Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One Day.

It isn't always the easiest thing, being the parent of a disabled child. There are times that I think I may be the wrong person for the job. Today is one of those days.
Trying to clean up the house after the Christmas hub-bub and being sick for a week, I enlisted the aid of JA and he was not happy. Not one bit. I could see the anger sweep across his face. Some days are like that. They come unexpectedly without warning and, consequently, without preparation on my part.
Handing him his shoes resulted in them being thrown back at me. I tried to make light of it, keeping a smile on my face and coaxing him to do the same. One wrong turn on my part brought him right on top of me. It isn't anything a bag of ice can't cure, but the emotional injury seems to run so much deeper.
For some reason, JA ran outside and his brother locked the door behind him, hopefully giving him a little time to cool off. It didn't work. A chair came crashing through JA's bedroom window, the one that sat on the front porch with flowers in it. Not any more.
He is hurt now. Cuts on his toes from broken glass and his hand still aching from the act of hitting the chair against the wooden side of the window frame. I feel guilty thinking that it is his own fault.
I helped him walk in the house, dressed his wounds (not as bad as I had originally thought) and cried for him. His brother cleaned up the mess.
The thought occurs to me that, quite possibly, one day I could die as a result of one these angry fits, when he is older and stronger and I am older and more unsteady. Yet I still try to make things better for him now. To teach him and show him how much his actions hurt and to let him know that, while I am angry for what he has done, I still love him. It is that faint line of understanding that this life will not be like the next that keeps me going. I know that one day he will be able to articulate his emotions and frustrations instead of using force to deal with them. I know that one day he will not be encumbered with the things that bind him now.
Those are the days I long for. Those and the good days here, when he is my bright, shining child who beams love at every turn.
Until that time, I will do my best to understand the complications that cause these horrific moments. I will do my best to be the mom who loves him and not the mom who despises him because of something he cannot always help doing.
One day we will be together, conversing with our voices not our hands, gaining an intimate knowledge of each other that now eludes us, locking ourselves in a mother-child union that cannot be broken.
One day. I will wait.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sister Love.

Here is the complete view of the little fairy I sent my sister for Christmas. I think she's adorable.

See how her wings curl up? That means she's happy. And that mushroom she is perched upon? Magical, and non-poisonous.
Her clothing is made from scraps of vintage dictionary pages and a few from Shakespeare that the fairy found in a nearby run-down shack. Dew drops and spider silk now protect her clothes from the weather. An acorn cap sits jauntily upon her head to keep her tiny pointed ears warm.

Bearing a handful of heartbeats, she will reside where my sister can see her and be like a hug from me to her. Because I love my sister. Much more than this fairy does.
Ya got that, Fairy?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Seedy Side of Life.

I am still sick.
So, to make my ill-self feel better, I have been pouring over this:

The 2009 Seed Savers Exchange Catalogue.

One cannot gaze upon the color and texture on these pages and not feel deliriously happy. Have you ever seen such rich, lush color? I want to grow all of the tomatoes. My pepper-eating child will not be here, so no peppers in the garden. I'll get them at the Farmer's Market instead. That will leave room for something else in their place.

Believe it or not, when I am reading through this catalogue, I feel better. My thoughts travel to the out-of-doors to warmer days and plunging my trowel into the earth and placing tiny seeds in shallow troughs. My fingers trail over them, giving them a warm blanket of dirt to keep them protected until the place around them is warm enough to stir them into action. I love seeds.

I grew the Sultan's Golden Crescent beans last summer. They are on the bottom row, center. Wildly productive and very delicious, I am looking forward to having them dress my garden once again.

Potatoes of every shape, size and color entice this girl to get better, if only to begin preparing the garden plot for the arrival of spring.

Ah, yes. Seed catalogues. They warm the cockles of my heart.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Oh, Christmas Gift.

I cannot stop making little fairies, pixies and elves. This fairy is my sister Dayna's Christmas gift.
She is still waiting to hold something sweet in her hands and I have to make a trip to the craft store to get what I want. How is it that my craft room is so lacking in the proper supplies? That would be why she is still here and was not under Dayna's tree yesterday.

I think we all need a pair of wine-colored pixie shoes with sparkly crystals, don't you?

As soon as I know Dayna has received her, I will show you the entire creation.
I know you cannot wait. :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I May Be Mistaken,

but I think Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer might have been written in a fever-induced delerium.
I have been fighting being sick since Tuesday. I obviously have not fought hard enough, as I awoke last night coughing up a storm, aching in every part of my body and dripping things from my nostrils that should only be found dripping from waste pipes at an industrial site. One look in the mirror revealed a comical picture- me, hair wildly sticking up and a nose as red as a cherry tomato. Oh, joy. Oh, rapture. I looked like a cross between Rudolph, the angry elfen choir director and the Abominable Snowman all wrapped into one untidy package. Pretty. Not.
But, Christmas morning arrived all the same. Children were awakened (probably because I was coughing so loudly they couldn't sleep any longer) and presents were opened. It was a lovely, peaceful time.
My mom and dad and our friend's came for breakfast and gift-exchanging. The friends are flying to England today. They will arrive in time for celebrating Boxing Day tomorrow. Lucky them. The hustle about the house gave me enough energy to make fried dough and lay it out on the table with bacon, fruit salad, orange juice and egg nog.
Now that breakfast is over and dinner is hours away, I am going to go take a DayQuil, slather myself in Vick's Vapo Rub and take a nap, probably to dream about Rudolph and his friends.
Still, it has been a very happy Christmas morning here at the S house.
I hope it has been at yours as well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wishing Each of You....

A Very, Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside.

The cold wind doth blow, and we don't have snow.
But the chickens may just freeze, poor things!
Quick, run to the coop, (I've cleaned all the poop),
And hide your heads under your wings, poor things!*

I let the girls out today, so they might get a little bit of exercise. Well, exercise they did! It was 30 degrees today, and the wind made it feel much colder. What can a hen to do to stay warm? Run like a chicken with..... Um, well, you know.
Unless, of course, you are Flora. Then you slip into something a bit more stylish and seasonal.

What am I going to do with her?

*With apologies to the Englishman who wrote the original verse in the 1600's.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quilty Goodness.

This year is one of handmade Christmas gifts. For everyone. Which may pose a bit of a problem, as John still believes in Santa Claus. He probably always will. I may have to succumb and get one gift from the Big Guy himself for JA and let him continue on believing. It really isn't a bad thing at 22 years of age, to still think Santa is real. Not one bit.
That is a gift in itself, to have that kind of innocence. It keeps it magical here at our house. Well, not that magical. I still have decorations in their boxes and the tree went up last night. Only the tree. We will decorate it when we are all together, on Saturday night.
These are some sneak peeks at what I am making for my children. One top is finished and I have one in progress and one more to make.

Is this a bit like shaking packages that are under the tree?

Tease, tease tease.
So, here I sit, stitching away and listening to Christmas music on Pandora. You know what? I don't need decorations or lights or candy cane-filled bowls. This year, the house is filled with love. And, after all, isn't that what Christmas is about?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hamburger and Macaroni.

The other day, on her blog, Dawn posted a request for tasty recipes that would feed, well, an army of people. She has quite a houseful now and I quickly responded with one of my favorites- Hamburger and Macaroni.
You may know it by a different name-goulash, American chop suey, Cub Scout Special-but for me it will always be the very basic hamburger and macaroni combination that my Grandmother Kimball made for us.

Doesn't this look delicious?
My husband makes his mother's version, which is the one my children prefer. Made with tomato sauce instead of stewed tomatoes, it leaves my palate feeling a bit disappointed. So, every now and then, I will make Grammy's recipe for myself. The first bite transports me to her kitchen, sitting in the breakfast nook, plate at chin-level, eating my dinner with Grampa sitting across from me reading his newspaper. It is one of my happiest memories.
Because it is the holiday season and you might have to feed your own army, I am sharing the recipe here with you. I promise you will love it.
Grammy Kimball's Hamburger and Macaroni
(For 6) Multiply as needed.
1 pound lean ground beef
2 T butter
1 small onion, diced
2 15-oz. cans stewed tomatoes
1 pounds macaroni of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste
Celery salt- just a tidge
Prepare macaroni, rinse and set aside.
In a large skillet (preferably cast iron), sprinkle the hambuger with salt, pepper and celery salt and brown. In a separate pan, saute the onion in 2T butter until transparent. Add onion and butter to ground beef and continue to brown until you get some caramelized bits in the ground beef, which just gives it much more flavor. Add the stewed tomatoes and heat through.
Add macaroni to the hamburger mixture and make sure it is all thoroughly heated.
Serve with a nice, big salad and some crusty French bread.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bonjour, Capucine!

I was visiting Katie Runnels blog and found this darling little girl. Elle est tres jolie et adorable.
Be sure to pause the Christmas music so that you can enjoy her sweetness all on its own.

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

How cute is that?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Did You, Perchance, See The Moon Last Night?

Brilliant. Shining orb dots the sky.
Casts. Sharp-edged shadows to the ground.
Close. I want to touch it.
Reach. Cup it in my hand.
Keep. Memory of milky white.
Cold. It seeps through me.

Goodnight, Moon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just a Little Something I Whipped Up.

I made this yesterday, while it was raining cats and dogs outside. This is for the Smith Family Christmas gift exchange- a pincushion. Perched upon a small wooden cabinet knob (that word always makes me laugh), it is reminiscent of a Christmas tree, don't you think? The tree is a pin that can be taken out when Christmas is over.

I love you, I love you, I love you, Pixie Pincushion.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Into Every Life A Little Rain Must Fall.

And it is coming down in buckets! So today, I will be hunkered down in the craft room, sewing up a storm of my own! Must. Make. Quilts.
We are under a tornado watch here in Georgia, until three this afternoon. The girls will not come out of the hen house, Rilo does not want to go outside to go potty and the laundry is drying in the front hall.
What's it like at your house?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Whimsy Jars

I just love the concept behind these little treasure jars. You take a quart canning jar and fill it to the brim with things that the intended recipient would like. This one is for a friend from MaryJane's Farm for a swap that one of the farmgirls came up with.
I have filled it with little bits and bobs that a quilter and novice knitter would love to have. See the Brittany knitting needles sticking out of the top? They are the best. Yarn just seems to glide across them and they have a very soft feel in your hands. You can knit for hours and not get tired. (You may get bored, but your hands will feel great.)

And you don't have to stop with just filling the jar! You can add things to the outside and tie them up with a pretty bow and add to the joy!

The one that I received contained all sorts of wonderful treats. It is amazing how many things you can get into such a small jar. It fairly defies the laws of nature.
The possibilities are endless, I tell you! You could make a yo-yo kit, with a Clover yo-yo maker and some sweet pre-cut circles layered in the jar, needles and thread all ready to make a pillow, small art quilt or a garland.
Or how about a knitting jar? Punch a hole in the top, add an eyelet (to prevent rough edges), fill the jar with some yummy yarn, pull a bit through the top and tie the needles around the outside. Your yarn will never travel across the floor again!
Or, you could make an embroidery jar, with linen and floss and an assortment of needles.
Or, what about a doll kit? Include a pattern, fabric, stuffing, needle, thread and an assorment of embellishments to make a sweet little doll. Perfect for a young girl just learning to sew. How about clothespin dolls? Even simpler!
See? I told you the possibilities are endless! You could even make them for the men in your life- fishing jars, snack jars, make-your-own-tie jars, things-to-do-when-your-wife-is-antiquing jars. My mind is a whir of ideas! I'm going to fill some jars now.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

An Empty Room.

I thought it would not bother me that my daughter moved and left an empty room in her place. I was wrong. Just like I was when my son moved away, it is their being here that I miss.
I am fine with being a mom of adults, who are ready to move on and start their lives. I really am. But I loved being their mother, having them here with me to laugh at silly jokes, eat freshly baked cookies, turn up their nose at dinner, wipe away tears or to just give them a hug.
It is funny how families work. You are in the same house, eating at the same table, watching the same television and yet you are not always engaged. I think, for me, that their presence is sometimes just enough.
It is that way with my husband as well. I can be in one part of the house and he in another and, even though we are not communicating, I am still content because he is here.
Now, two of my children are not here, and I miss them. I will never have a completely empty nest because I have a child who cannot fledge. (Although there are some days I wish he would.)
This is the part of motherhood that is joyous and painful all at the same time- having raised your children to be strong, independent adults and realizing that, just maybe, you did too good of a job.
So, today I walk into a cold, empty room and miss the girl that brought it life and warmth. There are still a few of her things here, waiting to be taken to her new home and some that will stay for a while.
Speaking of which, would anyone like a cat? She left five of them. Oh, joy. Oh, rapture.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Does She Need Hair?

I'm sorta liking her without it. I think it makes her look sweet and innocent.
But I am still not totally convinced.
What do you think?

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Do you remember the little elves my sister made? Well, these are my version of them. They are extremely labor intensive and these three will be the only ones I make. Holy-moley, do they take a long time.
The first two are not quite finished. They are still in need of hair, hats, and in the case of the first one, some decorations on the skirt.
This one is for my daughter. She has been the cat girl since she was very little. Her skirt is made from pinked coffee filters that look like porcelain when coated in diamond glaze.

This little elf is for my oldest son. He plays the guitar and the bass, so I thought he needed one in his hands. Pretty cool, huh?

And here is my other son's elf. He is holding candy cane rope, ready to decorate the house. (Which is what JA loves to do -help Mom decorate for Christmas.) I love his acorn hat and fuzzy wool hair. hee hee. He is so darn cute.

When all is said and one, these three elves will be ornaments to hang on the tree. I rather like the fact that I have made them for my children instead of rushing off to Hallmark to buy an ornament for them. These are much more personal and very full of love.
Oh, and I must tell you, I have the best sister in the world. She let me steal her idea. :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Going Home.

Blackness fills my view,
swirling across the roadway
like a water spout on the ocean.
Press on.

I am untouched
but for a place deep inside me,
that fills with awe and wonder.
I am changed.

The liquid black fades away,
smearing through the blue
like ink trailing from a nib.

The grackles are going home.

written by Karin Smith, Dec.3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I Want Baby Feet.

I made these little baby shoes last night for my friend's new little girl, Emelia Dolce.

Do you not love that name? It rolls perfectly off the tongue.

After a few failed attempts, I finally developed a pattern that worked. I love the blanket stitching around the edge, and the colors are very Christmasy- all wool felt and a sweet cotton polka dot.
They are very impractical, but what girl does not need a sweet pair of impractical shoes? Not anyone I know!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Twenty years ago today, I gave birth to my daughter.

Life hasn't been the same since.
Happy 20th Birthday, Ainslie!!