Thursday, April 26, 2012

for professor gillis

She needs mismatched socks for her mismatched shoes.
She just doesn't know it yet.

In just two Wednesdays she'll receive her surprise.
Perhaps she'll think of purple grapes.

* pattern by: Sarah Wilson
* yarn: Malabrigo "rayon vert"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

second chances

In 1999, my father went to Brazil to fetch my brother- following the completion of a two-year mission he had served for his church. On the day they were to return to the US, only hours before driving to the airport, they were mugged on the beach.  No serious injuries were sustained; however, this experience left them understandably shaken for a few days afterwards.

So when my dad sent me this video in an email and explained that this had happened in Brazil, my initial thoughts returned to the mugging incident and oh no- what has happened there now? ran through my head.  Happily, I had jumped to the wrong conclusion.


It's funny how fear can color the lenses we use to view our world.  How our experiences often create fences of security which communicate what is safe and what is dangerous.  And while I'm not opposed to a certain amount of precaution taken to minimize the risks of new adventures, I do wonder about how often we limit ourselves for safety sake; whether those fences go around the perimeter of our heart or our own physical space.  Either way, we're still fenced in.

My dad has taught me a lot of really important lessons throughout my life, and I'm sure there are still more to come.  This one in particular taught the obvious- that mankind has the capacity to love and provide aid without a moments notice.  And the other was not so obvious, but was reinforced, nonetheless.

Thanks, Dad.

Monday, April 9, 2012

mr. ninja's picks- seeing red

The day had been one of those grueling days that felt like all work and no play- which it was, actually.  Mr. Ninja had plowed through his addition facts; he'd made good progress with his copy work, and he had painstakingly sounded out the words in his Mennonite primer, First Steps- the little pink book that doesn't have any people drawn in-just the items that are used in the stories.
What we needed was some down-time from his studies, something simple.

The routine changes once the kids start learning how to read.  When our sons were much younger, I attended a homeschool conference in which one of the instructors emphasized the importance of reading aloud to our children.  At the time, I was baffled by her need to instruct us on this simple pleasure, considering that the good majority of us had probably started reading to our kids from the time they were only little rumbles in womb.  And that's when she touched on her point- that even our teenagers need to be read to.

I must confess, though that little lesson made a lot of sense back then,  I haven't been very good at following through with it- now that we have teenagers in our home.  My reasons are valid enough; we have varying interests, it's difficult to get through several pages without interruptions, and we don't have a lot of time.  Heck, when the school year gets marching along, it's so easy to get wrapped up in the demands of the curriculum and portfolios needing to be filled, that before you know it, reading just turns into something that's simply assigned to my children, instead of enjoyed with them.

So, on that particularly grueling afternoon, I remembered to read to Mr. Ninja.  Peeking in, Mr. Cook asked if he could listen to the story too, and within minutes the three of us were happily situated on the back porch, giggling to Roald Dahl's very thin and illustrated sixty-two page book, The Magic Finger.

The story is about a precocious eight-year-old who runs into a bit of trouble when her temper flares and she starts seeing red; with good reason, of course.  Her finger is magic and once she points at the person who vexed her; well, terrible, disfiguring things begin to happen. But I'm not going to be writing what or why- only that you'll be sure to enjoy this classic along with the lucky child who gets to hear it.

Speaking of red, I've been seeing a lot of the color lately as I've been finishing up this very fun, free pattern by Sarah Wilson, Jekyll and Hyde socks.  For the life of me, I can't seem to remember the name of the yarn I purchased, but I'm pretty sure that it was Knit Picks, Gypsy.  The pattern consists of right and left twists that are easy to do (Sarah provides instructions for the technique) and the pattern itself is simple enough to memorize, so you can make progress quickly.  Come winter, these babies will be keeping the toes plenty warm.

For now, I'd better head upstairs and put on my listening cap.  Mr. Reporter has just finished his story about an orphan who has super powers- sounds like it's going to be a good one.


* All photos were taken by Mr. Tailor.  Thanks, kid- I'm now officially coveting your camera lens.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

dyeing them up

The fantasy was to spend an afternoon playing in the kitchen with my helpful and enthusiastic children as we experimented with food as our dyeing agents for Easter eggs.  

I had two recipes to work from and I had mistakenly thought that I could combine the two 
(after considering that one of the recipes was rather vague) and still have good results.

That was my hypothesis.

However, after spending at least two hours in the kitchen- alone, I decided (in a last ditch effort to get the elusive sky blue I'd been hoping for) to stick to just one of the recipes.

And after a night's rest, I awoke to discover the sweet sight of success.

from top left: red onion skins, red cabbage (janice cole's recipe), red cabbage
middle row from left: coffee grounds, cranberries, red cabbage
bottom row from left: yellow onion skins, turmeric for the last two eggs.

To get your own successful results with natural Easter egg dyeing, minus all the needless experimentation, visit Janice Cole's blog here.