Simple Moments v. 1

simplemoments13You guys probably don’t know this about me, but I was a ridiculously devoted scrapbooker for many many years.  I started in 6th grade.  Growing up, I worked as a janitor and my first major purchase was a film camera.  It cost me $254, if I’m remembering correctly.  I spent a lot of what I earned on developing film and I don’t regret it for a second.  Eventually, I was indeed that crazy person who would spend an entire hour on 1 page.  Wow, if I could go back and tell myself to find a better use for my time!  Obviously, I had to learn the hard way.  Fast forward to marriage and a new baby.  By the time Faith was crawling, I realized that this hobby and I were breaking up.  I was frustrated that I seemed to have the only baby who cried all day.  Why couldn’t she just let me work on HER baby book?  Distraction was in full force as I tried to wrongfully twist my calling and season of that time.  So funny to see how God weaves his plans and lessons in our life. We all know the crazy motivated little girl she is today!

I COMPLETELY see why I had my little Faith before an easier child.  God was molding me and showing me the things that weren’t necessary in my life so I could eventually understand how to drink those moments in, not just journal, cut, paste, and embellish them to pieces.  For me, it had become a part of my life that didn’t belong in that season of difficulty. So, I switched fully to a website I had started in 2002, before she was born. This continued for many years, even when I had Jack and Dean.  Then I realized my (little!) spare time was getting zapped again.  3 kids that were 4 and under.  WEBSITE OVER.  I may not have been working on that website during the day, but I needed that rest of the mind and soul at night and I didn’t even know it.  The season was missed again.

Fast forward, I start this particular blog in 2010 as a way to connect with friends and family far away who wanted recipes and tutorials.  My husband traveled all the time so I had a lot of evenings at home while the kids were sleeping.  We had left the church I grew up in, following years of growing apart in our understanding of God’s grace and our view of His love towards more than those who have their names in a member book.  We were rejected by friends in the process and carried from that place a further conviction that God’s love looks a whole lot different than we had experienced, up until that point.  His arms are wide and open.  I felt alone but hopefully for what was over the next hilltop.  In this season, instead of sharing about my kids, I wanted to offer up the things I was learning and experiencing.  This space has been more about sharing skills, information, and travel…something I LOVE doing and it has been very healing.  After that stretch of time, my husband traveled less, I had made a new group of friends and I wanted to just be with him and these ladies, sharing laughter and tears as we went.  It has been a lovely season and I’m so thankful for the hurt that has finally been removed from my heart through truth spoken in these friendships.  I’m finally starting to understand this “season” thing!

This new season is upon me where those babies aren’t crawling around (oh, how I miss it!), nobody is potty training or needs their bottom wiped, and my kids have even learned to play with each other (something I never thought would ever happen).  Change within ourselves is good and I’ve learned that even though I wanted to start something and do it exactly the same for each child for 20 years, that didn’t happen.  It took some time, but I’m OK with how God worked it out.

There will still be recipes and loads of things that are inspiring me.  It’s been a joy to have met some of you lovely readers in person and hear what you’ve made and tried from my site.  In my soul, I just feel that you, like me, don’t have time.  We don’t have time to read tons of blogs and live our life in the way we should.  If you read my blog in any sort of regular sense, I am truly honored.  Only a few blogs appear on my screen for soaking in every week.  The rest of my online stops are quick ones for recipes or how-tos, as it should be.  Anything more would be a distraction from the fullness of life out there waiting for me to grasp and devotion to the people who need my full attention!  God needs my eyes in a certain direction and I don’t want to miss his nudges.

All of this to say, see the season you are in for what it is…a season.  Tomorrow you might find yourself in a new place.

For myself alone, I wanted to start keeping more of a journal of our memories, experiences, and recipes.  I take pictures with my camera ALL THE TIME, but don’t have time to blog the “how-to” for everything. ;) I don’t know how often or for long I’ll do this, but I’m OK with that!  I don’t want to miss the season again!  I hope you enjoy soaking in these moments during your week.

Some simple moments I want to remember this week:

// Jack asked me to take a picture of him because Grandma wants a close picture of him.  She told him my pictures are too far away and she can’t see his face.  Here, Grandma ;) //

// We harvested all of our Thompson seedless last week because japanese beetles were on the attack.  Turns out that our insect book says the main things they eat are grapes.  Good to know.  I also made a fizzy frozen grape and lime drink I posted on IG here. //

// The pool is in full swing and we had people her every day last week!  Fun to see our friends so often. //

// After several months of no garden because the chickens had eaten it, dirt had been gradually added back in and the garden is reborn.  Thanks to my husband for lending his muscles. //

// Roast 4 pounds of tomatoes, 1 thickly chopped red onion, a head of garlic, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of oil on 425 for an hour.  Blend and use as pizza sauce, squeezing the roasted garlic from it’s casing before you blend.  It’s the best pizza sauce I’ve ever had.  You can thank me later. //

// Obsession with this heirloom tomato, Humbolt Fog, and vinaigrette salad continues.  I posted the dressing recipe on IG here. //

// Faith made risotto (Recipe coming soon!) for the first…and second time last week.  Super proud of her growth and I’m thinking she will be a way better cook than me before she’s a teenager. Yikes. //

// We made quick pickles inspired by “Little Bunny Follows His Nose”.  You can find the recipe on Paging Supermom here. //

// My Dad gave me some figs from one of my parent’s neighbors.  I gladly accepted and made figs poached in honey syrup.  I think a jar will be marrying some super ripe blue cheese soon. //

// Last week, my husband was working in Vegas so I decided to turn the house upside-down and reorganize…everything.  He has come to expect changes after his long trips and OBVIOUSLY I didn’t want to let him down.  I went through lots and lots of stuff and got rid of things that I thought I had already gotten rid of. //

// Every time we have an outdoor movie, we wonder why we don’t do it more often.  This time we watched “National Velvet” because Faith had just finished the book.  Her love of horses has fired up again.  I caught her reading a book on horsemanship.  I expect mention of horseback riding any second. //

I realize that I post a lot of pictures of food.  I’m sorry.  Well, maybe I’m not.

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Books Alive & Quick Dill Pickles

quickpickleYou can find me over on Paging Supermom today!  I’m sharing my quick pickle recipe, inspired by my favorite children’s story!  Jump over there and let me know what you think!

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Hand-stitched Stuffed Animals

DSC_6642 copyLast year, Faith wanted to make something special for my Mom.  Faith picked the shape, color, and whole project itself.  There’s no stopping her creative mind sometimes!

What you’ll need:

2 sheets of felt, any size.  Mine were 8×10 (this project can be as large as you like)

paper for printing an online silhouette

stuffing materials (can be cotton balls, filler, extra fabric, or anything really!)

embroidery floss for enclosing

1. We hopped online together and she chose a rabbit shape.  For projects like these, I simply google “public domain” followed by whatever object I’m looking for and the word “silhouette”.  So, in this case I typed “public domain rabbit silhouette”.  Easy and legal is the way to go, people!

2. After the image is chosen and printed, you cut it out and pin it to your two pieces of felt.  You can cut each piece individually if that’s easier for you.  I tend to go for the fastest way. ;)

3. Next, you place the two pieces of felt together, lining up the edges.  Prepare your embroidery thread by separating 2 threads from the rest.  Once you  thread the needle, pull the threads through, and knot the ends.  You will have a combined 4 threads to sew with.

4. Holding the felt pieces, start the thread on the inside of the ear pieces and pull the thread through to the outside.  Continue stitching around using a blanket stitch., leaving a hole for stuffing near where you started stitching.  If you’d like to learn more stitches like this one, my favorite book for this is Sublime Stitching.

5. Once you are near the end where your hole is, stuff the piece with your chosen filler.  You will need to squish the filler around and push it down with a long, pointy object so it will reach the bottom and spread to all areas.  You can also squish the filler around with your fingers.

6. Finish stitching the pieces, ending your stitch inside the pieces so they doesn’t show.  Tie off with a double knot.

7.  Squish the filling around a bit more to evenly distribute it and you’re DONE!

You just made a stuffed animal!  Is your head spinning with ideas now?  This would be a cute idea for a new baby or any of your kids to make for a friend!

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Aoife Rie: Celebrating New Life

agoldenafternoon-7On this special day, the joy was overwhelming for my friend Erin, as she awaited the blessing of a little one.  We had been praying a long time for little Aoife.  She is truly a gift.

I wanted Erin to feel special and loved.  She is one of my besties so of course she deserves THE best.

I chose a simple brunch menu, so I didn’t need to flutter about the kitchen as I usually do. I partnered with Minted for the decorations because I’ll use any excuse for hanging their products at a party!  The lovely banner with Aoife’s name, the table runner (very durable material), striped grey paper straws, floral stickers, and the cutest matching straw banners that say “Oh baby” were all from the Minted party decor.   They can be found here on their website under the name “Matthiola”.  To complement the decor, thick crepe rolls can be found from Paper Mart for only a few dollars a piece (pictured surrounding the banner).  Plus, you can reuse the rolls since they are more durable than their baby crepe paper brother you’ve used at parties before!

agoldenafternoon-4agoldenafternoon-5agoldenafternoon-3Simple Brunch Menu:

Smoked salmon platter (thinly sliced red onion, capers, cream cheese, wild smoked salmon, bagels)

Yogurt, local granola, blackberries, and homemade spiced apple butter

Vegetable crudites and hummus

Chocolate croissants

Maple walnut scones

Bruleed grapefruit (attempted)

Freshly squeezed orange juice from Stehly Farm‘s oranges

Freshly juiced beets, oranges, strawberries, and spinach

To make your party day prep smoother, prep as much the day or night before.  Put things in bowls if you can, prep and cut veggies, put any items you can ready to go on platters, squeeze your juices, and you can even put the serving utensils in your bowls if you are serving everything first thing in the morning.  Every little bit helps.  I try to make my baked items fresh that morning if possible.  In this case, Faith made the scones so they were nice and fresh!

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It’s always a joy to celebrate new life.  Such a great reminder of the new life that Jesus brings to us.

I partnered with Minted for the decor shown in this post.  I love this company and all opinions are completely my own.

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Weaving 101

agoldenafternoonweaveAfter posting about our weaving project on Instagram,  I’ve had a lot of questions about our setup and process.

Let me be clear, I AM NOT an expert weaver.  I’m just sharing what I’ve learned in my experience.  Like many others, I have been inspired by Maryanne Moodie. (She sells her own starter kits…I bought one ;)) Her weavings are so dreamy!

Like any kind of creative art, weaving will be a totally different process for every person.  For our first larger weaving,  I wanted to create a weave-as-you-go project for the whole family.  Meaning, I wanted the 5 of us to add whatever we liked, to create this piece of art together.  The only restriction was that the items had to be white or cream colored and a natural product.  At least this way, there would be some uniformity.  The sticks didn’t make the cut…nice try boys. ;)

Kind of looms and links for where to buy:

Potholder Looms:  You can find vintage metal ones on ETSY or Ebay.  This was our first kind of loom several years ago.  (less than $15)

Lap looms:   Best option for starting because of price and the size of the weaving space.  Best for kids who have short attention spans and want immediate satisfaction. (less than $20)

Standing/Tabletop Loom:   My favorite choice for a more substantial weaving.  More expensive.  (less than $75)

Floor Loom:  If you wanted one of these, this post is irrelevant to you.  haha (more than $1500)

Below is a BASIC weaving tutorial…have fun!

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Weaving 101

Supplies:

Loom

1 weaving needle

Shuttle (that holds your thread to be passed through)

2 pickup sticks

warp thread (to use up and down.  I use cotton twine.)

weft thread (to use side to side.  Use any material for this!)

any additional weaving fibers:

lace, wool roving (my fave!), wool yarn, twine

To start your weaving:

1. Starting at the bottom left, you’ll take your warp thread (the name of the threads which run top to bottom) and tie it to the furthest peg on the left.

2. Now, bring the warp thread up to the furthest peg on the top left.

3. Bring it back down to the bottom where you tied the warp thread initially, skip a peg, then loop around the next one.

4. Repeat, going back up to the top, always skipping a peg.  when you’ve reached the end of the pegs, tie the thread to the last peg.

5. To start your initial weaving process, weave the pick-up stick over and under each warp thread, until you reach the end.  I started on the right side because it felt right (I’m right-handed).  You could totally start on the left, lefties. ;).  Now, turn it on its side so it makes a space in between the threads (called a shed).

6. With a new piece of thread (called the weft) attached to a weaving needle, leave a tail for the thread, and pull this through the space or shed to the other end.  Now, slide the stick to slightly tighten the row and then up to the top of the loom, where you will use it for every other weave.  This step with save you from weaving a single thread back and forth each time.

7. After you slide the stick up, start weaving with your pick-up stick on the opposite side you started. Mae sure you are going under and over the OPPOSITE you did last time.  You can test this by pushing the stick down.  If it touches your previous row, you are on the wrong track.  If you push down and meet with the resistance of your warp thread, you are on the right track!  Weave to the end. Slide the stick down to tighten the row and remove it after.  One stick stays on the loom at all times (either creating a shed or “resting”), while the other is used alternately.  As you’re weaving each row, don’t pull too hard or the whole weaving piece will start to pull towards the center, losing your desired square shape.  This might be hard to teach the kids but I don’t really sweat it. ;)

8. Now, slide the stick back down and turn it to make a shed again.  You can now continue with steps 6-7 again until the weaving is your desired size.

9. Remove the weaving from the loom.  Gently pull each loop to make the weaving tight.  Once all loops are tightened, secure each end thread with a knot, then cut the extra off. (You can also add tassels to the end loops at this point but i was keeping this basic. :)

Enjoy your creation!  You were just WEAVING! Can you believe it?!

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