Thank you for your lovely comments on my Valentine cookies and the well-wishes for my health and the LB's. We're getting there. This was a really sneaky illness - there was no warning, it hit like a ton of bricks. And then it stuck around, moving through several distinct stages of physical misery. I'm finally able to walk from one end of the house to the other without wheezing. And this isn't a big house. Roll on, spring.
I've been taking it easy as much as possible, trying not to leave home except for the school driving, while I slowly get back to my normal energy level. I started crocheting these circles last week. I have had plans for a blanket for the GB for awhile now, and knew I really wanted to make it with dainty, softly-colored flowery squares. I'm working with Stylecraft Special DK, King Cole Pricewise DK and Baby Bee (but mostly Stylecraft). The pattern is something I played around with until I liked how it looked - but I think it may be about the same as the "circle-in-a-square" pattern I used for my crocheted pillow cover last spring. I think I'll make it with white borders around each circle. The colors remind me of ice cream - ice cream in the snow...ice cream flowers in the snow?
This is my new 1930's reproductions jelly roll. It will be my Valentine's Day gift from the Bear. I ordered it for myself, for him to give to me. I do this a lot. It's the only way to make sure I always get what I want. He gives nice gifts too, of course, but sometimes I feel less inclined to take my chances (how's that for diplomatic?).
Here are my Valentine's Day gifts to the Bears. The Lindt chocolates are for the Bear, who will also be getting a brush pen for writing and drawing (he ordered it for himself; it works both ways). The M&M's and Crayola supplies are for the small Bears. I'm trying to slowly replace their art supplies, and those are really a joint gift for them both to use. I already have boxes of 64 crayons ready to go in their Easter baskets so by spring they'll have the main art supplies replenished. I bought a load of glue sticks recently too; they use glue like it's going out of style. I'll probably get some new markers this summer when the school supplies are cheap.
I couldn't stand the top of my microwave anymore. It's where I keep any and all candy the children are given, whether in school (as in the case of the lollipops), or in other places like the barber shop, where the LB is given an entire pack of gum all to himself every time he has a haircut (they give him cookies there too; the kid lives like a king). I found this little wicker basket on a recent thrift-shopping excursion, only 49 cents. I put all the candy inside the basket. It looks nicer now than it did with a jar of candy and a bunch of loose packs of gum. My children are still young enough that they are required to ask me for the candy when they want some; they are not allowed to serve themselves. So...uh, by gum, that candy pile will look neater if at all possible.
I also bought this little china milk pitcher in a thrift store recently. It was $2.99, which is a lot for me to spend in a thrift store, actually. But I really like it. The pattern marking on the bottom says it's called "Platinum Starburst" and it was made in Japan. I have no idea how old it is, but it reminds me of 1950's china. My good china, a Noritake pattern, has platinum bands on white, so I thought they might work together. I've placed it in the hutch with other orphan china and crystal items, and it blends right into the eclectic look.
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I spotted these green shoots in one of our front-yard flowerbeds on Sunday afternoon. I had gone out to sit on a stool in the driveway, craving warm sunshine and fresh air. I was curious about the bulbs I planted, and went over to see whether, by some chance, there were shoots yet. And there were! But I don't know what they are. I planted tulips and grape hyacinths. It's too early for the tulips I planted. Two years ago, the Bear was given a few daffodil bulbs and he planted them in this bed. They kind of look like daffodils to me. Whatever they are, I was so happy! Going inside for my camera just about did me in, but I got a few snaps. I'm really excited for the flowers.
I've been poring over this wonderful book, Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson, which was one of my Christmas gifts. Joelle is the owner/founder of PurlSoho, the amazing textiles shop in New York. I have some lovely things from their online shop and I enjoy their blog, PurlBee, very much. This book is just beautiful and every project speaks to me. The rainbow-circle in the top left photo is a quilt! A color-wheel quilt. Each "spoke" of the wheel is a gorgeous, chromatically-appropriate cotton fabric. The needle-books right below it are so pretty: they look easy to make and I know at least one friend who'd like one. I haven't actually made anything from this book yet, but I keep going back to those needle-books, among other lovely project ideas. I really can't get enough of this fabulous book.
I had my first strawberries of the season and they were better than I expected. These were not specially chosen for the photo; I bought two 16-ounce packages and every single berry in both boxes was perfectly formed, brightly colored and surprisingly flavorful for February strawberries. It was kind of eerie, really. Newer readers may not realize that strawberries are my absolute favorite food of all. I could eat them every day, and when they're in season, I typically do just that. They made me feel better. Actually, I just remembered that I wrote about eating strawberries last year, toward the end of January, while recovering from a similar illness then. Where would I be without strawberries in wintertime? Or anytime? Maybe I don't want an answer to that question.
It's hard to feel pretty when you're trying to keep your lungs inside your body. I polished my nails yesterday. I was home alone with the LB, rasping my way through some homeschool tasks, and decided to paint my nails when we were done. I don't do it often, and when I do, I rarely use a real color; I usually use the sheer pink French manicure polish. But I felt like a color yesterday and I'm glad I did it. Like the strawberries, my polished nails helped me feel a little better. Today, I put on real pants, as opposed to the stretched-out leggings I've been wearing since Friday. Jeans and polished nails! Like a regular lady out on the town.
I'm feeling better every day, and I'm glad for that. I haven't minded the time at home all that much, though. Maybe it was a not-so-subtle reminder to slow down. I do tend to run myself ragged. I want to do it all where my family is concerned. But this is pressure I put on myself and I'm learning from it. Illness happens, it's a fact of life, and it's never fun. But maybe it gives us sort of a reset button; I'm getting better, returning to the normal swing of things, but I'm going to try to remember to take better care of myself and to listen to my body more. In the meantime, I have enjoyed some extra time at home, looking at my books, crafting in a sunny window, eating whole, cold berries with the hulls still on. It's good to slow down and remember what is important - feeling better, being warm and comfortable, knowing that some of my responsibilities can wait until I'm ready to deal with them again. It's not a race, ma'am.