Autumn On A Sunday.

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There was a chill in the air, the lovely patter of rain on the umbrella just outside our window, when I awoke to a tiny finger tapping on my arm.   The little person whispered her request to play with the Bible app on her iPad.  I shook my head and shut my eyes, “not right now“.  Sabbath, the day of rest. …Not for our household. My husband wakes up at nearly 6 a.m. and is out of the house before 7. My Sundays are filled with motherly duties while he is at church for most of the day leading worship [from the drums] and then teaching private lesson(s) between services. Sometimes, we take mid-day naps, which gives us an extra boost of energy for the second half of the day. Finding rest for my soul is a different story. It’s a spiritual stillness that is sometimes hard to find when my mind is cluttered with thoughts of the duties and demands of life that call after me. My time of stillness on a Sunday might only be that moment I sit in to listen to the sermon, while Evie is in Sunday school and my husband juggles squirming Emaline on his lap.  Somewhere in the midst of the crowd and pastor speaking, I might encounter that stillness with my eyes fully open and hear a Word from God.

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The moment I roll myself out of bed every day, I am desperately wanted by my hungry daughters. I am not a morning bird, but I’m rooting for myself to be! It would be a dream to wake up at dawn to see the first ray of sun, read, journal, and drink my coffee in silence. Unfortunately, there is hardly a morning that I am motivated to get out of bed without a cup of coffee hovering above me– because no matter how late my husband let’s me sleep in, it never feels like I’ve had a solid amount of sleep, even if uninterrupted…. just one more minute, just one more hour, please?

In the brief moment of walking from my bed to the kitchen on a Sunday morning I rejoice because I have conquered my tiredness, did not press snooze, and did not succumb immediately to the demands of motherhood. First, coffee. Lord, just let me sneak into the kitchen to brew the coffee and then I will surrender myself. Smelling the coffee and listening to it brew as I walk to the girls bedroom to pick up sweet Emaline from rolling around on her quilt is music to my ears, and makes my Sunday mornings much lovelier even if we’re running late. I love waking up to see Emaline’s contagious smile, stretched from cheek to cheek, the moment she catches a glimpse of me in the doorway while Evie is in her zone creating something.

I never regret getting out of bed and making it to church on Sundays, as much as I doubt the night before that I will be too tired to attend. I am elated just to see my handsome husband on the drums, his blissful place. It’s nice to see friends and also to feel Evie’s excitement as she runs to children’s church where her teachers know her name. Seeing all the other families arrive late with their children is a reminder that I’m not the only one who likely had a long morning, even if it just started.

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In-n-Out…doors.

My husband scheduled a private lesson with one of his students after church. We typically meet up at home to eat lunch and take a nap, and I usually have no desire to prepare lunch after church when we’re all tired; especially if we made all of our staples throughout the week– stir fry vegetables and rice, pasta, pita pizzas, stir fry vegetables and rice, pasta, pita pizzas.

We have a very popular fast-food restaurant on the west-coast and scattered around the mid-west, called In-n-Out. Driving from our church in Kerny Mesa, it’s about 10 minutes away in Mission Valley. Lunch time in Mission Valley on a weekend is one of the busiest hours of the week. I anticipated a very long wait in the drive-thru, but thankfully it only took us about 15 minutes. I ordered our usual: 1 grilled cheese with grilled onions, 1 cheeseburger without onions, and 2 fries (1 well-done).

Going through the drive-thru is where the day took a twist from ‘lovely’ to ‘mini-meltdown’. Evie has a great imagination and a cunning way of manipulating someone into thinking they are supposed to go somewhere they didn’t even plan on going. I’m sure she’s used this tactic on her grandparents many times. Somehow she learned how to do this at the age of three years old. Many times she would be at the door in her bathing suit saying, “I can’t wait to go to the beach!” and many times we’ve had to sit her down to explain that she needs to ask us before she gets her hopes up. This was one of those days she put in her mind that we were headed to Grandpa Sterling’s pool. It was a gloomy Autumn day, and she wanted to make it like Summer again!

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I drove the girls up to one of our favorite spots at Presidio Park to have a picnic on one of the cement picnic tables underneath the shade of a Peruvian pepper tree. It smells like peppercorns, but the red berries on this tree are not edible. While we ate our meals, we watched adorable ground squirrels eat tiny pine nuts on the surfaces of tree stumps. Evie decided to leave tiny green immature pine cones on those stumps before we left, just in case a squirrel got hungry.

It’s hard to believe that it was only Evie and I just seven months ago. Our family will only continue to grow bigger, and I am overjoyed at the thought that there will be more little feet and hands getting muddy.

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Rain, rain, don’t go away…

Hearing the rain streaming through the gutters and gusts of wind breezing through the trees is reminiscent of home in Hawaii. The ironic thing is that I’ve always wanted to look outside of my window at bare trees that lost their leaves, but such a thing never happened living in the middle of the Pacific. Watching t.v. shows like Felicity, Dawson’s Creek, and Gilmore Girls entertained the idea of someday living in a place where all four seasons were apparent. It still feels like a fairy tale to step outside to the beauty of fiery red, orange, and crumpled brown leaves at our feet and to look down a street lined with gilded trees. Unfortunately, we know the cool weather will only last a day or two. The forecast for the rest of the week looks identical to summer.

Autumn always brings a breath of inspiration. I am refreshed without having to search for it. I am inspired without having to go anywhere. Every simple pleasure is enhanced and perhaps it is because Autumn is like the prelude to the magical holidays. We begin to think about the ones we love and if you’re a gift giver, you have already began searching for the perfect gifts, or creating them by hand. I love Autumn for so many reasons to list- but most of all, it is a season to gather and such a perfect time to forge wonderful relationships.

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As our days get shorter, my evenings indoors get longer. Thus, my sewing machine and knitting needles will not be idle much longer. Home projects have been pushed to the bottom of my list as our home school was pushed to the top. Hopefully I will get a chance to write up a new knitted pattern soon.

Here is a free pattern to fingerless gloves that I had altered from an the original source linked in this blog from two years ago…

FREE FALL KNITTED PATTERN: Noir Tricoté Des Mitaines!

xx
jena

EMALINE.

Photo: Jaymi Britten

Photo: Jaymi Britten

Dear world, her name is  Emaline.
[pronounced: em-uh-lyne]

On March 7th, 9’oclock in the morning at Mary Birch Hospital, our family of three grew into a family of four! We joyfully welcomed into this world a beautiful baby girl weighing in at 7 lbs 15 oz. and stretching 20 inches in height– her name is Emaline, which was chosen by her older sister. Interestingly, it was a name I once told my sister in our high school days, “If I have a daughter, I want to name her Emmeline,” after hearing the name Emmeline Lestrange [Brooke Shields] in the 1980’s re-make of “The Blue Lagoon.” Fast-forward to a few years ago, my husband introduced me to his friends Scott and Megan Cunningham.  They are a wonderful couple with 5 talented and beautiful daughters, one of whom is named Emaline! I believe this is where Evie may have heard this name for the first time, and possibly kept it on a mental list of pretty names to name a sister. My husband, Spencer, also preferred the spelling of Emaline this way. As for nicknames, I’ve tried “Emz” but she just doesn’t feel like an Emz. Spencer calls her Bom Bom… Evie calls her Emmy… my dad calls her Ema… while I simply call her Emaline. But Bom Bom is pretty cute.

Every day we are mesmerized with Emaline- born with a full head of dark brown hair, tan skin, almond eyes, long eyelashes, button nose, broad shoulders, long legs and toes,  and her daddy’s rounded face and hairline. To me, it is obvious that she pulled more to her daddy’s genetic makeup. I’ve taken pictures of Emaline and Spencer side by side doing the same expressions, and the resemblance is striking. Same furrowed brow. Same indentions in their cheeks. Same pouty lower lip. Emaline’s cry is full of passion and is piercing to the ears; I’m pretty sure it’s the loudest sound we’ve heard from a baby. She really gets whatever she wants, especially after an hour of tears streaming down her face- I have no choice but to give in. Everyone says, “don’t give in!”, but we’ve got a neighbor on the other side of our bedroom wall.  Emaline stops the crying the moment I pick her up.  I have a feeling we are raising two strong-willed daughters (leaders, I hope!) who are similar, and yet very different.  Evie has always had a sweet sensibility to her soul. Her eyes were full of curiosity and compassion even before she could speak. Emaline has the gentlest gaze, then once her eyes are fixed on you, she begins to observe (which reminds me so much of Spencer).  Her smile will melt your heart, but that grin hints at the slightest bit of mischief.  At times, you can’t be sure whether she is going to cry or giggle– and sometimes she does both!  Evie on the other hand- her emotions are predictable, maybe because we are a lot alike.

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This Too Shall Pass.
4 months ago

Have you ever felt like you ran a marathon without any preparation,while your organs were bruised and rearranged? Neither have I.  But that is how I felt after the epidural wore off. Hopefully my brain will forget about this again because we really do want a big family. Doctors recommend taking it easy for 6-8 weeks after delivery. It took me approximately 8 weeks for my body to fully heal from the labor of birth. I rejoice in the 8 weeks, because when I had Evie, it took nearly 3 months!

To be present during the first month with a newborn is a fight!  It can be easy to wish that you could just fast forward to the next stage.  It was  a challenge to find the beauty in the breakdowns, rejoicing in the hard times, and the joy in sorrow. What sorrow?  The feeling of deep distress and disappointment that I couldn’t provide enough milk for my screaming/hungry baby… and on top of that, hearing the words, “I think she’s hungry” from those around me.  How could I even crack a smile when I was tortured by the thought of the next feeding?  The feedings were painful, emotionally draining, and extremely frustrating! My arms felt as though limp from carrying the baby all day and night... It was truly a restless time that felt like months, but we did all we could to embrace it. Despite the many tears, I was reminded of  II Corinthians 4:17-18: “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”  In other words: This too shall pass. 

After two months of interrupted sleep, our nights slowly got better with an added hour or two. Spencer and I took shifts, which was a life-saver. By the third month, Emaline was sleeping through most of the night and easily soothed by slipping the pacifier back into her mouth. She had learned how to smile and giggle during this time. Presently at the fourth month she is a koala on my hip! I use an Ergo baby carrier in the house to carry her when she is fussy, something I don’t remember doing with Evie. I’ve become one of those mamas who can cook and clean with a joey in my front pouch! It makes chores and errands a relief, but takes three times as long and causes backache.

As for the dynamic between Evie and Emaline… she is in heaven– making it twice as hard for her to follow instructions because of the distraction of the baby in the house! She says, “Emaline is too cute for my eyes! I don’t know what to do with myself.” 

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Back in jeans… and where was this carseat stroller frame 6 years ago!? I love it.

All that to say, life in our household revolves around precious Emaline, house chores, and the need for Evie to get outdoors. We live in an apartment complex with a small courtyard, which is not a conducive area for a child to spend hours exploring wild and free. So when Evie is on the sofa staring at the ceiling, I take the cue to make a plan of escape even if it is for a walk around North Park. It’s for the better… for all of us. Stepping out of the house with a newborn  is challenging at first [even with my firstborn], but got profoundly easier each time we do it. Handling all the new baby gear and learning how to do life with a baby in tow again was familiar territory. Getting out of the house required a lot of encouragement from my husband and older daughter, as well as the weekly doctor checkups, and not to mention that outside pressure! Everyone wants to meet the newborn baby! Driving anywhere can be stressful because of the preparation time it takes to gather our things, then pack the car, buckle the kids, and finally drive. I’ve tried to master getting out of the house in peace, even by getting things ready the day before… but I still haven’t gotten it down after 6 years. I just have to admit to myself, I’ll never be perfect…and…prompt. Life with kids is unpredictable! Seems like everything happens at the perfectly inconvenient time: tantrum while getting out the door, hungry in the car, tired and fussy the moment you are peacefully sitting down for a meal, needing to use the bathroom the moment you get into the store, etc. etc… Yes, all the memes of parenthood are true. I think parents are marionettes, and children are marionettists, no?

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Madeline’s Box gold leather pacifier clip goes with everything.

Normalcy has somewhat returned and I also have returned to write. This means that I am flying solo for a few hours while my wonderful husband holds down the fort at home! This is exciting for me because I get a chance to do something creative without contemplating if Emaline’s cloth diapers should be thrown into the washer, or incessantly reminding Evie to put her things away, whilst juggling what’s on the menu for my family or planning for summer homeschool. Sipping a hot cup of coffee anywhere…alone…and creating something on a canvas (rather than a stove)…is a rare luxury these days! Don’t get me wrong- I am beyond grateful to be a stay-at-home mother to these two precious girls. I thank God for their existence. No matter how tough some days may be, I cherish the ever-changing stages [highs and lows] of infancy and childhood, and know it is completely worth the blood, sweat and tears. However, let’s be honest here… solo time? We all need it to be happier people in order to survive a tantrum with grace and sanity. I would be lying if I said that our life is 100% charming and that there aren’t many days where I don’t send text messages to my husband with emoji faces narrating a stressful situation in the homestead. As long as the day starts and ends with an empathetic hug from my husband, I know I’m blessed and I’ve got it good…too good.

xx
Jena

Motherhood & The Berrious.

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MOTHERHOOD.

June 27th will mark a year since the launch of this blog, and I am okay with the amount of posts that I’ve published, the things I’ve created, and the amount of work that has come my way since then (which was more than I envisioned doing).  I must remind myself daily that I have one major calling on my life, even before I sit down to write a blog.  It’s called Motherhood— thus, the lack of content.  When I think of my my daughter, I think of a rose garden, and how diligently I would tend to it if we ever had one.  Taking care of it through all seasons until the very day every petal blossoms and she is ready to be let go and let out fearlessly into the world on her own.  Her sweet-natured, gentle and wild disposition causes me to marvel.  Each passing year [she just made five], she grows in wisdom and beauty.  I feel that she understands more about life and the world around her more than my little mind could ever grasp when I was five years old.

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& THE BERRIOUS.
(pronounced “bear-ee-us”)

When I share about my life with people I meet, I want to say–“I’m a stay outdoor mother“; rather than uttering the words, “stay at home.”  My life is genuinely sweet; except on Mondays… those laborious Mondays. It’s the only day that I’ve dedicated to chores and everything to do with “staying at home“, to empathize with my working husband and kindred to the rest of the world for a day.  I try to accomplish everything that needs to be done at home until I am completely exhausted.  Besides Mondays, my life looks [majority of the time] like these pictures that I took with Jaymi’s camera that I hope to someday soon inherit.

And this sight is just fine for me.  I think our lifestyles as mothers and fathers should be tailored to our own personal lives, and not compared to another family or what the world thinks it “should” look like.  I am an introvert, but my daughter is not.  She is my social butterfly that I take to nurture in peaceful places like the Berrious.  It is where I feel the most inspired, motivated and free to teach without distractions.  I get to hone her creativity, focus on her talents, help her to seek out her gifts, and let her imagination run wild among these trees.  I believe she finds herself and sees God more clearly during these moments in the wilderness.  It’s also here during these simple times that I see the hand of God at work in our lives and find my purpose in motherhood.

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We named her homeschool, The Secret Garden.  A part of this was inspired by the 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  The idea of it came from the origin of the word “Kindergarten” — [mid 19th century] literally means ‘children’s garden’ in German.  When my sister-in-law, Emiel, shared the meaning with me years ago– I just knew that I would take Evie’s homeschool to a garden.  We have several places that we go to read, write, color, draw, explore, and create together- just the two of us.  I am unaware of time when we’re outdoors.  At home, I am hounded by the minute and hour hand that seeks progress in every little detail.  It’s draining!  When we’re outdoors, the only hand of time is the sunset.  The Berrious is one of those secret places, one of our Secret Gardens.

Jaymi was with us on this day.  And when she is around, her camera is always within reach.  I don’t know what kind of camera she has, nor the lens- but I could not see myself going back to the iPhone camera if I had a camera like hers.  Something about peering through an eye hole is more exciting than holding up a screen.  Anaïs Nin said, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”  I feel the same way about pictures I take of my family… because it seemed like yesterday that she was just a toddler.

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Left: Evie & Myself | right: Evie & Aunty Jaymi

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Momee’s hat + Shaelyn’s Dress + Hunter Wellies

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A Winter Beanie in Indigo Blue.

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By Jena Sommer Kim

“We found the westward way to
the hills of indigo blue
We watched the northern sapphire sky
We found the westward way to
the hills of indigo blue
The stars were burning through the night”
Future of Forestry | The Hills of Indigo Blue

This time of year, Balboa Park is lined with white buds of flowering Dogwood trees.  As the wind gusts through the branches, all the white petals of these gorgeous tiny flowers fall to the ground like snow– decorating the pavement in a lovely delicate confetti.  It’s a sight for sore eyes, and made for a bride and groom.  I’m sure my husband would have loved an aisle of Dogwood trees on our wedding day… it’s like superficial nature wearing thin, I can’t seem to begin [you know?].

It is psychologically altering my mood to feel December in February. I don’t feel like I should be thinking abut hues of blues still, and the white of winter. But thank God it has finally arrived, two months shy of the vernal equinox. Although I am eager to be wrapped around the dainty florals of pretty spring, I felt robbed of winter, and deprived of a body that “kicks” me to be wrapped up in knitted sweaters, beanies, and scarves. Comically, my daughter made up the phrase “my body kicks me to do…” as an excuse for her disobedience; terrible, but genius.  She is her own scapegoat.  What are we suppose to do?  Its like the child that blames her imaginary friends.

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07 February 2013 Flowering Dogwoods at Balboa Park

I am finally able to put to use my leather gloves which my mother-in-law, Sherry, gave to me years ago to brave the snow in Texas.  And I am smitten that my husband wears his black fingerless gloves that I knitted for him in October for these blustery cold days in San Diego.  Inhaling the cold air on our evening walks at sunset around our neighborhood is exhilarating and refreshing.  However, every task begins to be a little more difficult in the cold.  Getting out of bed and getting my daughter bundled up to go outdoors for long periods of time can take longer than normal.  What I love most about the chill, is that coffee shops are now a haven and we all have an excuse to be comforted by hot beverages.

A Winter Beanie by Jena Sommer Kim

07 February 2013 One year ago at Balboa Park

One year ago, I knitted my own beanie.  I don’t wear hats unless its for some purpose– to shade my face from the sun, to cover my messy hair that I don’t want to brush, or because it’s cold.  I’ve never bought a beanie in my life, because for some reason, they never fit comfortably.  I’ve only worn beanies with bills on them, two of which I can recall, and I’d wear them backwards with the bill on the back to give shape to my head.  One thing we all learn at some point is that we all have different body types, head types, etc… and just because something looks great on someone else, doesn’t mean it will look as flattering on another.  Which is why I’ve created my own beanie pattern.

This winter beanie is loose fitting so it doesn’t create an obvious crease when you wear your hair down underneath.  It slouches slightly at the back, so if you have a head similar to mine, it doesn’t make your head look flat or coned–which tight beanies tend to do if you don’t have a shapely round head.  I also used a bulky yarn for cozy and warm comfort.  It took me many sessions of unraveling this skein of yarn to finally get it to the proportion that fit, and it is also easy to edit the pattern to make it in different sizes.

23 January 2014 Thursday Morning at Balboa Park

23 January 2014 Thursday Morning at Balboa Park

A WINTER BEANIE IN INDIGO BLUE
BY JENA S. KIM

Easy-Intermediate

Sizes:
One Size

Needles:
One set of 5 size US 11 ( 8.0 mm) double-pointed needles (dpns)
One set of size US 11 ( 8.0 mm) circular needles.

Yarn:
1 Skein of Loops & Threads Charisma Bulky 5 weight
100% Acrylic
Machine Washable & Dryable

Other Materials:
Scissors, Embroidery Needle, Stitch Marker

Techniques:
Ribbing: K2, P2 (in multiples of 4) so that you end last two stitches in P2
Decrease K2 Together:  Knit into 2 stitches.

Abbreviations:
K knit
P purl
CO cast on
K2tog knit 2 together
Dec decrease

PATTERN:

If you want the ribbing of your beanie to be slightly tighter, I would recommend switching to size 10 circular knitting needles for the first 9 rows of ribbing and then beginning the body of the beanie with size 11 knitting needles.  Over the last year of wearing this beanie, I do want to note that it did slightly stretch, so using those size 10 needles may be better.  

CO 56 on circular needles
Row 1-9:  Place stitch marker & connect ends.  Begin working in the round.  Work in K2, P2 ribbing.
Row 10: Knit to end for 22 more rows.
Row 32 Begin dec: switch to dpns.
*K8, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
*K7, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
Knit 1 row
*K6, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
*K5, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
Knit 1 row
*K4, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
*K3, K2tog* repeat from * until end, K2
Knit 1 row
Cut yarn leaving an 8″ and string through remaining loops
Pull tightly (like a drawstring) and weave in ends.

February-Confetti

xx
Jena

Wild Daisies & A Wreath of Eucalyptus Branches.

Wild Daisies in the Berrious

Wild Daisies in the Berrious

“Daisy, give yourself away.  Look up at the rain, a beautiful display of power and surrender, giving us today and she gives herself away.”
Jon Foreman

We came to the Berrious one morning, with a nature list of things to collect to spruce up our home; bringing the outdoors, indoors.  I had ambivalent feelings of the weather, anticipating yet another victory for the sun, whom I wasn’t rooting for at all.  Thankfully, the warmth slowly dissipated as the fog crept in and covered our playing grounds.  We sat underneath the shade of an enormous pine tree, where the air was even chillier.  Evie collected lavender wild daisies, searched for giant pinecones, and came across slithering black slugs that made her shudder a second time as she told me her terrifying encounters with all of them as she fished for squirrels.

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It didn’t hurt.  It was just an accident, mommy.  It didn’t hurt.” Evie said.

What didn’t hurt?  Did you hurt the slug?  Did you kill it?” I asked.

No.  I saw the slug, and was afraid, and so I pressed it with my finger and it didn’t hurt me.  But it put slobber on my fingers and so it died!  But it was an accident,” she replied as her voice trailed off into a whisper.

The slug left a fingerprint of its sticky residue on Evie’s fingertips.  Traces of black pigment from its skin also stained her fingers.  It really nauseated me to think that she practically stabbed the slug to its death.  I quickly pulled out the antibacterial wipes.  My insides twisted and turned as I tried to calmly wipe the residue of slug mucous off her fingers, while at the same time wiping the expression of grossness off my face.  I cannot understand the inhabitance of gross terrestrials that slither and crawl upon this earth; what is their purpose?  I sat there unentertained by the repulsive thought that my daughter just killed a slug with her brave bare hands.  Deep inside, I might have been more traumatized than she was.

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Evie and I gathered large branches that had fallen from the Eucalyptus trees and dissected it branch by branch, forming a pile of mahogany colored twigs at our feet, and also picking off all of the leaves and clustered buds.  I envisioned a simple fall wreath for our front door– dark brown twigs layered together, fastened pinecones and tiny wild red berries bunched along the bottom half, and lastly, a simple satin or lace ribbon to hang it on a nail above the peek hole of our door.  I had no luck finding any red berries.

Wreaths take on many symbolic meanings in different cultures and beliefs.  I am a Christian and our family celebrates Christmas; so I am enamored by all the symbolic meanings behind most of the décor that is apparent in the months of November and December.  The advent evergreen wreath, symbolizes the everlasting life through Jesus; it is circular to represent God– with no beginning and no end.  But even though it hangs in significance, honestly, I just want our front door to be fall-esque; and in December, winter-esque.

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28 October 2013 Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in the Berrious

28 October 2013 Roasted Pumpkin Seeds in the Berrious

Time goes by quickly when we’re outdoors.  After a couple hours in the Berrious, we sat on our picnic blanket and munched on the snacks that I had brought.  I don’t think I can resist pumpkin sales this year, especially after roasting my first successful batch of pumpkin seeds.  The seeds were lightly golden, the insides were perfectly crunchy, and the salty taste and process of cracking the outer shell was just as addicting as eating sunflower seeds while watching a baseball game.  Unmindfully, I haven’t thought much about pumpkins being the prime vegetable on our table, rather than just a front porch halloween decoration.  When I was a child, my mother roasted the pumpkin seeds from our carved jack-o-lanterns, and both my grandmas occasionally made soups using pumpkin squash and other types of gourds for cooking.  In all honesty, I don’t know how to make one dish from my ethnic background; I am Filipina.  Needless to say, pumpkin is not a foreign food to me, it is part of my culture; I just did not anticipate the day that I would have to pick up where my mother and grandmas left off after I became a mother and a wife.  This includes, decorating for the holidays!

"These are your flower earrings mommy, put them on!"

“These are your flower earrings mommy, put them on!”

FALL WREATH

SUPPLIES:
A Bebe Florist
Branches
Pinecones
Hot Glue Gun + Glue Stick Refills

1.  Circle Template.  I used my largest circular knitting loom and traced a template with chalk on my working surface.

2.  Break branches into smaller sizes and start laying out your sticks following your circle template and hot-gluing it together at the same time.  Keep adding more branches and filling spaces until you are satisfied.

3.  Fasten pinecones and other nature finds to your wreath.

 xx
JENA

Noir Tricoté Des Mitaines!

8 October 2013

8 October 2013

I chase the orange setting sun in the remainder of these shorter days, feeling a tragic loss of sunlight after starting my morning too late.  My body, sleeping soundly, is never present at the first gleam of dawn, and my tiredness spirals deeper throughout the humdrum of the day.

“The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.”
Proverbs 4:18 NLT

I refuse to live detached from any season, especially the whimsical fall.  These months have the potential to be the most therapeutic of all, inspiring transformation; deeper discoveries in myself, and my surroundings.  I am always attempting to change the ambiance in our place with every new season– both in decorating and de-cluttering.  After I have gone through our compacted closets and have made a clean sweep around our apartment to remove the things we no longer need, I feel refreshed and capable of letting all my creative ideas pour like fresh water into my thirsty mind.  The old and outgrown things are then handed down to friends, sold to Buffalo Exchange, or donated to our friend’s  homeless ministry.

It is liberating and a joy to give away the things that we no longer have use for; knowing that somebody else in the world will find it sufficient for their needs.  Evie outgrows her clothes and shoes almost twice a year, and it warms my heart to hear her thoughts of someone she is giving her things to.  Out of love, her friends have kindly given her their own treasures.  These exchanges leave a true impression of the virtue of giving, and I am grateful for these children that are living examples of such kindness to her.  I think we learn most about how to give when we experience the joy of receiving– and through this, it sparks the desire in us to share that same joy with others.

Psalm 113:3

Junipero Serra Museum

Junipero Serra Museum

In the fall, nature sheds such beautiful things at no cost– giving us materials to produce wonderful things with our own hands.  It is the perfect time for us to collect woodland treasures and disposable decorations which we have been wanting to bring home since late summer.  Up the side steps from the Junipero Serra Museum in Presidio Park, there are heaps of pine cones in the bushes.  I feel like I get to re-live my childhood as I explore with my darling Evie.   On this hill, the park staff pile up dead palm tree leaves and trimmed branches.  I bring Evie to this hill once in a while to get her nature fix– collecting leaves and breaking the sticks off of already sawed branches.  She could destroy an entire park landscape in an hour if I told her it was acceptable.  Every flower would be picked, every leaf and branch broken off, and patches of grass would be uprooted.  In her innocence and reasoning, she needs to make stews and nests for the animals that are not being cared for.  She thinks that all animals should be pets, and have an owner that would care for them and feed them daily.  I get to share with her that our heavenly Father feeds them, and it makes her happy knowing they aren’t neglected {Matthew 6:26}.  I am a bit afraid that if she ever had a pet, there would be excessive feeding and a lot of terrorizing– this is the manner in which she loves her stuffed animals, and her first real beta fish, poor Teken.

It is more rewarding to pick up a soft skein of worsted yarn and produce something satisfying, than driving to a shop and purchase fingerless gloves that do not literally fit like a glove.  After a week of watching documentaries with my husband on my laptop, bottoms glued onto our forest green suede-like sofa and backs pressed against faux fur white throw pillows, I finally completed three sets of noir tricoté des mitaines (black knitted fingerless gloves)!  I like to use French words to describe my projects because it always sounds better than English.  Vous voyez?  The hours knitting a set of gloves are soon forgotten after I try them on, and I also feel as though I’ve gained knowledge of the world while watching:  Happy People: A year in Taiga, China’s Mega Dam, Pururambo, Park Avenue, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and listening to a few audio (dramatized) books in the bible on the Bible Gateway app.  I’ve become so accustomed to movies and productivity combined; that if I were to simply watch a movie by itself, it would feel like wasted time.

WoodlandCreatures-5

Evie’s fingerless gloves were quickly crocheted using this lovely ‘Fingerless Gloves with a Bow’ pattern that has been archived in my bookmarks for a few years.  I am constantly bookmarking in my web browser, pinning, or searching in Ravelry for new ideas and patterns so that when I do get the chance to knit, I have endless options in front of me.  Evie wasn’t too excited about black gloves, but the bows gave way to approval.  She also requested her name in pink embroidery thread and the number 4, for her age, to be stitched on the palm of each glove.  I will probably knit her a mini-size pair like mine (below) because I like the stretch in ribbing and how much more insulated it feels.  I’m sure if I used 100% wool, it would be very warm; despite the exposed fingertips.

Knitted Fingerless Gloves |Pattern by Life In Cleveland

Noir Tricoté Des Mitaines

View the original pattern by Life In Cleveland HERE.

To knit these fingerless gloves, the pattern calls for double-pointed needles (DPN’s), which are pointed at each end and work similarly to circle-needles where you knit in the round.  There is no need to reverse stitches in each row, like you would on straight needles.  Knitting in the round for gloves, socks, hats, and other tube like pieces of garments (sleeves, pant legs…etc.) create a seamless product; meaning, you do not have to sew up a side seam.

If you are petite like me, you can always go down a size of DPN’s which is what I did.  I used a size  6 and 7.  I did make a few adjustments for a custom fit, but did not change the overall results:

Sizes:
Small(Large)

My adjustments:
CO 32(40) with size 7 DPN’s
For the ribbing at the cuff, I did 15(20) rounds
And at the end of the gusset, when you start knitting plain rounds, I knitted 7(12) rounds
Switched to 6 DPN’s before you work the last 5 more rounds of the glove.

After the gusset has 13 stitches between the markers, I would probably knit about 5 more rounds before removing the markers– so that the thumb has a little more warmth.

WoodlandCreatures-3

Sunset from the Junipero Serra Museum in Presidio Park

Streaming “Dawn” written by Dario Marianelli & performed by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet
xx
JENA

The Seed.

Evie post-ballet

Evie post-ballet and watching our neighbor sweep the leaves.

The sky is a blanket of grey, the temperature has dropped to 63 degrees, and golden leaves are carried with the wind.  Our neighbor who sweeps the leaves daily is a very kind little old woman who has lived in our complex for over 40 years.  And amusingly, I hear her cursing under her breath as she bends down to pick up another leaf that has fallen after she swept the area.  Her frustration makes me smile because this gorgeous season is unrelenting in pure messiness, while this old woman works so hard to keep the apartment complex and curbside pristine!  It has crossed my mind to send Evie out there with a broom and dustpan to keep her leaf piles smaller, and lighten her work load.

A gentle breeze passes through the open window where I sit.  It feels good to breathe in fresh air, especially when I sit to write, or knit for a few hours indoors.  I found two untouched skeins of worsted yarn in my stash– one in black, and one in beige; two colors I feel that I must always have in stock for projects.  Black is so classy and never retires no matter what season or era we are in, and the many variations of beige (nude) can be the most complimenting color to tone down vibrant hues.  I feel that it also causes the darker colors to be courageously bold and intense.

Boye size US 8 (5.0) Knitting Needles

Boye size US 8 (5.0 MM) Knitting Needles

I love to incorporate the seed stitch into my personal projects.  Each raised purl gives it texture and dimension; appearing like scattered seeds–hence, the seed stitch.  You start with casting on an odd number of stitches, and then *knit 1, purl 1* repeat to end of row.  On subsequent rows, you will knit the purls and purl the knits.  The key is knowing the difference between both stitches, just in case you need to put down your knitting needles to get a second cup of tea and come back to it.  I have unraveled so many partially knitted projects due to sudden interruptions, and its not as simple to undo as a crocheted piece.  But it is through every mistake that I have learned something new as a knitter.

Matching Mother & Daughter Seed+Knot Turban

Matching Mother + Daughter Seed & Knot Turban

I’ve been wanting to write an easy turban pattern to share ever since our stroll around Balboa Park last week.  Several strangers passing by had whispered compliments into my ear about it.  That particular turban was made with larger needles and bulkier yarn, and also knitted wider in width to keep her ears warm and covered back in the frigid Spring.  We spent a lot of time at the playground off of Park Boulevard, where the airplanes are quite loud in flight– so it not only kept her really warm, but it also softened the sounds of the cars on the street and the airplanes above.

There are many ways you can achieve this style, but I think tying a knot in the middle before the ends are seamed together gives it that eastern flair; rather than the bow headband where you might knit in the round and knit a separate piece to gather the middle.  I had to include a mama version because I love when mamas and daughters match.  It took me approximately 2 1/2 hours to knit the Mother Turban, and 1 hour and 40 minutes for the Daughter Turban.

SeedTurban-2

KNITTED SEED+KNOT TURBAN
By Jena S. Kim

Sizes:
Mother (Daughter)

Needles:
One set of size US 8 (5.0 mm) straight knitting needles

Yarn:
Caron Simply Soft Eco 142 g / 249 yards
Worsted 80% Acrylic & 20% NatureSpun Post-Consumer Recycled Polyester

Other Materials:
Scissors, Ruler, Embroidery Needle

Gauge:
19 sts and 32 rows = 4″

Seed Stitch (SS):
All rows: *K1, P1* repeat to end

Binding Off (BO):
*K1, pass last st over* repeat from * to end

PATTERN: 

Mother (Daughter)
CO 21 (13)
Row 1:  Work in SS until piece measures 19″ (14″)
Tie a knot in the middle of piece– loosely or tight, whichever you prefer
Fold in half, wrong sides together
Knit into other side, while at the same time BO
Fasten off, and weave in the ends.

Leaf-text

Seeds of every generation
Between our hands
And the promise to teach you
The little I have learned… so far
Child…
What will you live to do?
What have I left for you?
What will we leave behind?”
Brooke Fraser | Seeds

 xx
JENA