Wednesday, February 25

Yarn Along: Stone Cottage...



I bought six skeins of Cascade 220 in charcoal gray (What an unimaginative name!  How about Stone Cottage?) around Thanksgiving.  I knew that I wanted the yarn to become a sweater, but wasn't sure what pattern to use.  I was tooling around on the internet on Friday night (freshly off the glow of finishing my Audry Hat) and spotted the Neckdown Boat Neck Pullover.  I cast on at soon as the pattern printed and was able to finish all of the neckline ribbing before I fell asleep.  I divided for the sleeves on Sunday afternoon and now only have about six inches left before I cast off the body!  I can't believe it!

I'm reading a few books currently (most notably, The Scent of Holiness), but am listening to the Serial Podcast at night while I knit.

Edited to Add:  If you read an earlier version of this Yarn Along (or came across it when it looked a bit crazy with huge pictures and no text), I apologize.  I was adding a photograph with my phone and accidentally deleted the content of the post and had to re-create it.  So sorry about that!

Tuesday, February 24

Stepping Through the Wardrobe...

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C. S. Lewis.”
C.S. Lewis
 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe


A dear church friend mentioned that "the woods outside the sanctuary looked like we might have 'stepped through the wardrobe'" on Sunday morn and she was right!  Her comment made me think that perhaps a little Aslan would be a good way to start Great Lent this year, so the children and I spent hours listening to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe yesterday and today as we sat by the fire.  I think that we may have stumbled upon a new Lenten tradition!  Thank you, dear Katherine! 

 I wish that I had gotten out to take photographs before Liturgy.  There was still a great deal of snow on the ground, it was raining, and fog had rolled in (what a combination!).  The fog drifted back in during the late afternoon and so I hot-footed it out to capture some of the beauty just before Forgiveness Vespers.  We are blessed to live in such a glorious place.

Monday, February 23

On the First Day of Great Lent...

 O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Lenten Prayer of Saint Ephrem


 The Great Lent Learning Basket can be found HERE.

Sunday, February 22

Forgive Me a Sinner...

As today is Forgiveness Sunday, I would like to ask you to please forgive me for any offense that I have cause you. I hope that you have a blessed Lenten season.

Saturday, February 21

Ten Tips for the Great Fast...

1. Regardless of how you fast, fast every single day. This type of fasting helps wear down the passions and build spiritual endurance.

2. Know exactly what the fasting regulations are and try to approximate them as best you can. Each Lent, try to be more strict yet humble.

3. Particular concerns about fasting? Age, health issues, never fasted before, mixed-marriages? Speak with your priest.

4. Be sure to recite the Lenten prayer of Saint Ephraim. If you cannot make prostrations just make bows or cross yourself.

5. On weekends, we do not make prostrations and our fasting is slightly relaxed since Saturday and Sunday are holy days.

6. The Lenten services and tones are offered only during the week –
strive to participate as much as possible in these services and the spirit of lent will rub off on you.

7. Sports and outdoor activities are not contrary to the Lenten spirit.

8. Strive to avoid going to movies, parties, vacations, and other entertainments. This we do so we can have more time to devote to spiritual things.

9. Confession and Holy Communion are central to securing the benefits of Lent. Without fail, we should receive the Sacraments during the period of Great Lent.

10. Be mindful of what we look at and how much time we spend on TV and computer. Some give up TV for all of Lent. Others strictly limit their time and watch only educational and news programs. Surfing on the web? Hit the theological sites.

Friday, February 20

Yarrow Bloom Audrey...

My first Audrey Hat is complete!  I decided to only do three repeats of the body rather than four once I tried it on.  I love how it fits and it will be great to wear this cozy hat with the cold front that is moving in tonight. 

Here are some of my notes:  I was following along with Amanda's first Hat Along on Fringe.  The pattern was very easy to follow.  It took me three days to complete!  I used Madeline Tosh DK in the Yarrow Bloom colorway.  Though the pattern called for size 6 needles, I went with size 5s for two reasons:  I have a small head and apparently don't own size 6 needles with a 16" cord!  The 5s worked perfectly for a hat that is roomy but not falling down over my eyes.

Thursday, February 19

Mid-February Nature Table...

Preparing for Great Lent: Our Lenten Calendar...

Last year, I finally implemented a pretty Lenten calendar that I spotted on Rhythm of the Home (which now appears to be offline).  I remembered it in the nick of time last year and made it on Sunday afternoon just before Forgiveness Vespers.  I basically copied Bley Hack's Lenten Path using watercolor paper, Prang watercolors, and watercolor pencils.  While the calendar was drying, I took a little butterfly from the craft store and glued a round magnet to the back.  When everything was dry, I place it on the first stone on the Lenten path and put another magnet under the paper.  Now the butterfly can easily move from stone to stone.  Here's a video I took to show you how it works:

Wednesday, February 18

Yarn Along: An Episode of Sparrows...

On a whim I decided to join Amanda's Fringe Hat Along yesterday.  I'm using a skein of Madeline Tosh DK (Yarrow Bloom, I think) that I've had on my shelf for over a year.  It looks like a quick knit, which is good.  I plan on knitting the slouchy version.

I began to read An Episode of Sparrows last night, too.  I have had it on my bedside table for months, but it kept getting pushed aside.  I think that it will be a good February read with all the talk of a hidden garden and stolen dirt.  It makes me want to watch The Secret Garden with my little ones.

Preparing for Great Lent: Eyes and Ears...


We try to severely limit our entertainment during Great Lent, so I've been slowly gathering appropriate things to listen to and read during these next seven weeks.

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev's Saint Matthew Passion is one of my favorite Lenten listens.  It was really hard to find on compact disc for awhile and so we would listen to the YouTube video when we wanted to hear it.  However, I was able to order it last year and now I see that they are more readily available through Amazon.  I tend to put the music on when I'm cooking and cleaning. 

I've chosen a couple of  books for my Lenten reading this year:  The Mystery of Art and The Scent of Holiness.  I am really looking forward to both of these and have been saving them for this special Liturgical time.  Normally I have quite a bit of reading time during Great Lent, so I am thinking about pre-ordering Frederica Mathewes-Green's latest book, Welcome to the Orthodox Church for the tail end of the fast.

I'd love to know what you are reading and listening to, if you feel inclined to share!

Tuesday, February 17

Preparing for Great Lent: Candlelight...

 It is no secret that I love the ambiance of candlelight and Great Lent is the perfect time to enjoy it.  There are three sorts of candles I buy this time of year.  The first is a plain pillar candle that I fit into a beautiful glass hurricane candle holder that I was given for Christmas one year.  We light it when we come in from Vespers on Forgiveness Sunday and enjoy it's simple beauty all of Great Lent.  

The second candle that I like to buy is an ornate beeswax egg candle.  For the past two years that have been in stock at our local health food store, but I have often seen them online.  We light this pretty candle from Pascha through Ascension.  My only recommendation is to buy these candles early, as they tend to sell out pretty quickly.

Finally, each year I buy a package of battery operated candles for the children to hold during candlelit evening services.  This allows the parents some piece of mind and makes the little ones feel like part of the service.  These candles are sold at Target and Walmart and are also available online

Using candles is a fairly simple way to bring the Liturgical life into the home.  Use caution when enjoying candles (especially around children) and remember to never leave a candle unattended!

Monday, February 16

Let it Snow!

The weatherman is calling for lots of snow overnight (6+ inches).  I am hoping that he is right!  The firewood is stacked all the way up to the mantle, bread is made, the fridge is stocked, I have hyacinths on the dining room table, and there is plenty to knit and read.  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Preparing for Great Lent: Planning Ahead...

One of the things that really helps to make Great Lent and Pascha go a little more smoothly is to plan ahead.  Here are some of the things that I have on my list to do:

1.  Begin saving onion skins for dyeing eggs red naturally
2.  Buy candles for Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha
3.  Purchase wheat grass seeds to plant on Palm Sunday
4.  Purchase Pascha candy and plastic eggs for egg hunt (Easter is the week before Pascha, so plan accordingly)
5.  Sort out Pascha outfits and egg necklace(s)
6.  Create a Lenten calendar
7.  Pick out a book or two to read during Great Lent

Is there anything that I am missing?

Sunday, February 15


Man ought to treat the body of his fellow human being with more care than he treats his own. Christian love teaches us to give our fellows material as well as spiritual gifts. We should give them our last shirt and our last piece of bread. Personal almsgiving and the most wide-ranging social work are both equally justified and needed.” 

Mother Maria Skobtsova
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...