Or, In Which I Blather On and On….
“It is something to know what to do with ourselves when we are beset, and the knowledge of this way of the will is so far the secret of a happy life, that it is well worth imparting to the children. Are you cross? Change your thought. Are you tired of trying? Change your thoughts. Are you craving for things you are not to have? Change your thoughts; there is a power within you, your own Will, which will enable you to turn your attention from thoughts that make you unhappy and wrong, to thoughts that make you happy and right. And this is the exceedingly simple way in which the Will acts.” -Charlotte Mason
Or, “Why My Shoes Look Like This”, because apparently I don’t have enough sense to go put on rain boots.
Also known as, “Why I Ended Up Serving My Kids Pickles in the Car for Breakfast on the way to Church”
It’s like Wild Kingdom around here. I failed to mention that later in the same day of the believed mountain lion sighting, the bear that plagued us all through last summer made an appearance, much larger than before, but just as comfortable as ever in our front yard.
Also, Mairi’s friend is the sister of a band member, not the brother. It’s just that I hit my head a lot and say silly things sometimes.
Matchy-matchy for Father’s Day dinner. Hey look, I actually put on rain boots! I made us these linen dresses sometime back in November. The discolored dots are raindrops!
I’m including my first, two part, podcast here today. As I ease back into this space, I think I’m going to be working with both traditional blogging and, the very new to me, video log. I explain my reasons for this in the video. It’s really all just an experiment and I’m not at all sure where it’s going to go!
In the part that was accidentally cut I talked about subjects I’ll be covering in the future…things like knitting, sewing, intentional wardrobe planning, homeschooling, home and garden tours, homemaking, and really anything that strikes my fancy! I hope you will take the time to join me.
I’ve been puttering my way through reading lately. Picking something up, putting it down. Just looking at the pictures. Reading a paragraph or a page or two and then skipping ahead a hundred pages. Some books lend themselves better to this than others. Cookbooks for example. Some knitting and sewing books. Or this one: Carl and Karin Larsson: Creators of the Swedish Style. So many pretty pictures to look at! And short captions to read to kind of get the gist of it all. I did read the whole of the chapter devoted exclusively to Karin and found it very interesting. Also, there is a child’s dress (designed by Karin, of course!) featured in several of Carl’s paintings, that I totally wish to recreate for Seraphina.
I read around two-thirds of Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver before it had to be returned to the library. I’d like to finish it some day. This is Home: the Art of Simple Living is my current putter, but I’m not finding it as exciting as I had hoped. The photo on the cover is probably my favorite.
I’m all sorts of flitty and flighty these days. There are reasons of course. Since my concussion, back in March, I’ve struggled with reading leading to headaches. It’s getting better. Much better than it was, surely, but I’m not quite back to normal and I haven’t yet found my usual groove. Also, the book supply has been spotty since Steve has been unemployed. He used to drive by the library every day on his long ride home from work. I would order books on-line and they would just magically show up with him when he arrived home. It was a good system. Perhaps it was a little too easy, we generally had 30-40 books out at any given time and sometimes upwards of 65! Now trips to the library are rare. We have a grand total of three books out at the moment. Often by the time we finally pick up a book, it’s nearly time for it to be returned.
My knitting has been much the same. Usually I knit my way through much of the day, during car rides, while talking on the phone, as I teach… but my brain is still struggling to coordinate multiple things at once. And more often then not I still find myself dropping my knitting back in my lap after only a stitch or two so that I can concentrate on whatever else is going on. I’ve made some serious strides with this in the last couple of weeks and I’m hoping to find that I’m back to my old self soon.
In the month of May I finally worked in all the ends on the twin sized blanket that I crocheted for Seraphine, I knitted a tie for Iain to wear for his senior photos, I made a bonnet for a friends baby, and I photographed not a one of them. I discovered that mice had made a stash of quinoa in the scrap blanket that I’ve been knitting on sporadically for the last several years and I decided that it’s time to get it finished up, out of that work basket and in use. I’ve been putting in some work on that and inviting others to do the same. It will be a generous full-queen size when all is said and done and I probably have nine or ten inches worth of length to go. And just two days ago I decided that I would really like the option of wearing the blue sweater that I had been working on, before I started bopping all over the place, to Iain’s graduation next week. So for the time being I’m concentrating on that and sort of nervously knitting away.
On his last visit my dad sang Seraphina her favorite song as an early birthday surprise. Guess who is getting a teddy bear for her 4th birthday next week? Shh, don’t tell!
Seraphina’s Christmas Wish List: Eggnog, jelly beans, chocolate cake, candy, bananas, oranges, clementines, grapefruits. My mother asked, “don’t you want any baby dolls or toys or books?” Nope. Just sweets.
Elijah watches old episodes of Bob Ross, Galen watches Elijah, I try to figure out which walls can still fit more paintings. The northern lights one was my Christmas present from Elijah. Galen is an extremely prolific painter, but I tend to get fewer pictures of his as he tends to paint at night.
Two books that are perfect for around the time of the Winter Solstice:
Little Snow Bear by Hazel Lincoln has been a family favorite for years. I believe Elijah received it for his 4th Christmas. The illustrations are divine and I think they were the inspiration for the painting in this post. It’s a very sweet and gentle story in which little snow bear goes out in search of the missing sun. Our copy is worn and battered and greatly beloved.
Lucia and the Light by Phyllis Root was a happenstance library find and entirely new to us this year. The story is modeled off of Nordic lore, but more modern in tone and appearance. It had me from the opening page, “Lucia and her mother and baby brother lived with a velvet brown cow and a milk-white cat in a little house at the foot of a mountain in the Far North. The cow gave milk, the cat slept by the fire, and the baby cooed and grew fat by the hearth.” When the sun disappears one day Lucia’s mother tells her that they will, “be each other’s sun until the real sun returns”. The sweet story turns into an adventure when Lucia sneaks out to find the sun only to discover it’s been stolen by trolls! The trolls, admittedly, were too much for sensitive, three-year-old Miss Seraphina, but I will keep this one in mind for next year.
Life with teens: I have one who walks about draped in home-made whips and another who randomly wears boxing gloves as some sort of bizarre fashion statement.
The baby doll Juliette has been in a somewhat horrifying state for about a year now. She never really recovered from that time when Galen decided to give her “troll hair”. And beyond which was getting rather grubby with two years of loving. When two days before Christmas my neighbor dropped by with some brown mohair yarn I decided the time was ripe for an impromptu surprise makeover. I do not adore the highlights. They are what was salvageable of her original hair, plus the little bit of that yarn that I had leftover. I was afraid that if I used an entirely new hair color she might be too different, so I tried to blend the two. It’s ok-ish I guess. I also cleaned her up, refreshed her rosy cheeks and donned her in her new Christmas nightie (of course) she made her grand reappearance on Christmas Eve.
Elijah helped with the Christmas pajamas again this year. Thank goodness. It’s too daunting for me alone. It took 16 yards of fabric to cover those boys of mine! Sixteen! We hated the pattern (Simplicity 2771) so much that by the time we got to Galen’s we decided to switch to another pattern entirely (Kwik Sew K3945). Elijah made that complete set on his own in probably a quarter of the time it would have taken us with the other pattern. And probably half the size- the others were HUGE!
For the girls I used old standbys. My favorite Kwik Sew 3423 and it’s bigger sister Kwik Sew 3105. I used the latter for Mairi Rose’s first Christmas and have turned to them both regularly ever since. I made them each a pair of pink organic cotton velour leggins for underneath. And they are terribly sweet and soft and toasty and cuddly in them.
Oh, I almost forgot! Seraphina’s romper….I was rushing out the door headed for a long car ride and trying to quickly pull together everything I needed for the day’s knitting. I had every intention of sizing up the Lady from the North Cabled Romper, but something went amiss with my paypal and it decided to treat my payment as a check requiring three days to clear. Are you kidding me?? So I grabbed a stitch dictionary instead and designed my own as I went along. I was already well into it when the pattern arrived several days later.
And the chickadee! I love him so. It was a little project just for pleasure, started with some friends, mostly crafted on Christmas day, finished a day or two later. I think I might have to make a tradition of it and make a new bird each year to add to the tree.