More folded star trivets



One magical thing about having been away from my Craft Closet so long is that I have opened it, and found half a dozen really cool projects in the near stages of completion. I give them a spit-shine and they are ready.

I blogged about folded star trivets last winter. I had two more, folded and sewn down, and ready to be backed and bound. Woohoo!






Hygge: Danish. Widely reported to be untranslatable. Means being cozy, happy, in fellowship, in the moment, happy at home.

Snow outside, the smell of apple crisp inside, lit candles and a bottle of wine will do it. Sparks and I sat at the table for over an hour, that evening, while Mimi happily played around us. We got up because it was her bedtime.

If only we could drink a bottle of wine every night…


The beard is here to stay


This spring, just after our trip to Portland, Sparks began to grow a beard.

At first I was humoring him.

Now I am convinced. The beard is here to stay, because I like it, yes I do. Pure extruded testosterone, as he says. Very appropriate for the Pacific Northwest, where we would like to move next summer. Very rugged and all that.

He doesn’t want to wear lumberjack shirts, though.


Love that historical museum







I guess I already wrote a post about our local historical museum, in June. Well, it deserves another. It is great. You know me: I can never get enough log-cabiny goodness.

The building is situated in the middle of a lovely set of ornamental gardens. The building itself is a gem… though their blacksmith shop has unfortunately been under renovation since last spring, and won’t be finished till March (darrrgh). But the basement of the museum is a play room. And Mimi loves it. It’s a great free place to let her play when the weather is too gross for the playground, and we’ve been to the library one… too… many… times.


My favorite place




I went to Lincoln’s New Salem Village three times, this year. Twice in July and once in October. I would like to go there again, some time when there is a light covering of snow, but I don’t know. It is a long drive from our house. Like, going there is an all-day expedition. Mimi is a trooper in the car, though, and she likes to go there, so who knows…

This is a park on the location of New Salem Village, where Abraham Lincoln owned a store in his salad days. In the 1930s the village was re-constructed. There are about 35 log structures on the property, including two stores, a tavern, a woolen mill, a grist mill, a smithy, and many residences and stables.

A horse and a lot of chickens live there permanently, and every day I have been there, several re-enactors have been in various cabins to speak with visitors. They stoke the fires, bake treats, offer to pull teeth, and all the other things you’d expect historical re-enactors to do.

I love it. I’d like to go there by myself, on a low-traffic day, so that I could just sit for a long, long time, and take it in.

I don’t have any illusions about how pleasant life in the 21st century is, but fresh air and cookfires and roughing it are pleasant, too. To dream about. Or to take in small doses.


Chicken of the woods





This last picture included for comparison: real chickens.

Here is one of the interesting things we saw this summer, and which I neglected to blog for you. One day in late July, all of the conditions were suddenly correct for these beautiful, gigantic fungi to pop up out of nowhere.

My mother and I spent the day about a hundred miles from my house, and we saw the stump overgrown with them there. Then we returned home, went out for dinner, and found the cluster of four in a nearby park on the way.

There was family disagreement about the name of these mushrooms. They are either chicken of the woods or hen of the woods. Either way, most people agree that they are edible. My father had an unfortunate experience eating morel mushrooms a couple of years ago, so none of us can be bothered with foraging fungus anymore… still. Imagine what could have been.


Winter came

It came overnight. One day it was still sunny and in the 60s… the next morning we woke to snow.

Not much snow, thankfully. It came down in picturesque individual flakes for most of the day, and bowed itself out in a twenty-minute snow shower of blizzard proportions, just before sunset, which left the roofs white and the lawns frosted. Very pretty.

But it is winter. It was 17F when I woke up this morning. Time to haul out…

The thermals

And the flannels

And the sweaters

And the Cold Weather Accessories.

As you can see, I have a theme for the winter. Black and white and red is serendipitously fashionable the now, but I’m into it because of those darn books I keep writing: red, and tartan, and trapper plaid especially. Yep, I’m still at it… the writing I mean. Still not particularly good at it. Still learning about it, as fast as I can. Still enjoying the heck out of it. I have published a new edition of the first book that is a vast improvement on the original editions. On the day before Thanksgiving, I am committed to publishing the third book in the series. And I have begun the fourth.

They are my “sandbox” novels. I am learning how to write them as I go. Sales are appropriately dismal: I have just about broken even on the copyright fees for the three titles I have published. That’s a self-supporting hobby, though, which is grand. And it stops me from shopping. Much. Well, I shop much less than I used to.