Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

A Day Well Spent

Monday, January 10th, 2011

It’s snowing. There are no extracurricular lessons. My children (kind of) did school today – at least what they can do without assistance because I’ve been just a little preoccupied. As a matter of fact, I’ve not moved out of my chair all day. But, I did something BIG! I made our 2010 family scrapbook!

I feel accomplished. Very accomplished.

The house is a wreck. The laundry is out of control. When Bethany asked if I could watch her math video with her, I gave her permission to put it off until tomorrow. Esther has watched four videos. I don’t know what’s for supper and it’s 5:30. I didn’t exercise. I am actually still in my PJs. But… I made a scrapbook!

I’ll clean up later and I’ll figure something out for dinner. I don’t allow myself to be creative often because I am very “all or none” with artsy endeavors. Sadly, for six years, I’ve been “none” when it comes to archiving family memories. I will not regret my lazy day working on this book! It is a book that will not be “undone” like the dishes and the laundry. Skipping math and watching four movies once every few years will do my children no permanent damage. (At least I hope not!)

When the children were little, before they took dance, music, art and were involved in church activities, I carved out a monthly time to work on books. I loved it. It was my mommy- and friend-time and it made feel like I’d spent my time profitably – on something that would last.

I realized today how much I’ve missed that feeling! What I did today will not get undone! I made a scrapbook and I would love to share it with you…


Please, oh please brag on my accomplishment! 馃檪

This was my first digital album and it was easy, easy, easy! Now, I realize it is not very creative. I used iPhoto which is where my pictures are stored. I basically just dropped my pictures into the templates and wrote a little text. I’d LOVE to learn more about digital scrapbooking and plan to contact my friend who is a Creative Memories consultant very soon. While I enjoyed the no mess, quick results, I’d like more creative license than this program offers! However, I know I have a lot to learn and at least this one didn’t stress my brain cells. Also, it was incredibly fast because I didn’t have to upload pictures until the album was complete!

I do still plan on doing old-fashioned albums for my children – the type with printed photos and pretty papers. I have five started and will finish them… eventually. Poor Esther has no baby pictures printed but I’m determined she will have Mommy’s handwriting in her photo album too! I have two friends who host crops and I need to go!

However, our family albums are going digital. It’s the only way they’ll ever make it off the computer and into books. What I did today use to take me weeks to do!

I’d like your opinion, dear friends. What do you use? Have you found an economical way to do digital books? (iPhoto was pretty pricey, I think). Has anyone used Shutterfly or Snapfish? If so, how long did it take to upload the pictures? I actually tried Shutterfly but lost patience. What are your picture archiving opinions? Oh, and who local wants to work on pictures this year with me? Does anyone still set time aside for this?

I need to make more scrapbooks. Yet, my family needs to eat and my children need help with math. Days like this don’t happen often… a whole day in my chair. A completed project. A very happy me.

Maybe Daniel will go get some pizza. Wait, I forgot- it’s snowing…

Small Stuffed Knitted Bear

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Christina and one of her first knitted bears

For those who’d like to knit some bears for Operation Christmas Child, here is the pattern. These bears are adorable and the pattern really is quite simple! Just about any yarn can be used. Just make sure the needles are not larger than a size 9 or the bear may not fit easily in a shoe box!

路 About 100 yards of yarn in a worsted weight.
路 Needles in the recommended size for your yarn (look on the label for the US size, not mm. A sample bear was made with size 8 needles.)
路 Small amount of contrasting yarns for the eyes and necktie.
路 Darning needle.

Bear body (make 2):
路 CO 8 stitches.
路 Knit 19 rows. This is one bear leg. Cut yarn, leaving about a 4鈥 tail. Loop this through the last stitch to secure. Slide the leg to the back of the needle.
路 CO 8 stitches onto the EMPTY needle. Knit 19 rows. This is the other bear leg.
路 On the 20th row, join to the first leg and knit across.
路 Knit 16 rows. This is the bear body.
路 At the end of the 16th row, CO 10 additional stitches. This is one arm.
路 Knit across (26 st), CO 10 additional stitches to the other side (the other arm.)
路 Knit 12 rows. BO 13 stitches, knit across.
路 BO 13 stitches, knit across. There should be 10 stitches left on the needle.
路 Knit 1 row (neck).
路 1st head row: Knit 1, inc in next stitch. Knit across to last 2 stitches. Inc in next to last stitch, knit last stitch.
路 2nd and 3rd head rows: Repeat inc pattern of 1st head row.
路 You now have 16 stitches. Knit 8 rows.
路 1st dec row: Knit 1, k2tog, knit to last 3 stitches, ssk, knit last stitch. Repeat dec row pattern until 4 stitches remain. BO.

Ears (make 2):
路 CO 8. Knit 2 rows. Bind off 1st stitch of next 4 rows. BO remaining 4 stitches.

Anna's first knitted bear


路 CO 3 or 4. Knit 30 or 40 rows. BO, leaving an 8鈥 tail.
路 Thread this tail through the needle. Draw it through the long edge of the snout.
路 Pull tight, secure, sew short edges together. (Makes 陆 sphere.)
路 Stuff with small amount of stuffing. Place on bear鈥檚 face just above the neck.
路 Stitch around the edge
路 Sew the 2 sides together leaving a 2鈥 to 3鈥 opening for stuffing. Stuff softly with small handfuls. Close opening.
路 Sew ears to upper sides of head.
路 Cut a 12鈥 piece of contrasting yarn. Thread the needle and weave this through the stitches of the neck. Pull snugly; tie in a bow and double knot.
路 With contrasting yarn, embroider the eyes to the face.

CO= cast on
BO= bind off
Inc= increase = knit into the stitch from the front and the back before slipping it off the left needle.
Dec= decrease
k2tog= knit 2 stitches together as one
ssk= slip 2 stitches, one at a time, onto the right needle as to knit. Insert left needle through them, knit.

Make a Gingerbread man/woman or a doll by not adding the ears or snout and embroidering more facial features.

Bears for Boxes

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Every year our family participates in Operation Christmas Child (OCC). This wonderful ministry of Samaritan’s Purse (SP) distributes shoe boxes, packed with gifts for children as well as the Gospel message in his/her language, all over the world. It is a true joy to do something for others during a season that lends itself to materialism and often, especially in children focused on their lists for Santa, selfishness. To see my children exclaim, “Look, Mom… I bet a little girl about Sarah’s age would just LOVE this. Can we put it in our box this year?” is music to my ears. Through OCC, my children have learned a little of the joy of giving and blessing others.

Several years ago, we took this joy and spread it throughout the entire year in a slightly unusual way. My oldest girls had learned to knit. It began when my friend, Micki, showed me some little bears she’d designed. She was knitting for SP and knowing my girls’ love of knitting, asked if they’d be willing to make a bear. She showed my girls several of the adorable bears and they “oohed” and “awed.” They were new knitters and not sure if they could handle the pattern. They’d never knitted anything more complicated than a dishcloth. Could they really knit two bear sides, sew them together, and have them look nice enough for a child to want to love? We weren’t sure, but we sure were excited to try! My friend gave us a pattern and we all got started!

To our delight, the little bears weren’t difficult. Soon the girls were knitting like crazy and calculating how many bears could be produced in 8 months at the rate of a bear every two weeks. The girls were knitting with every spare moment of time they had and soon decided to enlist help! We invited several other knitting friends to join us and formed a group that met monthly. We met at a local yarn shop and our project was advertised. Soon knitters all over our county donated yarn for our project. Many donated bears. These little guys were so sweet. Who could resist knitting up one or two?

After months of knitting, donation day finally came. What a joy to discover we had over 150 cuddly bears! Every bear was unique. Some were pink for baby girls and some blue. Some were big and some tiny. Some had tails or little accessories like hair bows or vests. Though they were all different, they were all prayed over. As a group, we prayed for each recipient. These little bears were made with love by children wanting to bless other children whom they most likely would never see or meet. To donate our bears, all the knitters met at the OCC building of Samaritan’s Purse. What a wonderful experience that was! Our girls were given a tour of the facility and made to feel that their efforts would make a tremendous difference in the lives of over 150 children.

Our group on donatation day

A few months later, we received from a friend who went on a shoebox distribution, a hug from God in the form of a picture of a beautiful little girl. In one hand she held a picture of our group that we included in the box. In the other hand she held her bear made by our girls. That picture has been on my fridge ever since – a reminder that even children can use their talents to bless others. We pray that through that little bear, she will know of Christ love for her. That is the goal of Operation Christmas Child and the prayer of our hearts for her.

Last week, I received a letter from an OCC administrator asking if we’d be willing to knit bears for boxes again. Oh, I’d love to! If you are a reader and would like the pattern, please let me know. I’ll send it to you. We’d love to donate your bears. If you’re a local knitter who is ten or older and would like to participate, leave a comment. I’ll need to find a place to meet which can be a challenge, but I’d love to knit more bears for boxes!

Doggie Knits

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Christina has a new book full of doggie knit patterns. She completed her first project yesterday and now Tanner is all ready for winter in his handsome new sweater! I have no doubt he will have a complete wardrobe of new doggie knits by the time cold weather arrives!