Monday, February 17, 2014

How to survive this winter . . .

. . . one day at a time.  So the promised warming trend hasn't exactly arrived, the snow hasn't melted -- we got several more inches today.  In an effort to make lemonade from these "lemons", I tried to take a few photos of snowflakes after work today.  The light was fleeting, and nothing really turned out.  So I will post another creative project that has been occupying my time.  Watching the Olympics and coloring mandalas.  Turns out, it's a great way to spend a cold winter evening (or five!).

I printed out the patterns from online images, and then played with my colored pencils.  It's one way of adding color to these winter evenings.  How are you surviving this long winter?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

I was playing with painting some paper to use for Valentines, and decided it might be more fun and practical to make Valentine bookmarks instead.  I cut out the size I wanted as well as some smaller hearts and shapes, lettered on a nice saying, and played with the design.
After mounting the bookmarks on cardstock and adding a ribbon, I also made some little boxes that I embellished with some of the shapes, and put a couple of chocolates in each.
 Here are some of the finished bookmarks.  Since I work at a library, they were the perfect Valentine for my co-workers.
 Wishing you a creative and fun Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Home made Granola

Once again, the outside temperature is below zero.  Since I had some time this morning, I decided to make granola.  It's a great way to warm up the kitchen and make the whole house smell homey!  Here's the ingredients for one batch (I usually make 1 1/2 batches at a time):
3 Cups Rolled Oats
1 Cup raw Pumpkin Seeds
1 Cup raw Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup shredded Coconut
1 1/4 Cups chopped Pecans
1/2 Cup packed light Brown Sugar
1 tsp Kosher Salt
3/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
Dried Fruit

 As you may be able to see from the ingredients above, I made some changes.  I didn't have any coconut or pecans, so I added some Walnuts and about 3/4 Cup of Wheat Germ.  I also added 1 tsp of Vanilla to my liquid ingredients.  After combining all the dry ingredients in a bowl (except for the dried cranberries), I heated the maple syrup and olive oil in a measuring cup in the microwave to warm them a bit.  Then I added the vanilla and stirred the liquid ingredients into the dry.
 The baking is the most time consuming part because it takes about an hour.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees, and spread the granola mixture evenly onto two rimmed cookie sheets.  Bake for about an hour, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes until granola is golden brown.
 Stir occasionally as it cools, and add the dried fruit.  Pour into a bowl and enjoy!  (Or just munch on it!)
 While it was baking, I decided to take some more photos of the flowers I bought last week.  They are still lovely!

Finally, for my February spiritual discipline, I am coming up with a six word touchstone for each day, based on my quiet time reading in the morning.  In a previous blog post, I shared the first three days.  Here are the latest:
February 4:  I'm so full of answered prayer!  (from Psalm 13:6)
February 5:  God of Angel Armies protects us (Psalm 46:3)
February 6:  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace (Matthew 11:29)
February 7:  Start with where you are now (from Romans 8:28)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Post Card Exchange!

Kat Sloma sponsors a post card swap every year, and this is the first year I've participated.  I'm sending five postcards to her with everything needed for her to send six postcards from other artists in the next month.  Here's my stuff, ready to go out.

 And here is the envelope I made from an old calendar page -- trying to be green and creative at the same time!

I sure hope the mailman can find my mailbox in all the snow!

There is still time to get involved!  Just click on Kat's name above, and you will find all the information!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tired of winter!

I know much of the country has been hit hard by winter weather this year, and Chicago is no exception.  They reported on the weather news that in a usual winter, we dip below zero an average of 10 times.  That was in the third week of January, and by then we had already experienced 14 days of sub-zero temps.  And I know for a fact that we have had at least three more days since.  In between the polar vortex blasts, we have had snow . . . and more snow . . . and even more snow!  It kind of makes you want to strangle the little groundhog who predicted six more weeks of this stuff.

But instead, I know that God is good, and there are good gifts in each day.  So far I have found a six-word phrase of encouragement for each day of February -- all from reading my Message Bible.  I'd like to share them with you, along with some photos I took today of a grocery store bouquet of flowers.

February 1:  Every God direction is road-tested.  (from Psalm 18:30)

February 2: Keep your eyes open for God. (from Psalm 105:4)

February 3:  Savor the gift of this day.  (from 2 Corinthians 4:15)

So now it's a challenge to see if I can find a six word phrase to bring encouragement every day of this cold and gloomy month.  I love that they are short enough for me to remember all day long!

And just for fun, I create a "wild and wacky" calendar for our department at the library each month.  The calendar is hung on the wall, and a copy goes on our web page.  Some of the days definitely give something to smile about.
I hope you are finding ways to keep the winter blues at bay!