Autumn has arrived in a quick, sharp gust. It's often this way here, like someone flips a switch one day and suddenly summer ends. A storm will plow through, often from the northwest, with high winds, lowering clouds, spitting rain, and then it's fall. Just like that. Today was the perfect October day - crisp and bright. Things are happening out there - the leaves are changing and falling, the apples - the few we have left - have turned rosy on the outside, mealy and dry inside. The air smells different, especially early and late. Woodsmoke in the air is a fact of life now, along with darker mornings and evenings. There are almost no flowers left, aside from my one can't-kill-it yellow chrysanthemum and my roses, which languished in the hot, dry summer but came back with a vengeance in September. I'm clipping new ones every few days to bring inside for a Mason jar arrangement, adding whatever else is left out there. Right now, I have five roses, two sprigs of pyracantha berries, three cuttings from the mums and a sheaf of Russian sage. It makes a homey bouquet, nothing fancy. This time of year makes me happy in a way I can't really describe - I'm looking forward to so many things, I feel better and it shows.
I do feel better, it has to be said. I was having a very hard time for a few weeks, dealing with the relentless illness in our house, and just generally feeling rundown physically and mentally. It goes without saying that I don't take good enough care of myself and I know I need to change that. It isn't easy to make that kind of change, though, as I'm sure many of you would agree. There are just so many hours in a day and my needs always end up coming last. My husband tells me it's one of the things he loves about me and also one of the things he finds most frustrating about me - that I treat everyone better than I treat myself - and he's right. I know he is. I need to say no more often. I've made great strides in the past few years, though; I actively pursue hobbies now, including my crafts and my blog, which is more than I had not all that long ago. I think sometimes that my chosen lifestyle - longtime stay-at-home mom, partial homeschooler - makes it very easy to be isolated and to forget that I'm a person too. I'm working on it, trying to get out more and remember my own needs. I'm feeling better now than I have in a couple of months. It's amazing how everything seems so much worse when you're in the thick of a stressful situation, and especially when you aren't getting enough sleep.
I've started working on a new cross-stitch sampler, Alicia Paulson's My Sweetiepie ABC's (which seems to be out of stock in her online shop at the moment, or I'd offer a link). I'm enjoying it very much so far, as I have the two previous samplers by Alicia that I have stitched. This one is a very sweet, girly-themed design, which I'm stitching especially for my GB, as a Christmas present. I'm going to have it professionally framed to hang in her room, probably above her chest of drawers. She's the family member I make the most things for, in part because it's easier to find girly things to make, but also because she really seems to appreciate them. I also have plans for a mobile of sorts, involving crochet and beads. Yes! It's a cute idea I first saw on Pinterest and then tracked down on Ravelry, where there aren't really instructions, but I think I can figure it out. I'll share more about that soon, along with the sampler. I've finished four letters and their accompanying motifs. So sweet! I can't say enough good things about it, although my new glasses are definitely getting a workout.
Everyone else is doing all the fall things around here too, like working in the shop, which is delightful in spring and fall when the overhead door can stay open all day and the breeze seems to sweep the sawdust into a pile for you. The Bear and the smaller ones put together a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle over a week or so while everyone was feeling poorly. We're all enjoying video clips from Mr. Wizard's World on YouTube, but maybe especially me because it was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. The Bear and I have both been busier in the kitchen. I've got the slow-cooker working overtime on Mondays and Wednesdays, when we have afternoon activities and I have less time to cook. I'm dreading the day it stops working - it's 16 years old already - because I fear the newfangled digital kinds. I know this thing like the back of my hand. I have big plans for a new cookie recipe, maybe to try on Thursday afternoon - Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies from Martha Stewart. I know I'll need to cut down the chile powder for the young Bears, but a little will still be nice. I'm just imagining one with a cup of milky coffee.
I hope you're having a good week so far. Enjoy these beautiful early autumn days, my friends.
Have you joined in with my Winter Project Link Party yet? If not, there's still time! The link-up will close on Saturday, October 8. Please join in by sharing a post about your current winter projects (or summer ones, if that's the time of year where you are).