Saturday, March 29, 2014

one fish, two fish...

A few months ago, we had a baby shower for my friend. Her nursery theme is Dr. Seuss.

From this fabric:

 To this adorable burp cloth set:

Custom-made burp cloths in a wide variety of designs are available for purchase on Etsy from The Caffeinated Sheep. Just send me a message and I'll set up a reserved listing for you.

Set of 3 for $12; Set of 5 for $20; Set of 9 for $30.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Remembering Blessings

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. -- Job 8:21 (NIV)

On my desk at work is one of those verse-a-day calendars that you can reuse from year to year. I bought it when I started working because I wanted to have something to help re-center my thoughts and meditate on throughout the day, especially working in a secular environment. Up until a few years ago, working in Christian businesses was all I knew, and this transition into secular employment has been both exciting and challenging.

The past two and a half years haven't been the easiest transition for me. Struggling to fit in and find my place in a new town and congregation has been very challenging, and not without tears of frustration many times. Moving to a community that, for the most part, has a very small-town, closed community mindset often leaves me feeling like I'm on the outside looking in. Of the friends I've been blessed with here, most of them are transplants themselves, which provides a great community of shared experiences and companionship. I cherish each and every friendship, and the richness they bring to my own life.

We aren't promised days, months, or years without struggles and heartbreak. Yet God promises to work all things for good (Romans 8:28) for those who trust in Him. What comfort this provides during seasons where everything seems upside down and "normal" is no longer peaceful.

In spite of all these stresses and frustrations (sometimes on a daily basis), we are blessed. This verse from Job reminds me that in the midst of all the stress, frustration, worry, heartbreak, and yes, even hopelessness, the Lord still fills our mouths with laughter, still blesses us daily and provides reasons to shout for joy. They may not be blessings we see immediately; we may not even realize them for years to come. But still our Lord daily and richly cares for us, providing everything we need to support this body and life.

Sing praise to God, the highest good,
The author of creation,
The God of love who understood
Our need for His salvation.
With healing balm our souls He fills
And ev'ry faithless murmur stills: 
To God all praise and glory!
(LSB 819:1)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

midweek crafting update

The sock is coming along nicely. I've turned the heel and am now working the gusset. Knitting socks is not nearly as intimidating or challenging as I previously thought, although it does take some time. I'm glad I've challenged myself to try something new, though.

Slowly but surely I'm getting myself out of the creative rut known as Deep Winter. I've been buying quite a bit of fabric (much to my husband's chagrin), and making plans for a quilt in addition to working on the Boxy Bags. Now, this quilt will take a while. It's a baby quilt for a friend who is not yet expecting, but I've got the perfect idea for it, so I obviously need to plan it out NOW. I've got a few other baby-related projects for a different friend in the works, too.

My darling niece turns one in just a few short weeks. {insert typical comment about how time flies here} She's so adorable, and living so far away is hard. Thank goodness for photos! I've got some exciting things ready for her birthday package, just need to get them all wrapped up and put in the mail. I hope she enjoys them, although I'm sure she'll enjoy the wrapping paper more at this point. :)

Meanwhile, I've added some adorable little girl headbands to my Etsy shop, The Caffeinated Sheep. Check them out! Also available in black/white, purple/black, and brown/white (with a blue headband!).

Monday, February 17, 2014

an adventure in sock knitting

Our knitting group is doing a sock knit-a-long during February. We're having lots of fun with this adventure, and are excited to see how they all turn out. From a knitting perspective, socks have intimidated me for a long time, but they're not as challenging as I thought! Tonight I got through turning the heel. We'll see if I'm feeling adventurous enough to conquer the gusset this week, or if I'll just wait until next week's gathering.

In other (non-shocking) news, I am so done with winter and ready for spring. The weather today was sunny and in the 40s... it was glorious. I almost didn't need a coat when I left knit night. They're predicting 60s later this week... yippee!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A New Year, and Some New Goals...

Hard to believe January is almost over. Every year I always seem optimistic that things will magically become new, and we can start over with a clean slate on January 1. Problems, stresses, issues, and drama from 2013 will magically disappear when the clock strikes midnight, right?? Oh, how I wish this was true!

I am, and always have been, a very emotional person. I rejoice with others, I mourn with them. When life throws my friends challenges, I empathize and sympathize with them. I pray for them.

But I'm not always such a great friend to myself. And that's a pretty hard truth to swallow. I would rather blame myself for what goes wrong, and beat myself up about it. I always have. Not an easy habit to break, is it?

2013 was a year full of new beginnings, challenges, leaps of faith, disappointments, and intense stress. Trust me when I say I'm not sorry to leave it behind.

Yet 2014 has started out with its fair share of problems. Lingering drama and stress from the previous year has carried over, health issues have manifested (no doubt in part from the lingering drama and stress), and I'm not sure how much longer I can tread water like this.

Let's be realistic. There is no such thing as a perfect year. I may not have a "good" year this year, but that doesn't mean I can't try. Now, I'm not one to normally make New Years Resolutions. But in light of how much the drama and stress has begun to affect me in negative ways, I'm making a few goals this year. Fairly open-ended and broad, I'm not going to tell myself I have to reach them in any specific way. They're just things I'm going to focus on and keep in mind as we take the bull by the horns.

- Destress (Kind of speaks for itself, don't you think?)
- Declutter (living in a tiny apartment means clutter is a constant. ugh)
- Organize (this goes along with decluttering. whether it's re-organizing my kitchen cabinets or a new method for filing paperwork, little things count.)
- Focus on the positives (THIS. Perhaps it's the hardest for me to do, especially when things are very stressful and uncertain. How often do the negatives waaay overshadow the positives? Looking for the positives is so important.)

This year, I also want to challenge myself outside my comfort zone a little more. I've got a few ideas already, and I'm currently pursuing some of them.

Of course, I'm sure crafting will play a significant role in many of these goals, and potentially contribute to the roots of their problems (craft rooms, or lack thereof, can get so disorganized, can't they?). Here's to a better, healthier, new year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tomorrow's baking adventures

Tomorrow is Christmas baking day. I've got two gifts to bake, plus a recipe I'm intrigued to try myself...

Here's the plan (all courtesy of pinterest, of course!):

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
Earl Grey Tea Cookies
Salted Chocolate Caramel Bark

Oh, delicious. Hopefully these will all turn out perfect the first time! But then again, it wouldn't be an adventure if they did...

I'll do my best to remember to photograph them and review them after Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Break Plans

Tomorrow marks the fourth week in Advent. Advent. Such a busy time, but one of my favorites for the whole year. A time of preparation, planning, anticipation, and hope. A time for reflection, renewal, and comfort. A time for longing, peace, and joy.

Now that I'm officially on Christmas break (and an extended one at that!), it seems that, in a microcosmic way, much of this preparation, planning, longing, anticipation, and hope has been fulfilled. I now have time to reflect, renew, be filled with peace, comfort, and joy. What a blessing to have this time off and enjoy it with family and friends.

I can't wait to get started on all my crafting plans for the next few weeks...

  • I've got plans to meet up with some friends for some quality girlfriend coffee bonding time.
  • I've got plans to meet up with some friends for some quality girlfriend crafting bonding time.
  • I've got plans for working on inventory for my Etsy shop to finally get it up off the ground!
  • I've got Christmas presents to finish knitting and crafting, and need to get those out in the post.
  • I've got sewing plans, movie watching plans, copious amounts of coffee and tea drinking plans, and enjoying my Christmas present plans (D and I decided to go in on one big gift to ourselves this year, so I already know what I'm getting and it's on its way!).
  • I've got RELAXING plans. Oh, sweet relaxing, I've been waiting all year for these few weeks.
We've got a nasty-sounding wintry mix storm going on this weekend. This morning we woke up to a nice thick layer of ice covering the stairs and car. It should hopefully melt off this afternoon, just in time for more ice and snow tonight. I'm so thankful I don't have to go to work next week so I can just stay inside and work on projects.

Pardon me while I go look for my comfy pants and pour myself another cup of coffee.