to designate another bag to carry it around. This is made with the shell stitch, which is really the only one I like to use in crochet with these blankets. It is simple and solid and makes for a very warm blanket. I like to alternate the colors as you can see and hopefully this pattern looks ok when it is all finished. My husbands grandmother was famous for her chevron patterned afghans, but I never did learn that. She also was able to put a ridge into them. We have one that he was given for our wedding that has never been out of the box. He chose the colors and picked black and white and red and gray, and we have never ever had any room that fit that color scheme. It also has been saved from any cat hair. Perhaps someday after cats when we live in a southern climate, we will dig that out. Ha Ha on that idea.

The first of the other two items that I have been working on includes my standard beanie pattern in a blue and white color. I am trying to use up all that yarn from the church. I have made a deal with myself that the yarn from there will be used to make something that is donated, and not given to family or the track team. I would like to have a pile to donate either to the school in the community of our church, or to one of the area collection places for a women’s shelter or such. I currently have three beanies and a headband in the bag designated for that. I am thinking that they would all be warmer if they were lined with flannel and the ear parts were reinforced. I will have to work on that idea.

The final project is the one for which I currently have the most enthusiasm. It is an afghan and in the shell stitch so I don’t really have to think about pattern, but it is the one where I am trying to use up all those little balls of yarn that were left overs from the church when they used yarn in knotting the quilts to finish them. It has lots of yarn joinings, which I am doing with simple square knots, probably not the best idea, but this is just supposed to be a warm blanket to give to someone who needs one. The issue that has me working and thinking and using any semblance of designing in my system (which is not really such a developed talent here) is the idea of which color to use next. My choices are a bit limited and I did end up digging into the box that is not just scraps. I may also dig into some of my stash of scraps. This may end up being one of my favorite things to do as there will never be two of the same. I have to admit that nothing I do is ever two of the same. I could never be someone who turns out a plethora of items of the same kind because after making one of something the challenge is over and I have to move on to find something new to learn. Now if I could just transfer that idea into getting up the gumption to enroll in some classed to earn my degree in ministry, well I guess that is another story for another day.

Today was about three of my works in progress. What is on your needles? And now I need to go and clean house and do laundry so that I am able to watch some local college sports live streaming later today. Have a good one and stay warm!!!

This was written after several failed attempts to add the two little pictures below and even at that. I ended up retyping some of my original content so the pictures would be located where I finally gave in and let them go. Let’s just say I am tired of functions that don’t work, and don’t anyone tell me to use the newer version of writing a post. I, as in me, cannot resize a picture on that place and I just want to scream at the tech-eeze  who change things and never for the better!!!

Well I have been trying for half an hour to get the other two pictures into this post where they make the most sense and I guess I am not allowed to do things the way I want. I either need to upgrade to business or find a different blogging site altogether. Today I am leaning for the second one. I will let you know.


Lap blanket


What, More yarn? and In progress items

So we have one more night of knotting quilts in church then we are finished for good. We had a stack of quilt tops in the basement that were just left from the ladies group when they disbanded. It must have been there for 2 or 3 years before the secretary and I revived the idea of finishing them. I sort of understood the concept of what we had to do to put the top to a back and add a piece of filling, but I didn’t totally have the routine figured out. Fortunately the secretary was getting into the quilting world, and she got us set. Next we added the rest of the congregation men and women, and a few of the former quitters came out, and then for three years we joined together for 4 nights each year to do what we could. Now we are down to the last year with the last of the tops. It will be great to have them all finished and given to someplace that will benefit from having them. We will feel good about giving them, will have more room to do something else in the space, and we also had some great times working together.

shell pattern

So, the issue with the yarn pictured above is that instead of using that sort of yarn, I brought my skinny crochet yarn and that is what we used to tie up the blankets. Because I brought my yarn, I was able, or maybe the notion is I had to take the other yarn. I have not removed it from the boxes and I plan to make at least one blanket with the small balls of yarn. I will probably use the shell stitch that I always use and try to match the dimensions of a lap robe. Maybe it will give my fingers something more constructive to do than to play Gummy Drop with every waking moment. At any rate, I have started on another beanie with a blue and a white skein. I have pictured that work in progress off the side. Happy knitting to you all!!

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.

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!

Dec. 30: Results of the storm and some animals

Sunrise yesterday, Dec. 29th

Sunrise yesterday, Dec. 29th

This morning sunrise happened at 8:21 p.m. The days are starting to get longer, and yesterday the sun was shining with a little heat, which around here is both good and bad. The sun hits the pavement and warms it pretty well, but if the wind pushes the loose snow across the road it begins to stick on and so as the temperatures drop, you have an ice build up. That is where we are now in terms of roads. The plows go out, the sun comes out, trucks and cars drive and seem to wear it all away, but a little breeze in an area with snow filled ditches and start all over again. I didn’t mean to complain about the roads, I was just stating a fact of life in our area. I wanted to catch a picture of the sunrise, but the one I took at 8 a.m. didn’t turn out because for some reason the bright orange never comes through, and later about 8:25 there was a cloud cover and no evidence of any sun in the sky. Oh well….

Sophia mad because she cannot go outside.

Sophia mad because she cannot go outside.

Today will likely be another day of figuring out what to do in an effort to tidy up some of what piled up during that two days of survival mode when the power was off. None of us were in any jeopardy of not existing, it was just annoying that you couldn’t see much because of the lights off or limited and you surely didn’t start any major projects of any kind mostly because of that and the lack of water at one point. Basically any real work was accomplished outside and I was not so much about shoveling or any of that. With the weight of the snow doing any hand shoveling was dangerous and could lead to heart attacks and death, which from what we heard might have been the case for an elderly man in a town close to us.

img_8900What I wanted to show off today was a few of the pictures we have been collecting along the way of our week. Paulina was out with the camera on Wednesday and captured some shots of things including the hawk that keeps returning in search of a bite to eat.

Hawk in the tree

Hawk in the tree

She is always taking close ups of trees and flowers and such. I usually try for the “big” picture so everyone can see the scope of what is happening. I probably get that because I was a lover of landscape painting. I so wish that I could get that drive back. I guess I never did that on my own it was only when I was in a class and forced to work on it for certain periods of time. Maybe that is how I get the “luscht” back.

Trees with shadows falling on the snow

Trees with shadows falling on the snow

I have been taking pictures to look at shadows and colors and have something to use if and when I ever desire to paint again. I don’t know how many times I have bought the supplies, but never do anything with them. One year I gave everything to Victoria thinking she would carry on, but with three children and a daycare, it is not a priority. Good grief if I with a part-time job and plenty of free time don’t pick up a brush, how is she supposed to do it.

Another hat almost finished.

Another hat almost finished.

And besides, I have been concentrating more on needle work type of items. By the way, I can post later on what I was working on yesterday when we headed for Bismarck. Hopefully I can get that finished today. Mostly the power going off prevented me from getting at the sewing stack that is piling up, though I cannot blame it all on that. I have had enough time, just not the ambition. Ha!! Too many computer games to finish off. So, enjoy the rest of the pictures and have a great ending to 2016.

Advent: Dec. 16…. Not much accomplished

The view from the garage to the east.

The view from the garage to the east. It is not the same as from my office, but this shows better how it is piling up.

Wow! Since Wednesday night when we collectively decided not to hold services on Sunday morning, I have been on a mental hiatus. I have accomplished a few things physically and even considered a few things mentally, but mostly I have been proverbially, “out to lunch.” I sit in my office at my home and look out the window at the snow and more snow and wind picking up and actually would just prefer to go to bed. I think I need some light therapy, or maybe just a good kick in the butt. I have a list of things to do both for church and for home and even for “before Christmas.” I want to write that not much is getting accomplished, but I have been doing some of them just not as many as I should and for sure not as many as I would like to do.

View to the west, this was the morning glory area last summer.

View to the west, this was the morning glory area last summer.

Yesterday afternoon, James and I headed to Bismarck to do the last of our big shopping for Christmas. This morning it hit me why I wanted to stop at some of the places we skipped. I have already refigured some of those issues, so it is all good. In truth since our middle daughter, Victoria, started on her little rant of not going over the edge with her spending, I have been a bit more careful with what I am purchasing and so there will be a little downsizing on the opening this year. It is also always harder for me to figure out what I gave when some of the items were purchased earlier in the year. I did that again this year, and so I have not had to do as much shopping now, which really ends up making me feel sort of like a Scrooge.

The sad fact is I actually get more out of giving those extra gifts to those who are not close family members. You know the paper boy, the post carrier, the building super kind of gifts. I don’t have any of those actual things in my life, but you might understand better from those examples. Hmmm, I am just now remembering the garbage person. I will have to watch for them next Friday and leave something. I am thinking maybe a plate of goodies… I also believe we have three this year instead of one… Might have to call my youngest sister on that one, she always knows best how to handle that stuff.

Hats that need strings to tie them....

Hats that need strings to tie them….

I also am not stressing myself out with all the hand made items as I have done in the past. I am still making things, I am just not so sure they will be wrapped and given out as gifts. If someone sees something they like, I may just say, hey take this, but I won’t be forcing anyone to have things they are not interesting in having. Currently I need to put a finish on a few hats. I tried on the ones in my stash today just to see if there are any that fit adults. I was surprised how many I could wear now that I have had my mop of hair cut back. The first week of November, I stopped at Lindsey’s place in Jamestown and had her give me a cut. It was the third time she has cut my hair to donate it and the 5th time I have donated. I just wish there had been such a thing when I was young. The two hats on the side still need me to put some strings on the flaps. I am so excited that I finally figured out flaps. I might even have to make one for myself now that I know they fit. The pink thing at the edge of the picture is what is currently on my needles. I am hoping that when Jessica and Tony come, I will have the time and Alysse will have the patience to learn knitting. She has always shown an interest, but I have never asked if she really wants to learn. I have a brand new pair of knitting needles and some yarn if she is interested. If not we could always crochet or even do the plastic craft stuff. I promise that it will all be available just in case.

And if not, last night while we were shopping, I picked up lots of items to do some baking. We even got some molasses so we could make gingerbread cookies and decorate them. Jessica said something about wanting to make lasagna. I will have the pans ready. We could even work on a cheesecake in my new spring-form pan which I have yet to use. Oh never mind, Jess doesn’t like cheesecake. Maybe some mini Bundt cakes with the cinnamon-zucchini cake recipe. Those would be great with whipped cream or cream cheese frosting…. The bottom line is we will be using the little pans for a change. I have decided we either start using what is in the cupboard or we clear it out. Part of the de-cluttering challenge for the end of this year and the beginning of the next. I am starting to think that is why I have felt I didn’t do anything the past two days, instead of clearing out, we have been dragging more into the house. OK, but today was garbage day, so that should count, right??

Enough of my rambling, it is time to make some supper and do some real work today. Stay warm!!

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