Saturday, December 17, 2011

the mid-December gasp

So, erm... yeah.
It's the middle of December. Life is flying by as fast as usual.

Not much else to say, really. I'm living in denial, but making Christmas presents anyhow, just in case the Christmas fairies forget to show up at my house in the next couple of days. The next thing I need to do is to start planning Christmas dinner, since apparently it'll be happening at my house this year...

a glorious sunrise in my rear-view mirror.

frosting.

the perpetually-blooming rosebush.

Ellie's ballet recital.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November: redux

It's time for my monthly gasp... how is it the end of November already?????
There... got that over with.

Here's what I've been up to:

knitting... That's the big one. I signed up for NaKniSweMo... the goal being to knit 50,000 stitches in the month of November. I succeeded. Big time. Like a boss. (yikes! I've been hanging out with my teenagers too much, I think!)

Both of these cardigans are built upon the same basic model... top-down, contiguous (meaning that they look like set-in sleeves, but they're knit all in one piece), and seamless. Ellie is wearing the Tomboy Cardigan, slightly modified, and mine is the Romy Cardigan (with added cabling).

This is a huge accomplishment for me... til now, it's taken me upwards of 6 months to complete an adult-sized sweater.

being sick... not an illness in sight all year (it feels like), and suddenly this month I come down with a two-day fever-thing followed by a UTI. Not fun. On the bright side, though, it did allow me to indulge in the following:

reading... all of the Sharpe novels by Bernard Cromwell. All. of. them. That would be 24 books (including 3 short stories). Why yes, I am a fast reader. Why do you ask?

schooling... it is such a joy to teach a child who has realized that things are easier and more fun if you choose to be cheerful about them. One day, Ellie just decided to enjoy copywork... something that she'd complained bitterly about every single day. Now she loves it. And it was her own decision. She's amazing!!

pinteresting... filling up my pin boards like nobody's business. And actually doing stuff, too. I love that place.

enjoying... a lot of lovely weather. Yes, we've had a lot of rain, and even a storm and some snow, but we've also been blessed with a lot of sunshine. I'm grateful for it.
Ellie and I went for a walk, only to find the path ending abruptly in a small lake... proof that we have indeed had lots of rain to go along with the sunshine.

cooking... I seem to have gotten a bit of my kitchen mojo back again. For a while there I just couldn't think of anything to make. But lately, there's been lots of good things appearing on the table... some of it in my own pottery dishes, too!!
apple-almond pudding in my pie plate.
planning for next month... Christmas, naturally. A thing that, frankly, fills me with a bit of dread. I dislike shopping... I prefer being solitary to attending large gatherings of people... Christmas as it is commonly practiced is not my cup of tea. But I do like to make my family happy, so I do what needs to be done, and try to make it a joyful occasion.  (I feel like such a curmudgeon, even putting this out in type... oh well.)

So, that's November. On to the next month...

(linking up to Megan at SortaCrunchy)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

hanging out with the internet

A while back, I discovered Emerging Mummy... a blog about church, and life, and being a mom, and love, and politics, and hockey, and christianity, and all kinds of thought-provoking things.

I was happy to discover, in my reading, that Sarah lives in the same town as I do - it's fun to find out that you're reading a local-to-you blogger. And imagine my surprise, when I saw her walk through the door of the dance studio where Ellie takes classes!

A few weeks ago, Sarah invited the Internet to her house for coffee and prayer. And today, we showed up.


Friday, November 18, 2011

first snow


We had our first snowfall last night. Not much, of course... and it won't last long.

Never does around here.

In the meantime, though, it's gorgeous on my roses-that-won't-stop-blooming.







(Textures on the photos are by Kim Klassen... I'm linking up to her Texture Tuesday.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

more pots

Last night I got to go pick up most of the pots that I made in my last class... oh my! I'm so pleased with them!!

my favourite piece so far. 

7" mini pie plate.

9" plate/shallow bowl

wee little carved bowl.

another carved bowl... this one's a bit bigger.

even bigger bowl... this one has fluted edges like the pie plate.

another small bowl.

I'm ridiculously pleased with myself for attempting this one!

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaKniSweMo

I've gone and done something ambitious.

Rather than sign up to write a novel in the month of November, I've signed up to knit a sweater. Or, more precisely, fifty thousand stitches.

So far so good. I cast on a Tomboy Cardigan for Ellie... I'm making it with long sleeves, and cabling the front panels. Of course, I didn't buy enough yarn for that... so I knit up all that I had and ordered some more.

And then I took a good look at what I'd done so far. I hated the cables. They just looked sloppy. so I laddered them back to the beginning, and re-knit them. Fun times!!

the original cabling

yarn spaghetti!!

I hate trying to knit with little short bits of yarn!

that's better!!

how it looks so far.

So that's approximately 16,000 stitches done by Friday.

On Saturday, I cast on for the other half of my big project - a cardigan for me... only, in typical wendy fashion, knit from the top down, seamlessly. Not from the bottom up, in pieces as the pattern is written.

So I knit and knit and knit and knit... and didn't like it. The yarn is just wrong for the pattern. It looks good, but it's just too thin, and I want a cozy cardigan. So I'll be trying that pattern with something different some other time, and using this stuff for a different cardi.
shawl collar and cables
cables... I love them so much.
needles out...

... and... all gone




Friday, November 4, 2011

Ummm...

Note to self: The 'save' button on the top of the blogger dashboard is not the same as the 'publish' button. No one will see your posts if you do not actually publish them.

Okay, then.

Sorry about that, people.  I have cobwebs in my brain. I must have walked through someone's Hallowe'en decorations accidentally.

So, here's my Five Minute Friday post. Ironically, the word for the day is Remember. Here it is, then: five minutes, no editing, no worrying about if it's perfect or not. Just writing.

go:

there was an apple tree in the field by the road, and I would walk there, long ways, heat shimmering off the asphalt, barefoot in the gravel on the edge, just walking, walking. (growing into my seventeen-year-old skin, perched precariously on the edge of womanhood, about to be catapulted into wife-ness.) and I would climb through the barbed wire fence, back scraping gently on the wire as I shimmied through, cross the field with its stubble of grass poking between my toes, and sit up in that tree, hide behind the leaves and listen. birds chirping, breeze rustling, distant sounds of a tractor in the hayfield, cows lowing. five minutes, or twenty, and then back the way I came, arms swinging, steady steps, up the hill and home.

stop.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the Hallowe'en fairy

She comes in the middle of the night, as is the fairy way, and she takes what is left out for her, and leaves in its place, a treat.

Good-bye, piles of crappy candy! Hello snuggly warm purple-striped bathrobe!

Monday, October 31, 2011

October-ing.

A summing up.

This month I was:

Reading... Yes I was. Kathleen Norris. Madeleine L'Engle. Angie Smith. NONFICTION, people. Do you know how uncharacteristic this is??? Reading is my escape. It's not supposed to make me think. (Please don't judge me.) But, surprisingly, I've really enjoyed it all!!

Watching... Castle. NCIS. Downton Abbey. Season two is not nearly as good as the first season. I hate when that happens.

Cooking... Glorying in my crockpot. Oatmeal cooked overnight so as to be ready first thing in the morning... stews simmering all day long... so good.

Creating... I finished up the second round of pottery classes with a grand total of 15 thrown vessels, plus a stack of things that I made at home and brought in for firing/glazing. Can't wait til they're all done and can be brought home. Also, I have dusted off the sewing machine again... time to start sewing costumes.

Enjoying... a month of rather glorious weather. Yes there were some gloomy days, but on the whole we had a rather lovely month.

Celebrating... my birthday. I am now the answer to life, the universe, and everything. How bizarre is that?!

Teaching... a bit more reluctantly than last month. The novelty has worn off, and Ellie's a bit more whiny about things she doesn't like. I've been chanting our little mantra... "I am, I can, I ought, I will"... over and over and over again. "Oh, right", she says, and then we get on with it.

Thankful... for cozy woolen knits and knee-high socks. For food to eat. For a vehicle that runs well (even though it has no heat). For leaves that glow red against the evergreens, and roses that refuse to stop blooming. For my community of friends. For a cupboard full of different kinds of tea. For sunset skies and the croak of ravens.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

craft fail... or no?

Just keeping it real here...

Today I tried using polymer clay for the first time. I've read all the warnings about keeping it separate from all food-related items, so I bought myself a little toaster oven to bake the clay in.

Yeah, not so smart.

This clay was white. White.

And oh, the stench!! And oh, the coldness in my house when I had to leave the doors and windows open for an hour to get rid of that stench.

So I almost threw the pieces out, but then I figured that it wouldn't harm anything to see how they'd look with the second coat of coloured clay that I was planning to do, and had already poured out anyhow.

This time, I cooked them in my oven. Double-wrapped in foil because I'm paranoid that way.

They didn't turn out too badly... for being burnt to a crisp originally.


I have more clay here... I think I'm going to have to psych myself up a bit before I open up another package!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

saturday sky.

At this time of the year, the evening light is simply magical. It glows like at no other time.

The big problem? When it's at its most glorious, I'm usually in the kitchen, looking longingly out the window.

So, this evening, I decided that sometimes life has to take second place to art... I asked my family if they really needed dinner right away, or if they could wait an hour or so. They sweetly decided to humour me, so I grabbed the camera and headed out. It was worth it!!








Thursday, October 13, 2011

Five minutes: catch

Catch me if you can!
I hear it tinkle like bells from all around me.
Juggling this that and the other thing all at once, spinning balls, whirling plates; a life revolving in dispassionate circles; me at the centre trying to keep control, knowing that a moment's lapse will send everything shattering.

Only it's not true.

That's not me at the centre. That's you. Steady, unmovable, unshakeable. A still centre in the whirling where I can rest.

Please, God, catch me. Hold me still.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

pondering.

I've been musing almost non-stop the past couple of days... about obligation.

Without going into huge amounts of detail, here's the story.

I'm part of a group that meets regularly; I've been part of it since its inception, several years back. It's purpose is not super practical, but it has always been fun to be part of. And we're all friends.

However I'm no longer having fun. Several factors associated with being part of this group are currently creating stress in my life, and I've become rather cranky. Not pleasant for me, and no fun for the people I'm with.

The big problem for me?? Due to my unique-to-the-group skill set, the group does not function at all well without me.

Hence my conundrum.

On the one hand, why should I spend time and effort doing something that's causing me stress?

On the other hand, am I justified in causing others to be unable to do something that they love?

Where do you draw the line between looking after yourself, and serving others?

Friday, September 30, 2011

September: a review.

Seriously, how is today the last day of September???

Here's what I've been up to this month:

Schooling... Grade 1 for Ellie. And that's it. No other kids in school. (Well, besides the one in uni, for whom I'm no longer responsible. And that's another weirdness in my life.) I've got a school-post in the works if anyone cares exactly what we're doing.

Pottery... I didn't know it was possible to enjoy an activity so much, whilst simultaneously being frustrated to heck-and-back. I LOVE throwing clay on a wheel. I just can't do it very well. But I LOVE it! (Clarification: I'm really good at shaping things... I just find it hard to get the clay ball exactly centred on the wheel. And that, my friends, is a very very crucial step.)

Church... in hopes of being able to make a difference, I agreed to sit on the board this year. Now my eyes are being opened to how things work, and exactly why some frustrating situations are allowed to go on. Oy!! It's going to be an interesting year.

Acting... Peter Pan rehearsals started up in earnest this month. I'm playing Mrs. Darling, and having so much fun!

Crocheting... I learned to crochet from a kit that I got when I was 6 years old, and made many wonky things all through my growing-up years. I learned to knit after I got married, and never picked up a hook again. Until this month. So far, I've made 3 things, and I'm working on a fourth, and already have the fifth project planned. I'd forgotten how relaxing it is.

Watching... Downton Abbey (season 2 just started up. Yay!!). Castle (I have a huge crush on Nathan Fillion). NCIS (what's with Tony acting like a grown-up??).

Cooking... Fall food!! I'm all about the comfort food. Today I made a big huge pot of Borscht. Mmmmmm.

Singing... in our church choir (if you knew our church, you'd know why I laugh out loud every time I say that).

Pinterest... still addicted. I think that's all I'll say about that.

Next month, I'm looking forward to:
  • Thanksgiving
  • my birthday
  • more of the same things from this month :)
linking up with Megan @ SortaCrunchy

Sunday, September 25, 2011

daybook

TODAY

Outside my window...  the wind has blown itself out, and the rain has stopped. Trees are down, and branches litter the streets. The clouds have partly blown away, and bits of sky are showing through the ragged holes.

I am thinking...  that there's too much sorrow in the world.

I am thankful...  for tea. friends. cozy sweaters. mugs that I can cradle between my palms.

From the learning rooms...  getting ready for week three of grade 1. I'm following the Charlotte Mason plan at Ambleside Online. It's going reasonably well so far... we're both enjoying it.

In the kitchen...  lentil barley soup. heavily gingered chicken stir-fry. large bowls of oatmeal in the morning. autumn food.

I am wearing...  jeans. fleece pull-over. bare feet.

I am creating... with clay - bowls, pie plates, mugs.

I am going...  fast. reluctantly. time seems to go by so quickly these days.

I am wondering...  how it's already the end of september. (see previous line)

I am reading...  knitting books. pottery how-tos. The Glass Castle.

I am hoping...  (quite hopelessly, according to the weather forecast) that the sun will shine tomorrow.

I am hearing...  a bit of whining from a girl who doesn't want to go to bed yet.

Around the house...  messes. piles of stuff that need to be sorted and/or disposed of. I'm a terrible house-keeper these days.

I am pondering...  my own reluctance to step out of my comfort zone. wondering how I can change that.

One of my favorite things...  the Lisa Leonard necklace that I wear nearly every day. It says 'loved'. I am.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  choir practice. Peter Pan rehearsal. pottery class. apple picking. applesauce making. corset sewing.

Here is picture that I am sharing...

a spiderweb-festooned bridge on a foggy morning.

linking up here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

five minutes: growing




Growing.

It's never easy. Is it meant to be? I wish it were.

Stretching, filling uncomfortable unknown spaces. Reaching outward, away from the familiar. 
Becoming.
Bearing.
Birthing.

That's the point of it: to reproduce. To give life. It's never static, ever changing; this cycle of growth: birth, life, death. I carry in the marrow of my bones the weight of countless generations gone before, carry the possibility of those yet to come.

Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it can not grow.

This fragile state, this life, this gift.


the last day of summer.

The rain today is making me feel melancholy. I want to write a poem... images flit through my head, but the words won't come. I am mute, filled with vague longing.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

sun.

Today I'm being deliberate... intentional... about enjoying this sky. I must not take for granted what I will rarely see in the next few months.
Soon autumn will be here, and with it comes months of greyness and rain. It's hard to believe, on those days, that the sky is blue and the sun is shining.
So today, I revel in this blue. This warmth.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

pottery

Yesterday I brought home all of the pottery that I made in my first 6-week class session... a bowl that collapsed, three wonky mugs, a wee handle-less pitcher, an ugly pot, and a flat shallow bowl that looks like it has a nipple in the middle of it... I had so much fun making them all!! And every five minutes or so, I'm compelled to point out to anyone in the immediate vicinity that "I made pottery!"