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Showing posts from November, 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. 

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 sor…

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

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, …

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 w…

Sunday Words

Christmas Bag Sets for Sale!

A stuffed Christmas bag waiting to be opened! 
This year I'm really excited to start selling a few things I've been making and perfecting over the years for my own family and friends. The first of these items are sets of Christmas bags. What's a Christmas bag, you say?

A Christmas bag is a fabric bag that will last forever, long after paper bags, wrapping paper, and tissue paper. There is no clean-up after the gifts have been given, just gather them up, fold them and put them away for next year...and every year after that.

They keep vintage fabrics out of the landfill and are a great option both financially and environmentally. They come with a nice folded inside seam, and are double stitched up each side for strength. They're a part of the holiday traditions.
Two patterns of bags; S, M, L size, all folded up (bonus minis, too!)
I had never heard nor seen Christmas bags before marrying into the Mast family. Stefan's Oma always made them for her family, and Stefan'…

Frugal Christmas: Teddy & Dolly Sleeping Bags

This year we aren't headed back to Nebraska for Christmas. It's a sad thing, something that will hit us come late December, that this is the first year we won't be spending with our families during the holidays. I've tried not to think about it. Instead, focus on others, right? I found the original teddy sleeping bag idea on pinterest over a year ago and plugged it into the back of my mind for Christmas gifts for littles back in Nebraska.

Although I didn't stick to the exact design, nor buy the pattern, it did give me the inspiration I needed to create my own for my nieces and nephew. Instead of putting cotton batting in between the layers to give it that puffy feel, I used some extra bits of fleece I had on hand.

Although I changed the design from the largest to the next two, I really like how each turned out. The two girls' sleepers have a permanently folded bit in front, embellished by a vintage button. I thought the fold-over helped it look more like a sle…

Around Here // A Family Diary Update

Just a simple way to update family and friends of kid pictures, and what's going on in day-to-day life. Inspired by Kara's weekly journal day book entries.  
Ani & Lu with their chosen pumpkins at God's Little Acre Farm field trip
Outside my window: It's 4:51 and it's nearly dark. The blackness will set in within the next twenty minutes. The last night hovering just above our property tree line.

I am thinking: The kids have 8 minutes left of quiet time, and I need to get dinner started.

I am thankful: for the quiet of afternoon rest times and cold nights at home

Ani and Lukka riding a scooter in "The Philippines" (or the Seattle Children's Museum)
I am wearing: About 5 items I've had for almost 10 years. I need new clothes. 
I am creating: this blog post and Christmas bags (for sale next week!)
I am going: to make butter chicken for dinner. Thank you Costco sauce.
Ani working on lace-up cards on the front porch in late summer
I am wondering: how this wh…

Here Vs There

View of Vancouver from Stanley Park's Third Beach, and trail
A little compare and contrast, if you will.
Canadian Pros: *landscapes *suspension bridges *poutine *chocolates (ohh doesn't compare, American friends!) *dogs everywhere *maternity leave *accessible French children's books (this *might* be a niche..) *thrift stores
American pros: *hulu *banking  *no library probationary periods (also, perhaps a niche..) *cheap cheese  *cheap gas *receiving packages *alcohol sold in grocery stores *artists  *flea market towns

Sunday Words

I love words. I love reading. I love inspiration and creativity. Every Sunday I'll share some quotes to inspire you, a quiet end-of-week prayer or thought, if you will.

Weekend Links

Seattle Rainbow
I love the internet. Here's where I was clicking around this week: My favorite Little Folksinger has a new album out and it's more mellow than any of her others, because, "she's just happy all the time." (Spotify link) I read any and every interview she does, and to find her on Design*Sponge was surprising and perfect--my two worlds connecting. Here's the interview. I'm kind of a conference nerd. I think it goes back to my love of learning. It's on the bucket list to go to the World Domination Summit someday. And hey! Portland! The videos found here are sort of like TED talks without the short time boundary.I can't wait for Anne's new book. Can. Not. Wait. On Veteran's Day, go outside and celebrate your freedom by enjoying a National Park--free admission for that day only!I'm thinking of getting the Tinker Crate for Lukka for xmas...any gift ideas for a kid who doesn't really like toys, but loves to invent? Leave the…

A Little Bit More About My Writing Program

I just can't put a filter on this beauty (Stanley Park, Vancouver)
I wrote a little bit about my own creative writing program the other day, and today I want to flush it out a little bit more; tell you what the discipline looks like on an average day.
I'm generally at my best in the morning, and I like to have at least an hour and a half or two hours to myself before the kids are awake and my free time is gone. If you're a night owl, this type of practice would look very different for you, since you'd want to stay up at all hours after everyone's in bed. I don't get you, but I get you, get me?

Stefan wakes up about 6AM (I might be an early bird, but before 6AM is just obscene) and I generally open my eyes around 6:15-6:20. I begin my day by reading a bit of the bible, doing part of a bible study if I'm involved in one of those at the time, and then I finish up a chapter or an article if I fell asleep in the middle of one the night before. I then take whatev…

Self-Directed Creative Pursuits /// or, How I'm Creating My Own Master's Degree

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~ Mary Oliver
 Feather print by Jessica Rose *
I'm not a back-to-school girl. I knew when I graduated, almost full term with our first baby, that I wasn't going to graduate school. I had plowed through high school with a part-time job, graduated with honors, and then went straight to the university with vigor. After four years of making sure I had enough credits to graduate in exactly that time-frame, getting married, and doing the whole pregnancy thing minus a few weeks, I knew I wasn't going back to school anytime soon. I was at an entirely different crossroads than my peers and I was completely burnt out of school. I loved learning, but was done with academics on others' terms.

Around this time, I started doing a lot of things on my own as a newlywed and new mom. I had to become resourceful and useful in the kitchen, because otherwise it was pasta and red sauce for the rest of our lives. I receiv…

Space Needle Treat!

Space needle on a clear day in late October
One of my best friends came up two weeks ago to spend time with me for 6 days. We did a couple fun things; I took her to Crescent Beach, we went to Stanley Park later in the week, but the majority of the time we just spent catching up on the past year and a half and had a non-stop verbal stream for about 72 hours minus the time we were sleeping and taking bathroom breaks.
Towards the end of the week another friend flew up for the weekend, and we took off to spend three days together in Seattle. Aside from my Malibu trip over a year ago, this was the first time I'd been gone from the kids for any long period of time. I needed this trip so badly. With grandparents still living back in Nebraska, it's been over 2 years since Stefan and I have been able to go somewhere together by ourselves since moving, and we are going to be getting creative next year with this because we realize what a detriment missing out on that actually is for us. …