To Amuse and Delight

Monday, December 25, 2017

MerRy ChRistMas

I hope this day finds you all well. Happy, healthy and looking forward to the new year and all it has to offer. We experienced a beautiful Christmas snowfall today. It was so peaceful and still afterward. 
While opening our presents our power and wifi went out. I could really "hear" the quiet. No humming fridge, no clanging radiators, no Christmas tunes, no tree lights.  It didn't matter much to us. We were happy together, opening gifts, chatting and telling each other "This is the best Christmas ever!". We say that every year, and every year we mean it. 

I found a new focus today that I will carry into 2018. I am going sink into the stillness of winter and listen. I will listen to God most importantly, to my husband, to my children, to my friends and to the birds.  I will listen without interrupting, without trying to fix it, without thinking of all the other things I "should" be doing instead of listening. 
I will be still.
Wishing you all 
A Merry Peaceful Christmas. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

When the wind changes.

Greetings! I am back! 
So much has happened since my last post. I will give you the nutshell rendition and slowly peel it away for future posts. First off, we decided to sell our townhouse in April when our already too high taxes were assessed for double. Selling a house is quite a chore. I had to empty it out, it has to be sparse and clean at all times because you never know when an agent will be requesting a viewing or an open house. It sold fairly quickly and we began our search for our next home. 

After viewing many homes, we decided to rent instead of buy. We began to feel strongly that we may not want to buy in NY again. Like Mary Poppins, the winds are changing and we want to be free and flexible to go.
We moved into our wonderful rented home in August. It suits our needs so well, my girls for the first time each have their our rooms. The grounds are beautiful, butting up against woods, lots of big rocks, moss and lichens, which I am crazy about.

During the moving/settling process these things occurred:
My younger daughter was found to be Lyme free!! After a year of unrelenting treatment that was amazing news. (This is a story I must unravel for you in future.)
My older daughter "graduated", finished her homeschooling. 
We had no fridge for a month.
My sister and her son came to stay with us because she has a chronic disease and needed help and care.
Almost every weekend we had out of town visitors sleeping here, before we even had furniture. One airbed...and it leaked.

We don't know where we will end up, but for now Halloween 2017 we are all together and well and happy. The foliage is spectacular. I will introduce myself to my new neighborhood as Mary Poppins tonight. My daughter just informed me that she is going to bake some black pretzels.
Life is good and this is where you will find me...until the wind changes.

 “The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." John 3:8  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hitting 50 with a cold lake & warm knits

Sometimes it's nice to venture out when all other sane creatures seem to be hibernating. Today it was a grey 29 degrees. We braved the cold and headed out for a morning hike. Our most frequently walked trail has become new again now that it's frozen over. The swans, fish, frogs and turtles are gone. At least gone from our view. The place that was bustling with constant motion and sound is now still, quiet and mysterious. 

It gladdened my soul to see these plants sprouting up in the springtime. In summer and fall this weedy shelter was home to tadpoles and fish. This grass is still beautiful, but in a whole new way. Each stage has a magic of it's own. 

My birthday was last week, I hit fifty years.
The current "me" feels very connected to this season of the lake. Partly because I was born this time of year.  But more than that I see I have changed...yet I still remain completely myself. I think even more myself than ever.  I can only describe it as a "truer" me. There is a certain clarity, a peace, even a stillness inside that has come with the years.

I am still knitting away. I just finished this scarf, ribs with random bobbles here and there.
It's a match to this Bobble Hat.

I also made these little hats. Hats are instant gratification fun for me to make. They are the only thing you've got to show off when you are bundled up from chin to boots, which I am these days. Each day I can at least have a bit of fun by popping one of these on my bean.

My daughter came along with me to brave the frigid morning, it was actually her suggestion. She was also grabbing the opportunity to snap some photos in the great outdoors for her online taxidermy scene.
I hope you are all warm and well and taking on this new year with a spring in your step, discovering and creating beauty wherever you find yourself.

Monday, December 12, 2016

palm trees and tumbleweeds

Last weekend I visited my friend Holly in sunny California. She is home taking a break from Cambodia, visiting her family in Cali for the holidays. I don't know when she will be in the states again, so I jumped at the opportunity to spend a few days with her. 
It was funny for me to see all the Christmas decorations amidst the palm trees and flowers. 
I met Holly's friends and family, ate Mexican food and best of all...chased tumbleweeds! I had only seen tumbleweeds in movies, so it was a big deal for me to experience the real thing. It was really windy and they were rolling all over looking like a crazy creatures. I needed my girls to see real tumble weeds too, so I ripped a couple of small fresh ones out of the dry ground and sent them home to them.

Last Christmas my husband gifted me with this decorative critter. When I first opened it I was confused. "Why are you giving me a cow?", was my first reaction. He explained that it is a deer and a very cool deer at that, once you insert branches or flowers for antlers. I have been having fun with it ever since. Oh, the name Milkie comes from the fact that I thought he was a cow. Now Milkie is  looking quite fancy with California tumbleweeds for Christmas.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Loving Fall (and food)

Beautiful isn't it? Autumn, it's the best. We sat on a rock with friends, eating our picnic lunch. This was the scene before us. Winter is rough here in NY, but I don't think I would ever be content to live somewhere without the four seasons. I'm sure there are people who would disagree. I guess it's what you are used to.

The candles are lit. Bringing warmth and light to the table since it's getting dark early these days. Anything left in the fridge is being turned into soup. "Leftover Soup" is always a hit. I can never duplicate Leftover Soup, but I can make an equally tasty new one.

Curries and stews are happening, cosy comfy bowls of warmth. As it gets colder and those beautiful leaves disappear, I put the color on the table. I am a true believer in the effect of beauty and color on our souls. Those gourd candle holders are festive and very simple to make. Just drill the proper size hole and stick your candles in. Bringing natural beauty into the home is easy and very cheap, even free. Grow some gourds (they pretty much grow themselves), pick up some acorns and leaves.

I'll take any excuse to use the oven, it warms up the house. Just like Leftover Soup, crumbles are  popular on my table. Any fruit or fruit combination will work. Frozen, fresh or canned fruits topped with oats, sucanat, butter and flour make for a more cheerful afternoon when that sun starts to go down. The smell of good things baking always lifts up the mood of the home.

I don't bake cookies that often. Just for holidays or special occasion. Halloween kicks off the cookie baking season for me. I'd rather the kids satisfy their sugar urge with home made cookies rather than the artificial candy that will inevitably appear. To color the gray mushrooms and black bats I used activated charcoal, just like my black donuts and black pie

I consider the arrival of Fall a worthy enough occasion to celebrate with friends and fall leaf cookies.
I am feeling happy, warm, and almost ready to take on winter.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Autumn Tea Cosies in the shop

My fingers are cold as I type this. As soon as I'm done I'm running for another cup of hot tea. Yep, it's that time of year again. The Autumn chill is upon us here in NY. I just finished a batch of Fall themed Tea Cosies. Some for my etsy shop
 and some to be sold at Florrie Kaye's Tea Room.

 Storybook Houses make me wonder who may be passing in and out of little doors.  

Of course mushrooms must pop up before the frost comes.

A friend suggested I make some tea cup cosies. I'd never thought of that before, but I gave it a shot. They are pretty cute. I enjoy seeing a couple of these littles on my table even if they are empty. They look like little mushroom houses, bringing a jolly pop of warmth to a chilly day. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Limberlost Tea

A dear friend of mine just finished reading The Girl of The Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. Limberlost, though published in 1909, is timeless.  Porter's obvious love of nature and her wisdom concerning the human heart make it one of my all-time favorite reads.
Yesterday I surprised my friend with a Limberlost Tea. We spent a "kindred spirit" afternoon together rehashing favorite parts.  I set up a Limberlost table scene. The old violin was my grandfather's, handling it always makes me feel grateful to have had such a grandfather. 

If you are familiar with The Girl of the Limberlost, the objects will make sense. If you haven't read Girl of the Limberlost, I hope this tempts you to do just that.

I'll leave with you a few notable quotes from the book.

"To me, it seems the only pleasure in this world worth having is the joy we derive from living for those we love, and those we can help."

"Young people," she said solemnly, "if your studying science and the elements has ever led you to feel that things just happen, kind of evolve by chance, as it were, this sight will be good for you. Maybe earth and air accumulate, but it takes the wisdom of the Almighty God to devise the wing of a moth. If there ever was a miracle, this whole process is one."

“And remember this: What you are lies with you. If you are lazy, and accept your lot, you may live in it. If you are willing to work, you can write your name anywhere you choose, among the only ones who live beyond the grave in this world, the people who write books that help, make exquisite music, carve statues, paint pictures, and work for others.”

"To be patient, to be unselfish, to do unto others as I would have them do to me." "And the oaks?" "They say 'be true,' 'live a clean life,' 'send your soul up here and the winds of the world will teach it what honour achieves.’"