From Art

String me a line…


The knitting traveling plan is to replenish my rather bedraggled washcloth stack. I can knit it from memory without a pattern and without looking at it, which are both necessary for car knitting! I finished Counting By Sevens with a kleenex box at my side. Oh my word. It is so very good, but goodness you will need tissues! It’ll make you notice and love the family you have all around you.

Sharing with Ginny.

Art Friday: Leaf Prints!


On our morning walk one day, we found these huge leaves on the ground as big as the children’s heads. We brought them home to make leaf prints the old fashioned way with a hammer and some pressing but it didn’t work very well. We switched to some paint instead. The kids really had fun with this and the supplies are super simple: leaves, washable paint, and watercolor paper. You could probably use a smoother, less sturdy paper, but this was the only type we had big enough for these leaves. Lorelei pointed out that you could cut the prints out when you were done, maybe to make a garland or a mobile, but we didn’t do that with these. So much fun.

Reading and knitting…


Work on my pillow cover continues apace. I had to put a lifeline in after the slippery bamboo yarn fell off the slippery bamboo needles for the third time. I love both the yarn and the needles (which continue to smooth with use) but I’m not sure the combination is a good one. I’ve found the fabric to finish it with, so now it’s just finishing the knitting portion!

In the reading basket, oldies but goodies. Beauty for Ashes by Grace Livingston Hill starts out a bit cliche (she relies on bad guy/good guy stereotypes a lot) but then gets pretty good a few chapters in. It’s very interesting to read the nearly hundred year old story in light of all the Ashley Madison brouhaha, as the story begins with an affair. It made me think a lot about grief too, but I can’t really talk about it or I give away all the good stuff! I’ve had Keeping House by Margret Kim Peterson on my bookshelf for years and years. Someone quoted her on Instagram recently and I thought it was time for a re-read. I remember really loving it when I first got it, early in my marriage.

Sharing with Ginny.

Paint on the fingers…


These clouds appeared on my canvas the other day. I don’t know where it is going yet, but I sure like the first layer! I never really do know where this will end up. It’s more about the journey than the destination.

I haven’t had a work in progress for ages. There are many reasons for that, most of them good. This summer was about helping my kids re-calibrate and re-center. I didn’t feel released into my own pursuits yet; there was a lot of healing that needed to happen. Sometimes some discipline and training, too- for mama and for the children!

That has begun to change in the last two weeks, and finally, I was able to slide upstairs and play in the paintbox. I’ll admit to putting it off for more than a week because my whole desk was covered in paperwork that needed to be filed. Eventually my better instincts took over and I shoved all the paperwork into a big grocery bag. It’s still there, I know where to find it, but sometimes life is too short to file paperwork!

I feel like I’ve had a lovely expansive period where I have just drunk deep from the well of inspiration for a while, especially via Instagram- and now it’s time to pour it out in creating something. Ebb and flow, this. Some of my favorite inspirations from Instagram are: [click for accounts] Joceyln Mathewes, Emily Jeffords, Beth Allen, Annie Barnett, Ruth Chou Simmons, and Kelly Sauer.

The playlist that often spins is a mash-up of The Civil Wars, Dave Matthews Band, The Last Bison, The Wailing Jennys, Nickel Creek, The Punch Brothers, Steve Martin (yes, the comedian. He’s an amaze-balls banjo player and well…just go listen!), and movie soundtracks like Interstellar, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Jane Eyre and cello concertos from the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and my personal favorite, Zoe Keating. I’ve had a ridiculous love affair with The Civil Wars and was pretty bummed when they broke up. I bought Joy Williams‘ new album with a bit of trepidation, but I wasn’t disappointed. I miss John Paul White’s voice, but was pleasantly suprised.

It’s somewhat ironic given my current writing series, but one of my favorites off the album is “What A Good Women Does”. There’s just so much to relate to. The kid’s favorite of the album is universally “Oh Mama”. You should see Josiah’s hilarious bum-wiggle dance to it. For all that, this is the one that was echoing through my mind as I was painting.

So there you have it. A work in progress Art Friday, chock full of inspiration. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? I didn’t either. It feels pretty good.

Reading and knitting…

unravel summerstack softyarn

It started a bit unexpectedly. I was feeling “a bit stab-y” as I relayed to my Beloved. I went into my stash and found the softest yarn I could find, took a few minutes to cast on, and then returned to the fray. He began to chuckle- it turned into a full-bellied laugh, and I looked at him innocently. “What?” “You say you’re feeling a bit murderous and you go and find sharp knitting needles…” Ahem. Yes. I haven’t knit all summer, but it was definitely time. I don’t know what it is about knitting for me, but (aside from the sometimes #$%^#& cast-on and/or cast-off) knitting definitely calms me and helps me keep focus. It’s very meditative. I needed meditative the other day! I’m not sure what I’m making yet, either. It’s a stash buster. I’m thinking possibly of making it into a pillow cover. It’s unbelievably soft! I think it is some leftover bamboo yarn from a failed project very early in my knitting escapades. Is it wrong when you want to pet your knitting?

I didn’t start the summer with a reading goal in mind. I just wandered…there are a few missing from the stack.

I haven’t read The Spark yet. I remember running across their story on social media some time in the spring and being fascinated by his learning journey. I’m looking forward to digging in.

I’ll admit to getting sucked into The Flight of Gemma Hardy by it’s cover and then a brief reckoning of the back blurb. I didn’t realize she had [heavily] borrowed from Jane Eyre. I wasn’t but a few pages in before I groaned with recognition. It was a betrayal. I jumped ahead about two thirds into the novel, where it got interesting for its own sake. In my opinion, the author should have took her ideas and characters in Iceland and turned that into the novel, not copy Bronte’s plot the whole way through. I don’t know why it has become okay to so brazenly and openly “borrow” (ahem, Austen re-creators I’m giving you the stink eye) from these authors. So make of that what you will.

The Casual Vacancy reminded me why J.K. Rowling became the success she did with Potter. It is brilliantly written- no plot holes, tight narrative, absolutely skewering character sketches. And boy, does she know how to ratchet up the suspense. It’s profane. It’s hysterical. It’s heart-rending. It’ll make you look in the mirror and think hard. It’ll make you appreciate family in a way you probably hadn’t thought to before. She is the Austen of our age, but on a much wider scale. If you’re squeamish about language or tough subjects, stay away. But you are in good hands with Rowling- she’s not using them as throw away or cliche, so I encourage you to trust her.

I picked up The Dyslexic Advantage at the library. I’m trying to understand more about Lorelei’s diagnosis. This one is interesting, but I am finding it a slog. There is a lot of technical information (numbers in studies, etc) that honestly detract from the discussion at hand. The authors would have done better to foot note a lot of the technical information and told us instead why it is important instead of cluttering up the chapters. A bit ironic for a book about dyslexia, actually. I do appreciate their viewpoint that dyslexics are highly gifted in other areas- something I already knew to be true for Lorelei.

I picked up my old Austen compilation from college and read Persuasion, which, remarkably, I had not read before. (I also have not read Lady Susan.) It was a good jaunt. It’s not one of her best works, but I did think her considerations of constancy and loyalty were interesting.

Aimee recommended The Homemade Pantry on Instagram earlier this summer, and I too, recommend it highly. Especially for mamas of large families. The recipes are clear and easy to follow (and also easy to substitute for gluten free). It was well worth my investment.

Sharing with Ginny.

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