Tuesday, February 25, 2014

giving differently

To love is not to give of your riches 
but to reveal to others their riches, their gifts, their value, 
and to trust them and their capacity to grow. 
-Jean Vanier, The Broken Body: Journey to Wholeness-

Giving to others can be tricky.  Especially when the ones you're giving to are seen as poor or needy.

There can be a weird power difference there.  An attitude of I'm doing a good thing by helping you.  You're welcome.  And our guilt is relieved, so we move on.

What if our actions of giving instead demonstrated genuine commitment to people?

Yes, we have basic needs that need to be met- so I'm not proposing that we stop giving clothes, food, or money to each other. Please keep it up.  But if you stop there, you could miss something.

It requires a radical kind of love to step out of your comfort zone and have a conversation with someone, especially if that someone is a part of a different social class.  And then continue to have conversations with them is even harder.  To let them be vulnerable with you and to be vulnerable with them is hardest.

It is this kind of relationship that really empowers.  It is helpful and nice to be given things, but it is empowering to be known and told that you are strong and gifted.  And to know that those words have credibility because a person who knows you can point to times that you have demonstrated that strength and giftedness.

Honestly, I'm not sure exactly what relationships like this look like- for me or anyone else.  Relationships are messy and complicated and difficult.  But I've heard stories of worlds colliding and the profound goodness that can come from that partnership. Love that.

So, friends, let us love by being generous not only with our riches, but also with our vulnerability and ability to recognize goodness in each other.

Reaching out to someone who is different from you can be daunting, so start with the relationships you have now.  How can you help them remember the blessings they have been given?

Be brave.  Get to know people.  Cherish them for who they are.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

how does she do it: Always Rooney

I would love to introduce you to Courtney Kennedy!  She's the brains behind one of my favorite blogs, Always Rooney.   I adore her earthy style and the way it comes through in many of her DIY projects.  She's here to share with you what she has learned about crafting, blogging, and being creative.  Our little Q&A is below.  Enjoy and be inspired! 

How would you describe Always Rooney and what led you to start blogging?
Always Rooney is my creative outlet. I was led to start because I was in a creative rut, and didn't feel like I was doing much with my life a couple years ago. I also was compelled to start to share how I made things since most people would ask. 

What's your spirit animal and why?
I don't know if I've ever thought of this...but I would hope my spirit animal would be a whale, because they are free and beautiful.

For people like you who do projects regularly, keeping creativity flowing can be challenging!  What inspires you and keeps you feeling creative?
Creativity inspires creativity. So I feel the more I try new projects, the more I'm being inspired and I find better solutions to problems. Trying things without the fear of failing is a great way to build up better ideas. Some of my favorite projects are the ones that I'm saying "oh I hope this works!" through the whole process. 

What do you wish you had known when you started?
I wish I would have known where Always Rooney would have led me..then I would have had more time to prepare! haha.

What is your process like to write a new post?
Everything starts with an idea. I'll draw it out in my notebook and then research materials to use, go to the craft store and then get started! 

You make all kinds of projects- sewing, crocheting, woodworking, and recently, screenprinting!  How do you go about learning a new skill?
Research, research, research! Google is my best friend, and should be yours as well. I'm always asking questions to friends who have done something similar or have more knowledge about something. I'm always going to my brother-in-law with ideas and he helps steer me in the right direction of how to build something. 

Right now, what is your favorite kind of project to spend your time on?
I am really enjoying working with wood and leather right now.

What are your future plans for Always Rooney? 
I've never been one to plan too far ahead, which I should work on! But I just hope to continue to post original ideas and work with other bloggers and companies to inspire others. 
What are some of your favorite blogs to follow?

What is the best advice you ever received and what is your advice for crafters/bloggers/creative types?
Find what you are good at and stick with it. Don't feel like you have to be a certain type of creative, you won't get anywhere being someone you aren't.

If you'd like to see more of Courtney, here are some places you'll find her.
Bloglovin: Always Rooney

Monday, February 10, 2014

cozy crochet scarf

Since there's been so much snow and freezing weather where I'm at, I decided it was time to whip up another scarf!  This one took me about three hours to make- maybe not even that. I did it over the course of two days.  It is 102 inches long (including fringe) and can comfortably wrap around my neck once or twice.  I used two skeins of Lion Brand Hometown USA super bulky yarn in Aspen Tweed and one skein of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick super bulky yarn in Oatmeal.

To start, make a row of chain stitches however long you want the scarf to be.  Then continue on to the next row with single crochet stitches.  If you need to learn how to do the single crochet stitch, this video is a great place to start.  

At the end of the row of single crochet stitches (row 2), do a single chain stitch, turn your work, and repeat row 2 for the rest of the scarf.

As you can see, my scarf is a slightly different color in the middle.  So the first skein is used for the first row of chain stitches and four rows of single crochet stitch.  The second skein is used for the next seven rows of single crochet stitch.  The last skein is used for the final four rows of single crochet stitch.  

At the end, cut the yarn to about five inches and finish with a chain stitch.  Pull the yarn all the way through to make a knot.  
To make the fringe, cut ten inch pieces of yarn.  To make one tassel, fold two pieces of yarn in half, put the loop through a space on the end of the scarf, and pull the ends of the pieces through the loop to make a knot.  Repeat as many times as you would like to make the fringe.  I made five tassels on each side.

Once you get all the fringe to the length you want it, you're done!  I hope after this, you'll be able to keep a little bit warmer!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

a happy list

colorful sunsets
fleece lined leggings
movie marathons with friends
eating cookie dough
handmade blankets
hot tubs in freezing weather
printed pictures
poetic words like shalom
white christmas lights
healthy food
a clean room

In the name of staying present and appreciating big and little things in life, I'm going to start making happy lists every once in awhile.  I hope they inspire you to think of your own life and the small things that make your heart happy.

Inspired by Leney's happy list on A Girl Named Leney.