Sunday, July 31, 2011


This is a collection of short letters to various people/places/things in the world.

Dear Walmart: your produce is horrible. Pretty much all the time.

Dear Phil Keaggy, Keith Green, Don Francisco and Fernando Ortega. I will always love you. Even if most of my peers have no idea who any of you are. They are missing out. Thanks for your music. <3

Dear Target: I had pretty much written you off earlier this year as being cheap and tacky, but after a trip to visit you these past couple of weeks I have restored trust in you. Thank you for making cute and modest length clothing of decent quality lately.

Dear Dad (Da-dee): thanks for buying that $5 tee for me. :) That was unexpected and very sweet of you.

Dear Ceramics: you bring out every insecurity in me. I seriously find myself thinking sometimes "will they think I'm weird or stupid cause I made this pot?" etc. How is it that I can love something that makes me feel so insecure? Oh well. I will always love you anyway.

Dear Fall semester: bring it! I'm ready for you! I think. But please be nicer than you were last semester.

Dear gross, humid, 100+ degree weather we've been having for the past few weeks: (read this in a Gollum from LOTR voice) Leave now! And never come back!

Dear fall: I missed you and all your festivities last year since I was in China. Let's make up for it this year, okay!? :)

Dear China: I miss you often and sometimes think about how to get back to you. Lord-willing it will happen someday.

Dear Pamela's GF line: you make a mean gluten-free cake. Thanks.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

call me Ms. Pots.

The other day I realized I have roughly 2.5 weeks before heading back to college! And if I want to bring back the ceramic pots I've been working on the past few weeks I better finish them and get them fired! So I brought home a few to attach handles too and decorate and was up quite late working on them. I think I got to the studio around 11:30 am and left around 5:30 pm after helping with the kids' class...I worked at home till a little after 11 pm. I told my mom that was pretty typical of my life at school. Spend all day attaching handles to pots...carving pots...painting pots...
I got up again this morning and have been at it for a good part of the day. I'm tired. I look like this.
At least I showered so my hair isn't that messy. The kitchen table doesn't look so good right now though. Mom and Dad have been good sports about letting me monopolize half of the table.Here are some of the results. As you can see in the above photo some pieces are still covered in plastic. They haven't been worked on yet. At least everything has handles now though. I used to pull all my handles off a piece of clay and attach them to the pot afterward but now I'm getting the handle started and attaching it to the piece before pulling it the rest of the way. I've been told that you'll know your handle is on really well if you can pull it while it's attached to the piece and hopefully that will mean an improvement in handle quality and appearance.

The ladies at the studio are stamping geniuses. They decorate so much of their work with stamps that I decided to do some too. I also did some carving since quite a few of my pots were too dry to stamp. That's why the pattern in the pitcher looks so...messy. I'm hoping it will look better when glazed. Oh I hate glazing! It makes me so anxious!

All this potting is making me excited to go back to school. I enjoy having teachers and classmates who critique and give me good advice while I'm working and I also enjoy watching others work and seeing what inspires them. It's a fun environment and I look forward to getting back to it!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Ever since going to China I've been thinking a lot about freedom. Of course China is a communist country and the people have very little liberty to say what they believe or think there. Speaking out or protesting against the government is illegal and while it is legal to be a christian there it is illegal to evangelize.

While I was in China a couple of things happened that really made me think a lot on freedom and what it means. I was unable to use facebook or blogger while there. I was able to use wordpress until the beginning of November at which point the government blocked it. My teacher (from America) told me that he was pretty sure it was blocked around the same time someone was arrested for speaking out against the government in an effort to control the person (or people...I don't know any details) from saying things they didn't want others to hear. Another thing that happened was that in one of the cities on our final journey home I was in a Starbucks checking my email at the counter when a young Chinese man came up and sat next to me and started chatting with me and eventually asked me if I was a christian. I told him I was and asked if he was too and he replied "yes." He then told me how he was trying to witness to others by tutoring them in English and giving them Bible verses to read. He talked very openly to me in front of the store employees and one of my classmates. I felt very shy, not just because he was a stranger but because of what we were talking about. To be honest I haven't had a lot of opportunities to talk to others about my faith and the idea of sharing my faith frightens me although I really want to share the gospel with others. So I was very impressed, encouraged and convicted by this young man and his willingness to talk publicly about something that could get him in trouble (as I said, evangelizing is illegal in China).

I live in a country where I have freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Men and women have died to protect these rights for me but I don't use them very much and the reason why I don't is simply because I'm afraid. I'm afraid I'll say something wrong or turn people away and lose a chance to say what I truly believe or that I will misrepresent what I believe. I'm afraid that people won't even listen at all and will label me as ignorant or closed-minded if I disagree with them politically, socially and morally. Sometimes in the case of petty things (like tastes in music or movies or clothing, etc) I'm afraid I'll hurt someone's feelings or that others will make fun of me for liking what I like or having my own opinions. So basically I allow fear to take away my freedoms. However there are people in countries who don't have those freedoms but take them anyway and sometimes face severe consequences for it. Their conviction is so strong and they stand so firmly in what they believe that they are willing to pay a price to voice their beliefs.

Understanding this has led me to these conclusions:
  • Even though I am legally allowed to say or do whatever I want (within the limits of the law of course) I make the choice whether or not to use the freedoms my government gives me. I am as free as I allow myself to be.
  • Fear can be a dictator. I have let it control me many times.
  • Having the "freedom" to do or say what we want or believe does not mean we will not pay a consequence for exercising that liberty. We may lose the good opinions of others, friends, jobs, etc. Freedom to say or act does not remove consequence.
  • Remaining silent has consequences too.
And that is what I think.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A quote...

Holly: Have you ever read "Catcher In the Rye?"
Me: No.
Holly: Here, I'll read you a quote (opens book)..."I don't have it anymore." (closes book)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Some random thoughts.

This post is going to be written a la Candice style. :)

It's been hot as blazes lately. Really uncomfortable. I think the heat index has been hovering between 100 and 110 degrees this week. It's gross and I'm beginning to re-think my adamant stance on "I'd much rather be too hot than too cold." Don't tell anyone, but I might just prefer winter to this misery. Of course, this only lasts a few weeks while winter lasts at least 3's a hard call.

On a weather related note...we had a little rain shower this afternoon and Holly and I went and I said, "it feels SO much cooler now since we had some rain!" We drove past a sign that was telling the was 93 degrees outside. Which is probably a 10 degree drop for the day. I remember in China it got up to 104 degrees during the day and there were big storms in the south that caused it to drop from 104 degrees to 84 degrees over night and it was such a big drop in temperature that I remember feeling really cold and wearing a sweater. Funny how that happens.

I sewed a shirt this week and it turned out...well, it didn't turn out actually. It was a failed attempt. I also attempted to make a skirt and didn't do so well there either. So I'll try something different this week. I went thrifting and found some fun stuff...most of it needs some minor or major alterations but I've been wanting to try to alter clothing for awhile so I'm excited about it.

This week both Adam and Holly had birthdays. Adam is 21 and Holly is 17. I'm so used to us all being kids that it seems weird that we're all growing up. Happy birthday, you two.

(I already posted about Holly's birthday, but missed Adam' here is a photo in honor of him.)

Working with the folks over at the pottery studio has been fun. The clay community is really wonderful. And having the chance to volunteer with the kids and teens has been fun. Mostly. The other day someone left their wheel on and put their stool on the wheel and one of the kids accidentally stepped on the pedal and the stool started spinning on the wheel head. I grabbed it before it flew off and hit something or someone, but hurt my pinky finger pretty good. So that was a good reminder to remember to make sure your wheel is switched off before putting your stool on top of it.

I'm still finding gray hairs on my head. I've been told not to worry. That's it's not terribly uncommon. I think this past year is to blame for it.

I have recently been reminded that it's more fun to eat with chopsticks than it is to use a fork or spoon.

I think that's about it. I have been thinking about a lot of stuff and working on quite a few things. Mostly over at the studio so I don't have anything finished or photos of anything. Plus although I've been thinking about a lot of stuff I seem to be having a case of writer's block because I have been unable to write things down in a coherent, sensible way. I'm hoping that will change because I enjoy getting my thoughts out.

I have been thinking a lot about privacy lately since I decided to quit facebook and have been thinking about my motivation for keeping a blog at all. I'm still thinking about it but I want to make sure that my motivation isn't to simply attract attention. Because I'm learning that privacy is good. I think facebook has programmed a lot of us to overshare things about ourselves and to constantly seek attention and I don't think that is a good thing. I do think though that it is good to have opportunities to express what we think and believe and make without feeling like we should hide those things which is why I keep this blog public instead of private. Blogging does provide an outlet for me that I like. It has also provided a huge source of information and inspiration which I love and would be happy if I could contribute to. I'm not sure how well I'll be able to keep up with it once school starts, but that's okay. It's a fun pursuit, not a required thing that I have to feel obligated to keep up. That's partly why I like it. :)

Okay. Happy weekend.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Today is my sister's birthday. She's 17. :)
Happy Birthday, Holly!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

week recap...

This week so far has been pretty good. I got signed up for a 10-visit studio pass at our local parks and rec group and I went for the first time today. It was really good to work in the studio always makes me feel happy. It also made me really sore! Who knew 2 months of off time would make me so weak! The lady who was running the studio invited me to help her out during her class for teenagers so I did and enjoyed it a lot. The teacher and her manager told me if my teachers would agree to it they would let me intern with them for the rest of the summer. I'm going to help a different teacher with a little kids class tomorrow. Even if I can't get an internship I'll still help's fun working with kids and so different from the setting I'm used to. So here are a few ideas from my sketchbook that I'd like to try playing around with...hopefully I'll come up with something good to show my teachers when I get back to school.Altering/stacking forms is really fascinating to me and something I'd like to try to play around with more.

I made a skirt last night and it wasn't very good. I may try to pull it apart this weekend and do it over again. The little sewing projects I got to do this week were fun. Hopefully I'll be able to crank out a few more things before the summer is over.

Speaking of which there are roughly only 5 weeks left in summer. As nice as having a break is it will be good to have work to do and a schedule to adhere to.

Last thing to report is I found a gray hair on my head this week. At 22 I think I'm a little young for that. We'll see if it was just a fluke or if I should be on the lookout for more.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I really like the recent trends I've seen for women's clothing that include lace, ruffles, flowers, pleats, etc. They're so feminine and beautiful. I'm a big cheapskate though. I'm a huge bargain shopper and I don't like paying more than I think is reasonable for clothing. I get really excited when I know I bought something for waaaay cheaper than it was originally intended to sell for. I guess it's the thrill of the hunt.
Anyway, there are SO many tutorials and posts about refashioned clothing all over the web and I decided to try my hand at a little refashioning project. I've been meaning to do some of these refashions for awhile now and yesterday seemed to be as good a day as any to give it a go.

Here is what I started with: a tee-shirt cardigan from Old Navy.

All I did to change it was add two rows of lace to each side and make some flowers out of some old material that I had and sew them on.

In order to really see the changes you may have to click on the pictures.

Anyway, it was super easy and the most time consuming part was making the flowers, which really didn't take much time at all. I didn't do anything to make sure the flowers won't fray so I might not put this in the dryer and I may just hand wash it...I'll have to play around.

I've had the cardigan for over a year I bought it on sale at Old Navy. The lace I bought at get 3 yards of each for between $.75 - $1.40 a pack. I found the fabric for the flowers in a box of yarn that my sister had pulled out...I'm not sure who bought it or when. This was stuff I had stocked up on and had the refashion really didn't cost me very much at all. The only thing I'd like to do to this cardigan to make it more fun would be to change the buttons. I left most of my sewing stuff up at school and am only using what I have here at my parent's so maybe I'll be able to change the buttons when I get back to school next month.

So it satisfied my desire to have a prettier, more feminine piece of clothing and I got to do something a little bit creative much as I like bargain shopping I find this to be just as, if not more, satisfying of an activity.

Now I have some errands to run. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Christmas in July...

You remember that flower-tutorial post I had up recently? I made some felted flowers this weekend and then decided to make a hat to put them on.
After making it I realized it reminded a little bit me of a hat I've seen before... You never know where your inspiration is going to come from, but this shouldn't surprise me as I find a lot of Disney films to have inspiring material. I've always loved Mary Poppins...I think subconsciously I aspire to be like her...practically perfect and always a lady. ;)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some more thoughts.

The past couple of years since going to college I've been attending a church near my university. It has been such a blessing to me! I have learned a lot and been very encouraged there. I have had the opportunity to start volunteering with the kids and as a greeter some Sundays and it has been so good to be around families and folks who are finished with college, etc. While college is great it seems like almost everyone you are around is your age and in a very similar situation as you are so it's really great to be around people of all ages and stages in life. It seems more normal and more like a family environment to me.
Anyway I remember one service our pastor was talking about how Jesus used parables about nature to explain so many lessons to his disciples and the crowds he was teaching and the more I
thought about it I thought how neat it was that things in nature can be used to so naturally and perfectly explain our relationship with Christ, etc. And then I was reminded of this passage of scripture:

Psalm 19:1-4a
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

I realized that of course nature explains things belongs to God. He made it. Although I've heard that passage before and I have been told that creation points back to God it clicked a little more with me then. And it was so neat...just thinking about it made me really happy. So I thought I'd share it here. :)

On that same thought this goes along with the post perfectly and also makes me happy. :)

Phil Keaggy wrote a song called Shouts of Joy and the opening verse goes like this:

All creation shows the glory of the Lord.
The earth proclaims His handiwork,
The sky cries out His word.
Night and day sing out,
the glories all about,
So raise your voice with shouts of joy.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I really want to make some flower pins, headbands, brooches, etc to dress up outfits and hairdos. I have found a bunch of tutorials/ideas for different styles of headbands and flowers and wanted to post them here so they wouldn't get lost in my list of bookmarked websites.

Ruffled rosettes and dahlias from Kojo Designs...

Ruffled petal flowers from Two Shades of Pink...

Felt daffodils (my favorite flower) from While She Naps...

Ruffled, flowery headbands by Mary Jane and Galoshes...

These cool yo-yo bobby pin flowers by Sew Much Ado...

A use-up-your-scraps idea for a headbands by The Mother Huddle...

And finally a pleated flower tutorial from Craftaholics Anonymous.

A few other non-flower-related-but-cool-nonetheless posts I found are here, here and here.

Over and out. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

My wish to see some good fireworks came true! We didn't even have to leave the house. Our neighbors set some off and they were practically right over our heads. You couldn't have asked for a better place to watch.

Ahh...the perks of having neighbors. :) I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful day. I am under the weather and heading to bed kind of early. Although I'm feeling yucky I am grateful to be where I am today and thankful for all the sacrifice and bravery on the part of our soldiers, past and present and future. Happy Holiday, everyone!

A little drink idea!

I like drinking and eating pretty things. Colorful, fizzy, my sisters and I have come up with this sparking strawberry lemonade drink. You can use a powder and a syrup (I bought some strawberry syrup from a local coffee shop last year when my older sister and I made this) or you can do things the hard way and squeeze your own lemons and make your own syrup (like my younger sister and I did this year). Mix all that stuff with some sparkling water and you have your beverage. :)
We squeezed 7 lemons and a whole bunch of strawberries to make a whole jar of the concentrated stuff.
To make the syrup chop your strawberries into small pieces and crush them with a fork.
Boil them until they release a lot of their juices and become syrup-y. The fruit itself should be very crushed and more of a pulp at this point.
It's totally okay to stop and eat some gluten-free cake while you're watching your strawberries boil.
Pour the strawberries over a strainer so you separate the pulpy stuff from the syrup. You will also want to strain your lemon juice to get rid of the bigger pulp and seeds.
Then add sugar until it's as sweet as you want it to be.
You will want to wait to add the sparkling water until you're ready to drink it to avoid having it go you can mix in your water and serve it right away (crazy straws make it more fun)...
Or put it in a jar and seal it and refrigerate it. I don't know how long it will last since I've never made or stored this stuff before, but it has lemons in it which should help to preserve it for at the very least a few days. If you made it for a get-together you could make it ahead of time so you don't have to worry about it the day of your party. You could also just add regular water for a simple lemonade. You could also make a single serving by pouring a little into a cup and adding water to it. It's not very fussy.
PS: Does this picture remind you of the Twilight cover at all? Sorry if it does, it was entirely unintentional. :)

Happy 4th of July!