Coming Soon: Free Book

Coming Soon: Free Book
Planning to give away a book or two!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

It is play time!

It is intermission.  The play is great so far.  More later  ....

Friday, February 27, 2015

The one year Bible

Have you ever read through the Bible in a year? I have always wanted to but never made it through.  This year I downloaded the one year Bible on my Kindle. 

The version of Kindle has an option that it will read to me when I hit the play button. That's nice because if I  am behind a couple of days and I need to drive somewhere I can listen and drive.  

Each day contains some Old Testiment, New Testiment, Psalms and Proverbs. As I go through Leviticus, the Jewish laws and commandments, I find myself praying "What does this have to do with me?"

It is showing me what God is looking for from us. A relationship between us that takes work on my side.  Maybe work isn't the best word.   .... sacrifice from me. Well that was what he used to want for the relationship.  But because I was incapable of providing it, God the sacrifice. He did my work for me in order for us to have the perfect relationship.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A touching Thursday

I started my day today by traveling to St. Cloud to take a certification test. I passed!  Hurray! The topic was process manufacturing but it also included working with rebates,  catch weight items, commodities, regulated and restricted items. It was a complicated test.

I was very excited after passing the test. It was one of the more difficult certifications. Ironically, I had received a call this morning from UPS asking for my physical address so that they could deliver my Party Lite order.  So I knew that I would be coming home to a package.  It arrived shortly after I got home. Everything was going well.

I shared with a coworker then I  received the bad news.  Her grandson passed away on Tuesday.  The funeral is on Saturday.  That was all that she shared. She is a Christian so I knew that I could cross the line a bit with compassion. I texted her a simple prayer with the picture below.  "Lord, Let your comfort shine like a light in this dark week."
Jesus is the Light of the World.
Something inside told me to go one step further, so I decided that I needed to send my total view to her.  I shared the following words with her, "that pretty picture comes from the center of a mess."  After I sent it, I realized how God's words were shining through my daily life.  My messy and anything but perfect life.  But in the middle of my imperfection sits God's perfect plan.  And he uses me with all my imperfections to complete his plan.  Please join me in praying for the family that will be burying the young boy on Saturday, February 28th.
... and it's not a perfect world

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Run fun

Today is where a picture will say a thousand words.  We had a dramatic evening the unexpectedly ate up my whole evening.  Dale's van just got out of the repair shop and it didn't start when he got off work which was just when I was ready to pick up his brother to dog sit for tomorrow morning.  Then he locked his truck keys in the van. 

Earlier in the evening, I took the girls to the open field for some running.  They spent a lot of time running and barking at nothing.
The race in on!
Misty Blue in the lower right corner was "laying in wait" for the other girls to come across the field.  She got just a little bit excited when they started running back.
Dobermans ... coming from every angle.
It isn't every day that I can get all three girls together in one picture running.  Especially where I can see each of the girls. 
Follow the leader! or Catch mama :^)
Even more rare, is catching all three girls standing together not blocking each other.  For a brief moment, I was afraid that they were going to take off on the run after something.  What ever was distracting them was a matter of 30 seconds and they were off running again.
what's that?!?
Look at the picture below.  Doesn't it look like Misty Blue (left) is saying "Did you hear?!?"  and Duchess (to the right) is answer back, "NO! not really?" While Sonjia in the center is playing tennis head in between trying to keep up with the conversation. 
Did you hear?! .... NO! not really?
As I have said many times.  These three girls have captured my heart!  They are so fun to watch as they run and play.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Craft maniac!

I was like a kid at Christmas time.  Several weeks ago, I ordered some locker-hooks online.  To my dismay, they were out of order and the order was canceled.  I placed an order for a different locker-hook.  But I needed a minimum order of $25 for the order to ship.  I had been struggling with the fact that I don't know for sure how much material it is going to take to make this rug.  How was I going to randomly add some other fabric throughout the piece to make any color or fabric changes not so noticeable.  Then I saw this roll of BaliBatiks precut 2.5" cotton candy strips in a jelly roll as they call it.  There are 20 strips 2.5 inches wide by 44 inches long.  I can cut each strip in half and it will be the same size as the strips that I've already prepared.  That will add randomness to my rug.
(In the picture below are rolls of fabric strips, 3.75 mesh with 2-3 rows of locker-hooking complete, the wooden locker-hook needle that dad helped create, a new locker-hook and the jelly roll of fabric.)
Ready to locker-hook
The rug will need to wait until later.  I have my loom back and I have 6 scarves that I need to finish.  One is completely done. A second one I am making into a forever scarf and it is in the process of being tied together.  The other four will be tassel tied.  The left over yarn will be able to be used in a different rug (or maybe in the same rug as an accent?)
Weaving scarves
These are fabulous distractions to cabin fever!  The problem is that I have several going at one time and it makes my house messier than normal.  AAAAHHHHH!  Over my lunch today, I didn't have the dogs and I made a wild attempt at cleaning.  It helped a bit but not quite enough.  One of these days I am going to hire a maid.  But I think that I'd need to clean before the maid got here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dressing 3 dogs is like ...

...dressing toddlers. After work today I put Sonjia ' s and Misty Blue 's coats on and Duchess came over for her coat.  I thought that I would test the waters and ask who wanted their booties on while holding a set in my hands. Both Duchess and Sonjia came over and let me put their booties on.  Misty Blue rejected the idea.  On the reverse side, they all wanted their outside clothes off first! I felt like a mamma of toddlers.
Running by the edge of the lake
The fish houses need to be off the lake by the end of February.  Some years that is a challenge because the weather is so warm by now.  Instead, we are celebrating a 20 degree day in between two of the coldest days of the winter.  The sun dogs (rainbow to the right/left of the sun) usually indicate a colder day to come.
Sun Dogs at Sunset
The ice is still thick enough for driving full size pickup onto it but throughout the lake, these cracks are present.  When you look down into the break all that is visible is ice.  But it reminds me of the movies when they show someone climbing in the mountain and the snow and ice split under their feet and they fall into a deep-deep cavern.  
Frozen solid but ....
I am excited that the days are getting longer. There is once again daylight enough for me to take the girls out for a run after work and I still get to see the sunset.  They don't care.  Misty Blue and Duchess are watching Sonjia run back and forth along the shoreline.  It is so funny to watch her go wild trying to entice the other two back onto shore.
Misty Blue and Duchess on the lake at Sunset
Parks are always so calming.  But something about the blues and greys reflecting off from the winter snow that makes it look extra peaceful.  
Clear Lake Park
The girls lasted nearly 20 minutes in the 20 degree weather.  We left just before sunset.  I was forced to pull over as I went around the lake. The beauty of the sunset called to me.  There is an old fable that says if you listen carefully when the top of the sun drops over the horizon you will hear it set.  Not today, the wind was blowing too hard and it was howling around the car.  BRRRrrrrr!!!!!!
Listen and you will hear the sunset ~

Weaving time

My sister is at peak practice time with the play. That means that I have my loom  back. I have a lot of scarves to make yet.
The challenging part is finding a place where I can thread the loom long enough for the scarves that I want to make. I decided to try using the bed. It is barely long enough. I will need to find another  12 to  18 inches for the rest of the scarves.
So what do you think of this?  I am starting a new fashion trend - - - - fringes in the middle of a forever scarf.  
Is that long enough?

The putsy part of weaving
Weaving time!
New style? Fringe in a forever scarf!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Soft Coconut Peanut Butter Cookies

As I said before, I am learning how to cook with coconut flour.  It has been challenging in more ways than one.  As I made these cookies today, I was led back to a thought that I had when I lived in Japan.  When I first arrived there, I realized that Japanese "sweets" were not as sugary as American sweets.  When I returned home, it was one of the shocks to my system.  I had adapted to the treats and now I was "over-sugared". 
Today as I tasted the new peanut butter cookie I realized that my brain has an imprint about what peanut butter cookies should taste like.  These were different, not bad, just different.  Very similar to my adjustment in Japan, I am needing to adjust my mental imprint for peanut butter cookies.
My thanks to Pinapple and Coconut at for sharing this recipe.
1 C peanut butter (no sugar added)
2 TBSP coconut oil
2/3 C honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 C coconut flour
pinch salt
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cookie sheets with either parchment paper or silicone bake mats (I use a baking stone instead of a cookie sheet.)
Peanut butter cookies with coconut flour
Coconut oil is tricky because is solidifies at room temperature.  This recipe calls for warming the peanut butter, honey and coconut oil in the microwave (30 seconds, stir, 30 seconds and stir again.) Then let cool to room temperature.
Always start with sugars and oils...
Up to this point the recipe was going very well.  The coconut oil blended into the peanut butter and honey very well.  
Peanut butter and honey.  SWEET!
I am pretty sure that I interpreted the next step wrong.  (My pictures are backwards.)  The directions said to blend mixture until creamy.  I had to stop using the blender and move to a smooth to make it creamy.  But the texture felt wrong to me.
Yeah, pretty sure this is wrong.
This is what it looked like when I used the blender.  I think next time that I will add one egg and the vanilla when I begin blending. Then add the other egg and continue blending. Without adding the egg, the oils separated from the peanut butter and honey.  
I think I misunderstood the directions. Hmmm.
After adding the egg and vanilla, I was able to recover and create a smooth mixture.  But it was still very thick and sticky.  There is a note at the bottom of the recipe, "The dough will be a little sticky, do not add coconut flour UNLESS your batter is runny."  (That is after the 1/2 cup coconut flour is added.)
Taking shape <3
Following the recipe, I put the coconut flour, baking soda and salt in a dish and set it aside. When I was ready to mix it into the rest of the dough, I stirred it together first. I wanted to make sure the clumps were broken up and that the baking soda and salt were appropriately mixed together.  

Adding the dry ingredients
Add in the flour and mix only until just combined.  That means "do not over mix". I have noticed that coconut flour will absorb moisture as it sits. So blending longer is not necessary.
Don't over mix!
It looked smooth until I "whipped" the batter off from the beaters. They were right, it was sticky. But since it wasn't runny, I did not add more coconut flour. This was my first try.  I was going to follow the recipe to the "T". 
Finished dough
The directions read very normal, Use a cookie scoop to scoop out a heaping tablespoon, roll into a ball about 2" apart and press gently with a fork crosswise for the traditional peanut butter cookie look.  First of all, they didn't roll (too sticky) which means that they also didn't flatten with a fork because they were too sticky.  I sort of "swirled them" with a fork - no traditional look for this batch.
Strangest dough I've ever worked with.....
I set the timer for 10 minutes.  The directions say, "10 min., just until the edges start to brown." Normally I do not use a timer.  But I wanted to follow the directions precisely on the first run-through.  I gave Dale a cookie tonight or at least a bite of one.  "They aren't crunchy" he complained before even biting into them. For him the only real cookie is oatmeal-raisin with nuts.  His loss!
Success! Peanut butter cookies with coconut flour!
When all was said and done, they tasted okay; different but not bad. I ran the recipe through a calorie calculator and it calculated to 124 calories per cookie about 50% fat and 45% "sugar" which is natural honey. Supposedly, our bodies know how to process honey better than processed white sugar.  I think next time I am going to try stevia.  Then they won't be quite so "sticky"

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snap, crackle, boom!

Out on the lake on a cold winter's day it sounds like someone is sitting across the lake periodically hitting a Timpani drum.  The first time that I heard it, I thought someone had a band practicing loudly inside their lakeside home.  I guess it is part of God's band!  ...the sound of the frozen lake making ice.
Duchess and Misty Blue love running across the frozen lake.  But Sonjia runs out and immediately back to the shore. When she rides with Dale in the pickup and he drives on the lake, she starts shaking. I wonder what she senses?
You can see that we are at the same park that we go to in the summer.  The dock is left in all winter (which is unusual for Minnesota.)
Yeah! It is a warm day! (relatively speaking)
Race Sonjia Race!
The world is breaking apart!
...and he says that I never get off my phone?!?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bath time and booties

Yes this is about my Dobermans again.  But they are so adorable!  This evening Duchess and Sonjia came home with me.
Sonjia was pouting a bit so I went into the bedroom and snuggled with her. Then Duchess started whimpering. I called her into join us. The best spot in the bed is at the head of the bed. Duchess won then she started loving on her daughter. Aren't they adorable?
The other day a friend of mine sent me booties for the dogs.  It was perfect timing because it was sub below zero with a wind chill making it warmer. When I put the booties on the dogs they weren't sure what to do. They tried walking without touching those paws to the ground. After hopping and hobbling they finally started walking normal.
The girls didn't seem to mind the booties. But the next day only Sonjia was patient with me to put them on. Part of the reason might be that the girls need their toe nails clipped.  Even out in the cold my babies are adorable but th end I might be just a little bit prejudiced.  
Sonjia gets a bath from mama, Duchess
Mama Duchess and Sonjia (red)
Misty Blue and Sonjia in coats and booties
Playtime on a cold day with coats and booties

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Crafts for Show and Sale

Here are some of the booths from the Festival up North.  I had to hold back from purchasing something from every booth.  The quality was fabulous!  But for one, I don't have much room in my house.
Woven Rugs

This booth with the painting was especially interesting because the artist took unconventional metal scraps and painted on them including pots, pans, tins, gasoline cans, signs, wash basins, etc.  It is interesting when people can see beyond the garbage and imagine beauty.  The ultimate recycling.  I noticed that several booths had a recycling focus.
Bear Island Art Factory, LLC
I have tried wood burning.  I might need to try that again seeing how Karen has transformed these pieces of wood.  No, probably not.  Sometimes it is nice to focus on the things that you know you can be good at.  There are so many things to do that I want to do that looking at learning one that is going to take this much practice before I have a good output just isn't at the top of the list.  Karen is from Chisholm, Minnesota if you want to buy some of her fabulous pieces.

Karen Spotts: wood burning done by hand
Several days ago I posted a photo of a man spinning straw.  This was the wall hanging that was hanging behind him in his booth. His booth was demonstration only but WOW! Absolutely amazing how beautifully done this is from beginning of the spinning process to the completion of the woven wall hanging!

Woven Straw Wall Hanging
Years ago, I purchased some quilling supplies.  I might need to find where I put them.  Have I said recently that I need a bigger house and one with a layout where the dogs can join me in my craft room?  I generally stay away from craft shows because instead of walking away with more things to put away, I walk away with dreams and desires and a definite need for more time.

Example of Quilling

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Weaving the right way

.... thou shall not covet.  But can I drool?  I know that this loom is very old and probably does not work as well.  The modern day version of this loom goes for between $8,000 and $16,000 and to no surprise has computerized mechanisms.  
Full size loom with peddles
This size loom is common for making woven rugs.  I suppose it could also be used for making fabric.  The very first loom that I saw had a whole row of peddles under it.  By pressing and releasing various peddles the pattern from the front side changes.  I would love to try it.

Full size loom
The museum had this set up nicely.  The textile pieces together and some samples of the finished product.  I wanted to sit on the stool and have someone show me how to operate this loom.  It took all of my power to go onto the next part of the museum.

Spinning wheel by full size loom
This smaller loom is a slightly less portable version of my own loom.  It is about 5 inches wider.  The other major difference is that with several metal webs in between, this small loom can make advanced patterns in the yarn.  In the background of the picture you can see the red and green patterns made from the loom.

Table top loom
The most difficult part of working with any loom is threading it up.  It is tedious and takes a lot of patience.  I have my loom back and I am trying to get up the patience to thread mine up so that I can get several scarves made to match the mitten that I've knitted over the last month.

Table top loom with pattern ability
Ready, set, go!  It is time to start working.  

Now this looks familiar