I have a friend who is working in India. I've been reading his blog, and he has a couple prayer requests. One is that his visa to India states he needs to be out of the country for a certain amount of time at the end of July or he loses his privileges of being in the country (at least, I think that's how it works). He was going to meet up with friends in China when they were to come and tour certain provinces, but in light of the political spectrum, Americans are having a difficult time meeting their now stricter regulations to obtain tourist visas. I guess it's also more expensive to travel to some of the other neighboring countries, and my friend is lacking funds. Please pray that he finds a way to not lose his visa. Which also brings me to his other request, and that is funding. I'm not sure if he's found a second job to help pay for things, but he has stated in one of his last entries that he could use some financial support. Please pray that funding comes to him, whether by conventional or unconventional means. If you know me (either on Ravelry or Crochetville or IRL) and would like to know more, please email or pm me and I can send you the link to his blog. He has some incredibly beautiful pictures of the Indian countryside and local festivals, and I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.
For those of you who have been following along this past year, I have continued to copy the Bible. I took a couple months' haitus toward the end of my pregnancy and during the first month or two after dd2 was born, but now I'm back at it. Unfortunately, like this blog, I only get to it when I can. I'm on chapter 21 of Proverbs, and when I need a break from it I've meandered to the New Testament and some of the shorter books of the Old. I don't remember what I posted before, but this is what I've accomplished thus far in my copying: the book of Ruth, the book of Esther, Song of Songs (aka, Song of Solomon), 2 John, Proverbs 1-20, and the Letter to the Colossians. I'm about half-way through Proverbs 21, and only have a few chapters left of Proverbs to go before I do another book. I need to start praying about what book to copy next.
Yay! I have my flute back! I got it back yesterday, and purchased a new silver polishing cloth to keep it shiny. I'm still working on the cover for the case, and I played with the latches while still in the store and yes, there is a lot more play in them than I originally thought. Good thing I tend to keep it in an attache case with my music and recorders, eh? While at the store, I browsed the sheet music and found some I might get later down the road. There was a collection of flute pieces by Telemann which would be lovely, as well as a Celtic collection, which, while it doesn't appear to be too technically difficult, could be stylistically challenging. Also, there was a fresh copy of the Bach sonatas I have, which I had purchased years ago while in college but is currently falling apart; I might give it a go and restore some of the pages with acid-free tape, or purchase another copy, since it was only $10.95. Oh yeah, a funny about while we were still in the store...We were the only customers there (they're usually hopping in the evenings and weekends), so the salesman turned on an electric keyboard so dd1 could explore it while I browsed the music. As I was returning to her, she accidentally hit the "Demo" button and the music started playing quite loudly. She screamed, and ran to me, crying. Of course, I was laughing so hard, but I had to explain to her it was just like her toy piano at home that her aunties had got for her birthday, which also has a demo button with lots of songs to be played. Once she understood this, she immediately stopped crying and started dancing. Oy. Life with a 2 1/2-year-old is never dull.
For those of you anxious about starting the laceweight mystery shawl, it's coming along quite nicely, though still more slowly than I had originally planned. I just told the CLF group on Ravelry yesterday that my aim is June 2nd, but I don't think I'm going to make that self-imposed deadline. However, for those of you who are also Irish lace lovers, I have issue a challenge to you. In a thrift store, I found a quilt-square pattern book, called Baltimore Bride's Quilt Square Patterns. Basically, the squares are designed for album or friendship quilts, with lots of floral themes. I was thinking that these squares would be perfect layouts for Irish lace. So, I took a handy-dandy spiral notebook and pen, and went through the squares, one by one, and wrote down what my interpretations were for each square in Irish lace. This book has 75 squares, but I only want to focus on one or two to see how they would turn out in I.L. My challenge for my Irish lace loving friends is to attempt the same, or something similar. Right now, I'm merely compiling the motifs, working them here and there, and collecting them in a small box to be placed into their squares at a future time. This is my long-term, on-going project, one which I hope is successful. If the first 2 squares turn out as well as I hope, they may become part of an heirloom for future generations. Once my dds (and other future children) learn to work in thread, they'll also begin their own Irish lace squares to be used in their own heirlooms for their hope chests. I haven't decided whether this will become a bedspread or object d'art, but it's an interesting idea I'm toying with right now.
Also on the home front, I have a massive project I'm undertaking. Dh planted a garden a few weeks back, and wants me to learn how to can the tomatoes that we grow. I thought, why not learn to can other things, as well? Upon researching the topic, I discovered that one can can tomatoes using the same methods one would can jams, jellies, and preserves. Cool. However, you have to use a completely different method to can other veggies, like green beans and such. While I can find all kinds of info on canning here on the 'net, it's a completely different thing to find someone locally who can show me how to do it. It's a skill I know I'd have to learn by doing, not by reading about it. Since I just decided a couple days ago to learn how to do it, I'm going to start with the members of my church and see if there's anyone who still knows the art of canning. In light of this, I started thinking about other skills that modernization has practically made obsolete. Necessary handwork (i.e., knitting, crocheting, sewing, needlework, etc.) is making a comeback, but it's not as "necessary". However, given the fact that rising costs are not so far on the horizon any longer, sewing and knitting one's own clothing may become "necessary" again. Modern conveniences have also made cooking from "scratch" simpler, but with added preservatives and chemicals. We no longer "need" to make our own soaps, but many folks enjoy it as a hobby or to supplement their incomes with specialty soaps. In fact, ironically, handwriting is almost a lost art, since we now use the internet and computers more. Schools have forgone penmanship for typing classes, and some kids don't even know what it's like to handwrite a paper. Yes, I know...You're thinking, but Tracey, you're typing right now. A little hypocritical, don't you think? Sort of, but this is a means of communicating to my online friends without any of us having to share addresses and still maintaining a modicum of privacy. What I'm talking about is that many kids (not all, but many) are learning to type instead of focusing on keeping their handwriting legible. Beautiful handwriting is becoming a lost art. Thank the Lord I taught myself calligraphy in middle school (yes, I'm a bit of a dork, I know). So, here's my memorandum: My longest term goals are to find the lost home arts and learn them to the best of my abilities. I plan to write about my adventures either on a second blog or in a book--you never know. This is going to be more "granola-ey" than I thought I would ever be, but hey, if it saves us money, that's cool.
So, here are my goals for the next few months:
- learn to make jams/jellies, and can them, as well as tomatoes and other tomato products
- develop a tomato sauce recipe to be used in future canning adventures, maybe for future sales down the line (we're talking it may be a couple years before I'm able to sell)
- make cloth diaper wipes. I discovered I could probably save us $170-ish just by making a few dozen flannel/terry wipes and use them instead of the chemical-covered ones. Also, it helps to prevent rashes if used with natural cleansing ingredients (read, water, essential oils, etc.)
- maybe start using cloth diapers? I dunno about this...might have to wait until we get a house so we can use a clothesline. Right now, lines are against our association by-laws, and there's more research to be done before I invest in either purchasing or making my own diapers.
- continue to make my own bread. Healthier, and soooo much yummier!
- continue to make my own laundry soap. I found a great recipe here online, and I'm trying out my first batch. I'll update to tell y'all how well it works.
- this fall, make my own soaps. This is just a maybe right now...we'll have to see what the autumn brings. It depends on where we're living, what we're doing, etc. I'd love to make my own, and save a lot of money, but it's a wait-and-see issue right now.