What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sewing Tables and Reading Nooks


On Sewing: 

I have been given quite a bit of fabric lately and I have a hard time saying no.  There is just something wonderful about having all you need for a project right in your own home whenever the itch needs to be scratched.  And I have been able to make many a project for pennies thanks to the generosity of others passing things along.  

The key, of course, is actually using it.  

In one such fabric dump there was a very large piece of fabric (several yards!) that was a bit Christmasy, a bit Monet.  I thought it would make a nice bunch of matchy-matchy clothes for an upcoming Newman reunion.  

I made Ineke's first because...RUFFLES on the bum.  Exposed Squishy Thighs.  Cute baby bloomers.  Enough said.  

Everything was on hand so I could start on a whim and actually finish.   Lace trim was given to me and as I pinned it down, my thoughts turned to Aunt Nancy and her legacy and her passions that created beauty in the midst of darkness and isn't it amazing that she lives on even now?  In memory here, but gloriously redeemed above?    I didn't have enough of one trim so I alternated different trims for the bum.  Make it do or do without.  A good mantra.  A challenge of cleverness.

  The fabric was given to me...both the outside and lining fabrics, and I thought of another Nancy, who is cleaning out bits of her past even now as she copes with finding a new rhythm as half a person and the great struggle it must be to learn to live alone, after so many years of being 'us'.  Struggling to find beauty and see it when everything is colored in tragedy and loss.  

The buttons, though I have had them for years- matched as if meant to be.  What a perfect match!  And isn't it amazing that God coordinates things just so... everything is meant to work together for good.  Even if a particular button (or person or personality or tragedy or gift ) lies dormant for a while- there will be a time that it will be needed in your life.  And it will all make sense then and will bring you to shake your head in wonder.

Waxing poetic about a little romper, eh?  Boy.

The elastic was surely bought- using elastic handed down is a dangerous gamble as I well know.  I learned my lesson on that after I made elaborate outfits only to have the elasticity be dry rotted at the first wash.  Nothing poetic about that.  ;-)

Today the children (all but the baby) are off for a few hours of good old-fashioned country BookMobile with Grandma and Grandpa.  (Did you know book buses still travel country roads?)  If I time it just right, I may be able to start work on the next little outfit this afternoon while the baby naps.  The goal is to make each one matching but not the same.  It gets more challenging now that Corynn is older and not so inclined to wear 'cutesy' clothes.  I'll be making one for a cousin too. 

On Reading:

I'm reading We Had Everything But Money when I have a second here and there.  Memories shared by those who lived through the Great Depression.

I recently finished Something Wicked This Way Comes, in my attempt to keep expanding my reading genres.

And in the car or as I work around the house, I listen to Coolidge


Now that I've bored you with a long post that could have easily been summed up as "Lookie!  I made a romper and oh yeah!  I like to read!"

I'll leave you with one more bit of excess...

In honor of a stretch of five days of hot weather with no rain (fingers crossed!), I give you the play by play of Ineke's first experience with a freeze pop:

She wants to like it...

but it's cold!

She braces for another bite...

and just look at that sheer determination.  


She has since developed a deep and abiding love for the frozen sugar water.  And especially since, unlike her brothers and sisters, she doesn't have to do any hot and sweaty weeding in the garden in order to enjoy one.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Summer Days



Hello sweaty days and cold-showers before bed.  Hello daily garden chores and overgrown weeds that are birthed and grown towering overnight.  Hello food on the grill (a new one since I accidentally blew up our old one a few weeks ago.  We got it when we were first married 15 years ago so it didn't owe us anything but...what a way to go.) and daily pokes of my head into the zucchini and cucumber plants to see when those babies will be big enough to pluck.  (I CAN'T WAIT!)  Hello summer thunderstorms and the rainbows that come afterward. Hello roses and bumbles, flittering along doing their daily harvesting duties.  Hello staking tomatoes and washing hands- soap turning tomato hands magically florescent yellow.  Hello basil that needs pinching and dill flowers that need frozen and the case of celery that needs to be dehydrated before it is wasted.  Hello dinner on the porch and breakfasts too and daily yearnings from all children "May we go to the lake?  I wiiisssshhhh we could go to the lake to swimmmmmm....." (which have been ignored thus far).  Hello freezy pops after long weeding sessions and fresh herbs in my cooking.

Goodbye standardized testing and portfolios and notary work and stress and deadlines.  Ugh.  And Good riddance.

I've been trying to be a 'yes' kind of Mama this summer.  So I say 'yes' to sandy beach parks and yes to tea parties in woods and yes to homemade mint oreos (when I *know* I am going to eat them and SHOULDN'T!!!)and yes to keeping a baby opossum for a pet.  (Though "Opi" was only with us for a day...in the morning Judah found him dead.  He had a broken leg...and maybe he had been abandoned longer than when we first found him?)

The calendar is chock full of 'yes' scribbled in squares every single week of this summer and around the edges of our days I must fit the 'first we musts' too.   And of course things are pushed by the wayside too.  There are hairballs on the side of my tub that have been there for weeks and the shower curtain liner is bright orange with rust.  I cleaned under the couches last night and in the corner of the living room and literally filled up the entire dining room table with misplaced, long forgotten junk.  (I would have been wise just to chuck it all in the garbage.)  There is still a rubbermaid container full of bedding in my mudroom that hasn't been taken back up the cubby yet from our vacation...oh, in the beginning of June.  It took me four days to fold several loads of laundry that laid strewn in baskets in the living room.

It's a delicate balance, isn't it?  Clean homes are important.  Tidyness feels really, really good.  For the five seconds it stays that way anyway.   Days are filled with certain need-to-do's. Children need to be fed three times a day.  And, silly things like clothing to wear.  Animals need care, gardens need care, dishes need to be cleaned in order to be dirtied again.   But there is real value in occasionally setting aside all the niceties and seeming necessities to just be free.  Free to be open to adventures and fun.

So far so good.  Things seem to be balancing themselves out alright.  We'll see how long we can keep it up before everything just implodes.  ;-)

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Life (and Liberty for All)

A bit more Pirate Crafting, this time for a birthday gift.

A pirate boy for a pirate nephew
who can turn into a normal blue-eyed, blonde haired boy on a whim.  

Our cherry tree was very considerate this year...providing a SINGLE CHERRY for each person in this house.  Still waiting for that explosive harvest.  Will it ever come?  

peppermint sun tea

Some handmade honeysuckle calendula soap.  If you call melting glycerin soap base that was on sale for $2.00 and pouring it into a mold "handmade".  

a very patriotic picture

"Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, our most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day, the 4th of July? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubley linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized our nation's social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government and freedom sirmly and surely upon the first precepts of Christianity?"

So says John Quincy Adams, on July 4th 1867-the 61st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Can you imagine a President saying such words today?  But he should.

I got this outstanding video from Heirloom Audio Productions in my inbox the other day after I bought some Adventures of G.A.Henty audiodramas from them for future Christmas gifts.  (shhhh!  Don't tell!)  They have productions like With Lee in Virginia, In the Reign of Terror, The Dragon and the Raven, Beric the Briton, In Freedom's Cause (the Story of Wallace and Bruce), The Cat of Bubastes... they have truly extraordinary stories, talented (and celebrity) actors and are very well done.  

I love them for rest times and long car rides.  And I have been known to let children listen to them while working on beets or snapping beans or shoving tomatoes into jars and it makes enjoyable work out of could-be tedium.  Let me tell you.  Please do check them out- I know you'll love them as much as we do.  You couldn't not.  (How's that for a double negative?!?)    

(And no- I don't get any sort of compensation for this plug.  I just like them, that's all.)

Anyway.  I watched the video because I like them.  And then I found out that Facebook banned the video as Facebook so often does with matters of real value and truth.  (One more reason I loathe Facebook.  Or Fake Nook.  A better title, if you ask me.)

Well, I have a bit of a rebel streak so if a good video gets banned, well then.  I'll just talk about it all the more.  

Watching it is the best way to celebrate Independence Day if you ask me.  So...gather your children and grandkids or just sit down for 14 minutes and WATCH IT!

And let's start to think about Liberty in a proper light.