Monday, May 8, 2017

Beef tallow? Really?

I stumbled upon the 100 Day Project while scrolling through my Instagram feed. It seemed like a great idea ... good motivation for doing 100 days of cards. I'm on day 35 - almost a third of the way through. I love the fact that I have a growing stack of cards. Even better is what is becoming a routine of getting into the workroom and making a card.

Just one example of what is keeping me busy for a couple of hours every day. I can't make up my mind about using the cards ... should I start now? Should I wait until day #101 and see what it's like to actually hold that many cards in my hand? Hmmm. Such weighty decisions.

But what I really wanted to share is a very interesting ... no, unusual recipe I found on Food52 for face moisturizer. For a person with sensitive skin finding products that work is a major undertaking. You have to read ingredient labels, cover labels, do the smell test (fragrance added?), and finally, consider your schedule to determine if you have several free days to recover from a disaster caused when you applied an offending product to your face. Oh yes ... and then there is the itching.

So when this recipe showed up, it seemed like a great idea. All natural ingredients - I could even eat most of them if the moisturizer thing doesn't work out! Not the vitamin E, but everything else is ok in the kitchen.

After getting the ingredients together, I picked out a glass jar at Hobby Lobby and went to work melting everything. It wasn't a complicated process and didn't take long to have the hot liquid ready to pour into my jar. (I did NOT add the suggested fragrances. Fragrance has rarely been my friend, so I went for basic cream.)

As of today, I have used the moisturizer for several days. The first two days were great. No negative skin reaction. Yay! Then the cream started to harden - more like coconut oil in winter - which made it a bit more difficult to get out of the jar. But I managed. Today is the third day of dealing with skin that is red and feels rough ... kinda like dry hands in winter. Thankfully, it's not so noticeable that I have to hide in the house and wait for the healing to come.

I have decided to give it a few more days. I'm hoping my face will stop yelling at me and settle into the routine of natural products with pronounceable ingredients.

I'll be sure to register the final decision right here.

Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. Psalm 5:8

Thursday, March 23, 2017

One by one

I have had some extra time lately to spend making cards. I wish I could say that they have been produced by the dozen, but I just can't seem to bring myself into the mode of mass production.

For me, sending a card is a labor of love in two ways - I love the making and I love the sending.

... It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

So much for lovely things...!

There have been lovely things, but not the time to blog about them. It's sad - and a bit frightening - the way one day slides into a new day before we have time to appreciate all that the moments held.

The past three months have been full, no ... overflowing, with joyous milestones, laughing with the family until it was hard to breathe, separations that were difficult and final, new friends, events, weather, power outages, car repairs, sickness and health ... all the stuff that life is made of.

To the opening of  doors ... finding new opportunities to remember and enjoy ... I welcome 2017. 

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Sometimes life gets cumbersome. The cares of this world crowd out what is important ... what is vital ... what gifts God provides to make the soul sing.

In order to overcome the the tyranny of the urgent, I decided to look for - with eyes and heart - moments of loveliness in my life. 

This is day one.

The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head. Proverbs 20:29

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The beauty of November

November in Michigan ...
  •  the trees have flung most of their leaves in crunchy heaps on the ground.
  • the days are cooler and the nights can be downright COLD!
  • we know, oh how we know, that winter winds and snow and bitter cold are just around the corner.
But in spite of the raking and shivering and dread that curbs our enthusiasm for November, there are beautiful things that happen. And occasionally, they are captured in full color.

That sky! The last stubborn leaves that just won't let go. The promise of milkweed for years to come.

...Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 6:28-29

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Splatters and flower frogs

Sometimes the conventional wisdom doesn't work.

A few of the conventional ways to get paint splatters on artwork are:
  1. Use a toothbrush or stiff bristle brush and pull your finger across the bristles. Bristles up or down... your choice. 
  2. Dip a small paintbrush in paint. Hold the brush a few inches above the surface to be splattered - parallel to that surface - and and tap the handle against a pencil or the finger of your other hand.
  3. Dip a straw into your paint and then blow through the straw. 
The nice thing about splatters are that they are unpredictable. The bad thing about splatters is that they are unpredictable.

If you are trying to make them happen in close proximity to text ... yikes. Unpredictable is not good. So what's a person to do? Improvise...

Meet my perfect supposed-to-look-like-snowflakes-among-the-tree-branches tool.

An old, rusty, and obviously much used flower frog. No doubt this is the first time that it has been used for paint, but  now that I know what can be accomplished ... it won't be the last time! It produced everything I needed - controlled splatter, texture, speed!

I am looking at my collection with fresh eyes. I wonder... ?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Coils and punches, paper and glue!

I'm really enjoying this venture into book making. I like what has happened so far, but my goal at the moment is to have spiral bound blank pages in a hard cover.... preferably one of the old book covers that seem to accumulate around here.

So I pulled out my coil binding machine, ordered coils large enough to accommodate my desired number of pages, and went to work on a small trial version. I decided to make it a sketchbook - one that I could give as a gift - if it turned out. 

The covers are cut from a lightweight cardboard box that is covered with gel-plate printed, crumpled and flattened, kraft paper.

Plan A was to punch the cardboard covers with my Rubicoil. Plan B, I discovered, involved using my beloved hand punch and achieving a 4:1 punch pattern very very carefully.

The Rubicoil was perfect for punching the hand cut stack of watercolor paper and colored card stock (including a few collaged with old dictionary pages)..... as long as I didn't try to do too many at once. After that it was a matter of twisting the coil through the papers and covers, cutting the coil just right, finished!

collaged page

front cover - inside

I can't say this was easy. There were soooo many miscalculations and mistakes. But in the end, I just love this little book. It's beautiful. The spiral works just like it should. 

Will I be able to transfer all of this experience into the spiral-bound-hard-covered-book of my dreams? Hmm. Time will tell. Right now? I'm happy. 

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians1:6

Monday, July 25, 2016

Another Journal

I finished another journal a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday was the day of delivery.

The cover was part of my Hollander's haul. Every square inch a beautiful piece of paper. This was just a corner.

The inside cover with a verse to inspire and encourage. 

I made an envelope (a learning experience from resizing the pattern to making sure stripes were straight) for holding, ummm, I don't know! She can decide!!!

Another decorative paper page in among the vintage ledger paper. A happy page.

The back cover -cut from the same piece of paper but so different. 

I do love to make these books. I already have more book boards are cut and ready to go ... but I also have cards that I need to finish. Too much fun for a single human to deal with!

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:4