January 30, 2017
Now that we are nearly at Midwinter, the weather has finally taken notice. The temps have dropped, and we are expecting a couple of inches of snow overnight. For the most part, this season has been eerily mild. Still, I find myself in the strange place of having the winter blahs and a strong urge for spring cleaning. I would love to throw open all of the windows and let the fresh air and energy in. We all could use a good dose of sunshine right now.
Midwinter also nearly marks the halfway point in our homeschooling year. Yesterday afternoon, I found myself rummaging through the books, evaluating the plan, and feeling a bit stressed. I wasn't ready to leap into another week of lessons feeling so unsure of the path, so we are taking a little break so I can get some things sorted.
I am also unsure of where I want to go with my knitting now that the sweater is finished. I've been browsing my favorite craft blogs looking for inspiration. In the meantime, I've been working through my Craftsy embroidery class, finishing the second of five panels. It is a good thing I'm not really into floral motifs. My lazy daisies could use some serious work.
Cynar is finishing up his training tomorrow, and will be moving fully into his new position later in the week. I'm not really sure where the days are headed for the two of us at home. It was so nice to have the day off from school today. We definitely needed the break. Lessons lately have felt a bit tedious, for both of us. By Friday we are both sick of the whole thing. We need a new approach. So I guess these next couple of days will be about figuring out how to get through this second half of winter, anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring.
January 25, 2017
Inspired by Cynar's fierce crafting confidence, I brashly dove into a full-on sweater project without any circular knitting experience at all. I expected a mess, so I chose an inexpensive yarn, not wanting to invest in high end fiber for a garment that will never leave my house. In truth, I really don't love this yarn, but it seems comfy and will be great for working out in the yard in the spring and fall months.
Pattern: Easy Raglan V-Neck by Stephanie Japel
Yarn: Big Twist Premium in Raven from JoAnn's
Notes: This seemed like a fairly straight-forward basic sweater pattern. I was a bit confused by some of the sleeve directions, but I couldn't find any notes about it online, so maybe it was just my newbie ignorance. I am not a huge fan of the ribbing (especially the knitting of ribbing on little sleeve ends) so I would shorten the ribbing sections if there is a second iteration. Also, it is a little long for me in the torso, so I would need to leave off a little there. All things considered, it's a decent pattern with a lot of potential.
All in all, I am glad I did it and am glad it is finished!
Joining Yarn Along
January 20, 2017
It is still unusually warm here for the time of year, feeling more like early spring than midwinter. Instead of inches of snow on the ground, we have cool rains bringing in the precipitation. I can't help but wonder how this will effect this year's garden. Still, I am counting my days until this month has passed and the light will return.
With Cynar starting training for his new position, we've been battling the exhaustion of a schedule shift. As predicted though, the added structure has been a positive thing for all of us. Once Cynar is out of the door for the day, we hit the books. For a good part of the day my dining table looks like a library exploded all over it, not a problem I mind having. We've been able to make great progress with lessons after a rocky start back, at least until today. As the week has worn on, Astrid's mind has come to spend less time in lessons and more time in Middle Earth. I can sympathize. We are all very ready for the weekend.
One benefit of the new schedule is open time between lessons and dinner. Of course, this is the time for chores and errands, but it is much more enjoyable with craft in hand. My sweater was set aside for the week so I couldn't ruin it in my zombie tiredness. Instead I started working with my Craftsy embroidery course, with thoughts on the possibility of adding runes, symbols and trim to some future project. I honestly don't have anything specific in mind, but want to have the ability to work with it when inspiration strikes, another tool in the creative toolbox.
For us, this weekend is set aside for celebration. My midwinter baby is turning twelve! It is so hard to believe that she has been a part of our lives for so long, and yet it is as though she was always here. We are so different, her and I, and it challenges me. When I step back though, and think about who we all are, I can see how much I have learned from her, how much her presence has influenced me. Her fearlessly creative nature and elaborate imagination have nudged me in so many new directions. She lives in a beautiful and impossible world, all wrapped up in her mind. We seem to be balanced opposites. She lifts me up into unseen realms, and I attempt to ground her in reality. I find myself wondering who she is becoming.
Sometimes I wonder who I am becoming.
January 15, 2017
"...the Ten of Cups is a card of happy families and deep love and respect for all..."
In some ways this Sunday was unremarkable. Another cold winter day; an early morning and time spent with Cynar's family. A simple lunch with loved ones, full of lively conversation. A sleepy afternoon for relaxing at home, with no worries. An evening of light work, preparing for the start of a new week.
This is where things got a little different. Though today was a fairly ordinary Sunday, our Monday will be unique. Cynar is starting his new job tomorrow. The first of many early mornings getting him off to work, and then beginning our school day, just Astrid and I. It may seem very mundane, but it is special in that it is our first day playing our parts as a traditional nuclear family.... dad off to work, mom at home with the kid(s).
This is not a place I ever imagined to find myself. Nor did I ever really want to find myself here. As a child of the 90's, my ears rung with the good news that I could be anything I wanted (!!), and I couldn't understand why anyone would want to just be a stay-at-home mom. Who in their right mind would want to spent their whole day cleaning and chasing after screaming, snot-covered germ factories?! No, thank you.
But now, finding myself on the threshold, looking out over what lies ahead, I can see that it is so much more than that. It is so much more complicated than that...a convoluted maze of give and take. I support him so that he can support me. Yet another paradox. It is simultaneously selfish and selfless. The best things in life seem to be this way. Sometimes life sends you the thing you didn't know you were looking for.
January 10, 2017
"One is simultaneously circle, center, and the purest tone."
The winds are howling tonight, the air warm and wet. The streets of this suburbia are full of slush and grime. We are settled in now, me cozy and happy with dry socks and a fleece robe. A little orange oil in my candle diffuser brings cheer to the atmosphere. It was a sloppy, grey day. Inches of snow melting and topped with rain, which is bound to freeze tonight in the wee hours.
Since the time I entered adulthood, January has always been my least favorite month. The dark, cold, snowy days just drag on for me. Everything feels like molasses. Since Cynar isn't into moving any time soon, my only recourse is distraction. Typically this involves books, crafts, and seed catalogs. Today I managed with two of the three, plus a little shopping, and a Dragon Egg activity for Astrid at the library.
...and in those books I've found yet another new (old?) draw for 2017 in the art and science of mathematics. Delving into Saxon with Astrid has reminded me of my love for the subject, which is somehow logical and creative, simple and complex, finite and infinite. If you view it from the perspective of the Quadrivium, it can even be philosophic in nature. I expect this also will find its way into my Craft.
My mother is having surgery tomorrow, followed by a full moon and then Friday the 13th. Even if you aren't superstitious, you'd agree that the next few days will be unpredictable for all of us. This whole month is really in flux for us with the surgery, Astrid starting back at homeschool fellowship, and Cynar getting set up for the new job. The end of the month will probably look very different from the beginning, and lead us into a very different kind of year.
It's one I cannot help but look forward to.
January 5, 2017
Now that the year-end holidays have passed and the frigid winter air has arrived, we have been relaxing and staying warm at home as much as we can. My plan for the day was to snuggle up on the couch with some sweater knitting while Astrid was out visiting Nana. When Cynar suggested we might try some birthday shopping for our little Aquarian child, I knew I had to pivot.
He wanted to visit a local art supply shop, and I was intrigued. I have never really considered myself the artsy type (whatever that is), but over the past few months I have been experiencing synchronicity suggesting that I look in that direction. I've started doodling again, like I used to in high school. It's therapeutic, like those mandala coloring books. Just pen to paper with no specific plan.
This place was fantastic! It is just a little shop, but we managed to spend nearly two hours browsing the aisles, picking up supplies for a gift project, and playing. With everything. By the time we left I was covered in graphite, ink, colored pencil, and pastels. There may have been charcoal on my face. ...and then there was the paper! Oh, the paper! Cynar said I really was like a kid in a candy store.
I can definitely see myself trying to incorporate this into my crafting somehow. Maybe drawing my own embroidery designs? Or simply picking up a new hobby, getting messy with art supplies. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?