A few weeks ago, the talented and witty Scruffybadger nominated this blog for an award – a Stylish Blogger award no less! Clearly Scruffybadger has never seen me in my gardening togs! The game is to write 7 things about yourself, and pass the award on to 7 other blogs. I’d been mulling all this over (having not long ago revealed a few things about myself here), and was about to step up to the podium when the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and also my poor mother’s house in Oregon being badly affected in a landslide, made me feel that accepting a blog award was frivolous to say the least. I’ve been feeling guilty about enjoying so much in my life – simple things that have been brutally taken away from so many.
And then I remembered Tinker. Although a cat, Tinker was in fact my “first child” – and his brother Mischka was Michael’s. Tinker died at only 10, of an inoperable tumour. In the last months of his life, while I mourned him in advance, he taught me the importance of enjoying every moment you can. He knew he was dying, and he knew that we knew. But he played, he lolled in the sun, he purred, he loved us and he loved life unreservedly. So in the spirit of remembering that we are here to enjoy life – despite loss – I thought I would make a list of 7 things that make me happy.
1. Cats! Just like Tinker and Mischka before her, Tilly reminds me every day to enjoy the here and now, and to have fun.
2. The seasons. This weekend, gardening was out of the question. The weather was very wintry, although so close to the sea we didn’t have any snow. But we had a great weekend. We all got spring-cleaning fever, and gave the house a good tidy, and then on Sunday we had friends over.
We gathered around the fire, ate carrot cake, drank tea and coffee (and juice). It was just so great to relax together while the weather raged outside.
3. The love of my family
The Dafter and her Dad gave me this charming plate and mug for my birthday. I am so lucky to have such a loving family:
4. & 5. Flowers, and friends. These tulips were given to us by the friends that came over on Sunday. I love the reminder of their friendship, and the flowers themselves are so beautiful – especially the yellow at the centre of the pink. Flowers make me very happy. They never stint – they give us their all.
6. Creating things. I am so fortunate to have the time and resources to knit, write, and try my hand at various creative efforts. I’ve been blessed by encouragement from others along the way. In this photo I’m 18 and with a dear family friend, Diane Populus. I’m wearing the first jumper I ever knit, and a dress that I designed and stitched by hand. In those days I designed and sewed almost all of my clothes, and often without a sewing machine. I also did a lot of embroidery, cutwork and tatting. It was Diane who started me on the tatting, when I was 13. We were in a craft shop and I discovered a book about it. She bought it for me, along with a shuttle and thread, and said, “I want to see results in 10 years!” That night, I struggled with making the knots until I mastered turning them – and went on to make yards and yards of tatted lace (and a few doilies and collars too) in my teenage years. Tatting got me through high school.
Now when I’m under stress, I think of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s advice to “knit on, through all crises, with confidence and hope”.
7. Music. As a friend recently said, “If angels do exist, their language must be music.” I don’t play my violin much these days, but I love to sing, especially at church with others. There’s nothing more calming and grounding than forgetting yourself in music, especially music that you’ve known all your life.
And now for the 7 blogs to pass this award on to. It’s so difficult to choose because there are so many worthwhile blogs out there (and I have been meaning to update my blogroll for ages). I will say that in some cases, although this is a Stylish Blogger award, I have opted for Substance as well as Style. In no particular order, I nominate:
The Barefoot Crofter – Jacqui and her family are in the process of moving to croft full-time on the Isle of Lewis. I’m always interested to see what she’ll be posting about, and her photos are gorgeous.
Occasional Scotland – Another Scottish blogger, based in Edinburgh but reporting from various parts of Scotland. Linda’s blog is witty, varied and has beautiful photographs.
Lovely World – a very creative person who writes about a variety of things, and whose watercolour paintings and reflections on life inspire me.
Plain and Joyful Living – insights into the life of a self-sufficient family in Vermont. Tonya is expecting her seventh child; she and her husband homeschool their children.
Purlpower – based in Paisley, Scotland, this entertaining blogger writes about knitting, quilting, gardening and Scottish goings-ons.
Asplund Knits – a Swedish knitter (male) who is extremely creative in his designs and approach to knitting.
Journeys to Scotland – this North American blogger has a dream to travel to Scotland. In the meantime, she posts about the things she’s discovered and places she might like to go when she gets here. She should be nominated as an ambassador for the Scottish Tourist Board!