Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tea Cozies for Sale

I'm selling tea cozies on behalf of a few high school art students who are planning to take the Sketching England trip which I am leading this coming January. (If you are interested to know more about the trip, sign up for my newsletter in the sidebar and I'll be talking about it in my next issue.)

The tea cozies are $35 each with free shipping in the USA. The entire $35 will go to the students. The cozies are sized to fit a 4-6 cup pot.

Fall is just around the corner and a new tea cozy is a certain way to add some coziness to your days!

There are lots of colors to choose from!

If you are interested in purchasing a cozy, leave a comment with some way for me to contact you! (or find me on Facebook or Instagram and PM me)

Happy tea drinking!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Why I Don't Knit Anymore, or, The Miracle of the Empty Net

I don't knit anymore. More precisely, I can't knit anymore, which is a surprising turn of events for someone who led knitting groups, taught people how to knit, and kept several projects going at once.

It all started with a cardigan I cast on nearly three years ago now. It was such a stress-relieving project and it moved along at such a satisfying pace. Then the pain hit. Sharp, burning pain up and down my forearms. What to do?! It wouldn't go away. Wrist splints were ordered and worn faithfully at night. Soon it became clear -- the knitting had to stop. I figured maybe I could stop for a few days, or a few weeks. But then it was months that have turned into years. As someone born with an insatiable need to create, this was a true problem. My creative outlet was suddenly, and totally, gone. Now I had to sit patiently for hours on end helping my kids with their homeschool homework with nothing to occupy my hands or keep me calmly settled in my seat. It was both sad and frustrating, not to mention patience-building!

In the sermon from John 21 this past Sunday our minister (yes, also my husband) said something very enlightening as he spoke about the miracle of the 153 fish the disciples caught. He said, "We forget that it was just as great of a miracle to keep the fish nets EMPTY all night as it was to fill them to bursting at Christ's morning command." Do you know, there was something of a miracle for me in the taking away of the knitting, in keeping my "nets empty" for those months. I didn't realize it until much later: removing the knitting created the vacuum necessary for my interest and focus on painting to develop which led into nature journaling and art classes and workshops and the opening of a whole new world.

As it turns out I didn't have to give up yarn projects entirely. For some reason crochet doesn't cause as much acute pain as knitting! Who knew?! I eventually started crocheting tea cozies during school. This summer, with a bit of a break in my schedule, I even made it on to some bigger crochet projects! I'm just about to finish up a shell-patterned cardigan and have started on a second one! I also managed to make this Linden Bee shawl and am thinking about a few more patterns by Cherry Heart. I also want to try a granny square shawl like this one. I even discovered there are beautiful sock patterns for crochet -- that look like knitted socks!

So that's the story of why I don't knit anymore, and how one of my empty nets actually turned out to contain a beautiful gift. It helps me have hope for those other empty nets I have.....

Friday, August 16, 2019

Finding Margin Again

Margin in my life has been missing for some time, I don't even know how long. But, having hit a brick wall of sorts, margin is coming back. Somewhere this summer I sat down and started crocheting again, and I couldn't believe how good it felt. Then one day I picked myself some flowers and made a tea tray, and it felt like a luxury.

Margin is where the time for these little things that really matter comes from. I am painfully aware that sometimes margin just isn't available, no matter how hard one looks.

Now that I've turned a corner, I'm looking forward to more margin and here's what I want that to include:

Tea Trays
Flowers picked from the garden
Baking a tea time treat
Sitting on the back patio
Watching a movie during the day!
Sewing something for the house
Browsing at Goodwill
Writing a real letter
Reading blogs again
Writing blog posts
Reading more novels
Practicing calligraphy
Buying a nice hand soap for the bathroom
Finding a new tablecloth
Decorating the mantel
Sorting photos
Lighting candles (especially the beeswax ones I got at the fair)
Reading British Country Living magazine
Reading nature writers
Reading gentle writers like DE Stevenson, Rosamund Pilcher, and Elizabeth Goudge

I'm open for more good suggestions if you have some!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A New Season

It's a new season around here: Drew and James are back to high school, Rachel returns to Purdue this weekend, and David and Laura have left our homeschooling world for the new land of traditional Christian school. Our lives look different!

It's going to take awhile to adjust to our new schedules -- who does what chore, and when; how we can make it to four different sporting events, and how do we fit all our puzzle pieces on this table we call life!

I'm looking forward to finding more margin this year. Sometimes I feel like finding margin is a full-time job! It shouldn't be as hard as it is to come by. I'll have to get even better at saying no.

I'd like to find space to come back here to my blog more. I have thousands of pictures and hundreds of memories from my trip to England and Scotland this summer to share. I have so many books to talk about, and recipes to share, and ideas, and art, and beauty, and the list goes on.

In the book of Psalms, the psalmist talks about "singing a new song." He means that it's a new time in his life, a new day, a new beginning, especially one coming after a difficult season in which laments have been sung. So as our family turns this corner into a year of great change I feel like it is a season of "singing a new song" -- who we are and Who we are focused on have not changed, but it's a new beginning and a new starting point from which to move forward.