Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!






We decided on a gingerbread church this year, complete with stained glass windows and it turned out pretty well :) It looks great to the kids anyway and that's the main thing!

I wish you all a beautiful, holy and peaceful Christmas. Happy Birthday to Jesus, King of the World!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

No stress this Christmas (re-post)

I thought it about the right time of year to re-post this one from last Christmas.
As we have been going about our regular errands and appointments I've noticed a change in my relatively busy outer city suburb. This change happens about this time every year. It starts with rushing, pained expressions, the inability to obtain a car park and by this time next week will have worked itself into a frenzy. Yes, it's Christmas.

The junk mail piles up almost daily in my letterbox, the traffic is terrible and people are stressed. People are pre-occupied with who is coming, how many to feed, what gifts to buy on credit to increase their debt just that little bit more.

That is how "the world" celebrates Christmas. But we do not need to be part of that, and that is not part of us. We celebrate Christmas because we love Jesus, and this is His birthday. It is also a time for relaxing, enjoying family and a few treats. What is so stressful about that?!

This year my husband is working right through the Christmas period so we have decided to keep things as simple as possible. Mass on Christmas Eve, a few presents for the children on Christmas morning before husband leaves for work, plenty of fresh fruit, a few special food treats, our traditional fruit punch and my husband's clootie pudding. When husband returns home we can have our usual Christmas concert (sharing of poems, songs, plays and talents) and just enjoy being together.

If you are feeling stressed or anxious about Christmas I ask you to dig deep and ask yourself why. Because the most important thing about this Christmas is that your words and actions bring glory to He who is the reason for the day itself - Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Angels of Abbey Creek book review

I suggested to my 9 year old daughter that she might like to review the book by answering some questions and she eagerly agreed.



How long did it take you to read? 
A couple of days. It was hard to put it down.

Describe your favourite part of the book?
I can't pick a favourite part because it was all really good.

What was different about the book?
It's hard to find a novel about a Catholic family.

What ages do you think would enjoy this book?
Probably 7 - 12 year olds

Would you recommend this book to others?
Yes, definitely! I'm reading the book again now.

I agree with everything my daughter said, it's a terrific book and a breath of fresh air to the young Catholic reader. The book is available from AmazonFishpond and the Book Depository. Sue has another book "Grief, Love and Hope" about the loss of her son Thomas, which you can read more about here.

You can find out more about Sue and her unschooling family on her blog

Friday, December 12, 2014

Woven lap blanket


A lot of the things I make by hand are a labour of love these days and this blanket definitely falls into that category!
This was my first double weave project on the rigid heddle loom. A brief explanation: The loom usually has one heddle to weave cloth a certain width and in a single layer. Add a double heddle kit (giving you now two heddles instead of one) and you can weave double the width of cloth. The idea of this really appealed to me, as my loom is 60cm wide which is not wide enough for a blanket.


Well, what a steep learning curve! There is not a lot of information about double weave available and it took me a long time (hours in fact) to get the loom warped (normally takes 20 - 30 minutes) and getting all the heddles threaded was a strain on my back. Did I mention my back injury has flared up again? Anyway, once I got to the actual weaving I encountered more issues and re-started twice before I felt comfortable with what I was doing.
The weaving took a long time too. When I finished and took it off the loom I found a lot of floats (threads that didn't catch in the weaving pattern and so just "float" on the surface of the work) on the underside which was disappointing - they don't look good and take a potentially professional looking piece to a somewhat amateur piece. 
The story ends well. The blanket isn't what I hoped it would be but it was an excellent learning exercise (not to mention one in patience!) and it's a terrifically warm and cosy lap blanket that has been used nearly every day. Success? Sort of!

The specs in case you're a weaver - 
10ply woollen yarn (didn't record the amount, silly me)
7.5 dpi
60cm Ashford rigid heddle loom

Will I make another blanket? Oh yes I will! Will it be double weave? Oh no it won't! It will be panels which I will join - I know the seams will show but it has to be easier than double weave!

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn along :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Progress



I submitted my fifth assignment during the week for the photography course I'm doing and am happy to say that I'm powering along, soon I'll be to the half way mark. 


This was a challenging "low key" image. I'm loving trying new things with the camera.


We have had so much rain over the past week that the garden is like a different space now. It's so great to be going into Summer with a green garden and full rain tank.


The vegetable garden is an assortment of things mostly grown from seed. Tomatoes are coming and we just ate some of the first dwarf beans today, good stuff!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The first week of Advent

I love Advent, it's a time of much hope, promise and renewal of faith. It's also an opportunity to change the home environment in preparation for Christmas and I find our home becomes joyfully active!

We invited some friends for an Advent craft morning during the week and it was a great success. I thought I would share with you some of the activities we did.


These little nativity silhouette jars worked a treat and are easy and cost effective to make.


All you need is a jar with a lid and a battery operated candle to fit inside. I got my supplies at an Asian discount store. You can choose what to put on the outside of the jar to create the silhouette. One of my girls cut out the letters for Jesus, another one cut a nativity scene out of card stock and another printed the nativity scene from here, coloured it in and glued it on. You can add ribbon, stars or whatever you like just by glueing or tying on the extras.




Another activity we did was saint ornaments for the tree. We don't have a tree yet, so they're just hanging for now. I neglected to take a photo of our friend's ornaments, but here are some of ours. I bought the PDF for this activity from Catholic Icing and it's well worth the few dollars spent.

During the week my 9 year old daughter (who loves to draw but mostly within her comfort zone) did a video tutorial by Shoo Rayner for drawing a gingerbread house. Shoo has heaps of great tutorials for drawing and has a relaxed, humorous style. My daughter was reluctant to try the tutorial, so I said I was going to do it myself - pretty soon she had her drawing pad out and was immersed in the activity. Her drawing turned out better than mine! (Mine is on the left). 

I wonder what Advent fun we will get up to next week?