Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Different Perspective

I truly think that we have been suckered into thinking that consumption brings happiness.  People are starting to pick up on the fact that that is not so fulfilling, which is why it's becoming trendy to be green and to live simply.  It is more fulfilling to help other people and spend time with them.  At least this is what I'd like to think the reason for living simply is.  Next week I'm going to try to show you a different perspective on consuming and why we have decided to try to live more simply.  Please, please, take the time to look at these links.  They may change your mind, or just help in understanding why Sam and I are as crazy as we are!

This video is called The Story of Stuff

This video takes maybe 20 minutes to watch, but it is very informative.  It gives a big picture of the way things come into being and how we dispose of them.  It is a little bit like listening to a lecture, but overall I think it's a good lecture.  I'm not sure what I think about that flame retardant stuff, if you watch this, tell me what you think.  I kinda think they may be overboard with that stuff about the pillows, but then again, maybe I'm just ignorant about it.  More links to come!  I'd love to hear what you think, please leave a comment with your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy Hearts

Ok, I couldn't help it.  I never get done with projects when the light is still good, but I just had to share.  I am planning on taking some better pictures with these little hearts wrapped around a twig.  I do need a new camera.  This one is completely falling apart!  I've been searching craigslist and finding some possibilities.  I'm sad that this sweater is pretty much used up.  I love the color!  (The pictures don't do it justice)  So I'm toying with the idea of making more, but embroidering little sayings, just like conversation hearts.  I'm not sure that my embroidery skills are up to par, so I hesitated.  I think I might just try it on the next batch.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My New Best Friend

Part of my idea of simple living is buying quality products, so I can buy them once and be done with it.  I have had frozen fruit in my freezer for ages begging to be blended into a delicious smoothie.  Problem was, I didn't have a blender.  I got this Osterizer Contemporary Classic Beehive Blender (in red of course)  I've been enjoying a smoothie everyday!  I like that it just has an on, off, and pulse switch.  No need for speed 2, 3, or 6.  I know I never used anything other than high or pulse.  So I hope this baby lasts.  I was really debating on buying this, or waiting to find a good old one at a thrift store.  And then there was the ultra expensive vitamix blender that had amazing reviews, but I just couldn't spend that much.  I think the red won me over in the end!

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Favorite Apron

click on image to view larger

This is my favorite apron.  (The one I told you I was going to share)  I used fabric from Anna Marie Horner.  She is my favorite fabric designer. Check out her blog for some seriously yummy color inspiration.  I used a pattern from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing book.  The little bottle and embroidery pattern is included.  It is reversible (obviously) and I love it.  I wear it all the time.  I may even wear it out once. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Treehouses and Sesame Street

I was reading this book on treehouses.  Treehouses are awesome by the way.  And then I remembered this really sweet Sesame Street episode.  This must be late 80's early 90's Sesame Street I'm talking about.  There was the coolest episode where a bunch of kids got to do some scribbles and let their imagination run wild and dream up a playground.  This guy made their scribbles into a reality.  They had the coolest playground/park with cool paintings.  Does anyone know what I'm talking about here?  Ok, nevermind, I found it.  Watching it again is so funny!  Not nearly as cool as I remember.  Still funny though!

 Oh, you gotta love you tube!

  Does this bring any sweet memories to anyone else?

By the way, I fully intend on having the most amazing tree house someday.

But I'm not a Doctor

I just had one of those- "yes, of course, why am I so stupid" moments the other day.  I really admire the people who go to other countries to help out those in need.  I always thought-oh I wish I was a doctor so I could really do some good.  I have a bunch of nursing friends, and I think, oh they can do so much to help people in other countries.  I always thought, what am I going to do, teach them how to bake a cake?  Paint a pretty picture, make their house look nice.  It seems so insignificant and so stupid.  In the back of my head, I was always thinking I need to acquire some other skills so I can really help people.  But as always, I am humbled.  I really feel stupid thinking about it now.  It's as if I am saying to God, thanks for giving me those gifts, but no thanks, they're not really good enough.  Well, my friend Elizabeth just told me that someone is doing that very thing, teaching girls how to make cakes so they can escape a life of sex trafficking in Cambodia.  I was just in a quilting store and I saw that they were traveling to Mozambique to teach girls how to sew for that same reason. They can learn a skill which they can be paid for so they don't have to sell themselves.  And Soule Mama has a wonderful blog called Mama to Mama that is dedicated to hand crafting items to help others in need.  She just finished a big project to give mothers in Haiti a simple kit of baby caps and blankets and a few other essentials to help in the birthing process.  They have the highest maternal mortality ratioin the Western Hemisphere.  In giving the mothers a few simple things for birth, this can be changed. 

Are all apostles?  Are all prophets?  Are all teachers?  Do all work miracles?
Do all have gifts of healing?  Do all speak in tongues?  Do all interpret?  But eagerly desire the greater gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:30-31

That last part-but eagerly desire the greater gifts- that was me for sure!  The Corinthians were seeking status through the gifts that they thought were most important.  But Paul was explaining that all the gifts are important and all serve a purpose.   I Corinthians 12 is a good section.  I shouldn't just pull that one part because it's hard to describe.  

So I thank God for giving me the gift of making things and I pray that I am able to use this gift to help serve others.  So if you are thinking that the gifts you have aren't all that special or significant, think again.  And if you're not sure what your gifts are pray that God will reveal them to you.  

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10

Ok, one last rambling here.  You might be familiar with v. 8 and 9.  I memorized them, but can't believe I didn't memorize verse 10.  God prepared ahead of time for us to do good works.  Isn't that cool.  So I'm working on adding that last part to my memory.

So I must say.  I feel all preachy, and not so comfortable doing so.  I don't want to be all-"look at what I know, listen to me."  But this has been on my heart lately and I just wanted to share it, hoping that God will work in your hearts to feel more confident in the gifts He's given you and the work He's called you to do.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Etsy Love

I will be updating my etsy shop this week for Valentine's day!  This card and others will go up tomorrow (when the sun is shining brighter so the pictures turn out!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Being Honest

I need to be honest here.  I have just been feeling sorta down lately.  It's such a weird thing.  I really don't like to be negative on here- but I just need to get it out.  I struggle with the church I go to.  I am struggling with what I'm doing right now, trying to make things to sell.  I'm wanting to get more involved in the community.  We have been making an effort- we joined an outdoor online group.  I am just longing for and praying for some more friends.  I need people here my age who are like me.  I feel like we are moving toward our goals, that is what we're always doing, will we ever get there?  Will I ever be complacent?  I feel all of our experiences and travels have given us a very clear picture of what God wants for us in our life.  Life is sinful, certain things will always suck- I know this, but I always search for the greener grass.  Is this wrong?  Do I need more peace with where God has me now?  Or is it a healthy thing.  Am I just running?  There will never be the perfect job.  Sam and I know we're happier when we work together.  We have had the pleasure of experiencing just about every combination of circumstances- while I'm grateful I also think this makes us more dissatisfied because we have tasted glimpses of what our life could be like.  We want to be different.  We're ok with being different, it's a good thing.  We want to scale back- spend less money so we can earn less money and have more time to give of ourselves.  That is the ultimate goal.  We are working toward it right now.  What that will look like, I'm not sure.  Will we own land?  Will we have our own business.  And where on earth is that going to be???  I feel like we've made a big circle and we're back at the beginning.  Back at square one.  I am so confident that God will guide us there. His plans have always impressed me.  It's so hard for me to be patient though.  

We are trying to live more intentionally.  I guess it's sorta working.  It looks that way from the outside anyway.  On the inside I feel lousy.  I feel guilty for never really helping others the way I would like to.  I see things I could do- money I could donate but I feel like I'm a really big cheapskate and I'm really selfish.  

I don't like to be superficial.  Is this blog becoming way too superficial?  Do I really talk about who I am, is this my voice?  How come there isn't more talk of God on here.  Am I ashamed- is that the real reason?  I see these bloggers who write beautifully about their faith, but I think that's not me.  Why isn't that me?  Do I want to be known for my art or my walk with God?  If you read what I write it doesn't look like I care.  I do, I have a hard time sharing it openly.   I don't write eloquently or cute.  I'm blunt and cynical and never stop with the run on sentences.  I want to be more genuine, more authentic.  It is good to be open with people- tell it how it really is every once in awhile.  This is real life.  Life has struggles.  I struggle.  God listens, He hears me.  I know this- I'll keep pounding away and He will put up with it- He will do so much more than that.  It's this crazy love He has that I can never understand.  Then I go through this cycle.  I feel guilty-I ask for forgiveness-I am forgiven-I am relieved-I sin-I feel bad again- I know I don't need to- this is the walk.  That whole feeling bad- the guilt- my sin- I don't do a good job of sharing that openly.   Who wants to admit it?  It's hard.  Yes so I feel weird posting this, but that's that.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'll Have The Usual

Have you ever wanted to be "a regular" at a coffee shop or some restaurant?  I always glance at those people who chat it up with the waitress enviously.  

My closest to this would be at the Sultan Bakery.  We had a chocolate bar, a big foot, and two coffees- every week- usually on Wednesday mornings.  But we didn't really talk to the sassy owner.  I listened to the others- everyone seemed to know everyone.  Everyone but me that is.  The grocery store was the same way.  How do you break the barrier?  Am I just unfriendly?  Do I need to introduce myself?  Hi, I'm Becca, I live here now, so you can start including me on the town gossip.  Maybe it would help if I lived somewhere for more than 2 seconds.

I'm hoping by eating more locally I'll get to be a regular with a few people.  
So my question- How do you become a regular?
Are you a regular anywhere?

To Sell or Not to Sell?

I love these!  I love all things that are orange!  I'm sick of my green bowls, and these are bigger. Problem is, I think these would be a good etsy seller, I don't know if anyone would want to buy my green ones.  Don't they resemble these Ikat tea pots Grace posted on Design Sponge?  They have a gold rim inside on the top too.  Whaddya think?  By the way, etsy update coming this Friday!  

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Purple Potatoes

So the house is dechrismatized and all clean.  (Yes-I made that word up)  It feels good, all ready for a new year.  

The last of my stash from the farmers market is gone.  We enjoyed these purple potatoes.  Fun, huh?  I think blue potato chips must be made out of these potatoes.  They look really funny, but they taste normal- seriously.  So I realize that I have never really posted about food.  I love food.  Love cooking.  I am too lazy to put recipes on here though.  I just thought I'd share my 
"signature" meal.  I feel silly saying that, but it is my favorite meal to cook and eat!  It is pine nut crusted salmon with a lemon basil cream sauce, caramelized onion mashed potatoes, and baked carrots.  Well this is it, sorta.  The real deal looks better, I didn't have pine nuts for the salmon so I tried using pecans instead.  Sam usually makes the carrots.  We found the recipe for the carrots in Ina Gartens Barefoot Contessa cookbook.  We love that book.  The funny looking stringy stuff in the potatoes are the caramelized onions.  They taste better than they look.  One day I will do a post on those.  I want to show how the onions get cooked.  They can be tricky because if you don't watch them they burn and get all bitter.  But if you don't cook them long enough they don't develop that wonderful sweet flavor (you use the same method for French Onion soup by the way)  So maybe one day I will share the recipe, or maybe I'll see if I can find a link to something similar for you.    

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Handmade Holiday

I made this apron for my mother in law Linda, who loves all things poinsettia.  And I'm holding the little pin cushion project I did when Jess was here.  You'll have to convince Jess to post a picture, she has one of the three of us (Jess, Jenny Kesterson, and I) with our cupcakes!  These were inspired by Betz White.  They are pretty easy to make.  We used a felted sweater and some wool felt.  It was a project that was easily finished in an afternoon.  I think this was a first for Jess and I.  We usually take hours, if not days doing a project!
This is my favorite apron pattern by the way.  It's reversible and it's in Lotta Jansdotters book Simple Sewing (I highly recommend this book).  The first one I made I followed to a T (I will share that apron soon).   On this one I had fun with some applique.  And if you have this book, you'll notice I mad the ties around the waist extra long.  I like to tie my aprons around my waist and hang a towel from it.  And who doesn't love oversize rick rack, doesn't it just make you happy looking at it?  I made a little flower out of it and put it on the pocket (you can kinda see it in the first picture)

This is going to ruin the surprise a bit, but it's on it's way.  Some ornaments.  I had so much fun with these.  Some were a bit time consuming, but worth it in the end.  I realize now that some of Martha Stewarts projects are easier said than done!

This bag is made using a plastic bag as your pattern.  It was a bit tricky, but in the end good.  I learned how to properly line a bag.
This is an easy pattern.  It makes me think of camping and sleeping bags.
I made a few market bags.

I will have to do one more post showing a few other things I made.  And I have to show you the hat and wrist warmers my mom made me. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Carpe Diem

So this is my FUN list for 2009, just random things I would like to do.  It will be fun to see which ones happen!

Learn how to make good rolls (what is it about Grandmas- they make amazing rolls, I'm determined to find the secret, I'm afraid it may just be years of experience, but we'll see if I can get in on any hints)

Make homemade doughnuts

Wear More Skirts

Read Books (I'm going to revisit my childhood favorites right now I have Bridge to Teribithia, along with biographies on interesting people- right now I'm learning all about Eleanor Roosevelt)

Make more art (and I would like to recycle products in my artwork, and I would like to do some art focusing on words of God)

Be more generous and giving of my time and money

Be more adventurous- meet new people try new things

Save a good amount of money

Make homemade deodorant (more on this later) 

Make homemade soap

Make Candles

See if using cider vinegar instead of shampoo really works

Learn how to play Rook (I gave this to Sam for Christmas, both Grandma's let us  down so it looks like we're going to have to read that 48 page booklet-Yikes- and see how it goes)

Spend less time on this thing (Oh the computer can be so inspirational but such a time zapper too!)

Spend more time with God

Go to the zoo- I haven't been there in years!

Don't buy any clothes at all this year (Can this possibly be done?  I know I don't need any- my only exception has to be the gift cards I received as gifts, it would be plain rude not to use them, and this way I can maybe make it through the whole year!)

Light candles more often

Find a good local bakery

Visit my friend in San Francisco

Throw a good dinner party

What's on your list????

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year

Out with the old:
So here is the recap on goals from last year
*no pop-
 yes, I am finally addiction free!  I've had it every once in awhile and now it tastes kinda gross to me and when I see pop I think of it as sugar in a bottle
*drink more milk and water-
 I've been good on the water, not so great with the milk
*be active-
 yes and no, I go in spurts on this one, but we joined on online outdoor group in Spokane and we're hoping to connect and meet more people this year
*eat well- 
not so consistent, we're doing ok, hopefully this year we'll keep improving and with our new goals eating well should come naturally
*be more organized-
I think i've made progress in this category, it's a constant battle
*start an etsy shop-
Yes- this is probably the one I'm most proud of, and I have so many ideas in store for next year and really working hard on my shop
*speak spanish fluently
This is a definite no, even though Linda gave me these cool spanish sticky notes, maybe they need to go up again, and we need a volunteer vacation trip to make it happen
*get caught up on scrapbooking
I just haven't been into this lately, I did get fairly caught up with some unfinished projects.  I have a different view on how I want to scrapbook now, so we'll see.  And I would like to try out making a blurp book.

Overall I'm pleased.  I'm excited to keep growing, learning, and pushing myself to do different things.  We'll see.

In with the new:
So Sam and I have pretty ambitious plans for 2009.  Here goes:
Eat Locally:  
This requires a BIG explanation.  I've been interested in the compact, and eating locally.   I've been reading a lot on the topic.  I watched this movie, (the high cost of low prices, you can watch it instantly if you have a netflix account) and in conclusion, this is something we would like to try.  I don't want to go crazy with this and make ourselves miserable.  I do believe that in making an effort to know where the food comes from will build some cool relationships and be much healthier.  I want to do this because I'm a believer of entrepreaneurs and small businesses and I want to give them a shot.  Every time we shop at Target or Wal-Mart, we crush those other businesses.  So we will try, and try hard.  I will post local links and our adventures. If we can't find something I'm not willing to take it out of our diet, I'll just try to get it from a grocery store that supports the most local business.  
Buy Used:
We pretty much do this already.  I don't think it will be that hard for us.  I love finding better quality items from thrift stores.  They just don't make it like they used to, ya know?  I realize this will be hard when we need shoes (and Sam really needs new ones)  So we probably won't be nazi's about this.  I would rather support a local company if possible and one that chooses sustainable products.  So it's more about being more educated about where the stuff we buy comes from.  My dad is big on hating the made in China stuff.  It's true, why buy made in China when you can get better quality goods other ways.