Thursday, December 30

"If you are what you should be, then you will set the world on fire."

- St. Catherine of Siena

Sunday, December 19

The Craft Fair!

We had two really beautiful days for the craft fair last weekend. I'm glad it wasn't this weekend, with the three days (and more to come) of non stop rain!

Colin helped out so much by handing out business cards, manning the booth while I looked around, by bringing food and coffee, and with set-up and tear down. Couldn't have done it without him!

The craft fair was fun and super tiring. At the end of the day Saturday, we went out for dinner in nearby Chinatown and then I came home and crashed. After a week of very little sleep, I think that was the most needed nights rest I've had in a long time. Sunday I got a chance to look around at the other booths, which were a lot of fun, but I can understand why so many people come and just look - it's a little overwhelming!

Saturday, December 18

the sign

In the flurry of activity last week, Colin offered to help, so I asked him if he could make a sign for my booth. I told him what I had in mind and he said he could borrow a friend's jigsaw to make it happen. We got the plywood from a local store that was throwing it away. Colin spent most of the evening toiling away and made me an awesome sign.

I covered it in book pages and he hung it at my Renegade booth last weekend. Lots of people stopped just to take a picture of the sign!

Thursday, December 16

While I was inside all day two Saturdays ago, feverishly making headbands, garlands, and sets of sewn cards, Colin was outside almost all day cleaning out and washing both of our cars quite thoroughly. I'm pretty sure he was having more fun than I was.

Wednesday, December 15

Still in Recovery Mode

The past two and a half weeks have been a blur of activity. When we got back from our Thanksgiving vacation visiting Colin's family in Arkansas, I went full speed ahead into my new full time job while at the same time trying to make as much awesome stuff as possible to sell at my first craft fair. We also threw some holiday parties and other gatherings in there which made it pretty crazy!

The craft fair was really fun. I actually made a profit and my etsy sales have greatly increased in the days following. I'm so thankful!

Colin was a huge help in getting ready for the fair, picking up my slack at home, and in being with me at the fair. Such a blessing! I have pictures to share of everything that I'll post soon.

Things are still getting back to normal since when I get back home from work I have to fill orders from the shop. There's still a few big piles of things waiting to be put away in the aftermath of the fair, but thankfully Colin's patient with that too.

I'm getting more settled in at work. We are able to sit still and celebrate Advent a few nights a week, which has been wonderful. A week from tomorrow we'll be heading to Texas! Exciting times.

Thursday, December 2

Ice in Arkansas

We got in to Arkansas the night before Thanksgiving and the next morning the temperatures dropped while the rain came, so we got to experience a real Southern ice storm. It was beautiful since we didn't have to go anywhere and beautiful because you don't see things like this in Southern California!

Advent Wreath

This is my first real season to celebrate Advent. With a new job (finally! I have a full time job again!) and preparing for the Renegade Craft Fair, I am finding the time we're taking to stop and wait and remember necessary to return to a peaceful state of mind.

I made this "wreath" out of discarded Christmas tree clippings at Wal-Mart. I was thinking about buying a small Norfolk pine and cutting branches off of it, but then I saw the guy throwing these branches out and decided they would look even better. They were free, to boot! I was going to tie them together, but to make it simpler, I just laid them on a circular tray. I'm not using the traditional Advent colors of purple and pink because I wanted to use candles I already had.

This week, we've been lighting the first candle when we sit down to dinner and reading the scripture and singing a song together after dinner. The theme this week from the resource we're using is to wake up and be alert for the new thing that God is doing. So good.

Wednesday, December 1

The last of the China pics

I found a few more pictures from China. With all that's in the news lately, I'm thinking and praying for that part of the world now.
The meat grinder lady who also sells noodles and dumpling wrappers.

The last week we were there, it was time to make kimchi to last all winter. In China, you can actually get vegetables all winter, but it's Korean tradition to pickle and ferment cabbage in large quantities as winter comes in. So, they sell it in huge mounds on the street corners.

Sunday, November 28

More advent links

Since I posted the last advent link, I've found a few more links to share.

This quote from Kester:

"Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace. By reflection and prayer, by reading and meditation, we can make our hearts a place where a blessing of peace would desire to abide and where the birth of the Prince of Peace might take place." -Edward Hays

Music for advent
recorded by my cousin's husband and free on Noisetrade. You can also go to their church's site to get their advent resource.

Saturday, November 27

A Better Holiday Idea: Celebrate Advent

I have never fully celebrated Advent, but I hope Colin and I can start this year. I started looking online and found this resource from the Mennonite Church.

I like the idea of doing less for the holidays with the idea of what we do being meaningful. I want to establish traditions that are fun, simple, and look beyond ourselves to the reason we celebrate the season.

The first Sunday of Advent is tomorrow! We'll still be in Arkansas at Colin's parents' house, so we may not start on time

Do you celebrate Advent? Do you have other resources that would help us get started with an Advent tradition this year?

Friday, November 26

Charles Bukowski: Bluebird


there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there,
so don't be
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don't
weep, do

-Charles Bukowski

I noticed this poem on the wall at an exhibit at the Huntington Library last weekend and thought it was kind of amazing.

the cost of noticing

"One must always be aware, to notice -- even though the cost of noticing is to become responsible."

- Thylias Moss

Thursday, November 25

Renegade Craft Fair coming up!

The Renegade Craft Fair is coming up quickly! My logo is up on their site and I'm excited! I just started a full-time job and won't be able to make all that I had hoped to, but I will still have plenty of great things, so come by and visit if you're in the area!

Monday, November 22

Weekend Recap

Ah, Monday. I am glad you're here. I feel like I have a breather even though I have quite a few packages to send out and a lot of cleaning up to do.

We had a marriage check-up with a gracious friend/counselor on Thursday night. I gave my testimony Friday night at a gathering of cell groups. Saturday was a lovely trip in the rain with a lovelier friend to the Huntington Gardens and then a one year old birthday party and the tree lighting at The Santa Monica Place.

The whole week last week was spent making as many things as I could for the Craft Fair yesterday. I'm glad that Tim was taking pictures, because I forgot. It rained almost all weekend, but cleared up just in time for a beautiful, sunny afternoon. Amazing.

After the fair, we got a nice nap and then a yummy Mexican food dinner with friends. Good times.

Thanks to Laura, Jenni, and Angela for commenting on my last post. Since I'm in the holiday spirit, I'm going to send you all a little package of what you liked best in the shop. Yay!

I'm looking forward, after I get my life back in some kind of order, to making some white chocolate covered cranberries and probably some pumpkin bread to take on our Thanksgiving trip to Arkansas. What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you making special things?

Friday, November 19

Be The Change Video

Found through this post on paying it forward.

Just for fun (in the spirit of paying it forward), if you'd like a set of my cards or a hair accessory, pick the one you'd want from my handmade shop and tell me in the comments, along with your e-mail address. I'll pick a comment randomly on Sunday at 9pm Pacific Time and send the selected person the item they like best!

Thursday, November 18

A Better Holiday Idea: Good and Fair Clothing

There are holiday gift guides everywhere right now! So, I'm going to continue to bring up ways from near and far to bring better ideas into the holiday shopping frenzy.

Good and Fair Clothing Company was started by a friend in Austin. They use 100% organic cotton and are fair trade from the "farm to the factory." They're currently selling boxers, t-shirts, and women's underwear. You can also get custom tees made from them.

A great way to start a quest to buy more responsibly in terms of clothing.

Wednesday, November 17

A Better Holiday Idea: Barnaboo Boots

If I could only pick one idea to share as I'm thinking about a better holiday season this year, this would be it. I know the people who run this company and I have now visited the country in which the boots are made. Go to their website to learn more:

Barnabus Trading Company

You can't actually buy these boots unless you live in Canada because of trading restrictions with other countries, but you can buy a pair of these boots to send to a kid who needs them in Mongolia, which is even better!

I just went to the Barnabus site and they also have very cool scarves for sale which you can have shipped to the States or to Canada.

Tuesday, November 16

Giving and the Holidays

I'm usually against starting holiday festivities early. When I saw the Christmas decorations going up in September at the mall, I though 'ick, consumerism.' But, if you came to our house for Colin's birthday party a week ago, you would have seen a little display of ornaments on an upside down tomato cage (our improvised tree), a vintage sled, presents wrapped in dictionary pages. Colin actually put it together when he cleaned house since I had all of those things on the living room floor.

Things have been a little different this year because I've been putting new items in my two etsy shops that are Christmas themed and making plans for this weekend's craft fair at church. So, holiday stuff has been on my mind.

I sent an e-mail to my family a few days ago asking if we wanted to stop giving gifts, or if we give them, to give something handmade, regifted, or give to a good cause. Colin asked about it last night and I told him "basically, we're not giving gifts." He started talking about the Biblical reasons for gift giving, that it brings joy, that it shows appreciation, etc. I kind of sighed, thinking that he was making things more complicated. Then I realized that I was taking the easy route by just saying no to gift giving. There are lots of great ways to enjoy the season without giving gifts, but giving gifts can be fun and thoughtful and great. Colin grew up in a family that doesn't celebrate Christmas, so he looks forward to giving and receiving.

All this has me thinking. I'm putting a lot of effort (well, it's my full-time job right now) into my etsy stores and selling things at these holiday fairs. So, I don't know what will be left in me to make more things and find thoughtful gifts for those who I would like to give something to. But, I also realize that I really enjoy making things for others and I enjoy giving. During the next few weeks, I'm going to post some ideas for thoughtful giving that puts less focus on consumerism and more focus on sharing the wealth. I'd love to hear from you and what you do, too!

Sunday, November 14

Nouwen on Prayer and Having Nothing to Lose

"[Praying] demands that you take to the road again and again, leaving your house and looking forward to a new land for yourself and your [fellow human]. This is why praying demands poverty, that is, the readiness to live a life in which you have nothing to lose so that you always begin afresh."

- Henri J.M. Nouwen, With Open Hands

Thursday, November 11


Colin's gone for the weekend and I'm up later than usual doing stuff like making a treasury of favorite things on etsy. Check it out.

See other treasuries I've made here and here.

Wednesday, November 10

Monday, November 8

Back in the Kitchen Again (or Colin's Birthday)

Apart from making some simple baked fish, I wasn't too interested in cooking among all the unpacking and recovering from jet lag. But, Colin's birthday came on Wednesday, and my desire to cook was revived. I started out by making biscuits, bacon gravy, and eggs for breakfast in bed.
Forgot to take a picture until after we were finished, though.

Then, I made this cake. It was delicious, but not nearly as beautiful as the picture with the recipe, so I decided not to try to take my own sad picture. Also made chicken parmigiana and spinach for dinner in with a Redbox. We stayed in since we were still in recovery mode from being gone for a month.

Made this lasagna and an improvised veggie one along the same lines for Colin's birthday get together yesterday. Also made these cream cheese and chives biscuits which were a hit. Some friends came over after church for lunch and games. (The guys went into the night playing Risk. When we saw that Risk had begun, the girls went to get cheap massages.)

Made these nuts too, and these pumpkin seeds. Made the apartment smell amazing!

I wanted to try this pumpkin bread, but didn't have sour cream, so I used my old recipe with icing for cupcakes. Can you tell that I have a current obsession with Lottie + Doof recipes? I'm also obsessed with the beautiful photography!

Colin also got a t-shirt quilt which he loves and a 'Where the Wild Things Are' inspired card.

Wednesday, November 3

not ashamed of weakness

"A life in prayer is a life in open hands where you are not ashamed of your weakness but realize that it is more perfect for a [human] to be led by the other than to seek to hold everything in [her] own hand."

- Henri J.M. Nouwen

Tuesday, November 2

Missing Yanji

I'm keeping the Yanji and Garden Grove forecasts on my computer. Not looking forward to the highs here.

Snow in the forecast in Yanji.... Wish I were still there! (We got a few snow flurries on our last Monday there.)

Saturday, October 30

On Our Way Home!

This is a picture from a road we crossed in China to get to a factory where we have a few boxes stored. The taxi we were in had to stop here instead of take us all the way to our destination. When we returned down the same road later, they had filled in enough dirt to let cars pass.

We had a great month (extended a week longer than we originally intended) in China and beyond and are now waiting just another two hours in Seoul for our flight to LA!

Saturday, October 23


My friend J and I went on a walk together like we used to do behind the university the first Saturday I was here.  There's a little rural village back there.  We saw this mound of potatoes in one yard - so many potatoes!  And, an old mattress spring for a gate.  Awesome.

Planning on leaving tomorrow morning for another trip in.  I feel privileged to join the team again.  Colin will finish up his job and I'll be there for moral support.  Looking forward to it, but definitely going to take a long hot shower and have at least two more cups of real coffee here just before we go!

on the mountain

I loved getting to see where the wind turbines are and see Colin at work!  My guide didn't want to leave the mountain without Colin. 
He said he wanted the "VIP" in his car. 

Still not sure whether we're leaving tomorrow or not.  I'm betting we're not, but am waiting for Colin's return to talk to him about options.

Friday, October 22


I found out today that I've been accepted to be a vendor at the Renegade Holiday Craft Fair in LA on December 11th and 12th! 
I'm surprised, excited, and a little nervous about making enough things to sell. 
We were supposed to fly back tomorrow, but Colin is needed longer here.  However, the dates we need to change to are all full. 
We need your prayers to get a flight back on the 29th or 30th!

Thursday, October 21

at the friendship house

I loved it when this girl took my arm for the picture.  It was one of my favorite moments of the trip.

extravagant lunches as a tourist

My driver had to teach me how to eat the crab with hands and chopsticks.