From Art

Yarn Along: Third Time’s a Charm

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The cowl is finished, and just in time for the weather to turn cold. This is the first piece of knitting that I made expressly for myself, and I dearly love it. When it was finished the other day, I laughed to see various family members stopping by the knitting basket to ‘pet’ the super-soft, warm cowl. I’m not sure what I’d like to start on next. I was gifted some glorious Madeline Tosh yarn and I’d like to make Katherine’s Martinmas sweater, but I swear, I’m almost afraid to mess up the yarn trying! I seem to make so many (easy, rookie) mistakes (like yarn overs) and I just…it’s so pretty and nummy and what if I mess it up? Decisions, decisions.

I finished Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games). It seems my predictions about Gale were true. I was so unbelievably sad when Finnick died- after all he had been through and experienced and sacrificed, to die in the sewers seemed especially unjust. At least he had some time with Annie. And Peeta. Man oh man oh man. Wow. And Prim! And President Snow! And, and, and, and….wow. It is definitely a roller coaster ride to the end. And Katniss. I have to say, she’s the first heroine in literature lately that is represented honestly. I deeply appreciate that as a woman. She doesn’t win on beauty. She doesn’t win on wit. She doesn’t even on win on skill. She doesn’t win, period. She loses so much. In the end, she lives, and that is enough, and that is the brave thing. To bring forth life into so much death and brokenness-that was her true act of bravery. To let love win. If there’s anything I carry away from this series, it is that. So so good.

Sharing with Ginny.

More buried treasure and why I need a better system…

I keep thinking I’ve found the last of my completed pages waiting for albums, and then I find a few more. I really think this is the last of them, because there are no more un-cleaned-out storage boxes that could fit 12 x 12 pages…but…I could be wrong. These were completed this February, I think. I never would have thought I had so many little cubby holes that these got shoved into. I have more than enough to go into an album, but some of these belong in the children’s albums. Currently all of our albums are stored in a leather ottoman behind our couch. When we found the ottoman originally, it was the perfect solution for the scrapbooks- they were perfectly accessible but also protected. Alas, alack, I have very rough and tumble boys and that poor ottoman is a lot worse for wear. I need to have a better system for storing completed pages until they can get put in the albums and I also need a better system of knowing what stories need to be told from what has already been covered. Don’t even get me started on my digital files…anyways. Enjoy!

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Yarn Along

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Oh this poor cowl. I’ve been a really distracted knitter these last two weeks. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but on Monday I went to pick up my knitting, only to discover it had a hole very similar to the one in the yellow afghan. The more I tried to fix it (going back to a row that was undamaged) the worse it seemed to get, and I eventually ended up pulling the whole thing off. I almost didn’t post today, but then I thought with all the expertise floating around Yarn Along, perhaps someone would know of a Youtube video or a visual help for how to fix it next time? I know that the two afghans aren’t knitted, they are crocheted, but perhaps there is a fix for them? I hate to lose them. The yellow one my Grandma made for Ellianna. The other one is much older- it’s been in my family forever and a day. I’m pretty sure my Oma made it. Thoughts?

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I finished Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good this week. It was so so good. I’ve always loved the Mitford novels, but this one has got to be one of my favorites now. As much as I’ve loved all of them, the last three that she has written-focusing on Fr. Timothy after retirement- have been the books that have spoken to me the most. I also finished the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire. I am definitely Team Katniss. There is something about Gale that makes me feel really uncomfortable, but I can’t put my finger on it yet. And Peeta, bless his heart. I know it’s all going to be resolved in the last book, but I confess I’m almost afraid to read it! I know it won’t end well. If you’ve read it, no spoilers! I tell you, there was a huge dichotomy between the two books I read this week. What happens with a good, deep, abiding love, and what happens when love is a twisted, movable thing…so fascinating.

Sharing with Ginny.

Pumpkin Etching…

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A few days ago I was able to take a pumpkin etching class. The class itself was lovely and delightful. The methods are actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it, and the result is so beautiful. More than a few of us commented on how meditative it was. This method does not harm the pumpkin in the way that carving does, because the etching makes the pumpkin ‘scar’ over the etching. You can see what a finished product looks like in some of the pictures, particularly on the white heirloom pumpkins.

The real star of the show, though, was the urban farm the class was located in. It absolutely blows your mind. These are neighbors to my mother, and from the front, it looks like every other nineteen eighties era ranch. You assume it’s got a decent back yard. And then you go around the back, through the side gate, and here is a two huge plots growing all manner of things, plus a chicken coop and large sized green house- it was large enough to fit fifteen people in the center aisle comfortably and could probably have fit ten more. Alas, alack, I completely forgot to take pictures of it…I was rather distracted by the beautiful pumpkins. Aren’t they just darling?

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Yarn Along

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Oh, this cowl. It is described as a ‘one night’ knit. Ahem. It is pretty easy and almost mindless, except for when you forget to mark your rows, and you get three before you goofed, and you have to frog it back, and then you start on the wrong row so you get another two before you realize your mistake, again. Everything is now properly marked, and I hope I’ll make significant progress on it this week. Nothing else has formed and disciplined my habit of attention like knitting has.

I finished Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World this weekend. Two weeks ago I said I was coming to it with a bit of trepidation. I am really quite wary of homeschooling memoirs and books lately. Perhaps it is because I am second generation homeschooler. Perhaps it is because I have seen homeschooling families collapse under the weight of it. Perhaps it is all of that and none of that, but I really am disappointed when I read a homeschooling book that basically states that if and only you do a, b, and c, you too can have an amazing family life and genius children!  It doesn’t work like that. I brought all that to the table and challenged Ben Hewitt to give me realism. He did. I appreciate his candor more than I can say. He openly acknowledges what he doesn’t know, what mistakes they’ve already made so far and how they’ve adjusted to them, and things he thinks about in the wee smas at night. It is not a homeschooling book. It is a story of a family and what they are learning and un-learning and the story of a place that allows it all to thrive. I doubt few homeschoolers have an educational life that resembles Ben’s family, but it will not prevent the enjoyment of the book. I would gladly hand this to someone considering homeschooling their children, not for the hows and wherefores, but for the whys. Ben is not going to tell you how to homeschool your children. He’s not going to tell you how to parent them, either. But he will tell you what they’ve learned together, and why, and that is all you need to know to get started on your own journey. I would gladly hand it to homeschooling parents who are burnt out and weary. It brings gentle joy. I would hand it to parents who are perfectly happy in a public school system and will remain so- because it’s not a homeschooling memoir. It’s a family memoir. Everyone will walk away with something to think about.

One quote I underlined from the book:

It reminds me that the assumptions we have arrived at regarding education are just that: assumptions. They are stories born of a culture, and like all stories, we can choose to believe them or not. We can choose to listen or not. We can choose, even, to write our own stories. (pg.71, The Early Years)

Speaking of stories, I finished The Hunger Games. It’s the first time that I’ve listened to an audio book for myself. The kids and I have listened to a few, but I’ve never actually thought to pick one up for myself. Chores go so much faster. I don’t know why I am on a dystopian fiction kick lately, but there you go. I was startled by some of the similarities between Panem and our own country at the moment. The historian (and Christian) in me was fascinated by the clear references to the Roman games. Like Enders Game, you won’t like where the story takes you, but you need to go. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series, either by audio book or in paper. Interesting side affect of audio books- you can’t read ahead and you can’t rush. I tend to be a book-eater. The audio book forced me to slow down and savor.

Sharing with Ginny.

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