Thursday, August 28, 2014

Scotland: The Falkirk Wheel

I am continuing to enjoy revisiting my journal as I think about what we did "one year ago". 

I really wanted to make an illustrated journal out of our time in Scotland but it did end up taking a lot of time to keep up. What happened was I traded my hour of reading/relaxing/whatever for an hour of journal upkeep. I don't know if that was a good decision or not, but I knew that I would never regret having the journal in the future. And I did have to give up the watercolors after awhile....

We sent some postcards while we were over -- aren't they lovely?! And you could buy stamps from specific historical sites which was pretty cool.

Some more journal work. Michael kindly spent just as much time downloading photos each evening from all 8 of our cameras as I spent journaling so I suppose we both were recording the trip in our own way.

Back to the subject of this post -- the Falkirk Wheel. Many years ago we had taken the kids there on Michael's birthday as it is the perfect "boy outing". We knew we'd need to go again on this trip since the boys were old enough to really enjoy it. And it was the perfect outing to enjoy with Sam and May since Sam loves the Falkirk Wheel.

The Wheel is an ingenious invention for helping canal boats get from one height down to another. It is engineered so well that it only takes the electricity of an electric kettle or so to turn it. (You can see a boat in the picture below getting a ride down to the lower canal.)

Imagine all the adventures just waiting on a canal like this with a houseboat?!! Swallows and Amazons kinds of adventures.....

Sam and May are very dear friends. They took us under their wings when we first arrived in Scotland 13 years ago and became our family away from family. May taught me how to cook, shop, find bargains, and get along in a different country. Sam made sure we had the chance to visit numerous historical sites, always accompanied by a stop for a cup of tea. One of our goals for returning to Scotland was for the children to spend time with Sam and May.

Since the Falkirk Wheel was more of a boy's outing, May and I left everyone to ride the wheel and we headed into the lovely town of Falkirk to search out all the charity shops -- this is a past-time that we are both passionate about. :)

It was just like old times and after we had exhausted all the shops we stopped for tea and a chat. I love hearing stories from Sam and May's childhoods and their experiences during the war.

My favorite find of the day was the cottage teapot mentioned in my journal. I'll need to take some pictures or find pictures of my charity shop finds and make a post of those!

It was a wonderful afternoon with Sam and May and afterward we all headed to our homes. Anytime I could I headed out for an evening walk. There was too much beauty around not to take advantage of it. All the years in Airdrie I had looked this direction and dreamed of the countryside and this was my chance to be in that countryside.

And there was always the comforting sight of a cozy house to come back to.

And that is the story of the Falkirk Wheel. One of these days I'll tell you about the adventure we did get to have on a houseboat!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Words and Wool

We are approaching a change in the seasons and that means time to sew more felted flowers! 

I'm just about finished with the second sleeve on Laura's Tea Leaves Cardi.

And once I finish the cardigan I need to figure out where I am on my own Mondo Cable Cardi and get this finished up so I can wear it this winter.

Also, did you see Susan B. Anderson's newest doll pattern?! Too cute!!!!!

As for books......

It was so exciting to receive in the mail this week my brother-in-law's first book!!!! JK has re-written a classic from the 19th century, making it more accessible for us today. Messiah the Prince was originally written by a Scottish theologian in the early 1800's and is a very important theological work on the role and rule of Christ Jesus as King. I can't wait to read this!!!! You can find more details here.

The Nesting Place: It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith is an awesome decorating book. I love it! I'm reading it through as if it were a potato chip novel. She is so inspiring and completely down-to-earth-reality. I should probably buy a copy to keep on my shelf!

I'm in the middle of several other books which I will tell you about when I finish them. :)

For more ideas on knitting and reading visit Ginny's Yarn a Long.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mondays are for Grace

"If we know God is capable of providing quail,
We must not doubt God if in His infinite wisdom He serves us manna instead."

-- from Michael's sermon on Numbers 11

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Scotland: Journals

I've been reading my journal from last year as a good way to remember our trip. Here are some excerpts:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Scotland: One Year Ago!

Time has flown and it is a year today since we landed in Scotland on our incredible adventure!

The kids have grown and changed so much in a year's time. But we still revisit our Scotland memories frequently. In fact, I've just begun to find the time to sit down with each child and pick out photos to make them their own photo album of our trip.

It's taken me a lot longer than I thought to blog about our trip and I still have a whole list of things and places to write about! Like our visit to Falkland and Falkland Palace:

And our family history trips to Dunblane and Newton Pitcairn. (Yes, those are the children in their capes which they use for imagination aids.)

 And the boat trip over Loch Leven to the castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned and eventually escaped from (view from the castle across the Loch):

 The Falkirk Wheel and precious times with our dear Mr. & Mrs. Bell:

And there are still more sheep pictures to show. :)

And adventures into the countryside:

And two birthday outings to talk about:

And our return to the very same bed and breakfast we stayed at 9 years ago.

Boat ride on Loch Ness and the amazing rainbows.

Definitely more sheep and animal stories :)

And of course more food and tea photos and times with many, many friends. Aren't these meringues amazing?!!!! A friend of mine can whip these out whenever she wants!!! They are just incredible and she so kindly brought piles of them when her family came for dinner to our Scotland home. Too bad they don't travel via air mail.

Today it will be all "here" and "now" with homeschool, dr's appointment, high school, friends, and church activities. And that's how we are meant to live -- in the present. But it is always fun to remember with fondness the past and to use the memories to gild the present just a bit. Perhaps a cup of tea is in order.....

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mondays are for Grace

"The unvarnished truth is that what we most frequently give thanks for
betrays what we most highly value."

-- D. A. Carson

Friday, August 15, 2014

Words and Wool

I've been gravitating towards my simplest stitchery projects lately. The easiest thing available for any spare moment. That means crochet tea cozies. I use this pattern as a guide for my base.

And it means quilting with pearl cotton yarn in nice big running stitches and straight lines. Very fun and modern. It's working well for sitting at the school table with the kids. Maybe I'll have it finished next week! I am always inspired by The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking: 15 Projects Inspired by Everyday Beauty.

And I wanted to show you this beautiful, crochet blanket! I'd never seen cabling done with crochet before and I couldn't believe what an amazing result could be achieved with crochet!!! A friend of mine made this for her little baby who surprised everyone and arrived 6 weeks early! Didn't she do a beautiful job!!!

We are all so thrilled that this little one is doing so well!!! (Isn't he so cute?!) So here is the Ravelry Link for the blanket in case you are interested. And here is an article about the blanket.

And now for reading:

The Book of Stillmeadow by Gladys Taber. Another Taber book completed. I just love this writing! I read a few pages every evening and it is the best relaxant! I love her descriptions of real, every day life in the country.

The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity by Meg Meeker. This was a very good book. I felt I needed something like this to begin the school year and I found it very helpful. (Ten Habits cover these topics: Value, Friendships, Faith, No Competition, Money, Solitude, Love, Simplicity, Fear, Hope) I've taken notes and I hope to revisit them throughout the year.

The Empty House by Rosamunde Pilcher. I took this off my British stash, feeling it was about time for another Pilcher since I love her stories so much. It was a quick, simple read but, as her stories always are, very satisfying.

Birds of a Feather (Maisie Dobbs, Book 2) by Jacqueline Winspear. Another mystery solved by the lady detective Maisie Dobbs in the 1920's or so in London. More great atmosphere and a good storyline involving the after effects of World War 1.

That's all for now! More ideas on knitting and reading can be found at Ginny's Yarn a Long.

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