Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fueled With Happy Thoughts and Ready to Fly

I'm packing up, leaving this afternoon for a visit with loveable people!  Woo hoo!  This is a long post/lots of pictures.  I hope you don't mind!  Jane Brocket's lovely book The Gentle Art of Knitting came in the mail.  Oh, it's a good one.  Isn't the cover delicious?
Another interesting day-by-day.  I'll share about this later.
Uh oh.  The maple helicopters are falling.  It's July!  Oh well.  I do love fall and the green juicy leaves I'm enjoying now will soon put on their autumn show.  That's okay.
The goldfinches are visiting my cosmos!  Elizabeth from France said they would and she was right.  They are a bright dash of happy as they swoop in and out of the front garden.
Look at this little show off! 
Country hollyhocks are stretching to the sky in the fairy garden.
Still not speaking to each other, I see.
Guarding the fairy door.

Oh, she came out to have a swing on a hollyhock!

 Here's my stack of Gladys.  I think it is beeeeyooootiful.
 Crafty Crow taught me how to make dragonflies.  Another cool project featured of late involves gluing twigs on a can and planting an herb or some such thing inside and then you have a tree!  I'll do it when I get home.  I'll pick up some twigs at the beach.  I think my giveaway will involve things I find in Washington.  Stay tuned.  I'll be gone from my blog until I return to Denver, but I'll be thinking of you as I gather.
 These are beach rocks from one of my past visits.  This is how I bring the beach to my bedside.
 A fun thing about traveling:  little things.  Do you like that part of packing? 
 Tonight I shall walk up these stairs and be in the rich company of my mom and dad.  I shall savor every moment.
 Do you see why?  Aren't they beautiful?
 I shall eat a crab.  I'll take a lot of photos and show you when I return.  I'll miss you.  I'm not going to fiddle around on the computer while I'm away. 
 So, when I get back to my door in a week, I'll have two weeks to love summer before school starts.  Two weeks is a nice long time.
So, bless your heart for checking on me.  Prayers for you.  I'm off to stuff my backpack and handbag.  (BIG HUG!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stuffed Bunting

 I had an idea!  Stuffed bunting!  What do you think?
 I think quilt batting would work well, too.  My flags are pretty fat and lumpy.
Look at the cosmos!  They have taken over the garden.  
 Here's a little rosy red for rosy face YOU.
 Banana bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
Now that I'm finished with the bunting business, I'm going to tidy my drawing table.  I copied this funny girl from The Bohemian Manifesto.  I gave her a paint brush instead of a cigarette.  Smile.
Thank you for popping by for a quick hello!  Be back soon!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Get in the Box, Ann!

 Hi Everyone!  I worked on Ann and her wardrobe yesterday.  I made felt boots with ladybug buttons and they fit!  Hooray!  I used the apron fabric for her bloomers.  They fit, too!  Miraculous!  Her pinafore is made from the fabric I used to make a skirt for my desk at school.  She's a bit mismatched but aren't rag dolls supposed to be a bit hap hazard? 
 When I went back to college ten years ago, I had this Raggedy Ann patch on my backpack.  Now Ann will wear it on her journey to Spokane, Washington. 

 She will need a good stretch when she finally arrives.  I'm always so proud of myself when I mail packages.  I procrastinate and procrastinate.  I'm not sure why.  After mailing this box and two other packages for friends, I thought to myself, "Self, you need to have more giveaways."  I love it when things are in the mail, traveling off to people that matter to me.  So, I'm thinking of a fun giveaway.  Stay tuned.
 Yesterday at dinnertime I was sitting at the kitchen table, drinking tea for my sore throat (still very OUCH!) and looking out at the bird feeder and then back at the pasta cooking on the stove.  I'm so thankful for my stove.  Again, a sturdy and functional little workhorse. 
Aren't these pretty? They are a cross between plums and apricots.  They are very red in the middle and extra tasty.  Summer fruits bless our taste buds, don't they? I might have a melon for breakfast. 
 I drew a summer bug for you.  Look quickly!  She's walking off the page!
 When I hunt around the "Interwebs" for more information about Gladys Taber, I find her Friends website.  I had been considering joining.  Twenty dollars per year buys fantastic newsletters featuring old articles Gladys wrote, recipes, and pictures.  After sending off my check, I heard back within a week.  I received three lovely photographs of Gladys and Stillmeadow first and then yesterday two copies of back newsletters arrived.  Delicious!  Susan Branch blogged about this and she is the one who got me curious about Gladys Taber quite some time ago.  You may want to become a Friend of Gladys Taber, too.  I wish there was a Gladys Taber around today.
Here is a flower for you.  This day lily is robust and bright.  She is pure sunshine in our July garden.  I have a fun idea for a "creative make" today and I will show you tomorrow.  Have a calm and happy day, please.  I am going to think about free stuff like bird song and fresh air.  I find contentment one of the most satisfying feelings.  When I look at my old stuff and still like it, I feel relieved and grateful.  I'm thankful for the ribs we'll have for dinner and the possibility of banana bread baking.  Summer is humming a very kind song to me. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Some Love

 Debbie at Artful Aspirations gave me permission to print one of her photographs.  You may have seen the smaller picture of what I did with it, on my sidebar.  The light coming through the church windows reminded me of a post I wrote a couple of years ago. I'd thought I'd share the words again.

I welcome you to this little church in the country. Wear your favorite casual clothes, plan on finding someone here who looks at you with love and motions you to come sit by them. Smell the coffee brewing and be assured that someone made your favorite ginger snaps and filled the creamer with real half and half. Be prepared when someone who loves you comes up behind you and rubs your shoulders, humanly trying to soothe your cares away. Look within the tattered song book and find that your favorite joyful songs are marked and if you want to, you are welcome to remain seated while we sing, finding your holy moment as you hear the songs of praise. Look around you and notice accepting hearts and spirits. Collect smiles. Do you see Grandma Eloise to the left, knitting on her lap, blissful expression of thankfulness on her soft, lined face? She prayed for you on Tuesday when the Lord brought you to mind. In front of her is Tom. He was up with the birds, fishing in the creek, when the Holy Spirit visited his heart and drew him here, where people try to love. And the pastor, he's got a scruffy beard and wears a soft flannel shirt. His eyes crinkle as he lifts a child up to light a candle. He prayed for you, too. He prayed for you on his morning walk as he fingered his tattered Moleskine notebook, always in his pocket, at the ready to document his thoughts and concerns for this diverse little group of Jesus followers. Jane, the mother of five children and wife of the country doctor, slides in next to you. "Can you join us for lunch after the service? The children have been asking after you. We're having tuna sandwiches, fruit salad and brownies. Does that sound good?" She reaches for your hand, gives it a soft and welcoming squeeze, and quietly returns to her row of well-loved offspring. The gentle tinkle of the old piano fills the air, everyone in attendance scoots together, closer to the aisle, faces expectantly looking at the cross on the wall, knowing and feeling the mercy bestowed upon them, recognizing that they are home. YOU are one of them.
Isn't that just as the Body of Christ can be?  People leaning in.  People bravely giving the most vulnerable pieces of their souls to each other.  Amen.

 I am home from my delightful time with three of my precious ones.  I have a really sore throat so I am going to stay quiet today.  I have a lot of teacher thinking and reading I should do.
 I've been knitting with New Zealand yarn, using this book.  It's rhythmic and soothing; circular needles (wooden) click, click, clicking with good wool from my favorite animal.  Oh, I do love sheep.

 My Kelli is a gift giver.  She found this lovely Mexican pottery and brought it home in her suitcase.  Isn't it warm, bright, and inviting?

 Poor Ann.  She's waiting around for her apron and her bloomers.  She is looking forward to meeting Johanna, her new little girl.  I'll take pictures when Ann is decked out in her new outfit and ready to fly to Washington. 
 Yesterday after dinner, we were sitting outside on Kelli's porch, waiting for Uncle Joe to bring Mommy and Daddy home.  As I held Millie Rose, she kept looking up at me, smiling  and nuzzling.  Isn't that what we do?  We look up and express our desire to be loved.  And we are greatly loved.  Oh, that we would unabashedly seek love instead of approval.  Babies do it.  Babies are smart.
Peace to you, friend.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tired Granny

 Hi from Grandma Land!  I am limping along (and THRILLED that the mama and the papa are relaxing on the beach) as we try to stay happy and distracted at home.  I have spit up all over my clothes.  I'm finally caught up with the laundry.  The dog has decided that I am his favorite person in the house right now and follows me from room to room.  The fuzzy noise of three baby monitors sort of drives me crazy.  The cat sleeps with me and licks me.  Don't really like that.  On the sunny side:  dressing girls and combing their hair is fun!  Millie is a happy camper and not old enough for sibling rivalry.  The girls like my cooking.  Grandpa is a BIG help.  I've always liked playing with the garden hose and we've been having fun in the back yard.

Hotdogs at our house tonight, followed by baths.  We'll go back to their house for bed and tomorrow we'll shine up the house for Mommy and Daddy's return (well, we'll vacuum up some dog hair).  I miss you!

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Picked These For You

 "To stand by the beds and see the flowers awake is a heavenly delight."  Celia Thaxter
 "Art must take reality by surprise."  ~ Francoise Sagan

 Our washing machine died.  She was a good old girl.  Twenty years ago, I bought the cheapest and simplest washing machine I could find, carted it home in the family mini-van, and resumed the loads of laundry produced by a family of six.  I like bare bones appliances, so now we have a simple youngster in our laundry room, already chugging away.  It reminds me of a passage in one of my all-time favorite novels:
"At the back of the kitchen an archway led into what had probably been  a small scullery.  This too was stone-floored, and here stood a number of shining white electrical appliances.  A dishwasher, a clothes washer, a tall refrigerator, and a huge chest deep-freeze.  At the far end, a half-glassed door led directly out into the little garden.   By the door, in country fashion, stood a pair of rubber boots and a wooden tub of gardening tools.  An ancient raincoat and a battered felt hat hung from the hook."  September by Rosamunde Pilcher

I'll have to grow accustomed to this machine's sounds.  Our old one sounded like a NASA launch.  Bill and I both like to peg out the wash.  This day, with robust sunshine, will dry our sheets in no time.  
I've been reading Winston Churchill, A Life.  Fascinating.  I woke up in the wee hours to read more.  I like reading about man's restructuring of government, vision that helps the greater good, negotiations and rhetoric.  Two fascinating films about Churchill are The Gathering Storm and Into the StormGigi at Firefly Cottage told me about The Gathering Storm.  She also featured A Shine of Rainbows.  I love the color and the sea in this film.  Gigi has great taste in movies!  
I am keeping myself quite busy with knitting and reading.  In a few days, I am going to Kelli's house to stay with the three princesses, so she and Bryan can go to Cancun.  Bill will help.  I'll be tired.  I am looking forward to cuddling with Millie Rose.  She likes me.  We'll have a picnic at the park, catch up the laundry, eat macaroni and cheese and play with dolls.  Fun!
Thank you for stopping by and looking in on me.  
"When we write from experience we harvest our lives."
                                                    ~ Bonnie Goldberg

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Background Music

Hello.  This morning I am listening to Chris Rice's The Living Room Sessions and reading Gladys Taber's Stillmeadow Daybook.  Peaceful.  
Do you like the bird embroidery?  A nice young girl stitched the birds for my mother and father-in-law many years ago.  Handmade gifts.  The best gifts.   

 Yesterday I accomplished a little "deknitting" while watching Lark Rise to Candleford (I know, AGAIN!)  A yellow sweater I had been working on for a few years (gasp!) was not quite right.  I knew all along the pattern and the stitches were not leaning toward sweater success.  It took an hour to unravel the back, the fronts, one sleeve.  I'm not sorry.  Fresh start.

 Here's a little line-up of hospitality.  The granddaughters are drawn to tea cups.  We've experienced a little breakage, thus the mismatched collection. 
 The birds are singing outside.  It's misty.  We've had a lot more rain than we're used to and the earth is thriving.  Yesterday, I walked the trail with a friend and it is so green!  Bill got up in the night to watch a huge thunderstorm.  Nature is so romantic.  Right now, Chris Rice's rendition of "Great is Thy Faithfulness" makes my soul respond, "Yes. Yes. Yes." 
 I have piles of books to read, but I keep popping back into the pages of Anne.  Isn't this a pretty copy?  What an inspiring character Anne is.  She likes beauty, friendship, imaginative freedom, and she embraces all the potential of happiness.  

I believe people are rather starved for attention.  Sometimes we don't believe our story is quite entertaining enough.  Isn't it a gift when we allow those around us to talk and talk and talk as we listen to the cadence of their voice, the chosen words they use to tell their tale?  How long has it been since we've said to someone, "I love to hear you talk."?  I've been thinking about this.  What do you think?
 I made a little collage on a blank page of the Bible I'm doodling in. 

Here's a little Gladys Taber July "talk" for you:
"Summer is so brief, so packed with living, I hate to see each day end.  The long twilights are like separate amethysts strung on a silver chain."
"And the moon is right over my apple tree, and this is July in New England.  The mind makes many journeys, but the heart stays home."
May your heart be comfortable at home.  May someone sit before you today, so you can listen to their voice, hear their story.  May you reap the silent invisible offerings of joy that lodge in your soul-home, girding you up for forever.  Now is good.  Forever is better.