“A Sunbeam to Warm You”

May God grant you always:
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel so nothing can harm you.
Laughter to cheer you,
Faithful friends near you,
And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.
—An Irish Blessing

So, Monday was the first day of spring :) And here I am posting snowy photos when snow is the last thing we want to see!

But I’ve got a blanket to show you, and I photographed it back when snow was on the ground. You can help me out by thinking of warm and cozy things.

This blanket was a custom order, a wedding gift to a young couple. In fact, this is the third wedding gift blanket within this family. What a privilege for me to part of these! (The earlier ones are “Easy Together” and “His and Hers.”)

The mother of the groom gave the sparest of a color lead: neutral grays and tans. I suggested throwing in yellow-gold for a warm accent and got the go-ahead.

Tucked away in my mind, I had a painting I’d seen in those same colors. The painting is in a favorite inspiration book, “An Eye for Color,” by Olga Gutiérrez de la Roza. (I’ve written about this wonderful book before, here, here and here.) The painting I had seen is part of a larger collage by Karen Stewart of  STEWART + BROWN. Here was my guiding image (see below), with sun, hills, water, and the sun’s reflection. It enchanted me.

There’s something about marriage in this scene. It has a sense of calm reassurance and stability, things a good marriage provides. But the sun’s reflection on the rippling water hints at the less-than-stable: the unknown ahead, new ventures, transformation. Just like life together.

I took the painting and abstracted it, maintaining the placement of sun, hills/woods, water, and reflection. I omitted the green to keep the entire blanket within a neutral range.

Although it’s hard to tell against the blue-white snow, in person the colors of this blanket remind me of late summer sun on a field of straw. Warm!

To Mike and Laura: I wish for you the words of that Irish blessing. May this blanket be with you through friendship and laughter, sheltering and prayers. May it bring you warmth, togetherness, a place to talk things over or maybe to take a nap…while you rest up for new adventures. Happy marriage! 

“A Sunbeam to Warm You” (65″ x 76″)
This blanket has already gone to a good home

 

“Garden of the Gods”

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Two Christmases ago I gave my husband a card with a repeating pattern of camping tents on the front. Inside, I confidently announced my Christmas gift to him: a road trip to the national parks of southern Utah. It was on our bucket list! It would be our first road trip since our kids have grown up, leaving us on our own! We could start a new tradition!

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What I neglected to note as I wrote that card, however, was the actual fitness of my trip-planning skills to the requirements of the task. Was I confusing myself with someone else? Oh, THAT’S RIGHT. While this skill-set does exist in my household, it does not belong to me. It is my husband’s.

Hubby’s M.O: Go online and plan the trip.

My M.O.: Read a little, brainstorm (with hubby), go look up more stuff, bounce ideas (off hubby), write things down, float possibilities, write things down in multiple places, lose track, get overwhelmed, make impulsive decisions. Give hubby the impression that the plan is shaky. Does this sound even remotely Christmas present-ish??

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My guy was tremendously patient with me and allowed my slow, uncertain method to still be a kindness to him. I fumbled around just about as described in my M.O. above, with him providing only enough structure for my halting efforts to actually bear fruit. (I’ve mentioned before what a gift my husband is to ME.)

And in this manner it finally came to pass that we indeed took our two-week road trip to “The Mighty Five” national parks of Utah in September of last year. Two heads are better than one, and all that.

But about those parks! Have you been there? Do you live near there? IT’S MAGNIFICENT. The landscape makes you feel tiny but at the same time fills you up and enlarges you (somehow!) with its glorious spaciousness.

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In September I blogged an overview of the trip, including a handful of our photos. Then this last weekend we had some friends over for dinner and to see our pics from the trip (they’ve been asking!). And I realized I needed to share this blanket—a wedding gift and offshoot of our Utah road trip.

En route from northern Illinois to southern Utah, we stayed a night in Colorado (worth its own road trip, of course, but that will need to wait). We arrived at the end of a long day of driving, and our friends in Colorado Springs popped us into their car at dusk and drove us about a mile from their home to a favorite spot of theirs, the Garden of the Gods. It was our breathtaking introduction to the rich reds and vibrant greens we were about to see throughout the next 10 days. So as a very belated wedding gift to them and as a way for me to express our joy with the place and with them, I made a small throw/large lap blanket.

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My aim was to represent the land, the space, the juxtaposition of the brilliant colors that we stood over and under and among at all times. I experimented with some free-style stitching to capture the line and texture of the monolithic stones. And if you look just left and below the cloud, you can see my nod to Pike’s Peak, whose eminence is constantly felt in Colorado Springs.

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GO, friends. Look up The Mighty Five. Look up the US National Park Service. Look up AAA and get some old-school road maps that will rewire your brains. And if you need some trip-planning advice, you know who to call. I will hand my hubby the phone ;).

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“Garden of the Gods” (45″ x 55″)
This blanket has already gone to a good home.

J Loves J (and vice versa)

Some friends stopped over recently to choose a blanket for a wedding gift. They picked one they had eyed before: The Painted Piano. (You can see my first post about it here.)

They brought along the wedding invitation, designed by the creative she of this beloved couple, and on its cover was this sweet and simple declaration of true love:

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How could we pass that up as the perfect way to personalize this blanket??

So congratulations, Jimmy and Jenny! May you have many wonderful years together! And while you’re at it, I hope you bring this blanket along to:

have a summer picnic upon,

cuddle under on a wintry movie night (warm it up in the dryer first!),

cover your honey when you find him/her napping on the couch.

I guarantee you: the longer it’s around and the more you use it, the cozier it becomes (kinda like marriage). ENJOY!

The Painted Piano, with monograms (51″ x 65″)

This item has been purchased.

I have not fallen off the earth

It’s been so long since I made a post that I can barely remember how to do it.

I finally caught my breath after our daughter and son-in-law’s May wedding and then the extraordinary quality of summertime itself — so little is routine and mundane! — including having our second daughter home from college for the summer.  It was difficult to keep up on The Green Sheep things, both designing and blogging, but I’m finding my footing again.

I’ve been helped along by some delightful blanket orders, which to me are sort of like an invitation to an amusement park: PURE FUN.  I’ve been working away on those over the past couple of months and am here today to give a sneak peek…

First, for a lake-lover:

And second, for a wedding gift:

Can’t wait until I can do the “reveal” on each one.  In the meantime, I’m off to finish designing a blanket for a friend’s dorm room and after that, baby blankets for my mom-of-two friend who is expecting sweet twin girls in the fall :).

the wedding and the gift

May 28th was an exceptional day for our family: it was the wedding day of our first child.

The day was beautiful, the ceremony meaningful, and we parents are very contented with the choices these two made in each other!

Their printed wedding program called the ceremony “a celebration of Christ, love, & community.”  It indeed turned out to be all of those things.  There was also a great reception with lots and lots of homemade cake :).

Now of course this was occasion for a gift, what with this daughter getting married and all.  And of course the idea occurred to me that I could make a keepsake blanket for this new couple that I love.  So I did, and here it is.  I named it “Home” because, at its essence, marriage gives each partner a new home — the one they find in each other.

There’s a lot of time to think while I sew, and my mind works on the meaning of each blanket as I’m involved in it.  In addition to conveying the feeling of home, this particular blanket has a couple other layers of meaning too.

First, since life together brings so many unexpected — and sometimes difficult — things, it’s good to remember how God takes care of even birds.  “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6.26).

And second, in China (and this daughter happened to be conceived in China), a pair of lovebirds given as a wedding gift is a wish for a wonderful and happy marriage.

So to my daughter and new son-in-law:  “Much happiness!”   Love, Mom.

“Home” (Size: I forgot to measure!)

This blanket has already gone to a very good home :)

A Little Break

 

 

(No, this is not me, of course. But I love this guy’s hair…and his fresh pot of french-pressed coffee. I’m certain he’s even got half-and-half in his fridge that he wouldn’t mind sharing, while I take a little break.)

I’m writing about taking breaks because, try as I might, I’m not carrying out my 2011 intentions to blog regularly. (And I have a draft folder of incomplete posts to show for it!) But I want you to know I have an excellent reason, because something much more deserving of attention has happened:

My oldest daughter is getting married at the end of May. Simply amazing and delightful.

And, yes, I’ve known about it before now, but thought it was past time to share this great news with you. (Also with the hope that’ll you’ll extend grace for less frequent postings for a bit :).  )