Friday, December 4, 2015

Pretty, happy, funny, real, advent!

I pulled it together and made our prayer place prettier. I cleaned it up. It is simple, but works. We went out in the snow and gathered greens on our morning walk. Well, I did while thhe kids clobbered one another with snowballs. I would like to add some cedars boughs. Sure we can find some soon. I have candles in the roght colors, and a beautiful Christmas candle with mother and child I made last year that will suffice for one more year.
I put the home made animals over by the potted plants (which in itself is a little corner of charm I pulled together in the front window. Potted up herbs before the garden froze!) and little hands moved them back to the prayer place, so somebody really cares about them. Some were broken when friends came to play recently, so maybe we will make a fresh batch?

So happy to be doing an Advent devotion daily! I just love it! The middle son told me this week that he likes our little prayer things, and some children have begun chiming in on the prayers, instead of just reading them. So, I will count that as pure joy and call it happy indeed.
I am also so happy to be using the Charlotte Mason educational methods. This framework of ideas is just the right level of structure for us, and we are beginning to see the fruits of our labors. It is adding up to joyful learning! All the little, humble pieces fit together and become a bigger, beautiful whole.

Eldest said yesterday that he likes seeing people's eyes more, now that it is winter. He said everyone is squinting in the summer. I like that way of thinking of it. Here, in these dark, perhaps drear days, we have our eyes wide open. We are watching. At least until the blinding, icy sunshine of January!

Thinking hard about trying to get the house more ready for hosting holidays. Tumbling it around. We are quite hopitable in certain ways, and not in others. Great in having folks over for special dinners on regular weeks, not for any fanciness at all.
So wondering what is next. I do avoid certain types of work, while embracing others. Taking to simplify more... What can be shed to be more ready? Which are the damp, dreary places that need attention next, and what ruinous corners can we nicen and reclaim, to the glory of god?
I caught a renewed vision for the valor of handwork, order, and the faithful fight against encroaching chaos on our trip in Appalachia. It is a real and difficult work.
Also real: I cannot seem to upload pictures from my tablet to blog. There must be some simple solution, but it has stymied me for the moment.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Satchel for Sketching in real life.

Pretty: Artwork

       Trying to rekindle my art, I read a biography of E. H. Shepard, who drew the original pictures for the Winnie the Pooh books. I was struck by Shepard's life long practice of drawing all the time!  He just drew everywhere!  On whatever he had! On both sides of all kinds of scraps of paper! All the people and exciting happenings and characters around him!

 I'm trying to make my art fit my real life rather than changing my life to accomodate art. 
So---I pulled together my art essentials to make this old satchel a grabbable art kit! The leather bag is military surplus from somewhere in Europe. I've had it since high school.  It's beginning to crack, but I'll use it as long as I can.  The stamp is too faded to read.

All that stuff fits into the satchel, (9.5x8x2.5") which has a shoulder strap.  Pencil, ink, paint; plein art, illustration; I'm ready. 

I've started working more on real watercolor paper.  I don't really want all my sketches to be on the edges of church bulletins and crowded round about with notes about other things.  This sketching is all the art I have time for!  I might as well set myself up to do it in a way that will be satisfying.  This way, if I get a drawing I like, I don't have to tear or cut it out of something, or leave it cloistered in a notebook, or sacrifice whatever is on the back of the page.  I can put it up on the wall, give it away, ink it or paint it.

At the moment, I'm working on a little booklet that will have recipes and instructions for baking bread.  It's for a little class coming up where I pretend I'm a live cooking show for a few friends. 

Happy: a clear work space!
This is my secretary, a piece of furniture that I mildly hate.  It is about as big as our refrigerator, though much less useful. I have thought about painting it.  Fie on faux wood panelling! Most of it is oak, varnished and slightly spattered with stain.  Was the natural oak grain not grainy enough? It's a little too high to actually work at, so I mostly just pile things on it.

I have lately, however, been keeping it straight more of the time! This is a miraculously tiny amount of stuff for this space! There are bottles of ink in that little box.  My parents shop at Trader Joe's a lot, and they just have the best packaging.  I begged the box off of them when they'd finished the chocolate that came in it.

Unfortunately, the second picture of the secretary is the after. When people come over, I panic and pile and stuff.  It was our day to have the whole beautiful little pile of children at our house, and I haven't undone from that.  I did, however, manage to keep up with dishes through the day, and that is something to celebrate!
The whole area is waay better than it used to be. 
See the pencil sharpener?  I screwed it right on to the secretary.  It was mounted in a closet when we bought the house!  What a deal, right?  I'd been looking for one just like this for a long time, and it's great! It sharpens any size pencil.  It does not sharpen crayons.

Gibbie caught us a whole walleye dinner in June, fishing on the St. Croix. We fried them up, for our family plus a couple guests, and were able to offer some seconds!

Funny: The kids love to make a huge mound of bubbles when they do the dishes.  I think Ezra is about to do them here.  That's why he's so happy.  William is mad, even though all he has to do is straighten shoes, the easiest job in the world.   Some people, not mentioning any names, like to blow the bubbles all over the kitchen.

Real: Can't find the kids?  Look up. This is a pear tree, climbed to avoid picking cherries last month.

 I've noticed quite a few people basically don't want kids to climb trees much.  As in, see a kid in a tree, tell them to get down. I'm not sure whether the concern is for the children or the tree, but it doesn't bother me too much.  We do try to avoid trees that are very small!  If the branches are bending down when climbed, let that tree get bigger!
Anyhow, happy summer!