Friday, April 29, 2011

Saturday Smiles

Here are five things that make me smile:

1) Puddles
More specifically, splashing in puddles....
Yup. I spent the first nine years of my life in Oregon, and I have a little bit of duck in me yet. However, I admit my favorite thing about puddles is driving through them, and creating that huge wake/splash. It's particularly fun in our little car 'cuz there are about three spots in our neighborhood that have puddles large enough during spring break-up to cause a splash bigger than the car.
Yes, I know it's bad for the car. And I don't do it when people are walking, but it's so fun!

2) Rolling Mills
I love using the electric rolling mill in the metals shop. I want one so bad!!! And they are so expensive. For a little hand crank one it's between $300 and $500, and that's not counting shipping up to Alaska...
I use the rolling mill to imprint leaves and patterns on the metal. I love the effect of a leaf imprint...

3) Museums
Even before my husband worked in a museum I loved them. Now that he works there, it's even better. And no, that doesn't mean we get in for free. It just means we go more often. =)
One of our earliest dates was a trip to an art museum in Seattle. I forget which one, but it was so fun. Particularly because Jake had never been. He never would have gone without me, and now he works in a museum! I love that.

4) Monet's paintings
No. His paintings are not strident statements. They are not shocking or earthshaking, politically embued or modern.
They are just beautiful.
And they move me.
And they make me smile.

5) Jim Butcher's Dresden Files
I love the main character, Harry Dresden. I understand him, and love his passion and drive. Butcher's urban fantasies are taut mysteries with a touch of old P.I. novels.
I enjoy the mixing of genres. The characters are rich and interesting, and the dark under-belly Butcher reveals is fascinating.

His newest release in the series, Ghost Story, won't come out for another two months and I am eagerly anticipating it's arrival date.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge- Home

I finally did it!

I finally completed a project to share with the Art Bead Scene Blog!
I'm so excited. =) Here's the painting that inspired my piece.

I'm calling the piece, "Home".

I created the branch and the toggle using a cuttlefish mold that I carved. I poured brass into the mold and then cleaned it up. I looked at that branch and wanted a nest, so I wire wrapped it and attached it to the branch.
Then I couldn't find a good wire to match the brass- So I pulled brass wire to create the rosary chain. And then I strung the stone beads and added my toggle.
The nest caused the branch to hang awkwardly on the necklace, so I cut out the leaves and shaped them. I actually really like the way they look now even though they weren't part of my original design.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Workbench Wednesday

Here's what I'm working on at the Metal-smithing shop:

1) My locket-
The tree will be the lid and the square piece with the bezel will go behind it. I still have a ton of work to finish my locket:
I have to solder on the hinge, put on stars, patina the back and put it all together...

2) My leaves-
These brass leaves will go on my bird necklace... I'm really hoping to have this done on Thursday, so that I can post my completed necklace. I want to be completely done with this project so bad! It feels like I've been working on it forever. When it's probably only a month... I need to sand these, and continue work on shaping them. I love the wonderful brass/gold tones of the leaves reflected in the necklace. However, the brass has been a pain to work with- so difficult to form, and difficult to match.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday Smiles

Here are Five Things that make me smile:

1) Yoplait yogurt

It's okay if you think I'm weird. However, I might as well tell you I start and end my day with yogurt....
Although I'm still not technically diabetic (Thank you, God!) I am borderline, what used to be called hypoglycemic, and is now called pre-diabetic. If I don't start my day with protein, you can forget it.
I've gotten MUCH better at eating but still have to treat myself rather carefully in this area. My head is often in the clouds, and I do better with a rather strict eating schedule.
Man, you should have seen me when I was pregnant!! That was some serious eating... I had to eat something small every 2 or 3 hours, or I got weird. Sometime you should ask my husband about me eating while I was pregnant... Just for the silliness of it. All I'm saying is- forget the pickles and ice cream, I had a serious craving for protein.

2) New babies
Again, in case you have forgotten, I need to remind you that I'm a girl. New babies make me smile. A lot. I would very much like to have another baby, but have decided to be grateful the unexpected blessing of the two I have.

3) Chris Tomlin's music

I love his music, and am amazed at how the Christian community has received him over the last ten years. I had the great honor of working at Super Summer Camps with him in Texas, and am delighted to see what God has brought about in Chris.
One of my favorite memory of those camps was the evening worship times. The campers would file out after the worship time, and then Chris would lead those of us remaining in worship for a time. It wasn't a performance. We were worshipping. This time was a gift to the working crew at the camps.

4) Watching the TV show Bones with my husband
I like the show- It's always a fascinating mystery, without all the technical gore of the CSI genre (which I love by the way, I'm not dissing on them). But Jake does not like the gore or the horror of those shows. And he likes the touch of silliness in the Bones show. It's fun to watch it with him. And I'm delighted to find a TV show we both enjoy.

5) Books by Lois McMaster Bujold

Bujold writes science fiction/fantasy novels rich with characters and history. Sadly, her website kinda stinks, but at least it gives you a biography and a list of her books with some descriptions.

I like everything I've read by her, but my favorites are the Miles Vorkosigan novels.

The latest novel in the series is called Cryoburn and takes place
after Miles is happily (& miraculously) married and the father of several small children.

He is working as an imperial auditor, which basically means he gets to go be a spy for the emperor of the planet Barrayar.
While not as hilarious as Diplomatic Immunity, or as daring as some of Miles' earlier adventures, Cryoburn is a good adventure.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Smiles

Here are 5 things that make me smile:

1) Flowers
Yup, I'm a girl. I like flowers. My favorites are wild flowers. I have so many wonderful memories of tramping with my dad in the woods. He was a botanist and always looking for a specific flower or plant so that he could photograph it or press it. I'm still pressing flowers... And wishing that I knew all the Latin names like me dad did.

2) Bead stores!

I love going into bead stores and poking around to see all the lovely goodies. I have some local favorites- Pristine's out on Peger and Marnie's place down-town. Of course, there's the ubiquitous Jo-Ann's and Michael's.

My favorite on-line bead store is Fire Mountain Gems. Their site is very user-friendly and intuitive. I can find what I need easily, and still enjoy looking for surprise treasures.

3) Third Day

I love their southern rock style and firm convictions. Talented musicians and and folks who have stuck out the music scene for a good long time.

4) My bead tools!

I honestly don't have any favorites I can name off the top of my head. Of course, there are other tools I could use, but I couldn't get by without my wire snippers, and my chain nose & round nose pliers.

5) Wire work

There is so much amazing wire jewelry out there! These are just some of the amazing pieces I've seen out there. The four pieces I've shown here are not my own, but wow, I think they are lovely. I have used them as inspiration, but hope never to exactly copy something I've seen.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Work Table Wednesday

It's Wednesday! I get to show what I'm working on. =)

First, Here's my home beading table:

I've been working on completing some of the components I've made at the shop. Another bracelet made with one of my large leaf imprint links. I like the one in blue, and am happy with the beads I found to go with the link. I'm looking forward to seeing it all put together.

Now, for what's on my desk in the work-shop on campus:

I'm currently working on these three pendants. The one in the center is almost complete- it just needs something to hang it be. I'll probably drill a hole and then insert a jump-ring.
The one on the right... Needs some liver of sulphor to show off the leaf imprint, but it needs something more than that. Maybe some words?? I'm not sure.
The butterfly on the left... I'm also not sure what I'll be doing with it next. I'm thrilled witht he way the butterfly turned out, but trying to decide whether to mark the pattern of a butterfly on the butterfly... You can't tell from this picture, but there's a fabulous leaf imprint on the silver underneath the butterfly. It looks like a chrysalis, which is what made me want to add the butterfly.

Anyway, here's my process. Mostly trial and error. I'm still figuring out what I'm doing as I do it. I like texture and layers, which is the best way to describe what I'm working on right now...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Adventure Day at Creamer's Field

We didn't make it to church this morning because Jake had a horrible headache. He worked very late at the museum last night for a special event- the chocolate bash. He didn't get to bed until after one, and my man doesn't function at all on low sleep.

So he ended up napping, and then he took the girls out for an adventure day! Here are some of the photos he took of them at Creamer's Field.


I saw my pain doctor this week and she reminded me that in the last 2 years I've had 3 major surgeries. Not just minor ones. We're talking MAJOR- Two spinal surgeries, and one gynocological. So maybe I need to not be so hard on my poor body.

I've just realized how angry I've been with my body for all the pain I've dealt with this last year. Hmmm.... Might explain why I've gained a little weight. Interesting how I've chosen to take out my anger on my poor beleagured body. I stopped exercising, because... well, for a while there I couldn't even walk! Then after my first spinal surger when I could walk, I hurt so much that I didn't want to walk. Then this whole neck thing had gotten so bad that I could not feel my left hand, and was starting to lose mobility.

I did have some reasons for being angry with my ridiculous body and it's over-the-top pain. However, I really need to be kind to it! It's recovering and doing amazing things.

So, here's a letter to my body:

Dear body- I am so sorry I've been so hard on you. I've been over-feeding you, not letting you get enough sleep, and not taking you out for walks or any kind of exercise. I'm sorry. I will do better.

I will feed you more appropriately- healthy foods and less of them. I will give you the sleep you need- not just 4 or 5 hours a nights. And I will take you for walks or maybe even dances!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Saturday Smiles

Here are five things that make me smile:

1) Books by Gail Carson Levine
Levine writes young adult fantasy. I love the way she makes old stories new, yet keeps them fun. Her books deal with real issues, and offer real solutions; yet she creates characters I love and fabulous worlds at the same time.

Her book "Ella Enchanted" is about a young woman who had a terrible curse cast upon her by a fairy who thinks she is being helpful- the requirement to obey whatever she is told to do. Her mother and fairy godmother try to protect her from the consequences of such an evil spell. However, her mother dies and her father remarries a horrid woman with two horrid daughters. (Recognize the tale of Cinderella?) The story of her escape from the spell and the step-sisters is both delightful and full of harrowing adventure. (Sidenote: The book has been turned into a movie, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However the movie is not as good as the book.)

2) Saturday mornings
My dear, sweet, awesome and oh, so sexy husband lets me sleep in! Isn't that fabulous? Yes, if I need to be somewhere (like wickedly early to Farmer's Market) I get up. However, if we have no plans he lets me sleep in basically till I wake up. He hangs out with the girls, or takes them on fabulous adventures. He's a good guy.

3) The computer game Enchanted Island
I have LOVED this game. I started it rather tentatively because I'm so NOT into computer games. I have too much real life to get heavily invested into fake life. And I already have an addiction to books.
However, I have loved the sweet simplicity of this game. The game play is so sweetly simple: I am a magician gaining powers to grow magical seeds. My goal is to gain more abilities, and work through quests.
I offer this smile with a little bit of trepidition because the game is changing. For the last 12 to 18 months it has been in trial form, and will now be undergoing a huge change. The game is currently shut down to new players, but in about three months will open up to new players. I don't know what the new version is going to be like. I am looking forward to trying it, but also sad to see the game as I have known it disappear.

4) My job as a reading tutor
I have struggled with the job this year as a result of my surgery and being tired all the time. However, I honestly smile when I see my students. I thoroughly enjoy seeing them grow and get better at reading. I work at my daughters' school, so I get to go home with my kindergartener. I get to see my girls at school, and know many of their friends.

One part of my job I've been unsure about is the recess monitor. Some days I enjoy it, and some days (particularly at -18) I hate it. I've ended up sending kids to the principal, and I've put kids in time outs. I've talked to kids about a variety of subjects- their home life, friends saying they hate each other, friends destroying stuff somebody else made, Pokemon, loners wanting to play with other kids... I'm thankful for my job, and most of the time, it makes me smile.

5) My button bracelets
I admit it. I love these bracelets! They are fun to wear, and fun to make. They are a bit tedious and repetitive (it takes between 25 and 40 buttons to make a really good bracelet), but the results are just fun. Some days I do not have the energy to make them because of the sheer repetition. Wrapping wire, wrapping wire, wrapping wire... Opening jump rings and closing jump rings... But when I get it finally done, they please me every time.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Frida Kahlo

I love Frida Kahlo's paintings... I don't know why- I just do. I love how clearly she portrayed her inner turmoil and pain.

She was in a horrible accident at a young age and lived most of her life in terrible pain. Also, she was unable to have children, which was one of her greatest desires. Although my pain is not as bad as hers was, I still relate to her pain and her fight to have children.

I love the latino quality to her paintings- that they portrayed her world and how she felt about it.

They don't make me smile, at least not most of them. So I couldn't include them on my Saturday Smiles posts; however, I love her work and wanted to share some.

For more of her story, look here:
For more of her life and paintings, look here:

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Work Table Wednesday

I get to share what's on my work table again!

First, here's my home work space:

I've been working on some bracelets made out of components I made in the metal-smithing shop.
The red & copper one is still in the process of being created... I ran out of copper jump rings, so I need to either purchase some, or make some. Then I will hook it all together, do some light braiding, and add a large copper lobster clasp.

But the green one is done! And I'm so in love with it that I may end up keeping it...

As for my Metal-smithing Work Table:

I actually have several projects in the works- some earrings, a couple pendants, two cuff bracelets... But the piece I'm very excited about right now is my sun pendant!

To created this pendant, I used a technique called Lost Wax Carving:

I originally carved this pendant out of wax. Then I created a mold by pouring investment over it while it was snugly held in a large can. After the investment became hard like concrete, I burned the wax out in a kiln, which left a space exactly shaped like the original wax pendant. Next we poured liquid metal into the hollow space and allowed it to cool. After cooling, the investment is broken off the pendant. Finally, I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned the pendant. I pickled, sanded, and tumbled it. After it was clean I epoxied the stone into the center.

And my sun pendant is complete!
And I'm delighted.

I intend to bead it up and then I have to make a very big decision.... Do I keep my first Lost Wax carving? Or do I sell it?

What do you think?

Saturday, April 02, 2011

How can God bring good out of this?

I receive these daily devotionals from Proverbs 31 Ministries. Sometimes they are okay, and sometimes they are amazingly applicable to whatever is going on in my life. I read this one last week and it resounded within my life.
How Can God Bring Good Out of THIS?
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Have you ever faced a personal struggle and wondered how God could possibly bring good out of it? How could Romans 8:28 apply to my hidden issues — the ones I don’t like to think about, deal with, or even admit I have?

If you would have told me 10 years ago that God could bring good out of my weight issues and food struggles, I would have seriously doubted you.I would have rolled my eyes and excused myself to the bathroom. Bathroom stalls are great places to cry in secret. When a soul is rubbed raw from years of trying and failing, you don’t want to hear, “eventually good will come from this.”

I wanted something to instantly fix my issues.
I wanted to stop calling myself awful names I’d never let another person call me.
I wanted to be naturally thin like my sister.
I wanted to stop crying when I walked into my closet to get dressed in the morning.

I would have cared less about some elusive, eventual good. My jeans didn’t fit. Even my sweatpants didn’t fit. I felt horrible. I couldn’t stay committed to a healthy eating plan to save my life.

And I saw no hope in sight.

It’s a terrible thing to scan the horizon and see no evidence of hope. Maybe you’ve been there with some hidden issue. Maybe you’ve been there like me with food and weight struggles. Maybe you’re there today.

Whether your issues are the same as mine or not, all of us Jesus girls have struggles. We all fall short in some way. And we all need to know more about this “good” mentioned in Romans 8:28.

But instead of a three point sermonette, I want to share with you a letter I recently received. As I read it, the mercy gates of heaven split wide open and reigned down “this working of good.”It was heaven’s salve soothing deep places in me. It is a picture of the reality of God’s Word being true. Always true. God does work for the good… in all things… every single thing... even our most raw and seemingly impossible things… but we must know it even when we don’t feel it.

“Just want to say thank you for sharing your struggles, Lysa. I’ve had an eating disorder since August,1978. Full blown anorexia, which led years down the road to bulimia. I became a Christian in 2002, but never could fully surrender my eating disorder to our Lord. Through your story and the advice you shared the Holy Spirit is empowering me as I never knew possible.
I’ve had 7 days of no binging or purging!!! This may not seem like a high number to you, but after 33 full years with this binge/purge addiction, this is AMAZING. Hallelujah!!
You shed such new light on scriptures that I have read, but never knew how to interpret in my life especially with regards to eating. I’ll be honest I figured my eating disorder wasn’t that big a deal to our Lord. In fact I had told myself that He made me this way so it must just be the sin I was born to deal with; so glad to know that it isn’t, and that I matter to HIM."– Melissa P.

As I read this, my tears leaked free.We don’t have to figure out how God will bring good, we just have to stay on the journey with Him and watch Him work. May this be a glimpse of hope in the midst of your struggles as well.

“And we know (we know it even if we don’t feel it) that in all things (even the ones we can’t even fathom being used for good) God works for the good. (He works for the good. Our job is to walk with Him day by day. His job is to work the good.)

Dear Lord, thank You for this hope. Thank You that You don’t waste our tears, our struggles, or those places rubbed raw from years of trying and failing. Once we do what You’ve instructed us to do, You always do what only You can do. I know You will bring good even when I can’t see it or feel it. And what a comfort that is to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Steps: Write out your struggle on the front of a 3×5 card this week and pray for the next 5 days for God to reveal some good that could come from this. Write some of the power verses on the back of your card and meditate on these truths.

Reflections: God doesn’t comfort us to make us comfortable. God comforts us to make us comfort-able. Able to comfort others with the same comfort we’ve received from Him. Is there someone in my sphere of influence who could benefit from hearing my story? Could this be some of the good God can bring from this?

Power Verses: Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)

© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

My thoughts: If you've made it all the way through what Lysa had to say, then you might be interested in my thoughts...

I've struggled repeatedly with these two issues: our finances, and my self-image as a woman. They may sound silly to you, but they have been HUGE in my life.

Our financial situation is so overwhelmingly huge, I don't know if I can explain it. When Jake had the MRSA infection in his foot, he had to make daily trips to the ER. For a week. Which means a thousand dollars a day. And then our insurance refused to pay for it. So we owe the hospital around 10 thousand dollars. Plus our students loans. Plus some other smaller bills. And we just keep adding bills... It feels like we are at the bottom of a pit that we will never be able to climb out of no matter how hard we try.

The woman thing has to do with my calling into ministry, which really probably doesn't matter any more. I haven't served in ministry full time in about 5 years. I was called by God into ministry when I was 18. I am very sure of the call, 'cuz I DID NOT want it. I pretty much told God no way, and HE dragged me down the aisle. I had the joy of working actively in my Baptist Campus Ministries, then at seminary, and then as a worship minister. I never really questioned what God had planned for me as a woman. I was just doing what He had put in front of me.
Until we got a pastor who told me that God would never have called me to do what I was doing because I was a woman. That I was stealing from my husband. That I was forcing/pushing/asserting myself into a role God did not give me. Which has turned my world upside down. And has damaged my relationship with God...

Can God bring good out of these issues? I don't see how. They are so big that they almost seem out of God's control. Which is impossible. God is bigger and more powerful than anything. Than my problems. Than my debt. Than our living situation. Than our health issues.

He can bring good out of all things. I know this. I have seen this in day to day issues, in insurmountable health issues. In fact, I would go so far as to say that's God's speciality- bring good out of evil.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Saturday Smiles

Here are five things that make me smile:

1) Pizza!
Currently we are in love with Papa Murphy's take-it-and-bake-it pizza. I can pick it up any time during the day, and then cook it and have it hot and tasty very quickly.

2) The Cat "Ostrich" move
You know that thing cats do where they do a face plant right in front of themselves? Where it looks like they must be dead, or at least suffocating? That always makes me smile, if not laugh out loud.

3) Patricia Briggs books
I have not read a book by her that I haven't liked... She's written: Urban fantasy- werewolves & vampires; Medieval fantasy- gypsies with magical talents; Fantasy- dragons, sword-fights, spies and heroes. I like them all, but my favorites are the Urban Fantasies.

4) Singing on the worship team at church
I love to sing anywhere- give me a choir and I'm thrilled. Let me sing with a good band and I'll be in heaven for hours afterwards. I like singing folk, a cappella, Russian madrigals, grungy rock (although my voice is too bell-like & clear to be really great at the grunge rock thing). I love singing with other people and having all of our voices and instruments come together to make something amazing. However, singing for Jesus is even better. 'Cuz it's not about me. It's about making something beautiful for God. Lifting up His name, telling the world how awesome He is, and how much He has changed my life.

5) John Denver music
Again, I grew up primarily listening to my mom's music- western and folk music. So, I grew up listening to John Denver. A lot. And he's one of the comfort cross-overs- I mean he's one of the ones I grew up listening to that I like... Listening to his songs makes me think of Oregon and California, camping and hiking with my dad.