Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Technology.... and Bllogging

I've been having a wonderfully creative and fun break.

The reason you aren't reading much about it here is that I can't figure out what to do about photos and my new Mac.

On my PC I had cascades of nested file photos for my pictures.  However, iPhoto doesn't work like that.  (I thought Windows was bad for "No, do it MY WAY" but Apple is way worse.  Supposedly the efficiently and all-around coolness will make up for the bossy attitude.)

I blog via my camera.  Looking through my pictures tells what I've posted, what I'd planned to post, etc.  But I'm still spinning my wheels about organizing the Mac way on iPhoto.  My uber-organized friend Anne swears I will like it better.  In the meantime, I'm creating lots that will get posted... just as soon I as get a system in place for dealing with photos....

Here's a sneak peak.....

Monday, December 29, 2014

Quotables: Happiness

All who joy would win must share it -- happiness was born a Twin.
~ Lord Byron

Happily, this doesn't require a sweetheart.  Just someone who needs joy will do.... and there are plenty of those folks around.  

Don't Throw Away....Used Christmas Cards

I'll take 'em!

I'll make art out of them....

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Free 2015 Calendar Template

Need to keep kids usefully busy?

Want an excuse to make some art yourself?

Need a last-minute mostly free gift?

Make a 2015 calendar with an MS Word template you can download here.  One month per 8 1/2 x 11 page -- easy!  Just a warning, though, this template was originally made on an old PC and modified on a Mac, so it's probably not going to behave if you try to tweak it.  Just hit print... or plan to be patient.  Next year, I'll do .pdfs.  If you can't get to the file, email me jpariodesigns[at]

The calendar pages themselves are thin cardboard/thick cardstock, the consistency of cereal boxes.  These pics are from an old calendar I made for my Mom.  Here I used ribbons, but my more recent ones are make with book rings.

You need:
13 sheets of cardstock, poster board, or cereal boxes at least 8 1/2 x 11 inches
template (download here)
paper punch
ribbons or book rings
probably more time that you think.  (However, if you've got 3 kids and each one does four pages...)

TIP: punch the holes before you paint

Friday, December 26, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Custom Christmas Ornaments Done!

Jody at Out of the Box buys Christmas ornaments for her boys each year, and she says she has trouble  finding ones with the date.  Not a problem!

I combed through all of my stash to find Christmas cards with images that would appeal to 9 and 10 year old boys, and these are what I came up with.  I hope she likes them.


Just a Few More Days Until Christmas!

Lots of crazy running errands today.  We are getting some beard oil sales from my husband's business.  I'm hoping people don't expect to get them before Christmas, although I'm going to pop them in the mail today and hope....

His new website has been generating some sales even though we really haven't had time to publicize it yet, which is a good sign!

Since we live simple, frugal lives, Christmas isn't as crazy for us as it is for some.  I did all my Christmas shopping at church fall festivals weeks ago.  I have a gift for my sister Rachel to finish making, and three gifts for Mom to wrap.  Belovedest and I gave each other very nice gifts this year, but they have already been opened: my iMac and his video camera.  So the days leading up to Christmas will be quite leisurely compared to most folks.  In fact, most of my errands today are for other people--business stuff for Charlemagne Beard Oil and helping my mom shop for Christmas gifts, plus a stop by the thrift store where I volunteer.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Thoughts: The Annuciation

A girl from the middle of nowhere says "Yes" and the history of the world is changed forever!  

Lord, help me trust you like Mary did!

The Annunciation: A Meditation
Luke chapter 1, verses 26-38

Somehow, this scene is hard for me to picture.  There isn't much description.  I don't know whether they were inside or outside, or what Mary was doing when the angel arrived.  Probably housework, actually, as I suppose in that day and age just running a household took a lot of labor.  Since Mary was engaged no doubt her mother was preparing her for the day when she would be taking care of the daily tasks of her own home.

We can assume that the angel was pretty impressive, though, since the first thing he says after his greeting is to tell her not to be afraid.

Mary's question to the angel is really about her own suitableness, almost as if she is asking if he is making a mistake.  All of the grand things that this child is going to do she doesn't question at all.  She doesn't say: What about the Romans?  Or: How is he going to rule over the house of Jacob?  I guess she just trusts that God will deal with all of that.

It's also interesting when you compare the list of traits of the baby with Mary's response.  The angel says of the son, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."  Mary responds, not by claiming the sort of royalty that is implicitly offered to her, but instead by naming herself the "handmaiden."  I would think a handmaiden would be a particular kind of servant.  If she is continually at the beck and call of someone and then she would have to be particularly a humble, obedient, and patient.  She probably wouldn't be the sort of servant who could arrange to do her own tasks in the manner and time frame that she wanted to do them the way a cook or a housekeeper might be able to.  But there would also be a certain amount of intimacy, I would think, between a handmaiden and the one she served because I think a handmaiden as being constantly available, always at her mistress's side.  She would know her mistress very well, would know exactly what she would want at any given time.  You would think a servant like that would eventually become a kind of friend.  A handmaiden would be quite dependent on her employer, but she would not have to worry about what she would do or where she would go or if she would be taken care of. So it is an interesting word choice (or translation).  I wonder what it is in the original Greek.

I have always loved the verse, "Behold the handmade of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word."  There is love, trust, and submission to God's will all beautifully woven into that decision.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cookie Decorating!

Auntie M. sure knows how to throw a party....

A mix of Chrissy and Arwen

These are from Aunty M. who just finished up a cake-decorationg class.

Can you tell which one's the 10-year old did?  But hey, it's all good.
 Literally--what's not to love about cookies and frosting and candy?

These are mine.  Some are better than others, but all will be joyfully eaten!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Ornaments.... Size Matters

Today I'm going to start work on some custom ornaments for Jody at Out of the Box.  (She was going to sell some of my ornaments in the store, but at both craft fairs I sold all but one.  Next year, maybe.)

She gives each of her two boys a new Christmas ornament every year with the date on it.  I'm going to make two of these with circles for the date and each boy's name.
That means going through piles of Christmas cards looking for images that 8 and 9 year old boys would like.  I thought while I was going through punching out circles, I could also cut strips to make this other kind of card.

I made some with playing card strips, but I want them bigger.  Now I think it's too big....

This afternoon I tried just cutting strips the size of a greeting card but I think they were too long.  (Picture holding a card so the height is more than the width, then cut left to right.  That's the direction.)

I might just need more strips, but I think I need something between playing card and Christmas card size.  I'll do some experimenting--that's half the fun of it.

It was fun to get to use the paper cutter that I won from Westcott via  It's so much easier and faster than scissors...

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


People need joy.  Quite as much as clothing.  Some of them need it far more.
-- Margaret Collier Graham

Clearly, Ms. Graham is not living in Nebraska right now!  (However, let's go with both/and regarding her idea....)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Feeling Better...

Grading is DONE!  (Well, the hard part of it, anyway.)

My pain is gone thanks to medication and physical therapy.  I'm feeling so much better!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


The  blog has been on autopilot lately because I have been undergoing severe pain from some kind of nerve problem in my back. Eight days of agony have now turned into constant pain but I'm finally able to function thanks to steroids. Physical therapy started today, and have high hopes that I will be able to avoid surgery. All of this comes right in the middle of the end of the semester grading binge. It has not been a very good week!

I'm also not sure what to do about the Mac. If I am keeping it, I should start downloading my photos into iPhoto, but if I'm not then I need to make some plan for that. Generally speaking, I like it, but there are a few things I have to figure out how to do before I am going to commit. My husband is  perfectly happy to take it off my hands if I decide I don't want it!

Anyway, between the constant pain (and the dizziness and nausea from the pain medication) and my Mac indecision, the blog has been a bit orphaned. But I will return – I started work on a fun up cycled scarf with my niece!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Paper Trivia

"The first paper mill in America was established in 1690 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, by William Rittenhouse, a German-born paper maker, and William Bradford, a printer."
~ From Paperie: The Art of Writing and Wrapping with Paper, a fun coffee-table book from folks at Kate's Paperie with Bo Niles, Page 56.  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Craft Fair Today!

Here are some items that I will be selling at the Cathedral Craft Fair today.   (Ok, I think the flower gratitude jar sold, but I really liked the photos.)  I’ll also be selling some tiered trays, featured on a separate page of this blog.

Actually, I'm sick today, as it turns out.  But do stop by and see my husband, who will be selling his famous beard oil!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The New Greenhouse at the Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

These photos were from a while ago, but the greenhouse is open year-round, so if you are curious, check it out!

An Oatmeal Container Is an Exercise Accessory?

I've solved two problems at once:
1. The same routine over and over again is boring.
2. When I know there’s a hard workout in the rotation that day, it’s so easy to sleep in.

So I did Zumba, P90x and T25 more or less faithfully for a month or so.   

I noted which workouts I could actually do and liked reasonably well.  (Push-ups and pull-up, well, I can’t really do them so I spend the workout jogging in place and watching the people on the screen do 20 reps.  So I skipped those.)   

Those workouts went in the oatmeal container and I draw one every morning.  Surprise!

Somehow it is easier to get out of bed when I just might get “stretching” instead of “intensive cardio”….

This is not a frugal solution.  My husband, bless his dear little heart, has tried multiple exercise DVD series.  Plus he bought me some Zumba because I kept checking it out of the library.  So we already had the DVDs.  But I’m guessing we aren’t the only ones…