Milestone

My younger son finished high school. I’m done homeschooling. I still can’t believe we homeschooled at all, or that it’s over. In truth, it happened, for better or for worse. I hope it was fine, but, more than anything, it’s done.

I don’t speak often about my sons. Information placed online is available to be used in ways I couldn’t possibly imagine. I feel strongly they should manage their own online presence, that they should decide how to present themselves to the world, and what information they want to make public, if any.

In more naive days, I occasionally shared things they did or said, or feelings I had about our life. At a certain point I realized this was unfair to them.

So, I focus on myself here, and (mostly) post what I’m comfortable releasing into the world about myself.

I think it’s okay to say we closed a chapter, though, yeah?

During this time, I:

  • Read a lot more than I otherwise would have done, including on topics I may have neglected under my usual, non-homeschooling circumstances.
  • Reviewed subject matter I had forgotten, and enjoyed having it readily available in my mind once again.
  • Dabbled in a few languages, mastered none, but grew to appreciate them enough to continue working on them.
  • Became proficient at knitting and crochet.
  • Improved my sewing skills.
  • Became a better cook and baker. It used to take me all morning to prep vegetables for dinner. Now, I can do that grandmother thing where you turn out an entire holiday meal while barely breaking a sweat. Fourteen desserts? No problem! (This happened.)(It’s the event which precipitated development of the Dessert Matrix ™️).
  • Overcame a debilitating back injury. I now have a little stiffness once in a great while, and that’s it. At one time, I couldn’t reliably walk.
  • Learned to take stress management seriously, and consistently do what I know I need to do in order to keep it (mostly) in check.
  • Refined methods of managing paperwork/admin for the household in order to achieve the higher level of efficiency I needed given demands on my time.
  • Found the nerve to try to draw. I was always too embarrassed by my drawings, I’d only draw when forced, and I could barely look at what I drew. Now I find it a happy thing, and very meditative.

And now? I need a job! Additionally:

  • Since discovering the pleasure of learning from books how to do non-academic things, I have identified three new things I’d like to learn to do.
  • I have defined for myself two artistic development goals, one which I am confident I can achieve with effort, and one which is more of a long shot, but which I would enjoy working for long-term.
  • I have defined one, more outwardly-directed, personal development goal in what I call the ‘other’ category, meaning I am listing it here because it exists and is important to me, but I intend to keep the category private.

Onward.

I met a doe on the path. When I turned the corner we saw each other, both startled.

She ran for deeper woods, but with the slightest pause like maybe, just for a second, she considered not being so scared. Just this once.

Cedar Shake Mitts

Continuing with my effort to catalog my older projects…

I made mine from Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light wool in the shade Fig. Perhaps you can tell my skeins didn’t match exactly. That’s part of using hand-dyed yarn: sometimes they match well, sometimes you spend a few days or weeks figuring out how to blend the different color variations together as seamlessly as possible, or figuring out what effect you want to make. This is what happens when you spend zero time on that because you didn’t expect to use the second skein for some reason. It’s not so bad, but it’s definitely visible.

I enjoyed these so much! I couldn’t find them at all this winter. Where in the world could they be? I was so careful with them. That’s my downfall, though. I put things in such a special place I can’t find them again. I’m sure they’ll turn up when I’m least expecting it.

The pattern is from the book Juju’s Loops, by Juju Vail and Susan Cropper, pictured below.

Old projects

I had some of these on the blog, but at some point must have deleted them. I’m putting them here all together.

A couple small tote bags. These remind me I can sew more things now.

This cute fabric cord. I got the idea and instructions from another blog years ago which I may never find again, but if I do, I’ll update with a link. It’s good for gift wrapping and I string letters for a banner on it once, too, and I thought that looked good.

Examples of my ridiculous habit of what Rob calls ‘microdecorating’. It makes me laugh. These are made of silk dupioni. Oh! I just remembered something else I should have included here. That’ll be a different post I guess.

A small bunny brooch. Not really practical to wear, just kind of an amusing small thing. I gave one away and the recipient still seems to enjoy it. The pattern is free from Loop London.

This was when I thought it was hilarious to dress chocolate truffles in costumes. Okay, I still think that’s funny. It’s just so stupid! Anyway, the puddings were a gift and I don’t remember what I did with the flower ones. Probably gave them away.

That’s all for now, I think. I’m already realizing there will probably be an Old Projects Part Two, but I need to find the photos.

From the forest

Today, I needed to find some peace. I went to the woods.

I made a wish.

I saw these tiny guys.

I met a couple beautiful creatures.

I visited my favorite place in the woods. I think this photo proves it is magical, because it’s the sort of place that makes you gasp and wrenches your heart when you walk in, but in this photo it looks like nothing. A self-protective mechanism, I’m convinced.

The ferns have fully opened. I love them.

And I found what I needed.

Merchant and Mills, The Dress Shirt

I made this one in Nani Iro cotton, and I can’t remember if it was sold as lawn or gauze. I think it feels like lawn.

It’s a garment which is long enough to actually be used as a dress, and I’ve worn it as both, depending on the season. Actually, I’ve made seven of these I can remember off the top of my head, in different fabrics, of course.

Have a look at the pattern on different body shapes before you try it. It is not the most flattering on my body shape, and I think it is the rare person who could wear this and look like they’re living their best life. I wore mine when I was living my second-worst life, so it worked for me.

If you love the look of the fit on your body type, or if you just love the shirt anyway for your own reasons which are nobody’s damned business, enjoy! It’s not hard to sew, it comes together really quickly, and it looks like a thoughtfully designed garment when you’ve finished. People will possibly even compliment you and be surprised you made it yourself, which is always gratifying, isn’t it? Even if, at the time they’re complimenting you, you involuntarily break eye contact and mumble something self-deprecating, it feels good later. Yeah? Yeah.

Wiksten Tova Tunic

My version of the pattern done in an ancient Heather Ross print.

I made the dress version, although I don’t wear my dresses quite so short, so I wore it with jeans. It wasn’t at all difficult to make. I did a few and they served me well.

I’ve since changed my uniform, so I’m going to shorten this shirt. I think it could be good for a while longer with cutoffs? Maybe? We’ll see.

Experiment

At breakfast, I played it for one of my black cats. What would he think? How would he respond?

He fell asleep on the table.

(I like it. I ate fresh strawberries with mascarpone cheese. We had a nice time, even if he was ignoring me.)

(P.S. Please excuse the mess. This room was recently unearthed after being used as a workroom. I have some work to do. *sigh*)