Friday, January 29, 2010

The Mitten

I posted something a while ago about a project that I was excited about working on.  I finally got around to bringing it to fruition.

After a little mishap with a mitten I was creating, I decided to make some little toys to go with the book "The Mitten" by Jan Brett.  This charming children's book is based on a Ukrainian folk tale about a lost mitten and a group of forest animals finding it and piling inside to keep warm.  It was always a favorite, growing up.  I'm thinking of giving these little guys away for a baby shower (with the book, of course) or perhaps saving them for my future kids.  We'll see. :)

The mitten is crocheted out of a very soft, white yarn (lots of patterns can be found on the internet).  The animals are created with oven bake clay (Sculpey) and painted with acrylic paint.  I also used mod podge to seal them.  The animals are as follows: Bear, Fox, Badger, Owl, Rabbit, Hedgehog, Mole and Mouse.


I'm participating in....


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pretty Pink Cowl

I saw this idea on some crocheting websites and found a great tutorial here.  I've very rarely seen anyone wear these, but I love them!  Very warm and tres chic.   This project was quick and easy, although there are more intricate and difficult patterns that you can find.  I liked how this pattern was simple (not tons of different stitches or counting), but it had some interesting texture and lines to it.  It was nice to break away from the millions of hats I've been making recently!

Here are some cheesy webcam photos for your enjoyment and inspiration. :)

Here's what a cowl looks like when you're not wearing it.

The most popular way to wear a cowl.  I like how it has the look and warmth of a scarf, without the ends.  This will be nice to wear at work with the kids.

Ok, here's my experimental way of wearing a cowl.  Hey, if it's snowing, why not use it as a hat/hood, too? (Actually, I read that "Cowl" is from the Latin world Cuculla meaning "hood")  I look a bit like a Babushka, no?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Some of this week's blessings

holy experience

201. Dinner and a movie with all of my siblings.
202. Yemeni cheek kisses with my sisters
203. a busy, yet redeemed week
204. brooms and vacuums
205. a choir of children singing praise
206. soft yarns
207. dishwasher
208. a very nice tenant to rent our apartment!
209. God's faithfulness and provision
210. a wonderfully long voicemail from a dear friend
211. peace during a busy week
212. homemade pizzas
213. late night (early morning) conversations between brothers
214. a new plan
215. Ice skating with my students
216. Discovering a sweet bead store by my house (and creating a beautiful necklace for $1.97!)
217. Constant love

Soli Deo Gloria.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I've been wanting to try these for a while.  I must admit, I thought that this would be an easy, 1/2 hour project, at most.  It ended up being almost an entire day of cutting and re-cutting each silhouette.  Although it was frustrating at times, I'm glad I stuck it out.  I really like the end result, especially when multiple silhouettes are grouped together.

Here's how I made them:

1. I searched for photographs that would work well, anything that is a profile view or a dynamic action that you would be able to identify easily.
2.  I chose three photographs to work with; Brian and I dancing at our wedding,  Brian and I swing dancing and a photo of me drawing on the beach.   After the photographs were chosen, I photocopied them (multiple times, since I kept re-doing them).
3. Once you have your photocopied photographs, I taped them to black paper.
4. Next, I cut (carefully!) around the figures taped to the black paper.  This was very difficult to do, especially considering how small the figures were.  I may invest in some very small scissors for the next time I do this.  The faces are the most difficult part.  This step took a lot of trial and error.  I probably cut out at least 4 of each of my photographs until I cut one that I liked.
5.  Once your black silhouettes are cut out, simple glue them to a white background.
6. I like these framed in black, so I bought a few cheap frames at the art store.  I think it's nice to have different shapes and sizes. I got a 3x5, 4x6 and a 5x5.

Below, are photos of my finished silhouettes.  There are so many interesting things you could do with this.  I was imagining silhouettes of birds, my cat, trees, flowers, etc.  When I have kids, I'd love to do a yearly silhouette of each of them.  Anyways, give it a try!

Brian and I swing dancing at a wedding a few years ago

Dancing the waltz at our wedding

Drawing on the beach (I added the bird, for more interest)

Kitty and the Silhouettes

Friday, January 22, 2010


Last Sunday night, Brian preached at our night service at church.  He gave a beautiful and insightful sermon on family.  I loved his illustration.  Two balls of yarn, knit together to create something beautiful.   Two families, their blessing and their curses, knit together and redeemed by Christ.

Worship him for weaving together our imperfect lives with God’s perfect desire.

“For YOU created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well.” Psalm 139: 13-14

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Counting My Blessings

holy experience

Oops! Late again.
179. Snow
180. an accessible church service
181. an eloquent and humble sermon given by my husband
182. 1st and 2nd graders Sunday school drawings
183. whoopie pies
184. "Bring a Friend to School Day"
185. Brothers and sisters taking care of each other
186. Game nights with friends
187. warm Egyptian chamomile tea
188. unexpected gifts
189. good chats
190. spending my days with sweet, sweet children
191. hugs
192. dates with old friends
193. snow flakes
194. provision
195. God's faithfulness
196. A new child of Christ
197. Cole's smile when I taught him to take pictures with my camera.
198. Rest
199. Fleece
200! Being part of God's family

Pictures: Taken by my friend Cole, who has autism. He was more than delighted to be sneaking around with a camera. He especially enjoyed capturing the backs of people's heads. An older woman at my table made a good point "We have mirrors, we KNOW what our faces look like, but we have no idea what the backs of our heads are like." Thanks, Cole. :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My Newest Publication

I created a new zine this week for my friend Kristin, who has been suffering from painful and non stop headaches for more than a month.  The nice thing about a zine is that once you make one, you can make photo copies of the original and create endless little books.

I used ink and black watercolors to create the images and simply cut out the text from a printed page.

The text is from one of my favorite devotional books, "Valley of Vision" , a collection of Puritan prayers.

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, 
where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. 
Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, 
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, 
that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. 
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; 
let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty,
 Thy glory in my valley.
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Canvas

I've gained a couple of new art students this week. 

There is much latent excitement found in unopened paint tubes, soft new brushes, a pure white canvas.  Young faces were filled with wonderment when they realize that they are going to use these "real artist" materials for the first time. 

We began violently.  We killed the white in our canvas with blue watery paint.  It's messy now. It's dirty and imperfect.  (Do you know how hard it is to begin painting on a white canvas? It's so perfect. What if you "mess" it up?)  Too late for us.  We've killed the overwhelming mass of nothingness and perfection.  Things can only get better from here. 

We quietly and carefully gather objects from around the house, we create a composition of odds and ends on the kitchen table.  Hmmmm-ing.  Turning that just right.  Moving this a little to the left.  Ok. Ready. 

We sketch.  We lightly glide our chalk over the canvas.  I want them loose.  I want them to pull and push and give and take.  I want them to search and find the line with their chalk, in rapid motion.  Perfectionists, beware! Not for the lighthearted, this.

I think we're all looking forward to our next class.  Bring on the paint.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What's Peeking Through our Blanket of Snow

The clean, white snow provides a beautiful background to show off the intricate and delicate, lifeless leftovers of autumn days gone by. Gentle reminders.

Psalm 51:7 -

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

My prayer today.  My prayer everyday.