Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Something new

I took out the squares we crocheted last spring, when the grandmothers were visiting.  Last year I started to crochet them together, and it took so long that I stopped.  This weekend I tried to simply sew some of the blocks together using a whip stitch.  It took almost one tenth of the time, completely justifying undoing the previous attempt to make them into a blanket and re-doing it.

In the end there will be ten rows of  seven squares each. I have now completed seven rows.  In other words, 49 down, 21 to go.  When I have joined all 70 squares, I will crochet a neutral border around them to make the blanket a little bigger. Then I will phone my mother and and mother in law, to let them know that it is finally done.  They have been asking, and I did promise to finish it.

The book is from the library.  I love crochet, but many of the things people crochet should not be displayed in public.  Granny square blankets are safe, granny square coats/jackets/vests are hideous.  (My amigurumi nativity is pushing the boundaries.)  This book's projects are mostly safe, and some of them I love and would love to make.  But I do not crochet half as well as I knit, so I will return the book, finish the blanket, and move on to my next new obsession:

iPhone photography.

I don't know how I should feel about iPhone pictures, or sharing them.  A part of me thinks - that is strange, taking pictures and sharing them.  On the other hand, they look far more like the pictures I have in my head of what I saw than the pictures I take with my camera, if that makes any sense.  My iPhone makes it possible for me to take photos and share them immediately. Or after a little tweaking.  I love it, it is addictive.

This picture above was taken with my iPhone, using the Hipstamatic App.  People often apologize for phone pictures on blogs, but I think you can take fine pictures if you use the right shortcuts.  I bought two books: iPhone Photography, and iPhone Photography: 35 Apps for Great Pictures.  Together they have improved the quality of the snapshots I have taken with my new iPhone, well, I don't know, significantly.  (I also bought a tiny tripod for my iPhone, which is perhaps taking it a bit too far.)  I have scanned the books, will have to go back and read them more carefully, but I must confess - I never thought I would like an iPhone, but this is my best new toy ever.  And I do not even use it to phone anyone.

Apart from all this, I am still reading Jesus of Nazareth.  I have just completed the discussion of the Lord's Prayer, and am now reading about the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Joining Ginny once again for Yarn Along. I finally moved the button to my sidebar - hurrah!

(Whatever Martinus had last week was contagious, and Christian did, as I feared he would, follow in his brother's footsteps. Thankfully they are both much better now, and just a little thinner.)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Joining with Leila & co over at Like Mother Like Daughter


Violas.  They keep on blooming, so lovely. Still adding to the garden, thanks to "The Language of Flowers".


I think I have been asking Jean for 4 years now to just draw one picture of a house, or anything other than a tank or a dinosaur or a galactic colossus.  Martinus, much better but a little unstable today, was in tears:  he could not remember how to draw windows on a house.  His sweet older brother stopped his math lesson (very generous of him...) to demonstrate the drawing of a house.  Finally, now I know what he will draw if ever a psychologist should ask him to draw a house.

 You need to hear the hollering and shouting to understand - Martinus is in there.  It was not serious, nor dangerous, he wanted to be in there and went down slowly and carefully. But then he wanted out.  And the other three wanted to launch a rescue attempt in style, and did not want me to simply tip over the pipe...

Unscathed, if a little unsettled. 

Oh, there is the lid...
The rule is that lids are not toys. But honestly, I simply cannot feel serious enough about lids - they are mine, and kitchen utensils, and yes, they have other toys, but they make such great shields...  I guess I will be washing spiderwebs and soil off  lids for a couple of years to come.

So there, it can be done. Contentment, in everyday life! Sometimes I wonder if this could be everyday life, we have so much to be grateful for, surely it must be more than just everyday life? (And other days, I think, surely everyday life cannot be this hard.  On those days I usually do not blog. Hehe.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What I did on my 37th birthday

One of the little ones was sick - at first I though he just wanted to snuggle on the couch and read a book, but then his eyelids grew heavy and his cheeks and lips became just too rosy...A very restless night involving a lot of laundry followed.

So this morning I gave the bigger ones instructions, and tried to sit with him as much as possible.  We watched Wall E.  (I love the part where they splash the robot next to the pool!) The other one slowed down, now and again, to offer him moral support. Luckily he is not sick... I know, not yet. But although they do everything together, they do not always fall ill at the same time.

I went to the dentist.  That wasn't very pleasant.

I talked to my sister for an hour. Her cat is having kittens!

And: I got a new iPhone from my dear husband. I do not keep up with them, but he says mine is better than his, I can see that he really wants one like mine. Happy day, I can now browse ravelry patterns all day long! I can also find myself once I get lost, which happens more often than you would think.

We had dinner as a family.  I guess that is about that. Just the way I like it.

I have been disorganized and have not blogged as much as I hoped to.  Today I want to join yarn along with Ginny, although I have not been knitting very inspiring things.  I have been experimenting with my yarn, I am so happy to be back with my stash.  I knit the beginning of a Pi shawl, and frogged it because I did not have enough yarn.  But I loved the feeling of knitting a Pi shawl.  And with the same yarn, I crocheted half a baby jacket.  Turns out you cannot finish much with 50g of Debbie Bliss cashmerino, but I know now that the yarn would work should I ever have enough on hand.  I am actually knitting Das Tuchle with baby alpaca yarn, and it feels lovely, but it isn't  pretty. I might add a crochet border to make up for the monotony.  (I love the instructions:  Now you repeat this row as long as you want or if you have only not much yarn left.) I may make more shawls like this one, I have some beautiful Koigu and Madelinetosh Sock Yarn in my stash... I may also just frog it and start something new - honestly, if I carry on like this I may never spend money on yarn again. Hopefully not, the alpaca feels wonderful and I discovered that I like wearing shawls.

The book I am reading, on the other hand, is very inspiring.  Jesus of Nasareth by Joseph Ratzinger, or, Pope Benedict XVI.  It is dense and rich, I am both reading it and listening to it, and most passages I listen to more than once. Even though I worship in a protestant denomination, reading this convinces me that the schism isn't that deep.  This book is beautifully written, and I will be studying it throughout Lent.

And now I will go to bed before the boy starts to wake up again.  Hopefully the worst is behind us.
Happy yarn along, y'all!

Friday, February 1, 2013


I am glad our house is a  little house,
not too tall nor too wide:
I am glad the hovering butterflies
feel free to come inside.
~ from Song for a Little House, by Christopher Morley

(Except, in Texas, it is the crawling tarantulas and scorpions that feel so at home...)

It is good to be home, again. In one short week we have seen most of our dear friends, we have shared meals and whole afternoons.  The suitcases are empty but everything have not found it's place yet, and the laundry is already starting to well up, but I have more peace than I have had in a long time.

And I am not referring to our busy vacation, I am referring to the past four years: the excruciating, unexpected pain of the initial amputation and later, the gnawing feeling that it might have been a wee bit rash to pack up and move so far away.  Struggling with strange flavors, the heat, the cold, missing social cues, sticking out and not fitting in, anywhere. Without any family, and not sure whether or not we had friends.

 But now we know that we are not the only ones.  We are not alone. (At the very least we have our cat.  He is still alive, fat and happy.)  We love our family, our family loves us, and we will remain intact.  We will see them, at greater than regular intervals, but they will be a part of our lives. And we were missed.  And it is so good to come back and be hugged once again.

In about 3 or 4 months we will move away from this little house, and into a bigger house.  In the mean time I planted flowers because I read "The Language of Flowers", and because it helps to keep me focused here. And also because it is so incredibly dreary outside.

I planted Persian Buttercups (Renuculus Asiaticus).  According to my book, they could mean: " You are radiant with charms".  I also planted Lantana, just because they are a weed back home and it amuses me to carefully transplant and water a plant I have known as a weed for most of my life.

Really, it feels like planting dandelions.

I planted some vegetables too: broccoli (haha), cabbage (hahaha) and lettuce. At least broccoli and cabbage are green, and I will eat them, even though no one else will.

Isn't it amazing how lettuce grow when it is cold?  I feel sorry for them every time I water them. Luckily it is not that cold, we had a couple of warm days, actually. (Up to 80 degrees F).  But the last three nights it had been near freezing. I planted the lettuce because I eat lettuce, every day.  I also want to have a reason to go outside, I want the boys to see me work outside, in the garden, growing things that we eventually eat (not that they really eat lettuce either, truth be told).  Hopefully, when we move to our new locating in May, I will have the self discipline to have a big garden, and spend many hours outside with the children tending vegetables they do eat, like cucumber and tomatoes.

Homeschooling is back on track. I devised a new system of 8 "pomedoros" a day, and we are getting to at least 7 of them, regularly.  The twins are learning to write their capital letters, and they know the first 20 sight words (probably by heart).  Suddenly they want to draw and write, and they love doing mazes while the big children work.

And now it is February.  For me, it is really the start of a new year, and the start of our real life in Texas.  I feel settled in, despite knowing we will soon move.  And I think I may love chili with salsa and guacamole as much as I love boerewors...