Monday, August 25, 2014

Two Weeks? Here, Have Some Cookies


Um... two weeks since I last posted? I knew I'd been gone a bit, but two weeks? I've been busy with school preparations, but did make time to try new recipes from Pinterest. Here's the latest of my success stories!


Oatmeal-Fudge Cookies (yes, I said fudge!)

These are bar cookies, so get out your 9x13 pan and heat up the oven to 350°F.

Cookie:
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, milk and vanilla. In separate bowl, mix flour, soda and salt. Add flour mixture to batter and mix until just incorporated. Fold in oats. Batter will be thick. Put 1/3 dough into fridge/freezer to cool until very firm.

Fudge:
1 can condensed milk
1/3 cup butter
1 t. vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips

Heat in saucepan until melted.

Assembly:
Spread 2/3 of your cookie dough into the 9x13 pan. Spread your chocolate fudge mixture over dough. Take the other 1/3 dough and roll it out between two pieces of parchment until it's approximately 9x13-sized. Remove from parchment and lay over the fudge.

Bake at 350° for 25-35 minutes. You want the top to be browned and slightly crispy around the edges. If it starts getting too crispy before the center is done, put a piece of foil over it.

You MUST allow it to cool completely before cutting or else the fudge will just spill out and what a waste that would be!

Eat. Enjoy.


I keep these in my refrigerator and eat them cold because they taste better that way.

Recipe from here!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On the Desk

The cheap watercolors are brilliantly pigmented, but opaque. It's fun to experiment!
 It's almost time for school to start again, both for me and for Kiff! I have a whole new format for my classes - I'm finally teaching ONLINE instead of just offline (think correspondence course). Anyway, it involves setting up "shells" and transferring files and formatting and creating all new exams. In addition to that, I'm working on a couple of other projects and visiting with friends from out of the country (Japan!) and getting ready for my mom to visit next week. I'm tiiiiiiired!

A display showing the steps in making a manuscript

One bonus of visiting with friends is getting another opportunity to visit the Getty museum in LA. This time they had some illuminated manuscripts available to see. No Hoefnagels, but that just means there is always something new each time I go...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

And Now For Something Completely Different!



I started a blog called The Working Mormon Mom. Why? Because I keep hearing about Mormon Mommy bloggers and their great stay-at-home lives.

There are no blogs out there for us who work (and still have Temple Recommends). I decided to fix that. And it will be a place I can share my love of the Gospel and talk about how it has shaped my choices and my life.

This blog will continue and be full of art. The other one will be work, home and life. Come join me if that's your wont!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Art to Steal From - Quilled Heart

My attempt at quilling.

I found a picture online of a scrolled heart made of pink, cream and lilac papers, quilled in a way I'd never seen before - huge, fat scrolls and little tight coils. What a combo! I've never tried quilling and decided to take the plunge. It's harder than it looks. Hats off to all you quillers!

Of course, I can't find the original inspiration picture now, but the one below is very close to it (just imagine it in the cream, pink and lilac and you'll see why I swooned) and I'm pretty sure it's from the same person. If not, the one below is from Sena Runa and you can find her work on Etsy. :)


The inspiration - sort of

Noise

In CS Lewis' The Screwtape Letters there is a quote that I'd like to talk about:

Music and silence - how I detest them both! 
How thankful we should be that ever since our Father entered Hell ... 
no square inch of infernal space and no moment of infernal time 
has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, 
but all has been occupied by Noise -  
Noise! the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all 
that is exultant, ruthless, and virile - 
Noise! which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples, 
and impossible desires. 
We will make the whole universe a noise in the end ... 
The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end.


I am embattled by noise and have been my entire life. The noise of everyday sinks into my very skin and I stink of it. It worms its way into my mind and shouts so loud I cannot sleep. Even now, it's nearly midnight and my psyche is so wound up that sleep will only come when I am so exhausted that I can't keep myself upright.

My worry is that I am not stronger than the noise. That's why this little picture (can't find any source!) jumped out at me on Pinterest the other day.


So while I sit here, the noise screaming in my head that I'm not good enough for ... anything ... I need to give place for the smallest thought that, maybe, I am.

Positive affirmations, mindfulness, meditation, and prayer have all been tried with varying amounts of success in stilling the waters, but quiet eludes me. If only I could have just a few minutes with God so He could tell me everything was all right.

God's voice can still the screaming. I can be lead to peace. He can reassure me. My mind can be enlightened. I can hear encouragement and be comforted. My spirit can be calmed.  I can feel relief from condemnation.

Oh, listen. It's not so noisy anymore...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Perfect Day Imagined


In a perfect life, I would wake up each morning, having slept solidly (with good dreams) after at least eight hours, having only been disturbed by a gentle, loving kiss from my husband as he left for work earlier. I'd feel refreshed! Alive! I'd look forward to what the day held.

After dressing myself in clothes that were comfortable and made me look great, I'd do my makeup and hair with a minimum of fuss and I'd glow.

Breakfast would be a beautiful affair with simply-made food that looked beautiful in the morning light - artfully arranged and garnished with just the right amount of vibrantly-colored homemade sauce or syrup or compote.

My children and I would have conversations that lent themselves to deep philosophical insights by me or comedic misunderstandings by them that would then become viral Internet memes.

After breakfast, my kitchen would be easily cleaned with lemons and vinegar. It would be a perfect vignette of domesticity - gentle northern light coming through a large window, illuminating baskets of fruit or vegetables on butcher block counters. Handmade tiles on the walls. Burnished copper pots and pans hanging among dried herbs from the ceiling.

My house would already/always be clean or artfully cluttered. My children and I would spend the day in my art studio where I would always know exactly what I wanted to create. The supplies would always be within reach and available. My children would allow me to work, only interrupting me with sweet comments that I would later share on my social media. They would read or play games that fostered imagination and they would always share. Lunch would be another simply prepared meal - perhaps eaten outside amongst my flower and gardening containers. I would have beautiful artwork to show my husband when he came home from work.

He'd love it and ask to take pictures to show his friends what a fabulous wife he had. He'd then spend time talking about his day (he loved his job, he'd laughed with his co-workers, a promotion had been mentioned, etc.) and then go off to get undressed from work and talk/play with his children for a few minutes as I started dinner. After a short while, both husband and children would come in and help with dinner, knowing what to do without being asked. Dinner would be a heartier affair (manly food) with stimulating conversation between adults and educational opportunities to explain the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything to the children. Much happiness and laughter would ensue.

After dinner, the kitchen would be cleaned in no time and next would be family time - a walk, a shared outside improvement project/activity or visiting with family/neighbors. Bath time would be greeted with cheers and the children would take turns playing happily in the tub while my husband and I strengthened our marriage by talking about goals, evaluating progress on current projects and reminiscing about past successes. We would be caught hugging/kissing in the kitchen by giggling, still-damp children.

Bedtime would be gentle. Stories would be read, drinks of water given and kisses bestowed on heads/cheeks/lips. The husband and I would spend quality time together. Bedtime would be an unhurried time for me - my husband and I'd read scriptures with understanding. I'd say my prayers with earnestness and gratitude. I'd lay down with a peaceful, satisfied feeling of a Day Well Done and go to sleep, looking forward to the next day.

After a description like this, the predictable thing would be to contrast it with my actual life. But I'd rather leave the beautiful images in my mind instead and focus on the Could Be...


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Little Reminders


Such a simple pattern, but when it's repeated over and over, the little shapes become a mass of something greater. I sure hope it's that way with my simple reminders to myself and my children. Over and over I remind them to be good. Over and over I remind myself that *I* am good. Hopefully those little reminders are building great people.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Nostalgia


This is one of my favorite older designs from when I first started folding. I love how the simplicity is so beautiful.

Sometimes when things are bleak in my life, I desperately seek for peace in art and words. The quiet things don't talk back...