Snow is still heavy on the ground outside. Our single-digit temperatures have kept the snow around for nearly a month now. Inside the Miners Cabin, there was a roaring fire in the wood stove, the quiet company of a cat, and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. When I’d read a couple of Sherlock Holmes short stories, I couldn’t resist trying a quick photography project. With the colder weather and shorter days, my outdoor photography has been somewhat diminished, so lately I’ve been dabbling in still life photography.
How different it is from nature photography, or portraits! With both of those, the goal is to capture things as they are or in their natural state, but at their best or most ideal. With still life, it largely is an illusion. Almost like sleight of hand. The photographer has more control and exercises more control to convey ideas and emotions, in ways that the natural world cannot be manipulated. It is different, but an enjoyable different.
The last few days have been long, I have to admit. Being house-bound isn’t exactly what I had in mind for my thirteen days off, especially since the weather cooled down into the 80s and the summer wildflowers are going crazy! But today was a huge improvement from the first two days where I couldn’t walk at all. I was actually able to hobble around the house without crutches today, and do some dishes and cook. I had my foot looked at today by the PA at the clinic where I work – She diagnosed it as a foot sprain, no fracture, and just told me to stay off it for a week or two. That’s a lot better than the six weeks I’d been dreading! Tonight, an ankle brace and hiking boots (the kind with the shank in the sole) actually provided great support for getting around. I know I need to be good, though – The temptation is to do too much too fast.
But even being house-bound has had benefits – I was able to spend hours yesterday reading about C.H. Spurgeon, the great English preacher and theologian from the mid- to late-1800s. We are reading a Spurgeon biography for our church book reading club, and it is a delight. What a wonderful life of work he led for the Kingdom of God! He began pastoring a church at the age of 17, and his teaching sparked a revival in the surrounding town. By the age of 26, his work had revived a dying church in London and he was regularly preaching to thousands, regularly helping to plant church and send out new pastors and leading sinners to Christ! The reach of his work is truly astounding, from the circulation of his sermons to the books he published to the orphanage and school he ran and the Pastor’s College he founded, and my list could go on. I hadn’t even started the book before yesterday, and I am now about 120 pages into it. A productive day. I was even able to edit about thirty-five wedding photos from a wedding I shot a few weeks ago.
And of course, cuddling with the Kashka-cat is very important. Nothing quite as sweet as her little purring self curled up on my lap, or stretched to her full length, fast asleep and dreaming so hard she’s twitching. She loves her people, that’s for sure.
But as productive as the last few days have been, I’m eager to get back at it! Enough of this lazing around.
While in college, I (obviously) had relatively little time to devote to non-college pursuits. That’s as it should be, I suppose, but I’m rediscovering some of those interests that either were put on hold or put off all together while I was getting my undergraduate degree. The past few weeks (and months), I’ve gotten out my crochet hooks, bought yarn, and whipped up some various projects, while most recently I’ve turned my attention to smaller items. For instance, this shawl I actually just finished crocheting to be the size for an American Girl doll. Those who know me well would know that I have a weakness for American Girl dolls, and this shawl looks quite beautiful on my Felicity doll. While I don’t have a picture of the shawl on Felicity, here is a picture of the almost-finished garment. The fabric with it will turn into doll dresses. I made a pattern from a store-bought doll dress, but I have yet to find a good place for my sewing machines, so my sewing is still somewhat on hold.
It turns out the Black Hills area is quite an artsy community, with lots of participation in what might be termed “traditional” or “folk” arts. Yesterday, Mom and I went to the Black Hills Fiber Arts Fair, where I visited with a number of women who are skilled weavers, spinners, dyers, and some who raise their own fiber animals (someday!). I got a ten minute lesson on using the drop spindle from the “Godmother of Drop Spindles” (as her colleagues dubbed her), and promptly purchased a kit. Even though it isn’t very good, the finished thread is so pretty! This is another one of those interests I’ve had for what seems like eternity, ever since I read Little House in the Highlands. Martha, Laura Ingalls’ great grandmother, is given a drop spindle and some wool. The part of the book where she is learning to spin used to fascinate me.
There were so many vendors and so many beautiful products–Hand-spun yarns, woven shawls, dyed fabrics, beautifully carved spindles, etc. With a few more doll-sized projects in mind (other shawls, which will hopefully be sold eventually), I gave myself a budget and found some beautiful 100% wool yarns. Unfortunate, the hand-spun yarns were a little outside my price range, but these were beautiful. Can’t wait to see what the projects look like when they’re finished!