Thursday, January 19, 2017

Our Own Little "House of Creativity"

A blogger friend, I've forgotten who undoubtedly PomPom, recommended a visit to Susan Branch's blog to read about her visit to a convent in Brookline, Masachusetts. So I did. Go read about how 17 nuns live happily together in a warm, brick home there, making things all day long. You can scroll down past the first part, Susan's Christmas activities at home.The convent is called the Holy Nativity Convent.  (That's their website.) As Susan says of the convent:
"Almost a real-life Santa’s Village, filled with charming, indefatigable elves."

The nuns, who are Orthodox, wear the expected dark garb and shining, happy faces. They do not solicit funds but instead work with their hands and minds and hearts, selling excellent wares to support their life. They bind books! They sew fine church vestments! The make beeswax candles! They paint murals and make mosaics! Go take a look.
I don't have 17 nuns with industrious hands living here on the farm, but we do keep a little creativity going. Adam is still busy with his book-binding experiments.
The book he's cut and bound most recently is rather large and heavy (above). His goal is to print and bind a copy of my children's book, Three Against the Dark, and give it to me for my birthday. I don't actually have a printed copy of it right now. That would be fun!
He's decided to practice his book-binding work, so he dismantled an old book from the 1800s, a Greek New Testament. How fascinating to dissect it and discover how books were done then! They used staples to keep the signatures (groups of pages) together.
 Adam bought a small tool kit to work on the books.
He took the book apart and is starting from scratch with the signatures and putting it all back together. Here it is in his book press.
Now just to clarify, for those of you who think I'm married to some sort of Super Human who does all things, Adam is a tinkerer. He dabbles in hobbies for a while; he masters them; then he quietly puts them aside. Almost all his hobbies are quite useful and interesting. Over the years they've included: photography, chess, painting, candle-making, writing a novel, astronomy and telescope-building, sailing and boat repair. wood-working and furniture building, jewelry-making, cooking/baking (I won't let him put that one aside!), gardening, rewiring a car, etc., etc. I can't remember them all. Some skills he keeps fine-tuned better than others. For a while he even played the piano with one hand! I think he experiments to find hobbies he'll love long-term. And that list doesn't include all his handy-man and farm skills.
I sneaked over to Julia's room the other day to put some clothes there and saw a painting on her desk she is working on. It's of two kitties snuggling. I had my camera, so I stole a shot!
It's not done at all. This is just the color, and she'll put pen drawing on top to crisp it up. Honestly ... I love it just as it is. Isn't it pretty? I love the colors.
Last night I worked hard on my first figure for my Advent calendar -- the Virgin Mary. I'm just using my little knitted doll pattern for her.
 She won't have hair. Instead she'll have a scarf draped round her face and falling over her shoulder, like Mary usually does. I started the shawl last night, but it was bed time. Have you ever seen a shawl that was only six stitches wide? :)
 Here's Mary tucked into one of the calendar pockets. I can't wait until she has some company!
How in the world shall I knit little sheep and camels? That's the fun ... is finding out!


  1. Love the kitty-cat painting.
    You all are very creative folks. It's fun to see what you're doing.

  2. Wonderful! You are a house of elves yourselves.

  3. Yes, I really enjoyed touring the convent when Pom wrote about it! What a charming life they lead! You folks have your own little cozy home full of creativity. I'm a dabbler, too. It used to drive my husband crazy that I never stuck with anything, but there are too many interesting things to try! Love the kitty painting!

  4. I found myself singing, "Oh come, oh come, Immanuel" on the way home yesterday. It felt beautifully perfect in the deepening dusk of late January- and I love the ideas of preparing the characters of nativity all year through. More sort of, "Oh stay, oh stay, Immanuel" x


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