Friday, February 27

the books of february

Hello and happy Friday! I decided on a whim to post the books I read in February. Gosh I love books. I'm always reading and always looking out for the next good read. I love talking about books and finding out what other people are currently enjoying. I look for book recommendations everywhere: conversations, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs. If I come across a book that looks good I add it to my never ending Amazon wish list. So many books.

Because I think it is so fun to see what other people are reading, I thought I would share my short list for this month. I tend to mix up what I'm reading: typically some current fiction mixed in with some inspirational/Christian books and such. Here's the three I read this month:
Unfinished by Richard Sterns of World Vision. We somewhat recently moved to a new church. Love our church. Shorty before we moved there they went through a series from Richard Stern's other book: The Hole in our Gospel. Everyone raved about that book, saying how it shifted their world view dramatically concerning world poverty. I have not read that book, but feel like I need to. Our church just wrapped up a series on Unfinished, the follow up to The Hole in our Gospel. I thought it was good. Challenging and convicting. A really good read but not one that you can go through very quickly--lots of stuff in there!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I like to read books about home, and how to get your home in its best shape. If there is one thing that I am always griping about around here it the clutter. Ugh. Is anyone else with me? Well, I noticed this book lots of places and it really intrigued me. Obviously my American style of decluttering is not effective, so why not try out a Japanese way? If I could describe this book in one word it would be "quirky". I really liked it even though parts were a tad bizarre. What makes this book different than other decluttering and organizing books is the method: instead of trying to clean out your house by going through it drawer by drawer, room by room, this author suggests that you need to do it category by category. (Take books, for example: gather ALL the books in your house. Pile them in one area, then go through them all at once.) Also, you are supposed to focus on what you want to keep, rather than what you want to get rid of. Very interesting!

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. This book had been on my list for a while. Like years. A couple different people recommended it. Last year I bought it for my brother for his birthday, making him promise that I could borrow it when he was finished. (Is that rude? Hope not, I did the same thing this year!) Anyway, I finally got to it. So different in that the narrator of the story is a dog. Instantly that makes everything so much more sad! This book had its fair share of sad stuff, most that I was not expecting at all. I don't know really what I expected from this book, but it was very different than what I thought it would be. It was a very enjoyable fast read. Now I feel the need to hug every dog I see.


There you have it! The books of February. Let me know if you have any books that you think I need to add to my list…like I said I am always on the lookout!

Tuesday, February 17

playing favorites

For as long as I can remember I have loved art. All kinds of art. I followed up four years of high school art with four years (or was it five?) of studio classes in college. Drawing. Lots of drawing. Printmaking. Painting. Ceramics. Photography. I even studied art in a different country! Studying art has been a part of my life that I have missed so much. I thought that I needed to follow up this tour de art classes with a focus on something. I have thought and felt like I need to pick a favorite. Just one, forsaking all the others, and that I needed to find some sort of success with that one favorite.

The trouble is, I'm terrible with picking a favorite.

For a while I thought it was watercolor. Oh watercolor. This, was a favorite until I had three kids and the idea of stretching paper stretched me further than I could go. Time was not something I had. So then photography was my favorite. The somewhat instant gratification was wonderful, and I could capture my babies at the same time. Win win. Lately, painting has slowly wiggled back into my life, and I am enjoying it so much. So much with picking one thing.


I've led a series of painting workshops lately and I have had such a great time just watching people be creative and enjoy the process of making art. 

Enjoying the process. What a great idea. This, I've decided is the new favorite.

Friday, February 6

something so simple

With Andrew being an auctioneer, I make it to my fair share of auctions. Oddly enough, I don't buy stuff all that often. It's not that I don't see stuff I like, I see lots I like. I just happen to be cheap. Now, if something catches my eye and I can bring it home for under $10? Now we're talking. If that same item is not only cheap but pretty and functional? We've hit the trifecta of auction goodness.

A while ago I purchased a cute little sewing machine drawer at an auction. $4. I didn't have any idea what I would do with it, I just liked it. I sat it on top of my cabinet in our office room for a while. It sat empty. I tried putting photos in it. Nah. Then, I remembered seeing this on Pinterest:

(From HGTV. Click here to see the original link.)

Perfect. My own makeup was currently stored in a makeup bag, and every time I got ready I spent lots of time digging around looking for stuff. I hate that. So, I decided that my little $4 sewing machine drawer would be perfect bathroom storage:
For all the brushes and pencils I cleaned out a Bath & Body Works candle jar. It was the perfect height and size for the drawer.
See--it sits so pretty on my bathroom shelf. Now, when I get ready I can just pull down this little drawer and I don't have to dig around in a bag anymore. Plus, it looks so cute. So funny how something so inexpensive and simple can make you so happy!
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 4

a few (girly) favorites

I thought I would pop in and share a few of my daily favorites that I have taken so far this year. January is all wrapped up, and I have the pictures to show for it! After I loaded all of these here to the blog I noticed that they were all pretty girly. I think that is what happens when you spend your days with two little girls! I need to make an effort to capture more of my boy next month.
Still so glad that I decided to jump in and try to complete this 365 project this year. A couple of days I didn't really like the picture I took at all, and I am trying to just let that go. Ugh. Perfectionism is a nasty little habit, isn't it? Trying instead to appreciate the fleeting moments I have captured so far, and loving the chance and time to be able to work on something like this. I have streamlined my process a little bit, which has helped me keep on top of things and not get my days all messed up. This is good.

Thanks for stopping by, thanks for looking!

Thursday, January 15

bright

Just when you think you can't take much more of winter, the sun shines and everything is so beautifully bright. Gosh, winter. I really want to hate you, but you're just so pretty sometimes!
These pictures are reason numero uno why I love a photo-a-day challenge. We were headed out the door to Max's piano lesson, and so I grabbed my camera. There is no way I would have taken it with us had I not had a picture to take. And just like winter shines sometimes, so does inspiration.

You have to keep grabbing your camera.

Tuesday, January 13

the one-year pillow

About a year ago Andrew and I went away for a couple days to a little cabin in the woods. It was so nice. We went out to eat and sat by the fire. I took a stack of books and a stack of fabric and started making these little English paper pieced stars. (If you don't have any idea what English paper piecing is click here!) I didn't have a plan at all, it was just because I like to have a little something to do with my hands. Eventually I decided that I would put the little stars together to make a pillow. That would come together quickly because pillows aren't very big. Ha! Fast forward to a year later and I finally got my pillow done. (And by I, I mean my mom and I. Once I got the front all sewn together and quilted my mom took it to her house and actually made the pillow.) I love it!
Now, this wouldn't have taken a whole year if I would have put some concentrated effort on it. I mostly sewed it while the kids were in the bath tub. While they soaked and played I got out my little sewing box and chatted with them. I should probably call it the "bath tub pillow". Or maybe not. One of the kids would probably think that meant that it is literally a pillow for the bath tub. No way! I took me a year to sew that together!

(In other news I have my photographing my way through January so far, one photo a day! My inspiration/creativity seems to be a little lacking, but I think that is all the more reason to do it.)

Thursday, January 1

new

Did December happen? Did I miss it? I'm kidding, a little bit. December and Christmas were a complete blur of school musicals, a birthday party, a dance recital, a big church art project and family gatherings. A total blur. I missed this little blog of mine, but something had to be put away for a while so I could make room for all the other things!

Ah, but now it is January. My favorite. Some people pick out a word to describe how they want their new year to be. Fun. I've tossed this idea around before, but it never really stuck. It might not stick this year either, but I wanted to entertain the idea anyway. New. That will be the word for this year. I know, that doesn't seem all that original, it is the new year after all. I think I love January for a few reasons, but I think mostly I love this time of year because of all the possibilities. If you want to change something, now is the time where that change seems possible. Every year I always want to change so many things about myself, my habits, my home, etc. I think I just so badly want to feel new. Don't we all?

While creating changes is wonderful, I always fall short. The new, it seems, is so very hard to maintain. The real new, the new I want for this year is springing up, I just need to see it. The new this year will come from leaning hard into God and learning His new for me. For my home. For my family. For everything.

See, I'm doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:19


While I am on the subject of all this January newness, the possibility of completing a 365 day photo project seems feasible. Ha! I feel like I just wrote about this. Anyway, why not try? After I gave up on this project (again!) last year I really missed it. I felt like I was missing out on pictures that later I would have wished for. Does that make sense to anyone else? Without this project I'm just a little lazy about picking up my camera. I don't know how much I will post them, if I will even try to post all of them. I thought about taking this little photo a day project over to Facebook? Instagram? I will let you know how I am doing for sure. Thanks for stopping by, and Happy New Year!

january 1