Tuesday, May 31, 2011

wrapping it up and kicking it off!

Lots of pots have been on our stove lately....many of them threatening to boil over.  This weekend, we pulled a couple of pots off the burners and I'm thinking that space is a good thing.  Maggie performed in the drama, 12 Angry Jurors this past week.  The cast of 14 had been working on the production all year long.  They performed to a sold out crowd and received much deserved praise.  Maggie did a fabulous job and we're so proud of her in so many ways. 
Our school days are just wrapping up...only a Chemistry final left to seal the deal.  I'm looking so forward to some relaxing days of just being.  We've had a great but very busy school year (just like everyone else) and summer couldn't come at a better time. 

I've finished up a couple of projects over the last month of sitting at baseball games and with all of the busy-ness, I just haven't had time to post them....

First up, a shoe bag - turned into a brush bag.  I realized that when we travel, I take along a crazy amount of hair brushes.  One for straightening, one for curling and one for just brushing.  They don't fit in my toiletry bag and usually I just shove them in my suitcase.  But now, I've got a home for them.  This size of this shoe bag is perfect for all my brushes and combs....and any other stuff like gel and spray. 
Next up is another pair of pleated ballet flats.  These are knit from Brooks Farm Yarn, Riata which is very yummy and soft.  I love how the variegated colors show up so nicely.  I think I have enough yarn left to knit another pair....these flats are so nice as they really don't use a lot of yarn.  You can splurge on some extra soft yarn and get several pairs from the skein. 
And finally, I've gotten into making my own laundry soap.  I'd seen it awhile ago and was intrigued by the simplicity of the ingredients.  It is so easy to make and because you purchase the ingredients in such big quantities I always have soap on hand.  I was forever running out of my store bought laundry soap and there would be a pile of dirty laundry growing by the day.  This stuff works great...and it is so cheap to make.  My son is very sensitive to heavy soaps and this has been perfect for his laundry needs as well.
   I grate my soap with my Pampered Chef grater.  It has a small grating blade that allows the soap to be grated very finely.  My regular grater was way to big and I found bits of soap not dissolving in the wash.  So, make sure you grate your soap very small.  You can also use a food processor to get it chopped up really little.  Here's the recipe that I use:

Each batch yields approximately 32 ounces (between 32-64 loads based on how many Tbsp used per load).

•1 bar of shaved bar soap (Ivory, ZOTE, Fels-Naptha)

•1 cup of borax

•1 cup of washing soda

Mix all the ingredients together and store in a air tight jar.  I used 2 Tablespoons per load.....super easy. 

This website helped me a lot when I was determining what ingredients I needed and how much to use.

So, that's what's been happening around here.  I hope that whatever is wrapping up or kicking off at your house is filling your days with joy and gratitude. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

little corners of my world

When I haven't been running kids to basketball, play practice or baseball games, I've gotten some time to work in the yard...gardening and pruning and planting.  One of my favorite sounds is the sound of the shovel scraping through dirt.  There is something really rich in the way it sounds to my ears.   I don't even mind pulling weeds.
 It just feels good to be out in the sunshine and see an area transformed by some elbow grease.   Last year we did a lot of work in our yard and put in some new beds.  This year, I just want to enjoy what we've got. 
I love to stroll the yard, poking around and watching the changes in the plantings.  It's fun to see empty spaces filled in and blooms where there was nothing.   
I put out a lot of planters and pots around our deck...they make me smile.  They're little vignettes of beauty.  They start off looking rather tame and by the end of summer they are out of control.  Every year I tell myself that I'm not going to over do it with the potted plants but then I get to the nursery and can't help myself. 
John built us a raised bed for some veggies. This year we're keeping it easy with cherry tomatoes and herbs.  Since our yard is mostly in the woods, we just don't get enough sunlight to produce anything bigger than a cherry tomato.  I think I got one cucumber last year.   (That's our bed in the background with the marigolds sitting in pots.)   
So, you'll find me outside whenever I can be, digging in the dirt...transplanting plants and trying to make this little corner of my world just a bit prettier.   And now that school is just about done, you might even find me sitting on the deck with some knitting....aaaah summer! 
Just come on around back and join me!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

setting aside smallness

This morning, I was praying for a friend and wondering how to handle a situation that might not even be a situation.... Usually when something like this happens I revert into protection mode. Assuming that there's something wrong, I start thinking through my options to keep my heart from being wounded.  I've noticed that self protection is never 'other people' minded.  So, as I was sifting through these thoughts, I came upon this quote in my morning reading:

"Whenever we treat another out of Christ's greatness and not our smallness; we free them."  Goebel

I realized that my self protective stance was small and petty and binding.  I desire to pour blessings on those in my life.  Obviously in order to do that, I need the greatness of Christ, because my human tendency is to be small and shielded.  When I treat others out of my smallness, I keep them (and myself) bound by whatever it is that stirred up that self protection instinct.  But, when I trust in the greatness of the Lord and allow his grace and mercy and unfailing love to pour through me, freedom is the result.  So, I'm determining to set aside my smallness and to settle into His greatness....I know there is more than enough to go around. 

"And they will live securely, for then His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.  And He will be their peace."  Micah 5:4

Thursday, May 5, 2011

lola x 3

Only two weeks late ...but, I finished the kids' Easter owls this week.  For Easter morning, I laid the cut out fabric pieces under their baskets, so they knew there were owls waiting in the 'wings' for them.  They were thrilled when they saw the fabrics I had chosen for each of them.  I have to say they stayed vigilant in asking me about the progress I was making on their stuffed friends.   I made each of them to suit their personalities and bedrooms....

for Maggie ~ my dramatic, fun loving, vibrant first born
for Mckenzie ~ my pink loving, friendly, happy go lucky girl
for John Samuel ~ my steady, hard playing, still loves to cuddle boy

Each of the owls has a pocket on the back for secret love notes and hidden treasures. 
These were so fun to make and give....Virginia did an exceptional job writing up the pattern and it's a fun way to try out some great fabric combos.  All the owls have found new nests on each of the kids' beds and as I went in to kiss John Samuel last night, I found him fast asleep, holding his owl under his arm....perfect!