Thursday, April 29

Layered Flower Cards

Flower inspired cards are up in my shop now!

keeping things in perspective

Just after I posted the last post, I read this post that was linked from another blog in my rss feed. The theme of housing and the abundance of what we are used to in this culture is on my mind. It's hard to keep the focus off myself no matter where I live and what my circumstances, but it's even harder for me recently. Living in the States is no small part of that, with all that we have here and all we have to compare ourselves to. So, I'm thankful to have reminders to know I'm blessed in order to be a blessing.

abundance and motivation

We have a pretty big apartment. Not big compared to most of the places our friends live, but plenty big for us. The other day, Colin said "when we have a baby, do you think we'll have to move out of this apartment?" He loves the outdoor space that we have. He spends a little bit of his morning out there every day. We eat out there sometimes, I have a bunch of potted plants out there that Colin keeps alive when I forget to water them, and we hope to still get a little garden in before it gets too late in the season.

Today, I saw this article with this picture of a seven square foot space a single working girl rents in Beijing. Unbelievable! It looks kinda cozy, but mostly sad with its one tiny window and no space for anything but a narrow bed. The saddest parts though would be no kitchen (I think they have a shared one in the hall though) and that they have to use the public bathrooms on the street. I have seen and smelled such bathrooms while walking the streets of China, and they are nasty.

I wonder if she has any closet space. One of my Chinese students once told me that he wore one set of clothes all week and then went home on the weekends to change. His mother would wash his clothes for him and he'd switch out clothes again the next weekend. Our Chinese students were sometimes baffled that their foreign teachers had so many clothes.

This girl who lives in the seven square foot pod has moved there from an apartment she shared with a roommate so that she can send more money home to her parents in the country. Would that even cross the mind of a recent college grad in America? Maybe it would for some. It makes me think about an update I got from a friend who's still teaching where I did in China. She says the freshman class this year has the most discipline problems she's ever seen and she's at a loss to know how to motivate them. That was the thing about teaching in China - I could count on most of my students to be super diligent. They made the most of their time in university. But the new students have a new reputation. They haven't known economic hardship and they don't seem to care about learning much. As Colin said when I relayed that story to him, "Maybe China won't take over the world after all if those are the students that are in university now."

Tuesday, April 27

Pennant Cards

I have lots of ideas for new cards and other things I want to make, and even with my current job, where I have a few hours a day to do as I please at work, I'm making slow progress, but a little progress is something! These new pennant cards in my shop are the first of many new things to come!

a clean living room!

We had some friends over for dinner last night, so the living room was presentable enough for me to get some pictures!

Almost everything in our apartment was given to us. We're really thankful!

Colin's keyboard, our shoe cabinet, and the Goodwill chair and ottoman.

My underused desk/sewing machine table that I hope to either refinish or paint. (I'm thinking about a bright green from the paint samples under the magnet.) I got a bunch of these trays at Goodwill for the wedding, and hung a few above the desk as a magnet idea board.

Mimi's old suitcases came with us in a car load from Texas.

Pillow covers made from IKEA fabric and recycled wool sweaters.

Thursday, April 22

some things we've done in the apartment

I bought cup hooks to give us some more storage space in the cabinets, but then Colin decided a better approach would be to build more shelves for the cabinets and use the hooks to hang our pots and pans on the opposite side of the cabinet. It works well and is fun because we have some brightly colored cookware.

I hung up wire from eye hooks to hang pictures, fun magazine pages, and quotes from. (You see an overflowing fruit bowl here because I occasionally buy extra large bags of grapefruit and eat one a day for weeks. Yum!)

And I recovered the seats to these dining chairs that were given to us with some fabric from a local upholstery/resale store (that I might start working full time for!).

Wednesday, April 14


This is the little guy that is my current charge. He just learned to turn over on Friday. Four and a half months old. Sometimes such a turkey, sometimes so cute!

Sunday Morning

I made hot cross buns on Sunday - I'd wanted to make them all week long since I saw a few posts on Good Friday with recipes for them. I had to make them with mostly whole wheat flour, which made them a little heavy, because I ran out of regular flour. (Colin is campaigning for a complete switch to all whole wheat flour, and I'm for using half and half in recipes.)

So, we had breakfast together (a rare thing) on Sunday, with a homemade latte for me and a glass of milk for him. After church, we went to a new Korean sauna Colin got free tickets to. They had the hottest steam rooms ever and a room to lie down on heated red clay balls. Fanciest sauna I've ever been to! After that, Korean soft tofu stew. Yummy. A wonderful Sunday indeed.

Friday, April 9

a few things at home

I hung this branch above our headboard and am now wondering what to hang from it. Since I took the picture, I've hung a tiny string of papel picado from the ends, but I'm not sure it will stay. Any ideas?

The owl with chalkboard was Colin's idea to put in the bathroom. Weird, but fun.

This is also in our bathroom. It was the first thing we put up when we moved in, with green and white glass I collected for wedding centerpieces from Goodwill.

How fun is this idea to write and illustrate family recipes on the inside of cabinets? I'm not going to do it since we're renting, but I can dream. More pics to come soon of the rest of the little place.

breakfast on the patio

One of the reasons why we love our apartment - a great patio with plants that were all given to us, a free table from craigslist, cheap chairs from goodwill, a firepit (and plenty of wood) from craigslist, and a spot for a small future garden.

Thursday, April 8

division of labor

Since I started nanny-ing, Colin and I have been sort of taking turns on the cooking front. We should have figured out some sort of division of chores from the beginning, but it felt sort of artificial to me, and I was the one who didn't have a job, so I felt like I needed to contribute the most to laundry, cooking, and cleaning. But, because I'm stubborn and want to make sure things aren't unfair, I got grouchy a lot, feeling that Colin should contribute more. Then, even when I was okay with what I was doing, I would sometimes think ahead to the future and get upset about what might happen when I got a job and was still expected to do all the house stuff. Colin is really patient, though, and good about getting me to talk about why I'm being a grouch, even when I don't want to.

Anyway, one morning last week as I left the apartment, I asked Colin to put the chicken in the crockpot and I came home to a fancy cooked chicken with lemon, vegetable chowder, and Colin's famous cottage cheese dill bread. He's great.

estate sale finds

I usually glance through the weekly PennySaver and then get rid of it, but last weekend, I saw an estate sale that caught my eye. I went and got a bunch of stuff for $20! All this vintage fabric,
stacks and stacks of Time magazines from the 60s and 70s to either use to make cards or give away, (Colin has already created two birthday presents from the weeks people were born.)

two old suitcases, plus some sweaters that I'll use for making throw pillows, an electric sander, adjustable crescent wrenches, firestarters, a planter, a wool blanket, and a few other things. Amazing! Colin told me the next time he brings home a pile of stuff, though, that I can't complain. I guess he's right. We probably need to have a one-in-one-out policy from now on.

picnic at the park

Two weekends ago, we took a few hours off from our usual weekend agenda of working on projects at home to go to a park. Mile Square Park is less than 30 minutes by bike from our apartment and I'd been wanting to see what was there, so I made a Korean picnic lunch and we rode out there. Colin strapped the lawn chairs to his bike and we used the new Google maps bike directions to find the best way. We ate our lunch, sat and read, and threw the frisbee until it got lost in the lake (despite my heroic dive to save it before it rolled in) and Colin had to creatively retrieve it.

Yay for bikes, a huge nearby park, and a sunny weekend!

Friday, April 2

Good Friday thoughts from a friend

My friend Suzanne posted this today. Here is a piece, but really you should read the whole thing.

There is an aspect about the passage of Jesus making breakfast for his disciples that might be like very close friends coming together after a long night out, hangovers and all, to share in the previous night’s antics and activities: confessing indiscretions and stupid things said or done, but walking away from it with stronger love for one another, and a whole lot more grace. Such a gathering would acknowledge humility and human frailty, but it would all be okay.

This Easter, then, I approach Sunday with an awareness that I can’t really say to my Christ, I love you so much! I say, perhaps, I love you with a human love. Or, I love you more than some things, but some other things I still love more.

Really, I look forward to breakfast: To food, real food, to the bread of God’s word, and to thankfulness for daily provision; For having a full net one minute, and an empty one the next. And that is about all that I can muster.


“Keep this proverb in mind: The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. Therefore, withdraw your heart from the love of things visible and turn yourself to things invisible.”

collaborative wedding

We loved our wedding and we got a lot of help from friends and family to pull it off because a lot of people stayed on site with us. The parts people contributed made it an even better wedding.

I'm guessing most of my readers aren't planning a wedding right now, but I love this post about friends of the bride and groom contributing to the planning process. I love how they approach the process by asking their friends for input and talking about the goals for their wedding.

More often than not, I tend to approach things on my own, either thinking that it's too difficult or too imposing to ask others to contribute, but I think it makes for a wonderful community process when people can come together to plan and pull something like a wedding (or even just a dinner) off.

Thursday, April 1


We're having our first group of people over on Saturday and I am thinking about having people write their names in sharpie on our cloth napkins because of this post about French napkin customs. We're trying to use cloth napkins instead of paper, and I think that would be a fun way to show that it's OK to get the napkins dirty and also a reminder of friends who come over.

(We're having dinner and then the girls are going to watch New Moon in the bedroom and the boys are going to play Risk 2010 in the living room. Colin's calling it vampires vs. robots.)