Sunday, March 29, 2009

baby gift

Nothing to get on my soapbox about today. Just wanted to show a little onesie I made for a friend of a friend. Love this kind of project.

Also digging my cards from MK.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Bea!

My best friend Bea has a birthday coming up. Bea has two kids and a Mary Kay business and she completely rocks. I made her this silly MK charm for her birthday. Because I love her, I also made her one with her kids' names and their birthstones. (Abby assures me these are the right colors.)

I put it on a 24" ball chain necklace, which she can cut down if she wants to (and she will want to).

Pink Rulz, ladies.

Much love to you my dear friend. I've known you 19 years; I can't believe it. Soon we'll be dipping our toes in the ocean water and tanning our 40 year old saggy hides. Woo hoo!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Coming Soon

In response to one complaint too many from the daughter who does not play soccer about the grass at the soccer field (did you know playing on grass is actually part of soccer?) I created this vinyl backed fleece blanket to prevent grass from touching said complaining daughter. She will in all likelihood complain that the fleece side of it still gets touched by grass. She will have to learn to live.

Also coming soon to my etsy shop are stamped silver and copper cuff bracelets. How fun is that?

The Possibilities

Today begins my hopefully weekly series on artists and crafters whose work I admire. I hope to highlight these amazing people and their great work. We will start with one of my all time favorite people, Amy Poss of The Possibilities (get it?).

Amy remembers selling her work door to door as a child, always cherishing her inner "crazy desire to create." She started her professional life as an elementary teacher before she became a full time mom. Creativity and projects are part of her daily life. She says her husband, upon arriving home from a business trip, will stop at the door to sniff for paint smells. He figures she's been up to something crafty while he's been away.

"I love working with wire and beads," says Amy because the "simplicity of materials is appealing yet I can create some intricate pieces." She will sometimes also decoupage an item before embellishing with wire and beads.

Her inspiration comes from color schemes,magazines, specific room decor, and fabrics, but she says "original ideas I believe come from God. I have often seen His hand in the development in my business." In fact, I met Amy at a women's Bible Study, where she was in the group I was "facilitating." She gave me a beautiful wire wrapped cross at Christmas that hangs prominently in our home.

And to show how far a little love goes, Amy says she started her etsy business after
much encouragement from two creative pals: Jen and Brenda. I love both of them dearly and feel they are also a gift from God. I love all of their creations but my faves are coffee corsets from Jen and Brenda's key fobs.

Amy, like most moms, struggles with the balance part of work and family. She started the business because she wanted to be home, but "needed to pay some bills." And like most moms will leave the creative stuff to do when all the house stuff is done, which can mean late nights and "flying by the seat of your pants." People who work at being creative often have a hard time with the business part of it, especially if motherly duties demand attention. For that reason, Amy says she is working on writing down "specific and measurable attainable supercalifragilisticespealadocious goals." You know those creative types, abhorring goals, and schedules and lists that don't include a heavy portion of time spent doodling in our studios.

Amy's entire family, two sons and a daughter, is involved with her business. But she says Annie, her daughter is most deeply involved, as she is a creative genius in her own right. The two often compete to see who's design sells first at a show. Of course the boys want their mom do well and be happy but they don' have the same giddiness over new beads that she and Annie have. She also credits her husband with a new idea now available at her store: tooth fairy pails, which are super cute and come with a poem about this tooth fairy lady. (Personally, the tooth fairy hasn't been to my house in a while; she always seems to be on vacation.) Amy pays each of her kids for their help in her business because she feels it gives them an important role in her success and also "gives us that special connection as well as ownership of this endeavor."

Amy's work is available at her etsy shop, as well as The Spotted Umbrella in Jenks and The Gift Garden in Broken Arrow.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dads, Daughters and Words

Our family went hiking at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge over Spring Break. With temperatures in the high 80s and three well rested kiddos, we had a fantastic time. I learned something about each of my children. Abby loves to climb and is so busy in her head that she doesn't notice any of the dangers. This should not surprise me as she has always been single minded.

Bronwyn did not, did not, did not like the heights and needed lots of encouragement but she did it and she's proud of herself. As are we.

Elliot is a maniac on the rocks. That boy jumped from rock to rock like a billy goat. He was sure-footed and confident and fast. He said "cherries," if he got nervous and then promptly returned to jumping like a super hero through the saddle of rocks between two mountains.

On our second day we hiked a short distance to the forty foot hole so we could watch them jump into the very cold water in the ravine. There they collected snails and started a snail zoo, tried splashing, ate apples and enjoyed themselves to the fullest.

Another family hiked to the same location, a dad and his son and daughter. The son was about 13 and also confident, maybe overly so. He made me start a few times as I watched him clamber down the side of the rocky gulch rather too quickly. I was sure we were going to be calling EMS. I wondered briefly how that would be possible. The daughter stayed behind to snap photos of his exploits as he descended and ascended. Then she made it down. Dad came along behind slowly and without confidence. He made me nervous too, for other reasons.

When we were all standing at the bottom, watching the kids, he told us his son usually gets hurt when they hike. (Big suprise.) He said his knees are bad so he, "hikes like a girl." Instant hackles.

I had to ask him what he meant by that. He said that meant he hiked like me. He could only hope! At least I could do it upright. I dislike that metaphor as it is usually used as an insult. Hiking, or running, or throwing like a girl usually means one sucks at it. I was offended but he had another little nugget of misogyny for us.

This dad then said, "We bring his sister along so she can take pictures."

Oh, right, because clearly the daughter can't climb as well or be smart enough to observe her surroundings or enjoy herself. She was an afterthought. I politely walked away while hubby talked to him some more about where to go. I was furious.

Now, in all likelihood, he didn't really mean what he said. He meant his knees are bad so he's not as able as he used to be. He meant, his son enjoys this more than his daughter. My husband and I talked about this for a while. It got me thinking about how we talk to our girls.

But more it made me wonder about that little girl. She was probably 12 and heard her dad use her as a prop, a cast off, an afterthought. I wondered what she heard when he said that. Did she hear, "She is good at taking pictures." or did she hear, "He doesn't really want me here."

Of course, I don't know but it was a reminder that our words matter and our words have a life of their own once they wisp from our lips.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sisters: Please

The book club I attend just finished our discussion of Nancy Horan's Loving Frank. The book is a fictionalized account of the love affair between married Mehmah Cheney and Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect. Roughly 10 women gathered to discuss the book and its tragic ending.

Set in the early 20th century, it focuses on the intensely difficult choices a married mother faced when thinking of leaving her marriage and children to pursue this affair. While I in no way sympathize with adultery, I was left feeling that its much deeper than black and white. In fact, I felt that this woman faced the same choices and struggles women are still facing today.

Back then, women were overtly objectified; they grew up, maybe went to school, married, had kids and made a home. That was it. Maybe they volunteered, maybe they had quaint artistic hobbies, but that was it, especially for women of a certain class. Working was discouraged, even frowned upon.

I find today's objectification much more subtle. The fact that companies still advertise car parts to men and cleaning products to women gets my panties in a bunch. My daughter, who happens to love spiders, dinosaurs and dragons, often laments the lack of t-shirts with those things on them for girls. (We buy for her in the "boys" department if we have to.) Barbie, the symbol of all that is traditionally (and distorted) feminine just celebrated 50 years.

And women still ask themselves if they are making the right choices. Should I marry? Should I have kids? When I have kids, do I stay at home, giving up all I have worked for to stay home with them, or do I return to work outside the home? Which is better?

Many people have pontificated on this issue and they all claim to be experts. Books are written, studies are done, children are questioned, surveys are circulated. But just like Mehmah Cheney, is it really that easy? Is there a one size fits all answer for how we live our lives.

Clearly not; just look around. The variety available to women is staggering. So why don't women give each other and themselves the right to make their own choices. The most divisive thing we can do is fail to support each other. (This starts in middle school, but that's for another day.) When I hear a mom criticize another mom for her life choices I feel angry. What right do I have to dictate how another person should live her life?

As I have aged, my views on this and many other things have altered, which I suppose indicates growth. I used to think it was easy; you just have your kids and give them all. Wow is that hard. On the other hand, my sister returned to work shortly after her first was born. Wow is that hard.

You see? We are all doing hard work. We are all trying to make the best choices for our families. We simply have to get to the place where we are okay with difference. So Mehmah Cheney, in the book anyway, had to decide between a more artistic life outside of her marriage and with a married man and giving up herself to stay with her husband and children. Could she have lived a fulfilling life within her marriage? I don't know. And was leaving her husband really the best alternative? Was what she gained worth what she surrendered?

It was the public animosity that staggered her; and it is what tears us down still. We don't need so called experts to tell us what our kids need, if we are paying attention to them. We don't need some stranger to tell us that one choice is better than another. What we do need, though, is a community of women willing to accept all the different choices we can make in life.

Then we can teach our daughters, and our sons, that women can buy car parts and men can clean toilets, we can show them that the sky is the limit, we can teach them that there is no such thing as man's work and women's work. Isn't that they kind of world you want your kids to inherit?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Drum Roll Please

Claire from Bisou Bisou Beads is the winner! She posted a very kind comment and now gets to pick out a dog collar for her pup.

I also have red dot and black check....

Thanks for playing.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Do This Today

Go visit my friend Kristin's blog. She is a beautiful woman with beautiful insight.

Halfway to Normal. Go.

Get. Right now. Get over there.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Little Friday Morning Bible Study

Our small group is studying the book of John. I'm fascinated by this guy, whom many think was Jesus' favorite. In combing through the first chapter this morning, I found some interesting tidbits.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." John 1:1

This is one of the most quoted, and I think most complex, passages in Scripture. I am no Bible Scholar so just take this as one woman's eyes and ears and heart and mind. Just that first verse is so full of metaphor and meaning.

According to Strong's Concordance, the word beginning refers to the origin, the active cause, the first person or thing in a series. If we take that to be true, then when John starts his book "In the beginning," he is calling to mind the origins not just our faith but of the world we live in. The other gospels tend to be narrative while John's starts with a reflective look at this history of faith. In one phrase.

What was in the beginning? The Word. Huh? How can the Word be in the beginning? What is the Word and why is it important? And what's with the capital letter? Again, with Strong's as my source, word is that which is uttered by a living voice, or "the essential Word of God."

Wait. What?

Is John saying words existed in the beginning? John is referring here to Jesus, the Word of God, who was called into life the way the rest of the world was called into being: by his uttered breath. Anyone else think that's cool? And let us not miss the point that as it was "in the beginning" and essentially of God, then it (the Word) carries with it the same authority and holiness as the breath that uttered it into life.

I will spare you my own application of this verse, but thought you might like chewing on that for a while.

Another interesting part of this early part of this chapter is the contrast between light and dark. And while we think we know the difference between dark and light, a look to the concordance elucidates (you heard me) this point. Light is the literal emission of light from a light giving object, but Strong's also says that it is used of God as "delicate, subtle, pure, brilliant." (Sidenote here: I do not usually think of light as delicate, neither do I think of God that way, so there's that.) Light can refer to truth and knowledge and also spiritual purity, and finally the power of understanding.

So, if one is in the light, then one is exposed to understanding, purity, brilliance, and power. It begs the obvious question about its opposite.

Darkness is defined as lack of light. I love definitions like that. Duh. But it's more than that. It refers to ignorance of divine things, and also those things which are related to "wickedness." Oooohh. Sounds bad, right?

Parsing it out, it paints a vibrant picture. Live in the light and be granted access to all those things Christians are pursuing. And you know, even a tiny pinprick of light is still light.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Whirling Dervish

Also finished this sweet little piece. Want it?

Prairie Girl

Living in Oklahoma, all students study this history of the state. For our kids, this is in third grade and it is by far my favorite unit. When our eldest was in 3rd, they visited the Harn Homestead and took their lunches in tin pails. Before she went, we made a loaf of whole wheat bread and wrapped it in fabric to share with the class.

I may do this again for middle girl, and this time we want to include a jar of cream the students can shake on the bus to turn to butter.

I also love sewing their "Little House on the Prairie" dresses. The bonnets alone are enough to make me smile.

I did two others for classmates this year. Here is Syd's.

I'm not sure why I love this unit so. Maybe because I didn't grow up in this state, finally learning what Boomer Sooner meant was a relief. I am not a pioneer kind of girl, but there is something sort of tactile and intriguing about how early settlers lived their lives and furnished their homes that fascinates me.


Wanted to give a shout out to MK Edwards who designed my lovely new logo. I believe she did a fantastic job. What say the peeps?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ode to Chewy

We were not raised with animals as pets, my brother, sister and I. This is my mother's doing; she has an aversion to animals of the extreme variety. She was unendingly patient with my dad, who twice (to my memory) brought home dogs. I don't much remember the first dog; I think his name was Wolf and I'm not sure where he went. The second dog, Rusty, well, he cured us forever of dogs.

Rusty was his own undoing. A gorgeous Irish Setter, Rusty was large, and loud and rather dumb. He ran on a dog run in the back of our house that ended either in a shallow ravine or at the garage door. Many were the times we would watch Rusty chasing butterflies and run headlong into the garage door, feeling the house tremor under impact. Also, Rusty had a habit of absentmindedly flinging himself over the ravine. This is unquestionably bad as he would therefore be dangling from his collar, from his neck.

I remember my mother when Rusty came to live with us. "Charlie!" spitting out my father's name, accusing, flustered, angry, and ultimately resigned. It was as if she knew the dog would be short lived for our home. And of course, as mothers always are, she was right.

To be honest, I was ambivalent about Rusty and most animals for that fact. You hear those stories that people who are afraid of animals (as my mother is) raise children who adopt this fear. None of her children got that fear. In fact, two of three have animals now. At the time, I really didn't care if he was there or not.

But this isn't really about Rusty; it's about another dog that entered my life decades later; in fact when I was well into my 30s. Chewy is also a large, loud dog. But he also acts a little like a cat and he is old, in that bone weary sense. Chewy lives with us now and I am so glad. He unwittingly made me if not a dog lover than a dog sympathizer.

Chewy is a Rottweiler. He came into our extended family as a pup when my sister in law, a girl at the time, adopted him. She trained him well; as she lived with my in laws, so did Chewy. When my sister in law flew the coop, Chewy stayed behind. Chewy turned into my in law's dog. He was loyal and doting; he slept near or on the bed, he brought the mail, chased the squirrels and solicitors and other annoyances from the yard. He sits, shakes, high fives, lied down and loves. Oh, how he loves. (I still cannot believe I feel that way.)

Chewy was at her side when my mother in law passed away suddenly at their lake house, one of her favorite places. Chewy was at my father in law's side as he called family members to share the awful news. He was there when we gathered at the house to mourn and celebrate her. He was a stoic presence standing sentry next to my father in law who was otherwise surrounded by confusion, chaos and loss of meaning. I love Chewy for this and this alone.

But I love him for more reasons. Chewy stood by while my father in law met a fabulous woman and started a new phase of his life, married to her. And this is where he comes to live with us. As fantastic as she is, there was one thing she couldn't get over; it wasn't his size, or his bark (which is ever so rare), or even his toots which are immeasurably disgusting. It was her allergy to him.

So sweet is their love that neither knew what to do. She took weekly allergy injections; he wiped up hair and found supplements to put on Chewy's food to help with shedding. They tried every solution. She was miserable. And my daughter, the nine year old walking persuader cajoled us into taking him in.

Truth be told, we thought his tenure at our house would be short. He is 12 after all. His joints ache, he can't run as long as he used to, he tolerates our youngest wild kid. Chewy is as loyal to us as he was to them. He sleeps at the foot of the 5 year old's bed, he obeys the 9 year old as she gets the mail, he helps me corral them out the door for school, he barks at solicitors and squirrels alike.

I'm still not an animal lover; I rarely pet him (don't worry, he gets lots of love from others), I don't want him on my bed and I can't stand his breath. But I'm glad he came to us. He shows me things about my kids I didn't know were there. He demonstrates loyalty and love in a way many people have trouble comprehending. I know its sappy but I'm happy to know him.

Leave a comment to be entered for a chance to win a personalized collar for your beloved pup. Winner will be announced March 9