Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Jesse Tree!


After one month and around 70 hours of work my Jesse tree is starting to look finished!  I had bigger plans for the tree, with a border and pockets for the ornaments, but I think that will have to wait until next year.  I'd also really love to decorate the blue background with little felt angels, but again, with the beginning of the 24 days of the Jesse tree one day away, I'm going to be happy to get the velcro stuck on in time!   

For those of you who've never heard of a Jesse Tree, it's a fun, centuries old devotion.  The Jesse Tree's name is inspired by Isaiah 11:1, which reads: 
"But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom."

The ornaments on the Jesse Tree represent people in the Bible (mostly Old Testament until you get to the tip top of the tree) and are based on the traditional symbols that represent people in Jesus' family tree (according to the genealogy at the start of Matthew).  Other sites have other symbols, but I used the ones in my copy of The Catholic Home by Meredith Gould.  

Here's our Jesse Tree:

I made the tree itself last night.  As I began to cut it out I realized it had to be big to hold the gigantic ornaments I'd made.  When I made the pattern for the ornaments I traced a roll of duct tape on a piece of cardboard... so that's how big each ornament is (and they're each pretty thick too!).  Which meant that my Jesse Tree ended up being a tiny bit shorter than me (it's around five feet tall).  

Now I just need to find a place for it to hang!

And since I spent the vast majority of those 70 hours making ornaments I just had to give you a closer look!  Here they are, in order:

The World is Created (globe): Genesis 1:24-28
Adam and Eve (snake and apples): Genesis 3:1-34

Noah and the Flood (rainbow): Genesis 6:11-22
Abraham (camel): Genesis 12:1-7, 13:2-18, 18:1

Sarah (baby): Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7
Isaac (ram): Genesis 22:1-14

Jacob (ladder): Genesis 27:41-28:22
Joseph (multicolored coat): Genesis 37:1-36

Moses (burning bush): Exodus 3:1-10
Miriam (tambourine): Exodus 15:19-21
Samuel (lamp): 1 Samuel 3:1-21

Jesse (branch): Isaiah 11:1 (shown, apparently out of order, below... it's the green one...)
David (harp): 1 Samuel 16:14-23
Solomon (crown): 1 Kings 3:3-28

Isaiah (throne): Isaiah: 6:1-8 (Paul says the throne looks like an old truck...)
Jeremiah (tablets of law): Jeremiah 31:31-34

Angels (angel): Hebrews 1:1-14 (again, apparently out of order... this is what happens when I put something together at midnight...)
Malachi (trumpet): Malachi 3:1-4)
Zechariah and Elizabeth (dove): Luke 1:39-45

Mary (angel): Luke 1:26-35
John the Baptist (river): Matthew 3:1-6

Joseph (hammer and lily): Matthew 1:18-25
Bethlehem (star): Matthew 2:1-12

Birth of Christ (crib): Luke 2:1-7

And that is my Jesse Tree.  If you're interested in making your own Catholic Icing has a printable coloring set!

Now I'm just really hoping that I put these up out of order and that the felt numbers that I carefully stitched on the back of each ornament aren't out of order! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Fabric Stash

I think it's hard to judge the size of my fabric shelves by looking at the pictures, but my best estimate is that it's probably around eight feet tall.  It's quite a bit taller than Paul when he's next to it.  I think my fabric sale shopping is finally catching up with me.  I think I have enough for the next hundred or so snoods and headcovering I have planned.  At least that's what I'll tell myself until the next time I run across cotton fabric that's like 80% off and I just can't walk past it...

There is some method to the madness.  Tulle and giant rolls of cotton at the top.  Flannel, felt, fleece and more cotton on the second shelf.  Most frequently used fabrics on the third shelf (lots of lace and silk and linen, with a rather large row of cotton behind it).  More felt and cotton on the next row.  And lastly velvets and brocades on the bottom row.  

The yarn stash is barely visible at the right edge of the picture.  

I have a lot of work to do if I'm ever going to sew my way through this pile of fabric!  

Monday, November 28, 2011

The New Translation: Skepticism and Hope (Mostly Hope!)

I remember first hearing about the new translation of the Mass a couple of years ago and waiting eagerly for the implementation.  You see, I'd heard that it was due out at Advent and so when Advent arrived with our ever interestingly festooned missals I eagerly flipped open the pages and began to scan for the changes (on a side note , with all the beautiful artwork in the world, why did they always go with the kind that was as abstract as humanly possible on those missals... to quote Sadie and her frequent use of "it kind of looks...": "It kind of looks like Mary..." Kind of.  It also kind of looks like something a five year old with no sense of proportion could whip up...).

And then I learned the slow moving truth.  It wasn't coming in 2009.  These things take time.  I apparently wasn't as up on Catholic-News reading at the time, because the same disappointment came in 2010 when I thought:  "Advent! It's almost here! Are we going to start practicing?" and realized that it was Advent 2011 and we'd be waiting an entire additional year (I'm glad I didn't know that in fall 2009 when I first heard about it).

I ordered Jimmy Akin's Mass Revision before we moved and began reading it a couple of months ago, before putting it down with a bit of regret.  The book is brilliant.  The explanations are great.

But, after attending so many Masses where the words "Near Occasion of Sin" would not be inappropriate I have to say I was skeptical as to how much any change, short of a great big smack over the head by the Holy Spirit, would really help.  I thought of the Masses that make this seem, not all that unrealistic, Masses with Ad-Libbing Liturgies of the Eucharist, where we had to repeat parts because we didn't say the Agnus Dei with enough gusto and Masses where the priest starts to say the Our Father and the choir got louder and louder because someone had decided we'd be singing the... modified... words... and so they drowned him out until he finally gave up and joined in (let me say that that was one of the saddest things I ever saw at Mass...  I think Near Occasion of Sin crossed over into outright rage at that point...  I could have thought of a good use for that missal if I'd had a better throwing arm... without a baby in it...).

Could any change so small, really help those situations? the small pessimistic voice that's formed over the past few years asked.  I mean if they're changing the words anyway, who says they'll even use the new translation?  Those little old ladies had been writing the Bishop for years... and it never changed anything... 

But then I remember the importance and power of words and how seemingly small changes can have an enormous impact on meaning.  I mean, that's exactly what upset me so much about the changing of the words in the Our Father.  Small changes can have transform meaning.  More than that, at this moment, these changes can make us think, really think, about something we've been saying for years.  Maybe those words, given new life through small changes, might affect us in a new, amazing way.

Which makes me feel a little bit torn.  I love the Latin Mass.  The beauty and reverence of it touches a chord in my heart that vibrates through the week... and I know where the focus of the Mass will be, even when my own focus is distracted by a fussy toddler.  But I'd also really love to see the implementation of these changes, and the amazing effects that are possible when we really take a close look at the words that we're saying and the meaning that they convey.

After Mass yesterday the girls and I strolled around the big church next to the little chapel where Latin Mass is held and watched as the crowd of Mass goers poured in for the next Mass of the day.  I was tempted to join them to see the changes first hand (I would have been more tempted if I hadn't just survived a fairly smooth 90 minutes with Sadie and Mae at the EF Mass).  But then the giant cement building began to vibrate with blasting music that we could hear outside, some fifty yards away, and the idea didn't seem quite as compelling.  Maybe we can find someplace a little quieter for our first taste of the new translation...

What was your experience of the new translation?  Since I've read about it but haven't actually seen it in action, so to speak, I'm hoping I can live vicariously through you all!  I hope it was a beautifully beginning to your Advent season!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sadie's Plot at the Communion Rail

As Sadie walked along side me up to the communion rail this morning she kept turning sideways and giving me a huge, not totally sincere, smile.  I should have known she was plotting as she would take a few steps, turn, smile, look forward, and repeat the whole process.  When we got up to the front she squeezed on the kneeler next to me and placed her hands on the rail.  I put one hand over each of her hands so there couldn't be an incident involving preschooler hands and the Eucharist as it neared my tongue.  She held perfectly still.  She'd really been pretty good all through Mass today, as had Mae, which is a huge change from how they've both acted as they've adjusted to the new, slightly longer Latin Mass.  I received the Eucharist and began to stand when I looked down at Sadie, who was still kneeling and I finally noticed what she'd had actually been doing in front of me.  Her little head was tilted and her tongue was extended as she waited for the Eucharist (which, of course wasn't going to happen!).  The priest was not fooled by her three year old attempt.

Sadie's pretty excited about Advent.  Last night she and Mae got in a fight over their picture Bible (guess who gets it when we fight over it?  Mommy.).  After they listened to the Christmas story I asked questions and was surprised when Sadie told me that Jesus lived in Bethlehem.  Then we talked about Advent and said our prayers and family rosary before going to bed.

This morning I asked Sadie if she knew what today was.  She paused and said:  "It's Advent!  Is it baby Jesus' birthday yet?"  She knew the answer to the question, but she loves to ask it over and over again.  As the girls get older teaching them about God is getting to be more and more fun.  But I better go... Sadie's giving me that particularly sweet smile.  She's up to something.... and I need to put the finishing touches on our Jesse Tree ornaments!


An Unexpected Side Effect

Last night I was all ready to write a new post.  I'd sewed a half dozen snoods and a convertible scarf/headband and had taken the progesterone supplement (prometrium) that I've started, just in case the girls woke up and I ended up falling asleep waiting for them to go back to sleep.  I thought I'd sew a couple more snoods and get to blogging.  Then the dizziness started.  At first I thought it was a migraine aura, because the aura usually hits with slurred speech and dizziness before  the actual migraine.  But as things got stranger I began to wonder.

Anyone who saw me would have likely thought I'd had a few too many glasses of wine.  When I stumbled into the bedroom to put the sewing machine away (because I didn't even think to ask for help... that's definitely a flaw sober or not!) Paul suggested that I get some sleep.  But I decided to google the side effects of prometrium and apparently feeling really, really drunk is one of them that a lot of women are asking about online.  I have to say I was surprised.  I mean, I know hormones can really effect the way we think, but I was surprised it was that dramatic.  Paul suggested that a drunken sounding post was probably not the best idea and I finally agreed and went to sleep.

But I did have a Sadie story to share today:

Sadie was in fine form yesterday.  She and Mae "helped" me put together the dress form that I found at Joann's on Friday.  I'd been waiting for about five months for a great dress form sale and when I walked through the door to do a little fabric shopping for snoods I was pretty excited to see that all dress forms were marked down to $99 (plus a 25% off everything coupon that I had).  Since the dress form easily could have run around $250 I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to beat the deal and so I finally made the purchase (along with some great fabric deals... I can not pass up fabric that's $1.49 a yard...).

So yesterday I managed to assemble the dress form, despite my helpers' best efforts, and then began to adjust the measurements to match my own.  Sadie was on hand to ask lots of questions about what I was going and quickly realized I was adjusting the figure to Mommy's size.  Which is around the time she started calling the dress form "real Mommy."  The dress figure got quite a few hugs.  And later when I attempted to put "Real Mommy" away there was panic (to condense an hour of conversation).  "Where is my Real Mommy?!?!? Is she in the hallway?!?!?  Real Mommy?!?!  Real Mommy where are you!??!"

I finally brought "Real Mommy" back out and Sadie attempted to stuff, not one but two baby dolls in "Real Mommy's" tummy to give her a baby bump.  And she tried to make her hold her backpack, which was tough on Real Mommy without limbs of any sort.

Sadie's prayers continue.  Every night she says exactly the same words:  "Dear God. New Baby.  Amen."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Crafty Catholic Mamacita Giveaway

I just had to let you know Maria has opened a Cafe Press Store and is hosting a giveaway over on her blog!  Check it out!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fabric Find!

Tonight while I was searching for a fabric that I needed for a new order my hand brushed across a familiar blue-ish, purple-ish/pink-ish dupioni silk.  At first I figured it was just a scrap that was left over, but then I realized that it was a full snood sized piece, with two strips cut for the straps and another large scrap perfect for a combo scarf.  So... I've relisted one of my most popular listings!  This is the only piece of fabric I have that's large enough for a snood, but if this one sells I will look into ordering more from India (most of my fabric comes from stores here in the US, but this is one I've only seen in a certain online store!).  

The fun thing about this fabric is that in some lights it looks blue and in other lights it looks very purple-ish/pink.  It kind of reminds me of a peacock.

And since the coupon deal is still on... someone can get this snood for a steal!

A Thanksgiving Weekend Sale!

Today I finally reached a goal I'd been trying to meet for a while!  My store, A Snood for All Seasons, now has over 100 items (at the moment at least!) listed for sale!

Since today is also a pretty big shopping day I thought I'd offer my very own four day sale!  The sale runs from right now until Tuesday when I deactivate the coupon code!  The coupon code is good for 25% off all three of my shops.  And the code is: GiveThanks25 .  Just paste that in as you begin checkout and it will give you 25% off your entire order!

If you want to save 25% off headcoverings use the code at A Snood for All Seasons!

If you want to save 25% off on rosaries and chaplets check out Full of Grace Creations:

And if you want to use the code on dresses for your little princess Head over to Sadie's Saints:

And there's one more sale I just had to share with you!  Maria is also offering a 25% discount at her store Crafty Mamacita.  If you haven't been over there lately, she's been busy adding lots of beautiful new items! 

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I likely would have written this post last night if I hadn't drifted off to sleep when Sadie and Mae did, at around 7pm.  At some point Paul came in and told me it was around 8, because after falling asleep at 7 earlier in the week he had instructions from me not to let it happen again ("I missed a night when I could have been sewing presents!" and other panicky statements that he'd heard this week...).  But after grumpily wandering around the house for about two minutes I decided that sewing would have to take a backseat to rest for the time-being.

And here are our Thanksgiving in pictures...

The pictures begin when the preparations began, the day before Thanksgiving, with Sadie and Mae playing in their room as I began to cook.  Sadie had just announced: "I am going to be kind to my sister today.  I am going to make her happy!" and was doing so by piling toys around her while Mae sat reading a Dora book.  That little pony tail behind/under the pink bear?  That's Mae Bae.  The shadow at the back of the picture going back for more toys?  That's Sadie.  Sadie's project did make baking on Day 1 a little easier for me though!  I decided not to ask what Sadie's goal is on most days since "being kind to my sister" was apparently a special goal...

The cornbread was the first thing out of the oven:

I love homemade cranberry sauce.  It's the easiest thing to make (I boil water and cranberries and sugar until the cranberries pop and then throw in a few spoonfuls of mint jam... then stick it in the fridge for  day.) and it's just so pretty!

Let me say that I felt very, very ambitious as I baked yeast bread to use in my dressing.  I had a backup bag of homemade dressing hidden on top of the fridge just in case there was a bread making disaster, however:

Paul may have thought I was crazy when I kept proudly showing him the hard-as-rock bread pieces that resulted from baking them lightly and then leaving them in the oven overnight:

Then it was Thanksgiving morning.  I laid out my game plan (with a couple add ins as we went along):

This was the only part I was really nervous about.  Injecting the turkey.  Usually the recipe I use calls for making this thick butter mixture of salt, pepper, butter and molasses and hand rubbing it under the turkey skin.  The turkey that results is delicious, but it's a lot of turkey prep work.  So I came up with the bright idea of buying on of the cajun turkey injectors and injecting the same mixture after melting it. I thought it was a grand idea...

Here I am implementing said plan.  I've already starting drinking coke since I know I have a long day ahead of me and I'm not a coffee drinker...

Unfortunately, about ten seconds after this picture was taken I realized that even the "finely ground" pepper was too lumpy.  So I ended up injecting mostly molasses and butter, hand rubbing the salt and pepper with more butter (I didn't get out of the messy job after all) and finally decided that the turkey was "good enough."

As soon as I finished the turkey I started on lunch.  We were going with "light" snacks for an early lunch.  Sadie was pretty excited when she saw what we were having:

While we were waiting for the turkey to go in, and I was prepping lunch, I stuck five sweet potatoes in foil in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour and a half.  They came out perfect for peeling the skin off and mashing:

Then Sadie insisted I help her take of the dress she was wearing for Thanksgiving, so she could layer on three tutus herself to come up with her own dress to wear while riding her tractor around the house:

Daddy came home for a study break around three and the girls piled on to the couch with him to watch princess movies.  Poor Daddy.  If he'd put on a football game Mae Bae would have followed him around the house with a Dora DVD repeatedly handing it to him...  Apparently he opted for a peaceful afternoon:

The casserole chaos that followed meant that no more pictures were taken until the turkey popped.  However the list was checked off (although not in order):

A picture of the turkey at an odd angle so you can't see how messy my kitchen is at this point:

And finally, dinner is served:  There're mashed potatoes and dressing, sweet rolls (Mae's favorite), gravy, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole and turkey.  And Sadie's favorite, a fruit gelatin dessert topped with a sugary sour cream/cream cheese topping, is waiting to be brought out.

This morning Mae Bae was ready for leftovers.  She followed me around eating a sweet roll and swiping pieces of my roll, while she hoarded her own.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My First Dress Transformation!

I undertook my first attempt at dying one of my dresses yesterday.  I figured this dress, was a good place to start.  I bought this dress senior year in college.  I haven't worn it very often in the last few years.  White just isn't a good color for clothing around here:

Mae Bae explains why.

After thinking about the color for a while I went with blue. Then I doubled the recommended amount of dye, because royal blue was turning out more like baby blue:

After sink dying it I washed it in the washer on warm with detergent to make sure it wouldn't bleed on anything in the future.  I love the shade it ended up!  I have about 20 skeins of yarn in this color!

Which means a matching sweater may be somewhere in the near future.  I'll admit that this dress will likely be worn like this for our It's-still-unbearably-hot-in-Florida-even-thought-it's-November walks, but I'll be figuring out which sweaters it works with for pretty much every other occasion.  

I am very excited about how it turned out though.  And I find myself eyeing my other clothing trying to figure out what I can dye next!

A Pattern Giveaway!

Since my last giveaway is finally in the mail and on the way to its new home (I'm so sorry it took so long Ann!) I thought I'd have another, and this one will have two winners (and since it's delivered via email will be quick to pass on!).

Some of the most popular items in my shop, A Snood for All Seasons, are the patterns.  I've sold more of my Classic Snood Pattern than any other item by far.  And I've just added my Convertible Headcovering/Headband Pattern, which is the headcovering that I wear almost every day.  There's one rule, which is the pattern aren't for commercial use or resale, but they are great for making your own headcoverings in any fabric/color combo that you can imagine!   So for this giveaway I'll be giving a way your choice of one of these three patterns:

The Classic Snood Pattern

The Convertible Headcovering Pattern

The Child's Classic Snood Pattern (which as of this morning isn't yet posted in my shop on it's own apparently!  I'll try to change that this morning! Edit: As you can see it's up now!)

I'll draw two winners, using, and when I receive your preference I'll email you a PDF copy of the pattern!  Now for details on how to enter:

Make sure that you leave a separate comment for each entry (i.e. one comment for the free entry, one comment saying you're a follower, one comment if you blogged about it, one comment if you tweeted about it... and so on... I want to make sure everyone gets all the entries they deserve when I use the random generator!).

You get one entry for leaving a comment with an email address!

You get one entry for following A Woman's Place!

You get one entry for blogging about this giveaway and letting me know!

You get one entry for tweeting about this giveaway and letting me know!

You get one entry for following me on twitter!

And you get one giveaway for mentioning this giveaway on facebook and letting me know!

This will be shorter than normal giveaway and I'll draw the winner on Friday!