Friday, July 1, 2016

Merging Warm Days with My Story Scenes

Merging Warm Days with My Story Scenes
Hi Ladies,

It seems like a long time between visits with you. I've been meeting with family and friends. Meanwhile,warm days and scenes from my stories merge in my mind. And, like vacation traffic merges onto the highway, I am merging photographs - with excerpts from my stories. I hope you find it entertaining. I highlighted the book excerpts in color. I left out some nouns - and - the excerpts are too short  to be "spoilers" for those of you who plan to read one of my "family-education" stories this summer.

I finished the toddler quilt. I enjoyed working with girly colors, piecing and then hand-quilting all 63 little hour-glass-blocks for my granddaughter. I waited until after it I gifted it before showing it here. Her mom reads my posts (on her phone). The placement of the blocks is random and playful.

A way to attach the binding entirely by machine is to make a flange. Sew a strip of binding onto the back, bring it around front to sew along the tiny strip (flange). You can see the white flange along the binding of my quilt. It is supposed to give the look of piping. I made mine wider than recommended - to make sure I could see what I was doing, this first try. I followed the tutorial on The Missouri Star Quilt Company's You-Tube - "Baby Quilt - Flange".

While quilting, Carol's sudden surge of creativity came to mind.

I was feeling creative. With the rest of the fabric I cut triangles. It occurred to me that, pieced with white, they would form a bright patchwork design. . . . A patchwork pillow would make a nice housewarming gift to cheer . . .(Blackberry Inn)

My youngest grandson's vest-of-many-colors was finished in time for his 5th birthday. It is a bit big on him.

He wore it on a cool day in spring during the week I stayed with my daughter's family.

I also gifted him "Frog and Toad Audio Collection" read by its author Arnold Lobel (deceased.)

In the first chapter of Lessons of Blackberry Inn Emma appreciates Carol's knitting.

"You have not been idle. You've been keeping the baby safe. And you've been diligent even in bed. Just look at all these books you've been reading in preparation for teaching the children. You know how to use your time wisely." She carefully lifted my knitting out of its basket. "And look at this pretty sweater. What a lovely rose color!" I had been knitting a cardigan for my daughter, Emily, and was particular about my pinks. Emma held it up to admire it in the sunbeams that streamed in through the windows. It did look pretty in the sunlight, or was it Emma's encouragement that made me appreciate it more? (Blackberry Inn)

In April my pain doctor prescribed physical therapy. I'd been to PT in a previous year with discouraging results. But I've bounced back and am trying a different practice. If I am presented with a contortion I feel I'm simple not ready for I tell my therapist. Otherwise, I trust her wisdom and am doing my homework daily with an orange band. I'm getting stronger, able to kneel on the floor and walk for ten minutes! Dean drove us to Landis Valley one sunny afternoon. We sauntered. He took out the camera. It occurred to me that some of what he photographed are those living things observed or mentioned in my stories.

The dinning room was full of hungry guests . . . One guest, in particular, a gregarious gentleman named Mrs. Fortesquieu, took Michael's mind off his backache. He is a portly man with an out-of-date handlebar moustache. His clothes, thought they look like they've come out of an attic trunk, make a perfect fit. A vigorous conversationalist, he has a deep jovial voice that dominated the others at the table. He was quite appreciative of my "tenderly prepared" fish, raving about the "palatability" of my "exquisite" green salad, impressed with the fact that is was entirely composed of greens we had harvested from the garden. I din't think the nasturtium petals I sprinkled into the salad would cause such a stir. (Pinecones)

Milkweed in bloom - with fluffy-seeds to come.

On another walk . . .  a breeze carried some fluff across our path. Emily jumped and caught a fluff between her cupped hands. She held it out to me saying, "Look, this is from a big dandelion!" I spotted a clump of weeds growing by the railroad tracks nearby and recognized among them, one of my favorite childhood plants: the milkweed. (Pinecones)

I once thought of the Johnny jump-up (wild pansy or heart's-ease) as a weed. They will take over the garden if they get the chance. In a book on Colonial herbs, however, I read that the seed of the Johnny jump-up was advertised in Boston in 1760, and Jefferson reported planting it in his garden in 1767. (Pinecones)

Beyond the geese is a spring house.

Nobody knew where Emma was. Soon after we had served our guests, she had vanished on her bicycle. I thought I had heard her say something about going to the Goslin sisters to bring back more goose down for . . . The Goslins had raised their pretty white geese since I was a girl. I remember hearing my mother talk about their notorious gander. Rumor had it that he would nip the ankles of any stranger who approached wearing trousers, but accepted the visits of all in skirts. This was told to me years back as a possible explanation for why the Goslin sisters never married. (Blackberry Inn)

Sunflower seeds are favorite snack of Dean's. 

Dean has too many food allergies to name. To fill a craving I made gluten-free apple butter muffins with grated carrot, raisins, flavored with molasses. It reminded me of the muffins Carol made for the apple-butter festival in Lessons at Blackberry Inn.

End Notes
Because I make muffins often I decided to order my un-bleached cupcake papers by the three-pack on Amazon.

You can find the Arnold Lobel's "Frog and Toad" Audio Collection there, too.

To learn more about my stories a click will take you to "Karen's Books" here on this blog.

Happy for Your Visit.
Are you getting out in a garden?

Karen Andreola



  1. I'm glad to hear the PT is working for you this time, and that you are getting around better. Summer here is always catch-up-visiting, too.

    The mid-Atlantic has had such a mild Spring, which makes it easier to face the hotter temperatures that are coming! We've taken several long walks/hikes as a family. Though once it gets hotter and the woods are so overgrown, I prefer manicured gardens for walking.

    Your quilt is so pretty. It will make a lovely keepsake.


  2. Thank you for your beautiful, insightful, and inspiring posts. You have a lovely and unique way of writing and communicating Charlotte Mason's ideas, and your own, of course! I am so thankful for your wisdom. Your posts are a breath of fresh air.

  3. Dear Karen,

    Thanks you for your post. They are always a bright spot in my day. I am glad that you are getting some good help with the PT and getting out a bit. Praying it continues.

    Our family also has many food allergies, and gluten free muffins are a hit since we can adapt them to our needs. Banana muffins are a favorite here.

    Although our own garden is doing poorly this year due to health issues, we can walk to our neighborhood lake here in Virginia and see turtles, fish, great blue herons, little green herons, red wing blackbirds and flowers.

    Your knitting and quilting are beautiful, too. I've never heard of a flange on a quilt binding. I shall have to look it up. Thanks for the tip!

    Hope you enjoy your day. Blessings to you and your family!

  4. I am very happy to hear your physical therapy is helping!
    The photos and snippets of your stories are lovely. The quilt turned out so beautifully, how fun to have a girl to make things for.
    Thank you for another post! God bless your summer.

  5. Sigh. Such a wonderful post to share with us. I have been reading your "family-education" books every summer for years now, I have one graduated and one in high school, but they still speak to me and help me get in the right mindset for home learning. I can't tell you how grateful I am for your writing and encouragement!

    I hope you continue to heal and can enjoy more of your glorious corner of the world. :)

    Gorgeous handwork, both sweater and quilt. Stunning!

  6. It is so very nice to hear from you Ladies. Thank you for all your well-wishes and compliments. It is kind of you to take the time to write. I am glad, too, that you are enjoying "family education".

  7. I really enjoyed your latest post. Happy to hear that you are improving with the physical therapy. Your posts are relaxing and informative.
    God Bless you and your family

  8. Such lovely photographs accompany your musings! I love seeing these little glimpses of your life. Love the sweet feminine quilt for your wee's sure to be a treasure for years to come!

    I am so happy to hear that physical therapy is helping you!

  9. Karen, Good to hear you are improving and gaining strength. You have such a calm, gentle heart and way with your words - always a delight to read, even if I don't comment. I've been reading some of the unschooling materials. You know what? I keep coming back to Charlotte Mason, and your book. So grateful you wrote that, condensing her thoughts and attitudes and style. So grateful!
    Yes, I am gardening - here at home (tomatoes, mostly) and at the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden as a volunteer. We seem to go from winter to hot summer. Somehow I miss the best planting days for spring - I do better as a fall/winter gardener.

  10. I love the vest of many colors, Karen! You wrote, "I'm getting stronger, able to kneel on the floor and walk for ten minutes!" This attitude of yours, Karen, inspires me! I pray you will continue to get stronger, and the pain will weaken. Thank you for being fruitful in spite of your pain. I see from the comments that many, like me, are blessed by your words!!

  11. I hope you realize how much joy your writings and photos bring to my life! Thanks for taking the time to share with all of us -

  12. Dearest Karen,

    Oh, how I have missed your posts. This comes at a time when I am experiencing the tiredness of school. Due to a few interruptions in our year, we are still continuing our school year. We have labeled it The Year that Will Never End. One thing I have learned from you is to just keep on going at a steady pace and do not give up.

    I am glad you are continuing on your path to healing. It does my heart good to hear you are making progress. I pray you continue to improve daily.

    Your little girlie quilt is lovely. I have not seen a flange, but I think I'd like to try it sometime. Your grandson can't possibly be five! Oh, how quickly they grow. His vest is so nice. I have not been able to get the hang of knitting, but maybe I'll give it a try again one day.

    Frog and Toad have always been favorites here. I had them on cassette tape when I taught school. I haven't been able to locate them in some time. It is nice to hear they are on cd.

    I love all your nature photos. I think nature is just about my favorite thing in the world. The older I get, the more I appreciate how it represents our God and His love for us.

    Your muffins look yummy. There are so many recipes now for people with food allergies. I am sure it must make baking easier.

    By the way, I have been enjoying your Facebook posts. They are my favorite thing on FB! I love how you always have the perfect picture to illustrate your post. I hope you realize what a blessing you are, Karen. I am sure the Lord is using you in ways that you will never know until you reach your Heavenly home.

    I hope you are enjoying pleasant weather up your way. We are in the midst of very hot days here in Texas, where I am longing for autumn.

    Take care,

  13. Hello, Karen.

    We experienced a sad aspect of nature study this morning. My great-niece's rabbit died overnight. Many tears and a bunny funeral later I feel drained and weary. Your cheery, colorful excerpts are a nice tonic.


  14. I enjoyed this post greatly. I need to get out in the garden. It's getting away from my husband and daughter. ~smile~

    Be blessed and healed in the Name of Jesus!
    Laura Lane
    Harvest Lane Cottage
    Carthage, Missouri

  15. Dear Karen,
    I finally had a quiet moment to read this beautiful post. The words and pictures calmed my soul. Being a mother of 6 and pregnant with number 7, I feel at times my life is ... Crazy. When I come to visit your space, I am reminded why I am home with this little ones of mine.
    I do hope that you find complete healing soon.
    Your devoted reader,
    Samantha Allen

  16. Dear Karen,

    What a blessing that you are getting better! Pain is no laughing matter, for sure. Your writings always inspire me to do better as a home-schooling mother.



  17. I just finished reading Pinecones this morning and picked up Blackberry Inn to read this afternoon. I read your books each year over summer break. The are refreshing and inspiring. Thank you!

  18. Dear Karen,

    What a lovely post! It makes me want to pull your books off the shelf and read them again! I am so thrilled that your PT is helping! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

    Love, Heather