It begins...

A friend recently forwarded an email to me titled "The Invisible Mother," a short essay comparing the tireless and often thankless job of a mother to the builders of Europe's great cathedrals. Both give their whole lives for a work they will never see finished, both make sacrifices and expect no credit, and both are fueled in their passion by the faith that the eyes of God see every detail. The writer of the essay was inspired by the thought that our endless efforts in motherhood, invisible as they may seem, are worth it and can make an enriching life.

For many of us, the way we choose to hold our invisibility at bay is by creating something tangible. For me, my days often end with knitting - my love of fiber and the need to do something relaxing end up producing something I can hold and look at. Nobody will know how many times I swept under the high chair that day, or how many toys I picked up, or how many times I tried to coax a "please" or "more" or "sorry" out of my 5 year old. But a darling, handmade infant hat? That you can see.

I start new projects every day, and my 10 year old does the same. In this process of creating (and yes, often not finishing our projects!) we connect with each other and a bigger picture of ourselves in the process. My plan for this blog is to share the projects that excite me and bring some accessible proof of my existence in this invisible world of mothering!

So, this blog is dedicated to the mothers out there whose days are filled with the minutia of tasks that build our children and our families. I often tell people that I haven't decided what I want to be when I grow up. But for now, I am the builder of a great cathedral. With every shoelace tied, lunch packed, and forehead kissed, I build.

And I can hardly wait to create something new...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Show and Tell

Brynn is apparently playing hooky today. She was snotty in the night, so I kept her home from school. She's been full of energy today, acting happy and cheerful, and I have only wiped her nose once. And she won't nap this afternoon. Totally should have sent her to school.

I've got a week's worth of show and tell for you, so let's jump right in. The big news is that Rowan won the 3rd place trophy at the Pinewood Derby on Saturday! She was thrilled (and Brad was baffled - he feels his skills in car-making are seriously lacking.) Here she is working on some fiery orange paint.

Here's the completed "haunted"car, and Rowan after her big win.
Rowan has also joined an after school club called "Kid's Kitchen" where they'll be meeting once a week to learn how to make snacks. Here's her rice-krispy treat snowman from the first meeting. Is he cute or what!?
This week I posted on Facebook that we have crocus blooming at our house. In January. Here's proof:
I have been busy, busy this last week working on photo albums and scrapbooks. (Note the leftover mason jars from Brownies-in-a-jar. No idea where to store those!
Family albums, DONE.
Rowan's birthday scrapbook, DONE.

Brynn's birthday scrapbook, DONE. Well, actually, I haven't found just the right stickers yet to embellish. When my new Ryka shoes are ready for pickup in Overland Park, I plan to hit Joann's for some sticker shopping.
Rowan and Brynn's portrait scrapbooks, updated and DONE.
Did I totally earn some time to myself to work a jigsaw puzzle. Oh yes, I did. The dark green areas just about killed me.
Now, I have also been working on the baby hat, and I admit it's been giving me some trouble. I added one earflap with no problem, but I counted the wrong direction when placing the second earflap and it ended up WAY not where it should have been. So, I picked it out carefully where I had started it, and decided to try and graft it where it should be rather than rip out the whole think, pick up new stitches and start over. There is one extra row now where the kitchener stitch was added, but I don't think it's too noticeable. The other problem is it's supposed to fit a 6 month old. Yeah, it fits Brynn, who is 3. Here's what happens when I try to have Brynn stand still and be a hat model...
So here's the hat, minus the pompoms I need to make. Now with fair isle, the pattern is pretty hard to mess with, and even going down in needle size is not going to get this hat down to 6 month size. Ideas, anyone? I'd really hate to buy more yarn, darnit, cause this stuff is warm and soft and washable! (Keep in mind, this hasn't been blocked and looks a bit lumpy...)
So last night I was itching to sit and knit and didn't have a single project to work on (making pompoms does not count as knitting.) My brain does not want to actually plan projects at 8:30pm, so I've got to come up with a project this afternoon before my knitting brain shuts down.) Little Miss No-Nap is not cooperating!

Monday, January 16, 2012


2 weeks have passed since my last craft confession, and almost no crafting has taken place during that time. I could tell you that it's because of my new Jazzercise schedule (which is partially true) or because of the major clutter clearing that is also happening at our house right now (also, partly true.) But the main reason is because I've been feeding a new, somewhat time-consuming addiction.

Jigsaw puzzles. Who knew! On our last couple days of winter break, Rowan and I unearthed all the puzzles we had in the house (none larger than 100 pieces) and filled our kitchen table with them. When they were all done, I had a strong itch to try my hand at a serious puzzle, so I put it on my Target shopping list. I told Rowan about how my grandma Helen used to always have a jigsaw puzzle going on her dining room table, and when a big family meal happened we would simply lay the tablecloth over the puzzle and dine. The last time I had worked on a big puzzle was in Jackson Hole, WY, when my siblings and I took Dad for a week-long 60th birthday excursion. The house we stayed at had a puzzle going, which had clearly been out on the table for years and the colors were warped from sun exposure. In the early mornings, warm coffee in hand, we would gather and work the Old Faithful  Hotel puzzle and by our last day in Jackson we had it finished. 

Well, the Target choices weren't great, but they did have one that inspired me, so home it came. My family lost my attention for several days running. We ate a lot of canned soup.
I must say, it was really cool to intimately get to know a famous work of art. Note to self: add other famous painting puzzles to birthday wish list!

Once this puzzle was done, I was anxious to start another so I borrowed a couple used puzzles from a friend and got to work. Puzzle number 2 was HARD. The colors on the actual puzzle didn't match what was on the box picture, and the box picture was really small and hard to see. Hmmm, perhaps the persistent headache I've had for over a week has to do with eye strain?
I've got a 3rd puzzle going now, but am pacing myself. What can I say, my family missed me and Rowan is sick of soup.

Now, to prove I have actually been productive around the house as well, here are some pictures of my totally organized, clutter-free basement storage area! The amount of toys, boxes, junk, crap, whatnot, had been significantly depleted. Oh joy! Sorry, I forgot to take "before" pictures, but just imagine wall-to-wall stuff everywhere.
Note: Games actually accessible, and camping stuff all stored in or on old dresser! (Also note: sad usage of nice Farha family heirloom rug in grody basement storage area. We feel a little guilty, but not enough to do something about it.)

Tools/paint/hardware: check. Sewing/fabric: check. Wrapping boxes: check. Memorabilia: check.

Lovely, lovely, organized and accessible "Holiday" section.

Puzzles, toys and clothing Brynn isn't ready for: check.
I mean, do I deserve to do a dang puzzle or what!!?!

And yes, the knitting needles have been picked up again - I'm trying my hand at fair aisle. Skulls and crossbones emerging!
I'm not thrilled with the seed stitch edge - it's a bit loose and unless it blocks out really nicely it will be my "trial" hat. I might do another one using a smaller needle for the seed stitch. Also, the pattern is meant to be 6 mos. size and fits Brynn. Hmmm. Need to tweak there as well. But the Cascade "Vintage" yarn feels really good and I like the color!

Now that the basement project is done, the next big thing on my list is to update Rowan's birthday scrapbook. Then do Brynn's. Then update the family album. Then update the girl's portrait albums. I've got my work cut out for me! Let the photo craziness begin...with a few breaks here and there to work the puzzle...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Home Again, Home Again (Jiggity Jig!)

Ahhh, January.  We're home! The unpacking is done, the new toys (mostly) put away, the house in decent order. I still need to put away the tree and all the decorations, but I'm in no rush this year. I have made the annual trek to Target for a trunkload of Sterilite bins to help me organize the chaos of never ending toys. Starting this week, I'll be tackling the basement storage area and purging carloads full of stuff to make room for more storage. Abe and Raena, prepare for a box of baby stuff coming your way in the near future!

Our travels were filled with family and love, but with a few shadows and a bit of tragedy. Mom had a health scare the week we were there, which thankfully turned out to be a non issue (YES!) and Dad developed a muscle spasm in his shoulder that rendered him unable to complete his woodworking gifts and has made work, sleep, and his daily schedule almost impossible to maintain. And sadly, while we were in Wichita, Rowan's fish (Gilbert) died. Dec. 30 was a long, sad day for her. We buried him in the garden on the 31st, and she created this picture in his memory:
In my rush to get gifts wrapped, given, and sent, I didn't remember to take pictures of 2 of my 3 finished "Eternity Scarves." Here's the one I made for Raena, being modeling by Frosty...
She tells me its scrumptious and wonderful - yay! Rowan had her own bit of fun creating a gift for Raena and Abram's baby (and PS, it's going to be a boy!) Here's her custom-made bib design:
One of the Christmas traditions our family has is to make Lithuanian Grybai cookies. They are a bit labor intensive, but so yummy. This was the first year Rowan got on board to help! I made the dough, sectioned into hunks to make the stems and caps...
 Here's Rowan, dipping the stems into frosting and inserting them into the caps...
 And here's the final result - poppyseed sprinkled, iced "mushroom" cookies. YUM!
And now, it's time to start some January projects! I've got a few in mind, but Knit Wit was closed today when I stopped to get materials. In the meantime, I will continue to crank out some hats for charity.

I will leave you with a few of my favorite photos from Christmas Day - I managed to catch some great moments!
Rowan sees what Santa brought...
Mini Felicity doll
Putting on the charm bracelet I  made Rowan
Fascinated by her new coloring book
She LOVES her new horse!
Brynn sees her new piano
Our little Schroeder...
Watching Raena open the bib she made