Saturday, January 31, 2015

Celebrating "Inspire Your Heart With Art" Day


I had not heard of this minor holiday before this year. It causes me to think about all the ways art and creativity have blessed my life. My mother is the single most important creative influence in my life. She expressed her artistry constantly in our home. She always had some music playing -beautiful, rapturous music, like Rachmaninoff, that just made my soul soar. All the pretty things around me were the work of her hands. Things like the painted kitchen cupboards, my hand-sewn dresses, the living room drapes, the watercolors on the wall, the artful arrangement of knick-knacks on the lamp table, the flower garden and even the molded Jello were all the result of her constant effort to bring beauty into our lives. She always had a project of some kind going and one project just bubbled constantly into the next. With such an example, I could not help but be creative myself!

We all live a life of which beauty is a part. While we are all not named as artists, each of us responds in some way to that which is beautiful. Many of us see a necessity of keeping beauty around us. Vibrant color, fascinating form and designs, exciting textures and patterns seem to fill some part of our soul. In my mind an artist is simply one who makes beauty visible (and certainly audible or tactile) and thereby holds onto the beautiful for a little longer.

I became aware of "Inspire Your Heart With Art" Day when a reader associated with an artist named Patience Brewster invited me to consider some way in which I could celebrate this day and encourage others to bring art more fully into their daily lives. Of course I went immediately to the Patience Brewster site and was tickled to view her pages of whimsical ornaments and figurines - and wouldn't you know, she even has some designs embroidered on tea towels!

So I am responding to the invitation by posting a picture of the sweatshirt I recently remodeled. I think it turned out pretty cute. I wanted to bring a little bit of color and warmth into the middle of winter. I created a tutorial and posted it over on our Hyer Homestead blog. I am celebrating today by listening to some rapturous music and thinking of my mom while I paint some recycled glass jars meant for the pantry we are creating in our laundry room. I know that so many of you all are creative and artistic because I stalk your blogs and find inspiration in what you are doing. So, join the celebration! Think about how you can bring art, even ordinary, homey art more fully into your life. You never know who you will inspire.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Young Womanhood Recognition Award


Miss Abigail achieved a milestone this month. Some of you may remember this post, where Abigail describes her first ten-hour project for the Personal Progress program sponsored for the young women of our church. She was just twelve years old at that time and just beginning the program. Abigail set a goal last year to finish all the requirements to complete the program and get the award. She finished up in December and I am really very proud of her. It isn't an easy thing, especially if you do it right. Many young women don't complete the award because it just takes too much effort in an already busy teen-age life and the time just runs out. Young girls really can't do it without some mentoring and that just isn't always available to all girls. So, I certainly don't judge or criticize, and I am glad that Abigail has had the right opportunities and good help available.

There are six categories in which the young women set personal goals. They need to complete several learning activities and projects within each category and then finish up with a ten-hour project of their choice that represents what they have learned about that value. The minimum requirement is ten hours, but most of Abigail's projects took many more hours than ten. The values center around the character traits of Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity and Virtue. Abigail's projects resulted in knowledge and skill in photography, sewing, hospitality, cooking, service, and so much more. You have actually seen many of the results posted here on the blog. I asked Abigail to write her thoughts for this post:

"I've just completed Personal Progress, a program designed for young women ages 12-18. The program helps us come to know who we are and what we can accomplish now and in the future. It helps us draw closer to God. Now that I am finished, I've thought a little bit about what was the most meaningful part of Personal Progress for me.

I think looking back and seeing how much I've grown as a result is very meaningful. Through Personal Progress, I have learned to appreciate my worth and the worth of others. I appreciate the value of a knowledgeable and wise mind and the importance of a kind, honest and virtuous character and ultimately, who I am. I am a daughter of God, who knows and cares for me. I am worth more than any amount of money, and so are all of Heavenly Father's daughters. I look back on the time when I was twelve years old, and now, at sixteen I see how much I've grown. A little maturity helps, but a lot of that growth I can attribute to Personal Progress. It has given me a running start in the race of life. I can now go on and become the woman God would want me to be, and help the other young women in my ward (congregation) in their Personal Progress as I go." --Miss Abigail


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tutorial: Brown Waffle Weave Hot Pads


Crocheting these hot pads for the hope chest was the most fun I've had in some time. But thinking about and writing the directions and tutorial was not! Here is my best attempt. I hope the pattern makes sense.

I used Peaches & Cream worsted weight cotton and a size G hook.

Special stitches: This pattern is based on the Post Stitch. Rather than working in the tops of the stitches of the previous row, post stitches work around some stitches, creating a lovely raised pattern. To make a front post double crochet (FPdc), catch the yarn over the hook as usual. The hook is inserted from front to back, around the post of a stitch indicated (usually in a previously worked row). The hook is pushed out again to the front on the other side of the stitch. Yarn over, then carefully pull up a loop back around the post (3 loops on the hook at this point). Catch the yarn over and draw through 2 loops, twice. FPdc made! For a back post double crochet (BPdc), the motion is repeated, except the hook is inserted from the back to the front around the post of the stitch indicated, carefully pulling the loop around the post to the back. It is awkward to work these stitches at first, but you'll soon get the hand of it. The pictures should help, but if the post stitches are confusing, try looking up a video about post stitches on YouTube. It might help to see moving pictures.

To make a half-double crochet (hdc): A half-double crochet is longer than the single crochet but shorter than a double crochet. Hdc is made with a yarn over the hook once. Insert the hook in the stitch indicated, yarn over and draw through the stitch (3 loops on hook). Yarn over and draw through all three loops, completing the hdc stitch.

To begin: Chain 27.
Row 1: Dc in fourth ch from hook (skipped ch 3 counts as the first dc) and in each chain stitch across. (25 dc) Mark this side as the right side.


Row 2: Ch 2 (counts as the first hdc), turn.


Work FPdc around next two dc stitches.




Work BPdc around next dc.




 Work (FPdc around next two dc stitches and BPdc around next stitch) across to the last three dc.


Work FPdc around the next 2 dc, hdc in last dc.


Row 3: Ch 3 (counts as the first dc) and turn. Dc in the tops of the next two stitches.


FPdc around next stitch (this is the BPdc from the previous row).


(Dc in the next two stitches. FPdc around the next stitch) across to the last three stitches. Dc in the last three stitches.



Rows 4-11: Repeat row 2 and 3.
Row 12: Repeat row 2. Fasten off.

Repeat pattern 3 more times for a total of 4 pieces.


Edging: Row 1: Hold two pieces together, back to back, with the last row worked at the top. Working through both pieces at once, join with a sc in the top of the first dc of the right corner. Ch 1.


2 sc in same stitch – corner made. *Sc in each stitch across to last stitch in the row. (23 stitches).


3 sc in last stitch of this row – corner made. Repeat from * twice more. Sc evenly down the last side (23 stitches), slip stitch to the ch 1 stitch in the first corner.


 Row 2: Chain 4. (dc, ch 1, dc) – corner made.



** Dc in each stitch to the second sc in the next corner stitch. (Dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc) in the second sc of corner stitch to round corner. Repeat from ** two more times. Dc in each stitch down last side. Slip stitch in top of first corner and fasten off. Weave in yarn ends.


I think these hot pads are cute and I love how thick they are and how bumpy they feel when I hold them. Give it a try!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Crochet Edged Waffle Hand Towels


The crocheted edge on these microfiber waffle towels is the same pattern as on the waffle towels in the Peachy/Green kitchen set. I kept notes this time on how I made the edge, but realized that the variegated thread was not the best example to do a tutorial. So I will look for another chance to create a tutorial using a solid color thread.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cluny Lace Terry Hand Towels


These terry towels are included in the Pink/Brown kitchen set for the hope chest. I truly love anything embellished with a bit of cotton cluny lace! I also like the smallish size of the terry "bar mop" towels. When I'm cooking I would sometimes rather use two small hand towels rather than one bigger one, and the size of the bar mop seems just right.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sweet Sixteen Crystal Vase


This was Miss Abigail's purchase for her hope chest to mark her Sweet Sixteen birthday. Perhaps she's dreaming of the beautiful flowers some handsome man will give her someday!
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