Thursday, April 17, 2014

This week in my garden ~ and thoughts on apologizing for our art

"The expert in anything was once a beginner."
{author unknown}

Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about how we apologize and/or make excuses for our skills and compare them to others. Today I'd like to share an experience I had recently that made me stop and take notice.
I was thinking about my mom and how she could never put together a scrapbook (or any other handmade item) for me without a whole lot of fretting and apologizing because her pages (or whatever) were nothing like mine. Ugh - that used to drive me nuts! No amount of reassurance or gushing could help her get past that.


I recently had an opportunity to look through a scrapbook Mom made for us and I hope she was watching from up above and saw that I cried when I looked at it; that I held it close when I was done and felt so grateful that she’d taken the time to make that for us. {See, Mom? It was/is perfect!} Her scrapbook doesn’t look like something Ali Edwards put together but why would I want it to? I want it to look like my mom’s style – I want it to look exactly the way she made it.


I’m currently enrolled in an online sketchbook class and have really been put to the test when it comes to enjoying the process without comparing myself to others. I am a beginner when it comes to sketching still life, and oh-my-gosh you guys should see some of the amazing art that my classmates are posting! At the beginning of the class I cringed at the thought of posting any of my drawings in that forum. And when I did post a photo of my sketch, I felt the need to remind everyone that I was “just a beginner” and I made excuses for my art.


I have realized that this sketchbook class has bigger lessons for me than putting pen to paper. Perhaps the bigger lesson for me is the reminder that everyone starts somewhere – we are all at different skill levels based on our own personal experience, practice, talents, desire, and commitment. My drawings don’t look like anyone else’s because {hello!} they aren’t supposed to! If they looked like someone else’s they wouldn’t be mine.
 

So today’s post is just a little reminder to never apologize for what you’ve created. Create from your heart and soul and honor it because it’s part of you. Don’t dishonor it by pointing out your own perceived flaws or shortcomings. If you are giving that creation as a gift, the thing the recipient will appreciate the most is that it has your unique touch!







The best thing about your creations is the gift that
is you - flaws and shortcomings and love and all.
I say there's no need to ever apologize for that!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How I make a spicy meatball.

To my vegetarian friends, look away.
Nothin' to see here...nothin' to see...
Fellow carnivores? Come on in!
I've shared my meatloaf story on this blog before in a tale of how, as a teenager, I was forced to make meatloaf once a month. The flip side of that is that I make a really good meatloaf - it's one of Doug and Carrie's favorite things I make. And when I make meatballs I mix them up like I do my meatloaf, just form them into balls instead of mashing the mixture into a loaf pan.



Two pounds of lean ground beef, two eggs, some bread crumbs (3/4 cup...ish?), salt, pepper, oregano, fresh basil, an onion that's been caramelized in some olive oil, and some fresh garlic too.
 
My grumpy faced little garlic holder is actually an egg separator that I got in Bisbee, Arizona from this really fun pottery shop down there. You crack an egg into it and then pour the egg white out his funky little mouth. I used it for that once, just to see how it worked (well), and now I just use it to hold my garlic.


Yes, I make some really big meatballs. And instead of searing them in a frying pan and taking a risk that they'll fall apart, I spray some non-stick spray in a muffin tin and bake them at 350° for 30 minutes. Then I put them in a pot of spaghetti sauce (I use store bought, two jars) and continue cooking them for a couple of hours on low heat on the stove.
 
One and a half meatballs makes a great sandwich (cut in half they lay better on the bun) and I served them with some zucchini fries. And for the record, my eyes are usually too big for Doug's stomach. ;o)

This was a really yummy dinner on Sunday night! Carrie swung by the house for "take out," and we even had enough leftover to freeze for another meal in the future.

Do you make meatballs at your place?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Little Glow Bugs for Easter

Glow little glow worm, glimmer, glimmer...






The first time I saw these I knew I wanted to make a few of them for Easter! The original source had some really cute photos but no in-depth tutorial. And although these aren't rocket science, it did take a little trial and error to get them to hold together. I thought I'd share some tips in case you'd like to give them a try yourself.





The original source used duct tape for the wings, but I wanted something transparent. So I used clear packaging tape and sprinkled a little glitter on it before adding another piece of tape on top to enclose the glitter. Then I cut the little wings shape and used another small piece of packaging tape to adhere them.





I cut pipe cleaners in half, and then I used a sharp pushpin to make small holes for the pipe cleaners to feed through. My first try was done with a heavy duty hole puncher which worked great, but the pipe cleaners didn't hold well so I switched to the pushpin. Then, the holes were really small so I had to feed the tip of the pipe cleaner into the hole and use a pair of pliers to pull them through. It was a little tricky, but the result is a nice strong hold on the pipe cleaner keeping the antenna and legs firmly in place.

The googly eyes are held on with tacky glue, and I used a Sharpie marker to draw the mouth.

Add a battery operated "candle" for the glow and
you're ready for some night time Easter camping fun!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend yoga on a baseball field

Good morning, blog friends.
How was your weekend?
Things are heating up around these parts and we I actually turned the air conditioning on for a little while on Saturday afternoon. But yesterday morning? Oh my goodness, the weather was P.E.R.F.E.C.T. (70°)

Carrie and I participated in Yoga for Hope yesterday morning. It was an outdoor yoga class sponsored by City of Hope and the Arizona Diamondbacks, with proceeds of our tickets going to benefit City of Hope - a research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. The event was held at the Diamondback's spring training field in Scottsdale. We got to do yoga on center field!



We were up super early for a Sunday morning to attend a class that started at 7:00 a.m., and we spent an hour doing yoga on this beautiful lawn. I was kind of obsessed with it, and I took a whole bunch of photos of...well...grass. It was so beautifully manicured and looked like soft carpet. I had to bend down and touch it to make sure it was real.
 
In all my years of practicing yoga, I've never had my mat on grass before. I loved it! I realized that I need to seek out more outdoor yoga classes. Practicing under a clear blue sky, the earth beneath my feet, a beautiful little breeze sweeping by once in a while, birds singing their springtime song... It was magic for this girl.

And I got to do it with my girl C so that made it even more wonderful. I love taking yoga classes with Carrie. I love seeing her practice develop, sharing knowing looks of joy/exhaustion as our eyes meet, feeling her fingertips outstretched to mine in certain poses. Makes this yoga mama super happy!


After we finished yoga on the field I was in the best mood! My body ached from head to toe in a really good way, if you know what I mean. Man, yoga can make you sore in the weirdest places. I was still feeling the results of Saturday morning's class - and then I added Sunday yoga on a baseball field to top it off. Awesome, awesome, awesome!


Other than yoga, I had a weekend filled with creativity. I finished up a little Easter craft (I'll share that with you tomorrow), made a really yummy dinner last night (that I'll share on Wednesday), and took a ton of photos around here (maybe Thursday?). I filled up my blogging calendar and fed my soul with all kinds of happy stuff and yoga. Ok, and some red wine too. :o}

And now I set my sights on work which could make me all kinds of grumpy if I let it. But I won't let it! It's a short week for us - no work on Friday - and there's a camping trip in our future.

Wishing you all a week full of things that feed your soul.
See you tomorrow!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Just a Quote for Friday

"Each morning we are born again.
What we do today matters most."
~ Buddah

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Little Chick Tea Towel

Happy Thursday, my friends!
Remember those tea towels that I embellished for Christmas gifts? Well my sister-in-law, Meta, loved hers so much that she asked me to make her one for every season. I didn't get around to stamping one for Valentine's Day, but I did make an Easter/spring towel to add to her little collection. {Surprise, Meta Skeeta!}

I knew that I wanted to stamp this towel with little chickies marching along one end, but I didn't have a chick stamp in my collection so I carved one using this product. It's easier to carve than you might imagine, and I found this video if you'd like to learn more about that.


I ended up attaching my stamp to a little acrylic block because it was a bit awkward to hold onto without it. In fact, a towel that is now added to my collection has one little chickie tipped over on her back amongst the others marching in a straight line. :o\ We'll just say that chick had too much wine. And my collection of towels that didn't make the gift-giving-cut is growing. ~sigh~

Anyway! Any stamp will work for this project - you don't have to carve your own. I used yellow fabric paint for the chicks, and a black fabric pen for their little dot eyes.

I buy these towels at Target - they come four to a package and are fairly inexpensive. I do pre-wash and press them before I embellish, and they are a super fun, quick and easy little project to put together.
 
Are you whipping up any Easter crafts around your place?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

One Photo - Twenty Words

Among my favorite crafting tools, this guy ranks high;
not the sharpest tool in the shed, but always close by.
 
* * * * * * * * *
 
Linking up with Abi of Creating Paper Dreams today
while she challenges us to post one photo and a 20-word caption.
Happy Wednesday, everyone!
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