Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Mortal Muses are posting daily prompts that relate to the Christmas season - words like Hope, Peace, Surprise. Photographers - real and wannabe - are encouraged to link a picture they feel best conveys that word. (There are some prizes involved to motivate participation during these busy days.)

Today's prompt is Joy. I knew immediately that I had to join the fun. This is my picture that is joy personified.
Joie de vivre

There is so much to learn from this shot. She was at my house to get some last minute tutoring on a 4-H project. It was hot and humid. She didn't bring a bathing suit. She was discouraged with her project and she was fighting homesickness.

But... she abandoned to joy! What a moment!

I came across a verse today in Jeremiah. The last part says "...and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord."(31:14)  All the seasonal angst over gifts and baking and projects suddenly seemed so pointless.The joy of life is not ever about what I do... it's about contentedly dwelling in God's goodness. The goodness of God that gave us Jesus, that forgives our sin, that enfolds us in His everlasting love.

What joy!

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

freeArt - It's in the mail


Even as I type, a piece of Guerrilla Art is finally finished, prayed over, and in the mailbox. Now it is up to the USPS to deliver the package by 12/19.

The required size (6x6) is larger than I usually make, so it was a challenge to fill the space. Last night, there was an "empty" spot that bothered me. This morning, I found the perfect filler - a piece of rusted wire from the disintegrating bundle.

So, "THANK YOU!" to Cloth Paper Scissors for an opportunity to grow... yet again.

Now, I must get working on Christmas cards!

Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. I Corinthians 15:58

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The freeArt show

Yesterday was haircut day.

Beside having the whole day in the "big city" to get things done, that means I have Guerrilla art in my purse. It is a challenge to find a non-retail, well trafficked place to plant the "art" without getting caught, but that's half the fun.

So imagine how excited I was this morning to read the Cloth Paper Scissors announcement that they are having a "freeArt" sidewalk show in NYC this month.

Since they inspired my preoccupation with Guerrilla art, it seems that I should submit something to the show, right? All submissions have to be in their office by December 19... only 11 days to make and mail.


There are Christmas cards to finish, and gifts to buy, and food to cook, and S.S. lessons to prepare, and ... life to live... and I think I'm making excuses. That's at least a week to do at least one thing.

And... I could add New York to my list of states with Guerrilla art "drops"! Want to join the show? Go here to read all about it.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 
2 Timothy 1:7

Monday, December 5, 2011

Scripture styles

My grandson's kindergarten class was working on their Bible verse together.

"Genesis 1:27. God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  Genesis 1:27"

After letting each of the children recite the verse by themselves, the teacher thinks her job is finished. However, Isaac, my grandson, has this great idea...

Ike:  "Mrs. ____, I can say the verse in opera."

Mrs ____: "Okay....? Go ahead."

Ike (standing as any serious opera singer would) proceeds to sing the entire verse in his best opera voice. As he sits down, another boy raises his hand.

Boy 2: "I can do it country!"

The stunned teacher listens as the country style version of Genesis 1:27 is shared with the class.

As soon as Boy 2 finishes his country-style Scripture, Ike offers the rock version.

By the time the rock version (complete with guitar motions) ends, Mrs. ____ has regained her composure and moves the class on to another subject.

He who sings opera.... or rock.

Which goes to show that... well.... it doesn't show anything, I suppose. But I'll bet that classroom of people will n-e-v-e-r forget Genesis 1:27!

Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. Psalm 119:54

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cranberry Chutney

I never thought much about cranberries and Thanksgiving dinner until I found a recipe for Cranberry Chutney. Pre-recipe, cranberry "sauce" appeared as a can-shaped block, complete with ridges from the can. After trying Cranberry Chutney, I never looked back.

Among many other ingredients, the recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice. In the early years, I bought small jars of both. But because both are used sparingly (if at all) in anything, I found that I was throwing away tasteless jars of powder the next time Thanksgiving rolled around.

Enter mortar and pestle, whole cloves and whole allspice. Not only did I learn a new technique, I discovered the joy of very fresh spices. My beloved chutney was elevated from wonderful to

There are two quarts of freshly made chutney in my fridge right now. I like it best when it has a few days for each flavor stop shouting its own name and learn to blend its voice in that "fabulous" harmony.

Oh... life is good. And I am so thankful.

I hope for you a Thanksgiving filled with the blessings of God... from small things like chutney to the greatest of all, salvation.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever. I Chronicles 16:34

Monday, November 14, 2011

Instructions for life

I read this quote a few weeks ago -
"Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Talk about it."
The quote is from a woman far from God. No person intent upon living a holy life would emulate her lifestyle. And yet, as I read these short statements, I was amazed at how perfectly they capture the way every christian should live!

antique German tiles

Pay attention - Do you notice the hand of God upon your life? Do you see the blessings that fill your minutes, hours, days? Do you read His Word and find guidance for your life? Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. (Psalm 119:18)

acquired on a recent trip

Be astonished -  It is astonishing that the God over all is aware of us, works in us. Aren't you amazed that God's grace is freely given to you?  "I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh on me..." (Psalm 40:17)

Talk about it - Do you? Do you talk about what God does in your life? Do your friends know how that verse you read today has impacted your thinking, your actions? Do your kids know what you saw God do today? Is He the passion of your life that you can't keep to yourself? "In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name forever. Selah." (Psalm 44:8)

"Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Talk about it."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Catching up

The last few weeks have been filled, edge to edge, with wonderful moments. I 've been so busy living them, I haven't blogged them. Today is the day to start the catch-up process...

Our annual church bonfire was amazing. Every year the flames go higher and the question is raised... Do you suppose the astronauts on the space station can see this?

Note the tiny people on the right. That's as close as anyone could get to the heat!

We celebrated two family birthdays. The time has come when the chosen desserts won't hold the correct number of candles, so we use as many as will fit. Hmmm... mini bonfires?

two cherry cream pies!

Gramma's reward for making pie just for him.

There has to be time for guerrilla art. I'm still having fun finding new ways to use the time cards and the library file cards. 


There's more... but, bread needs to go in the oven, dinner needs to be on plates...

You know how it goes.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. III John 2

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Patience prolonged

After waiting the full 90 days, it wasn't too hard to delay the exploration of my paper bundles for another 5 days. Late Saturday night, I cut the wires and started digging through my treasure.

It was still damp (even after 5 days in the house) so I peeled the layers apart and laid them all over the workroom to dry. My first impression? *sigh* At least it wasn't labor intensive.

Yesterday, I started sorting the dry papers. Some went straight to the wastebasket. Others, though they don't look like much, hold some promise with a bit of manipulation. A few, just a few, were worth the wait.

Interesting color bleed from the book covers

A weathered edge that might add texture to a project?

This tattered piece was my favorite.

Rust patterns from the wires holding the bundles together.

The book covers that were the center support for the bundles showed the most change.

Yards of lovely rusty wire. I hope it's malleable.

I'm not overwhelmed with visions of beauty in the making... but there's always hope. For a person who hates to throw anything away... this is a monumental challenge.

I hear that winter is going to be very harsh this year. That's OK. I'll be hunched over the work table trying turn bits of paper into bits of beauty. Time will tell if it works.

Check with me in 90 days. *grin*

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Psalm 119:18

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today is the day

Today is the day that we hit the road for a mini-getaway together. Pennsylvania is the main goal, Mama's on the Half Shell (MD) the anticipated highlight, and lots of wandering back roads along the way.

My purse is packed with guerrilla art. Lots of new venues await me.

 This is also the day that the bundles of weathered paper comes inside to start a new life. Because of "this is the day" #1, the excitement of "this is the day" #2 is being done in stages. The bundles are in the house... I will open them after shopping, eating, resting, wandering.

I'm am seeing some lovely edges though. Can't wait to dig deeper.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Joy in the trees

Did I mention that I love October? Every year I end up taking pictures of the beautiful colors that fill the trees in the yard. It soothes my soul... speaks to my heart... makes me thankful...

These are all SOOC. I couldn't think of any way to improve on God's handiwork. The only thing that could improve the view is if you were here, beside me, taking in all this beauty.

... the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A paper-y October

In between bacon, multiple birthday celebrations, and the sheer love of October *sigh*, it's all about paper here. While bundled paper disintegrates at the speed of weather...

now only 6 days to wait

other papers are being changed... from plain and coffee stained tags to guerrilla art.

Add to that few cards here and there.

I do love October. 

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth:
make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Psalm 98:4

Friday, October 14, 2011

And we have BACON!!!

That's right! Today was the unveiling of the home cured bacon experiment. I thought I had to wait another week before the curing was complete, but I read the directions again  and discovered I was wrong. It said -

1).Remove meat from salt/sugar mix. (The dry mixture that was packed around the meat turned soupy by the end of the week.)

The top layer came off in crusty chunks.

2) Rinse the meat in cool water to remove any residue.

3) Cut the bacon into thin slices.

I added  one more step... DO AN IMMEDIATE TASTE TEST!!!

Although it was very salty (Soaking the meat in cold water for at least an hour will reduce the salt level), it was unbelievably good.

I didn't really have much confidence in this recipe a week ago. It was more a "why not?" when I actually took the step to order the pork belly. But... with results like this? I will definitely do this again... and again...

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. Philippians 1:6

Friday, October 7, 2011

What did you do today?

Oh, thank you for asking. I have been dying to tell. I bought pork bellies and made bacon!


Well... give me a recipe with 1) a weird name (think Hot Mummix); 2) an unusual mix of ingredients; or 3) a way to make something unhealthy into something (somewhat) healthy, and I am all over it.

And, let me ask you a question - have you ever heard of pork bellies anywhere except on the noon farm report?

Thus challenged, I walked into the meat shop, thinking they might laugh at me looking for pork bellies, but, not so! They simply asked "how many pounds?" and "with or without the skin?" (That last question threw me, so I tried to look intelligent and asked, what do you think?)

This is how I started the long process of making bacon from fresh pork belly (which is the meat on the underside of the pig - not a pig's stomach!) -

Buy 2# of fresh pork belly - without the skin, thank you.

Mix together kosher salt, brown sugar and pepper.

Spread about half the salt mixture evenly in a large pan. Place the meat in the center of the pan and gently press it into the salt mix.

Pack the remaining salt mixture over and around the pork.

Refrigerate, uncovered, for 6 to 7 days.

There is one more waiting period after the meat comes out of the salt. So, in two weeks, I hope to report that we are loving our nitrate-free, home-cured bacon. 

And if I don't report?  Be kind... please?

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Useless to Smash!

Repurposing worthless, discarded books is such a rewarding task. This is the kind of recycling that I love.

For several weeks, I have been working on a repurposed version of a Smash Book. (Not familiar with Smash Books? See this.) My days have been filled with paints of every variety, ink, verses, vintage text, papers and pictures, scrapers and shapers, stamps and any adhesive I could lay my hand on! Very little in my workroom escaped involvement in this project.

The book is now in the hands of its new owner... but I took a pictures of a few of my favorite parts just before it was delivered.

And that's just for the background! Can't wait to see how it looks full of her life.

Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Psalm 107:8,9