Prayer Shawl

•November 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Since I haven’t been using this blog (I really should get back to it) and Twitter is being a pain in the butt about pictures, I’m posting pics here and putting the link on Twitter.  Sorry for the extra step, folks!


I am selling a handmade prayer shawl made from Israeli wool.  I had an order for it (before I went to Israel), but the deal fell through (after the whole thing was made).  The yarn is a wool blend (the store clerk said wool/silk, but that seems wrong) and is so, so soft! It is royal blue with purple bits and the main motif is the Star of David.  Jewish prayer shawls have this motif and those are the basis for the Israeli flag.  I used that as my inspiration and included a little cross in each of the four corners (since it was for a Christian person).  The shawl is $60 (a steal for handknitting!) and makes a unique Christmas gift.

If you want more pics, I can put them up.  This shows the pattern, colour and size the best:


(That’s a three seater couch.  You can see the centre cushion for size comparison.)



May ‘n’ Stuff

•May 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Some of you are confused about my plan for the next few weeks.  Some of you don’t care.  I understand both sides, I really do.  For those who do care, this is the plan:

May   – Course #1: 1 week retreat course

 – Course #2: 3 week study tour in Israel (Yes, it is a real course with a real exam. And a trip to Bethlehem.)

June – course work due from Course #1

– Course #3: another course begins; all books must be read beforehand (ugh)

July – teach summer school (I hope)

It doesn’t look as crazy when I write it out like that, but it is crazy.  Trust me.  For that reason, I will be on the edge of breakdown until approximately August.  Don’t, under any circumstances, say to me, “You must be so relieved the year is done!”  Instead, pray for my stress level, focus and good brain stuff.  And fun.  You can pray for fun.  That might help the good brain stuff.  In the meantime, enjoy spring and I’ll see you in June.  Or August.

PS – Don’t plan to rob me or anything while I’m gone.  My house is in good hands.

When Donkeys Talk

•April 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

For Booksneeze (they gave me the book and I give my opinion):

Tyler Blanski’s new book, When Donkeys Talk, is indeed a “Quest to Rediscover the Mystery and Wonder of Christianity.”  In fact, it might be a little too mysterious for some people.  The title references the story of Balaam’s talking donkey in Numbers 22, and is a call to those of us who are willing to believe that God spoke through a donkey – and that He could do it again.  Blanski uses Greek words, quotes medieval mystics and gives support to the ancient practice of astrology (not current astrology – that’s a whole other book).  Any of those things might be off-putting for certain readers.  I, on the other hand, hear about ancient Greek and wacky mystics on a daily basis.  I was right at home!

Tyler Blanski’s style is conversational but intelligent, and you just know the friends he mentions read Nietzsche for fun.  He brings challenging questions, but doesn’t give a list of answers.  Instead, he throws a bunch of ideas on the table, reflects a little and moves on.  For some people, this book will seem disjointed and unsatisfying.  For others, it will open up a world of ideas.  I rest somewhere in the middle.  I like closure, but I appreciate not being told the “right answer” in a tidy summary paragraph.  Outside of school, most people don’t get to hear about some of these people and ideas; for that reason alone, you might want to pick up this book.

Spirit, Open My Heart

•April 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Last night, we sang a song at church that spoke to the questions I had wrestled with all day.  The questions boil down to one:  God, why not me?

I don’t know why my life looks the way it does, but here is the song.  (It has a sort of lilting, Irish tune, if you are trying to sing along.)

Spirit open my heart to the joy and pain of living.
As you love may I love,
In receiving and in giving
Spirit open my heart

God replace my stony heart with a heart that’s kind and tender.
All my coldness and fear
To your grace I now surrender

Spirit open my heart to the joy and pain of living.
As you love may I love,
In receiving and in giving
Spirit open my heart

Write your love upon my heart as my law, my goal, my story.
In each thought, word and deed,
May my living bring you glory.

Spirit open my heart to the joy and pain of living.
As you love may I love,
In receiving and in giving
Spirit open my heart

May I weep with those who weep, share the joy of sister, brother.
In the welcome of Christ,
May we welcome one another.

(PS – I would love to punctuate this differently, but this is what I was given!)

Mini Garden!

•April 19, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The only downside of going away for a month is that I will miss the heart of planting season.  The nice lady at Canadian Tire assured me there would still be vegetable plants available in June, but there are a few things I wanted to get started on early.  I decided to splurge on seed packets yesterday, knowing that certain plants will just have to wait another six weeks.  Tomatoes, peppers and lettuce will be better from pre-grown plants anyway.  There was a workshop on Wednesday that I was sorry to miss on SIPs.  Sub…  irrigated…  planters?  Or something.  It was about container gardening and looked terrific.  (Containers are the only way to garden when you have a three-storey high balcony and no yard.)  That may have raised my anticipation of gardening season along with yesterday’s warm weather and the submission of my final paper.  You may notice that I decided to incorporate some of the things you Pinterestees post on Facebook.  So, how does my garden grow?  Let us see…


This cilantro was bought at the store (for cooking) about a month ago and I just left what remained in the fridge.  In the end, I stuck it in water and it perked right up and started pushing out new shoots.  Then I got hasty with the Miracle-Gro and it shriveled.  Some of it lived, as you will see later.  This is the pre-fertilizer picture:



One of the Pinterest/FB-inspired items is next:  using eggs for sprouting seeds.  I started by putting one helping of used tea leaves (and some tea bags – shredded) in the bottom of each egg, then seeds, then soil.  Before I seeded them, I labeled each one with a Sharpie.  I didn’t see the labeling on FB, so I’ll take full credit for the genius of it.  You will notice that the sage egg didn’t handle as well as the others.  I put some leftover plastic wrap under that one after.  Note that eggs are waterproof and come with their own stylish carrying case.

Egg planters


For vegetables, I wanted something bigger than an egg, but not as big as a planter box.  Since I will be away, I will bring them to my parents’ house until June.  (They don’t know that yet…) So, I wanted something small enough to bring there (and bring back in June), and would allow me to plant them farther apart once they have sprouted.  (Sadly, I will miss the stage of cute little sprouts.)  Yogourt containers are a great size (I can even put the lids on for the trip north tomorrow), but I didn’t want the roots to grow intertwined before I separate them.  I needed something to divide my yogourt containers into three or four parts, which would allow me to separate three or four seedlings in June.  The flyers had just come and were laying beside me on the floor.  Perfect!  I know the ink will leach into the soil, blah, blah, blah, but it is biodegradable and easy.  I made little pockets out of newspaper to keep my seeds apart. (Inspired by the newspaper cones of roasted peanuts in Delhi.)  I don’t know how well it will work, so don’t blame me if you try it and it fails miserably.  If you want to proceed, this was my process:

Step 1:  Fold a square in half to make a triangle: (this is one quarter of a Staples flyer)

Step 1


Step 2:  Fold the ends in to create your pocket. Keep the edges approximately a hand width (not hand span!) apart.

Step 2


Step 3:  Tear off excess paper.  You only need to fold over those “arms” to keep the pocket in place.  Anything more than an inch is just taking up space in your container.

Step 3



Step 4:  Separate the two pointy edges to create your pocket.  I found three fit nicely in a yogourt container.

Step 4


Step 5:  Fill with soil.  I found that filling each section with a bit of soil, then adding more in rounds worked better than filling one whole section before the others.  They stay more evenly spaced this way.  I put three seeds in each section for a total of nine seeds per container.  (That might be a bit much when the beets start to grow!)  Each container held one type of seed.

Step 5


All done!  I labeled each container with a Sharpie.  After this picture, I folded down the pointy parts of the newspaper, just to tidy things up.




The whole garden!  Note that the cilantro is in a milk container.  It was looking a bit sad after the fertilizer incident, so I put it in soil.  The milk container is another steal off FB.  It is waterproof and keeps the cilantro from falling over.  I think it will recover once it goes outside.





If you are curious what I planted, the back row contains beets, zucchini, peas and beans.  The front row is rosemary, mint, thyme, chamomile, sage and sweet basil.  I am going to make a better effort to dry my herbs this year.  The last of my dried basil is my favourite smell in my apartment.


Happy gardening!

Dental Work & Thankfulness

•April 14, 2013 • Leave a Comment

On Wednesday night, I broke a tooth.  I was chatting away with some of my favourite folks at Lettuce Knit and eating tortilla chips when the back half of one of my teeth broke away.  I got very faint and they took care of me until I was coherent again.  (Weird reaction to a broken tooth.  Wimp.)  When I got home that night, I started to worry about how I was going to deal with this tooth.  I worried about scheduling, money, whether the remaining piece would break off while I slept (it was very thin), possible removal of one of my front teeth (ugh!), etc., etc.  In the end, everything was amazing.  This is the list of reasons I am incredibly thankful for the way things worked out.  I’m sure I’ll forget something, but you’ll get the idea.

  1. I did not bike to knitting that night.
  2. It was the back of my tooth, not the front.
  3. It was not painful at all – except when I tried to brush it.
  4. My mom called me and discussed my game plan with me.
  5. I only had one class scheduled for the next day.
  6. I woke up with my tooth intact (well, the front was intact).
  7. I had one last workout class, but we managed to plan activities that didn’t jostle my head.
  8. My prof let us out early due to the horrible rain/wind/snow/ice storm that was beginning. (More time available!)
  9. My friend Tuuli made me a protein shake since I couldn’t eat.
  10. My dentist in Newmarket was not available. (It was good that I didn’t have to drive up and back in awful weather.)
  11. I found a dentist up the street from my house and he could see me in 45 minutes.
  12. I got to my appointment with 1 minute to spare.
  13. The dentist filled my tooth (i.e. did not remove it, freeze it or drill any part of it).
  14. The dentist took neat pictures of the break and printed a copy for me so I could show my mom.
  15. The government covered the cost of the repair! (I was really, really worried about what this might cost.)
  16. I could eat right away.
  17. I got home safely (crazy weather) and earlier than usual.
  18. This didn’t happen five weeks later in Israel.
  19. I didn’t feel guilty about the nap that followed.
  20. (I should have a twentieth, so…) God took away my stress and worked it all out for me.  His plan was better than my plan.



Be a Finisher

•April 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I haven’t been very faithful to my blog writing, have I?  I’ve actually had ideas lately, but they have stayed in my head.  So, today I will tell you, ironically, about being a finisher.

“A finisher?” you ask.

“Yes, a finisher!”  As in, one who finishes things.

You see, I like starting projects (and careers), but I don’t always finish them.  I have a lot of yarn that has big ideas attached to it.  I have a resume a mile long because of my varied professional career.  I have unread books, unwatched movies, an unfilled spice rack and myriad undone chores around my house.  What I need is a little more follow-through.

I recently finished writing a pattern for a fabulous cowl with braids and cables.  I have test knitters checking on it as we speak (and no good photographs, because my photographer is avoiding me) and it is almost ready to go!  Getting to that point was tricky – and I’m not done yet!  Until the pattern is posted on, I will not be done.  However, it was a great, big step!  I had a little chat with God and realized that my feelings of being overwhelmed and/or anxious could be relieved (in part) by finishing what I start.  If I don’t keep half a dozen reminders sitting around my living room of things I should be doing, I might feel better.  And, when I look back at the day, week, month or year, I might appreciate the list of tasks that are completed and in the past.  Instead, I have a half edited book on my hard drive and wishes that I was a real author.  It is a little like Pinocchio wishing he was a real boy.  Except, this time magic and a small talking insect are not going to help me.  This time, I need to do something about it.  Thus, I made the decision to be a finisher.  I set aside time to finish my pattern and I did it.  My book is on the list.  By clearing out some of the smaller tasks, I can focus on the larger ones.  And, I won’t start new ones!   This includes not raising farm animals, starting an indoor herb garden or buying a spinning wheel.  I promise.  For now.

What do you need to finish?