Upon the Annunciation and Passion Falling upon One Day


At once a Son is promised her, and gone;
Gabriel gives Christ to her, He her to John;
Not fully a mother, she’s in orbity,
At once receiver and the legacy.
All this, and all between, this day hath shown,
The abridgement of Christ’s story, which makes one
(As in plain maps, the furthest west is east)
Of the Angel’s Ave and Consummatum est.

Excerpt from Upon the Annunciation and Passion Falling upon One Day
1608, John Donne


7 Quick Takes: Summer Fashion, Sacred Heart, and Miscellany

— 1 —

phone comparison

New camera (phone) alert!  I upgraded my phone, and the new camera is so much better.  Compare the old photo (left) to the new one (right).  Maybe it’s just my over-scrutinizing photographer brain talking, but they look so much better to me.  Full Instagram-Speed ahead!

— 2 —


I recently pulled out an old unfinished knitting project, and I’ve been making steady progress on it every evening.  I’m pretty sure I bought the yarn and started working on it before I got married, so it’s been languishing in craft purgatory for a long time.  The finished product is huge, but I’m hopeful that someday I’ll get it done.  Just in time to send it to college with Maddy.

— 3 —

Netflix’s suggestions for me are usually dubious at best, but I followed their advice and watched the first episode of their original series Chef’s Table. Each episode profiles a different chef (ahem, hence the name), and the first one is about Italian chef Massimo Bottura. I thought it was fascinating from both a culinary and artistic standpoint, and his relationship with his wife was very endearing. I haven’t gotten to the other episodes yet, but I highly recommend the first one.

— 4 —

garden 6-12-10

Our balcony garden is, well, still alive, and that’s something!  The morning glories are starting to climb on the balcony and each other, making for some complex knots.
garden 6-12-2

Globe Basil, with its small leaves, is becoming my favorite variety.  They’re so small that they can be tossed into the pot without any chopping, which saves a step.  The poppies, in the same planter, are still shooting up, and since I don’t know much about flower gardening, I’ll consider that progress.garden 6-12-4 The blooming flowers are still going strong, possibly due to the fact that someone else did the hard part before entrusting them to me.  It’s nice to have such a vivid splash of color out there!garden 6-12-6

— 5 —

Maddy and I had the chance to go to a new-to-us mall yesterday (the open-air kind that’s probably more common in warmer places but is a novelty around here). We’re happy to report that the summer fashions currently in stores are great. Fashion is cyclical, so I guess we’ve circled back around to a time that pleases me. Neither of us really needs anything new right now, but here are some things that caught my eye. There’s a definite theme of skirts and nursing-friendly dresses here…

Loft. I’ll be watching for this one to go on clearance.
Anthropologie ($198).  This will never go on deep enough clearance for my budget.
Loft.  Vertical stripes – yes.
JCrew.  The color is fantastic.
H&M.  I’m not exactly sure what you’d wear under it (it’s clearly a little short as is), but it looks breezy and comfortable.
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H&M.  Something a little different from the usual t-shirt, and there were cuter colors in store.

— 6 —

Sacred HeartIt’s a solemnity today!  That means our home altar is decked out, and I’m off to make (meaty) lasagna and cake for dinner.  There’s no particular tradition behind either choice, except that together, they’ll use up a whole container of ricotta.

— 7 —

This week’s MaddyCam comes courtesy of her “new” walker, which is an awesome development. It keeps her happy for long enough that I can empty the dishwasher or do some cooking, but she really loves it when one of us gets down on her level.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

7 Quick Takes: Very quick indeed

— 1 —


First, this weather.  It snowed for most of today.  Is it because our Christmas lights are still up?  At this point, I’m kinda just planning on turning them on for Easter.

— 2 —


After several very long months, we’re all looking forward to April, when Johnny’s work schedule will get significantly more normal.  Today is day 13 in a row that he’s put in a full day at the office, and it’s been several months since he’s had a work-free day.  I’m sure he’s looking forward to it more than I am, but man…I’m really looking forward to it.  We’re going to do crazy things like sleeping in on the weekends and eating dinner before 9:00.  Living on the edge.

— 3 —

If you have 20 minutes or so, I recommend reading this article about the “Gentleman Thief” of Venice.  Besides the story itself (which is worth reading), the illustrations are very fun.

— 4 —


Now that Holy Week is upon us, I’m feeling the pressure to get all of our altar cloths finished.  With the purchase of rose fabric (not pictured), we finally have all the necessary colors (though I’m always on the lookout for gold).  I just need to iron and hem them, and we should be equipped for all liturgical needs.

— 5 —


As a more ambitious sewing project, I’m stepping up to the plate as “Mom of a little girl” by attempting to make matching Easter outfits for Maddy and myself.  I chose simple patterns, though that wasn’t enough to satisfy the woman at Joann’s who said with a frown, “Yes…I’m sure you can do it.”  Now I want to get them done just to go back there to show her.

— 6 —

Well, I’m running out of steam here.  I’m guessing it’s because I’m accompanying the Notre Dame basketball game with a beer, and I’m still somewhat short of my (never impressive) tolerance.  At the risk of blogging under the influence, I’m just going to say Go Irish, and leave you with baby photos:

— 7 —


Happy six weeks to Maddy!  Today was the first time I got her to smile by tickling her, which is a fun milestone.  She’s been lifting her head up much better and staying awake and alert for longer stretches, so she’s really starting to become more interactive.


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!

Home Altar: Christmas 2014

HomeAltar Christmas

Happy almost-end of Christmas!  A little late, here’s a peek at how our home altar is dressed up this season.  Advent candles are put away and the wreath is now a backdrop.  I’m nervous about the candles near the dry pine needles, so we still haven’t lit them.  The garland over our Madonna is from last year, and I’m not sure it packed well; next year, I’m going to consider something fresh.

The white frontal was purchased and sewn just in the nick of time on Christmas Eve, and once it was up, Johnny and I both agreed that gold would be a better choice.  I had looked and not seen any ideal gold fabrics, and the fabric store employees were literally waiting for me to leave so that they could close early, so I went with white.  There’s nothing wrong with it, really – it just makes for a very monochrome area.  It’s up for a good portion of the year (now till Candlemas, then all of Easter), so I’d like to find something we both really like.

As a wedding gift from a seminarian friend, we got a copy of Dear Newlyweds, a compilation of Pope Pius XII’s addresses to newlywed couples.  I’ve been working through it slowly, mostly just on Sunday mornings before Mass while Johnny is rehearsing with the schola.  Yesterday, I got to the chapter on making a home, and it’s my favorite section by far (which is saying something).  Among the excerpts I highlighted for later sharing:

“See to it that from the very first day your home is manifestly Christian – that the Sacred Heart of Jesus is its King, that the image of the Crucified Savior and of the Most Gracious Virgin Mary have the place of honor there.” (Nov. 8, 1939)

Our Sacred Heart prayer card from Cardinal Burke is back out, and with that, our devotional trifecta is complete.  I’m always on the hunt for a slightly bigger print of that same image, but for now, it’s complete.

Home Altar – Advent 2014


Our home altar has been a long time in the making.  By “making,” of course, I mean “procrastinating and working on veeeery slowly,” which is obvious when you consider that we’ve lived here for a year and a half and have just now finished it.  While I hope to always put some thought and care into changing it each season, I’m glad that there are so many reusable, one-time-effort pieces involved.

The first thing to settle on was the table itself.  After looking around for something that would be just right, we went to Ikea for one thing and ended up with a model that I’d overlooked on the website.  I love the half-circle shape, though it does make sewing a little tricky (more on that later).  It also has a shelf halfway down for storing pieces that have been rotated out for the season.

The next thing to accomplish was the linen for the top.  No, we’re not actually planning to have Mass said here or anything, but a simple white linen adds an appropriate, classic touch.  I haven’t decided whether or not one of the linens will get some surface embroidery, and I do plan to wash them occasionally, so I decided to do the right thing and thoroughly prepare them (using this great tutorial).  I spent most of Saturday afternoon doing this hot water/cold water/hot water waltz, and the process was as interesting as it was tedious.

Linen Prep-1

This would be one of the cold water rinses, not the boiling.


Tracing the half circle onto the fabric is where things got a little dicey.  We measured properly (so many times), and I sewed it with a precise hem all around, but it still managed to fit not *quite* perfectly on the top.  You can see it a little in the photo below, but it’s not really noticeable from eye level when the table is covered with stuff.

The frontal was so easy that the hardest part was finding a thread to match.  The cloth came from a local fabric warehouse (where I also scored a great green).  It’s just a rectangle with mitered corners (instructions here, and many other places).  It’s attached to the table by a strip of adhesive velcro running across the top.


Home Altar-Advent-6


As for the other pieces we’re using this Advent:

  • Wreath: Trader Joe’s, sitting on a large plate
  • Candles & holders: Hobby Lobby, and blessed at Candlemas a couple years ago
  • White doily, crocheted by yours truly many years ago
  • St. Nicholas statue: a Confirmation gift (available here)
  • Crucifix: Purchased at a local Catholic book store on our trip to MN last week.  I’m having trouble finding the exact same one, but the link is very close to it.
  • Annunciation diptych: Handmade, from Mom several years ago.  The art is Fra Angelico.

Home Altar-Advent-2