Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Gnomes and Elf Slippers

Since I packed away all the Autumn decorations, including the gnomes, I made some Christmas gnomes last night for the children to play with. They are so tiny, about 2 inches tall without their hats. The girls braids are made of embroidery floss braided.
Today I finished up the elf slippers for Yen, they are so simple to make, the very same pattern my mother used to make slippers for me when I was a child. Just knit a square and sew up the bottom and halfway up one side, fold over the top and you have a pair of slippers. I put bells on the toes of Yens and even though I sewed them on very very well, we are not going to let him get his feet near his mouth !
Love this time of the year, so many fun things to make for the holidays.

The Beauty of the Day

The sun is hanging low in the western sky, the world around me is ablaze with the golden hues of the late afternoon sun. I just now went out to gather eggs and was taken aback by the beauty of the sun and shadows falling on the nest box closest to the hen house door. Golden rays, 18 karat at least, were cast over three perfect brown eggs, snuggled in the hay. The kitten under my feet meowed at me for her food, the cold winds are blowing today and I am sure she needed some fuel to help her stay warm, but at this moment in time, I was caught in the spell of the beauty of the setting sun. Mittens would just have to wait a minute for her food...I needed to soak in every aspect of this speck of time. A simple moment, but it felt Holy.
We so often don't take time to be outside during this part of the day, which is a bit sad. Right now, our leaves are turning color. Not the reds, oranges and yellows of New England that I grew up with, but still in their own right, there is beauty in them. There is still a telling of a story each fall as the leaves dry and catch the November winds, being tossed about as if they were part of natures ticker tape parade. I am thankful for windows free from curtains, just clean glass window panes letting the outside shine in, and allowing me to see the transformation from day to night, summer to fall and fall to winter. The cedar window frames that Emery made seem to come alive in the late afternoon sun. The rich grain, taking on more color, the knots bolder, yet natural and soothing. This is my favorite part of the day in November. The dropping temperature tells me its time to build a fire in the stove and put the kettle on for a cup of tea.
And soon, the love of my life will walk through the door, his work day done. He will grab a kiss from me, ask about my day and call me his "gal". Life is good, especially when we take the time to see that.

Monday, November 29, 2010

More of The Homestead Heritage Craft Fair

Emery and I went back to the fair on Sunday to see what it was like on the last day. It was less crowded, but certainly there was less to buy as so many things had sold on Friday and Saturday.
A friend of mine that is part of the community there told me there was about 7,000 visitors on Friday and then about the same on Saturday .
Here are a few photos from Sundays visit. The little basket was made by a 5 year old boy in the community....extraordinary !
The first photo was taken from the car on the way home, it just felt like the sky was saying , "day is done."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Homestead Quilts

Remember, these were all made by the children and young people of the community ! Amazing work

Homestead Heritage Craft Fair Weekend

Homestead Heritage Craft Fair has been a highlight of the year for us for many years now, nearing two decades actually.
I love to walk the paths past the craft booths, smell the wholesome food cooking, watch the demonstrations of rope making, spinning, weaving, quilting, pottery, soap making, work horses plow the field, and see the animals. Its nice for me to see an entire community live like I do in so many ways. Yes, its true, I know how to do many of the things they demonstrate, but there is a silent bond that is formed with these folk as they do the same crafts of old that I love so dearly.
Melanie and Mei-Ling came with us and Mei had a wonderful time, not a plastic toy in sight but she played and played, with rocks, and with tiny sticks. She loved seeing all the animals and eating home made ice cream and seeing all the pretty quilts and dolls. She enjoyed playing with Papa on the bench, while her mother and I shopped. The air was crisp and wintry, but we were dressed for it. It felt festive and the hot cider and warm apple cider doughnut tasted extra good.
Its wonderful to realize that all the crafts made at this fair are made by the children and young people of the community. The workmanship is superb. Done with care to every detail.
It is a place that refreshes my soul year after year.

More pictures to come !

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Joy

The table was full, each chair filled with a friend or loved one. We missed having Casi dine with us but he had to work. He came later and enjoyed a plate of food after work. We missed having Melissa and James here, but talked to them on the phone just before we ate.
There was turkey, maple butternut squash, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, New England corn pudding, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and angle biscuits, warm from the oven. Pies for dessert, piled high with fresh whipped cream. It didn't seem to matter that it was cold outside, the house was toasty warm from having the oven going all morning long. After we ate, the children played, babies got passed around with delight and we all sat back feeling very thankful for the bountiful meal and the many blessings in our lives. Melanie cleaned up the kitchen, washing all the dishes from the meal...I was so thankful for her help.
Life is good, and I feel very thankful for all the good in my life !

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Preparations

Most of my day was spent in the kitchen, except for a short time when Melanie, the children and I went to Seven Sisters Bake Shop to pick up two Apple pies and two pumpkin rolls. It was a lovely day for a ride in the country. Both children fell sound asleep in the car. Yen on the way there, and Mei-Ling on the way home.
My day started early, making stuffing for the turkey, and thanks to my dear daughter Melissa, I was once again able to make it with Bell Seasoning, a New England must for stuffing. She was kind enough to send me some. I made the sweet potatoes, the green beans, and our favorite
New England Corn pudding, Tonight I made the pumpkin pies and had a workout cutting up two big butternut squash. There is a big pot of them on the stove right now, simmering in maple syrup. In the morning I will roast the turkey, cook the potatoes and make some angel biscuits. If I have time I will fry up some parsnips too. We eat such a typical Yankee meal every Thanksgiving. I love traditions for the holidays, even though it means a lot of cooking goes on for a couple days. Our table will be full of family and friends, but we will all miss not having Melissa and James here with us. Vermont seems so far away at times.
Its time for me to finish up my work and head to bed. A good nights sleep is in order for the busy day tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Real Eye Opener for Me

Today I came across a man who shared with me that his mother was wanting to move into his home, he sighed before he said the next part of the sentence. He said his wife wanted his mother to live on the property, but not in their house. I nodded, as if to understand. He then said, he didn't really want her to move in either. She was in his words, "very opinionated.". I thought about this after the conversation ended, and had a moment of conviction like I had never had before. I was that kind of mother too, opinionated. If I were my children, I would not want me to move in either. Immediately a couple things raced through my mind, first was a book I had read many years ago, a sweet Mennonite story book published by Rod and Staff. "A Home For Grandma" by Joyce Miller. Its a sweet story of how three generations get along in one home. I remember how the grandmother was just simply a sweet woman. Kind, loving and gentle and quiet, just like the verse in 1 Peter 3:3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
I have read those verses hundreds of times, always agreeing with them, but never quite getting them to be a real part of my life, not the quiet part for sure. I have lots of opinions, lots of things to say because I am just sure nothing would get done if I didn't say this or that, or at least that is how I have seen it in the past. I am not advocating having no opinions for myself, but at least share them in a way that is not confrontational. An example....I have always had STRONG opinions on politics and ethical behavior. If its right its right and if its not, its not ! I was raised to be able to stand my ground on all matters, debating and going for the win always. Well, life has taught me, its just not always a case of black and white and people can have their own ideas and concepts without me having to convert everyone to my way of thinking, even when it comes to what I believe the Bible is saying. Of course many of us pick and choose verses to back up what we believe, without using verses like 1 James 3 as a foundation for how we share our words !
I am not enjoying writing this post because I know putting these thoughts out here for the world to see, is going to put me in a place where I NEED to change the kind of woman I am. Humility will have to replace my some times arrogant attitude. I am not planning on becoming a mouse in the corner, but I am going to change my need to ensure everyone knows just how I feel about this or that matter. I am also going to lay off political conversation. Its divisive for so many reasons. I am also going to let go of trying to push my thinking onto others. If they want to believe this or that and I think its crazy, well those thoughts of mine do not need to be shared. I am guessing this would cut down on talking about others a great deal. Practically eliminate gossip. I am feisty, sad thing is, I used to be proud of that. I am not sure descriptive words like feisty or opinionated are the words that will make us the kind of woman that would be a blessing and not a curse to our children at any point of life, but certainly not at the time when we are feeling as if we need our children's help in our golden years.
There is nothing delightful in having an obsessive compulsive type of personality either, or the kind of woman that has no thoughts of her own or that sways in the wind of change easily. We need to be standing firm on the right foundation of what godly womanhood is. A strength of character that is so full of love and kindness, where boldness is never for anything other than holy.
A serious question to ask ourselves might be, are we the kind of person that we would want to come live with us? At this point...I have some work to do on myself.
I am thankful for the lessons that God gives to us through every day life that help us see where we need to grow in our spiritual life.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Morning Ramble

It's warm out this morning, so warm that I broke out in sweat as I was stacking wood. But a change is on the horizon, colder weather is coming our way. Cold for Thanksgiving, wind chills may be in the 20's. With the coming cold, it feels good to have some wood stacked up close to the house, rather than having to trek all the way out to the woodshed every day.
We have a family of squirrels that I have gotten to know. Momma squirrel has a very long tail, and a split in one ear. I call her, Mrs Long Tail and she is the most industrious creature. Always chasing her little ones, there are two as far as I can tell, or she is gathering acorns and pecans to bury all over our land. She squawks at me as I come close, and chatters loudly as if to warn me that she is far too busy for any social calls. I love watching them, but refrain from feeding them.
Today, it seemed we were working in the same area with the same motive, preparing for winter. Wondering about the old wives tale, that you can tell what kind of winter to expect by the bushy-ness of a squirrels tail, it looks like we going to have just a mild winter. I love winter, so that sort of disappoints me.
We still have roses in bloom, many of them actually, but they are blooming on bushes that have fewer leaves and that look a bit straggly.
There is wash hanging on the line, bed linens and curtains, flying in the autumn wind like sails on a ship. Makes me smile just to watch them from the kitchen window. The last batch of laundry soap I made is peppermint scented, since I used some of my peppermint home made soap in it.
Its a nice scent for cooler weather. Makes you think of candy canes.
The little dolls are coming together, this morning I made the bodies for the little baby dolls for Yen and Victoria, one pink and one blue. The heads are nearly done. Tiny treasures for real treasures. Little dolls that are perfect to sleep with, stuffed with wool that takes on the warmth of the child and becomes warm itself.
This holiday season I am committed to making all the presents for the little ones. Children are surrounded by plastic these days, rather sad actually.
Much to do today, so I had best get to work. It is a day of joyful work, and I go about it with a happy heart.

A New Year

It is a silent sort of morning, sitting next to the wood stove in my rocker, watching the birds outside my windo...