Friday, 10 August 2018

Makers making mermaids

Two of our household — Alice and Hebe — have been working for several months on developing a range of sea-themed jewellery.

The things they're making are — oh, my! — just so pretty.

I wanted to show you a necklace just completed.

Because the porcelain beads would cut through silk over time, it is threaded (very appropriately) on fishing twine (I love that) which is very strong and durable.

The beads are freshwater pearls, a few genuine shell beads, several handmade porcelain beads (both smoke-fired and pink-glazed), and sandalwood.

The mermaid is porcelain and the flower she holds is coral (vintage, so no protected species have been hurt); the clasp is gold.

The mermaid and the porcelain beads were made by Hebe.

Isn't that just such a darling creation? I'll bring you pictures as more sea-wonders emerge . . .

Disconcerting similarity

My rice salad

My beautiful new dress

Wednesday, 8 August 2018


So why is it that people are commonly called Mr Black, Mr Brown, Mr Grey, Mr White and Mr Green — but nobody is ever called Mr Pink, Mr Red, Mr Blue, Mr Orange, Mr Purple, or Mr Yellow?

Further sartorial adventures

I hope you will indulge me patiently if you are finding these posts on my clothing somewhat tedious. It's always so exciting to have a new dress.

At the same time I asked Elizabeth (Graceful Threads) to make me a dress, I asked Kari (King's Daughters) also. Both these ladies are superb dressmakers — the best, in my opinion. Making dresses, though, is like making bread or cakes; different outcomes in different hands. Even following the same pattern, these two dressmakers produce different results, and I like both in different ways. I also love wearing garments that bear testimony to the personality of their maker. They also offer different fabrics from each other, which is a consideration.

So I was looking forward with great excitement to my second dress arriving. And yesterday it did. I thought you'd like to see.

It is my plan, when I have saved up some money for the purchase, to have an apron to go with each dress, in the same fabric as the dress, to wear together.

This design:

So thank you for letting me share my excitement with you. I just love these dresses, and wearing them is part of a season of change in my life, about which I might write in due course. If your taste in clothing is the same as mine, it's possible you might enjoy a happy ten minutes on my Pinterest board.

And this is the book I am reading today:

Monday, 6 August 2018

Keep it secret. Keep it safe.

There's this wonderful moment in The Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf says to Frodo, "Keep it secret. Keep it safe."

This is the most astonishingly good advice.

Jesus followed the same path. There is what's called in the gospels "the messianic secret", because time and again when he heals somebody, Jesus cautions them to tell no one; to keep it secret. Likewise, when he teaches the people he always does so in parables. Only in his close, trusted circle does he unpack the wisdom of the story, speaking plainly. That way he offers the gift of spiritual truth, but safely wrapped up in a story, so that it is only recognisable to those who can be trusted to handle it advisedly.

Lao Tzu teaches the same principle in the Tao (see Ch.15 and Ch.56), observing that those who talk do not know and those who know do not talk, and that the ancient masters went cautiously and quietly.

Father Tom Cullinan, the monk who lived in the forest and was my friend, taught the same thing. He advised me never to speak about living simply, not to discuss it or promote it; keep it hidden, keep it secret, keep it safe.

The more I see of life, the more convinced I am becoming that this is 24 carat super-wisdom. It is as though the truth arises in an individual's life like a hidden spring welling up from the earth of their soul. You can recognise it, but you cannot impart it. You cannot give your truth to someone else, you can only live it. 

Here and there, when someone has need of the truth you know, you may be able to speak to them quietly and privately; and those who journey with you, live with you, discover your truth. But broadcasting it only attracts opposition, antagonism and contention; the enemies of quietness and of peace. 

Those who know truth have to learn to become die stille im Lande. It is the only way to proceed. If you try anything else, people will block you. The more you know, the more you have to withdraw. It's the only way through. Those who belong to the same path will find you.

It can be very frustrating. The secret burns inside you as Frodo's ring burned in his pocket, as truth burned in Jeremiah's bones wanting to come out. But truth is for living; the only way it can be told safely is in stories, as Jesus did. Unless you don't mind people throwing you into a well or cutting your head off or putting you in prison or stoning you. That was the price.

To learn truth, watch people's lives. It's like seeing a pattern unfolding as cloth is woven, or observing a melody developing. Then you know what they know — or what they don't. To teach truth, let people watch your life.

In recent times, three things have happened to remind me of this — a correspondence, a conversation, and an online discussion. These served as forceful reminders that people generally prefer to deal in externals. If you allow inner reality to appear, it causes affront and argument.

Ssh. Keep it secret. Keep it safe. If you know.

See also this blog post, and this, and this, and this.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Sartorial aspiration

I used to think the utter epitome of pleasing and exquisite style was Miss Marple

I've moved on.

Now I think I prefer Mrs Patmore.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

More pics of Graceful Threads dress

Like everybody else, I am hurled into a crisis of confidence and overwhelmed by excruciating embarrassment when I look at photos of myself. 

However, the dress Elizabeth made me is really good, so I thought I'd post some pics for you to get a closer look. The thing about it is, the elasticated waist and box pleat on the back make it excellent for doing housework, but the design overall looks formal enough to go out. If like me, you can't be faffed with incessantly changing clothes to suit the different demands of your day, this is good news.

So here it is. Please overlook foolish facial expressions and lamentable elderly figure. Look at the dress. On Graceful Threads, it's Eva's Yoke Dress. (Presumably prices will change over time)

Very similar to Lisa's Yoke Dress on The King's Daughters. Same pattern on lease, I believe.

Incidentally, though I always so much appreciate your kindness, there's no need to feel you should comment that I look glorious and divine — this post is really intended for people interested in similar clothing to get a good look at the reality. Many of the photos of such dresses online are on children or teenagers, and it's hard to figure out what the result would be on an adult, even elderly, woman. That's why I've posted them.

Looks good with an apron too. Mine is from Made In Hastings.