Gift #1195: A New Year

Welcome to 2023! I hope the new year is off to a good start for you. I enjoyed having a few weeks off at the end of the year, during which I was able to spend Christmas with my family out of state. It was a wonderful visit. Since then, we’ve been getting back into a weekly rhythm and trying to find as much rest as possible. The winter months are good for hibernating at every possible opportunity and cuddling under blankets for slow, quiet evenings. These are the things I try hard to appreciate as I desperately wait for spring to emerge. We’ve had a few snows here and Ellie, the Sheltie Wonderdog, absolutely adores it!

She is definitely a cold-weather canine and eager to get outside to play in the snow and eat it too! Being of Scottish descent, she shares their opinion that “there is no bad weather, only those that are unsuitably dressed for it”.

In between romps in the snow, we amuse ourselves with indoor play. When she’s resting I work on knitting or other crafting. Knitting is an especially satisfying endeavor when the fire is crackling merrily and one has a hot beverage close at hand. I’ve wanted to be a test knitter for a while now and this month, I finally did my first one! Test knitting is when you knit a pattern for a designer before it’s released to the general public. It lets the designer see how the object looks in various sizes with different yarns, helps clarify any instruction issues in the pattern, and gives estimates about how much yarn is needed. One of my favorite designers, Lauren Rad, of A Bee in the Bonnet, put out a testing call for a pair of socks and I was accepted as one of her test knitters. Here is the sock sample I made.

I chose soft greens with accents of mauve/cream and am calling it my “Dreaming of Spring” socks. They were a delight to knit and had a beautiful lace pattern.

Now that I have a few items off my needles, it’s time to dream of future projects….

Another pursuit of mine this year is focusing on the intersection of art and faith. I have several books lined up to read about it over the course of the year. Right now I’m reading “Art and Faith: A Theology of Making” by Makoto Fujimura. It’s been an insightful read so far and unique for me in that I haven’t had to opportunity to hear the perspective of Christianity from an Eastern viewpoint very often. I’ve wanted to incorporate my faith in my making more this year and also use my crafting as a way to explore my faith.

I started doing that this month by creating a Bible Journal, where I wrote Scripture each day and also played with collage and paper arts. A Facebook group I belong to posts Scripture readings for each day of the month based on a certain topic, so I used that as the theme. All the verses center around light or radiance.

To decorate, I used a digital download of winter botanicals that I purchased on Etsy from seller CollageType. I supplemented with rubber stamped images, washi stickers, and diecuts. I enjoyed the experience of meditating on God’s Word while working with my hands to create unique collages for each day. I’d like to keep up this practice throughout the year with different themes.

I hope that you’re finding ordinary miracles in the quiet of winter, in the dreaming of spring, and in the little moments of joy sprinkled throughout each day.

Blessings to you,


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