This is an occasional blog – I try not to swamp it with too much about any one of my interests – so I’m not a daily blogger by any means. But if you’ve found me because I’ve commented on your blog … you are especially welcome!

The only other blog that I try to keep up to date is The Hen Garden – if chickens are your interest, do go and take a look.

Older posts now in this blog have been imported from other blogs I’ve kept over the years … I hope the links and images are still functioning, my apologies if that’s not the case.

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I have been encouraging a Christian friend to pay more attention to the Bible … she is from Asia, so reads the Bible in her second language (English), while trying to grasp a third culture (God’s kingdom – that is, the church as God intended it to be, not necessarily as it is in practice in the UK!). Not easy for her.

I decided to look for a book I might give her to help … so for the past few months (I carried on long after I chose a book for her!) I have been reading various Christian books aimed at young people or new believers, simple explanations of the Bible and how to live as a disciple.

DD2 gave me some excellent suggestions … she often picks up a whole reading list from her summer camp each year, and has a good grasp of which ones are worth reading and then passing on.

I started with Dig Deeper, by Andrew Sach and Nigel Beynon.

The book is to be understood as a kind of toolkit with each chapter adding another tool to the set. Each chapter has many examples and illustrations from the Bible, with accompanying exercises to deploy these new helps. Dig Deeper offers sixteen “tools” readers can use to get to the bottom of any Bible passage and discover its intended meaning. (review on Eden.co.uk)

It is excellent … starting with the basics (looking at genre, word studies, context etc) it equips the reader with a series of simple tools to study the Bible for themselves. There are surrently another two books in the series, which set out to demonstrate the use of the tools in the context of reading a complete Bible book – Exodus (Dig Even Deeper) and Mark (Dig Deeper into the Gospels), both of which I read for my own edification and pleasure … I particularly enjoyed/valued the one on Mark’s gospel – a refreshing read of a familiar story.

However, I don’t believe Dig Deeper is suitable for a reader for whom English is a second (or third) language.

I read several other books, some of which I may review another time, but the book I eventually chose is by Vaughan Roberts, God’s Big Picture …

In this excellent overview, Vaughan Roberts paints the big picture, showing how the different parts of the Bible fit together under the theme of the kingdom of God. He offers us tools to read it with confidence, enthusiasm and understanding. Vaughan points us to the Bible’s supreme subject, Jesus Christ, and the salvation God offers through him. (review on Eden.co.uk)

The author gives a simple, clear overview of how the Bible is one story, looking along the way at each section and how each fits the meta-narrative of God’s purpose in salvation. Well written and clearly explained, it helps you find a place for any Bible reading within the whole story/history of the story.

My friend really enjoyed reading this book, grasping for the first time  that the Bible is one book, one story, learning how to find her way around it, and even how to benefit from reading parts that seem obscure and difficult.

And I have benefitted from setting time aside simply to read, reminding myself of the basics of faith and discipleship. I have several books left in the pile by my bed, so it’s a habit I hope to continue to cultivate in 2018.

PS – I intended to include another book in this post, but neither DH nor I can either find the book or remember the title/author, although I can remember in detail where I read it and what the typeface was like! When it turns up, perhaps I’ll write another post as I can remember it was a good read – more complex than God’s Big Picture while covering much the same ground. 

Things to pray for our church …

That our relationships with our families, our friends and our neighbours would point to the reality of the living Lord Jesus.
That we would be welcoming and accepting of all who come through our doors, yet show them the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.
That our church would have unity amid diversity – loving those with whom we have nothing in common but the gospel.
That the preaching, and the teaching in small groups and in Junior Church, would be faithful to the Bible and full of the Holy Spirit.
That every church member would pray for and support the work among children and young people

I found this as a draft post, written sometime in October 2017 … I think perhaps I was going to expand on it, but have no idea what I was intending to write, so I post it now as it is. I do remember it came out of a PCC meeting where we were asked to set some prayer priorities for our church … so perhaps it’s a timely reminder this New Year to do so!

 

I’m not much good at making, let alone keeping, New Year resolutions. However, I’ve been conscious for some time that I’m not much good at keeping records of the various projects I make, and sometimes even finish.

So I’ve set up a new page … I could keep notes on a public site such as Ravelry but I know I’d never keep up, so I’ve added a page to this blog, Project Gallery. That way I can update it as and when I have a mind to. Do take a look … though it’s really only for my own benefit 🙂

See my new page Project Gallery for my one 2018 New Year resolution!

Remember this?

I started this blanket mid September … and finished it end October (in between one or two other projects – see scarf pattern in previous post!). The waffle stitch comes up just as wide as any other stitch (I use around 200 stitches for a single blanket size), but much shorter, as the post stitches pull each row down to create the texture. So instead of the usual 15 balls SSDK per blanket, I used rather more. But the drape and weight is fantastic!

This one’s a keeper! It’s in my blanket box, just waiting for those cold evenings/nights … which are due any day now 🙂

I want to do a CAL (crochet along) but I’d rather wait until I have the complete pattern rather than downloading a section a week (actually, I have two in mind and one is in monthly parts … toooo long to wait to do each section), so in the meanwhile, I’ve begun another project on my To Do list …

Lost in Time has a beautiful texture – see the link for some lovely colourways, too. But I’ve long wanted to try out Scheepjes Whirl yarn, 4 ply, available in the UK in 200g (1000m) cakes. Designed to pull from the middle, they are a slow colour-change yarn (which in the US you can order in many different combinations), in a cotton/acrylic mix. I’ve only just begun, and my immediate impression is that it’s much lighter than working in 100% cotton … so I’m not sure how the final garment will drape. Nor am I certain how large a shawl one cake will make, but at £20 each, one will have to do! And I’m enjoying the pattern, though the end of each row is a little confusing, working in such a dark colour, at least for now.

Other projects on the go (or WIPS, works in progress!) are:

  • a scrap blanket made from left overs of my Autumn Leaves blanket (see this post for details – obviously I’m using different colours. It’s the second time I’ve made this with leftovers as it’s a useful pattern for scraps)
  • Mandala Madness in crochet cotton, hook sized 1.5mm
  • Nuts About Squares I’m making one or two of each square, and I’ll decide on my own arrangement when I have sufficient … I try to make one a week – it’s going to take ages!
  • and I’m undoing a Log Cabin that I really don’t like – I’ll find another use for the variegated yarn I’ve been using.

So you’re up to date … but before I go, I’ll hit you with another blast of colour … this is definitely my favourite blanket to date, and I have plans to make another, smaller, version before long!

(Adapted from brightgram.com/crochet-woven-scarf)

You need a multiple of 4+2 tr as your foundation row – I used foundation treble, as I don’t like using a starting chain! I ‘cast on’ 42 tr for this scarf. If you prefer using a chain start, cast on a multiple of 4, and make your first tr in the third chain from the hook. You should end up with a multiple of 4+2 🙂

Row 1
Ch 2 (turning chain, counts as first stitch on each row), *fptr in next two stitches, bptr in next two stitches*, repeat to last stitch, htr.

Row 2
Ch 2, fptr in next stitch, *2bptr, 2fptr* repeat to last stitch (not including turning chain), bptr, htr in ch2 space.

Row 3
Ch 2, *2bptr, 2fptr* repeat to end, htr in Ch 2 space

Row 4
Ch 2, bptr, *2fptr, 2bptr* repeat to last stitch (not including turning chain), fptr, htr in Ch 2 space.

Repeat these four rows …

Finish with a row of htr.


The basket weave is a four stitch repeat, with an edge stitch at either end (Ch 2 to start, htr to finish).

It is easy to ‘lose’ stitches at the edge of this pattern, but it will help if you use a stitch marker to mark the Ch 2 turning chain on each row – you can use it to pull the Ch 2 to one side to identify the final stitch which can get lost behind the b/fptr of the row below.

It will take some concentration to begin with, but after a few repeats, you will get used to the pattern – and remembering that the pattern travels in the opposite direction on either side will help!


I’m using Stylecraft Cabaret in Ocean … a self-striping double knit with a glitter thread. It can vary considerably in texture from colour to colour, but the colour range is delightful. Four balls gave me a lengthy scarf – and I’m just about to start another, this time in Purple Haze 🙂

See this article.

Puffed crochet heart

IMG_2241

Using UK terminology … make two.

Make a double magic ring, ch 2.
Round 1: (3 tr, 4 dc, tr, 4 dc, 3 tr) into magic ring. Place marker in middle tr. Ch 2 and sl st into magic ring, making sure your stitches do not twist. Pull the magic ring tightly closed.

Note: do not turn work, continue working around the heart, working into the stitches of round 1, and starting by working into the ch-sp formed by the ch 2 you made after the magic ring.

Round 2: dc in ch-sp, 2 htr in next st, 3 htr in next st, 2 htr in next st, htr in next 3 st, 2 htr in next st, (htr, tr, htr) in next (marked) st, replace marker into central tr, 2 htr in next st, htr in next 3 st, 2 htr in next st, 3 htr in next st, 2 htr in next st, (dc, sl st) in ch-sp. Fasten off and cut thread on first heart only.

Make another. If continuing with same colour, do not cut thread on second heart … place both hearts wrong sides together, and crochet round 3 through both. Or, when using a different colour for contrast, fasten off and start with a standing dc through both hearts. (Note that your first dc will be in the dc in the ch 2 space of round 2)

Round 3: dc in next 2 st, (dc in next st, 2 dc in next st) three times, dc in next 6 st, 3 dc in next marked) st, dc in next 6 st, (with one lobe of the heart left to crochet together, stuff all the yarn ends into the heart, then add a small wisp of stuffing to puff up the heart a little), continue through both hearts (2 dc in next st, dc in next st) three times, dc in next 2 st. Join with sl st into first st.

If you’d like to make a hanging loop, keep the yarn tail long and use it to form a loop with chain stitches. If not, use a bodkin to thread the end between the two layers of the heart.

For a single layer heart, you can stop at round 2, or continue to round 3, but working in the single layer 🙂

See also this pattern from Cherry Heart for an alternative suggestion 🙂

 

I am the keeper.

I am the keeper of schedules. Of practices, games, and lessons. Of projects, parties, and dinners. Of appointments and homework assignments.

I am the keeper of information. Who needs food 5 minutes before a meltdown occurs and who needs space when he gets angry. Whether there are clean clothes, whether bills are paid, and whether we are out of milk.

I am the keeper of solutions. Of bandaids and sewing kits and snacks in my purse. But also of emotional balms and metaphorical security blankets.

I am the keeper of preferences. Of likes and dislikes. Of nightly rituals and food aversions.

I am the keeper of reminders. To be kind, to pick up their trash, to do their dishes, to do their homework, to hold open doors and write thank you notes.

I am the keeper of rituals and memories. Of pumpkin patches and Easter egg hunts. I am the taker of pictures, the collector of special ornaments, and the writer of letters.

I am the keeper of emotional security. The repository of comfort, the navigator of bad moods, the holder of secrets and the soother of fears.

I am the keeper of the peace. The mediator of fights, the arbiter of disputes, the facilitator of language, the handler of differing personalities.

I am the keeper of worry. Theirs and my own.

I am the keeper of the good and the bad, the big and the small, the beautiful and the hard.

Most of the time, the weight of these things I keep resembles the upper elements on the periodic table – lighter than air, buoying me with a sense of purpose. It’s what I signed up for. It’s the one thing I am really good at.

But sometimes the weight of these things I keep pulls me down below the surface until I am kicking and struggling to break the surface and gasp for breath.

Becsuse these things I keep are constantly flickering in the back of my brain, waiting to be forgotten. They scatter my thoughts and keep me awake long past my bedtime.

Because all these things I keep are invisible, intangible. They go unnoticed and unacknowledged until they are missed. They are not graded or peer reviewed or ruled on by a court. And sometimes they are taken for granted.

To all of you who are keepers, I see you.

I know the weight of the things you keep.

I know the invisible work you do—which doesn’t come with a pay check or sick leave—is what makes the world go round.

I see you.

And I salute you.

http://luckyorangepants.com/2017/09/19/i-am-the-keeper/

I started crochet as a hobby in 2015 … it feels so much longer ago when I look around at all I’ve made since that time. But the juices are still flowing and I have a number of WIPs (Works in Progress) on the go, and more than a couple of projects planned.

Some projects take more concentration than others – so I only do them when I have the time and concentration simultaneously. Other projects are less demanding, so I keep them for the evenings while watching television, or when there are people around me so I can hook and chat at the same time.

I’ve found a number of groups on FB – numbers are growing all the time – so there are always other people’s photos and ideas to maintain the interest and stimulate ideas. Especially with regard to colour scheme as I don’t have much of a sense of colour myself. Sometimes a project starts with a colour scheme, other times with a pattern or design … a CAL (crochet along) is a group project where the pattern and colour scheme is supplied – you can mix and match your own colours if you wish, of course – so if I see one I like, that’s the best of both worlds.

I was at a garden centre recently, and there was a wall full of yarn in my usual choice of Stylecraft Special DK – my preference as the colours are consistent, it washes well, and I can mix and match left overs. I was completely overwhelmed by choice – so I took the opportunity to pick out all the colours I liked and create an instant stash (I had some pocket money to spend! 🙂 ). Since then, I’ve found two projects for which I need to select yarn … both CALs with suggested colour schemes, one of which I like and one I don’t … but I suspect I may still need to buy a ball or two more – it’s a good job it’s relatively inexpensive.

As for the completed projects, some are in my blanket box waiting for the cooler winter nights, others are given as gifts (but only to very special people!), while others are around the house as decoration and for warmth – DD2 often pulls one over her while she’s on the sofa 🙂

Just occasionally, I design my own project, or perhaps add a different border. The borders can take as long to make as the blanket itself!

For a change, my latest evening WIP is being made from left over yarn (all the duplicate colours I found when I combined my new stash with older supplies), which seemed to me to go well together, and a stitch I came across while looking for ideas – for once I made a swatch of two or three different stitches so was able to see how it looked straight off the hook.

I love the internet … ideas, colour schemes, shared interests, even supplies … all from my desk. But I love leaving my desk and settling down with a hook and yarn even more!

From: The Hen Garden

It’s been a while …

… since I last posted; there’s been a lot going on. But while I’ve not had time to blog about the hens, they’ve not been neglected! Now that the building work is finished, we are able to let the hens out to free range … it took a while for the Three Amigos to find […]

Who’s the King of the Castle?

We had a bit of a move round to give us access the one last raised bed I still need to empty. The girls are now in a much more open space on some fresh grass – but I’m still reseeding much of that side of the garden after moving the other beds, so we will continue […]

Integration

That was easy! As the new girls began to show signs of laying – their comb getting brighter, and crouching – we began to take the back off the Eglu Go, so they had to go and share the nest box in the Cube when they wanted to lay … there were a few spats, […]

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