Saturday, March 29, 2014

Waiting For Spring...

Although spring is technically here, we are still experiencing winter with all of its wonders. Just when the snow began to really melt and bits of grass were peeping through here and there, old man winter made his return. With temperatures dipping down to the -20'sC and up to near freezing and yo-yo-ing back and forth for the month of March and the sheet of ice below all of the snow, playing outside has been near impossible. We are cooped up and getting cabin fever. I long for warmer days when I can send the kids outside to play. I long for warmer days and sunshine. In all of this, we are making the best of our situation.

Our tomato plants are nearly 4 inches tall and for the first time, we got lavender seeds to germinate. We have about 20 cone flower seedlings and some lemon balm, too. Mia planted the pepper seeds and several variety of flower seeds on the weekend for her Mary Garden. We are hoping that at least some of them sprout. It is the closest we can get to gardening right now. Our backyard looked like this until the last snow storm hit.

The boys have been keeping busy after school with lots of indoor play. I just love watching my little boys play. I am in awe at all of the noises they make. I once had a good chuckle with our optometrist (who has three boys) about the fact that they make noises all of the time. If you have boys, you will notice this. It is not something that they learn, it is in their genes. And have you ever noticed, that boys can make weapons out of any inanimate object? Even if they don't admit it, they too like playing with Barbie dolls.

Other than playing, the kids have had their noses in the books. Waldo books in particular. It is so fun to look at Waldo books.Finding Waldo can be extremely frustrating at times. Especially when the littles find him and mommy hasn't found him yet. I am glad that we have a number of the books from the library, otherwise there are brawls over who gets to hold the book. Waldo has also proved to be a very good 'good-night' book. 

 When the weather is really awful, we tend to put on some fresh pj's and declare a 'pj day'. There is something fun and liberating about declaring a 'pj day'. It is one of my favourite things about being a homeschool family. When outside activities are not on the agenda, a pj day is in order at our house. Adam loves pj days and lounging in other peoples' beds. 

We will continue to wait for spring. As the snow continues to fall, we are keeping cozy indoors. It is time for a coffee and some homemade Mia-made brownies. We hope that spring will come soon and will choose to stay. Is is snowing where you are? Do you have spring flowers popping up through the ground? 

Have a great day friends.
Sweet fawn with birds and flowers .... illustration

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Morning in Mary's Garden ~ March 24, 2014

"As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters."  Song of Songs 2:2 (Douay-Rheims Bible)

The Madonna Lily has been a symbol of purity for over 3,000 years and still is and it probably always will be!!!!!. The Marian name for Madonna Lily is the Annunciation flower and this makes total sense because the Madonna Lily is also a symbol of virginity.  Medieval depictions of the Blessed Virgin Mary often show her holding these flowers. The Latin name for the Madonna lily is Lilium candidum

Madonna LilyMadonna Lilies are often described as a pure white flower with 5 or 6 petals and 6 stamens and have a very strong smelling perfume. These stiff stemmed plants bloom in June and stay through July. The bulbs can be dug up in August if they are to be used medicinally or if they need to be moved to another spot in the garden. This plant, like many other Marian flowers has special uses including medicinal ones. The bulb of this plant can be made into an ointment that can take away corns and remove the pain and inflammation arising from any scalds or burns. This ointment is said to cure without leaving any scars. 

Madonna lilies are very hardy plants. They grow in almost any type of soil and are resistant to frost. Their one downfall is that they are very susceptible to gray mold. These flowers would thrive exceptionally well in a cottage style Mary garden or any other garden where they can be left undisturbed. Tomorrow, on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, perhaps you can spend some time looking at Marian images and see how many pictures depict Mary holding her symbolic flowers.

by Mia
Sweet fawn with birds and flowers .... illustration

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Yarn Along ~ March 19, 2014

For this week's Yarn Along, I had a tough time deciding what to share. I have been very busy making baby clothing and finally finished off a few of my projects. So instead of leaving anything out, I decided to share all of my finishes and my current work-in-progress.

This is the little Composite vest knit up using some Berrocco Vintage DK from my stash. I started this project before I knew the gender of our baby. I thought is would be neutral enough in this colour, but I think that I might have to make another one in a more girly colour. The hat is Ginny's own pattern for the newborn lace hat. I made it exactly according to the pattern. I hope it fits at the same time that the vest fits. I would definitely knit both of these again.

This is the Puerperium in newborn. This was also made using stash yarn left over from making Owen's Milo. I assumed that we would be having another boy when I began knitting this. We already have four boys, so never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that we would be graced with another girl. After my midwife appointment, we stopped off at Fabricland to buy some buttons. They always have quite a nice selection. These ones in particular caught my husband's eyes. I knew that I wanted something girly, but I didn't have the vest with me. I always have a hard time choosing colours that match. It does come in handy to have a painter and colour-theory expert as a husband. He thought they would go perfectly and now that they are sewn on, I have to agree.

Once again, I am sharing the balloon pants that I am working on for baby. I knit the ribbing flat and joined in the round once I got to the body of the pants. This is a slow and monotonous knit for me. I usually work on these while praying my daily rosary, but this week I was sewing a binding on a quilt instead. I only progressed a little, but the good news is that I still have about four months to finish it.

On the weekend, I was picking up some Miraculous Medals at the Catholic Book Store for a custom order for my Etsy Shop when I saw this book on the shelf. It was on sale, which is always a good thing in my opinion. It is such a pleasant read. I have only read the first few chapters so far, but I love how the author weaves the liturgical seasons into her writing. I also picked up a few other books and and little Easter gifts for the kids' Easter baskets. Isn't that the way it always is, you go in for one thing and come out with your hands full of other stuff. I almost forgot the medals, but I remembered upon bumping into another Catholic mom I knew.

Please stop by Ginny's blog for this weeks' Yarn Along. There are some really great things being created and some great books that I need to add to my list. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

National Quilting Day 2014

I belong to the Small Quilts Yahoo Group. In one of the daily feeds last week, I learned that this past Saturday was National Quilting Day. In lieu of this, I spent part of the afternoon with my darling son in the sewing room making a quilt for our new baby. He has been bugging me for weeks to make something for the baby. You see, although he is a rough and tumble boy, he thoroughly enjoys sewing. He loves art and creating things with his hands. He always has. His love language also happens to be Acts of Service. As birthdays and Christmas approach, this little man is dreaming up all of the things that he can do and make for everyone he knows.
We had a great time together. He chose the pattern from my birthday gift from Oma, the fabrics from my stash and did all of the piecing himself. I think he fell in love with my 1/4" foot. It made both our lives so much easier. We only had to rip out one seam!

It was a quilt little quilt that only two afternoons of piecing and quilting and 4 rosaries worth of binding. I love praying my rosary while sewing, knitting or crocheting. It is as if I am praying my love right into the quilt. We are so happy with how it turned out. We refer to it as the baby's kitty quilt. Our kitty begs to differ. I think he thinks that it is his. 

I just love his smile! This proud mama is working really hard at teaching all of the kids how to quilt or at the very minimum, how to sew a straight line. There are more and more men who quilt. You just need to look around on the web.  I am sure that we will look back on 2014's National Quilt Day with fondness.

Thanks for stopping by friends.
Holly Hobbie - friends

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Morning in Mary's Garden ~ March 17, 2014

Since today is St. Patrick ’s Day,  I am going to share a bit about the clover also known as a Shamrock.

Saint Patrick PrayerThe name shamrock is derived from Irish seamróg, which is the diminutive version of the Irish word for clover (seamair) meaning simply "little clover" or "young clover".  Often when you see a picture of St. Patrick, in his hand you’ll see a Shamrock along with his shepherd’s staff. Why does he hold a shamrock? Because back in the 5th century St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach  the Irish about the one true God and the blessed trinity. A fact I found interesting about the shamrock is this all clovers can be called shamrocks, but not all shamrocks are clovers. Many more plants are called shamrocks around St. Patrick’s Day than the rest of the year when they are probably called 'Oxalis' or 'clover.

Shamrocks are commonly planted in the grass or on bare patches of dirt. These plants are good for the soil. Before herbicides came into common use in the 1950s, white clover was a common, natural and desired component of temperate region turf lawns. Farmers today routinely add clover in their forage fields to improve growth and protein levels. Organic farmers often rotate their crops with clover and other nitrogen fixing legumes to naturally fertilize their land.


The Shamrock Trifolium dubium  is a symbol of St. Patrick and his evangelization of Ireland, and of Ireland itself – but St. Patrick used it as a symbol of the Trinity, with each leaf representing a divine person while the plant is still one.


by Mia 

Vintage Saint Patricks Day card

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yarn Along ~ March 12, 2014

It has been a long time since I have joined in on a yarn along. I guess that is because I have a love-hate relationship with knitting. I am great at starting projects, but not so great at finishing them. The only time I really knit a lot is when I am expecting. I love making baby things because they are generally quick on and off the needles. I have a long list of items that I want to make before the next baby is due to arrive at the end of July.

Right now, I am working on the Balloon Baby Pants using Ginny's notes. It gave me an excuse to order from Quince and Co. I have been eyeballing the yarn for a long while, but didn't have a project in mind. The yarn is exquisite and was here in only a week. That is really quick considering that I live in Canada. Now I just have to persevere through the ribbing. Isn't knitting ribbing absolutely monotonous? You are supposed to knit it in the round, but my needles were too long. I will just do the ribbing flat and then work the rest on larger needles (after adding stitches) in the round.

I signed my daughter up for a parent / child online class on Lucy M. Montgomery. We finished reading and discussing Anne of Green Gables and have just begun Emily of New Moon. This book is new to me. It is very different from Anne of Green Gables. I am really enjoying it and learning to use the Socratic method of discussion. It is quite a treat to see my daughter grow in this way. I am very impressed with the points she brings up in class. At first, she was rather timid and felt silly speaking in a microphone with her classmates. Now she feels quite comfortable and enjoys the weekly class.

I must admit, that while I should be there for the duration of the class, I find it hard to be there the whole time. I can sit with her, but I need to keep my hands busy or I go batty. I am only allowed to join in the conversation for the last 20 minutes of class. So, I just sit beside her with my spinning wheel while the little boys play.

I finally took the spinning wheel class and have learned how to use my Ladybug.  I hope to use this yarn for a baby garment. Spinning is very relaxing and challenging. I can't wait to knit this up. Any suggestions? I have about 100g with a length of 92 yards. Something for a baby using a bulky yarn?

Thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to check and see what everyone is knitting and reading over at Ginny's blog.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Morning in Mary’s Garden – March 10, 2014

Blessed virgin MaryToday in Mary’s Garden we are going to take a closer look at a Crocus. The Marian name for the crocus is Penitents Rose.  The Latin name is Crocus Sativus.

 The history involved with this flower is quite interesting and also it is interesting how useful a small plant like this can be. The Crocus was a very prized possession in ancient times and very valuable.  These flowers back then were planted not because of their beauty but rather because of their Saffron.  Saffron is a thread like substance that when dried can be used as dye, perfume, medicine, and as a spice. Have you ever had a back ache? Well if you had, then you could have simply used Saffron from a crocus to get rid of the ache in your back. Saffron was also used for curing spitting up blood, dry skin and lots and lots of other uses such as curing paralysis, but oddly enough it is thought to only work on paralysis on the right side of the body.

The Crocus cannot even wait for the snow to melt off the ground before it pushes up its gay blossoms just like the snowdrop. The Crocus does not have a bulb yet it has a Corm. A corm is a solid thick underground stem and is not in layers. The root comes off the lower side of the corm. The corm of the crocus is well wrapped in five, white coats with papery tips. When the plant begins to grow the leaves push their way thought the coats. The leaves are grass like and may be in the number from two to eight depending on the variety.

The Crocus is a very low maintenance plant and multiplies readily. You have to plant them outside 6 – 8 weeks before hard frost, usually in between September and November depending on where you live. To prepare the soil loosen it up until you have a depth of in between 12-15 inches. Next mix in a 2-4 inch layer of compost. Set corms in 4 inches deep the pointy end facing up. Space 3-4 inches apart plant in groups of 12 or more for best effect water thoroughly after planting. 

I found this legend of Saint Valentine very interesting and wanted to share it with you.
Saint Valentine -- St. Valentine and St. Ambrose both patron saints of beekeepers.  :)According to legend, the crocus is connected to Valentine's Day. Valentine was a 3rd century Roman physician who administered natural remedies. He was also a practicing Catholic priest and prayed for his patients' healing. Unfortunately, Christian practices were not permitted under the reign of Claudius II, and Valentine was arrested and sentenced to death. 

The jailor's blind daughter was one of Valentine's patients. Just before his execution, Valentine handed the jailor a note for the blind girl. In the note, he had wrapped a yellow crocus, the source of one of his healing herbs, saffron. As the jailor's blind daughter opened the note, her sight was restored and the first flower she saw was the yellow crocus which rivals the sun in its brightness. On the note, the physician had penned the following message: 
~From your Valentine.~ It was the physician's last message and the world's first valentine. The day was February 14, 270 AD. 

written by ~ Maria von Hatten 
Sweet fawn with birds and flowers .... illustration

Friday, March 7, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment}
I am once again joining Amanda for this Friday's moment. A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Quick New Table Runner

Shower of Roses: Preparing for Lent :: Our Lenten JourneyToday is the last day of ordinary time until after Easter and just in the nick of time, I finished this year's Lenten Table Runner.  It was a bit of a scramble, but the binding was finished during my rosary this morning.

I hope that I am not the only person who sew, knits or crochets while praying her rosary. In case you were wondering, I pray my rosary on my iPhone using the Rosary Deluxe App on iTunes. It has nice little meditations before each decade and I find it very meditative. In the afternoons, when I have more time to pray, especially at my sewing machine, I pray the Rosary with Padre Pio. That has a meditation for each and every bead. It takes a lot longer, but is so deep and thought provoking.

Anyway, I have digressed. Preparations for Lent in our home usually included me feathering the nest in some way or another. I would like to dress down the prayer table a little and make it more 'Lent' looking. I love quilting, so making little quilts for the different liturgical seasons is important for my preparations. Two years ago, I made this little table runner for Lent.
We still plan on using this runner and the over-sized can for giving alms. The runner fits perfectly on the prayer table. 

This year's Lenten table runner was meant to be symbolic. At first glance it looks very primitive and simple and it is. I used the same red marbled fabric that I used on the last runner's binding. The red is symbolic of the blood of Christ shed for us. It is also at the center of each square reminding us that Jesus' sacrifice should also be at the center of our mind and our hearts during the next 40 days. The different shades of brown represent the wood of the cross and remind us to pick up and carry our crosses, to repent and to be Christ-like. The marbled beige fabric around the cross represent the desert and the forty days that Our Lord spent in the desert. It reminds us to fast and to spend time in prayer with Jesus. The binding fabric has stones pictured on it. These stones remind us of the stoney path and the journey we are on. Our Lenten journey should bring us closer to Christ. I chose to make the cross out of 7 log cabin patches because of the symbolism of the number 7 in the bible. There were 7 days in creation with the 7th day being the Sabbath and the Lord commands that we forgive 7 times 77 times. In the Catholic faith there are seven sacraments, the seven sorrows of Our Lady, the seven gifts of the Holy spirit and the seven deadly sins just to mention a few.

We plan on making a crown of thorns out of air dry clay with toothpicks. Lots of families use salt dough, but I have yet to have luck with a gluten free version of salt dough. So air dry clay it it. This year we are using the book Bringing Lent Home with Mother Theresa by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle as one of our main devotionals. It arrived in our mailbox half way through Lent last year. We are using it for the first time this year. I also have other plans for Lent that I may share as they unfold. I am terrible as blogging, so I am not making any promises. I hope to use some resources from the past and to try to keep things simple. Keeping things simple helps me stay on track, not get burned out and actually bring myself and the family closer to Our Lord.

I would be more than happy to share a tutorial on this runner if there is enough interest. 

God bless everyone and Happy Shrove Tuesday!!!

Jesus is the Way, The  Truth, and the Life....NO one comes to the Father except through Him!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Morning in Mary's Garden

It is that time of the year again... gardening time. Well, not really. It is -19C outside at the moment. That is pretty darn cold, even if we DO live in Canada. Normal temps for this time of year hover just above 0C (or in the 30's for all of my American readers).

I am planning a whole series of Monday Morning in Mary's Garden posts as a continuation of last years' posts. It is all planned out and we will officially be kicking off the season next Monday with the crocus.

My sweet daughter is studying plants this year, so the posts will be part of her research project on Mary Garden plants. We are planning on relocating her Mary Garden this coming spring as soon as the snow melts and the we can break ground. I hope that this is the last move of the Mary Garden. It has been in two different locations over the past two summers. The following photo is from last year's location.
Last week, I saw this photo making it's rounds on Facebook. I love it! I only wish I could do this, but I am afraid that I would wimp out after five minutes.

We did begin our first indoor gardening, though. I nearly killed two plants and they are in my plant hospital, atop a dresser in our utility room under grow lights. There is new growth and I hope that they are fully recovered by the time I need to get my tomato seedlings started. I am great at gardening outdoors, but house plants suffer from my neglect every time I break down and by a few new ones. I am notorious at not watering them. Oops.

Maria started gardening indoors as well. She started some violas. I didn't know that they needed complete darkness to germinate, did you? We usually just buy violas at the store sometime after Mother's Day, but we are going to try to grow them from seed this year. The variety that I ordered can be eaten. I am not sure if I would eat them or if it is safe to do while pregnant, but violas are typical Mary Garden flowers. The viola is also known as the trinity flower or Our Lady's Delight.

So don't forget to check back next week for our first official Mary's Garden post of the 2014 season.

God Bless friends. Thanks for stopping by.
Sweet fawn with birds and flowers .... illustration
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