Thursday, January 31, 2013

Valentine's Hearts


For some time now I've had it in my mind to do a set of Valentine hearts patterns. Hearts are one of my favorite symbols. This is the smallest in the series - 1.25" from top to bottom. I've got designs for up to 5 or 6 inches. Now, if only I didn't have to go to work today!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Reaching Towards Heaven


Mixed media piece based upon this scripture. I try to remember this in times of trouble. (fortunately, I didn't have to remember it for today! No big troubles! Woo hoo!)


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

little letters Pattern Set is READY


After weeks of worrying and fretting, going back and forth with proofreaders, taking pictures and editing, it is DONE!

Introducing my little letters pattern set. Available for purchase in my little shop.

Thanks to all of you for supporting me in this. My family thanks you, too.

So, what should I do next? Hearts? Fancy fonts? Something else?


Monday, January 21, 2013

Don't Get 'er Done



My sense of responsibility tends to overreach its bounds. I worry about getting things done. And everything needs to be done NOW.

I'd been putting off something for a while now because I was unsure how to do it. The unknown tends to paralyze me! So I sat in front of my computer and told myself to start doing the thing I was worried about. (I even said a prayer) What was the worst that could happen?

And, less than an hour later, it was done.

I went to bed light as a feather. I woke up light as a feather. I had NO cares weighing me down. That is a rare enough thing that I even mentioned it to Brian. He was surprised, not knowing that I worried that much about life, the universe and everything. "That is a difficult burden to bear." he said to me. "Feeling like you always have deadlines." He's right because it's not like I'm in school anymore. Why concern myself so much?

Then here's what I realized that brought a bit of beauty to my day:

Very few things really HAVE to get done. Learn which things are which

I can almost hear the Beatles' singing "Let it Be." Like an earworm.




Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Beautiful Thing About Today


The beautiful thing about today was that it was full of beautiful things once I got to looking:

A perfectly brined and roasted chicken
A son who gave the sweetest talk in church ("You wanna know a secret?" he whispered.)
A great lesson on the Savior in church (I've spent a lot of today tearing up when I reflect on this)
An afternoon spent watching movies with my husband (Something Wicked This Way Comes, Disney's Nature and Hocus Pocus) and making kusudama balls.

Tomorrow is a holiday from work. I'm getting better at letting myself have less responsibility and just enjoying my time.

Although I know you want me to finish the lowercase letters... :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hobnobs


When I was studying abroad in England (1991), I had a favorite cookie: hobnobs. Unfortunately, the only place I can find this cookie now is Cost Plus World Market where it is too expensive for my pocketbook.

So you've gotta love the Internet and the opportunity to get recipes for so many things. I found this recipe on Yahoo Answers, of all places.

I tried them tonight and They. Are. Wonderful.

*Homemade Hob Nobs
1 1/4 cups oats
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
9 tablespoons salted butter
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
4 oz milk chocolate, Cadbury

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Process oats in a food processor until fine. Add both flours, baking powder and baking soda and pulse to mix. Add both sugars and pulse to mix again. Add cut up butter and pulse processor until mixture is coarse and sand-like. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and pulse some more. Mixture will look very dry.

Empty into a wide mixing bowl and shape into two big balls. Press each ball into a disk and place between sheets of waxed paper. Roll one of the disks to about a ¼ inch thickness. Using a 2 inch round (or slightly smaller) cookie cutter, cut out circles. Place on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.

Cool cookies on a cooling rack.

Melt the milk chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Spoon melted chocolate over cookies. When milk chocolate is partially set, drag a toothpick through it and make a Hob Nob like pattern.

**You can use regular whole wheat flour, but weigh out 50 grams. I think it’s a little heavier than whole wheat pastry flour and the volume might be less than ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoon


I copied and pasted this recipe whole from the link I gave you above. I used Dove chocolate and it tastes wonderful. Dove is the only True Chocolate.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The House at Eddy Corner, or Now We Are Six


I don't know if my sense of wonder about this kid will ever wane. Kiff is six today. He woke up to a cupcake for breakfast and a pair of birthday socks. 


Then he decorated the cupcake. With salt & vinegar potato chips and Skittles. And he ate it. Every last crumb. Wearing a backwards shirt.

Happy Birthday to the kid who makes me laugh with his imaginative observations and silly sense of humor! I love being your mom!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Origami Dahlias


I should be working on my lowercase letters tutorial and my fancy fonts tutorial but I'm not! I'm going to do this instead!!

This is one of the prettiest origami flowers I've seen. When I went up to Tehachapi a few months ago to take part in a paper arts workshop, one of the other presenters, Chila Caldera, was wearing a dahlia brooch. I went all little-girl and practically begged her to show me how to make my own. It wasn't a pretty learning process. We were in a very dimly lit room (it was a museum for goodness sake!) and I couldn't get close enough to see properly. Still, once I got it, I GOT it! Thank you again, Chila! BTW, visit her blog to see other great diagrams. I asked her if origami etiquette allowed me to post directions on my blog. It seemed that it was okay to do if 1) I made it clear she just passed on the knowledge of how to make the model, and 2) I made sure to give credit to the original designer, Hajime Komiya, who lives in Japan (neither she nor I have any idea how to contact him). She also said that she knew of no extant diagrams, so enjoy!

Materials:

6” square of paper (15cm) (I used a 12" in the example to make it easier to see) 
Your finished flower will be 1/4 size. A 6" square will end up being a 3" flower which seems like half size until you put it onto another square and see that it fits in one quadrant. Still with me?
Coordinating brad
Brooch pin, if desired

Prefolding
There are three sets of prefolds in the dahlia: the "cupboard fold" (steps 1-3), the diagonal fold (4-5) and the wonky cupboard fold (6).

A square piece o' paper
1. With the side you want to show facing up, fold the square in half.


2. Open it up and fold the halves down to the center fold again, like cupboard doors.






3. Do the same two sets of folds in the perpendicular direction.






4. Turn the paper over to the backside. Starting in one of the corners, fold the corner up to the first fold, second fold, third fold and finally all the way to the other corner.














 
5.  Turn 90° and do other three corners.




6.  Turn the paper back over to the facing side. Fold down at one of the ¾ folds.


Take the edge opposite it and fold it up to meet the top.



Turn 90° and do other three sides.

After all the prefolding is done!

The Collapse

You will now begin coaxing the creases to collapse into a smaller square with four squares on top.

In the center of your large square there is a smaller square. This is going to remain flat while mountains go up around it. Here’s how:



7. Beginning in the center of the outside edge, gently push in so that the valley fold pushes up into a mountain that goes up from the outside and down to the small center square. Don’t worry if it doesn’t want to go immediately.



Work on the other three center edges, pushing them in.



8. Pinch the folds so that they naturally fall into that valley, mountain back and forth thing they want to do. Keep the center square flat. As you can, pinch the center valley fold on the edge in.  Push the points down flat against the center square.










9. Squash the center points down flat into four squares.



10. Turn your piece over and tuck in the corners into the box on the bottom. This part is like magic.



 Depending on how accurate your folds have been, this part may be easy or a little weird. Go ahead and crease the edges down.

All tucked in nicely!
11. Working on the front side again, spread open two squares to reveal the crease between them.

Open up to show the crease between

This is the crease (red arrow)
 
Holding the center with a finger of one hand, Pinch it together gently in your opposite hand...


and guide the corner of it up to a point here, in the center of this square.



Go on to the next crease and pinch it up to the notch formed between the two previous squares.



Continue on around the flower, making twelve folds.

Around and...

around and...

around we go!
 
Turn it over and squash it down gently to even out the petals.

squish

You want the points nice and pointy.

See how some of the edges between petals bend upwards? That's normal!


Facing up again, take the left side of one petal.



Fold it down to the inside of the crease underneath it, creating a more natural petal form.


 

Creasing the petal down creates a 3-D look to the flower.


Put a brad in the center. Attach a sticky back pin to make it a brooch.


 Or, you can just use a tack and stick it to your walls!


I hope you enjoy making these. They are quick to do and make great gift toppers or decorations for your wall. I make them while waiting at different places (I now have 2 shopping bags full) and have dreams of covering a ceiling with them...