Tag Archives: family

Crafting Together, and a Quilt with a Story

One of the drawbacks of last summer’s move was moving further away from my husband’s family.  Being a plane-ride away from my own family, and being blessed with such wonderful in-laws, it was definitely  a draw-back to move an additional half-hour away.  However, I think we have seen them more this winter than last and it has been wonderful!

With projects to do around both of our houses, my husband declared every other Saturday as “family work day.”  We spend one Saturday a month together at our house, and one Saturday a month together at theirs.  Father and son use the time to help each other with projects around the house (and for that I am so thankful) and we women have been making our way through our piles of crafty projects!

There is something really special about the time women spend together creating.  I love hearing the sound of knitting needles clacking, of sewing machines humming, and I have certainly benefited from my mother-in-law’s help and wisdom.  Sometimes we chat, sometimes we listen to music, sometimes we watch movies, and other times we just sit in the quiet, absorbed in our projects.  And there is something in me that thinks “this is the way life is supposed to be.”

Now that my sweater is complete, I have moved on to spending those Saturdays working through some of my sewing UFOs.  And with that purpose in mind I rediscovered, and finished, this quilt.

Hand Tied Hippie Quilt

And although I do love the front, it is the back that I am particularly enamoured with.

Hippie Quilt 1970s polyester satin back

Isn’t it awesome?  And it is just as soft and smooth and satiny as it looks.  This was a true treasure out of my grandmother’s fabric collection, and along with many of the fabrics I used for the top, probably purchased 40 – 50 years ago.  Sometimes I like to imagine what my grandmother had intended with her purchases.  This is a wildly beautiful print!  But I am kind of glad she never worked it into one of her own sewing projects, because it looks right at home here on this quilt.

So this is how I have been spending the cold winter days (which stubbornly refuse to turn into spring.)  Quilting.  Sewing.  Knitting.  Thinking about my grandmother.  Creating quilts and sweaters and memories woven together.

Do you craft together with others?  What are your favourite winter-day projects?

My First Knitted Sweater! In Progress.

I am extremely blessed to have a wonderful second family.  My husband’s parents are almost as near and dear to me as my own, and we enjoy doing so many of the same things!  This week-end, my mother-in-law helped me start my very first knitted sweater.  Up to this point my knitting has consisted primarily of dishcloths and scarves, so this feels like a big step.  My mother-in-law is an experienced knitter and I appreciate her patience and willingness to help me learn!

This is the sweater I picked out to try:

Photo: www.lionbrand.com

It’s called the Waterford Cardigan and it’s a free pattern from Lion Brand Yarns.  It uses a bulky yarn and large needles which is perfect for me as it’s working up nice and quick!  Look how much I got done yesterday!


My first knitted sweater!


The yarn is Loops & Threads Country Loom which was on sale for half price just after Christmas!  I had actually picked it up for another sweater project which didn’t work out, but I think it will work nicely with this pattern.

It was really nice to spend the day with my Mom-in-law.  We shopped for yarn and then spent the afternoon curled up in cozy chairs, knitting the hours away. Bliss!

My first knitted sweater

And even though this sweater is only just beginning, I have already picked out my next project.  I bought this pattern on Ravelry and can’t wait to knit it!  The yarn she used is beautiful, but just a tad too expensive for me.  I am thinking of substituting something like this as it is a similar heavy weight.  We’ll see when the time comes!

What projects are you working on right now?



Although hubby and I do not have children of our own, I have been richly blessed with friends who have graciously allowed me to be a part of their family, and to share the joy of teaching, spending time with, and loving, their children.

This week, one of those beloved children went home to be with Jesus.

His life had never been an easy one, but he navigated this world with an inner strength that never wavered, no matter how tough things got.   He was my “imp”  - the one who teased his sisters and liked a good prank, but could also turn on the charm and convince you to do almost anything with his winning smile.  I know I will carry the memory of his smile in my heart forever.

I avoided his room today, somehow believing that as long as I didn’t step inside, there was still the possibility that he might somehow still be there, and not gone from this world after all.  But it didn’t stop his absence from being felt.   My boy is gone.  Safe, and free from pain.  But we will miss him, here.

Today belongs to the memory of this young man whom we love and miss.

I have turned off the comment feature on this post.  If you have words to say, please lift them up as prayers on behalf of his parents and sisters, whose grief and loss I can only imagine.

Until we meet again, dear boy……

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:4



The Last Three Weeks

It has been at least three weeks since I have written here, maybe more.  And as hard as I try to keep this blog an integral part of my weeks and days, sometimes life happens.

And, after all, it is real life that matters, more than the recording of that life on this screen.

The last three weeks have been filled, topped up and overflowing with the goodness of family life.  With sweet reunions, hugs, photos, and just being together, in person, not separated by hundreds of miles and connected only by phone or screen.

There were fish caught, picnics eaten, treasures found, rain ignored, and sun enjoyed.  There was exploring and adventuring and just hanging out at home.  Fresh vegetables laboured over filled hungry and appreciative mouths.  Many hands made light work of meals and dishes.  Late nights for chatting, game playing, enjoying.

And with the yin and yang of joy and pain came sweet goodbyes, long hugs, signed “I Love You’s,” hands waving until the car can be seen no more.  Then the silence and space that leaving brings.  The stillness of a house that had been full for so long.

And it is this way that my summer has come to an end.  In sweet memories and bittersweet goodbyes.  In knowing that children will grow, we will age, lives will change, and we will never be together again in quite the same way.  Holding memories tight to make them last until we meet again.  Family, and yet living such far-apart lives.

The first of the autumn leaves have begun to glow red.  Cool night air blows through my windows.  I head back to school, fall schedules, volunteer requests, the busyness of life begun anew. 

Farewell sweet summer.  Until we meet again….

7 Years Ago Today….

7 Years ago today I married my wonderful Hubby.

Seven years hardly seems possible (sometimes it seems the years have flown by, and other times as if we have been together forever.)

And although we have certainly had our moments of disagreement, and misunderstanding, and the growing pains of learning to compromise, mostly it has been a wonderful adventure and I am so thankful to have this wonderful man as my husband. 


Looking back at a post I wrote on our 5 year anniversary  I realize again just how much we have done in just another two years.  It is amazing how you can let years go by and feel like you haven’t really done anything, and then look back even a few years to realize just how far you have really come. 

And we have big plans for the future….  (I hope we are still saying that on our 50th wedding anniversary – “it’s been a good 50 years and we have big plans for the future….”)  being thankful for the past and looking forward to the future is one of the secrets to a joy-filled life, I think (though I am no expert on such things!)

What are you thankful for today?

Christmas is for Giving: Spreading the Joy with Extended Family

Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  The candle has been lit, the streets are white with snow, and the sound of Joy to the World still echoes in my ears from this morning’s church service. 

The Christmas season has begun.

Hubby and I have been busy making Christmas lists, planning celebrations, and I have at least ten homemade projects already on the go.  (Tutorials for evergreen Christmas wreaths and homemade envelopes will be up on Artisan in the Woods soon!)

But as much as I love the bows and ribbons, papers and cards, decorations and gifts, I know Christmas means so much more.

And as family begins to ask us what we want for Christmas, we are reminded just how very blessed we are in that our lists reflect beautiful things that we want, because we already have everything we really need.

It was out of this feeling and understanding that a new giving tradition has been born in my extended family. 

Many extended families have become creative with gift giving over the years.  Gift swaps, drawing names, gifts for kids only, gifts for the whole family to share, homemade gifts only, and card parties are just a few of the ways that families I know have chosen to celebrate the season of giving with each other, and as a way to lessen the number of gifts each family member needs to buy.

In my extended family, we decided that rather than trying to fill stockings with our wants, we would instead come together to help meet the needs of others.  This endeavour has had us shopping for Christmas dinner for families in need, giving gifts to those who otherwise wouldn’t have any, sharing gifts of love and handmade items to those who struggle through the season, and putting our hands and hearts into serving others.  Even my young nephews are involved in the gift-giving and love-sharing.

And this giving to others is also a gift to each other.  A gift of time spent together doing something worthwhile.  A gift of counting our blessings together and knowing we have more than enough.  The gift of watching the children among us grow in their understanding that Christmas is more than Santa and gifts under the tree.

When we come together as an extended family for Christmas dinner we may not be passing each other shiny-wrapped presents, but we share in the joy of the season and allow time spent together and warm embraces to be our gifts of the day.  It has become one of my favourite parts of celebrating the holidays together.

 It came without ribbons,
It came without tags,
It came without packages, boxes, or bags.
Christmas can’t be bought from a store…
Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.

~ Dr. Seuss 
How do you share Christmas with your extended family?    

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