Sunday, January 31, 2010

I just hate it.... ( not a crafty blog, a pastory one)

I just hate it when God loves the people I love to hate!  The poor, the sick, the ones in prison, the ones with purple spots, the people who butter their bread underneath!

Ok, really, that's exactly what I love about God. God challenges the world's definitions of worth, value and propriety. God loves the Vikings and the Packers, God loves the Wildcats and the Jayhawks. God is bold enough to love Osama Bin Laden and Barak Obama!

Hey, that means, God just might love me! Even if I'm not at my ideal weight, underemployed, or slightly less patient than Job. God looks at me like I look at my kids who are jumping on the couch, not cleaning their rooms, and crying. I'm thinking, someday they'll turn out to be something great, I just have to wait.

That also means that God for sure loves you! Even if you can't sew a straight stitch, or play a concert on the violin, or make a million dollars throwing footballs around, God thinks you are Awesome! In fact, the smaller you feel, the more God loves you! This God has a soft spot for the youngest sons, the regrettable daughters, the widows and orphans who get pushed to the side in our world.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Valentines ideas

A Shredder, and construction paper scraps, a little water and you get a great medium for making Valentines!

The little helpers and I sorted and shredded some construction paper, and soaked them overnight. The little choirboy in the window is keeping watch!

Next day I put a few hadfuls from the bucket-o-blue into my food processor, and enough water to help things spin, a tablespoon of cornstarch and TA DA! Purple Clay! It's a little wet at this point, so I put it in my wire colander and pressed out a little water. 

M helped me test out the mixture, and we made some hearts. Most of the clay is still in a bag, ready to be worked with. These test models are ready for their photo debut, though!

I can't wait to see them dried.

Tomorrow I'm going to make a deckel and make some home-made paper. 

Add a couple flower seeds to the mixture and you have plantable Valentines! 
The other idea floating around the house is to use the shreds to decorate paper-bag hearts.

Since all the red paper was soaking, these are more a fall collection of color, but they are pretty. I'm thinking that sparkles are called for in the next incarnation. 

Dance of the Jelly Jars

Making Marmalade!

Step 1: Naked Grapefruit
             Carefully pare the orange peel, trying not to get the bitter white pith, off your oranges and grapefruit. Today it was about 5 small grapefruit and 3 oranges.
             Pile up the peelings and julienne: cut into matchsticks. This batch gave me 2 cups of peel.
Step 2: Boil the peel
             combine 6 cups water and the 2 cups peel matchsticks in a heavy-bottomed soup pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Then strain the peel, discarding the water. Peels can go back in the pot.
Step 3: A pulpy mess
            Now you have all those naked fruit. you want the pulp, in other words the part you usually eat. I got fancy and cut out each section, after slicing off all the white pith. I got 4 cups of fruit in the time it took to boil and strain the peel.
Step 4: All together now!
            Add the pulp to the pot with the peel, and another 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and boil 5 minutes. Now turn off the heat and let the pot sit 12 hours, or overnight.

( I took all the parings, and membranes and pressed out a cup of juice!)

Next day:
Step 5: Jelly jar round up.
            Dig in the basement, garage, cupboards, or where ever you keep your empty jelly jars. I gathered at least 8 half-pints. At the same time make sure you have new lids and clean rings for all the jars. Pull out your canner, and accessories,  like funnel, jar-lifter, lid magnet, dancing music.
Step 6: Sterilize.
             This is important! Place all the empty jars, the funnel, your ladle, and the rings in the dishwasher and start a hot wash cycle. The flat lids do not go in the dishwasher.
Step 7: Prep work. ( the part they don't put in the Ball Blue Book)
             You'll want a space next to your stove to place the jars once they are ready to fill. I like having a towel, then a cookie sheet, and another towel. Get a couple clean dishcloths, and put that music on.
              Fill your canner with about 4 inches of water, and set it on the back burner. If you have a jar rack, set it aside, and your jar lifter too. (if you are like me and store it in the canner) Find your potholders, and something for the kids to do while you are canning.
Step 8: Boiling, Boiling, Boiling, keep that jelly boiling!
             I like to get my water bath up to boiling, then turn it of and keep it ready.
             Next, heat up that pot of pulp-peel-water and boil a bit more until the peel is as tender as you want it. Take it off the heat, and measure how much is in your pot. This time I had 8 cups, so I added 8 cups of sugar.
             Now comes the hard part. Bring the whole mess to a boil, and stand there stirring until the mixture almost sheets off a spoon. This took almost an hour today, and I got impatient. You are boiling off enough water to form a jelly. You know it's ready when it gets a bit thick on the spoon, and a bit put on a cool saucer and chilled to room temp in the freezer gets thick. Take the pot off the stove.
Step 9: Canning, or actually Jarring!
            Those clean, sterile jars should be ready. get them out of the dishwasher and place them somewhere so you can ladle the marmalade. The rings need to be clean, and the lids need to be in boiling water.
            Using a funnel if you have it, fill the jars, wipe the top of each jar with a clean damp cloth, place a lid on it and then the ring.
            Hot Water Process 10 Minutes! That's another blog entry!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

One! a card game

M's doing really well recognizing her numbers, so we moved on to letters! Since our favorite game in the house is "UNO!" I made up cards with the letters of the alphabet on one side, and J's sight words on the other. Then I printed them on four colors of construction paper. We play like "UNO!" M's young enough that seeing the cards ahead of play, as well as the colors, makes no difference. Playing with the sight words is fun too, since M's learning the words along with big brother. 

I moved up from printing small cards on construction paper, to making real cards out of business card stock. I made a set for M's preschool. One letter and one sight word per card, then printed the cards in three colors. The kids love it! Even if you used old business cards and wrote the words, or letters in three or four colors of ink, that would work, and be really low-tech and eco friendly!

It's still a good game to play at lunch time!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Made it Myself!

Thanks to Fritz and his loan of a new circular saw, check it out! It's our new card holder! Miriam especially has trouble holding a hand of cards, so I've been playing with ideas. Here's the final product. 

Start with one 2x4, I had a 4' length. I marked two lines about 1 inch from one edge and one inch apart. 
Then I set the saw at a 15deg angle, and a depth that wouldn't go all the way through the board. Clamping the board to my work surface, and wearing the saftey goggles that Jonah insisted I put on, I cut the two angled slots the length of the board. Then I cut the board in 9" lengths. 

I sanded the ends, and even folded a piece of sandpaper and sanded the slots. I should paint or finish these, but it was getting too cold in the garage! Plus the kids wanted to play Kings in the Corner, so that will have to wait.
It worked perfectly. M and J can see all their cards without laying them on the table for all to see. If I knew where to get the long maple blocks like Grandpa Green used to make, they would make a really fancy one.

I also got the 4x8 sheet of white board cut into 10x15 inch boards for Jonah's art class. Fritz's saw is now dusty, but work got done! 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Messenger bag!

My first messenger bag!

I found the tutorial here on mmmcrafts. so I had to try!  

The bag is made from a Dunn Bros Coffee bag. (with and iron-on interfacing) The lining is from a huge roll of navy blue nylon I found at Hidden Treasures! (my fave thrift shop!) 

I made the pocket inside the flap from an old pair of Jonah's jeans. The strap is from the local arm-navy store. And, of course the thread came from the stash in my basement. The only new material in this bag is the interfacing. 

I really should keep this one for the soon-to-open ETSY shop, but I think I'll give SIL Leslie first dibs, since she did her semester abroad in Kenya. Plus I've learned a bit about centering the logo for the flap! Otherwise the whole bag took me about an hour, and the directions were really helpful!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fair Trade fancies!

Ready for a cuppa? One of my favorite places here in the Twin Cities is Dunn Bros Coffee. They roast their own coffee in each store, and have better prices than the competition. The roasters are glad to have someone take all those burlap bags out of the corner where they stuff them. So I brought some home to stitch with. (thanks maya*made for getting me thinking!) 

My first attempt was a simple tote. 

Unwashed coffee bag, I trimmed it down to a nice size, made a simple nylon lining, and a self-fabric strap. I just loved the Fair Trade globe logo on this bag! It's holding two half-gallons of soy milk, a bag of wheat flour and oranges!
Since it was a coffee bag, I made a couple cup cozees. I'm still working out the details on this one. I like the big button!
I've done a really crooked little purse, too. I don't think I'll even photograph it.

Next up, messenger tote!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sapo, the Feel Better Frog

The making of "Feel Better Frog"

A dear friend is scheduled for a hospital visit, so it was time to get sewing. Her recent FB post noted that she needed a stuffie of some sort, and we're a praying sort of family. So, the Feel Better Frog was born. 
I started with the Purl Frog pattern from the Purl Bee. Then I stretched out the middle to make it more of an eye-pillow length, and made it in green fleece. 
We filled our frog with 1c rice and 1/2 c flax seed, and added two drops essential oil of lavender and cardamom. J said a prayer over a little white button, and M picked out the pink one I used for the heart. J's is tucked inside the frog. This is for a grown-up friend, so buttons are OK, but I might make some for babies with embroidered eyes, and all the prayer buttons tucked inside. 

Rice and flax filling is great for the small limbs of this frog, and you can pop him in the micro for a minute for a little heating pad. The scents are optional, of course. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Selling what is free

I'm more of a preacher than a saleswoman. It's easy to write a sermon, or tell a story about God's FREE gift of grace, offered to all. That's my favorite part of the story, God's gift of life is for everyone, and no-one has to pay for it, Jesus paid for everyone. Something like an open bar of living water!

People sometimes have trouble accepting something for free. In Today's Bible Reading Simon tries to pay for his baptism, and Peter rebukes him.

Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, "Give me also this power so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God's gift with money! Acts 8:18-24

Peter knows that the living water runs freely, but Simon is sure that there must be money involved. If something has value, we try to put a price tag on it.

One baptism: $150.00; One forgiveness: $40.00; Salvation for eternal life: priceless.

It's really all free!! Baptism is the ultimate free gift, since it doesn't need special water, or even a special person, just any available water and the Word: Baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Then, for less than a cup of coffee at Dunn Brothers, you have eternal salvation, and an extended family that's out of this world.

As I write this, Haitians are struggling to find water of any kind after a devastating earthquake. One gift that many people take for granted, plain, ordinary water, is harder to find than salvation in a ravaged country. This is when the extended family comes in to play. People around the world have stepped up to ask "How can we help?" others have just gone to give first aid, water, and food to the people of Haiti.

Sometimes what is free leads to giving what is valued. Not in return for salvation, but because of salvation. I know that I am loved, and saved, and fed. Therefore I give to those who struggle for food and water and life.

Yes, you can click on How can we help to be directed to the ELCA's disaster relief page. The family of God that gathers under the name Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has been working in Haiti, and will be there long after the news anchors go home.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year's Resolution

It's 2010, an new year, a new decade, a new beginning.

So here's the resolution: Update this blog at least once a week, possibly more.

The reading for today, 1/11/10 includes this powerful verse:
At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel Judges 4

As the church universal struggles with women's leadership, and sexuality issues, this verse reminds us that none of it is new! When Israel didn't listen to God and were sold into slavery, God sent a woman to Judge. To sit under a tree and listen to disputes, and apply God's judgement. Simple, and profound.

When the Lord needed a military leader, to deliver His people from slavery, Deborah delivered the summons to Barak. Much like Moses, Barak didn't want to go alone, he insisted Deborah come to the battle. Even after Deborah reminded him that if she were there too, the victory would be seen as hers, a woman's!

So, once again, the Nation Israel is delivered from slavery though the work of a woman. Moses' mother. Deborah, Ruth, even Tamar. Why fuss over gender when God marks the choice? Why fuss over age, or ability, when God's call is good enough? We don't need to worry about particulars when everything is in God's hands. When the people need guidance God sends a guide. Our response is to listen and return to the word.

The Word if God is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength. And Love your neighbor as yourself!