Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dreams for the Future


And rabbits. Specifically a French Angora.

Herb plants in the kitchen.

Vegetables in the garden.

Little ones under foot.

Being country must be a genetic trait. It pops up in the strangest places.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


If Limbo does exist, it must touch the physical realm between Christmas and New Year's. Those six days of no man's land where all the loose ends of the current year get tied up but nothing for the next year can officially be started. It's either a time crammed full of high speed stress or a lazy daisy wandering... or a little of both.

It is in this time of instantaneous yet delayed change, that my house is a mess. It seems this happens every year after Christmas. The onslaught of presents causes the need to find new spaces for everything, which triggers the need to go through closets and chuck what we're not using. Our dinning area/entryway is currently storage for piles of recycling, donations, things that need to be returned to their proper owners, and stuff for an 'out with the old, in with the new' clothing exchange. I suppose you could say it's the blessing and the curse of a small space that we can't just cram everything in.

The good news is, all this craziness made my husband realize that we really do need to figure out a workable, defined, maintained use for our spare bedroom (instead of just letting it be the catch-all room that functions as guest room, crafting room, office, library, attic, and garage). It still does most of those things but we've shifted the primary purposes around. I claimed it.

I've been trying to let it be mostly Dustin's room. Since I stay home during the day I feel like the rest of the house belongs to me and I feel it's important for someone who has to face the working world everyday to have a space in their home that is a kind of personal haven. That led to a room covered in electrical wires that may or may not be connecting anything and, bless his heart the man can be organized when he wants to be, tools everywhere but mostly just inside the door. Why they always ended there, I don't know, maybe because that's close enough to his side of the closet that they were quasi-put away. It drove me nuts, but I tried to just shut the door most of the time.

When Dustin expressed a desire for the room to be reorganized so that it wouldn't be messy all the time, I was thrilled. We finally moved the computer into our living room entertainment stand (hey, it's entertainment) like we've been meaning to since we moved here, which moved the 'office' out and freed up the desk. I asked Dustin if I could have the desk. He said yes. I asked him if he could not put anything on the desk at all, or on any of the shelves. He gave me a funny look but said yes.

I spent most of yesterday going through all my crafting stuff (yarn, fabric, thread, patterns, tools) and chucking all those odds and ends I've been saving 'just in case' but know I'll never use and reorganizing everything into boxes. It freed up about a quarter of the space in the closet and I now have a very sweet and darling space. My sewing machine can sit out and with the love seat tucked into the corner and the new lace tablecloth from Belgium my mother-in-law gave to me for Christmas, it makes me giddy happy whenever I glance in the door.

It is pretty girly. Which is what I was trying not to do, but the boy seemed pleased when he saw it, so I guess it'll be alright. Now, if I can just get my dinning area back...

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Background!

Isn't this the cutest background ever?! Just click the little ad in the top left corner to see where I got it. My sister found the site and I must say I am charmed. I wish I knew enough about html/java to make my own... hm, my sister might...

Secretly, I like the green background with the girl just sitting the best, but I wanted something a little more Christmas-y. Next month, however... *evil grin.

P.S. The dishwasher really stopped working. I have a new one now. Yay!

P.P.S. The little girl character to the left looks akin to the Suzie Q. a friend of mine drew in high school. My friend was annoyed that four of us kept drawing little doodles on everything and that she a) didn't like to draw and b) didn't think she could. So she invented Suzie Q., a simple yet cute doodle that became her drawn signature. I have the only colored drawings of Suzie Q. They are signed and stored away for when my friend becomes famous and they are worth millions.

Post Presents

I've finished all the 'items' for Christmas presents. I just a have a bit of baking to do so I can tuck goodies into the packages as well. I must admit, I'm feeling a little spent. The best I can describe it is that it is very like the feeling after a huge project for school. You spend all your time and energy (and a little bit of your dreams) planning and working and preparing this huge monstrosity and then you turn it in and... you find you have a whole bunch of time on your hands that you don't know what to do with and all you really feel like doing is sitting and vegging or just plain sleeping.

Today I'm pretty much back to the regular schedule. It's Monday so that means laundry and baking. The boy is coming home for lunch and then I may, depending on where I am in the baking, work on (gasp) my story. That will fill in all this empty time nicely. I wonder how long it will take for my brain to switch gears. I'm hoping it will be a smooth transition.

In any case, Fudge down, Divinity, Gingersnaps, and Peanut Butter Butterscotch Oatmeal cookies to go. Oh, and mints, I wanted to do butter mints but we'll see if that happens.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I ask a lot out of life. I ask that it be simple. I ask that it be fun. I ask that it be full of love. I ask that it have a rhythm. I ask that it be fulfilling. I ask that it be full. I ask that it run in my time line. It does all those things at some point or another and it doesn't do any of them at some point or another.

What Life asks out of me is that I be content with what I am given when it's given. I am, at some point or another.

Right now I am knitting. I love it. It's not something I would have expected to ever love. I have always preferred crochet. The more I knit the more I find it hard to be content. I read several blogs of women who live on small farms or just run a small home that includes live stock and a garden, who have 3+ children running underfoot, who have yarn and lots of it, who show pictures of kitchens covered in flour and a pot of soup simmering on the stove, of art crafts strewn over tables and cats perched in windows. I wish these were my pictures. But they're not. Sometimes I look at what I have at this moment and think, 'yeah, this is pretty good' and sometimes I can't wait to have all those things that I think I really want.

Knitting does that, it calls me out of what I have into what could be, perhaps because it is one of the first few steps that get me there. Knitting allows me to create, it allows me to transform yarn into a garment, a blanket, a hat, slippers, a decoration, anything. It gets me more involved in providing for my family. I love that I can pour hours of time and love into an item and then just give it away. I can give my love away in an item that a person can have close when I am far away. I must learn to be content with that and wait patiently for the chicken.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Well, that was awkward.

Awkward is an awkward word. Look at it, it has two 'w's... that's strange.

In any case, the maintenance guy came today to look at the dishwasher.

He turned it on.

It worked.

ARRGH! I've been hand-washing dishes for a week! I swear it didn't work! Honest! Oh, well.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Clouds and Cameras

I'm really wishing for my camera today. There is a blustery wind blowing across the state of Ohio at the moment (I know because it's showing up in the Facebook statuses of my friends in the Dayton, Columbus, and Athens areas). With it are the most beautiful snow filled clouds. Brilliant white tops and sides with a lovely dark slate gray bottom, add to that random breaks for sunshine to pour through and a constantly blowing wind and you get a million great light and cloud shots. And AND the beautiful white bark of the leafless trees standing stark against the dark gray of the sky... argh. You don't appreciate what you have until you don't have it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


.. are never convenient. That's what my mom always said. Although, when she said it, we were usually in a car on the side of the road with a flat tire. She would turn in the driver's seat and look at us all for a moment before declaring, "Who's ready for an adventure?" We would look at her in silence, slightly confused and slightly fearful (the tire had just gone flat). Someone might venture to say that we weren't having an adventure, there were no monsters, we had no swords. She would unbuckle us all and tell us we were allowed out on the side of the road but to stay off the road and remind us that an adventure was just a set of obstacles that the hero had to over come and that they were never, ever convenient.

All that to say my dishwasher is broken. I thought maybe the handyman would fix it quick enough that I wouldn't have to wash any dished by hand but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm finding that I reuse dishes, particularly cooking utensils much quicker than I thought and that, while I still have plenty of plates to use, my kitchen is entirely too small to permit much procrastination in the way of cleaning. Especially since I've been trying to get in some holiday baking and decorating. The baking requires counter top space and dishes and the decorating just looks better when it is displayed with a clean backdrop.

I don't mind too much, though. A little jolt out of the regular rhythm tends to inspire life.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Butter Again

I made butter again. This time I skimmed the cream off of our farm fresh milk and beat it. The butter is sooooooo yellow. Margarine yellow. Wow. The buttermilk was a beautiful white (especially when contrasted with the yellow butter). It tastes pretty delicious, too. I'm so glad we have a herd share.

First Snow

It's the first snow of 2009! I'm so peacefully happy. There's something about snow (when it sticks to the ground without being coaxed) that makes Winter. Plus, today my friend Emily is coming over for lunch and we're putting up Christmas decorations together! It's perfect!

On a side note, I am in the process of finding a new camera. I'm considering the PowerShot G series, particularly the the G7, maybe the G9... it depends on prices. Part of me is glad I lost my old camera, I now have a good excuse to get a better one. But I'd rather not be spending the money. Oh, well. It is what it is.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Online Magazine

I stumbled across Rhythm of the Home today. It's a free online magazine devoted to the home. I'm excited to see what it develops into.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Do you want the good news or the bad news first. Well, I'll just assume you're like me and always want the bad news first...

I've lost my camera. It's gone. Poof. Nowhere. I suppose it's somewhere but it's keeping that location to itself. Which means no more pictures until I scrounge up the money to buy a new one... which will be a few months. Which is very, very sad because it's December, which means presents, which means projects, which means lots of stuff I would really, really love to post pictures of.

The good news is, it's December, which means presents, which means projects, which means I am very, very busy.

I'm attempting a handmade Christmas this year. I started out thinking of making one or two things but once my hands started making they just couldn't stop, so the handmade Christmas was unintentional. I've really enjoyed it. I've been learning new skills like hand embroidery and pattern making. It's amazing all the things you can do at home.

I know lots of people talk about making things 'in house' as a cost saving measure, less money spent, more in your pocket. That's somewhat true. While it does cost less money, it takes way more time to make everything than to walk into a shop and buy it. I ran the numbers for the Christmas apron I made based off the pattern I drafted (see last post). If you paid me minimum wage for the time it took me to make the apron (not to mention create the pattern) it comes to $41.25. That's pretty much what Mary Jane's Farm was charging and I didn't include the cost of materials. I would argue that if I was really good at this sort of thing, it would take me less time. I would also argue that the value of learning that I could draft a pattern and learning how to work out all the kinks through the production process was more than the value I would have received if I had just paid $40 for the apron and had my five and half hours of time. But that's just me.

I've also been learning how to host people. We've invited several people to celebrate Advent with us in our home every Sunday this month. It's exciting and kind of intimidating. I'm a quiet person, I don't like being around a bunch of people. But I love Advent. I love the waiting and the daily reminder of what Christmas is about and why it's the best time of the year. I really want to share that but to do that I have to get over this whole 'I don't really like being around lots of people' thing. I'm trying to keep it simple: people come over, people share a pot of soup and talk, we all move to the living room where the Advent wreath is and read the official Advent scriptures, light the candles, talk about the subject of that particular week's Advent candle and why it's important, then do whatever fits the mood: sing, talk, sit in contemplation, leave in silence, whatever. I need it to not be stressful... Christmas shouldn't be stressful. It's God's work, all He asks is for us to come and see. If our houses aren't perfect, that's okay, if our cookies aren't perfect, that's okay, if our hearts aren't perfect, that's okay, if we refuse God, that's not okay. Hm... I'm vaguely reminded of something I thought of in the car on the way to Thanksgiving but I can't remember what I wanted to say, I can only remember the feeling and mood, something about how the verse says that Jesus stands at the door and knocks and we always think about this polite little man politely knocking at the door... but maybe He's standing at that door and pounding... perhaps it will come to me later.

In any case, I've been trying to put my heart into Christmas. To be gracious and open to others, to make my gifts personal and full of effort and love, to craft and create. To put Christmas in my heart where it belongs.