The Furnace, Convictions, and a King's Anger

From a safe distance, the King saw the doors of the furnace open and blue flames roar toward the sky. It burned the flesh of the guards at the men's sides. With hasty shoves, the three men were sent flailing into the licking flames and the fire engulfed those who remained above.

Only a few hours earlier, the king was alerted by his faithful officials of traitors in the kingdom. These men he had taken captive after defeating them, and in spite of it had proven themselves faithful and wise, earning positions of authority. But with this news of their refusal to worship as he commanded his heart burned in anger.

He had the men brought before him, and just to show how generous he was, gave them one last chance to change their minds. Surprisingly, the men continued in their rebellion, defying his very command. In utter disgust, the king mocked them saying, "Who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?"

With a strange calmness and strength, the Jewish men said, "[O]ur God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king."

With rage burning within him, the king ordered their execution immediately, that the fires of the furnace be heated seven times hotter and the men tied up like bundles.

Now the king watched as his own men were burned up by the angry fire he had commanded. But as he looked into the furnace to watch the death of the traitors that would justify the death of his men, he saw instead four men rather than three, moving around freely.

His rage dissipated as he witnessed this unbelievable event he knew could only be supernatural. He called loudly for the men to come out of the furnace and rushed forward with his officials to inspect the victims. Not even a hair was singed!

The king said then, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him."

For the God with the power to create the very molecules of our world, protecting a living being from burning flames is an easy thing.

Should we really be surprised? And yet we are. Each time I read this passage in the book of Daniel where King Nebuchadnezzar sends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego into the superheated furnace, I am awed.

These three Jewish men suffered the threat of death for what they believed in and God saved them in a way no one would have expected. This was a testimony that would never be forgotten and one that showed the pagan nation who the God of the Jews really was.

In contrast, some decades later God Himself gave an even greater testimony in allowing the death of his Son. He could have saved Him as easy as he saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. In fact, Jesus had the power to save Himself.

But as the Jewish priest Caiaphas said, little knowing how prophetic he was being, "[I]t is expedient for us that one should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish." *

This is a lesson in trusting that God knows what is best for us. All we are to do is trust Him and not waver in our faith, He will do the rest.

Could I be as confident in my God as these three men in the face of death? Could you?

Passage expounded upon from Daniel 3
*John 11:50 NKJV

Scrapbooking in the Raw

I really can't say what first started me scrapbooking. At the time I was quite young and the hobby was not so widespread. I had pictures of my favorite pets and I had paper. The result was some flashy colors and plain shapes but all in all I don't think I did too bad for a beginner. I have designed many pages since then and have taken my interest to new bounds.

To me, scrapbooking is the art of taking paper scraps and creating a masterpiece. For years I would collect things (I was definitely worse when I was young). For instance, poetry, story excerpts, magazine and calendar cut-outs, printed boxes like DVD collections, old buttons, anything that I might think fit or would present a lovely stencil. I took the term "scrap-booking" literally. And I still do.

Commercially though, scrapbooking is all about how much you can buy. The hobby demands lots of things: special tools, cutters and punchers of all shapes and sizes, stencils, albums, and etc. It has been blown out of proportion and companies are making a killing off our little paper hobbies.

But as I have already described, it doesn't have to be that way. To preserve the original meaning, as well as the fun and creativity of it, I prefer scrapbooking raw. The definition of which is "as limited pre-made materials as possible". (Definition of my own creation). Half the fun is creating your own material, wouldn't you say? Just look around and see what might inspire you. Or, as I have done many times, what shapes do you have lying around that would make perfect stencils?

Here are a few of the ones I have done over the years. Don't mind my self-criticism.

James Stewart page

One thing I have really had fun with is texturing my own paper. I love grabbing some odd object and using its peculiar impressions to create a fabulous piece of paper. I cut up a box that contained a James Stewart collection of DVD's and used the pictures. That's why he has a flat top.

This one is a little older than some of the others I will share. Now I wouldn't leave so much open space. But it's good for simplicity sake.

Vintage Boat page

I took these from a fancy yacht magazine. I swoon at the sigh of vintage wooden boats, sailing or motorized. The sleek wood and retro lines are to die for.

Christmas with Musical Stars page

I had a large sheet of glittery red paper and I was dying to do something with it. I picked some of my favorite old singers and went to town. I only wish I had tried a cream cardstock instead of white printer paper for the words and stamps.

Dreaming of a White Christmas page

Have I told you lately how much I love buttons? I was generous with the buttons for this page and I am in no way sorry. The only thing I would do differently with this one is the tone of the pictures. Too much blue all the way around takes away from the pictures.

Aurora and Belle page

I normally don't do flashy colored pages but I had collected quite a bit of Disney scraps and decided to do something bright. I did another for Cinderella (my favorite princess, by the way) but the picture lacks a focal point.

Will of Nature, Will of God page

I had a great time with this one. There were two lovely poems I had copied from reading A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot about the life of Amy Carmichael. One from Carmichael herself and the other from a German preacher of the 17th century named Gerhard Tersteegen. The meanings of each are so poignant and deep.

I took the printed poems and experimented with staining them in tea. I love the aged look and this was pretty exciting. The stamps really don't have anything to do with the poems but I thought they looked fitting. I really didn't think there was anything wrong with this page but I think now I would have lightened the poems just a little.

Starry Night with Squirrel and Hedgehogs page

This one is kind of out of character for me. My little sister had given me a hedgehog stamp and I just had to use it. Aren't the little guys cute? And if the squirrel looks familiar, I would suggest taking a look at Disney's Sleeping Beauty again.

Jane Eyre and Rochester page

This is my most recent design. I read Jane Eyre for school many years ago and I thought it was pleasantly deep. I have since watched select films on the story but nothing beats the classic story. I found one of the most emotional parts of the book and used them for this page. The silhouettes are slight variations of drawings from another classic. Here is where I would have liked some stencils. The excerpt pieces are a little out of shape and I really can't stand that.

You know what I said about scrapbooking in the raw? Well some good stencils are pretty helpful. Maybe I will get around to buying myself some. Or I might just create my own...

This one was done a year ago and right after another Jane Eyre piece I framed and gave my cousin for her birthday. I wish now I had taken a picture for reference sake. But too late now.

But a year ago! My most recent piece is over a year old. This shows how preoccupied I've been with other things and how I have been abandoning my first loves.

I am at the present working on a cartoon piece that I hope to show you really soon. It's based on the original Scooby Doo series which is a testament of my great admiration for the cartoon. We'll see how it turns out.

Let's get the conversation started! Do you scrapbook? How do you do it? There is no wrong way. It's all about what works for you. What do you think about my works? Any advice on method? I'd love to hear from you all!

Crochet Inspiration in the Movies | That Hollywood Afghan and Delicate Black Shawl

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted a Crochet Inspiration post. Over a year at least! It just goes to show how preoccupied I have been with other things. And what a shame!

If you are new to these posts be sure to visit my Crochet Obsession page to see other posts on the subject. As a quick summary, I enjoy spotting pieces of crochet in movies, or things that inspire me to crochet, and sharing them here on Ginger Peachy. Some of which I have even gotten around to recreating (see The Pioneer Shawl).

While watching one of our "oldie-goldie" favorite movies, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, I saw this afghan that looked all too familiar. This afghan is what I call the Hollywood Prop because it shows up in many different movies. (See this post for previous instances of this afghan).

The afghan is characterized by its motifs of multiple colors. Each motif has two tones of  color and is surrounded by black with a black border. It appears to be a smaller afghan than most pioneers would have and instead makes a wonderful make-shift shawl.

As many times as I have seen this afghan, one day I will have to recreate it, despite my earlier reserves with the black (I don't like black). A person can only see a piece so many times before they realize it is begging for them to make one just like it.

On a more simple note, a few of the townswomen don crocheted blankets and shawls as well. I love the knit of the red --it's so thick and chunky. Hollywood didn't spare the vintage pieces and I am glad. It makes the movie all the more authentic.

Here is another piece done in black but I can forgive them while Milly wears it with this outfit. It's the perfect thing to offset her blonde hair and tan blouse. This is a more delicate choice and very feminine. Take a look at the back.

Closer knit towards the top and lacier around the edge. What I would give for a better quality closeup of this picture! Shawls are very popular subjects of crocheters and I guess it is because of its history. Why was it, I wonder, that women would wrap themselves in shawls and afghans while men wore heavy coats? Maybe it started with the fashion statement. Shawls were handmade and usually delicately done, adding the perfect touch to an outfit, whether casual or formal. I think feminine when I consider them.

Of course, the costumes in this movie are pretty grand all around. And so are the songs and dances. All set in the 1850 Oregon frontier, making it, as I said, one of our favorites.

What do you think? Are you a crocheter that notices the craft in movies? What inspires you to crochet? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

Doing Slow Things in a Fast World

One of the things I find most relaxing is sitting down with a pen and a tablet and writing. Journaling, writing a draft for an upcoming post or article, or my personal favorite, scribbling down a new story idea. Despite this being the digital era where everything is kept on phones, computers and what-have-you, I still can't give up my pen and paper.

When I first started blogging I was sad that so much of what I did was not on paper. That is, until I started getting more serious about my posts and doing multiple edits. Now my first drafts are on paper and I type the edit.

But paper is my life. I currently have 12 tablets and counting. What do I do with so many tablets, you may ask? Oh everything, believe me.

2 for crocheting
5 for different writing venues
1 for random notes
3 for Bible study related topics
1 for records

And when I eventually start my business I know I'll have to get more. I don't know where I would be without my tablets. I've actually had an obsession with paper for a long time. In school I probably had three times the amount of binders the others had, and all of them full and being filled continually.

Writing is important to me, obviously.

I find it fun to imagine going to an old oak writing desk, selecting a piece of fine stationary and sitting down to write. Reminds me of period dramas.

That and finding a quiet corner to read a book. Doesn't it seem archaic? In this fast moving world, nothing seems more out of place than writing letters or reading books. I find myself getting so caught up in my goals and expectations that I forget the importance of sitting down and reading.

Now I could sit here all day listing the qualities of reading good books but you probably don't want me to do that. Instead I am going to make one point that qualifies for both writing letters and taking the time to read a good book:

It separates you temporarily from the immediacy of the world.

Or more simply put, it brings you down to earth. Once in a while, it is absolutely necessary to take a hiatus from life, however brief or often. I'm sure you have experienced the feeling of relief when you've been stuck inside for an extended period and you come out to take a breath of fresh air. That's me when I go hiking after a long rain. Or in this case, when I put aside other needs to do some relaxing writing or reading.

What do you think? Is the time for writing letters or reading physical books gone? Are such slow things too difficult to meld with this fast moving world? I would treasure your opinion!

Lacet Eyeglasses Strap | New Crochet Pattern

New and free crochet pattern! It's simple and very practical. Check it out and tell me what you think!

Only after a few times of wearing my glasses I thought how helpful it would be to have straps that keep them around my neck. Since I only wear them for reading and other such closeup work I don't need them on constantly. And yet I don't like the idea of leaving an expensive pair of glasses just lying around.

I remembered that a few years ago I made a strap for some glasses that I used on occasion. They were a simple pair of store-bought readers that we had around the house. I tried them for crocheting but they strained my eyes even more. In the meantime though, I had a great time making this beaded strap for them. You can find the pattern for free at Crochet Spot by clicking the link, Beaded Eyewear Retainer.

Naturally, I wouldn't use a purple strap for my own (naturally). So I set about making a different one. This time I used a slightly lacier thread, Aunt Lydia's crochet thread, and no beads. Very simple and yet it works!

Here is the pattern.

Lacet Eyeglasses Strap

Skill Level Easy

Finished size 24” (61 cm) long

Lace Weight Yarn (approximately 8 yards)
Crochet Hook 6 (1.80mm)

One lacet measures 3/8” (0.95 cm)

Row 1: ch 159, sl st in 4th ch from hook, * ch 2, skip 2 ch, dc in next ch, repeat from * across to last 3 ch, (ch 2, sl st, ch 3, sl st) in last ch: 53 lacets
Finish off.

The pattern is really easy to work. The only difficulty would be in the handling of the thread if you are not yet accustomed to working with it. Unfortunately, spending a few hours pulling it out and getting the pattern right brought on my wrist pain. And of course, I didn't use my head and don my gloves. Needless to say, it was my own fault. If you struggle with carpal tunnel, don't make the same mistakes I did. Just a piece of advice.

Maybe you can use some straps for your glasses but you haven't been able to find some you really like. Make your own! That is the best way to satisfy your taste.

I actually have had my eye on the case as well. It is so plain and black (the case that came with the glasses). I might work up the courage to bedazzle it with... well, with something. I don't do black. Maybe I'll paint it gold... Love gold.

And that does it for today! What do you think about my design? Did you find any flaws I need to edit? Let me know in the comments below! I am so eager to hear all of your thoughts on the matter.

Update: You can purchase a copy of this pattern in PDF form at my Ravelry store! Click here to check it out.

This is an original pattern created and designed by Amy Yarbrough of Ginger Peachy. You are welcome to copy the pattern for personal use but do not sell the pattern, distribute, or reprint it. Feel free to share a link to the pattern. You can sell products made from this pattern but please credit me, Amy Yarbrough of Ginger Peachy. Do not mass produce or factory manufacture using my pattern. Thanks for respecting the wishes of the designer, and be sure to ask me if you have any questions regarding this copyright.