Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hopes and Goals 2009

I do not usually make New Year's resolutions because I don't want to make 'promises' that I can't keep. So I like to make 'hopes' and 'goals' for myself. For many years I have written personal goals for each year and I have been able to go back through the years and see what I have accomplished, even though it seems like I don't make the progress I hope to make on projects.

Last year I posted some goals. These are the ones I accomplished:
1. Exercise more. Walk more consistently. Get the bike serviced and ready to ride again. Finding Ellen as a walking buddy was an answer to my prayer!

2. Resubmit the Knitting Guild work for review. All that is left for me to do is rewrite the aran sweater pattern and double check one of the swatches. I received my master hand knitting certificate and was officially recognized as a master knitter at TKGA convention in September!

3. Use my yarn stash instead of buying new yarn. I did buy some yarn but mostly I knitted and crocheted my way through some of my stash.

4. The Professor and I also saw the completion of a major life goal. All of our children have graduated from college with a BA or BS in a field of study that will allow them to make their own ways in this world when MamaMia graduated this month with a degree in Anthropology from San Diego State University.

5. Read or reread the books that are on our bookshelves. I've plugged away at this goal. I have read several of the Newberry Award winners that I've collected. The Back to History Reading Challenge kind of fell off my radar screen in March although I did finish reading The Bounty by Caroline Alexander and Faith and Treason by Antonia Fraser.

6. Be more intentional about my spiritual life. Pray. Memorize Scripture. I want to learn about the Church Year, the daily and weekly prayers and readings. The Professor started leading a study centered around the Church Year and I am looking forward to continuing to deepen my understanding of the history of Christianity and also make it more personal in my own life.

7. And organize the photos. Declutter. Simplify. Live Green. Hope for world peace. I've done the decluttering, simplifying, living green and hoping for world peace fairly consistently again this year. The organization of the photos is still a work in progress.

So my Hopes and Goals for 2009 will be similar to those of 2008:
1. Keep on exercising- walking, hiking, and biking.

2. Continue using up the yarn stash, including spinning the bags and bags of fiber I've collected through the years.

3. Use what I learned in the master knitting program to design and sell my own knitting patterns. Knit more bunnies! This is Maggie who has gone to live in Georgia.

4. Read, read, read!

5. Make consistency in prayer, meditation and looking at the world and my own life through God's perspective. And this includes striving to live at peace with all men in as far as I am able.

6. Maintain my commitment to living in voluntary simplicity, eating organically and locally, and limiting our possessions.

7. Organize the photos. I really want to do this. But I am still completely overwhelmed by the prospect. Fortunately, The Professor is supporting me in my endeavor. He gave me a scanner for Christmas!

8. Be the best wife, mama and grandma I can be. Our New Boy is so precious and I love to watch him grow!

9. Improve my photography skills. I love to take pictures!

What are your hopes and goals for 2009?

End of 2008

Last year during the last week of December I posted four of my favorite photos from the year based on the four elements, Air, Earth, Water and Fire. I have been going back through my photos from 2008 the past few days and honestly I haven't been inspired.

Then this morning I suddenly thought, "Oh! Four photos from the four seasons. Maybe that will work." So I think that's what I will do, show you four favorite pictures based on Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall."

The Professor and I have been traveling again this week. We drove to Chula Vista (five miles from the Mexican border) to help MamaMia and her Marine move to the home that they just purchased. Cleaning the kitchen cupboards, packing the Bavarian china that was a gift to my father from his brother at the end of WWII.

OK. So. Here are four photos. They're not the best I've taken this year, but they show the seasons and what happened in my life during those seasons this year.

A late winter baby boy.

In the late spring/early summer, a memorable visit to London.

The essence of a Southern California summer beach.

Fall leaves and spring born mule deer fawns with their mama that Ellen and I often see on our walks.

And finally a photo of Christ Church in Oxford which evokes all I love about travel--beauty, adventure, experience!

Here it is--a recap of 2008!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Tea Party

Last Sunday I went to a birthday party. My good friend decided to celebrate her special day with a tea party at The Tea House on Los Rios in San Juan Capistrano. Los Rios is the historic district of this picturesque old mission town where Mission San Juan Capistrano (of the returning of the swallows fame) is located.

You can borrow a hat to wear or bring your own.

Everything inside and out was decorated for Christmas!

Tea time included tea (or coffee), heart-shaped scones with cream and jam,

tea sandwiches and fruit,

What a perfect place to celebrate a very special birthday girl!

Red velvet cake from Torrance Bakery!

AND! Look what is located next door! Could that be a knit shop? Oh yes!

Another reason to visit Los Rios in San Juan Capistrano!

I am sure I'll drop in to San Juan Capistrano again soon. There's a knit shop that carries Australian yarns to visit and an old California mission to tour...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Wedding

My oldest nephew is married!

The wedding was a small family affair and we were delighted to be invited to attend. The day included riding 520 miles in a car as I mentioned earlier, and also WEATHER.

As we drove along Hwy 126 we knew we were in for it when we saw the Topa Topa Mountains were dusteed with snow.

Tejon Pass looked like a zoo or at least the zebra enclosure.

The roads were open and the snow was shovelled to the shoulders of Interstate 5.

Driving along Hwy 99 through the San Joaquin Valley, we experienced the valley's typical winter weather pattern-fog and low clouds.

The wedding took place in a sweet little church in the bride's hometown.

If you are going to get married five days before Christmas, it's wise to just go with the red Christmas color scheme because the church is already decorated for you!

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Wishing you a lifetime of commitment, love, and laughter!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and The Ninth Lesson

Merry Christmas to everyone~

Here at Willow's Cottage in California, near the Pacific Ocean, it is a cold and windy Christmas night. The stockings have been emptied, the meals (Christmas Eve Indonesian meal, Christmas morning breakfast and Christmas dinner) have been consumed, all the presents opened, loved and admired, and some family members have already departed.

What a wonderful day! We watched The New Boy celebrate his first Christmas! What joy!

And so I give you the last lesson and carol! Merry Christmas!

Lesson Nine
St. John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation

Text: John 1:1-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which enlightens everyone,, was coming in to the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Song of Praise
Joy to the World

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing.

Joy to the world! The Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love,And wonders of his love,
And wonders, wonders of his love.

Isaac Watts and G.F. Handel

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lesson Eight
The wise men are led by the star to Jesus
Text: Matthew 2:1-12

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,

"Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a rulerwho will shepherd my people Israel.' "

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.

And he sent them to Bethlehem saying,

"Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him."

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then opening their treasure, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

This Little Babe

This little Babe so few days old is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth, at his presence quake, though he himself for cold do shake;
For, in this weak unarmed wise, the gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears, he fights and wins the field, his naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries, his arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns, Cold and Need, and feeble flesh his warrior's steed.

His camp is pitched in a stall, his bulwark but a broken wall.
The crib his trench, haystalks his stakes, of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus, as sure his foe to wound, the angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ, join thou in fight, stick to the tents that he hath pight.
Within his crib is surest war, this Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy, then flit not from this heavenly Boy.

Words by Robert Southwell, music by Benjamin Britten

This Little Babe is sung allegro and animato in four, six and eight parts, fugal- with all the parts starting and stopping at different places (like much of the Messiah). When we sang this carol, it was both my favorite and most difficult piece. Try saying "the crib his trench, haystalks his stakes" three times very fast.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Aproaching Christmas

Lesson Six
St. Luke tells of the birth of Jesus
Text: Luke 2: 1, 3-7

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
And all went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.

And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Lesson Seven
The shepherds go to the manger
Text: Luke 2: 8-16

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Sarior who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace among thosewith whom he is pleased!"

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,

"Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

Sussex Carol
On Christmas night, all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
On Christmas night, all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King's birth.

Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad?
Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad?
When from our sin he set us free
All for to gain our liberty?

When sin departs before his grace
Then life and health come in its place.
When sin departs before his grace
Then life and health come in its place.
Angels and men with joy may sing
All for to see the newborn King.
All out of darkness, we have light
Which made the angels sing this night.

All out of darkness, we have light
which made the angels sing this night:
"Glory to God and peace to men
Now and forever more, Amen."

English traditional carol
Song of Praise
The First Noel

The first Noel, the angel did say,
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

They looked up and saw a star shining in the east, beyond them far,
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

This star drew nigh to the northwest,
o'er Bethlehem it took its rest,
And there it did both stop and stay,
right over the place where Jesus lay.
Then let us all, with one accord,
sing praises to our heav'nly Lord,
That hath made heav'n and earth of naught,
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
born is the King of Israel!

English Traditional Carol

Saturday, December 20, 2008

In Case You Miss Me...

I thought I'd let you know that today I drove past this, twice,

(Tejon Pass, elevation 4,144 feet, Hwy I-5, Grapevine, 31F)
(a total of 520 miles)
so I could go to this

And tomorrow I'm going here
to celebrate a friend's birthday!
Details on Monday!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Fave Five

Here it is-Friday!

1. It's my first day of Christmas break!

2. I was able to spend a bit of time this week with a dear friend who I have known for many years. We met in Old Town Camarillo and had lunch at a new panini restaurant that Ellen and I had discovered a couple of months ago. The food was excellent! The coffee-oh yes, rich and wonderful! We talked and talked, about our families, about teaching. This friend is one of the best teachers I have ever met and I love to listen to her talk about teaching-I always learn something.

3. While the rest of the northern hemisphere had snow, we got rain. It rained for three days and then on Thursday the sun came back. When it rains here along the coastal plain, the mountains to the north and east of us get snow!
You can see here the whole panorama of plain, hills, snowy mountains. This photo was taken at the top of a hill near my home in the afternoon. Ellen and I climbed up to the top so we could see the mountains and of course take photos for our blogs!

4. And this photo was taken on Thursday morning on my way to work. I pulled over on the side road just beyond the 101 freeway (El Camino Real!) underpass and snapped the shutter quickly. This is the view I see every morning as I turn left to drive on to the freeway onramp!

If I turned left, I'd see these blooming red poinsettias lining the roadway leading to a local county park.

5. The Christmas season is always fun (and busy) for teachers. I love the little gifts my students bring me. This week I received several packets of cookies. Yum!

To see more Fave Fives, go to Susanne's blog. This week will be the last Fave Five for 2008 but we'll be back again in 2009!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lessons and Carols-- Lessons Four and Five

Lesson Four

The peace that Christ will bring is foreshadowed.

Text: Isaiah 11:1-3a, 4a, 6-9

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord...

but with righteousness he shall judge the poor...

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.

They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Lesson Five

The angel Gabriel salutes the virgin Mary.
Text: Luke 1:26-35, 38

In the sixth month [of Elizabeth's pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.

And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"

But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of hiskingdom there will be no end."

And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"

And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you,and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God."

And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."

And the angel departed from her.

And the Glory

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
(Isaiah 40:5)
from Handel's Messiah

Christmas Spirit

Last week, Melanie of Jellybeanangel awarded me this Christmas Spirit Award.
It is evident by the fact that I am just now responding to her generosity and recognition that I truly do love Christmas that the time crunch around Willow's Cottage has gotten really really crazy.

BUT, things are getting on track finally. I do have all my Christmas shopping, buying, wrapping under control. There are a few presents straggling in by post and UPS still but basically I've done my shopping. I know who's coming, where they're sleeping and when they're leaving. I have a basic food plan in place, at least it's in place in my head. The Christmas tree has been purchased, the decorations boxes have been identified. Decorating the tree and house will commence after my last hour of teaching tomorrow.


Here are the rules for Christmas award.

You must be a true Christmas lover to receive this award.
The person to whom you give the award must also be in love with Christmas.

You must link back to the person who gave you the award.

You must list 5 things that you love about Christmas. If you can't limit it to 5 things, then keep going till you run out of space!

Pass the award along to as many people as you like. That can be 1 or 45; it's up to you. But, you must pass it on to at least one person in order to keep the Christmas cheer going!
Let your recipients know that you have tagged them by leaving them a comment.
My 5 things I love about Christmas:

1. I love having my family and friends together, eating, playing, singing,reading, hanging out.

2. I love singing Christmas songs and listening to carols on CD. I love playing Handel's Messiah in the car while I drive to and from work.

3. I love lighting the Advent candles. I did not grow up with the Advent tradition but the older I get the more I love the church traditions.

4. I love baking sugar cookies from my grandmother's recipe.

5. I love waking up on Christmas morning and eating The Professor's special coffee cake that he first made when we were living out in the jungles of Papua, in Indonesia.

6. I love watching my family open their gifts on Christmas morning (after eating the coffee cake and drinking their hot beverages of choice) one by one, slowly, savoring the anticipation. This tradition comes from living a long long way from any source of wrapping paper, so paper was lovingly used and reused year after year, and from the fact that there were many years when there weren't many gifts under the tree (when you live in the jungle there aren't any stores around to purchase presents). Through the years the tradition of drawing out the time for unwrapping gifts has persisted and we all enjoy watching the reactions of the recipient as he/she discovers what a loved one has chosen for them.

7. I love drinking eggnog from the mugs my mother bought us years ago, probably an early edition of Starbuck's Christmas mugs.

8. I love receiving and sending Christmas cards. I hope I get mine out this year...

Who else loves Christmas?

Anyone who wants to participate!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter, anyone?

Just in case there is anyone out there in the whole wide wet world who has not yet heard that Southern California is having a winter rain storm, I thought I'd let you all know that it has been raining here. It was raining when I drove to work this morning and there were accidents on the freeway because, frankly, Southern Californians don't know how to drive in the rain. When I left to run an errand this afternoon (read: go to the dentist), the water was pouring down, overflowing the eaves on the sides of the house and spewing into some large flower pots on my porch. The gutters had turned into rushing streams. You see, in Southern California it doesn't pay for the cities to build large drainage systems because rain happens so seldom (not like Portland where I grew up and it rains ALOT and the drains are designed to handle the amount of rain) so when it does rain, the system gets overloaded, but it's cheaper in the long run to repair any rain damage than to build larger, better drainage systems.

And it's cold. In the 40s and 50s cold. Our blueberry ranch friends registered 31F just before dawn yesterday morning! We are all whining and shivering and wearing heavy jackets, hats and mittens. And everyone who lives in 'a more northern climate' is making fun of us. I've heard there is snow in Washington and Oregon, and I've seen -20F listed as a temperature somewhere in Canada (you know who you are!), so why are we saying it's so cold? We're just not used to these temperatures. Our houses aren't insulated so well and neither are our bodies; most of us just wear shirt sleeves or light jackets all winter.

Thinking about relative temperatures reminded me of a story The Professor's mother told me. She moved with her husband and two sons (one of them being The Professor) from Central Iowa to Los Angeles in 1948. She had never lived anywhere except Iowa and Chicago and was used to those cold midwest winters. I think she quickly acclimated to the Southern California Mediterranean climate and never regretted the move west. She had a dear friend who lived in Chicago and the two of them wrote to each other every week. One year in the winter their letters crossed in the mail. Marian's letter stated, "The weather has been unseasonably warm this week. The temperature has gotten up to 50F!" My mother in law's letter waved to Marian's in the mailbags in Omaha. MIL's letter said, "The weather has been so cold this week! The temperature dropped to 50F!"

I baked Christmas sugar cookies yesterday which was quite nice as the oven heat warmed up the kitchen. This evening, Kiti made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies while I frosted my cookies. MMmmm--yummy and toasty warm again. I see why people cook soups, breads, casseroles in the winter--it keeps both the house and the body warm. Even a Southern California house where wimpy, warm weather loving people live.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


My friend Bethany tagged me for this game:


You're supposed to do the following:
1. Open the 4th picture folder on your computer
2. Open the 4th picture and post it on your blog.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag 4 people to do the same!

This is a picture of the Beaches Blanket I designed and knitted last year. It is worked in mitered blocks, all garter stitch. The yarn is wool from my stash I chose because the various skeins worked together to make a blanket that reminds me of the beach--sand, white foam on the waves, shells, pebbles. The base yarn is the cream colored black and grey flecked wool a friend brought me from Scotland. This afghan is my favorite, and I was snuggled up in it last night while we watched an episode of Foyle's War. The Professor was using it and I grabbed it from him and gave him another one I had knitted for him several years ago. I have to say that this photo is not a great one; it didn't make the original cut for lighting or composition to be named and edited in any way. But here it is: Willow's basic photography.

Four people to tag:

1. Flower

2. Ellen

3. Melialissa

4. Marg

This little tag was quick and fun to do! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lesson Three
The prophet foretells the coming of the Savior.

Text: Isaiah 9:2, 6, 7

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness , on them has light shined.For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this."

Thanks be to God.

Song of Praise:
Joy Has Dawned

Joy has dawned upon the world,
Promised from creation;
God's salvation, now unfurled,
Hope for every nation!
with fanfares from above,
Not with scenes of glory,
But a humble gift of love--
Jesus, born of Mary.

Sounds of wonder fill the sky
With the songs of angels,
As the mighty Prince of Life
Shelters in a stable.
Hands that set each star in place,
Shaped the earth in darkness,
Laid against his mother's breast--
Vulnerable and helpless.

Shepherds bow before the Lamb
Gazing at the glory.
Gifts of men from distant lands
Prophesy the story.
Gold, a King is born today;
Incense, God is with us;
Myrrh, his death will make a way
and, by his blood, he'll win us.

Son of Adam, Son of heaven,
Given as a ransom.
Reconciling God and man--
Christ our mighty Champion!
What a Savior , what a firiend,
What a glorious mystery!
Once a babe in Bethlehem--
Now the Lord of history!

Keith Getty & Stuart Townsend,
c. 2004

You will notice that Joy Has Dawned is a new song, written in 2004. I like that the hymns can be changed from year to year. I am a big fan of Getty and Townsend's music. They write interesting yet singable tunes and the words, the words are always right on and meaningful.

Even so, I usually start to hum bars from The Messiah as we are reading Isaiah 9, especially as we get to "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace".

And here is a natural Christmas tree, Southern California style: sycamore tree with hanging balls, one leaf ornament and a bird clipped to the top branch.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday's Fave Five

Susanne at Living to Tell the Story hosts Fridays Fave Five every week. After you read mine, go see what other people's faves are this week.

1. Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons! I really scored on saving money Thursday on some Christmas presents by using the coupons I've been saving up!

2. Safety in travel. We drove to Phoenix and back last weekend and we didn't crash. We were really busy while we were there, but we had a great time during the busyness being with Chaplain Dan and The Princess.

3. Christmas cards are starting to arrive! I love sending and receiving cards. We have a little stack on the piano we've opened and read. I haven't started addressing mine yet. Does anyone want to come over and help me?

4. I seriously appreciate Trader Joe's. Every Thursday this month our church's food pantry is giving away food to families in need of food because Trader Joe's DONATES food (not yet expired) and doesn't throw it away. What a great policy! I have always loved TJ's but after I started working with our food pantry and found out how civic minded the TJ's corporation is, I became a loyal patron. It sure helps that the store has good food and inexpensive prices!

5. Interesting weather! Because we live so close to the Pacific Ocean, we occasionally get unusual cloud formations. These clouds blew in on different levels in the sky in the morning and by the time Ellen and I met for our Friday morning walk, they had disappeared. And now today we have low clouds and cool breezes forecast for the weekend.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

There is Knitting

Believe it or not, there is knitting happening at Willow's Cottage. In fact, there are even Finished Objects!

I knitted this horse shoe lace scarf from the 2 oz of alpaca/merino blend fiber I bought at the Weavers and Spinners Guild Open House. I spun it DK weight and although I thought about dyeing the fiber, I left it the natural color. I love the grey with silver highlights.

This stocking cap is made from Simply Soft 100% acrylic. Blue, brown and white. I chose acrylic because it's washable and indestructible. It is going in a package to Uganda as a Christmas gift for the young man we have sponsored for several years. We are including a little photo album so he can save our pictures, a set of good quality bed sheets so he will be comfortable in his school dorm bed, some money for a new set of school uniforms and letters to encourage him and remind him that his photo lives on the front of our frigerator and that we are thinking of him and praying for him.

For the knitters among us, I will show a close up of the slip stitch I used for the pattern just above the hat's hem.

To say that life at Willow's Cottage has been busy would be an understatement. I hope to post my Fave Fives later this afternoon.