December Morning in the Garden: Thoughts on Resting

I should have cleaned out my garden back in October, but I was still healing from foot surgery. Now that my foot is technically well enough to handle yard work it’s been raining or super cold. But all that leftover foliage mixed with a cold and misty morning sure makes for some lovely photos.

I love noticing the flow of nature, and for the last few years I’ve tried to emulate its rhythms in my own life. Winter is such an interesting idea–time to rest. In a society where we’re all working and recreating non-stop and trying to launch a side hustle at the same time, rest can be an elusive concept.

I’ve always appreciated the concept of the Sabbath Day and its insistence on slowing down once a week, but I’ve always had music callings at church, which meant Sunday was one of my most busy and dreaded days of the week. Yes, I love music; but that doesn’t downplay the stress and anxiety that comes with organizing and performing said music. I stepped away from and declined all the holiday music commitments this year, and I’m so glad I did. No rehearsals, no dealing with sore throats, no pounding heartbeat before a performance…just calm appreciation of the season.

I was sick last week with some little thing that is now creeping through the entire family. As much as I resent the missed opportunities to get ahead on the Christmas crafting, it sure was nice to Netflix and Nap during daylight hours. I’m reminded of the 12 Week Year insistence of including free time in your schedule (Breakout Blocks), and I’m realizing that I’ve forgotten to do that since my foot surgery. (Sitting around for six weeks straight will make you feel like you’ve had ENOUGH free time, thankyouverymuch.) I suppose I should make a note to include a block of free time in my week. It’d be nice to do some Christmas baking.

But, ugh, the guilt that comes with resting and doing something just for the enjoyment of it. There’s always more I think I should be doing! Unfortunately, I’ve learned over and over again that if you don’t make time to rest and heal, your body will force you into it with sickness or injury. I’m finally accepting this universal truth and making room for it in my own life. The earth rests every winter and the moon wanes every month–why do I think I need less rest than them?

I like the idea of taking a break in the winter to rest and nurture myself and my family. Christmas festivities infringe on that a bit, but the weeks after Christmas are beautifully quiet. The new year invites reflection and planning while wearing snuggly socks and sweaters. We dream up our vision for the coming year while nurturing our bodies with hearty soups, like we’re infusing ourselves for the work ahead. I love the winter months when they’re spent in quiet activities. Taking a break in the winter is such a lovely ritual.

Because March and April will roll around soon enough and next year’s garden will need planting. It’s a lot easier to do when you’re excited about it because you’ve had a break.

(It’s also a lot easier to do if you’ve cleaned up the last year’s garden before your break…my fingers are still crossed that I can get to it…wish me luck!)

Nature Trail Quilt for Blank Quilting

IMG_20200730_200528-01I was beyond thrilled to open my July box from Blank Quilting and find the Nature Trail fabric collection within!  It’s a woodsy collection filled with all the cute, scurrying things in the forest, along with colorful mushrooms and bugs.  I’d been stalking the potential choices for July, and had already decided that if I received Nature Trail I’d use it to make some sort of quilt that featured Maple Leaf blocks.  Because, hello, Canadian.

You know how you get about halfway through a project and start to second-guess yourself like crazy?  I did that with this quilt so hard, and now, as I look at it in its completed form, I have no idea why that even happened.  I absolutely love it, and it’s going to look fantastic with my autumn decor, which is super heavy on aqua and teal.  (Well, let’s be honest, almost everything in my house is heavy on aqua and teal.  Why would autumn be an exception?)

IMG_20200730_200545-01-01The collection is designed by Ingrid Slyder of Nutshell Designs and it’s a lovely mix of forest things.  The scraps are dear to me and will be used very carefully because I love them so. There’s also two panels that come with this collection, and I have an idea stewing in my mind for one of them, and a general idea with no specifics for the other.  Maybe I can get to those after I get through with mask-sewing.  Because, hello, masks.  *grumble, grumble*

Thank you again to Blank Quilting Corporation for this truly enjoyable opportunity to make beautiful things from fun collections.


A quick internet search shows that you can pre-order this fabric from Bug Fabrics here in Washington State (who I’ve ordered from in the past and they’re quick with shipping!), and it looks like Eclectic Maker in the UK will also carry the collection at some point.

Autumn Update

Hello friends!

Because I’m quite sure you wouldn’t get all giddy over a post that chronicled which boxes I unpacked and where I put the stuff that was in them, I figured it was better to not update you until I had something creative to show you.

I’ve had no inclination to sew, knit, whatever, AT ALL, and I’ve been OK with it because the more I look back on the past twelve months, the more I realize that we went through A LOT of stressful stuff, and it takes energy to deal with all that stress, which came from my creative reserves.  Happy moment, though: This last week I had a brilliant little moment where I wanted to make something.  That feeling has been absent for months, so I’m grateful that things are calming down enough that my interest in crafting is starting to come back.

201811117370910250702226081I did grit my teeth and make my youngest daughter a Little Red Riding Hood costume for Halloween because I did have time for it, and her little brother decided to be a wolf so he could match her, and I think they were adorable!  Her costume was an exercise in frustration–I could not locate the pattern in her size ANYWHERE.  And my best friend rode in for the rescue and bought the pattern* at her local JoAnn Store, not realizing that it came in adult OR child size, and sent me the adult size.  (Oh gosh, we laughed…)  So the costume ended up being the Adult Small skirt, minus five inches around the waist; a plain white t-shirt with aspects of the original costume appliqued onto the shirt; and I tracked down a different pattern** for the cape/hood.  She was so pleased with it all, and totally didn’t care that it was a crazy hodge-podge costume.  A woman stopped me at the school Halloween party to liberally compliment me on the costume, so I’m pretty pleased with the experiment.  (And totally want to make more things edged with eyelet lace!  Such a sweet look!)

20181103_145518-01And right now I am eyeballs-deep in making linen napkins for my Thanksgiving table because I’ve always wanted linen napkins and I have no crafty deadlines on my plate at the moment.  It’s been so. much. fun. researching hemstitching and heirloom sewing, and oh my goodness, do I love me some beautiful heirloom sewing.  So much drooling.

BUT…I massively underestimated how long these napkins were going to take, mostly because I didn’t think ironing the hem allowances was going to take twenty minutes PER NAPKIN.  Four more napkins to press before I actually get to meet needle to fabric!  Ugh!

But look at this gorgeous view from my new craft room’s window…it’s so nice to have something besides a window well to look at!

The napkins are going to be lovely, with mitered corners and hemstitching.  I’m seriously in love with them.  That bit of brown fabric and thread in my craft-room-view photo is the start of one of them.  It’s a gorgeous chocolate brown.  So pleased!

And then it’s on to Christmas crafting, which I was really hoping to not do this year, but something went wonky with my bank transfers to my Christmas savings account when we moved, and there is much less in that account than there should be, so I’ma gonna have to get creative with supplies already on-hand.  Boo/yay

I’ll probably start writing a bit more, now that things have started to settle.  It was such a mistake to think I’d be able to paint everything upon moving in–I’ve come to the decision that I’m going to tackle the house room-by-room, because it’s driving me batty to not have a single “finished” room in this house.  I’ve been working on my youngest daughter’s room, and it’s looking pretty cute.  I’m excited to share that when we finally reach the finish line!  (You can have a housewarming party five years after you move in, right?)  😉

But I am hosting Thanksgiving this year, and there could be as many as twenty people attending, so it’s all about the napkins and the cleaning and the cooking for the next two weeks.  (And my dining room table that was supposed to be delivered in August?  And then October?  They changed the delivery date AGAIN…to December.  Fan-freakin’-tastic.  We’re eating Thanksgiving dinner on folding tables this year.  So classy.)

I hope the onslaught of the holiday season is treating you all well!  I look forward to seeing your posts and photos of what you’re working on in these next weeks!

*Red Riding Hood Costume: McCall Pattern #M6187
**Substitute Cape/Hood: Simplicity Pattern #8729