Thursday, January 30, 2014

Nicaragua Bound

In a little over a month, I will pack my brand new passport to go on a brand new adventure.  In the middle of March,  I will join about a dozen other people from my church and few other churches to fly South to Central America and travel to the mountains of Nicaragua.

In Nicaragua, we will be setting up mobile health clinics, bringing medical care to the rural areas of of this very poor country.

I am excited to be going, in fact, honored to be going, but truth be told, I am a bit apprehensive about going.  The most out-of-country I have traveled is to the Caribbean and to Canada, neither of which required a passport to visit.  Even though I have heard plenty of stories from former short term mission trip participants and have seen many photographs,  I fully anticipate that pictures and accounts only partially prepare one for such a journey.

Not a trained medical practitioner, I will be serving in a support role on this trip.  My job will be working with the children while their parents seek medical care, as well, as helping with the preparation logistics for the clinics (counting and baging vitamins and pills, packing supplies, etc.).

Our housing for the week is an orphanage high in the mountains of Jinotega.  Typically, the team takes items requested by the children's home and art/craft supplies to work with the children during our non-clinic time.  I am learning how to "rainbow loom," so I might take this current elementary school craze to the children of Nicaragua.  I made my first bracelet yesterday!  I predict that in short time, the children there will quickly surpass my ability and creativity.

 And so I continue to prepare, practicing some very basic Spanish, reading a up a little on the country, and questioning friends who have previously gone.  As the times draws nearer with each passing day, I seek trust for the calling, faith for the journey, and peace for my heart.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Purse for Rosie

Rosie and her Daddy are coming this weekend to join us for a church spaghetti dinner, benefiting our mission trip to Nicaragua. Her mama has an acting gig, so it is just daddy/daughter time this trip.  The last time I saw Rosie she was smitten with my purse, taking things out and lugging it behind her.  When I was thinking of her coming, it occurred to me how easy it would be to stitch up a little bag for this little lady. I Googled "toddler purse" and discovered this great tutorial.

Digging through my scrap box, I found two fabrics that would work nicely; I proceeded to cut and sew.  Basically, I followed the directions and dimensions from the tutorial with a few modifications.  Since I didn't have any fusible interfacing, I added heft with cotton batting,  machine quilting it a little to the outside fabric.  

After I quilted it, I trimmed it to the desired size (9 x 12 in.), added a pocket with rickrack to the front, and stitched up handles with the same fabric as the outside of the bag.  The inside is lined with the pocket pink fabric.

It was quick, easy, and pretty cute, I think.  This little beanie baby friend fits perfectly inside.  I can't wait to see our little granddaughter holding this!

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Today's sky showcased a light-blue yonder, a gift given smack dab in the middle of this often drab, dark, cold month.  Blue skies brighten any day.  I have never really considered myself a "blue" person color wise, even though I treasure the sapphire necklace I so often wear (a 50th birthday gift from my father). However, presently blue seems to be the color du jour.  Currently my television-knitting is a Rustic Shawl with some delightful wool from Oregon; "Denim Dusk" blue is the color.

Tuesday at sewing group, I gathered a stack of blues from our donated fabric and spent the morning cutting patches for an all blue quilt, tying up a kit for one complete quilt by morning's end. There are 48, 11-inch squares in this bundle…enough to make one 60 x 80 inch quilt for Lutheran World Relief.

Yesterday, here at home, I continued cutting and piecing blues (with some added pink) to make another mission quilt.  I plan to stitch this top together myself.  

Next month there are two baby showers to attend, and both babies are boys.  Even though, I typically rebel against gender knitting blue for boys and pink for girls, the two colors of yarn consistently catching my eye at the yarn store were these two shades of blue: "Crypto Crystalline" and "Dutch Teal."

The next mission quilt project in my sewing queue is border this unfinished quilt top.  And the primary color is…

I guess I've got the blues, shaped in soft, warm, comforting forms.

Last year at this time, I resolved to add more color and texture to my life.  Over the span of 2013, I took a color class, bought a color wheel, read up a little on color theory, and just started playing with color from the clothing I pulled from the closet to the fabrics I selected for sewing.  I enjoy the movement of learning new things that shift the lens through which I consider the world.  A lingering eye, a studied gaze, a curious examination of hue and texture combine in new and different ways add vibrancy and layered richness to the textile of my days.  

p.s. Blue top finished!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Oh January


We are in the midst of a Polar Vortex, a state of weather I never knew existed until this the winter of 2014.  Of course, I also didn't know about a derecho until that happened, was it, last year?  I thought after living for over 60 years, there really couldn't be anything new under the sun, but apparently Mother Nature has yet to finish my weather schooling.  At any rate, it is very very cold here in Central Pennsylvania.  So I suppose it is just the right time to wrap up this little hooded sweater I finished last week and deliver it to Roscoe's Grandma's house tomorrow.  Still knitting Cottage Creations patterns, Patty's grandbaby boy will wear this one, and in addition, I am almost finished with another Tunic Sweater for Jamie, using the same yarn, a Red Heart yarn (vanilla swirl) that I picked up super cheap before Christmas at Ollies.  (Sometimes, it is okay not to be such a yarn snob.)

The buttons are three buttons I mismatched from my button tins--I confess, I do kinda love buttons.  So…button up your own sweater or pull one over your head, but whatever you do, please stay warm!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


in dreams or in our waking
it's just enough to say
love and grace and endless flowers
be ours on New Year's Day 
-Mary Chapin Carpenter
"New Year's Day"