Saturday, May 23, 2015

Words and Wool

The other wool project that I recently finished after many, many years is my Granny Flower Blanket. It's so wonderful to have this finished! I think it is my first large crochet blanket. It was originally based on this beautiful Japanese Flower Scarf -- I tried to recreate the flowers from the picture. Eventually I realized my yarn was to heavy to make a useable scarf so I put a square edging on the flowers and turned it into a blanket.

I also put an edging around the whole thing in strawberry smoothie pink. I love it!

The colors go with my bedroom really well! Just a shame that it is now too hot to enjoy it! :)

And now for the rest of the books that I've read lately:

Crafting a Colorful Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to Personalizing Your Space with Color by Kristin Nicholas is a beautiful and inspiring book on home decoration. I've read Kristin's blog for probably eight years so the pages of this book felt comforting and familiar. Kristin's color palette is brighter and bolder than mine but her style mingles with my own and it must not be coincidence that one of her favorite sources of inspiration is also mine -- British Country Living.

Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life by Elyse Fitzpatrick was an excellent book on the heart of the Gospel -- the love of God for us and what it means to really allow this truth (the Gospel) to sink deeply into our hearts. I pray that I will daily ponder God's love for me.

Messenger of Truth: A Maisie Dobbs Novel (Maisie Dobbs Novels) by Jacqueline Winspear is the latest Maisie Dobbs mystery that I've read. Post World War 1, London, always a cup of tea -- definitely my cup of tea.

The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to Be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World by David Murray is a helpful book. A friend pointed out the illusion in the cover design to Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, and indeed, Murray quotes from Rubin! But this book is coming at the subject from a spiritual angle. I bought the book in the depths of winter when I really needed something to help my thinking go in the right places. Murray has lots of practical advice -- owning the book means I can continue to remind myself of it when I need to!

Choosing Rest: Cultivating a Sunday Heart in a Monday World by Sally Breedlove will be one of my very favorite books from this year. I read it parallel with The Happy Christian and actually found this book to be even more helpful to me. Breedlove speaks about the need to choose rest (which means leaving something undone) and how God uses various trials in our life (depression, illness, grief, need) as gateways into God's rest for us. Excellent, excellent book.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry was a quick read the children and I enjoyed together in school as part of our World War 2 studies. It dealt with hiding Jews and the resistance movement in Denmark. It was engaging and gave us another insight into war on the continent.

Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World by Michael Horton was another excellent book I recently read. Contrary to so much of what we hear, Horton pointed out that being a Christian involves patient, humble involvement in "ordinary" things -- not running off with every new wind of interest to do something "big" and "extraordinary" for God. A very helpful message to hear and ponder.

Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus is one of our favorite read-alouds  from this spring. It is another World War 2 resistance story this time set in Norway and involving a teenage boy. It is well written and gripping and the best part is it is based on the experiences of a real person!

On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts (Masters in Fine Living Series) by Ann Kroeker and Charity Craig is a great little book for those who want to write or write more. The twelve chapters offer good advice and practical ideas on how to move forward in a writing hobby or career.

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson was listened to in the car and everyone enjoyed it quite a lot. It is set in London around a cholera outbreak and the great mission of the book is to discover how the cholera is spreading and stop its spread.

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom was another book we listened to in school for our World War 2 study. I read this as a child but am so glad I "read" it again as an adult. Corrie weaves the sovereignty of God into every chapter as she tells of her deep involvement in the Dutch resistance and then her stay in a concentration camp as a result. I loved it.

Well, that's all for now! For more ideas on knitting/crochet and reading, visit Ginny's Yarn-Along.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spring at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

For the last twenty years my family has been enjoying visits to the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. In fact, visits have become somewhat of a tradition. So, it was difficult for us to accept the fact that the IMA is now charging pretty exorbitant entrance fees. When Andrew's school organized a field trip in April I jumped on an inexpensive way to pay a visit!

April and May are the best months for this lovely garden.

It's always fun to run around and pretend this is "our" house:

It's so easy for the imagination to work in these surroundings:

View of Oldfields from the back:

Down the path -- this was April 16 and not much was blooming yet.

But there were beautiful tulips in the planters:

The kids really do not enjoy posing for pictures at all.

Laura will cooperate a bit:

Our big five year old:

This is one of my favorite bushes -- I think there is only one in the garden and the timing of its blooms is very hard to catch. Such a treat to catch it this year!

And the magnolia was incredible:

More picture opportunities:

Picnic in the grass:

Had to bring along the hot water so we could have tea to keep us warm!!!

Another beautiful vista:

And I love this -- sort of Pride and Prejudice like:

James had a little game with a squirrel:

"Chase me around the tree":

"There you are":

Another view of the magnolia:

The one saving grace about the new entrance fees is that there is one afternoon/evening a month that is free of charge (first Thursday of each month from 4-9pm). I put the dates on my calendar and we managed to all make it to the grounds for a picnic dinner on May 7. It seemed we had the whole place to ourselves! (I was sure it would be packed.)

There is always a picture on the stone:

The rhododendrons were beautiful:

The kids wanted to tour Oldfields first so in we went. I always love the silver tea service in the dining room.

And I was so excited that we could view the new silver exhibit upstairs!

What a change in three short weeks in the garden down the walk:

Look at those azaleas!

They were shockingly beautiful!

A view back up to Oldfields:

And around the path to the fountain garden:

Some really tall tulips:

The kids still had energy so into the museum we went:

Rachel and I walked around the dress exhibit while the boys devoted their time to the new cars exhibit.

One of my favorites, of course!

Rachel and I loved this display of American clothing through the centuries. It would be so fun to make dolls for each era.

And we had to run through the car exhibit too, just so we didn't miss anything. This is the new 7-seater vehicle I need to drive our family around!

It was a very memorable evening, a rare occurrence around here with everyone's schedules going somewhere different. Now I'm looking forward to another visit some Thursday later on in the summer!