Sunday, December 17, 2017

Mid-December Report

It's snowing tonight. Big fluffy elephant-sized flakes. Winter solstice is fast approaching.

So what are we doing these days?


You may notice that there are a lot of books in this corner of the house: on the end table, the ottoman, the window ledge (two piles), the floor. You can't see the ones on The Husband's end table to the left of the photo, nor the pile (or two) ... well, let's just say that there is a lot of reading going on.


The Husband has decided that this is the winter to finally finish the second bedroom in the basement. It was always framed-in but the studs were covered with fabric. There are only three walls to do in here, and then the hanging ceiling. The outside wall has been framed out past the concrete foundation and insulated (the styrofoam insulation is at and below ground level) and he's started installing the drywall.

There's one more room to finish when this one's done - my sewing/weaving room. There is no window in that area as the wall is completely underground, or mostly - you can see where the styrofoam insulation follows the ground level. The yellow fibreglass insulation is what's also behind the pink batt in the first photo.

The Husband mounting drywall onto the studs. You can see the wall he finished a few years ago, all tongue-and-groove pine. When the walls are all done, he'll install the ceiling tiles.


Meanwhile, it's that time of the year. What time is that? you ask. Why, time to decorate the ficus tree. Isn't that what all of you do in late December?

The ficus loves this house and despite repeated trimmings, threatens to overtake the house on a regular basis. We're expecting a houseful of company for Christmas dinner so decided to forego installing a fir tree in the interests of better traffic flow.

Every year I squawk about decorating a tree, and every year I'm glad I did. I unpack the box of ornaments and memories flood over me: from childhood, from our children's childhoods, of places and people and so much love.

The moccasins that Marilyn made 30 years ago, recalling both a dear friend and a life made in the north; they remind me of our Kookum who taught me how to make moosehide moccasins and how to do beadwork, who made our children's first footwear - Cree wrap-up moccasins. 

These are tiny - about 4 cm long.

Another Marilyn ornament - baby Jesus in a walnut shell.

An angel made from corn husk, one of a fleet of angels that live throughout this house.

A tiny stocking The Son made in kindergarten or Grade One, 25 years ago.

A really tiny stocking, about 2 cm long, whose origins are lost.

One of the many antique glass ornaments.

And another.

Two more that bring back memories of my childhood Christmases. I remember glass balls with the concave centres, somewhat larger than these (or maybe I was just littler and they looked bigger); I'd gaze into the reflected centres and see magic.

John's angel. Our friend and riding buddy who died far too young. He smoked too much, had appalling dietary habits and was a left-brained neurotic, but he was our friend and we miss him.

One of two tiny Egyptian glass perfume bottles my Aunt brought home from a trip through that region.

A tiny knitted mitten, 4 cm long, origins unknown-forgotten, but still cherished.

A letter pouch that's been on every tree for 35 years. From who?


Cookies. Oodles and oodles of cookies. Whipped shortbread. Sugar cookies. Pinwheels. Haystacks. Butterscotch crunch.

"Who will eat them all?" asks The Husband.

Who indeed.


Working on a new roving of silk.

I'm hopelessly addicted to spinning silk. Winter is the time for silk, alpaca, cotton, angora - the fine fibres. Summer is when I spin wool, when the heat of the day softens the lanolin and makes the fibre work better.

In the winter, my hands are not so rough from garden work, so the fine fibres move easier through my fingers.

Whatever. I truly don't need an excuse to spend hours working with silk.

Have you found something enjoyable to make the winter days go by?

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