Wednesday, December 30, 2020

December light

My husband bought me a new laptop for Christmas and so now I can sit anywhere in the house (or out, brrrrrrr!) and organize my photos, work on blogposts and all sorts of fun things. The older laptop still works, but the dead battery made it unmovable and as the mom around here, I found it hard to be stuck in a room away from the family life. I have several posts in draft mode so you may see some older posts getting published all at the same time. I also have a ton of photos, but I will try to be ultra-selective and only post the ones that aren't completely blurry. Ha! They are a combination of photos taken with my camera and my phone.
We are on our second week of break from our lessons and when we resume next week, we'll be starting  Week 17 out of a planned 36 week year following Ambleside Online.
After the relentlessness of preparing for Christmas, this past week of enjoying Christmas is a wonderful gift. We are back under lockdown measures here in Ontario, so we are home most of the time, although Seth still has shifts at the local coffee shop. Shane had more vacation to use, so he's been off work for two weeks already and will return on Monday in the new year, but still working from home.

Years ago I bought candy molds that were designed to use with sticks to make chocolate lollipops and I've made them for different occasions throughout the year. This year, I bought my first silicon candy mold trays that pop out after cooling and hardening. I experimented with the molds by adding some nonpareils to copy the kind of chocolate nonpareils my Dad bought from the local chocolate shop every year. 
Sidenote here: Wikipedia tells me that outside North America, nonpareils as known as hundreds and thousands which reminds me of a Miss Marple story I had read earlier this year in which these balls of  sugary starch were a key clue in solving the murder. At the time, I didn't know what Miss Marple was referring to exactly, but it's funny how that name stuck with me until I came across it again. Anyway, I have sent these handmade chocolates on to my parents along with some other commercial sweets. The fabric candy canes are made with some of the fabrics that I brought home from my mom's fabric cabinet that we dismantled last summer. I hope my mom recognizes the fabric in its new form, but no matter these are for her to enjoy in their new home.
Some of the other treats I've pictured are from a Sunday lunch hosted by local friends that I brought dessert for. I brought her the jar of candied pecans and gave the rest away to my neighbor as part of her little Christmas package. Those pecans with cinnamon and sugar are so good and just the right combination of sweet and savory that it's hard to stop eating them. So away to friends they go!

Monday, December 28, 2020

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Homelife for children

 Their children are safe from corruption and conscription. 

~Anthony Esolen, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child

This one sentence is taken from a longer paragraph on how truly free people live and encapsulated for me the idea of why we educate our children ourselves in our home.

I. By providing for our children's education ourselves, we have sought to give them a wide array of ideas and stories that both inform them and inspire them to think about who God is, what man is like and how the world is designed to provoke discovery and creativity.

II. In order for them to do this, we sought to provide an environment that was rich in knowledge and worship of God, that learned about the people that have come before us, that understood that stories show us what character looks like, and that provided a way to see ourselves as having a role to live in God's world. All of this was provided for in our home and church life which while filled with sinful people, was actively protected from corrupting influence and pressure to conform to a different standard than the one proclaimed in our home.

III. Our home exists to proclaim one standard and only one. Our home exists to cultivate an understanding and love for that one standard. Our home exists to mature a way in which to move forward with confidence and purpose to live according to this one standard. Our home exists to promote joy and happiness in following this one standard despite the hardships of life.

IV. None of this is done perfectly. We know this more than anyone. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

How to make your own curtain tiebacks

Last year after settling on curtains for our new house, I then had to work out what kind of tiebacks I wanted to use. Because I'm not the only one handling them, I wanted to find something that could stand up to less delicate maneuvering as we open our curtains in the morning and close them in the evening everyday. My search ended one day at our local thrift shop where I found two bundles of golden vintage ribbon. One was more vibrant yellow and matched the picture in my mind perfectly.

To make a test run, I only made one pair and then used them for a few days before making the rest of the sets for all of the curtained windows. Several weeks ago, one of the tiebacks went missing and despite looking in all the likely places, it remains lost somewhere. As I rounded up the materials to make a new one, I took a few photos to share the easy process for anyone interested.

Using a fabric measuring tape, find out how much swag you want your curtains to have and then determine how much ribbon length you need. Because I made the loops out of embroidery floss, I used scotch tape to temporarily attach the loops to my ribbon to see how much floss I needed to have the tiebacks hang correctly. Once I could see how everything worked, I cut my ribbon pieces and embroidery floss. 

To keep my ribbon from fraying with use, I generously coated the ends with fray check and let it dry. (*Use the fray check on a sample piece to determine what the final dried end will look like as the fray check may discolor or harden your ribbon. If you can't use fray check on your ribbon, you could try to iron the fraying end over in a fold and add some stitches to keep the nice edge.)

Then I made a loop from each piece of floss and with my hot glue gun, put a small amount of hot glue on one end of the ribbon. Holding the floss in the shape of the loop, I pressed both ends into the hot glue, waited about eight or ten seconds and then pressed the floss more firmly into the glue without burning my fingers. Remove any sticky glue and as it hardens, you can also trim any excess with scissors. Repeat with the other end of the ribbon. The tiebacks can be used almost immediately.

Here are some pictures of the tiebacks in use in our home. They are currently held in place by clear tacks, but metal hooks are on the to-do list.

We have been using them in this manner for almost a year and I'm pleased with how they are holding up. Depending on the tieback style you choose to make, the process may look different for your project, but I hope this post gives you some ideas to make your own.