Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tried out the blogging thing...

Over the past few days, I've come to realize that I have a tough decision to make. Homeschool has started back up again; the Etsy shop is picking up; I start First Fridays once-a-month craft shows in less than two weeks; plus all the usual cooking and cleaning and teaching and whatnot. And more and more, my friends, it looks like this blog has to go.

This is not a decision I have made lightly. I have enjoyed blogging, and in some ways I think it has filled a void in my life. But it has taken more time than I realized, and it is also easy to become addicted to blogging and checking your stats and trying to come up with something clever to say all the time. So it is with both a heavy heart and a sigh of relief that I say goodbye.

Thank you for reading; as I have said before, your visits make my day all the time and I will miss that. The blog will be up for a few more days in case you need to make note of any links or information contained here. After that, it will be deleted.

Thanks again,

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Retirement gift

We have been at New Life for nine years now. On and off (mostly on) during that time, I have served in the nursery at least once a month, sometimes weekly. Recently we decided it was time for me to take another break. So at the last nursery meeting, our most excellent nursery coordinator Sylvia presented me with this:I think it takes a true friend to know that I prefer a bouquet of yarn over flowers any day! That's 6 skeins of Lily Sugar 'n Cream in 3 different colors. And then she topped it off with THIS:

A very extravagant Hobby Lobby gift card! WOO HOO!

Just wanted to show it off before it's disassembled. Maybe I should have retired a long time ago! (not really). Thank you, nursery people!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Quick notes

It's late, but before the day is out there are some things I wanted to say.

1. My husband ROCKS. Example: Discernment

2. I'm happy to eat my words. If you read my "birthday wish post" I named some things I would like to happen but that I didn't expect by my birthday. One of those things was a good candidate for president. As it turns out, I think my problem was that I had been listening to people talk about the candidates, but had not taken the time to listen to the candidates themselves. Well, thanks to Rick Warren and Saddleback Church's Civil Forum, I know who I plan to vote for this fall. And no, I'm not telling you, because a) this is not that kind of blog; and b) you need to figure out who to vote for on your own.

3. Lion Brand Yarn is my new favorite yarn company. They very graciously granted my request to reprint part of their very excellent knitting instructions for the "knit kits" that I plan to offer at my First Fridays booth.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pretty knitting needles

Here's a little project I worked on last night. At my First Fridays booth, I want to offer little kits with knitting needles, a little yarn, and some very basic knitting instructions. These would be for little or no cost, just to encourage people to try knitting. I wanted to keep the cost low, so buying needles was out of the question. I saw instructions for making them out of chopsticks at Hankering for Yarn. Instead of chopsticks, I bought wooden dowels and cut them to size; sharpened one end in a pencil sharpener; sanded them to just the right shape with fine sandpaper; and glued a bead on the other end. I also read someplace else to rub them with wax paper to smooth them, so I did that. I keep obsessing about the shape of the point and trying to get them perfect, but I try to remind myself that I learned to knit on two pencils - it will be all right! I love the look of them, so soft and natural. I think I'll have to keep a set.

By the way, the table they are sitting on is the "shell table". If my house was on fire, my family was safe, and I could run back and get one thing, this would probably be it. The table itself was rescued from a dumpster when we lived in Florida. Eventually the middle part of the table came out, so we replaced it with a thinner piece of wood. That made a perfect spot to put shells gathered on Lizi's first trip to the beach. About 3/4 of the way through the project, we ran out of shells and had to beg some from my friend Melanie in Florida. The shells are attached with mastic, like tile, with grout in between. Lizi must have been about the age Lydia is now when she helped me with it. That's a lot of memories for one little table.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Play-Doh idea

New Play-Doh sets are fun. Nice soft dough, cute molds, bright colors. But let's face it: a preschooler with a fierce need for independence plus technology they haven't mastered yet - a very frustrating combination. So this morning, as I tried to think of something fun for Lydia to do with her new toy, I went to get a few rubber stamps to try stamping the dough. Someone else has probably thought of this before, but it's a first for us.
She had a lot of fun with it, and it kept her busy for a full 5 minutes. That's a long time when you're almost 3. She liked the butterflies and flowers, but she was even more pleased with the "squares" she made with the back side of the stamp. Whatever works, I say.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

While the cat is away...

...the mice will play. Well, actually, the cat is still here, it's my girls who were away at grandparents'. And there are no mice, that I know about. But I've been here, and sewing up a storm. I also cleaned house a little, went out to eat with Chad a couple of times, and sat on the screened porch and enjoyed the somewhat cooler weather as much as I could. And here are the 18 animals I assembled, ready for stuffing: (I know they don't look like much inside out, but they WILL be cute.)There are also 15 more cut out and ready for sewing. Some of these may go to the Etsy shop, but most will be saved for my booth at First Fridays on September 5.

I also made Lydia some curtains. Before, she had this thick paper taped over the bottom half of her windows that we put up for privacy the first night we stayed in the house. Now, before you stone me for being such a horrible mother and not putting curtains on my baby's windows for 9 months, let me explain: She loved that paper. Every night when I put her to bed, I ask her to tell me something for which she is thankful. Many nights, she says "The pieces on my windows", meaning that paper. I have tried to put up curtains, and she would not have it. But she picked out this fabric at the store the other day, and I thought if I changed it while she was away, maybe it would be better. I only put them over the bottom half, because she is used to looking out at the stars at night.

When she got home she didn't like them at first, but I think they are growing on her. I also made a matching pillow, and she put it on my bed in protest, but maybe she will eventually warm up to it as well.

Friday, August 8, 2008

And the winner is...

...*dingdingdingding* Squash vine borers! Yes, the squash plants put up a valiant fight, but in the end I just did not have the will to cut them open and dig the disgusting little critters out. Oh well. Maybe I can grow a fall crop of sugar snap peas here. And the marigolds are still pretty.On the bright side, a cold front moved through yesterday and it's a beautiful morning. And look at this guy! The jalapeno plants did not do well early on because they were getting too much water. But after I rearranged the soaker hose and they dried out a bit, they started doing better. And now I have a pepper for the next batch of chili!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


I used to make muffins very rarely, due to the fact that my choices were: a. buy disposable muffin cup liners (what, ME pay money for something I'm going to throw away??) or b. scrub a muffin pan when I'm done (yuck). Then one day it hit me: why do muffins have to be round? Since then I've been making them more often, but I just bake a standard dozen-or-so muffin recipe in a 13x9 pan. It works well because you can cut just as much as you want, and cleanup is easier.

Here is a recipe for basic muffins I've been tweaking for a while:

Basic Muffins

2 cups unsifted flour (I normally use part white, part whole wheat, but suit yourself. You can even substitute oats for 1 cup of flour)
About 1/2 cup sugar (to your taste)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the dry stuff together.

The liquid part is a little tricky: Take a 2-cup measuring cup. Put in 1 cup of milk and 1 egg. Add oil until the mixture totals 1 3/4 cup. Whisk the liquid stuff well. Then dump it into the dry stuff and stir just until mixed.

Then you can add about a cup of any kind of fruit you want - this morning it was blueberries from the freezer, thanks to my very gracious friend Cami. Also works with drained pineapple, mashed banana, or whatever you like. Or for chocolate chip muffins, add a capful of vanilla and 2/3 cup of chocolate chips. The kids at church are still talking about those.

Then pour into a greased 13 x 9 pan (or muffin pan, if you must) and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes.

I was going to post a photo of the ones I made this morning, but I forgot to add the baking powder. They ain't pretty. Be sure not to do that if you make them.

Okaaaaay, here's the photo, in case you need a good laugh today:

Monday, August 4, 2008

I can has award!

The kind and benevolent Sharon of A Hoosier Family has bestowed upon me a Bloggy Award! She also runs the Assembly of God Blogs blogring. Many thanks, Sharon!

What is the meaning of the expression: Arte y Pico

What is the meaning of the expression: And basically, ironically, it translates into a wonderful phrase in Mexico, “lo maximo.” LOL! It will never find its counterpart in English, but if it HAD to, it would be something like, Wow. The Best Art. Over the top.

Here are the rules:

Now go forth and share the love!
The official instructions follow:
1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award-winning, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) Award-winning and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y pico" blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) To show these rules on each one. Post the rules!
Publicado por Eseya, Muñecas con historia

And now comes the task of choosing ONLY 5 blogs to pass on the award. I could throw darts at my Google Reader and see what they hit, but I think my husband would object to dart holes in the Mac. My other option is to choose 5 blogs that are meaningful to me personally. So here goes:

1. Musings of the SciFiPastor: Of course, first on the list has to be my dear husband, the one who introduced me to blogging in the first place.

2. The Handmade Dress: My very talented friend Samantha's blog.

3. Hope is the Word: Beautiful and well written blog by my mom's friend Amy.

4. Sew Blessed Pillows: My friend Jenny, who is doing a really good thing to help cancer patients.

5. And introducing - LuckyOne's Filings: Written by my "dad" (well, Chad's dad, but I claim him too). He just started a new blog, and is sharing a thought every day to challenge or comfort his readers.

Friday, August 1, 2008

August is here...

...already! I can't believe that seven months of this year have come and gone. What is even harder to believe is that I will turn 39 on the 17th of this month. It sounds a lot older than it feels, really. I'm not sad about it; I like having lived long enough to know that every problem or crisis is not the end of the world. There is comfort in knowing that, so far, life goes on. And I like my gray hair, I've earned each and every one.

It has been suggested (thanks, Sharon!) that since Chad put a birthday gift list on his blog, that I put one on mine. I honestly need nothing, but I do have some "wants". So here goes:
I would like world peace.
I would like every person in the world to have clean water and enough food.
I would like a sufficient presidential candidate to vote for this fall, because I'm not wild about either of our choices. (See my profile before you comment on that, please.)
And I would like my attic finished out to make a gigantic sewing and storage room.

Since none of that is likely to happen by August 17, here's my plan B list:
These stitch markers from Beadmarkers (or maybe these)
This turquoise ring from TinyShinyTreasures
This bee pin from Apache Moon
This vintage sewing box from RobinsOC

Yes, my whole list is from Etsy. And if you choose to take a look, don't stop there; look around and find something unique for yourself made by some phenomenal person. Etsy is a great community of which I am happy to be a part. There are stay-at-home moms like me, retirees, people with hobbies, but all artists. And I think when you make a purchase to support an artist, you make the world a more beautiful place because you enable that artist to make something new.

And bear in mind that this list is for my family. If you are a friend, or a friend I have yet to meet, your gift to me is that you stop by this blog from time to time and read what I have to say. I am truly bewildered that anyone would. Thank you - you consistently make my day!