Wednesday, November 30, 2016

last day of november yarn along

       Thanksgiving is over and even though we lighted our first Advent candle on Sunday, and the Christmas tree is up and the decorating way on its way, the event that truly welcomes Christmas celebration into our family with full intensity is attending the annual performance of Handel's Messiah given by the local oratorio society/orchestra, which we attended last night. It was nothing less than glorious.

But with the balmy days of late and the carpet of leaves left underfoot, a source of confusion is created in my mind as we are on the brink of flipping our calendars to December.

 Nevertheless, I knit on, and I read books about godly woman.
 Women I want to emulate in their quest to know God, to serve Jesus, and to obey the voice of the Holy Spirit.

These particular socks I am presently knitting, I named the Merry-Go-Round Socks; the color of fir and pine trees against clear blue skies with the golden glow of sunny days... yes, Merry, a word we hear quite often during this season... and the constant going round and round on the ribbing and knitting that sock knitting certainly affords. I am thinking I will do an afterthought heel on this pair of socks.

I have finished the Fair Isle sweater mentioned a while back.  You may read about it if you like on ravelry, or on my past post.

And on this last day of November I am thankful to be able to join Ginny's Yarn Along.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

...with a grateful heart

Sense of beauty is the gift of God,
for which those who have received it in good measure,
can never be thankful enough.
                                                      ~ Gertrude Jekyll

 Why does one upload from a wide, or not so wide, array of photos?
It does not have the sphere of making the day any more lovely. But for remembrance sake I share several photos of our Thanksgiving Day feast at Witt and Clarie's house, a distinct place where I found myself breathing and relaxing on a grand scale on Thanksgiving Day. To me that must be a sure sign of  being hailed as a good host and hostess. It was a day of balmy temps, spoken thanks, and palatable food. Claire's curry pumpkin soup was my most favorite dish of all.

*Claire set a beautiful table from her assortment of dishes and thanksgiving decorations.
*Don and I brought the collards and pumpkin pie
*Claire cooked the brined turkey and other side dishes
*the day was so warm we sat in the garden and watched the bees
*until I became chilly and moved into a patch of sunshine
*Charlotte, our photographer of the day, sat on the deck for a spell with her chevron glass of ginger ale

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I have much to be thankful for this day.  Beef stew simmering on the stove anticipating a side of buttermilk biscuits for supper, an organic cabbage fermenting in the larder, and a walk in the woods where even the brambly briers that grabbed the legs of my jeans scratching through to my shin did not deter me.

And a completed sweater.

You may read about this sweater on my ravelry page. 

Friday, September 16, 2016


Years ago I became aware of a Bible memory program that I liked, and I found that it helped me have a organized way to memorize God's Word. The boys and I would spend summer afternoons learning and reciting Bible memory verses that were organized into appropriate age groupings and particular subject categories, or Bible books, that made memory work easier for anyone who wanted to take on the challenge. Even Rose as a preschooler would belt out the verses from her ABC Memory book.

Most summers I will intentionally find bits of time to memorize Scripture.  Because of the development of smart phone apps I've now discovered Scripture Memory Fellowship has excellent helps for memorizing God's Word.

I am presently memorizing the book of II Timothy. Sounds ambitious, yet amazingly, the secret is dailiness. Taking time to be attentive to the effort of memorizing pays huge dividends.

I pray it will produce fruit in my life.

And speaking of fruit, scuppernongs are only in season briefly; I love their wine- flavored sweetness. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

and today's knitting...

These days I desire more time to knit, to actually squeeze knitting somewhere into the minutes of my day, unambiguously between this and that. Yet, irregardless of how much I want it or try to make it happen, some days it just does not happen.

However, today turned out with the grateful allowance of a few rows of knitting on my
 Ellen Cardigan while Charlotte was at her piano lesson.

I sat upon this lake's bank on a left behind beach towel stored in the the back of my car and gleaned  what was to me a feast of calm and knitting, with a bit of refreshment from a wee bottle of ginger kombucha on the side.


Monday, August 22, 2016

listing...fair isle knitting

Okay, I like to make lists. I have even revisited listography this summer. So it made perfectly good sense to begin a list at the beginning of the summer upon which I jotted down several things I hoped to accomplish during the summer. Intentionality precedes the process of making it happen I am discovering.

*Knit a Fair Isle Garment

My first attempt at Fair Isle knitting was the Baa-ble hat by Donna Smith. Since I had mastered English and Continental knitting a while back, my main focus was concentrating on having the floats become like second nature to me. I loved everything about knitting up this hat. This is a free pattern on Ravelry with modifications I found here after reading about the original hat pattern's larger sizing. And pom poms add such fun don't you think? Or maybe that is because the charm is in the fun of making them! 

Back in July a local yarn shop held a sale on all their yarns which enabled me to save big on the yarn for knitting a cardigan I had anticipated knitting since last year. It too is a free Ravelry pattern, the Ellen by Amy Christoffers. I only chose five colors to do the actual color work pattern, and I am pleased with the results. 

All I can say is I have found a new daily knitting time is never enough, but then isn't that true of everything we love, being satisfied yet wanting more?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

an august yarn along

Good Morning Wednesday!
 Knitting and reading, comforting activity for all seasons, sharing with all here.

I am so pleased with the Piper's Journey Shawl I knitted with Quince & Co Chickadee Yarn. I love its hushed green color, I love its calm drape, I love its gently curved design, and I love its baby softness. Could I say it more plainly? I love this shawl! And I am longingly anticipating cooler weather to wear it. And with the hotter than normal temperatures this August, it is good to dream of those days arriving soon.  I am still managing to keep most of my potted plants living, alas not thriving though, they need nothing less than rain from God's clouds to do that.

As for my end of summer reading,

Always, several books scattered from nightstand, to pool bag, from kitchen counter and beyond. I want to highlight two entirely different books in particular. My swimming partner mentioned a book by Kate Morton that she had loved reading. She loaned me her copy hoping  I would get pulled into The Secret Keeper and  find myself on the path of guessing  how the many twists of this novel would end. If you like a book with a mesmerizing story line that will draw you in with its many twists, I would suggest this book. The next book I want to highlight is a heart breaker for sure, but written so empowered with the marvelous grace and surrounding mercy of God.  It is a book that has left a dent in my spirit because of its depth and the truth of what Christ Jesus has paid for our lives, sinful, lost lives. Glenda had a very sad, tragic childhood yet God saved  her and redeemed her; the story she tells holds no bitterness for wrongs done to her and will leave you awed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August day*book

  Day*book: a diary, a journal

Outside my window:
   Summer is screaming, muggy days of sunshine with occasional  t-storms in the evening, black-eyed-susans covering a side patch giving pleasure when viewed from an upstairs window.

I am thinking:
   To consciously breathe deep and enjoy these days of August; routine will be starting up soon enough.

I am thankful:
    For air-conditioning! ... and since I am presently sitting in my sewing room I am reminded how thankful I am for this room...and prayer, where would we be without that amazing provision given to us by our loving Heavenly Father?

One of my favorite things to do at the present:
       Fair Isle knitting, it is perfectly addicting!

                                                       Baa-ble Hat by Donna Smith(free pattern on Ravelry)

I am creating:
   My second fair isle knitted garment, a cardigan.

I am sewing:
    Completing an UFO from two years ago, a blue batiste nightgown.

I am watching:
   Youtube videos from time to time on a variety subjects.

I am wearing:
   White jean capris, a lightweight white sleeveless tee, and a gray and white striped shirt... and because I am at home, bare feet. This attire is unusual for me in that I prefer dresses and skirts on summer days.

I am reading:
   Rainbow Cottage  by Grace Livingstone Hill
    Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

I am listening:
    To a CD of Amy Shreve beautifully singing hymns as she plays her harp.

I am hoping:
    To finalize some hotel reservations for upcoming trips, out of town weddings.

I am learning:
   To walk by faith and not by sight. This takes daily prayer and focusing on His will; like I said, I am learning.

In the Kitchen:
    Boiled beets and washed beet greens for sauteing... I love beets, actually crave them at times. And since beets promote good gallbladder and liver health, having them as part of a regular diet is extremely beneficial.

In the schoolroom:
   Discendo discimus  which translates," While teaching we learn"
We are applying our minds to Latin studies once again, daily doses. Ask if Charlotte is,  perhaps asking her is not the best choice.  But, it is so good for me that we are intentionally setting aside time to review Latin.

Joining in with The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, July 29, 2016

bring on the summer vegetables

It is nothing short of great pleasure to see backyard gardens, farmers markets, curbside stands, and  local produce at the grocery store furnishing a plethora of summer vegetables and fruits to please even the most finicky eater. 

I have a friend who wrote in her last letter she presently hopes to maintain something fermenting on her counter on a regular basis. That inspired me higher up and further on to taking a chance on fermenting okra recently. A simple brine with spices and garlic put into a jar along with fresh okra, then a five to six day requirement for the fermenting process on the counter, which only left the taste test. Not bad, actually! They have now been allotted a special place in the refrigerator, which will only improve their salty, slightly pickled flavor. 

A gazpacho was made with the abundance of tomatoes and other summer veggies and herbs. Due to several reasons of various matters, my husband and I are undertaking a five day mainly fruit and vegetable fast. We have survived the first day. I say that tongue in cheek; my husband knows this is a very good idea in mind and operation, but his body clamors incessantly for meals of meat and potatoes, and let's not forget his almost daily bowl of evening popcorn! I natter on with positive regard to our planned meals. After eating a full bowl of this delicious gazpacho, he commented," Now we are going to eat the main meal, right?"
It is only five days...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

cartridge pleats successfully completed!

I am just around the bend from finishing my 1860 day gown. I successfully completed the cartridge pleats this afternoon while watching an episode of BBC's  All Creatures Great and Small. I gave my husband the full eight years on DVD for Fathers Day. He was well-pleased.

These pleats are not difficult in themselves to sew, yet it helps to have a few tips to keep from creating undue frustration. I found some excellent tips here for which I am thankful.

Now all that needs to be done is the hem, and perhaps some embellishment on the sleeves and front bodice.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

bee bullions

A project of sewing bullions on a cream-colored linen diaper shirt.

Of course, it is for Ivy Elizabeth.

And of course, I will sew her some pink rompers to be worn with it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Little granddaughter,
         Just as the mighty ocean's wind tousles our hair,
                 Just as the sun's invincible strength warms our skin,
 and we glow in its light...
My prayer for you is that you will know His mighty power and invincible love, 
all the days of your life. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

shades, textures, and rapsberries

Today is hot as summer rings faithful. It was a home day allowing me to sew a taggie blanket for Ivy Elizabeth, who is beginning to hold onto things. But that was after I wandered outside and snipped three pink hydrangeas to ensconce in a clear vase, and after I brewed a pitcher of raspberry tea.

Raspberry Tea
First make a simple syrup of 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar
Boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
Add 4-6 oz. fresh or frozen raspberries.
Mash raspberries, I use a potato masher.
Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile boil 6 cups of water, add 6 teabags.
Steep until tea reaches required taste, I steep mine over an hour. (Some think the tea becomes bitter if steeped this long, I suggest doing taste testings.)
Strain the raspberries, and then add this syrup to your tea.
Add about 2 cups of water.
Pour over ice.
Sip and enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2016

glorious June

in the garden...

Upon a most imploring request, my husband constructed a raised bed  in order for me to start a new lavender garden. He is just like that! Since we had to move our bee hives to Witt's house, I harvest the lavender rather stringently these days compared to afore years, when it was gratifying to watch the honey bees gently drinking the sweet nectar of the lavender blooms.

The hydrangeas make me swoon this year, so beautiful!  I was hoping to tend my soil to urge blue blooms from this particular bush that sits on the northeast side of my house, across a expanse of lawn from my lavender bed. But instead I am enjoying the most fetching shades of lavender and indigo.

And the company I keep is good too. Some cats chose where they want to live and with whom. Louie is one such cat. One cold February night he appeared at our back door meowing alarmingly. He has completely stolen our hearts with his cat's heart and winsome ways.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

on this Wednesday

 Since socks have proven to be a perfect take along project, I lean toward keeping an ongoing sock project on my dpns at all times. As something new in sock knitting this spring I began knitting a pair of toe-up socks with the added bonus of an afterthought heel. The light blue yarn you see is holding the stitches where I will be adding the heel very soon, I hope

While at our local library sale I was perusing the shelves containing old hardback treasures, the charming book sleeve was enough to arrest my attention, but then the author's name had me recalling a previous book I had read two years ago and I immediately grabbed for it.  The Cutters is a splendid story celebrating family with all its everyday challenges and joys, especially rendering the struggles that motherhood brings into Nell Cutter's home. Yet the heart of her struggles are only echos of many mothers today. It was a satisfying read with a humorous thread running throughout the chapters.

"Her prosaic everyday work at home appeared now, a glorified, beautiful thing. She had come to the land of her heart's desire, and lo! the only land she wanted was the dear, substantial one of her everyday happenings."

I could not resist buying this double pointed needle keeper while in Cary back in April. I am looking forward to sewing some myself since she has graciously provided a tutorial for making your own.

 And since I am knitting and reading, joining the yarn-along flows together quite nicely on this Wednesday.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

second fermentation kombucha tea

There is a generous amount of information regarding kombucha tea given on the internet. So my intent here is not to give the history or reasons for brewing and drinking kombucha, whether your brew your own at home or purchase it from the grocery store.

Todays strain: the bottle on the left has been strained, the one in the forefront( with ginger) is ready to be strained.
the bottle in the back has fresh raspberries, also needs straining.

I am not a master brewer, but I have "mastered" batches of kombucha that are delicious and refreshing to drink according to my taste buds. I have drunk several varieties of the store bought kind; but personally I like mine so much better. And it is much cheaper to make your own if you are serious about drinking it on a regular basis.

My kombucha  goes through a second fermentation process that last roughly four days, resting in a dark cupboard. I have only once have a bottle to explode due to the natural formation of carbon dioxide during the second fermentation process (that is one too many)!

How I make my Kombucha:
1. Three quarts of purified water (distilled). I use *Primo*; *Le Bleu* is also very good in ph.
    1 cup organic sugar
2. Boil for five minutes.
3. Four organic black tea bags. I use English Breakfast.
    Two green tea bags.
4. Remove the water from the burner, add teabags and cover. Allow the tea to cool to room            temperature, or almost room temperature.
5. Add your scoby and 2/3 to 1 cup of brewed kombucha tea from your last batch.
6.  Cover with a white cotton cloth secured with a rubber band, a bay leaf set atop the cloth will prohibit little bugs that could prove to be a slight problem.
7. After 7 to 8 days, I bottle my komchucha in flip-lid airtight glass bottles. Organic fruit or fruit juice    is added at this time. Any sort of fruit, fresh or frozen, works; it is fun to experiment. A good rule of thumb for adding fruit juice is 1 part juice to 3 parts kombucha tea. This depends on personal taste of sweetness.
   One of my absolute favorite things to add is two teaspoons of fresh minced ginger to the bottle. My own form of ginger ale.
   Concord Grape Juice is another added favorite of mine. Today I strained a bottle that had been brewed with organic fresh raspberries, so good!
   As a word of precaution, open your bottles that have gone through the second fermentation process    very carefully, I suggest throwing a towel across the lid, sometimes they will pop quite forcefully         as the carbon dioxide is expelled. It varies, you never know how much at any given time.
8. Using cheesecloth, strain the kombucha. There will be a small scoby developing already and you want to eliminate this from what you will be drinking. Straining also removes bits of fruit or ginger.            Personally, I try to get mine as "clean" as possible.
9. Store in the refrigerator. There are at least two good reasons for this, it will continue to ferment if  you do not refrigerate, and it just tastes better when chilled, refreshing and crisp.

Recently, I have discovered that if you lay your bottles down instead of upright, and leave them for about an extra week, they are slightly more fizzy. The carbon dioxide created in kombucha is natural, unlike the carbonation added to soft drinks.

My kombucha tea brew sits  on an oak table beside the piano where I am convinced the lovely music produced by Charlotte on the piano only adds to my kombucha success. You should consider resting your kombucha is a place where it is not disturbed. It is a live culture, after all.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

in the groove

Just in case one mightn't noticed, I am in the groove of blogging once again. What kept me away in the first place has brought me back once again, but in a somewhat different vein. The keeping of a record of the everyday events of my life, it demands attention.  And on that note, the last mention, I promise, of Charlotte's  thirteenth birthday ends here. 
Dots made from card stock to string as garland.

Needle felting purses

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake. Charlotte found this recipe  on Pinterest, so upon her request I attempted to make it with what I am happy to declare little difficulty.  Though next time I would definitely make more raspberry puree!

Memorial Day ended our extended weekend. So with little pomp, but great intent we gathered with a dear family at our house to officially open "summer" activities. The rains stayed away and Priscilla  was able to snap some creative photos in the backyard. 

Happy late spring! Happy end of school days! Happy beginning of "summer".

Sunday, May 29, 2016

turning thirteen

 To quote  Nathaniel Hawthorne,  "Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind." In a decade plus three years, the shadows left behind are nothing short of beautiful memories in regard to Charlotte. 

   I am blessed to be her mother. 

Happy Birthday to my most favorite thirteen year old!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

daybook/photo gallery

Outside: If there could be a lovelier spring day it is beyond my scope of imagination, even though we have had comparable ones. Yet the demand to see, listen, feel, and smell is not far from me as I enjoy the open windows and spend times outside.

Thinking: I should be doing something other than this blog post. The days are hard to catch these days, I pursue my moments like a fisherman on the open sea eager to bring in his supply of daily fish.

In the kitchen: Now in this place, besides the daily ministrations of preparing and cooking nourishing, healthy meals for my family, I hone my baking skills using sourdough starter and freshly milled flours. I crave the taste of lentils most days. So a soup of lentils and kale, a variation from a recipe found here.
The sourdough starter is one given by a friend with an accompanying recipe for friendship bread. I decided to experiment and make this starter truly my own; I feed it simply with water and flour. This past week I baked a loaf of banana bread using this leavening and my wheat flour. It was  quick and delicious.

Charlotte and I eat lunch outside these days. Today a lunch of lettuce gifted to me by Claire picked from her garden. I threw in some organic spinach, tomatoes, raspberries, cucumbers, and lentils. This dressing is my favorite at this time. Do you ever get like that too, something becomes your favorite for a season? Here is the recipe:
1/2 shallot
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon each of fresh chives, parsley, and oregano
1/3 cup olive oil

Another spacious place, a place it seems I can't get enough of, yet I "getalong" nicely. This is a smocked tea cozy, perhaps a form of manipulating fabric would be another name for this type of work.  I am presently sewing buttonholes on a diaper shirt, and I just cut out an infant summer dress, panties, and hat in a tiny gingham of the prettiest shade of turquoise which will be trimmed with orange rick rack.

the completion of Middlemarch

It took exactly two months! I began reading Middlemarc h on May 7 and finished reading the Finale on July 7. It traveled within my home a...