making by hand

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Last week we were having our AC unit replaced and while the guys were here working on it for the morning, I took the kids out for a bike/walk around the neighborhood.  I quickly realized something was going on as cars were buzzing in and out of our usually quiet streets, lining the roads all around our home.  People were walking to their cars carrying boxes, armfuls of wood, all manner of odds and ends.  I asked one guy what was going on and he said an estate sale was happening around the corner.  We decided to stop in the sale since it was on our usual walk route.  How strange to go inside a home that we have walked by hundreds of times, one of our neighbors that I don’t think we’ve ever met.  Strange, to wonder what has happened to them, to see everything in their home with a price tag on it, people hustling in and out of rooms hawking items.  All their precious things, their life held in the chipped and peeling walls.  How much you can uncover about a person by just entering their home, seeing what they’ve held onto, what mattered to them.  Walls and walls of old books, probably a treasure trove though I didn’t have time to hunt through them.  She had a craft room–bags of yarn, half-finished projects, piles of crocheted afghans.  Old dolls, an ancient sewing machine on a wooden table with patterns for dolls clothes and such stored in a tupperware nearby.  Shelves of crafting books.

All these things, her treasures, now priced and sorted through by strangers.  How odd really, that things come to us, we hold them, transform them maybe and then they slip through our fingers and go to someone else.

She was a maker and I wondered at how many other women in my little neighborhood spend their evenings like I do, with needles in hand or some other handmade project.  I don’t know why it struck me as profound, but it did.  All this work of our hands, and why does it matter?

I think because of my love for knitting, my children are “catching” the value of handmade things + craft.  At least, I hope they do.  I think the mindfulness and intentionality of it, the sense of accomplishment in finishing a project, the stimulus of creativity–all is good.  I recently ordered some little cotton muslin bags and a couple of pounds of dried organic lavender flowers to make my own little satchels for our closets.  On a rainy afternoon, it was a perfect activity.  Noah and Philippa filled up all the little bags with scoops between sips of warm tea, and then helped place the little bags in our closets and around my (small) yarn stash.  Lavender is a beneficial in so many ways, as most of us well know, in relaxation and helping to aid sleep.  It is also a pest/bug deterrent and helps keep woolens smelling good and unappealing to moths.  Every time I open our closets now, it makes me smile, the rush of the scent of lavender fields.

Phoebe also requested some new loops for her weaving loom, and she has been busy making beautiful, colorful little squares.

All these things, into our fingers, slipping through.

yarn along


Hello everyone!  I hope some of my readers are still around and have hung in there with me while I’ve been absent.  I hope to slowly get back into my usual blogging swing.  I have missed it!

I haven’t felt at all like doing anything creative since mid-June, so all my knitting projects have been put away for a time.  I’m just beginning to be able to look at patterns and yarn again and feel the tiniest nudge toward the creative bug, so I’m hoping my “making” juices start flowing again soon.  I have missed feeling like myself!  Apparently the children have missed it, too.  Noah told me the other day he misses when I used to knit, and all three children piled their birthday knitting requests on me.  (Sweaters!  Mittens!  Socks!)

The weather has shifted ever so slightly in our area, cooler mornings and evenings and days.  The song of fall is whispering on the wind and I can hear it better this year than ever before because all through my sick and depressed days of pregnancy, I knew fall would be the time when I would get back on my feet again.  Fall is my favorite season because it is so beautiful and glorious in every way in the mountains of NC, but the best part is anticipating winter!  I’m a winter girl through and through.  I love bundling up, I love fires and steaming mugs, cozy slippers, red cheeks and noses, snow and even the barren landscapes.  I’m looking forward to it more than ever this year!

After a long hiatus in my project bag, I’ve picked up my Winterwoods ABC Cross-stitch sampler in anticipation of the coming fall season.  Sometimes I only have the energy to stitch a few little x’s before I set it down, but I’m reinvigorated to finish and frame it.  We were hustled moving into our home, and had a few house projects to do after we moved in before we could begin settling things in their places, and then this surprise pregnancy stopped me right in my home-organizing tracks.  I’m beginning to feel up to the task of settling into this home and making it ours, and this little sampler brings me such joy every time I see it.  Truly cannot wait to find a spot for it!  I originally stitched it intending it for Philippa’s room, but we’ll see.  It’s the second ABC sampler I’ve done from Alicia Paulson and everything she designs is so lovely.

I have been reading just a little on my own, but not as much as usual.  Phoebe and I have been reading this beautifully illustrated version of The Secret Garden from our library.  We’re both really enjoying it, but for some reason I am aching to read E. B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan to her in the fall season.  I haven’t read it since I was a child but it has been calling to me, so I’m eager to get through the Secret Garden this month for sure.

Linking up with Nicole’s weekly Crafting On.
Affiliate links included in this post.



“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10)

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Lately I’ve been playing around with making things.  I think there are a few reasons why I suddenly feel the need to make more art, but one sticks out to me in particular.  When you are busy in the work of parenting + homemaking, when this life of laundry, meal making, dishes, discipline, training, playing, errands, and mundane rhythms is your everyday, it can feel sort of endless.  The long-haul nature of it can wear on a person who likes to see a finished product or an accomplished goal.  The reality is, we cross many things off our lists every day, we finish a lot of menial tasks every day, and that counts for something important and it feels GOOD.  Then, little feet jump out of bed in the morning and the tidiness and order gives way to glorious chaos once again.  It’s the reality of our work as mothers, bringing some semblance of order from chaos day in and day out.

Beyond the actual work of managing and running a home, the work of raising little people into adulthood is D A U N T I N G.  If we look too far ahead, we can feel entirely overwhelmed and underprepared for what lies in the future.  The thing about parenthood is, it’s a fairly thankless and inglorious job.  More than that, it’s a marathon not a sprint.  Not even a cute little 5k.  It’s long-haulish.  Because of that, we find ourselves parenting to our particular children’s individual needs + bents and we see little glimpses of progress, but more often than not (at least in our home) we slap our proverbial foreheads and think, “How many hundreds of times have I told you this?!?!”  (Or maybe we actually say it, if we are having a weak moment.)

It’s such a work of slow returns and slow progress.  Surely progress is happening, growth is happening right under our noses, but it’s often as imperceptible as our children’s physical growth.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been craving some crafty projects lately, things that I can start, work on, and F I N I S H and see that I have, in fact, accomplished something.  Not only is the work itself soothing and relaxing, but the end product reminds me that I am still able to accomplish something lasting.  It reminds me that one day, I will see all the days of labor that melted into weeks, into months, into years produce a great harvest.  It even whispers to me that much like my children are, in a sense, the masterpiece my life is working to produce, in the very process of this … God is making a masterpiece out of me.  All the intense ways that motherhood presses me–it’s shaping and forming me more into the image He is after, the image of His Son.  I am His workmanship, and His goal is for me to grow up into full spiritual maturity.

“…until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”  (Ephesians 4:13-16)

When we grow weary in the seemingly endless and slow-producing work of parenting, let us remember He is parenting us and we are just as slow and stubborn and forgetful as our darling children.  And if it helps to alleviate some stress or to give you that sense of satisfaction that comes from accomplishing + finishing something?  Go make something.  It could be anything… a batch of cookies, a meal, a card, a bouquet of wildflowers, a hand-sewn or embroidered dress.  Enjoy the small steps, the small minutes of working with your hands, producing something, and seeing your effort come to fruition in the end product.  And while you’re at it, remember, you are His workmanship, His masterpiece, to the praise of His glorious grace.



(The weaving pictured above was inspired by the lovely Beautiful Mess blog + you can find free tutorials for weaving here.  This weaving was my first and I’m already working on another!)