From Art

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.

Scrap Happy: More buried treasure…

As I’ve continued to organize and straighten my office and creative space, I’m finding little pockets of layouts that never made their way in to albums (and never were shared here, either). The first batch today is probably from 2007, back when I started blogging. I have been very disappointed with the Heidi Swapp Chipboard letters from that era- it seems every page I pull out which included that chipboard has fallen off, completely unattached- sometimes one or two letters, sometimes the whole title. Not cool! (You’ll see them missing on “Laughter” and “Resolved”.) The second batch is three pages I did back sometime in January, I believe.


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Fast and pretty storage…

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We have been using essential oils as a part of our health care regimen for about a year now. I compare essential oils to really good coffee: once you try it, you will never settle for the crappy stuff again. It obviously is just a part of our family apothecary, but I think it’s our favorite part. We go through lavender like nobodies business. Alas, all that time, my oils have lived in their delivery box. I know, I know, it’s pretty and all, and somewhat practical, but unwieldy. You can buy a divided box from one of the companies for about fifteen dollars, but I knew I could do better. I found the box at Michael’s for about $3, and it was pretty on its own, but I’m in a “washi all the things!” mood lately! And when I get bored, swap it out. Simple, pretty, beautiful, practical.  I’ll take that any day of the week.

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