Holding Butterflies

Not too tight, not too loose

The Gift Closet

I am a world-class procrastinator, and I am terrible at coming up with presents on a given date, for example CHRISTMAS. This is a lethal combination and leads to a lot of heartburn. I think I’ve come up with a pretty good solution and thought someone else might benefit from it: the Gift Closet! The Gift Closet sounds magical, but it really isn’t. I’ve just realized in the past few months that this is a real thing for me and not just a weird habit of stockpiling. Here are some kinds of things I keep in there: Cute or interesting items I find when we travel. (For example the lovely cashmere fingerless gloves I bought in Shanghai, or woolens from London.) Great “gifty” items I buy in bulk when they are marked down on sites like Joss & Main–some gorgeous French candles are a great example of those. I’ve pilfered a couple of them but they are so pretty I’m sure it is okay! Handknits that I make for the.. Read More

Setting my goals

See that plate? The fact that it is even in my house, much less actually on the bookshelf properly displayed, is thanks to my setting goals for 2014. At the end of last year I decided that I needed to take a hard look at what I wanted to do. I have a big, busy family and way too many interests of my own. I needed to have some priorities. I needed goals. Enter Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever program. Introduced last year, it’s a five-day video course on setting and (importantly) actually achieving them. It was the first time I had ever made a list of anything more than resolutions that were put aside by January 15. I ended up setting seven goals for the year. Some of the goals had several parts but it was all tied together. Limiting the number of goals was one of Michael’s points. Too many, and you can’t focus. One thing I didn’t do was share my goals with anyone except Bill. That.. Read More

A little knitting, a little reading

Linking up with Ginny’s Wednesday Yarn Along link party. I’m knitting a little, as always, and reading! I read an actual book! Here’s my latest on the needles: It’s the Cafe Au Lait Tam, out of the most beautiful blue beaded Tilli Thomas Flurries yarn. I don’t even know if they still make it! It is such a lovely merino, really almost a roving with a string of glass beads alongside. I still think I want this hat even though Paige is convinced that it will be hers! I just finished this: Magical, indeed! I cannot wait to write more about this book. Marie has a disarming, charming style and just makes you want to start putting your things in order. Confession time: my sewing room is a nightmare, and I have a room downstairs that is virtually unusable because of JUNK. I am looking forward to implementing her ideas and reclaiming my space. I can’t recommend the book as a how-to just yet, because I haven’t “tidied up” yet… Read More

Five-minute prompt: Prepare

I discovered “Five-Minute Fridays” back when I was doing the 31-days blog challenge. The prompt, just one word, is posted and then I write about that word for five minutes. (I even set a timer!) Well, it isn’t Friday, but I did think I’d hop in with this. Maybe it will make you think about Advent and preparations. The word:  PREPARE I saw this week’s work and immediately thought of Advent, that season that is supposed to be so full of reflection and peace but is more often (at least for me( frantic and stressful. Something I heard in the Daily  Audio Bible readings this week had me thinking about Advent, too. Here we are in the season of preparation, because that’s what Advent is. We prepare for the arrival of the Christ-child, God made flesh. We prepare our homes and hearts as we remember the Baby’s arrival. And then the church calendar has us off and running through Jesus’ life, so that somehow four months or so after we.. Read More

Truth? Lies? And writing is not easy.

Writing clearly and succinctly is very hard. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar. I have another post drafted, but it had gotten too long and ponderous. Then I saw this posted at Maggie’s Farm today. It comes close to the point I had been trying to make. It’s this: The UVA gang-rape scandal, which turns out to be at a minimum mostly untrue, and possibly completely false, has put that school into a turmoil and dominated media time in the past few weeks. The “fact” of the rape, not the fabrication, is what has been taking up the attention. There are a couple of other college rapes that have added fuel to the fire, even though they might be false, too. The accused in all these cases are young white men. A couple of months ago a horrific story came out in the UK. In the small town of Rotherham, there was a ring of Pakistini men raping and enslaving English girls. Fourteen hundred of them over twenty years… Read More

Horsey update.

November was a whirlwind, with not one but two horse shows, including their first recognized show. Let me explain: the girls do a kind of riding called Eventing (or 3-day eventing). It’s an English discipline, really more like a triathlon for horses. In the short format there are three events that make up the competition; they are dressage, stadium jumping and cross-country jumping. If you mess up enough in one event, you get eliminated from the entire competition, so one of our goals is always to finish! The “recognized” show just means that the show is sanctioned by the United States Eventing Association, and the riders can accumulate points on the way to awards and eligibility for championships. Until last month we had only been to “schooling” shows, which are intended as practice for the recognized shows, a place to make mistakes or try moving up a level with the stakes a little lower. You still get ribbons, but they are smaller, and you also don’t get points or eligibility.. Read More

Cookie Day! And the best brownie recipe ever.

What a welcome surprise. I found myself with an entire day–no kidding–in which everything that I had scheduled fell through. In other words, an empty calendar. And an empty house for the morning. A Christmas miracle. So I put my time to good, high-calorie, high-fat use and made Christmas cookies! Last year I may have made one batch of Christmas cookies, and possibly one pan of special Christmas brownies, so this was a real coup. Spritz and the brownies are must-haves. I also made molasses cookies from Bill’s Grandma Helen’s recipe, and tried new recipes for lemon drops and vanilla icebox cookies. A little something for everyone. I did get some help–Paige came home mid-morning and she was kind enough to make the brownies. They turned out great. My only complaint is that she cut them too big! They are so dense that I like them not much bigger than the pecan half on top, like a piece of fudge. She said that was entirely too small, and made them.. Read More

Creative Accounting, 12/3

Here we go, a summary of the (more) creative things I’ve been working on since the last time I posted a “Creative Accounting” back on October 20. Those pillows? Done! I like them, don’t love them, because I think they are too small. But I loved making the patches and think they would make a great quilt. I do love the colors and prints together, even though they may look too busy to some eyes. I’m a sucker for AMH prints. In my last post I mentioned an Alabama Chanin patch I was sewing. Here is a skirt panel I’ve finished the reverse applique´on. The other three panels don’t have as much embellishing and so they should be straightforward to put together. (The AMH Lemon Drop tunic? Dead in the water right now!) Bippity boppity boo:  I finished this fairy godmother robe for Paige in two looooong evenings of work. It started with 18 yards of sparkle satin! The longest steps were the cutting at the beginning and hemming at.. Read More

Hurtling into December

That picture was from Christmas 2004. Nothing like a ten-year-old snapshot to give me a little perspective! “I’m going to slow down this year, do less, and enjoy the season.” Have you ever said this to yourself right around Thanksgiving? I do. Every year! I’m certain I said it back in 2004, and I think I’ve said it a couple of times this year. I’m not sure how it happens but every year it seems like it doesn’t happen, in spite of my best efforts. We were crazy-busy or out of town over Thanksgiving (at a wonderful horse show–I’ll post on that soon) and we arrived home late Sunday. Not only were there no Christmas decorations up, I still had a refrigerator full of Thanksgiving leftovers we’d barely been able to enjoy, and I was behind on just regular living activities, even grocery shopping! I have now succeeded in getting the Thanksgiving/fall things put away, but I don’t even have our Advent calendar up, and it is December 2. I’m.. Read More

Every day is better than never.

Well, darn. I spent all of October writing faithfully each and every day, and I enjoyed the process. I even decided to keep blogging! But of course, blogging every day is just so, well, extreme.  Who needs to do that? Apparently I do. I found during November that I have a hard time deciding that something is blog-worthy. I overthink things. And then days pass with no post because nothing rises to the level of blog-worthiness. Inertia, in other words. So I’m going to set my blog back in motion because I like that kind of inertia better. I hope I will occasionally write something of interest. I’m looking forward to seeing where I end up! So, tonight I am just waking the blog up after its little nap. I’m off to watch “Elf” with my family and get firmly in the Christmas spirit. See you tomorrow!