Friday, May 22, 2015

a happy day years in the making

I got a book in the mail this week.

But not just ANY book.

You see, six years ago, I connected with a lovely woman named Susanne Dietze through the ACFW email loop. We both loved historical romance, and we also discovered that not only were we both Anglicans, but we both lived in California!

On the strength of these similarities, we exchanged our WIPs (works-in-progress) and gave each other critiques.

And we both went back to writing and revising.

But we've kept in contact all these long years*, and the book I got in the mail today?

It has Susanne's name on the cover!

I'm so excited. Congratulations, Susie!  I cannot wait to read it!

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

*Here's an interview I conducted with Susanne here on my blog back in 2012.

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link; if you purchase a book from this link, I receive a small percentage of the purchase price.  (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Knitted FO's: another baby hat and another scarf

It feels like all-craft week here on my blog!  I guess I've gotten behind on documenting the things I'm making . . . 

Anyway, I'd made scarfs for each of my girls (see here, here, and here) and so it was Gamgee's turn. 

He wanted blue and orange, and so I took advantage of the anniversary sales over at WEBS, and bought some yarn. I ended up with this:

I also used some scrap sock yarn to make this baby hat:
Do I know what baby it's for?  Nope!  :)  But I have a few ideas (and a lot of expectant friends).  

It never hurts to have a few gifts put away for a special occasion, because, God be praised, special occasions keep coming up.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Monday, May 18, 2015

Handmade Crocheted Beaded Necklaces

So the Saturday before last, I decided it was time to make some jewelry. I hadn't done that for awhile, and so I had to dig out all my beading stuff from the dark recesses of the living room bookshelf wherein it resided.

I was inspired by the pendant in this picture, which I'd recently found at Michaels (I'm a sucker for botanical imagery):

And even though I ended up ditching the twine for some plastic beading wire, I did end up with a successful necklace:

Though I think I might go back and redo it. Not sure I like the plastic wire, even though I worked it along with some gold quilting thread. I might just use some cotton laceweight yarn instead.

But then, I went on to make this:

and I love it so much!  This was made with semi-precious stone chips (pretty affordable, actually, at your local craft store) and three strands of some DMC gold embroidery floss. I basically crocheted a tube shape for the middle stone section, and winged the two beaded sections on the end (sort of chain stitch, but with a bit of extra fiddling around to make it as thick as I wanted).  I had the closure in my stash, and now I think I need to get a few more like it, because it worked so well.

I think there's more jewelry-making on the horizon for me. It's just so much fun!

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Weekly Links

My weekly round-up of good reading around the web.

"Grace Lee: She Taught Me to See":
Mom taught me, at least a little bit, to begin to look at characters, all characters, on television as people. They did not exist for me, but for themselves . . . even in the story. 
"Passive Aggressive Dissent: It's a Trap":
Seven, tell your story often.  If it is not allowed to trump exegesis, church history, or reason, look sad. Ask why the Evangelical church always shoots her wounded. Don’t consider whether your story might not be enough for millions of people to change their mind.
"How Christianity Invented Children":
Today, it is simply taken for granted that the innocence and vulnerability of children makes them beings of particular value, and entitled to particular care. We also romanticize children — their beauty, their joy, their liveliness. Our culture encourages us to let ourselves fall prey to our gooey feelings whenever we look at baby pictures. What could be more natural? 
In fact, this view of children is a historical oddity. If you disagree, just go back to the view of children that prevailed in Europe's ancient pagan world.

"Kindness and Reasonableness: spread it, because it matters":
I am not anxious today because there is something deeply and particularly wrong with me. I am anxious today because like everyone in the world, life in it sucks my spirit dry now and again. I need to hear the truth over and over, as a corrective to the false promises and threats that are taken in in the air we breathe.

"The Psalms, A Holy WTF?! and Other Thoughts on the Cloister Walk":
The psalms do for us what we often can't do for each other, they let us be honest, and they let us just be. They do not insist that we pull ourselves together, get over it or move on. Their writers aren't uncomfortable or unacquainted with misery. They don't try to minimize it or explain it or tell you it is all for the best.

"Wired Binge-Watching Guide: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"
Thinking of it as the “dark side” of Star Trek is too reductive—not least because it’s a show that flirts with darkness but purposefully doesn’t embrace it—but maybe “the Star Trek that’s not uncomfortable feeling weird” would fit, instead. It’s the Star Trek for people who don’t think they like Star Trek, and the Star Trek for people who do, as well.

"3 Takeaways From My Recent Trip to Biola": Loved reading this positive take about my alma mater.

"First Things Essay Contest": I know there are some students and moms of students that read here, and I encourage you to take a look at this link - it's a great chance for a Christian student writer to get some experience and exposure!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"the shepherd verse"

My twins, Anna and Lucy, have just memorized Psalm 23, which Anna calls "the shepherd verse".

I think I'm going to think of it that way from now on.

As I've been listening to my girls recite it to me, I've noticed something new about it. (Isn't it funny how listening to something you've read a million times can make it feel brand new?)

What I noticed is that the part about "the valley of the shadow of death" comes right after the part about "the path of righteousness".

"You lead me in paths of righteousness," says the psalmist, "for your name's sake."

And immediately after that, he says, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."

The path of righteousness, therefore, may very well go through the valley of the shadow of death.

I hadn't noticed that before. "You lead me," says the psalmist. And directly after that, he acknowledges the fact that he might well follow that lead into dark places.

And yet. And yet.  "I will fear no evil."

Why? "Because You are with me."


Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Knitted FO: a scarf for Anna

My youngest daughter dearly wanted a scarf, and so I obliged:

It's just a simple garter-stitch scarf (and if you're interested in the yarns here, you can see my Ravelry entry here). It's very similar to the one I made for her twin sister, which you can see at the end of the entry here.

But it made her happy, which made me happy too. :)

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Knitted FO: Viajante

It took forever to finish this.

It's a very big project, and I knit it in a cobweb-weight silk that I reclaimed from a very tightly-knit Ann Taylor sweater I bought at a thrift store. (See this post for more on yarn recycling.)

But it's beautiful.  And so light and airy!

I'm not sure when I'm going to wear it - other than on Pentecost Sunday, when everybody ought to be wearing something red and brilliant, to remind us of the coming of the Holy Spirit in fire and flame - but I still love it.  It's so bright, so light . . . if it weren't so cool and comfortable, I'd say it was the embodiment of fire and lava.

I do want to try making Viajante again, this time perhaps in a yarn that behaves itself a bit more than my nutty recycled silk thread. I'm thinking about using all my leftover laceweight scraps, and buying a white yarn to tie them altogether.

What do you think?  Have you knit Viajante yet, or do you want to?

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell