Monday, August 29, 2011

Show and Tell

Yesterday was my golden birthday, and as birthday's go it was pretty good. No grandiose plans or anything but my mom was here and she did my dishes and made hot fudge cake. And my sister Mindy was here and we hung out.

It was absolutely lovely.

That was yesterday and now I am another day older.

But I didn't hop on here to talk about age and birthdays or anything, I really want to show you my newest project.

This is one of those accordion style mug holder things that you can hang on the wall. I bought it at Cart'm. Yay for Cart'm once again.

And I took it apart because all I really wanted were the "hooks" or the pegs. Those along with a few shelf brackets and two lengths of pine shelving from the local lumber yard and I've got myself more hanging space and wall art. I've had this vision for this corner of my bedroom for awhile now but I could never bring myself to spend $1 or $2 per peg to build these shelves.

The purple shelf brackets are also a Cart'm find from about 2 or 3 years ago and they've been employed in various other locations in my house.

For some reason my bedroom has been the last place to really be made into the place that I want it to be but I'm working on it now and I really like how it's shaping up.

And just in case you're curious, this is the other corner:

I'm pretty excited about that white bookshelf hanging on the wall. It was $7 at the local thrift store and it answered my need for more bookshelves.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


A week ago or so when we were up at my parents' house Marilyn was sitting with my dad in the hammock and she called him a dandelion. It was pretty cute and later that night as I was rocking and singing her to sleep I started singing a song I hadn't thought of in a really long time. I couldn't remember all the words so I looked it up the other night. It's the Dandelion song from the musical "Quilters". I performed in it at the Coaster Theatre the summer I was pregnant with Ivan.
The lyrics and music for "Quilters" are by Barbara Damashek but the lyrics to this one are based on a poem by Clara J. Denton called "Blooming in Fall"


Dandelion why so late with your golden crown?
All your comrades long ago laid their splendor down.

Though your face smiles bravely up from the grasses dead,
Watching you my heart forgets the Summer's wealth is fled.

Blessings, blessings little flower for your shining grace,
Doubly welcome that you deck Autumn's furrowed face.

Dandelion, like the dauntless heart you seem beneath Privation's power.,
Smiling bravely though above the threatening tempests lower.

Blessings, blessings sunny flower for your shining grace,
Doubly welcome that you deck Autumn's furrowed face.

Marilyn tries to sing it with me now; "dandelion, golden crown" is about all she can remember but it's sweet to hear.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Birthday Rock

Welcome to the ugly corner at the back of my house:

We've lived here 6 years and for 6 years I've been dreaming and scheming about this corner of the backyard...what to do, what to do?

Rocks! More specifically, rock that I can create a patio with.

Happy Birthday to me!

Really, I wanted rocks for my birthday, either that or gravel.

I bought a bunch of really cool flat stones from some friends of ours and I moved them all to our house. Technically our driveway, and then moved them again to the back yard.

I'm not a perfectionist so you'll still have to watch your step a little but here is the start of the patio that will cover this corner.

The plan is to eventually build a small garage onto the house and turn the shed into a guest room and the patio will be the walkway between the house and the guest cottage.

This is where it is today:

Still more to lay; it's like a giant puzzle where none of the pieces actually fit together and each piece weighs 20- 50 pounds or so.

And I like it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cart'm Treasures

I've been shopping Cart'm again.

It seems that Cart'm always knows what I'm looking for. Well, maybe not always but most times when I'm looking for something specific (like a small table to paint and put on the back deck so I have somewhere to set my tea when I'm sitting outside) I rarely leave disappointed.

Turns out when I decided that I needed a small table to paint and put on the back deck so I have somewhere to set my tea when I'm sitting outside, I found the perfect one for $5.

A little craft paint, some polyurethane sealer (though I only had indoor, need to find some outdoor), a ruler and a quilt book and I had the perfect little table.

Everything but the blue diamonds were painted twice because I didn't get the colors right the first time but now I'm happy with it.

I was going to paint the base a different color as well but Erik convinced me it was fine. Personally I think he was hungry and wanted me to stop painting so I would make dinner : )

I really do like it and it's the perfect height for between my Adirondack chairs.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Adventures in Dehydrating

My mom found me an Excalibur Dehydrator at a garage sale last year for $10. It's an old one and only has five trays but it works.

And this year I am discovering how lovely it really is.

I dehydrated a few trays of apples and pears last year and we really enjoyed them but I wasn't fanatical about it.

I'm afraid I might become fanatical this year.

I have 3 1/2 quarts of dried blueberries.

Apparently you're suppose to blanch blueberries first to break the skins so they dry better, but I didn't know this when I started, so I just threw them on the trays. They turned out just fine. Some of the skins are papery and flake right off, but it hasn't made a huge difference to us in texture or taste.

And this lovely, very little jar is powdered spinach. An entire dehydrator's worth of spinach rubbed through a mesh strainer. I've since dried another 5 trays and so the jar is almost halfway full! : )
I have plans for adding this to smoothies this winter. And the other day we added it to tuna fish, no one really knew it was there but they were all eating their spinach!

Actually, it's not a fight to get my kids to eat fresh spinach we just couldn't get through all of the greens from our CSA so thought I'd dehydrate it so as not to waste. Oh...and there are powdered beet greens in there as well now. We're not huge fans of anything beet, but the dried greens hardly have any taste at all.

Right now the dehydrator is full of zucchini and I have plans of drying many more apples and pears this year.

I think eventually I'll save up for a larger dehydrator.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Memory Lane

Sunday night I shared "The Story of Gomer" at my dad's church. And the night before that I shared it at Machias Community Church in Snohomish, WA.

Both performances were a little surreal but yet really fun.

You see, Machias is where we lived from the time I was 3 until just before my 6th grade year when we moved to Whidbey Island.

We came up to my parent's house on Friday night and then on Saturday my dad and I drove over to Machias so I could perform there. We drove by our old house and then drove to the church, down the road where I could still remember the turns and still recognize so many houses even though so much has changed. We drove to the church where I remember running through the isles, playing on the stage, taking the "secret" stairs behind the baptismal down to the basement. I was baptized there. I remember singing in Steven Curtis Chapman songs in kid's choir. Awana and Sunday School, so many things that just kept flooding back. I remember exactly where I stood one Sunday when I told my dad that I was going to Grace's house after church and then going and getting in trouble later because my dad had assumed that I had already gotten permission from my mom and then was surprised that my mom didn't know where I was when they got home.

And it was odd and neat at the same time to stand in front of this same church, with familiar faces in the audience (faces that if I saw them in a crowd I would probably stare for awhile and think, "I think I know them" but not be able to put a name to a face, though that face is dear) to share the story of God's amazing love, through the story of Gomer.

Someone came up to me later and laughed when I said "Hi" back. He said it was the first time that I'd ever returned his greeting. When I was little I would hide my face in my dad's pant leg or my mom's skirt whenever he said hi.

And then last night, at the Chapel, in front of a few more familiar faces who knew me through my middle and high school days, I got to share the story again.

It was a lot of memories in 2 days and that's not a bad thing. It was really really special.

I feel so blessed to do what I love and hopefully be used of God to share the truth of His redeeming love.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Garden Woes

I am tempted to plow my entire garden under and call it a year.

The slugs are back and have eaten most of my squash, zucchini and pumpkin plants.

And this year I have buttercups.

Apparently according to many Google searches on the subject (I typed in "buttercups mean my soil is..." and got lots of good results, I love Google) my soil is very acidic and not only do the buttercups creep and spread quickly they are not a useful herb and they rob the soil of nutrients.

Oh joy.

So now I am contemplating the direction to head in helping the soil along. I am not a learn-ed gardener by any means, I putter around, so any help in a natural and organic way of balancing my soil and adding some nutrients back in would be helpful.

The only reason I haven't resorted to plowing the whole thing under is that in spite of all my garden's maladies it is producing something, which I've been told is better than nothing at all.

Oh garden bounty, beauty is thy name.

Not exactly bounty, but we'll get there, eventually.

I'm planning on planting tons of carrots next year. I love the surprise of pulling a carrot and seeing how big or small it is.

It's the simple things really.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

God's Good Grace

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to perform "The Story of Gomer" three times at Hauser Community Church in North Bend, Oregon. I performed it for all three of their services, one on Saturday night and two on Sunday morning. I pray that the story will be used of God to remind or to tell people of His love for them and of his amazing forgiveness.

I have a feeling "someone" didn't want the story told. Friday morning before we left I woke up with a very pink, goopy left eye. After a week of leading games at VBS (where we also had a momentary unidentifiable rash scare), who knows where I caught it. I made up some chaparral/comfrey eye wash and prayed for healing. We left after Erik's doctor's appointment on Friday morning and I put drops in my eyes every two hours (and prayed) the whole way down to North Bend. Saturday I did the same while we were out and about playing tourists (neither Erik nor I had ever been that far south on Hwy 101 before). Saturday night my eyes were clear and I was able to wear my contacts and the performance went well. I even wore an over the ear microphone for the first time! That was actually quite fun and not as scary as I was anticipating.

Sunday morning my eyes stayed clear and the first performance went well. Second performance (technically third of the weekend) about half way through the tiredness suddenly hit me. (This was also my first time performing this story three times in short succession.) I never realize how much energy a performance takes until suddenly I just feel too tired and almost nauseated to go on. It's also amazing to me what can run through my brain while I'm on stage performing. Sunday second service it was this, "Dear God, I can't do this. I can't go on. But I can't just run off stage and not finish the story, Lord this must be in your strength, because I have nothing left to give." And do you know what? He gave the strength. The story was told, and told well. The message of God's redeeming love and amazing forgiveness touched many hearts because God is faithful to equip where he calls.

And the story of God's provision and protection on this journey does not end there. On our way home yesterday as we were coming into Tillamook, Erik asked if we could stop and get the tires on our van rotated at Les Schwab. I said, "Oh sure, I guess." They took one look at our almost completely tread-bare front tire and wondered that we didn't have a blow out or a flat. So even though we are now in the market for at least two new tires and we need an alignment done on the van, WE MADE IT SAFELY HOME. By God's good grace we made it safely home.