Our house is a winter refuge for ladybugs. While it is cold outside, little groups of ladybugs nestle in the corners of the ceilings of the old rooms downstairs. When it warms up outside, they leave their cosy corners and wander along the walls and windows and furniture. And when the cool air returns, so they return to their huddled corners.

I took these photos about a month ago, as I was making things in the studio to fill January orders. This one little ladybug came into the studio from the living room and kept me company all the day long.

It is a bit hard to take in that a whole month has passed and it is time to fill orders again. Those weeks are truly a blur of illness for the whole family, missing Elzic and just maintaining. There has been plenty to do, and it has mostly been done…but without the gilding of joy. Tho’ all the understanding and compassionate responses to my last post have been so welcome…and it has been diverting to visit so many new-to-me places on the web through the links left in my letterbox. I send you my heart-felt thanks.

We are all well again, except my eldest, who started this flu after the rest of us had nearly finished with it. He even had to go the the doctor, for he creatively added a sinus infection to the mix. I am going to fetch him home from Williamsburg tomorrow for some mothering.

Without Elzic to care for, and only my youngest son at home, our daily life is feeling rather spare and quiet….which are both qualities I truly appreciate. But the reality is taking some getting used to. I long to get back into the swing of Life, but haven’t found my new rhythm as yet. But it will come, I know. It has helped to do some rearranging of our rooms….I moved “Elzic’s” chair to the other side of the woodstove…finally put a little table and chair by the sunshiny-in-the-morning bedroom window for solitary meals and soaking up vitamin D…and many other small, but cheerful changes.

My small companion spent hours on and around my sewing machine, as I made Cartellas of all sorts. I wonder if I will have more company when I get back to studio work on Monday? I have many nice orders to fill and shows to begin to prepare for…the quiet Winter months are ending. And what a strange winter it has been for us! Not the bare-limbed, pale, cold months that I look forward to…but an unrestful mixture of warm days and cold days and only a few tantalizing hours of snowfall. I am sure that many of you in more Northern parts of the country won’t agree with me, but I have not had my fill of Winter this year. But it seems to be finished with us, as the daffodils are blooming (although they are quite short!) and bushes beginning to bud. So my still-wintry spirit will have to catch up to this early Spring.

I am conscious that this post is getting quite long! But I have a few more photos of the ladybug’s adventures, and I have been quiet for so long….

My dreams of becoming a “knitter of socks” has been postponed for now. The class I was thinking of taking turned out to be for a non-traditional method of knitting socks, and also called for more skills than I have. My romantic notions around knitting won’t mesh just now with the “magic loop” approach. So next Winter, I plan to take some basic classes and slowly build my skills and see where it leads.

In the meantime, I have realized that the monthly filling-
orders (which has worked out beautifully for me and has been so well-received by all my generous customers) will leave the worktable in my studio empty for a few weeks a month. So I will finally have a space to work on more handmade and one-of-a-kind creations! This is something I have long-wanted, but simply couldn’t figure out how to accomplish. Of course, show season will challenge the idea, but I am determined to give it a go. If I am successful, the rather bare Home Spirit room of my webshop will begin to fill up with the manifestations of all my imaginings.

And the last news is that I have taken the plunge
and signed up for an art retreat. It is called Art & Soul (lovely name!) and is in not-too-far-away Hampton, in early May. I won’t be going for the whole five days, but am really looking forward to the three days I shall be there. Taking classes, meeting other creative women, staying in a hotel…all rather rare treats.

And so we arrive at the last photo…which is not a ladybug version of “Where’s Waldo”. The ladybug does not even appear in this photo. But as I was following it’s progress across my wrapping desk (and takings photos that didn’t turn out), I noticed how pretty the open drawer and the strands of raffia looked. These are my Carl Larsson drawers that I made by covering some old cardboard drawers with cut-outs from some of the old C.L. calendars in my paper trunk.

Until next time…..