Category Archives: creating things

Fingers in the Fibers

the blanket I recently crocheted for my new little niece

I’ve developed this problem with, errrr,ย deep appreciation for crocheting. I’ve always loved it, but these days I can’t seem to keep my fingers from it for longer than a couple of days at a time. I have a very strong desire to truly learn to knit (I only know how to cast on, do the knit stitch and cast off), but right now, I’m good at crocheting and it feeds my artistic need.

I honestly think knitting and crocheting are such a gift to us artsy mamas – they enable us to express creativity without taking up a lot of space or requiring time away from our little ones, the projects are totally portable, and when mastered, they can provide for many needs within our homes.

(Need a blanket? Check. Need a scarf? Check. Need a headband to match that shirt? Check. Need a beanie? Check. Need a washcloth? Check. The list goes on!)

The point is, I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it. I just discovered my local (as in 5 minutes down the road!) yarn shop and it swept me off my feet. I finally have hope for learning to knit because there are so many nice ladies there and the basic knitting class is only $20!

I suppose everyone has at least a vague vision of how they see themselves when they’re old. My vision of my older self includes knitting, and lots of tea (among plenty of other things, of course). So, I think I might be spending $20 in the near future because I have a future image to uphold. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Filed under creating things, on being a mama

Crocheting-Induced Thoughts

I’ve spent a lot of time crocheting lately. There’s something about this intricate and purposeful activity that always plunges me into a peaceful mindset. It allows me to think the deepest of thoughts. Life slows down, passing by with just one stitch at a time, and I am very present.

I should crochet more often.

There are big changes on the horizon. Our family is about to undergo a very exciting journey and for a while, I’ve had trouble deciding how I feel about it all. My mind is so tricky and difficult to sort through. My thoughts like to hide themselves and sometimes, I have no earthly idea as to why I’m feeling a certain way. I just feel. And I get mad at myself for feeling for no apparent reason.

I haven’t told you, my dear readers, about some of these changes coming our way. I will soon, but not until all of the important details are nailed down. For now, bear with me while I attempt to sort through some things.

I don’t like how I’ve behaved in the last several months. It’s not outward behavior I’m referring to – it’s this inward, closed-up, frustrated behavior that is only (and wrongly, I suppose) exhibited to those I love most dearly. However short this season in our lives has been and will be, I have often focused only on the now and the why and the my life is over because Right Now isn’t going the way I always thought it would. The embarrassing truth is that I’ve gone there and I’ve been careless and now, I look back at the last six months and I see that I didn’t choose to grow like I could have. Instead of looking at this (literal and figurative) winter as a time to rest and to replenish and to prepare for the coming spring, I’ve despised its darkness and refused to see the beauty it offers. It really is embarrassing.

I’ve given myself plenty of pep talks and sure, there have been moments, maybe even full days, where I have chosen appreciation over victimizing myself. But I’ve been here for six months. And a few days of appreciation? It’s just not enough.

I’ve often complained that I cannot see God. I cannot hear him, cannot feel him, cannot understand him. And I’m working through that. I think believers are always working through that – how can we conceive of a God that loves us so, so much and yet, he can seem so distant? It’s easy to feel like I’m expected to make it on my own, with only an idea of who he is, how he feels about me, and what I can do to honor him and his people.

The people who get it, though – they see him everywhere. God is ever-present, not just because we feel good in that moment but because look at the world around us! Look at the snow and the lakes and the pine trees and the smiles from the passersby and the love from my husband and the beauty of my young children! How can I say that God is distant? It is only when I am so utterly focused on me, and my troubles, and my world and its unpredictability, and my expectations, that I decide that God is distant.

How could I?

I’m sorry if I’m rambling. The truth is, I’ve needed to sort through these thoughts for a while. I’m thinking through the reality of creation. It’s such a heavy subject and at the end of the day, all I can do is just surrender. I can’t try to figure this out. I can’t fight and fight and fight for knowledge as if it will somehow bring me more understanding of this timeless, all-loving, all-knowing Father of mine. Knowledge is good and blessed, but it is not the key to relationship with my God. I know that. And I’m slowly stripping these preconceived notions away. I will not put God in a box. I will not.

I’m afraid these thoughts aren’t too deep or theological, but they’re me and they’re real and I felt the need for real today. I hope I don’t scare you away. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s some beauty, little bits of love and blessing (and a new crocheted-by-me hat), from my day so far:

Love.

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Filed under creating things, tea-timing

on what inspires me.

If given the choice between a trip to the mall with an endless amount of money to spend on a new wardrobe OR a trip to an enormous farmer’s market with an endless amount of money to spend on incredible food, I’d choose the food. Seriously.

It sounds silly because yeah, technically, a new wardrobe would last me a lot longer and who cares that much about food, anyway?

The thing is, it’s not an issue of food-snobbery, but rather that food simply amazes me. I am awed by gorgeous green-striped tomatoes, multi-colored carrots and purple potatoes the size of my eyeball. The blue, pink and brown eggs dazzle me and I can’t get over the deep, dark amber color of the honey. The fact that God created these things and we get to eat them – well, it brings me to my knees. I cannot get over it.

The artist in me awakens when I’m surrounded by beautiful food. I want to mix my paints to the exact hue of that orange stem on the rainbow chard and I want to sketch the beautiful curves of those glorious eggs. The intricacy of the wild mushrooms, the enormity of the juicy, ripe strawberries – they inspire me.

Not only do they inspire me to paint (which is something I rarely have time to do with two little boys to tend to), they inspire me to cook, which is something I have to do, anyway.

I used to shop with specific recipes in mind. I had a list of ingredients and I was afraid to wander off into the world of spontaneous shopping. It’s not that I don’t have a budget, but nowadays, I build recipes off of what I can find at the market.

When I see a pile of golden beets or bunches of dinosaur kale, my heart sings. There are so many meals waiting to be created, and I just don’t care enough about a new wardrobe to miss the chance to partake in an amazing part of God’s artwork.

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Filed under creating things, eating food, making food

Redeeming Factor

You’re tired. Daylight savings time really messed with your schedule. Your almost-six-month-old yelled at you for 30 minutes straight before his naptime and your 2-year-old broke down into tears everysingletime you uttered the word “no.”

But then you finished crocheting a hat for your sweet husband. And it actually looked like a hat. And he wore it all evening while he worked on mixing a record downstairs.

And it made you smile.

hat

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Filed under creating things

Birthday Bird

This past weekend, I wracked my brain for any and all artistic knowledge that might be tucked away in my brain – and I painted my mom a picture for her 49th birthday. I haven’t painted in quite some time, and it felt so good. There’s something very refreshing about standing at my easel with a palette full of vibrant paints. As I work, the picture suddenly comes to life and it all begins to make sense. I can’t make sense out of many things in life, but painting? I get it!

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Multitasking!

Multitasking!

Ryan insisted that he take a picture, and of course, who doesn’t like to see an example of real-life babywearing in action? ๐Ÿ™‚

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The finished product!

The finished product!

My mom and I love orioles. Whenever I see these birds, I am always struck by how gorgeous they are – and I marvel at the Artist who created them in the first place. What a perfect choice for a Birthday Bird.

Happy birthday, Mom.

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Filed under creating things, on being a mama, things we celebrate

You Like It

You don’t know it yet, but you like it.

I’ve never shared my husband’s music before, but he just recently sold another song to ABC (as in, the television network – see below) and I think it’s darn good – way too good to not share. If you like it (you do), then check out his Myspace, too!

I Think I\’m Lost by Ryan Webster

Let me know what you think! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Filed under creating things

Kale, Eggs, and Toast

I know that kale isn’t exactly a favorite food among most people, but I think it’s largely due to the fact that either a) people don’t try it or b) when they do try it, it’s usually been cooked in a weird way. Seriously!

This recipe was spontaneously concocted this afternoon when I realized Ryan was coming home for lunch and I hadn’t planned out a meal for him. I think you’ll like it, regardless of whether you’re a picky eater or an “I’ll try anything!” sort. Kale is a wonderful addition to a healthy diet and it can be made in so many different ways. Perhaps this will give you a nice, enjoyable first peek into the world of kale!

Serves 2ย 

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale, leaves cut from the stalks, washed and thoroughly patted dry (red or regular green – whichever works)
1 medium shallot, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed (or minced, if you don’t have a garlic press)
2 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (kitchen shears work well for this)
4 eggs
2 thick slices of homemade bread (honey whole wheat is particularly delicious with this dish)
A little less than 1/4 cup of waterย 
About 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Warm the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers when you roll the pan around. Add the shallot and stir constantly, sauteeing until tender (keep a close watch because the shallot can easily burn if you’re not careful). Add the bacon, stirring constantly until it’s almost fully cooked. Quickly add the crushed garlic and stir until garlic aroma is evident.

2. Pour the water into the skillet, add the kale, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover for a minute or two. The kale should become slightly wilted and tender, turning a bit of a bright green color. Remove the lid, add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper, and stir entire mixture. You may need to put the heat back up to medium-high. Saute until most of the liquid is gone.

3. Meanwhile (if you cannot cook the eggs simultaneously, just place the lid loosely on the skillet so that some air can escape, and remove the skillet from the heat after you’ve completed the above steps), heat your favorite non-stick skillet, add a little bit of olive oil or butter and make four over-easy eggs. Put your slices of bread in the toaster when you start the eggs so that they’ll be ready around the same time.

4. Spoon the greens into the middle of the plates, creating a little bed. Top the kale with two over-easy eggs and serve with a slice of toast. I found that it was highly enjoyable to break the eggs up, mix the kale, whites and yolk all together, and then pile them high on the piece of toast.

Easy! Better yet, it got rave reviews from my darling husband!

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Filed under creating things, making food