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.)