Monday, January 30, 2012

Heart-Shaped Baking

We had a good, wet weekend!  You?

One of my favorite things to do with the kids--especially on a raining day, is bake.
Any time I'm in the kitchen, Brooklynn pulls up a stool and insists on helping, so we've started telling her that she'll be cooking us dinner in just a couple short years! 
In fact, as I write this, she has me helping her with her Easy Bake Oven.  It's not exactly what I wanted to do this morning as I drink my coffee,
but the girl is determined--especially since Dad asked her for a cookie last night.
So chocolate chip cookies in a plastic oven at 9am it is.

On Saturday, we were out of crackers and in need of a project,
so we made these:

To make it more fun, the kids chose cookie cutters to cut the crackers into shapes.
Using cookie cutters made the process long, but they turned out cute and tasty!
Owning a set of heart cookie cutters is a must!
Remember when we made these?
Anything heart-shaped wins, no?!
Hmmm...what should it be next?

P.S. Don't forget to enter the $75 gift certificate GIVEAWAY!  Ends tomorrow!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On the Brink and Little Things

NOTE:  $75 gift certificate giveaway to NOVICA--National Geographics online handmade shop is happening now!  Go here.

Last week, I nearly lost my mind. 
Here's proof in an excerpt from a post that never went up...
I figured I should just ride it out...

I've been suffering from fried brain syndrome due to too much Internet, and frankly, my contemplations of such interweb consumption have turned a bit harsh.   On multiple occasions I've caught my brain scolding my mind--It's no wonder more is falling out than staying in! Reading does not explain why 'The Tale of Ginji' is considered a major literary work, and the happenings in Hollywood aren't refreshing a lick about the significance of major literary movements and writers from around the world! And then it continues...are you seriously going to look at your Pinterest or Goodreads app on your iPhone one more time, or scroll through Facebook at a time like this?... Put the phone down. Just put it down, or better yet, throw it across the room! And then I want to hit myself in the face.

So now that you know where I've been coming from, my silence may be understandable.  It has been quite refreshing to step away and reconsider my day-to-day movements and the little things that mean more.

Have you noticed how the position of the Sun in the morning has changed?  During the summer it beams high and direct at my bedroom.  In the winter, she gleams low through the trees.  I can't wait to see her in the Spring.  Speaking of Spring, I long for the blooms around the property--especially the Dogwood tree out the back door, and the cherry blossoms, of course.  They'll hold me over until the Peonies.
I long to move my hands in the dirt, pulling up green slivers of earth and making the beds bold and beautiful. 

I'm cleansing.  It feels so nice to be careful with my intake and be exercising regularly and rigorously again.  My body and possibly more so, my mind, needs it.  For me, there has always been an abundance of inspiration that occurs through sweat sessions, so really, it is a win-win. 

A dear friend has asked me to help in her classroom.  I'm thrilled.  Observing the classroom in the Fall, couldn't come soon enough.  There isn't a better feeling than to be accessible to who might need me, and to learn from those who are paving the roads of this stage in their life.  Maybe they'll teach me something about those dark days when I was young, or maybe I can teach them about mine for there own.  Plus, I get to talk teaching, planning, babies, marriage with someone who is juggling it all.  They are details that I can't wait to delve into.

My children.  My funny, sweet children.  How did I get so lucky?
The superhero dramas, the paper crafts and puppet shows, the working on patterns and writing letters in bed together.  The personalities that they are, with the heart that they have.  They fill and bless me each day.

Thank you to my friend, Ann, of Jeremiah's Hope for this photo.
It speaks volumes.

What are your little things this day?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NOVICA for National Geographic $75 GIVEAWAY!

Did you know that National Geographic has an affiliate online store that supports global artists and artisans?  NOVICA is an global platform that highlights handmade work of many talented individuals across the globe.  With each item listed for sale is information on where it was made, who it was made by--including a picture and the artist's or artisans' creative process and inspiration.  Since I'm a huge fan of supporting handmade artists and because I love unique items with a cultural appeal, I was excited that NOVICA contacted me to review their site--and offer one of my lucky readers a HUGE $75 gift certificate for their shop!  That's huge!

Let's talk global handmade products, now, shall we?
The items on the site that have really caught my eye, are bold and with a bit of tribal flair-- like this piece: 
By Emmanuel Atiemoh Yeboah from Ghana

It would go great with my Alhambra Anthropologie Quilt and our African canvas painting that we recieved from a dear friend.

I love the lines and the color blocks in this wool rug, too!
By Momosteco Weavers of Guatemala

NOVICA also carries purses and handbags.
This leather hobo would be a perfect replacement for my worn and weathered
brown purse.  Love that handstitched orange detail!
Hmong Treasure
By Chirada of Thailand

With Valentine's Day coming up, I made sure to check out
NOVICA's mens items as well.
I think it would be so neat to give Husband a
beautiful handmade gift from across the world!
I'm especially loving this alpaca wool sweater from the mens sweater line and this alpaca scarf from the scarves line


1)  You must follow this blog--so follow up if you haven't already and let me know in the comments!
You can do so through the 'Join this Site' button or the Networked Blogs 'Follow this Blog' button.  Simple!
2)  Visit one of these links and tell me what items catch your eye:
Receive an extra entry for visiting each link and stating your favorite item!
3)  Answer which of the NOVICA regions you have visited or would like to visit most.
4)  Share the love!  Facebook/Tweet this link and tell me you did in the comments.
5)  Share the love!  Blog this link and tell me you did in the comments.

Giveaway ends Tuesday, January 31st 11:59 pm (Pacific Time)
Winner announced Wednesday February 1st.

Have fun & happy Wednesday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Little Things {lately}

I've taken a step back from the web these last couple of days, for some fresh air.  I have been feeling so frazzled lately and spread thin that I believe it is negatively affecting my productivity and inspiration.  It has even been a bit depressing.

So today's little things are short and simple:

Standing under an umbrella in the rain with my daughter, waiting for the bus. 
It's quiet and peaceful in the rain. 
A quick stop at Starbucks and five quiet minutes while waiting for my coffee.
Morning reading and writing time--it is changing the course of my days.
Letters from other writers.
How settled my heart feels with prayer.

Here's to the little things this day,


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snow Days

It has been snowing off and on for the last three days and we're doing our best to enjoy this rare occasion!  Hope you're keeping warm!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our Lives Begin to End...

Contemplating this fully today--

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Little Things {lately} + Linkup

The Little Things is a series
which documents recent things or moments that have
moved, excited, stirred, beckoned, or inspired;
each pulling on heart-strings in a special sort of way.
This stack of note cards.  They mean I'm one step closer to starting school (again) and finishing my teaching certificate.  I'm ready!
The January crisp air and sunshine.
Starting the year off with some measurements at the gym!  Now, I'm feeling really focused.
A spontaneous phone call with  my mentor.  She really blesses me more than she knows.
Trying a new recipe from a friend--maple meatballs.  Delicious.
The way Asher leaps into my arms with the most guts he has, his little crinkled-face winks and how he says "that's all" after his rambling rants.
Journaling and reading in the morning.
Loaning my side of the bed to Husband because his side is all cattywampus and hurts his back. 
My babies straight out of the bath.
Helping out in Brooklynn's class and watching and interacting with the mannerisms of 25+ 5-6 year olds.  It sure takes a strong individual to deal with that on a regular basis, no?
Anne Lamott.  She is fantastic.
Brooklynn's singing and dancing in full character-mode with no inhibitions. 
The way my kids have wanted to take care of me since I'm slightly under the weather.  I'm a lucky mama.

What are yours today?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Biggest Mistake

This one came at the perfect timing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Creative Space on {Tuesday's Tips}

Today, I'm over at my sister's blog,
sharing tips for a creative space.

Click here to join us!

We'd love to have you!

Friday, January 6, 2012

DIY Salvaged Wood Quote Plaque

 I found this beauty on Pinterest a couple months ago and fell in love.  So when Husband and I talked about handmade for Christmas,
I knew he would be receiving this sweet declaration.
I toyed around with some other sayings, like Katy Perry's "You're an Indian summer in the middle of winter"-- because he is, and the simple phrase, "I love our life," but this quote was too perfect, I didn't want anything else.
And of course, me and salvaged wood go together.
So I got to work.

To make my version, here's what you'll need:
  1. One wood pallet or other pieces of wood in the same size.  I knew I wanted a rustic, weathered look to my wood, so a pallet was perfect for my desired look.  Pallets can be found at many different stores for free. Husband's made friends with the folks down at the feed store and picks the pallets up for extra-easy firewood for his shop.  Length is up to you and dependant on the quote or words you choose.
  2. A sawzall if you are planning to use a pallet. A sawzall can saw-it-all.  It's what I've learned from being married to a contractor.  You'll need it to cut the wood from the nails.  Ask your handy friend with the tools to hook you up.  It was the quickest way to get the wood that I wanted.  Otherwise you can use other pieces of wood, salvaged or not.
  3. A font.  I chose this free font.
  4. Cardstock
  5. Xacto knife/cutting pad
  6. Paint/paint brush
  7. Metal brackets for assembling individual pieces of wood together.  I bought my brackets over six months ago, and I bought two packages and I think I paid around $3.50 for each.
Now for the craft:

Print out your font onto cardstock.  Make sure your letters are the appropriate size to fit your boards the way that you want. 
Cutting the letters was by far the most time consuming part of this project,
but it's worth it!
I found it easiest to print as many of the letters in their words on one page so I could cut as much of the whole word and place it on the wood as one piece.
Once I had the cutting complete, I looked over my wood and decided how I wanted my quote to be arranged. 
Do you want it to be blocked, centered, in less rows, more rows, etc.
Then you tape in place.
Make sure it's pretty secure.  You don't want your paint to seep up underneath the cardstock and make a mess.

Then get painting!  I used a small sponge brush and it worked great.
After a couple letters, I found that as much as I wanted the letters to have their outline,
I didn't want them to be perfect, so I made a pretty quick go of it.

Then I had myself the makings of a salvaged wood quote plaque.
Our same handy friend, took care of screwing on the brackets for me.
And this is what I got:
These kids are hysterical, I tell you.
One minute in and mainly spent trying to get each of them to hold the board with two hands, Asher said to heck with it and went to find his tractor.
But this one is perfectly fine with a solo photo shoot, even if the subject of the shoot is half on the ground.
But then Asher came back feeling refueled and happy to liiiiiift that board up with his superhero powers, costume or not.
It was certainly a struggle.
So to the ground the plaque went, and I encouraged some sweet sibling love, because they're still young enough to do these things on command.  I don't imagine they'll still be up for these things in five or ten years, so I must give these directions, now.

Inspiration again:

End result:

One handmade gift that Husband loved,
a lovely new piece of wall art,
a prop for some cute photos of my kids,
and it was easy and free!

“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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