Friday, February 11, 2011

Don't Eat These Cupcakes

new valentines decorations

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine decorations are kind of cheap and cheesy.  I like to put a little something out each holiday, but I'm not flipped over the glittery foam hearts that we find half-chipped at all our favorite craft stores.  The way I see it, if they can't last long enough to find themselves in one piece for the purchaser, why should I put two bucks on the counter so that I can bring them home to my lively young bunch of busy fingers?

I've seen pictures of adorable cupcakes such as these.  Many of them are much more intricate than mine, posted above.  I can tell you that I have made mine out of scrap wool bits.  I've even stuffed the frosting with drier lint!  I used whatever beads I already had on hand.  I stitched around each section twice, with double thread.  These are pretty tough little pastries.  So, kids, Happy Valentines!  Mommies, these are cheaper, less waste, and more fun.

Assuming that my reader is already familiar with the felting process used with this wool (if not, just ask me in the comment section - its easy and fun!), I made sure to use the ribbed cuff from a sweater for the "paper".  To stuff the inside of this portion, I just rolled more wool and tucked it inside.

cutting the cake

getting stuffed

For the little cake, I had to guess twice.  I'll tell ya, It's bigger than ya think.  Cut out a nice big circle.  I found it easiest to tack it on four even sides first, then stitch snugly around leaving a space for stuffing.  You'll need to use a blind stitch, but wool is much more forgiving than cotton.  You can see in my photo that I've used drier lint from a load of reds.  In this case a white poly fill might show through the dark wool, especially if it is a looser knit.  Some of you might remember Grandma's handwork stuffed in this manner.

Next is the frosting.  You can be creative here.  With this one I've used the seem from a white blazer.  I stitched it on like it was whipped cream, all fancy-like.  Last, and very much not least, I fashioned a cherry to fix atop my little sweet.  Et voilĂ !

good enough to eat

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

First Knit Hat

I've always wanted to learn how to knit.  My beloved Grandma taught me how to crochet when I was a young girl, I've made lots of granny squares in my day.  But I really admire knitting.  I love the way it looks, the way it lays, the way you don't see through it, how nice and flat it is.  

I finally got my chance a couple of years ago at a 4H class that I'd attended  with my daughter.  I came away a new knitter!  I was ecstatic!  I've been knitting ever since.  The hat modeled by my youngest in the photo below is one of my first projects knitted from an actual pattern.  Its darling, but too big for anyone.  We fold the rim and wear it anyway. 

My daughter still practices, but I think right now she's more interested in the idea of knitting than in the effort.  Her level of excitement is more in the enchantment and novelty at this stage.  There must be a way that I can channel that...

Our 5-yr-old in his too-big hat

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why Go I Mourning?

Psalm 42:9

I say to God my Rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by my enemy?"

~ Why Go I Mourning? ~

Canst Thou answer this, believer?
Canst thou find any reason why thou art so often mourning instead of rejoicing?
Why yield to gloomy anticipations?

Who told thee that the night would never end in day?
Who told thee that the winter of thy discontent would proceed from frost to frost,
from snow and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair?

Knowest thou not that day follows night,
that flood comes after ebb,
that spring and summer succeed winter?

Hope thou then!
Hope thou ever!
for God fails thee not.

~ C.H. Spurgeon

Perfection Is My Enemy

There's a song by  Francesca Battistelli which some of you may have heard.  It's called "Free To Be Me" and has a line that reads "perfection is my enemy".  This line from her song remains in my mind, popping up from time to time.  I suppose I have to say that it "speaks to me."

It likely speaks to each of us to some degree, if we're honest.  After all, who doesn't aspire to achieve greatness throughout their endeavors?  Even a two-year-old desires to hear "Good Job!"  Naturally, we don't grow out of that.  

As we grow into adulthood, however, we learn that achieving sufficiency is all that is required.  But how many of us come to terms with that?  We still strive for the accolade, by now a little voice in the back of our mind that has learned to say "you can do better." 

If we've gleaned healthy outlooks and habits we may learn to be contented with the average requirements.  However, there are many reasons why we don't settle for mediocre.  Sometimes the idea of mediocrity smacks of inferiority.  But why?

Setting aside the obvious, that there are indeed times when we certainly should reach the heights of our potential, my point in this post is about our daily expectations.  Every day, Monday through Friday, January through December, you get where I'm going here?  The question I'm proposing is this, when is it not appropriate to achieve and expect more?   This is plain weird for an American to hear, more so to answer.  But we do wonder.  I think that sometimes we need a break from "being more."

For instance, in my life with children and schedules, I find that I criticize myself because I don't have everything done, like:

1.  Have the laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away.
2.  Keep a presentable home, e.i. dishes, table, counter, floor, etc.
3.  Prepare homemade meals each day and
4.  Serve my family at the table.
5.  Attend each of my children's athletic events.
6.  Keep a tidy bedroom.
7.  See that the kids make it to each Scout, youth, 4H, etc.  (...okay, need I go on?)

I'm not so off-my-rocker that I don't know you're thinking, "Oh my gosh, nobody does all that!"  But I also know that many of you recognize the symptom of self-criticism that I've demonstrated.  

We all have a litany of our own that is notoriously recognizable.  We have it memorized.  I bring it up because I think that average can be okay.  It has it's place, too.  Our aspirations can and should be more, but our expectations shouldn't be synonymous.  We do ourselves in!  Not to mention what we do to our children, our spouses, etc.  After all, haven't we found the cost of "more" and "better" too high, too often?  So, why do we keep after it?

Perhaps it's time to step back and evaluate what we are modeling to our children.  Maybe we should all just stay home once in awhile to play a nice, long game of Dino-opoly as a family after a Tombstone pizza dinner with sliced apples.  We're not perfect, and it's very good!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"You are more than the sum of your past mistakes"

There's a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she's wandered
And the shame she can't hide

She says, "How did I get here?
I'm not who I once was.
And I'm crippled by the fear
That I've fallen too far to love"

But don't you know who you are,
What's been done for you?
Yeah don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

Well she tries to believe it
That she's been given new life
But she can't shake the feeling
That it's not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she's rehearsed all the lines
And so she'll try to do better
But then she's too weak to try

But don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

'Cause this is not about what you've done,
But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You've been remade
You've been remade.
You've been remade.
You've been remade.

“You Are More” ~Tenth Avenue North

Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.

About Me

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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!