Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cards, coffee and peace on earth

Why is it that December, a month with 31 days, feels like a week? A short week, at that!

This week, I'm in the process of making Christmas cards. Last night, I debated the age-old question... coffee on the work table or as far from the project as possible?

I chose not to put it on the table. And then proceeded to splatter paint everywhere instead. *sigh*

In the wee hours of the morning, I painted the last little house and went to bed with nighttime neighborhoods drying all over my living room.

Today? Another coffee decision. Yes, I'm sticking to the safe route.

Your card? It's in the mail... soon!

Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I really don't like Santa. I think he detracts from everything that Christmas really is.

But, I love this guy...

So many memories are wrapped up in his bumpy shape and fading paint.

The day he was born, my kitchen was a floury disaster. My 5 kids (3-8 years old) lined the counter, each with their own clump of salt-dough. Cookie cutters were traded back and forth. Rolling pins rolled and flour flew. It was a mess! A noisy, disorganized happy mess! The kids made stars and trees, circles and canes. We pressed initials into the back of the soft dough so that each person could decorate his own creation. Finally, everything went into the oven and we waited...

We learned a variety of lessons that day.

  • Patience is a virtue when working with wet paint.
  • Kristy was an artist.
  • "I can do it myself!" is a sentence learned early in life.
  • Flour isn't any kind of mess compared to 5 kids with paintbrushes and ideas.

Every year for the last 33, all of these salt-dough ornaments have hung on the tree. We laugh and remember that day of rolling and baking and painting.

When I look at my santa and all of the other stars and trees, circles and canes, I'm glad we made the mess. Turns out, my younger son's ornaments outlived him. Precious, tangible treasures.

Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Seeing Red

Seeing red: a state of irritation or annoyance; the psychological state of being irritated or annoyed

That's the definition for most folks. Around here, "seeing red" means something entirely different.

Like... homemade tomato soup. Add some grated Asiago.... doesn't get any better than this.

The live trap is supposed to be for coons, skunks, ground hogs, or possums. How distressing to discover this!

It was amazing to see our yard filled with birds - every kind of bird - complaining about the capture of one of their own.

And finally, the red of Thanksgiving... cranberry chutney. Oh yu-u-u-m-m-m.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paper and paint

Oh my... where did last week go? And just watch. In another *snap* it will be Christmas.

To celebrate the flying days, the length and depth of to-do lists on the counter, and, oh... - I don't know. You pick a reason! - I played with paper and paint. What a fun day.

Isn't she beautiful? Loved building a background for her.

Then there is fun beauty... and this was soooo much fun. Zig-zag stitching, coiled wire, paint, glue, buttons, paper and more paper!

But the part that I love best is her feet... her dainty, dangling feet!

I would do this again tomorrow, but it's hair-cut day tomorrow. And you know how I love hair-cut day. grin

The steps of a good (wo)man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Psalm 37:23

Sunday, November 7, 2010

You have to try these!

Saturday was the men's breakfast at church. One of my assignments was to supply some baked goods.

I found a recipe here for Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes. Cinnamon rolls in individual cupcake papers - it sounded perfect for serving a large group of men.

I made 2 batches - 4 dozen rolls - enough for the breakfast, Sunday school treats and some sampling here at home. :>)

Argh... group at the breakfast was smaller than expected ... so leftovers came home. They called my name all day Saturday. The Sunday school platter? Wiped clean... yay!!

I'm still working my way through the last dozen. I figure if I eat them 2 at a time, they'll be gone in a jiffy.

Won't that be a relief!

p.s. I would have taken my own picture instead of borrowing, but my fingers have been so sticky that I didn't want to touch my camera.

How sweet are thy words to my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cards and cats

Christmas cards are on my mind. I know it's early November, but if you make cards, the process has to start before December hits or there is stress.... big time stress!

I've been experimenting with some ideas... and I know several things that I don't want to do. sigh But, if I keep at it, something awful will turn into a possibility. I hope.

To give my head a breather from all this thinking, I turned to a new book, Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun (by Carla Sonheim). The first assignment? Sit in bed and draw cats. Not just cats, but silly cats!

Ok. I don't own cats, know cats, or even like cats very much. I had to search for pictures of cats to even get started! The first try was pretty awful. Then I realized I was trying too hard. They didn't have to be perfect, or pretty, or even realistic!

And, what better way to pass the hours while watching/listening to the election returns than to draw goofy cats?

The pur-fect way to spend an evening!

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:4

Monday, October 25, 2010

The annual CBC bonfire

Bonfire time! The night was just barely cool. No rain. No wind.

The wood was stacked... waiting. (Compare the size of the man to the "structure".)

After chowing down on hot dogs, toasted to the desired shade of black, we toured the countryside on a hay wagon. (Quite a feat for that tractor, pulling two wagons loaded with 40-some people who have just stuffed themselves with food!)

Finally, it was time for the drama.

I would like to describe the scene with "Slowly... slowly..." but I can't. Within minutes, it was a towering (no exaggeration!) inferno.

Those tiny little spots in the background of the picture are people moving their bales of hay away from the heat. It really was huge.

And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures? Luke 24:32

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Time cards

After 31 days of "Silly2", there is a lingering sense of silly running 'round my head. To keep it alive, I decided to work on something completely new... for me, that is.

Many months ago, at a combination garage-warehouse sale, I found this full box of unused time cards... hundreds of them! So today, what silly thing could I, should I, do with them?

They are pretty boring as is, so I started splashing paint.

I experimented with a variety of glues, rivets, and innards (which being interpreted means - lots of stuff didn't work out, so to preserve the time already invested, I had to disassemble, and start again!). I learned plenty. I felt silly for some of the mistakes I made (duh!). But now that I have two completed time card projects, I like them!

One experiment was a wire hanger. I think I like it.

As for my Silly2 class? It was great. It's amazing how much you can learn when you just let go and be silly... especially in front of other people!

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Colossians 4:5

Friday, October 15, 2010

Very good...

I love October. I love the smell in the air... the brilliant blue of the sky against the red-to-yellow shades in the leaves... the cool nights and sun-warmed days.

I know snow is coming. I know it's going to get reeeeeally cold. I can't help it. I love October.

My bedroom window looks down on a little courtyard, nestled against the house and surrounded by trees and hedges. It has always been my favorite part of our yard. And in October? I feel like I sleep in a tree house.

I can't even begin to capture the true colors of the view from this window... just imagine fabulous and you're halfway there.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good... Genesis 1:31

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Three chairs

Sunday was a big day. Baptism for three family members! In order to be there for it, we needed to be on the road when the sun was rising.

We had the back roads through Ohio to ourselves - too early in the morning for both Saturday party people and the Sunday morning church-goers!

At the center of a very small, very quiet town, we saw this...

... which raises questions in my mind.

Was there a parade? Does this define "drive-by" in rural America?

Were these spectators too tired to take their chairs home with them? Was it just too much effort to close the door behind them when they decided to call it a night?

Or... maybe the event is today and folks set up early to get a good seat!

Hmmmm. Probably none of the above, but it did keep me awake for a while on that early morning drive.

It was a great day... whether questions were answered or not.

Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. Proverbs 8:34

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The blobs are here!

Who knew blobs could be so much fun? Yep... my Silly Class is still going on.

The assignment had a checklist of things to do. Blind contours, contour drawings, one-line drawings... and then it said, "Draw five blobs, about the size of a large coin. Turn them into something."

The blob part was easy. Turning it into something started slow... but then... I don't know... maybe "silly" kicked into gear. I started seeing things, and adding color, and little squiggles. Before long, I had five new friends.

The last three need to have their faces washed before they come out to play, but they'll visit soon.

Parts of this class have been really hard for me... but blobs? They're OK!

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men. Colossians 3:23

Friday, October 1, 2010

Run, baby, run!

Life this week...

Sunday at 11, most of it will be over.

I'll breathe then.

Labor not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life... John 6:27

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Now or later - muffins

Drawings of silliness dance in my head pushing aside all the normal activities that usually fill my days. (Want to see some of the things everyone is doing? Go here - Art of Silliness 2 group)

In the meantime, there are still the not so silly things, like laundry, bills, and food... So here's a really good recipe for hot muffins.

Refrigerator Bran Muffin Mix
Makes 12 muffins

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together:
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Make a well in the center.

In another bowl, combine:
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup oil
Add this to the flour mixture; stir just till moistened.

Fold in any of these good, but optional extras:
1 tsp finely grated orange peel
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup chopped nuts

Grease (or use paper liners) muffin pan; fill 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

*The minute these come out of the oven, I drizzle them with a thin confectioners sugar glaze. Although it adds no nutritional value, it makes them absolutely irresistible to the kids at church... and, who am I kidding? Me too.

This muffin mix can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Although I haven't tried this, the recipe says that you can make just 1 or 2 in the microwave. (Paper liner in 1 or 2 custard cups. Spoon 2 tbsp batter into each cup. Cook 35 seconds for one - 50 seconds for two.) Let me know if that works.

It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Silly guerrilla

So, I'm six days into my Silly2 class. I've gotta' say... I'm having so much fun.

A while ago, I promised my Dearly Beloved that I would travel with him during this week of September. Haven't yet figured a way to manage travel and "Silly" at the same time. Hmmm, I wonder if he'd mind holding my pens-pencils-markers-glue-eraser while he drives?

However, "on the road" does mean fresh opportunities for planting my stash of guerrilla art.

Sneaky and silly... I do lead a thrilling life!

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mushroom prints

For some inexplicable reason, mushroom prints have always intrigued me. The design is so natural and simple. The process is much the same.

The 3 fat specimens I discovered in the yard yesterday were carefully de-stemmed, then placed right-side up on a plain piece of paper. So-o-o many times I went to check the progress. And just as many times, I said (in my fiercest voice), "Barb! Walk away!"

After almost 24 hours, I lifted the mushroom head and found this...

The spores that dropped are so thick you can see the ridges. Where the ridges soften, it looks like velvet. So beautiful.

I don't know what I will do with these. What I do know is that it's a dangerous pastime ... you begin talking to yourself ... in a fierce voice, no less. I must have inhaled some of those spores.

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Isaiah 6:3

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This is silly

I have finished 2 days of the "Art of Silliness" class. I discovered that it's not easy to be silly.

You have to forget the to-do list... forget what makes sense... move wa-a-a-ay beyond any comfort zone... forget about the show-and-tell...

... just go where the Sharpie leads. That's right, a permanent black Sharpie! No erasing. No fixing.

These are just bits of the first two pictures. I wonder what changes will come by day 30?

Casting all your care upon Him; for he careth for you. I Peter 5:7

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Things I know for sure... this week.
1) Glass cook top cleaner and silver polish are not interchangeable.

2) Always start with a low speed when a mixer bowl is filled with a dry flour mixture.

3) Dryers and gum are not a good combination - even if the gum is unchewed.

4) Handling hot peppers? Use gloves!

I signed up for my first online class, The Art of Silliness. Tomorrow is the first day and I can't wait.

I know it will be better than the self inflicted lessons I have arranged on my own!!!

Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. Poverbs 23:12

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Seizing the day

Things are quiet here, so I seized the day to do guerrilla art.

Image transfers in general never cease to amaze me - and this one did not disappoint. This gesso transfer turned out even better than I hoped.

The little jewels are one of my favorite embellishments. Just the right amount of sparkle.

This is a piece of the fabric paper I stitched and cut up. The jury that sits here at my house is divided... but it was fun to do. Great verse.

This was a different process. Old Masters art cut and pasted to a gesso/ink stamped paper. Yes... I do love the sparkly jewels. sigh

It's not a light thing to make artful carriers for such precious words... and I long to please their Author.

Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. Psalm 119:140

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Point of view

Whether or not you find a bright spot depends upon your point of view.

I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tempus fugit

Where did August go? No chance to finish the list of things "to do" now. It's gone. Vanished. History.

One planned task that we did accomplish was our family memorial dinner near the end of the month... three days ago to be exact. It was supposed to be a time of "remember when?", food and comfort.

We had food. We had a few "remember when?" moments. There was good company. But the thing we will all recall from the 2010 dinner is the broken arm.

Zip lines and adventurous kids aren't always ideal companions. (Praise God it was only a broken arm!!)

So August, with all of its memories, new and old, is out the door.

... when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. Micah 7:8

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Prayer Album is new... fresh... and in use.

As a result of my "guerrilla art" adventures, I think it has a whole new feel. I love every wonderful (to me) page.

I can't show full pages without getting permissions from everyone who is pasted into the book, but here are a few sideways shots...

These two pages include stitched fabric paper...

I am always surprised at my reaction to a renewed Album. It sprinkles "happy" all over my calling.


And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish thou the work of our hands upon us...Psalm 90:17

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hobo bread

Back in the days when "bread machine" referred to a person who could crank out multiple loaves of bread, my kids didn't appreciate my cutting edge baking methods. They just knew they had round sandwiches and their classmates didn't.

I had discovered a great recipe for oatmeal bread. Once the dough was made, it went into two 1# coffee cans with the lids snapped on tight. When the rising dough pushed the lids off, it was time to bake. It was really good, really easy, and unfortunately for my kids, really different.

Last week, a box arrived in the mail. When I opened it, there was a loaf of Hobo Bread and a short note - "To Mom, Hobo! Love, (#1 Son)" I laughed because it was round bread.

I wasn't quite sure why he decided to send it to me until I read the label. (The habit of reading labels is what made me start baking my own bread in the first place. sigh.) That's when I understood.

Baked in a can. Me and the hobos... we just knew how to get things done.

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. Proverbs 15:17

Friday, August 13, 2010

Guerrilla art - pt. 2

Guerrilla art update:
Already in a random place - 5
Yet to place - 1
Planned for future drops - there is no number to cover this!

What a project! The most amazing part? It sets something free in the mind and soul... those dark corners that say - I made this and I want recognition for all the effort that went into it. To walk away from something that is so personal... to just leave it, no strings attached... that action opens the hand, builds faith, throws the need for praise under the bus. Who knew?

This past week, my little projects have found resting places in 3 different states. There was only one time that I passed the drop spot a second time. When I cast a casual glance to make sure it was slightly visible, it was gone! I stepped closer to make sure my eyes were telling the whole story - yep! It was gone. Another wave of thoughts to process....

Guerrilla for God - interesting job description.

... The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Luke 18:27

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lemons into lemonade

Several months ago, I made some fabric paper. When I looked at my lovely finished pile of paint-paper-fabric combinations, it was hard to imagine what this new product would become.

A couple of months ago, the papers started hollering, "So do something with us!" (What? Your neglected, half-finished crafty stuff doesn't talk to you?) I picked up my favorite piece - all blues and wordy - and nothing. Just can't see it being something. I picked up another piece and the layers came apart in my hands... as did every other piece that I touched.

Last week, overcome with a feeling of what do I have to lose, I started machine stitching the papers. The lines were straight, then curvy, then circle-y. Suddenly I was making flowers, hearts, triangles! What a ton of fun!

Stay tuned... I'll show you how I actually used them!

And He said... My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness... II Corinthians 12:9