Treasured visitors

January 2, 2008 at 5:40 pm | Posted in art, blogging, Christmas, cookie recipes, country life, country living, dogs, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, gifts, hat patterns, Holidays, knitting, love, marriage, photography, pumpkin recipes, recipes, relationships, romance, snow, socks, yarn | 17 Comments

Jack Frost left some magic on Fireflys windows this morningAnother holiday season has swept through, leaving in its wake warm and loving memories and a sweet lingering feeling of relaxation. Each year I learn new lessons in keeping the holidays in simpler and more humble manners. This is my personal effort to help keep the true spirit of the holidays alive for myself, my loved ones, and anyone whose life I might happen to touch in some way or other.

I find I succeed in some ways, and fail in others but always my quest is to get it better than I have before, learn from my mistakes, discard regrets, and move on toward a future of increased goodwill and peace to whatever degree I, one single individual spirit, can contribute to that motion.

The beauty and magic of snow on fireflys farm in Western New YorkMy beautiful, large family, which has gone through various stages of fragmentation since the death of my oldest brother two years ago, is finding and knitting its way back together. My son and daughter, my husband, and I spent Christmas alone here on our farm just the four of us … and of course our dear sweet Blu and a couple of magic cats that showed up lately on our porch.

We enjoyed a beautiful snow storm on Christmas eve, the day my son flew in from California. After that, for several days, the four of us stayed at home pretty much the entire time. My son and I enjoyed cooking together on Christmas eve and Christmas day … treasured memory. The four of us visited together peacefully, gently, with love and regard for one another. We enjoyed laughter, gifts, naps, the “Christmas Story” marathon on television, tasty baked goods, and pretty scenes outside our the many windows of our home.

Pretty touching snow outside of fireflys farm in Western New YorkI managed not to cry when we drove him to the airport and dropped him off for his flight home. The inevitable tears did not begin stinging their way into and out of my eyes until we pulled away from the curb and he and I shared a last wave of “goodbye, see you soon”.

I have promised myself he will never see me crying as he leaves, nor feel any sense of sadness coming from me. We are both doing quite well in life, and though our separate paths have dictated 3,000 miles between us we stay in such close contact via the many conveniences afforded by modern technology that I am able to keep my perspective which help keep feelings of sadness at bay.

Magic awaits us all in 2008This year we sent holiday care packages to each of the families within my family containing apple preserves I made this fall, ginger snap cookies my daughter and I made just in time for shipping, pumpkin bread from Grandma Johnson’s recipe, and other items or treats according to what I had on hand and who the recipient might be. The ginger snap cookies were the biggest hit of all … my goodness (I use the recipe straight out of The Joy of Cooking). They became our favorite Christmas cookie last year, my first Christmas on the farm, and now we have decided they will be our traditional Christmas cookie from here on out. So, family, get ready for more of that crispy goodness next year.

Meanwhile, we have a year of living to get on with and I am ready to begin.

I am well underway on the large painting I am making for our favorite local restaurant. In a few days I should have a photo ready to share.

A pretty view of snow outside at fireflys farm in Western New YorkMy daughter gave me beautiful yarns for three hand knit projects (a hat, a shawl, and a pair of warm and cozy house socks) for Christmas. I have completed the hat (will share a photo in the next posting) and am well on my way with the shawl. I plan to create printed versions of this year’s patterns which will be carried in my local yarn shop and on my website. If the patterns do well in sales in the yarn shop, I hope to start distributing them in other yarn shops around. Of course, I will still offer free patterns online … so don’t worry, I won’t be cutting you off. However, it is the prudent thing to do to make some of what I do here generate income and knitting patterns seems to be a good way to go.

Over the past months I have settled in more to my new life on a farm in Western New York, so this coming year will be simpler and less stressful than the last, and it will be more productive and satisfying … and even more magical. Ah, I breath a sigh of relief and restful anticipation just thinking of the days, weeks, and months to come.

Heres a toast to magic waiting around every cornerThis is the way to begin a new year: peaceful, relaxed, rested, happy. Jack Frost, a treasured visitor and friend, left a handful of beautiful drawings in ice crystal on the windows of our sun porch this morning. His little touch of magic drew me and the camera out of our restful dreams with a glimpse of a view of the year ahead.

Will you join me in heralding in a new a magical year with happinesses yet to discover, successes yet to unfold, and pleasant surprises glistening on our horizons?

Wonderful! Let’s get going …



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  1. Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year. It’s been fun reading about your first year and a half or so in your new home. May you still see your home with the same fresh eyes when you’ve lived there 20 years as you have this first year.


  2. Like a wish come true… I’ve been pining for some frost and snow. Thank you.

  3. Beautiful pictures. Happy New Year.

  4. Awesome pictures. Glad you had a Christmas filled with peace and loved ones.

  5. You always have such beautiful pictures 🙂 Hope your next year is wonderful!

  6. loved your post especially the words about your son, I am so glad your Christmas was what it was meant to be!!

  7. I stumbled across your website while looking for a pattern for a wool scarf. I found much more. Your paintings are wonderful and inspire me to return to my own painting. I am going today to find yarn to knit the scarf for my daughter who has to go to Barrow, Alaska for a week. We live in Louisiana and don’t have a lot of need for wool scarves (except occassionally)
    Thank you for the pattern and for the peaceful feelings I have in my heart after reading your blog. I think I shall have a wonderful day, and I wish that for you.

  8. Thank you so much for your wonderful pictures of your world and the sweet things you say about your family. May 2008 bring all the love and beauty for the family you have written about. I enjoyed the comments too, especially the last paragraph written by Janice. She expresses so well the effect you created.


  9. Beautiful pictures of the winterness of the north. We have not seen snow in the upper South Carolina region. Maybe we will get a little before winter leaves us. Looking forward to throwing a few snowballs at our black lab. He thinks we are throwing balls at him and is surprised when they crumble in his mouth and wants us to keep throwing them so that eventually he might “catch” one. Our Christmas was good. I made scarves for just about everyone in the family. I made your New York scarf but I used the brushed Suri Merino from Plymouth Yarn in the same #402. It turned out beautiful and so soft. I must make myself one of those. My projects for the new year is to learn to knit a hat and socks. I am learning. Hope you have an abundance of peace and goodwill in the new year. I just turned the big 50 on the 5th of Jan. Now, that will take some getting used to.

  10. I know it is terrible saying good bye to grown children.It seems they have left too soon.
    My daughter thinks i want to keep her my little girl forever and takes offence by it,which is not the case.
    All in all your Christmas seems to have been lovely.
    Happy New Year

  11. Aw, that was touching. Thanks for sharing. I have really little ones. Makes me want to cherish all the time we have. I know it goes fast. What a lovely and sweet time you had this Christmas–great memories.

  12. What a beautiful way to welcome the new year. Thank you for painting such pretty pictures, with your words and your camera. Life is so precious, and you convery this in all your posts. Thank you for your wonderful insights as usual. May your days this year be filled with joy and wonder.

  13. Thank you for sharing your christmas with everyone. Your photos of the snow etc is absolutely beautiful. I know how you feel saying goodbye to your son, we had our youngest son and his fiance over for christmas from Western Australia. They live on the west coast under Perth and we are 4400 or so kilometres on the east coast under Sydney. I cried when I saw him when picking them up from the airport (happy tears) but didn’t cry when they were leaving on the plane, I didn’t want to upset him as he was a bit sad having to go back. They have only been living there for 6 months and he hopes to be able to get work over here and come back by the end of this year.

  14. Thak you so much for sharing the hat pattern. I am a great grandma new to the web. I have been making scarves and need a new item to make for my “kids”, this will help a lot! I am also an art lover & enjoyed your pics. Keep up the good work. You are also a talented writer, I feel very blessed and peaceful after reading your letter. Busy Bee

  15. Your photos are a breath of beauty as always.

    We wish you many blessings, warm peace and the slow abiding joy of love and family.

  16. Sounds like you all had a wonderful holiday! I remember your wish last year for a magic cat to come and you got 2! You must have been a very good girl 🙂 Happy New Year to you all~hugs~

  17. I stopped by to see how you have been. I am glad you were able to spend quiet and peaceful time with your family. I can feel for you with your son’s leaving as I have three sons. There is such a bond with our sons( as moms), I would not trade them in for a girl( which we never had), although at this time, girls are flooding our lives( baby granddaughter, as you may recall) and daughter in law and one on the way and a girlfriend. Our house has never seen so much Estrogen and for the first time, the playing field here is even!
    Enough about me.
    I enjoyed your beautiful photos and your sentiments about your life.
    I am continue to drop by for “Tea” even if it’s just in the imagination. You paint a very vivid portrait of life there “on the farm”.

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