Sunday, January 30, 2011

our glassmaking adventure

Yesterday the daughter and I went to a Daisy Girl Scout activity at McFadden Art Glass.  It was amazing! Fun for everyone.  The girls each got to make a glass pendant (or two, if mom wanted one too!) and it was really something to see her holding the pipe with the molten glass, to use the furnace and the tools and even wield a blowtorch! The pendants above are her hard work...mine is the blues and greens and hers is blue, red and pink.   Hard to believe a 5 year old could do it, but the girls all did great, and it was an experience neither of us will forget.  The glass studio is associated with a gallery and restaurant next door, I might have to take Hubby there sometime, I think he'd get a kick out of it as well!
adding color to the hot glass with glass bits
melting the glass bits in the furnace

smoothing the glass by rolling after the color is added

shaping the glass
melting the pendant top to shape it into a loop

some of the gorgeous glass in their gallery

Thursday, January 27, 2011

winter wonder

Winter wonder finally arrived last night. Icy snow-covered roads made for a good excuse for us all to take a snow day. And now, sitting here, holding a mug of hot cranberry-orange punch to warm my hands, I can't help but think, all is well.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

create:: winter warmth

Today has been filled with all sorts of mess from the sky: snow, sleet, cold rain.  Perfect for staying in. Perfect for some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies the kids and I made.  Perfect for my snuggly new cowl that I knit up this past weekend.   Its the Dolores Park cowl  on Parika Mehta's lovely blog, six one seven. I would love to knit with wool and all those other  lovely natural fibers all the time, but my budget loves for me to knit with whatever is on sale at Michael's.  So this one is in their store brand, Loops and Threads, in their chunky Country Loom.  The colorway is Solarium, its a gorgeous mix of leaf and forest greens, together with turquoise and a medium navy.  The pictures can't tell you how soft it is. It's been around my neck all day, and this is the first day in a long time I haven't had to be bundled into a fleece or wool sweater. Wonderful!

 Just for a bonus--here's the recipe (devised from assimilating a bunch of other recipes found online, and picking and choosing what might make for a great cookie: success!)

Yummy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup shortening, 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar.
3. Add 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, and 2 eggs. Mix on medium low (on my Kitchen Aid) for about 1-2 minutes.
4. Mix in a separate bowl:  1 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Add to wet ingredients in 2 portions, mixing on low until combined.
5. Add 2 cups old-fashioned oats plus 1/2 cup instant oats, followed by 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips.
6. Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto parchment lined cookie sheets, bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.  Let rest on pan 3-5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

learning to discipline...and be disciplined

After being a Mama for 5 1/2 years now, I feel like I should have been prepared.  Prepared with consequences, and the right words, so that I would sail through this confidently.  Instead as I am faced with disciplining my oldest this week, I feel like I'm learning right along side of her.  I'm not going to embarrass her with details all over the web, I'll just say that the punishment decided upon was this:  no activities for 4 days.  no television for 4 days.  apology letters to those involved.  and handwriting practice ("I will not...<insert behavior>").  I do believe that she realizes the seriousness of her "crime". 

That was yesterday.  So then comes today, and already I have dealt with kids hitting each other two separate times, and a play time outside cut short due to blatant disobedience.  Sigh.  I should not be surprised.  I understand the concept of SIN.  Its that pull of SELF above all other considerations.  The kids demonstrate it so easily for me...and then I am faced with my own sinful self.  For the reality is, I have that SELF issue too.  ("For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" --Romans 3:23)  Wanting MY way without regard to others, or to God's will.  Wanting time for mySELF, at the expense of other commitments and other people.  We are all born into this world with that drive for SELF foremost in us.  And, lets call it what it is: SIN.

But we also have GRACE.  Grace is unearned.  It is pardon for my wrongdoing, and a restoring of relationship.  I have received grace from God, through Christ whom I have faith died for ME.  And as such, I am also called to extend grace to others.  I extend grace through forgiving my children when they are misbehaving, and loving them through the process.  It doesn't mean that I won't discipline them.  God certainly disciplines me, letting me reap the consequences of poor choices I make, teaching me over and over the lessons I stubbornly refuse to learn.  And so I discipline my children, teaching them (I hope) about SIN, and consequences, but also about GRACE.  And how grace truly does cover them, restoring their relationship with their mama, and with God.  We pray together, and little by little, we learn. 

May Grace be with you, today, too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

going through the motions

The winter doldrums. The doldrums are that place in the ocean where the wind suddenly is gone...sails collapse, and you are going nowhere fast (unless you have a good motor!).  I am there.  I feel like I have gotten to that point in the winter where I am just going through the motions and have somehow lost the spirit of living joyfully in each moment and each day.  I make myself do the laundry, go to the gym and swim my mile, run the errands. But it just feels like going through the motions. I need to be inspired.

Throughout the day, I find myself saying little prayers, like this morning: "Lord, I don't want to get in this cold pool, but I'm going to do it anyway."  Because I know it's good for me (body and spirit). Because there is somehow a joy in sticking with disciplines like exercise. I probably need to look at what my disciplines are right now and add a few more that bring joy. Light a candle. Warm my hands on a hot cup of cocoa or cider. Spend time in scripture. Do a little knitting and not feel guilty for the time that passes with those needles in my hands.

The words to the Matthew West song "The Motions" have been in my head all day.  I share it with you, so that it might bring us all out of our doldrums and into more JOY in our lives:

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

how to spend an icy day off a blanket tent, of course!  I used to make these with my brother all the time when we were kids...we had an Indian print bedspread and some other things that used to get made into a tent with the back of the couch or a clothesline or whatever.  So when the kiddos and I were trying to figure out how to spend an unexpected day off from school (for the big girl) and an icy morning where we weren't going to go anywhere...out came the dropcloths and old sheets, and a card table and some chairs, for tent-making. Great for play, great for a picnic lunch, great for a quiet day in.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

create:: a little birdie told me...

Just a little somethin' big girl came home from Daisy scouts this week with a bird's nest she had made (see below), and she insisted it needed a birdie to live there.  The timing was perfect as I was craving some happy sewing.  An idea in my head, a hand drawn pattern, fabric selections by the girl, and a little sewing, and here she is! I am loving her, yet alterations already in mind for the next version...a bigger wider tail, a modified shape to the beak.  But daughter is pleased, and so am I.  Happy creating!

Friday, January 14, 2011

my new favorite craft book

Loving Scandinavian Stitches, by Kajsa Wikman! This was a post-Christmas treat to myself, and I am oh-so-very delighted to have it! It was totally an impulse buy,  and one with such delightful results. After this post, I am headed right up to my craft area and may not emerge for quite some time (luckily there are leftovers for dinner!).  Kajsa  lives in Finland, and I love her unique color palate and her simple, creative designs. It makes me want to dig through my fabric stash for all the reds, and apple greens, and icy blues... I love that not only are her projects cute and very do-able, they also immediately give me a ton of new ideas of my own.  Have I mentioned that I love this book? Much crafting to follow...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

wishing for a winter wonderland

Dear Mother Nature, I would like to register a complaint.  The repeated application of only 1" of snow to my front yard this winter is only serving to frustrate me and the kids. Its kind of pretty, but honestly, you can still see the brown grass poking through.   The kids want to play in it, and to have a snow day.  They don't understand that playing in one inch of snow is really the same as playing in very cold mud.   They don't get why school goes on anyway. (I don't understand why school lets out early when it hasn't even started snowing, but that's another issue...) I just want a day or two where there is nothing to do but hole up at home, snuggle under afghans, make soup and hot cocoa, and read, watch movies, play games, and knit.  One inch is not enough snow to justify this behavior. Could we please have one nice storm of 4-8 inches? No need to go crazy here, last winter's record snows were exciting, but really, just a few more inches would do.  Thanks for your consideration, sincerely, Katie.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

create:: little miss marisol mouse

While procrastinating on some of my post-Christmas clean-up, I found this adorable knitted mouse pattern.  And was pleasantly surprised that it was such a quick (3 hours, maybe?) knit, and that it came out so well.  In fact, when she was done, she told me I had to knit her a scarf!  So cute.  Thanks to Rachel Borello for the free pattern.  She has adorable things over at 

My dear hubby asked (in the way that husbands do): "What is she for?"  And my reply: "For me!" Just for fun. A little friend.  A bit of joy.  Glad to welcome little Miss Marisol Mouse to our family.
 She's been hanging out at the gingerbread house a lot lately. It is just her size.  No nibbles missing yet, but I'm keeping my eye on her!
I wonder if she needs a few friends?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

create:: a mess

So I wandered up to my craft area this afternoon, hoping for inspiration to strike, as I am ready to begin some new-year crafting.  And inspiration struck...not in fabric, or yarn, but in paper! I enjoy scrapbooking but only usually get it done while I am on vacation in NC every summer.  And last summer I did about 2/3 of my albums for both kids from our trip to Disney World last January.  I figure, it would be nice to get them done within a year of that trip...which gives me about 2 more weeks or so. Time to get cracking! 

Today's progress: one measly page, and a giant mess on my work table.  Photos and papers strewn everywhere. It can only get better from here.   Not willing to subject you to pictures of the mess. Maybe later!