20140117_134104This is the second yarn shot in a row. This yarn is not at my home, but at my local yarn shop. When I walked in with a friend, yesterday and saw that it was their annual sale – it occurred to me that these winter months must by my natural knitting months because even though I’m not on a mailing list, I have never missed this annual sale.

This picture is partly about the delightful sensory overload of this yarn shop, and partly about my shopping companion. The friend I was with is someone who has walked with me (and Marc) through some of the hardest things, has shared some of the most intimate and wonderful worship times, and discovered some of the coolest creative expressions in life. All the colors in this  yarn, that is how her friendship has been to me.

So this Focus.52 is multi-dimensional. What you can see…. and what I can see.



My friend Elisa is leading a 52 week adventure of shifting our focus more and more onto our loving Father. Each week we are going to be grabbing our cameras to capture one of the many moments where we see God’s love and care and joy and delight in our lives. We are creating a photographic chronicle of a visual pilgrimage into His faithfulness.




This astonishes me. Once upon a time, there was an alpaca. And it wasn’t this lovely color of green. But it grew some fleece (about 5 to 8 pounds of it that year*). Someone cared for the alpaca. The alpaca hummed while it grew it’s fleece. (Really! check out the website below!). Someone harvested the fleece and it was crafted into a yarn fiber (a fiber that is one of  the loveliest things to touch as I have ever felt). Someone found a dye and transformed the fiber to the color you see above.

The hank of fiber (two of them) was gifted to me (by my sister? thank you sister!). It sat waiting (humming?) for me for about a year.

I picked it up and chose a pattern. On four needles and with one strand of fiber, fingerless mitts are being created. I will finish them this weekend, and I feel a bit sad about that. It has been such a wonderful project to work on during the past month.

Thank you Alpaca. Thank you Alpaca caregiver and weaver and dyer. Thank you pattern writer (how does your brain function!?).

Even more, thank you Abba – for knitting me together. (Psalm 139:13. Did You hum, too?) 🙂





My friend Elisa is leading a 52 week adventure of shifting our focus more and more onto our loving Father. Each week we are going to be grabbing our cameras to capture one of the many moments where we see God’s love and care and joy and delight in our lives. We are creating a photographic chronicle of a visual pilgrimage into His faithfulness.

More Roman Shades

Roman Shades. I love them. I think they are such an improvement over the plastic roller shades that we have started out with. Yesterday I made my last set of Roman shades for our home. And I have to say, they might be my favorite.


Sofie and I found a fabric that was ‘appropriate’ (my word) for shades and reflects all of her vibrancy and life. I love her fabric as much as I love Anna’s.

What makes the shades stand apart, is that they are velcro’d on the top. They are entirely washable. I also love how the fabric and lining were sewed together inside out and turned, like you would a pillow cover. It is a nice neat edge. Finally, these sit neatly inside the window frame. We will add a valance that can be matched with any of her many colors. I can see this as becoming a way for HER to add her touch of pizzazz to the shades that have momma’s stamp of approval.


None of the other shades in our bedrooms that I have made will be washed with a simple zip. They are all pretty much permanently mounted. I am pondering whether they can be partly deconstructed and re-constructed to add this user friendly feature.

Sofie’s take on the shades – they are much better than the roller shade that had served us faithfully for about 10 years…. but not so much the last few months. We were literally duct-taping them closed at night! She also says that the fabric is both sophisticated but not so sophisticated that she feels like she should put her dolls away. She can be a BigLittleGirl comfortably.


Here is a link to the pattern I used. This would not have worked if I hadn’t made three rooms worth of Roman Shades before. The directions get you started, but they don’t guide you all the way through. (

Next project – finishing the quilt I started for her 7 years ago. The top is ‘done enough’ and the back will be with the same fabric as the shades. 



Our 2012 Jesse Tree Plan

in the corner by our kitchen/school table

What I thought was going to be a simple pulling together of resources to createour Jesse Tree Plan for 2012 turned into a much larger project. I really thought that I would just be able to ‘plug and play’ Jesse Tree this year. It didn’t play out that way.

Instead I found myself carefully and prayerfully choosing the list of characters and the Bible passages that we will share each day. I found myself thinking ‘my kids can read and understand longer passages’ than whatever was recommended. I found myself being captivated with Sarah and Joseph (Mary’s husband) more than I have been in the past and wanting to give them more ‘attention’ in our Advent season.

I told Marc this morning “I wish I had realized what a devotional and prayerful experience that this was going to become, because I would have approached it much differently” – note to self for next year, I guess.

Anyhow, here is the Pitman Plan for Jesse Tree this Advent: 2012 Jesse Tree FINAL. This was a collection from the online resources I have mentioned before and my own. (You will see that poor Sarah still has no symbol – the suggestion is a tent and I don’t like that (this year). I’m thinking/praying/looking for symbols of joy or laughter and have an image of a woman in my mind that I wonder if I can somehow make come to life in clay…. We’ll see.)

up close Jesse Tree, working with wire was fun, might have to play at this some more

I did want to share how we are displaying our ornaments this year. In the past we have used just a mini Christmas tree that got shuffled from table to counter and got knocked over and ornaments got broken. This year I took a used bulletin board and covered it in some leftover Christmas cloth. Then I used wire to shape a Christmas tree outline. I am *thinking* that we will use thumbtacks or “t” pins to attach our ornaments.

Pictures of my ornaments will come out roughly week by week. And I still hope to share some of what I’ve learned about working with sculpey clay and my favorite tools.

Have a lovely start of Advent.



Jesse Tree – the (sort of) series

Last month, I shared that one of our traditions for many years has been the  Jesse Tree tradition.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;  from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. – Isaiah 11:1

The premise of “Jesse Tree” is a journey through Bible passages of God’s faithfulness and prophecies leading up to the birth of Christ. The first day’s reading from Isaiah introduces the journey, then moves from Creation to the Birth of Christ. The biggest difference in the versions we looked at was that some included women and some did not. (Because we have daughters and a pretty strong theology that women are important in the redemptive story of G0d, we have made sure to include Rahab and Ruth and Elizabeth as well as Mary.)

When we started incorporating Jesse Tree into our Advent observance, we used printables that the kids colored in and stuck up on a refrigerator tree. Almost 10 years ago, I wanted to do something more permanent. I decided to try my hand at sculpey clay. The ornaments turned out pretty good and most are still around today.

Over the next 4-6 weeks (I can’t decide which) I’m going to take some time to share more about our tradition. I’ll share some links and I’ll share picts of my clay ornaments – not because they are so great, but because they are so do-able for a really small investment.

Really, if you google Jesse Tree, you will find way more resources then you know what to do with. (Remember, when our family started about 12 years ago, there were three sources when I did an internet search!) Amazon and ChristianBook also have some great looking resources (putting it on my calendar to look at those more closely later). Etsy also offers some ornament options.