From Art

Yarn Along

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I made some progress over the last week on the sweater’s neckline. Alas, I think I’m going to have to frog it back because I’ve gotten too many stitches on the needles. I do think I have conquered the new skills for the increases though, so these rows will go much faster once I start again. I knew starting something like this would definitely test my limited skill set, but the only way to learn is to practice and try new things!

I’ve been reading back through Laying Down the Rails, which I’ve had forever and have read once before. Sonya basically collated all of Charlotte Mason’s writings about discipline and forming character into one volume. It has very little commentary from Sonya herself, but many helpful notes and explanations in the margins that further clarify what Charlotte is discussing. After reading A Mother’s Rule of Life I realized that we had fallen off the tracks, so to speak, in character training and development, and this resource is helping me think and pray through where I’d like to go from here.

The children and I are reading through The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. I made the mistake of promising the kids that I would not read ahead, and now I am absolutely dying of curiosity. It is such a torture! I want so desperately to read at my own pace and discover what happens, but I promised. We are all really enjoying the book. From all I have been told the whole series is good, so we look forward to joining in on the adventure.

Sharing with Ginny.

Getting stitchy with it…

boyscurtains

If you are now humming along to the ear-worm-y Men In Black theme song, sorrynotsorry. Whatever happened to good funny movies like that, really? At least the original. By MI3 the joke was getting a bit old…

Anyways. I had a backlog of sewing related repairs I needed to do, and last week and this week saw that to-do list finished too. Above, I finally hemmed the older boys’ curtains. We won’t talk about how long it took me to do that, m’kay? Suffice it to say, my boys have probably grown the amount of inches required to hem the curtains up…

Below, a husky repair for David. He was a very soft and cuddly patient. I can see why he is so loved!

 husky

Our house is styled in found objects. Some from the thrift store, some from antique stores, some even from the curb. (No shame! I’ve found some of my best stuff there! It’s amazing what people throw out sometimes.) For some reason, this has been the year that the kids have been super duper hard on the furniture. I think both of these started as small wear and tear holes that were “helped” along by the children.

First, the blue chair before:bluehole

And the blue chair, after:

bluefixed

The blue chair repair was ‘good as new’…you can’t tell that it was stitched back together. Before, I think this would have been a chair I would have looked for a slipcover for without realizing I could repair it with a needle.

The white antique love seat is another story. It wasn’t overly precious to me- I knew that the pretty silk damask would probably get discolored more over time, and I was okay with that- the artist in me actually considered eventually painting the fabric at some point in the future. Just not this year. I wasn’t expecting such a horrible gash to happen. This one was definitely helped by a certain child in the space of about five minutes- what was quite small (and could have been easily darned) turned into this massive gash with stuffing missing. By some serendipity, I discovered there was a four to five inch wide, foot long strip of the fabric underneath the framing, probably left there just for repairs. I was able to create a small patch for the hole, which I darned on with a sort of make-shift blanket stitch. I’m hoping that the patch itself will quickly discolor to the same state as the rest of the couch, at which point the difference in color won’t be so obvious. I may try gently cleaning the rest of the couch- I’m not sure yet. While it’s not the prettiest fix, the damage has been stopped and protected.

Here is the white love seat before:
whitehole

And after:

whitefixed

Eventually it’s going to need a better, long-term solution. Perhaps I will try my hand at reupholstering it? It has a pretty unique shape, being so old, so average slip covers would be impossible. I can’t decide if making a sort of custom slip cover for it would make more sense (with the removable, washable factor) or actually reupholstering it. Whatever I decide, it will be as frugal as possible. For right now, a strategically placed blanket does wonders!

Knit Along

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It’s been a while since I’ve had needles in my hand. I finished up the scarves and cowl and then the holiday season took over. I cast on Katherine’s Martinmas sweater in Size 2-4, using the beautiful Madelinetosh yarn she sent me. I’ve never tried anything more complex than scarves and washcloths, so this is truly a new adventure for me. I’ve done well with the first two rows but I keep having to re-do the third. I’m afraid I am missing an idea. I’m pretty sure I’m not doing the M1R or M1L right, which would mean I’d get too many stitches. I need to find a video that explains it- the pictures on knitpicks aren’t making sense to me. If you have a link, please share!

I won the lovely A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soulfrom Ginny’s giveaway last month, and it arrived just as we left on our travels. I cannot say enough good about this book. I truly have walked away from my time with this book in the last two weeks with such a deep and profound sense of peace. I am sure that must surprise one, seeing as how the word ‘rule’ is in the title, but really and truly. Lovely. I’m not even sure where to start with my thoughts regarding it. I remember being a young mother, with first one little baby and then two, in my little snug house on a hill, and how much I rejoiced in the simple tasks of motherhood and homemaking. Perhaps it was because it was all new, and such a tremendous change from my life previously, but I remember that time very, very fondly. When I think of that time, I think of peace. But as is true, another chilld comes a long, or two, or three, or four, and life gets super intense and welljust explodes! Crisis happens: a cancer scare. A lost job. The death of a child. Serious illness. Two plus years of unemployment and then under-employment. More serious illness. And we forget why we’re here and why we’re doing it.

Holly Pierlot tells about just such a time in her own life and what led her into the practices she now keeps and shares with us in the book. And it is just so good. I think if I am ever in a position of mentoring a new, young mom, it will be this book I give and discuss with them. I appreciate her gentle, firm, loving tone (the tone I wish for as a mother myself) and how she comes and sits beside you, so to speak, and reminds you, above all, to put on love. Of course she has many practical tips regarding planning, organizing, homeschooling, finances, and the like, but the under-pinning heart beat of the book is rather our Faith, our love for God, and how that informs everything else. Our mother’s rule. I have been a mother twelve years now, with six children, and I remembered and learned so much and have since been putting it into practice myself. A keeper for sure. And I never would have read it had I not won it in the giveaway!

What are you reading lately?

Sharing with Ginny.

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.

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