Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hats and Craft Shows

I love going to craft shows. In our community there are several a year with a variety of vendors. I enjoy the whole atmosphere, and often purchase several gifts at each show. One of my problems, however, is that I often walk away with the thought of "I can just make this" in my head. I also have the goal (just about every year) to enter a craft show with my own booth. With two little ones running around, it is difficult for that goal to be realized.

Recently one of my cousins had her first baby--a little girl. When I asked my cousin if there was anything in particular she needed for her daughter, she said yes--hats! When I asked her about colors she let me know that girly colors were great. I was more than happy to oblige! :) I decided to create my own pattern with some cotton sock yarn I had in my stash. I was so happy with my first attempt that I decided to do a bit more designing. During this period of creation, the thought of entering a craft show crept back into my mind...maybe, just maybe, I'd be blessed with enough time and inspiration to design and create items for my own little booth this coming fall.

I do have a fear of losing money during this process, but honestly, my greatest fear is that of rejection. What if I'm not accepted into the craft fair? What if no one likes my items? What if someone makes an unflattering comment? What if the items look more "homemade" than "handmade"? Right now I believe that my greatest hurdle is not time, money, or lack of inspiration, but my own self-esteem issues. Has anyone out there entered a craft show before? How did you get past the fear-of-rejection aspect of it? Do you have any advice for a first-timer?

I'd also really appreciate feedback on what I've been currently working on. Interestingly, my favorite piece is different from my Mom's, and hers is different from the ladies at stitching club. I guess everyone has unique tastes, which is part of the fun in creating handmade items. I just hope to appeal to someone...

Most sincerely,

Directly below is the first hat I made. I used "Crazy Cotton" sock yarn and a size C needle. Even though the yarn is a light weight, it actually worked up fairly quickly. The flower was a lot of fun to make!

I used the same pattern for my second hat, but a different yarn: Red Heart's "Heart and Sole" sock yarn. I used the size C hook again, but I did have to include several more pattern repeats due to the smaller gauge.

The next hat is super girly! I used a heavier (sport weight) cotton yarn and size D hook. I did change the pattern a bit to account for the larger gauge. I do want to fiddle with the crown shaping a bit more. I'm still a little used to working from the rim up with knitting, so I don't always get the results I want with working from the crown down with crochet.

Finally, I wanted to make something with little boys in mind. This was made using Knit Picks' Swish DK and a size D hook (I'd like to try E next time). A friend of mine is having her first boy at the end of July, so I thought this would be a cute little addition. I'm thinking of adding earflaps...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, godfathers, uncles, and positive male role models out there. You truly make a difference in the lives you touch. Thank you!

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,

The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,

The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family in need.

Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it...

Author Unknown

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I really don't believe in coincidences, but I do believe in nudges from God.

Just one small example:

Two days ago I went to the library to pick up a couple of books I had on hold for my son. While there, I took a few minutes to look around, particularly at the "new release" shelf. I excitedly picked up Debbie Macomber's One Simple Act. What is interesting about this is that I had just watched an interview with her on an episode of PBS's Knit and Crochet Today. The episode was about charity knitting/crochet. I had just started watching the interview segment when one of the boys woke up, so I wasn't able to catch the title of her new book on generosity. Some may say that I spotted her book at the library because her name was on my mind. This may be true, but if I hadn't watched that fifteen minutes of Knit and Crochet Today (something I rarely do in the mornings), I probably wouldn't have spotted the book.

While I was checking out my son's books, as well as One Simple Act, the librarian came across a book on hold for me through inter-library loan. One Million Arrows had just come in--all the way from a library in Washington state!

Coincidence? I really don't think so, especially given the spiritual and uplifting nature of the titles. I'm excited to read them and will be sure to add my thoughts about them here at Contentedly Home. I'm also curious as to how they will impact my life and the lives of those around me.

Now, I just need to put aside some reading time...

Have a wonderful weekend,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quiet Time

Yesterday, for about an hour, both boys were napping (a rarity in our household!) and my husband was at the hardware store. I savored every minute of my quiet time!

With two young children, two dogs, two cats, and a husband home for the summer (he's a teacher), it is often difficult to find the peace and quiet that I crave during the day. I do my best, however, to find small moments here and there. I find such time while watering and weeding my garden, washing the dishes, and rocking and nursing my younger son to sleep. If I feel like I really need some thinking time, I'll even take the boys for a little drive in the afternoon for their nap time (something I thought I would never do as a parent). I also find peace while taking walks, swimming laps, and just sitting at the public library. I love my boys, but having some quiet time to myself helps me to refocus and feel refreshed.

When do you find your quiet time?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In the Garden

My grandfather has a beautiful voice. Whenever I spent the night at his and my grandmother's house, he would take out his ukelele and sing me to sleep. This last song he would always sing was "In the Garden." It is now my favorite hymn, and I enjoy singing it to my own children. One of my greatest joys is that my grandfather is now a great-grandfather, and he, my boys and I can sing together. If you're not familiar with this hymn, here are the lyrics:

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet, the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing.

I'd stay in the garden with Him,
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; Through the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.

It's iris and columbine season here!

Our peas are just starting to climb. I just hope we can harvest them before it gets too hot.

Surprise wisteria--I thought the frost a couple weeks ago got all of it.

I am so thankful to live in such a place of natural beauty!

Many blessings,