Sunday, April 30, 2017

In the Garden

My garden is in an awkward "in-between" stage right now: the lilacs, daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth are all done, but the peonies, rose, lavender, lilies, irises, black-eyed susans aren't ready yet......

but the coral bells are!!

This is just a tiny sliver of the large amount of flower garden space I have--but it shows one of my coral bells.

Late this week I worked on weeding--it truly never seems to end--and lots of transplanting my muscari. I also had a liriope salon day (they get haircuts every spring). 

Giving some attention to my garden late this week generated some great finds:

*Last year Finn brought home a tiny planted seed from his scouting group.  Soon it germinated and became a tiny morning glory.  Then we planted it carefully in front of the front porch, and eventually it climbed up and wrapped itself around the railings and delighted us with its blooms and heart-shaped leaves.  As the season wore on, I just allowed it to dry up on the porch, then ripped it out in the fall...hoping it would re-seed itself.

It did!  I now have over a dozen baby morning glories popping up out front, and I hope to train them all to run up the railings and give us a blooming front porch oasis.

*Annie planted periwinkle last year in the east garden.  Her periwinkle now has....a baby!

*Early, early this spring, I looked at my antique rosebush with extreme consternation. It didn't bloom worth anything last year, so a month or so ago I pruned it back, back, back to the ground.  I was delighted this week to see that it's nearly as tall as I am and covered with buds.

*I found a sweet little oak tree starting to grow in my west flower bed. I dug it up and potted it--and maybe, just maybe, I can have a little oak tree to plant later this summer.

Tomorrow I'll tell you all about the extraordinary thrift store extravaganza that occurred yesterday. I bought 156 items.  (This sounds insane, right? My husband says what's really ridiculous is that  I counted it all.)  Remember that we're under austerity measures, right? (Note that in my post I did say I am going to purge.  Yes! I am! Starting tomorrow!)

I got all that for......[drumroll]....

well, you have to wait until tomorrow to see. :)

Happy Sunday. Be sure to take a nap if you can!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Colette Crepe

My Crepe dress is nearly finished!  I have to slipstitch the binding onto the armscyes, hem it, and finish the waist seam.

My tweaking was to shorten the bodice by 1.5", add a bust dart, and add a back dart.  This turned it from completely unwearable to cute!

Although I'm not a fan of the "selfie in the mirror," it's really my only option!  I took this photo at an early-morning "fit check" so my hair is not brushed and I'm not wearing makeup. But we'll overlook all that and focus on the fabric--isn't it sweet? My children love this dress.

Fit was tricky.  But now I know what I need to do! I'll also scoop the neckline out more next time. I'm still not convinced I've totally nailed it, but I'm satisfied. 

The best things about the Crepe dress are the pockets and the wrap styling.  Sewn in a cotton fabric, it's a perfect morning dress for teaching and cleaning house.  I already tested it on a hot day in the yard--went out to pick the first peony bloom of the season (two weeks early--hello!)--and I stayed cool and comfortable.  

Plus, when I'm in the flower garden in this dress, I coordinate nicely with the landscaping.  That's always a plus!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Treats

Honestly, today started out Not So Great.  The normal quiet morning of tea + writing + exercise went fine, but a late-morning orthodontist appointment threw off our usual routine, I noticed a fresh layer of grime on the basement floor (with a dog, two children, a garden, two cats, and now--CHICKENS--there is truly no end to the fun or the messes), our geriatric dog somehow got too excited and had an accident, my patience was running low, exhaustion began to set in (I have gotten  6 hours of sleep for several nights in a row, and that's not quite enough), the orthodontic situation is complex and may require *surgery* (?!) get the picture. One of those days--minor irritations that felt major.

So, in my attempt to see silver linings in the clouds, I submit a list of treats that occurred in spite of the not-so-great bits:

*Seeing a friend in Kroger as soon as we walked in, one of those people who just always makes you smile because she's lovely and real. We chatted over the vegetables for many minutes!

*A delicious hour-and-a-half nap that restored my energy. The older I get, the more I value a well-placed nap.

*Three squares of dark chocolate. PG Tips.


*Hanging laundry out on the clothesline and enjoying the gorgeous view, the sunshine, and the shade of my beloved red maple tree.

*Noticing that the coral bells are blooming, the hostas are thriving, and the pink azalea is rioting.

*Setting the sprinkler in the shade of the pin leaf oak, and letting my children run through it.

*Wearing my oh-so-comfortable jersey dress from Boden and my green linen shoes.

*Our chickens!  They are adorable, delightful, charming, name it. They're it. Love, love, love.

*Curry for supper.

*Children's sweet words and faces.

*Weeding my pretty flower beds.

*Tucking the chickens in for the night and taking the laundry down as the evening settled and the tree frogs began their chorus.  So quiet and soft and beautiful.

Suddenly the day looks like it was pretty nice after all.  See? It worked!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Finishing Up the Crepe

Tonight I finished constructing my Crepe dress, but I have a few details to finish--slipstitching the bias binding on the sleeve, finishing the waist seam, and hemming.  

Oh yeah, and alterations!

I put the dress on and first marveled at how adorable  the fabric looked in a wrap design. Honestly, it's so sweet and feminine.  I love it as a housedress.

Then I marveled at how terrible the fit is in the bodice.  When I say "terrible" what I mean is "unwearable." 

This comes as no surprise, really (the only dress I have ever made that needed no alterations was the Alabama Chanin camisole dress....those princess seams in forgiving jersey are a short-waisted girl's best friend).  I fiddled around with the dress this evening and realized in the future I can probably make the bodice about *three inches* shorter.  But I'd like to be able to wear my wearable muslin, so Major Surgery is scheduled--probably for the weekend. 

Once that's done (the sooner the better), it'll be time to humor Annie. She wants a dress out the same fabric: floor-length, says she, and "for playing outside."  

In other news, our pullets finally decided to venture out into the run today--a whole 8 days after we got them!  I love seeing them outside.  Their feathers are the most beautiful buff-tinged-with-rust, and they frolicked and frisked in the sunshine most of the day, except during a brief period in the afternoon when they were all in the coop.  

Naptime, I guess!

Monday, April 24, 2017

*She Loved Her Daily Tasks*

My great-great aunt published a book about her family of origin--her parents, her maiden aunt who lived with them, and the eight children.  Each person has a chapter full of stories.  I read the stories over and over again as a child and enjoy revisiting them now as an adult. 

My great-great-grandmother--also named Pauline--was a farm wife in the rural South.  She was born during the Civil War. After the war the South was so devastated that they had to dig soil from under their smokehouse and soak it in water, then drain off the water simply to get *salt* to season their food.  

As an adult, she deftly cared for her family and parts of their farm. She baked six dozen biscuits every morning for breakfast, tended over two hundred chickens, and cooked over a wood stove. 

I smiled at this: "Today, one sometimes hears a housewife complain of the monotony of doing the same thing over and over.  If my mother ever found her work tiresome, she never gave any indication that this was so. In fact, I think she loved her daily tasks."  She was devoted to her large flock of chickens (250!), whose eggs she sold in order to help clothe the family.  She faithfully worked in her garden every year until the year she died--well into her 80s! 

She was also devoted to her husband and children.  She gave birth to her sixth child without any assistance because her husband had been taken ill and the midwife had a case of the "nerves" when she came and saw that the husband was not able to help.  My great-great-grandmother had that thirteen pound baby all alone on the dining room floor!

I love this description of her hospitality and her piety: "Mama had a heart as big as Papa's.  Cooking three meals a day on a wood stove in the hot summertime must have been a chore, but she never complained.  Neither did she complain when there were extra people to care for.  Certainly she opened her home and her heart to Grandmama and Aunt R. when they came.  And when Papa brought his niece, Mae, to live with us, Mama treated Mae as though she were her own daughter.  My oldest brother often said that Mama was a Puritan.  If that meant she was deeply religious and highly moral, he was right. One of the lovely memories I have of Mama is that of her sitting in her favorite rocker by her bed at night reading her Bible.  She never told off-color stories; certainly she never used what we have come to term as 'four-letter words.'" Although my great-great-aunt did note that sometimes her mother's speech was "tart"--like the time she expressed disdain towards a man who was not caring for his family. 

And finally, a story of how this "Puritan" lady had some spunk in her love for her husband: as he lay dying, the local merchant came to collect the bills. Usually the bills were collected and paid in the fall, after the harvest, but this was in the summer.  She assured the merchant that he'd get paid in the fall as always, but her husband was dying and must be left alone. (She and her children refused to put any stress on him, because he was ill.)  A few weeks later the same man returned.  She met him at the door with a shotgun and told him her husband was dying and could not be disturbed, that the merchant was trespassing, and if he ever set foot there again without an invitation, she'd shoot him!

The comic part was that the gun wasn't loaded and she had no idea how to use it.  But he never returned to bother them. 

"For you, O God, have heard my vows; 
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name....
So I will ever sing praises to your name
as I perform my vows day after day." 
 -from Psalm 61

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hampton Plantation

North of Charleston along Highway 17, back through high pine woods, there sits a decrepit old mansion that was the ancestral home of Archibald Rutledge, former poet laureate of South Carolina.  Last fall Annie, Finn, and I had read Rutledge's book Claws as part of our US geography study.  It's a lush, gripping story of a little boy who gets lost in a cypress swamp and, at the climax of the tale, is face-to-face with a bobcat on a log. 

I'd wanted to take the children to Cypress Gardens so they could get a good feel for what a cypress swamp is really like (you don't know it until you've been in it!), but the gardens were damaged badly in flooding, and have not re-opened.  Bummer.

Then I remembered my father mentioning Rutledge's homeplace.  Yeah! Sold! No cypress swamp, but plenty of lowcountry flavor.  We visited in late December.

My love for old decrepit buildings is nothing new. I fell promptly in love with this one and deeply wished we could buy it and restore it to its former glory.  The plantation, a lovely shell of a home, was still decorated for Christmas with the most basic greenery. 

Look at this color! With the bricks!

The dining room.

Beauty. I loved seeing the plaster and lath juxtaposed with the solid wall. 

The ceilings of this room are strangely higher than other ceilings on the first floor, and because the architecture is Georgian, they have a basically empty, short (5' tall?) room above this one. Having a room above, with windows and doors, was necessary to achieve the Georgian style, but it's creepy, too, because the enormous, short room has never been occupied.

Palmetto and brick. 

The parlor, I think.  Magnolia leaves, pinecones....

...and a sobering display of names and prices of plantation slaves. 

This is the ballroom, and it was so beautiful that I gasped when we entered.  The ceiling is glorious.  

Ballroom mantle detail. 

Be still my heart!  A second floor with a split staircase, then another staircase that winds up to the third floor.    

The second floor was in even worse shape than the first: missing walls, gutted rooms. 

I loved it so much, so dearly. 

A view back to the hall--one staircase going up, another going down.

Little tidbits that tugged at my heartstrings.

Clean Lowcountry light. 

It's just amazing to think of what it once was.  Of children and slaves and family roaming these halls with all their joys and heartaches and dramas. 

Thank you, state of South Carolina, for preserving this dignified beauty. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Afternoon Rest

Yesterday we spent three hours baking, icing, and decorating cookies to send on a weekend religious retreat. When it was all finally done, I sent the children out to play and I decided to have tea and chocolate in my sweet chair

Through the screen I could see the lilacs and the snowball bush.  The scent of lilacs sometimes drifts into my room on the wind.  Such a treat!!  I have decided that Afternoon Rest should happen every day--even if it's just twenty minutes. 

The pause that refreshes......

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring Chickens

The Big News here is that on Monday evening we picked up our eight Buff Orpington pullets. This much-anticipated event came upon us rather suddenly; we were planning to get them over the coming weekend, but circumstances changed and my husband called Monday afternoon to tell me we had to get them *that day!*  So I loaded the children up in the car and we went to the feed store, where I puzzled my way through purchasing feed, pine chips, chick grit, and a waterer. 

But so worth it to have these cuties in the backyard!  They've been cooped up for two days as we get them used to their new home, but tomorrow they are going to be allowed to go into the run, where they will meet--through the fencing, for sure--the dog, the cat, and the many cows. 

I am completely smitten, can you tell?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Austerity Measures

As my friend A. says, "austerity measures are now in place!"  

Our checkbook has suffered from leaky faucet syndrome lately and there's a water break in sight: a home renovation project that is *not* a do-it-yourself affair. 

As a result, I'm implementing austerity measures until, oh, sometime in October.  What's this look like?

*Keeping a strict eye on dining out and takeout.  We typically do this once a week; I'm shifting it to once a month or so, if my husband agrees. I also take my children out for lunch once every week or two, but I plan to shut that down. 

*No clothing purchases until autumn.  No fabric, either.  We're going to wear what we've got and sew through what we have.  In fact, I may try to just use up a LOT of fabric.  A lot. 

*No shoes unless a child outgrows them. Or unless my husband needs running shoes. 

*Instead of buying something, determine how I can live without it or substitute something else.  Like Grandma! (This can be fun.) 

*Use the library for books, naturally.

*While not strictly a measure to save money, I'm going to spend some time going through our belongings: do items need maintenance? (Shoe shining, mending...) Does anything need to just be thrown out?  Is there anything to give away or sell?  I do think having less stuff makes a more orderly home, and lately I've been feeling a little fuller than usual.  

*In general: only spend money on consumables. 

The faucet is officially off!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Thy Praise Shall Never Fail

Our Easter was beautiful. Yes, the day before Easter is exhausting (cooking, cleaning, ironing, mending, wrapping, dyeing, preparing) but the payoff is sweet. 

I woke before dawn and watched the sky pinken over the silvery pond, then drank my coffee and drove north to church.  At our sunrise service we decorate a cross with flowers, and this year because Easter is so late, we didn't have any daffodils. It was all azaleas, pink dogwood blooms, yellow kerria japonica, my offering of a few late pink and white tulips, and the icing on the cake: loads of gorgeous purple lilacs. After sunrise service I always walk up to visit my mother's grave, and yesterday I found hundreds of violets growing all around it.  Beautiful!

Our egg dyeing this year was limited to shades of blues.  I enjoyed that. 

I used our white Noritake china ("Stoneleigh") for breakfast and hot beverages, and champagne flutes for a Perrier-orange juice combination. 

We all got dressed for church and miraculously left on time, but not before I tucked a few white azaleas into Annie's hair.  Her Easter dress is yellow dotted swiss, made by my Grandma Polly over 30 years ago for me, and features a wide collar and sweet heart-shaped buttons down the back.  Delicious! The azaleas were a good fit, because my grandmother had hundreds in her garden in Charleston. My father tends them now!

At church I took my usual notes, and also scribbled the last stanza of "Crown Him with Many Crowns" into my church journal--because it was ineffably sublime. 

Easter dinner at my in-laws': I think my favorite dish was the whole (tops on!) carrots just roasted in the oven.  This incarnation of the lemon sponge cake turned out well, but I squished too much whipped cream out, so it was a little wimpy on the cream.  I think if I make one more sponge roll, I will have gotten sponge rolls out of my system for a while.  

The children had their annual Easter egg hunt on the lawn, we FaceTimed my niece (in her freshman year of college in faraway Georgia), and when we got home in the early evening a rainbow was arching across the valley behind the house.  

*               *              * 

Crown him the Lord of years,
the potentate of time,
creator of the rolling spheres,
ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
for Thou hast died for me; 
thy praise shall never, never fail
throughout eternity. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lemon Sponge Roll

(Inspired by watching an episode of the Great British Baking Show back at the end of my flu week last month.....)

Incarnation Number One:

A sponge cake (a la The Joy of Cooking) spread with a thin layer of store-bought lemon curd and a thicker layer of sweetened whipped cream, then rolled up and sprinkled with powdered sugar. 

Too sweet for me, but a good first attempt. I'm shocked that the cake didn't just fall apart when I rolled it up! 

Incarnation Number Two (just completed, for Easter dinner tomorrow): 

The same sponge cake recipe, spread with a homemade lemon filling (also a la The Joy of Cooking) and sweetened whipped cream, then rolled up and sprinkled with powdered sugar.  It will be served alongside a few sprigs of mint, I think. 

The jury is still out and won't be in until tomorrow afternoon, but so far I think Incarnation Number Two wins.  The homemade lemon filling is creamier, more tart, and more luscious than the sad jar of boughten curd.  

I'm also taking asparagus tart to Easter dinner tomorrow, but I'm using gruyere and parmesan to up the ante a bit.  It's Easter, after all! 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trying Out the Crepes

A week or two ago I made crepes for the first time. I used a recipe my cousin sent, and filled the crepes with a melted cheese and turkey filling for lunch.  Both of my children politely declined seconds.  I made a mental note to try it with nutella next time.....

So, I've not yet perfected crepes.  Mine turned out beautifully, but I haven't nailed down the filling that will induce my children to eat them.  And I'm pretty sure they both said they didn't like the crepe itself anyhow.  Who doesn't like crepes?!

This week I'm on to a different type of crepe.  Although I've owned the pattern for a few years, I'm only now sewing the Colette Crepe dress. I decided to try to make a wearable muslin, so I cut the pattern out using some thrifted fabric I bought ages ago. 

So far I've finished the bodice and the waist ties, and I cut bias strips (I'm skipping the facings, too annoying).  The trickiest bit for me is always fit. I'm rarely able to wear a dress right off the rack...something to do with having one shoulder and hip 2" higher than the other, and a seriously protruding shoulder blade.  I'm also extremely short-waisted thanks to my scoliosis. I tried to fit the bodice to my duct tape dress form last night, but I almost think my dress form needs revamping.  She seems a little--squished.  So I tried the bodice on in front of the mirror, but it's a back-wrapping dress and seemed virtually impossible for me to tell how it will fit without, you know, the rest of it done.  I keep reminding myself that the goal of this dress is to have something light and cool to wear in the morning for housework and teaching.  That's it. I'm not wearing it to the opera!

If the fussy Crepe doesn't work out, I've already got my consolation prize all lined up: another Alabama Chanin camisole dress.  It's comforting and familiar and cozy--basically the macaroni and cheese of my sewing world. 

Three-Oat Baked Oatmeal (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Baked oatmeal is a breakfast staple in our house.  I was introduced to baked oatmeal by my friend Allison, and I have tweaked and changed her recipe over the years to suit our tastes and dietary requirements.  I drastically cut the sugar, use several types of oats, used a different spice mixture, replaced the eggs with flax meal, and substituted almond milk for regular milk. It's flexible. I also grease the pan and mix everything up right there in it, because I don't want to fiddle around with dishes early in the morning.

Grease a baking dish--I typically use something that is about 9x9.  Preheat oven to 350.

In the dish, combine 2 T. flaxmeal with 6 T. water.  Then add 1.5 cups milk (I use almond) and 1/4 c. oil (I use olive).  Whisk.  Add a scant 1/2 c. of sugar (I use sucanat, and generally am several tablespoons shy of a half-cup).  Whisk again, then add 2 T. baking powder, a dash of salt, and at least 2 T. pumpkin pie spice blend (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc.). Whisk very well, then add a total of 3 c. oats.  You can use all old-fashioned or all quick, but I typically do 1.5 cups old-fashioned, 1 c. quick, and 1/2 cup of steel cut . (If you're gluten-free, use gluten-free oats--obviously!) Stir well and then bake until done.  My oven runs very hot and fast, so it takes about 15 minutes, just long enough for me to run through the shower.  I imagine it takes longer in normal ovens. 

My children eat these oats topped with peanut butter and, yes, mini chocolate chips.  On the rare occasion that I eat them, I like a bit of almond butter and a dollop of Greek yogurt.  You can slice fruit on top, too. They're quite nice with blueberries, sliced almonds, and yogurt!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Day at the Zoo

We had the nicest day yesterday!  Finn's piano lesson was cancelled due to a sick teacher, and then his art class was cancelled due to sickness as well, so we suddenly had a free day. 

The children slept very late, and then we went out for an early al fresco lunch.  Then on to...the zoo!  We had not been to the zoo in a couple of years, and what a difference those years make: I was amazed to see how less flitting from one exhibit to another there was. Instead my children studiously examined each animal. The exotic ones are nice, but we were all drawn to the more pedestrian creatures. We stood looking at the cranes for a long time, with their red eyes and their awkwardly elegant legs.  We spent a long while in the aviary, too.  A scarlet ibis (okay, a little exotic there) was perched high up in a tree, preening so prettily that Annie named her The Queen, and curtsied to her before we left. Our favorite animal to observe was nothing exotic: just four turtles swimming around, nibbling lettuce and basking on logs......

next time we'll take our nature journals!

After a hot afternoon (and an even hotter car--my air conditioning is broken), we stopped for ice cream, which we all sorely needed for revival.

We had leftovers for dinner, and as we settled down on the sofa for book time I glanced out the front door and saw the full moon rising.  So we read The Moon Singer. After the children were in bed I had a warm bath, kept the windows open for the cool breeze, and finished a novel. 

The best part of the day was that Finn kept thanking me for everything.  His constant gratitude was endearing.  He's an unspoiled child and doesn't take anything for granted, and I'm grateful for that!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Evening with Annie

Last evening the boys had a scouting group meeting, so Annie and I were on our own for a couple of hours.

We began our time together with a walk to the mailbox, observing and commenting on the cattle (so many babies right now!), the dogwood tree *just* ready to burst forth, my aunt and uncle's energetic border collie, the new gate my cousin put in down the lane......

When we got home we cut lavender, sage, lilac, snowballs, yellow tulips, pink and white tulips, crabapple blossoms, and the piece de resistance of the garden this week (and a surprise; did I plant these last year?!!): fiery yellow and red tulips.

Then we lingered outside, reluctant to leave the fresh air and slanted sunlight of late evening.  But leave it we did, and we came inside to watch the first scene of "Swan Lake" (so beautiful, so graceful) before leaving in the dusk to go pick up Finn while his father had a scout leader's meeting.

As we drove, twilight settled all around us and we watched a fat, luminous moon rise in the east.  And we could hear the spring peepers through the open windows.

A beautiful evening with my sweet little girl. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Birthday Party for Rebecca

Yesterday we threw a party for dear Rebecca.

Here she is in her purple party dress (purple is her favorite color, didn't you know?), with her newly-completed quilt.  Don't look too closely! But do look closely enough to see the little "R" that I embroidered in one of the squares.....

The diagonal stitching is not meant to be artistic.  That's what I did at first, then decided I didn't like it.  But I liked leaving it there--it looks cute! 

We used the purple plates, naturally.  And I'm really enjoying lavender bouquets these days. The children had cocoa, the adults had a big hot pot of PG tips.  

Not pictured, but so yummy: small wheat crackers, spread with cream cheese, a topped with a tiny dollop of fig spread.  

Annie and I made tiny chocolate cupcakes on Thursday afternoon. 

Our guests brought their dolls, and the dolls each had a tiny clay cupcake.  The larger clay cake was for them to split, apparently.  

The children played and the adults talked all afternoon, and then after our guests left I had a quiet hour of rearranging the books, silver, milk glass, and jadeite in my barrister's bookcase, and rearranging my jewelry box, while talking to one of my best friends on the phone. 

A happy afternoon, indeed. 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Grandma's Necklaces, and a Revised Post on Parenting

Back in January I was visiting my grandfather and he encouraged me to go into my grandmother's closet and see if there's anything I wanted. I've done this before, but this time I noticed her costume necklaces. 

First of all: this woman didn't do Pinterest, but look how cleverly she rigged this coat hanger up to keep the necklaces separate.  She often created clever, inexpensive little "fixes" for problems like this.  I have always admired that quality!

Second, as I examined these sweet little necklaces I realized I had ten of them.  And there are five great-granddaughters in the family.  Viola!  I took them home, and last month I wrapped them up and sent them to each great-granddaughter.  Annie helped me pick who gets what.  She's the oldest of the great-granddaughters; the other girls are 6, 5, 4, and 1.  It was fun for us to choose the necklaces, then wrap them carefully in tissue paper and send them to their new homes.  They have no monetary value--their value is only sentimental.  But perhaps the little girls will enjoy having a few "fancy" necklaces from the lady I love so much.  

*           *           * 

Also, I revised a post I wrote ages ago on parenting.  We learn as we go, don't we?  And my revisions reflect that, I think. My tone was too didactic.  And honestly, I think I was wrong about a couple of things. The basic ideas are the same, but this reflects my shifted perspective.  For the revised post, look here.  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

My Little Spot

My new chair is in place next to the bedroom window, where I can sit and look at the lilacs, peonies, coral bells, crepe myrtle.....not all at once, though, since they bloom at different times....

....and not that I've had time to *do* this yet!  But I will soon. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Thrifting Triumphs

Today Finn's piano lesson was cancelled and so we had an extra hour in our afternoon.  Since we were already in the city for art lesson, I decided to pop into the "city" thrift stores, which we usually don't have the time to visit. 

Whew!  The first store was having a 50% off everything sale, so I got:

*three footed milk glass vases (one of them is huge)
*a dead stock zipper
*beautiful, delicate cafe curtains in pristine condition--perfect for Annie's room
*a linen embroidered with Annie's initial; I plan to use it to back a pillow for her
*a vintage-y tablecloth of large grey and white checks, peppered with large red dogwood blossoms 
*2 books for Finn
*a porcelain doll for Annie
*tissue paper bells
*four adorable, tiny felt Christmas ornaments, all carefully embellished, and sewn with the most perfect little blanket-stitch edges
*an un-sewn crewelwork kit to make a rose--why this appeals to me, I don't know, but for .70, I wasn't going to fight the urge
*a big Christmas tin (for the fruitcakes--I always seem to need one or two!)
*a Royal Victoria bone china teacup
*an Edith Schaeffer book (Common Sense Christian Living)

....for $15!

We got kicked out just as they were closing, and just as I was introducing myself to the huge bin of bias binding (less than .20 a pack!). I'm going back tomorrow.

We drove a couple miles down the road to the other thrift store, where all the shelves are neatly organized by color and the displays are tidy and clean.  I love that! I bought 7 yards of fabric and a chocolate plate for $9.  More on the chocolate plate another day. 

More treats to come, as my mother-in-law generously offered to keep my children tomorrow afternoon so I can run errands.  Fabric store, thrift shops, antique mall: here I come.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Haiku A Day

Today National Poetry Month began and yesterday morning I was reflecting on "NaPoWriMo" (National Poetry Writing Month, where the goal is to write a poem a a day for the entire month). I've never been able to achieve such heights because that level of output overwhelms me. 

*But!!* yesterday as I drank coffee and looked out at the foggy fields I realized what I can do is write a haiku each day. Not because writing haiku is easier (it's not!), but it's shorter, and I can just jot the poem's bits and pieces down on the daily to-do list that sits on my kitchen counter.  I can ponder it throughout the day while I'm doing all my routine cooking and cleaning and sewing and such, and by bedtime I can have 17 syllables, and it doesn't feel like I've had to sit down and write something. 

I had a head start yesterday: 10 syllables before breakfast, and it wasn't even April yet! As of tonight, I've got two sweet little haiku. 

Many thanks to the fog for its inspiration.