social spark Aisling Beatha: April 2011


Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, however short, and find something that interests and blesses you.

The tabs just below will take you to posts of particular topics. So if you are looking for my posts on food, fitness or creativity, you will find them there. You will also find my posts on thankfulness or other more contemplative posts, as well as a set of posts with traditional blessings from a number of different cultures.

You can find posts with labels not included in that list via the labels list over in the sidebar.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Things Check in

It's been a while since I've done a Check in on my theme for 2011 of NEW things!

In my last post on the topic I hinted at a new shower cubicle!  Oh yes, hubby has finished that job.

There used to be a gaping hole there where we had had to punch through in a previous plumbing emergency.  Hubby pulled all the old tile and water softened (from the plumbing emergency) board out, put a new piece of aqua panel in and tiled over the top.  And now we are able to shower again!  Yay!

Another new thing is my sewing machine.  Hubby decided to buy me the machine that I had my heart set on, after we received a small sum of money in an inheritance.  I knew I wanted a Singer, but had my heart set on the heavy duty model.  The heavy duty models kind of fill the gap between their standard home use models and their industrial models.  For the way I sew, I knew this was ideal.  This machine will stand up to a lot of use.  I don't tend to sew that often but when I do sew I tend to do an awful lot over a few days, using the machine almost constantly during that time.  I knew this model would stand up to that kind of use.

Singer 4423 Heavy Duty.  I have no affiliation with Singer in any way I just love this machine.

Here's what happened when I got it out of the box.

I am still working on keeping up with my thankfulness journal. I might not write in it every day or even make a weekly thankfulness blog post but bit by bit I am working on that.

I am still moving forward with plans for a trip to Romania in the summer and may have some dates to share with you next week.

We have begun our garden for 2011 and I may post an update to my previous post tomorrow, showing you any growth in the various plants.

Finally I have a number of new books to read.  A couple of titles on prayer, a book called Chazown which is about finding your God given vision and defining it, a book about the Jewishness of Jesus and lastly the new Max Lucado book, watch out for a review on that next week.

Sooo, did you have a theme for this year?  How are you doing with that?  Is it going well?  Are you able to make sense of it or are you wondering what on earth is going on and how your current circumstances could possibly fit with that theme?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Art AS Worship?

Well, that's the question, when art happens in a Christian worship meeting, is that art just happening DURING worship or is the doing of that art actually worship itself?  I honestly believe that the act of doing the art CAN BE worship!  Just as it can BE prayer, participating in the making of art CAN BE a means of communicating with God, whether that be worship, thanksgiving, repentance or request.

However, I have not done any kind of art in a worship meeting for a long time and certainly never done it since I began to believe in my ability to do art.

All that changed this week.  Easter Sunday 2011.

Late on Saturday evening I spotted an email from one of our church leaders, who had requested that people bring the tools of their creativity to church on Sunday to be part of the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  So, off I went and packed a bag of art materials.  I pulled a page out of a book on birds of prey, that I have been wanting to use for ages, my art journal, some paints, some stamps and ink pads, glue, scissors and pens.  And Sunday morning off we went.

We were a bit thin on the ground this year for Easter Sunday, a lot of people were away visiting family, and it soon became apparent that I was the only one who had brought stuff to use during the meeting.  However I am used to being a bit different and went ahead.  WOW, is all I can say about the experience, it truly was participating in worship, just WOW!

The rubiks cube has nothing to do with the art.  My son put it down in order to take the photograph of me at work.

Psalm 91:3
He will cover you with His feathers and under his wings you will find protection.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lemon Surprise Dessert

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  When life gives you a collapsed lemon polenta cake you have to do something else . . . .

Can you see that.  I don't think the photo looks as bad as it actually was.  The whole of the centre collapsed in a mushy mess.  Not sure whether it wasn't quite cooked enough or if I put too much lemon syrup on it while it was cooling.  Anyway, I cut that middle section out and disposed of it, but the rest of the cake was fine, just didn't look pretty.

So I decided to make a surprise Lemon Dessert.

I took the cake and crumbled it up.  I whipped up some cream and opened a jar of lemon curd.  Then I layered the 3 in a bowl.

You'll have to excuse the quality of the photos here.  The flash was just reflecting off the cream, but it was already evening and without the flash the photos have come out a little dull.  That's the first layer!

And when the layering was finished it looks like this:

Still not pretty but it tasted fantastic!

My Alter Ego

I've been working through some creativity prompts that I found online.  The very first day, one of the prompts was to work on your alter ego, whether that be to draw her, paint her, or dress up as her. 

Here she is!  In my art journal.

My alter ego is not afraid to try new things.  She travels to far off places.  She trusts easily yet is not naive.  She lives for today.  She enjoys good food but maintains her health through portion control and exercise.  She is feminine yet powerful.  She carries such a sense of who she is and the God that she serves, that draws people in.

She is bright, colourful and knows how to express joy.

The dress is one I printed off.  It is by Desigual and I absolutely ADORE IT!  Wish I could have a dress like that, and hopefully one day I will!

I drew the head and neck using pencils.  I used the Crayola multicultural set, which is 8 colours of varying skin tones.  The background is two colours of acrylic scraped on, and then random stamping with a lilac versacolour and a silver versacolour.  The writing is in DoCrafts glitter pens and Kuretake metallic calligraphy pens, plus a Kuretake fineliner in black.

I want to be my alter ego!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Where should we begin?

Yesterday I sat down to do my bible reading.  I prayed before I started,
"Dear Lord, help me to see you today in what I read.  In a passage, or a verse, or a single word.  You are mighty God and nothing is impossible for You.  May Your words and Your truth seep into the plans I make and every thought I think today.  Amen."
So then I turned to my reading for the day.  I was supposed to read a number of chapters of the book of Ruth, but I only got 7 verses in and I had to stop because it was like God had thrown a huge billboard in front of my face, to get my attention!
Ruth 1:6 One day she got herself together, she and her two daughters-in-law, to leave the country of Moab and set out for home; she had heard that God had been pleased to visit his people and give them food.7 And so she started out from the place she had been living, she and her two daughters-in-law with her, on the road back to the land of Judah.

Do you see that in verse 7!
She started out from WHERE she was, NOT from somewhere else!  It's the only place you CAN start.  You can't begin a journey and immediately expect to be in a different place or at a different level, it just won't happen.

How often do I do that?  Expect things to change immediately, or to somehow be different than they are, and when they prove not to be, get disappointed?  Particularly with myself.  I set intentions, but I have a false estimation of my current position.  It's not the measurable things I do it with.  I can jump on a set of scales, or use a tape measure.  I can tick off a To Do list that I have read my bible that day, I can log exercise, I can stay in touch with people and so on.  The problem comes with the things that are more difficult to measure.

So I deceive myself about the state of my relationship with God, or about the state of my relationships with others.  I make false estimations of my mood, of my heart, of how "together" I am.  I choose to believe less than the truth about my willingness to change.  I do all that, and in doing so I try to begin a journey from a place I am not.

Oh sure, I acknowledge that there are problems, I make plans to put them right, but until I can be honest with myself I cannot begin that journey in the right place.  Often the estimation I make is a more hopeful one, one that gives me less ground to cover to reach that goal, one that doesn't accept how bad things are.  However, not all my false estimates are a refusal to acknowledge how bad things are, a lot of them are a reluctance to admit how good things are.  A particular friend is often telling me how amazing I am, and I often fob her off or divert the conversation.  Why?  Does it boil down to this piece written by Marianne Williamson?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest dear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson
BUT, whichever side of the truth I begin from, or you begin from it's going to cause a problem.  The successful way to BEGIN is to do it from a true understanding of where we are now.  What if we don't know where we are now?  Well, sometimes we tell ourselves we don't know, when we really do, I know I do that, hiding from the truth we don't want to acknowledge.  So we need to be honest with ourselves, ask God to help us with that, to keep us safe as we open up things that maybe we have been afraid to open to open up.  Trusted Godly friends can help here too.

But if we still find ourselves not knowing where we are at with a particular situation, then we definitely need to go to God.  Come before the one who knows us better than we know ourselves and yet still loves us and ask Him to show us the truth about where we are and where or how we need to begin.

Monday, April 11, 2011

BEFORE the sewing machine finally DIED

Photobucket My sewing machine is dead! Completely seized up, and beyond repair. I guess I should have looked after it better, BUT it has lasted 15 years, been used well, so it's done well!

Before that happened, I finished using up the fabric that was leftover from making those craft room curtains.  As you may remember, I had to match the pattern on the fabric because they were wide curtains, so had lots of fabric left.  I decided to make some shopping bags (totes).  They are smaller then the ones I usually make, but the size was dictated by the size of the pieces of fabric I had and a desire to use as much of it as possible.

I made them using french seams as I did not want to get my overlocker (serger) out and fight with it.  But that meant huge piles of fabric layers at the seams, so for future bags, I am going back to using the overlocker, and have pulled it out, and actually had far less fighting with it than I expected, it went really well.  But that's another project that I cannot now finish because of the dead sewing machine.  Hmmm, SOON, hopefully, SOON there will be a replacement!

So, in the meantime, here's another photo of the bags I did complete!

You can check out the blogs that I link my crafty posts up to, over in the sidebar!  If I link to yours and have missed your banner from that list, please let me know and I will make sure to add it.

I am selling these bags to raise money for a mission trip to Romania, to teach some craft projects to a gypsy community, so they can begin to support themselves by selling them at their local markets.  I made 4 of these, 1 is already promised to a friend, and the other 3 are down at church to see if anyone there would like one!

Hopefully, if I get my replacement machine soon, I will be able to get more bags done, using up other fabrics that have been in my stash for years, or are being re purposed from other projects.  When I have some more done I might set up an Etsy shop, hmmmmm.

Monday, April 04, 2011


Finally, at last, the craft room is COMPLETE.
I may have claimed that before but now it really is!

The curtains have been changed and the last of the craft supplies have come upstairs.

The old curtains were longer than the top of the desk, and since they run the full width of the room, any time I pulled the curtains back to work in daylight I would lose the right hand side of my working area to pools of fabric sitting there.

Now I have THESE beauties!

Because of the width of the curtain track I need to join two panels of fabric for each curtain.  And because it is a patterned fabric I had to try and match up the pattern.  I didn't get it perfect, but I think I did a pretty awesome job of that.

I hand finished the mitred corners on the back and have pretty much the best set of curtains I ever made!

And this is what they look like pulled back

Finally I brought up the hangers of assorted bits and pieces.  All but one of these was full of stuff, embellishments, small bits of fabric, fancy threads, ribbons, etc.  The ribbons all went into the ribbons storage box, any papers went into the right boxes for those and one or two items were thrown out.  That means there are quite a few empty pockets.  So I decided it would be a good place to store my sewing threads and moved them out of the sewing box giving that a good clean out while I was at it.

Over in the corner is the ironing board and iron, because I use it a lot when I am sewing.  Hmmm, anyone think I need to add "make an ironing board cover" to my project list?

Lining that pattern up on the curtains meant I was left with more leftover fabric than usual, but I will be using that to make shopping bags. I have also salvaged the fabric from the old curtains. I have cut the heading tape off, will give them a run through the washing machine and then also make that fabric into shopping bags.
I will be selling those to raise funds for my upcoming mission trip to Romania, where I will be teaching the sewing class at a gypsy community some projects for them to sell in their local market.

So if anyone fancies a shopping bag from either of these fabrics, please let me know.

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