Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 17 (yes, I missed a few!)

Sometimes all I need to be happy is a beautiful To-Do List (Katie Daisy, obvs), a stack of books I find inspirational, and a blank notebook. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 14

Quick turnaround time-- but a visit to see my grandma, which was a blessing. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 13

Another shot of a beautiful and vibrant mural on a Nebraska City historical building. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 12

Nebrasaka City is cleaning house and updating the sides of historic old buildings with colorful and nostalgic vintage ads. I totally support this!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 11

Small town, Big Victorian house Christmas scene: mom's house, Nebraska City, NE

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 9

Just need the right size of dowels, and to attach a few poms, and the Christmas gifts are truly done for this year! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 8

This is one of the most beautiful Christmas picture books I've had the pleasure to read to my kids. I'd never read it before last night, but the message is still sticking with me a day later. I am coming to deeply love Patricia Polacco as a storyteller, illustrator, and family-lore recorder. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 7

Found this gem on our new ipad mini. This makes me laugh every time I see it!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 6

Here's my girl doing her ballet thing, smiling the entire time. If it involves skipping, dancing, singing, or music in any form, she's there with a smile on, and moving her body. Such a joy to watch these two grow into themselves one little season at at a time. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 5 + Links

*Artists play with their Thanksgiving meal food, and it looks really cool!

*Laniakea--the supercluster of galaxies that The Milky Way finds itself in, is not only beautiful, but mind-boggling. Watch this 4 minute video that is really well done. 

*Whether you can stomach Penelope Trunk's abrasive homeschooling arguments or not, her post "sitting is the new smoking" was pretty interesting.

* Mean tweets with Jimmy Kimmel is such a good waste of your time. This one, at :43 with Larry King made my stomach hurt I was laughing so hard. What?

*I am totally getting behind this trend of 'backstory' fairy tale movies. This Peter Pan one next summer looks really good. 

*You guys, this cookbook. Cough, Christmas idea, cough cough.

*I'm not usually a fan of pop music or the radio, but Taylor Swift? Cutting ties with Spotify. Making awesome and ironic videos. Killing it. I may have her new album on my wish list!

*This 3-minute video of a drone flying over Chernobyl was fascinating. And disturbing.

*Want your kids to be bilingual? Songs work really well, and they already know the tune to these ones!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 4

A little Christmas gift in progress here. I'm thoroughly enjoying crafting with felt this year, and I think I've found a good scene for each of my remaining receivers. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 3

Laundry, cleaning, and podcast day today. I can get through hours of chores with a good story, a science/political interview, or travel tips. Really, I listen to a variety of podcasts, and am always adding more. This might seem boring to some, but one day a week, a clean and orderly house and enriching my mind is a simple bliss. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 2

The beautiful BC mountain sunrise I'm always chasing, and inevitably, always failing at capturing. This is the view from my front porch upper deck. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

DPP 2014 // Day 1

I had another, better photo I was planning to use, but seeing these two near the tree, involved in their own work of untangling, hanging, and beautifying the tree in ways only children can do, I snapped a few 'okay' photos before the moment was over. Not the best photo, but representative, if even a little, of our cozy warm home, filled with love and comfort with one another; beautiful Christmas music in the background. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

December Photo Project 2014

December Photo Project 2014

For years I've participated in my friend Rebecca's photography baby, The December Photo Project, or DPP.  Every year she has beautiful banners and badges and does a splendid job setting up this free group all over social media and corralling blog writers, amateur (and professional) photographers, and those who just want a chance to celebrate the season with others. 

The DPP is a group of people who want to capture the 25 days of December leading up to Christmas in photographs. It grew from her personal blog and a few friends to now hundreds of people participating, and very possibly international members. 

This year I'm excited to participate again, though I will say, it *completely* snuck up on me, today. I can't believe the first of December is tomorrow. I've got to find that little old point and shoot! Happy clicking!

**Go here for more instructions on how to join DPP, grab banners and badges, and for a list of those also participating. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

What I Read in November

Flowers from Pike Place Market

This month I spent more time finally catching up on my scads of magazines than I did reading hard or soft-bound books. I'd let my magazine pile get pretty tall over the past 6-8 weeks (some over 6 months) simply because of moving, and life. I love magazines and devour 3-4 subscriptions a year. I don't have a tablet but even if I did I might still pay the extra amount for the in-your-hand shiny paper feel. I love Relevant and just renewed that for my perhaps sixth year, though I was all caught up on those. I also have gotten Martha  Stewart Living for free over the last three years or so (Thanks, Recyclebank!) although that has recently come to it's end. Sad. I'll get over it.

The magazine that is the prize-winner, though, is Mental Floss. I literally had 3 issues backlogged because of moving and just reading them one after the other was like a week-long giant sundae with about 7 cherries on top. It's a random magazine that has all sorts of stories that are well written, witty, and fascinating. Who ever knew you wanted a magazine with a front cover picture of a Napoleonic cat riding a unicorn? Surely, you do!

Followed by my gorging plate of trivia, I slowed down to read front-to-back three quaterly issues of Taproot Magazine. This magazine is more like a book than a magazine, because there are no ads, the articles can be very long, and there are always a couple recipes for whole foods meals and DIY craft instructions. The photography and the artwork is usually really great, and although it's expensive (hence, no ads), I got it late last year when I found out one of my favorite artists, Geninne Zlatkis was going to be producing the 4 cover art pieces for the year.

The two books I did manage to finish this month were:
Sarah Bessey's Jesus Feminist  I really expected this book to be a bit more pushy and argumentative than it was.  I don't often follow Sarah's blog, but I have read a few things I liked and I wanted to know what was inside her book with the provocative title. The main gist of this book is to encourage the egalitarian view of women within the church and in their life's calling. I found this book to be repetitive, and I felt like the last page or two of each chapter was basically saying the same thing over and over again.

Small Victories by Anne Lamott: Anne has another book out and I waited quite impatiently with my library to have the privilege to be the first to pick it up. She can pretty much do no wrong and her books usually flatten me with her wordy metaphors and quirky personality flaws. I haven't finished this but I'm over halfway. I'll do a full review in December.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Take the day the weekend to hug and kiss those you love, spend time with friends and family over good food, and be kind to those store employees if you head out on Black Friday. They need your patience and kindness, too! 

This year I'm thankful for a warm, comfy bed when I'm tired, plenty of food in my cupboards, healthy and thriving children, a steady husband (whose birthday is tomorrow! Wish him happy 29th!) who makes me laugh more than anyone else, and God's provision, even when we question it. We have much to be thankful for. 

*To purchase this print by artist, Katie Daisy, head here

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More Crafty Goodness

packaged up with gifts 

Last week I mentioned I had gift-bags to sell for Christmas, and I've been busy sewing the past seven days. I love spending time doing crafts and making practical, useful, and beautiful gifts. I get a blissful buzz from it.

In the top photo you can see what a few of the Christmas bag patterns are and what they might look like full of presents for friends and family. Although our Christmas tree will probably be locally sourced (ahem, from our property's uncleared forest), we don't have it cut down yet and displayed in our home. From past years, though, take my word for it--these fabric gift bags look beautiful under the tree and add a warmth and a coziness to the decorative atmosphere. 

two sets complete with enough twine to tie up each bag, and a necessary pom-pom

The two packages above are a pair of 6 bags each, with enough candy-cane striped twine for closing and a fun pompom to add a bit of spirit and bounce. Each package comes with one large bag, two medium, 2 small, and a mini, too. Each set of six is $25, which is comparable to paper bags, if not cheaper. And get this -- you'll get to keep these forever, instead of buying new bags every year. If you're outside of my area, shipping is just $5 flat. 

Email me at SSLAMAST (at) GMAIL (dot) COM for paypal address and quantity! I look forward to sharing my family tradition with yours. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thoughts on The Artist's Way

Over the last year I've been working independently on a creative writing course. It's something I put together on my own, to gain momentum and to improve my writing. I'd been looking forward to finally getting to Julia Cameron's well known artist recovery book, The Artist's Way. I received my free copy from paperbackswap and diligently read a chapter per week, enjoying the quotes perched along the margins of nearly every page, and trying to be studious with writing about at least one, sometimes five or six, of the Tasks at the end of each chapter. 

This book, and the amount of 'homework', if you take it seriously, is a course in itself, though, and I hate to say it, but I just couldn't keep up with it. Each week Cameron advises to go on an Artist Date, and nearly week after week I was not able to do that. I know it is a big part of going through the book. The reasons behind the artist date are to not only see what you may not otherwise see (and go where you may not otherwise go), but to get inspired, fill up your well with something life-giving, and also to make the time and money you spend toward art and artistic endeavors completely part of your lifestyle, and budget--to normalize creativity in your life.

 This was hard for me. If going out on one date a month with my husband, over a weekly artist date was what were measuring on the scales, the most important thing for me to do was to invest in my marriage, even though I tried to take it seriously. If there was a free exhibit (or just something like a beautiful park or area I hadn't been to before) then, I'd try to fit it in. With one car, four family members, low funds, and lack of babysitters it just got pushed onto the big slush pile of back burner priorities. I'm not making excuses, necessarily, because I did what I could, but at the end of the day, perhaps the timing was off for me even though I'd waited two years to go through this course. 

An international move happened as I was about 2/3 of the way done with the book, which didn't help my writing, or my willingness to try, either. I took two months off, which is about 1 month and 2 weeks longer than I should have. My discipline got lazy. I chose to sleep in instead of getting up and intentionally doing the Morning Pages and the reading. Although looking back on a project you want to succeed at, and seeing where the discipline fell by the wayside is somewhat disappointing, I know I can always go through this book again. That's where I'm leaving my experience with The Artist's Way. I don't keep many books (nor buy them, 95% of what I read is from the library), but I decided to keep this one for future use. I'll get to those Artist Dates yet. I love Julia's writing, and she's a very encouraging teacher. I've only read two of her books but I'd read more. I've kept both of them (shocker)! 

Moral of the story? One foot in front of the other. Timing might be off, but forward motion is still positive in the grand scheme of things. 

Have any of you ever gone through The Artist's Way? What was your experience?