Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On My Mind....

Summer is addictive!! Not only is it just plain fun to be outside and to be able to swim and have cookouts and such it is great to be able get things done. Summer vacation reminds me how much of my day and energy gets devoted to homeschooling. Throughout the school year there is always an underlying frustration concerning how much I can get done around the house on a daily basis. So as much as I want to totally kick back and relax, I have to remember that this is also my only time to get projects done.

Some of my projects are fun like quilting, knitting, decorating. Some are a little less fun like decluttering, repairing, painting, scrubbing and the like. I am actually doing more spring cleaning now than I did in the spring!! In the spring I was still deep in schoolwork and planning for next year. Spring cleaning was fast and not too deep.

Thankfully I have my kids to help me. They are all old enough now, praise the Lord. So I am trying to discipline them to help me keep up with laundry, dishes and putting things back when done so we don't waste time each morning catching up. My new schedule is to do the dusting, vacuuming, bathroom cleaning and floor washing on Monday. Then, on the other days, we can do a quick tidy/cleaning and then focus on projects such as decluttering and repairs and yard work, etc.

This week the kids decluttered their rooms and then we began on the basement. It feels good to fill up the trailer for the dump!! Then once a week Robin hauls it all to the dump and we can start over. Won't it be great if in Sept. we have this place all decluttered and the extra stuff OUT?! Then we can focus on keeping the clutter OUT and not letting it back in!

So, we work on special projects and declutter about an hour a day and then have the rest of the day to play and enjoy! Last weekend we took the kids to a waterpark called "Splash Town" in Saco Maine. It was in honor of Tyler's 14th birthday and he was able to invite his best friend. It was actually very cold that day but everyone had fun despite the chronic shivering!! Here are a couple of pics!

Rachel hates the water slides but found some new friends to play with in the pool!
Here are all the boys and Robin coming out of the biggest, scariest water slide called "The Tornado." See how the employee is bundled in the raincoat? She had the pants on was that cold! BUT it worked out good because there were not the typical big crowds!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

T2CHK Quilt Swap 2007~9 Patch

Here are some photos from the Titus 2 Christian Homekeepers Quilt Swap. It is the 9 Patch. It was fun and relaxing!! As you can see, I chose to strip quilt my 11 blocks:

Ta-Daaaaaa!! :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer's in Full Swing

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this peaceful moment with them all reading their "daily chapter." Even more fun was listening to them share interesting parts of their read with each other. :)

Summer is in full swing. We have all adjusted to our summer schedule and settled into the lazy days of summer! Usually in Maine the spring is quite rainy and then summer hits overnight. Usually it is cool and then suddenly steaming hot. But this spring has been different. The weather has been gorgeous. Some days have been warm enough to swim but not too warm and other days are cool and great for getting your work done. I couldn't ask for better.

We have had such fun having cookouts and eating outside, sometimes cooking over an open campfire. The kids are loving riding their bikes and going to the lake and the pool. I have enjoyed the pace of summer, having time to knit and read and quilt and having the nice weather to just enjoy being outdoors!

Tyler is in Junior League baseball right now. It is a nice change of pace from his 8th grade team. Jr. League is much more relaxed and not as competitive. The league is small and we actually know every coach and some kids on each team. So, for us, it has been very fun and easy going. Christian opted not to do baseball this year and instead he is hitting the golf course with Robin (dh) and his brother. He is having fun learning to golf. Rachel is liking just enjoying playing the piano with the summer off from lessons. She is still dancing but just once per week. She hopes to start learning to use my sewing machine and I have promised her a lesson for tomorrow.

As I am looking around at my house and how I want it decorated, I continue to try to decorate my house in such a way as to seem like a vacation home. I like easy, laid back decor, not too fancy or particular. I like creating an atmosphere that says, "sit and relax" not "oh don't touch this or mess up that." Summer is a great time to work on that goal, with more time to declutter and to think about how to make "home" more of a relaxing kick up your feet kinda place!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Creating My First Pattern

Rachel has been wanting to try a dishcloth pattern but wanted a smaller version. So, I decided to try to create a pattern for her where she would cast as close as possible to 20 stitches and a simple heart design with a simple border. My first one looked like an apple and was too small. So I tweaked the design and stitch amounts and came up with something that I think will do nicely. It took awhile but will hopefully be worth it for her! Hers will not be a dishcloth but I think we will make a back the same size and let her make a little pillow (maybe for her doll?). Below are the pictures of my finished small cloth as well as the pattern.

I used regular, inexpensive worsted weight yarn and size 9 needles. I cast on 25 stitches.
Here goes:
1. Knit across
2. Knit across
3. K 3, P 19, K 3
4. Knit
5. K 3, P 5, K 3, P 3, K 3, P 5, K 3
6. Knit
7. K 3, P 4, K 5, P 1, K 5, P 4, K 3
8. Knit
9. K 3, P 3, K 13, P 3, K 3
10. Knit
11. K 3, P 3, K 13, P 3, K 3
12. Knit
13. K 3, P 4, K 11, P 4, K 3
14. Knit
15. K 3, P 5, K 9, P 5, K 3
16. Knit
17. K 3, P 6, K 7, P 6, K 3
18. Knit
19. K 3, P 7, K 5, P 7, K 3
20. Knit
21. K 3, P 8, K 3, P 8, K 3
22. Knit
23. K 3, P 9, K 1, P 9, K 3
24. Knit
25. K 3, P 19, K 3
26. Knit
27. Knit
Copyright 2007 Karen Twombly

June Mid Month KAL Re-do!

Well now, if I had more experience I would have noticed that in my first try with this dishcloth my purls were on the knit side...OY! It turns out the pattern had an error. So after much deliberation within my own brain, I pulled it out and started over. Oh well, it gave me opportunity to practice the stitches that are new to me. So here are the first 3 days of the "revised version!" :)

It's fun and I am so glad that I used the verigated cotton. I think it adds to the look. I have never done anything quite so intricate with knitting so that is exciting too!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

June Mid Month KAL

Happy Sunday! I have been working on the mid month June Dishcloth Knit Along. My pics represent the first two days worth of rows. Boy I hope I am doing them correctly! It had two new stitches to me: the SSK (slip, slip, knit) and the knit 2 p tog-b. They are both decreasing stitches. When I am really stuck I consult . I love this site because it has video examples. I have a really tough time reading instructions and understanding them so the videos help me so much!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wandering Thoughts

The Steeple of The Old North Church in Boston, MA

This poem, by Amy Carmichael, is one of my favorites and inspired the title of my blog "Gatherings."

Wandering Thoughts

Gather my thoughts, good Lord, they fitful roam,

Like children bent on foolish wandering,

Or vanity of fruitless wayfaring;

O call them home.

See, then, they drift like the wind-scattered foarm;

Like wild sea-birds, they hither, thither, fly

And some sink low, and others soar too high.

O call them home.

My silence speaketh to Thee, but I roam

With my poor silly thoughts, I know not where;

That undistracted I may go to prayer,

O call them home.

Monday, June 11, 2007

First Knitting Projects

Rachel has been learning to knit over the past year. Her first project was a blanket for her dolls. We cast on 20 stitches and she knit until it looked square. We did the same with four different colors. Then we sewed the four squares together and we were done! With that project she learned to cast on, knit and cast off.
With the same yarn Rachel decided to knit an outfit for her dolls. These above are just two square. With the top she knit a rectangle and learned to change colors for the top purple band. With the skirt, she knit a larger rectangle and was using the project to practice the purl stitch. Then she sewed up the back of the skirt and the top as well as using a piece of yarn for the straps. This was all from her own imagination and a very nice beginner project...totally no fail!!

Thursday, June 07, 2007


The children and I worked a bit on the yard yesterday. You'll notice my yard is quite "rustic". I would love it to look manicured, but the combination of living in the woods, poor soil and the cost hinders me. So, we are doing our best with what we have! Rachel and I love to garden and love our flowers. My boys, well, they are willing to help (*wink) and I am thankful for that. Maybe they love flowers more then they let on... :)

See? Weeding can be lots of fun!

Now I have planted grass in this spot where the boys are and I just can't get it to grow. So we would like to put a little patio area here instead. It's fun to dream, isn't it?!

I am noticing that taking pictures is a great way to really look at the yard and see what it needs. Everything in front of the house is low. I probably need some height. I am not sure what to do with it. It would have to be something that could withstand shade. Any ideas?

I love irises! This year was a hard year for them because it poured down rain as they were blooming for 2 days straight. I really didn't think they would survive it so I am very glad they did!

I buy tuberous begonias every year! They are very forgiving to poor conditions and like the shade so they are perfect for me and give me summer long large blooms!

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." Isa. 40:8

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Plants with a Mind of Their Own!

Pretty bloom right?? Well, I have lived in this house for over 5 years. When I came there were these two rhododendron plants. They have never had as much as ONE bloom. So this year I decided I to yank them out and plant flowers there. Well guess what happened? One of the bushes bloomed one little lonely bloom. I think it "knew"! LOL!
"Please don't yank me out! I can bloom...honest!!!"

Now here is my other strange occurance. You see that big empty spot on the left? The bush on the right is a variety of azalea. I planted a Bleeding Heart to the left in that big empty spot 2 years ago. Last year it didn't even come up. This year it came up but on the RIGHT of the azalea!!

There it is! It is growing up under the azalea slightly to right. Nice of you to come up and greet me this year, but um...wrong side!! Maybe I will just put some annuals in the empty spot in case it decides to switch sides again next year!!

June "Knit Along"

I recently joined a "Dishcloth Knit Along Group" ( ) This is how it works. The leader posts a pattern but only gives you 10 rows a day and no picture. Therefore you don't know what it will look like until you are done. This is my first KAL project. It was great fun to have everyone trying to guess what mom was knitting. It turned out to be a unicorn. I think I am going to use this as a facecloth and see how we like the homemade face cloths. There are two patterns per month: one at the beginning of the month and one in the middle. Fun stuff!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

This and That and "Is He a Cat?"

Let's get this one right out of the way! Here is our sweet Shih Tzu, Dash. He is in deep need of a groomin' but I thought I would share this pic anyway so that I could ask: Cat or dog?? Rachel calls him a "cog" because he has many cat like qualities. Now he is my first small dog so maybe that is the confusion!! He loves to lay in the window, lay on the back of furniture and play with cat toys!! Maybe we should have a vote! Cat or Dog? You be the judge!

Spring has sprung!! There will surely be more flower pictures to follow and herb pictures and hopefully veggie pictures! But this humble pot was our first attempt at spring! :) Last year I put so much in the pot that it all grew big and was quite crowded. So this year I left some room. :) I LOVE spring!

Rachel had her piano recital last week. Her teacher gave each student a bouquet of flowers. That is so sweet I think!! Rachel has only taken lessons for a few months but she really loves the piano and has picked it up quite quickly! She has a great ear, but I am trying to handicap her a little and not let her use it! I want her to learn to read music. You know, sometimes in those beginner books they take out the sincopation (sp?) in a song to make it all even quarter notes. Time and again I will hear her correct the rythym if she knows the song. So I try to make sure she has music to play that she has never heard!! She has also been known to change endings and throw notes in to complete the chord. I am not sure how she knows how to do all that so I just sit back amazed and then say, "Okay now try it the way it is written!" HAHA!
Summer is in full swing and everyone is getting used to the new schedule. They are getting used to me limiting screen time, used to reading every day, used to the new chore schedule. Phew! The transitions can surely be the hardest then we all settle in. Just about the time I am tempted to give up, everyone comes around!
I have been having so much fun knitting that I need to discipline myself to get moving on the T2CHK Quilt Square swap. So if you all don't see me posting a pic of my square in the next week, feel free to reprimand me!! Have a great day!!
"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 5:10-11

Monday, June 04, 2007

State of Maine Cloth

This is my latest knit cloth. It is the state of Maine and it was designed by Mary Thistle. I did alter the design a little by adding a few stitches to the side borders so that the finished square would be similar to the others that will be in my blanket. This has been the challenge for me-changing the borders of each design so they are about the same size. I actually gave this one away as well as my lobster cloth, but I will be knitting more! I gave it to a missions group that is coming to Maine from N.C. to build a church. They will all be going home with various "Maine Momentos!"

It is a rainy day today and I have been doing lots of decluttering. I finally finished decluttering the sunroom and I have been working on paper clutter today. Oh does paper ever multiply! I also reorganized some homeschool stuff and am getting ready to move a large bookshelf upstairs. I'll need help though as it is full of books!

I hope everyone reading is have a great day!

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Weekend Happenings

(Portland Headlight in Maine)
What is happening in your homes today? Can you believe June is here already? Time sure flies! Here are our happenin's for the weekend:
This morning Robin has taken Tyler to a scrimmage with his Jr. League team. It is their first scrimmage as the season is just starting. It works out well since his 8th grade team with the local school is winding down. I am taking Rachel to signup for her summer dance classes and Christian is joining us. This summer Rachel will take Break Dancing and Hip Hop. Don't worry, it's all Christian music! :) After the signup we will hit a local grocery store and buy all their deals as they have been running special deals just on the weekends.
Once home we will have lunch all together. Robin is planning to put all the air conditioners in today. My birthday is Monday, so maybe they will all go out shopping! I will be home knitting!! I might go to the greenhouse to get some veggie seedlings if it works out. Robin also has two people waiting for him to help them with computer problems so perhaps he will work those out.
Speaking of knitting, I made a discovery. I am a left handed knitter and I noticed when I made the sailboat pattern that mine was a mirror image of the picture of the pattern. I chuckled to my husband about being a bit "backward" and never thought another thing of it. That is, UNTIL I started working the State of Maine pattern. About 17 rows in I noticed the coastline was on the WEST side instead of the EAST! YIKES! So now I am working the pattern backwards and struggling to remember to read right to left instead of left to right!! Lesson learned!
Back to the weekend, tomorrow we will attend Sunday School and Church and then celebrate my birthday early. It will be a quiet birthday, just us, and we are having lobster! YUM! The local grocery store cooks it for you for free so we do that. They have these nice thermal bags they put them in and when you get home they are still too hot to touch. I hope to do some planting too if time allows.
Speaking of food here is our menu plan for the weekend:
Breakfast: cereal or scrambled eggs
Lunch: sandwiches and chips
Supper: bbq chicken legs, potatoes on grill, corn on the cob
Breakfast: waffles
Lunch: lobster, salad, bread
Supper: perhaps a campfire with hot dogs and smores?
That's our weekend! I hope yours is wonderful!!