Saturday, December 31, 2016

Now What ~ Part II

On November 30 I wrote a post titled “Now What?” about picking goals and how to spend my (vastly reduced) free time.  I realized that I had finally arrived at normal, and life is likely to stay like this for years, so I’d better decide how I wanted to live between now and paying off the house/going full-time freelance.

I remember writing that post and feeling sort of bewildered and dazed.

But now I’m being patient with myself.  I’ve been through a lot of changes this year and for once there’s no hurry.  In fact, I’m giving myself until the end of February, six months into my new job, before I decide what my new goals are.  In the mean time, I'm just going to go with the flow.  I'm going to come home from work, take care of obligations, and then see what I want to do.

It's also a good time to pray about this question.  What does God want me to aim for?  How can I grow in virtue during this time?

So here’s a plea to all three of my readers:  What are YOUR 3-5 year goals?  Somewhere in between “get caught up on laundry” and “retire in _______” you have middling goals, right?  (And if you really want to be help, can you tell me how you arrived at them?)

Friday, December 30, 2016

And While I Was Asleep..

A few nights ago I dreamt that I was at a fair or bazaar.  After standing in line for a long time, I reached a jewelry counter where I began sifting through charms, trying to find one that represented me.  I couldn’t really find anything.  I didn’t want dice because I don’t really believe in fate or luck, at least not as a guiding principle.  I didn’t want logos or icons of pop culture.  That sort of stuff was all that was to be found.

I stood there, moving my hand through the piles of trinkets, searching, but I couldn’t find any charm or pendant that I wanted.

I woke up feeling amused.  It’s rare for me to find a dream so clear and obvious! 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas and Family

Gifts, cribbage, and chocolate (not pictured, but eaten in copious amounts!)—we had a lovely Christmas Eve with my parents.

My husband and my dad had matching hands in the same round of cribbage.  I’d never see that before.

On Christmas morning, one of my favorite students said Mass.  Thank you for your vocation, Fr. M, and for a wonderful Christmas homily.

Welcome the King of Kings!

This was the Gospel today:

When the angels went away from them to heaven,
the shepherds said to one another, 
“Let us go, then, to Bethlehem
to see this thing that has taken place, 
which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, 
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God 
for all they had heard and seen, 
just as it had been told to them.

It occurred to me that one important aspects of Christmas is what happens at the end of this passage.  The shepherds go back to their work, tending their sheep. Mary goes back to her work in Nazareth, caring for her child and her home. But they both take Christmas back with them, the shepherds by glorifying and praising God, and Mary by reflecting in her heart on what had happened.

We can all do those things regardless of where we are in our spiritual adventure or no matter how difficult or complicated our lives are.

Merry Christmas and many blessings!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Quilt

I snapped this photo at the county fair months ago.  While the fair is long over, this beautiful quilt will be giving people joy for years to come.

~ by Jeanie Buhrman ~

Friday, December 16, 2016

I think I might be.....


It's 7:33 pm.

On a Friday night.

And I'm too tired to keep my eyes open....

Yep: Old has arrived.  Or I've arrived at Old.  

I'm going to bed now.....

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Remind me

.... that when I someday publish a crafting book, I should make sure it has a fun, colorful cover:

Click to head to Amazon

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Bag: Clothes, Crafts, and CRAZY cool!

The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe
by Anuschka Rees
265 pages

Normally, this kind of book isn't my thing.  I'm just not that into clothes.  But I liked this book because:
A) it was about breaking away from the endless consumerism of buying cheap, disposable clothes and following fads and
B) it took into account the fact that there are many, many different styles and personality types when it comes to clothing and
C) it had exercises to help put the theories in to practice.  (For example, take a photo of what you are wearing every day for two weeks and then analyze what you are wearing a lot and what you look good in.  How does how you want to look match up with how you actually look?)

I thought the book was very sensible, and I am going to recommend it to Arwen when she gets a little older.

Materially Crafted: A DIY Primer for the Design-Obsessed
by Victoria Hudgins (Creator of the blog A Subtle Revelry)
175 pages

I will let the author telling you what the book is about in her own words.

It always begins the same: We see a pretty photo, we click the link.  We read a post that starts with "melt the wax" and we freeze because we don't really know how to melt wax, what kind of wax to use, or where to buy the wax.

We then search "working with wax" online and, upon article after article of technical jargon that often contradicts itself, and is full of unrelated keywords and obnoxious ads.  We get discouraged, downhearted, and quickly put aside the original idea we has to be creative, to make something new and unique with their hands.  And we returned to scrolling through the pin boards, seeing great ideas and dreaming about accomplishing them someday.

Victoria covers the basics of these categories:

  • spray paint
  • plaster of Paris
  • concrete
  • paper
  • thread
  • wax
  • would
  • Clay
  • glue
  • fabric
  • metal

She also has very simple projects included for each category.  There's some stuff I want to try, like the baskets woven from T-shirts and the concrete planters and the plaster of Paris/lace doily bowls.

Each section is not exhaustive – if you know a lot about what wood or fabric already, for example, you will find them pretty simple, but that is okay.  It's just enough to get someone started using each material.  And the projects are simple enough that you aren't going to get in over your head too much.

That's not the case at all for the next book, though.

Extraordinary Projects for Ordinary People: Do-It-Yourself Ideas from the People Who Actually Do Them
Edited by Noah Weinstein
465 Pages

This book represents the best (or the wackiest) of

Most of these projects I couldn't do because they involved wires and programming something called an Arduino.

  But the cool factor is really high!

  • flame-growing jack-o'-lantern
  • Star Trek-style bedroom door
  • solar-powered ray gun
  • amphibious couch-bike
  • tree climbing robot
  • birdcage dress
  • pocket laser engraver
  • digital camera Halloween costume – that actually takes pictures
  • bike jacket with turn signal
  • bacon roses
  • vacuum-cleaner bazooka
  • solar-powered bicycle

Yes, the more I read the book the more nervous my husband got!  It has inspired me to want to turn our summer family reunion into a family events where we design and build a boat that can break down and fit in the back of a sedan.  I'd also like to make the next-and-bolts chocolate using a DIY silicone mold.

It really made me envy those people who have computers/electrical type of technical skills.  I need to get me some of those….

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Weekly Round-Up

This week I....

... checked out the designs of architecture students for a possible new Telephone Museum.  The designs were cool, fun, and inspired.... but many of them were not very practical.  And these were juniors.  Lots of imagination, though.

... finished watching the last episode of the last season of Downtown Abbey.

...watched the first snowfall... during the time I was supposed to be raking leaves, getting soil from the compost pile for next year's seedlings, and pulling carrots....

... finished writing a novel.  It's a romance for my sister Rachel.  Hopefully I can get it proofread before Christmas!  I'm already thinking about my next two books....

Thursday, December 1, 2016

As of Today.....

I have been at my new job three months and I still love it!

and the first seed catalog of the year (and the only one we usually use) has arrived: