"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Autumnal Musings

What is it about fall that feels so cozy and homey and makes me feel like the darling mice of Brambly Hedge?

The lighting is so beautiful as it slants through leaves that are taking on a new hue.

Today was just such a beautiful day here at Lilac Cottage. 

So, let me now share a little of how we learn our history lessons.

After a morning of reading about the explorer James Cook, we spent time outside. Since two of my girls are gone this week, taking care of friends' children, we're not doing our full schedule of bookwork.

Today was the day to begin building "half-face camps" like we'd read that many of the frontiersmen first used as they moved westward. We'll keep you updated on how things are progressing.

This school year is turning out to be very different from any others. For one thing, it has become necessary for me to get a part-time job. I'm thankful that the hours I'll be working will be late afternoon and evening and every other weekend. So, I will still be able to be with my girls during "school hours." And I'm thankful that they're old enough to handle things at home while I'm gone.

I will be working as a cook at a beautiful assisted living living home. I've met a few of the residents there as Sarah has played piano there a few times and I look forward to getting to know them better. 

Also, we're again in a co-op, now getting into things like veterinary medicine and orienteering. The girls really enjoy the classes and getting to be with friends.

I'm putting in a little more time on selling things on Ebay and in our Etsy shop, though that's taken a bit of a back seat while I do all the necessaries of starting a new job.

So, life goes on, and you can teach old dogs new tricks. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Busy, Busy Summer

What a fun and busy summer we've had with having a little baking business focusing on cinnamon rolls and cookies. We've had a table at the end of our driveway as well as selling to other workers at Love INC where our girls volunteer regularly.

We also sold pumpkin and banana breads. Now we've changed our tack a little and are providing soup and bread at Love INC, keeping the workers well-fed for whatever donation they choose. 

We've also lately gotten to try our hand at fishing in the nearby river, catching only small stuff so far, but having fun trying.

Of course, the lake called our name, too.

We enjoyed times of church fellowship.

And we've been informed us that we're going to be grandparents again. Oh, joy!

Hope your summer has been delightful.
Next time, I'll share a little of how our school year is going.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Our Latest Endeavor

And we did pretty well for our first day.

Hopefully we'll do even better next weekend since we learned a few things, like about traffic flow.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Our Week

What a beautiful week it's been after the weekend rain freshened everything.

See the rainbow?

But, besides taking artsy pictures of weather-related and landscape scenes, we've done some of our homeschooling, too, since we do carry on throughout the summer as able.

In an effort to change things up and save a little money, I had not ordered the notebooking pages to go with our Truthquest History studies at the beginning of the school year. As time went on and we weren't doing the projects that I had envisioned, or at least not continuing with them, I regreted not having gotten the notebooking stuff.

But, better late than never...

So, I ordered the downloads and printed up what I thought we'd use and got them all nicely bound at Staples. We started at the place where we're studying right now (just finished with Cotton Mather) and will use the previous pages as review while we continue to move forward. 

Right now we're in a literature mode with finishing reading Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and now starting Gulliver's Travels, so we have lots of time for writing the review pages.

And that's what's working for us.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Finish That I Really Like

Yesterday I had some time to sew, so...I did. And I finished this fun market bag that will fit right into a purse. With one of these tucked into my purse, I'll never forget my bag!

While I really like it a lot, I have decided to put this one in my Etsy store and I'll make myself another one later. For all the size details, check out the store.

Then today I got to help my 11 year old work on an apron, but pictures of that will have to come later because it didn't get done yet.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

April Goal - Calendar Wallhanging

Ok. I've got my April goal already.

Several years ago I started this project with the idea of helping my kids learn the months of the year as well as the seasons. (One of the joys of homeschooling - you get to combine interests.)

It's a wall-hanging with buttons at the bottom on which to hang each month's block as the months change. The season blocks are colored with crayon and then ironed to set. The April block features embroidery and hand-quilting of an umbrella (April showers), large raindrops, and a flower quilted in aqua quilting thread.

And...(wait for it) I hoped to do each month-block different, learning new techniques as I went along so that I would have a small project on which to practice. Or at least showcasing different fiber arts.

So, this is what I have done so far:

The May block is a machine-felted piece of wool sweater with a flower my daughter had needle-felted and letters cut from another machine-felted sweater. The March block was an orphan block that needed lovin' with a large pearl button sewn in the middle.

January's block is embroidery as is February, but the colors are different. :)

So, my goal for April is three-fold:
               1. Finish the January block - batting, binding, button-holes
               2. Finish the April block - binding, button-holes
               3. Find a good place to hang the whole shebang.
I also hope to spend some time thinking through and planning the rest of the months.

Happy stitching!
Happy Resurrection Day! He is risen!

Wedding Quilt Finished

Though I've not blogged about it (because I just haven't blogged lately), my recent goal has been finishing this queen-sized quilt for a wedding gift. Just this week it came back from the quilter and I was able to do the binding during family reading times since Sarah has been doing the read-aloud lately.

So I'm happy to report both my goal and my finish in the same blog post. :) 

I will, however, come up with another goal soon to keep moving forward and to participate in A Lovely Year of Finishes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On Faithfulness

Sometimes we have a shallow idea of what faithfulness is. Having recently seen the effects of unfaithfulness, I want to explore some ideas of what it is and isn't.

Faithfulness must go on till the job is completed. 

In the Bible we see examples of people starting out, looking faithful, but not carrying on in the way of righteousness for the long term. Perhaps "well-begun is half-done," but staying at it till done is faithfulness. So, though you may not cheat on your spouse during the early years of your marriage, if you do cheat later, you're not faithful. Faithfulness is till death do you part. And faithfulness is more than just sexual - it is also loyalty, self-giving, total commitment.

Faithfulness is cultivated in the tiny, mundane things of life.

When the first seeds of discontentment arise, "nip them in the bud!" Give thanks instead. Because, it is in the nurturing of the little evils that the big evils have their start. Replace arguing and grumbling with kind thoughts and deeds; replace laziness with hard work; replace discontentment with gratitude. So frequently marriages break up (or are a living hell) in later years because wrong thinking, attitudes, actions have been nurtured and allowed to fester and grow over many years till they are the dominating feature of the marriage. Again, they usually start small, almost unnoticeable. 

Watch little things like your tone of voice, whether or not you're willing to do kind things for each other, whether or not you can read God's Word and pray together (which is actually not a little thing), how you talk about each other and/or tease each other.

These thoughts also carry into other areas, like your relationships to your siblings, friends, church elders, or other Christians. 

Be careful of the little things, and the big things will fall into place.

Be honest with yourself; don't try to justify sin.

Be humble and correctable. 

Be humble and not so eager to correct others.

Be vigilant and relying on the Holy Spirit. 

Be faithful.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

What's Happening Around Here

New Discoveries:

Fetch Brewery

A new place not too far away, in a remodeled ancient bank. 


The floor of the "vault room" is made of  pennies.

Though I'm not much a fan of beer, I sure enjoyed their custom-made Cream Soda as well as the fellowship of friends there.

A Homeschool Co-op 

Now the girls have a chance to do some dissecting, though they have eviscerated chickens before.

While the older kids are dissecting, the younger kids do a nature study on the same creature, having a different creature each week. Toward the end of class, the youngers come in with the olders and they each share what they've just learned. I love that they do that.

That we can possibly build a log bridge across a section of the swamp to back acres.

Around ten acres of our land is swamp (thanks to beavers), so it's never really useful to us till it freezes over, which is when we cut down the dead trees for firewood. This year my husband got the fun idea of building a bridge across it to some dry, wooded acreage in back.

So, for exercise and fun, we've been trying to get down there daily to work on it. I can't wait to see it when the ice melts.

That it's fun to have Dad do the science demonstrations while he's home.

Since my husband is currently unemployed, he's taken over teaching science and this week's discovery was that a liquid will not burn, but the vapors coming of the liquid (diesel fuel) will burn. You can't see it very well, but there's a coffee can with fuel in it and a fire burning nicely.

Things We Already Knew But Enjoyed Again:

We're weird homeschoolers.

This is how Faith and I did narration this week.

We have a strange and wonderful kitty.

We've been getting a lot of snow.

We're blessed with wonderful food.

Sarah once again created a marvel of sourdough bread this week.

Here's hoping that you have many great new discoveries and wonderful old things to enjoy, too.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Musing on the End of This Life

Funerals have a way of making one think.

During the funeral of an older lady yesterday, the pastor was telling the story of an old man whose wife was just being ushered into the presence of her God. The grieving husband told his pastor,

I know more people in heaven than I know here on earth.

I'm sure that's the case for many older people whose family members and friends have passed on from this life to the next.

In one sense, I don't think I want to be able to say that.

I don't mean that I want to die before my family members or friends do.

I mean that I want to keep making friends here on earth 
of much younger ages than I so that I still know lots of people here on earth, too.

I'm sure this is more easily said than done because friendships are usually built on common likes, dislikes, and interests, and I'm sure that people who are 20-40 or 60 years younger than I will have vastly different interests than I will. So, I'll have to cultivate different interests. And I'll have to make my interests look appealing to younger people.

I don't desire to do this purely for selfish reasons, (See how many friends I have!), though that is a factor - I don't want to be lonely. (Note to self: while I'm only 54, I must cultivate friendships with older people so they're not lonely and so I can grow through them.)

But we do know that older people can add so much to our lives if we're open to them. And I want to add to others' lives. I want to "love them to Jesus," as a friend of mine put it.

And then go to the wonderful communion of saints with my Lord.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

February's Finish Goal

Some time last year I cut out a queen-sized quilt intended for a wedding gift. Life happened and I ran out of time, so the pieces sat.

Then I figured out that I had cut things incorrectly and was going to have to piece it all differently to make it work, so I was discouraged.

Now I shall conquer and maybe have it done for another wedding.

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January's Finish

This morning I finally finished this pattern: Advent Calendar Christmas Tree.
Better late than never!

I did modify it a little since my daughter wanted the bigger numbers at the bottom so as to work their way up to the star, counting how many days are left till Christmas.

After embroidering the outline of the star, I colored it in with crayon and ironed it to melt the crayon into the fabric. (Yes, I put scrap cloth between the crayon and the iron.)

I then did a simple quilting of it by going around the tree shape with my snowflake stitch and doing some of the larger snowflakes with that stitch. (I haven't washed off the pencil marks yet because I didn't want to have to take photos while it was still wet.)

At the base of the tree I did some rough shapes of Christmas gifts (one of which looks rather like a pineapple, heh).

This evening when they come for dinner I'll ask if they want me to make the label into a little pocket for advent activity cards or just a regular label. I'll also find out if they want me to make some kind of a hanger for it. 

But I'm counting it as done anyhow. :)