Friday, December 30, 2011

Tea Time

Happy New Year! It is such fun to goof off during the holidays. The past day or so I've been using up my precious scraps of Cascade 220 Superwash Paints Yarn making a tea mitten for my new Brown Betty tea pot. Colors: Juniper Berries and Celtic which are mixes of blue-greens and greens, are perfect for a cheery morning cuppa.

Antique buttons from my dear friend Moke's Aunt Helen's button stash were the perfect finishing touch.

With such a charming way to start the day, who could resist? I hope to host many friends for tea in the coming year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why You Didn't Get a Christmas Present From Me

This year we knew Christmas was going to be tight because of the house that didn't rent when we left Virginia. But I realized that soon enough to make a lot of presents. The first one I made in August. Here are all the things I made. And even though I made more than I've ever made for Christmas before, I didn't get anything made for anyone outside the family, with the exception of the two pairs of fingerless gloves my friend Shikila from Bible study paid me to make. I even neglected my letter writing. If you didn't hear from me, here's why: see the culmination of my Christmas knitting below.
 Socks for Mumsy

Matching Fingerless Gloves

Kaleidoscope fingerless gloves for Shikila's daughter

Cafe Au Lait fingerless gloves for Shikila

Little Sister socks

Big Sister Socks

Arm warmers for the Pres

Cousin Anne's fingerless gloves

Dad's socks

And finally, a hat for the Pres. 

Phew! That's a lot of work, including the painting and story for Fidget. It was a good year. Happily, I received Christmas money and my favorite online shop,, is having a sale. So I will have to set my sights higher for next Christmas. And maybe if I start now, I can keep up with my letter writing too- so watch your mailbox. And happy new year!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Joy Along the Way

Christmas greetings to those near and far! The season is going too quickly for my liking this year. Fidget and I returned from our quick trip to Virginia delivering and varnishing paintings. Now we are both sick. Ahhhh! But there's so much to do...

This is just the time to stop and think about what Christmas is all about. Time for a walk along shore, admiring gardens and bowers along the way, finding broken pottery and pretty shells and remembering that Jesus came at Christmas time not to give us an unending list of things to scurry around doing; but to rest in Him, and His finished work when He died on the cross and rose again for our sins. 

May your Christmas be truly merry- not just the day, but may you have joy in your heart and anticipation in the days that lead up to it. If the question is of squeezing one more thing in or having time to relax with a cup of tea and meditate on God's wonders, I hope you will do the latter. May God bless you as you seek Him amidst the bustle of the season.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Work in Progress

Here's a quick view of Sakonnet, the house boat my clients lived on for the first 15 years of their marriage. Since I painted their house this spring, this will complete their collection. I am eager to finish and deliver it to them in Norfolk. Fidget and I don't have any gifts to bring but we hope to deliver Christmas spirit aplenty.

It is such a blessing that I have gotten to do this painting. The photo wasn't sent to me until I had completely given up on receiving it. I had so wanted to earn Christmas money this fall. With this and the painting of our neighbor Christie's niece Avery, there is plenty of money for gifts and to help with the mortgage for River's Edge, which remains vacant. God is good!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Knitted Gifts

I don't know how a month has gone by since my last post. But I have been busy working on Christmas gifts, so I will share a couple. If you are Cousin Anne, stop reading now before your present is spoiled. :) I am pretty sure Cousin Anne has no interest in this blog, but just to be sure, I had to say it.

A month or so ago the Pres asked for knitted arm warmers. I was making a pair of socks and he said the arm warmers would need much smaller stitches. I was a bit surprised, since I was using a size 1 needle at the moment. But I ordered a size 00 set of circular needles and had him pick his yarn. This Opal yarn was the gift of a friend who needed to make room in her yarn stash, bless her. The Pres picked two skeins from the ones I showed him, that way I was sure I would not run out, as I am not a great judge of how much yarn is ever in a ball. I just finished the arm warmers (loosely using this pattern on knitting site Ravelry as a guide) and have laid them out to block them after soaking them. Blue is not an especially favorite color of his but I think he was pleased with how they looked as they came along. Now he's agreed to forget about them by Christmas. He's a good egg.

Here is my latest project (the large pin midway is only there temporarily, so I can measure the second glove against it as I knit to be sure I come out with an even pair). This is right side out, where you can see a lot of the knit stitches. If it is worn inside out, it is a lot loopier and fuzzier, which is lots of fun as a fashion statement. These fingerless gloves will be for Cousin Anne. She, I realized recently, is the only girl in the family for whom I have not made any gloves yet. Last Christmas I made her a scarf out of the same color yarn and just found the second skein stashed away last week. Perfect! Here is the scarf from last Christmas:

I love the variations in this Farmhouse Yarn, Trixie's Loopy Mohair. I hope to get more at Knit Wits in Virginia Beach on my next trip down.

It is such fun making presents, thinking about loved ones' hobbies and preferences. My hope in giving these things is that they will be useful as well as reminders to these loved ones throughout the year that they are loved. Jesus' love for us is a year-round love, after all.

That's all I can share of my Christmas workshop for now. What are you making this season?

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Secret for Remembering that Anything is Possible

Fidget has gotten into photography lately. When she is out of film she uses my digital camera. Which is nice because we can delete a lot. She has taken to making videos of her 'kids'. She's into superheroes too. So yesterday after Bible study she borrowed the camera while I was making lunch. She said  she was doing family portraits.

But that's just Pooh Bear, I said. No, she said, it's a family portrait of Pooh Bear and Silky! 

And this is her new superhero, Blue Diamond. I love her spelling. At this age I just so love to see her creativity coming out, so I don't want to correct her all the time. If I did I'm sure I could discourage her very easily. She often leaves out vowels and word endings. We do work on those things at school. But being a kid is about being creative. I want to foster that and I want her to remember that when she grows up she was always encouraged to create. 

Here is the painting I'm making her for Christmas, from my favorite photo of her at the nearby topiary gardens. I work on it after she's in bed every night. When it's finished, I'm going to start writing the story that goes with it. I can't wait until it's Christmas and I get to give them to her. One look should be all it takes anytime she needs reminding that with imagination, anything is possible!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus Day Cavorting

The Pres and I had work to do this morning. I'm getting near the end of the oil portrait but the more I do, the more I see that needs done. The Pres was experiencing the same thing in his work. Clearly it was time for a change of pace. After a couple of games of yard baseball with Fidget, we set off riding our bikes and had lunch in town at an ancient diner. This afternoon we went looking for low tide at Brenton Point State Park. But there are public access water spots all along the road leading there, so we stopped at plenty. We even found a little bit of pottery! This piece has 'CO' on it. I'm not sure that it's really old but it was intriguing. Of course I kept it.

I can't get over the vibrant greens in the water plants. It is such a good feeling to walk among them and to feel them swish your feet as the tide sways them to and fro. 

 But they are also slippery!

So, it was Columbus Day and Christopher Columbus was the last thing on our minds. But the same God who called him across the water is still leading us today.

Tomorrow, it's back to work. The Pres and Fidget are back to school, and I'm back to wrestling with the painting. But since God has called us to this life, there's no place we'd rather be. I'll put the latest picture of the painting here. I don't know if anyone else can see the progress but it makes me happy to share it. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


 Hello and happy fall from Harbor View! I have some soup simmering and just a little bit of time to knit or drop a line. I love this time of year. Something about the cold is invigorating. And there is still plenty of time to consider making things for friends and family members for Christmas. As long as I have a minute I'll show you a secret Christmas project. I know it doesn't look like much yet. If it did, I couldn't show it here. I am partial to greens, but even so, isn't this yarn pretty?

Here is last year's secret project: holiday-theme quilted place mats with matching napkins! Christmas ornaments, stars, geometric designs, holly and peppermint sticks mixed and matched to make cheerful place settings for everyone in the family, and even some friends who didn't expect a gift.

I tried to keep one side Christmasy and the other side vaguely wintry. That way they can be used all winter. I had seen a place mat sort of like this on a wall at the local quilt shop and thought I'd try it for Christmas. They had only one pocket for the napkin, but I put two. When you have two though, you end up using them for the silverware and there napkin has to go on the plate or on the side.  

They're shown on our glass-topped dining room table, made from an old door from a slave cabin in Orangeburg, SC. The Pres made the table when we moved to Virginia three years ago; Fidget's former teacher at Beaufort Montessori and her husband gave us several special old doors when we left, and this one was our favorite. The table was perfect for our new dining room. We'd never had a dining room- or a dining room table. I love the look of all the layers of paint partially sanded under the glass.

I love being able to make things for loved ones. We are pretty low budget around here. But that doesn't mean handmade gifts can't be as special, or even more special in some instances, as store bought items. Another thing I want to make is a painting of this little scene for Fidget for Christmas. I have such a great story idea in my head. I'd love to give Fidget the painting with its own story! I think that would be a most memorable gift.What are you making this season?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Work in Progress

I am sick this week and we have gone on a field trip to a glass-blowing studio. But I thought I'd still show what I am working on at home. This is a portrait of our Va neighbor Christie's niece. It isn't where I'd like it yet but I trust it is headed in the right direction.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cape Cod

Joan and Eddie have been gone almost a week already and I still haven't caught up showing the lovely scenes we witnessed together. We have been catching up on school work and hanging out with the Pres.  These pictures are from our time with Joan and Eddie on Cape Cod last Saturday. 

It was a little cool out, but we still saw a few people beachcombing when we did. I was surprised to see the grasses growing right out to the water. It was so pretty. There were not many shells, but we did find a few old pottery shards. I was amazed! We didn't stay long, as there was so much to see elsewhere.

These are artist shacks in Hyannis Port, a little greenway right past the docks, as you can tell by the boats in the background. Artists rent these shacks and are open on the weekends working in these studios and selling their wares.

It turned into a beautiful day and we saw lots of boats, but most were motor boats, as compared with the hundreds of sailboats we see daily in Newport. We took a tour boat right out of the port and for a little over an hour we heard local history and saw points of interest on the coast. The boat we were on was 101 years old. I didn't get a picture of it, naturally.

While we were on Cape Cod we shopped and sampled at the local brewery (and didn't bring any beer home since it was still early in the day and were told the beer would spoil in the car), toured the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory, and stopped at artist Peter Coes' yard sale and studio. We passed cranberry bogs and made a mental note to come back during the harvest.

 This weekend there is an arts festival here in town but we have been frequenting our low tide haunts instead of buying art work. The things we find are free, and sometimes very exciting! This morning after his devotions, Eddie sent me a verse for the newsletter that I think is perfect for today...

Proverbs 24: 3-4  "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."