yarn along

Since last week, I have finally cast on Wren’s birthday bunny sweater.  The yoke has a sweet bunny motif and I think she will love it.  Now any time she sees me knitting on something she asks if it’s for her.  She was thrilled when she heard this project finally was for her (though she hasn’t quite figured out the design on it yet and I do hope to keep it a surprise).  I have about a week to finish it and hope I can make it.  The yoke is knitting slowly because it’s fingering weight yarn, and the pattern isn’t intuitive for me and needs constant checking.  Once I’m past the yoke I hope it flies and I’m able to finish it in time.  It is really nice to work on though, giving me lots of spring feels.  All other projects are on hold until this one is done.

I’m nearly done with Lila and am reading it in the evenings.  In my morning reading time I’ve been reading Delighting in the Law of the Lord, which has been so very rich and good thus far.  I bought it a few years ago and never have gotten around to reading it, and now the time is right. I appreciate Barrs as an author and it has been good to read something theological again.  Though I’m coming to this book with my own personal wrestlings, it is remarkable how much it is speaking to our times and the philosophy/worldview of our age and is bringing clarity for me on a lot of what is going on in the world and culture around us.  I highly recommend it!  It is theological without being heady, and is engaging and readable.

What might you be reading and making this week?

xo

a snowy beginning

In the fall a friend told me that the acorn load was particularly heavy which suggested a harsh winter was ahead of us. Isn’t it a wonder how God would orchestrate the operations of nature to ensure that extra food stores are provided when especially needful? He looks after the birds, surely He will look after me.

And so a wonderful snowy winter it has been. If memory serves me well, last winter was crazy mild around here and my snow-loving, Rocky-Mountain-girl heart was aching for a real winter. I remember spring coming upon us suddenly and feeling a bit like we had just skipped ahead. Am I remembering correctly or was that the year prior? I’m not sure now. Last year honestly feels like a strange time warp. Personally, it was one of the hardest years of my life for reasons I can’t share here. Suffice it to say, I felt incredibly disoriented all the year through.

We explored a new-to-us area on New Years, a very beautiful and brutally cold day. The rocky bald at the top was stunning and very similar to the place where Brandon proposed to me some 16 years ago now. I surprised the kids with sparklers which was a fun treat before heading back down. Philippa got very quiet after that and I realized she was crazy cold, but was refusing to put on extra layers she had with her. I think she may have been mildly hypothermic because after bundling her and requiring her to wear Brandon’s coat, she perked back up and was herself again. These sorts of excursions into the quiet and empty spaces of nature calm and reorient my soul in ways I’ll never quite be able to articulate. I suspect if you read along here, you might know what I mean. We were made for creation, and creation was made for us. It speaks endlessly to us of our Creator and His character. He uses it as an avenue to restore our souls and commune with us.

The rest of the snowy pictures are from two separate snow days, one in January and one earlier this month. There have been a lot of other days with flurries too, and it has truly blessed my soul. My heart sometimes need to see the landscape made new and soft and bright with snow. We have enjoyed snowy walks, snowball fights, and the kids have found a special fort in the bamboo “forest” nearby that really comes to life when the bamboo is bent over with the weight of snow.

Though I never really feel hurried about winter ending, I do feel like this year may be the first time I’m getting ancy for that warming soil smell and the excitement of seeing new life sprouting up around us again. Gardening has really changed my enjoyment of the warmer months that I typically just endure. Today the children and I went for a walk at a favorite park and nature area though the temp was somewhere around 29 degrees. We don’t go walking there as often in the wintertime but it was still beautiful and hearkened to me of memories of warmer days. Still, I plan to savor whatever is left of winter that I can.

So this new year has been off to a gentle start. We have mostly been carrying on as normal with our homeschool, co-op, and music lessons, and the normalcy has been a gift. Brandon had shingles a few weeks ago and that was brutal to watch him undergo, but he rode it out with the toughness and endurance typical of him. We celebrated his birthday early February and now preparing for Wren’s birthday coming very soon. Any good ideas for a girl’s third birthday? I have a few ideas but need to get cracking on it. I hope January and February have been sweet months for you, and for all the parts that maybe haven’t been sweet, that you have known the comfort of the Spirit.

yarn along

I have been working on a few gift knits lately, and have gifted them so now I can share about them. 🙂 I knit a lopi sweater for my mom called Stonewood. I think it looks great on her, sometime I’ll have to get a picture of her wearing it. I also finished knitting some 3×1 rib socks for my sister-in-law for her recent birthday. Sock projects are always on my needles now because it is good knitting for days that we are at homeschool co-op or whenever we’re out on the go really. Also there’s just something so enjoyable to me about knitting socks. I’m working on a pair for Noah, just another simple 3×1 rib pair (my favorite to knit lately) knit out of Patons Kroy. I’ve been itching to knit some crunkle socks and cast those on a few days ago for myself in yarn from Little Lionhead Knits. Her dye job is always fantastic and this colorway makes me think of spring. The pattern is really fun to knit! More engaging than a plain vanilla sock but easy enough to need a very low level of concentration. The repeat of the pattern keeps me moving onto the next row, so they’re knitting up quickly. Wren’s birthday is coming quickly and I haven’t even cast on her sweater yet, so I’m making a mental note to get on that in the next couple of days.

I finished reading My Connemara and enjoyed getting to know the Sandburg family more. I’ve since been reading Lila and am enjoying it more than Home and Gilead, even though I have liked each book in the series.

Do feel free to share with me what you may be reading or making lately.

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yarn along

I have a couple gift items on my needles so my Morchella cardigan has been on hold for a little bit, though I have finished knitting/shaping the two fronts and am now knitting the back panel. The combo of the rustic feel of the yarn, it’s deep rusty red color, and the mindlessness of the knit make it such a satisfying knit to work on when I need something easy and soothing. Knitting is truly such a gift, such a comfort to me in the quiet pockets of my day and I’m very grateful for it. I guess at this rate I will finish this cardigan on the cusp of spring when I no longer have need of it, but as usual, I seem to do a lot of my winter knitting during the spring and summer months when I’m not busy with birthday and Christmas knitting. Speaking of, Wren’s birthday is coming up fast and I need to get started on her birthday sweater stat! I’m planning a sweater with a color work yoke that has a bunny motif. I think she will love it!

The kids and I have been reading The Bronze Bow as our evening read aloud. During morning reading time we’ve been reading Hattie Big Sky, and recently finished Calico Captive, so it was time for something geared a little more toward our male audience. Phoebe was complaining about starting The Bronze Bow and said she didn’t think it would be of any interest, but after the first chapter everyone was hooked. Most evenings after dinner and baths are done, I (or sometimes Brandon) read aloud while they color or do something quiet with their hands (play cars, knit, etc.). Even though by that point of the day I am beyond weary of using my voice, it is worthwhile because it is such a sweet time that I think we all look forward.

I picked up My Connemara to read since we often visit the Carl Sandburg home near where we live for hiking the trails or visiting with the goats in the warmer months. It has been a charming and quick read, written by his granddaughter sharing about what it was like growing up on the farm. I’ve really enjoyed it for my own quiet reading escape before bed. I had to return The Song of the Lark to the library and was very nearly done with it, I may need to recheck it out to finish. I wasn’t terribly enjoying it but I think I need to know how it ends. Have any of you read it? Thoughts?

What are you reading or making lately? I love to hear from you guys, feel free to share if you want!

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catching up on Christmas

Hello!  

I didn’t mean to be away from this space for so long.  I have continually struggled to find time and energy to post lately.  I hope you can bear with me as I try to catch up on sharing a little of our Christmas day with you.  The best surprise of Christmas was waking up to snow!  If memory serves me well, the last white Christmas we had was when we brought Phoebe home from the hospital 10 years ago.  Our Christmas morning was sweet and always a little chaotic too, as children try to contain their excitement.  As I looked back over these photos, it made me smile seeing how they enjoyed one another.  We bought a book for each child and one toy item, as well as stocking stuffers.  We focused a bit more on family gifts this year, gifting them all a slackline kit, a special bird feeder that hopefully brings the birds a bit closer to our view, a rubbery road set to add to our trains/blocks collection, and a couple of puzzles. Everything was well loved.  I gave Brandon a drone, and he gifted me a sweater’s quantity of the loveliest rusty red yarn to knit a sweater I’ve had my eye on.  It was a treat to have some time to knit Christmas afternoon after all the children trotted off to add their toys to their rooms or take them outside to play.  

The Christmas season seemed to fly by even more so this year, a year where it seemed everyone wanted to hold onto it as long as possible.  We still have a few fairy lights and bottle brush trees around our house to brighten the bleakness of winter.  We have much to be grateful for even despite the tumultuous year behind us.

yarn along

Christmas season came and went in such a hurry it seems. I still have photos to share about our holiday season, but am finding it hard to make time to get on here and do so. I received a sweater’s quantity of peace fleece DK in the color way “sheplova mushroom” to knit a morchella cardigan. I watched for it on Christmas day and cast on sometime around then. I want this cardigan in my wardrobe so badly, and thought it would be more of a product knit versus a process knit, anticipating it would knit slowly and be a bit tedious. However I have been so, so enjoying the process of knitting this sweater. I can’t quite explain it. It’s just the only thing I want to work on and there’s something deeply comforting in returning to it at the beginnings of endings of my days. It’s familiar, easy, and such a long bit of knitting, yet the excitement to have the finished piece moves me continually forward. These are strange times we find ourselves in, and I must say I have been battling a lot of discouragement. Life for me lately is pared back down to the basics and my words feel few and also terribly small and unimportant, especially in the wider world of the internet. Maybe it’s a bit of an existential crisis. From what I gather, I think many of us are struggling a bit right now. I am finding grounding in the scriptures, in quiet spaces, in observing nature around me and spending time in it, in my knitting, in the company of trusted friends and loved ones.

I’m slowly making my way through Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark. I am mostly enjoying it, and am curious to see where the story goes, but I feel like I’m reading it very slowly. Have you read it? If so, what did you think? Some fiction has definitely been a welcome reprieve in the evening before bed.

How are you? Are you reading good books, making things with your hands?

Sending love to you today, friends, and trusting that the Light can overcome the darkness any one of us may be facing.

xo
Martha

finally, ten

Finally, ten years old. For a girl who can’t wait to grow up, this birthday has long been anticipated. Though I share in her joy and celebration for sure, this momma also feels the surprise and hint of sorrow that comes with realizing how quickly ten years have gone by and how quickly this firstborn of mine is changing and becoming a little lady. This girl has inspired and shaped so much of my journey as a mother, as firstborns often do. God couldn’t have given a better gift to us those ten years ago on the day before Christmas Eve in that early morning snowfall. God couldn’t have set apart a better kiddo for paving the way. She is strong, incredibly joyful, vivacious, enthusiastic, positive, resilient, determined, compassionate. She loves everyone easily and generously. She forgives quickly. She has a huge passion for learning and exploring, and her own sweet faith in God is growing and continually encourages and challenges me.

I would venture to guess there are few who enjoy a party and presents as much as Phoebe does, so her special day was much anticipated. She was excited and happy over every gift as you can see in the pictures. She received from us some horse backing riding pants and boots, her birthday sweater which I knit, a new dress for her Kaya doll, a book, a new breyer horseback rider for her collection, as well as a couple gifts from family. I especially enjoyed seeing the other children wrap up favorite stuffed animals and toys in their blankets and present them to Phoebe as gifts. We also surprised her with a riding lesson at the same stable where she participated in horse camp this past summer. Everyone enjoyed the outing to the stable and visiting with the horses, and I was reminded that one’s area of interest enriches all of our lives. Later that night we had cake and sang happy birthday and marveled over this little ray of light. What an endless source of delight to us she is.

noah is 8

This year the kids requested having their birthday gifts hidden around the house for them to find. It was really fun for all! Noah received some new carhartt bib coveralls, his knitted birthday sweater from me, the book My Side of the Mountain, and a couple awesome gifts from grandparents. We also gave him a Bruder John Deere tractor he’s had his eye on for some time. Probably the most special gifts were the handmade rifle and pistol Brandon made for him, though. He inscribed each gun with a scripture. Noah’s favorite song is Psalm 46 by Shane and Shane and without remembering that, Brandon happened to pick a portion of Psalm 46 to inscribe on the rifle. It was a sweet moment. He will treasure those guns for sure!

Noah requested that we go for a hike to see some waterfalls, and it was so good for us all to be out in nature for a bit. The waterfall pictured is High Falls at Dupont State Park. Only moments into our hike Noah fell hard and hurt his knee, and we almost turned back but he decided to try and keep going. It was peaceful, quiet, chilly and lovely in the woods. We left there and drove over to a favorite pottery place that does an open house in December where you can pick out a free cup and enjoy cider. Then back home to make the birthday boy’s dinner request: pizza. His cake this year wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped it be, but I did manage to make some semblance of a fish on it with candy and sprinkles I happened to have on hand. I think he loved it. 🙂

Noah, as daddy often says to you, you’re a good man. And you are! Kind and strong, tenderhearted and sweet. You care so sweetly for your sisters. Sometimes its hard to be the only boy but you carry it well. You’ve grown up a lot this year and we’re so proud of you, your hard work, diligence in school, love for reading, your excitement about nature and love for exploring. Thank you for all your eagerness to work and help, thank you for your laughter and energy, and the way you invite us to play. It is easy to celebrate you! Happy birthday, son. You are so loved. May you continue to grow in your love for God as you journey through this next year!

December festivities

Forgive me while I catch up here on all the December happenings! It feels like I haven’t had a free day at home to do so all month. Today is the day before Phoebe’s birthday and I have wrapped all gifts and plan to make her birthday dessert today so that tomorrow can be a little less stressful.

The first two weeks of December were busy with wrapping up our last bits of school before taking a nice long break. Phoebe’s choir had a Christmas concert (done safely with social distancing and masks where needed) and it was something special to hear their beautiful voices and various girls’ instruments after such a year of isolation. A few days later Noah and Phoebe had a piano recital, their first one in person after a zoom spring recital. What a good experience for them to play their pieces in front of a (small) audience! My camera was acting up and I didn’t get many photos of Noah playing sadly.

The first weekend of December I threw a very small joint birthday party for Noah and Phoebe. Not one to usually do parties, I’m so glad we did. It was very sweet for them to have three of their close friends over (that we already regularly see). Phoebe wanted to have an American doll tea party, and I wonder if this might be the last year she is into dolls? She did all of the setup, made little place cards and assigned seats, while I prepared a few little snacks for the girls to enjoy. I think it was really fun! Meanwhile, Brandon met Noah’s friends at a nearby mini golf course and they played a round of mini golf together and had cupcakes there. I was bummed to not be able to be there, but the point was to give the kids some time with their friends and there was no other way to make two parties happen this month! I’m pretty pleased with how it all went.

Meanwhile, Brandon and I have started just a small update on our tiny master bathroom. We haven’t done anything to it since buying the home three years ago and it is quite an eyesore. I will share better “before and after” pictures once we finish this first phase of updating (these are all “before”). We hope to eventually remodel the bathroom entirely, but in the meantime I had a can of paint leftover from painting our front door and I felt that it would make a big difference just to repaint the wall above the tile in bathroom, change the mirror and light fixture and vanity. It’s going slowly because theres just not much time this month for working on it, so for now our bedroom is in a bit of a state of disarray. I don’t mind so much because it is so exciting to see improvements!

It has been good to have quieter, simpler days at home, free time to do crafts or adventures and stay in our pajamas all day. I’m still hoping to make some Christmas cookies together and get to organizing some closets and our school room before our break is over. Tomorrow is Phoebe’s birthday and I still need to share photos from Noah’s birthday. Busy, busy. If I don’t post before then, I pray your Christmas season is merry and bright, rich in love, peaceful, pierced with a particular joy that comes from slowing down, savoring God’s good gifts. I pray you can gather with a loved one or two and that whomever you spend Christmas with, you enjoy the gift of each other’s presence.

yarn along

Both Phoebe’s and Noah’s birthday sweaters were miraculously finished in time, even with what has felt like very minimal knitting time. Noah loved his sweater which is always a joy! Phoebe’s sweater finished blocking yesterday and I wrapped it up last night for her birthday tomorrow. There’s always a great sense of relief when the gift knitting is done. I had hoped to have Phoebe’s socks and horse mittens done, as well as a hat for each of the kiddos for Christmas but none of that will be happening. I’ll continue to work on those projects and gift them as they’re finished. I did cast on one ribbed hat a few days ago for some easy mindless knitting. My plan is to knit a few of these 2×2 ribbed hats for our basket of hats and mittens by the door for anyone to grab because they all love wearing my ribbed hat so much.

Last night I picked my stoker shawl back up and it was nice to re-familiarize myself with it. These last days of the year always feel very overwhelming for me trying to get all the things done, birthdays planned and executed, etc. It was good to just have a project to pick up that was well under way and not to need the mental energy to cast on a new object.

I’m nearing the end of Cry of the Soul and this morning began reading Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortland. I listened to the free 14-day devotional from this book on Spotify and knew then that I needed to read the book in its entirety.

Thanks for reading along as I share my current makes + reads, and feel free to share with me what you are working on creating and reading.
xo