Thursday, March 27, 2008

What's Going On Today

The past week has been very busy. I am behind on everything and trying to catch up before the end of next week when we go on our first camping trip of the year. The first trip is always more time consuming to prepare for since everything has to be replaced in the trailer, the water tank sanitized, the weatherizing fluids removed, plus the usual getting ready procedures. Sometimes I just pack everything in and straighten it out once we arrive at the campsite and I think that might happen this time!

I must finish the mural painting this weekend. The wood letters and missionary information must be finished by next Wednesday so I can totally finish installing them on next Thursday. I thought I would have extra time this week but I don't so that means go into high gear over the weekend. I will have a few days if there are any little things to touch up but I want to be done before we leave for camping because someone will be using our trailer for the upcoming Bible Conference and I want it to be nice and clean and ready and that can't be done until we are back from our trip.

So, I missed the knitting group this past Monday. I wanted to go but sometimes you just have to take care of necessary things! Seems like everyone in our family has been sick this past week, myself included and that always throws a delay into things. But, there is always next time!

I have been working on a quilt for our guest room that will match the red, white and blue decorating. I am making the top in 3 panels, hand quilting each panel and then setting them together. Then I will piece the sides, quilt and attach them. It will look pretty good when done, I think, but there were a few errors that I could not correct. To hide them I am doing small designs with machine embroidery (like an eagle in flight or stars, etc.)and that is really adding to the quilt. Sometimes mistakes end up making things more interesting in the long run, or rather the correcting of the mistakes.

That reminds me of something else that came to mind last week. The missions mural I am working on is of a world map. The map was projected on the wall so the outlines of all the countries could be traced for painting. Because of the lighting in the church auditorium, the projection was not clear in some spots and could not be focused enough for a clear tracing. So some of the areas had to be hand drawn using a reference map and Europe soon became a big mess of redrawn lines and erasure smears because we just couldn't seem to get it right. Finally, it became so bad that I painted it out with white paint so there would be a clean section on which to start over. It looked like a big weather map with white clouds painted over all of Europe! Once the paint was dry the countries were redraw in their proper places. The mistakes are still there but can't be seen because they were blotted out with white paint. The new lines are drawn and ready to be filled in with paint so they represent the countries correctly.

What came to mind was this: the map is like my life, a big patchwork of feelings, experiences and the like. Sometimes sin can cause an area of my life to become all confused and loose its shape and focus. When I try to fix those areas myself, it only gets worse and worse until there is no longer any definition and the lines all cross and smear into one another until it is hopeless to determine what is supposed to be, everything is confused.

When I realize the state I have gotten myself into I ask for help to straighten it out. God "paints out" the messed up area so that it can't been seen anymore and then he redraws the outlines with a nice clean pencil with no smears or erasures. Then it is my job to stay in the lines when I paint in the colors. The final result is very pleasing. Just like the mural, all the paint is in the lines and nothing shows through that shouldn't. Everything is clean and easy to understand and the project was worth the effort.

There are always flaws in every project, just like there are flaws in me. In the case of my projects, the flaws are caused by the CREATOR - ME. In the case of God's project (me), the flaws are in the CREATION - ME. I refuse to stop trying, in either case. I hope that when all the projects are finished that they are worth the effort.

My memory work for right now is:

James 1:4-5 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Knit, Pearl, Single Crochet

Last evening I spent a few hours with about 15 other women who were knitting or crocheting. What a great time we had at the Heavenly Ewes yarn shop located in the Parables bookstore in Arnold, MO! I didn't actually do very much sock knitting (my current project) because I was teaching two crochet beginners. After crocheting for over 40 years it is sometimes easy to forget how hard it was to get all the fingers, yarn and hook in the right place and how awkward it feels at first. We had a good time of fellowship.

I really wanted to purchase at least one new book on knitting socks but I refrained and just got the set of needles I had been wanting. They are a 5 needle set double point bamboo, about 5 inches long in size 0. They look like fat tooth pics, they are so small. I had about 20 minutes at the end of the evening to try them out on my sock and they are wonderful! I think I am fast becoming a convert to bamboo.

We talked about lots of things, one of which was praying in public, and at one point I told a story about when I was chaplain for a professional secretaries organization about 15 years ago. I was honored to be asked to serve as chaplain and was told I would open in prayer and give a very short little devotional. So the first month I prayed and gave a short devotional using a scripture as reference. I noticed a few women squirming a little and took it to mean I talked too long. (not unusual for me!) So the next month I prayed and did a shorter devotional, again using scripture. The following week one of the officers called me to say that I must stop using God, or Jesus, or Christ in my prayer. I only know one way to pray and that is in Christ's name. I was told that some people found it offensive, they were atheists or Jewish, etc. and I had to keep the prayer very generic. I asked her in whose name was I to pray and she said just to leave that part out, it didn't really make any difference anyway and we didn't want to offend anyone. She also told me that using scripture during the devotional could not continue either. I should just use a short, uplifting anecdote. I was so shocked by what she said that it took me a few minutes to collect myself, I just couldn't believe she was serious and said so. She was very serious. So I told her that I seriously could not continue to be part of an organization that made these requirements and resigned from the office of Chaplain and shortly later disassociated myself from the organization.

I hadn't thought about that incident in a long time but just thinking about it last night still caused amazement. It made me even more thankful that I now work for two guys who profess to be Christians, that I can associate with a group of women outside of my own church who find importance in the same things I do, that I still live in a country where at least in public I can pray if I so choose. Sometimes I forget those things and it is nice to be reminded.

I saw some very nice projects last night, there are many very talented needle workers in the group and I hope to learn a lot from several of them. I think next time that I will take some bead crochet, there were a few requests for lessons.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Missions Mural

I am a member of Rockport Baptist Church located in Arnold, Missouri or at and we are very "mission minded". I am currently working on a wall mural of sorts, depicting the map of the world and some of the missionaries that our church supports. I have set a deadline for finishing before the second week of April when we will be having a Camp Meeting and Bible Conference. I always do better with deadlines because it means I have to finish, I usually work better under pressure but I don't really like to wait until the last minute to finish. This is a very simple project, it just takes a lot of time and a lot of that time is on a ladder which is not the easiest thing for me. I have a friend, Marie, who is helping me with the process.

Painting murals is one of my favorite things to do! If I were physically able to keep up with the work I would really consider doing it for a living but I cannot meet the demands of doing it everyday so I pick and choose my projects.

The image above is part of the last project I worked on. You can see all the parts here:

It took a long time to complete the project but I was pleased with the results. I think the canvases are on a week long display during the the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, which occur annually in a different city.

The last mural I worked on before that was in my own kitchen. It was an open window with red shutters that looked out on a barn scene. A rooster was standing on the window sill. It has since been painted over and I don't have any pictures of it. I never was happy with the barn scene but the rooster was spectacular!

I have also worked on a project on the outside of a craft mall that depicted different shops lined up in a row to look like old time stores. There was a general store, a school, a barber, a flower shop, a candy store, etc. That was a big project that did not get finished because of a river flood that caused the owner to sell out. It was a favor to the owner so I didn't finish the project for a new owner. They painted over everything with BRIGHT ORANGE paint!

There have been a few other projects that were finished but I have never charged for any of them. They have usually been gifts. For instance, in a new baby's room I painted Sesame Street characters around a piano singing and playing instruments. It was a very nice job. Also did a whole room with Winnie the Pooh and friends.

I like to create using a lot of different media but I always come back to painting and sewing in some form.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fast Times

It always amazes me when I come back to a project, a blog post, my web site, the laundry, etc. how it seems I was just there but in reality it has been a while, like days or weeks or even months (well, not months for the laundry, of course or at least hopefully!)

I realized Saturday that my next jewelry show is just around the corner and I have barely touched a bead all winter. I have been knitting, painting a mural at church, playing with Olivia and doing all the other things that take up time everyday.

I am going to ramble a little bit about all those things over the next few posts, starting with knitting.

First of all, I enjoy all the needle arts and have probably dabbled in more than some people. I have the most experience with crochet and some with knitting. I have found that I like to knit socks and baby sweaters because they are small projects and can be finished quickly. From watching knitting programs on t.v. I have found that I am not a good example of how to knit properly - I am totally self taught and therefore don't hold my yarn correctly - but it works for me and that is important! Having an 8 month old grand daughter allows me to see the results of my labors with knitting sweaters, she is beginning to grow into the ones I made before she was created. Pretty soon she will catch up with my knitting.

Right now I am working on a pair of socks for myself. I am using wool sock yarn and size 0 needles, all of which are new for me. I have NEVER used wool yarn to make anything (if it needs handwashed it is usually a no-no for me!) and I am really enjoying it. I have used very small hooks and thread for crochet but I think size 0 is the smallest needle size I have used for knitting. It sure takes a lot longer with that size as compared to size 5! So far I have about 2/3 of one sock done. I can't work on knitting for very long periods of time because my neck and shoulder get stiff, a result of surgery on my neck a few years ago.

A local yarn shop has just recently opened in my area, inside a Christian book store. It is very small but has beautiful yarns. We have started a knitting/crochet group that will be meeting a few times a month to knit, crochet, and maybe have some classes. One more thing I want to fit into an already busy schedule but I think it will be a wonderful time. It means a lot to be able to meet with a group of like minded women who believe in God and serve Him in local churches. I look forward to making new friendships with many of them. As summer approaches, that may be the only time I can fit in my knitting!

For now the knitting will take a backseat to beading but I am making stitch markers from beads to sell this summer. They are pretty and functional. I think they will make a nice addition to my jewelry items.

This is the Bible memory I am working on right now:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. James 1:2-3