Monday, July 17, 2017


Started from the bottom
Now we're here

Safety first
These are about three weeks old, so we've moved on quite a bit from here. In this process Nathan has amazed me. He has had to orchestrate such an enormous project and has devoted so much time and energy to the build. He is truly selfless and hardworking. And his work is remarkable! I'm so thankful for his dedication and stability, and for his willingness to provide for our future.

I'll take more photos soon to update you with where we are now.

Jane Austen Festival

What a lovely weekend! Louisville's annual Jane Austen Festival was this past Saturday at Locust Grove Estate. I was so happy to see my Mom and Dad for the day and explore the festival! We saw presentations on Regency era fashions, a bare-knuckle boxing demonstration, and a presentation by Admiral Lord Nelson himself. We had a lovely midday tea, and toured the house and grounds of the beautiful Locust Grove. To end the day, the Jane Austen Society held a funeral procession for the 200th anniversary of Jane's death (July 18, 1817). Here are some shots from the procession!

Trying out the Sedan Chair!

Above is a sample of the reproduction wallpaper at Locust Grove. Each room sported a wild, colorful wallpaper and equally ornate carpet! For some reason I never considered that people had such colorful tastes in home decor 200 years ago!

Royal Navy Officer's Dinner
Speaking of officers!
The tea shop!?

Punch and Judy has been enjoyed since 1662!

One of the many fascinating history tidbits we learned: During the Regency period, India was being colonized by Britain. As a result, Indian products became available for trade in Britain, and one of the popular exports was printed fabric. Indian sari fabric was shipped in bolts to England and made into fine dresses for fashionable ladies.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Clifty Falls

Last weekend we went to Clifty Falls State Park near Madison, Indiana. It is situated on the Ohio River, which divides the state of Indiana from Kentucky. The park is absolutely beautiful: rocky hills, tumbling waterfalls, verdant plant life. The trails are rugged and diverse; one leads through a cavern where bats make their home.

We had a wonderful time exploring with our friends Murray and Candace and little Riaan. And of course, having s'mores and rusks and coffee.

The fabrics in Candace's handmade tablecloth came from Africa!

Very smoky fire from damp wood

Monday, April 17, 2017


On Maundy Thursday we celebrated Passover with a Seder. With family and a few close friends, we shared a Messianic liturgy and traditional foods. Passover is the celebration of the freeing of God's people from slavery to the Egyptians. It has been observed by the Jews for over 3,500 years. Those of us who believe in Jesus as the Messiah see how the promise of His coming is tied into so many of the ancient customs. When Jesus instituted "the Lord's Supper" or Holy Communion with his disciples, they were celebrating Passover. He showed them that he is our Passover sacrifice, our freedom from bondage, and our redemption.

Participating in such an ancient and somber celebration is truly meaningful for me. My family has observed the Seder every year as long as I can remember, and it was a pleasure to carry on the traditions and to share them with my new family. It's deeply meaningful to take on the role that my mother held for so many years (and still holds for her own household), cooking food for Passover and getting everything together. It's like when you celebrate Christmas in your own home as a young adult for the first time, except it is so much more.

My in-laws helped cook and made wonderful salad, roasted lamb and stuffings, and delicious cakes. They truly made over-the-top delicious food. I'm sure we all felt quite spoiled. I made the indispensable traditional foods: tzimmes, matzo ball soup, and matzo crunch cookies.

I suppose traditions are more important to me than I once thought. They provide a steadiness year after year, a sort of security in an ever-changing world. The holidays should serve to help us remember where we come from. The Hebrew people are a family into which we have been adopted as God's sons and daughters. With gratitude and joy we remember how God spared His people and kept them pure in order to bring forth our Savior. It's so good to set aside days every year to remind ourselves of His faithfulness, His goodness, His unfailing love, and His sacrifice. On these days we thank Him for what He has done, and we have an opportunity to teach our children. Ritual and tradition can be used to beautiful ends.

If you ever have a chance to take part in a Seder, I would encourage you to do it.
For my part, my heart is overwhelmed with thankfulness.

Next year in New Jerusalem!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ouabache Trails

Nate and I had a rare and unexpected shared day off on Good Friday, so after spending the morning getting some laundry and other work done we packed up our coffee making supplies and headed for Vincennes. Ouabache Trails park is small, but pretty and accessible. We spent a few hours walking in nature. Surely nothing is more therapeutic!

All the violets, dandelion, and many other flowers I can't name are in bloom, and the weather was mild. Hiking in the Spring is my favorite. Photography helps me get closer to nature and spend more time quietly paying attention.

A friend said something pretty profound this weekend that I have been mulling over. Our relationship with God starts with thankfulness first, then is cultivated through praise and worship. This trinity of discipline for us can bring us ever closer to knowing Him. It's always good to be reminded to spend more time thanking God for His blessings. I've been attempting to listen more closely, really longing to hear from God on direction and purpose for my life. I want to be part of His plan and to pursue a relationship with Him. And you know what? I've been hearing from Him. I had taught myself to tune out some of the nudging of my conscience, just in small things that I let slide (much to the detriment of my character). Sometimes perhaps we're not listening to God in the things we don't want to hear, and so we won't hear Him to be given larger encouragements or assignments. "Whosoever is faithful in the little things..."

Monday, April 3, 2017

sewing: pajama shorts

This is what happens when you have a lack of patterns and an excess of fabric purchased for no particular purpose. I made a pair of pajama shorts!

This is a pair of shorts I found at the thrift store, as my summer shorts (extremely similar ones, also from the thrift store) are nearly threadbare.

I thought I would make a "dummy" pair of shorts with some scrap fabric (this thin grey cotton is leftover from making curtains). I laid them out like this on the fabric and traced around them. I repeated this four times, and cut out the shapes. Then I sewed them together to see if my idea would work. 

It worked! They fit perfectly, with enough waist for elastic. Next I cut out my chosen fabric, a bright batik that I got at a yard sale. (Except first I had to wash and dry it because of course I hadn't done that in advance. Not my favorite step of the sewing process; you just have to wait so long to get on with sewing! Although perhaps it is less tedious than untangling bobbins.)

Cozy morning sewing. Of course I didn't have the foresight to buy a spool of coordinating thread either. Brown will have to do.

The curved hem was a bit tricky but the shorts turned out very well!
Have you ever made a garment without a pattern?

shower cleaning solution

My cute new cleaning gloves. Do wear gloves when using borax,
and make sure to rinse thoroughly!
Do you dread cleaning the shower or bathtub? Despite your patient scrubbing, does the hard-water grime remain stubbornly intact? Same.

I finally found the solution: borax!

I normally keep a jar filled with equal parts borax and washing soda as well as a jar of grated soap, to prepare my homemade laundry detergent in small batches each week. After months of trying to battle the scum on my shower with Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds and vinegar to no avail, I had a fit of ingenuity and decided to try the borax powder under my kitchen sink.

I applied it dry to the shower walls and rubbed with a cleaning cloth. It worked like magic! The grime came off with only a little scrubbing. Scrub, rinse, enjoy the gleam! The next week on cleaning day, I approached the shower again with my magical powder. I spent three minutes cleaning the shower, tops!

My sister said she mixed borax and baking soda and it worked just as well (thanks Rachel!), so it's not a problem if you don't have any washing soda on hand. Give it a try!

My friend Candace recommended equal parts water and vinegar mixed with lemon essential oil. When I acquire the oil I'll try that next. She said it's useful for windows also.

How do you keep your shower sparkling?