Saturday, February 27, 2010

Duct Tape

I recently purchased some duct tape -- not duck tape, that cult classic accessory, but actual duct tape for duct work.

I am pleased to say that the amount of warm air making it out of the basement seems to have increased greatly after the application of said duct tape to various and sundry loose bits of duct work. In sealing up those leaking ducts I learned a couple things:
  1. If you are on a ladder and have forgotten the scissors, you can get duct tape to tear if you start it with your teeth.
  2. Duct tape will take all the skin off the inside of your lip if you get it anywhere near your mouth.
  3. In the event of the above, even if you use a straw, drinking grapefruit juice will sting.

In retrospect, number three should have been obvious.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


"When Sorrow sang, her notes were like the low, sweet call of the nightingale, and in her eyes was the unexpectant gaze of one who has ceased looking for coming gladness. When Joy sang, his voice soared upward as the lark's, and his step was the step of a conqueror who has never known defeat. But we can never be united, said Sorrow wistfully. Even as she spoke, they became conscious of a form standing behind them; dimly seen, but of a Kingly Presence. I see him as the King of Joy, whispered Sorrow. Before him, all my sorrow is melting away into deathless love and gladness. Said Joy softly, But I see him as the King of Sorrow. The crown on his head is a crown of thorns, and the nailprints are the scars of a great agony. Then we are one in him, they cried in gladness, for none but he could unite Joy and Sorrow. Hand in hand, they passed out into the world to follow him through storm and sunshine, in the bleakness of winter cold and the warmth of summer gladness ... as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing."
-- Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

Monday, February 22, 2010

Currently Quilting

I pulled this baby quilt out of storage to quilt for the new little one on its way. My grandmother and I, before her death, created many quilt tops together as a legacy from her to future grandbabies. This quilt was one of her favorites because of her Scottish love for all things thistle.

For those who want to know: The dark spiky and thistle-y print is "Camelot" from Hoffman. The light print is a Maywood Studios "Beautiful Backgrounds" with pale green dragonflies and grasses dancing across it. And the stems and leaves of the appliqued thistles are done with a varigated Sulkey rayon thread.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Vanilla Colors

Even with all the snow on the ground I am not tired of white.
Not tired of wide lace and old linen whites.
Low hanging moons and new taper candlewicks whites.
Crisp painted bead board and Clorox clean ceramic whites.
Big puffy horizon clouds and still seeds for the moment but soon will flower whites.
It is a very ordinary color. And gloriously so.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Steak Knives in the Play Pen

In a recent conversation about a few errors in a Sunday School teaching video I found myself considering the question:

"But isn't it better that they get some truth?"

For seekers in the Christian faith, learning something -- anything -- is important.

But, in providing the wrong information mixed with correct theology, are we doing more harm than good?

This is a question I still do not know the answer to.

Except that I wonder....

If you put 52 plush toys into a play pen with a set of steak knives and left a small child playing there... are we certain that they would only play with the stuffed animals and not pick up the steak knives?

Would any parent take that chance?

Should any Sunday School teacher take that chance?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


A friend asked "What are you giving up for Lent?" That particular facebook status triggered a remarkable number of comments. Some were apathetic, some were confused -- isn't Lent a Catholic tradition? -- some were giving up sugar and facebook.

I am giving up marshmallows. For me, this a difficult thing to do especially just now, at the height of Peep season.

It occurs to me today that the world at large celebrates Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Faschnaught Day (Pennsylvania tradition of stuffing yourself with doughnuts the day before you give up all fried foods until after Easter). I have even been to Mardi Gras parties at non-denominational churches.

In the same way that the pagan Halloween no longer reminds anyone of All-Saints Day, Lent is being overshadowed by Fat Tuesday traditions. But why should any Christians allow atheists, pagans, and humanists to change our traditions of symbolic sacrifice and contemplation of the Lord into a forgotten excuse for hedonistic revelry?

I was raised in a faith polar opposite of any high church traditions, the church calendar was round after round of seasonal missionary trips, community outreach, and potluck dinners -- don't get me wrong I love seasonal missionary trips, community outreach, and potluck dinners -- but the liturgical traditions of the Christian faith are lovely too.

I choose to observe Lent, not because I believe it is commanded, but because I believe it is an aide to worship.

Lent is the time of reminder, the time of sacrifice. It is the forty days leading up to Good Friday when Christ gave his life for us. How beautiful to remind ourselves of His sacrifice for us by using this time to give up something for Him.

Lent is the time when I think how small my soul must be that Christ would die on the cross for my sins and I find it difficult to give up marshmallows or chocolate for a mere forty days. How much He must love us!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Peruvian Tweed

Alpaca yarn is a dream to knit with. So soft it slips smoothly through the fingers as my needles fly along.
Blending together different natural colors from the fluffy fiber animals this three-ply yarn called "Peruvian tweed" was selected by my sister for the sweater I was to knit her. Mind you I'd never knit a whole sweater before. Socks and baby things have been my deal.
The hood was the most difficult part for me -- figuring out what the instructions meant for me to do with binding off and casting on and shaping and joining. Bunny agreed to hood model so you can all see: I actually managed to get it looking like a real hooded sweater.

I am informed I will be making more of these.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Day of White

White Tulips in a white pitcher.
Looking lovely in the living room -- thank you to my sister.

White paint drying on new shelves in the closet in my kitchen.
With an air intake vent in the bottom of this closet it was useless as a coat closet. Project: add shelves and turn the useless kitchen closet into a handy pantry.

White Snow lining tree branches.
About a foot of it on the ground now and still coming down.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Two Groundhog Stews

The Groundhog Stew. Well, not really groundhog, just beef, diced with onion and made into a stew for Groundhog's day dinner with tomato paste, red beans, and cannellini.


Then, the next day, Groundhog Shadow Stew. Basically the same thing: Beef, onion, beans,little olive oil, pinch of salt -- but black beans this time because a shadow is dark (or more accurately because black beans are what I had in the cupboard) and no tomato paste this time but I did add peas, grated carrot, and a little oregano just on a whim.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Seeing Shadows

Happy Groundhog's Day.

Puxatawney Phil says six more weeks of winter. Not a difficult prediction to make since we are exactly six weeks out from the Vernal Equinox, the first official day of Spring.

So the groundhog saw his shadow, as he does almost every year. But here in the shadow of winter, under the drifts of snow, I dream of spring. The cool wet rainy days of green springing forth will come sooner than we think.

Now where did I put those seed catalogs?