Wednesday, July 20, 2016

little makings

My Violet Cap is finished and put away for the cold weather.  Although this summer has been very  mild, it's certainly not hat and scarf weather and since our autumn months are usually beautiful, I think it will stay tucked away for awhile now.  I do love how it has come out and it was a very pleasant pattern to knit.  Soon I will set aside my Starshower cowl in favor of a test knit for Lisa at Happy in Dole Valley.  As soon as the yarn comes from Amanda's store I will cast on and knit like a fiend to meet the deadline. 

Books still include The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson, The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, and Food in Jars - my favorite canning book to browse.  My root cellar shelves are beginning to fill up again - Apricot halves in syrup, apricot jam, plum jam, and pickles.  Dill pickles brine on the counter today and next will be bread and butter pickle slices from my mass-producing vines.  

Joining Yarn Along hosted by Ginny

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

violets everywhere

A Distant Rainshower

I love when on a summer's day
I see the clouds rise far away
Into towering foam
Then trace below the sheets of rain
Sweeping toward the sun-parched plain
From the capricious dome

And hurrying take the laundry in
Before it gets soaked through again
The wind begins to blow
A patter of scattered raindrops here
Prompts children to throw up a rowdy cheer
And scan for the bright rainbow
                                      July 12, 1016

Quick little stitches on a Violet Cap make any discovered quiet time feel so restful.  Fibre Company's Canopy Fingering is my ideal yarn and I think I could knit almost exclusively with it.  It is so soft, knits up for me so smoothly every time I use it and the slight color variation in each skein is my favorite.  At first I wasn't completely convinced about the brim being a different color than the body but as the body keeps growing I have decided I really like it. It will look sweet with my Sugared Violets in the same yarn. So many violets!
When not knitting or canning (apricots!) or doing other regular motherly duties this week, I'm trying to read as fast as I can before books are due back to the library.  The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson is g-r-e-a-t.  I will miss all the characters when the series is over in another couple hundred pages.  The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge is a completely different kind of book and equally fun.  I didn't realize there would be magical elements but it look like it's leaning that direction.  Never something to complain about in   Last, but not least, I'm so encouraged by re-reading For the Children's Sake.  Encouraged largely because I have read and studied enough by and about Charlotte Mason that this read-through feels like a spurring on review and that makes me really happy to realize how well-acquainted I now am with her philosophy and realize how many of her common sense and practical ideas I have intentionally built into our family life and parenting a little at a time over the past several years. Challenged because I see gaps where I can improve.  

I'm linking to Ginny for Yarn Along this week.  A question specifically for my knitting friends: I have this gorgeous little skein of natural colored qiviut/merino blend (70/30), just 180 yards of 2 ply light fingering.This yarn was a special gift from a friend and I have long been considering what to do with it. Any great patterns you might have used that require this amount of yarn?  Maybe a favorite smallish lacy cowl?

Monday, July 11, 2016

right now


I am so glad to be a mom.  I hold these days dear and you know how women past this stage of life are always saying "Enjoy these days, they are so fleeting"?  I want to look them seriously in the eye and say, "Yes.  I am.  I really am."  Especially as I see Rosie pass out of each stage for what may be my last experience having a child that age, I really do try to enjoy each day, even almost each moment.  This not in any perfect romantic sense, because it's such a mess, and I have to say sorry so often and I know I'm not even saying sorry for everything I should be saying sorry for.  

This right now is what I always wanted.  I just selfishly want more of it. 

Millie is learning to ride her bicycle without training wheels, just a couple months after Lyddie mastered it.  Little sister wants to keep up so badly!  She's reading everything voraciously, even things much too difficult for her reading level, she's picking them up and laboriously sounding out each word, mostly successfully.  Lyddie, meanwhile, is in love with Edward Eager and plowing through the Race Across Space reading program I found at edsnapshots.  It' a great challenge to me to keep finding a variety of books to expose them to for fun this summer. 

I used a portion of our grocery budget this month to buy a bunch of cherries to preserve and I was afraid I would then miss the apricots like I did last year.  I love canning- well, mainly I love having jars of sunshine to pull out in the winter to go alongside soup for easy dinners, and apricots are Jesse's favorite.  I actually prayed about fruit because I knew there wouldn't be money for it until next payday.  I shouldn't have been surprised when some friends from church said they had apricots breaking branches off their tree and would we come pick some?  I was so blessed by getting to visit the home of this newer friend; she is always so kind to me and my girls, and it also gave me one thing to give Millie when she had to deal with not being old enough to attend the Kids Camp at church with Lyddie last week.  A few jars of apricot halves (hot pack... next time I think I'll go back to raw pack unless they taste phenomenal, but they look much mushier than my apricots usually do), several jars of jam, a dehydrator full of leather and drying apricot quarters.  I'm not sure I've even been so thankful for a box of fruit before because it was so clearly an answer of provision to my little prayer. 

Big white pelicans in flocks are all over the lower valley this summer, I've never seen this many here before.  They lazily circle overhead and they are gorgeous and huge.  (Unlike my camera lens which is clearly very dirty in spite of my quick efforts to clean it.  Excuse the dust for now, I'm holding out in hopes of upgrading this year sometime).

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

yarn along: making

I received the lovely first edition of the journal Making in the mail last week and eagerly cast on a Violet Cap for myself.  It will be two colors instead of the single color called for, but I have two skeins of Fibre Company Canopy Fingering in such beautiful colors (one part of a skein left from my Sugared Violets shawl) that I decided to make the brim in the lavender and the body of the cap in the soft green.  I continue to work on a Starshower cowl as well; it is a soothing knit, quite repetitive.  

I finished The Boys in the Boat and loved it.  It was so interesting; before reading it, I knew very little about the Berlin 1936 Olympics and now have had another view of history as Europe and the USA were going into WWII. Since then, I've enjoyed picking up The Little White Horse  by Elizabeth Goudge, and continuing to read The Chestnut King and For the Children's Sake.  

Joining up with Yarn Along at Ginny's blog this morning.  Have you ever read anything by Elizabeth Goudge?  This is my second time to read a book by her and I think her writing style is so interesting.  

Tuesday, July 05, 2016


July is here.  Library trips are followed by lolling about the living room with new books. Splashing in the pool is followed by stretching in the sun on a towel to dry off.  We are so thankful for good friends to spend time with, and I especially love watching Lyddie and her best friend get some extra time to play together.  This year there is a day camp at church for elementary aged kids and Lyddie is attending.  I am quietly encouraging her continually to look up and out.  I know that the children at church will be her peer group as she grows and I pray for meaningful and special friendships especially with some of the little girls her age.  I was happy to see a few little faces at church today that I have been nudging her toward, but ultimately even those friendships are in the Lord's hands. I know He has good plans for my little girls and I can trust Him to work in their lives.

I am spending a little time every day perusing some of the school books we will use next year.  Right Start math, Spell to Write and Read, Spanish with Miss Mason and Francois... all things that take a bit of prep and study up front on my part but I think I will like them all. It's getting exciting!  First grade!  It's coming up fast! 

July.  More than halfway through 2016.  It seems hardly possible.  I hope you are having a beautiful month, my friends.  I am happy at Kids Club every afternoon this week pulling children into my lap or digging in a sandbox or splashing in a bubble bin with the littlest ones who stay there the whole time.  Almost sixty children showed up today to play, learn a Bible story, have a snack, and sing songs.  So many of them are dear to me and I am praying for great movement by the Spirit in the neighborhood where we spend so many summer hours.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

summer heat

The dogs are caked in mud after they wallow in orchard puddles, their tongues hanging out, breath panting fast.  Regardless of how much I water, the pea vines begin to wilt; the spinach, tired of constant pruning bolts overnight and I lay them to rest.  Tomatoes burst upward and put out dozens of flower promises, independently reseeded from last year and transplanted to sections of the garden I don't mind them overrunning. The girls miss the simple routine of school mornings but the lack of structure and this week's free time is good for the imagination.
The sun fades evenings in the cantaloupe sky but I retreat to the air conditioned house with my knitting and my book in quiet moments just trying to sit still for a few moments before the demands of summer come calling again. 

Starshower on the needles and a finished pair of sweet Wee Pea! socks for a friend.  Being me, I accidentally knit the entire second sock a size too big but really, the tiny little socks come off the needles so fast it was no big thing.  This pattern is really great, written by my friend Lisa who lives a few hours away from here in one of the most lovely little towns I've ever seen, quite near Mt. St. Helens.  I test knit these for her and am now on my third pair, beginning to glimpse why people like knitting socks.  Every time I turn this itty bitty heel I look up and around for someone nearby with whom I can celebrate how amazing this magic is.  Unfortunately, there never seems to be anyone nearby that can appreciate the magic of it.  

The library due date for The Boys in the Boat is rapidly approaching so my main reading focus has been in that direction. The story of the University of Washington crew team that won the 1936 Berlin Olympics, it is full of descriptions of what makes a good rowing team, what makes a good boat.  There are many parallels to what makes a good ministry team and reminds me of the staff of Sacred Road here where we are so diverse with so many different strengths and weaknesses and yet we strive to row in sync together with the One who leads and calls us. 
I am also reading For the Children's Sake and listening to Wuthering Heights (audible! yes!) as well as The Count of Monte Cristo with the CraftLit podcast.

I am joining with Ginny's yarn along.  Hop over to her blog to see sweet pictures of her newest little one!  Congratulations Ginny!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

simple june yarn along

If you can't tell from the photo above, I'm deep into Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education.  It feels... right.  Beautiful.  Like the way all education should be. So as I'm nearing the end of Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola, I picked up For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley and now I'm feeling appropriately jazzed about school next year.  YES!  Fist pump!  In seriousness, I think Charlotte Mason's ideas can be applied in one's family regardless of the kind of education your child experiences - even if they attend school. Because Charlotte Mason viewed the child as a whole person - not one to merely be molded and shaped into what the adult wants them to be- all of learning is approached with respect for the child's mind and inquisitiveness, and even the structure of the day and thorough but gentle material presentation reflects that.  That's all I'll say; I could write dozens of posts about how I feel about and apply Charlotte Mason's ideas in our home.  Maybe someday I will.  

I'm knitting Starshower.  It's wonderful.  I also have a Double Bump dishcloth that I pull out during our daily swimming lessons right now, one of my go-to dishcloth patterns.  Not too much crafting happening since my time is divided between so many things.

I'm zipping through The Boys in the Boat which is fascinating, especially since it take place at my alma mater, the University of Washington.  Although I don't often turn to biographies, I am enjoying this one about the UW crew team in the 1930s who went on to win the Olympic gold in Berlin.  It's quite good.  On top of all that, I'm doing my best to get to The Chestnut King to finish the 100 Cupboards series but I am hardly able to find time, so I suspect I will have to renew and then re-renew that one.  And last but not least, I'm listening to The Count of Monte Cristo on the CraftLit podcast.  

Linking with Yarn Along at Ginny's Small Things blog