Monday, February 13, 2012

Links to recent experiments and concoctions...

Hand soap:

I like to think I'm trying new things, making things for cheaper than I would buy them, as well as becoming more natural with fewer strange ingredients. My roommates would probably classify it as crazy. I have loved experimenting with all these recipes, though, and they've turned out great. I may be crazy, but at least I'm crazy and undeterred. Give one a try and let me know what you think. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Christmas gifting

I was going to be risky by posting Christmas gifts on the world wide web for everyone to see before Christmas, but I decided to wait. Being one who loves surprises, I always want to make sure that it goes as well as I can make it go. Since Christmas is safely gone, I thought I'd post a few pics of what handmade Christmas looked like this year...

I enjoyed watching a few friends put together their gifts including a cape for a nephew, sugar scrub for exfoliating dry, winter hands, while I sewed up some pillowcases for my soon to be mother-in-law and a friend of mine. (I got the idea on pinterest and it was super simple.)

The pillows were soooooo soft. :)

For my to-be-sister-in-law and also for my dad, I made a little journal out of some scrap cardboard and printer paper. I thought it would look so much cooler stitched up the middle instead of stapled, so I bent a few needles and bound the journals together. This is another stolen pinterest idea. I sewed a button to the front and looped around some thread sewn to the back of the journal for a cute closure.

Not photographed is the stamped initial I put on the front of both journals (it was handy that sister's first name and dad's last name initial both begin with "S"). If you do the stamp project with a letter, make sure you cut it out backward. I remembered that the hard way. ;)

I didn't photograph the t-shirt scarf I made my mom, but I did photograph the way I made a few Christmas cards and a birthday card. I have a bunch of tiny fabric scraps from Frayed Sew that are too small to do much with, but for the Christmas and birthday cards, they were perfect! I just cut out little circles and it was so easy to zip them through the sewing machine for a super cute look. I mean, 2 minute project. :)

Last but not least, and biggest undertaking for this novice, and I mean novice seamstress, was a clutch I made for my sister-in-law. I thought she'd just love the fabric and the funky combination, aside from the fact that girls just love purses anyway, right? This was my first time sewing a zipper, putting in a clasp, and sewing with interfacing. A lot of seams were ripped out and redone with all this new territory, but I was so happy with the result and excited that I actually did it!

So there's handmade Christmas 2011. Next on my crafting list is my 2011 facebook promise to handmake something for 5 of my friends (oops, I still plan on doing it, those of you who are still waiting) and also this clutch for myself....someday. Have I mentioned I love Pinterest? ;)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thursday, December 15, 2011


It is here again, the season where we welcome Immanuel, God with us. It has come too quickly, which seems to be the sentiment of growing-older folks worldwide. In preparing Christmas gift lists, I have been motivated to make as many of the gifts as I can. In years past, handmade gifts have always been a part, but I feel it this year differently. Instead of just, "Oh, yes, that craft I make would be perfect for her" it has been a moving, breathing thing of its own. It is wheels under the train, propelling.

This year, for the first time instead of just asking "What are we going to get for so and so?" I find myself asking, "What can I make for Sam? What can I make for Emmett?" desiring that the gift I give be a part of me, require something of me, have memories intertwined in the giving, not just a click of the mouse from Amazon (though that definitely is part of my gift-giving as well). In adding new family members into the giving circle, I'm dying to make something for my future mother-in-law, searching for something I can make that my future sister-in-law would like. 

The tradition stems back to when I was a kid, tracing a red heart on a pillow with "Dad" printed inside in fabric marker. Dipping wicks back and forth between big pans of paraffin and crayon wax on the stove to make layered tapered candles. In fact, it goes further back than that. My parents married young and poor, and decided that since there was no extra money, even at Christmastime, that they would exchange gifts that they had made for one another. And so, every Christmas I remember, we made a gift for each family member along with a purchased gift. I have not always loved this tradition. In fact, there were fits of frustration trying to come up with ideas and implementing them. There were overly gracious "Thank you!"s as mom opened up a few hideous handmade gifts. This was the way it was every year until not so long ago, my brother and I begged that the requirement be lifted, and it was. 

Handmade Christmas is no longer required in my family, but still shows up often in our exchanges. This is the first year that I recognize our tradition's imprint on my life so deeply, and I am thankful for it. It may be because I'm confronted with how another family "does" Christmas that helps me recognize my strong convictions about meaningful gifts. Or perhaps growing older and wiser in financial management as well as world impacting issues (like water, for example), I am disgusted by our scrambled shopping and exchange of mere stuff. As I reflect on why I feel such strong impulse for the handmade, I recognize that deepening relationships require something of us, part of ourselves sewn into the fabric of what the very relationship is. So the investment of myself into the gift mirrors the investment and pouring of myself into the relationship. After all, God gave his very self to us at Christmas.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall Meanderings

It is a typical fall day. I walked from home to coffee shop office this morning and the brisk nip was in the air. Crunchy leaves dotted the path and I zig zagged to crunch them underfoot. (My friend Jenn and I go out of our way to step on particularly crunchy leaves, you see. It is our understood pact.)

I prepared for a "pizza theology" teaching most of the morning as I sipped my latte and enjoyed the small town buzz of people coming and going. A lot was on my mind in the midst of the task at hand. Creativity and finding the time to dream, community: getting real and plunging deep, challenge and the desire in me to grow beyond and learn more, to think intellectually and the difficulty I am finding in fulfilling those desires.

I am surrounded by books and feel like I'm centimetering my way through them (much slower than "inching"). But I feel like the books might just be the first bite of starting to eat this elephant. I'm sure these longings will ebb and flow but not really go away through the course of my lifetime. And though I want to live a very "present" life, enjoying the simplest moments of the day-to-day, the lingering desire for just a little bit more challenge, a little broader knowledge, and a bigger dream is something I am thankful for.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Colored Pants Fall

I realize that I am a huge nerd. Seriously, I have come to terms with the fact. About 3 years ago, in doing some fall cleaning, de-cluttering, and sinking into the cooler autumn days, I found many "old" pairs of pants. Some I had bought for student teaching (patterned and khaki), one pair was a wild hair I got during an Old Navy sale (the pink ones), another was just a good thrift store find (blue cords). As I was cleaning and trying on the plethora of pants I was finding, not jeans, but colored or patterned slacks, I was inspired to be thankful for the clothes I had and use them. Often, as I've heard quoted of most people, I wear 20% of my clothes 80% of the time (and rarely wear the other 80%). I was inspired to wear them or simplify...really, to do both. Thus was born "colored pants fall." So I started to rotate the pants I kept through my weekly wardrobe cycle...warm brown slacks one day, hot pink the next. Each time I would find myself in colored pants, I would announce to my friends, "It's colored pants fall!" (If Johanna is reading this, she's either rolling her eyes or laughing.)

Each fall since then, in transitioning from summer to autumn, I pull out the old trusty colored pants and find a reason to be silly and celebrate this made up holiday of sorts. This year it became official with a facebook event to mark its arrival. Won't you join me and the many other colored pantsers? ;)

Do you have any seasonal rituals, real or made up?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sweet Summer

I realize that most everyone who intentionally visits here or happens to bump into this teeny blog probably already knows me, and knows at least in part, what's been going on in my life, but it has felt overwhelming with everything I could mention since the last time I posted, which incidentally was June 15th (also known as the day before I got ENGAGED!), that it's been a really long time since I've posted. Phew--long sentence!

I've had some amazing adventures and an incredible summer. First (not chronologically but in order of awesomeness), as I said, I got engaged!!!

Such excitement after the "shock and awe" wore off, as the Mister would say...
What a crazy moment that i hadn't expected at all. What an awesome man I hooked! And to top that all off, I was the biggest dork in the history of dorks that day. We love reliving's how he knew that I was unsuspecting--HA! Second, my love and I took a trip to Portland to visit some dear friends and my late Grandma. I wanted to show off my man to both and am so glad we took the trip when we did, as my Grandma is no longer with us. We had a family reunion so my man could meet more new people, my brother and his wife included in the new, got to celebrate my birthday together. Seemingly less important for blog world, but memorable and valuable in our history were dinners cooked together, shorter road trips, river floats, sunshine and laughs...sweet, sweet summer.

It is so fun to share a summer, memories, the journey with someone else. I have shared so many life-shaping memories with friends and family, in different seasons in life, but to have met the one that I have the most fun with, who I share myself most fully with, and who I look forward to shaping a future with, now that's a summer to celebrate!

So now I mourn summer's passing and dive into this season...wanting to breathe it all in, grow down deep roots as the cold weather begins to sweep over, and thank God for this precious life.

Phew! Feels good to be "caught up".