Friday, July 20, 2007

The Dragon Is Escaping!

Not that I haven’t been silent lately... but the Dragon is escaping from blogging and other work for a week or so while my brother is here visiting with his family from Switzerland. After all the family chaos of the past few months and all of the grueling home renovation projects in the last 2 weeks, I need some family time. I need to get away from my computer and go stick my toes in the sand. I need to watch a few sunsets and hug my niece and nephew a few hundred times before they go back so far away.

I’ve done a LOT of soul searching while I’ve been moving all that mud and sod out in the backyard. I’ve done a lot of praying lately about which step I am supposed to take next in this creative journey that is my life. Cross stitch remains a passion, but it just isn’t enough any more. I am SO tired of closing down sites, jumping through hoops to prove that my work has been infringed upon when a pirate has such an easy time creating the site in the first place. I am also very tired of sounding like a broken record in my blog.

When the site opens up again in August, I know that some people will be surprised and others will be disappointed. Nothing stays the same forever and I made myself a very important promise when I first began to design over a dozen years ago that I would be a POSITIVE force in the industry instead of a grumpy one. I have also realized that there comes a time when you have to take a stand and draw that line in the sand to say “This is WRONG!” It is sad to think that many of the honest stitchers out there are going to suffer when it is a smaller minority that have done such huge damage to our industry in the past 6 years... but I am going to find special ways to encourage those honest stitchers in different ways. That is what change and creativity is all about.

Please be patient with me over the next 2 weeks as I get away from it all before making some big changes. Enjoy the sunshine, finish up those craft projects that you’ve been neglecting and then check back with the Dragon in August for some fun ways to boost your creativity!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

She’s Grown Up So Much In Just A Week!

Friday morning we headed down to King's Landing Historical Settlement in Fredericton with Bethany to pick Erin up. She’d been down there since Monday morning as a Visiting Cousin where they are assigned to one of the family houses of the village, dress in period garb and learn activities or do chores from that era as well as attend school for 2 hours a day. I knew that it would be a wonderful, enriching experience for her... but I wasn’t quite prepared and how much she’d grown up and changed in just a week!!

King’s Landing is one of the most beautiful attractions in our province where you can watch history come alive all around you. We’ve been down several times with the girls as tourists and it was getting to hold the reins on a wagon ride back to the main entrance last summer that first got Erin interested in the Visiting Cousin program.

Bethany was both eager and regretful when it came time to go get Erin. She has missed her sister a lot, but she also enjoyed being an only child for 5 days! She and Nick posed for my camera on our way down to the Ingram Barn which also doubles as a theater.

When we dropped Erin off on Monday, we’d learned that she would be Erin Lint for the week, one of 4 daughters in the household. Friday, on our way to the barn for the 1 pm presentation, we decided to stop by the Lint House to see where she’d been working and eating her main meal each day. We arrived just as they were finishing up their meal and surprised both Erin and her “sisters”. In fact, the very first comment was “OH! So THAT’S why you’re so tall!!” as Nick and I stooped to avoid the stove pipe!

How much more self-assured Erin seemed at first as she moved about the room doing her chores and gathering her dishes... but then with a twinkle, a squeal and a hug, she didn’t seem all that different. She even managed to have part of her braid come undone and Mother Lint had to fix it for her before their performance.

Each group of the 21 children put on a small skit. They all took part in some period dancing, recited a poem that they memorized during their school time, introduced themselves in character and sang “God Save The Queen” together. After the presentations, we were given an hour with our children to tour some of the village that we hadn’t seen and returned to the Lint house to sample some of the baking Erin and her sisters had done that week. Here is the hearth where they helped cook the meals...

One of the houses had running water... but not theirs!

Some of the wealthier houses boasted beautiful pantries like this one...

Erin loved the archway in the hedge to the lovely garden behind the Ingram house...

Finally, we met up with all of the other Visiting Cousins as they gathered for one last treat. After a week of walking around the entire village on foot, they were given a wagon ride through the village back to their dorm to change back into this century’s clothes and say their goodbyes.

It was a wonderful experience for her. She woke each morning at 6:30 to do farm chores before breakfast, milked a cow, churned butter, gathered eggs from the chickens, dipped candles, wrote with a quill pen and ink, tried needlepoint and dying wool, helped prepare the main meal each day and do household chores as children of that era would have. She learned that potato bugs sizzle when you throw them into the fire, that weeds grow faster than crops, that sheep can get amorous, that baby pigs are adorable, that skirts rip at the hem if you step on them, that writing with ink and a quill pen is very messy, that there wasn’t really a ghost haunting one of the washrooms, that not having a watch or seeing a clock most days is not necessarily a bad thing and that she has made some wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

I discovered that my daughter is spreading her own wings a bit and learning new things. I must remember not to hold on too tightly when it comes time to let her fly.